AFT Convention in Seattle – Day 4
Day 4 of the Convention was the shortest. The morning session started a little after 9:30, and wrapped up near 1, and that was it.
Credentials were updated (I think?) and election results announced. The Progressive Caucus swept. The opposition from Detroit got about 5%. Barbara Bowen (PSC) was the leading vote getter, followed by Karen Lewis (CTU Local 1), well ahead of the rest.
International relations was first group of resolutions on the agenda. And Afghanistan was prioritized #1 out of the committee. The NYSUT resolution had been recommended, and all the debate was about two amendments.
The first amendment said that this is, for the United States, a war of choice, not a war of defense. The second amendment removed from the resolved section language that muddied when we wanted the war to end, and further removed a full resolved advising the armed forces on how to conduct the war on terror. Three PSC leaders spoke powerfully for the amendments. Leo Casey moved to a mike in front of a mike with a UFT delegate. He defended the weaker version of the resolution, and the next speaker dutifully ended debate. Even the weakened resolution was an anti-war resolution, of a sort. We’ll have to strengthen it in two years.
The second resolution was on Iran. A delegate from New Jersey who had spoken on this resolution in committee again spoke to it, offering an amendment that would seek a peaceful approach to Iran. A UFT delegate answered that this was not a foreign policy resolution, but a trade union resolution. And then Casey came close to making a case for war against Iran. There was more than a little irony here, as a delegate had just reminded those who remained assembled that the AFT had taken such pro-war resolutions before invasions in the past, but alas, few were interested and few remembered.
And then business went quickly. A delegate scolded Weingarten for mocking those who walked out the day before on Gates. Weingarten defended herself – partly blaming the delegates themselves, partly saying she didn’t mean to sound sarcastic. “You can’t take New York out of the girl” she said. Funny. I thought she was from Rockland.
Higher Ed, Public Services, Health Care – all got flown through with little debate. And then the rest got referred to committee.
The convention got an intro to the next convention (Detroit 2012), and a round of Solidarity Forever with George Altomare, and it was over.
Notably, Race to the Top never came up.
(I meant to blog each day, but got overwhelmed with work. I was here as a PSC delegate, and they kept us quite busy. I’ll be catching up over the next few days)