Archive for March, 2011

Speak The Truth!

by Arjun Janah, Brooklyn, March 9, 2011

In Wisconsin, teachers stood
For weeks in snow, misunderstood.
And other workers stood beside.
They said, “The truth, you cannot hide!”

So in the states, the people rise,
But in the center, there’s surprise.
Obama, like the Clintons, eyes
The wealthiest — and yields to lies.

To Illinois, they had to flee
From Madison, to disagree,
Those Democrats, in more than name,
With guts to say, “A crying shame!”

And still it passed, by subterfuge,
The bill that offers no refuge
For workers, taking back the rights
They’d won through past (and bitter) fights.

Fifty years, at once erased!
And if, by this, you’re now amazed,
Then wait, for what is coming next,
And you’ll be even more perplexed.

Your pensions, and that Medicare.
And Medicaid! For those who care,
They’re raising the retirement age,
While lowering the effective wage.

But trillions yet, we spend on wars.
The super-rich are now our stars.
The young, they live on fantasy,
Their I-pods and their ecstasy.

The rich are getting richer, at
A rate that’s blowing off the hat.
A few percent now own this land
And government. You understand?

The rest of us are renters all,
The hired help, is what they call
Us, those who work. And those who can’t?
Just listen, to the bigots’ rant!

So who, at center, is for us?
And whom, can we, in future, trust?
Who speaks the truth, and says it loud?
Who sees, what this is all about?

They’re few and they are far between,
And most, by us, are rarely seen
Or heard. By media, they’re ignored,
Or swiftly, by the powers, gored.

So we, to those, in power, turn,
Or those who’re close to it, to learn.
And still, a few have guts enough
To speak the truth, although it’s tough.

Republicans are for the rich.
The Democrats are seen to switch.
So what should working people do?
Unite and say, “With lies, we’re through!”

Howard Dean’s a Democrat,
And still has balls to call a rat
For what it is. So go and sign
To say, “We see the full design

“And just don’t buy it. We create
The wealth. We will not tolerate
These lies that try to hide the root
Of what’s the ailment. Speak the truth!”

If when you’re old, you’d rather die,
And if, when sick, you’d gladly try
To live on streets, then let this pass.
If not, then rise, and kick some ass!

Arjun
2011 March 19th, Fri.
Brooklyn

UNION BUSTING IN PUERTO RICO

New Action/UFT also urges all delegates to support the resolution on Puerto Rican teachers. We are proud to have initiated this resolution at the UFT Executive Board. Puerto Rican governor Fortuno has fired the entire leadership of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR). The teaching licenses of the FMPR leadership have been permanently revoked.

Governor Fortuño is out to destroy the teachers’ union in Puerto Rico much like Governor Walker in Wisconsin and Bloomberg in New York City. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Motion: Resolution in Support of Puerto Rican Teachers Federation Leadership

WHEREAS, the entire leadership of the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR) were fired from their teaching positions; and

WHEREAS, the teaching licenses of the FMPR leadership were permanently revoked; and

WHEREAS, the Government has taken repressive measures with the goal of destroying the unions and intimidating the teachers from struggling against the current administration’s plans to privatize the schools and liquidate the teachers retirement fund; and

WHEREAS, Governor Fortuño of Puerto Rico is out to destroy the teachers’ union much like Governor Walker of Wisconsin is out to destroy collective bargaining for public workers in this state; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT express our solidarity with the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation; and be it

RESOLVED, that the UFT inform Governor Fortuño that we oppose his repressive measures and stand with the FMPR in solidarity.

March 2011

WISCONSIN / NEW YORK CITY – SAME STRUGGLE / SAME FIGHT

Wisconsin proves that today we must have a strong union movement. Public employees, especially educators, are under attack all across our country. Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida are also suffering attacks on pensions, health care plans, seniority, and our long and hard fought right to collective bargaining. Mayor Bloomberg WANTS TO END SENIORITY RIGHTS! In reality, he would also like to destroy collective bargaining.

Fortunately, public employees across this country are fighting back.

New Action is proud that we introduced the UFT resolution on Wisconsin and other battleground states. The membership must be involved. We urge the following actions:

  • set a specified Day of Solidarity and ask every UFT member to wear red
  • set a date with our labor allies for a demonstration of support for workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, etc. and against the policies of Mayor Bloomberg
  • raise support among our members by requesting a voluntary donation for a solidarity fund
  • gather names of members who are willing to fill buses and travel to battleground states

We hope these actions will stimulate discussions at the school level and other UFT venues.

March 2011

So Freedom’s Flame Can Burn

by Babui / Arjun

Workers, disunited, to predators, are prey.
They’re easiest to capture, when caught in disarray.
Workers, when united, are forceful and escape
The fate of those that singly dare to masters disobey.

The snake engulfs the frog, the spotted leopard stalks the deer.
Who’s predator, and who’s the prey, in every case, is clear,
But when a species harbors those that feed on fellows, then
The ones who are the prey have cause, from kindred kind, to fear.

“Oh serve me well”, a master says, “and I will let you live,
And sustenance, for you and for the ones you shelter, give.
But slack at work, and you will hear and feel my cracking whip,
And know, that if you cross me once, this master won’t forgive!”

Another uses tactics of another, subtler kind,
And plays, with expertise, upon the striving worker’s mind.
And so, the worker races and, with others, must compete,
While worshiping his master — being, to the capture, blind.

And each, on climbing ladder, steps on ones that climb below.
And those, who once were equals, now are seen as high or low.
And this how they’re captured, as they capture, in their turn.
So evil is established — and, to evil, workers bow.

Workers, disunited, know the power of the boss,
Who’s driven, in her turn, by those who’re counting profit, loss.
And each must labor harder yet, and smarter yet, and faster,
And never dare to those above, of wealth and power, cross.

Workers, when united, have confidence to learn.
These structures of oppression, they slowly overturn,
Replacing these with structures, with less of hierarchy.
Then work again has meaning — and freedom’s flame can burn.

But words like these may conjure up a vision of illusion,
And ardent ones may sacrifice and die, amidst confusion.
And though some see with clarity, the others are beclouded,
And pettiness and evil reign — and end is disillusion.

Beware — that revolution brings not freedom, but yet more
Of slavery, with masters new, with worker-serf at chore,
With nothing changed, except that now perhaps it’s even worse,
As bosses new have newer lies to add to lies of yore.

So this is how it must begin — to do away with bosses.
The one, who wishes to be free, his “leader” gently tosses.
We’re equal in the eyes of God, the faithful loudly claim.
But in the eyes of men, we’re not.  And so, we suffer losses.

The falsehoods, that are used to capture us and brutalize,
Are fetters binding workers down.  When workers realize
That this is so and strive to sort the falsehoods from the truth,
These tethers lose their strength — as they are woven out of lies.

There is no substitute, we see, for work of mind and heart.
Our ignorance has grown profound, and we have grown apart.
Let’s set ourselves to work, my friends, discard what we’ve been told,
And reconnect with soul again, so sorrow may depart.

Babui / Arjun
2011 March 5th, Sat.
Brooklyn

UFT Resolution on Wisconsin

… and other states. Passed Exec Board, bipartisan support, after several amendments. Will be presented at the March 9 Delegate Assembly (this Wednesday). Needs to be accompanied by concrete actions, such as those New Action has proposed.

WHEREAS, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is scapegoating public employees, including teachers, for Wisconsin’s alleged budget difficulties; and

WHEREAS, Governor Walker has proposed that contracts be no longer than one year, that public employee unions be banned from collecting dues, and that collective bargaining be abolished for public employees, including teachers; and

WHEREAS, organized labor in Wisconsin, including the State AFL-CIO and the Wisconsin Education Association have denounced these wrong-headed plans; and

WHEREAS, this shocking assault on workers’ rights, and specifically teachers’ rights, is part of a concerted national campaign against workers and their organizations with particularly egregious proposals threatening educators and other workers in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Florida and Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, the teachers of New York City and our union, the United Federation of Teachers, are facing noxious proposals by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as part of this same national anti-teacher union campaign; and

WHEREAS, an injury to one is an injury to all; and

WHEREAS, we UFTers as trailblazers in gaining collective bargaining for teachers which we secured in 1961 only after a strike on November 7, 1960 at which time our members showed great courage and determination to have the basic right to be treated fairly and with respect know only too well the significance and vital importance of collective bargaining for teachers and other workers; and be it

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers expresses its solidarity with the teachers unions in Wisconsin, and with all public employees and their unions in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Florida and Tennessee; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will publicize the monstrous campaign against the teachers and all public employees in Wisconsin and other affected states; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will extend offers of material and logistical support to our sister teacher unions in Wisconsin and other affected states; and be it further

RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers will join with our state and national affiliates, New York State United Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers respectively, to likewise express solidarity, publicize the struggle, and offer material support to the teachers and their unions in Wisconsin and other affected states.


Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
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