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Tidbits - February 12, 2015 - Black Future Month, Selma, LBJ, Vietnam War, Labor, Greece, Science and more......

Reader Comments - Black Future Month, Vanishing Black Professors, Black-Brown Unity, Lynching; Selma, Civil Rights, LBJ; Vietnam War; Immigration: ISIS, Charlie Hebdo; Labor's Bigger Tent, Adjunct Profs and Right-to-Work (for less); Science; Greece, Spain and the EU; Educational Testing; South African women against big coal; movie feedback; Announcements - Malcolm X; Spain; Cuba Embargo; Labor and the Police; Black Men Speak; Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - February 12, 2015,Portside

Re: Black Future Month, Envisioning Where We Go From Here

Everyone knows that February in the U.S. is observed as Black History Month. Though modern observances have become routine and even commercialized, this year we find ourselves in the context of incredible and undeniable Black resistance and resilience - and so there can be no Black History Month as usual. We must seize the opportunity to change the course of history by shaping our future.

Jeanne Tucker
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Well said. Time to make a whole different future. #blacklivesmatter…

George Lenard
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Love it. Make the point that black history is still happening!

Of Many Minds
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A Tale of Two Cities is very REAL today as before! There is an effort to Silence those who attempt to Speak OUT ! Make your voices heard. WE must MOVE Forward as the youth today have it more difficult than when we were coming UP! Sad but true !

Brenda Waldemar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's time for a major re-airing of the television adaptation of Alex Haley's book, Roots (1977). Raw in its depiction of slavery that shows not only the intense violence, but also the rampant rape and other sexual abuse of enslaved Black women, the depth of the evil of taking anything the 'Master' wants including tearing apart loved ones when Kunta Kint's beloved daughter is taken from her parents and sold off. The story powerfully touched a generation, and it's time to air it again - on a major network.

Sandy Porter
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Yes! I can get behind this. Black Future Month -- envisioning where we go! "Everyone knows that February in the U.S. is observed as Black History Month. Though modern observances have become routine and even commercialized, this year we find ourselves in the context of incredible and undeniable Black resistance and resilience - and so there can be no Black History Month as usual. We must seize the opportunity to change the course of history by shaping our future." I like the way the young think!

Misa Joo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Case of the Black Professors Who Vanished from Brooklyn College

I was student body president at Brooklyn College in 1968 (the first elected in a campus-wide vote of the student body since the student government had been eliminated years before for opposing the Korean War). At that time Brooklyn College (like most of the 4-year colleges in CUNY) was almost exclusively white in its student body composition. When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the school managed to find a single Black professor, a low-level Black administrator, a student and as I recall a custodian, to address a "colloquium" of the campus. This while a heated struggle was going on for community control of education in the city, and for open admissions to the CUNY system so that the Black and Puerto Rican high school grads who were being excluded from the taxpayer supported higher education system could be admitted. That struggle was eventually won, but not before most of the membership of the Black Student Union on campus were arrested on a totally phony conspiracy charge (a mimicry by the Brooklyn DA of the case against the NY Panther 21), claiming they were plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The history of racism and reaction at Brooklyn College has deep roots and a long history. It's no coincidence that as soon as the struggle for open admission to BC and CUNY was won, the city suddenly found itself fiscally incapable of supporting tuition free higher education it had offered since shortly after the Civil War -- when its beneficiaries had been upwardly mobile Jewish, Irish and other immigrants. As soon as Black and Brown students began enrolling in large numbers, it became "too expensive" to sustain; the city government was basically taken over by the investment banks, austerity and tuition were imposed.

Michael Novick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The admissions process in those years gave us second and third chances at a free public education. Here's a case of the best intentions having unanticipated consequences . The beneficiary being the banks and the class of people the good intentions were supposed to benefit suffering the consequences.

Jeanne Doyle
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


There are those who would like to turn the clock back. First, they fire (you), then (you) begin to feel it is futile to seek an education. Then they tell you higher education is not for everyone. Then they say (you) have an inferior intellect. It's all hogwash and if you don't fight, that's what's going to happen. Then you have to start all over. It's happened before: Reconstruction, the 1960's etc. CHECK HISTORY.

Bilal Shabazz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


At the University of Denver weh have no crisis of Vanishing Black Professors..because, well, to my knowledge, at least at the Korbel School, we have none (full time)..and maybe, maybe a handful in the entire university that prides itself on "celebrating diversity" which it does not have...

Rob Prince
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The U.S. Immigration Battle Intensifies

in the mid '90s an immigration judge ruled that immigrants had a right to a speedy trial and this was immediately overturned .....and the ruling stated that immigrants had no rights under american law to any constitutional protections.....this means the government can lock up an immigrant indefinitely without a legal hearing of any kind....(the government has since created a law now that allows them to keep american citizens in indefinite detention without a hearing ...the ndaa....which is unconstitutional and therefor illegal but not challenged)

Rolland Mousseaux
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Barriers to Black-Brown Unity

Harold Washington was able to bring the communities of color and progressives together in 1983--Commissioner Garcia may be able to do it again.

Susan Radosh
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Lynching as Racial Terrorism

To grow forward we must understand the genocide and torture on which "our great country" was built --- and continues to be built.

Wendy Reed
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


People who work for housing and economic justice: We should be talking about lynching as a form of state sanctioned terror that, among other things, was used as a tool to keep Black people from competing economically with White folks, created intentionally all white towns on purpose (Sundown towns), and literally forced Black people to live either in designated neighborhoods in overcrowded Northern cities or in slave-like conditions in the South.

Lisa Husniyyah Owens Pinto
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's also systematically been used to stigmatize and oppress Latinos within the United States as well. Great piece on the connection between state-sanctioned terror vis-a-vis lynching and the modern "english only" movement:

Michael Medina Leyba
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I hope someday they also address this issue with Native

Perry Conley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why Don't Americans Know What Really Happened in Vietnam?

The only difference today is that its all volunteer and the bait has been integrated. Those people had done absolutely nothing to the American people. Same in Iraq . Todays wars are mostly about a few getting rich. The longer they last just makes the rich wealthier.

Jerry Wyninger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

credit: Paramount Pictures

Re: LBJ Doesn't Deserve the Credit for Selma

I'm sharing this because of an absurd claim that the historic March to Selma was LBJ's "idea." The March was the outcome of a great historic Movement. Here Diane Nash relates a piece of the whole.

Diane Laison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Diana Nash has been a forgotten and unappreciated voice in the movement. She is right, of course.

Hudson Phillips
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


To all those that think the movie SELMA misrepresented LBJ -- Diane Nash speaks up.

Malcolm Pelles
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Thank goodness that Diane Nash, former SNCC & SCLC staff in Alabama is alive to correct the lie that LBJ - President Lyndon Johnson - was responsible for the Selma to Montgomery March! As a member of SNCC at the time, I could not believe that lie! Thank goodness one of the architects of that great campaign is still alive & can tell the truth about what happened!

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Diane Nash is a hero. Read the book " The Children " to get a accurate telling of the Lunch Counter Sit IN's and the Freedom Rides.

Donna Tara Lee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Selma discredits LBJ. Yes he was a Texas boy and had his own prejudices. But LBJ brought the Voting Rights Act to his desk and signed it. JFK had been moving in that direction, but LBJ was the man who bullied Congress into passing it.

Again LBJ had his prejudices, but he was man enough to put them aside and do the right thing.

Selma fails in that it undermines those who were instrumental in helping make Justice happen.

Trish Elgee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


LBJ was a wheeler dealer from Texas who has a history of liberal activism. The movie does not provide background on any of the characters. The movie presents LBJ as I remember him. A busy white guy who wanted to get things done, but sometimes seemed very distant from the struggles on the ground. As it is now, poverty is so extensive that we think that if we can correct escalating inequality, other things will be OK. What he had to understand was that brutality and racism were separate and more urgent than the poverty. What many liberal well meaning white men who are not directly confronted with minorities usually say is that "other things take priority."

Selma is not about LBJ. Perhaps, the recent movie does not portray LBJ as the romanticized hero we would like to remember. The movie does not give a lot of historical detail about any of the characters, including MLK. To insist on LBJ and "historical accuracy" about LBJ is to steal the spotlight from a female director who happens to be an African American. I think she deserves an Oscar. The movie is at least as good as Spielberg's Lincoln. LBJ... left us a very good legacy, but in the late 60s people were not so romantic about LBJ... fairly or not.

Maria Lydia Spinelli
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


He certainly didn't deserve credit for Selma. He does deserve credit for being the first President in history to get a voting rights law passed. His support, sometimes stubborn support, of Civil Rights helped to change this country. And, he correctly predicted that his, and the Democratic Party's support of Civil Rights would lose the south for the Democratic Party for a generation -- and that was a political reality which wound up affecting our country in many ways. It certainly has resulted in a backwards slide on civil rights as the deal with the devil the Republican party has made to welcome racists into it's party has resulted in a resurgence of hate groups and little progress in ending segregation in real terms.

Terry Kappel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The narrative in this movie makes it clear that Johnson was not the architect of the march to Selma.

Ruth Mili Cruz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


excellent article by Diane Nash, who was underplayed and nearly completely misrepresented in the movie Selma. Ms. Nash was so much more than the preacher's wife who introduced Rev. King to Selma. She was the lead long-term organizer in Selma for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The organization that was actually key to organizing and registering Black voters...

Jon Levine
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Actually, William M. McCulloch, a Republican House member from Ohio, helped shape the text of LBJ's Civil Rights legislation and then did much to get them the needed votes from his party. He was a fiscal conservative but believed in equal rights and in science. I'm quite sure he would not be a Republican in today's political scene.

Jon R. Heckerman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


That was a different Republican party. The Southern Democrats that became known as the Dixicrats are today's southern right wing Conservatives today. At the time LBJ said the Democrats have lost the south for the next 20 years. He should have said forever.

Don Prince
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Quite untrue. Read the history books, please. No one ever said Selma was his idea. But none of the crucial legislation that turned the ideals of Selma into reality would have been passed without his complete and enthusiastic support. To deny this is simply to be ignorant of history.

James Shell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Well no he doesn't. He may have been sympathetic but he was too involved in real policticks to be effective. White people did not do this. We may have helped around the edges but nothing was "given".

Gail Seaton Humbert
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I must have not gotten the memo. I have never heard or read the Selma March was LBJ's idea.

Melita Abrego
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Fiery Cage and the Lynching Tree, Brutality's Never Far Away

"Our" barbarisms? Have you been burning people recently? In the distant past? I haven't lit such a match. Not even Bill Moyers, the author here, has been lighting matches. There are actual bad guys, agents of the 1% of the rich rulers who kill, maim and torture to enforce their grip on power -- Henry Kissinger comes to mind. But you and me?

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I think one of the essential lessons reading this piece (and others) is that humans as a species are prone to barbarism. The truly horrible thing to contemplate is that we are all capable of such atrocities -- the lynchings Moyers describes were in many cases staged as entertainment, attended by thousands, with postcards made afterwards. What's horrible is that there isn't a subset of people who are monsters; we each have that potential. And we each have the potential for the exact opposite -- love, justice, heroic self-sacrifice, etc. We must demand from ourselves the best, but I believe that a part of how we achieve it is be recognizing the capacity for evil and insisting that there can never be any excuse for it, in ourselves or anyone else.

Dorothee Benz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A great piece. There were also lynchings of Mexicans. The hanging fruit of America.

Omar Antonio Henriquez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


So it's... Killing people in order to show that killing people is wrong???

Regina Bernhardt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Burning anyone alive is barbaric, whether a pilot in a cage or a wedding party torched by a drone missile.

Henry Lowendorf
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: A Bigger Tent: Can Richard Trumka Save the Labor Movement?
(posting on Portside Labor)

I'm sorry, but I can't imagine Richard Trumka doing the 1937 thing with Gov. Rick Snyder, the Frank Murphy of this time.

Matt Hardwick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Good piece-- it resonates with some of what we're doing in New Haven, trying to build a cross-class, cross-race movement, allied with labor, and establishing a real place in city politics. Labor can't do it alone; but progressive-left political forces can't do it without labor.

James Berger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


he began as a rebel, elected with efforts of aged Slovenian-American socialists at work in the coal fields...and became regressively less rebellious. He is an improvement over J. Sweeney. Not much more can be said.

Paul Buhle
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Finland solved this problem during the Great Depression. Union membership basically included any worker that wanted to join. Unions had great power to effect change, in Finland.

Charles Decelles
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


...I don't know if acting like a wolf would have helped, but Trumka, having been implicated in the Carey scandal, was absolutely the wrong choice to head the AFL-CIO if one of its priorities was reunifying the federation...It wasn't because Trumka was corrupt, but because he was someone who could never bring the Teamsters back. I don't remember now who the other possibilities were.

John Judis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Adjunct Professors get Poverty-level Wages. Should their pay quintuple?

(posting on Portside Labor)

$5,000 per course was the nationally endorsed call as I recall. Reaching $5,000 per course would be a huge achievement, though perhaps in reach. I would rather get an actual $5,000, than a never to be achieved $15,000 per course for adjuncts. I don't want a symbolic campaign, but a real one.

Arlene Geiger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


In Georgia, adjuncts get around $2,100 per class in the state universities and colleges. Getting $5,000 per class would be ground-breaking; a real battle must be waged for living wages.

Joan McCarty
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Adjunct pay is a joke, the reason I did not go into this field.

Michael Bailey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Tar Sands Pipeline Planned for Dane County Eclipses KXL

Not sure why this showed up in Portside on Feb 9, 2 weeks after the fact.  I had heard some rumblings about it, but would have hoped to learn something about the follow up.

Maureen McCue

Re: Why Are Reasonable People At War With Scientific Consensus?

Like some of the doubters and deniers he writes about, Achenbach suffers from social myopia in respect to some of his explanations for anti-scientific positions taken by large sections of the public. I don't doubt that there is a degree of primitivism in the situation, but to overlook the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars by major sections of industry to discredit global warming as a man made disaster is difficult to explain.

We aren't debating the issue in the 16th century, but in the 20th and 21st. Achenbach is aware of Google, but is he aware of MegaCorporation's input of misinformation to the tune of megabuck millions to affect public opinion? Yes, the human race is burdened by superstitions and misinformation dating back to the flat earth days, but some are also burdened by the superstition that superstition can't be underwritten by a storm of money.

David Alman


Is this really what you meant to say? ".., isn't enough to explain why 40 percent of Americans accept that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming.". Don't you mean FAIL to accept?

Cynthia Phinney


Joel Achenbach's National Geographic essay, redistributed by Portside, on why many otherwise intelligent people doubt scientific findings, is on target when he mention's skeptics of climate change, fluoride in drinking water, and vaccinations. But he is less persuasive when he includes among them skeptics of genetically modified food.

It is true that the overwhelming consensus of scientists is that GMF (or GE, Genetic Engineering) is not harmful to humans. But there are other reasons, health, economic and environmental, to be wary of GMF, if not downright opposed.

For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists--hardly a crackpot organization--in 2009 issued a report on GMF that said while there was "no evidence. . . that refined products derived from GE cops. . . are different than those derived from conventionally bred crops," it added that "It is also an exaggeration, however, to state that there are no health risks associated with GE. For one thing, not enough is known: research on the effects of specific genes has been limited--and tightly controlled by the industry." Read Monsanto.

So in addition to accepting what scientists know, we need to be aware of what they do not know--indeed, to what they are prevented from knowing.

According to the UCS:"In 2009, 26 academic entomologists wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that because patents on engineered genes do not provide for independent non-commercial research, they could not perform adequate research on these crops. 'No truly independent research can be legally conducted on many critical questions involving these crops,' they wrote."

The UCS goes on to discuss the superweed crisis, a result of GE plants modified for pesticide resistance. "Looking for ways to fight back against these 'superweeds,' farmers are now turning to older, more toxic herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba."   

Further, "As the superweed crisis illustrates, current applications of genetic engineering have become a key component of an unsustainable approach to food production: industrial agriculture, with its dependence on monoculture-supported by costly chemical inputs-at the expense of the long-term health and productivity of the farm."

Achenbach quotes Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, as saying that "Science will find the truth. It may get it wrong the first time and maybe the second time, but ultimately it will find the truth."

To me, this sounds more like faith than science. To be sure, it is faith in science, but faith nevertheless.

In the not too distant past, most scientists believed--were insistent--that some human "races" were superior to others. Opposition to this scientific consensus came not from other scientists but from many skeptics, let's call them religionists, who preached the unity of "all God's children."

An atheist like myself can acknowledge the irony of this history.

So let's not be so quick to dismiss as "unscientific" those who advocate mandatory labeling of all GMFs. Maybe their--our--skepticism is rooted more in an awareness of the actual evolution of science than in mindless conspiratorial belief.

Nathan Weber


Fluoride does an excellent job of cutting down on cavities in our teeth.  Unfortunately, it also makes bones brittle. That puts  some of us between a rock and a hard place.

M. Tobin


This is important! Believing in science is more about who your friends are than facts. Bottom line, we need to go beyond our friend networks to change minds.

Chuck Flacks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Stiglitz: A Fair Solution to the Greek Debt

Hit the reset button worldwide.

Chris Henricks
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Capitalism has run it's course, has trashed the planet and has failed humanity miserably, it is time for social economics and resource based economics, and time to follow the Greek example!

Richard Bowling
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Clear and concise, authored by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz.

Andrea Devine
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


From a former Chair of the president's Council of Economic advisors and Chief Economist at the World Bank

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


And shut down the Swiss Banks tomorrow...That will get their attention...We have rich thugs running the world today and this needs to stop soon...

Robert Litz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Confessions of an Erratic Marxist in the Midst of a Repugnant European Crisis

the intellectually trained, and powerfully placed bourgeoisie on the left is once again going to offer a kinder form of economics. so once again, no input will come from the bottom, reforms will mitigate some of the pain, yay almost a change that will last.

Tony Peery
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Wow. Economics suddenly got sexier.

Sala Ponnech
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Greek Earthquake

Every Government can issue debt free currency to its people for the people!

SR 356 - Good News From Canada
Canadians sued the Bank of Canada - and won

Markus O'Bryan O'Heffernan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Meritocracy and "Testocracy," An Interview with Lani Guinier

Now another prominent educator joins the protest. Harvard Law professor, civil rights attorney, Lani Guinier, first tenured Black woman professor at the prestigious law school, has written a very provocative new book "The Tyranny of Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America." Professor Guinier's new book critiques "Testocracy"-- high stakes testing, standardized testing, Common Core, etc. and demonstrates how the nation-wide over-reliance on all these metrics have been woefully damaging to large numbers of Black and Brown students. Finally major academics are joining the protest movement against these abominable metrics.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Re: Southern African Women Stand Their Ground Against Big Coal

I find it heartwarming and reassuring when I see people everywhere rising up against the fossil fuel industry. Keeping' the faith.

Annette Hager McMichael
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Right-to-Work Laws are Every Republican Union-Hater's Weapon of Choice
(posting on Portside Labor)

Well written piece. When right wingers invoke "freedom" and "liberty" to support their case it should always beg the question; "Freedom for whom and freedom from what ?"

Edward Collins Jr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why I am not Charlie

In response to the below article by Scott Long: `Why I am not Charlie', I quoted and translated an article by Mohamed Sifaoui, responding to similar articles.

Marieme Helie Lucas

Let's get rid first of an `idee recue' that is widely defended by narrow minded or dervich of the pro islamist rhetoric.

Let's be clear : `I am Charlie' never was synonymous to full, total and unconditional adhesion to the satirical weekly's editorial line .'I am Charlie' does not imply that you will get a subscription, not even that you will smile at a blasphematory cartoon. You can even - it is your  right - hate this weekly paper, its content, never buy it, dislike its journalists and cartoonists - and still say high and loud  `i am Charlie' ! .

`I amCharlie' is first and foremost a cry of revolt and a cry form the heart, that comes from our humanity against an injustice that cost 12 people lives. The same barbarian injustice that made 5 new victims in the following days and that made us say we were the `police' ( `I am a policeman') or a `Jew' (`I am a Jew') - even to be both the `police' and a `Jew'..

On Jan 7, beyond the freedom of the press, it is our collective freedoms, and beyond those again, it is the freedom of each of us that they attempted to assassinate.

Mohamed Sifaoui
Les `je ne suis pas Charlie' savent-ils qui ils sont?

Re: Long Live Charlie Hebdo! - A letter to the left leaning in wake of Charlie Hebdo shootings

i fundamentally disagree.

Sonja Brentjes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Don't we grade crimes all the time? So guilt slides on a scale of an unavoidable accident to genocide. Punishment is mitigated by intent, by factors of the human condition such as mental deficiency. We can empathize with a parent's revenge for the slaying of their child. But less so, by degree, of  a society's acts of revenge for atrocities blocks, miles, continents away.

The slaying at Charlie Hebdo, without a doubt, is near the evil edge of human crime. To a father who loses a child from a missile strike it must be the same as it is to the children of the slain cartoonists. Now what about those who are outraged and act in that outrage for the Iraqi father, or, for that matter, the Parisian who revenges his countryman by slaying a Paris Muslim - hopefully not to happen. Going down the scale of outrage how do we grade the acts that need revenge? Is beheading a journalist more outrageous than bombing a murderer and killing the innocent son of an innocent Iraqi.

There is also a scale for the discussion of the evil. Diatribes of hate are on the low side of that discussion, philosophers, theologians, novelists, journalists, bloggers, and occasional politicians should be at the other end. It is perhaps the sum total of thinking, writing over centuries that may enlighten us enough to move the scale of crime, outrage and revenge to, for want of a better phrase, to the left.

Alan Denker


The cartoonists are blameless. It was not their religious caricature but imperialist actions against Muslim people that has enraged millions, including some who embrace reactionary religious fanaticism.

Carl Finamore
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This article conflates so many different things that I didn't find it useful. Here are some different perspectives-- not different in condemning the killings, with which they strongly agree, but with a different evaluation of Charlie Hebdo's contradictory work:

[Note that the first article linked to above is by the 16 French leftists whose names appear at the end, not by the name at the top.]

Peter Hogness
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Charlie Hebdo was a racist hate sheet - it should have been banned by French law. They actually had one of their writers jailed - for anti-Semetic cartoons. If they can be prosecuted for racism against Jews they should have been prosecuted for racism against Muslim

Gregory A. Butler
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Lost Counterculture

Love your works.

It is true that the sixties was no "utopia". But you know, people really tried. There were all kinds of beliefs, politically and spiritually...many avenues of expression..some successful, some not.

But people of all colors really tried to do something other than business as usual in their own ways. They knew it couldn't be the way things were going.

Ras Moshe



I'm a big Tom Pynchon fan (never managed to get into Gravity's Rainbow, though I tried, and haven't run across Inherent Vice, except in the theater, yet.  But...  My wife hates Pynchon, so I went to see this one alone.  And yup, it was a Pynchon story.  It reminded me considerably of Vineland (set in a semi-surreal Humboldt County, I've eaten at the fish taco restaurant he describes) and the general outlines - free spirits, movement types, etc vs the narcs, though Vineland was far more surreal than Inherent Vice the movie was.  If anything, it seemed a little tame.

But the reviewer, Stephen Maher, seems to have watched a different movie than I did.  Violence?  In the sex scene?  You mean that he slapped her on the ass a few times?  Same with all the deep analysis of the sociological undercurrents in the movie, and how it reflects the course of our history. Really?  It used to be (John Wasserman fan here) that movie reviewers told you a bunch about the movie, and did so with the understanding that they are writing about a movie, not penning a philosophical pamphlet, or acquainting you with the reviewer's encyclopedic knowledge of OTHER movies, directors, actors, best boys and grips.  We have a local reviewer who typically in her "reviews" doesn't mention anything about the movie in question for at least four or five paragraphs.  Movie reviews increasingly remind me of music reviews, or wine reviews.  A lot of words that are totally unsuited to describing an experience, and which take themselves OH SO SERIOUSLY.  Enough already.  If you like Pynchon, go see the movie.  If you like offbeat, gonzo writing, go see the movie.  If you want to know something about recent American history?  Go read a movie review...

Jack Radey

I Love Malcolm - A Legacy of Love and Liberation - New York - this Saturday - Feb. 14

Valentine's Day, February 14, 12-4pm

Shabazz Center
3940 Broadway
New York, NY 10032

Confronted with today's mass incarceration, persistent police brutality, and rising economic inequality, Malcolm X's legacy of love and liberation speaks directly to us. On the occasion of the upcoming 50th anniversary of his murder, we will lean into Malcolm's legacy of radical activism and look at the complex layers of a man whose passion continues to ignite and inspire our struggle for a just world in the 21st century.


  • Sonia Sanchez, Poet Activist
  • Tariq Ali, New Left Review; Verso Press
  • Alicia Garza, Co-founder #BlackLivesMatter
  • Leith Mullings, Professor, CUNY
  • Boots Riley, The Coup
  • Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Free and open to the public. Please RSVP here.

More information and RSVP here.

Sponsored By:

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Inc.
275 Madison Avenue, Suite 2114
New York, NY 10016

Hope is Changing Sides: Understanding Spain's Political Change with Pablo Iglesias - New York - Feb. 17

Pablo Iglesias of PODEMOS, introduced by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now)

Proshansky Auditorium,
CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Avenue

Tuesday, February 17th, 1-3pm.

Within just one year of its existence, PODEMOS has shaken politics in Spain. Started in January 2014, as a "citizens tool", as a "method to turn indignation into political change," and to challenge the existing Spanish political system, PODEMOS has become an unprecedented political phenomenon. In just four months, PODEMOS grew spectacularly, achieving 1.2 million votes in the May 25 European Elections, and gaining five seats in the European Parliament.

"Since then, PODEMOS has continued to increase its presence and gain further support. Opinion polls anticipating the upcoming November elections, indicate PODEMOS would be the second most voted for political option. On January 31st, a 'March for Change' organized by PODEMOS gathered hundreds of thousands in Madrid." Its success can certainly be explained by the dire economic and social situation the Spanish people have been experiencing since 2008: austerity measures in healthcare and education, a housing crisis, and an unemployment rate that has risen to 25%.

But other factors contribute to the explanation of PODEMOS' growth, such as its innovative use of political language and media visibility and its ability to relate to the preexisting horizon of social and economic discontent and desire for political change opened by the 15M movement in May 2011, and successive waves of citizen mobilization.

Why and how did PODEMOS emerge? From where has it come? What are the reasons for their spectacular growth? What are their methods and their political alignments? What is PODEMOS' relation to Spain's social movements? How does PODEMOS relate to existing political forces? What are the main proposals of their political program?

Introduced by Amy Goodman (Democracy Now), PODEMOS' General Secretary Pablo Iglesias will address a NYC audience in a special opportunity to understand the political, social and economic context of PODEMOS' emergence as a rising political force, and a unique political phenomenon.



Left Forum
Center for Place, Culture and Politics (Graduate Center, CUNY)


End the Emargo of Cuba Now - New York - Feb. 19

Black Men Speak: Book Event with Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters - Washington, DC - Feb. 20

February 20, 2015, 12:00pm ET - 1:30pm ET

Bookmark this link to watch the live webcast

Opening remarks:
Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress

Featured speakers:

  • Ben Jealous, Co-Editor, Reach; Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Trabian Shorters, Co-Editor, Reach; Founder and CEO, BMe Community
  • Clarence Page, syndicated columnist, Chicago Tribune
  • Alex Peay, Contributor, Reach; Community Organizer
  • Shaka Senghor, Contributor, Reach; Author and Anti-Gang Activist
  • Moderated by: Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

In recent months, there has been a resurgence of age-old conversations about how we view black men in America. The results are often discouraging. This month, CAP Senior Fellow Ben Jealous released a book, REACH: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding, that seeks to point the conversation in a more productive and positive direction.

REACH provides stories of black men who have built community-entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, philanthropists, and organizers who have dedicated their lives to reaching back and lifting up the next generation. From John Legend and Rev. Joseph Lowery to sneaker designers and ROTC instructors, REACH provides 40 models for what black men in America truly look like.

Copies of REACH will be available for purchase at the event.

February 20, 2015, 12:00pm ET - 1:30pm ET

Space is extremely limited. RSVP required.
Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and not guaranteed.

A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.

Center for American Progress
1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20005

Map & Directions

For more information, call 202-682-1611

Communities and Labor Face the Police Crisis - New York - Feb. 26

Left Labor Project February Monthly Meeting

February 26, 2015 at 6pm - 8pm

310 West 43rd Street
Between 8th and 9th Avenue (Manhattan)


  • Carlton Berklety, retired NYPD Detective and co-founder of Brothers and Sisters Who Care
  • Steve Kramer, Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU
  • Delores Jones-Brown, Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
  • MODERATED BY: Muata Greene, LLP member, FDNY/EMS retiree, AFSCME Local 2507 representing EMT's, Paramedics & Inspectors

The Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize - CALL FOR ENTRIES - 2014 - 2015

The New York Labor History Association is pleased to announce this Call for Entries for the First Annual Debra E. Bernhardt Labor Journalism Prize.  The deadline for entries is Tuesday September 1, 2015.

The Bernhardt Prize is an award of $500 given to an article or series of articles that furthers the understanding of the history of working people.  The work should be published - in print or online - in a union or workers' center publication or by an independent journalist.

By sponsoring this award we hope to inspire more great writing for a general audience about the history of work, workers, and their organizations.

The award is co-sponsored by LaborArts; Metro New York Labor Communications Council; the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU's  Tamiment Library.

The winner will be announced at the Tamiment Library on October 7, 2015, during a forum about the history of labor journalism.

We are guided by the vision of the late Debra E. Bernhardt, who worked in so many different realms to share the hidden histories of working people.  As head of the Wagner Labor Archives she reached out to an astonishing number of people and organizations, to document undocumented stories and unrecognized contributions, and to make links between past and present.


The prize will be given to insightful work that contributes to the understanding of labor history; shows creativity; demonstrates excellence in writing; and adheres to the highest journalistic standards of accuracy.

The work may be an article or a series of articles, published in a labor or a workers' center publication or by an independent journalist - in print or online - between January 2014 and August 30, 2015.

Entries should include a cover sheet with name of the author and the place and date of publication.  Six copies of each article (with cover sheet) should be submitted, to:  
New York Labor History Association
Tamiment Library
10th Floor Bobst Library NYU
70 Washington Square South
New York NY 10012

Questions? Contact or 212 998-2637.