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Tidbits - September 25, 2014 - Lots of 'em

Reader Comments - People's Climate March, Greening of the Labor Movement, What Next; ISIS, Syria, Iraq, Muslim Fundamentalism; Ongoing War in Middle East; Elizabeth Warren and Israel; Theodore Roosevelt; Emmett Till, Michael Brown - Ongoing Struggle for Racial Justice; Guns and the Southern Freedom Struggle; Texas School Text Books; Military Weaponry in Schools - WTF?; Socialism, Worker Cooperatives; Today in History; Abraham Lincoln Brigade celebrations

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - September 25, 2014,Portside

The People's Climate March in NYC and Forward 13: Waking Up The American Dream

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary- General Ban Ki--moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we'll take a stand to bend the course of history. We'll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities.

If you can't make the NYC March - be aware of the conversations occurring. Forward 13: Waking Up The American Dream is a film screening in the event calendar and will be attended by Bernie Sanders, Bill Rifkin and more!

Patrick Lovell is an accidental filmmaker/activist who was in the midst of living his American Dream the day the American Dream died. Patrick and his family would find themselves caught in the avalanche of the 2008 Housing Collapse and eventually lose their home to foreclosure. Lovell figured out a way to make a film using his story as the entry point to broader truth to reveal how America's middle class has collapsed and the powers that be have gotten us even further entrenched in a fossil fuel conundrum that is 30 years past its utility. Forward 13: Waking UP the American Dream is the story of what's happened to America, what's at stake, and how We the People can reboot the American Dream led by a renewable energy future. F13 stars Bernie Sanders, Van Jones, James Hansen, Jeremy Rifkin, Mary Boyle, Jeffry Sachs, Rocky Anderson and Music by Michael Franti and a slew of ordinary Americans rising to become extraordinary.

Watch the film and make your comments heard!

Sean Flanagan

Climate Change March in New York

As I traveled by subway to Manhattan to join the People's Climate March at 81st Street and Central Park West on Sunday, September 21, I felt the loss of my faithful friend of 17 years that had turned into an increasingly expensive burden.  At nearly $4.00 per gallon, my minivan had become too costly to refill.   I'm an American.  Driving has defined me.  This was my first step into a new world order as I joined thousands demanding climate change.
When I arrived at Noon, the sidewalk and the street were packed.  We were a diverse crowd fairly representative of America.  We were young, older, the old, people of color and there was diversity within groups as well.  Assorted environmental groups, families, friends, students, communists and socialists carried signs that reflected a variety of concerns:  Criminalize Fracking, Get Your Fossil Fuels Off My Ivy, End Oil Company Welfare, Tax Carbon/Pay People, Give Us Keystone & Give Us Death, No Drill/No Spill,  Fossil Fuels Flood Bangladesh and a more personal one simply stated, I'm Marching for My Future.

Around 12:30 p.m., the sky was threatening rain and we couldn't see the sun.  Enthusiastic, we waited for the call.  Then at 1:00 p.m., as scheduled, there was a moment of reverential silence for those who had lost their lives to climate change.  At 1:01 p.m., there was a revitalizing roar of triumph that moved north through the crowd.
At 1:30 p.m., we still weren't moving.  The supportive crowds watching the marchers from behind the police lines on the sidewalk began to thin out.  Someone yelled, "They're trying to wear us out!"  People had neglected to bring food; didn't have enough water; and no toilet facilities were in sight.  A few gave up and went to lunch.

A lull in the revolution.  But sometime around 2:00 p.m., we thankfully started moving.   A few rain drops fell from the sky, but the sun pierced the fog so we'd probably stay dry.  It was slow going down Central Park West, but it gave me the opportunity to look up at the buildings along the route.

We were marching pass some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.  Some buildings had names and their ornate and elegant faOades dated back to an older New York with the original 1%.  What would each individual have to do in order to change everything?

Sometime after 3:00 p.m., we turned east at the south end of Central Park and headed down 6th Avenue at 59th Street.  When we got to 42nd street, it became clear that sacrifice is problematic and re-thinking one's world is complicated.  42nd Street, with its overwhelming consumerism displayed on building tall electronic billboards, challenges us to buy more, consume more.  How do we have to change internally to respond to that message in a different way?

If "Capitalism is destroying the Planet" as one sign proclaimed, what kind of system will do better?  And who decides who's going to give up what?  Who gives up more?  Who will share what amount of resources?

When we reached the march's end at 11th Avenue and 34th Street around 4:30 p.m., I knew that giving up my car is not enough and this march is only one step.  In order to consider what I have to give up and what I'll gain, I must first begin to imagine the major changes that will inevitably come with changing the world.

Nico Colson-Jones

Re: The Greening of the Labor Movement
(posted on Portside Labor)

Finally I remember teamsters and turtles 1999

Kenneth Little
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Climate Change Marches

Now if he can convince the US Senate. Not likely. It follows for us to find a way to bring a Green Energy majority to power.

Carl Davidson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


For the first time in a long while I was heartened watching the climate marches. Climate change is happening! And people know it! Where I live we had a severely cold winter followed by a cold and rainy summer and now are into an erratic fall with temperatures up and down. The birds are migrating early and we have already had frost so that another cold winter seems likely.

People in their local communities need to keep at it. I now have an alternative shop with locally made goods in cottage country. Down the road is an artists' co-op, a farmer's market every week and an amazing project that has started a garden in a sand pit, sells local produce, uses greenhouses to do it and has a store/restaurant built sustainably out of hay bales. All of this is in one small town. So it is possible to build a new sustainable, alternative economy!

The key is energy. We have a lot of geothermal but need much more solar and wind power. The way to do it is to do it.

Ignore the opposition!

Of course in Canada we also have Stephen Harper in office who is only interested in pipelines, the oil industry etc. He has a narrow linear mind and is basically a climate denier. He has the gall not to attend the UN meeting this week, so he is also a coward. So we will all be working hard to dislodge him in the election next year. But in the meantime, we are working at the local level to mitigate the effects of climate change by changing the economy. When I reopen my shop next 24th of May weekend I will be giving away small trees for people to plant!

It can be done.

Laurel MacDowell

Re: Taking a Call for Climate Change to the Streets

I took three kids with me on the train up there and it was amazing

Ann Johnston
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Coming Climate Revolt

Astute history and analysis of the efforts to halt climate change and of the difference between Democratic and Republican parties reflected therein. Read it if you dare.

Yankl Salant
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Ten-Point Plan for Defeating ISIS and Muslim Fundamentalism

As a Muslim, I am greatly incensed by your conflating "extremism" with "Muslim fundamentalism."

First of all, you don't define "fundamentalism."  If you did so, you might be less confused about whether or not Muslim fundamentalism is an extremist POV.

Secondly, you seem completely unaware that Islam is a religion of social justice, and has been from the first.  This is an integral part of Islamic "fundamentals."

So are women's rights.

You seem to think that Islam fundamentalism means all the negative things you have read about Islam and learned about on Faux News.

You need to read somebody like Karen Armstrong, a former nun and commentator on Islam, or watch "The Message," a great film about early Islam.

If you did so, you would understand that true Islam is opposed to oppression, and that true Muslims fight Western imperialism, colonialism and genocide.

Until you do so, you run the risk of seeming like Islamophobes, and of toeing the line of Zionist Israel, which is one implacable enemy of social justice, as well as Christian fundamentalists.

Romi Elnagar

With Obama giving a liberal gloss to the war on terror, 2.0, to rehabilitate U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, publishing this article without critical comment is simply joining in the warmongering. ISIS is against civilization? How about the greatest power in history expending $4 trillion and causing millions of death in the cradle of civilization-conditions that created ISIS.

I'm shocked that the Portside team could publish this cruise-missile liberal propaganda.

Lee Sustar


Karima Bennoune's article "Ten Point Plan Defeating Isis and Muslim Fundamentalism" from Huffington Post, September 19, 2014 - is a perfect example of Huff Po's centrist lap dog obedience to the Obama administration.

That fawning article would never have been printed if Bush was in the White House. So we are supposed to defeat ISIS/ISIL (since the name is 'al Dawla al Islamiyye f'il Iraq w'al Sham' the acronym should be DIIS) by military action? Balderdash! And we are supposed to defeat this proxy army of Saudi Arabia without mentioning that the Saudis bought and paid this organization and that the ISIS/ISIL/DIIS use the very same "barbaric" method of execution that the Saudis use? And we are supposed to defeat them without mentioning that USA drones chop off heads and more when they assassinate people?  

This article is only interesting to the left and progressives in that it shows how un-left and un-progressive Huff Po really is. Ms. Bennoune doesn't have a clue how to defeat either this specific organization or fundamentalist Islam in general, much less how to defeat the fundamentalist Imperialists within the US government.

Gregory Wonderwheel


It is very disappointing to see the Portside editors support this prescription from Ms. Bennoune, which focuses on treating symptoms, and completely ignores the underlying disease that exacerbates Muslim fundamentalist radicalism.

It sure seems to me that the ongoing infliction of indignity on Muslim people's lives, through support for despotic regimes, and especially support for Israel's brutalization of the Palestinian Arabs, is what drives Muslim people steadily toward more extreme ideologies.

When Bin Laden published his list of grievances after the 9/11 attack, US support for Israel's brutalization of the Palestinian Arabs was at the top of that list. It was listed first, even before the presence of foreign troops on Muslim lands.

Disappointing Portside. I've come to expect better than this from you.

R Zwarich

Re: Readers Debate: ISIS Crisis or "Here We Go Again" - Different Perspectives from Two Long-time Activists

I find it hard to believe that very knowledgeable and sophisticated commentators (such as Joseph) can't read between the lines of the US response to IS (or don't wish to talk about it). The Obama reaction is not really based on a threat evaluation of IS.

IS provides US cover to do two things it desperately wanted to do anyway:

  1. Return a permanent US military base to Iraq ("residual force"); first step is get rid of Maliki who rejected blanket immunity for US troops from Iraqi law (that's done); then get the residual force in there as advisors, especially to new Sunni units of a national guard.
  2. Arm and provide advisors and air support to selected Syrian rebels who are then supposed to grab IS territory in Syria; if they succeed FSA will actually control some land which will give it some cover as legitimate govt. of Syria; that will enable US, Turkey, Jordan etc. to openly attack Damascus govt. on grounds that they are assisting the real govt. of Syria.

To me this all seems about as far-fetched as the Bush Cheney expectations in Iraq in 2003. I'm with Vann. No good can come of it. Defeating ISIS is simple. Let the Turks cut off the oil smuggling that is their real source of revenue and freeze the financial assets of their backers (who are certainly well known to the NSA). The fact that no attempt has been made on either front shows how much real concern there is to crush IS in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

David Worley


I wonder if there had been a broadcast of an Israeli soldier slaughtering one Palestinian child the people would have called out in horror. Probably not, unless the child had been white skinned.   

Judith Ackerman


There are a lot of women in the world with the name ISIS. There's also an ancient Egyptian goddess by that name who still has thousands of followers around the world (I am not one BTW).

The President of the United States calls the "Islamic State" "ISIL", and some might say it's a more accurate acronym. Is there any chance that you could forgo the use of the name "ISIS" to identify these people? I know that you are often reprinting media articles from third parties, where you would want to keep their usage unaltered, but at least on your own articles, avoiding the name ISIS would be a good thing in my view. Thanks for your consideration.

Richard Elen

Re: Obama's Long War in the Middle East

We just keep following the same stupid path again and again.
Feed the war machine!

Howie Leveton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Israel's War Crimes in Gaza

Thank you for this letter.  You have expressed my sentiments well.

Velva Spriggs


Sen. Warren -- you need to get your facts straight.

Terry Baird
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

This is a very intriguing letter to Senator Warren. She may be progressive on issues of social economy and women's reproductive rights, but on the question of defending Israel's re-invasion of Gaza as a case of self-defense against rocket attacks and revenge for the assassination of those three yeshiva young men, Elizabeth Warren is sorely off base. This raise questions in my mind about how much she may be beholden to Jewish-American Israeli lobby for funds and connections, most especially amongst the Democrats in the circles of corporate elites. Much of Wall Street's old "Yankee" money and much of the hedge fund operators vote largely with the DNC--contrary to what is commonly believed.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


She was almost perfect until I heard her speak about Gaza.

Patricia Kelly
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


All progressive politicians share this viewpoint. Nobody wants the shit storm that is the AIPAC lobby.

Frances Jarvis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I agree that this letter needs to be sent, and to all politicians, the one thing I will say it that there is a changing tide and once this letter needed to go to everyone, but now the audience is getting smaller and smaller. Israel can no longer hide behind the notion of justification.

Michelle Kuhlman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Thank you for writing this b/c of course I agree.  We simply need to educate the fabulous EW.

Deborah Nagle-Burks

Re: Sacrificing the Vulnerable, From Gaza to America

Did Bernie Sanders here this speech? He, along with Elizabeth Warren, were among the 100 senators who voted with AIPAC.

Joan Vermeulen

Re: Theodore Roosevelt: "Lusted for Death on a Mass Scale"

The new PBS documentary series: The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, reinforces the American desire to believe in cherished myths, while covering up information we ought to know. President Theodore Roosevelt was a war monger and an inveterate racist. He was a monster, actually.

Diane Laison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Malcolm X said something to the effect that if you read American history books, you could end up believing that Native Americans came over on the Mayflower and tried to take the land away from the whites.

Ronald Tyson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Margaret Kimberley is quite right concerning the enormous volume of "American history" that consists of willful ignorance and direct falsehoods, but she's missed the boat largely regarding the Ken Burns "The Roosevelts."  Burns makes Theodore Roosevelt's war lust crystal clear at several points along the way; and, the third installment adds the similar perspectives of both the young FDR and even Eleanor during the Great War. The linkage of war-making with notions of masculine virtue, as well as other factors, is well documented in any number of histories of the culture of that period.  Granted, the trickle-down progress of such revisions of our history seems painfully slow.

Jim Young


Wow ... almost blows my mind as much as what is being done now by our leaders who cleverly disguise what they are truly going about doing. The one party system that pretends to be different etc. That goes for Canada, my country, and fake democracies in nations like Great Britain who recently held a vote on separation where wide spread, documented evidence, reveals how yes to independence votes were not counted and even worse. The " One world order " crowd think they can continue to feed the lust and greed of their masters ... they will soon have a rude awakening as us peasants mobilize with truth and the Heavons on our side. The dog eat dog world, and bullshit propaganda to hate will soon end. Namaste

Dan Goertzen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


But we keep getting these deeply contradictory elected officials--FDR making a devil's bargain with the South to exclude farm and domestic workers from Social Security, LBJ pushing for the Civil Rights Act and Voting RIghts Act but escalating the Vietnam War. I think we get contradictory officials because they reflect a deeply contradictory society--these guys don't stage coups d',tat, they get elected. Too easy to blame them, I think.

John Burke
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Emmett Till, Michael Brown and the Ongoing Struggle for Racial Justice

I especially noted the use of the word "thugs" to describe the monsters who tortured and killed Emmett Till. Thanks for that. That word has been so handily hurled at the reputation of every black male shooting victim lately, as writers rush to find examples of youthful misdemeanors to back up their use of the t___ word. It was great to see it properly used.

Karyne Dunbar

Re: Guns and the Southern Freedom Struggle: What's Missing When We Teach About Nonviolence

An alternative perspective on history of the civil rights movement --

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Texas Proposes Rewriting School Text Books to Deny Manmade Climate Change

Don't you wish we had a "truth ray" that we could mount on a satellite and aim at America? Republicans would never win another election ever! And Fundamentalists' heads might actually explode!

Atlant Schmidt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is just one of the nonsense changes that Texas pushes on the rest of the states every year.

Christopher Booth
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Typical. There are quite a few things I don't like about living here

Sandra MacPherson Wilkie
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Pentagon Supplies School Districts with Assault Rifles and Grenade Launchers

Ridiculous! I'm sorry F**king ridiculous!!! Stupid bastards!

Steve Pittenger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Aren't we supposed to melt that junk into plowshares?

Sterling Vinson

Re: Socialism and Workers' Self-Directed Enterprises

Richard Wolff has written a very incisive article about the need to make the transition to socialism as democratic as possible.  He shows that the capitalist concept of private property and profit is socially and economically backward and the major obstacle to human progress.  He also shows that the centralized, state-planning system that existed in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries did not work, nor was it a radical break with the established corporate model.  He proposes the establishment and nurture of workers' self-directed enterprises (WSDEs).  

There are a number of problems, however, that I see in his article:  
1)  He gives no clue where or how workers are supposed to set up these enterprises, and how would they achieve meaningful autonomy in a capitalist economy;
2) he does not explain how a WSDE board of directors would function in practical ways that would be different from that in a capitalist corporation.  Board members could not hold meetings  every time they needed to make a business decision; and
3) his views on how workers would transform themselves sound positively utopian.


Today in History - Herbert Lee Murdered September 25, 1961 in Mississippi by State Legislator for Registering Black Voters


On Sept. 25, 1961, Herbert Lee, a farmer who worked with civil rights leader Bob Moses to help register black voters, was killed by a state legislator, E. H. Hurst, in Liberty, Mississippi. Hurst claimed self-defense and was acquitted by a coroner's jury the same day as the killing. Lewis Allen, who witnessed the shooting, said otherwise, and was himself murdered two years later.

Thanks to the Zinn Education Project for posting

57 years ago today, 9 teenagers in Little Rock Arkansas, changed the course of history

credit - Daily Kos

IMPUGNING IMPUNITY: ALBA's Human Rights Documentary Film Festival

September 29 - October 1, 2014

Instituto Cervantes New York
211 E. 49th Street
New York, NY 10017

Click for more information

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), almost forty thousand men and women from fifty-two countries, including 2,800 Americans volunteered to travel to Spain and join the International Brigades to help fight fascism. The U.S. volunteers served in various units and came to be known collectively as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

78th Annual Bay Area Celebration "Solidarity Forever"

October 5, 2014
2:00 - 4:00 PM

Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, California 94704

Click for more information

This year we pay tribute to the life of Pete Seeger, featuring previously unseen footage and presenting the spectacular Smithsonian re-release of the legendary "Songs of the Spanish Civil War" albums from the 1960s that included Seeger's 1944 "Songs of the Lincoln Brigade."

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