[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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