April 16, 2008

Sheep meadow: going green at the DA

It was a quick response our girl made this afternoon, when a member posed a question about all that paper at the Delegate Assembly that just gets thrown away and really needs to be recycled. Couldn’t bins be provided to collect it in?

“That’s a wonderful idea,” said Weingarten, or words to that effect. “I wish I had thought of it myself.”


Wait a minute, hold on. The papers that were giving the delegate so much grief in their un-recycled state were the handouts quite a few people go to a lot of trouble to print up. I’m not just speaking about the literature produced by ICE, TJC and the other opposition caucuses. There’s a whole range of stuff out in the lobby that people should be reading: revised agendas, minutes of the last DA, notices of union events, copies of newspaper clippings, articles, Unity materials, and other kinds of documentation.

The delegates coming down to 52 Broadway once a month should be collecting whatever’s being distributed before the meeting and bringing it back to their schools. They should be posting it on UFT bulletin boards or in teacher cafeterias. That’s part of their job. The last thing one would expect is that a delegate to this assembly reads a handout, considers it garbage, and throws it away on the spot.

And the last thing one would expect from the president of the union is to say: Yes, throw it away before you leave the building. Great idea. I wish I had thought of it.

The correct answer should have been: “No way! You have to take that stuff back to your school. This information isn’t just for you, it’s for as many members as you can get it to. Are you nuts?”


The thing that really bugs me about Weingarten’s cavalier attitude to this informative, political, and absolutely essential reading material is that she doesn’t recognize two of the most important functions of the delegates: to collect information and disseminate it downwards.

She jumped so quickly on the recycling idea because doing anything to foster an intellectual, activist, and democratic membership is not her goal. Controlling the membership is, and in that scenario it’s of no interest to her whether we read these handouts or use them to wrap fish parts in when we get home. Apart from the minutes and the agenda, which are probably legally required, the paperwork Unity supplies is there for show, and the paperwork produced by the other caucuses is something she has to put up with to pretend Unity is playing fair.


To Weingarten we’re all just sheep — there to believe everything she tells us in her reports, there to rubber stamp everything on her agenda, and there to use as little of our brains as possible. Baaa, baaa, baaa.

The fact that ANY delegate or chapter leader in this union would even consider throwing these handouts out before people at their schools could read them shows you how much the sheep in this union have been cowed.


1 comment:

avocieinthewilderness said...

I think the simple fact is that she is a sheep-no thought process whatsoever.
However, I hate to insult sheep in this manner, but you get my drift.