Socialists unfriend Matt Gonzalez

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Former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez has joined his old friend Jeff Adachi in supporting a pension-reform measure that has organized labor up in arms. He wants to debate the labor council director, Tim Paulson. He says Adachi's measure is necessary to protect the city's fiscal future -- but it's not an approach that the left/progressive wing of the city, where Gonzalez has his political roots, is accepting.

In fact, I learned today that the International Socialist Organization has disinvited Gonzalez from the July 1-4 conference where he was scheduled to speak. Dude, that's harsh.

From the ISO:

Today the International Socialist Organization, as part of the organizing team of the West Coast Socialism 2010 Conference, decided to rescind our invitation to Matt Gonzalez to speak.  After marching with members of Local 2 and other unions at Pride yesterday, ISO members were surprised to learn that he is supporting Jeff Adachi's pension reform initiative in San Francisco.  This was confirmed today by a press release from Matt in the SF Examiner.

The ISO strongly opposes Adachi's measure and supports the position laid out in the SF Bay Guardian by Larry Bradshaw and Roxanne Sanchez.  During these times of severe attacks on workers and union members (and especially public sector unions), we can't see any progressive basis upon which to support this measure.  While organizing this conference, we have done our best to build solidarity between union and non-union workers, students and community members from many different backgrounds.  We went so far as to move the conference location from San Francisco to Oakland in order to respect Local 2's hotel boycott and potential job actions. Under these circumstances, we feel it sends the wrong message to have a prominent supporter of the Adachi initiative speaking at the conference.

We strongly encourage Matt to reconsider his position. 

Okay, I imagine Gonzalez will survive this particular insult, and the ISO won't singlehandedly destroy his political future. (Although Matt was pals with these folks; he and the ISO's Todd Chretien were sort of buds back in the day.) But it does speak to an important point here:

Progressives who sign on with Adachi are helping drive a wedge between labor and the progressive movement. I'm certainly not one to say that we have to sign on to every misguided thing the SF Labor Council does (the Lennar deal, for example). Labor has in the past been bad on a lot of issues, particularly development issues, and until the past ten years or so was bad on public power. And sometimes, you take a principled stand, and even if your allies hate you and never friend you again on Facebook, you stick to it. I'm sure that's what Matt thinks he's doing.

But this thing just stirs up the anti-government, anti-public-employee furor that's going to become a big problem in the next year or two. And it's not in any way reflective of the sort of big-picture thinking that the left ought to be involved in.