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Tidbits - September 18, 2014

Reader Comments- People's Climate March - climate change, environmental activism, labor unions; Syria, Iraq, ISIS; public education; labor organizing; Zephyr Teachout - Working Families Party, Democratic Party, 2016 elections; Spain, Scotland, Cuba, Gaza, El Salvador; racial bias; worker cooperatives; Announcements - Film Screening African Americans in Spanish Civil War; Mobilizing Against Inequality Book Launch; Southern Tenant Farmers Union celebrates 80th anniversary

Tidbits - Reader Comments - September 18, 2014,Portside

Re: This is going to be huge - Climate Demonstrations on Sept. 21

In addition to the huge march in New York on Sept. 21, there will be complementary demonstrations/activities in other locations around the country.  This is in keeping with the notion of localization, so that folks don't have to travel across the country to register their support for action against climate change.  In particular, if you live in the SF Bay Area, as I do, you should come to the People's Climate Rally in Oakland, 2-5 PM at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater - see

But there are hundreds of other events around the country and around the globe.  To see what's happening in your area, go to

Steve Willett

There should be a huge contingent against the war at this march. What do you think bombings leave behind? Perfume? No. Carbon. Black soot. Air filled with ash and death.

Vcubed Inaru
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Back in the early 1980s, there was a huge anti-nuclear weapon/anti-nuke rally of 200,000 people. Maybe this will be equal?

Mike Harris
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Remember the February 15, 2003 protest against the Iraq war ( I marched in San Francisco...)???

Ann Erickson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Huge, important, community, save the earth -- get on the bus, be there...

Bruce Newell Haskin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I like Portside.

Richard E. Edwards
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


March in NYC for Climate Change... Protest at UN as the big world leaders gather. Here is the caveat: the heads of state are not the worst offenders. Yes they can make laws or propose laws and lobby their lawmakers to regulate industrial output etc. Fact is: Its the corporate industrial elites that are causing the greatest problem by far and wide.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: At Least Some Unions Step Up for Big Climate March (and British Columbia Teachers Strike)

Hey! This is the kind of commentary I want to read on my computer monitor.

Also - it's announced that a settlement has been reached in the great teachers' strike/lockout. Few details yet. Teachers will vote on it on Thursday, At this point, reaching any kind of settlement is a victory for the BCTF.

Last night I heard a poll report:  38% for the Liberals in Victoria, 49% for teachers. The radio host asked how the numbers have changed, since it all began (in June). The answer: almost not at all. Teachers have always had majority support.

This is good news. The propaganda painting teachers as greedy and intractable doesn't seem to have worked. But still the hidden purpose of it all, which is, in my opinion, the neo-Liberal agenda to shut down public education, is scarcely recognized.

The gorgeous summer weather still holds. Hope it's as nice for you.


Ann Thom

Re: Naomi Klein Breaks a Taboo

Where did I read very similar arguments, years ago?
Oh yeah, in Robert Heilbroner's An Inquiry into the Human  Prospect.
Not many took that book seriously, in the mid-1970's.  Hopefully Klein's
book will have a larger and more attentive  audience.
J. L. Schrock

Re: The Coming Battle of the Gods?

Clash of the Titans and everyone loses.

Karyne Dunbar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Too Cool for School
(posting on Portside Labor)

thanks...imoportant that you continue bringing a critical honest analysis to the so-called charter movements fraudulent claims... at the expense  of real public school education and excellence!

Senator Bill Perkins
New York State Senate

Re: American Airlines, US Airways Workers Vote Overwhelmingly To Join Union
(posted on Portside Labor)

Another union organizing win (this and others seldom make "mainstream" news)

David Newby
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What Zephyr Teachout Taught the Country - and the Democrats Better be Listening

if she now endorses cuomo we will never talk about her agian..except to say what a sell out she is.

Joanne Cipolla-Dennis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


there was a ten percent turnout of voters, that's why she scored so high percentage-wise, and she was a longshot, nobody, which is why Cuomo "only" beat her 2:1 -- if the regular election was on and everbody knew what was at stake, he would of beat her 4:1

Peter Haley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Right on! She got my vote last Tuesday and my presence at her stop here in Poughkeepsie the week before :)    

Erica Salzmann-Talbi
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

If people were inspired by and interested in Teachout they should get involved in the Howie Hawkins for NY Governor campaign. He's the Green Party candidate that's calling for a $15 minimum wage, a ban on tracking, quality fully funded, desegregated public schools, and much more. Go to to find out more about the campaign and how to get involved!

Nikeeta Slade
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


So, it's interesting that "progressive" NY Mayor DiBlaso went for Como. Yet, there are some curious things underfoot..... Kshama Sawant in Seattle.....Bernie Sanders possible presidental run.....push around FF15........ While I don't agree with the politics, it's a curious set of events. And, perhaps, maybe not so diconnected to the poll of a few years ago where "socialism" was not a dirty word....... While we can be rightly critical of recoupment, a/s forces should be concious of potential openings to argue the libertarian socialist vision (of direct action and direct socialism)

Mike Harris
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


She did win more than half the counties in the state, and she absolutely blew him away in the counties that combine the Capital Region. but an Albany Times Union columnist, Chris Churchill, explained it best: It wasn't because Andrew Cuomo wasn't liberal enough, it was because people who know him best and see him the most believe he is a vindictive, dictatorial person.

Joel Blumenthal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This story almost makes me want to vote.
James A. Catalanotto
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The U.S. is the only industrial country on the planet without socialized medicine. It is also the only industrial country on the planet without a significant labor or social democratic party. This is not a coincidence. The hegemony of the two major parties in the US, owned lock stock and barrel by the very very rich, is the biggest political issue here. The left wing of the Democratic Party is a trap for progressive minded folks, steering them into 'safe' electoral politics, so that an Obama, a Warren, a Clinton, can treat us once again like Lucy and the football. Social change is obtained by independent mass action, not voting for any Democrat.

Jeffrey Berchenko
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"But regardless of how the general election script plays out, progressives around the country should take inspiration from what Teachout and Wu achieved in little more than two months, with pennies to Cuomo's dollars. Perhaps in places like Chicago, where Chicago Teachers Union leader Karen Lewis may be gearing up to challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel, local officials and unions will look at what happened here and realize that no one is unbeatable."

Cherie Blackfeather
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


the most sobering thing the Teachout campaign revealed to me is how important money is in our politics.she made some noise, but there were huge swaths of the NY electorate who were still completely unfamiliar with her on Election Day.Brooklyn, where she lives, registered the biggest voter turnout in the state, but went against her by a margin larger than the statewide average.I'm certain that's the Dem machine at work, and "machine" means "money", which she didn't have.until we get some kind of campaign-finance reform (and rid ourselves of the effects of Citizens United), money will continue to be an extremely important factor in the process, and that's not good news for progressive challengers.

Kelvin L Williams
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Even though Cuomo hid on primary day, Zephyr was able to expose the cracks in his armor.

Edwin Pagan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This simple, intelligent discussion of the primary gives me hope. Thank you.

Johnny Witter
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Some Retail Workers Find Better Deals With Unions
(posting on Portside Labor)

I was amused with the dilemma that plagued my UAL co-workers years back. Hardcore right wingers talking about ALPA as if they were new converts to some religion. Darn all those other unions, but glory be to ours because it serves us

Orin Osmon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I am a firm believer in unions. The 1% will keep wages as low as they possibly can so they can pad there bank accounts. Without unions we would still have working conditions like we had in the early 1900s.

Robert Dixon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


For weeks vacation? Do you work in Europe? You work retail.

Dennis Rodriguez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


No I work in the USA I get four weeks vacation per my union contract (should say my hire date was 15 years ago!)

Jimmy Lappe
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Interview: PODEMOS, Spain's New Political Force

Gracias a dios.  The cry of the Republicans, No Pasaran!,has come alive in Spain. The herois struggle and defeat by the fascists - with the silenced support of the US - led to the rise of Naziim in Germany and Europe ultimate turn to the Right both here and abroad.  Let this story be told and retold again.  Bueno y Siga.

Claire Carsman

Re: New Study: A Powerful Condemnation of Racial Bias

Is the criminal justice system fair? Jurors are asked.

David Bensman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Cuba's Ebola Team: The Largest Sent From Any Single Country

Wow. Now there's an example of elegance in the political realm.

Selby Hickey

Re: After Gaza War, One-Third of Israelis Consider Emigrating

Netanyahu and the IDF have destroyed Israel. Israel is destroying itself. Its inherent ugliness is exposed and the world's revulsion grows as scorn for anti-defamation, holocaust denial, anti-semitism, and AIPAC becomes an emotional tsunami sweeping over any restraint.

No group on the planet can survive such resentment as Zionism has produced. And the entire Murdoch machine cannot stop it. If being a Jew or an American requires supporting Israel, people the world over must abandon their religion and their nationality.

And lest you have forgotten in these United State of Amnesia, boycott all merchandise manufactured in Israel. Lots of medical prescriptions come from there so tell your physicians you do read the fine print and object to supporting the brutality of the barbarians.

John Dwyer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

I'm sure many jewish people are very uncomfortable with Israel's actions.

Chris Scruton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


My hope is that instead of emigrating the Jews remain in Israel and work to create a secular democracy in which no one religion is preferred by the state, but Muslims, Christians and Jews live together in peace. Then we will know that the Messiah has arrived. She will probably be a Buddhist or Zoroastrian but he will be happy to observe people getting on with their lives without bothering one another...

Christian Wijnberg
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Sacrificing the Vulnerable, From Gaza to America

This is excellent.

Henry Lesnick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Rail Workers Vote Down Single-Person Crews

(posted on Portside Labor)

How can a one person crew be safe? And isn't a 'crew' more than one???

Steve Pittenger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Kentucky City Begins Operating New Municipally-Owned Gas Station

big business is screwing us. we want socialism.

Jonathan Rivin

Re: Canadian Mining Company Threatens El Salvador's Sovereignty

Govt of El Salvador has to go to court to protect its own water

Marian Feinberg
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Scottish Independence Vote Is Too Close to Call

I love the romance but hate the reality that independence will simply create two smaller, poorer, weaker nations who will have to grow bureaucracies to simply relate to one another. A waste of people energy and money.

Paul Garrett
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Exit Stage Right: The Case Against Scottish Independence

Wetherell has clearly missed the point.  I write as we await the results on the day of voting.  It is clearly a socialist consciousness which is driving the vote for Scottish Independence.  The Scots (as are many of the English and Welsh and Irish) have had it with a New Labor Party which is nothing but the left wing of the Tory Party, and sometimes not even that.  Almost without exception, the cuts, corporate subsidies, etc that the Tories are now extending were originally put in place in some form by Labor.  The argument in Scotland has been over how to protect what is left of the welfare state put into place by "old" Labor, and restore what has been dismantled.

Alex Salmond may be lying about what he intends to do to protect the National Health Service and create a more caring society, but there is nothing wrong with the consciousness of the Scottish working class (of whom more than 1 million live below the poverty line) in their absolute certainty that the parties in London have nothing to offer them, and the silence of the Trade Union Congress (the equivalent of the AFL-CIO) is confirmation of that.

Sam Weinstein
now living in London
Former Assistant to the National President of the Utility Workers Union of America


Scotland IS Scotland!Noble land,noble folk.
England needs to clean up queen's debris using her vast money for some commen good!

Scotland is NOT. a target!

Diane Simpao
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


ONE of the arguments against Scottish independence for a progressive perspective:

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Socialism and Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises

Actually existing socialism never developed in the Soviet U. - & WHY it didn't, is what socialists today have  to understand in order to effectively organize for an actually existing socialism.

Matthew Borenstein

Invisible Heroes: African Americans in the Spanish Civil War  - Film Screening and Discussion - New York - Sept. 30

Film release: Spain/United States [2014]

A discussion with filmmaker Jordi Torrent, Professors James Fernández (NYU) and David Levering (NYU & Silver University) will follow the screening.

Tuesday, September 30 2014

Instituto Cervantes New York
211 E. 49th Street (btwn 2nd & 3rd Aves)
New York, NY 10017

Admission: $5.00

Q&As, and closing reception are available for $20.

Tickets available at the door only.

ALBA Human Rights Watch documentary film festival: Impugning Impunity, September 29 - October 1, 2014
For further information, please email

Mobilizing Against Inequality Book Launch Celebration - New York City - Oct. 2

The Worker Institute Presents "Mobilizing against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers, and the Crisis of Capitalism"

Date: October 2, 2014
Time: 6:00 pm - 7:30pm
Location: ILR Conference Center, 6th Floor
16 E. 34th Street, New York, NY 10016

On Thursday, October 2nd, join Mobilizing Against Inequality co-editors Lowell Turner and Lee H. Adler, Maria Figueroa of the Worker Institute, along with special guests Ruth Milkman of the Murphy Institute and Enlace International's Daniel Carrillo, to celebrate the launch of the book and its companion website. The Mobilizing Against Inequality launch party will also premiere artwork by Amritha Berger, illustrating the plight of immigrant workers and their families. The artwork was commissioned by Enlace International, a strategic alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations in Mexico and in the U.S.

Lowell Turner is the co-editor of Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers (2014), and the Director of the Worker Institute at Cornell.
Lee H. Adleris co-editor of Mobilizing Against Inequality: Unions, Immigrant Workers (2014), teaches public sector collective bargaining and public education law at the ILR School at Cornell University and represents public sector unions throughout New York State.
Ruth Milkman is  Professor of Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and at the Murphy Institute, and newly elected president of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
Maria Figueroa is the Director of Labor and Policy Research, and co-chair of the Precarious Workers Initiative at the Worker Institute at Cornell. She will be introducing the Mobilizing Against Inequality companion website<;.
Daniel Carrillo is Programs & Development Coordinator at Enlace International. He will be introducing artwork commissioned by Enlace International in conjunction with its organizing efforts to advance immigrant rights.
Featured Artist:
Amritha Berger is a New York based artist who has exhibited at the NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service (Divergent Cosmos in Jan. 2013), at the Eyebeam-Art and Technology Center (New York), and at the NYU Barney Building (Between Signs and Symbols, 2012). She will debut a series of artwork illustrating the plight of immigrant workers.

Sponsored by:
The Worker Institute at Cornell, Enlace International and the Murphy Institute for Worker Education & Labor Studies.

For more information, you can visit our event page on our website, or contact Maria Figueroa.

Please RSVP to Christine Long.

Gene Carroll| The Worker Institute at Cornell
Co-Director, Union Leadership Institute
ILR School, Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016
Office: 212.340.2853

Visit our Website

Southern Tenant Farmers Union to celebrate 80th anniversary - Sept. 29

By Belina Santos
September 8, 2014
Poinsett County Democrat Tribune

This year marks the 80th anniversary for the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, an organization that was founded in 1934 in Poinsett County with the aim of reforming sharecropping and tenant farming. To celebrate, the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza and the Arkansas State University Heritage Studies program plans to host a program featuring Dr. Michael Honey, the author of "Sharecroppers Troubadour: John L Handcox, the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, and the African American Song Tradition."

"This beautifully written book brings a new dimension to the story of a unique Southern labor union through the life and work of Arkansas born organizer, activist, songwriter, and poet, John L. Handcox," said Dr. Cindy L. Grisham, an indepent scholar, in a book review of Sharecroppers Troubadour.

Director of the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum Linda Hinton said the book is centered around the life of John Handcox, a songwriter for the union. Honey plans to play some of those songs at his presentation at the end of Sept., Hinton added.

"Handcox, a sharecropper from Tyronza, was targeted by those opposing the union," Hinton said. "He believed music was the way to communicate with people and wrote many songs that are still used by unions today."

The presentation of his book will be at 10 a.m. at Arkansas State University Student Union in the "Spring River" room on Sept. 29. Afterwards, he will host a book reading/signing on the 3rd floor of the ASU library at 2 p.m. The public is invited to both presentations with free admission, and books will be available for purchase.

The 80th anniversary of the union also highlights the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza. Exhibits in the museum focus on the farm labor movement in the south and the tenant farming and sharecropping system of agriculture. According to the museum's website,, stories are told through historic photographs, artifacts related to tenant farming, oral history excerpts, 1930s news reel footage, and interactive exhibits featuring Southern Tenant Farmers Union songs, poems, and interviews with former union leaders.

For more information about the events, contact Linda Hinton, Director of Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at 870-487-2909. The Southern Tenant Farmers Museum is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site located at 117 Main Street, Tyronza, Arkansas.