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Home » Clarion » 2020 » March 2020 » Taking back the White House

Taking back the White House

Members have their say

PSC delegates will vote this month on whether to accept the Executive Council’s (EC) recommendation to endorse Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the New York Democratic presidential primary on April 28. In the view of the union’s Executive Council both Warren and Sanders stand out in terms of their progressive stances on taxation, student debt, free college and labor rights.

This is a big first for the PSC and its national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers – locals making presidential endorsements for their own state’s primaries. Members have debated who the union should support.

At press time, Warren had dropped out of the race, although she had won many of the hearts of PSC members.

Feel the Bern

We have a demand that our representatives recognize an economic system dominated by corporate capitalism that concentrates resources and undermines democratic governance.

Elizabeth Warren’s vision is the management of the capitalist system as is stands. But management can always be undone.

Only Bernie Sanders offers transformative action in response to a crisis – a crisis of governance, a crisis of economy and a crisis of environment.

If the PSC endorses Warren with Sanders, then we demonstrate an absense of commitment to the movement Sanders represents.

Sarah Durand
Associate Professor, Biology
LaGuardia Community College

Gaining steam

I have been a fan of Warren for a long time, having used her Congressional testimony in 2005 on the “Overconsumption Myth” in my Sociology of Family class. I have followed her political career and thoroughly admire how thoughtful her evolution has been.

The casual invisibility and insidious sidelining of her as a serious candidate in much of the media has been infuriating. Things have picked up a bit since the last two debates, and she is garnering the attention and support of academics, journalists, celebrities, as well as state-level elected officials. Consistently, she has demonstrated a capacity and a willingness to go after the wealth and greed of the corporate influences that have torn our democracy to shreds. Mike Bloomberg’s is certainly not the first corporate head she has skewered.

Don’t get me wrong. I have enormous respect for Bernie Sanders and all that he has done to pull the Democratic Party leftward. I salute his activism and his courage. But I just do not feel he speaks to the intersectional feminism that we so desperately need in the person to dethrone Donald Trump.

Robin Isserles
Professor, Sociology
Borough of Manhattan Community College

Issues matter

As an educational union, we have important information to contribute to this debate. But I would also ask that when we talk about endorsing Bernie or Warren or both of them, we not limit our reasoning to only education. We are teachers, but we also care about our students, our children, our neighbors and our friends. Our raises matter, but so do the cost of health care, and climate change, institutional racism and sexism, and the prison and military industrial complex. We don’t want to encourage public cynicism about endorsements by presenting the impression that they are based only on narrow short-term interests, especially after what happened with the Culinary Workers Union in Nevada. So I would just ask that when we talk to members about an endorsement that we not limit our concerns and aspirations or our own knowledge and authority to only the ways that the bosses define our value.

Sigmund Shen
Associate Professor, English
LaGuardia Community College

Why Liz

Elizabeth Warren knows the issues that affect working – and middle-class people. I believe Warren when she says she wants to restore our government so that big businesses do not have so much influence over politics and the economy. Warren has been skeptical of high finance since her time as a bankruptcy attorney because she’s been in the trenches with real people fighting laws that skew toward the powerful. Warren proposed the original Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She understands the predatory nature of our system and the debt crisis facing public servants, including many PSC members. I relate to her well-researched plans and experience as an activist for a better, fairer tax structure and government.

Her womanhood matters – despite the left’s attempts to ignore it. Barack Obama’s presidency did not make us a post-racial society, and we aren’t post-feminist either. Warren is a truly progressive candidate with a list of accomplishments. Why shouldn’t she receive more attention from those who are so apt to support women’s advancement in theory?

I support the union’s dual endorsement, because it is important that the PSC stand behind the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. This year presents an opportunity to see more of our values reflected in the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

Heather James
Assistant Professor, Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Borough of Manhattan Community College

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