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Vol. 44, No.2 March 02, 2009
THE DEAR LEADER LASHES OUT . . .
In what we can only assume was a New Caucus campaign missive that was erroneously sent as an official PSC e-mail, our Dear Leader, Barbara Bowen, has taken time to respond to TPR. The Dear Leader states that TPR hasn't been following appropriate "democratic" rules and is "unreliable." And, to further advance "democracy," Barbara and her New Caucus leadership team present themselves as veritable Zionists, relentlessly standing up for Israel while beating back the anti-Israel zealots (who all, apparently, don't come from the New Caucus) in the Delegate Assembly.
Being lectured by the Dear Leader on democracy feels a little like being lectured by Illinois Ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich on telling the truth. In any event, we urge the Dear Leader to supplement her newfound commitment to "democracy" by adopting Justice Brandeis' mantra that "sunlight is the best disinfectant." Accordingly, to clear up this dispute over the degree of the New Caucus' anti-Israel zealotry, we humbly petition our Dear Leader to:
In her 1001-word email to all CUNY faculty, the Dear Leader neglected (unintentionally, we're sure) to provide any of this basic information, which is essential for PSC members to make informed, democratic choices regarding the New Caucus' activities on Israel-related issues. (Imagine if Congress suddenly announced that roll-call votes and transcripts of floor remarks on controversial issues would remain secret.)
Surely a union leadership committed to "democracy" is not afraid of providing this information to the membership?
NEW CAUCUS "NEWSPEAK"
In her campaign missive, the Dear Leader provided an . . . interesting . . . explanation of the New Caucus' anti-Israel resolutions. There were, she wrote, "two" resolutions --- from "an individual member" and "a committee" --- wholly unconnected to the PSC executive committee. Someone who only read the Dear Leader's e-mail might suspect that the resolutions' sponsors weren't even New Caucus "activists."
But, of course, that's not the case. First of all, PSC procedure is that no resolutions are brought to the DA without their being first vetted by the PSC Executive Committee. (Why is that, anyway? We know, of course.) So all these resolutions were vetted in advance by their EC, and brought to the floor of the DA in the aftermath of such.
Second, there were three resolutions distributed at the DA, not two. That third resolution was penned by two members of the PSC Exec Committee. So the implication that the EC was not involved is false.
Third, the sponsors of the two resolutions that the Dear Leader's missive acknowledged (Ros Petchetsky, Sandor John, and Renate Bridenthal) have been outspoken members of the New Caucus DA contingent. Bridenthal, in fact, is the PSC's de facto "foreign minister," as chair of its "International Committee." Given her newfound quasi-Zionism, will the Dear Leader demand Bridenthal's resignation as "International Committee" chair, and call on Petchetsky and John to resign from the New Caucus?
Fourth, the resolution penned by Steve London (which was withdrawn and replaced with London 's "re-education" missive) included a call for forwarding the resolution to the U.S. Department of State. So the Dear Leader's own leadership team wanted to send its condemnations of Israeli foreign policy to Hillary Clinton, claiming to speak for the 20,000-or-so members of the instructional staff of the City University of New York.
The Dear Leader assures us that the adopted London Resolution (for which, again, she has thus far refused to release a roll-call vote) proposed nothing more than an innocuous "listening tour" of PSC apparatchiks to the campuses to hear faculty positions on Israel. Far be it from us to challenge the Dear Leader's wisdom, but, as we noted at the time, the path to the London Resolution was laid out by the Dear Leader's own resident Enforcer, Nancy Romer. Romer urged the New Caucus to create front "listening" organizations that "will include lots of PSC members" that as of now "doesn't implicate the union" to an anti-Israel position, since "we haven't done our homework" with the membership.
The Dear Leader denies that the path laid out by Romer constitutes an attempt at "re-education," and that the New Caucusians who come to campus to "listen" about Israel will be neutral. And we're supposed to take her word for it.
THE CAUCUS PURGES COSTAS
The Dear Leader's missive did provide one piece of interesting news. Up until now, City Tech's Costas Panayotakis has been a loyal New Caucus apparatchik, doing the Dear Leader's bidding whenever called upon.
In his efforts to rally support for the anti-Israel resolutions, Panayotakis cited an "academic freedom" justification: "Israel has bombed a university in Gaza, surely a more extreme infringement of academic freedom than any boycott."
At the time, the Dear Leader had no problem with Panayotakis' novel definition of "academic freedom." But then came membership pressure regarding the New Caucus' double standard: if the Israeli attack on the Islamic University of Gaza violated academic freedom, why has the New Caucus remained silent as the grave regarding Hamas' attack on Israel's Sapir College, which killed one student and injured another?
That's not a question the Dear Leader wants to (or can) answer. And so Panayotakis has been thrown under the bus. In her missive, the Dear Leader distanced herself from Panayotakis and implied that she has no position "on attacks on universities."
So, in the name of the Greater Good, Panayotakis has been purged. But who wants to bet that, if the New Caucus wins the spring election, the Dear Leader will quickly rehabilitate her longtime supporter?
Stay tuned for more on New Caucus inaccuracies
Sharad Karkhanis, Ph.D.
As you know, Susan O'Malley has sought to silence the Patriot by bringing a lawsuit which seeks to limit his free speech and financially bankrupt him. Interested colleagues have weighed in at