(6 of 10)
Though Shanker's originally stated desire to protect teachers' rights seemed reasonable enoughthe Ocean Hill Board had indeed treated union teach ers arbitrarilyShanker appears now to want something entirely different. "Teachers have been castrated," he told TIME Reporter Peter Babcox. "Until now, teachers' organizations have played around with piddling little things. There is need for upheaval, for revolutionary change. Innovation in education is not enough. You have to have power." Reasonable speculation was that Shanker, ambitious for both his own and his teachers' future, might want not only to lead all the teachers in the U.S., but to head a union that would embrace all white-collar workers and professionals as well.
Nor was he scrupulous about the means. He has been a devoted advocate of Negro rights in the past. Now he appears bent on exploiting the anti-Semitism which undoubtedly exists among Negroes in Ocean Hill in order to rouse the city's Jewish population against decentralization. His propaganda campaign against decentralization has cost the already strapped U.F.T. $200.-000. The union distributed handbills repeating some of the most scurrilous anti-white and anti-Semitic statements to come from the black community, "Cut out, stay out, stay off, shut up. get off our backs," reads one, "or your relatives in the Middle East will find themselves giving benefits to raise money to help you get out from the terrible weight of an enraged black community." On TV, Shanker said that his union was trying to prevent "a Nazi takeover of the schools."
The charge was absurd and mischievous, but it got a wide audience. Disturbed by evidence of anti-Semitism among Negroes that came with the ghetto riotswhen Jewish shops were selectively burnedmany Jews felt outrage at both Rhody McCoy and Lindsay, who had championed decentralization. The city's atmosphere, said Lindsay in a citywide TV address, "has in the last week degenerated into intolerable racial and religious tension." William Booth, chairman of the city's Human Rights Commission, was even more specific: "Every day this strike goes on, things are getting worse. You can sense there is much more antiwhite feeling among blacks and much more anti-black feeling among whites."
Magnet for the Poor
If the problems of New York can be compared only to the ten plagues of Egypt, as Lindsay once claimed in jest, the autumn of 1968 is clearly the time of all ten. There are more than a few who blame Lindsay himself for spreading the plague. Said Dominick Peluso, executive assistant to Frank O'Connor, Democratic City Council president and an archfoe of the Republican Mayor: "Lindsay has taken New York from a city in crisis to a city in chaos." The summary is typical, though hardly just; Lindsay's record is one of remarkable success and serious shortcomings against overpowering odds.
During the three years of the Lindsay administration, welfare rolls have risen by 40%, to a point where almost 1,000,000 people (1 out of 8 New Yorkers) are on relief. Some city officials would accept Richard Nixon's argument that welfare payments across the country should be standardized,