Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sharad Karkhanis Liberates Gramscian Union

The leadership of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) has been preoccupied with a Gramscian strategy of occupation of American cultural institutions, specifically the City University of New York, in order to further its progressive end of culturally dominating New York City's college students. Initially funded by international banking interests, namely one of George Soros's foundations, the PSC leadership believes and claims that it is pursuing a radical "New Left" agenda ("new" is hardly the word, being 40 or 50 years old by now). But just as Morgan banker (and executive of International Harvester) George W. Perkins was Theodore Roosevelt's economic adviser and chief backer when TR ran as a socialistic, "Progressive" candidate in 1912, George Soros finances various left wing advocacy groups who are his dupes and marionettes and that serve the reactionary interests of international finance. The leadership of the Professional Staff Congress, the faculty union of the City University of New York, falls into this category.

The courageous Sharad Karkhanis has stood alone against the Professional Staff Congress's aim of cultural hegemony.

In a recent e-mail Karkhanis notes that although New York and the City University face significant budget cuts because of Wall Street's malaise, the leadership of the PSC has done nothing to attempt to manage the coming budget crisis. Might the problem be that, according to Karkhanis, the PSC is raising dues even as it obtained the worst union contract in New York compared to any other public sector union for the past 50 years? If we get 40% of the raise that the New York City teachers get, shouldn't our dues be 40% of what the teachers pay?

Karkhanis notes that, just as George Soros advocates a "closed society", claiming that he is for an "open society", his lackeys at the PSC refuse to make information about union operations public even as they criticize the CUNY administration for lack of disclosure:

"The Chancellor's Report has complete listings of appointments, promotions and other information about you and me. But we never know who makes what at the union office. Neither do we know the exact amount of released time given to their people, including PSC officers. What are Barbara and Steve paying themselves in summer salary, stipends and travel? Do we know their travel budget? Have they reduced expenses on food orders for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, hats, t-shirts, travel for demonstrators, marchers and hangers-on? Does every meeting and gathering have to include elaborate food? Is it not time for them to place this information on the PSC website?"

This skirting of law in the name of the union's being a private institution flies in the face of the union's claim of an exemption from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which they base on their claim that they are a public institution. It seems that the PSC leadership has managed to find a way to be both a public agency to avoid regulation and a private organization, also to avoid regulation, at the same time.

Kharkhanis states that despite the coming budget cuts, the only resolution that the union leadership has published in the past year has concerned striking workers at a Stella D'Oro bakery in the Bronx:

"PSC Executive Council Resolutions are not posted after 2003. Are we to understand that the Executive Council conducted all its business for the past five years without ever passing any resolution? Perhaps, we may as well abolish the Executive Council."

Moreover, like their master, George Soros, the PSC leadership looks out for itself first. According to Karkhanis:

"(President) Bowen screams in the Clarion (the union newsletter) about the fat salaries of the Chancellor and of College Presidents. But have we ever been told how much money Bowen, London, Fabricant and DeSola make? They get CUNY salaries, PSC stipends, summer pay, travel and food money, and have PSC credit cards. What are they paid for sitting on the NYSUT board? What is Barbara's additional salary from AFT? Does she tell you how much (sic) time she spends on PSC related business and how much time she and sidekick London spend on scheming, planning, organizing and demonstrating?"

It seems to me that unfair labor exploitation of CUNY faculty has raised its ugly head.

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