For the last three years I have been documenting a series of events within United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), around disability rights, Palestinian rights, union democracy and blacklisting, which started as a strange power play within the Human Rights Committee apparently around disability rights, but in my estimation, may have merely been the utilization of (my) disability as the socially acceptable way of attacking when no legitimate means was available.
Just as that controversy seemed to be resolving itself, the Jewish Zionist Establishment (the ADL, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish National Congress, Stand With Us, the Progressive Jewish Alliance–them too!, as well as others) launched a campaign against the Union, the Human Rights Committee, the AFSC, Café Intifada, and….. me, focusing particularly on an upcoming meeting to discuss boycotts, sanctions and divestiture (BDS) from Israel. Thisresulted in an unholy alliance between the Zionist lobby, the “progressive” UTLA leadership, bent on protecting themselves and their positions, and the members of the Committee who now had a (pro-imperialist) arsenal of accusations to use against me, resulting in my removal from any position of leadership within the Committee and the destruction of the Committee infrastructure I had played a large role in creating.
Due to the (ongoing) blacklisting, death threats, personal attacks, humiliations and the limitations of my health, as well as, more recently a “tip” to a hot line, an early morning service of a search warrant of our home, complete with 14 armed police officers, a news camera, the seizure of our property, which included a thorough three month investigation of every computer, hard drive, zip drive, digital camera, thumb drive, back up disc and memory card, the result of which determined NO EVIDENCE OF CRIMINALITY (no arrests, no charges, case closed!. All of this, leaving us with legal bills and other expenses, PTSD (!) and (for all teachers under police investigation) the removal of my partner from the classroom. (More on the police action later. )
Over the course of this time, I retreated into a period of deep self reflection, depression, study and creativity. I sold my house, moved in with my partner and fellow activist, went back to school to learn new skills and with him, bought and restored an old house that promises to be a vehicle for our vision of local and global struggles for social justice. The pressure on our marriage has been considerable as we have both needed to take time to work on our most basic support system: each other. Only now am I attempting to emerge, increasing my personal security, finding out who my real allies are, breaking the silence, speaking out, healing deep wounds, initiating new dialogue with some of those who committed betrayals of silence, and enjoying the emergence of new, younger movements for social justice within Los Angeles.
In the interest of disclosure: During this same span of time the original home of my blogs shut down, so I had to repost each blog entry piece by piece, photo by photo to the new server. Emotionally, there were periods where I couldn’t look at this any more. It just hurt too much. And life had its own demands. Our larger adversaries are paid to bring us down. We must work for justice in our spare time. Emergencies come up, work gets put to the side. So, I have contributed to this thread on and off, and while material is provided in chronological order, some of the entries have recently been updated or contextualized, drafts written at the time may have been recently completed and posted.
And I doubt we have seen the end of this. I invite my detractors to feel free to post comments as they see fit. If their positions have the validity they claim, there should be no reason for their ongoing anonymity and stealth. As long as they don’t obscure their identity, I will approve their posts. And it is quite possible that some events have been misrepresented. I am open to critique and will be issuing corrections in that event.
Finally, a word about my union ( UTLA), and the progressive slate, whose members include activists with whom I have worked for decades. I submit this documentation, in the spirit of critical support. I believe that dissent is essential for the life of this organization that I first joined over 25 years ago. I was involved in the early recruiting campaign that brought UTLA membership from 30% of teachers and support staff, to greater than 90% going into the 89 strike. I was active in the fight for bi-lingual education and against the English only movement. I was a cluster leader during the 1989 strike, rising at 4 am and not getting home until after 9:30, all the time carrying my 2 month old son. (nicknamed “el huelgito)! I have helped plan several conferences, served on the House of Representatives, participated in the School Community Relations Committee, the Human Rights Committee and the Chicano Latino Education Committee. I have been a delegate to the NEA RA, served as a Chapter Chair (shop steward) before I had permanent status, and filed and won over 30 grievances. I chose at several junctures not to file harassment or discrimination lawsuits against the union, though I would have been in very good standing, especially when targeted by a member of the Board of Directors and Vice Presidents. I also chose at the time of the entire controversy regarding BDS, not to present the matter as a an attack on my person, or use the matter to promote my own agenda within the larger community. While the L.A. Times originally accused us of planning for a rally inside (!?) of UTLA , we very well could have, without union permission, held a protest outside the hall on the day of and at the time the canceled meeting was to be held. We did not. We attempted to address these matters internally, except for a call for letters to the broader community when President Duffy made a similar request to only members of the Jewish community. It is only with considered reflection and after years of continued marginalization, harassment, innuendo and humiliation along with increase attacks on other activists by these same forces, that I have decided to fully address myself to this compilation and broadcast these events more publicly.
To follow the complete dialogue on the issue, please start by reading the statement: Enough is Enough- Who’s Who and Why it Matters, where I provide a summary of events and list the real names of the people (formerly given pseudonyms) who have carried out this campaign against me within the Union. As I make changes, adjustments or additions, I will post updates and links. For those who chose to follow this closely, you may subscribe to the blog and will be alerted to newer posts.
The beginning of the thread, regarding disability discrimination is chronicled on my blog: In Bed With Frida Kahlo- daily indignities, small insurrections and honest musings for a life of infirmity and rebellion
The documentation pertaining to the Zionist lobby continues on my other blog: Cafe Intifada which is the web page of the organization of the same name.
1. Go to: Enough is Enough: Who’s Who and Why it Matters: https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/enough-is-enough-who’s-who-and-why-it-matters/ (If that doesn’t work, try cutting and pasting. I don’t understand it, all the other links i post, seem to work!)
2. Then start the thread at the beginning at: https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/page/4/ and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.
3. From there, within the thread, you should be directed to the sister blog; Cafe Intifada, but should that link fail, return here, and follow this link to the continued thread:
http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/category/anatomy-of-a-blacklisting/page/3/ and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.)
Peace with Justice,