Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Short Note on the eve of the vote count

      It's been a few days since I have posted anything up here.  The primary reason has been the lengthy controversy around the vote count in our Grad Student election.  After a contentious first day of voting, it had seemed like the vote tally was going to be completed the next day.  However, at 5pm the election committee declared a one hour break.  That break stretched on for an extra two hours.  The head of the election committee entered the count room at 8pm and illegally suspended the vote count until the next Joint Council meeting, putting the count of half the votes until months later.  This illegal resolution passed with three votes, and no opportunity to vote against the resolution.  The head of the elections committee then literally ran out of the room, knocking over empty ballot boxes and abandoning the open ballot boxes.  The remaining elections committee folks closed the boxes and locked up the room.  Since that Saturday, AWDU (Academic Workers for a Democratic Union) have been monitoring the locked room with the ballots.  Additionally, our Berkeley colleagues have occupied the Berkeley office, demanding that their votes are counted.  (Over half the Berkeley votes were challenged by USEJ challenger, and non-student, Des Harmon.)
      Because of that, the only real writing that I have been able to get done has been directed towards my dissertation project.  However, I thought I thought I would take a brief moment at what is possibly the last day of the vigil over the ballots to report into my unknown and most likely imagined public (and my real friends.)  The process has been exhausting, but I've been genuinely impressed with all the folks involved in our slate.  I'm hoping that our connections with the UCLA folks will develop further, and that we can form some strong and long lasting Southern California connections.  I think that the external and internal challenges that AWDU has faced have produced a genuinely strong organization that can continue on, whether we win or not.  In his analysis of  1968, Immanuel Wallerstein noted that the radical upsurge of that time period was directed against the traditional counter-systemic movements and their inability or unwillingness to challenge the capitalist world system (whether through the compromises of Moscow, or the complacency of social democracy.)  At a far more modest level, AWDU is trying to do something similar with our own union, demanding that it take a meaningful role in the defense of public education and our rights as workers.  It's been remarkable how combative the upper echelons of the local have been to this attempt at reform given their complacency in the face of privatization and administration push back.  More than anything else, this contrast shows their real priorities.

As in other posts on this topic, I welcome comments and debate, but I will delete all anonymous postings.  Union democracy demands responsibility, and if you are unwilling to put your name to a post, I'm not terribly interested in what you have to say.

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