Author: Lois Weiner

More on the Oakland Teachers’ Strike

Editor’s note: This article responds to analysis New Politics has already published on the Oakland teachers’ strike. In hosting different viewpoints on the strike, New Politics continues its tradition of opening its pages (and now its website) to debates about . . .

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Oakland teachers’ strike: Balance sheet, lessons, and what next?

Jack Gerson, retired Oakland teacher and former executive board and bargaining team member, analyzes what occurred and why in the Oakland teachers’ strike.

U.S. Labor, Boycotts, and BDS: Defending Workers’ Rights

Guest blog by Stan Heller

Image In 2017 the Texas legislature passed a law forbidding the state from contracting with companies that refuse to do business with Israel.  Some interpreted this broadly.  After destructive flooding in Houston that year, one town told homeowners that if they wanted aid in rebuilding, they’d have to sign a pledge not to boycott Israel.  After another type of flood – of bad publicity – the town said the boycott only applied to actual businesses in the town.

Why New York City’s teachers should vote “no” on the proposed contract – By Dan Lupkin

ImageNote: While teachers in Los Angeles Unified School District have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, members of the largest teachers union local in the US, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in New York City, are debating a proposed contract settlement. In this guest blog, UFT activist Dan Lupkin explains why he wants the proposed contract to be voted down. We invite other opinions on this debate underway in the UFT. – Lois Weiner

Liberal fear about teaching a "people's history": Sam Wineburg on Howard Zinn

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The Zinn Education Project has published a fine response to an article based on Sam Wineburg’s book, “Howard Zinn’s Anti-Textbook.”

Clever Corporate Criticism of U.S. Schools – by Gerald Coles

ImageNote: In this guest blog, Gerald Coles, known for his work in literacy education and disabilities, describes capitalism's love/hate relationship with public education.

The AFT, Janus, and the fall of the Berlin Wall

Reflections on AFT's national convention

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Reflecting on the days I spent as a delegate during the AFT national convention in Pittsburgh (held July 13-16), I was reminded of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1989-90. No one predicted it, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. But peace activists in the West who organized international support for struggles of dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe saw the social ferment.

Walkouts teach U.S. labor a new grammar for struggle

This article will appear in the Summer 2018 issue of New Politics.         

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#FreeRider and #Freeloader obscure labor’s challenges post-Janus

ImageThe Supreme Court’s long-anticipated – and feared by progressives – decision outlawing the collection of fees in public employee unions equivalent to costs of collective bargaining was met with indignant or defiant words, rightly decrying this attack on organized labor. The response, though, has mirrored what has been missing in labor’s understanding of how we got to this point and what we need to climb out – and win.

Phyllis Jacobson on Norman Podhoretz and Kenneth Tynan

From the New Politics archives

Reprinted from New Politics, Spring 1967, pages 95-97  Image

Making It, by Norman Podhoretz, Random House, New York, 1967. 360 pp. $6.95.

Tynan Left and Right by Kenneth Tynan, Atheneum, New York, 1967. 479 pp. $8.95.

The Red State Walkouts

An analysis - and homage - to the work of teachers

 ImageWhen I write for New Politics, I tag my blogs with key words. I wonder how many other Left publications include "teachers unions" under "labor" or include "education" as a separate topic and run critical analyses—as we do?

Teacher walkouts in Oklahoma and Kentucky challenge GOP legislatures

Kentucky school districts shut todayTeachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky massed in their respective state capitols on April 2, to demand GOP legislatures revoke  bills damaging to education passed in virtual stealth. The spark plug in Kentucky is a group of activist parents with teachers, #SaveOurSchools Kentucky.  In both states the movement has been organized outside the official teachers unions, using social media as well as traditional organizing techniques of talking with colleagues and neighbors about the issues. Another struggle of teachers is simmering, near boil, in Arizona.

Why support the strike of Jersey City teachers?

 ImageFor some, the decision to support workers who strike is a given.  We defend the right to join a union and exercise the right to strike in every country, as a human right. Defending the rights of workers to organize and withhold their labor when they need to use this weapon is as much a social justice issue as  fighting racism, battling sexism, or protecting immigrants from deportation.

West Virginia’s strike is no “wildcat”

Getting the language right

National City, CA teachers, in a contract fight themselves, show solidarity

National City, CA teachers, in a contract fight themselves, show solidarity

           

West Virginia's school employees teach US labor a huge lesson

ImageAs the AFL-CIO holds its day of action across the US, protesting what has been cast as a likely loss in the Janus case, which the Right intends to use to destroy labor and the Left, a movement of school employees in West Virginia is showing organized labor what it means to be a union without the right to strike and without collective bargaining.

UFT shows how Not to protect unions and the public sector

ImageIn its January meeting, after a pro-forma discussion, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT (United Federation of Teachers), which still has the legal right to bargain collectively on behalf of New York City's teachers, voted down a resolution to work with community groups to support Black Lives Matter in the schools in February. LeRoy Barr, UFT's assistant secretary, co-staff director, and Chairperson of the Unity Caucus, gave the UFT leadership's rationale for rejecting the motion. Support for BLM was, he contended, a splinter issue, divisive, at a time when the union had to stay focused on what was key, the Janus decision and the threat to collective bargaining rights.

Jones Victory in Alabama's Senate Race: Pause in that Sigh of Relief

And while you're doing that, subscribe and donate to New Politics!

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Though we wouldn’t know it from mainstream media coverage, the sigh of relief many progressives will breathe at Moore’s defeat should be tempered with the knowledge that Jones will likely not be a reliable ally on issues on which the Democrats should all be expected to fight the GOP and Trump. An exit poll of voter opinions showed over 40% of Alabama voters, Democrats and Republicans alike, gave an unfavorable rating to both parties.

How will labor look after the Janus case is decided?

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The Janus case before the Supreme Court will deny public employee unions the right to require non-union members to pay their share of the union’s costs to negotiate on behalf of everyone in the bargaining unit.

#MeToo

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The #MeToo campaign on social media, women sharing of experiences of sexual harassment, shows how a new generation of women, with male supporters, demands that we examine systemic sexual oppression.  We  will undoubtedly hear complaints that #Me2 is unwarranted. One predictable trope from the Right is what we heard in response to Trump’s pawing and groping: "These are personal matters, not issues that our society has to address. This is life. Get over it." 

Why we need labor unions and why they need critical friends

ImageLabor Day 2017 is a sobering moment for people who care about human dignity, social justice, peace, and a life-sustaining environment. While powerful elites who control government so as to safeguard capitalism are driving civilization towards barbarism and the planet to extinction, Trump’s election has spurred widespread protests. Vigorous social movements are challenging Trump’s and the GOP’s retrograde policies and politics: corrupt, xenophobic, racist, misogynist, malevolent. Sparked by Bernie Sanders’ campaign, we’re seeing a new embrace of socialism, especially among younger activists.

Trump Set Them Free

ImageAmidst so much to read and digest about events in Charlottesville and Trump’s response to them, and what seems (but is not) a new, highly violent emergence of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacist organizations, this blog by Adam Shatz on the website of the London Review of Books seems to me one of the more eloquent, insightful analyses.

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