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Tidbits - April 30, 2015 - Baltimore; Martin Luther King on Protesters Who Use Violence; How to Help; US `World Leader' in Child Poverty; and more...

Reader Comments - Baltimore and Martin Luther King on Protesters Who Use Violence; How to Help - Baltimore-Ferguson Legal Defense Committee; US `World Leader' in Child Poverty; FBI Faked Testimony; Yemen; El Salvador; Venezuela; Ukraine; South Africa; Turkey; Peace Movement; The Symbolic Left; 2016 Elections; TPP; More Responses to The Tragedy of Party Communism; Announcements (all New York): May Day Against Waltons; She's Beautiful When She's Angry; Mayor 1% - Forum

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - April 30, 2015,Portside

Martin Luther King on Protesters Who Use Violence

But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

Now every year about this time, our newspapers and our televisions and people generally start talking about the long hot summer ahead. What always bothers me is that the long hot summer has always been preceded by a long cold winter. And the great problem is that the nation has not used its winters creatively enough to develop the program, to develop the kind of massive acts of concern that will bring about a solution to the problem. And so we must still face the fact that our nation's summers of riots are caused by our nations winters of delay. As long as justice is postponed we always stand on the verge of these darker nights of social disruption. The question now, is whether America is prepared to do something massively, affirmatively and forthrightly about the great problem we face in the area of race and the problem which can bring the curtain of doom down on American civilization if it is not solved.

Dr. Martin Luther King, "The Other America"

Speech at Grosse Point High School, March 14, 1968

Baltimore - Ferguson Legal Defense Committee

The Ferguson Legal Defense Committee is a dedicated team of almost 500 lawyers, law professors, legal workers and law students formed to support the Movement following the killing of Michael Brown, Jr.

Since its inception, the FLDC has supported legal tactics to bring justice to the family of Michael Brown, Jr. and the thousands impacted by reckless and oppressive policing tactics in the wake of his death, the growth of a local movement lawyering infrastructure in St. Louis, MO and is expanding to provide legal support to grassroots movement and direct action across the country.


American Civil Liberties Union | American Civil Liberties Union-Missouri | Arch City Defenders | Bronx Defenders | Center for Constitutional Rights | Community Justice Project, Inc. | Demos | Don't Shoot Coalition | Latinos En Axi¢n STL | Millennial Activists United | Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) | National Lawyers Guild - St. Louis | National Lawyers Guild | National Police Accountability Project | Organization for Black Struggle

Re: The Numbers are Staggering: US is `World Leader' in Child Poverty (in "Developed" Countries)

America's wealth grew by 60 percent in the past six years, by over $30 trillion. In approximately the same time, the number of homeless children has also grown by 60 percent.

Henry Lesnick
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


How is it that the world's richest country has the highest rate of child poverty among "developed" countries -- is it related to the degree of inequality?

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Soooooooooooo SAD in our own Country !! Saw a documentary about kids in the mid-west who save parts of their school lunch so they can have dinner !! What a SHAME "

Kelly Mcgraw-Martino
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


How ironic! The world's richest country with the most children in poverty. If this doesn't drive you up the wall!!!

Tyrone Edmond
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It adds up when you understand capitalism.

James-The Ebionite Wesley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Lets all chant "USA! USA! We're #1!

Tim Dubnau
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is what capitalism looks like...criminal!

Leanna Noble
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Yup, make the rich richer, and screw everyone lower than you to get richer yourself.

Alan Cossitt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's a feature, not a bug. Starving dependant people tend to not rise up.

Rebecca Martin Worsham
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's by design, America is not as great as people think it is. We are at the bottom in everything from poverty to education. They keep everyone dumbed down so they don't notice.

Yahawadah Ban Yasharahla
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


cut the defense budget and eliminate the child poverty.

Surinder Sangha
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


If we really roll up our sleeves, I think by the next survey we can hit that 35th out of 35 sweet spot.

Madeline Holler
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


For the next person to post something cheering on our latest war, wherever that is, or waxing orgasmic about some submarine, carrier, or amphibious ship, or insisting that the F-35 is NEEDED, or how much we need to have tax cuts for the banksters so the economy will bloom, or about how social programs like Food Stamps, Medicare, Social Security, etc have to be cut, I have just one thing I would like to say. F--- you.

Jack Radey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We expect students / children to focus at school when they are hungry. School lunches are crap!
Breakfast in the classroom is a joke - it's more like breakfast in the trash!

Lydia Ponce
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


In addition: "Maternal deaths related to childbirth in the United States are nearly at the highest rate in a quarter century, and a woman giving birth in America is now more likely to die than a woman giving birth in China, according to a new study."

Maternal deaths in childbirth rise in the U.S.

Mitch Osborne
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


How pathetic is that, while we are spending Trillions in killing other children in other countries, and giving Trillions in interest of our so called deficit to the Federal Reserve scams? ...who is managing this land and this government ?

Monir M. Deeb
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is because the poorest of the poor have so little real help. When you have to get assistance they make you jump through endless hoops to try to get help paying for daycare for your kids so you can actually afford to go to work. Then when you get a job they make you come in for an appointment at 10 am on a weekday otherwise you lose those benefits! Well at that point it's either your benefits or your job! Plus you lose your benefits if you try to save up more than a couple thousand dollars so how can you ever get out of poverty??

I think poor families should be able to save up for a car or apartment so they can actually move up and out of the poverty line!! I'm not saying let them have 100k in savings but it has to be more than 2,500 per household especially if they have more than one child! That is not enough for a reliable car to even get to work. Plus they only give you assistance while you are going to school full time for ONE year. Now exactly what kind of degree can you get in ONE year??? I'll tell you - one that isn't worth anything. If you don't give people the assistance they need to work or get education you are FORCING them to stay on welfare longer and you will pay more in the long run.

Karen Lynn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The FBI Faked an Entire Field of Forensic Science

32 ..people were executed based on FBI forensic's time to end having a death penalty...we cannot trust that the prisoners we are killing are even guilty ...well they all were too poor for a decent defender I guess guilty of being on the wrong side of the racist class war..

Jess Saying
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A criminal justice system founded on racist objectives and fueled by popular racist fears has brought us more social outrages.

"We have potentially tens of thousands of convictions tainted by false evidence," he told the Guardian. "It's going to take a herculean effort to right the wrongs in these cases, and so far we have made only a tiny start."

". . . at least 35 defendants received the death penalty, 33 of which were the subject of false FBI testimony. Nine of the prisoners were executed and five died from other causes on death row."

John Jernegan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


As a fomenters of red scare, as disrupters of progressive movements, the FBI and the state and local red squads have been persistently oppressive throughout my entire life. They do other things. Some of their organized crime investigations which I've seen close up, have been, imo, thoughtful and carefully documented....

Thirty years in jail for a single hair: the FBI's 'mass disaster' of false conviction

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


When they were trying to talk with people who were hanging around the Young Socialist League (youth group of the Shactmanite Independent Socialist League), they stopped me on my way to the bus I took to go to Brooklyn College. Knew all about me--my sister, where she went to college. They returned the following week, and threatened to tell my parents about my affiliation if I didn't give them information that I didn't even know. They didn't do that, but they went to one person's grandmother (I guess he lived with her). The conversations were bizarre. There was more later...but at the time I was all of 17.

Terri Thal
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


But...Justice Scalia says it's not unconstitutional to execute the innocent!

    Justice Scalia Says Executing The Innocent Doesn't Violate The Constitution
Carl Badgley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: 10 Steps to Transform American Society

These seem a little more like goals than steps--worthy though they may be. Sadly, I don't see any of these happening under our electoral system. Things didn't improve in South Africa the majority of the poor either. I find it hard to take hope from this and worry that confining these goals within national borders is part of what holds it back. Does that make sense?

Lara Beaty
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Yemen: The US-Backed Saudi War is Going Badly Wrong

Chaos and anarchy continues to grow exponentially as NATO, US and Oil Emirates' military interventions continue to de-stabilize one Middle East nation state after another. Who is in charge? Who is benefiting most? Scary questions... with terrifying implications. What say you?

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: US Threatens to Cut Aid to El Salvador for Backing Venezuela

I thought the time of making countries cry uncle were over. The US with this posture once again reveals what it has always been, an imperialist nation that disregards the self determination of Latin nations. The time of puppet governments, such as the ones El Salvador has had in the past are over. El Salvador is free to support anybody it wishes to support. Negroponte, is listening to the recalcitrant Salvadoran oligarchs who think that this will brake the will of a free nation. As a Salvadoran- American I don't support nor do I agree with this position. I dissent and will call my representatives to let them know this is unacceptable.

Omar Antonio Henriquez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Our foreign policy towards Latin America has always been abusive. Yet, they US loves to take out natural resources.

John Maldonado
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Sister Rice Goes After the Bomb

Clearly, they are so much more dangerous than General Petraeus and his ilk

Anna Parenna
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What If Uber Were a Unionized, Worker-Owned Co-Op? These Denver Cabbies Are Making It Happen
(posting on Portside Labor)

Denver Yellow Cab was once a worker-owned co-op. History is repeating itself.

Jay Jurie
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


do it! get rid of the "middle" man, be the man!

Manuel T. Ortega
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Communist Party, Turkey Runs 550-woman Ticket in Elections

Finally, the CP - any CP - has taken a genuinely radical step.

Hilton Obenzinger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Usual recourse when things are not going right -- run to the women.

Ninotchka Rosca
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is a really good thing if they win some seats, particularly given the reactionary turn Turkey has taken since being turned down for EU membership (which I agreed with France on for many reasons). Beyond that, I support the candidate based on their qualifications and public character when I vote, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or ethnic background.

Cheryl Gumulauski
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

The Symbolic Left

The term "Symbolic Left" is one I've been using for some years now to describe a type of leftist discourse that has emerged with particular force during the Obama presidency. You can find it among online commentators, bloggers, and webcasters, but it is not exclusively those domains. They've appeared in print, and several notable public figures have aligned themselves with the Symbolic Left; Cornel West is not alone.

For these people, the world is a binary place from which real politics is banished. They seem to see no direct connection between protest and political reform: indeed, they tend to fetishize the former at the expense of the latter. They have no interest in the minutia of legislative battles or of policymaking, because, in their world, those who engage in such battles are, by definition (or perhaps by suspicion), the devil's minions.

The main weapon of the Symbolic Left is language, and they prefer familiar left wing slogans, freshly burnished as epithets, to any thoughtful consideration of the give-and-take that characterizes the democratic political realm. They prefer the slogan and the epithet to dialogue. In the good-versus-evil world of the Symbolic Left, political compromise is a symptom of corruption and of the compromiser's deep disregard for decency and the people's welfare.

You will often hear those on the Symbolic Left defend their right to criticize erstwhile political allies "on principle." Yet their idea of "principle" is that the ally not have a distinct idea of how to go about carrying out a particular policy; in practice, the "ally" must almost always agree with the pundit of the Symbolic Left, or the ally is banished to the land of the damned.

Obama has been a particular target of Symbolic Left discourse. I offered above one reason why this is the case, but others are also at play. For many Symbolic Leftists, Obama started out - to borrow an old phrase from literary critic Barbara Johnson - as the "already read" text. They inscribed a politics of their invention on Obama, which he then proceeded (surprise!) to betray. What is most striking is the seeming disinterest these pundits have in Obama as a political phenomenon. They show no interest in his ideas, and the contexts of his ideas are invisible to them; and when you try to engage Symbolic Leftists on these points, they are more apt to try to shout you down with epithets than to engage in a dialogue about the history of left wing and democratic thought and Obama's place within that history.

Okay, so this has been pretty long winded. But you asked. If you want me to say more, I'll try, next time, to keep it brief.

Geoffrey Jacques

Re: 2016 Elections and Hillary Clinton - (Tidbits - April 23)

As I read the pro and con comments about Hillary vs. the various Republicans, I could not help but think of the debates we on the left have had every four years on "whether the lesser evil is better than the greater evil" or "whether evil is evil and the degree of evil is irrelevant." The names and personalities of the candidates change, but the debates remain static and stagnant. It is very disheartening to see it happening once again.

Must we repeat the same points over and over? While it is true that the names change quadrennially, the substance of our reaction to these names stays depressingly the same. Can we not rethink the terms of the discussion so that is goes to a new and higher level? Are we doomed to iterate and reiterate and re-reiterate with little change in rhetoric?

Could we not try to place the discussion in a larger context -- perhaps a) global climate change, or b) a class analysis, or c) issues of war and peace, or d) questions of political economy, or e) prioritizing of these issues (or others) to determine which are crucial and which merely important?

Having the same tired arguments in virtually the same words time after time after time does not help the movement to grow intellectually, nor does it increase the number of people we attract to the movement. Quite the contrary!

Gene Glickman

Re: U.S.Training Nazis in Ukrainian Government Merger

I thought Nazis were the bad guys....?

Philip Shropshire
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"Never again"? The U.S. government is training Nazis in Ukraine.

Diane Laison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Re: South Africa: The Cost of Intolerance Towards Immigrants Is Too High

I am ashamed of the conduct of my fellow countrymen. This is not xenophobia. . xeno. .Greek for unknown.. phobia. .fear of. This is not fear of the unknown. This is pure criminality...random looting.The trigger is rampant unemployment and poverty. Socio economic issues that were left to fester.

Nazier Ahmed Karjieker
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: `By Blood' Tackles the Untold Legacy of Slave-Owning Cherokees

so? they were a tiny part of the population - the 1%? - and this is supposed to be some big deal that nullifies the fact that the Indian nations suffered , to use the over used word, a genocide which gets little or no attention  while our heads are filled with the losses of Europeans? gimme a break.

Frank Scott

Re: A Trade Rule that Makes It Illegal to Favor Local Business? Newest Leak Shows TPP Would Do That And More

After NAFTA I don't trust these trade agreements...

Charlie Russell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Sometimes the president I favor is wrong.

Mark E. Hoelter
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This why negotiations are being held in SECRET! And why they need fast tracking. TPP: "NAFTA on steroids!"

Dana Cochrane
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The document substantiates claims by opponents that the TPP is a corporate-rights agreement designed to facilitate the export of U.S. jobs, allow corporations to sue governments for enacting labor and environmental protections, make it illegal for governments to favor local businesses, and advance the colonization of national economies by global corporations and financiers.

Joe Steals
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Well, I'd suggest you call every representative you can think of. This one is serious.

Find house numbers here

Find senate numbers here

Scott Mulder
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: More Responses to The Tragedy of Party Communism

Communism was/is "bad". But worse than capitalism--the main alternative?

Mike Munk


Everything in Michael Brie's essay pertaining to Lenin consists of recycled Cold War cliches. There's been plenty of scholarship since the 1970s which has made clear the very real differences between Bolshevism, as a tendency within Russian Social Democracy and then as an independent party, and Stalinism, in both theory and practice. But Brie ignores all of this.

In particular, the extensive research of Lars T. Lih in his book Lenin Rediscovered (2006), especially in regards to his new translations of heretofore badly-translated Russian terms, makes it clear that Lenin was not, even in 1902 (when "What Is To Be Done?" was published), the elitist-minded reviser of Marxism that he is generally thought to be, nor was Bolshevism an authoritarian political trend prior to the Russian Civil War.

Extensive research by Lih and others has made it inarguable that the authoritarian "vanguard party" allegedly outlined in WITBD? did not, and could not, ever exist in real life. And considering that Lenin himself - as Lih points out - was later uninterested in defending WITBD?, claiming in 1907 that "The basic mistake made by people who polemicise with What is to be Done?.is that they tear this production completely out of specific historical context, out of a specific and by now long-past period in the development of [the RDSLP],"  one is left wondering what to make of this ostensibly historically-important pamphlet that supposedly led Marxism down the road to Stalinism.

This isn't to say that Lenin was a particularly original political thinker or that many of his writings are of great practical importance today. They aren't. But let's embrace historical accuracy and stop demonizing Lenin for saying things he didn't actually say and believing things he didn't actually believe.

Jason Schulman


The theoretical basis for a transition to socialism is still lacking. Citing Yugoslavia's experience is not particularly encouraging in view of their recent descent into feudal-like genocides! Economic relations are not enough! The development of a higher level of understanding and relationships is just as important!

Aaron Libson


"Communism wanted a better future for humanity, but was unable to deliver it." So says Dynamite Hallinan.

Did I miss something? Am I like Rip Van Winkle, asleep for many years? When did we have communism that was "unable to deliver" a "better future for humanity"?

We never had communism so why does Hallinan talk about it in the past tense? That's the way capitalist hucksters refer to it. Yes, the Soviet Union broke up. Yes, the Stalinist leadership committed unspeakable atrocities. But none of that refutes the idea of socialism, and eventually communism <whether or not we call it that when it comes>.

Look around the world. There are forms of socialism everywhere. Are there shortcomings and mistakes on the socialist path? Of course. But historically the march toward a more equitable society is in its infancy. Communism isn't behind us. It's up ahead.

Seymour Joseph


...something different, better and effective.

Omar Antonio Henriquez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Thanks, Dynamite Hallinan, for your particularly thoughtful piece.

Susan Vago Webb
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

This May Day, tell billionaire Walmart heiress, Alice Walton:  Stop plunging workers into poverty!

Walmart heiress Alice Walton, who owns a luxury condo on Park Avenue, has allowed the company she owns to plunge workers into poverty instead of lifting them out of it. Now her family's massive company has reached a new low /by claiming "plumbing problems" are why more than 2,000 workers were recently - fired -  at five stores across the country. We know that Walmart closed these stores to silence workers, including the first workers to ever go on strike & leaders of the movement to change Walmart at the Pico Rivera, CA store.

This May Day (International Workers' Day), join us in front of Alice Walton's luxury condo to send her a strong message opposing this latest act of retaliation by the world's largest private employer.

Date: Friday, May 1, 2015
Time: 4:30pm (assemble), 5pm sharp (action), 5:20pm (march!)
Place: Walmart owner Alice Walton's luxury condo on Park Ave
Address: 515 Park Ave, corner of 60th Street

The action will kick off this year's May Day March and Rally to End Income Inequality!

We'll assemble at 4:30pm for a 5pm action (sharp!) and then we'll march down Billionaire's Row with our friends and allies in the broader movement for worker justice, culminating with a massive rally at Columbus Circle, calling for Real Jobs, Real Wages, and Real Rights!

Spread the word on Facebook!  And please RSVP with us directly

New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

She's Beautiful When She's Angry at Workers Unite! Film Festival - New York - May 9

She's Beautiful When She's Angry is back at New York's Cinema Village for one day only, Sat 5/9, as part of Workers Unite! Film Festival!

Workers Unite! Film Festival 2015 presents Equal Rights Means Equal Pay Night on Saturday May 9th at Cinema Village in NYC! All about the history of women's movement, feminism & race, equal pay & women's work. Join this event for an advance ticket link & invite your friends!
Tickets: $7 for one show, $12 for the full evening

Girls in the Band

6:30 PM - Tickets

She's Beautiful When She's Angry (92 min)
Can't Wear a Wig Forever (6 min)
Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor (17 min)

9:00PM - Tickets

Can't Wear a Wig Forever (6 min)
Claiming our Voices (20 min)

Cinema Village
22 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003
(212) 924-3363

A Discussion on Chicago vs Mayor 1% - New York Forum - May 12

Join us Tuesday, May 12, 2015 from 6pm for an exciting panel of leaders to discuss the election campaign of Jesus "Chuy" García that turned the political world upside-down. This year he ran a shoe-string campaign for mayor of Chicago against the incumbent, super power broker Rahm Emanuel and walked away with 45% of Emanuel's votes. This sent a message to mainstream politicians nationwide that we the people are a force to reckon with.

Let us know you are coming - RSVP here

The election campaign of Jesus "Chuy" García turned the political world upside-down. This year he ran for mayor of Chicago against the incumbent, super power broker Rahm Emanuel.

Chuy's campaign was underfunded, organized at the last minute, and took on a powerful machine. But his coalition of unions and community groups forced the mayor into a runoff.

On April 7, Chuy took 45% of the vote, and the campaign electrified progressive voters, strengthened the network of street-level activists citywide, helped bring new progressives into the City Council, and sent a message to mainstream politicians nationwide.

Hear a panel of campaign leaders discuss the race, and the role of unions in building a neighborhood-based, progressive electoral campaign network that is still in place.

  • April Verrett, Executive Vice President, SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana
  • Susan Sadlowski Garza, newly elected Alderwoman from Chicago's 1th Ward
  • Stacy Gates Davis, Political/Legislative Director, Chicago Teachers Union

WHEN      May 12, 2015 at 6pm - 8pm
WHERE     Location TBA

RSVP to get the location.