Skip to main content

Tidbits - July 25, 2013

Reader's Comments - North Carolina and Voting Rights; Socialist Youth Reunion; Zimmerman Acquittal; Internet & Inequality; Farmworkers; Wall-Mart; Petition - Save Worker Education Program at Brooklyn College; Announcements - Forgotten History of Civil Rights: The March On Washington - Book Signing & Forum- NYC- Aug 1; Confronting the Climate Crisis- Bay Area- Aug 2; Legacies of the March on Washington- NYC- Aug 16; Jean Damu, R.I.P.; Margrit Pittman Memorial - Oct 6

Reader Comments, http,//
The Republican Party means to destroy democracy in the USA in order to save the Republican Party.
Michael Gillespie 
Is it time to start calling Republicans such as these in North Carolina, fascists? When people begin to restrict democratic rights to gain or retain power and use it on behalf of the wealthy and corporate elite and against the middle class and disadvantaged, is this not fascism, particularly when such persons are also racist, sexist, anti-union and elitists?
When such anti-democratic measures are executed deliberately, in an organized fashion to undermine the democratic rights of citizenship of the majority in favor of a powerful minority, is this not a way for them to sustain power permanently? Of course fascist is a word that is well understood in Europe and not usually associated with North America and certainly not associated with the land of the free and the 'democratic experiment' that the founding fathers started. And yet increasingly, the European meaning of the word fits. The wealthy and the privileged apparently have captured enough Republican politicians who undoubtedly receive rewards for their actions, to exert sufficient changes to ensure that Republican representatives will continue to be able to exert political influence in such a way as to undermine the rights of the majority and their democratic freedoms.
This is totally unacceptable! It is irresponsible and it undermines the democratic political tradition of the country. We can only hope that average Americans, who after all understand the notions of freedom and democracy, will instinctively recognize the threat posed by such politicians and their political manoeuvers and will resoundingly reject them at the polls.
Laurel MacDowell
All the old socialist and actors who are still doing the do, inspire me.  Personally I think we can all unite in and around the NAACP. It is a great monument to DuBois and all who are working for humanity should at the very least be paid up members and active in a local branch.
NAACP can sometimes be old and slow to us young militants, but the Rev. Dr. William Barber and NC is showing the way. Bob Zellner, In struggle.
Bob Zellner
In the tradition of the DuBois Clubs, the dancing was great at the reunion. We did throw good parties. 
Paul Friedman
Of course racism and a corrupt justice system worked to set the murderer free. Of course the president's official claim that "we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken" and the (again official) appeal to honor Trayvon Martin by opposing gun violence are disgusting.  But the cause of Trayvon Martin's murder is deeper and, sadly, more American. To solve this deadly problem we must understand why it exists.
Throughout its history America has been ruled by the very rich.  They are few while we are many.  They can only maintain power by dividing us from each other.  Since slavery, the main way they have done this is to divide black from white. They still do this. That is why the jury set the killer free.  Not only that, but the situation is getting worse. There is a new racism that includes undocumented workers and poor white workers.  Our economic system of capitalism is in permanent economic crisis. Poverty has never been worse.  People have no choice but to fight for a decent life. Our rulers have no choice but to oppose this if they want to continue to rule us. What we are seeing today is not simply racism. It is a racist form of fascist social development in the United States.  To solve our problems we need a cooperative society where we provide for each other. Capitalism must go.
Michael Brand
Where is Howard Zinn when we need him most? "Silicon Valley" epitomizes American ignorance, arrogance and entitled brutality. It is the essence of the new, American  fascism. Not to remember history and not to call it by its true name perpetuates an obfuscation that colors even "progressive" writing. 
Ellen Cantarow
Here in former manufacturing hub Indiana, I, with my Bachelor's degree in economics, am classified as an "unskilled laborer" whose college degree is regarded as only a nuisance that makes me "overqualified" and "underexperienced."  Same with many of my other fellow college grads with "wrong degrees.'  I've actually had "employment counselors" lament to me, "It's a pity you can't drive a fork lift."  My college grad fellows and I are living proof of the correctness of Leonard's thesis as expressed so excellently in this article.  Which means I work an unskilled job through a warehouse through a temp agency at $9.00/hour and am "grateful" I have any job at all!
George Fish
Indianapolis, IN  
"But the middle is collapsing. It's just too easy to replace human labor with computer-driven automation."
What, are we supposed to now go technically backwards and abandon computers, build everything by hand?
Sorry, that's just not going to happen.
Sometimes, at least a little bit of reality has to fit into the picture, however poetically such is described.
Charles Ostman
Sebastopol,  CA
Protection for farm workers is needed!
Linda Reyes-Janczewski
If Wal-Mart paid its employees a fair wage there would be no cause for them to spend so much on lobbying - its deeds would make it unnecessary to have the need to improve its public image.
Margie Bernard
Where is the local Olivet warehouse?
Craig Paup 
Dear friends of labor and workers:
Since spring 2012, Brooklyn College has withdrawn the resources that had once nurtured the Graduate Center for Worker Education, and has visibly removed necessary educational services for its hard-working students.
Please take a moment to sign this Move-On Petition and forward widely.  Signing this petition now will make an incredible difference in defending the right of workers to obtain education.  Signing now will not take more than 1 minute of your time.
Committee of Concerned Students, Alumni, Faculty & Staff 
John Alter, Sharitza Lopez-Rodriguez, Tabatha Edwards and Manny Ness
Thursday, August 1, 2013
6:00 - 8:00 PM
at DC 1707 AFSCME
420 W 45th Street
(between 9th and 10th Aves in Manhattan)
Historian Will Jones will present highlights from his newly published book exploring the real significance of the massive march and the movement it inspired - a story of sustained grassroots organizing, and the role of unions and the civil rights movement.
CO-SPONSORS:  District Council 1707-AFSCME * DC 37-AFSCME * 1199 SEIU * Local 78 LIUNA * Local 1180 CWA * The Black Institute * NYC Labor Council for Latin American Advancement * Greater NY Labor Religion Coalition * Health Gap * Jacobin Magazine * Labor Press * Left Labor Project * NYC Chapter US Labor Against the War * OWS Labor Outreach * Occu-Evolve [List in formation]
This timely forum will discuss mobilization for this year's March on Washington - August 24, 2013
With Bill McKibben, Gopal Dayaneni, Reverend Sally Bingham,  Katy Roemer, & Antonia Juhasz.
Friday, August 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Nourse Theater - 275 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA
Tickets are $10, and in limited supply -- get yours here.
How do we build a movement to challenge the immensity of the climate crisis? Increasingly, the world is seeing climate change as not an issue merely of environmental concern - but a crisis that links together economic, security, health, labor, social justice, and human rights concerns. This event brings together diverse leaders to discuss how we build a powerful movement to solve the climate crisis, and how climate justice offers a framework to build a sustainable and just future.
Speakers include  Bill McKibben (, Gopal Dayaneni (Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project), Reverend Sally Bingham (Interfaith Power & Light), Katy Roemer (California Nurses Association) and Antonia Juhasz (Author of The Tyranny of Oil and Black Tide, Fellow of the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley)
Hosted by 350 Bay Area,, and The Sierra Club  
An Evening of Dialogue Inspired from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
  • Dick Gregory
  • Dorothy Zellner
  • Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons
  • Boots Riley
  • Hari Kondabolu
  • Jeanne Theoharis
50 years after the historic 1963 March on Washington, movement veterans and the new generation of activists and artists meet for an inspired evening of conversations. Through personal narratives of the March and the civil rights movement to an analysis of the challenges of war, Trayvon Martin, "post-racial" America and creating a new movement for racial equality, these dialogues will speak to the state of the dream and the soul of the nation.
Download the leaflet. 
August 16, 2013 6:30 PM (Doors open at 6:00PM)
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Harlem, NY 10039
Please RSVP to secure your seat. Thank you
Organized by The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation is an internationally operating, progressive non-profit institution for civic education. In cooperation with many organizations around the globe, it works on democratic and social participation, empowerment of disadvantaged groups, alternatives for economic and social development, and peaceful conflict resolution. The New York Office serves two major tasks: to work around issues concerning the United Nations and to engage in dialogue with North American progressives in universities, unions, social movements, and politics.
The left and progressive movement in the San Francisco Bay Area and the nation lost a leading activist in the peace and justice movement with the death of Jean Damu after a brief struggle with cancer. Damu was one time western regional representative for N'COBRA, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, and a former member of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. At one time he taught Black Studies at the University of New Mexico. Damu traveled and wrote extensively in the Caribbean and Africa and visited Cuba as part of the Venceremos Brigade. He was a founding member of The National Anti-Imperialist Movement in Solidarity with African Liberation (NAIMSAL). At one time he was a staff writer at the West Coast left newspaper People's World. Damu organized the Bay Area Trade Union Conference in Solidarity with South African Trade Unions at which US trade unionists met to discuss South Africa and which was keynoted by John Gaetsewe, secretary general of SACTU (South African Conference of Trade Unions). Damu was also an active and esteemed member of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers union in San Francisco. He was an active member of the Steering Committee of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and was a frequent contributor to Portside.
Memorial for Margrit Pittman
Sunday, October 6, 2013
in Manhattan, NY
Details to follow