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Monday, May 13, 2013
Oakland Teacher Speaks Truth to Those Who Won't Assert Power
by Jack Gerson
On Saturday, Oakland public school teacher Craig Gordon received the 2013 Human Rights Award from the Alameda/Contra Costa Counties Service Center (ALCOSTA) of the California Teachers Association, the statewide affiliate of the 3-million member National Education Association (NEA, the largest union in the U.S.) Here's a video of Craig's acceptance speech, in which he argues that CTA and NEA (and their local affiliates) must abandon their strategy of collaborating with and caving in to the demands of management, politicians, and corporate billionaires and undertake direct action and strikes statewide and nationally to fight privatization and to demand a bailout of schools and services not banks and corporations.
As you'll see on the video, the audience gave Craig a standing ovation. But many of those standing and applauding are the very local and statewide CTA leaders who have for years blocked our efforts to fight, insisting that collaboration with management and reliance on Democratic politicians at the local and state levels was the most that could be done. Now, after mass teacher / student / community strikes and actions in Chicago last fall, these "leaders" no longer openly bash every mention of the word "strike" and / or the call for mass action at the local, state, and national level. But they still won't act. And it's not the word that matters, but the deed.