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Tidbits - March 19, 2015 - Lessons from Syriza and Podemos; 2016 elections; Prison Reform, Israel; Culture; and more...

Reader Comments - Lessons from Syriza and Podemos; Kshama Sawant; 2016 elections; Prison Reform, Israel, Gaza, Palestine, Israeli elections; Venezuela, Greece, Ukraine; Measles; Culture - music, television, films; Franz Fanon; Roger Burbach - Presente! Announcements - Break the Cuba Blockade - Venceremos Brigade; WRL new "Pie Chart"; Mondragon and Workers Cooperatives; Fighting Inequality Conference

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - March 19, 2015,Portside


Re: 8 Lessons American Progressives Can Take From Greece's Syriza and Spain's Podemos

American progressives face an uphill battle because of the perceived truncated political spectrum, where the "Left" is about where Clinton and Obama stand. Anything to the left of that is terra incognita. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are barely registering on this political spectrum, let alone any socialist possibility. Lots of groundwork must be done to create the preconditions for an American version of Syriza or Podemos.

Dennis Grammenos
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Spain will show the way.

Adam Thielker
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


One lesson the working families party and the authors here seem to have neglected is the first they list: clearly identify the enemy. Were the WFP really doing that, would they have endorsed the enemy of teachers, parents and students everywhere for Governor of New York. Would they have endorsed the enemy of NYS employees? Would they have endorsed the person who wants to tax the poor so as to preserve and increase tax breaks for the corporations and the 1%? I thought this article showed the gulf between the rhetoric of the WFP folk and their practice (and PS, I like the WFP). I could go on, of course, but genug.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If only it were that simple. If you ran a big union, and your enemy is a shoo-in, and he's a vindictive SOB, so you don't want to antagonize him because it will undermine your bargaining position, do you listen to the party membership or steamroll over them? Of course if the ranks of the unions and the party were organized and mobilized around what they saw as their own interests, the leaders would have to take that more into account. But without that factor, the seemingly self-defeating position makes perfect sense. Moral: without democratic political organization, ya got nothing.

Ethan Young
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


#7 is still silly. Americans wish they had a proportional election system in which a coalition of small leftist parties could win governmental power with 37% of the vote! And of course the problem is the authors know full well this is the case.

Pete Healey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Exactly why, and possibly how, America needs a Third Party of the Left.

    "Syriza is a heterogeneous party, made up of diverse strands of the Greek left, but united by the view that the country's ruling parties were too compromised to deliver a departure from the crushing economic conditions imposed on it. Although it didn't initiate them, Syriza opened itself to the social movements that emerged to challenge austerity and has become their authentic political voice. Now it has taken power peacefully and formed the first European government of the radical left since World War II.

    It did what parties are supposed to do. So we think it's appropriate to be inspired.

    Syriza has also been level-headed-and so must we. There are at least four preconditions for Syriza's January electoral breakthrough that don't exist here: proportional representation in elections; an economic crisis of immense, social fabric-destroying proportion; a history of subjugation by foreign powers; and disciplined, determined activists raised in the radical movement. Still, there are significant lessons to learn from what is happening in the Mediterranean."

Michael Redding
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Not all the lessons are applicable because of the party duopoly in the US. But the key part is that new political representation grows from the coalescence of social movements, not the other way round. The grassroots climate and environmental justice movements, progressive unions and low-paid worker "associations," the new civil rights movement, are elements that are already beginning to do this. Change will come from below and it cannot compromise with the deeply compromised Democratic party at the national level--though it can form tactical alliances with individual Dems at the state and local levels.

Adam Francis Cornford
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We could do this if we got 200,000 or more people in the streets everyday for occupy wall street did.

Mary Gribbin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

More cities need elected officials like her! Then on to D.C.!

John Woodford
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Socialism, for all of the bad you hear about it, is the only thing that will preserve some of our world in this era where all the wealth is migrating upwards and people are suffering.

Dennis Hastings
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Related is "Model or Sui Generis? Comrade Kshama Sawant is Likely Both," a March 6 piece I wrote for the New Politics website that focused on the rather extensive and friendly coverage Saw ant has gotten from the The Seattle Times, the Emerald city's main and only daily. It's not that the business class is suddenly promoting Reds so much as that she is so far anomalous in their experience and something of a news curiosity. In the months leading up to the first round balloting in August, the coverage of her re-election effort won't be so friendly, and--despite her strengths--support for her opponents pronounced. It's here.

Michael Hirsch


Democratic socialism works well in Germany.

William Rothwell Sapp
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A lot the high rollers want this woman to lose her seat on Seattle's City Council.

Fred Sperounis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Her actions don 't sound dangerous to me. They sound pretty sensible.

Barbara Tutor
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Know voters in Seattle? Talk to them about Sawant. She's extraordinary.

Julia Willebrand
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The fact that she has immediate plans for after the election is proof that she's thinking past most pols.

Tom Edwards
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Many consider you dangerous as a woman on a City Council. But, it is all part of the process...

Kay Clark-Knight
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


That's what J. Edgar Hoover called Emma Goldman!

Leonard J. Lehrman

Re: But is Hillary Ready for Us?

Summers is toxic. It might make someone question Hillary's new-found populism. Please read.

Jim Price
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Democrats knew who they were, what they stood for...It ain't a continuation of the past 40 years! "a picture is worth a 1000 words". The "words" that immediately struck me the moment I first saw this one" Clever, Conniving, deceitful, deceptive, scheming, watch your back. If this is the "face" of America...then we can all go home...nuthin' to see here!

George Minor
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Book Review: We Came, We Saw, He Died - Reviewing Hillary Clinton
(posting on Portside Culture)

just like bubba's send off to the death penalty of a brain injured inmate, hillary's handiwork in Libya can never be forgotten or forgiven.

Elizabeth Massera
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How an International Perspective Changes Our Understanding of the Civil War

Don H. Doyle's international perspective on the American Civil War is to be embraced.

But I am sure he is aware that numerous scholars of slave emancipation have situated the destruction of American slavery during the 1860s within a broader context of the transition from slavery to emancipation in the nineteenth century Americas from the 1790s Haitian Revolution through legal abolition in 1880s Spanish Cuba and Brazil.

In addition, the article's political focus comes at the expense of global economic connections. For instance, the cotton famine of the War years--dried up southern production and starved English factories--resulted in the expansion of cotton production and marketing in Western India, the Nile Delta region, and northeastern Brazil, with important ramifications. This global shift has attracted some recent scholarly attention, although Frenise A. Logan and Stanley J. Stein wrote about it during the late 1950s and John A. Todd noted it a century ago in 1915.

Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie
History, Howard University

Re: Beyond Reform: Essays Call for a Sweeping Reassessment of Incarceration

Just read another article about the "for profit" prisons...utterly shameful!

Joan Pedone Stech Totusek
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Another "liked" but don't like. We should be locking up some of the lords of finance and captains of industry and corrupt government members.

Mitchell Timin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page



Tamanika Howze
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Nothing more than a form of Slavery, more Blacks than whites, like whites don't commit crimes, a lot of Blacks are locked up for minor crimes, and get longer sentences, for minor crimes.

Gary R Tunnell Sr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Myth of Voter Fraud

Thank you for this very important article.  It sets forth the issues related to voter fraud in a larger context, that correctly identifies the real motivations and real agendas underlying this retrogressive, discriminatory, shameful act to constrain the citizen vote.  Shame on our Supreme Court for its collusion.

Velva Spriggs

Re: Venezuela: The Destabilizing Impact of a Continuous Coup

TRUTH! We have meddled in Venezuela's politics too long, and our record in Central and South America of murder and overthrow, plunder and deceit is shameful. It's time for America to stop being the rogue nation that constantly stirs up trouble and takes down democratically elected presidents in order to install right wing dictators in their place.

Sharrhan Williamson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The evidence is overwhelming, the rich and powerful of Venezuela have followed a continuous, constantly morphing plan to de-stabilize the country and take over the government by any means necessary and the United States government knows about that plan, supports it and, as much as it can, is assisting in it. Is there a coup planned in Venezuela? All the time. Venezuela has lived under relentless political and physical sabotage as a result of its successes.

Maryann Fox
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


...this article seems sponsored by the Maduro government and written by someone who's never been there, has not experienced the mega inflation rate, uncontrollable crime and shortages of pretty much everything. He is right in that the powerful are "staging" the coup, the catch is that the only powerful class left are the Chavistas-Maduristas! It's done as a smoke screen to cover other issues: some of the later ones being a 14yt old being shot dead by police and a new exchange control mechanism that made the black market rate jump 90% in a few days! I hope you didn't buy into it.

Jose Orellana
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Long Live the Bolivarian Revolution! Long Live the Spirit of Hugo Chavez! RESIST!!!

Efia Nwangaza
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


THANK you for posting this! The US propaganda about Venezuela is invariably harshly critical. The US is a huge supporter of the ruthless Saudi monarchy, but a democratically elected government that refuses to toe the US line cannot be tolerated. That poor country has a LOT of problems, and it's biggest one is the US ensuring that they continue.

Erich Strebe
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Greece: Memory and Debt

"The 1953 Treaty of London cut Germany's obligations in half and stretched out debt payments" and now the German leaders claim that doing the same for the Greeks would be immoral.  And that hypocrisy is without addressing the reparations issue.

Stan Nadel


Further To Your Piece on Greece

Discussions are underway again by the Troika and the finance ministers of the European Union about additional sums to be allocated to cover Greek debt. In addition to the previous 'bail-outs' by the EU the continuation of the stringent austerity plans by the administering Troika have left Greece unable to continue to service its debts without further offsets of their indebtedness by the European Union. An important critic of Greece and its economic and budgetary policies has been the Government of Germany.

An important reason for Greece's penury, beyond Greek corruption and mismanagement over its economy in the post war years, is the failure of Germany to pay to Greece the money its owes Greece for is actions during the Second World War. German activity in Greece resulted in two kinds of debt - a massive program of crimes against humanity and mind-boggling barbarism by the German occupying forces against Greek civilians and villages and by taking money from Greece's Treasury as a forced loan to cover the costs of the German Occupation. Neither of these sums has been repaid to Greece. The Greeks have ended up paying for the German occupation during the war.

It might be useful to examine a few of the German attacks on the Greek people to understand the depth of German depravity in the 1940s. There are many more.

Read More here.

Dr. Gary K. Busch

Full article:
The Missing German Reparations For Greece
By Dr. Gary K. Busch
November 9, 2014


Re: Ukraine

What seems to have gotten lost in all this is the simple fact that the legitimate government of Ukraine was toppled by a coup in which fascists played a key role with the support of the Western Powers..  Thus the rebellion in the east would seem to be legitimate within the context of national upheaval.  The west (especially the U.S. and NATO) have long held the desire to encircle Russia.  As usual, they have come out on the wrong side of history.

Lincoln Smith

Re: The Truth About the Measles - The return of the world's most contagious disease

Thank you for the best article I ever saw on this topic!

Eva Pettersson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I like to see both sides. While your letter is full of information there is one indisputable fact you spout which is impossible to achieve. No disease is ever eradicated nor eliminated from the earth. The number of deaths in India from this vaccine is unconscionable. Not to mention areas of Africa and other countries. You also mention live vaccine which in itself can cause communication to susceptible immune compromised individuals. The vaccines need reevaluated and reformulated, until then...

Anne Helms
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A fellow teacher's husband became sick and went to the ER, They told him he had the flu, to take ibuprofen and go home. He soon died...he had measles that went into his lungs. This is the danger of catching measles when you are an adult.

Joyce McKinney Walters
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


When I was a kid I had Scarlet Fever and German Measles.We lived in pretty cramped conditions in post WW2 London, like most other working class people. So diseases spread easily; Chicken Pox, Mumps and so on. And for my father's generation, many families had a sibling who died at an early age. His brother died at three years old. That was apart from the people dying from the smog, flu an so on Indeed, we don't need to go back those nightmare days Also, when I was a kid we had the National Health Service which greatly improved the health of the people.

Paul William Dean
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Wind Could Power 35 Percent of U.S. Electricity by 2050

Another reason to be outraged at bought-and-paid-for politicians in North Carolina who are going to allow offshore oil drilling in the face of enough wind energy to provide more than enough electricity without harming the environment!

Furaha Youngblood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Oklahoma Agency Linked Quakes to Oil But Kept Mum Under Industry Pressure

earthquakes caused by fracking and oil activities in Oklahoma are felt as far north as Wichita, Kansas...I've felt at least 3 in the last 18 months!

Francisco Gonzalez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Easy to see U.Wy. taking the same position- our one and only university is so gifted by the oil industry.

Karyne Dunbar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Sour Grapes in `Wine Country':  Intense Challenges to Wineries Erupt

I live in Sebastopol, am very familiar with this topic.  I drive on the hwy 12 "fast corridor" every day, past some of the very sites that are mentioned here in this article.

As a sort of side note, one of the ongoing consequences of this accelerated growth, fueled by big banking and wine industry consortia driven projects in this area is a sort of rural gentrification, which has dramatically driven up the cost of housing.

This has become a real problem for many, who are finding it increasingly difficult to actually afford to live here, which is absurdly ironic since these are many of the same people who work in the wine industry and related ag tech occupations.

Sebastopol, and surrounding areas, had for many years been enjoyed as a pleasant, green, relatively rural region, populated with mostly family owned wineries, and other forms of farming.  It was a place where tourists would come to enjoy a quiet, countryside type of vacation, visiting the local wineries, going on farm tours, staying in the local B&Bs, maybe visit the nearby beaches, and so on.

This is rapidly changing, though.  The era of big corporate farming operations, clusters of pricey condos, ever expanding shopping malls (yes, including Walmart), is changing the terrain, and not for the better.

The very qualities that made this area what it was are being pushed aside and overrun by a tsunami of big business "investments".

I've seen this before, in other regions.

The concrete cancer is trying to now spread here.

Charles Osterman
Sebastopol,  CA

Re: Meet the Israeli Jews Who Will Vote for the Arab Ticket

Maybe more people (inside the green line )in Israel will act on what there conscious is telling them. Other citizens in that side of the line have rights and are human too

Suzan Uri
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: In the West Bank, the Kids Aren't All Right

If that were any other country we'd cut off relations with them until they stopped human rights violations.

Kris McDade
Posted on Portside's Facebook page



Gordy Wilson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If someone speaks out about Israel's policies or shares news stories regarding what is happening there, it certainly doesn't make them an anti-Semite, it makes them informed. We must remember that there is a growing number of Israeli citizens that do not approve of the apartheid measures being taken. No matter what one believes, it is never ok to abuse children.

Julia Lovell-Mohammed
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If Netanyahu is voted back in, that's it for the Jewish State. His policies are to blame. The US should immediately cut off all funding. I hope he does not retain his seat!

Burt Cohen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Communists for Austerity
(posting on Portside Culture)

Ha, you don't watch that show for a realistic portrayal of the Cold War or the ideologies that were at play. You watch it to see how they're going to pull things off. I forget who they even work for cause it's hardly even relevant.

Carlos Brocatto
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


FX and Fox have always been more liberal than Fox News. A clear plurality, if not everybody, knows that...

Matt Hardwick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: We Speak African: A Jazz Artist Speaks On U.S.-Cuba Relations

A recycling of familiar jazz historical touchstones, but suddenly this appears:

"Then there are those who use jazz to demonstrate and defend their particular political ideology. Their love of capitalism has blinded them to the troubling images of mass incarceration, the shootings of unarmed minority youths and the ever-widening income inequality and polarization that we Americans are now famous for. Is this what we want jazz to represent?"

Quite so. Inquiring minds would like to know who he has in mind.

John Halle
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Silencing "India's Daughter"
(posting on Portside Culture)

on the other hand, India's political feminists have been working on this issue in a culturally conscientious way and it is really for them, and not for outsiders to address these issues--- they need our solidarity as allies... taking their thinking into account --- those of us who remember the 60s, remember the importance of taking leadership from those who struggle, and not to force our strategies or tactics upon them.

Martha Bragin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Legacy of Frantz Fanon

Major insights for anyone doing progressive organizing!
Fanon not only shared insights to continue to arm us in analysis but also to practically arm us in working with people as organizers in small and large groups, coalition and movements building.  We ALL can be progressive, popular educators when we listen and apply dialectics -- with or without the Marxist identity and framework.

Leanna Noble

Re: Can One Union Save the Slumping U.S. Postal Service?

Outstanding article about US Postal Service (highly privatized) and about postal workers organizing to save their jobs and save the oldest public service operation in the nation's entire history. As I read this article, I realized why the mail service to my very own condo in Somerville often skips days and arrives only at late in the evening (5:30 to 6 PM). The post office in Union Sq closed, and the mail now comes into Chelsea Mass., and the carriers are not the old regulars, but the carriers change constantly and know little or nothing of the communities they serve. Here is a group of radical activists trying to make a national movement succeed to the benefit of citizens in all 50 states. A working people united will "loose" their chains.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Reader Responses to Eight-Point Platform for Making a Major Breakthrough on 'Left Unity'

Thanks for the opportunity to add to the discussion about how the left can be unified.  I cannot dispute the validity of the points already raised, but I want to add that from a strategic and survival of the human race standpoint  that  opposition to the genocidal imperialist wars generated by the American  plutocracy  should be a central focus in moving  toward a world society that benefits all of humanity.   Events are moving with great speed, and I do not use the word *genocide* lightly.  The goal of establishing a viable third party alternative to the two existing pro-war American political parties is admirable, but the reckless behavior of a coterie of people who manipulate public opinion is suicidal in the long run.

Sadly at this point, while most Americans oppose war they can be scared by the upper echelons of our society into supporting wars.  Also, American exceptionalism, the belief that our nation is perfect, clouds the minds of people.  In truth we start our wars to terrorize people in other nations and for that reason the U.S. is the major terrorist entity in the world.

James A. Lucas

Re: Americans Can Go to Cuba -- Just Not for Tourism

A huge part of tourism is business travel with family members.

Laura Filbert Zacher
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Resource -  "Pie Chart" flyer for Federal Fiscal Year 2016

A powerful tool for popular education in classrooms,…; WRL's FY2016 Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes "Pie Chart" flyer critically examines the US Federal Government's wasteful spending on militarism while highlighting resources for resistance and opportunities for taking action.

The current edition of the War Resisters League's famous "pie chart" flyer analyzes the Federal Fiscal Year 2016 Budget.  (FY 2016 is 1 October 2015 - 30 September 2016).  Perfect for Tax Day leafleting, as a focus for forums and panels and workshops and more!

Each year, War Resisters League analyzes federal funds outlays as presented in detailed tables in "Analytical Perspectives" of the Budget of the United States Government. Our analysis is based on federal funds, which do not include trust funds -- such as Social Security -- that are raised separately from income taxes for specific purposes. What you pay (or don't pay) by April 15, 2015 goes to the federal funds portion of the budget.


To purchase your copy of Where Your Tax Money Really Goes or to make a bulk order for broad dissemination, visit WRL's Online Store.

Pie Chart Prices
1-199 = $.10 each
200-499 = $.07 each
500+ = $.06 each

You can also print your own copy or send a link to friends and family by email.
Full Color
Black and White, in English
Spanish translation coming soon!

The War Resisters League works daily toward a future free from war and militarism through education, organizing, and movement building.

War Resisters League
339 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012
(p) 212.228.0450 -- (f) 212.228.6193 --

Roger Burbach - Presente!

Roger Burbach, past away after a long battle with cancer. Roger was a writer, an academic, a foreign correspondent, a news analyst, and lifelong solidarity activist. Roger was a roommate of mine for a year in Oakland in the early 1990s.

Roger had an extraordinary life. He was living in Chile when the U.S. backed coup was launched under General Pinochet in 1973. He knew Charles Horman, whose disappearance and execution was the subject of the film "Missing" starring Jack Lemmon.

Roger was in Nicaragua during the Sandinista Revolution and it was there that a tragic accident while swimming left him a paraplegic. He requited a lot of rehab following the accident, much of it he received in Cuba. Following rehab, Roger resumed writing, solidarity work and traveling in Latin America and elsewhere.

Roger's first book, Agribusiness in the Americas (1980), co-authored with Patricia Flynn, is regarded as a classic in the research of transnational agribusiness corporations and their exploitative role in Latin America. His most notable book is Fire in the Americas (1987), co-authored with Orlando Noez, a leading Sandinista political theorist, which is an informal manifesto of the Nicaraguan revolution during the 1980s. Roger's most recent book, :Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of Twenty Fist Century Socialism (2013), is coauthored with Michael Fox and Frederico Fuentes.

Roger was the founder and President of CENSA (Center for the Study of the Americas). CENSA has played an important role in countering the U.S. corporate narrative of U.S./Latina American relations.

Roger was also a foreign correspondent/analyst and his articles were syndicated by the Pacific News Service and many other publications, including Monthly Review, NACLA, CounterPunch, and many others..

Roger knew and was friends with many revolutionary and leftist thinkers and activists from around the world and his books have educated thousands on the real history of U.S. imperialism in Latin America. Roger will be missed by many and his contributions will live on.

Jonathan Nack

A short film, very well done, on Frank Little and Montana Copper

This - Frank Little, Hobo Agitator  -- is extremely well done.  It's via Montana Public  Television, and packs a lot into its 30 minute span.  Focused on one of the major IWW leaders of the time, lynched at Butte on August 1 1917, it also discusses Butte and its copper, the emergence of militant unionism, and some of the radicalism of the times.  Narration is excellent as is use of photos and newspaper clips.

Strongly recommended...

HUNTER GRAY [HUNTER BEAR/JOHN R SALTER JR] Mi'kmaq / St. Francis Abenaki / St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na'shdo'i'ba'i'
and Ohkwari' . Check out our massive social justice website

Breaking the Cuban Blockade, Ending the Travel - Film Showing: :Looking for Fidel" - New York - March 28

Support the Venceremos Brigade!
Who's gonna break the Travel Ban?

For over 45 years, the Venceremos Brigade has taken thousands of people to Cuba to witness, share and explore the Cuban revolution for themselves.  The only way we can do this is with your support!

Come to our information session/Film fundraiser and learn about why we go to Cuba, how to come with us, and help our Scholarship fund grow!

A Public Conversation with Mondragon University and the NYC Worker Cooperative Coalition - New York - March 30

Organizing, Mobilizing, and Building a Worker Cooperative Ecosystem from the Ground Up - Join us for a public conversation

With Frederick Freundlich of Mondragon University

and members of the NYC Worker Cooperative Coalition and you!

What are labor's opportunities?

Mondragon, a cooperative owned and operated by 75,000 workers, was founded in 1956. It played a major role in restoring decent livelihoods in the Basque region after the Spanish civil war. Today, it is the largest employer in the Basque region.

Fred Freundlich is a professor of cooperative enterprise and coordinator of a masters program on cooperative enterprise at the Faculty of Business, Mondragon University in the Basque Country of Spain, where he has lived since 1995.

March 30, 12:30 to 2:30

25 West 43rd Street
18th floor, Room 18A - 18C
New York, NY 10036

Co-sponsored by

The Murphy Institute, CUNY  and The NYC Worker Cooperative Coalition  

"Fighting Inequality" Conference May 28-31, Washington, DC

Joint Conference of the Labor and Working-Class History Association
and the Working-Class Studies Association

May 28-31, 2015

Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Please join us for 4 days of presentations, conversations, and arts events on the central issue of our time: **Fighting Inequality.

For more information and to register, click here.    

Economic inequality, while always a challenge for working-class people, has grown and become increasingly central in public life. It has been a theme in struggles for justice for low-wage workers and has shaped policies related to education, housing, health care, and the right to organize. Fifty years after the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, even access to the most basic democratic right faces new threats. We see concern with inequality growing in religious institutions, and it has been a theme in the media and the arts, as well -- in spoken-word poetry about the link between mass incarceration and slavery, in documentaries about individuals and communities struggling to "recover" from economic restructuring, and in a variety of commentaries and reflections. Fighting Inequality will bring together scholars, activists, and artists to explore some core questions about economic inequality and strategies for resistance, both historically and in the current moment:

  • What forces - social, political, economic, and cultural - have contributed to inequality and influence people's responses to it?
  • How do working-class people gain power within democracy when access and rights are limited by policy and ideology?
  • How have the complex relationships among class, race, and power sometimes enabled and sometimes constrained working-class resistance?


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