September 12, 2012

A sad three days on the left

Nothing we've seen so well illustrates the collapse of liberal/progressive America than the lack of support from its national organizations for the Chicago teachers' strike. As of this afternoon the only national non-union, non-teacher support we've been able to has been the following:
  • Progressive Magazine
  • Green Party
  • Progressive Review
We're going to keep a running tally, so let us know of others that should be listed.

What's the problem. Doug Henwood has one explanation:

"A lot of otherwise liberal people really hate teachers' unions. I've been wondering why they're so singled out for contempt. It struck me last night that perhaps the thinking is that it's OK for autoworkers or janitors to unionize because they're pretty much interchangeable from an educated upper-middle-class perspective. Teachers, though, are supposed to be "professionals," and any kind of solidarity among them offends an individualistic, meritocratic sensibility that believes in (often "objective") measures of evaluation.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Nation:

http://www.thenation.com/article/169859/chicago-teachers-push-back-against-neoliberal-education-reform

Anonymous said...

Since there is no Egalitarian Party I was going to write in my own name in November - but I just decided Greens it is for me. In solidarity with Chi-town's teachers!

Anonymous said...

Interesting hypothesis, except that there is NO profession that is subjected to the kind of microsupervision, control, and hostility routinely meted out to teachers.
There are some 100,000 public schools in the US. That's a major... er... potential revenue stream for a lot of corporations. Attacking public education is just smart business development.

Anonymous said...

Teacher unions in the 1960s had Teacher Education and Professional Standards Committees. My experience as chair of the such a committee for a large urban district was very discouraging. Union leaders either ignored our efforts to maintain a professional posture within the education community or, worse, vilified us for "weakening" the union's message to the school board and larger community. Unions are now reaping what they sowed 40 years ago.

Dark Daughta said...

"Teachers, though, are supposed to be "professionals," and any kind of solidarity among them offends an individualistic, meritocratic sensibility that believes in (often "objective") measures of evaluation."

Perhaps it's not that we see them with contempt but perhaps that some of us have encountered their ilk as parents of children whose futures are at risk and know that there are issues which need addressing before they can be offered the support of of conscious lefties who understand schools as the governments day jails for developing human minds. Perhaps we see them as barriers, as oppressive tools of the hierarchy, as racist minions of a system designed to cull children of colour out of their futures. The reasons why teachers as a mostly middle class grouping have difficulty rallying the support of the left are numerous and varied.