SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Tyranny Running Amok at the MORE Caucus

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tyranny Running Amok at the MORE Caucus

MORE is slipping further and further into one person rule, with extra-judicial policies and
penalties, and rule by the few and not the many.

As many might know by now to prominent teachers and activists were retroactively punished and humiliated for going against the norms whims of a few. This led to ICE at first putting out a resolution to suspend support for MORE and then ultimately, after being democratically voted upon, to follow through.

The following landed in my email yesterday. This is what has sadly become of MORE. No dissent. No contradictions. No nothing except conformity. My thoughts will appear in red.

Dear Fellow MOREistas,

As some of you may know, many of the Independent Community of Educators (ICE) were integral members at the formation of MORE along with others. Over the last few years, while everyone has worked hard to organize around issues that have plagued our working conditions, internal tensions have also deepened. There have been some fundamental differences that have taken us back to debating some of our stated values over and over again. Differences in opinion and disagreements are absolutely normal and part of healthy democratic spaces. However, some disagreements have crossed the line to personal attacks and questioning of intentions. It has made it quite difficult to focus on what brought us all together in the first place.

No, there has been ZERO discussion about working conditions. No nothing by MORE. Nada. Bupkus.This argument made here is specious and disingenuous. However, MORE has spent an inordinate amount of time furthering left wing propaganda, anti-Israel and anti-Zionist screeds, and trying to churn up race wars within the UFT. 

Again, how does this benefit the rank and file?

To be fair, we have not had a clear process for when conflicts have become personal between individuals, though efforts have been made. In the last few months, things have come to a head, and ICE issued their decision to withdraw their support of MORE as a group. Some of us, listed below, have come together to respond. This response is an attempt to acknowledge their decision and agree to work amicably together as separate organizations into the future. We want to be clear that the folks here came together organically without any intentions of leaving specific individuals out. (Most of us were at the last few general meetings or worked on a committee. Others expressed their concerns at previous meetings.) 

No. ICE voted to SUSPEND support for MORE, not withdraw. Big difference. 

This statement is intended to propose a solution for us to be able to move forward, during a time when we need each other the most. This has been a learning opportunity about the need to develop a healthy organizational culture and something that we must do together as members of MORE. 

Response to ICE suspension of support for MORE

ICE (Independent Community of Educators) has voted to suspend their support for MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators). We respect their decision to do so and we believe that both MORE and ICE will be able to achieve more in coalition than we can in the current situation.

We look forward to continuing to working together with ICE and its members on joint projects where our interests coincide - including in the CASCADE coalition, on the Chapter Leader Meetup listserve, and the UFT Executive Board.

Why should the grown ups on the Exec Board cooperate with MORE? After reading Arthur's blog yesterday, I was appalled that those few in control at MORE were upset that Arthur dared to bring up a class size resolution.

However, ICE members have coalesced around specific disagreements with the majority of the active MORE members. The current situation, with constant infighting and a toxic and mistrustful environment, is destructive for both MORE and ICE members. 

The majority of MORE members or the majority of those that were at the last MORE general meeting? Big difference. If this statement were to be true, a vote should go to the entirety of MORE, not just a few select followers. 

Better yet, after the coup d'etat on steering by the ex post facto rules and shaming of Barry and Tony, that (for lack of a better word) faction of MORE's steering lost it's majority and only the the insentient and one special little boy that is easily suggestible, followed orders. From the looks of thing these attacks on both Barry and Tony were pre-planned and possibly conspiratorial so the very faction they represent (teacher's rights, bread and butter issues, reality) would be effectively silenced and better, publicly flogged. Which in turn will be a warning to others who dare run afoul of individual thought

1. ICE has publicly rejected the decision by MORE steering, which was supported by MORE members at the General meeting on April 28, to enforce norms of behavior for MORE members.

Incorrect. It was not about enforcing the norms! It was about the whims! Read here. We asked that the suspensions be rescinded. We respected the vote. We, ICE, did nothing to do an end run around the vote. More bothersome is those that signed onto this letter to ICE and those that voted on the extra-judicious penalties many are chapter leaders in their schools. How would they react to a principal or administrator acting in such a way that they continue to condone? I voted my conscious on Steering and in the general meeting. Is that against MORE by-laws?

2. Some ICE members have publicly attacked MORE’s democratically-decided positions and organizing campaigns -- such as our "No Givebacks" position on Family Leave (a position which is consistent with MORE's Mission Statement) and our recent criticisms of the Unity leadership of the UFT for saying the Black Lives Matter Edu Week of Action was "divisive." Some ICE members have also posted internal MORE documents and discussions on their blogs and social media, despite being specifically asked not to, thus undermining our ability to decide together how to present our campaigns and positions. 

Publicly attack? Prove it. What does MORE consider "attacking?" To publicly question MORE and it's defacto leaders? To think as an individual and not as a drone collective? And yes, I did proudly publish it. When did MORE become an opaque organization?

3. ICE members who were present at MORE's April 28th General meeting rejected the "Contract Strategy" proposal that was voted on to be the central organizing focus of the caucus moving forward. 

Yeah, we did. I voted my conscious. I can't speak for others who voted no. But remember, there were also abstentions. Are these people to be vilified and punished as well? 

While ICE and MORE may be able to work together in the future, these differences indicate that ICE and MORE are different organizations with differing political visions for building a democratic, member driven UFT points of view. 

DEMOCRATIC? How has MORE acted democratically of late? If one wants to cite the United States Constitution as something to look to as an example of being democratic as a brought up at the general meeting attempting to rescind the suspensions of Barry and Tony, " that Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution that no law shall be made ex post facto." But alas, someone blabbered that it only pertains to the government. No duh! But is MORE above the government? Is MORE above what makes us Americans? Sadly, I am learning the answer.

Besides, the "contract document" is so unrealsitc and bereft of anything for the thousands of teachers and UFT members. All this document does is solidify for a select few the bonafides and aspirations for a select few in a minuscule amount of outside agitating organizations. 

As of now, we ask that all members of ICE active in MORE choose between the two organizations.  We believe that a better working relationship will be possible once this separation of our organizations is settled.

So one can't do both? In fact why is it not the opposite? Why can't the below 17 members who put their names to this "invitation to leave" just leave? If it's your ball, take it and leave. Start your own little club or whatever it is you wish to call it?

But here is the problem. Should this not be put before steering and then to the ENTIRE membership? Again, this is MORE making up its rules as it goes along. 

We are willing to meet upon request with ICE or with individuals affiliated with ICE to discuss the reasons for these decisions and the terms of our working relationships moving forward.

This comes of so condescending and patronizing.


The 17 names have been redacted



Anonymous said...

Why can't someone be a member of both ICE and MORE? Does MORE require a Unity type loyalty oath? Why is a reduction in class size resolution problematic?

Anonymous said...

They have taken power by assuming the power of character assassinations for anyone not in compliance and by forcing minority votes for funny suspensions. They have taken all of the power associated with a vocal minority. They are using it to settle grudges with people and they have proven they have the authority to back it up by actually going through with their veiled threats.

Attack them until they realize that they cannot assume the power of a vocal minority to shame and to purge and until they give up on this insanity -and on the one or two true sociopaths within their ranks who are manipulating them into believing this insanity. Blog about it like this, then wait until these people marginalize the dishonest members in their ranks and come to their senses.