Janelle Jolley 0:22
We are back. This is What's Left To Do and I'm your host Janelle. Part Two with Winnie is where we learn the origin of her as an educator and union warrior. She also was brave enough to share her embarrassing lib moments. You graduated a teacher, but at that time there were no jobs. There was a teacher strike going on. Was the strike in response to Prop 13?
I don't remember. It was like late 70s.
Janelle Jolley 0:56
But Prop 13 had recently passed, which screwed the public education system here because it froze property tax rates. So what did you do if there were no jobs?
I applied for a job in the Catholic schools.
Janelle Jolley 1:11
Because there were no public school jobs? Gotcha. Okay. And-
And, boy, did I regret that.
Janelle Jolley 1:15
My first job teaching was at a school in Bayview-Hunters Point, that now is the KIPP Academy. In those days it was St. Paul of the Shipwreck.
Janelle Jolley 1:28
Of the shipwreck. Why did they think that wassomething to name- ?
Well, it was the nuns there were Maltese. If you know anything about Malta?
Janelle Jolley 1:36
St. Paul had a big shipwreck and that's how we ended up on the island of Malta. I don't know all the details. But the school was half Maltese and half Black. And the Maltese nuns did not know how to deal with Black kids. It was really- I saw- that was my first experience with racism in education. I mean, like my first real experience when I was right in the midst of it. And I saw how the Black kids in the school were treated.
Janelle Jolley 2:11
How did- what is the most egregious memory that stands out to you?
Well, I remember things like them being told not to be so loud. And I came from a family where my mother was very loud, you know? I remember the nuns reprimanding the kids, and they would stand there and look at the floor, and the nuns would get furious at them, saying, "Look me in the eye, look me in the eye." And I began to understand that this was probably something that Black kids were told not to look at the adults in the eye, or something. It was a sign of respect, or something. So I think the Black kids were very confused from what went on at home and what was going on at school.
Janelle Jolley 2:59
Were the Maltese children treated better than the Black kids?
I thought so. You know.
Janelle Jolley 3:05
What were you teaching then?
I taught third grade.
Janelle Jolley 3:08
Okay. What were your first couple of teaching years like?
That was my only year there. I left at the end of that year.
Janelle Jolley 3:14
Because it was so like, "Whoa, this- "
Oh my god. It was like, that's what- it was that experience that made me leave the Catholic Church.
Janelle Jolley 3:23
Oh, teaching there?
Janelle Jolley 3:25
That was the last straw for you.
Janelle Jolley 3:26
I remember- because at that time, I couldn't make enough money to live off of, right? So, I was teaching at St. Paul of the Shipwreck and I was working on weekends at Dance Your Ass Off.
Janelle Jolley 3:42
Which is a club, I take it?
Which was the first disco in San Francisco. It was on the corner of Columbus and something, I forget what.
Janelle Jolley 3:54
Did you- so the wages as a teacher at the Catholic school so miserably low you can not supprt yourself?
Oh, they were so bad. They were so bad.
Janelle Jolley 4:03
Yeah, I had to work on weekends. I couldn't make rent.
Janelle Jolley 4:06
Wow. If you did not bartend or- were you a bartender or a Go-go dancer?
I was a waitress, door person coat check, whatever they needed. But mostly a waitress. But I didn't mind working on weekends because it was fun.
Janelle Jolley 4:22
Sure. And you were young, you had the energy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. I mean, I got to drink on the job, smoke pot on the job.
Janelle Jolley 4:30
"You guys are paying me to have this much fun?"
You know, I dated a lot of guys.
Janelle Jolley 4:35
You weren't married at this point?
No, I wasn't.
Janelle Jolley 4:37
Were you still dating your boyfriend or, like off and on? Like, "I'm gonna do my thing, you do your thing."
No, I met my husband after Dance Your Ass Off, I believe. I don't know. I told you I don't have a good memory.
Janelle Jolley 4:49
Cuz I was having too much fun.
I get all the years mixed up, you know?
Janelle Jolley 4:53
Yeah, everybody does.
Janelle Jolley 4:55
So after you left that school that-
I had the religion class taken away from me.
Janelle Jolley 5:03
At that school?
Mm-hmm. At St. Paul of the Shipwreck.
Janelle Jolley 5:05
Because I questioned.
Janelle Jolley 5:07
To the children?
Janelle Jolley 5:09
Oh, wow. And they just wanted you to have an authoritarian, absolutest- I see, I see, I see.
Yeah. And so they took my class away and gave it to Sister Silveria, and I took her social studies class.
Janelle Jolley 5:22
And that was how they were able to maintain order.
Janelle Jolley 5:26
Okay. Huh. Did you get into public- did you become a public school teacher the year after that, when you left?
No, because there were no jobs.
Janelle Jolley 5:34
Yeah. So I waitressed. There used to be this restaurant called Zims. There were 13 of them. I worked at all 13 of them. But in those days when you worked as a waitress, they trained you for like two weeks. So they taught you to carry seven plates on one arm, things like that. So I waitressed. I worked at a place on Haight Street called Aardvarks, used clothing store.
Janelle Jolley 6:07
I think it's still there, right? I think it might still be there.
It might still be there, I don't think it's called Aardvarks.
Janelle Jolley 6:10
Oh, okay. Mm-hmm.
But I did whatever. You know, I cleaned houses. You know, whatever I could find.
Janelle Jolley 6:19
So there were no jobs because the strike was still going or budgetary concerns?
No, I think was budgetary. They just weren't hiring people. And what happened to was we were getting this huge influx of immigrants. So bilingual teachers were at a high demand. And I didn't have the bilingual credential.
Janelle Jolley 6:42
Meaning you weren't certified as one?
I wasn't certified.
Janelle Jolley 6:44
Even though you were.
Even though my first language was Spanish. So I eventually went back to San Francisco State and got my bilingual cross-cultural teaching credential.
Janelle Jolley 6:54
I see. And then how many years between leaving the Catholic school and getting your credential to be able to get a job as a public school teacher? Like, how- what was the-
Well, in between I did some subbing. And so I did subbing, but I hated it because, you know, you can imagine how subs are treated.
Janelle Jolley 7:14
Yeah, not great.
So, I did subbing and that's when I worked at a school called or Argonne. Because a teacher flipped out, and so I took her class.
Janelle Jolley 7:24
What do you mean, she flipped out?
She just flipped out. Maddie was her name. I can't remember.
Janelle Jolley 7:28
She had like a psychotic break in the classroom?
Janelle Jolley 7:32
Oh, God. Did they- were the kids harmed or scarred?
Well they would tell me stories about what Miss So-and-so did and I was like, "Whoa."
Janelle Jolley 7:40
What did they tell you?
I don't remember. But I remember she was- I remember I was in a bungalow. And I remember one, um, a lot of the kids lived in the neighborhood, right? And I remember we- I always had a class pet, right? We had a guinea pig. And so I would leave the guinea pig for the weekend with food and water and everything. And one morning I came in and the guinea pig was running around the classroom. He had chewed up all kinds of stuff. There was guinea pig poop, and the classroom was a wreck. And I'm like, I said to the kids- you know, there wasn't any sign of anybody breaking in anything. And I said to the kids, "I don't know what happened." Like, you know? And the principal came in and one of the kids said, "Well, I was playing in the school yard and I saw Miss So-and-so go in."
Janelle Jolley 8:31
Oh, so even after she got dismissed or- ?
She was Black. So I don't know how much of it was racism projected at her or how much of it was really her mental state.
Janelle Jolley 8:44
Oh, wow. So she might have been the one who came in and let the pig loose-
She might have been.
Janelle Jolley 8:48
Good grief. Oh my. Okay. So you were subbing for a bit, but then you finally got your own class, you got appointed or you join the- like, how did that work at that time?
I sort of got my own class because she was out for like, three or four months.
Janelle Jolley 9:05
So you were the long term sub.
Right, right. And then some teacher bumped me because she had seniority.
Janelle Jolley 9:13
Bumped you, meaning what?
She got to take over the class.
Janelle Jolley 9:16
Oh, okay, okay.
Yeah. So it was really sad. It was really disheartening because I'd really built to work hard with this class. Loved the parents, everybody- I mean, the parents rallied around me to try and keep me but seniority is seniority, you know? And so then after that, then I started just waitressing and doing whatever I could to survive. And I didn't think I was a good teacher.
Janelle Jolley 9:46
Janelle Jolley 9:48
I don't know, insecurity. I don't know. I didn't think I was a good teacher, so I didn't think I was cut out for it. And one day I ran into my principal. I had a really nice principal at that time, Carlos something-or-other. He'd come to school on his motorcycle. And he was the kind of principal the kids were always crawling on his back, you know? The kids loved him. And I remember running into him and he asked me, "Why aren't you teaching?" And I said, "Because I don't think I'm-" and I just started crying and telling him how I was a failure. And he actually said to me, "You have the potential for being one of the best teachers I've ever met." And he encouraged me to go back and get my bilingual credential.
Janelle Jolley 10:34
Oh, okay. I see.
He was Mexicano.
Janelle Jolley 10:38
And so you did?
Janelle Jolley 10:40
And then I got hired, at that time it was called Hawthorne Elementary. We later on change to Cesar Chavez. It was in the Mission on Shotwell and 22nd. And it if it weren't for my colleagues, I probably would have left teaching.
Janelle Jolley 10:59
But, this principle was horrible. And he only hired brand new teachers that didn't have tenure. So he could boss us around and have us do his bidding. And so the whole school was full of young teachers. And we were all like- most of us were teachers of color, you know, immigrants. And we would get together and have a beer after school. And we just started talking, and we started sharing experiences. And we realized that the principal was an asshole, and that the school was racist, and that our kids deserve better. And so we organized. We all joined the union and we decided we were going to get rid of him and turn the school into what it needed to be.
Janelle Jolley 11:46
Okay, question. So you all were not unionized when- you were this group of mostly young teachers of color, various backgrounds-
In those days, we didn't have what's called agency fee.
Janelle Jolley 11:58
What is that?
You didn't have to join the union.
Janelle Jolley 12:00
Oh, you didn't have to join a union if you were an educator. But once you guys started getting, together talking about this asshole principal-
We started to realizing what a union was for, you know, and how important a union was, blah, blah, blah. And we actually had the union come in and talk to us, signed us all up-
Janelle Jolley 12:18
It was, at that time, it was the NEA CTA. Because in those days teachers would vote on which union was going to represent them. It was either going to be AFT or NEA. And then at the end of that contract, we vote again. And millions of dollars would be spent on teachers fighting teachers, trying to get their union, you know what I'm saying? It was just nuts. Now, San Francisco UESF is NEA and AFT. They've merged.
Janelle Jolley 12:51
I see. What were some of the things that animated the young teachers' belief, that you were working with at the time at Cesar Chavez, what were some of the things- the issues that animated your belief in, or animated your beneficial view of needing a union, or why that was important to you all?
Well, I don't think- I think, up until that time, we didn't understand what unions did.
Janelle Jolley 13:17
None of you?
Janelle Jolley 13:18
So who started that conversation? Or it just came up?
It just came up. I mean, one person probably started it. I don't know. I mean, we'd get together every Friday, we'd go to Las Guitarras and we have margaritas and we went to this other place and drank beer. And it was this camaraderie of us getting together and sharing our stories. Because up until that point, we'd each been isolated. We didn't have friends, you know what I'm saying? Yeah, and so it was through these conversations that we decided to go- we visited the union or they came to our school, and you know, and they basically said, "Well, if you're not union members, we can't help you."
Janelle Jolley 14:03
So you guys were like, "Okay-"
Then we're like, "Well, okay, sign us up."
Janelle Jolley 14:07
Were you- now was unionization- help me understand- was unionization, did that happen school by school, district by district teacher by teacher? Like, how did it work back then?
I don't know because I was only involved in my school politics at that time.
Janelle Jolley 14:23
I see. What were some of the things that you guys thought a union would be beneficial for?
To get this principal out.
Janelle Jolley 14:29
Why was he so horrible? Like, why was that such a driving factor?
Oh, god. Because he didn't know how to run a school.
Janelle Jolley 14:41
What do you mean when you say that?
He just had favorites. And whoever did his bidding, he didn't bother them. But he would harass us.
Janelle Jolley 14:51
What do you mean?
He'd walk into our classrooms and walk around while we're teaching and then write us up and saying that we had done this wrong or we have done that wrong. He bad mouthed us to the parents. You know-
Janelle Jolley 15:05
Like, he did not support you all.
No, he didn't support us. And he was really an idiot.
Janelle Jolley 15:12
Why do you think he was such a uniquely bad principal, looking back?
He was used by the district because he was Mexican.
Janelle Jolley 15:19
Oh, he was like a Mexican token. But they were using him to do what?
Whatever they wanted to do in the school. I mean, the school was basically Black and Brown kids, and they didn't give a shit about our school.
Janelle Jolley 15:31
So they used him to cover for the fact that they didn't really care and want to reach this population?
We organized a group of parents as a result of all this and we marched in the rain from 22nd and Shotwell to the school board meeting, which at that time was on Franklin, right? No, it was on- it wasn't on on Franklin, it was on Bemis, it was the old one. And so we organize, we got like 100 parents to march with us. We marched down the street in the rain. And we showed pictures to the school board of the conditions in our school. We showed them toilets that were smeared with shit. Yeah. None of the stalls except for maybe one in the boys and girls bathrooms had doors on them. You know, we had every classroom had boarded up windows. Yeah, there were mice running around all over the school. You know, we had- believe it or not- we had to put buckets on rainy days in our classrooms to catch the leak.
Janelle Jolley 16:32
Wow, that bad?
Yeah. The heater? Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't cuz it was a boiler room, you know? And so, we had to bring in our own heaters.
Janelle Jolley 16:42
Yeah. We couldn't open windows- that's why this whole thing, this COVID thing, is such a joke because there are so many schools in San Francisco where you can't open the windows. Like, one time I opened it after I was told not to open it and it fell down to the ground. I had no window.
Janelle Jolley 17:00
Wow, wow, wow.
Yeah. Cuz the wood was all crumbling, you know? It's just- so we marched, and we showed pictures, and we had testimony. And I remember one board member putting down her dinner. Because you know, they would eat dinner during the- and she says, "I can't eat my dinner. This is really disgusting."
Janelle Jolley 17:22
"Bitch, I have to work in this shit! What are you talking- like, okay, at least now you-"
So we were on the news. And guess what? The next day the school was full of people repairing the school.
Janelle Jolley 17:32
I guess, I bet. Uh-huh, uh-huh. So it was parent power, people power.
And that was the beginning of the rise. And we went through what was called an inquisition. And our principal was taken out because- Janelle, he carried around- he wore a chain with a razor blade on it.
Janelle Jolley 17:52
Now, you know what that's for, right?
Janelle Jolley 17:56
Janelle Jolley 17:58
Why was that allowed for so long? Wow.
He had a pair of that worked in the school, a guy named Leon- he was really good looking, he was Black- and him and Leon would like, at lunchtime they would lock themselves up in the principal's office.
Janelle Jolley 18:14
And you'd hear all this giggling and shuffling and they both come out really happy after.
Janelle Jolley 18:21
Because they were high or they just got finished fucking or both?
Janelle Jolley 18:26
Oh my god.
It was unbelievable.
Janelle Jolley 18:29
It's so unbelievable! What the fuck?
Unless you participated, unless you were there? You would find this really hard to believe.
Janelle Jolley 18:36
Yeah, of course. That sounds- wow, okay. But, go ahead.
I had- I taught kindergarten those days- I had like, 39 kids in my class.
Janelle Jolley 18:46
How did you do it?
And I had Black and Brown kids. And the Black kids, the parents, you know, didn't want their kids hanging out with the Brown kids. There was so much racism. And the Latino parents didn't want, you know, and- I was teaching the Black kids to learn to read in English and I was teaching the Brown kids how to learn to read in Spanish. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. There was no curriculum. In those days, believe it or not, there was no curriculum.
Janelle Jolley 19:14
You just did your thing.
Janelle Jolley 19:17
You just- you were winging it.
Yeah, winging it.
Janelle Jolley 19:19
Yeah. And I would have parents complaining all the time that their kid was sitting next to a Brown kid or a Black kid. And there was nothing going on in the school to try to remedy this, to try to bring racial understanding. Anything. It was such a nightmare.
Janelle Jolley 19:37
But and if I hadn't been for my colleagues, I would have left.
Janelle Jolley 19:41
What about your colleagues made you want to stay?
We were militant. We were like, "This shit has to stop."
Janelle Jolley 19:47
And we're the ones who are going to help change things.
And we did.
Janelle Jolley 19:51
Tell me the other ways that you changed it- you guys marched in the rain with parents and you got people to start paying attention to the condition of the physical, you know, building. What other things did you all change?
We declared war on the principle. He was not allowed to talk to us without a union rep. We walked around with notepads to intimidate him. You know, and when he'd say something to us, we'd say things like, "Could you repeat that, please?"
Janelle Jolley 20:21
Yeah, that's right. Jot it down on your bitch ass.
We learned our rights. You know, we met with the union once a week, they would come in because they saw this as a way to win, you know? And some of us even wore fatigues.
Janelle Jolley 20:24
Really? In the school? To make it very clear that this is a war that we're in. Wow.
Janelle Jolley 20:43
Was union membership high across all teachers at that time?
No, it was the 1/3 thing. That 1/3 of the teachers belong to the NEA, 1/3 of the teachers belong to the AFT, and 1/3 were what we called the freeloaders.
Janelle Jolley 21:00
Who were not union members, but they benefited from-
Yeah. And they would say to us, "When you merge, we'll join."
Janelle Jolley 21:06
Why would they say that?
To get us off their back.
Janelle Jolley 21:09
And, guess what? We merged, they didn't join.
Janelle Jolley 21:14
That's why we ended up getting agency fee.
Janelle Jolley 21:17
What is agency fee?
Agency fee means that you have to pay a certain amount of money to the union to cover their costs of representing you.
Janelle Jolley 21:29
And you're saying the freeloaders, they didn't have to pay that fee because they were not members of the union. But you, but because-
But they were benefiting from all the bargaining and everything that was going on. The raises- they never turned down a raise.
Janelle Jolley 21:43
Sure. Of course not. Of course not. So, it was you guys getting militant to push your terrible-ass coke-snorting fucking dipshit of a principal, was that the beginning of your tenure as a politicized teacher? Or, is that a fair way to describe you?
Yeah. I think that's how I became politicized. Because I really saw the inequities, I saw the racism, I saw how our school was totally neglected. I had been a sub before that and I'd seen schools across town that were in much better shape. I mean, every classroom had a boarded up window.
Janelle Jolley 22:28
Can you explain educator union politics in SF to me? Because I feel like I've heard you allude to that before, but because I have zero familiarity with it, I don't understand it.
Well, I think a lot of things have gotten a lot better for teachers since we merged.
Janelle Jolley 22:48
Okay. Tell me what you mean.
Now, I told you we had the AFT and the NEA and every three years when the contract was up, we'd fight to see which union represented, right?
Janelle Jolley 22:57
Why- yes, you said that- but tell me why there was such a fight. Is it because there was so much money on the line because of the agency fees? Was it because there's no political force?
It was no agency fee. It was, for us teachers, we were never going to get anywhere as long as teachers were fighting each other. Okay? And for the union, they wanted to represent. They wanted, you know, like- there's a, I can't remember the numbers, but the NEA in the United States is like the largest union that the United States has.
Janelle Jolley 23:32
I believe that.
And their membership, I can't even give you the numbers, but it's probably at least double, at least double if not triple, the membership of the AFT.
Janelle Jolley 23:43
So, I was on the NEA side. And so we began to realize as teachers that we were never going to get anywhere with this infighting because that's what was keeping the district winning. And so we formed a committee with the NEA and I was the chair of the committee. We called it the merger committee, to merge the two unions. And a friend of mine was on the opposing side, and so the two committees started meeting together. And after a period of like two years, we- it was a huge deal, because the only other union at that time that had done that was United Teachers of Los Angeles, UTLA, but they have a different model than we- because when you join UTLA you don't have to join the AFT and the NEA. You can choose which one you have to join. It could be different now, I don't know because I've been retired for a few years. But in San Francisco when you join UESF, you join everything.
Janelle Jolley 24:47
You join the union.
Yeah, you join the AFT and the NEA on the national scale. You join the CTA and the CFT on the state level.
Janelle Jolley 24:59
So you really are a member of, like, five unions.
Janelle Jolley 25:03
What were some of the major political battles that you were involved in as an educator during your career, as it related to the union?
Well, the biggest one for me was getting rid of testing at kindergarten, first grade. And I believe we got rid of it at second grade, also.
Janelle Jolley 25:18
Janelle Jolley 25:19
Because it's cruel and unnecessary.
When I was a kindergarten teacher I had, like, 40 kids in my class. And I had to sit them all down with standardized testing. Where they would get this booklet and you would say to the kids, "Put your finger on the sun. Now look next to the sun. Do you see a flower? Do you see a leaf? Circle the leaf." Right? I had kids crying, I had kids wetting their pants, I had kids asking for their mom. I had one girl, I'll never forget her, Barbara. I loved her dearly. I loved her spunk. She was African American. The whole year I was feeding her and telling her how smart she was, you know, and she was gonna- and then I sat her down for the standardized testing. She picked up her test, threw it across the room, called me a bitch and stormed out of the classroom.
Janelle Jolley 26:01
Cuz she just wasn't having it. Home girl was over it.
Yeah. This is how stressful it was.
Janelle Jolley 26:18
Yes, sure. And you all as teachers, you got the front row seat to that. And so your union fought against you having to mandate this because-
Right. We first got rid of kindergarten testing. Which, when you look at it now, it's ludicrous.
Janelle Jolley 26:32
Because there's no validity in that testing.
Janelle Jolley 26:35
That's right, that's right.
There's absolutely no validity.
Janelle Jolley 26:38
And there were questions on it, like things that were totally irrelevant, like the two that stick out in my mind is the kids had to come up with the definition of an attic.
Janelle Jolley 26:49
Like the room in a house?
Who has an attic in San Francisco?
Janelle Jolley 26:54
That's right. You don't even have a concept of that because you don't have them here.
Right. And then another question was about- what are those? Venus flytraps.
Janelle Jolley 27:05
Nobody ever sees those.
Janelle Jolley 27:07
Yeah, okay. Huh. Interesting.
So those are just two blatant examples of how stupid the tests were. Why would you expect kids in San Francisco to know about attics or Venus fly traps?
Janelle Jolley 27:17
And why is that necessary to try and prove some notion of intelligence?
It was child abuse.
Janelle Jolley 27:21
And so we were able to get rid of it in kindergarten. I was like- I belong to the Kindergarten Teachers Association and we went wild when we won that one. And then we worked hard to get rid of first grade. Because according to research, children should not be exposed to testing 'til at least third grade.
Janelle Jolley 27:43
Yeah. And even then, I'm sure it's probably dubious. Yeah, mm.
Do you know how many kids just mark? Just mark anything, they don't care.
Janelle Jolley 27:50
Yeah, I just- I'm not gonna stress myself out here.
So how is that valid?
Janelle Jolley 27:53
Yeah, that's right. And that's not an adequa- and no one test or testing context can be an adequate representative of the summation of what a child knows and how they're able to reproduce that knowledge.
And they also were testing kids that couldn't speak English in English
Janelle Jolley 28:11
Right, and how are they supposed to do well?
And so, these were smart kids but because they didn't know English, they were stupid.
Janelle Jolley 28:16
Yeah, that's right. Oh, that's bullshit. I see. What are some of the other big battles that you guys fought-
Working conditions. The big one that the union can't take responsibility for, it was Delaine Eastin. She was the superintendent of schools at that time-
Janelle Jolley 28:33
Janelle Jolley 28:35
Oh, okay. The whole state.
Yeah, and so that one year, from one year to the next, I went from, like, 36 kids in my classroom to 20.
Janelle Jolley 28:47
And that must have felt like a dream. Why were the classes so fucking full?
Because California does not spend much money on education, and Prop 13.
Janelle Jolley 28:57
Yeah, I see. Okay.
Now imagine being in a room with 36 five year olds.
Janelle Jolley 29:03
Absolutely not. No. God bless you.
Janelle Jolley 29:07
You're not teaching.
Janelle Jolley 29:09
Cuz you cannot!
And on top of that, you got the Black kids hating the Latino kids and vice versa.
Janelle Jolley 29:14
Yeah, that's right.
It was a nightmare.
Janelle Jolley 29:17
I have a question about Prop 13. If it's so apparent to- I presume- first, the teachers, its deleterious effect on the learning environment. And then the teachers are able to impress upon parents how- it's terrible effect on the learning environment. How and why has it been able to persist for so long without some some popular pushback? Because I don't get- I'm not from California, so I don't understand why?
Well, let me ask you: Why don't we have Medicare for all? Same thing, right?
Janelle Jolley 29:55
Yeah, you're right. You're right. Okay. That's it's just that easy. Okay. They- like the Department of Education on the federal level isn't able to step in to kind of jawbone something better? Because it just- that just seems absurd to me.
Look who our education secretaries have been. Arne Duncan?
Janelle Jolley 30:21
I was about to say Arne- fuck that guy!
I met him.
Janelle Jolley 30:24
He's so dumb.
He's an idiot.
Janelle Jolley 30:28
He's a basketball player, what the fuck does he know about education?
He actually came to San Francisco and had a meeting with us and we all realized he was an idiot.
Janelle Jolley 30:39
Oh, fuck that guy. What about it- is it just-
Bill Bennett? I mean, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 30:48
During this time, were you most political in the educational realm? Because-
Janelle Jolley 30:53
In fact, when I retired? There's this guy that I met through the various clubs and he said something to me of like, "Where'd you come from? I haven't seen you around. I've never seen you anywhere, blah, blah, blah. You're not political, you know, blah, blah, blah." And I'm like, "Because I was in the education world."
Janelle Jolley 31:19
Yeah, that's right. There's more than one way to be political.
There was a time when almost everybody knew who I was, if you were a teacher. Because I served on the union board for 18 years. I felt like the Lone Ranger, you know?
Janelle Jolley 31:33
What drove you to serve for that long on the union?
The kids. I think there really is something about being a classroom teacher and seeing the injustices, you know? But you get to a point where you realize that there's not much you can do within the confines of four walls. You have to, like- its policy that has to change, you know? You have to vote people in, you know?
Janelle Jolley 32:00
Meaning, vote people in to the school board or the union or-
All of it.
Janelle Jolley 32:05
And, you know, traditionally in San Francisco, the school board has been made up of like, White housewives. Because they get a $500 stipend a year, or a month, right? You have to work- you have to work or you have to be married to somebody who makes good money.
Janelle Jolley 32:27
Wow. And so- and they- because they're-
We have to change that.
Janelle Jolley 32:31
Yes, we do. Meaning the conversation, or the composition, or both?
The composition or- well, if we change the compensation, then more people of color or- you know what I'm saying?
Janelle Jolley 32:44
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. The school- the Board of Ed- the Board of Supervisors used to be that way.
Janelle Jolley 32:49
They got a stipend of $500 a month?
I don't think it was $500, I think it was more but-
Janelle Jolley 32:56
But they weren't fully salaried.
Right. I think it was Tom Ammiano that started that whole- to get them paid a decent-
Janelle Jolley 33:03
He was an educator as well, right? Did you- were you and he in the trenches together as union-
Sort of. I worked with his partner Tim Curbo he was my- we worked together, we team taught. And it's through Tim that I met Tom.
Janelle Jolley 33:18
I see. I see. I see.
1972, something like that?
Janelle Jolley 33:23
So you were like 22 when you got married?
I was in my early 20s, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 33:28
And what did he do for work?
Whatever. He was, you know, he did some construction, whatever he could, you know? He didn't like school.
Janelle Jolley 33:39
Oh, okay. Your Jewish husband?
Yeah. He was a laborer. And at that time he became friends with my stepfather. And my stepfather had a shop for repairing cars mechanic and bodywork. And so Edie learned a lot from him. And eventually opened up his own shop. But he was a musician. He really thought that- never again. Never again do I want to have anything to do with a musician.
Janelle Jolley 34:08
Oh my god. Girl, women were throwing themselves all over him, disresepcting me. And he wouldn't say anything to them. He'd like, "Winnie, I can't you know, like, you know, I need them, they're my followers." I'm like, "Fuck this shit." Yeah.
Janelle Jolley 34:27
Oh my god. How long were you guys together?
Janelle Jolley 34:30
Okay. And then you were like, "If you want your ladies, you can have them- "
Yeah, he was a player. Good person, but- and then have nothing to do with me, Janelle. I totally realized that. I realized he loved me and all the-
Janelle Jolley 34:42
Sure, sure, sure.
But I couldn't put up with all the-
Janelle Jolley 34:45
Yeah, there was so much bullshit.
Janelle Jolley 34:47
Okay. Yeah, that's understandable.
And he was so fucking macho. I thought I like macho until I married it.
Janelle Jolley 34:53
Right, and then you're like-
I'm like, "No." Be a gay boy, any day.
Janelle Jolley 34:59
You are so silly. Oh, there's so many- okay. So in terms of in terms of kind of-ish modern day politics and your understanding of it- I could ask you 8 million questions. But here are the questions that I would like to hear you answer. You know, you you've grown up here, you've lived here virtually all of your life. How would you- to someone who only has a passing or facile understanding of San Francisco politics, how would you describe it to an outsider from your perspective?
Well, it would be hard to describe because I wasn't political. I was an activist, but more like a civil rights activist without the politics. And then when I was involved in education, the only political people I followed were the school board people. And so I really didn't know what was going on in the outer realm. I was very isolated in my whole educational world. You know? I mean, I got involved in things like, you know...okay, I'll admit it. I worked my ass off on Bill Clinton's campaign.
Janelle Jolley 36:24
It can be forgiven, it was a different time.
I worked my ass off on Obama's campaign, you know? And-
Janelle Jolley 36:31
Would you describe your politics as- how would you have described your politics during those times?
I was a neoliberal.
Janelle Jolley 36:38
I would think I was.
Janelle Jolley 36:40
Tell me what you mean by that.
I believed that the Democratic Party cared about us, you know? I believed-
Janelle Jolley 36:48
And who is us? Working people?
Yeah, working people, people of color, you know?
Janelle Jolley 36:53
Hmm. Why did you believe that?
Because that's what was fed into me. That's- I didn't question it.
Janelle Jolley 36:59
You believed the marketing?
Yeah, I probably- I never thought about it but, probably, I was okay with capitalism.
Janelle Jolley 37:07
Hmm. Even as a teacher, as an educator?
Yeah, I didn't see how it affected education.
Janelle Jolley 37:16
Oh, okay. You didn't have- your analysis didn't connect capitalism to the conditions that you were seeing in the classroom. I see, I see, I see.
It wasn't until I got involved with the Berniecrats that are really realized, like, "I'm a goddamn socialist."
Janelle Jolley 37:31
What do you mean, Winnie? What was it that helped-
Because I didn't understand socialism.
Janelle Jolley 37:37
What do you think you understood of socialism before?
I think I bought into the whole thing that you know, lazy people didn't want to work.
Janelle Jolley 37:44
Ah. Even after being in the classroom and seeing how many- how hard people's parents worked and they could still barely, you know, keep their head above water?
But I didn't have a label for it.
Janelle Jolley 37:53
I see, okay.
You know what I'm saying?
Janelle Jolley 37:56
So what are- so you bought into the sort of, like, meritocracy myth. You used to. But then what about getting involved with the Bernie campaign's- were you-
Well, when I retired I didn't- I was so burned out on education politics. I really was. Because I felt like I was beating a dead horse. I really did. And I just really needed a break from it. And when 45 got elected, I was so depressed. I was just so depressed and a lot of that depression came from- I come from an immigrant family. I had a cousin that is in Peru and can never come back to the United States, you know? I've witnessed the unfairness of, you know, like, how he did everything he was supposed to do and because he was honest, they deported him.
Janelle Jolley 38:45
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
He shoulda lied!
Janelle Jolley 38:47
Yeah, yeah. He would have been able to stay.
And, um, what was the question?
Janelle Jolley 38:51
Like, what about getting involved with Berniecrats helped you bridge that-
And so when I- so I needed to do something because I was retired, or part time retired. I was working two days a week. And I just thought, "We're doomed. There's no hope." And then for some reason, I ended up in a Berniecrats meeting. I don't know how I did that. Because I was very pro Bernie, right?
Janelle Jolley 39:18
Sure, sure. In 2016?
Yeah. I was very pro Bernie but I wasn't part of the whole Bernie movement, you know? I showed up on street corners and work, but I wasn't part of anything, right? And so after 45 won, I was so depressed. And I ended up in a Berniecrat meeting and I realized, "Wow, this room is full of people that want the world to be a better place. That understand where we're at and what we have to do." And then, you know, and then shortly after that, I joined Latino Democratic Club, then I joined the Harvey Milk Club. And I was- I didn't realize there were so many people working for good things.
Janelle Jolley 40:08
Ah, because you were so insulated in the politics of education, almost exclusively, that you weren't really exposed to the greater local political world.
Janelle Jolley 40:20
I see, I see.
These groups were my oxygen.
Janelle Jolley 40:23
Ah, and that helped you- bring you out of your depression after Trump was elected?
Mm-hmm. And it gave me hope.
Janelle Jolley 40:29
It gave me hope. And it helped me understand that, up until that point, I'd been a neoliberal.
Janelle Jolley 40:35
Hmm. What is your most embarrassing anecdote from being a neolib?
Absolutely loving Obama.
Janelle Jolley 40:44
That's not that embarrass- we all- we didn't know better at that time.
But after eight years, I still loved him.
Janelle Jolley 40:50
Okay, well, that's a little embarrassing. Okay. Do you have another example of an embarrassing neolib memory?
I was very involved in the NEA. And I was invited to join the Legislative Committee for the whole country. So I was part- it was very prestigious time, right? And as a result of my membership in the legislative committee, I was made the contact to Nancy Pelosi.
Janelle Jolley 41:25
For the California Teachers Association. And so they would fly me out to DC like three, four times a year. And we would have our legislative meeting, we'd have our instructions. And then I go to Nancy's office and tell her what we wanted from her. And I can't believe how naive I was.
Janelle Jolley 41:46
Because I thought she was great.
Janelle Jolley 41:50
Why did you think she was great?
Cuz she was sweet. And because she seemed like she cared. And she really did seem to be listening attentively to me.
Janelle Jolley 42:01
I see, I see, I see.
And it wasn't until I started reading up on her that I realized, like, she's not one of us.
Janelle Jolley 42:10
Hell no, she's not one of us. She way too rich to be one of us. And I have a tiny scintilla of an analysis of why but I would like to hear from you how a Nancy Pelosi gets to such a level of political prominence, and how she's able to have such a lock on political power. How do you- what is your analysis of that?
You know, I'm just as baffled as you are. I belong to Latino Democratic Club, and I'm like- I just shut my mouth when I'm there because they adore her.
Janelle Jolley 42:43
Oh, do they really? Okay.
I don't know why. I really don't. Because what the hell has she ever done for Latinos? She could have gone after DACA, she could have really done something, she could have really made an impact on immigration. She never stuck her neck out for Latinos, as far as I'm concerned.
Janelle Jolley 43:02
When- it's ironic that the district she represents wholly depends on the labor of super exploited Latino people.
Janelle Jolley 43:14
Yeah. But those are the people who don't vote, either, or donate to her campaign. So maybe that's-
Janelle Jolley 43:20
I'm not saying that makes it right.
She does things like ripping up papers, which is theatrical.
Janelle Jolley 43:25
That- she gets on my nerves.
That clap? And people interpret that as her being gutsy?
Janelle Jolley 43:31
Yeah, and it's like, she fucking gave Trump a Spaceforce. Give me a fucking break.
I know! She voted for so much of his shit. His appointments and- I don't get it. I really don't get it. And it's like, I've just stopped arguing with my Latino friends, you know? Because-
Janelle Jolley 43:50
You let them have their love for Pelosi.
I'm not- there's nothing I can do to convince them.
Janelle Jolley 43:55
But what- but why is it- why are we- what I'm trying to get at is, why is it that we are in a situation where it seems like- now, maybe this is a moot point because she's, hopefully, knock on wood, at the end of her career, because she's fucking 80. But why is it that it seems like there's nothing anyone could do to oust her? You understand what I'm saying? Like, how did that happen, is what I'm asking you.
I think money has a lot to do with it, you know? She controls the purse strings for the Democratic Party.
Janelle Jolley 44:26
Yeah. I didn't know it until Heyman told me, but she is the biggest- she is the biggest fundraiser politically. Like, bigger than Mitch. Bigger than whoever the fuck else.
Well, money breeds money, right?
Janelle Jolley 44:40
Yep, that's right.
She's fucking rich. So she can tap into all her rich cronies. I mean, to me, that interview with her and her damn refrigerator?
Janelle Jolley 44:52
Jesus, God. It's like, "Read the room!"
That was the most insulting thing. I mean, people were starving.
Janelle Jolley 45:00
People are still starving!
And she's showing off her, what? $20,000 refrigerator?
Janelle Jolley 45:04
Two of them, yeah. Mm-hmm.
And all that fucking ice cream?
Janelle Jolley 45:07
Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Insulting.
I can't understand why people give her a pass. I- you know, it's a phenomena I will never understand.
Janelle Jolley 45:16
I don't get it. And- but you know what, I do- I don't like it- but I- I don't like it, but I do get it. What I've heard some people say, which I think is, actually, is a perfect parallel to trying to understand how Mitch McConnell stays in power, is- what I've heard some people, even leftists here- say is like, you know, "No, I don't like Pelosi. But, you know, but she's got a lot of sway in DC and who would replace her?" And that's exactly the same thing that keeps a Mich in power. It's just like the elite, the local power structure or the elites. It's like, because this person, in this case it's Pelosi, has amassed so much political power, it's like, "Okay, well, we have to kind of tie our wagons to her because she is powerful." Even though that power is never or very rarely used to the benefit-
It doesnt trickle down to us at all.
Janelle Jolley 46:07
That's right. So it's just like, that's so curious-
I wonder if she wasn't Speaker if she would have been voted out? People think she has a lot of power because she's Speaker and they're afraid. See, I think people think that if we vote her out, whoever we vote in is going to be Speaker. I don't think people are sophisticated enough, the average voter.
Janelle Jolley 46:33
Oh, I see what you're saying.
I think they equate her to the Speaker. And so, when Shahid was running it was like, "Well, I wouldn't have voted for Shahid to be a Speaker, even though I voted for him."
Janelle Jolley 46:43
Yep. Sure, sure. I see what you're saying. Maybe that is how some people conceive of it.
I think that might have something to do with it.
Janelle Jolley 46:49
You know, that might be part of it.
And the whole incumbent company thing?
Janelle Jolley 46:52
Uh huh, that's right. What was the difference- or, what was the change that happened from you being like, a lover, an Obamafile, "I love him." What was- talk me through that evolution from 2008 to 2016. Like, what was that journey like to be going from an Obama person to a Bernie person?
I think Berniecrats had a lot to do with it. Because, you know, talking to people like you and having them tell me what Obama really did or didn't do, like really opened my eyes.
Janelle Jolley 47:28
Ah, I see.
I think I was gaslighted because I think one of the things I loved about him so much was how much he loved Michelle and how much he loved his daughters. And I'd love that he would dance and sing.
Janelle Jolley 47:42
He was charismatic!
Yeah, he really was a charmer.
Janelle Jolley 47:45
He's charasmatic and charming, yes.
A real charmer. And he seemed really intelligent. And I loved the way-
Janelle Jolley 47:50
And sincere. He did seem sincere. He wasn't, but he seemed sincere.
I think maybe he was sincere. And I think he was maybe limited. And I think he really believes the things that he believes.
Janelle Jolley 48:01
Which- what do you think he believes?
Well, I think he thinks that war is necessary.
Janelle Jolley 48:07
Yeah, I think he does believe that. Mm-hmm.
You know? And I think that he believes that people's rights have to be suspended for the good of the country, you know?
Janelle Jolley 48:17
Yep, I think that is-
You know, I think he really believes that.
Janelle Jolley 48:20
I think he does.
And I think he really believed that he could work with Republicans. And I think that was his big downfall.
Janelle Jolley 48:27
Mmm, okay. I mean, you're more charitable of him than-
I mean, not now. I think now he sees the writing on the wall. But I think, I think- imagine his first year when he had the House and the Senate.
Janelle Jolley 48:40
Oh my god!
Janelle Jolley 48:42
He could have run the table. And he had a mandate, but he ran down the clock.
He wanted to be bipartisan.
Janelle Jolley 48:47
Yeah, that's right. When that was completely unnecessary. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So you were a Bernie person in 2016. You- getting more involved with the political, the progressive and leftie political clubs in here helped you get out of your: A.) Educational political bubble, and B.) Get out of your funk when Trump won. Did you have- what was your analysis of why Trump won in 2016?
Janelle Jolley 49:16
That was it?
Well, racism, and I do agree with Bernie that not everybody that vote- although it's some people listening to this are going to crucify me for this- but I do believe that a lot of people that voted for him the first time weren't racists.
Janelle Jolley 49:32
That's- why would people crucify you for that, that's like an obvious thing.
Janelle Jolley 49:36
Oh, okay. You have people who come after you for saying that.
Just that he made that statement. People interpret the statement as being racist, right? I think a lot of people were hurting. I mean, I spent time in Kentucky. I've never seen so many white people without teeth, you know what I'm saying? It's like, they don't have dental care, they they live in poverty. I mean. And I think it was a reaction. You know?
Janelle Jolley 50:04
Yeah, yeah. How do you understand things now and are you- what makes you first like, nervous when you when you look out going forward? We'll get to the ? part-
Okay, I have to two thoughts on it. This country is very fickle politically. They'll forget about somebody in a year. You know? Like, I see what was done to Tom Ammiano. You know what I'm saying? And so I'm hoping that that's what will happen. Like, the support for him will fizzle-
Janelle Jolley 50:38
But, I doubt it.
Janelle Jolley 50:39
Yeah, okay. That's right.
I'm saying there's two ways. I think he's going to be worse as a citizen than he was as president.
Janelle Jolley 50:46
Hmm. What do you mean when you say that?
Well, I think he can say and do whatever the hell he wants now.
Janelle Jolley 50:54
He was saying and doing whatever the hell he wanted before!
Yeah, but he can, you know, he had the restraints of the secret serv- you know what I'm saying? I think-
Janelle Jolley 51:02
I see. I see what you're- I don't know that I agree- but I see what you're saying. Cuz he- though there are, maybe there's a modicum of restraint. Like, what comes to mind when you say restraints is that, it seemed clear to me- I'm not saying this is the case- but it seemed clear to me that on January 6, when hours later he gave that video of just like, "Go home. Blah, blah, blah." That seemed to me that he was coerced, like that was not of his own volition making that video, so there is some level of checks. But up until that moment, you know, he could pop off on Twitter, whenever the fuck he want. You know, call into whoever that guy- Hannity on Fox to, you know, say whatever he wants. So, like, he was pretty much allowed to say and do what he wants. There were just- there were a modicum of restraints. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But I think- I don't think we've seen the worst of Trump yet. I really-
Janelle Jolley 51:49
What do you mean, when you say that?
I think he's going to be- well, first of all, he's going to go on this like, "They've tried to impeach me twice."
Janelle Jolley 51:56
And lost, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 51:57
Yeah, that's right. I mean, they impeached him but they didn't convict twice. He beat the char- yeah, mm-hmm.
Right. And I think he's gonna make trouble in 2024.
Janelle Jolley 52:04
Mm-hmm. You, think he's gonna run again?
I don't know if he's going to run, but he's going to control it.
Janelle Jolley 52:10
I see. I think he's going to run again.
You think he'll run?
Janelle Jolley 52:13
Yeah, he's- so there was some polling that came out in the last couple of weeks of registered Republicans. He is the front runner by a mile for who they want in 2024.
Let's hope his health catches up to him.
Janelle Jolley 52:28
I mean, honestly.
Yeah. I mean, keep on eating those McDonald's burgers, you know?
Janelle Jolley 52:33
That's right, that's right.
Too bad he doesn't drink, huh?
Janelle Jolley 52:39
Right, we could have gotten lucky there.
Then he'd deteriorate quickly.
Janelle Jolley 52:42
Yeah, that's right. That's right. So what is-
I'm afraid one of his kids might run.
Janelle Jolley 52:52
Yeah, but Don Jr. is like number three or four in terms of who they would like to support in 2024. But he doesn't have the charisma that his dad had. Like, you can- he's just a loud rich kid.
Trump didn't have charisma, though.
Janelle Jolley 53:10
He had something but it wasn't charisma.
Janelle Jolley 53:12
He had a-
He wasn't touchy feely or anything.
Janelle Jolley 53:15
No, no. But he had that- he had some star power to him. Like, he know how to work the press, he knew how to say what people wanted to hear. He knew how to, you know, make fun of the libs when they would overblow every little fucking thing to make, you know, people look at, you know, different, you know, ridiculous things like, "Oh, Kamala." You know what I mean? Like he has some of that showbiz-y star power. So maybe charisma wasn't the right word, to your point. What do you think is most likely to occur? Like in the next, let's say, in the midterms? And then 2024?
Well, what I'm hoping, is it the Republican Party blows itself up.
Janelle Jolley 53:57
I think it's gonna be two segments, don't you?
Janelle Jolley 54:03
No, not necessarily. I think that the Republican Party is much better at being a big tent party that absorbs its fringes into its mainstream better than the Democrats. Like, Democrats are openly hostile to, in my opinion, the democrats are openly hostile to the left and really don't make any gestures to fully bring them into the fold, and kind of assimilate them. Whereas, republicans absolutely do and that's how you're able to have- and I'm using gross generalizations- but that's how you're able to have, you know, rich old money people who use summer as a verb, you know, defending tax cuts- agitating for and defending tax cuts- and also, you know, working class or blue collar oil rig workers who have to work for a living, you know, also defending this republican agenda. You know what I mean? So I don't think that it's inevitable that they're headed for some sort of civil war split. It'll be interesting if Trump starts his own political party. I don't think he will because I think he will kind of get his rocks off more on being the puppet master within the Republican Party. But I highly doubt there's gonna be a civil war fracture in the Republican Party.
I don't know.
Janelle Jolley 55:21
I could be wrong.
I think the ball is in Biden's court. If he doesn't do a good job we're screwed.
Janelle Jolley 55:27
The forgiving of college loans?
Janelle Jolley 55:30
First of all, what fucking rich people take out college loans?
Janelle Jolley 55:36
Thank you! Yes.
They pay cash!
Janelle Jolley 55:38
That's right. Because they, what? Have it.
Yeah. This thing about- is he- I can't believe that those words come out of his mouth.
Janelle Jolley 55:47
Well, that's just a lazy excuse he's using for not doing it, is because rich people bene- but it's just like, "Yeah, okay. Some rich people would benefit maybe- "
But the majority of people are gonna send their kids to state colleges.
Janelle Jolley 56:02
Yeah, that's right. That's right.
Or City Colleges.
Janelle Jolley 56:06
Yeah. Yeah, it's a joke. It's a super joke. I think he- I think if they continue down the real limp dick path that they're on, they're getting mopped in the midterms.
We're gonna get screwed in 2022.
Janelle Jolley 56:29
And in 2024. Yeah, cuz it's like people aren't- what I think the democrats get hoisted by their own petard because they really do think people are dumb. And can't make sense of what they see with their own two eyes. Do you understand what I'm saying?
They don't make good decisions.
Janelle Jolley 56:47
Yeah, that's right.
I just don't understand. I just, I don't- I know I'm not the smartest person in the world, but it just seems so obvious to me that if if Biden gets people's needs met-
Janelle Jolley 56:59
He won't have to do anything else!
Janelle Jolley 57:03
That's right. And you won't have to worry about the midterm or 2024 or 2028, for that matter. You meet people's needs, you stem the bleeding from this unnecessary suffering that's going on, and you will be rewarded electorally. But I think part of it, which I- this is what I've been thinking on- I think part of it is that I don't think that Democrats believe that they can win campaigning on reducing suffering. You understand what I'm saying? I think that in the demo- in the diseased liberal hive mind, they will be attacked for that from Republicans and people will believe Republican attacks instead of being able to soberly go to the American public in 2022 and say, you know, "This was a terrible crisis. We're still reeling from it. You know, Donald Trump gave you $1,600 but we gave you $2,000 retroactively through the end of the crisis because-" You understand what I'm saying? Like, people get it. People understand that.
But people in congress and the senate are not suffering.
Janelle Jolley 58:05
Right, that's right.
They don't know what suffering is.
Janelle Jolley 58:07
That's right. They don't understand- they don't have a concept of it.
Except Bernie .
Janelle Jolley 58:09
Yep, that's right.
But he's not suffering either.
Janelle Jolley 58:12
No, right. He's not-
But he's suffering watching other people suffer.
Janelle Jolley 58:16
That's right. What did you think going into 2020 primary? What did you think was- what did you want to happen? What did you think was gonna happen?
Well, having worked on the Bernie campaign day and night, I really thought he stood a chance of winning.
Janelle Jolley 58:32
Me too. Because remember- do you remember what the feeling was this time last year when I was fucking running a canvas in your living room? Just electric energy, like, "We got- "
We got this!
Janelle Jolley 58:43
That's right. The momentum? Yeah, right.
And he won California.
Janelle Jolley 58:48
He sure did. Because we busted our ass. Yeah, that's right. What was your understanding or analysis of what happened during the primary in 2020?
I don't know if I have an analysis but I can tell you I hate Buttigieg.
Janelle Jolley 59:00
Yeah, that's right.
I hate that Amy woman. Klobuchar?
Janelle Jolley 59:06
Yeah, that's right.
For some reason, I don't hate Kamala. I don't know why. I dislike her. But I don't have- because maybe I'm still holding out for some hope.
Janelle Jolley 59:17
Maybe, I mean-
Because she grew up in Oakland. Jesus Christ.
Janelle Jolley 59:21
Yeah, but she grew up in Oakland ostensibly understanding, having-
Her parents seem to be more to the left than she is.
Janelle Jolley 59:31
Her parents are- were way too- are- well, her dad is still alive. Like, he's a Marxist. Like he's way to her left. He can't stand her. I don't know. I don't, I guess it- is it- the best I can make sense of it is just, her naked ambition and desire to rise to power and-
Right, but we can't use that because men use that all the time.
Janelle Jolley 59:54
Right. And, I mean, also, I don't care about your own personal- your ability to amass power as a personal individual, if you're only going to use that to oppress and malign people that- a lot of them look like you and are from the same community you came from- to me that makes you the worst kind of fucking person. Fuck you, lady. And I went to Howard so I can say that. Like, "Please. Get out of my face." Not you, I'm just talking to the air right now.
Yeah. Yeah, I know. But I guess I'm still holding out, hoping that she'll have an epiphany, an awakening. I don't know.
Janelle Jolley 1:00:29
I don't know either. But what- okay, so we're here now we got, you know, we got rat fucked in 2016. I personally think we got rat fucked in 2020. You know, the libs are doing, you know, a victory lap even though: A.) Biden won by ass hair; B.) He had zero coattails, so now the majority of redistricting in this country is in the hands of Republicans. Razor thin margin in the senate, decreased margin for the majority in the House. You know, the Obama alumni gang is getting back together and we know how fucking shitty terrible they are. Like, what- how do you think about what people like you and I that, you know, and other people that are of like mind, what do we need to be focusing our energies on and how do we need to think about moving through this moment, which is less than ideal for us because we have very few political comrades, if you will, anywhere near the levers of power, like what do we need to be thinking about, in your opinion, in order to advance an agenda that benefits us all?
I think we need to remember that all- was it the incumbents, or- all the people that ran for Medicare for all, minimum wage, green New Deal, all that. They won.
Janelle Jolley 1:02:04
Yeah, that's right. That's right.
I think we have to keep remembering that. Because I think if we can run more candidates like that, the squad will grow.
Janelle Jolley 1:02:14
Okay. Now, in order to do that, is that going to require that all new candidates, similar to the squad, be people-powered?
Janelle Jolley 1:02:23
Okay. So we have to be prepared to what?
But Janelle, I can't work that hard anymore.
Janelle Jolley 1:02:30
What do you mean? What do you mean?
I mean, I'm getting older. I have less energy. It's like-
Janelle Jolley 1:02:35
But it's not on you. I'm saying for- we're all going to share the burden. You're saying we have to identi- are you saying-
But is it gonna be the same people doing the work again?
Janelle Jolley 1:02:45
Ah, I see.
I mean, I threw down so hard for Chesa. And for Bernie. And for John Avalos. I can't work at that pace anymore.
Janelle Jolley 1:03:01
So are you saying leftist progressives that have been in these long fought decades-long battles, be it in education, be it in labor, be it in politics, you guys are desperate to find new young blood?
New blood, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 1:03:19
Mm, I see, I see.
That's why I'm excited about you and Josh getting involved in the Berniecrats, you know what I'm saying?
Janelle Jolley 1:03:24
New people? And that's kind of how I felt when I was a teacher. Because almost everybody on the board was old. You know? And I couldn't get- you know, it's so exciting to see all these young teachers getting involved. Because when I was really involved, we couldn't get them in. We couldn't them.
Janelle Jolley 1:03:48
I see, I see.
And I understand. Being a teacher is exhausting.
Janelle Jolley 1:03:51
Yeah, that's right. That's right.
You know? And so I think we really need to look at our youth, you know? And we need to somehow start controlling some media. You know? Because I really blame the media.
Janelle Jolley 1:04:06
Yeah, absolutely. How can you not? Yeah.
And I have, I guess, I have hope. Because if I didn't have hope, then, you know, I'd just drink and watch Netflix.
Janelle Jolley 1:04:19
That's right. That's right. That's right. Do you- so on this point of grooming, or bringing in new blood? Younger- I mean, I'm not- I'm younger than you, but I'm not young. Like, Josh is young. Do you- what are some- how do you think about that recruitment effort? How do you think about what would maybe be some useful ways to gin up that effort?
It's really hard right now because of the pandemic. I really think a lot of what we lost was because we could knock on doors-
Janelle Jolley 1:04:58
We lost momentum. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah, we did. And going to physical meetings gets you excited, you know?
Janelle Jolley 1:05:05
That's right. There's nothing that beats being in person with someone, breast a breast. There's nothing that beats that.
Like, I can't believe how lazy I've gotten on these Zoom things.
Janelle Jolley 1:05:15
No, you're not lazy! It's just- it's Zoom! It's fucking terrible. It's exhausting. Yeah.
But yet at the same time, I'm grateful for Zoom, because, you know, people with kids, you know, elderly, they can still get involved.
Janelle Jolley 1:05:27
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
You know? So, I'm hoping that we can come up with some kind of hybrid model when we, when we go back, you know?
Janelle Jolley 1:05:34
Yeah. Yeah, sure.
I don't know. I don't know how to, you know- we have to have hope.
Janelle Jolley 1:05:42
Of course, of course.
We have to have hope.
Janelle Jolley 1:05:44
I'm just trying to- I'm trying to pull out of you what are some of- what is making up the contour of that hope? Even if it's not very specific.
I've always believed that one-on-one is the best strategy. Just talking to people one-on-one. Having conversations like this. You know, I have a- I belong to a book club. And we met last night and we read the book So You Want to Talk About Race. Have you read that book? Okay, it was written by a Nigerian woman. Now, I've been in this book club for two years and there's a lot of white people in the book club. And they're good people. They just don't have the experiences that you and I have.
Janelle Jolley 1:06:25
You know? And if you approach them in a, not a hostile way, you can get them to change their minds, right?
Janelle Jolley 1:06:33
Yeah. Sure, sure.
And so a couple of white people last night were very timid in saying that the book, really, kind of hurt their feelings, you know? And that they felt like they'd always been very open to diversity and had friends, you know? I mean, the whole- it was kind of embarrassing the way they phrased it, because it's like, "Yeah, I have black friends too." But I know in their heart they meant well.
Janelle Jolley 1:07:01
Yeah, they mean well.
And so, what I was thinking about for the rest of the night is like, how we have to create spaces whereby these people can express their fears. And they can express their feelings, so that we can talk to them in a kind way to help them understand how they're coming across.
Janelle Jolley 1:07:21
Ah, yes. Yes.
But we don't have that in place.
Janelle Jolley 1:07:24
That's right. And in many ways social media makes that, can make that worse because you- like, people want to score points to look righteous or woke or whatever. And it's like, I get it because these platforms are all wired to make us you know, chase after that little hit of serotonin when someone, you know, agrees with us or likes or blah, blah. But it's like, that's not- that doesn't- that doesn't help out with the cause of solidarity because now that's erecting a wall- and I'm not saying that you have to try and extend an olive branch to everybody. Some people are just assholes-
Some people are just assholes and I have no desire to communicate with them.
Janelle Jolley 1:08:03
But there, I think, there are a non-negligible amount of people who-
We have allies.
Janelle Jolley 1:08:08
Yeah, that's right. Who mean well, and are still figuring it out and no one is a complete picture of themselves at any given time. Like, we all learn- if you're lucky- you learn, you unlearn, you grow-
Right. I'm not the same person I was yesterday.
Janelle Jolley 1:08:25
Yeah. We have to make room for dissent.
Janelle Jolley 1:08:28
Yeah, that's right.
We do have to create spaces whereby people can be honest, and we don't judge them, and we dialogue with them, and we get them to at least hear our point of view without attacking them.
Janelle Jolley 1:08:45
That's right. You don't automatically assume ill intent to justify you lashing out.
I think if people really knew the facts, they wouldn't be so-
Janelle Jolley 1:08:54
Reactionary. You know what I'm saying?
Janelle Jolley 1:08:58
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And so I think, I don't know, I think, you know, things like your podcasts, you know?
Janelle Jolley 1:09:05
Aw, thank you.
No, but- they're little, but how do we get people to listen to it and really digest the information? And communication is huge. We don't know how to communicate and in this country. You know, this is an unusual situation because you and I are listening to each other instead of planning in our head, what we're gonna say.
Janelle Jolley 1:09:32
That's right. That's right.
And I think in most conversation, that's what's happening. People are there to defend their position-
Janelle Jolley 1:09:39
And nothing else.
Not to see anybody else's position and perhaps change their mind.
Janelle Jolley 1:09:44
There's so much vitriol.
Janelle Jolley 1:09:46
And that's- I think a lot of people that might be involved just don't want to deal with it.
Janelle Jolley 1:09:53
Who do you think will be the next, kind of, focal point around which leftists or progressives coalesce? Not that we need someone around which to coalesce, but-
I think it'll be someone in the Squad.
Janelle Jolley 1:10:08
Okay. Like, AOC?
I think AOC, but maybe not. Maybe not. She's just amazing.
Janelle Jolley 1:10:13
Yeah, she's a powerhouse.
She really is.
Janelle Jolley 1:10:15
She's a talented politician. She's not- I don't think she's as clever as she- well, no, recently. No, I'll take that back. Recently, I think she's shown that she is even more adept politically than she was when she began. Because, to me, if we're talking about just the the Texas fundraising thing, her- that capability, I think, is a subtle demonstration to party leaders that like, "I can go around you." And I-
That was very strategic on her part.
Janelle Jolley 1:10:46
I'm sure she did that out of the goodness of her heart, but it's also a good strategy.
Janelle Jolley 1:10:50
Yeah, it's also like, "I'm putting you on notice. I, you know, I- my bully pulpit is such that I can affect large moments, if you will, with or without you as a gatekeeper."
Janelle Jolley 1:11:04
You know what I mean? And I think that that's- I think that's important to do, because you have to show the Nancy Pelosis of the world that you're not going to just suckle at her teet.
I think Cory Booker [Cori Bush] is going to be another one like her.
Janelle Jolley 1:11:13
Yes, I love Cory Booker [Cori Bush]!
And Ilhan. But the Muslim thing doesn't help her.
Janelle Jolley 1:11:20
Ahh....it doesn't she also- I've been a little bit concerned of late regarding her rhetoric around the Uyghurs in China that's a little hawkish.
Oh, I haven't been hearing it. Okay.
Janelle Jolley 1:11:30
Yeah, that's she's kind of hawking some, like-
Kind of like a Tulsi type thing?
Janelle Jolley 1:11:34
No, mm...I'll have to send you what I'm referencing that makes me uneasy. But she's kind of referencing- she's using some talking points from some organizations that don't mean the left well with regard to the Uyghur thing. But she- but, you know, if you kind of looked past that you could do worse than Ilhan. And, I mean, she's the Progressive Caucus chair, or the Head now, so.
I think so. But, Cori? Oh, my god-
Janelle Jolley 1:11:30
Cori's a powerhouse. She's a badass.
Look out world.
Janelle Jolley 1:11:30
Yeah, that's right. Her and Nina.
And if Nina gets in there?
Janelle Jolley 1:11:30
Good grief. Yeah.
And you know, the other one I want to see getting involved in politics is- what's her name?
Janelle Jolley 1:11:34
My mind. It's, um, she was on Bernie's campaign, she's African American, she did his PR stuff.
Janelle Jolley 1:12:31
Oh, oh, oh! My girl, um-
I can't think of her name.
Janelle Jolley 1:12:40
Briahna Joy Gray.
Oh my god, I love that woman.
Janelle Jolley 1:12:43
Yes, she's excellent. Have you- do you listen to her podcast?
Janelle Jolley 1:12:46
Okay, good. Yeah, she's very sharp. And she's very principled. It's not easy to be in her position, I don't think, in the-
Well, she said things when they weren't popular.
Janelle Jolley 1:12:55
That's right. She said things- she takes- she's publicly on the record, which means, about a lot of things that are maybe unpopular at the time or the way she kind of antagonizes some establishment people, which I think is necessary. But that, you know, that puts a target on her head for just public harassment and debasement and blah, blah. But she doesn't flinch. She's very consistent-
She's not apologetic.
Janelle Jolley 1:13:22
Yeah, she's not apologetic. And that's not easy to do as a young black wo- which, and I presume she has student- like, you know what I mean, she could have easily been bought off and, you know, and turned into some gross liberal piece of shit. But she's stood her ground and remained her own woman and my hats off to her for that.
And I think there's more to come, more people to come, you know? I think- I'm excited about them, you know? It's- you know, we need patience but the problem is, the state of the world.
Janelle Jolley 1:13:52
Yeah, that's right.
Has no patience right now.
Janelle Jolley 1:13:55
That's right, that's right. All right. You heard it. Some of us have to step up so we can give Winnie a break. So, chop chop! One of the up and comers that she named checked, Josh, has graced What's Left To Do with his presence and you're not gonna want to miss that one. Okie dokie. You know the deal. Please subscribe and tell a friend about the zany and fascinating operation we got going over here. Okay, see you next week.