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Tidbits - May 15, 2014

Reader Comments-Fast-food strikes; Cecily McMillan; Campus Unions; Vietnam War; Farley Mowat; Ukraine; Power of Imagination; Filipino Americans and Farm Labor Movement; BDS; Food; William Worthy - R.I.P Announcements - Strike! & New Forms of Worker Struggle -May 28; Bold New Era or Hard Times for Organized Labor? -June 4; Organizing 2.0 Conference -June 6-7; The Origins of Inequality: Grassroots Economics Training for Understanding & Power -June 14 (all New York)

Tidbits, Reader Comments, Shorts, Announcements - May 15, 2014,Portside

Re: Fast-food Strikes: Why Going Global Could Work

Well this looks like the way to deal with corporate globalization.... globalized labor movements!

Nancy Linkin

Re: Occupy Trial Juror Describes Shock at Activist's Potential Prison Sentence

7 years in prison for protesting at Occupy Wall Street?? They said she elbowed a Cop.

Georgia Ruocco
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Tidbits - May 8, 2014 - Cecily McMillan Trial

Portside is always worth reading - but in this case I'm bothering NYC friends with it because it has the latest info on Cecily's case, including her current address and the date and time of her sentencing.

David McReynolds

Re: Top 10 Consequences of Unions on College Campuses

Hooray!  Many years ago, my husband decided NOT to seek a job as a college professor, though he had the qualifications, because it was not as secure a position as the unionized public school job he already held.  Since college professors at that time were not unionized, we did not trust such a position, albeit with more prestige attached to it, to adequately compensate him to be able to raise our four children. (This was still in the days when stay-at-home Moms were the norm. And the stated intention, by my college instructors, of education women was that "When you educate a woman, you educate a family!") At that, we had to pull in our belts to economize in order to be able to support a family of six  on a teacher's salary.  Today, with college faculty unionized, we might have made a different decision, one which might have better fulfilled my husband's professional ambitions!  So there are certainly many more than ten consequences of unions on college campuses!  Thank you for this article!

Barbara Suetholz

Re: Four Decades After Vietnam

1967. Tonkin Gulf
1968. Tet Offensive
1970. Mai Lai
May 4 1970. Kent State
1971. Cambodia
1972. Laos
1970. Naplam

Some  folks were Born
Raised to wave the flag
Ohh the red white and Blue
But when they say Hail to the Chief
They are pointing the cannons at you
It ain't me -it ain't me
I ain't no Senators Son

Fortunate Son John Fogerty

Thanks to David Capasso for sending this to Portside


What our teacher asked my auto tech class long ago applies to the trail of destruction left by the empires and their wars. He asked "What's the hardest thing for people to do?" The class didn't have any idea what he was looking for. After a moment, he answered, "Clean up after yourself.  You see so few people doing it, don't you?"

Joe Maizlish
Los Angeles

Re: 8 Activists Share Political Wisdom They Got From Their Moms

Once again, my gratitude to you of Portside for the quality and timeliness of so much of the content chosen to be shared by readers and hence, staff. This article from Colorlines is an absolute treasure, speaking volumes re: the continuum of Courage to walk the talk, that begins with the seeds planted by the wise women who raised us. BE the change we wish to see.   I will share its inspiring message globally.

Deep peace...

Beverley Britton

Re: Farley Mowat: the Greatest Canadian?

I too am very sorry to hear that Farley Mowat has died.  One other note to add to the wonderful comments of Paul Watson is that Mowat was a good friend of the Soviet people, especially the people of the north.  He wrote a great book about them, The Siberians.  And for this, for standing for peace, and for his criticism of the U.S. he was denied entry to the United States.  I don't know how many years he was on the State Department's blacklist, but in his case, as in so many others, it was a badge of honor.

David Bacon

Re: The Battle in Ukraine Means Everything

Talk about "grand moral Manichaeism". LOL. This is the strangest farrago of truth and fantasy I've read on any subject in years. Even a cursory knowledge of the ugly facts of European history 1900 to 1950 (including the crimes of the Stalin regime) reveals the almost insane quality of Snyder's narrative. Read Stephen Cohen if you want a sane perspective on this mess.

Why are many (most? who knows?) people in eastern Ukraine in revolt now. It's because the guy their votes elected was violently overthrown by a bunch of people in western Ukraine who have a very different history and culture and a very different set of economic problems and have shown no interest or concern for the opinions in the east. That doesn't make them and their Russian patrons angels. Snyder acknowledges that among the Maidan protesters there are those waving their swastikas and saying that Goebbels was their hero. That doesn't make most of the protesters in Kiev devils.

But Snyder says Ukraine (the Ukraine of his fantasy) is Europe and Europe is Ukraine. So what is Russia? The moon? Snyder's diatribe is clearly motivated by a visceral hatred of Russia and Russians more than by any concern for Enlightenment values. Those who are truly concerned about the rise of ugly nationalism in Russia, should have been and should be opposing the diplomatic and economic isolation of Russia that has been the clear policy of the NATOists since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact.

David Worley


Snyder writes as an apologist for Ukrainian neo fascism "nationalism" and a backer of the Kiev coup. His Bloodlands distorts history to make WW2 foes Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union equally abhorrent.

Mike Munk


Here is one informed critique of Snyder' long article. Also I recommend the comments.

Walter Teague


Is this not an attempt to obscure the fact that the majority of  people in Crimea and some contiguous areas do not wish to be governed by  those who seized power in Kiev?

John Talbutt


This is such a blatant falsification of history and on such a grand scale that I would have expected it from Fox News but not Portside. I am wondering why you printed it. Have you no guidelines?? I am no supporter of Putin or Russia. But I also do not support what Washington and "Europe", i.e. finance capital are doing, have done, and plan to do with Ukraine when if it ever "joins Europe."  There are so many things wrong with this analysis by Snyder and so many deliberate lies included that it boggles the mind. It is no more than an expanded narrative being spun by the US State Department and its megaphones in the capitalist-owned media.

An otherwise admirer of Portside.

Marilyn Vogt-Downey


I was surprised at the audacity of this anti-Russian soft-pedal approach to the past history and present reality of fascism in the Ukraine, which gives tacit support to the US administration's admiration of the Kiev putsch.

If The New Republic is not exactly to your taste either,  there is extensive reporting on Ukraine from another point of view in Robert Parry's Consortium for Independent Journalism. Follow the links.

The New Republic has already been known by many of us to echo the Democratic Leadership Council.  But for some information on the lesser-known Consortium, see here.

Dave Ecklein


nice to get the establishment view on the russia-ukraine issue right here in the, um, alternative section of the, um, opinion market.

Frank Scott


Excuse me, what the hell is Portside doing running neocon propaganda? From the New Republic no less. A stinging rebuke to fascism, except that they identify Russia as the fascist party, and the neoNazis of Kiev as the democracy-loving freedom fighters. You betcha. This particular theme of psywar was seen a week or two ago, when three masked men in camouflage passed out leaflets at one synagogue in Kramatorsk. The leaflet, issued in the name of the Donetsk People's Republic, ordered all Jews to register with the local "pro Russian separatists". The people at the synagogue demanded the identification of the masked men, who quickly fled. Within hours John Kerry was brandishing a copy of the leaflet as proof of the anti-Semitic Russians oppressing the Jews. Within 24 hours the chief rabbi in Kramatorsk had denounced the thing as a provocation probably by the Kiev junta, and the Donetsk People's Republic also denounced it. I understand why the New Republic would publish this. Why did we?

Jack Radey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Power of Imagination

thanks for sending this.

Stephanie Van Hook


Chris Hedges misses a few things and is a bit naive in places here, but this paean of the pre-modern has some nice points to it, despite the hyperbole and other problems.  His bit on Shakespeare and the imagination is nice, although I think his whole thing about the Puritans closing the theatres misses the irony that the Puritans weren't just being calculating rationalists in this matter, but were attending to what pre-modern like Tertullian (in "De spectaculis", which I happen to be working on this moment for my conference paper) and Augustine had to say about actors and theatre. And I think his pre-modern world corresponds more to the world of Rousseau's "l'homme de la nature" rather than the brutalities of feudal or ancient landowning patterns.

But I appreciate Hedges's spirit.

Stephen Cooper

Re: Filipino Americans and the Farm Labor Movement

The article mentions Bulosan--that's Carlos Bulosan, the charismatic Filipino worker writer who emigrated to the West Coast in 1930 and died of TB in 1956. His most important book is America Is in the Heart, an embellished first person account published in 1946, reprinted in paperback in 1973. Other collections of essays, stories, and poems are also available.

John Franklin Crawford


I worked with the UFWOC during 1965-66, in the office in Tulare County, picketing in the fields after work and, during that time, also worked as a social worker for the County Welfare Dept, which I used to talk to the field workers and their families who were subsidized by the Welfare Dept to keep them around during slack times.

The meetings that I attended were mostly Mexican and white workers and the leaders/organizers. The Filipinos had their own branch union that coordinated with UFWOC, and later they merged into the union and eventually became part of AFL-CIO. The Central Valley, until that time, had been made up of segregated communities - whites, Mexicans-Indians, Blacks and Filipinos.

I grew up doing such work - cotton, potatoes, grapes, peaches, apricots ... - as a child before going off to college in the pre-Reagan era of free higher education. Today that would not be an option.

John Allison
Mt Shasta CA


re: the Hollywood Chavez film.  I realize that you [Angelo Lopez] have not seen the film, yet.  However, I believe that your thoughts of it are not quite accurate.  According to Johnny Itliong as well as the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS), and others who have previewed the Hollywood film on Chavez, it basically continues to erase the significant role that Filipino labor and its leadership played in the continuing struggle to unionize our country's agricultural sector.

The Manilatown Center together with Laborfest 2014 will be having a forum to critique this Hollywood film as well as the prevailing historical interpretation that obscures if not erases the role of Filipino labor leadership within the U.S. agricultural sector.   The event is scheduled for this coming July 13th at the San Francisco Manilatown Center.  Please join us:  Our program will soon be released.  Do you want me to forward a copy to you?

Mary Jane Galviso
Ilokano Farms
Orosi, CA


Just for the record.  As a labor reporter for the People's World newspaper I and my partner Billy Allen attended the convention at Delano when Chavez gutted the union.  This was the convention when it was announced that they were dissolving the ranch committees and the massive support committees that had led the grape strike and lettuce strikes and were the backbone of the boycott campaigns.  All union resources were to be put into a direct mail campaign.

I recall this moment because Billy - a veteran leader of the Communist Party in Detroit and union leader in the Baker's Union in the thirties and forties, looked at each other incredulously.  This was after the passage of the ALRB that Cesar accomplished through his friendship with then Gov. Jerry Brown. Many people at the time thought this was a great victory, but it actually cut the legs out of the rank and file organizing and direct action tactics that had been so successful in the past and brought the grape growers to the negotiating table.  Leadership of the UFW literally was transferred from the rank and file to the leadership in Delano.  The result can be seen today - the UFW has far fewer contracts now than it did following the grape strike.

This isn't to take away the accomplishments and dedication of Cesar Chavez.  But it should be a reminder to all union people that when the rank and file are cut out of the equation the power of the union is bound to be challenged by the bosses.

Cesar Chavez should be remembered as a legend that has been empowering to Mexican Americans, but it should also be recalled that Chavez and the UFW were opposed to open immigration policies for - at the time - obvious reasons.  Immigrant workers have always been used to bust unions and the agricultural bosses took full advantages of this.

Like all legends, Cesar Chavez has become larger than what he was.  I may get some flack for this, and I am sure there are those who will take exception  but I saw what I saw and heard what I heard, and I recall delegates to the convention coming away bewildered.  So when we make movies about our heroes, lets share the credit and honor to those who fought, led and died for "La Causa".

Lincoln Smith  

Re: 'Anti-Semitism' vs. Palestinian Solidarity - BDS Best Hope for a Desperately Needed Change

Another important endorsement of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions strategy from within the Jewish community.

John Roberts
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Leave `Organic' Out of It

Why do you publish this garbage?

Has Mark Bittman done any research on what GMO'S have done  to subsistence farmers in India? Several farmers have committed suicide because their land has been ruined by Monsanto's GMO seeds.

Bravo Monsanto?  Should we keep supporting corporate eco-terrorism?

Nina Howes

Re: Dispatches from the Culture Wars - Piketty fencing edition

I am holding in hand the April 2014 issue of MR and no "Taking On the Fashion Industry"

Martin Morand

[Moderator's Note: We regret the error, the article was on MRZine. The url provided is correct.]

Re: In the Doghouse (Book Review)

The key words here are interpret and change.

Louis Reyes Rivera

Reply to Dave and Leonard re: Finley Peter Dunne quote (Tidbits - May 8)

I knew I'd get letters. I knew that after writing that mega publisher Joseph Pulitzer had used and abused the phrase about the newspaper's proper role being to "afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted," that some readers would cry foul that it was actually coined by Gilded Age Chicago satirist Finley Peter Dunne. It was. Dunne had his raconteur cum barfly Mr. Dooley saying it, and he meant it as sarcasm. The irony is that the egregious and Pulitzer would adopt it as his self-deluded motto, which was my point, guys. After I showed a draft to a bud, his only comment was "Who's Finley Peter Dunne?" so I figured that with 800 words to review two terrific new books it wasn't worth an excursion into 19th century journalism to establish the pedigree of a quote a robber baron appropriated. And Dunne is indeed worth knowing about, writing as he did with barbed wit for one of that rapacious era's biggest dailies.

The full quote, btw, is this, spoken in Mr. Dooley's inimitable Irish brogue: "Th newspaper does ivrything f'r us. It runs th' polis foorce an' th' banks, commands th' milishy, controls th' ligislachure, baptizes th' young, marries th' foolish, comforts th' afflicted, afflicts th' comfortable, buries th' dead an' roasts thim aftherward."

Michael Hirsch

Re: Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms, Bitcoins (Tidbits - May 8)

We've already sacrificed our intelligence to the so-called social media.  And bitcoins and algorithms?  Give me a break. Gee I just walk around all day thinking about algorithms.  The bottom line is that it's about people talking and working with other people.  The song by Patti Labelle and the Bluebells, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" is as true now as ever.  It obviously didn't happen in Arab Spring.  We need to get off the Facebook/twitter/instagram and all of the other bullshit and start talking to each other.

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

Patti Labelle and the Bluebells?  Give me a break - this song was famously written by that masterful poet, Gil Scott-Heron.

Steve Willett

Events in Odessa

May 8 is celebrated all over the world as a day of victory over Nazism that caused millions of losses and much suffering to many people of the world. However, now we see that neo-Nazism raises its head again. Far-right groups and parties are striving to power in many countries. Their members unleash real terror against the dissenters, migrants, the `others', leftwing and anti-fascist activists.

We have to stop the rise fascism again - that's our duty to stop it till it is not too late.

On May 2, 2014 in Ukrainian city Odessa neo-Nazis and far-right groups unleashed a real massacre. Far-right paramilitaries burned alive and beaten to death 46 local residents in the `House of Trade-Unions'. They brutally finished off the wounded, shouting `Glory to the nation' and `Ukraine is above all'. The neo-Nazis were brought together by authorities so that to eliminate the opponents - anti-fascists, members of leftwing organizations and dissenters among ordinary citizens.

It happened in `Trade-Union house' on May 2 - the day when Adolf Hitler's storm troopers occupied all trade union headquarters across Germany in 1933, and union leaders were arrested and put in prison or concentration camps.

read more here.

The neo-Nazis should be stopped in Ukraine and everywhere.

Down with all kinds of nationalism and fascism!
Long live international solidarity!
Nazism - never again!

posted by Andrea Houtman on Portside's Facebook page

William Worthy - R.I.P.

Journalist William Worthy passed away on May 4, 2014 at the age of 92. A self-described "anti-colonialist, anti-militarist, and anti-imperialist," Worthy was a C.O. in WWII and voiced early opposition to the U.S. war in Vietnam. Learn more about Worthy's vital work in journalism and human rights in this Washington Post obit.

Photo: Worthy at the U.S. Passport Agency in 1957. His renewal was denied after he visited China, leading to the first of several legal battles he had with government during his lifetime. By Jacob Harris/Associated Press.

Zinn Education Project


The Ballad of William Worthy by Phil Ochs

Listen here.

From the 1964 album, "All The News That's Fit To Sing." by Elektra Records

Words for the Ballad of William Worthy

Here is a brief biography of William Worthy from Bates College, which includes a mention of this song.

Forum: Strike! & New Forms of Worker Struggle Across the Globe

May 28, 6:30-9:00PM (NYC)

Today, when traditional labor unions are under assault throughout the world, we are witnessing the rise of alternative types of worker struggle- mass strikes, occupations, mini-revolts, and new, horizontal forms of worker self-organization.

Hear authors of recent books explore what it means:   

  • Frances Fox Piven, author of Who's Afraid of Frances Fox Piven? (New Press), will moderate and discuss.
  • Immanuel Ness, editor/author of New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism (PM Press), will tell how workers in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe are rejecting leaders and forming authentic class-struggle unions rooted in sabotage, direct action, and striking to achieve concrete gains.
  • Jeremy Brecher, whose American labor history Strike! (PM Press) has just been reissued in a revised, expanded, and updated 40th anniversary edition, will analyze the American working-class mini-revolts of the 21st century from the Battle of Seattle to the recent strikes of low-wage workers.
  • Daniel Gross, author of Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks (PM Press, with Staughton Lynd), will examine current expressions the "do-it-yourself workplace organizing system of the solidarity unionism."

City College Center for Worker Education
25 Broadway, Bowling Green
7th Floor Auditorium
New York, NY 10004

Directions: 4/5 to Bowling Green, 1/R to Rector Street

NYC Forum: Bold New Era or Hard Times for Organized Labor?

Join us for a discussion of workers' movements in the U.S. and abroad with Steve Early and Manny Ness.

Wednesday, June 4,
6:30 to 8 P.M.
NWU/UAW Hall (12 Floor)
256 W. 38th St. (between 7th and 8th avenue)
New York, N.Y. 10017

Former CWA organizer Steve Early is the author of Save Our Unions: Dispatches From A Movement in Distress and Manny Ness, professor of political science  at Brooklyn College/CUNY is the author of New Forms of Worker Organization.

Refreshments will be served.

Co-sponsored by Monthly Review Press, PM Press, Haymarket Books, WorkingUSA, Labor Notes, and NWU/UAW, New York City Chapter.

For more information, call 617-937-7327. To order these books, go to: and
To order earlier books by the same authors published by Haymarket, go to:

Save Our Unions

New Forms for Worker Organization

Organizing 2.0 Conference, June 6-7 in New York

The next Organizing 2.0 training conference has a date: June 6+7. And we're proud to be returning to the site of our first conference ever, way back in 2009: The Murphy Institute. Once again, we'll be bringing together the labor and organizing world's most enthusiastic trainers in organizing, digital strategy, social media, grassroots fundraising and advocacy.

The Organizing 2.0 Conference (our 5th!) brings organizers together for workshops, trainings, discussions, consulting and networking, visionary speakers, and thoughtful debates about our strategies and practices.

Over two days in Manhattan hundreds of people will unite to learn from each other, share stories and strategies and build our skills, organizations and movements.

Featured tracks include online to offline organizing, digital strategy on a budget, member engagement and grassroots fundraising.

The Cost is $100 for the two full-days. Scholarships are available. Visit our registration page for details and to register.

We're so very grateful for our partners in organizing this year's event: The Murphy Institute for Worker Education (CUNY), New York State AFL-CIO, New York City Central Labor Council, and the New York Civic Engagement Table.

The conference will be held at the The Murphy Institute, 25 West 43rd St. 19th Floor

Conference is wheelchair accessible.

For sponsorships, group registration and all other inquiries, email or call 202-460-5199.

Register today.

Charles Lenchner & Elana Levin
Organizing 2.0
Tel: 202.460.5199 |

The Origins of Inequality: Grassroots Economics Training for Understanding & Power

A Free Training for Activists
Saturday June 14, 2014 - 9AM- 1PM
The Commons, 388 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn, NY

(A,C, G train to Hoyt/Schermerhorn, 2,3,4,5 to Atlantic Ave or Nevins St., D,N,R Atlantic Ave.)

Develop your own skills to argue against inequality through small group discussions and group development of an inequality rap. Training will provide a multimedia overview of the American economy and growth of the rampant inequality that plagues our society today. We will close with a short overview of low-wage justice movements in NYC.

Led by Steve Max, Training Director of the renowned Midwest Academy and a vice-chair of Democratic Socialists of America.
Light breakfast and snack provided, but advanced sign up with your contact information is required.

You should attend this training if:

  •  You want a better understanding of how the American economy functions
  •  You want to improve your ability to make political & economic arguments about inequality
  •  You want to learn more about the low-wage justice movement in New York City

You must sign up in advance to attend:
Online at
By mail to NYCDSA, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 702, NYC 10038; By telephone to Frank Llewellyn: 718-522-2269

Grassroots Economic Training for Understanding and Power (GETUP) is a national program of Democratic Socialists of America Fund. This training is the first of two to be held in New York City this year. It is initiated by New York City DSA and co-sponsored by the Greater NY Labor & Religion Coalition.
Co-sponsoring organizations are welcome.