Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Open Letter of Apology to Barbara Bowen and The New Caucus Party

You regular readers (well, 'regular' is relative, considering how rarely I post) know that I supported both the New Caucus and contract ratification in Spring of 2006. Despite many of the things I like about the New Caucus' positions, there seems to have been a trend, at least in the elections for the HEO (Higher Education Officers) Chapter, to keep non-New Caucus candidates off the ballot. One of those candidates is a HEO from City College, Peter Russell (disclosure: Peter is a neighbor and occasional drinking buddy of mine).

Now, as you can see from his letter below, Peter is a 'no-holds-barred' kind of guy. And while he and I don't always see eye-to-eye about union issues, his is a voice that deserves to be heard, which is why I lent him my blog. He's the kind of free-thinking and militant rep we need in the union leadership. Keeping him off the ballot for the HEO elections is a mistake. Yes, in the short run, those kind of election tactics work, but good unionism is supposed to be better than electoral machinations. Rather than spend energy and political capital on excluding candidates, and thus building internal animosity within the PSC, the union leadership should be trying to bring in the disparate voices, so that it can show CUNY's administration that we are, indeed, a united labor force.

By the way, HEOs who are members of the PSC can write Peter's name in on the ballot when you get it. Write in: Peter Russell, CCNY
And now, to Peter's message:

An Open Letter of Apology to Barbara Bowen and The New Caucus Party

Dearest Barbara,

Let me say that I am deeply, deeply sorry if there was any misunderstanding between us regarding my absolute and undying loyalty to the New Caucus Party and the PSC Union (not that I would ever imply of course that there should be ANY difference between the two).

I am extremely relieved to be informed that my proposed formal candidacy for HEO Alternate Delegate was summarily rejected by the New Caucus Leadership, and that “Write-Ins (Please Print)”, a loyal member of the Party I have never met personally but is undoubtedly much more worthy and dedicated to The Cause, will have the opportunity to serve instead. Thank goodness the savvy political operatives in the Party have prevailed, and my candidacy was disallowed because of unspoken, but no doubt terribly important reasons. I just hope that no confused Party Members will submit my name as a write in candidate.

For you see, I know I could never hope to match the degree of success that you and the other Great Party Leaders of our Union have achieved, especially with regards to The Great 5 Year Triumph, our last contract. It was foolish of me to even think so. Every day, and with every paycheck, we Workers hug each other, deliriously overcome with joy at what your remarkably remarkable leadership has delivered to us. For each and every one of us, it is TRULY a gift that just keeps on giving.

I understand now, Barbara.

You could reach out and see that in the depths of my heart my dedication to the Party did not reflect sufficient loyalty to The Cause. I will try harder. I must try harder. It is my sincerest hope that after a suitable period of reeducation, one day I WILL be completely blind and utterly ruthless in my loyalty to the Party (or if you prefer, you), and therefore might be of some small service to the New Caucus. Our enemies might call these methods unctuous bootlicking, but what they don’t know is that boots gently shined clean by the tongues of the Party Faithful will stomp on the yoke of oppression much better than dirty ones.

Yes, I am renewing my commitment to standing tall with you and the party in Solidarity, particularly during this year of difficult contract negotiations, and more importantly, the 80th anniversary of Trotsky’s exile from Party leadership. Trotsky weighs heavily on all our hearts on a daily basis, and we know you stand strong and committed to honoring his legacy properly.

Barbara, on a purely personal note, I would also like to extend my deepest thanks. You have helped me to understand an important Party Lesson. Quaint rules are deadly obstacles to the ultimate victory of the Workers over those who would enslave them. Thank you for showing me that the most democratic way to run an election is to bypass oppressive parliamentary procedures and open forums, and have the Party apparatus decide all the candidates for us.

For that, I bow to your wisdom, and can hardly wait until the next election cycle to see what scrawled names on a crumpled slip of paper you will declare as candidates and future champions of Our Cause.

And how can I NOT give monumental thanks to First Vice President Steve London, the modern day Prometheus of the American Labor movement, for his great gift of unwavering loyalty and dedication to the Party. Whether supporting something, or later denying it ever existed, I have always been inspired by the beads of sweat dripping from his rippling biceps and his tousled hair glowing in the sunlight as he leads the PSC Workers in our glorious struggle. Just thinking about him has always caused my heart to beat a little faster. I sincerely hope that he receives the same reward as Prometheus himself, a reward he so richly deserves.

I must also pass on the highest praise to all of the other nameless Noble Warriors of the Party who have labored so tirelessly behind the scenes to make our cherished New Caucus a mighty juggernaut. Enemies of Our Cause may smear them as faceless party hacks making sleazy deals in smoke filled backrooms, but we know that is not the truth.

We KNOW the truth.
The New Caucus Party Headquarters is a smoke free environment!

Can you feel it?

I can.

The day is coming. Maybe not soon, or even after 3 or 4 more years without a contract, but the day IS coming. The day is coming when we achieve our Ultimate Victory over the parasitic leaders of CUNY, and will march proudly up Broadway arm in arm during the May Day parade. And when we pass Union headquarters, a great cheer will go out and our hearts will soar in Solidarity when we see the giant bronze statue of “Bowen the Great”, smiling and holding the manifesto of your choice. It is then that the crowd will erupt and the New Caucus Party credo will be shouted from the rooftops; “One People, One Party, One Leader!”

You are now, and will always be a True Hero of the PSC Union to me.

Eternally yours in Solidarity

Stephen Peter Russell

P.S. A Reminder; DO NOT write in my name on the HEO ballot, for I have been judged unworthy by our betters in the New Caucus Party.

No comments: