[Marxism] Fw: Support Puerto Rican Teachers!
Carlos A. Rivera
cerejota at optonline.net
Tue May 24 23:14:59 MDT 2005
----- Original Message -----
From: <acpollack2 at juno.com>
> I'll check around to see what labor sites have this info.
Not many, if you want you can resend the AELLA stament and translation.
>If other P.R. unionists want AFL-CIO connections for pragmatic reasons,
>that's their business, but attempts by Sweeney et al. to expand outside the
>U.S. (including its captive colony, the PR), are just imperialism. And this
>disaffiliation is long overdue.
Thank you for those words. And its true that "If other P.R. unionists want
AFL-CIO connections for pragmatic reasons, that's their business". This is
why I don't do a blanket denouciation. Dockworkers and Teamsters are two
unions that come to mind as both anti-imperialist and AFL-CIO in Puerto Rico
(at least in recent history, the Teamster's building in PR is name "Jimmy
Hoffa" - and even then their relationship with Hoffa Sr. was, well,
problematic.), and the work in Colombia is not bad at all, supporting some
left unions and opposing Plan Colombia.
Even the current leadership is *not* opposed in principle to relations with
international unions, the problem is that the AFT has choose the wrong side
in Puerto Rico, and has done so for 20+ years. Not only that, but it has
provided ABSOLUTLY NOTHING in return for the millions upon millions it took
as fees. Even when the organizing drive for organization under a then new
unionization law in PR happened, the money the AFT provided for organizers
and media was a *LOAN* to be paid back *WITH INTEREST* on top of the fees.
In particular, they supported a blatantly corrupt leadership, some of which
were involved in a government corruption scheme that has a former Secretary
of Education doing hard time (7 or so years), and others involved in the
bankruptcy, due to mismanagement and corruption, of the FMPR's Health Plan,
which at one point was so well managed and solid, even the Teamsters started
using it *instead* of their own!
The current "Democracy and Militancy Commitee" (CODEMI) leadership, which
was red-baited COINTELPRO-style to death by the AFT, had been contesting
(unsucesfully) elections since the 1980s, what finally won them over was
their clear platform of disaffiliation and an enforcement of open book
accounting rules that the previous leaderships had not obeyed. They won by a
simple majority (less than 40% in a 4 way race) yet won disaffiliation by
more than 2/3 of the vote.
In particular, the AFT corruption charges are hilarious, and not even the
biggest internal opposition in the FMPR (which overwhelmingly voted for
disaffiliation) supports those allegations, inspite of them losing because
of their involvement in the Health Plan scandal.
All in all, the AFT is facing what is probably the first real challenge they
have faced ever after being accustomed to establishing Trusteeships whenever
oposition reared its ugly head.
I say real, because some of the Trusteeships have been to local leaderships
more corrupt than the national, and only after the FBI intervened, or
against ultra-left, un-popular disaffiliations. No the case here.
The incredibly militant, political, well-informed, and 20 years in the
making desaffiliation effort, not to mention the HUGE, Chavez-like vote
margin, will make it impossible for the AFT to establish their dictatorship.
As a matter of fact, the red-baiting worked *against* them, as the FMPR has
had nominally socialist leadership since the 1970s. This is because in
Puerto Rico, people vote Republican or Democrat (their local equivalents
anyways) for Governor but Socialist for Union leaders.
Long story why, but this is the general rule.
> P.S. Have comrades seen the recent AFT statement denouncing the
> (justified) boycott of Israeli universities passed by the teachers union
> in England?
No. Thanks for the pointer. I will post it if you don't post it before.
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