Los Angeles teachers union continues its tradition of accommodating and supporting political extremists.
As a teacher and longtime member of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, I got sick and tired of the union taking my dues money and using it to support candidates and causes that I found offensive and resigned from the union in 2005. Shortly after, in the fall of 2006, there was a big dust up when UTLA President A.J. Duffy announced that he couldn’t stop a group of pro-Palestinian, anti-Semitic zealots – I mean the UTLA Human Rights Committee – from using the union offices for a meeting. Getting unexpected media attention, Mr. Duffy suddenly realized that he indeed could pull the plug on the UTLA housed meeting, which he eventually did.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles is just like many other teachers unions. By day, it does its best to protect every last member, no matter how incompetent they may be, or even criminal, as when they worked to kill SB 1530, to the detriment of the city’s 650,000 students. And then, after finishing its day job, it delves into the netherworld of left wing politics.
I first wrote about this in 2011 in a post called “The Intersection of U Street and Main Street Does Not Exist,” in which I delve into why the unions are falling out of favor with the general public. (According to a recent Education Next poll, only 22 percent of Americans think unions have a positive effect on schools.) I gave three examples to illustrate my point:
An example of the unions turn toward extremist politics took place last year in Los Angeles. Santee High School teacher and UTLA union rep Jose Lara took his students to Arizona on a “field trip” to protest Arizona’s new immigration law. In a YouTube video, Lara is seen standing in front of a wall-to-wall mural featuring a who’s who of murderous revolutionaries, including Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, while proudly displaying the motto Patria o Muerte, Venceremos!!! (Fatherland or Death, We Shall Overcome!!!). UTLA, while not a sponsor of the Memorial Day weekend trip, had no comment on Mr. Lara’s attempt to turn his students into an army of radical activists.
Sarah Knopp, also a LA high school teacher, union rep and member of the International Socialist Organization, is on record as a militant socialist who is not shy about pushing her collectivist credo onto her students. Additionally, Ms. Knopp has used UTLA offices to advocate for class warfare. After a trip to Wisconsin to protest the elimination of some collective bargaining rights for teachers, she proclaimed, “We cannot let public-sector workers and unions be scapegoats for an economic crisis caused by banks and billionaires!”
Ron Gochez, another radical teacher at Santee made an incendiary video in which he referred to Americans as “frail, racist, white people” and to California as “stolen, occupied Mexico.” This video produced calls from outraged citizens to the Los Angeles Unified School District, but they fell on deaf ears. After receiving many complaints, the district referred to the union contract and issued a statement which says, in effect, that Gochez committed no crime. So get over it. (More on Gochez shortly.)
Then just a few weeks ago, I reported that UTLA had endorsed Robert Skeels, who is running for a school board seat in Los Angeles District 2. Like Knopp, Skeels is a card-carrying member of the revolutionary International Socialist Organization. On his blog site, his bio in part reads
Robert is a committed member of both Coalition for Educational Justice and the International Socialist Organization. In addition to advancing working class struggles, Robert is an adherent of Liberation Theology.
The International Socialist Organization, according to its website, believes in
A world free of exploitation–socialism–is not only possible but worth fighting for. The ISO stands in the tradition of revolutionary socialists Karl Marx, V.I. Lenin and Leon Trotsky in the belief that workers themselves–the vast majority of the population–are the only force that can lead the fight to win a socialist society. Socialism can’t be brought about from above, but has to be won by workers themselves.
Standing in the tradition of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky? Why would UTLA be in favor of letting this man be in a position of power affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of children? Perhaps a call to the union would shed some light.
You can also ask the union about the latest chapter in its love affair with Bolshevism, as evidenced by its embrace of Ron Gochez, the aforementioned racist, Jew-hating, Marxist teacher who is running for LA City Council. The previously referenced video, in which he refers to Americans as “frail, racist, white people” and to California as “stolen, occupied Mexico” was not a one-off but a variation on an ongoing theme. Here, from a few years back, is a typical statement from the man that UTLA would like to be one of a group that rules America’s second largest city.
“Either you are with us or against us” is what Bush tells us. Our civil rights are under attack by this fascist and Nazi-like Bush administration. All people of color have been/are victims of racial profiling at the hands of the border, police, military, Republican and Democratic pigs. The post Sept. 11 disappearances of our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters are proof of that. As Chicanos/Mexicanos living in occupied Mexico/Aztlan, we are treated like foreigners on our own land. Our civil rights are violated 24/7. Don’t believe me? Research Operation Gatekeeper and the 800 people who have been murdered under the rule of the “Republicrat” dictatorship. When we try to educate ourselves by passing out “Know Your Rights” fliers, we are beaten, arrested and made political prisoners like Ben Prado.
The Jewish-owned media continue to blind the masses with propaganda to keep them in fear. Because of that, foolish Americans are accepting B.S. like the Patriot Act which is turning the United States (if it is not already) into a military/police state and taking away our privacy. The FBI and CIA tap the phones and break into the homes of anyone who has a different viewpoint and assassinate those who pose a threat to their White Power and capitalistic agenda.
MEChA is completely against everything that Bush and his cronies stand for but we still deserve and demand that our people’s civil rights be respected!
chairman, MEChA de SDSU
In defense of Gochez, coming down on “Republican and Democratic pigs,” would seem to make him an equal opportunity hater. And it’s not just ex-President George W. Bush that he loathes. Gochez is also affiliated with the African People’s Socialist Party which in the past has come up with such niceties as calling President Obama
…a “traitor,” a “motherf**ker,” and a “boot-licking ni**er” who needs someone to “whup his ass” (from video of 2009 and 2010 APSP/Black is Back rallies in Washington DC.)
In another video, we see Gochez and some cronies holding a Cuban flag with a picture of Che Guevara superimposed on it, taunting a group of Cubans who were holding a peaceful rally in Los Angeles. Apparently, Mr. Gochez took it personally that thousands of Cubans managed to escape from the island prison known as Cuba and refuse to venerate the monstrous Guevara, who, as Fidel Castro’s henchman, tortured and murdered thousands of innocent Cubans.
There is much more incriminating evidence on Gochez, but you get the idea. That he is being endorsed by UTLA, the second largest local teachers union in the country, is despicable. Its support of revolutionary, America-hating candidates should deeply trouble every dues paying teacher, not to mention the parents whose children are in the schools where people like Gochez are allowed to “teach.”
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.