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Tidbits - June 18, 2015 - Bernie Sanders, Tamir Rice, Kalief Browder, Ella Baker, BDS, Low-Income Schools, Paul Robeson, and more...

Reader Comments: Bernie Sanders; Tamir Rice; Kalief Browder; Ella Baker; BDS; Low-Income Schools; Rachel Dolezal; TPP; Edward Snowden; Greece; Bessie; Okinawa; Puerto Rico; Jazz; Watts Rebellion; Immigration; Announcements: March to Shut Down Rikers; Detroit Tribute to Paul Robeson and His Work for Peace; Solidarity Delegation of 20 US Activists to Visit Venezuela

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - June 18, 2015,Portside

Re: UE General Executive Board Statement on Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign

American workers would be well advised to heed the United Electrical . . . Workers' leadership's encouragement to members to consider seriously the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, working people's independent champion in the U. S. Senate & House over many years.  The similar response of the AFL-CIO of Vermont, where Sanders is known best, underscores the UE's assessment of Bernie Sanders as the most enthusiastic candidate on behalf of working families within memory.  Beyond that, Bernie Sanders has attracted very strong support from progressive Americans of every stripe, and he will contest the presidential primaries vigorously as the unapologetic candidate of working American families.  Thanks to the UE and to Vermont for putting forth this remarkable leader for American democracy.


Re: BDS and the "Anti-Semitism" Charge; Penalties Will Grow Worse The Longer Israel Persists In Settling - Israeli and Jewish Perspectives

"Haver's" and Levy's statements denouncing charges of anti-Semitism hurled at BDS supporters are the best, clearest, most eloquent I've seen.

Rosalind Petchesky
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


BDS is working to awaken consciousness and conscience worldwide

Don Blumberg
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The anti-Semitism accusation reminds me of the old joke of the man who killed his parents and then defended himself in court by pleading he was an orphan.

Elizabeth Ferrari
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: In Rare Move, Community Seeks Murder Charges for Cops Who Killed Tamir Rice

Well done citizens!

Alex Alvarez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It's in the hands of the grand jury now. Will they find sufficient evidence to take it to trial? Depends on how the prosecutor presents the case.

Chelsea Dreher
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Only can you murder a black child and say it was his fault.

Sekayi Odinga
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Interesting. In Ohio there's a law that says anyone with knowledge of the facts of a crime can submit an affidavit requesting an arrest warrant. So the community is going to submit multiple affidavits and hope that the killer of a twelve-year-old boy finally faces justice.

Heather Bungard-Janney
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

By Pat Bagley
The Salt Lake Tribune
syndicated nationally by Cagle Cartoons.

Re: The Brief and Tragic Life of Kalief Browder

Kalief Browder could have been any of us, under the patriot act, we can be imprisoned for no rhyme or reason , there is no Habeas Corpus, you do not have to be charged with any crime and you do not have the right to an attorney.

David A Reynaga
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Horrible and tragic, but these things will keep on happening until police who engage in false arrests based on racism, prosecutors who falsely accuse people and rig evidence with the motive of producing more convictions and less justice, judges who let all this come to pass, and politicians who cover it up are fired and in many instances sit in prison.

Emile Schepers
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Riker's Island: What a scary place. As a Latino growing up in NYC, I feared that place. There was a bus stop to Riker's close to the Queens Borough Metro Station, and there was always a line full of Latinos and African Americans.

Waldir Sepulveda
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Ella Taught Me: Shattering the Myth of the Leaderless Movement

Barbara Ransby has brilliantly shown the true meaning of Ella Baker's leadership -- her insistence that movements start from the bottom even if they eventually create structures for decision-making, and instruments for sustaining solidarity. She was the most remarkable woman of her time, helping to give birth to SNCC, the most powerful and cutting edge group of activists to shape the struggle of the 1960s. Thank you for this comprehensive assessment.

Bill Chafe,
Duke University


The excellent article by Barbara Ransby on Ms. Ella Baker was posted to the SNCC listserve. A The photo that accompanied the article had no caption.

Ms. Baker is speaking in Atlantic City, NJ during the 1964 Democratic National Convention (August 10, 1964). Photo credit: George Ballis/ TakeStock.

This photo was included in "Hands on the Freedom Plow, Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC," which I co-edited with 5 other SNCC women. The anthology includes the accounts of 52 SNCC women who were on the front lines of the 1960's southern freedom movement. It includes many references to Ms. Baker and her inestimable influence on SNCC's work and grass-roots organizing, as well as to our experiences with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP).

As you probably know, at this convention the Democratic Party, directed by then-President Lyndon Johnson, turned its back on the MFDP (and on the democratic principles on which it was based). Instead, the DNC offered to seat the all-white Mississippi delegation while offering the MFDP 2 seats... at-large.

Thanks for all your great posts!

judy richardson


What a TOOL for building power Ransby provides us with her article!  Her political analysis clearly comes from study, analysis AND concrete, practical work.  Armed with her insights we all can be active in the fight as evolving leaders and organizations rise.

Leanna Noble


...forging relationships within the organizations and externally building for a more collaborative effort. some members of HJC we are learning each other still...strengths, weaknesses, idiosyncrasies becoming friends etc...agreeing and disagreeing but all the while. Knowing what the goals are and steadfast in the cause...we are way early in this game...thought you would like this read...

Cedrick Smith
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Eye nominate Ella Baker or Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer for Jackson's place on the $20.

David Jockusch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Is Rachel Dolezal Black Just Because She Says She Is?

If Rachel Chooses to identify herself as Black -it is her action -and not the action of her parents or the law or culture which is a corruption of her human right to identify who she is.  It is ignorant to continue to play the white race game when there is only one race.  Rachel, by identifying with Black means she identifies  with the underclass as compared with her parents who chooses to identify with the over class.

Atty. John Due

Re: Black Like Her

Ms. Cobb's essay on Ms. Dolezal's identification with blackness can be summed up in a very few words: "much a do about nothing".

Wendell Paris

Re: New Attack Launched on California Public Employee Pensions

This is what they did in NJ, but people hired before a certain time had the defined benefit plan. For a while when the market was going strong, the folks with the new 401k plans were doing great, but then it went down. My pension dropped precipitously, which is one reason I did my partial retirement plan. Now defined benefit plans seem enviable.

Nancy Holmstrom

Re: Low-Income School Districts Need More, But Many Are Starved Instead

Neither the article by Isaiah Poole (Portside June 15, "Low Income School Districts Need More, but Many Are Starved Instead) nor the report it cited by the Education Law Center propose alternative funding for our schools.  My dissertation on the property tax exemption in Ohio's urban areas got me thinking about this and in a 2014 op-ed in the Plain Dealer, I proposed a solution that has implications for all states: a dedicated statewide property tax for educational equalization and improvement to supplement local property taxes, which should be relied upon only for "langiappe" (a Cajun term for a little bit extra, like a new football field).  However, to reduce the extent of re-distribution for schools alone, cities and county seats statewide (any jurisdiction really, such as college towns with large public or nonprofit or religious colleges) should receive funding to make up for property tax exempt property (as is done in CT).
[Doing the right thing for our public schools: Michael A. Dover]
Relying on sales taxes, which is done in a number of red states, works well when the economy is doing well, and then there are terrible cuts.  Progressive "soak the rich" schemes relying on a progressive income tax are not how civilizations should fund schools; they turn our children into a political football and don't provide a solid long-range guarantee of school funding.  Everyone needs public schools and everyone should pay via the property tax, which is paid indirectly by tenants through their rents.  

The problem is not the property tax, which is the most stable and collectable tax and the bulwark historically of school funding.  The problem is the local property tax, which has been found unconstitutional as a reliable source of support in many states.  A similar principle, the social insurance principle, applies to Social Security and should have applied to Medicare for All: a universal flat tax found fundamentally fair by most Americans but applied to all salary and wage ranges and also to other sources of individual income.  In this way our schools, our retirement security, our provisions for disability (with extensions to short-term disability and a paid sick day fund) and our provisions for unemployment (with extension to family leaves), all of which are universal needs, would be provided for fairly and uniformly for all persons.

Michael A. Dover


Here's a place New Mexico shines. Operating expenses of all schools are paid by the state through a per-pupil funding formula.

Ted Cloak

Re: Bernie's Burlington: What Kind of Mayor Was Bernie Sanders

Definitely worth a read. Good information!

Mike Moody
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Thanks for sharing Brother. Bernie is a good man with excellent values. I wish that all the cards weren't stacked against him - and us.

Robert Van Hook
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I'm an idealist at heart, i believe in america the idea. What made this country great was new ideas, not being afraid of the future. Progress isn't a dirty word and helping our fellow americans work their way to a better life is the American way. This country was built by people wearing denim not suits, people like me, my father and his father swinging hammers and getting our hands dirty.

The current crop of assholes in washington don't sweat or need to wash up after a day of work because they don't know what it is. Busting unions, harming children, basically destroying the things that made this country what it was is wrong on every level. Using religious fundamentalism to ignore scientific fact is equally wrong and an affront to god. Greed is not good it is one of the deadly sins as are arrogance and hubris.

The current crop on the right and left are all guilty. With one exception. The more i research and observe bernie sanders the more i realize this guy isn't a bought and paid for tool. If you are satisfied with things as they are keep voting the bastards in who are screwing all of us be my guest, or if you actually want a better america you have a great choice right in front of you. Stop with the talking points and actually listen to the man. Vote bernie.

Mikey Faubion
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: TPP Hands the Money Monopoly to Private Banks - Permanently

Once again, thanks to WikiLeaks, the cat is out of the bag! These secret "trade deals" are nothing more than a legal prison system to trap us forever in permanent exploitation by the rich. I DARE you to read this article, and still argue that these treaties are good for our nation... or ANY nation!

Mario Galván
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Snowden Aftermath: So-Called Journalists Call for Prosecution of Sources

Glen Greenwald is right - I was stunned at hearing the "cry for blood" from the MSNBC commentators!

"What an irony and travesty that we talk about the glories of our press freedom and then hound those brave enough to give the press real stories!!"

David McReynolds

Re: What's the Matter With Indiana?

My grandparents moved to Indiana in the 1920s -  bold - or bad - decision. Indiana was then one "northern" state that had an active KKK organization. It was not only non-whites that the KKK targeted. It was also Jews who were targeted as non-white, and my grandparents were Jewish.

Ellen Dannin
Member, National Writers Union
UAW Local 1981

Re: Chris Christie's Epic Exxon Screw-up

It is amazing not only how polluted the environment has become as a result of the actions of the oil industry, but also how corrupted politicians have become as the handmaidens of the oil industry's lobbyists. The sooner we get off oil, the better.

Laurel MacDowell

Re: Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty and Other World-Renowned Economists Demand End to Greek Austerity

Methinks that the 26 economists overestimate the commitment of finance capital to democracy in any popular sense of the word; a Golden Dawn government in Greece would not trouble the gray eminences of the EU nearly as much as would a crack in the Great Wall defending their hegemony.

Jim Young
Harrisburg, PA

Crappy Reporting On Greece

If the Greek government had a nickel for every wildly pessimistic, speculative article in the corporate press about the pending default and "Grexit," they could pay off their debt.

I'm going to go out on a limb and make some predictions. SYRIZA will not default. They will squeeze every possible concession out of the EU,taking the negotiations to the deadline. We in the trade union movement are used to this strategy. The EU ministers, obviously, are not.

SYRIZA, of course, will not achieve all its goals, maybe not even the bulk of them. What do they have going for them, to make up for their tiny size? Chutzpah, popular support, the fear of the great damages to other EU countries in the event of a default, and the truth.

The punitive austerity imposed by the EU, accepted by previous, hapless Greek governments, is, to quote Prime Minister Tsipras, "irrational."If Greece went along with them, it would drive their economy further into the hole, if possible. You can't go much above 25% unemployment without a mass exodus of the population.


Complete collapse of Greek society is what neo-liberals likeGerman Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble want. Global capital will waltz in and pick up the pieces for a song, turning Greece into Disneyland. Fortunately for justice, the neo-libs are looking everyday stupider to the Euro working class.

I believe Varoufakis and company will come back with considerable concessions to present to their supporters. The ultra-left will howl. The previous ruling parties will say they could have done better, and get laughed at. If it comes to new elections, who will beat SYRIZA? There will be a period of internal Greek commotion, and then the quiet work of rebuilding the economy and the tax structure will proceed. Greece will disappear from the headlines.

Other like parties in the Eurozone will take courage. This last fact is probably the key to the conservative obstinacy, including our anti-socialist press.

This neat scenario is, of course, a hope. Hopes do sometimes come true, when backed up by mass mobilization, which I also predict we will see in Athens when the heroes come home with half a loaf.

Bill Shortell
Political Director Eastern States Conference of Machinists

Re: Film Review: 'Bessie' Is the Most Honest, Revealing Biopic About a Black Woman We've Ever Seen

(posting on Portside Culture)

it tells a truth a lot of us don't care to know.

Mary Lou Spencer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It was beautiful. See it.

David Berger
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Queen Latifah was great.

David H. Sloth
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Re: Okinawans Want Their Land Back. Is That So Hard to Understand?

Nope. Makes perfect sense to me.

Kenneth Morgan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Spent a year there in 1976-77, (On Futema) after the US returned it to Japan. NEVER call an Okinawan "Japanese" - it is a basic insult to them and their culture.

Bob Shuttleworth
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The US has over 700 bases in over 60 countries with over a quarter million military personnel. Amazing what all that could do if they gave the land up and spent it for something actually useful. But wait, then Halliburton would go broke. And that's what's important, right?

Joshua Barnett
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How the United States Economically and Politically Strangled Puerto Rico

Strangled is to small a word!

Rosa A. Rosario
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Record Profits, Record Stock Buybacks: Another Looming Crisis?

Lot of misinformation in this article and a basic misunderstanding of financial matters, disappointing to read this from Portside...

Glenn Kellis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Collective That Saved Jazz

"This year, a truly golden anniversary is taking place in Chicago: the 50th birthday of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization unlike any other in the history of jazz music-or any musical genre, for that matter. The AACM is at once a management firm, artistic salon, aesthetic manifesto, training ground for young musicians and musical manifestation of black cultural nationalism. In short, it's hard to pin down. But what's clear is this: It is the most illustrious jazz collective in history. The AACM was formed in Chicago in 1965, when jazz was losing its pop currency to rhythm and blues and rock `n' roll. For jazz musicians, as AACM member George Lewis explains in his 2007 book, A Power Stronger than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, everything was beginning to evaporate: club dates, dance-band jobs, instrumental recording sessions. And so musicians came together and organized, under the logic that if the clubs refused to hire them, they would create their own venues and put on their own concerts."

Cherie Blackfeather
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Perhaps a model; certainly an inspiration. .

Tom Edminster
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Ronnie Gilbert, Bold-Voiced Singer With the Weavers, Is Dead at 88

What a voice and personality! Ronnie, I'm thankful that you gave us so much during your lifetime. Your voice lives on.

Sue Tretter
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Blacklisted for years.

Jim Brough
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Remembering the Watts rebellion after 50 years

Soon the 50th anniversary of the Watts  uprising will be upon us. Chicago socialist and folk artist Michael Muench wrote  and sang this song about it at the time, but I don't think he ever published  it:

When It's Summer In Los Angeles

When you can't get a job, when people stare you in the face
When scores of sneering faces insult the color of your race
When the forces of the nation are all brought down upon you
When it's summer in Los Angeles what are you going to do?

The papers say that vandals are tearing up the street
It just can't be rebellion so they blame it on the heat
The police sent in more cops and Watts town sent more men
Then they called in the National Guard, it's 1913*  again

Now I'd rather see a sit-in with its picketers and signs
But everyone is tired of all the jailings and the fines
When peaceful protests' pleadings fall on numberless deaf ears
But you find that they are listening when this kind of trouble nears

Well fed faces say in chorus that we must respect the law
But when law and order bind you what conclusion do you draw
When the forces of this nation are all brought down upon you
When it's summer in Los Angeles what are you going to do?

A few years later Mike chose exile in Canada to avoid being drafted for service in the Vietnam war. The last I heard from him was more than 40 years ago. If he is still among us, he should take a bow.

* On Christmas Day in 1913, Los Angeles police provoked a riot by attempting to break up a peaceful protest rally of 1,500 mostly Mexican workers called by the Industrial Workers of the World. A cop shot and killed Mexican IWW member Raphael Adames.

Ken Lawrence
Spring Mills PA

Global Capital, Global People, Global Immigration

In a global world dominated by global capital, the Empire can't quite figure out what to do with global people. Workers are moving just as capital is moving. People have a right to move about Nation states and global capital actually want it both ways, or more than both ways. They want to bare bones their own "native workers" to the point where some of them have to leave to find a way to live. Some other nation state wants some of those refugee workers to come their way to work on the cheap, but only to fill a certain quota. Global capital wants workers who have to work for their mere survival to follow it wherever it goes, but only so many. Global capital is not interested in excess workers. This leaves a whole lot of PEOPLE in the middle, which means in the camps, in the internment centers, in the deportation holds, or at the bottom of the sea.

    See:  Remebering an Era Filled with the Spirit of Solidarity when Seafaring Refugees were Helped Rather than Abandoned
    The South African Civil Society Information Service
    June 12, 2015

Randy Gould
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

March to Shut Down Rikers - Justice for Kalief Browder! No to Criminalization!

March to shut down Rikers Island on Saturday June 27.

Gather to rally at 3 p.m. across the bridge from the jail complex, at 19th Av and Hazen St, Queens.

We demand JUSTICE FOR KALIEF BROWDER, who suffered at the hands of Corrections Officers like so many others at Rikers,

We demand the city immediately STOP JAILING MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE and fund mental health services instead,

We demand QUALITY MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES and healthcare to those currently incarcerated,

We REJECT Mayor de Blasio's 14-point plan for "reform" at Rikers. We will not accept any more limitations on visits and criminalization of our families.

On Saturday June 27 march on Rikers Island with us, to demand an END TO THE RACIST PRISON SYSTEM and IN MEMORY OF THE FALLEN. We will not be silent.

#ResistRikers #KaliefBrowder #Justice4Kalief #EyesOnRikers #BlackLivesMatter

Bring noisemakers, banners, friends and family. Spread the word and contact us to get involved with outreach and planning.

For more information, click here.

A Detroit Tribute to Paul Robeson and His Work for Peace - Detroit - June 29

2004, U.S. postage stamp honoring Paul Robeson, as part of the Black Heritage series of stamps.

You are invited to a video screening of the historic 1987 Detroit performance of


Monday, June 29, 2015
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
18700 James Couzens Fwy
South of W. 7 Mile Rd
Detroit, MI
(no admission charge)

THE FILM INCLUDES famous Detroit 'witnesses' who remember Paul Robeson: Rev. Dr. Charles G. Adams, Christopher C. Alston, Norma Barth, Hon. George W. Crockett, Hon. Erma L. Henderson, David W. Moore, Sidney Rosen, Shelton Tappes, Dr. Charles H. Wright, Mayor Coleman A. Young

INVITED GUESTS INCLUDE: Dr. Charles G. Adams, Jimmie Abbington conductor and members of The Hartford Memorial Baptist Choir who performed in 1987; Bill Meyer, accompanist, producer; Pat Fry, writer, producer; Michele Stone Artt, writer, narrator; Augustus Williamson, narrator

Remembering Paul Robeson, athlete, lawyer, actor, singer, political activist, linguist, scholar and one of the greatest African Americans who ever lived.

Solidarity Delegation of 20 US Activists to Visit Venezuela from July 4-16, 2015

A delegation of US organizations with long histories of support for social justice movements in Latin America and the Caribbean-Marin Task Force on the Americas, National Lawyers Guild, School of the Americas Watch, Alliance for Global Justice-is set to visit Venezuela next month. The delegation is a direct result of President Barack Obama's March 9, 2015 executive order declaring Venezuela a national security threat to the United States in order to sanction high-ranking government officials.

Delegates plan to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Venezuela by declaring that Obama's sanctions do not represent their sentiments. They will begin the delegation on July 5, Venezuela's Independence Day, as a symbolic statement of their affirmation of Venezuela's independence and sovereignty.

Among the delegates from the National Lawyers Guild, an organization that has made multiple visits to Venezuela to observe elections, are: Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, president-elect; David Gespass, former president; Judy Somberg, former vice president; Susan Scott, former International Committee co-chair and current co-chair of the NLG Task Force on the Americas; and David Mandel, of the Guild's Free Palestine Subcommittee.

Joining them will be several members of the leadership team for the Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas, an organization that has organized numerous delegations to Venezuela over the past decade, including their director, Dale Sorensen. Thanks to the work of Sorensen, a meeting with then-Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel took place in 2004, leading to President Chavez's decision to withdraw Venezuela from the notorious US military training institute, the School of the Americas.

The delegation is expected to meet with sectors of government including the legislative, judicial and electoral branches. They also plan to meet with press, trade unions, student groups, opposition members, human rights groups, and Latin American regional organizations. Activists will return to the US to and report back on current reality of Venezuela-one often distorted by mainstream media.

For more information contact:

Lisa Sullivan, Delegation Coordinator
Phone: 0416-607-0972