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Tidbits - March 10, 2016 - Reader Comments: International Women's Day; Democracy Spring; Trumpism; Stephen Hawking; Remembering Dr. Quentin Young; and more...

Reader Comments: Celebrating International Women's Day (Bev Grant in song); Democracy Spring - call for national civil disobedience actions in Washington, DC in April; Trumpism - What it Means; Race and Representation; Stephen Hawking and Robots; In Memory of Dr. Quentin Young; Tech Workers and Unions; Report from Palestine; Leonard Peltier Film Series starts in New York.

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Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - March 10, 2016, Portside
Announcements:
 
Today belongs to us. Don't let the anti-historians dilute International Women's Day, or turn it into yet another "celebration" of women who have "successfully" joined the ranks of those who benefit from, and are enriched by, ever-worsening living and working conditions for the women of the 99%.
 
Yesterday I watched the faces of my 7th graders light up, when I introduced a mini-research project on Women's History Month. Most had never heard of it, and those strong emerging young women sat and stood stronger, holding the idea with intrigue. Some of the boys took pride in knowing and wanting to share what they had learned. We have an obligation to help our young people learn the history of this day and month, even as the promoters of the status quo try to replace that with platitudes that inevitably will include blessings on the anti-most-women female politicians.
 
 

 
Alicia Williamson
UE News
(Portside post from March 4, 2014)
 
 
Kipp Dawson
 
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Celebrating International Women's Day
 
 
Theme song, written for a multi-media show by the same name, about women's labor history.  Many thanks to Bev Grant for writing, composing, singing and directing the Brooklyn Women's Chorus. 
 
 
 
Jay Schaffner
 
 
 
 
 
You should do an article on the upcoming Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening to make sure people know about it in time to get involved.
 
John Grove
 
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Moderator's Note: Here is more information on Democracy Spring. http://www.democracyspring.org/
 
 
Sit in with thousands. Save democracy for millions.
MARCH: APRIL 2-11. SIT IN: APRIL 11-16.
 
It's time to take mass nonviolent action on a historic scale to save our democracy. This April, in Washington, D.C., we will demand a Congress that will take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.
 
The campaign will begin on April 2nd with a march from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. where thousands will gather to reclaim the US Capitol in a powerful, peaceful, and massive sit-in that no one can ignore. Over 2,000 people have already pledged to risk arrest between April 11th-16th in what will be one of the largest civil disobedience actions in a generation. Together we  can open the door to reforms previously considered impossible and reclaim our democracy. Join us!
 
Click here to sign up, or for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
I can't remember an article that so exposes an author's complete intoxication with his subject -- to the point where he talks, or drinks, himself into preferring him to Hillary or Obama. You can't make this up.
 
John Case
 
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This is a superficial view of Trump and the campaign. It is true that many Americans justifiably are fed up and are lashing out. On the left Bernie Sanders has  gotten a huge response and has influenced Clinton's campaign, but his is an analysis with some thought to it. On the right Donald Trump is simply mindless - a blustering, bombastic, egotistical entertainer. He has no depth or understanding of policy and he is not presidential material, which is what the Republican Party brass understand. He also is a racist. He has shown that in this campaign but I recall when Obama was running for President he was in the birther movement and on CNN offered to give Obama $5 million if  he showed Trump his birth certificate. This was a huge insult at the time and one that CNN has conveniently forgotten. The right wing media have for months given Trump enormous publicity which has helped him.
 
Americans are being lazy. They are watching the election but they are not  deciding in a responsible way what the country needs. They seem to sense there needs to be an overhaul but supporting Trump and supporting Sanders to lead that change are very different options. And Clinton has a problem because she is the establishment and she has some issues the Republicans will keep hammering on about. But she is a pro and she can steer the ship of state, which frankly I don't think Trump can do. Instead he may well just yield power to accentuate his own power, and that is not democracy. Of course in reality the conservatives have limited democracy for years by stacking the Supreme Court with Conservatives, gerrymandering in many states, and with the passage of the financial laws without limits which govern elections. That is all part of the larger problem. Trump will not deal with any of it and he will sweep away medical care, lower taxes even more on companies etc. It is good the country is getting riled up during this election but in the long-term Sanders analysis is more substantive and workable for average Americans and Hilary if elected will have to implement some progressive changes. It is hard to watch; the penalty of being part of the other North American country.
 
Laurel MacDowell
 
 
 
 
 
"Republicans spent decades paving the way and priming the party base for a candidate just like Donald Trump. They were never going to stop him. As always, that job falls to progressive movements that have always stood against plutocrats and corporatists like Trump and his Republican party."
 
Bill Nevins
 
 
 
 
 
It seems smart to put private ownership under control now, rather than to wait for robots to confiscate all wealth and it becomes a recognized social problem. Wise for remaining 35 states to go for Bernie!!
 
Chuck Weed
 
 
 
 
 
This is insightful, astute and sobering, especially for those Civil Rights Vets like myself, many of us who have spent 50+ years working for black voting rights & civil rights! As my daughter, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, says repeatedly, we are going through the second RECONSTRUCTION. BTW: most Americans know little to nothing about RECONSTRUCTION. In my 16 years teaching 100s of students - black, white, Asian or Latino - few to none knew anything about this important era in U.S. History! Michael Simmons, Joyce Ladner, Paul Ortiz, Matt Meyer, Betty Garman Robinson, Darryl E. Jordan,Jerry Herman, check this out!!
 
Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons
 
 
 
 
 
Dr. Quentin Young, one of the most extraordinary leaders in our movement and a founding member of both Physicians for a National Health Program and Healthcare-NOW, died yesterday surrounded by family, at the age of 92.
 
Dr. Young was a founding member of the Committee to End Racial Discrimination in Chicago Medical Institutions (or CED), which during the 1950s fought for integration of hospitals and awarding staff privileges to black physicians. The CED evolved into the Chicago branch of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), the medical arm of the civil rights movement, about which John Dittmer has written an extraordinary history: The Good Doctors.
 
Dr. Young was a medical volunteer for the Mississippi Freedom Project in 1964, and served as the national chairman of the MCHR from 1967-1968. In addition to their anti-segregation and -discrimination work in the north, MCHR organized medical professionals to provide free healthcare for civil rights activists putting their health and lives on the line at rallies and actions across the South.
 
In 1968 Quentin was summoned before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee, which was trying to connect the Medical Committee to the Communist Party. A friend of Dr. Young's has posted his HUAC testimony online - he refused to answer whether he was a communist, and repeated his belief that HUAC's activities were unconstitutional.
 
Dr. Young served as President of the American Public Health Association in 1998; was the private physician of Barack Obama and Studs Terkel; and cared for Dr. Martin Luther King when he was injured by thrown rocks during a Chicago march. Dr. Young two years ago published an extraordinary autobiography, Everybody In, Nobody Out: Memoirs of a Rebel Without a Pause, and a documentary of Dr. Young's life - The Good Doctor Young - is currently under production. I'd encourage you to read the moving statement by PNHP in memory of Dr. Young.
 
Dr. Young, like Healthcare-NOW's founder Marilyn Clement, was one of the living bridges who built the single-payer movement out of the institutions and networks created by the civil rights movement.
 
At Healthcare-NOW, we hope to honor Quentin's memory by redoubling our organizing efforts until everybody is in, and nobody is left out of our healthcare system. I hope you'll join us.
 
Benjamin Day
Executive Director
 
 
 
 
 
(posting on Portside Labor)
 
Singing that "you've gotta go down and join the union" to tech workers is -- IMO, for a variety of reasons, unlikely to work. Hamilton Nolan has a good exhortation here which avoids two conflicts: unions have had a "work to rule" tradition. Work, meal and break hours are contract-set. Tech companies provide meals, games, gyms, day-care to keep people on the job and focused to task not the clock. Also, much tech work is not geographically concentrated. Until unions become nimbler (have they already?) on these sorts of impediments, organizing may remain elusive. Thanks to Portside for the link.
 
Daniel Millstone
 
 
 
 
(posting on Portside Culture)
 
Stay tuned for news of the East Side Freedom Library's forthcoming program, "History Is Cooking." You can be sure that this story will be part of the curriculum.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Like the billionaires used to NGOs to evade governments and force agendas
 
Posadas, Argentina
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is a rare event when the often fractious, overly politically correct, and typically apathetic left is forced to get past its myopia and carefully constructed boundaries. It is therefore with deep thanks and gratitude in which I welcome the Donald Trump campaign.
 
I mean, think about it - when was the last time a single candidate threatened women and blacks, immigrant and indigenous groups, Jews and Muslims, Catholics and Protestants, religious and irreligious? Only in America can Donald Trump - with his moral fortitude, personal quirks and political acumen backed with his own money - ever hope to actually have a chance to become POTUS. Makes you proud, I tell ya.
 
As I sit back and think about this wonderful moment that we in America are experiencing, I am honored to be alive in such a time as this. As implied in the old Chinese saying, "May you live in interesting times," what some look upon as a curse others see as a blessing. And these are absolutely interesting times!
 
Electorally, we have not seen this level of activity in over 50 years. Folks of all shapes, sizes, class, age cohorts, racial, sexual, religious, gender, ethnic and personal persuasions are turning out in masses. More identity groups are represented in this election as actual candidates than at any time in the history of elections in the United States.
 
Strangely enough, the most diverse political campaigns are being waged not by the Democrats, but by the Republicans. Yes, only in America can a party that once stood against slavery, big business and government once again emerge to lead this great country into such a wide and far-reaching set of deliberations. As my French friends would say, vive la difference.
 
Thank you, Donald. Much love from the other side of the political spectrum.
 
Rodney D. Coates
(Professor and Director of Black World Studies at Miami University in Oxford.)
 
 
 
 
 
Recently, colleagues from AlHaq (human rights and legal organization) visited us at the Palestine Museum of Natural History. We had known of their great work in documenting Israeli occupation activities but we really did not appreciate the breadth of their activities before. We were especially impressed by their research on Israel's exploitation of  natural resource (see for example and some of their remarkably detailed reports.). I highly recommend people explore the website and available information at least viewing some of the videos (some videos are in different languages like French and Spanish) and use the data which can help significantly in advancing peace with justice.
 
Debating Palestine: Representation, Resistance, and Liberation by Rabab Abdulhadi (yes, that is me in the picture holding the dignity sign in the "Palestine Freedom Riders" action)
 
 
Incidentally, last week a 17 year old US citizen was murdered (executed without trial or logic). In any other country this would be met with US state department condemnation and immediate action. But in this case, it happens to be a Palestinian-American and the murderer happens to be from that special class of humanity that can act with impunity (yes, Jewish Zionists colonizing Palestine). It is that "special relationship" that is yet to be challenged.
 
Come visit us in occupied Palestine and stay human
 
Mazin Qumsiyeh
Professor and Director
Palestine Museum of Natural History
Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability
Bethlehem University
Occupied Palestine
 
 
 
 
 
NYC Free Peltier Presents Flicks for Freedom
 
Come Join Us for a New Film Series for NYC With a Difference
 
 
 
Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier
a film by Suzie Baer
 
Friday, March 11, 2016   7 p.m.
 
Although not a new film, Warrior covers the story of Leonard Peltier, an innocent man, locked away for life in the U.S. prison system.  Leonard is a Native American activist and political prisoner, convicted of a crime that he did not commit during a bloody shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975.  Around the world, his trial and conviction have been denounced as a sham.
 
Please join us for this showing of Warrior and sign a letter to President Obama asking that he grant executive clemency to Leonard Peltier.
 
Friday, April 8, 2016:  Cointelpro 101
 
Friday, June 10, 2016: Incident at Oglala
 
Freedom Hall
113 West 128th Street, Harlem
 
Subways: #2 or 3 to 125th St.;  #4, 5 or 6 to 125th St. and walk west four blocks; 
A, B,C or D to 125th St. and walk east three blocks. 
 
 
NYC Free Peltier  -  nycfreepeltier@gmail.com  -  646 429-2059