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Tidbits - July 4, 2013

Readers Comments - The Expendables -Temps Getting Crushed; The Counter-Revolution of 1776 - Slave Resistance & the Origins of the USA; Poem for Trayvon Martin; Government Spying & Snowden Revelations; Graça Machel; South Africa; Marriage Equality;

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Restore the Fourth is a grassroots, non-partisan movement; we believe the government of the United States must respect the right to privacy of all its citizens as the Fourth Amendment clearly states., Restore the Fourth Amendment -
Hello, I just wanted to let you know that I made the picture you have posted with the article The Expendables: How the Temps Who Power Corporate Giants Are Getting Crushed. I am one of the Walmart warehouse strikers in Elwood and I made it while we were on strike to put on leaflets we were handing out to our co-workers on the picket line. My name is Holly Kent-Payne--I'm not quite sure how the picture ended up on tumblr--probably one of my friends posted it--but there you go, that's the nature of the internet! Thanks for posting this article!
Holly Kent-Payne


On this anniversary of the birth of the nation now known as the "United States of America", take note of this revision of the heroic creation myth--foregrounding the agency and fate of the Africans--to be published by NYU Press within months (though various orders can now be taken).
Gerald Horne
The Counter-Revolution of 1776 - Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America
The successful 1776 revolt against British rule in North America has been hailed almost universally as a great step forward for humanity. But the Africans then residing in the colonies overwhelmingly sided with London. In this trailblazing book, Gerald Horne complements his earlier celebrated Negro Comrades of the Crown, by showing that in the prelude to 1776, the abolition of slavery seemed all but inevitable in London, delighting Africans as much as it outraged slaveholders, and sparking the colonial revolt.
In the prelude to 1776, more and more Africans were joining the British military, and anti-slavery sentiments were deepening throughout Britain. And in the Caribbean, rebellious Africans were chasing Europeans to the mainland. Unlike their counterparts in London, the European colonists overwhelmingly associated enslaved Africans with subversion and hostility to the status quo. For European colonists, the major threat to security in the North America was a foreign invasion combined with an insurrection of the enslaved. And as 1776 approached, London-imposed abolition throughout the colonies was a very real and threatening possibility-a possibility the founding fathers feared could bring the slave rebellions of Jamaica and Antigua to the thirteen colonies. To forestall it, they went to war.
The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in large part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their liberty to enslave others-and which today takes the form of a racialized conservatism and a persistent racism targeting the descendants of the enslaved.. The Counter-Revolution of 1776 drives us to a radical new understanding of the traditional heroic creation myth of the United States.
[Gerald Horne is the Moores Professor of History & African American Studies at the University of Houston. He has published over 30 books, including Negro Comrades of the Crown (NYU Press 2012).] 



credit - WFTV Channel 9 (Central Florida ABC-TV)
I will not remain silent,
It is no longer necessary
Not for fear of offending
Not for fear of being denied or deprived.
I will not remain silent
while the founding supremacists
revoice their accumulated doctrines of race
in hope of recreating myths
that they were created superior and I, inferior.
I will not remain silent
when delusion and idiocy pervade,
anointing America to be post-racial
because the commander-in-chief is race-less.
I will not remain silent
while my abundant melanin is questioned,
while pathological vigilantes profile my pigment
sowing seeds of strange fruits,
reproducing old codes of Dixie death,
self-defence a confident lament.
I will not remain silent
to become complicit in my own re-oppression
No excuses can be offered
in this world of inescapable enlightenment,
where freedom is proclaimed to exist freely.
I will not remain silent
and endanger the fragile survival
won and preserved by my ancestors
over centuries of resistance
against the supreme savagery
of such a vulgar civilization.
I will not remain silent
when rancour pervades vacuous press
paid for by monied demagogues
devoid of elemental justice or humanity,
murdered victims so easily criminalized
by manufactured lies.
Will the American Inquisition never end?
For Trayvon, I will not remain silent.
Selwyn Mclean
Toronto, Canada
April 2012


(Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson quote of the day in REWIND - June 29)
Valerie Plame Wilson and Joe Wilson comment on the PRISM program, "Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision."
But there is an action more likely to have great success in reducing attacks and "Keeping Americans safe" (whether that is a purpose of PRISM etc. I leave aside).  It is an action which not only does not relinquish freedom but actually expands it:
End the U.S. policies whose policies over the decades have supported oppression in the Mideast and attempted to control the politics and resources of that region.  Neither the policies nor the "blowback" plotting and attacks against the U.S. are excusable.  The attackers didn't choose the U.S. as target by throwing darts at a world map while blindfolded.
That option isn't even raised in the discussion, not even by the most vigorous critics of the spying. I'm sure that some would object to considering it, saying that making any changes would be "rewarding the terrorists' behavior." It's always a good time to quit unjust practices, too late as it is for many victims of the policies and the victims of the retaliation. Thus the policy-makers implicitly admit that there is something more important to them than "keeping Americans safe."
Joe Maizlish
Los Angeles



I  am a devoted, tho selective portside follower.  Thank you so much for your review on graca  machel.  I will share it with my co-activist granny peace brigade Philadelphia associates.
Ruth Balter


Actually, in the case of Snowden, I'm GLAD the private sector did such a lousy job of vetting him.  Congrats to USIS!  If their "background check" had been more thorough, would we know today how much our government is spying on us?  Perhaps at the time of his hire, Snowden was "squeaky clean" and would have passed a background check anyway, but when I breeze through airport security (as I have been doing lately), I am glad that we are not being "protected" from the likes of Dick Cheney and the MOSSAD (the real culprits of 911 IMHO).
Romi Elnagar
It is absurd that 'private' entities have anything to do with providing national security in any nation.


An excellent article. Clear & informative. Important. It was not predictable bellowing as so much of your selection is. 
Richard Rosenthal


Ruth First & Joe Slovo were @ the heart of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Here Nadine Gordimer reviews a new biography of the revolutionary couple
Dan Cohen
posted on the Portside Facebook page


What Mary Boeve of claims "nobody expected" is obsequious flattery in hopes that the Keystone X-L pipeline will be rejected by President Obama. She euphemistically calls Obama's  promotion of geofracking a "misstep". With its coal-like carbon footprint from methane leakage to the atmosphere, the huge growth in geofracking for natural gas is likely a greater threat than tar sands extraction with respect to bringing the world closer to climate catastrophe.
Here are two more accurate assessments of Obama's climate speech:
  • Obama's fracked-up climate strategy will guarantee global warming disaster Fatally flawed energy policies and inadequate emissions pledges cannot prevent dangerous climate change Posted by Nafeez Ahmed
  • Obama's climate proposals fall dangerously short, ignore time-critical opportunity to revive the economy Jill Stein, President, Green Shadow Cabinet
And my own critique of McKibben/, recognizing its great contribution to the climate justice movement (like many others, I was arrested in front of the White House as part of's campaign to stop the Keystone X-L pipeline): McKibben's climate math is too narrow and too broad 
Thankfully, in a follow-up message to supporters, on June 28,  May Boeve  says "we'll push back on the false solutions that President Obama mentioned in his speech, from the fantasy of "clean coal" to the dangerous reality of fracked natural gas. [bold added] And we'll continue to support the fight against the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline."
David Schwartzman
Washington DC
I thought I was reading on Onion satire when your articles suggested there was praise for Obama under the title "Nobody Expected This from Obama's Climate Speech." by the old shills form 350. At least Bill McKibben was not shameless enough to put his name to that, yet again, fundraising pitch. It is not ignorance, it is a concerted effort to not only dupe people, but take their money along the way. The various critiques of Obama The Driller are numerous for those who care to look for information. As for the Keystone pipeline it is a number one fundraiser for the likes of these greenwashers, as the tar sands are exploited, the pipeline grows and the gas carried on trains already anyway. Expected more from Portside.
Olivia Dentrez


thanks so much Portside, for your excellent summary of this important study.
the interlocked abuses of corporate money and irresponsibility, disregard of science, and support of racist, misogynist policies are all about us this 4th of July, sadly, but I'm forwarding this to lists, and individuals who may appreciate this in-depth reporting of the Koch crackpot consensus, and how its corrupt dollars help maintain  it.
Howard M. Romaine,
Attorney, writer,
This is more bullshit conspiracy theory to hide the fact that Obama is a duplicitous class collaborationist, who makes war for oil, proliferates fracking, back pedals on the Keystone pipeline & attacks coal because the coal barons are passe.
A real climate approach would thoroughly exploit all forms of alternative energy, restore railroads, remove the majority of trucks from the road, restore public transportation, require fuel efficient car manufacturing, & put a hell of a lot of people back to work in good paying jobs.
Marvin Berlowitz


The author conveys little understanding of how the post-Stonewall movement started out -- a cry for  liberation which is far afield from the shrunken dreams of "equality" which is just a slick way to say more of the same.
Goldman Sachs' CEO has been peddling gay marriage because the federal tax benefits make matrimony a good way to keep the rich in the 1%.
While the media paid attention to the funding of anti-gay marriage opponents little has been written about the very big checks written by big foundations and very rich individuals to push marriage.
Equality should not be confused with progress.
And a Bronx cheer to the Portside crew who decided to distribute this shallow and stupid essay.
Williams Dobbs
I'M FOR EQUALITY. IT'S FALSE THAT HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGE WAS "INVENTED BY gOD for creating and raising children. in original or, primitive (not in the sense of inferior but in the sense of primal) societies, children were raised by collectives of extended families with vertical and horizontal members, i.e. grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. the heterosexual couple is the seletal remnant of the breakdown of family and community. it is a leftover from the alienating effects of urbanization and modernization.Every sociologist knows this i'm surprised and ashamed that they don't say so.
ron leifer


Beautiful work!  I am eternally grateful to you!  
Larry Sherk
Bellows Falls, VT


"Dollarocracy" book cover"Dollarocracy" book coverThe Center for Media and Democracy will be hosting the inaugural event celebrating the publication of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America, the new book from acclaimed authors John Nichols and Robert McChesney.
The two authors, both Madisonians, will be at Tripp Commons, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus for a 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 24th book reading, discussion and signing.
Best-selling author of Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein says of their book: "John Nichols and Bob McChesney make a compelling, and terrifying, case that American democracy is becoming American dollarocracy. Even more compelling, and hopeful, is their case for a radical reform agenda to take power back from the corporations and give it to the people." Author and radio host Thom Hartmann says: "Dollarocracy is the most important political book of the year, maybe of our times."
In their new book Nichols, one of the nation's most prominent political commentators, and McChesney, a preeminent scholar of media issues, show how unbridled campaign spending defines our politics and, failing a dramatic intervention, signals the end of our democracy. Dollarocracy explains how American democracy is declining as the range of debate is increasingly controlled by big-money campaign contributions, wall-to-wall lobbying and a media that is more inclined to repeat official spin than to dig for the truth.
The Center for Media and Democracy's research and reporting is highlighted in the book, which explains how major elections are managed and manipulated by a new class of consultants with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend and a cutthroat mentality when it comes to everything from voting rights to obstruction of government. As the money power shouts louder - especially after the Citizens United ruling - the voices of the American people are shouted down. As journalism, a core check and balance on political lies and government malfeasance, goes into decline, citizens have fewer tools to be their own governors. And they are more vulnerable than ever before to propagandistic manipulation.
With groundbreaking behind-the-scenes reporting and staggering new research on `the money power,' Dollarocracy shows that this new power does not just endanger electoral politics; it is a challenge to the DNA of American democracy itself.
Books will be available for purchase at the event through Madison's own Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, and the authors will be available to sign books.


A Multicultural and Community-based Arts and History Journey through Cuba - Havana, Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba and environs.
On this journey we will visit with some of the many communities that give us a fuller understanding of the profoundly multicultural nature of Cuban society, its complex and moving history, and its spectrum of artistic sensibilities in many genres. And we will get a look at community arts projects that provide an important sense of current developments and conditions in Cuba.
The richness of Cuban culture and identity has been fed by many streams throughout its history of migrations, free and forced. Most of us know that Cubanidad, or Cuban identity and ethnicity, was formed in part by the mix of Spanish, African and indigenous people, but on this journey we will visit with some of the many vibrant communities in Cuba, and with their artists, writers, performers, musicians, dancers, scholars and organizers.
If you are interested, please contact us as soon as possible for more information and to reserve your place on this journey.
Contact Anya Achtenberg, at:
And, please cc: A. Irene De Barraicua -
Why I created Arts Focus on Cuba; and why travel to Cuba with us:
Going to Cuba is great, however you do it. As a creative writer, educator, writers' consultant, and cultural organizer in love with film, visual arts, theater, architecture, music and dance, as well as literature; as a longtime "multiculturalist" in experience, education, blood/roots, and mindset; I have long worked with and witnessed the transformative power of the arts and the creative process. I treasure the brilliance, power, participatory nature and excellence of the arts and arts education in Cuba, which have a long and complex history.
Because the arts are central to Cubans of all cultural backgrounds; central to the Cuban spirit, critical intelligence, social life and societal participation; central to commemorating and celebrating the past and creating the future; and because the arts are central to my own life and my lifelong work of writing and teaching, I created Arts Focus on Cuba to bring very special trips to Cuba, to you. Our first trip was in 2010, and we have continued through many changes and challenges. Arts Focus on Cuba is not a large tour agency, but we have been working with the most established Cuba travel provider in the U.S., Marazul, and with very experienced agencies in Cuba, like Amistur. At the same time, we are constantly expanding our contacts in Cuba and incorporating those new contacts into our programs.
Anya Achtenberg
"One must be cultured to be free."
Jose Marti