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Tidbits - March 6, 2014

Reader Comments - International Women's Day; Cecily McMillan; Ukraine; Venezuela; Are Unions Necessary?; Gov. Christie and Bridgegate; What the Hell Is Barack Obama's Presidency For?; War in Iraq; Announcements - Dignity in Action -San Francisco -Mar 8; Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Commemoration -New York - Mar 25; New book - Save Our Unions: Dispatches from A Movement in Distress; Today in History - Supreme Court rules in Dred Scott - March 6, 1857

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Show your solidarity with women workers' globally this International Women's Day by sharing this awesome image by Chelsoir! Shirts available at http://bit.ly/1cFnKxq, International Labor Rights Forum

Drop the Felony Charges Against Occupy Wall Street Activist Cecily McMillan

Sign the petition

Why this is important
What if you wanted to walk along the streets of NY without being harassed by the NY Police Department? Signing this petition sends a strong message to District Attorney Cy Vance.

"On March 17th 2012, at the 6-month anniversary celebration of Occupy Wall Street and St. Patrick's day, Cecily McMillan was violently grabbed from behind by a police officer while she was complying with police orders by exiting the park. Startled as she was lifted off her feet by her right breast, Cecily threw up her arms in a natural reaction, accidentally elbowing the officer in the face. She was subsequently beaten into a seizure, waking up hours later completely covered in bruises. To add insult to injury, Cecily was charged with felony assault of a police officer. In addition to her physical injuries Cecily has suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which has severely affected her ability to function as a student in graduate school. If found guilty, she faces up to 7 years in prison. These charges criminalize a perfectly normal reaction of an otherwise innocent woman.

The bottom line is, the officer had a bruise under his eye. Cecily had bruises all over her body. Justice demands that Cecily's charges be dropped. This young woman has suffered enough physical and psychological harm as a result of the arrest and a prolonged two years awaiting trial.

Cecily is not alone. One of 73 people arrested that night at a peaceful celebration, what happened to Cecily is all too typical in an environment of police overreach and suppression. The abusive and chilling effects of New York Police Departments on Occupy Wall Street are well documented as cited in a joint legal report by Harvard Law School and NYU School of Law.

Martin Stolar, Cecily's attorney speaks about the case.
Read more: Activist Beaten Unconscious By Police, Faces 7 years in Prison for Elbowing Cop

CORRECTION: The Criminal Justice System on Trial in Illinois

Due to an error, when this was originally posted, Michigan was in the subject line, instead of Illinois.

Moderator

Re: Is the U.S. Backing Neo-Nazis in Ukraine?

neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, in Colombia, in the Republican Party, in the State Department, in the Defense Department, etc.

Ed Felien

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Nothing new hear, a quick examination if CIA operations in Latin America show we love to back any leader who will allow US business interests to move in.
Im not knocking the article, it doesn't surprise me.

John Hollingsworth
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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selected and selective reporting by the US media has resulted in a typically distorted view of what is happening in world politics, in this case Ukraine. Many honest decent people are fighting for democracy and an end to corruption (something like us in the US), but they don't seem to be the ones in power in this revolution.

Margie L Ghiz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Ukraine and Portside

I have watched the Portside coverage of events in Ukraine with some surprise and total disgust.  Portside is supposed to report on events from the perspective of the left.  Yet its coverage of Ukraine has not included any coverage of the left in the movements in Ukraine.

No mention has been made of the fact that a large proportion of the protesters in the Maidan movement in Kyiv and other cities have had a radical democracy politics that in some ways resembles that of SDS in 1965 or so.  Instead, all attention has been on the minority who are fascists.

No mention has been made of the efforts of syndicalist unions and other groups who have a left identity.  They have been actively involved and are part of what is a political struggle within the revolutionary movement in Ukraine.

Much attention has been paid to US, European and Russian great power politics.  This is reasonable--but should be done in the understanding that some of this is being done to make sure the left in Ukraine does not grow strong enough to threaten regimes and capital in Russia and Europe.

Sam Friedman
author, Teamster Rank and File
who is in communication with a range of Ukrainians

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After listening to reports in our unbalanced and challenged media for several days I think I know less about the Ukraine than I knew before. After listening to John Kerry this morning talk about freedom, brave protesters in the Ukraine who went up against snipers on roofs, and a poor Man who he had just met who went to Australia on a trip and wants to bring all the wonderful benefits of freedom in Australia home to the Ukraine.  So what I have now gotten out of the media isn't as much about the Ukraine as the new definition of poor.  I had thought it was about losing food stamps, having unemployment insurance cut, huge college dept, medical expense bankruptcy, pensions being cut, homelessness and more. Now I just want to know when will a retiree from Mass be able to go to Australia and learn how a poor American retiree can make a trip to Australia.

Stan Maron
Amherst, MA

Re: Ukraine, Putin, and the West

This article fails on the facts. Leaked phone calls confirm that the coup leadership organized the assassinations of demonstrators and police in Maidan square.

Randy Shannon

Re: The Working-Class Origins and Legacy of International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day. Don't forget about the history of this struggle and don't forget to keep on working for our rights!

from the lines of the Bread and Roses song......" and as we go marching, marching, we are marching, too, for men, for they are women's children, and we mother them again"................and........... "for the rising of the women means the rising of the race"

Marilyn Kimmerling

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I wonder if you have any info about the 2014, celebration of International Women,'s day in Chicago

Our Iranian Committee in Support of People's struggle in Iran-Chicago likes to participate, if there is any?

Regards,

Faramarz

[Moderator's Note: If any readers know of any such activities in the Chicago area, email portside@portside.org and we will forward this information.]

The Economy Hub - Are Unions Necessary?
(posted on Portside Labor)

No question that that is a part of it - another part of it is the belief in individualism, free enterprise and without a doubt anti-communism - after all, doncha know that Unions are the devil of communists?

Phyllis Mandel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Stop U.S. Intervention in Venezuela

Earlier this week the New York Times ran a picture of women beating pots and pans to protest the Maduro government.  Bingo, I thought!  That is exactly what the anti-Allende forces in Chile, backed by the CIA, did as part of their efforts to generate public opposition to the Popular Unity government.  We need more information on what the U.S. government is doing to mobilize people against the Venezuelan government.

Margaret Power, author of Right-Wing Women in Chile: Feminine Power and the Struggle against Allende.

Re: Beyond Bridgegate - Governor Christie's Real Crucible - How Is NJ Doing AfterHis First Term?

Last night I watched "A Few Good Men" and couldn't help associate Col. Jessup (Jack Nicholson's character) to Gov. Christie.  Though he may never appear in a courtroom like in the movie I think a similar line of questioning would, as Bob Hennelly pointed out, pigeon hole Gov. Christie into making a choice between having to admit that he is either incompetent (saying that he can't control those directly under him) or lying (about giving orders).  In the end Col. Jessup's inflated ego couldn't help but justify the importance of his role of guarding America and therefore clarify that he is in complete command of the situation and that nothing couldn't be done without his say so because he runs such a well heeled base -- the alternative conclusion would have been unbearable for the Col.

For Gov. Christie, I think that to have a growing impression that he is other than a hard nosed, in complete control....get things done kind of guy will be his undoing.  The question becomes, will the courtroom of the media and the NJ legislature be enough to unveil THE TRUTH.

That being said, I am hard pressed to believe that this kind of behavior is an exception to the rule of American politics but is rather an exposure of the rules themselves.  Can WE Handle the Truth?  And if so are we willing to make the steps necessary to redesign the rules of American politics.

I leave with you with a perceptive lyric from the song "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" (Traveling Wilburys).

"In Jersey anything's legal as long as you don't get caught."

Apparently Gov. Chistie is holding out on his last defense of: "yeah, you might have me in the line up but in the end you won't catch me."

Andrew Dinkelaker

Re: What the Hell Is Barack Obama's Presidency For?

To say he's a disappointment is an understatement.  Perhaps, as I think, he was too raw, too na<ve and too entrenched in Chicago (cross reference New Jersey) mishegas politics.  He's been in over his head and can't seem to find his way out.  He's caught in a riptide and instead of swimming against it he keeps trying to swim with it to get to shore. You get there eventually, but when you do you're exhausted. Yet he keeps going back in.   No question that he's  brilliant and a wonderful speaker. Unfortunately he has surrounded himself with the worst of Democratic, neo-con sell-out advisors. It seems that his legacy will be as a gutless wonder who talked the talk but didn't walk the walk.   

Now, 6 years later, after all of the talk, voting rights are being stripped, gun legislation is fading, Guantanamo is still open, there are still troops in Afghanistan and he's threatening war with Russia.  And we supposed to welcome Hillary as his successor?  Give me a break and build your bomb shelters.  Or better, let's get the Left/Labor movement out of its paranoia closet and organize.

Claire Carsman

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I'm heartbroken about B.O. He actually sat in my brother's apartment in Chicago to do community organizing, and was progressive at the grass roots level at that time, which is why my brother and others worked hard to help get him where he is. Somewhere along the way he got bought. Next time I'll have to vote Socialist. Neither Democrats nor Republicans will make this place any better.

Judith Ackerman,
New York City

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Gary Younge writes that "(Obama) scaled down one major war, is winding down another . . .".

But isn't he giving Obama much too much credit and simultaneously whitewashing what appears to be a deplorable record on war and peace issues? It is quite difficult to know what Younge is claiming because there are few good (i.e. independent) sources for how much money is being spent now versus then on Iraq and Afghanistan. Such comparisons should include mercenaries and other allied military operations there that may have been bartered in exchange for military aid and training as part of the GWOT (e.g. Rwanda up to November and Uganda have been significant recipients of US military large$$e while abusing their own and neighboring (Congolese) peoples and have had, I believe, contingents in various theaters of the GWOT including Afghanistan). And the US military's role in Afghanistan providing, among other things, critical logistics capabilities has been credibly described as essential to the on-going military occupation of that country.

If Younge were to share his numbers/sources on the 'winding down' of US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and why those represent, as he seems to imply, a turn away from militarism under Obama's Presidency, readers could evaluate his flattering description of Obama's policy.

In any case, such reductions of public (US military) or even private (mercenaries) armed forces in those two theaters, even if they had occurred, would not counter President Obama's record on militarism which he does not mention. Noteworthy for a journalist assessing the purpose of Obama's Presidency is Obama's unsuccessful attempt to keep Iraq going, his escalation of Afghanistan three-fold, his launching of an illegal war on Libya, his attempt of the same with Syria, and his radical expansion (compared to Bush) of the following: the military budget, drone murders, special ops, secret wars, weapons sales to dictatorships, and other military and quasi- military ('drug war', coups, subversions of democracy etc) interventions.

Robert Jereski

War in Iraq

  • According to Just Foreign Policy there have been, as of February 21, 2014, an estimated 1,455,590 Iraqi deaths due to the U.S.-led invasion of March, 2003.  This number continues to grow. 
  • For information on other nations see

James A. Lucas,
Member: Veterans for Peace, American Civil Liberties Union, National Association of Social Workers

Re: 'America The Beautiful' Author Is Rush Limbaugh's Favorite Lesbian Socialist

I had read this before. I had a question.  Do you know if the hotel she penned the letter that became the song is still standing or marked with a plaque?

Cordially,

David Reno

Dignity in Action: Uplifting the Work in our Home - San Francisco - March 8

On International Women's Day, March 8th, join the California Domestic Workers Coalition to launch their education and enforcement campaign "Dignity in Action: Uplifting the Work in our Home" and the next phase of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights campaign!

CA Domestic Workers Coalition Dignity in Action:  International Women's Day Celebration

Saturday, March 8th, 12-3:00pm

Location:  Yerba Buena alley way, beneath SF Chron building (5th & Minna Streets) San Francisco

Celebrate International Women's Day by honoring the leadership of the many women who made this victory possible. Artists, community members, and workers are invited to participate in California's first-ever "Fair Care Coloring Competition," play their hand at Domestic Worker Bingo, help create audio episodes for the DomesticWorker App (accessible by any kind of phone), and dance to the NannyVan Jams.

Annual Union Commemoration of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire - New York - March 25

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 -- 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm

23-29 Washington Place (Washington Place & Greene Street)
New York City

We Are All Workers!

Hope you can join us Tuesday, March 25 as we commemorate the 103 anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the 146 young workers who perished.

Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition

New book out - Save Our Unions: Dispatches from A Movement in Distress
 

For more click here.

For the complete book tour schedule check out:

Today in History - Supreme Court rules in Dred Scott - March 6, 1857

ColorofChange.org

remembering the history of this country, born in both freedom for some, and slavery and genocide for others.