Tidbits - July 14, 2016 - Reader Comments: U.S. "Inequality Trap"; Police Brutality and Racial Terror; Sanders and Democratic Party; Brexit; Tair Kaminer; and more...

Reader Comments: U.S. Stuck in an "Inequality Trap"; New Wave of Police Brutality and Racial Terror; Photo That Should Be Seen Around the World; Sanders Delivered Most Progressive Platform for Democrats, Ever - Yet Still a Long Way to Go on War and Military Policy, and Trade Policy Still Needs to be Changed; About Demonstrations at GOP Convention; Brexit; James Green; Tair Kaminer; Austrian elections; Remembering Donald Jelinek; Save the Georg Lukacs Archive...
July 14, 2016
Tidbits, Reader Comments and Shorts - July 14, 2016
Portside

 

 
 
 
 
"working-class households haven't received the benefits of economic growth. They understand that banks had caused the 2008 crisis; but then they saw billions going to save the banks, and trivial amounts to save their homes and jobs. With median real (inflation-adjusted) income for a full-time male worker in the US lower than it was four decades ago, an angry electorate should come as no surprise."
 
Marlena Santoyo
 
 
 
 
 
Police who kill innocent civilians should get life sentences in prison. Right now they have license to kill, since they never ever suffer any consequences for their selfish carelessness.  So they go on killing, day after day. Maybe if they got properly punished for their actions, they would be discouraged from this sort of behavior. 
 
Judith Ackerman
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
A woman's peaceful act of resistance during a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has become the symbol of a powerful moment in the Black Lives Matter movement.
photo credit: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters // Huffington Post
 
 
A photo of an unnamed protester at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has become a powerful image of the ongoing struggle between law enforcement and black Americans.
 
More than 100 people were arrested during a protest outside the city's police headquarters on Saturday following the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed by police outside a convenience store last week. At least three journalists were arrested, as was prominent activist DeRay Mckesson. 
 
The woman in the image above, which was taken by Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman, was among those arrested for refusing to leave an area highway. The moment and the photo evoke Tiananmen Square's infamous and unknown "Tank Man." Neither Reuters nor the Associated Press was able to identify the woman, who was later detained...
 
Nick Visser, Reporter, The Huffington Post
July 10, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
My guess it the author has not been an elected official who would see just how little platforms mean in two party politics.  
 
Peace 
 
Buzz Davis,  WI 
Strong Bernie supporter who is leaving Bernie and the Democratic Party  behind and moving to the Greens and Jill Stein.
 
He has talked the talk and in the end did not walk the walk.
 
 
 
 
 
Get ready for more war as a way of American life and expansion of our terror directed at people of the Middle East! Prepare to mourn the loss of ever more Palestinian children at the hands of Zionist Israelis!! More drone killings of civilians, the list goes on and on!
 
William Proctor
 
     ====
 
In spite of endless months of campaigning and endless amounts of money spent/wasted, very little of substance was said about war, the weapons industry, the legality of drone strikes or about reducing the number of our military bases (600-700, oh whatever) around the world.
 
Jim Price
 
 
 
 
(Posting on Portside Labor)
 
 
Please consider sharing this article with your pages, groups and lists! You're welcome to use my comment - or write your own!
 
The TPP is a threat not just to our jobs, but to our democracy and to our planet. It is in a true sense an "existential issue", a "to be or not to be" issue. Clinton's pretending she's against the TPP after half a lifetime of supporting and promoting these terrible treaties - starting with NAFTA - just got outed. Now she thinks she's going to persuade Bernie to drop his campaign on Tuesday and endorse her???
 
The political revolution, as Bernie keeps reminding us, is about us, the people, not about him, but at this moment the campaign to make him President is still the tip of the spear. At the meeting in Boston yesterday everyone was ready for whatever call Bernie makes in Philadelphia! And we need to be there!
 
Chris Horton
 
     ====
 
Contrast Walter Reuther in 1968 and the entire RFK Campaign 1968. That's off limits ESPECIALLY IN THE FOUNDATION FUNDED OFFICIAL "LEFT??" where it would have kindling.
 
The RFK campaign united working class CROSS-RACIALLY. It was smacking the crap out of Nixon's Southern Strategy. RFK was getting 99% of black vote and huge amounts of the "White Working class" vote (notice how media never says black working class.. gee wonder why..) and Hispanic working class too. The 1968 RFK had THE LOWEST AVERAGE INCOME supporters of any primaries in the 20th century. That's why its off limits because it was targeting a huge war. The McLeftists are not allowed to go there, and indeed try to keep the left from reading this history. Because it was working!. You mention "LABOR LEADERS" Walter Reuther was the only huge national labor leader to desert the pro war national labor office pro war consensus behind Humphrey.
 
Then he died in a plane crash in 1970 . Read the great writer Michael Parenti Fanpage on this one 
 
Nathaniel Heidenheimer
 
     ====
 
Wall Street pac-funded and union sponsored Democrats approve TPP against the interests of working class.
 
Ed Cloonan
 
     ====
 
Hillary Clinton has a long history of SUPPORTING Corporate 'free trade' deals from NAFT to Colombia to Korea to TPP. She has a documented history of SAYING she "opposes" a deal when ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL but VOTING FOR it after she's elected (or as Sec. of State). The CHAMBER OF COMMERCE has said they (quote) "are confident CLINTON WILL SIGN TPP if she's elected president."
 
Lydia Howell
 
     ====
 
What unity? We have never had unity in this country. We have been divided from the very beginning when our Constitution was written for only white, male, landowners. Slaves and all women were merely property, not citizens.
 
Claire Carsman
 
 
 
 
 
Yeah white identity politics
 
Bill Doar
 
 
 
 
 
Riff on the Republican Convention and where we are going.
 
I am conflicted about a Cleveland `ruckus'. Given Dallas I think it is important to not back away from protest, but I think non-violence is important here. I think the most important show for America and the world to witness in Cleveland is what is going on inside the Republican Convention. I want the cameras in that madhouse for all of us to see what Trump brings to us - whatever that is without distraction. 
 
Just for point of reference:  I am a red diaper baby. I was on the organizing staff for the 1968 convention and the staff of the Conspiracy 8, then 7, trial. I worked in factories and neighborhoods organizing ordinary people. I was a founding member of the Sojourner Truth Organization a Gramscian, anti white skin privilege working class organization. I was president of a 10,000 person local of the UAW Local. In my 3rd term I was hired away by SEIU to be Midwest Regional Director, then Illinois State Council Director. Along the way I got a law degree in night school. Since 'retirement' I have been part of the litigation / monitoring team led by Center for Constitutional Rights in the Ashker v Governor lawsuit that disrupted California's horrific practice of long term indefinite solitary confinement. I am no liberal.
 
I am a firm believer in free speech, free assembly and...the right to bear arms. There are strategic and tactical decisions about activities and policy stances associated with each of those beliefs. I am no pacifist. Yet I am not a provocateur. As a follower of Gramscian traditions and a student of dialectics, I am interested in dual power, of the leadership of organic intellectuals and most of all figuring out with increasing numbers of thoughtful participants - what is a strategy to win?  What is winning today?  Can the planet be kept habitable?  Where must our energies go?
 
It is important to confront fascism or neo-fascism, racism, tyranny, climate change and the general widespread emiserstion, oppression of 4/5 of the peoples of the world and the planet itself.  But it is also important to construct the community and world we need and not just have our work rooted in oppositionist activities. 
 
There are lots of choices about both strategy and tactics.  There is a story about Woodrow Wilson and Seattle. He went there after he invaded the young Soviet Union. Washington state was loaded with Communists. There was a parade for President Wilson, thousands turned out and lined the streets. They turned their backs on him as he rode down the street and were absolutely SILENT.
 
Right now I think mass non violent resistance and the creation of institutions of dual power are on our agendas. Critical thought is on our agenda in addition to action.
 
A touch stone for me is found on Marx's headstone "The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point, however is to change it."  Where are our energies best focused? What are our goals?  How does electoral politics figure into our world today?  We need major leaps in consciousness, organizing and discussion if a future is to exist for humans and other species. 
 
Carole Travis
 
 
 
 
 
Has Portside rerun Ken Burns's excellent analysis of Trump in Burns's speech to the graduating class of Stanford?
 
John Woodford
 
 
 
 
 
Following is the text of the address by Ken Burns, historical documentary filmmaker, as prepared for delivery at Stanford University's 125th Commencement on June 12, 2016.
 

 
 
Filmmaker Ken Burns delivers the Commencement address.
Image credit: L.A. Cicero // Stanford University
 
 
Read full text of commencement speech here.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Prof. Stiglitz accurately described the dysfunctions caused by the "wrong" kind of globalization and the failure of the EU to craft responses promoting the well-being of its citizens rather than a dubious "trickle down" economic approach. HOWEVER, the Brexit vote in the UK was characterized NOT by discussions about the impact of trade and capitalism, but almost exclusively centered on the hate and xenophobia towards EU migrants. Yes, there is economic resentment, but to say that immigration CAUSED or was even a major contributor to the economic inequalities in the UK is simply not true.
 
The reality of the effects of immigration was completely swept away by a disgusting ultranationalist rhetoric that warned voters not only of the invasion from Poles and Rumanians but of the "imminent" incorporation of Turkey to the EU and the invasion of millions of Turks (code word for darker-skinned Muslims).
 
The "Leave" vote failed to discuss in detail any supposed trade-related economic "benefits" of Brexit as a way to support this position; they did not need to engage in this discussion because their anti-immigrant fear mongering was all they needed to succeed.
 
The explosion of racism, xenophobia and ultranationalist behind the Brexit vote appears to be another step in the UK's descent into proto-fascism. The EU should indeed reform itself economically and deal with the democratic deficit within, but should also make it crystal clear to the UK that it cannot have an amicable divorce until and unless it grants full rights to the EU residents and insist on freedom of movement for EU citizens into the UK as a condition for free trade with the EU. Furthermore, the EU should make it clear that if Scotland, No. Ireland and Gibraltar seceded from the UK, they would be admitted as new EU members under advantageous circumstances.
 
History tells us that appeasement and bargaining with xenophobes and ultranationalists only rewards their misdeed and embolden their future behavior. The time to act is now.
 
Francisco Gonzalez
 
 
 
 
 
I don't think the two authors mentioned Green's labor history text, The World of the Worker, which was the best such history for its times. It brought many of the democratic impulses of the 1960s into the telling of labor history. Many of us used it often in our labor history classes.
 
Frank Stricker
 
 
 
 
 
Jump on this, Wyoming!
 
Karyne Dunbar
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tair, we salute you for your courageous stand as a conscientious objector, instead of taking the "easy way out" of the army.
 
I am a great-grandmother today who came on aliya with a group from Habonim to a kibbutz, and over the years all members of our family served in the IDF, and participated in the wars to defend our land.
 
However, today I too would have strong objections to serving in the Israel Army of Occupation, and feel desperately sorry for those who go into the army to defend their country, yet are obligated to "follow orders" that are patently immoral.
 
On another level, too, you are speaking up for those girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who suffer from the blindness or rigid bureaucracy in our society. Therefore you are doing another great service to your country.
 
Many great changes were wrought by lone individuals who stood by their principles.
 
Be strong and of good courage.
 
Reena Stoch
Kfar Vradim
 
 
 
 
 
 
The flaws in the Austrian elections process seem to be what American lawyers would call "harmless errors," meaning that they had no evident effect on the outcome. Re-voting might still seem like an equally harmless result - why not re-vote when there have been problems? - but there is no reason to think that the second election will produce a more democratic result than the first one. A second election will privilege voters who have more free time and are more motivated, and it will privilege the party with more money and better organization. Re-voting is also potentially endless, with each successive election no more democratically accurate than the previous one.
 
Yes the money issue is immense, the FPT has large reserves based on its success in parliamentary and state elections despite the fact that they outspent their opponent in the Presidential contest by 3.5:1 -- they now have far more money than the Green party will be able to provide for the new round. Given that the Van der Bellen campaign is broke it will have to depend on getting donations and will be even more outspent in this round.
 
Nor is Steven's comment about potentially endless re-runs off the mark. Leading FPT politicians have already said that they will contest the next result as well if their candidate doesn't win. And as technical failures were the basis of the decision, it opens the possibility that they can assure enough technical failures by their own poll watchers to be sure of winning a challenge any time they want to contest the result, leading to endless do overs until they win. There is immense dissatisfaction with the decision and a great deal of fear about the results of the next round in October.
 
Stan Nadel
Salzburg Austria
 
 
 

 
credit: Johnson County Library (Kansas)
 
 
 
 
Your article labeled "Summer Reading" may have useful political references, but it wasn't exactly like a list of fun and good novels for lefties to read on vacation. So I will venture offering mentioning three recent, terrific, historic mystery novels set in pre-civil war NYC that are not only good reads, but have as much politics in them as I've seen in a long time.  They are Lindsay Faye's Timothy Wilde Trilogy, best read in order I think: "Gods of Gotham," "Seven for a Secret," and "Fatal Flame."  Though set in another era, the historical contexts could be read as today's issues.  I'm taking with me as my summer reading Lindsay Faye's latest. I would mention one other novel I would suggest for everyone's summer reading.  Howard Fast's classic "Freedom Road" -- I re-read it last year and have taken to suggesting it as required reading to today's generation.
 
Mark Levy
 
 
 
 
 
By Sam Roberts 
July 3, 2016
 

 
As a civil rights lawyer in the South, Donald Jelinek was shot at and was arrested once for practicing law without the permission of the Alabama bar.
Credit Jane Scherr
 
 
Donald Jelinek, who quit a Wall Street law firm to defend civil rights workers in the South and later inmates accused in the Attica prison revolt and Indians who seized Alcatraz Island to dramatize their grievances against the government, died on June 24 at his home in Berkeley, Calif. He was 82.
 
The cause was lung disease, his wife, Jane Scherr, said.
 
Mr. Jelinek was at a law firm in 1965 when he volunteered to work during the summer for the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee of the American Civil Liberties Union, representing mostly workers from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC (known as snick).
 
As a civil rights lawyer in the South, he was shot at and was arrested once for practicing law without the permission of the Alabama bar.
 
He also directed the Southern Rural Research Project, which documented rural malnutrition and sued the Agriculture Department to distribute surplus commodities to the hungry and to force recalcitrant county officials to participate in the federal food stamp program.
 
After moving to California, he represented the Native Americans who seized Alcatraz Island in 1969. They claimed title under a 19th-century treaty and aired their other grievances against the federal government during a 19-month occupation.
 
Mr. Jelinek practically lived on the island, raised money for the protesters and helped persuade prosecutors to level relatively minor charges. (Three demonstrators were convicted of stealing copper piping, a verdict overturned on appeal.)
 
In 1971, he was recruited to coordinate the defense of 61 inmates charged with nearly 1,300 crimes after the Attica prison riot in western New York, which left 10 corrections officers and civilian employees and 33 prisoners dead. All but one guard and three inmates were killed by the authorities in what a prosecutor branded a wanton State Police "turkey shoot."
 
Read more here.
 
 
 
 
 

 
Georg Lukács was one of the founders of Western Marxism, as well as an aesthetician, literary historian, philosopher, and critic. The Lukács Archive has facilitated academic and non-academic research into Lukács's life, thought, and professional achievements. It has been located in the writer's home during his later years.
 
 
Dear Friends and Comrades,
 
My greatly beloved Teacher and Friend, Georg Lukács, lived in an Apartment on the bank of the river Danube.
 
I was privileged to stay with him there on countless occasions over the years.
 
After he died, that Apartment became the Lukács Archive, under the Authority of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
 
Sadly, however, due to Government interference, the Archive is now threatened with Closure, and his Library and historically most important Documents with a totally uncertain future.
 
This should not be allowed to happen.
 
Thousands of people expressed their support in Hungary and all over the world in favor of the Lukács Archive.
 
It would be a great help if the Readers joined them in every way in this vital effort to save the Lukács Archive, for the benefit of future generations of Researchers, and for our shared cause of a socialist transformation.
 
In solidarity,
 
István Mészáros
 
Click here to sign.
 
 
From the time the current rightist government in Hungary came into power, the archive of Georg Lukács - a preeminent Marxist of the 20th century-has been under a brutal attack. It has been gradually deprived of its subvention from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and of its ability to pay its staff. Now, the government threatens to sell the property on which it is located and disperse the archive. A foundation has been formed in Hungary to endeavor to protect and preserve the archive. A number of Monthly Review editorial committee members, authors, and friends have joined this effort and have helped to organize an international letter of support. To further that effort, Monthly Review author and friend István Mészáros has asked us to address an appeal to you.
 
John Bellamy Foster
for the editorial committee of Monthly Review
 
Please consider adding your name to the letter of support.
 

 

July 14, 2016