The following is from Bob of Occupy, a fighter, organizer and resister against the privatization of education and especially the issues surrounding the decimation of the City College of San Fransisco College (CCSF):
Throughout our political engagements these days, the most basic democratic principles of an informed and questioning electorate are being marginalized through the sometimes bullying tactics of those who even challenge one’s patriotism or loyalty for not just going along with the one party, the one institution, the one union, the one president, the one leader, etc.
When did it arrive at as acceptable to no longer question those people we put in their offices to serve us? Questioning and dissent have now become “antagonistic”? And that Orwellian description comes out of the mouth of a college professor in the year 2013? 1984 was published in 1949. Seriously, would you like to take that one back?
We don’t even have to tax our own brains cells much to just look back at what has transpired right here at City College this past year of a Board of Trustees that criminally cut off the voice of the people who elected them and then locked stepped to an organization that bullied them into submission of not questioning their dictates. All of which led to the most undemocratic takeover of our Commons by a compliant mayor and a former Lumina alumnus, Chancellor Brice Harris, through the firing of the same body after they had used them as a democratic front so that they could eviscerate CCSF “legally”.
Hell, wouldn’t a little “antagonism” have gone a long way if exercised by any of those supine trustees we elected? To this day, the only “antagonistic” trustee, and proudly so, was our Shanell Williams, the Student Trustee, the People’s Trustee.
That was the true Profile in Courage. That was the voice that fought back and demanded accountability. The lone voice. There is not a single man or woman on that board who could measure up to Shanell Williams who represented us. To the day I die that woman will always make me proud having observed at City College so many mediocre, go along to get along, collegial cop outs who still pretend that by ducking their heads all will be fine tomorrow.
And this question of “communication” or the lack thereof from the union. From the day I first showed up in August of 2012 with my Occupy comrades, Codepink, the Grey Panthers, with our banners and flyers informing the incoming students, the vast majority of them completely oblivious of what was coming down upon them and their futures, I started hearing complaints of “Where was the union?”
As the months went on and the Coalition to Save CCSF was born through the initiative of Bob Price and Rick Baum, the complaint continued to repeat itself, “where was the union and why were they so silent?”
Of course, if you recall those of us who stepped out of the silent majority of faculty and started arousing the college and the community to the need for radical action, from that very same silent majority, as is always the case of those whose consciences trouble them, we were marginalized as the trouble making, rowdy rabble.
And ironically among those voices who, on several occasions at Coalition meetings, angrily and “antagonistically” questioned the elected representative of their union, were two women who today have apparently had an epiphany these last couple of months, one of them being Wendy Kaufmyn.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Frederick Douglas
So let’s continue to demand accountability from whomever we elect to serve us. Have no illusions. Just because you think they represent you, doesn’t mean behind closed doors that they are in fact caring about YOU and YOUR INTERESTS. Remember, the Board of Trustees sold us down the river…and look where they’re at.
That is the civic responsibility we all have___to challenge our elected representatives, to be ever vigilant in assuring that our Democracy and the Commons will not be stolen from us.
Proposed Resolution for CCSF for a ‘fair contract’:
Resolution Calling for an Open AFT 2121 Meeting to Discuss Strategies
for Winning a Fair Contract
Whereas, AFT 2121 has been at the negotiating table for over a year in the attempt to get CCSF administration to agree to terms for a new contract that respects the rights of faculty to a decent living, good working conditions and employment security; and
Whereas, college administrators have responded with non-negotiated, unilateral pay cuts, and are insisting on continuing a salary reduction that brings faculty compensation 5% below the 2007 wage scale, along with the right to cancel any class for any reason, and new contributions to retiree healthcare, even for part-time faculty, who are not eligible to receive this benefit; and
Whereas, student achievement and access to quality education are in jeopardy when faculty working conditions are such that the most qualified new faculty will choose not to work at CCSF, and classes could be canceled at whim if management has its way; and
Whereas, the administration declared that negotiations are at an impasse even though the AFT bargaining team was prepared to present new information and proposals for coming to an agreement; and
Whereas, a good faculty contract is a key element to staving off downsizing and privatization of the college and recouping losses already suffered during the accreditation crisis; and
Whereas, many faculty members are unaware of the steps involved and the possible consequences of being at impasse; and
Whereas, impasse and the subsequent step, fact-finding, if unsuccessful, could lead to imposition of an unfavorable contract by the administration; and
Whereas, faculty members need an opportunity to discuss and suggest strategies, including public actions, for pressuring the college administration to agree to a fair and, ideally, non-concessionary contract;
Therefore, be it resolved that AFT 2121 schedule one or more open meetings to inform faculty of the process of impasse and its possible outcome, and to hear member concerns, strategies, and proposals for action for winning a good contract, and for members’ suggestions to be acted upon by AFT 2121 leadership.
We, the undersigned faculty, respectfully submit this resolution for passage at the September 24, 2013 Delegate Assembly meeting.
__Bob of Occupy
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