An Email exchange about the fake California Teachers Association State of Emergency
> From: Keith Brown <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: May 10, 2011 8:02:35 AM PDT
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [oaklandteachers] Report from Steve Neat
> Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Steve asked me to post his text message sent to me at 5:26 this morning. I will try to update this listseve with reports i get ...
... tried to usher CTA members away when we started chanting â€~tax the rich!â€™ I guess that wasnâ€™t quite on message enough.â€_
Here's my take on this: I salute the OEA members who were arrested for having the courage of their convictions and standing up for schools and students. Most or all of them -- including Steve and OEA president Betty Olson-Jones -- lined up on the more moderate side at last week's OEA Rep Council. They argued for and carried a motion supporting Jerry Brown's proposal to extend Schwarzenegger's regressive taxes for five more years as a "short term" solution, while calling for progressive taxation / tax the rich as a "long term" solution. I was a speaker for the minority, who called for no cuts and for not supporting Brown's tax extensions. But clearly, although they supported CTA's call for supporting Brown's tax extensions, the OEA members arrested yesterday ARE committed and ARE fighting for a long-term solution. In contrast CTA leaders, to repeat something we used to say in SDS back in the '60s, have moved from "talking about talk" to "talking about action". They should call their week "A Week In Traction".
I was in Sacramento yesterday morning and early afternoon. I was, frankly, disgusted at what I saw. CTA turned out -- maybe -- 300 people. That's their claim. Their noon "mass" rally had well under 200 attending. Folks, CTA State Council has 800 members, who voted UNANIMOUSLY for this week's activities, and they have several hundred paid staffers. They should have been able to turn out at least 2,000 people without really trying. But that wasn't their plan. Their plan is to keep a lid on things, to keep everything under their control, and to make this a week of lobbying. I was hoping that thousands would show up, because then CTA's control might have been overridden and an occupation might have been sustained.
Before going up to Sacramento yesterday, I had told folks that my priority for the week is to build OEA's action at Wells Fargo Bank in downtown Oakland on Thursday afternoon, and that I wouldn't be staying up in Sacramento for more than a few hours unless what I saw convinced me that I should switch my priorities for this week. It did not. So I drove back to Oakland, drafted the media announcement for Thursday's bank demo, and worked on turning folks out for it.
If you're in or around the Bay Area on Thursday, PLEASE turn out to OEA's action at the downtown branch of Wells Fargo:
What: Rally / guerilla theater / chant / sing / AND civilly disobey
Why: END THE RIPOFF: Banks Got Bailed Out; We Got Sold Out
Schools not Banks; Essential Services not Wall St.; Stop Foreclosures
Where: 12th and Broadway, downtown Oakland (two blocks below City Hall)
When: Thursday, May 12, 4:30 pm
OEA Bank Campaign Committee
From: Betty Olson-Jones <email@example.com>
Date: May 11, 2011 7:31:52 AM PDT
To: OaklandTeachers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [oaklandteachers] Report from Betty Olson-Jones
Wanted to give some background to Monday's actions in Sacramento.
Thanks to Steve Neat and Kei Swensen for posting details, and to
commentary from Jack and Pam.
When we got to the kickoff meeting Monday morning, still mainly in
the dark about where the week was going, it soon became apparent
that CTA leadership wanted to keep the lid on anything they weren't
controlling, confine actions to mainly lobbying, and stick to a
narrow message of "tax extensions now." I could feel the inspiration
literally draining from the room of hundreds of CTA members from
across the state clad in baby blue (!) We Are One t-shirts. So I
got up and said so, reminding leadership that State Council
delegates didn't get on our feet in April chanting We Are One over
the prospect of wandering the lobbyist-infested halls of Sacramento
pleading with recalcitrant legislators over tax extensions. WE WERE
FILLED WITH ENTHUSIASM IN APRIL OVER THE CALL TO OCCUPY THE STATE
CAPITOL FOR A WEEK, AND LINK ANY CURRENT BUDGET SHORT-TERM
"SOLUTIONS" TO LONG-TERM CHANGE IN FUNDING PUBLIC EDUCATION AND
SOCIAL SERVICES! That got the blood flowing in the room again --
there were cheers, chants of "Tax the Rich," and immediate promises
from the podium that "we wouldn't be disappointed"... David Sanchez
even scolded that it's foolish to think their message didn't contain
long-term change (where?? if a tree falls in the forest and no one
hears it...??) At that point it was clearly up to us to change the
course of the gentle stream being planned.
The rally just after boded no better. Jack's described it below. The
march to the Capitol was supposed to be a silent one, but no one had
clearly explained why, and it erupted pretty quickly into more
chants of "Tax the Rich" to the great consternation of some CTA
By later in the afternoon, scores of UC Santa Cruz students had
arrived, drawn to support teachers and occupy the State Capitol --
after all, that's what they'd heard CTA was planning to do! So when
CTA members filed into the Rotunda at 5pm -- as planned -- to chant
and march, the students joined us in a lively, energetic show of
solidarity. And that's where CTA leadership got scared, started
pulling (literally!) blue shirts from the crowd and ushering them to
a side hall. When many of us just kept on circling the Rotunda
chanting, some of them got angry started yelling at us to leave. We
didn't. The irony (among many) is that CTA had a permit until 6pm!
There was no reason to abandon the demonstration at 5:10, except
that it wasn't under CTA's control. They were upset that the
students were "taking over their action"! The reality is that the
students had been unfailingly respectful, asking me and others how
they could support us. What kind of a message did it send to the
students when CTA leaders pulled teachers out of the Rotunda? They
later told us in jail that they felt CTA had abandoned all of us.
Had more teachers stayed it would have been an extraordinary
opportunity to act in unison with our allies, the students.
By 5:30 most CTA teachers had been moved out of the building (having
been told by CTA staff and leadership that we faced immediate arrest
and that our permit allowed us to sing, not chant (!)), and went to
"rally" outside. Inside, students sat down on the floor, while a
number of the remaining teachers and students spoke up in a mini- teach-in. There were differences, there was passion all around, but
the main thing was there was tremendous unity on the need to build a
strong movement of all our allies to change the priorities in this
state and country!
At 6, when the permit ended, we were ordered to leave the building.
No way were we willing to do so and leave students behind.
You've heard most of the rest. Got to go so what happens today
doesn't descend into just lobbying again. I'll write again later
with CTA's reaction to our arrests the next day.
Yesterday I heard that our new name is "The Sacramento 68 Ski Club"
-- because we were all cited "for trespassing -- skiing on a closed
JUST SHOWS WHAT A FEW CAN DO WHEN UNITED WITH OUR ALLIES!
President, Oakland Education Association
(510) 763-4020 x15
272 E. 12th Street
Oakland, CA 94606