American Federation of Teachers Supports Occupy Seattle’s Move

Important news .. We are not alone ..

There are important sources of support for Occupy Seattle that are willing to speak up. Let the American Federation of Teachers know we appreciate their support.

A letter in support of SCCC occupation Karen Strickland, American Federation of Teachers, Seattle President to Paul Killpatrick, SCCC President.

” ….. the board is in support of SCCC accommodating the request of Occupy Seattle for a number of reasons. The students and employees of the SCCD are the 99% and are suffering because of the economic inequity that characterizes our society and which has dramatically worsened since the 1970’s. … Finally, this is a terrific learning opportunity on many levels. ”

Now if we can get them to camp with us.

for the full article and a copy of the full text of the letter:

http://www.newcitycollegian.com/2011/10/26/support-and-rejection-of-occupy-seattle/

6 Responses to American Federation of Teachers Supports Occupy Seattle’s Move

  • msmikestew35 says:

    The AFT has presided over the drastic cuts / firings of teachers that took place under the Obama administration. They are hostile to the social needs of the teachers and workers in general. Here is one article that exposes just some of their treachery to the workers they are supposed to look after:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jun2011/wein-j21.shtml

    I will quote:

    *** BEGIN QUOTE

    DFT President Keith Johnson, who barely won reelection in a January vote that was widely believed to be rigged, worked closely with Weingarten, then-Detroit schools Financial Manager Robert Bobb and Detroit Mayor Bing to ram through a contract in 2009 that cut teachers’ pay by $10,000, destroyed seniority and tenure protections, and integrated the DFT into the process of firing so-called “underperforming” teachers.

    Like Johnson, Weingarten is a thoroughly discredited figure. She has collaborated with the Obama administration’s attack on public education on a national scale and overseen the destruction of the gains won by educators over decades of struggle. She has cultivated the closest of ties with the bitterest opponents of public education.
    Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who addressed the 2010 AFT national convention, has given the union millions of dollars. In return, the AFT has helped implement joint labor-management “teacher effectiveness” projects across the country, which include performance-based “merit” pay and other tools to further victimize teachers.

    At a meeting of roughly 100 school-level building representatives at the DFT headquarters, Johnson introduced Weingarten with the comment, “We are a school district and profession in crisis.”
    The AFT leader began her comments with a demagogic attack on “anti-union, anti-teacher, anti-government people [who] are attacking public education by dividing, dehumanizing, delegitimizing and de-funding.” The union, she said, was the “force against the power of evil” and the only organization that “fights at the bargaining table and the ballot box.”

    Her remarks were aimed at presenting the Republicans as the sole opponents of public education, while whitewashing the role of the Obama administration and the Democrats. The AFT backs the Democrats at the ballot box not because they defend teachers. They do not. The AFT does so because the Democrats carry out their anti-teacher attacks with the assistance of the unions, thereby preserving the institutional and financial interests of union executives like Weingarten and Johnson.

    The AFT president soon got around to her most important point: the attack on public education was provoking massive opposition in the working class, which could escalate into a threat to the entire corporate and political order.

    Weingarten said she did not want a “Les Mis strategy” or “to see kids fighting a revolution.” The AFT, she said, knew “the right way to fight,” pointing to the 2009 contract in Detroit as the “foundation to stop this attack.”

    *** END QUOTE

    The organizers of OWS wants to be co-opted – they have no independent perspective. They have already betrayed the aspirations of millions of people who took to the streets demanding social justice.

    But those of us who are in this for the long haul, those who are camping and facing police brutality, the workers in increasingly dead end and insecure jobs, this fight requires a perspective and a clear recognition of friends and enemies.

    AFT is not our friend. Be warned.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    Please read, this movement is at a crossroads.

    from : http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/oct2011/pers-o26.shtml

    The Occupy Wall Street protests against inequality, which began in New York City over a month ago and have since expanded to hundreds of cities and towns throughout the United States and internationally, have arrived at a political crossroads.

    The ruling class has responded with a two-pronged strategy. Attempts to channel political discontent back within the political system have been combined with a growing wave of arrests and stepped-up police violence.

    The latest action was the most brutal. Hundreds of police officers from 12 agencies, decked out in riot gear, surrounded an encampment in Oakland, California early Tuesday morning. Under the direction of Democratic Party Mayor Jean Quan, the police used tear gas, bean bag guns and a sonic cannon to attack and arrest about one hundred peaceful demonstrators and lay waste to the occupation site.

    Riot police maintained a heavy presence in Oakland throughout the day. In the evening, hundreds of police met further demonstrations with more tear gas and flash grenades. There were reports of many injuries. Arrests have been carried out in dozens of US cities, including New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Phoenix and Denver. Across the Pacific Ocean, encampments in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia have been forcefully shut down and the participants rounded up.

    These acts of political repression—which if they occurred in Iran or Syria would be condemned by the US political establishment and media—are being carried out with the tacit approval of the Obama administration. Quan’s order came two days after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former White House chief of staff, oversaw the arrest of 150 protesters.

    For his part, Obama has said nothing about the crackdown. On Tuesday, the president was only a few miles away from the Oakland repression, attending a $35,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner across the bay in San Francisco.

    While the immediate target is the Occupy protesters, the repression is also a dress rehearsal for broader social struggles on the horizon. Under both Bush and Obama, the state has made deep inroads into basic democratic rights. The pretext is the “war on terror,” but the real target is domestic opposition to the demands of the corporate elite.

    The increasing repression poses all the more directly the fundamental political issues raised by the protests, above all the necessity for a political struggle against the Obama administration, the Democratic Party and the capitalist state. Even as it carries out mass arrests, the Democratic Party and its adjuncts—from the trade unions to a variety of middle-class “left” organizations and academic celebrities—are continuing their attempts to channel opposition behind the Democrats and Obama’s reelection campaign.

    The political perspective of these organizations, of pressure on the Democratic Party, has been thoroughly exposed by the experience of the Obama administration, which in all of its policies and in its very composition is a government of, by and for Wall Street. The repression by the state provides its own answer to all those who claim that the rights of the working class can be secured through the existing political system.

    The Occupy movement is an initial expression of overwhelming popular hostility to the banks and corporations. However, the basic questions of program and perspective have only begun to be addressed.

    What is posed above all is the necessity for the independent social and political mobilization of the working class, the vast majority of the population in the United States and internationally. Every factory, workplace and neighborhood must become a center of resistance to the policies of the ruling class and its political representatives.

    The past three decades were dominated by the artificial suppression of the class struggle, in which the trade unions played the central role. Strikes virtually disappeared in the United States, even as the wealthy accumulated a share of the national income without precedent since the 1920s. Where struggles erupted—as in the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands in Wisconsin against budget cuts and attacks on workers’ rights earlier this year—the unions worked to direct them back behind the Democratic Party in order to betray and defeat them.

    Twenty years ago, the collapse of the Soviet Union was followed by proclamations by the propagandists of the ruling class of the “end of history” and the demise of the class struggle. The official “left” played its role by attempting to suppress any discussion of class in favor of the various forms of identity politics. Socio-economic class was presented as an altogether subordinate category to race, gender and sexual orientation.

    The events of this year have exploded these conceptions. From the revolutionary upheavals in Egypt, to mass demonstrations in Israel and social eruptions in Europe, the class struggle has reemerged as the basic historical force. The Occupy movement itself foreshadows an explosive eruption of class struggle in the United States, the center of world capitalism.

    The reemergence of working class struggle is rooted in the crisis of the capitalist system and the response of the ruling class to this crisis. Hundreds of millions of people around the world, unable to tolerate the conditions imposed upon them, are beginning to fight back.

    If the events of this year have confirmed the centrality of class struggle and the objective basis for a socialist movement, they have also confirmed that the successful prosecution of the class struggle is impossible without politics.

    Those within the Occupy movement who preach “no politics” and “no leadership” serve to maintain the stranglehold of the prevailing politics. It is precisely leadership and politics—that is, a party and a program—that are required above all.

    The unconscious historical process that is bringing millions of people into struggle against capitalism must be transformed into a conscious socialist political movement of the international working class.

    The basic aspirations expressed in the Occupy movement—including above all the fight for social equality—cannot be achieved within the framework of capitalism, in which economic and political life is subordinated to private profit. A movement of the working class must be aimed at establishing a workers government, which will have as one of its first tasks the transformation of the banks and major corporations into publicly owned and democratically controlled institutions.

    The Socialist Equality Party in the United States and its sister parties around the world are spearheading this struggle, and we urge all workers and youth who want to take up this fight to join the SEP.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    These comments of expvideo are instructive. Notice how he treats us with utter contempt. At one point, he said he supports us. Now we know it to be a lie. Here was his earlier comment:

    ** BEGIN QUOTE
    The Occupy movement has had my support from the beginning. I have warned from the beginning that that socialists will try to hyjack this movement. If this turns into a socialist revolution, it will no longer have my support. On the contrary, I will defend my country from socialists at any cost. That doesn’t mean camping. If you want to push socialism, you’d better be ready to push it past your neighbor’s rifle.

    In patriotism,
    The majority of the costitution-loving, well-armed, employed and educated American public.
    ** END QUOTE

    The question is why do the organizers – web moderators – etc allow such views completely opposed to and disparaging of the courageous young people working in this movement to be aired on our forum?

    It is a warning that the movement is in great danger – not because of socialists who are trying to patiently explain the historical process – but due to the inaction and timidity and the utterly bankrupt class orientation of the organizers.

    If the OWS is attacked, a bomb thrown (like in Maine), the organizers should be held responsible for encouraging this type of right wingers on our forum.

  • jbetzzall says:

    The AFT local at Shoreline Community College has also endorsed Occupy Seattle. “Resolved that SCCFT Local 1950 supports the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement and encourages its members to participate in the Occupy Seattle Movement.”
    I participated in a County Labor Council meeting last week where the people made it clear that labor should not and will not “take over” or dominate the Occupy movement in any way. We will support it with material, moral and political resources but will let the people directly involved make all of the decisions.
    Signed with my real name: Jonathan Betz-Zall, SCCFT 1950.

  • msmikestew35 says:

    It would be instructive to ask the AFT what “moral and political” resources they have left at this point. As Rosa Luxemburg once said, they are like the hunter that throws away the gun to make a quick grab at the kill. Forever slaves of capitalism and the nation state, taking the lie of the state that “American kids need to be competitive with the Chinese kids”, pitting worker here against worker there, they serve nothing but the reaction and the putrefying remnants of monopoly capitalism and its cousin imperialism.

    Their “moral” compass is buried in the defeats they dutifully preside over. Their “political” ability lies in making backroom deals with the Democrats, spying on socialists and getting rid of the more militant sections of the teachers from the union.

    Working hand and hand with the corporations that want to privatize every aspect of public education, these ladies and gentlemen of the AFT award themselves not too shabby salaries and perks.

    Be warned. I would suggest reading that article I posted above as well as becoming thoroughly familiar with this treacherous organization by reading WSWS.org.

  • afriend says:

    The American Federation of Teachers gives quite a lot of money to political campaigns, lobbying, and PACs.
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000000083

    From Wikipedia:
    In 2010, four American film documentaries, most notably Waiting for Superman, portrayed the AFT as hurting children by opposing charter schools and protecting incompetent teachers.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Federation_of_Teachers#Critics

    IMHO the AFT is there to protect the self-interests of its members, not to promote better education for our kids, which is the whole point of schools. Schools exist to educate kids, not to provide jobs for teachers.