The Quiet Closing of Washington

The Quiet Closing of Washington feature image
June 10, 2013
Conservative Republicans in our nation’s capital have managed to accomplish something they only dreamed of when Tea Partiers streamed into Congress at the start of 2011: They’ve basically shut Congress down. Meanwhile, the nation's political work has shifted to the states, and the political division among them is widening.
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It's the Corporations, Stupid

It's the Corporations, Stupid feature image
June 10, 2013
I am genuinely puzzled as to why the Fourth Amendment is no longer taken seriously, much less literally, by any significant faction in American politics. My hypothesis is that whereas the gun manufacturers clearly make big bucks off their weird absolutist interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, there is no set of corporations that would lose billions of dollars if the government snoops into your phone records or email traffic.
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Edward Snowden: The Whistleblower at NSA

 The Whistleblower at NSA feature image
June 10, 2013
The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.
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Reform Rekindled

Reform Rekindled feature image
June 10, 2013
Changes are happening. Despite the challenges, more unionists are taking on the job of reform, pushed by the desire to save their unions and keep employers from implementing their unfettered agenda. In the process they are bucking the conventional wisdom that workers should live with less than previous generations.
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Manning Trial Begins, Press Misses the Point

Manning Trial Begins, Press Misses the Point feature image
June 9, 2013
Manning, by whatever means, stumbled into a massive archive of evidence of state-sponsored murder and torture, and for whatever reason, he released it. The debate we should be having is over whether as a people we approve of the acts he uncovered that were being done in our names.
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Union Decline Boosts Corporate Profits

Union Decline Boosts Corporate Profits feature image
June 9, 2013
Corporate profit has been soaring for years at workers' expense and a decline in union membership is to blame -- not a rise in technology, a new study found.
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Waiting for the Revolution

Waiting for the Revolution feature image
June 9, 2013
The Standard Model is a physical theory of a spectacularly successful sort. It is built on beautiful and deep mathematics, covers almost all known physical phenomena, and agrees precisely with the result of every single experiment ever done to test it. It leaves open a very small number of questions: why this specific combination of groups? What determines the parameters of the model? What about gravity? Does it need to be extended to account for dark matter?
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Chokwe Lumumba is the New Mayor of Jackson

Chokwe Lumumba is the New Mayor of Jackson feature image
June 9, 2013
Lumumba’s victory gives impetus for progressives to rededicate to the crucial importance of the battle for the South. The South is the historic home of racism, poverty and militarism and the base of the rightwing. The defeat of the personhood amendment and the election of Lumumba give renewed impulse and energy to recent motion of social justice forces throughout the country to make electoral work a key part of our struggle for freedom.
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When More is Not Better

When More is Not Better feature image
June 9, 2013
Government spying on millions of innocent Americans is undermining our democracy, destroying our privacy, and quite likely unconstitutional. It is also counterproductive and does not make us safer. But the seeming need for government to collect more and more information keeps on expanding.
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Pages

Portside Culture

Suffer the Children, Forbid Them Not

J. David Cummings
portside
"a mirror/ if our eyes are strong enough," so the poet J. David Cummings evokes the death of children: at Hiroshima, on the Mediterranean today.

Terror in the French Revolution and Today

Samuel Farber
International Socialist Review
The author argues that the Terror of the French Revolution was a price worth paying, and that the lessons from overthrowing the old regime should temper today's trend of maligning oppressed people's resort to violence as itself a rationale for ongoing class injustices. The reviewer, no critic of revolutionary struggle, argues that the author overemphasizes the pursuit of vengeance then and now involved at the expense of politics and a weighing of class forces.

The Book Beneath the Noise

Jennifer Helinek
Open Letters Monthly
In these early days of the Age of Trump, there is an upsurge of interest in Margaret Atwood's 1985 harrowing dystopian novel. Jennifer Helinek reminds us why this book has become a modern classic.

The Superfood Gold Rush

JAMIE LAUREN KEILES
New York Times Magazine
The latest entrant to the superfood contest is Brazilian açaí, a purplish, antioxidant-rich stone fruit — though most call it a berry — foraged from trees in the Amazon River basin.Surprising parties become heroes and scoundrels as the coveted berry changes hands in different ways. Global consumption has further increased demand, but because of the high value of good vibes, some superfood exporters have an incentive to hew to best practices.

Portside Labor

In Grim Times, Brazil Young Workers Take Charge of Future

Tula Connell
Solidarity Center
U.S. and Brazilian union activists joined May Day celebrations in São Paulo. More than 14.2 million Brazilians were without a job in March. With young workers and workers of color especially hard hit by rising unemployment and proposed legislation that would undermine fundamental worker rights, they are standing up for the their future by mobilizing in the streets, through their unions and other associations.

Mothers Are Paid Less Than Fathers in Every State and at Every Education Level

Dayna Evans
New York Magazine
Mothers who work full-time and have a high-school degree make 67 cents for every dollar made by a dad with a high-school degree. More staggering is that mothers have to earn a bachelor’s degree or more in order for their earnings to outpace fathers with only high-school degrees. At every education level and in every state, mothers are paid less than fathers. On average, a mother makes about 71 cents to a father’s dollar.

AT&T Workers Start 3-Day Strike in Contract Impasse

Noam Scheiber
N.Y.Times
Workers are also frustrated that they are being asked to pay more of their health-insurance costs, he added, and that changes in retail workers’ commissions have limited or reduced their take-home pay. As part of its next contract, the union wants to bar AT&T from changing its commission structure unilaterally.

Reactionary Working Class?

Asbjørn Wahl
Spectrezine
That millions of workers worldwide become "losers" in the process of globalization, should not surprise anyone. Nor that many react with mistrust and blind rebellion. That part of the working class – lacking left political parties with strategies to address this crisis -- are attracted by the extreme right’s verbal anti-establishment rhetoric, is against this background understandable. To understand, however, is not the same as to accept, let alone support.

White Working-Class Voters and the Future of Progressive Politics

Michael Zweig
New Labor Forum Blog
The working class constitutes roughly 63 percent of the U.S. labor force. Crucially, it consists of both men and women and is multiracial and multiethnic.2 White people are, of course, a big part of the working class, but if we settle on “the white working class” as a class in itself, and with the force of white supremacy, even a class for itself, we lose track of the role blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other non-whites play in the working class.

Friday Nite Videos

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

Stephen's stance on the White House's proposed slashing of the food stamp program and children's health insurance program is somehow radical in 2017.

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

What does it sound like when three guitar greats "take a break"? Epic, as you can experience in this outtake from the movie Hail Hail Rock n Roll. 

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

The former president of Mexico, Vincente Fox, explains what it means to be president and why Donald Trump is doing it wrong.

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

A true story of resistance to Nazism based on the diaries of Antonina Żabiński, now in theaters. A review and comment on its relevance to Israel/Palestine here.

Posted by Portside on May 26, 2017

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu powerfully explains why the Confederate statues had to go. 

Posted by Portside on May 19, 2017

The Trump-Russia probe gets a special prosecutor, and Fox News downplays a purported memo from James Comey suggesting Donald Trump may have committed obstruction of justice.

Posted by Portside on May 19, 2017

Political satirists like Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Seth Meyers have demonstrated why comedy can be such a powerful antidote to bullshit