Skip to main content

Tidbits - March 26, 2015 - Student Protests; Vietnam War; Slavery, American Capitalism; Israel; Socialists and Socialism; more...

Reader Comments - Today's Student Protests; Vietnam War History, My Lai; Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism; Israel - Right Wing Nation with Nukes; Unions Key to Fighting Inequality; Women Fighters; Venezuela Sanctions; Socialists, Socialist Movement and Socialism; Human Genome Tinkering; Hey, World! Let's create a nuclear-free future -- April 24-26, New York City Remembering Jean Hardisty, Geraldine Blankinship and Grace Paley

printer friendly  
Reader Comments and Announcements - March 26, 2015, Portside

Re: Former Students of For-Profit College Launch First Debt Strike in U.S. History

Let's make this go viral!

Furaha Youngblood
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Students Occupy Swarthmore College in Fossil Fuel Divestment Protest

please note that there will be a teach in at the University of Michigan this Friday and Saturday.  See the web page.

John H Vandermeer

     ====

Pretty sure I have a former piano student protesting there. Proud

Kit C. Birskovich
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

David A Woolsey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Beware of Official Histories of War:The Vietnam Case; The Power of Protest. Telling the Truth

I feel The Vietnam War was started on false pretenses. I believe the powers that be figured they we better than the French and could go in and "kick ass". If any one of these geniuses studied history; they would have known Vietnam had never been conquered. Well if you know the quote " If you don't learn from history, you're bound to repeat it."

Ernest R Valdes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

"false pretenses"? ya think? you mean, like the "gulf of tonkin incident"? all wars are lies. all wars are economic. it had NOTHING to do with "kick ass" it had to do with access to resources, waterways, control in the region.

Bonnie J. Caracciolo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Read Michael MacClear's "The Ten Thousand Day War." An excellent historical overview of the war itself and its antecedents. I used it for a high school history class and the students thought it one of the best books they had ever read - but still in-depth enough to educate adults on the subject. FDR had planned to help Vietnam gain its independence after the war; he hated French colonialism. His death prior to the end of the war ended all such plans.

Jerry Steele
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Read the Nick Turse book "Kill Anything That Moves'.

Jim Brough
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan. All the books mentioned are very good.

Mark Cannon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Except we'll never know what JFK would or would not have done, will we. What we do know is that his brother hated the war with every fiber of his being and had JFK's complete trust and his ear 24/7, and he had the lesson of the Bay of Pigs which taught him not to trust the previous administration's advice, and we know because he's been quoted so that he was already asking the Pentagon to find a way out of Vietnam months before he was killed

Susan Willea
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Scene of the Crime

Hersh says "The massacres at My Lai and My Khe, terrible as they were, mobilized support for the war against the Americans, Loi said."

Now drone strikes mobilize support for the war against the Americans. When will we ever learn?

Steve Lane

     ====

Hersh is interviewed on Democracy Now yesterday about this and it is hard to watch at the end when he recounts the massacre.

Jeff Jones
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: LBJ's Voting Rights Speech Shows the Power of Grassroots Activism

mainstream articles laud LBJ but we on the left sh'd point out that, in the same speech, he threatened civil rights activists who "broke the law" while never suggesting that those who beat and killed African Americans demanding equal right w'd be arrested. and never suggesting that the police agencies of america (from the FBI to the local level) sh'd be restrained in their surveillance & murderous assaults. the extent of the assault on the civil rights & black liberation movement is still being uncovered.

Gilberto de Leon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

==========

Re: Banking on Slavery

The auction of a baby, from a slave narrative published in 1849.

[A Brutal Process - Review of "The Half Has Never Been Told - Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism", by Edward E. Baptist - Reviewed by Eric Foner, Oct. 3, 2014 in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.
This was also previously posted on
Portside on Sept. 29, 2014, in a review of the book by Charles R. Larson.
Moderator
]

     ====

Just finishing it up. One of the best books I've read - truly enlightening.

Paula Meyer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

This fall I read Edward Baptist's new book "The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and The Making Of American Capitalism." Mind you, I taught African American History, American History, World History, Constitutional History for over 40 years of my high school teaching career..... I thought I basically understood all the dialectics of race, class caste and gender in American history, most particularly how those dialectics played out in Race History. WRONG AGAIN!

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is a game changer.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

I just started reading The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. It is powerful. This story reviews the book and tells how one community used the Atlantic article "The Case for Reparations" to have a shared experience of history.

Michelle Miller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Baptist has written a very timely book. Hot topics of today: "racism and its origins," & "the impact of decaying capitalism."

Willie Williamson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Here's my chapter-by-chapter commentaries.

Carl Davidson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Right Wing Nation - A View from Jerusalem; Israelis Must Seize the Chance to Recover Quickly

After 50 years of occupation the time for "working with progressive Israelis" is pretty much over. The election of a racist, pro-apartheid government is a clear signal that any change in the plight of Palestinians can only come by taking strong actions against the State of Israel, in the form of boycott, divestment and sanctions. and for creative actions (such as allowing Palestinians to sue individual Israelis that hold confiscated Arab real estate in Israel).

Francisco Gonzalez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: PHOTOS: Israeli Women Who Have Stood Up to the Occupation for 26 Years

There is a reason our US press does not cover this news

Kathe Karlson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Twenty six years later and they are still right.

Bob Alft
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

sisters for peace... bless them all

Muata Kenyatta
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

I have a lot of time for Women in Black. Met some of these amazingly dedicated women when I was organising convoys to Bosnia around the time of the genocide at Srebrenica - 20 years ago today!!

Josephine Kavanagh
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Heroism is going against despite the odds.

Siphiwe Kettledas
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Pentagon Admits Israel Has Nukes, Too

Foreign sources debate from time to time the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal, which is estimated at anywhere between 100 and 400 warhead. In a recent interview with Time, ex-president Jimmy Carter - who has read a few intelligence reports over the course his life - said that Israel has around 300 nukes.

Former President Carter: Israel has 300 nuclear bombs - +972 Magazine

Charles S Wilson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Why is this news? I thought this was common knowledge.

Karyne Dunbar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Of course they do. Was there ever any doubt about that?

Ahmed Iqbal Cajee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Very old news. Israel back in the 80's helped the apartheid regime in South Africa to develop its own nuclear weapons posture. The tactical nukes were aimed at both the Frontline African states like Angola, Mozambique and Zambia plus the segregated bantustans and ghetto areas within South Africa.

Mahdi Ibn Ziyad
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Israel must be relieved of these weapons before the criminals running this country bring the world to its knees.

Richard Clarke
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Allies? Partners in war crimes is a more accurate description of Merica and Israel.

Barry McGuire - Eve of Destruction

Listen here.

    The eastern world it is explodin',
    violence flarin', bullets loadin',
    you're old enough to kill but not for votin',
    you don't believe in war, what's that gun you're totin',
    and even the Jordan river has bodies floatin',
    but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
    ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

    Don't you understand, what I'm trying to say?
    Can't you see the fear that I'm feeling today?
    If the button is pushed, there's no running away,
    There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave,
    take a look around you, boy, it's bound to scare you, boy,
    but you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
    ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

    Yeah, my blood's so mad, feels like coagulatin',
    I'm sittin' here, just contemplatin',
    I can't twist the truth, it knows no regulation,
    handful of Senators don't pass legislation,
    and marches alone can't bring integration,
    when human respect is disintegratin',
    this whole crazy world is just too frustratin',
    and you tell me over and over and over again my friend,
    ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China!
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama!
    Ah, you may leave here, for four days in space,
    but when your return, it's the same old place,
    the poundin' of the drums, th pride and disgrace,
    you can bury your dead, but don't leave a trace,
    hate your next-door-neighbour, but don't forget to say grace,
    and you tell me over and over and over and over again my friend,
    ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction

Regis Tremblay
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Can anyone answer this question with facts: Is it not illegal for the U.S. to give funds to any country that has nukes but has refused to sign the nuclear nonproliferation agreement?

Jenny Kastner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: US Accuses Israel of Spying on Nuclear Talks with Iran

A) the Israelis deny it--and there has been no evidence provided to show that they are lying. though they might well be doing so. Of course they admit spying on the Iranians and all of this information they are accused of getting from spying on the US could easily have come from spying on the Iranians--which makes this anonymous charge dubious in any case.

B) "The Journal report said that senior White House officials had learned - through American spying on Israel -" so we have the pan admitting that it is black while accusing the pot of being black and we are supposed to be outraged at the pot's behavior.

Only when it comes to Israel would Portside be so quick to spread an unsourced claim by a US official that has no evidence behind it (Iraqi weapons of mass destruction--ask questions, an Iranian program to build atom bombs--ask questions, Israel doing something bad--just proves how evil Israel is..  Too much of the left has a thing about Israel that leads to a lack of its usual critical thought--Israel= evil, so no thought required seems to be the rule.

Stan Nadel

Re: The U.S. in the Middle East: A Remarkably Rich Menu of Foreign-Policy Failures

It looks like the United States policy is going to get messier with a possible reversal of United States foreign policy towards Iran. David Petraeus and Thomas L. Friedman are jumping on Netanyahu's bandwagon that Iran is now the greater enemy. As far as anti-semitism practice by Arabs is simply absurd. Arabs are semites. The opposition to Zionism can be best describe as anti-colonialism against essentially a western imperialist apartheid political movement.

Irving Lee

Re: Unions Must Be Able To Fight For Workers - Even If It Means Breaking Bad Laws
(posting on Portside Labor)

The Rich combine their money into corporations while working people combine their labor into unions. One of these 'socialized collectives', corporate investors, is attempting to crush the rights of the other, workers. Why should the treatment of one of these institutions not be applied to the other?

Michael Bailey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

We workers sure as hell did NOT make these laws, the bosses did. Let's play by OUR rules, not theirs!

Leanna Noble
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Unions Are Key to Tackling Inequality, Says Top Global Financial Institution
(posting on Portside Labor)

Unions & worker-owned cooperatives.
1% needs us, we do not need 1%.

Sada Anand Kaur Khalsa
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

It is a little difficult to obtain parity when only one side is represented. Kind of like passing women's health legislation without consulting a single woman. Btw ... single as in less than one, not a state or lack thereof of matrimony.

Gayle Neville Muskus
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Those darn socialists at the IMF!

Jeffrey Turner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

As unions die so does the middle class. Look around

Peter Kalajian
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

I owe to the unions the following: a living wage, scholarships for college, health/dental/eye coverage, a pension plan, collective bargaining, a sense of community with fellow unions

John Hollingsworth
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Indeed,I've been reading and researching the role and impact of unions, not just at home, but globally..I like this topic...

Sindiswa Tshomela
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Not unions per se so much as collective bargaining; traditionally, unions have been the most effective agents in negotiating collective bargaining agreements. I'm curious as to what the right-to-work folks propose as an alternative - I sure hope it's not about getting the best you can for yourself, and letting your co-workers worry about their own business. You need an effective counter to management's divide-and-conquer tactics; this is the power that collective bargaining gives to workers.

Eric Lachmiller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Vanishing unions, vanishing middle-class. There's no coincidence people.

Kenneth Sullivan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

I agree--and it is why Thatcher went to such lengths to break the miner's strike in 1984 --that strike was a key event in 20t5h century history

Robert Alpert
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Women Up In Arms: Zapatistas and Rojava Kurds Embrace a New Gender Politics

Yes! because woman's liberation alone is no liberation at all!

Lynn Godfrey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Behind the White House's Sanctions Against Venezuela

We hate anyone that does not mind us like little children, it seems America can not have adult relationships.

Keith Miller
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Article fails to mention specific people within the State Department / Obama Administration who might have opted for these sanctions. Too bad - specifics would have lent more weight to the article.

Jerry Steele
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

This kind of blunt action weakens our relations with most of Latin America. Remember the "gift" of the (imperial) Monroe doctrine?

Richard Bower
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Mexican Farmworkers Strike over Low Wages, Blocking Harvest
(posting on Portside Labor)

Cut ur nose to spite ur face. Now I know what that means...

Farahdiba Khalil
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Farahdiba Khalil, your comment seems to be unsupportive of the farmworkers. Harvest time is the exact time for them to have the most impact. I'd guess this wasn't their first attempt to get higher wages. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Btw, the expression is, 'to cut off your nose to spite your face'. Solidarity to the farmworkers!!

Ralph Fortune
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Deescalating Europe's Politics of Resentment

Cuts through the great amount of uninformed BS which has been written on this with some sane proposals!

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Tragedy of Party Communism

Will take more time to read this seriously, but it rings true, and makes a lot of sense.

Mike Glick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Michael Brie's insightful narrative and analysis brings to mind Bukharin's prescient doubts about the ability of those who overthrow the old order to effect the installation of a new order.

James Young

     ====

This is not for everybody, imo. It's interesting to me because it addresses issues which I used to discuss with my parents who were committed communists for much of their lives: blind loyalty to the Soviet (& US) party leadership, lunatic suppression of dissent (real and imagined), Sadly, It's mostly written in left-speak with assertion piled on assertion. Thanks to Portside for the link. I wish people could write about these subjects in ordinary language.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Its a bit long, but worth the read.

Jack Radey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Most Dangerous Woman in America

And this in a country that has socialism for the rich (Chamber of Commerce) and free enterprise for the poor. We can't tolerate socialism trickling down to the masses.

Tim Ryles
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

Kshama Sawant has a clear understanding of the road need to be followed to create a mass movement that will provide uncompromising strength to working people and their middle class allies.

Lorenzo Canizares
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

My type of elected official.

I care more about her reelection than who wins the presidency, and here's why: " The elites cannot let the Sawants of the world proliferate. Corporate power is throwing everything at its disposal-including sponsorship of a rival woman candidate of color-into this election in the city's 3rd District."

Yousef Khalfan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     ====

...Capitalism will always seek to overthrow all socialist gains and even resort to criminalize it or even jail and murder its opposite. Regulating capitalism would only be a temporary measure. For complete socialism to exist and proper the working class needs to completely rid itself of capitalism once and for all. Recommended reading would be Istvan Mezaros.

Dino Camacho
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Legacy of Frantz Fanon

New to Fanon, thanks for bring to my attention. Will read up on him.

Michael O'Connor
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Republican Plan to Shred the Social Safety Net in 2016

Sounds like they have republished Newt's contract on America. Blah.

Elizabeth Lindsay
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Scientists Call for Halt to Human Genome Tinkering

Thanks for the piece by Tabitha Powledge.

If ever there was a moment for the global science and global human communities to pause and think carefully about next steps, this is it.  The Asilomar model cited in the article is a beginning, but a broader conversation is required. The shift toward "human-directed evolution," (the term used in a Foreign Affairs article by Laurie Garrett, November/December 2013 issue) is upon us before most people could have imagined.  Are we wise enough and ready to replace God/Nature in redesigning ourselves into a "new and improved" species - or into multiple species with differing capabilities?  Obviously not, but the moment has chosen us.

There *will be* a public conversation going beyond the potential for making some of us smarter, faster, stronger, more beautiful - and richer.  Better to start now than after the fact.

Carl Proper,
UNITE HERE retired
Bethesda, MD

     ====

The toothpaste is already out of the tube.

Wake up, grow up.

Even if some sort of utopian regulatory platform were to be established here ...such would be completely meaningless from a global perspective.

The end result is that only the wealthy and well connected will have genetic access to whatever is of interest, while the general population will be subject to the consequences of said utopian regulations.

Got that?

Charles Osterman

     ====

This is a request from the future.

Tina Beelel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Why Are White People "Expats" When the Rest of Us Are Immigrants?

Very good points. I've been in China and Russia for at least sixteen years and I'm called an expat but I describe myself as an economic, if not also a political refugee, which I think is most accurate. Some might think I'm joking, but I've always felt it to be true,

Mike Liston

Re: Youth Resistance Unleashed

It's kind of hard to swallow. She helped destroy the largest radical student group in US history, and now she's cheerleading the new generation without even a blush of embarrassment.

Ethan Young
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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

Many jazz musicians, have flown through the Bahamas, to get to Cuba, and play with some gifted musicians.

Kenia Brittney Armstrong
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Hey, World! Let's create a nuclear-free future -- PEACE AND PLANET, a mobilization to build a nuclear-free, peaceful, just, and sustainable world! -- April 24-26, New York City
 

Listen here.

Join us for PEACE AND PLANET, a mobilization to build a nuclear-free, peaceful, just, and sustainable world!
April 24-26, New York City.

Nuclear abolition connects deeply with struggles to end and prevent wars, increase peace, and achieve economic and environmental justice in our local communities and around the world. Learn more and get involved!
More than one hundred organizations have endorsed the mobilization.

We urge all people who hope to build a fair, democratic, ecologically sustainable and peaceful future to join us in New York City and around the world for international days of action, including: An international peace, justice and environmental conference - April 24 & 25; A major international rally, march to the United Nations and peace festival - April 26; A `Global Wave' of symbolic public actions in cities around the world to `Wave Goodbye to Nuclear Weapons'; Nonviolent demonstrations, protest actions and numerous side events to press our demands for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons, and for economic justice and environmental sustainability; The presentation to the NPT Review Conference of millions of signatures on petitions calling for nuclear weapons abolition; Youth and student organizing; and An Interfaith Service for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Let our numbers be so large that our voices are certain to be heard inside the UN and around the world!

Jean Hardisty - Obituary
 

June 18, 1945 - March 16, 2015

A political scientist and social activist, Jean Hardisty respected the power of political conservatism as adamantly as she opposed it. In 1981 she founded Political Research Associates (PRA), a research center, started in Chicago and currently based in Boston, that studies right wing and anti-democratic trends, in order, as she said, "to get people to take the right seriously." For over thirty-five years, she offered cogent and far-reaching analysis about its impact on women, people of color, immigrants, educators, and the LGBTQ community. "She understood that the right wing was a potent movement with the goal of building institutional power," said Chip Berlet, former Senior Analyst at PRA. "She helped us see the right as a complex set of actors and institutions and not just as cartoons," noted Urvashi Vaid, long-time activist in the LGBT movement. "She was a prophet," added Gloria Steinem, co- founder of Ms. Magazine, about Dr. Hardisty's prescient work on the right.

Dr. Hardisty, died March 16 in Somerville, Massachusetts at 69. In 1999, her landmark book, Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers, was published by Beacon Press.

Profoundly influenced by the Vietnam War and the civil rights and women's movements, she got her Ph.D in political science from Northwestern University. She taught in academia for eight years before founding PRA. At the time of her death, she was a senior scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Research on Women at Wellesley College.

As a social activist, Dr. Hardisty had far-reaching impact. She was one of the founders of the Crossroads Fund, a Chicago-based foundation that provides support to groups focused on racial, social, and economic justice. She served on the board of directors of the Highlander Research and Education Center, Ms. Foundation for Women, Center for Women Policy Studies, Grassroots International, Center for Community Change, and the Women's Community Cancer Project. In addition, she was a consultant for ten years to the Women Donors Network, where she led seminars on the political right wing. In 2010, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by Community Change, Inc., a Boston-based anti-racism organization.

Dr. Hardisty mentored several generations of activists, providing advice, encouragement, and, on occasion, an overt push.

Dr. Hardisty is survived by Peggy Barrett, her spouse of sixteen years; two stepchildren Roben Kleene (Jen Liu) and Katherine Uttech (Joseph); a granddaughter Abigail Jean Uttech; her brother, John Hardisty (Merrily); niece Christine Eldreth (Myles and grandniece, Clare) and nephew Kirk Hardsity (Kelly); and a wide circle of friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Highlander Center, 1959 Highlander Way, New Market, TN 37820, 865-933-3443, or to the Boston Women's Fund, 14 Beacon Street, Suite 805, Boston, MA 02108, 617-725-0035. or to a justice organization of your choice that embodies Jean's values and spirit

Full obituary here.

In Recognition of WOMEN's HISTORY MONTH - A tribute to Geraldine Blankinship

The last surviving member of the Women's Emergency Brigade, Geraldine Blankinship, died in January at the age of 95 at her home in Flint, Michigan.

During the historic General Motors sit-down strike in the winter of 1936-37, autoworkers occupied assembly plants in Flint, Michigan for 44 days, which pitted them against heavily armed police, company goons, and National Guard troops. Many of the wives, daughters, and mothers of the strikers mobilized to help them. Some collected cash and food and kept the men supplied with clean clothes.

Others with more militant inclinations formed the Women's Emergency Brigade, which was organized along military lines. The 350 members sported red berets and armbands lettered "EB" when they marched in front of the occupied plants to protect the men inside from violence. At one point after police fired tear gas into buildings to drive out the occupiers, brigade women used wooden stakes to break in the windows so the men inside could get fresh air and continue the sit-down.

At 17, Blankinship, who was the daughter of one of the sit-downers, joined the Emergency Brigade. At 89 she told an interviewer, "They say if it hadn't been for the women, that strike would have been lost. It was just what had to be done, and we did it."

Another veteran of the brigade observed that "A new type of woman was born in the strike. Women who only yesterday were horrified at unionism, who felt inferior to the task of organizing, speaking, leading, have, as if overnight, become the spearhead in the battle of unionism."

John Curtis
March 26, 2015

Grace Paley and the Disturbances of Man - New York - April 9 & 10

Thursday, April 9 and Friday, April 10

Theresa Lang Center, Arnhold Hall
55 West 13th Street - Room 202
New York, NY 10001