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Tidbits - October 31, 2013 - Halloween edition

Reader Comments- Sports, Police Killing, Tea Party, Robin Hood Tax, Doug Ireland; Announcements- Tim DeChristopher, Environmental Activism-NYC-Nov.02; Perspectives from NYC Food Service Workers-Nov.03; Mario Savio Memorial Lecture-Berkeley-Nov.12; Cuba Skate: Art on Deck-Washington, DC-Nov.16; Politics of Immigration Reform Forum-NYC-Nov.20; Memorial for Stephen Coats-Washington, DC-Nov.25; International Conference In Israel: For A Nuclear Free Zone In The Middle East

If you're lucky, it might trickle down,Greg Stevens 2012 /

Re: Socialism and Sports

Amateur sports where everyone gets a chance to participate with the focus on fun is far superior to the business racket of professional sports.

Carl Finamore
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Killing of an Innocent Child

Seven bullets! No doubt our turned-around justice system will award the police officer $38,000 for his pain and suffering after this as they did the University of Cal-Davis pepper spray officer.

Max Shaw
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Tea Party Digging In as GOP Split Deepens

Includes an interview with Frances Fox Piven on the Tea Party, Occupy and other matters, as well as interesting film and book reviews.
CCDS Links - October 24, 2013

Carl Davidson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The 37 House Republicans Who Could Lose Their Jobs For Shutting Down The Government

Wishful thinking; if half lose their seats that in and of itself would be a miracle.

Phillip Gardiner, Dr. P. H.
Policy and Regulatory Sciences
Nicotine Dependence and Neurosciences Program Officer
Tobacco Related Disease Research Program
University of California Office of the President

Re: South American Governments Should Support Hondurans' Rights To Sovereignty and Free Elections

Good article.  Could have mentioned Hillary's role as coup supporter, especially as she doesn't seem to be retiring anytime soon.  I thought about Honduras every time I got one of the Democrats emails asking me to sign her birthday card.

Jim Price

Re: Targeting Wall Street, Robin Hood Tax Comes to Washington

I love the idea of a financial transaction tax, and support it whole-heartedly.

I hate the "Robin Hood Tax" name.  Why would I want to tax Robin Hood?  

Seriously, I am sure that the idea behind the name was to make the dry sounding "financial transaction tax" more accessible.  But it's a failure. It's impossible to tell what it means.

Please, can we change it "Rich People's Sales Tax" or "Sales Tax on Wall Street" or something that conveys what it's actually about?

Chris Lowe
Portland, Oregon

In all this call for budget reform how come we hear nothing of the six billion dollars we spend every month on the NO WIN WARS? The Pentagon budget should be cut to the BONE. Christmas is coming and, Wall Street can't wait for their bonus paid for on the backs of the 99%.

Morris Edward

Re: Doug Ireland, Radical Journalist: 1946 - 2013

Read it all but am disappointed it was so long. That he was from the SDS days I would have appreciated truncated information until his past decade of involvement.

Deborah Nagle-Burks

Tim DeChristopher: Peaceful Environmental Activism in New York (Brooklyn) - Nov. 02

Tim DeChristopher will speak with activist Jessica Roff about the present and future of the peaceful Environmental Movement locally and globally.

Join us for this inspiring conversation and dialogue with other people interested in preserving our planet for future generations.

Following the discussion, we will sit in small groups with other engaged individuals and explore how we feel, what we think, and where we are going as a broad-based community.

Saturday, November 2nd at 10:00 a.m. (Doors open at 9:30)

First Unitarian Church
116 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, New York

Tickets are available here.

Tim's Story - click here.

SERVING NEW YORK CITY: Perspectives from NYC Food Service Workers on the Present and Future of Workers' Rights and Organizing in their Industry

A panel at CUNY FoodFEST 2013, to be held on

November 3rd
at the Macaulay Honors College
35 W. 67th St, Manhattan

The past few years have seen unprecedented food service worker organizing in New York City.

More than 2000 food service workers have unionized in the NY metro area's airports, casinos, restaurants, stadiums, and corporate and university cafeterias through UNITE HERE Local 100 (

Hundreds of fast food workers walked off the job in a series of dramatic Fast Food Forward ( strikes, one the largest national strike actions ever among low-wage, non-union workers in the United States.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center New York (ROC-NY) has led restaurant workers in powerful fights against racism at Darden's Restaurant Group, the nation's largest restaurant company, as well as fights for wages and dignity at the Grand Cafe and other restaurants.

The Justice Will Be Served! campaign, a coalition of worker organizations has targeted numerous restaurants for unfair treatment of immigrant workers, especially those who make deliveries, and has won many victories, including against the giant Domino's Pizza corporation.

Workers from all of these campaigns will be speaking on the "SERVING NEW YORK CITY" panel at the CUNY FoodFEST 2013, which asks: What is happening in the NYC food service industry to cause this unprecedented worker mobilization among many of New York's most vulnerable workers? What has worked in the organizing and what hasn't? What does all this mean for the future of food in NYC?

This workshop will be part of a larger free festival and conference about food in New York which will include two full meals of farm-fresh, healthy food; workshops and classes on food skills and issues; a resource fair connecting interested people with organizations working on food issues in NYC; and activities all day for children. For more information and to register, visit.

17th Annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture - Berkeley - Nov. 12

The 17th Annual Mario Savio Memorial Lecture will present a panel discussion on "New Strategies for Confronting the Climate Crisis"

November 12, at 8 p.m.

Wheeler Auditorium
UC Berkeley Campus
Berkeley, CA 94720

Free tickets are available at

Mobility impaired access instructions here.

Doors open at 6:30; tickets must be presented by 7:45 to receive priority entrance. The only way to assure a reserved seat is by making a donation to the Lecture fund via this link.

Panelists include:  

  • May Boeve, Executive Director and co-founder of
  • Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club
  • Gopal Dayaneni of Movement Generation (Justice & Ecology Project)
  • Sharon Lungo, co-director of The Ruckus Society
  • Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace

A friend can save you a seat, but remember, you will need to have your own ticket to enter.

Deep Space Arts Presents Cuba Skate: Art on Deck - Washington, DC - Nov. 16

Deep Space Arts Presents Cuba Skate: Art on Deck
A silent auction art exhibition to benefit skateboarding in Cuba

Saturday, November 16th -- 7pm-11pm
Live music and painting

Union Arts Warehouse
411 New York Avenue NE (Gallaudet/NoMa Metro)
Washington, DC 20002

DEEP SPACE Arts will be hosting a unique art exhibition to benefit the DC-based organization Cuba Skate.  The gallery will feature custom, hand-painted and graphically designed skate decks, all of them up for silent auction. Over 50 artists from D.C., Los Angeles, Miami and New York, along with a few creatives from Latin America, have contributed more than 50 decks with their own taste of Cuban flavor.  The decks will adorn the walls at Deep Space Arts, and guests will be invited to paint some skate decks of their own.  The "Cuban hip-hop ambassador" DJ ASHO will be on the one's and two's throughout the evening.
DEEP SPACE Arts is a curatorial organization that provides a platform for interdisciplinary projects and programming. Artists and creators whose efforts are thoughtful and innovative use the DEEP SPACE network to present a broad range of contemporary art forms.

Cuba Skate started as a project in 2010 and is now a 501c3 nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. Their aim is to support and grow the Cuban skateboarding community by providing access to equipment and renovated skateparks.  In doing so, Cuba Skate hopes to foster a constructive environment for Cuban youth that will have a positive impact on the greater population. Skateboarding offers a unique opportunity to engage the next generation, particularly in a country where sport is such a profound and passionate part of culture.  Cuba Skate expands the future for these skaters by creating a chance to continue skating year round. Co-founder Lauren Bradley states "We're very excited to be collaborating with so many dynamic and socially constructive artists.  Not only will people learn more about the situation for Cuban skateboarders, but they can also tangibly give back and know that they're contributing. It's great to be a part of this positivity, we're really thrilled!"
The event will be held Saturday, November 16th from 7:00pm-11:00pm at Union Arts DC DEEP SPACE Arts 3rd Floor Studio, 411 New York Avenue NE Washington, D.C. 20002. Admission will be free with a suggested donation and a $10 open bar. Cash or credit card accepted. All pieces of art will be up for silent auction starting at $50.

For more information on Cuba Skate, please visit the website at or email Miles Jackson.

The Politics of Immigration Reform Forum - New York - Nov. 20

We are pleased to invite you to join us for an evening Labor Forum called :The Politics of Immigration Reform."  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
6:00 to 7:45 pm

25 West 43rd St, 18th floor
Murphy Institute, SPS, CUNY

In the wake of the recent government shutdown and debt ceiling debacle, President Obama has declared long-stalled immigration reform an immediate legislative priority.  Whether the rebuffed GOP will find itself pressed to take up the issue, or will decide to block it, remains to be seen.  If the congress does take up immigration reform, among the contentious matters it will  tackle are the inveterate issues of regulating the status of the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., competing demands to control future immigration flows, and contending with employers who continue to hire and exploit undocumented workers.  In an effort to weigh in on these and other issues and to force action, a broad coalition of reform proponents has engaged this fall in nation-wide demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience ? physically halting deportation buses, stopping traffic, blocking immigration courthouses, and undergoing mass arrests.

This forum will assess the current political climate for comprehensive immigration reform, and examine the most salient and controversial elements of reform proposals.  

Our speakers, all prominent experts on immigration, include:

  • Ana Avendao, Assistant to the President and Director of Immigration and Community Action at the AFL-CIO;
  • Muzaffar Chishti, Director of the Migration Policy Institute at the NYU School of Law;
  • Amy Sugimori, Policy Director, 32BJ, SEIU
  • Ruth Milkman, Academic Director of Labor Studies here at the Murphy Institute, will moderate

Please join us for what promises to be an astute discussion of one of the most pressing labor and human rights issues of our day.  

RSVP to Eloiza Morales by November 13 at 212-642-2029 or

Greg Mantsios, Director
Paula Finn, Associate Director

The Joseph S. Murphy Institute, CUNY
(The Murphy Institute is part of the School of Professional Studies and the CUNY Graduate School)

Memorial for Stephen Coats - Washington, DC - Nov. 25

The Board of Directors of USLEAP invites you to join us in honoring Stephen Coats:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013
5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Penthouse, Teamsters Office
25 Louisiana Ave NW, Washington, D.C.

To our great shock and sadness Steve passed away suddenly last April.  He was the Executive Director of the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project since 1990. Many of Steve's friends and colleagues could not attend the services in Chicago so we are organizing a gathering to remember, celebrate and honor his life, family and work.

Steve's wife and sons will join us. We'll also spend a little time talking about the next steps for the goals and mission of USLEAP as we join with the International Labor Rights Forum.

Statements honoring Steve can be found at

If planning to attend, please RSVP to Tim Beaty at so we can plan for enough refreshments.


Gail Lopez-Henriquez
Chair, Board of Directors
US Labor Education in the Americas Project

A Call for an International Conference In Israel:

"For A Nuclear Weapons And Weapons Of Mass Destruction Free Zone In The Middle East" (NW&WMDFZ)

December 5-6. 2013

The question of nuclear policy and the need to discuss it openly has become a cardinal issue, also in Israel. Paradoxically, the focus of the government of Israel and its various apparatuses on the Iranian nuclear policy has raised the issue of nuclear policy in the Middle East as a whole, including that of Israel itself.

The international community has recognized that the nuclear issue, as well as the issue of weapons of mass destruction generally, is not an internal affair of any state but has implications that reach beyond national and geographic borders, hence requires international attention. From such insights, different international initiatives for abolishing nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction (and some tendencies within the UN) are derived, for example:

1 - The great progress in the issue of dismantling the arsenal of chemical weapons in Syria and the commitment to implement the Security Council resolution through cooperation with the Syrian government.

2 - The new moderate official Iranian discourse on Iran's nuclear policy, and the Iranian president Ruhani's commitment to cooperate with the international community to promote a nuclear free zone in the ME.

Those two developments have created favorable conditions for an effort to breach the wall of indifference erected by the Israeli establishment to block public discussion on the nuclear and WMD issue inside Israel.

There is a broad international support, including among the peoples of the Middle East and among the progressive forces inside Israel, for the immediate implementation of the UN general assembly resolution from May 2010. That resolution called on to hold an international conference in Helsinki under the auspices of the UN to promote the creation of a nuclear free zone in the Middle East, which is based on having all the countries of the region - including Israel - joining the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the treaty on the banning of chemical weapons.

Israel was the only party in the ME that decided to boycott the Helsinki conference. Consequently, the conference was cancelled. In an alternative international conference, which was organized by the peace organizations in Finland last December, and attended by the Finnish foreign minister, the representative of the Haifa based Emil Touma Institute has concluded: "If the official Israel will not come to Helsinki, it remains the task of the peace and progressive forces, in Israel and abroad, to bring Helsinki to Israel." Hence, the idea of an international conference in Israel was born, aimed at strengthening the demand for a nuclear free zone in the Middle East, as a continuation of many years of activism towards this goal.

The coming together of peace and human rights organizations from abroad, and the widening support among peace and progress forces within Israel, could turn our conference into a landmark in the struggle for nuclear disarmament in the Middle East, as a real and viable alternative to the war plans, and to the calls for a disastrous war against Iran.

Believing that now is the time to step up the Israel-based campaign for WMD disarmament in the region, we have rallied together - a broad spectrum of activists and representatives from peace forces, human rights groups and civil society organizations. Believing that now is the time to intensify the campaign in Israel on matters of Nuclear Weapons and WMD disarmament, and believing that the security of the citizens of Israel and the peoples of the region will not be met by the stockpiling of nuclear bombs and WMDs, and not by disastrous wars - but rather by disarmament, and just peace,  we have announced the formation of a preparatory committee for an International Conference in Israel proper (Haifa) with the title "For a Middle East Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction". Our decision is to hold the conference in Haifa, at December 5-6, 2013.

A preparatory committee for the conference composed of prominent figures in Israeli civil society has been assembled.

The committee decided to hold the conference in Haifa, on December 5th-6th, 2013 in English and Hebrew with simultaneously translation.In addition a possibility of a second session on December 7th, to be held in Ramallah, where Palestinian and Arab organizations from all over the region could take part, is being considered. A detailed program will follow in due time. We have initiated contact with several well-known figures to attend this event or to address it via video. These include Nobel Prize winner Prof. Ada Yonath, Prof. Noam Chomsky, President Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The policy of the preparatory committee regarding speakers and participants is to be as inclusive as possible and will embrace any Israeli or international figure who supports disarmament of WMD in the Middle East regardless of their political orientation. We have issued a call for peace and human rights organizations, members of the anti-nuclear movement and all those who oppose WMD in the world in general and in Israel in particular, to support the conference and to participate it. We take these steps out of grave concern for the security and the future of all the peoples of the region, including all citizens of Israel.

So far, the response has been heartening. We have already succeeded to bring together a wide range of peace activists and representatives of civil society organizations as well as  known public figures and Israeli academicians who expressed their willingness to participate in the preparatory committee of this international conference and in the conference itself.

We would be more than glad if your organization could be an active and integral partner in    the preparations of this conference and help us meet some of the great expenses involved in the process.

With appreciation and best wishes,

Issam Makhoul
Chairperson of Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies
Former member of the Knesset

Avraham Burg
Former Speaker of the Knesset
Former MK

On behalf of the preparatory Committee for the International Conference in Israel "For a Nuclear Weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East":
MK Dr. Dov Khenin; former MK Pr. Naomi Chazan; Pr. Colman Altman; Dr. Ruchama Marton, head and founder of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR I); Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh,(PHR I); Gideon Spiro, journalist and veteran activist for a ME free of nuclear , chemical and biological weapons; Aida Touma,director of Women Against Violence(WAV), editor of chief of Al Etihad newspaper;  Sharon Dolev, activist in nuclear disarmament organization; Dr. Dani Filc; Dr. Ahmad Masarweh, (PHR I); Dr. Asher Davidi; Dr. Ofer Cassif; Dr. John Assi,( international Law); Michael Warshivsky: former MK Mossi Raz; former Speaker of the Knesset Avraham Burg; and former MK Issam Makhoul, Chairperson of Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian and Israeli Studies.    

For further information and follow up, please contact:
Issam Makhoul
Lohami Hagetaot st. 27 ,35025, Haifa, Israel
Phone: +972.52.5787387

How Class Works - 2014 conference call for proposals - deadline Dec. 11, 2013

The Center for Study of Working Class Life is pleased to announce the "How Class Works" - 2014" Conference, to be held at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, June 5-7, 2014.

Proposals for papers, presentations, and sessions are welcome until December 11, 2013 according to the guidelines below. For more information, visit our Web site.

Purpose and orientation:  The conference seeks to explore ways in which an explicit recognition of class helps to understand the social world in which we live, and ways in which analysis of society can deepen our understanding of class as a social relationship. Presentations should take as their point of reference the lived experience of class; proposed theoretical contributions should be rooted in and illuminate social realities. Presentations are welcome from people outside academic life when they sum up social experience in a way that contributes to the themes of the conference.  Formal papers will be welcome but are not required. All presentations should be accessible to an interdisciplinary audience.

Conference themes: The conference welcomes proposals for presentations that advance our understanding of any of the following themes.

  • The mosaic of class, race, and gender. To explore how class shapes racial, gender, and ethnic experience and how different racial, gender, and ethnic experiences within various classes shape the meaning of class.
  • Class dimensions of poverty. To explore why and how poverty is something that happens to the working class, not some marginal "other" at the bottom of society..
  • Class, power, and social structure. To explore the social content of working, middle, and capitalist classes in terms of various aspects of power; to explore ways in which class and structures of power interact, at the workplace and in the broader society.
  • Class and community. To explore ways in which class operates outside the workplace in the communities where people of various classes live.
  • Class in a global economy. To explore how class identity and class dynamics are influenced by globalization, including experience of cross-border organizing, capitalist class dynamics, international labor standards.
  • Middle class? Working class? What's the difference and why does it matter?  To explore the claim that the U.S. is a middle class society and contrast it with the notion that the working class is the majority; to explore the relationships between the middle class and the working class, and between the middle class and the capitalist class.
  • Class, public policy, and electoral politics. To explore how class affects public policy, with special attention to health care, the criminal justice system, labor law, poverty, tax and other economic policy, housing, and education; to explore the place of electoral politics in the arrangement of class forces on policy matters.
  • Class and culture: To explore ways in which culture transmits and transforms class dynamics.

Pedagogy of class. To explore techniques and materials useful for teaching about class, at K-12 levels, in college and university courses, and in labor studies and adult education courses.

How to submit proposals for "How Class Works - 2014" Conference

Proposals for presentations must include the following information:
a) title; b) which of the eight conference themes will be addressed; c) a maximum 250 word summary of the main points, methodology, and slice of experience that will be summed up; d) relevant personal information indicating institutional affiliation (if any) and what training or experience the presenter brings to the proposal; e) presenter's name, address, telephone, fax, and e-mail address. A person may present in at most two conference sessions. To allow time for discussion, sessions will be limited to three twenty-minute or four fifteen-minute principal presentations. Sessions will not include official discussants.  Proposals for poster sessions are welcome.  Presentations may be assigned to a poster session.

Submit proposals as an e-mail attachment to: or as hard copy by mail to the "How Class Works- 2014" Conference, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384.

Timetable: Proposals must be received by December 11, 2013. After review by the program committee, notifications will be mailed on January 17, 2014. The conference will be at SUNY Stony Brook June 5-7, 2014.
Conference registration and housing reservations will be possible after March 3, 2014.
Details and updates will be posted at
Conference coordinator:
Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
Department of Economics
State University of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384

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