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NEA Endorses Obamagogue

Ohanian Comment: I feel shattered by this news. The unions truly are in bed with corporate power. And teachers' money pays the inflated salaries of union bosses.

The concerned union overseers formulated a plan to surround, divert, and demolish any movement that might truly challenge US capital, their feed trough.

by Rich Gibson

I just got a call from a person who is attending the National Education Association convention as an observer. She's an old friend who has been to nearly as many NEA representativeassemblies as I have.

NEA's delegates, local leaders from all over the USA, voted 5,414 to 2,002 to endorse the demagogue, Obama.

That's a far wider margin than most people were predicting and, if say 95% of the delegates actually voted, as they usually do, it means that NEA has nearly 1500 less delegates at the convention than last year, and last year was done from the usual 10,000 or so. Even if NEA lost 30,000 members the past year, as my friend says, that couldn't account for the notable drop in delegates.

In any case, keep in mind that on February 14th of this year, bosses from the NEA, AFL-CIO, Change to Win, and some national community groups held an extraordinary meeting at NEA's headquarters.

The meeting grew out of labor tops' worries about the nascent risings of students (especially in California and New York), school workers, and others--some drawing inspiration from accelerator events in the Middle East.

A class conscious movement dedicated to direct action in work places and communities would make the labor bosses irrelevant as their key project is to sell labor peace in exchange for dues income (the sole remaining definition of "collective bargaining" is, now, "send us the money.).

The concerned union overseers formulated a plan to surround, divert, and demolish any movement that might truly challenge US capital, their feed trough.

The scheme involved guaranteeing that mention of imperialist wars, capitalism, and direct action in workplaces or at schools was off the agenda, as was sharp criticism of Obama. The solution the united Quislings resolved was more than predictable: herd people into voting booths, re-elect Obama and Democrats. They re-dedicated themselves to fund-raising for the Democratic Party. Indeed, NEA alone plans to spend about $60 million backing Obama's campaign. The NEA delegates voted overwhelmingly for a measure to increase ballot contributions.

In addition, the RA also passed a convoluted motion that appears to allow in standardized testing for teacher evaluations.

At the NEA RA, my friend reports, Joe Biden was invited to play the good cop to bad cop Arne Duncan who was hugged in the platform at NEA RA's in the past but went uninvited this year. Both Biden and NEA's top boss, Dennis Van Roekel ($465,000 a year), made speeches citing their mothers' profound concern for education---union speech making has always been tub-thumping but this is a low even for NEA.

Obviously, the February scheme is working. Micro-resistance which ignores imperialism, capitalist exploitation, and urges a trip to the ballot box is going to fail. Who is fooling who when people march under their own enemies banners?

The wars, the financial bailouts, and the RaTT (nationalizing curricula, more high stakes exams, militarism) are all fully bi-partisan affairs. The bailouts, $12.9 trillion to the banksters, an extra legal measure that cannot be reversed (unlike, say, the Patriot Act), cut the legs of America's childrens' futures and finalized what is in fact a corporate state in the US. In that state, the government serves as an executive committee and armed weapon of the rich.

There, they work out their real differences (finance vs industrial capital for example), then turn on the majority of people with a vengeance. Choosing which one of them will oppress us best, out of a field of increasingly terrible choices, makes no sense, nor does electoral work, now tantamount to urging people to church.

As Labor Educator Harry Kelber recently pointed out, no AFL-CIO union has mentioned the many wars, where children of the poor fight other children of the poor on behalf of the rich in their homelands, in their press in the last five years. How about NEA?

The core issue of our time is the reality of endless war (6 for the US by my count now, and losing all), booming color-coded inequality, met by the potential of mass class conscious active resistance.

What defeats men with guns? Ideas--that get those guns turned around, in mass, at the minority of people who live off others.

Good luck to our side.

— Rich Gibson
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