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Tidbits - October 9, 2014

Reader Comments - Towards a Socialist America; War on the Islamic State; Ferguson New Voter Registration; Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism; Economy - Still Failing; People's Climate March; War and Climate Change; Berkeley Free Speech Movement; Crime Fiction; Work, Leisure, & Consumption; Israel 'Blacklist'; An Israel Equal for All; Importance of Brazil's Elections; Announcements - Race, Policing & Civil Rights-Oct 14; Paint the Town Red-Oct 22-both Brooklyn

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Reader Comments and Announcements, Portside

Re: Towards a Socialist America

Very succinct and nicely put!

Rand Wilson

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The article "Towards a Socialist America" by Andrew Wilkes reminded me of an essay I wrote some time ago, titled "What's Next." Here is an excerpt:

The anti-communism that drove both foreign and domestic policy in the U.S. after World War Two, a policy which brought about the "Cold War," McCarthyite witchhunts, and, most tragically, the execution of the Rosenbergs, combined with the very real problems in the socialist world to inculcate the idea among the American people that "communism" is evil. That misperception still exists, and it cannot be overcome solely through rhetorical exercises, however eloquent. Social change comes about only when the people see the need for it. That means that the incubation for a socialist alternative to the inherent and sharpening contradictions of capitalist exploitation lies in the struggles for reforms now taking place. But even after this historic change occurs, as we learned from the collapse in eastern Europe, internal contradictions... must be resolved if a state based on socialist principles is to take firm root and prosper.

The great changes in society have always been times of intense internal struggle, the old versus the new. In the U.S. the Civil War is a good example. While the issue at the forefront was slavery, more fundamentally it was a struggle for dominance between the agrarian south, which was based on slavery, and the developing industrial north, which required the use of wage labor in factories utilizing mass production.

The democratic and economic reforms that the American people have fought for - and often died for - have, especially since the Depression of the 1930s, curbed the rapacious appetite of what came to be known as "Big Business." But as the people continue to address the unfinished business of ending poverty, providing affordable health care for all, securing a living wage for all workers, eradicating racism and sexism, guaranteeing our youth a complete and free education, the resistance of capital and its political voice will increase. This conflict, which is slowly but surely building, will come to a head and set the stage for the next epoch in socio-economic development. Will that second American revolution be violent? No one can say. Hopefully it won't. But first we must bring to an end the threat of nuclear devastation. That's a battlefield with no victors.

I'm certain - conditionally in the nuclear age, of course - that the transition to a more just, more fruitful, more democratic society will come about in the United States, and, eventually, the entire world. How and when it will come about and what forms it will take, given the multifarious cultures and levels of development of the world's nations, can't be accurately predicted. But this I know: the nature of human beings is a nature of striving, and that striving will unify people in common cause and result in changing the world.

Seymour Joseph

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What we're really talking about is a more equitable distribution of wealth. Right now it's socialism for the richest 10 %.

Evan Gable
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I wonder if the term socialism isn't a big part of the problem. There is probably very little agreement as to what it could really mean. The problem we see mainly is that the ethics associated with big business is just terrible. Socialism won't improve that. But what will? That is the question. It may be that great shocks to the world wide population and economy will probably be the only thing that will wake enough people up. What will that look like? Anybody's guess.

Stuart Heady
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Holy something inexplicable Batman, it's a preacher who says something I agree with!

Rebecca Lohr
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Here's Everything Wrong with the White House's War on the Islamic State

An argument that it isn't yet too late for an alternative approach re: ISIS --

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Thank you for this article.. I believe that the US bombing of ISIS is illegal under international law.  Clearly when the US uses drones, the US still violates the airspace of another country illegally.

Mark Bailey

Re: ISIS in Washington America's Soundtrack of Hysteria

It is very discouraging that once again the US is going to war and taking a lot of others with them. In the meantime the political system is a mess, the election laws are unfair and favour wealthy business types, the environment is in crisis, Ebola is growing.

Lately I have been thinking about the Club of Rome Report 1972 called the Limits of Growth. They used computers to make their projections about our time and predicted the current state of crisis; it seems to me that everything they predicted is now unfolding.

I don't underestimate IS but our involvement in the middle eastern conflicts have a lot to do with oil, and bombing without ground support will not work. Indeed the bombs will kill civilians and an angered citizenry will then provide more support for IS. It is a bunch of killers who need to be knocked out but not by involving the world.

It is very discouraging. The mainstream media of course are a disgrace, blithely brainwashing people. Here we go again.

Laurel MacDowell

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A measured grain of salt (and reality) in case you've been a bit glued to the screen.

Yankl Salant
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: More Than 3,000 New Voters Have Registered In Ferguson Since Mike Brown's Death

Ferguson the next step after registering and protest is to monitor and challenge the vote to insure that it is not stolen or manipulated after you exercise your rights!

Monica Lewis Patrick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Lil ole Ferguson showing the big cities and the rest of the nation how to stand up!! Inspiring indeed!!! Keep Moving Forward Ferguson!!!

Nu Image
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Now we are speaking from a place of power.

Linda Ramsey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Way to go!

Lorraine Leeks-Mullen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Yes the electoral franchise is one of THE sacred birthrights of our Republic... But Elections alone without protracted mass mobilization of the masses of people following after the elections, public protests demanding that their representative legislators be accountable and accurately assessed and continually criticized is far, Far FAR more important, Otherwise bourgeois liberalism is just that, middle class posturing, and masquerading in false conceits and "mass distractions" from the brutal reality of our current state of affairs. Be warned . Heads Up! Eyes Wide Open!!!!

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

I started this book yesterday and it has already grabbed me. The clarity of the writing is beautiful. This is an important work.

Joe Giardullo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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...the Southern states contained enormously wealthy factory farms exploiting thousands of slaves within each. And with tremendous cruelty. To discount this, because the NUMBERS of such farms were less than the numbers of small farms is to attempt to revise history. It is shocking to see these despicable arguments still being raised.

Jenny Kastner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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...there's plenty of testimony from white people about the quota. Maybe you'll believe that. :) As for terms, I tend to use "enslaved people" instead of "slaves" and "slave labor camp" instead of "plantation." Finally, I'll be at UNC this Thursday and then at Duke next month.

Ed Baptist
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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This is a very captivating book, and should be read with Gerald Horne, The Counter Revolution of 1776. There are many myths and nefarious narratives on "slavery." I have a point that may be misunderstood. They were never slaves. They were captives! We should stop using a political fiction, slave, as a term of dehumanization. This is further elaborated in my forthcoming book, We Were Never Slaves.

Hunter Adams
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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[The book inadvertently made famous by The Economist.]

Jesse Farrell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Perhaps there is a third phase to black enslavement in the expansion and privatization of prisons and corporate use of prison labor.

Paula Cole Jones
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Please do not forget about the millions of peoples who were in the America's before Columbus who were murdered, tortured and eradicated by the European Pope, Kings and Queens that resulting in the kidnapping of millions of people from Africa and the brutality of slavery. The North could not have existed without the slavery of the South so both are to blame, directly and indirectly. Genocide is nothing new to Europe or America.

Robert Gorham
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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A great holiday gift!

Edgar Aracena
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why the Economy Is Still Failing Most Americans

And increasingly that capital at the top 10% has gone into the casino capitalism of the new instruments on wallstreet that don't stimulate the economy nor does if return to the economy to fund what might be capitalism. It is like a feudal castle with the money being played with behind the moat with nothing going out to buy seed, to support irrigation, to help build skills for growth of the economy...

Malcolm Steinberg
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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How about:

It's the economic *system*, stupid!

- fred jerome

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Where are the Americans of color who are always the hardest hit in any economic decline; the first to feel the blows and the last to be relieved. Is this graphic yet another example of our 'invisibility' to white America?

Furaha Youngblood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Raise the Wages! #workerstruggle #unionyes !

Lisa Maldonado
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I think I saw something in the paper that said it's just a mystery! WTF?!

Pjc Sonoma
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Bad economic theory and greed have everything to do with it. Mix in Citizens United and there you have it.

Myrna Spiegler
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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These three running for Santa Rosa City Council Sawyer, Crocker and Schwedhelm do not believe in a living wage. Please do not vote these people into office. Vote for Cousey, Pierce and Byde who believe in a living wage for all people

Jim Oppelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What's Wrong with the Radical Critique of the People's Climate March

Some people on the left fail to distinguish between radical critique and critique for the sake of critique.

Marion I. Lipshutz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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agreed. Those folks just want to be negative.

Paul Buhle
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Excellent analysis

Leonard Brown
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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The Koch's are angry that climate is getting deserved attention. They want/demand deregulation. That way they can pollute as much as they want.
    
Lawerence Collins
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Worth reading. And consider Oyate and kodas we are an active part of this movement.

Chuck Floro
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Naturally occurring phenomenons, like the non-stop eruptions of the volcano in Iceland, spew more "greenhouse gases" in a day than humans could ever produce.

I'm all for not polluting our environment, but I sure don't buy into the reasoning that we can tax it into submission.

Yep...the climate is changing. It always has and it always will. They're called natural cycles...deal with it.

Bill Vander Werf
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: War and Climate Change: Time to Connect the Dots

War and Climate Change are connected.

Deborah Nagle-Burks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Berkeley Free Speech Movement at 50 and Today

Remembering Bob ("Mario") Savio

n the fall of 1963, Bob ("Mario") Savio enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley. There, he quickly rose to national prominence as leader of the Free Speech Movement, which became a major catalyst for the anti-Vietnam War movement and years later for the South African anti-apartheid divestment movement.

How did Savio, a brilliant but shy kid from an Italian-Sicilian immigrant working class family in Queens, have the skill and the hutzpah to mobilize a very different student body than the one from which he came?

From the Martin Van Buren High School yearbook, Queens, New York, 1960

I knew Mario Savio when he was just Bob, Bob Savio. We were undergraduate students at Queens College in the spring of 1963 and members of the campus Newman Club, which served Catholic students who felt somewhat lost at a freewheeling and seemingly "radical" public campus that was overwhelmingly Jewish.

In the large cafeteria that was our primary common room, we actively debated the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and the threat of nuclear war. (I naively joined the local chapter of the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee," which almost kept me out of the Peace Corps a year later.) We also debated whether Malcolm X should be allowed to speak at the college, as well as the New York State Regents' effort to impose tuition for students who considered free public education a right.

Nancy Scheper-Hughes,
UC Berkeley anthropology professor

Read more here.

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people against the machine

Corva Korax
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Crime Fiction and Political Activism: Where They Meet and How

For additional context I recommend the book Delightful Murder: A Social History of the Crime Story by Ernest Mandel, published by Pluto Press and  the University of Minnesota Press in 1984 and still a useful guide.

Ken Lawrence
Spring Mills, Pennsylvania

Re: The Future of Work, Leisure, and Consumption... ...In an Age of Economic and Ecological Crisis

I'm currently enjoying Peter Linebaugh's "Stop, Thief!: The Commons, Enclosures and Resistance." The late 18th century and early 19th century were just the warm-up act for what's happening now. Only there was more resistance back then.

Susan Lamont
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Leading Jewish Professors Denounce Pro-Israel Group's 'Blacklist'

Thank you for circulating Paul Berger's article in the Forward, "Leading Jewish Professors Denounce Pro-Israel Group's 'Blacklist'".   The Forward's title is somewhat misleading because it implies that the professors who signed the statement are anti-Israel.  As one of those who signed the statement, I can say with full confidence that nearly all of the signatories consider themselves pro-Israel from liberal or leftist viewpoints.  They differ with right-wing groups, such as AMCHA, about what it means to be pro-Israel.  The Forward's article failed to convey this important fact.

Tony Michels

Re: An Israel Equal for All, Jewish or Not

Canada is a curious case. Harper learned passable French. Canada went through a separatist crisis. Nonetheless, the Canadian Conservative Prime Minister is a fierce defender of Israel's right to defend itself, a doctrine based ultimately and immediately on the removal, expulsion or segregation of another people and as much "separatism" as Zionists could wish.

That it completely contradicts what allowed reconciliation and collaboration in Canada seems to have gone over his head. He's just committed Canada to assisting in the war against ISIL as well, no matter that the whole affair is likely the most tangled piece of strategy and diplomacy anywhere with not one partner or policy reconciled with any of the others.

Arne Wilson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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The Zionists are god's chosen, are you kidding they have no equals... Just a little Saturday morning pessimism

John McDermott
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Personally I don't believe God chose any f****** body he has better things to do with his time. Lol

Nathaniel Nalley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Zionist[s] have hijacked the Jewish faith, and it's sad

Jordan Wilk
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Importance of Brazil's Elections

"there are many committed activists who have broken with the PT over corruption and economic policy"--that's quite a heavy statement to leave hanging without explanation in an article devoted to singing the praises of the PT.

Stan Nadel

Race, Policing & Civil Rights: A Town Hall - Brooklyn - Oct. 14

Race, Policing and Civil Rights is a community town hall with the goal of finding an empowered way to move forward in a borough and nation where people of color continue to be subject to racially biased police conduct. As the media storm over Eric Garner and Ferguson subsides, we're keeping the conversation going.

The Town Hall will be held in the ballroom of our BRIC House in downtown Brooklyn on Oct 14th from 7:00-8:30.

It will have a live audience and be televised live on Brooklyn Independent Media. The first 45 minutes will be a moderated panel and the second half will be opened up to the community.

RSVP: bric.me/u/bheard

Panelists:

  • Esmeralda Simmons, Executive Director Center for Law & Social Justice at Medgar Evers College
  • Lumumba Bandele, Senior Community Organizer for Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
  • Jumaane Williams, City Council Member
  • Rinku Sen, Publisher of Colorlines and Executive Director of Race Forward
  • Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of Arab American Association
  • Anthony Miranda, President of the Latino Officers Association
  • Musical Guest: Hip Hop Artist John Robinson

RSVP | MORE INFO

Have questions about race, policing, and civil rights? Post them to social media using #BHeard and they may be answered by the panelist during the live broadcast.

Can't make it BRIC House for the Town Hall? Watch it live on Brooklyn Independent Media which airs on Time Warner 756, Verizon FiOS 46, Cablevision 70, and online.


Paint the Town Red - Brooklyn - Oct. 22

Wednesday, October 22 at 7:00pm

Die Koelner Bierhalle (the KBH)
84 St Marks Pl, Brooklyn, New York 11217

Join Jacobin to celebrate the release of our fall issue!

"Paint the Town Red" features 164 pages on capitalist cities, the workers who live in them, and the chances to transform them into something better.

Contributors like Mike Davis, Johanna Brenner, Eli Friedman, Owen Hatherely, and many others joined our issue editors Alyssa Battistoni and Karen Narefsky to put it all together.

Take a look at the preview and join us on October 22. Free to enter, all welcome, issues will be on sale all night: https://www.jacobinmag.com/issue-1516/

Moderator's Note: There will be no Tidbits, Thursday Oct. 23