Sex, Arab Spring cited in letter from teachers’ association president

Letter quotes historian's comparison of mass demonstrations to sex.

The Abbotsford School District Teachers' Association building on Cyril Street.

The Abbotsford School District Teachers' Association building on Cyril Street.

The president of the Abbotsford District Teachers Association (ADTA) has told members to prepare to picket local schools next week in a letter that references sex and the Arab spring.

ADTA president Doug Smuland thanked teachers who participated in a picket Wednesday and called for a “dedicated push leading up to next Tuesday in order to achieve a negotiated settlement.”

But the section of the letter that has raised the most eyebrows is a paragraph that begins by asking teachers to “think for a moment what change the Arab Spring or the Occupy Wall street protests would have engendered had there been only a fraction of those present out in protest.”

The letter then quotes historian Eric Hobsbawm’s comparison of sex to participation in a mass demonstration.

“Next to sex, the activity combining bodily experience and intense emotion to the highest degree is the participation in a mass demonstration at a time of great public exaltation,” Hobsbawm is quoted as saying.

Smuland then writes: “Whether we reach this level of exaltation or not, we will continue with the structure of our protest as was done today. Teachers are asked to arrive at their schools on both Thursday and Friday at the normal start time of the school day, and provide a solid picket line for one collective shift. This will be the same pattern and schedule for Tuesday through Thursday of next week.”

If no agreement is reached next week, Smuland suggests the pickets may merge to form a “united demonstration or rally.”

Smuland was unavailable for comment Friday.

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