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Tidbits - May 7, 2015 - Baltimore; Cities as "Occupied Territory"; Bernie Sanders; Alberta NDP Victory; $15 per Hour; Israeli Soldiers Speak Out...more

Reader Comments - Baltimore, other cities as "Occupied Territory"; Drop the Charges against those arrested; Government-Sponsored Segregation; Bernie Sanders - a Long Tradition of American Socialism; Alberta NDP Victory; $15 per Hour or Bust; Israeli Soldiers Speak Out-Gaza Atrocities Were Orders; Labor Union Membership Now Just 11%; Feliks Tych - R.I.P.; Announcements - New York, Boston

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - May 7, 2015,Portside

Re: A Report From Occupied Territory

It really is necessary for everyone to read this. Especially "white" people in the U.S. - but everybody in this entire world. The U.S. is a terrorist state, both at home and around the world.

Diane Laison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Echoes....from before the Kerner Commission report.... from prophet James Baldwin

Tom Edminster
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


When will the USA listen to James Baldwin? It's been nearly 50 years and counting and it only gets worse....

Rebecca Lillian
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


James Baldwin iconic piece is brilliant in every respect. This serves to be read and shared far and wide. Praises to James Baldwin.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Charles Brown
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Truman Nelson who Baldwin singles out as a true abolitionist was a radical journalist. His outstanding report on events in Monroe North Carolina and Robert and Mabel Williams is available in a study guide from the Freedom Archives.

Lincoln Bergman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Will it ever end? Thank you for posting this heartbreaking article, written as only James Baldwin could write it. As a gay African-American, he knew injustice all his life.

Gina Dove
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


As Baltimore is policed like occupied territory today, remembering James Baldwin's words about Harlem in 1966. This article originally appeared in the July 11, 1966 issue of The Nation.

Anti-Racism Media
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


i have been wondering why there's no news analysis comparing current epidemic of police violence/homicide to that prior to election of African American Mayors. I lived in DC in latter half of 1960's and every year the white DC PD killed over 20 people a year - most notoriously, a man was killed for jay walking in the block of 14th & U, then the "heart" of the black community and home to SCLC & SNCC. In Atlanta, the same violence ruled. For many years,Hosea Williams led the campaign to stop it. When the first African-American Mayor, Maynard Jackson, was elected, the atmosphere in the all white run police court where my job brought me frequently was such that I said, "If this was a Latin American country, the police would organize a coup against the popularly elected government." But then it seemed, by 1980's the police violence really subsided.

Pamela Beardsley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This could have been written today and sadly it will be relevant tomorrow...The more things change the more they remain the same. The police and the military have always been punitive and destructive in serving racism and oppression. Words from the chorus of Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss.

Howard Pflanzer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Civil rights movement and movement[s] for institutional reform have only suppressed abuse and brutality not corrected it.

Eugene Hyon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


As much as things change they shall always remain the Same ,,

And unfortunately that shall always be True ,,

The National Psychosis of America is Racial Prejudice and Profiling ,,

Systematically Designed to Oppress ,, Neutralize and Brutalize ! ! !

Ewoja John
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Baldwin was SO wise.

Jane Perkins
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Police aggression is systematic and longstanding

I lived in Baltimore for 5 years while pursuing my PhD. There were many tragic and challenging events during that time, 9/11, a hurricane that knocked out power for weeks, and numerous bad snow storms. But given recent events, there is one bad incident that stands out. I was at a graduate student party on Charles Street late one night, when unfortunately, the front door was left unlocked and a man entered with a bandanna on his face and a gun drawn. I remember looking into his eyes and down the barrel of his gun as he rounded up the partygoers and collected our valuables one by one. He sent us into the basement, left the house, and a guy had hid his cell phone and called the police. Although many people were frightened, the entire situation had actually been quite calm, that is, until the police arrived. It felt that they swarmed the house. They screamed at us and lined as against the wall. They had their guns drawn as the shouted questions at us. When we didn't answer fast enough, they yelled more. Many people at the party weren't native speakers of English and they got right in their faces and shouted at them. Every person at this party was a doctoral student, most of them white, and the police treated us with more violence and disdain than the robber had. I was one of the few people at the party who was American, and I started to shout back that I wanted to speak to the sergeant and started asking for names and badge numbers. The sergeant came in and pulled the cops back and they holstered their guns and finally took the report.

I am an educated white middle class woman and I am empowered enough to stand up for myself against their abuse and I was still lucky that night. I am grateful for the courage of the people of Baltimore to stand up against this long-standing abuse. This is not a case of overly aggressive policing, but of a systematic oppression of the people of Baltimore by an armed occupying force.

Many people are wondering today how the police became so out of control, but those of us who have long lived in the urban centers know that this is nothing new. Countless black men have been murdered by police for pulling out a wallet or possessing something "shiny". The difference now is only tolerance, that we have the fortune to have a new generation who no longer blindly accept this injustice. If these youth show their anger by looting or rioting, we have only ourselves to blame. We, the older generation, traded progression for designer jeans bought on credit. We allowed ourselves to be brainwashed by our consumerism to believe that the "American Dream" is owning the newest iPhone. The media generated fear allowed us to accept the systematic dismantling of civil rights, and the sanctity of "safety" in municipal budgets at the expensive of services and education. We've created a generation saddled by debt in a society that values testing more than education and protection more than
community. Instead of condemning these youth we should be begging their forgiveness.

Abigail Kroch

State's Attorney Mosby: Drop all charges against protesters

The people of Baltimore have had enough. Over just the last 4 years, police have killed 109 people in the city. And in 2014, 100% of the people killed by Baltimore police were Black. Baltimore - like most cities in America - has a long and ongoing history of violent, discriminatory and illegal policing.

Following the tragic police killing of 25-year-old Freddie Gray the people of Baltimore rose up and moved State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to charge all 6 officers who killed Freddie Gray. But while the police who killed Gray are out of jail, hundreds of protesters languish in overcrowded, inhumane jail conditions facing unjust criminal charges and outrageous bail.

Urge State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to drop the charges against all protesters. #ProtectThePeople

Click to read the original email we sent to members about this campaign.

Re: Baltimore Shutting Off Water To Thousands While Ignoring Corporate Debtors

There is enormous fuel for unrest in Baltimore and this barbaric manipulation of water rights, as has happened also in Detroit, begets more outrage and violence to come. What we saw the other night is not an isolated incident. There is an entire canon of atrocities being imposed on the Poor and Middle classes of Baltimore.

Sarah Bishop Valentine
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


In-Human Monsters are in Control of this Nation! Say 'Hello' to WWIII!

Alan Trenary
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The assaults on poor and Black communities in Baltimore take many forms. Police killings and assaults, lack of public services, inferior public education, lack of jobs, health care, housing and now the city is shutting off water in an effort to push the poor out. This is not coincidence but deliberate policy intended to transfer more wealth and control to those who already have it.

John Jernegan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation

Thank you for this article outline institutional racism. The institutionalizing of racism is very difficult for white Americans to understand and more of these descriptive articles on exactly how it works are needed

Tanya Marquette
New Paltz, NY

Re: How to End Militarized Policing

Give white folks a sense of false security which also keeps them in line. Wow the rich think of everything

Diane Lane-Hymans
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It is an indisputable fact that all men are born equal. (Amended- providing they are white, European origin, Christian and always agree with us)!

Tom Baker
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: People for Bernie Sanders

As Bernie is running in dem primaries, good people do not have to worry about the "least of evils". There is an excellent track record of speaking truth to power- which is the way listeners can learn-- serious voters can expand the message and serve the education function of good debate. I am delighted to have a positive choice, a reliable and tested standard of rhetoric and performance. And if a majority of primary voters makes a different choice-unfortunately largely financed very well by those who support a fragile and dangerous business as usual, I will still be able to cast a vote against a retrograde Supreme Court come next November. Bernie is a fantastic opportunity for long waiting voters.

Chuck Weed
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Bernie Sanders' Presidential Bid Represents a Long Tradition of American Socialism

The "S-word" is a helpful tool so that the American people can understand what is being done to them by a greedy power elite and what the people can do about it.

Lev Sinestra
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Alberta NDP's promise of $15 minimum wage wins praise from labour

What political policies brought the left overwhelming victory in Alberta? $!5/hour minimum wage and progressive (rich pay at a higher rate than the poor) taxes according to Bill Curry. Are US politicians beginning to feel a push to the left? Thanks to Portside for the link.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Political Roots of Widening Inequality

This piece by Reich has enraged me and cost him a ton of credibility.  He refuses to acknowledge that he was the principal driver of nafta.  He and I even had a private debate over it in the presence of Atlanta's financial elite.  He doesn't acknowledge that the NLRA is hopelessly broken and must be fundamentally repaired or that we came within two votes of that fundamental change with the Employee Free Choice Act.  He also refuses to acknowledge that nafta cut out the heart of industrial unionism in America and, therefore, the heart and power of the labor movement.

Stewart Acuff


Good analysis from Prof. Reich. Some of the protests against racism in several cities may be broadened to include reactions against classism by the wealthy against the rest of us.

Another interesting point is that in addition to low wages, banks no longer pay much interest to customers using them. Low interest rates are maintained supposedly to prevent inflation, yet high bank charges for credit cards are not considered inflationary. So a worker with a low wage may not be able to save any money but if he can save a little it will not be in a savings account because it does not pay much interest. So a person then has to turn to the financial "experts" to find a way to get some growth in savings. That also contributes to the increased power of the financiers.

It is a gloomy development but it is amazing how in 30 years all the gains made in the post war period with much effort by workers and unions have been reversed. No it is not the market; it is the market manipulated by the wealthy and increasingly powerful elites. Too bad some honest, independent politicians are not in view.

Laurel MacDowell

Re: $15 per Hour or Bust: An Appraisal of the Higher Wages Movement
(posting on Portside Labor)

Word is Congressional Democrats will be introducing legislation to raise the Federal Minimum wage standard.

John Maldonado
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How to Turn a Nightmare into a Fairy Tale - 40 Years Later; The Forgotten Power of the Vietnam Protest, 1965-1975

That Fall of Saigon doc on PBS this week was a disgraceful homage to a few military and CIA assholes who conspired to ship out the worst of their Vietnamese war criminals and collaborators to protect them from their victorious countrymens' justice.

Michael Munk

Re: Challenging American Exceptionalism

Yes, America is Number One. Number One in military spending. Number One in the number and percentage of its citizens who are behind bars. The ONLY industrialized country that doesn't guarantee healthcare for all citizens. One of five countries that doesn't have paid maternity leave (the other four being Somalian and three obscure places I've never heard of). Yeah, we're exceptional all right, for all the wrong things.

Elaine Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Revolution in Rojava

A genuine revolution -- yet one that few in the West know about!

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: "Kill Anything": Israeli Soldiers Say Gaza Atrocities Came from Orders for Indiscriminate Fire

This is criminal, these are what our country and the world has sought prosecutions of others -- for war crimes.

As a Jewish American I am outraged and sickened.

Here is the link to the full 242 page report of Israeli soldiers breaking the silence

Jay Schaffner


The soldiers provide a current example of the "free fire zone" policy, the term for indiscriminate killing in certain areas used by the U.S. military in Vietnam.  They also describe the demoralization process running through policy, leadership, culture, and the soldier.  Yet some resist, whether by refusing outright or by telling their stories later, in shock about what they participated in.

The belief that "Any sane person who sees a tank battalion in his neighborhood will run away. If he sticks around, then he's up to something" is the same as the occupiers' attitude towards those Palestinians who have not run away from their land despite seeing the "tank battalion" of encroachment and dispossession.  They are "sticking around," therefore "They must be up to something" even if it's just trying to continue life in their homes.

Joe Maizlish,
Los Angeles

Re: 46 Injured in Ethiopian Israeli Protest Against Police Brutality in Tel Aviv

And the United States continues to give $3 billion a year to the Israeli Defense force to enable this racism to continue .

Judith Ackerman

Re: Labor Union Membership in the U.S. is Down to Just 11%

(posting on Portside Labor)

Anyone that thinks this is good news for the country and the people are suffering from a sickness in their minds.

Orville Bruce Jones
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Plus many baby boomers are retiring and although we'd like to remain in the union because our blood is union blood, we can't.

Karen Anderson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I don't think the younger generation understands Union history.

Mary Schriefer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Public sector unions are the last stronghold of the U.S. labor movement. Which is why the right works so aggressively to vilify them.

Scarlett Ahmed
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Unions were the savior of the working man (and woman). Big corp has always hated them.....research what my Dad always called the union wars....police in the streets to shoot the this hard fought and won battle can be forgotten and thrown away by modern society is completely beyond me.

Margaret Stallings
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Death of Polish leftist historian - Prof. Dr. Feliks Tych (1929-2015)

An Outstanding Rosa Luxemburg Researcher, Historian of the European Labor Movement, and of Post-Holocaust Issues

On 17 February 2015, Feliks Tych passed away in Warsaw at the age of 85. The distinguished Polish scholar is well known to North American historians mostly for his important research on the famous Polish-German socialist Rosa Luxemburg and on the "Jewish Bund".

During World War II his Jewish parents gave him to a Polish family. So he survived while all other family members became victims of the Holocaust. After the war he studied history in Warsaw and Moscow, receiving, in 1960, his post-doctoral degree (habilitation) with a thesis on the Left Polish Socialist Party in World War I. Between 1956 and 1968 he worked at the Institute of History of the Polish Academy of Sciences and in the History Department of the Polish Workers Movement. During these years and later on, he initiated several important projects and edited very carefully reference books and document volumes such as the Biographical Dictionary of Polish Labor Movement and the Archive of Labor Movement with previously unknown documents from Polish and Russian archives in eleven volumes.  Further, the Journal Z pola walki would contain many essays and documentations including some previously unknown Rosa Luxemburg letters discovered by Feliks Tych in a Moscow archive.

But in 1968, as a result of the anti-Semitic purges in Poland, he was dismissed. Nevertheless, he continued his scientific work - for the next two years as a "free" academic writer - publishing three volumes with the complete Rosa Luxemburg letters to her close companion Leo Jogiches - a pioneer work which was translated into German, French, and English and had great impact and inspiration on the Rosa Luxemburg research. It was especially this work that gave him an international reputation in the early years of his career. When the anti-Semitic wave in Poland receded again he could work as the head of the archive of the Polish Labor Party and was appointed as extraordinary professor in 1970, and later a full professor in 1982.

After the end of travel restrictions by the Polish communist authorities, he could join again the "International Conference of Labour and Social History" an annual congress in the city of Linz in Austria and meeting place for international scholars of labor movement. During his permanent active participation he influenced the meetings as a "bridge constructor" between the "Eastern" and "Western" historians which was quite a difficult but important task in the era of the "Cold War". In the same sense he worked actively in the "International Rosa Luxemburg Society" (Chairman: Prof. Narihiko Ito, Tokyo) since its foundation in 1980. Due to his international reputation he received numerous invitations from foreign universities to come lecture.  In the 1990s, Tych worked as a visiting professor at several German universities.

From 1995 to 2006 he headed the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw during which time he improved its financial stability and enhanced its scientific reputation and public influence. One result was the "Museum of Polish Jews" which he initiated and realized with the help of many volunteers. Several important publication projects (some of which he continued after his retirement) were, for example, document editions like the Ringelblum archive papers from the Warsaw Ghetto, the documents on the Polish Jews who had fled to Russian occupied Poland, children interviews protocols on the holocaust (1944-1948). At the same time he continued to lecture and publish on labor movement issues. As a special honor on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January 2010), he was asked to give the memorial speech before the German Parliament.

Prof. Tych leaves a rich scientific heritage: He was author of five monographs, a most careful editor of 26 tomes of reference books on labor movement and Jewish history in Eastern and Central Europe during the late 19th and the 20th century. He was a most appreciated lecturer at international conferences and a much demanded writer by scientific journals with altogether about 300 papers. Many of his works have been published not only in Poland but also in other countries from Germany on to France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Israel, the USA, the United Kingdom, and Japan. During some well-organized conferences in Warsaw (e. g. 1996 on Rosa Luxemburg, 1997 and 2012 on the "Jewish Bund") friends and colleagues enjoyed his generous hospitality. Feliks Tych will always be kept in mind as an outstanding historian, as an inspiring, encouraging colleague and good friend.

Ottokar Luban ("International Rosa Luxemburg Society")

[Thanks to William A. Pelz for forwarding this to Portside.]

Cityscapes: When New  York was a blue-collar town - Book Party - New York - May 26

Join us for a discussion about writing - memoirs, novels, novellas, poetry and publishing - with three new authors

  • Walter Balcerak - "The View From Brooklyn" - Now retired, the author was a professional writer for his entire career, working as a technical writer, and as an editor/writer for trade magazines and a union newspaper.
  • Bill Hohlfeld - "Ascent to Avalon" - An author who spent 32 years as a Metal Lather/ Reinforcing Ironworker and 11 years at Local 46 Labor Management Cooperative Trust and now writes for the Labor Press, New York.
  • Stan Maron - "New York Hustle" - In his memoir, the author takes us back in time to his troubled youth in a New Jersey beach town, and early jobs delivering racks of clothing, loading bricks at demolition sites, and peddling on the streets of New York.

Moderator - Tim Sheard, New York Chapter of the National Writers Union UAW Local 1981.

Book Party
Tuesday, May 26, 6-8 p.m.

National Writers Union
256 W. 38th St., 12th floor, Manhattan

Authors will be signing books. Light refreshments.

Sponsored by the New York Chapter of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981.
Co-sponsored by the New York Labor History Association and The Metro New York Labor Communications Council.

Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters with Tom Hayden - Boston - May 29

First Church Jamaica Plain
6 Eliot St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Friday, May 29 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Join the JP Forum for a book talk with Tom Hayden - one of America's best-known voices of political and social activism. Based on unprecedented access to both Cuban and American officials, Listen, Yankee!: Why Cuba Matters offers fresh insight into one of history's most enigmatic relationships between nations.

In Listen, Yankee!, Tom Hayden gives us two countries that share much more than a fifty-five-year disagreement. He writes both as an observer of Cuba and as a US revolutionary student leader telling his own story, someone whose efforts to mobilize political change in the US mirrored the radical transformation simultaneously going on in Cuba. His astute observations are often dazzling and always based on his years of research and special access to key figures.

Chapters are devoted to the writings of Che Guevara, Régis Debray, and C. Wright Mills; the Cuban missile crisis; the Weather Underground; the assassination of JFK; the strong historical links between Cuba and Africa; the Carter era; the Clinton era; the Cuban Five; Elián González; and the December 17, 2014 declaration of normalization by presidents Obama and Castro.

Hayden puts the present moment into historical context, and shows how we're finally finding common ground to the advantage of Cubans and Americans alike.

Sponsored by Jamaica Plain Forum
Co-sponsors: July 26th Coalition and International Committee for a Just Policy towards Cuba

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