Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, April 25, 2011

May 12 Protests And the 2013 Mayoral Election

Celeste Katz says the May 12 union-organized protests against the financial industry and Mayor Bloomberg's budget cuts are less about getting Bloomberg or the financial industry to change course and more about getting 2013 mayoral candidates to know the importance of these issues to working and middle class people and unions:

Unions are hoping it'll be the shout heard around Wall Street - and City Hall. They'd also like its echo to reverberate into 2013.

On May 12, demonstrators will stage what they hope will be a massive rally against the financial industry - and Mayor Bloomberg - over policies and budget cuts that could mean layoffs and the slashing of social services.

No question about it: The protesters have got to be smelling blood as third-termer Bloomberg struggles to burnish a blizzard-tarnished legacy.

Organizers are billing the rally as "The Day We Made Wall Street Stand Still." Participants include community groups and unions such as the United Federation of Teachers and 1199/SEIU.

"The big banks wrecked our economy and are back to making billions in profits and lavish bonuses, while the rest of us are still cleaning up the mess," said Mary Brosnahan of the Coalition for the Homeless.

She says the mayor should "ask Wall Street bankers to contribute their fair share to fixing New York City, rather than enacting devastating cuts."


As David Birdsell of Baruch College sees it, rallies against the cuts aren't only about generating discontent with Bloomberg, but also about setting the stage for the next mayoral election.

Birdsell notes that in the past five or so mayoral cycles, with the possible exception of 2001, "There hasn't been a really kind of strong, Democratic unionist argument for the way the city should run."

With Bloomberg out of the picture in 2013 and no obvious GOP hopeful, Democratic candidates are already making noise.

"This is an effort [to] suggest what kind of debate we should be having," Birdsell said. "We know that people are not confident about the economy - or their part in it."

Wall Street executive suites may barely hear protesters' chants. It may be too late to expect Bloomberg to alter his attitude toward what he sees as the city's economic engine. Unions and citizens alike may well end up feeling the budget knife.

But one thing's sure: 2013 hopefuls will be listening. Whether the unions' theme will be their rallying cry in the next election is a story yet to be written.

After twelve years of authoritarian Bloombergian control of the school system, NOTHING is more important to children, parents, teachers and administrators than electing a mayor who is committed to a democratic partnership of the school system, who will listen to stakeholders in the school system other than the corporate entities who have the no-bid contracts for the computer systems, the test prep, and the data tracking appartatus, who sees the public school as the place to educate the WHOLE CHILD, not just the part of her/him who will grow up to be a compliant corporate employee.

So far, I am leaving my preferences for 2013 open - but just barely.

I have some potential candidates I definitely will NOT support.

I do know that charter-friendly whore-hound Eliot Spitzer will NOT be getting my support.

I also know that Mayor Bloomberg's little buddy, Christine Quinn, - the candidate who just met in a back room with the education reform industry and walked out with some IOU's from the education reformers/hedge fundies - will NOT be getting my support either.

I do not trust Anthony "On the Clinton's Payroll" Weiner and doubt I will be supporting him in 2013 unless I hear some very definite progressive ideas on education and the school system from him (ideas which I doubt the Clinton/corporate-friendly Weiner will be issuing.)

As for the rest, Scott Stringer, Bill de Blasio, and John Liu, well, I could be open to voting for any of them, but I have to say as of now, de Blasio and Stringer seem too wishy-washy in their battles against Bloomberg for me to be too positive about them. Liu I like, but I long ago stopped trusting politicians so again, I need to hear some very specific progressive ideas from him about the schools before I will go out of my way to support him.

I am taking the Eugene V. Debs quote that "I would rather vote for what I want and not get it than vote for what I don't want and get it" to heart this time around.

I learned that lesson in 2008 - post Race to the Top, post-TALF, post-Bernanke renomination, post-Central Falls, Rhode Island firing (and subsequent cheering by Obama and his Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan.)

Regardless of party and affiliation, I need to hear some VERY SPECIFIC PROGRESSIVE ideas from the candidates on education, the economy, and the state of the city before any of them get my vote.


  1. I believe I massive rally of union and non union workers is a good tactic. To be truly effective unions and leaders must get everyone out.10,000 would be a dud, 50,000 at minimum, 50 to 100,000 and the entire nation will take notice. They can count votes those little devils.

  2. So, when & where?