New Directions in Transit

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Dec 15 09:23:00 MST 2000

The New York Times, December 14, 2000, Thursday, Late Edition - Final

Chief of Transport Workers Union Loses to Upstart in Landslide


BODY:  After helping the city's subway and bus workers win a new contract
last year, following a showdown with Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Willie
James was ousted as the president of the 35,000-member Transport Workers
Union in a fractious election last night.

Roger Toussaint, 44, a leader of the union's upstart New Directions
faction, won 12,465 or 60.5 percent of the votes counted last night, while
a union vice president, Eddie Melendez, came in second with 4,347 votes.

Mr. Melendez, 44, had been described as a successor to Mr. James, 64, who
had not planned to run for re-election. But the election was thrown into
turmoil when the union president changed his mind and re-entered the race.
Last night, Mr. James came in third, winning just 3,786 votes.

The union's change of power comes at what seemed a moment of prosperity,
one created mostly by Mr. James, a former bus driver and the first
African-American to lead the union.



The New York Times, December 20, 1999, Monday, Late Edition - Final

Giuliani's Hunt for Red Menaces


A decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the swift collapse of
communism's Evil Empire, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is still darkly wary of
Marxist influence in the nooks and crannies of the city.

The mayor's latest encounter with the Red Menace came as he faced down the
threatened strike from the Transport Workers Union and its dissident
faction, the New Directions Caucus.

"There are people who want to cause anarchy," the mayor warned at a City
Hall news conference last week after a tentative agreement was announced.
"I know a week ago I said that Marxism unfortunately is still alive in
parts of New York City even in the latter part of this century, even though
it's been disgraced all over the world."

Mr. Giuliani's vigilance in this matter has sometimes been overlooked in
the hurly-burly of daily governance, but a review of his public statements
shows that he has discerned a sinister Marxist tinge to a wide variety of
enemies, from the paradoxically well-organized anarchists who sacked a
Starbucks in Seattle to the gardeners who plant flowers in the city's
vacant lots.

"The remarks of one of the leaders of New Directions is a perfect example
of what I'm talking about, where he advocated taking away profits from
business as being one of the really good side benefits of having a strike,"
Mr. Giuliani said. "I think he said he would take away the profit orgy of
Christmas from businesses."

He was apparently referring to Tim Schermerhorn, a leader of the New
Directions Caucus, who said, in threatening a strike: "The real powers that
be in the city -- business -- is planning an orgy of profit-making. They're
not going to rake it in if the trains aren't running."

That, the mayor said, "means taking jobs away from people. It means seeing
unemployment go up. It means really hurting people who need the most help.
And it's a true misunderstanding of what America is all about. That comes
from the influence of Marxism, and if you need any better indication of it,
it was said at a Marxist study group.

"So philosophy is important. It has done a tremendous amount of good things
to help people, and the isms and ideologies of this century have cost an
awful lot of human lives," the mayor concluded.


Louis Proyect
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