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Tidbits - September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014
Reader Comments- People's Climate March - climate change, environmental activism, labor unions; Syria, Iraq, ISIS; public education; labor organizing; Zephyr Teachout - Working Families Party, Democratic Party, 2016 elections; Spain, Scotland, Cuba, Gaza, El Salvador; racial bias; worker cooperatives; Announcements - Film Screening African Americans in Spanish Civil War; Mobilizing Against Inequality Book Launch; Southern Tenant Farmers Union celebrates 80th annive

Readers Debate: ISIS Crisis or "Here We Go Again" - Different Perspectives from Two Long-time Activists - Seymour Joseph and James E. Vann

September 18, 2014
Syria, Iraq, ISIS and the increased role of the U.S. (once again) has prompted wide-spread opposition, discussion and disagreements by those on the left. Yesterday's Congressional vote on war appropriations, with many who have opposed the Afghanistan and Iraq war, now voting for a new war, shows this lack of clarity and unity. Two long-time activists for peace and social justice, Seymour Joseph and James E. Vann sent Portisde opposing perspectives.

AFL-CIO President Trumka Says Labor Must Confront Racism

September 18, 2014
AFL-CIO Website
"… the question of unity brings up a hard subject, a subject all of us know about but few want to- acknowledge -- race. Because the reality is that while a young man named Michael Brown died just a short distance from us in Ferguson, from gunshot wounds from a police officer, other young men of color have died and will die in similar circumstances, in communities all across this country. … Because the reality is we still have racism in America."

WI Election Officials and Advocates Scrambling After Voter ID Reinstated

September 17, 2014
PR Watch
On September 12, just seven weeks before election day, a panel of three 7th Circuit appellate judges -- all appointed by Republican presidents -- reinstated Wisconsin's voter ID law, which federal district Judge Lynn Adelman had blocked in April as unconstitutional and violative of the Voting Rights Act.

Demonizing the Minimum Wage

September 17, 2014
The New Yorker
Senator Orrin Hatch, in an earlier round of this century-long debate, told the Times, “Youth unemployment and black unemployment will drastically rise. It’s amazing to me that some black leaders want an increase in the minimum wage.” African-Americans and young adults are evidently consulting oracles different from Hatch’s. Both groups support raising the minimum wage to even higher rates than do Americans as a whole.

Exit Stage Right: The Case Against Scottish Independence

September 17, 2014
Without a socialist consciousness, an independent Scotland risks becoming a smaller — and even more reactionary — version of its southern neighbors.

The Salaita Case and the Big Money Takeover of State Universities

September 17, 2014
Los Angeles Times
"As we all know, there are no free lunches...We are not going to be able to hire anyone...if we do not work out an acceptable arrangement with Koch and its funding partners." - A Florida State University department head, explaining the strings attached to a 2007 Koch donation

The Worst Paying Fastest-Growing Job in America

September 16, 2014
Historical discrimination, demographics, and public funding have left home care workers at the very bottom of the American work hierarchy. The wages these workers earn are painfully low: the median salary for a personal care aide is $19,910 annually, or $9.57 an hour; a home health aide earns $20,820 or $10.01 per hour. On the Bureau of Labor Statistic's list of 30 fastest-growing jobs, personal and home care aides are the worst paid.

The Demise of a US Group Backing Moderate Syrian Rebels Is a Bad Sign for Obama's Anti-ISIS Campaign

September 16, 2014
Mother Jones
Working with the rebels in Syria will be a daunting task for the Obama administration. There are hundreds of anti-Assad militias, each with its own agenda. Neither the FSA nor the Syrian National Coalition, a political group representing the opposition, control or even coordinate all the various non-extremist fighters. And the dissolution of the Syrian Support Group in the United States could be a troubling sign.

Socialism and Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises

September 16, 2014
Socialists effectively challenged capitalism, often took and held political power, and influenced many academics, intellectuals, popular organizations, artistic projects, and so on. But now socialism’s growth in many places has stalled or reversed. Yet socialists still have the accumulated history, experience, and theoretical means to define a socialism for the 21st century that can rally, mobilize, and unify capitalism’s diverse victims and critics.

Scottish Nationalism and British Nationalism Aren’t the Same

September 16, 2014
The Guardian
Some on the left seem to think voting against the Westminster status quo is an act of class betrayal. This is plainly not true. People who can explain in minute detail the many forms of socialism on offer at any demo or conference seem incapable of differentiating when it comes to nationalists.

Sacrificing the Vulnerable, From Gaza to America

September 16, 2014
Chris Hedges gave this speech Saturday at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wis., before a crowd of about 2,000. His address followed one there by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who seems to be preparing to run in the Democratic presidential primaries. The Fighting Bob Fest, the annual event at which they appeared, brings together progressive speakers from around the country and honors Robert “Fighting Bob” La Follette (1855-1925).