Tidbits - January 7, 2016 - New Threat to Voting Rights; Tonya Pinkins the Real Mother Courage; Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and Oregon Thugs; Left Gains Ground, Can It Hold; Trump and Fascism; Reality Check, Socialism in the GDR; and much more...(long)

Reader Comments: New Threat to Voting Rights before Supreme Court; The Portrayal of African Americans on Stage and Screen - Tonya Pinkins the Real Mother Courage; Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and Oregon Thugs; Left Gains Ground, Can It Hold; Trump and Fascism; Readers Respond to poem about Berlin Wall - The GDR, A Different Perspective; The Real Northern Student Movement; Shostakovich; Vivian Stromberg Presente.(Sorry for length, three weeks since Tidbits last appeared)
January 7, 2016
Tidbits, Reader Comments, and Announcements - January 7, 2016
Portside

 

 
 
 
"Gentle ladies and men, boys and girls, Heads UP!!!!! Eyes Wide Open!!!!!
 
TRUMPISM and all of its white supremacists advocates and activists are galloping along. Mind you this is happening with or without The Donald. Safe to say, Trumpism is the effect, not the cause. The causes are deeply systematic in the dialectics of class, caste, race and gender of 21st century capitalism. What to do with all these surplus laborers? Outsourcing, global markets, technology creates ever more unemployment and the concomitant rampant homelessness and jobless. 21st century American capitalism continues to marginalize the remaining least skilled, educationally failed workers. This is the mega-billionaires' growing nightmare. The conventional wisdom used to be that the "presidential" election cycle operates as a political corrective: the invisible hand guiding the arc of history to bend towards justice. Donald Trump's and Bernie Sanders' campaign rhetoric did not fall out of the sky. The Demagogue and the Truth sayer reflect all of the cynicism, fatalism, paranoia, indeed the wrath of a conflicted, confused and furious electorate. I submit: Campaign 2016 makes a mockery of electoral franchise. It has already been bought and paid for.
 
Number One: U.S. census clearly documents there has been a seismic demographic shift over the past 3-4 decades that has the potential to utterly transform the political landscape of our most diverse states, particular in the South and the South West.
 
Number Two: We are rapidly becoming a nation of diverse pluralities, mostly non-european: largely Spanish speakers, Central, and South American, Afro-Caribbean, African, and East and South Asian.
 
Number Three: "White" majorities are rapidly diminishing in numbers, particularly in the South, and they fear the possible consequences of being overwhelmed and overtaken by the aspirations of the new Dreamers.
 
Number Four: Many state legislatures, mostly GOP controlled, fearing the worst future outcomes, are rapidly redrawing Congressional districts to further disenfranchise and disempower their growing non-european populations, most particularly in states that have large, undocumented peoples, felons and ex-felons, most particularly their most impoverished and vulnerable--and therefore most "needy" of state subsidy. Yes, many of them remain unregistered and non-citizens. Thus they lack constitutional "personhood."
 
In this context:
 
SCOTUS is about to decide on a redistricting voting rights case, one that was sponsored by the same conservative political advocacy group that brought AND WON the last re redistricting case that eviscerated the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Law: namely, Shelby Co. v Holder, 1993."
 
Larry Aaronson
 
     ====
 
Larry YOUR expose of this whole redistricting is right on as to how they are changing the peoples vote to aligned with what the powerful want this country to be ruled. The information YOU have provided us all to be able to see how this world is changing in the direction that they want it to go. Forget our vote being anything of choice, it does NOT matter very much to the outcome that is coming down on us all. Our past presidents have given us and taken away our rights for the good of the n.w.o. Global banking is the n.w.o. very slightly done to us all. We are all not living in a free society anymore ,dictator is being set up right now, the nwol WE have no more sovereignty in order for the country to become 1 ruler for all. Sad it is. Prayers are needed for us all.
 
Rita Tomaszewski
 
 
 
 
 
This is an issue I wish I knew more about. As August Wilson argued, putting black actors in plays by white authors is not necessarily a progressive move. Yes, it allows white theatre audiences to begin to envision a multi-racial world in art. Yes, it gives black performers work!!--creative and remunerative, and career-building. But the perspective of a play by a Eurocentrist, although it aspires to the lofty heights of universal values (gag, koff), still allows performers to only be, in a sense, dummies for the European representation.
 
Khimberly Marshall you may remember a discussion we had when I wanted to cast you as Queen Margaret in R3. You chose another Eurocentric play, but you had good reason. Antigone was more like an ingenuous, and allowed you to find the tragic and fragile, instead of the "strong (tough) woman." Interesting, in retrospect, that both plays were directed by women, at least, albeit EuroAmericans.
 
How many times was I cast in a play by a male, directed by a male, from a male point of view, in a cast largely consisting of males, etc. etc. Prostitute, Orgasmic Mary Magdalene, "The White Whore" etc. etc.
 
So I became a director to choose plays that at least were compatible with my own point of view, allowed me to cast strong women, and interpret plays without kowtowing to the male gaze.
 
I am grateful to Tonya Pinkins for shedding light on the artistic struggle/ the struggle of viewpoints. How many times was I in a play by a male, directed and designed by a male, in a company that only had a woman in the position of scheduler! Prostitutes, "white whore," orgasmic ...until I decided Ihad to become a director myself and I would choose the plays and the actors, I would choose the interpretation. And it would not kowtow to the male gaze.
 
Tonya Pinkins is asserting her right to perform without being made prostrate to some kind of violation in this process. (Sounds like the violation is NOT just "white," but male, and not even faithful to Brecht."
 
What does the director really have to contribute to an audience's understanding of the war in the Congo? I tend to jump to Pinkins' side because of my experience with directors who I felt were wrong-wrong-wrong about MY interpretation.
 
I will just say that reading the director's "side" strengthened my support for Pinkins. When the director says rather unsubtly that performances/previews were canceled when "this Tony winner" was unable to perform...well, there's sneer there that undermines my trust in his perspective.
 
Juanita Rice
 
     ====
 
As many of you know Tonya Pinkins is a brilliant actress. Like many brothers and sisters she is cognizant of her ability to portray powerful arch types not only for the black community but for women that live every day lives, all of us. She removed herself from one of my favorite Bertold Brecht plays "Mother Courage: and her reasons are in keeping with her determination that the stage conveys more then entertainment but a message for us all, just as William Shakespeare did.
 
For those who do not know this is a play about a widow who drags her cart between to warring armies selling goods to each side. As she does so one by one her three children are killed. This play is for our times more apt then ever, as our boys go off to war, not for our defense but that of big business.Bases in 150 countries is outrageous . That our boys and girls die while Cheney's company profits 37 billion dollars is obscene. 
 
Hats off to Ms. Pinkins!! Happy New Years!
 
Earl Marty Price
 
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Creative differences, indeed. Sounds to me like she "gets" Brecht, too.
 
Bill Henning
 
     ====
 
"If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything."
 
Susie Francois
 
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Wouldn't it be wonderful if she could start her own production company? I'm glad she stood her ground.
 
Paul Kelly
 
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Brecht would be turning over in his grave. What integrity she has! Good for her. Thanks for sharing the post.
 
Laurel Kailin
 
 
 
 
 
Grand juries serve to protect police from criminal prosecution far more often than to charge them with criminal assault, manslaughter or murder.
 
"It's difficult to imagine that any reform could make the family of 12-year-old Rice feel as though he did not die in vain. But perhaps a serious effort to abolish grand juries is an appropriate step toward ending this pattern of watching police walk free after needlessly killing those who are black and unarmed. One such effort is underway in California, where lawmakers this summer banned the use of secret grand juries in police shootings."
 
John Jernegan
 
     ====
 
"How Can Nobody Be To Blame" is the question, indeed. Someone must be held accountable!
 
Rashidah Grinage
 
     ====
 
JUSTICE OR ELSE - WHAT?
 
Sitikid Raheem
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
[Carlos Latuff is an internationally renowned political cartoonist born in 1968 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Latuff is a controversial artist whose work deals with an array of themes, including anti-globalisation, anti-capitalism and anti-U.S military intervention.]
 
 
 
 
 
In one of its smarter moments, Illinois eliminated private bail bondsman. One pays the state 10% down. One gets a bail hearing within 24 hrs of arrest.
 
James H. Williams
 
 
 
 
 
"At the beginning of 2015, the Guardian began a grim task - to record the death of every person killed by American police officers - for a simple reason: astonishingly, the United States government publishes no such record."
 
Diane Laison
 
     ====
 
 
People Killed by Police in the U.S. - Year 2015 Interactive Database/Graphic 
December 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
As Marie Antoinette cluelessly said, "Let them eat cake."
 
As the powers that be who have callously ordered the poisoning of poor people living in Flint would say today, "Let them drink leaded water."
 
In this season of giving, the callous treatment of poor people and children in poverty would be egregious, except that we see it happening so widely.
 
Is anyone preparing criminal indictments or, at least, tort claims? If not, why not? How else will the perpetrators of these crimes learn their lessons? How else will they make the injured whole?
 
Ellen Dannin
 
 
 
 
 
Families of police murder victims in Chicago and police torture victims are demanding more than words and cosmetic changes.  Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has touted Chicago's "Independent Police Review Authority" (IPRA) as a model for the country.  Now he says he'll make it better.  This is just more of the same.
 
LaCreshia Birts, a leader of Black Youth Project 100, has said at demonstrations against police murders, "We don't need a 'better' IPRA.  IPRA works just the way it's supposed to - it covers up police crimes.  What we need is community control of the police.  What we need is an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council, CPAC," to replace the cover-up Police Board and IPRA, both appointed by and for the Mayor, not the people.
 
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has proposed an ordinance establishing an elected CPAC.  It's text is at. The Alliance is organizing in the communities for this bill, and has brought out thousands in demonstrations in support of it, and gathered over 27,000 signatures on a petition supporting it.  People who want real change in Chicago and not just rhetoric from the Mayor and other elected officials can join this growing movement by calling the Alliance at 312-939-2750 or emailing contact@naarpr.org.
 
Ted Pearson
 
 
 
 
 
Gary Younge, in the Guardian, writes convincingly (to me at least) of the resurgent left and its limits. His thoughts and observations of the left in UK, Spain, Portugal and Greece could apply easily to the surprising Bernie Campaign. Thanks to Portside https://www.facebook.com/Portside.PortsideLabor/ for the link. From here on in, I'm following Gary Younge's work, it so articulates my own thoughts and intuitions.
 
Daniel Millstone
 
     ====
 
Gary Younge speaks to the complications inherent in times of transition, and his citation of Gramsci concerning the interregnum of our age is fitting.  Such periods contain a measure of self-deception, many false starts, and more than a little betrayal.  But what they also share are hope and creativity and vision.  Of course we don't know exactly where we wish to go and precisely how to get there, but our methods should surely include the establishment of workplace democracy as a step toward real social democracy.
 
Jim Young
Harrisburg, PA
 
 
 
 
 
Birmingham passed a minimum wage increase of $10.10 in the biggest city in Alabama in the reddest state in the country.
 
Joe Keffer
 
 
 
 
 
Great list that's missing a key item, " the Victories in the "Fight for $15" with Seattle, LA, San Fran, NY State Fast Food Wkrs & Gov & Unions ready for 2016 to be. 1st Statewide  $15 minimum for all workers plus other cities"
 
Happy 2016 !
 
Steve Kramer
 
 
 
 
 
There appears to be no place to comment on Swanson's piece.  I am not a Hillary supporter, for just the reasons he raises.  BUT, Trump wasn't in a position to vote for anything.  He's an outspoken racist, and I'm surprised you're giving him a platform to say some stupid stuff.
 
Marguerite G. Rosenthal, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, School of Social Work
Salem State University
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Dear Trump: We've seen this before. It doesn't end well.
 
Update: Donald Trump has upped his rhetoric to a whole new terrifying level. Now he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.
 
On 12/2 we delivered our registry to Trump's campaign with over 8,000 signatures (check it out here). We'll send him this list again when we reach 20,000 names. Help us reach our goal and make a powerful statement.
 
Not Jewish? Add your name to the interfaith letter of support to the Muslim community from our friends at Groundswell
 
 
 
 
an action of BEND THE ARC Jewish Action
 
 
 
 
 
One more example of how the authorities (FBI um this case) prey on flawed people and try to use them to build a terrorist accusation. Roil the waters. Bravo for the Security Service, or Sicherheist Dienst.
 
Scott Kimmich
 
 
 
 
 
 
I find your article interesting, having lived in Kerala where there are so many diverse forms of both bananas and plantains compared to the west and where they each have such a wide variety of tastes and also health uses. Different for diverse ailments and tastes. The US is exceptionally backward in its very limited use of bananas and approach to using them. I am certain that the fungus will get rid of such a limited view of bananas and plantains.
 
Americans tend to use them until they are destroyed... a stupid approach to the great variety of plants and fruits and all vegetations.
 
Prof. Joan P. Mencher, Emerita Professor, CUNY
 
 
 
 
 
Very interesting article. Our home grown fascist movements - 1930s and 40s and today. Think that a very big difference today is how one of the major political parties has totally caved to the most reactionary and fascist elements. Trump has pulled the GOP farther to the fringe than the Tea Party could have imagined. While major corporations (Henry Ford and Ford Motor Co.) and the media (Chicago Tribune) secretly and not so secretly supported earlier fascist movements, today the secret is out of the box. Corporations and the media learned from Jim Crow and racism that their support for reaction would not hinder their bottom line.
 
Jay Schaffner
 
     ====
 
Joe Allen's history is a bit off. He says John Kasich's video refers to "Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer's warning about the Nazis." That should be Martin Niemöller's warning.
 
Daniel Jordan, PhD
 
 
 
 
 
I think Bernie Sanders' campaign would benefit by having a co-campaigner, i.e., a vice-presidential candidate partner.  I'd love to see that person be a youngish woman blue collar labor leader, preferably Black or Latina.
 
Lucy Fried
 
 
 
 
 
I can't help but think that the price of oil is having devastating effects on many countries, and I suspect, being the conspiracy theorist that I am, that the U.S. and its ally, Saudi Arabia (at the behest of the U.S.) are behind keeping prices low.  Who gets hurt by low oil prices - Venezuela, Iran, Russia, Syria. Causing economic disruption in these countries is the goal, and it seems to be working as witnessed in Venezuela and cutting oil revenues to that country disrupts many of its allies that count on Venezuela's economic support. One can't help but think that the  dirty hands of the U.S. have been hard at work in Brazil and  Argentina. When it comes to regime change, the U.S. interests go beyond dictators and always has, especially in Latin America.
 
Lincoln Smith
 
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"Fracking is a relatively expensive process-about ten times more costly than the $5 to $6 per barrel cost of drilling oil from conventional wells in Saudi Arabia. By letting the price of oil drop, OPEC, in which Saudi Arabia is the key partner, has been applying financial pressure on the fracking industry" 
 
Manijeh Berahmandi
 
 
 
 
 
"Before I began writing this review I put Dmitri Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony on my CD player. This symphony, known as the Leningrad Symphony, is the inspiration for a new and wonderful history by M. T. Anderson. As I write these words, the First Movement is approaching its end. The Nazi armies are beginning their ferocious attack on Leningrad and other parts of the Soviet Union in Hitler's Operation Barbarossa. The symphony's previous sounds of beauty are replaced by sounds of fear and threat; air raids and bombardments. The fear of Stalin's police is superseded by the Nazi assault and the fear and death it brings."
 
Michael Givel
 
     ====
 
I hope this post isn't taken as anything but information on perhaps the greatest composer of the 20th Century.
 
I had discovered Shostakovich before he was in fashion - through his string quartets, which were, at the time, virtually unknown in the West. I had gotten the complete set of LPs by the Fitzwilliam Quartet. At that time - before the age of CD's, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Shostakovich was written off as a kind of Soviet propagandist, and his Seventh Symphony dismissed (though in WW II it was hailed - along with Shostakovich, who appeared on the cover of Time magazine).
 
Poor Dmitri, the West (particularly the Americans) had a terrible time coming to grips with the man. Except for the brief war-time alliance with the Soviets, music from the East was off limits. We talk so lightly about the totalitarian Soviet state (and indeed it was - some of Dmitri's friends were killed and his own life not secure) without realizing how "gently totalitarian" our own approach could be in things such as music.
 
When the Soviet Union fell, the Western critics rediscovered Shostakovich, but found it necessary to treat him as having been a secret dissident. Courageous he certainly was. Even after Stalin's death his Babi Yar Symphony was rarely performed. But a secret dissident he was not.
 
For me, the reality was that Shostakovich, once so enthusiastic about the Revolution (listen to his First Symphony) lived not only through the times of terror, but through something Americans have simply never understood - World War II, with over 20 million dead, every farm and factory, every dam and train station West of Moscow, leveled to the ground. Millions of widows and orphans, millions of wounded veterans.
 
A sense of this is indeed found in the Seventh Symphony - and runs through all of Shostakovich's work.  Shame on our music critics, who bent to the political winds of the time, as much as their Soviet counterparts. For a sense of the pain Dmitri felt, listen to his 14th and 15th String Quartets - his last - which are perhaps the saddest music of that time.
 
David McReynolds
 
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The score of Shostakovich's 7th symphony "The Leningrad" "was smuggled to the United States, where it would be transcribed onto staff sheets and sent to Arturo Toscanini, who ultimately performed it with the NBC Radio Orchestra to a national radio audience on July 19, 1942. This performance is legendary. Indeed, it is one of the most legendary radio broadcasts of the Twentieth Century. It would help turn the US Congress in favor of joining the Soviet government's armies to defeat the Nazis. allied his fellow citizens."
 
Michael Munk
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
(posting on Portside Culture)
 
It kept the fascists out.
 
James H. Williams
 
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a very cheap shot at a target that's no longer around to speak for itself. Unworthy of Portside!
 
Eric A. Gordon
Los Angeles
 
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Ally Malinenko and anyone else who got their picture of East German life from the oh-so-unprejudiced GDR museum, resulting in a "sardonic expose" of East German "nostalgia for the old days". I, also a New Yorker, lived in the GDR much of my life.
 
Indeed, I recall plenty I got angry about and not a few causes for despair. Yet despite all the bad things you saw in the museum drawers, I am somehow still troubled by occasional nostalgia.
 
You mock the "soviet jeans, created to counter the Levis". They were not meant to counter them, but simply, after initial reluctance, because of a not unusual need to follow world fashion trends as well as possible. It could not afford to import "genuine" Levis or Lees or keep up with each new change in shape, color or form. But they were not "Soviet" but GDR denim jeans.
 
Nor was the Trabi car with its "sad, two-stroke engine . created to counter the Beetle" or tell "East Berliners you don't need what the west has because we have our own." It (like a larger, sister product) was simply the best the GDR, with no Marsha lPlan and no iron mines, could offer. True, it was too slow and bumpy and not ecological; the GDR could not match those wonderful Volkswagen, Mercedes and BMW vehicles, so classy, so high speed, and so ecological in their emissions.
 
True, there was a very long wait for one's first car; after that trade-ins were far quicker. I know because I drove four of them in 26 years. With no more GDR, car density tripled or quadrupled, streets and parking space filled up and highway length, width and allowed speed increased proportionately. I am not sure I rejoice fully at such improvements, for city and railroad fares also soared (by up to 25x).  And I note that carmakers like GM are now checking into the idea of a plastic body over a steel frame.
 
Having money but "nothing to buy"; I bought a fridge, a color TV, washing machine and four Trabis and was quite happy, also with books, records, tickets - and rent (about 10% of income) - ridiculously low. Yes, there were always shortages of something.
 
Yet in some ways it may be economically healthier if most people have more money than goods than the now typical opposite, with plenty to buy but many having too little money, including many single parents, part-time or "precarious" employees and the homeless, estimated at 4000 men and women only in Berlin, but more and more every year. Some lucky ones get a night's flop from the city or church, others are given sleeping bags.
 
But I recall a GDR law absolutely forbidding evictions! In those days I never saw one homeless person or beggar, subway station violinist or traffic light windshield-cleaner.
 
"Nowhere to go?" If you saved a while, like me (in the middle class), you could spend two weeks at Lake Balaton in Hungary, the Tatras in Czechoslovakia (good for skiers) or a Black Sea beach in Bulgaria, Romania or Sochi (we tried all three). If that was too costly your union offered members their vacation hotel, 30 marks per person (about a day's pay) for a full two weeks' food and board - and less for kids. Or you could go to countless campsites at the lakes or seaside. Lots chose the nudist beaches (usually loosely adjoining the "textile beaches") - not, dear Ally M., as a "small thumbed nose to the communists", but simply because they enjoyed it that way, mostly on a family basis. You might even meet "the communists" at the next spot along the beach.
 
Today's mass media mockers of the GDR always explain away nudist bathing as a form of "opposition"; they can't swallow the idea that GDR people simply liked - and succeeded in enjoying themselves. And they have now limited it and hid it away (seeming to prefer their porno magazines).
 
Otherwise, as far as "nowhere to go": my family loved to go to the theater or opera; East Berlin had some of the best in Europe (and every city and most large towns had a stage theater). Or to the movies, where nearly all better Hollywood films were shown. Our sons might go to a disco, to music school or one of the club houses for youngsters and adults. Every big enterprise had its "cultural club" for most sports and hobbies, free of charge. And half the population had a summer bungalow.
 
Not visible in the museum drawers: that women got equal wages for equal work, a paid "household day" off every month, free birth control and free abortions if desired, plus a big financial sum to cover costs for every baby (more if they went to pre-natal and post-natal checkups and breast fed). Plus free child care.
 
The GDR could never keep up with consumer goods industries in the West nor buy all the fruits and imports it needed, which always caused problems - and anger.
 
But till the very end there was no unemployment, youngsters learned a trade or went to college and then got a job, almost always in that field. All education, like all medical care, was covered financially and was never a burden or meant going into debt. Like me and everyone, my college student sons got a monthly sum to cover basics. Then, too, while the GDR had an army, it never sent it to fight anywhere like Germany does now (no, not to Czechoslovakia in 1968 as sometimes asserted).
 
Most important of all in my eyes, it threw out all war criminal giants like Krupp, Thyssen, Siemens, Daimler, Bayer, BASF and the Deutsche Bank, all guilty of supporting Hitler, two World Wars, mass destruction and Auschwitz. Nasty as it was, that Berlin Wall helped keep them out. Now we have them back again. (And John F. Kennedy is alleged to have said back in 1961, "A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war!")
 
Yes, there was lots to get angry about or despair of in the GDR - as in every country! But such matters are dealt with so widely - almost exclusively - in today's media that it would be repetitious (and too long) to go into them here. But can anyone understand why I too have a few nostalgic feelings?
 
Victor Grossman, Berlin
 
 
 
 
 
Lester Cole's "Hollywood Red" states that the speech Trumbo gave which is depicted at the end of the film caused a split among the Hollywood Ten in that Alvah Bessie, Cole, and others felt Trumbo's statement that "there were no villains only victims" let an awful lot of disgusting figures off the hook....another book I am reading now which is a great read in this Time of Trump is Cedric Belfrage's "American Inquisition"....
 
Marilyn Albert
 
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We hope you saw Carlyle Brown's "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?" 4 years ago at the Guthrie. Gavin Lawrence was brilliant as Langston Hughes. Art continues to serve as a source for powerful responses to the foibles of politics.
 
 
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I loved this movie and plan to read the book that the film is based on.
 
Nancy Cuffman
 
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It was a terrific movie and the acting was terrific.
 
Ray Markey
 
     ====
 
Great acting job to go along with the story.
 
Jeff Brown
 
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The major weakness of the film, unmentioned in this article, is its failure to depict the political activities that Communists like Trumbo and his comrades actually engaged in, such as organizing anti racist, labor and anti fascist movements. That would have helped demonstrate what the anti left witch hunt was trying to destroy.
 
Mike
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Thanks, Andy Piascik, for this research and analysis. The issues raised in this piece are still with us, such as the complex roles played by, and the reactions to, the presence of white supporters in the 4th precinct occupation in Minneapolis. In order to engage and resolve these issues in the present (and future), we must be able to put all of our past experiences on the table, examine and assess them, and place them in conversation with our present experiences.
 
 
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Hey, I realize there are those among my peeps that will simply pass up the opportunity to learn something from our history, at least, some of our nation's history that transpired during my lifetime, yet those that have the patience to read on my find this at least....interesting?
 
William Proctor
 
     ====
 
Dear Portside Editors, Colleagues and Compenaros,
 
I am writing in reference to the recent article by Andy Piascik in Black Star News on the history of the  Northern Student Movement; which Portside posted and circulated.
 
It includes the statement that NSM "..was founded on the Yale campus in New Haven." It does not mention the actual origins.
 
I believe that the record should be set straight immediately about the actual origins of The Northern Student Movement--events of which I am keenly, personally aware. I am concerned that accurate Movement history be conveyed and that real, live roles and actions are not forgotten.
 
The actual, historical origins of the Northern Student Movement are, as follows:
 
Dorothy Dawson Burlage, then a graduate student at Harvard, in 1961 originally recruited teams from Harvard, B.U., Brandeis, and other Boston colleges (originally meeting in her apartment on Sacramento Street in Cambridge; then in the basement of the Harvard Methodist Church on Massachusetts Avenue) to participate in:
  1. picketing Trailways because of segregated buses in the South, and 
  2. raising money for SNCC.
For the latter, she made the first SNCC pins ever created, originally in green and white, the colors on the SNCC stationery logo, and later in black and white.
 
Around the time she decided to go back to the South to work directly with SNCC again; Peter Countryman -- as the article notes, then a student at Yale - contacted Dorothy because he said he had heard of what was happening with her and organizing there and asked to come visit in Cambridge. It should be duly noted that, at that meeting, she asked Peter to take over, when she left to go to Atlanta, what was already becoming the Northern Student Movement.  That was how he became "chair."
 
Bill Strickland, described in the article as Second Chairperson of NSM,has commented, as follows:
 
"Thanks for the clarification about NSM's origins.The history that you cite was unknown to me so I am forwarding your email to Joan Countryman.
 
"It so happens that a number of friends did forward the Portside piece to me and I ignored it because it seemed to be primarily oriented towards glorifying NSM's connections to Yale and Connecticut. In fact prior to the article's appearance in Portside, and perhaps Black Star News, it appears to have been published at connecticuthistory.org "
 
Robb Burlage, PhD
Founder and professor, Joint Graduate Degree Program in Urban Planning & Public Health, Columbia University; Founder, The Health/PAC Bulletin.
 
Co-founder, Southern Student Organizing Committee, (based on southern college campuses with predominantly white students; allied with and supportive of SNCC); contributor to "The Port Huron Statement" document of Students for a Democratic Society.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Look closely at the actions of business unionism, and there is very little unionism and mostly business friendly stances. For example, AFT and NEA endorsed Hillary without consulting the rank and file or even waiting for policy stances to be put forward in the Democratic debates.
 
Ben Eli Osterberg
 
 
 
 
 
 
Although the reviewer has a less than deft hand navigating the divides between marxists and anarchists, nice to see Andy Cornell's book getting the attention it deserves. Andy is among the best of a remarkable group of young anarchist scholars. Congrats Andy.
 
Dana Ward
 
     ====
 
Dana, thanks so much for your kind words and for bringing this to my attention. I had not seen that Portside reprinted the LARB review. Though I hope someone writes another review soon so this doesn't become the primary way people here about the book!
 
Andy Cornell
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Very valid article on the poor standards of science articles.
 
However, what was not addressed was Wikipedia's blatant biases/prejudices It is notably downright hostile to holistic healing, homeopathy in particular as that is a field of study and practice to which  I adhere.
 
Wikipedia is presumable a 'people's' encyclopedia where those with expertise are free to post.  Of course others are also free to comment, correct or disagree. However, none of these choices includes erasing every comment entered on the subject.  This then becomes censorship and Wikipedia is very guilty on this end.
 
All web sites cost money to maintain and what is not transparent is where this money comes from.  I have personally come to the position that whenever I see holistic healing trashed I question the money source as drug corporation money, directly or indirectly, is often involved.
 
I think this much more an issue with Wikipedia than the readability of some science articles as censorship  is, and should be, a much bigger issue of the Left.
 
tanya marquette
New Paltz, NY
 
     ====
 
Spot on.
 
Thank you for this, and the many other enlightening articles.
 
Paula Valentine
 
 
 
 
 
 
Intelligent design: Who had the brilliant idea to put the sewage system and the entertainment system in the same place?
 
Jim Price
 
 
 
 
 
Different intriguing and far-reaching approaches -- the Russian one suggested by the Russian Orthodox Church!
 
Alfred Rose
 
 
 
 
 
Vivian -- a bold, visionary, risk-taking, loving friend and leader -- has died, and we have lost an inimitable force for social justice and for the rights of women and families everywhere.
 
For decades, Vivian was relentless in her pursuit of human rights and justice for all. She grew up in Brooklyn, NY and dedicated herself to local and global struggles for women's rights, civil rights, nuclear disarmament and peace. Vivian understood that these are one struggle, to be waged with ferocity and with joy.
 
In 1983, she was a key founder of MADRE and helped lead our work in solidarity with communities in Nicaragua facing the worst violence of the US-backed Contra wars. Taking on the role of Executive Director in the early 1990s, she grew and deepened our work in solidarity with women in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
 
Through it all, Vivian's wisdom, booming voice, and keen strategy kept us rooted in the priorities of grassroots women organizing in communities worldwide. She mobilized with women to bring their voices to spaces of power, knocking down barriers and insisting that all issues are women's issues. Vivian demanded that women be heard.
 
As we recall her pioneering work, we recommit to carrying it forward. Vivian spearheaded a groundbreaking campaign called Milk and Medicines, joining women activists from the Americas and the Middle East to drive a convoy of trucks bringing life-saving aid to Iraqi hospitals threatened by US sanctions. She launched a campaign of Mother Courage national speaking tours, bringing the voices of women war survivors to propel a message of peace. She organized million-dollar shipments of medicines to Cuba and condemned the US embargo that threw up barriers to basic health care. She was a staunch ally to Indigenous women organizers, amplifying their vision of individual and collective human rights at the United Nations and in their villages.
 
She placed herself squarely in the struggle alongside grassroots women and families confronting war, disaster, economic injustice and imperialism. Every day and in her every action, she embodied a fearless, clear, forward-looking vision of a world where every person is guaranteed their human rights. She taught us all to set our own course, to raise our voices and speak uncomfortable truths to power. Loudly.
 
She swept us all up in her love and laughter, her irreverent humor and the spontaneity that marked every interaction with her. We will each hold these memories with us, and her lasting lesson of how to live a life in full, with joy and tremendous purpose.
 
Vivian Stromberg, presente!.
 
(see also lengthy obituary in the New York Times)
 
 
Memorial Celebration of the Life and Work of Vivian Stromberg
 
Monday, January 11, 2016
5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
 
United Nations Church Center
1st Avenue & East 44th Street, New York, NY 10017
 
 
Please join MADRE, Eve Ensler and allies across our movements in celebrating Vivian's life and for a special announcement. Come share memories with friends and enjoy music performed by Flor De Toloache, an all-woman mariachi band!
 
Light refreshments will be provided.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wednesday, January 13 at 7 PM - 9 PM
 
The Commons Brooklyn
388 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11217
 
Brooklyn For Peace, a community-based peace and justice organization, will hold a Forum on Syria and the associated crises that are inflaming the Middle East: the Syrian Civil War, the flood of refugees fleeing terrible, life-threatening conditions, the emergence of extremist organizations and the possibility of another disastrous war that threatens to spread beyond the region.
 
The forum will feature noted scholars:
  • Phyllis Bennis - Director, the New Internationalism Project at the Institute For Policy Studies, working as a writer, activist and analyst on Middle East and UN issues. She is also a Fellow of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam. In 2001 she helped found and remains active with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
  • David Wildman - Executive Secretary for Human Rights and Justice with the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. He has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East, including Palestine, Israel and Jordan.
 
Doors open at 6:30PM
Free admission
 
Music featuring Judy Gorman
Q&A follows speakers
 
 
 
 
Zuccotti Park
10 Liberty St, New York, New York 10006
 
Saturday, January 23 at 3 PM - 6 PM
 
2016 America is a scary, uncertain place. Income and wealth inequality has hollowed out the middle class, leaving millions of Americans left out of the economic recovery. Young people are graduating college with massive levels of student debt and are unable to find adequate employment. Workers in many industries are earning starvation wages in one of the wealthiest nations on Earth. Women are having their abortion services eliminated in many areas of the country, as the attack on women's health organizations such as Planned Parenthood continue to intensify. Black people are brutalized and murdered by police everyday, immigrants live in constant fear of their friends and family members being attacked or deported, Muslim-Americans are treated like second class citizens, and the poor are being pushed out of their communities due to rampant gentrification.
 
Our political system is completely corrupt, choking on high-paid lobbyists, SuperPACS, and dark money. We frequently elect politicians who fall to these pressures and fail to address our very serious issues. Meanwhile, prime-time debates have war and ISIS in the crosshairs, leaving a deafening silence where urgent dialogue and action on domestic issues is needed.
 
Sometimes, It might seem easy or convenient to give up but in our darkest hours, we must remember this quote from Bernie Sanders:
 
"All over this country we have a lot of bright, decent, good people. They're saying, 'You know what, this situation is hopeless. You can't beat the Koch Brothers, you can't beat the billionaires... you can't win. I'm giving up.' That is exactly what they want us to believe. And I beg of you, do not enter that world of despair. We can win this fight if we stand together."
 
On Saturday January 23rd, Bernie supporters from every borough and neighborhood will come together in Zuccotti Park where four short years ago Occupy Wall Street lit a fire under the progressive movement that has continued to burn today.
 
Our goal for this rally is to show our New York solidarity to Bernie Sanders and his supporters in Iowa who are heading to the polls for the Caucuses ( The first primary in the democratic presidential election). We plan on bringing supporters throughout NYC and beyond, strengthening our movement for progressive values and cheering Bernie on for a Des Moines win!
 
Alone, we can only do so much to fight for justice and inequality. But, If we stand together and spark a fire, we will discover that we are more powerful than we ever imagined.
 
We are the people we've been waiting for.
  • This event is for ALL ages
  • We will be getting all necessary permits
  • Bernie's campaign is aware that this event is happening.
  • Please remember this is a peaceful assembly, and our actions reflect Bernie and his campaign.
More details soon!
 
P.S: If you are outside the greater NYC area, check the #MarchForBernie national page to join or organize your own local event!: 
 
Tickets Here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This year's Left Forum from May 20th to 22nd, 2016 at John Jay College for Criminal Justice, The City University of New York City  will offer something fundamentally different from conventional politics and from this year's presidential election mainstream media hype. The Left Forum will gather and build on the growing consciousness that basic social problems are sharpening in ways that traditional politicians, journalists, and academics rarely admit and do not even begin to solve. The Left Forum will again engage the forces and movements making basic progressive social change the big issue that will no longer be kept out of the public discussion.
 
The left now generates an increasingly powerful and effective criticism of contemporary capitalism and the mushrooming social problems it worsens. Ever more people are becoming active: from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter and the Fight for $15; from escalating climate justice demands to the massive national support for Bernie not despite but because he wears the label socialist. Something profound is shaking.
 
From the streets and the offices, from campuses, factories, and stores, disgust with traditional society, politics, rules, and conventions is growing.  The left starts there to build a program for change. We can do better than capitalism and its catastrophic wars. We reject the corporate dominance that corrupts our politics while delivering endless cycles of depressions, unemployment, and austerities. Our fellow citizens share our horror at the grotesque inequalities of today's corporate system: its discrimination's against and oppressions of vast populations and its destruction of our environment. There are far better alternatives. Join us to share, discuss, and debate those alternatives and how best to achieve them.
 
In Solidarity,
 
Marcus Graetsch
Program Coordinator
Left Forum
 
Panel Submission Deadline:  March 28th 2016. We ask that you submit your panel, workshop, panel track proposals or panel ideas as soon as you can.
 
For inquiries, contact panels@leftforum.org
 
Helpful links:
About Left Forum:
Left Forum, now in its 12th year, has grown from a gathering of hundreds to a convergence of 1,200 speaker and over 4,500 people attending. It is the largest annual gathering of the broad Left in North America, if not on the globe. 
 
This is a pluralistic, ecumenical event, and highlights dialogue over doctrine, diversity and common interests over competition and recruitment, and respect for differences in finding common bonds in social movement building. It is the largest annual gathering of its kind for diverse intellectual and activist currents in the progressive and left spectrum of politics, ideas, and culture. Recent speakers include Harry Belafonte, Angela Davis, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro García Linera, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Immortal Technique, Kshama Sawant, Oliver Stone, Amy Goodman, Cornel West, Slavoj Zizek, and Grace Lee Boggs.
 
 
 
 
Please forward widely
leftforum.org  ** left forum on Facebook  ** left forum on Twitter ** leftforum@leftforum.org   ** 212-817-2003

 

January 7, 2016