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Tidbits - March 17, 2016 - Reader Comments: Fukushima; Clinton and Black Voters; Trump - Fascist; Misrepresenting the Working Class: Protest and Trump; lots of announcements and more...

Reader Comments: Fukushima Five Years Later; Clinton and Black Voters; Trump - Fascist; Bernie and Women; Misrepresenting the Working Class: Protest and Trump; In Praise of Impractical Movements; Why Virginia's Open Shop Referendum Should Matter; Protest Against Closing Down the Lukács Archives; Announcements: Welcome Federation of Cuban Women; CUNY Writers Against Austerity; Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Commemoration; "Food Chains" Film Screening; and more...

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Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - March 17, 2016, Portside
I don't know if you were as unhappy as I was with the mainstream media's perfunctory coverage of the 5 year anniversary of Fukushima. Maybe you didn't even notice it at all. Here, by H. Patricia Hynes is a much more thoughtful and carefully documented report. Thanks to Portside for publishing this.
Daniel Millstone
Important to note, "The accident is still unfolding."
Lynne Elizabeth
As one who grew up in Birmingham Alabama of the deep south, I thought I would jump into the questionable confusion of Super Tuesday where Clinton had Primary victories  in 7 states throughout the deep south, augmented by a win yesterday (Tues) in Mississippi.  Black voters, by 80% to 86%, provided the majority in each of the southern states.
To progressives, the question is obvious: Why would Black voters flock to Hillary so overwhelmingly, even against their own interests?  The answer, though seemingly irrational, is simple.
Progressives might ask: Does it matter that Black people who suffer grinding poverty; intransigent discrimination; the worst employment or no jobs at all; continuing roadblocks to the right to vote?  Does it matter that Hillary teamed with Bill, as president, to push NAFTA and free trade policies that exported millions of jobs to Asia essentially decimating the economy of southern towns. Does it matter that Hillary backed her husband's massive Crime Bill that doubled US incarceration to 2 million predominately of Black prisoners and relatives almost overnight?  Does it matter that Bill heaped insults on Black hip-hop icon "Sista Solja" in public?  Does it matter that the Bill-Hillary team purposely ditched the opportunity to enact universal healthcare and practically eliminated all of HUD's low rent housing programs?
The short answer is NO !  Black people of the deep south have endured the ways of politicians for so long that they do not expect their deplorable conditions to change by one election or another.  The campaign speeches and pledges for quality of life improvements are immaterial as these voters know from long experience that once the election is over, nothing will change.
The paramount quality in the minds of southern Black voters, even above trust, is: Do I feel I know you 
Not withstanding the fact that Sanders brings a powerfully hopeful message, Bernie, a long time advocate for justice and unwavering fighter for civil rights pursued his righteous struggles in Chicago and the northeast. To the contrary, Hillary and Bill -- Arkansas natives -- have trasped back and forth throughout the south in their many years as officeholders in Arkansas and D.C. Black voters in the deep south have seen them in non electoral arenas, and feel they "know" Hillary, and that alone is sufficient to warrant their loyalty.
On the other hand, as is beginning to be visible in other northern, mid-east, and western states, Bernie's message carries significant weight, and the resulting Black vote is much more diverse. It must, however, be a warning to the Democratic establishment that despite Hillary's huge Black vote in the south, those numbers will be useless in the general election. The deep south is solidly Republican, and not one of the southern states that ran to Hillary in the Primary can be counted by Democrats in November. To maintain her front-runner status and hope for a victory in November, Hillary, despite her 54% negative rating, must get super majority votes in the remaining states ... or???
James E Vann,
Long time housing and political activist 
Oakland, California
"I am a white anti-racist feminist. I do not think that a female president will make us less patriarchal, misogynist, imperial, or racist. Given the present policies of the U.S. government, I would prefer to not have a woman as a decoy for this thing the U.S. calls democracy.. So much has changed. So little has changed. Everything has changed. Not enough has changed. Each is true. What to do?..What? You say this is impossible. That no one like this could ever become President doing these things. Exactly. But voting for someone because there is no other option is not enough. So, vote to keep the worst person out of office. But do not pretend that this frees you to do nothing else. My "corrupt" vote demands that I keep making noise, and dreaming/acting for revolution. Go ahead. Call me irrelevant. Call me a dreamer. And I will call you defeated." 
Sheila Parks
A Feminist Revolution is not the same as a Womanist Revolution. Both are needed.
Atty John Due
I don't like seeing the phrase "white working class" gain legitimacy on Portside. There is only one working class. True, that class is divided along racial and other lines, which is in part the consequence of privileges that the bourgeoisie has imposed on some sectors and withheld from others. That is the problem that we must overcome. But treating the single class as though it is several classes, each with its separate class interests, makes the project of unifying the working class more difficult and remote, not less.
Privilege is always pernicious; often it is the most effective strategy of social control. A generation ago, auto workers with seniority acquiesced in the owners' plan to impose a tiered wage system that placed new hires at a permanent disadvantage. Nearly every proposal to gut Social Security begins by assuring existing recipients and workers close to retirement age that we will be privileged by continuing to receive promised full benefits, and that only younger workers will be denied those privileges, as a way of winning support for the plan from the privileged sectors and dividing us from our children and grandchildren.
Our duty as socialists must always be to explain why these imposed privileges harm not only the groups that are denied the advantages, but also harm those who appear to benefit by the material advantages because in more important and more pernicious ways we suffer by becoming divided from our fellow class members, by becoming more tightly bound to and controlled by our class enemies, and in the end more vulnerable to further degradation of the entire working class. Rejecting the imposition of those privileges keeps us unified and strong.
That's not to suggest that the political challenge is easy. Doing nothing amounts to collaboration, whether it is manifest by failing to reject the imposition of white (or male, or any other) supremacy in the working class, or by failing to combat proposals to raise the retirement age and reduce Social Security benefits of younger workers. The people most obliged to refuse that bargain are those among us who are selected to be members of the privileged sector.
Ken Lawrence
Spring Mills, Pennsylvania
That low-down, no-good, ignorant and dirty white working class (as viewed in some circles.)
James H. Williams
This is a good analysis and while the use of the word fascist is chilling for the reasons Reich states, it fits. I would just point out that the white working class males who are angry and are supporting Trump largely for emotional reasons not because it is rational, are not just having a hard time economically. The progressive vision of the post-war generation which centred around strong democratic trade unions and a supportive welfare state for those who became sick, old or unemployed largely disappeared with the rise of Reaganism and neoliberalism which was negative about government spending and has made the 1% so rich. The blatant smashing of the American labour movement not only removed jobs and protection for many thousands of workers but it robbed them of communities on the job and democratically run organizations which gave them pride and protection.
Trump has no intention of supporting unions, but he is giving some workers a pinch of hope that he will bring back jobs. It is a pipedream; the world has changed but he is savvy as Reich notes. Sanders is also picking up white working class support because he is confirming that neoliberalism is a failure and that the earlier progressive vision was right. In a different configuration, such as fighting climate change by creating new jobs, the progressive vision of Presidents such as Roosevelt can return, and with it better lives and respect for all American workers. His campaign has pushed Hillary a bit left, which is good. The question is who can fight Trump better - Bernie or Hillary? Sanders has started the "revolution" which is funneling some of the anger constructively into a truly reformist platform; Clinton has experience and can sink Trump with detail, and has more Latino and black American support. Perhaps they should become a team at the Democratic convention.
Trump is a disaster but has picked up on the dissatisfaction of many Americans; the Republican Party and the election spending laws are undemocratic, classist and racist.
Laurel MacDowell
I respect much of what economist Robert Reich has written in the recent past, and appreciate his endorsement of Bernie Sanders. However, he is going too far to peg Donald Trump as a "fascist".  I don't know if Reich was responsible for posting the pictures showing Trump supposedly imitating the facial expression of Mussolini, but this is something that belongs in Weekly World News, not on Portside.  The hand-raising at a Trump rally that Reich claims as a Fascist display was the crowd response to Trump asking for people to raise their hands as a pledge to vote for him in the primary, not the "Sieg Heil" that Reich and other rather superficial critics imply.  What are those citizens actually there raising their hands to pledge their vote supposed to think?  That they are now considered fascists by Reich etc.  Or that they and Trump are being lied about.  This is not good analysis, and even worse politics.
Trump has said some awful things, but why single out Trump for fascist tendencies?  Other Republican contenders may be worse in that regard.  None of them have good immigration or civil rights positions.  The two closest to him in the polls (Cruz and Rubio) are arguably more hawkish and less likely to negotiate with our so-called "adversaries". The difference between Trump and the other Republicans is not only in showmanship and celebrity, but also that he may have no fixed principles other than property values.  His rivals attack him for inconsistency.  This actually may be better than firmly held bad principles.  I shudder when I think of Cruz with cruise missiles, or the finger of Rubio resting near the nuclear trigger.  But Trump may know the worth of the resulting real estate.
Did you notice that the "demonstrator" scandals blossomed soon after the Republican establishment publicly decided Trump was a major threat to them?  Why are not the other Republican candidates bedeviled by "demonstrators"?  Who are they anyhow?
I wish Reich would stick to his extremely constructive role of explaining why the Sanders program makes economic sense.  And attack the economics behind the Clinton program.  That is a big job on our side of the political divide.  We can't leave it to the Republicans.  Reich as an economist is equipped to do it; instead, he succumbs here to the lack of political oxygen that Trump has managed to create. Leave the Trump innuendos to Republicans as they tear their party apart; don't do their work for them.
Millions of people are discontented with politics as usual. Many now attracted to Trump may switch to Sanders in the final election, should Sanders be nominated.  Let's facilitate that, not impede it by careless insults insinuating they are a fascist movement.
David Ecklein
I hope your watchers will note the similarity of the pursing of the lips of Donald Trump  and Benito Mussolini. It brings to mind a verse one of my colleagues wrote to the tune of "V...- for Victory":
Hirohito and Benito
Heard the piper play.
When they looked 'round, the rats were drowned
From Leningrad to Mandalay.
We'll plow under the whole damned crop --
Goering, Tojo, Ciano, von Ribbentrop --
And we'll send the Axis right flat on their backses
With V...- for Victory!
Henry Foner
thank you. another Reich we should be studying, is Wilhelm, as in the story here.
Nah. We gonna be alright.
It is late. I am tired. But this must be addressed. Never before have I asked you to send this to your own lists but I do now.
We have seen enough by now to know that Trump is a danger to our democracy (flawed as that democracy is). We know from watching Trump that he is a bully, a pathological liar, a man who delights in inciting others to violence. Do not give him what he wants. Do not provide the fuel for his fire.
The issue is not Trump - it is us, and what we do.The protests feed Trump. They also feed his audience, which is willing to buy Trump's lie that Bernie Sanders has sent the protestors in.
Yes, of course Trump has a right to speak and yes, of course people have a right to protest. But the issue is not what we have a "right" to do, but what is wise for us to do. Let Trump speak without disruption. Let the protests stand outside his hall. Better yet - politically more to the point - have the protesters stand outside the nearest GOP headquarters and ask Them what they will do about Trump.
Cruz is, in fact, worse than Trump (or at least as bad) but he is not going to get nominated. It is Trump who has appealed not only to white racists, but to the working poor. The brother of Medgar Evers has endorsed Trump!
The Republican Party needs, for the sake of the soul of the decent members in it (and don't think for a moment that all Republicans are wicked, and all Democrats saintly) to make clear they will not vote for Trump. I won't blame them if they refuse to vote for Clinton. I would not vote for her either
and I do not want, here, to go into a debate with my good friends who think she is better than she sounds. The issue is not whether to vote for Trump or Clinton - one can always abstain. Sure, I would vote for Sanders, the one decent figure on the scene, whether or not you agree with him, but I do not expect Republicans to do so.
Let Trump hang himself with the outrageous remarks he has made, the calls to mob violence he has so openly espoused. The contempt for Muslims, for women, for Mexicans.
Disruptions will not win his supporters away from him. They will only harden their hearts like a rock. I am not talking simply a "pacifist line" but the position of common sense, of tactics that match the situation. Ask the trade unions and churches to stand in silent demonstrations outside his rallies. A line of blacks and whites, of young and old, of Jews and Christians (and Muslims) outside his rallies will speak more clearly than disruption inside his rallies. This is not the time to think of how we can best express our outrage - it is rather the time to think of how we can best undercut Trump.
David McReynolds
Unfortunately, Hillary supporters will most probably skip right past this article, for they believe it is time to break the glass ceiling before anything else gets done. We need a leader that is not so prone to resort to military intervention, not more neoconservative war mongers!
William Proctor
This is a story that must be shared with the masses! ORGANIZE!
Curtis Muhammad
Why it is important to have a vision, and a plan, of what is necessary and when it becomes mass and transformative, it can happen. In our country's history, many told Martin Luther King to "slow down." The civil rights movement did not slow down, it knocked down the barriers for Jim Crow segregation in the South. Today's #BlackLivesMatter… movement and others are knocking down the doors for institutional racism that has replaced the old Jim Crow. The women's movement was also transformative, that is why the push is so hard to once again legislate and control women's bodies and lives. The gay and lesbian movement was also transformative in changing how the country thought about society, families and sexual relations.
So why can we not have a transformative movement for $15 an hour minimum wage? Why not for universal health care? Why not for free college education for all? Why not for slashing the military budget in half?
We are being told that these demands are not possible, are not realistic. Why not? Let's make them possible. First step - take back the Senate, defeat Trump and elect Bernie Sanders president. #?FeeltheBern…
Jay Schaffner
"I imagine he is a Marxist by training who doesn't go in for a religious treatment of the conflict. ....[W]hy would US presidents overturn the US interest? Because they are dependent on...rightwing Jewish donors."
I don't think this attack on Marxism and advocacy of the anti-imperialism of fools helps interpret the world to change it. On the contrary. It obfuscates the nature of imperialism. "Rightwing Jewish donors" do not control US foreign policy. The capitalist ruling class does. A "religious treatment" of the issue is an anti-Semitic diversion.
Kevin Lindemann
(posting on Portside Culture)
Riefenstahl's mass formations of marching members of the Hitler Youth remind many film historians of the dance numbers choreographed in Hollywood by Busby Berkeley. Like Berkeley, Riefenstahl understood the power of synchronized sound. The music in her film is nearly continuous; shots showing a sea of Nazi banners or a forest of upraised arms are edited to the beat.
"Triumph of the Will" is a demonstration of cinematic might - and guile. The impression of a totally organized and controlled Woodstock-like event was achieved through rehearsals, camera placement, inserted footage and post-dubbing, as with the supposedly spontaneous choral singing and the thunderous cries of "Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!"
Lorenzo Canizares
This story provides a context for the next conversation organized by "Class and the Arts" -- Monday, March 21, 7PM, at the East Side Freedom Library. Eleanor Savage, program officer at the Jerome Foundation, will discuss the economic impact of the arts and culture industry on individual artists. The discussion is free and open to all.
(posting on Portside Labor)
Something I had not heard about until I read this. Why hasn't the AFL-CIO told us about this? I agree with author.
Blair F. Bertaccini
Also the struggle of teachers, students and community -- hopefully staff union is now also involved -- to fight for the integrity and effectiveness of working class learning at CCSF has motivated many all across California to join the on-going fight for public education!
Leanna Noble
getting out of Cuba is very good. continuing indefinite detention without trial, not so much.
Jim Price
We, the undersigned, wish to express our deepest worries about the resolution of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to close down the Lukács Archives in Budapest. Görgy Lukács was one the significant philosophers of the 20th century, an author of modernity outstanding not only in philosophy but also in the fields of political mindedness, theory of literature, sociology and ethics An author of international renown, Lukács represented one of the intellectual peaks in Hungary's history of civilization, his works constitute a part of the treasures of humankind. For decades, the Lukács Archives has facilitated academic and non-academic circles to have access to the documents related to the philosopher's life and professional achievements. As it is located in the philosopher's home of his late years, it has also served as a memorial place devoted to a decisive personality of our era. Based on the above, we call on the authorities in charge to re-consider their decision, which took the international community of science and art by consternation and sorrow.
Suggested donation: $5-10 
(no one will be turned away for lack of funds)
For more information contact IFCO at (212) 926-5757 ext:6 and/or email us at
This event is organized by the The NY/NJ Welcoming Committee for the Federation of Cuban Women (FMC) 

As y'all know, PSC has been engaged in a protracted contract campaign with critical funding for CUNY -- including money for outstanding labor contracts -- being decided in state budget deliberations right now. There have been rallies, coalition building, lobbying, civil disobedience, and now... a literary event.
The union has organized an impressive event, where writers who teach at CUNY will read from their work in The Cooper Union's historic The Great Hall.  It's an impressive lineup of poets, playwrights and novelists, and it's FREE.
Some 50 writers will read short excerpts from their work. The program includes such celebrated writers as Peter Carey, the two-time-winning Booker Prize novelist; Meena Alexander, acclaimed international poet; Billy Collins, former United States poet laureate; and Grace Schulman, recipient of the 2016 Frost Medal.
You can read more about the event here.  You can look at the cool flier and look at the impressive line-up here
I hope to see you there.  
CUNY Writers Against Austerity
The Cooper Union, The Great Hall
7 east 7th Street
Sunday, March 20, 4 pm - 7 pm
105 years ago this month, 146 workers lost their lives during the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
This year's commemoration will be held on Wednesday, March 23 at 11:30, at the site of the fire (Washington Place and Greene Street in Manhattan).
Please commit to coming out and bringing members, as we take a few hours to remember the lives that were lost, and the sacrifices that played a major role in helping to enact some of the laws and policies that protect today's workers.
Please RSVP here
Cara D. Noel
Director of Communications
New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO
There is a Field: Play Performance
Monday, March 28 & Tuesday, March 29 -- 7:00PM
World Room, Columbia Journalism School
2950 Broadway, at 116th Street
THERE IS A FIELD is a play about Aseel Asleh, a 17-year old Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by police in October 2000. Based on interviews and primary sources collected over fourteen years, the play offers a uniquely personal lens for understanding inequality as the root of state violence and impunity.
This two-night run of the play is part of a larger Land Day Tour, across 20 U.S. universities, to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Land Day, a commemoration every March 30th since 1976 of Palestinian land expropriated by Israel.
About the play
As the Second Intifada erupted in the West Bank and Gaza, demonstrations also began in Palestinian villages and towns inside Israel. In October 2000, Israeli forces killed twelve unarmed Palestinian citizens of Israel in these demonstrations. The youngest of those killed was a 17-year old boy named Aseel Asleh. There Is A Field, written by Jen Marlowe, is a play about Aseel's life and his killing, through the perspective of his older sister, Nardeen. Through Nardeen's struggle to cope with the murder of her brother, the play also addresses the larger struggle facing Palestinians inside Israel.
Open to the public, $10-20 suggested donation, no one turned away.
RSVP here for March 28, 2016.
RSVP here for March 29, 2016. 
Sponsored by the Center for Palestine Studies; Co-sponsored with The African American Policy Forum and The Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies.
Friday, April 1, 2016  --  6:00 - 8:00 PM
Intercultural Center Auditorium
37 & O N Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
Georgetown University 
The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and DC LaborFest invite you a film Screening of the Award-Winning Documentary 'Food Chains' - a film about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Fair Food program, which partners with growers and retailers to improve working conditions for farm laborers in the United States.
Accommodation requests related to disability can be made by contacting as soon as possible. A good faith effort will be made to fulfill requests. 
This film screening event is being co-sponsored by Hoyas for Immigrant Rights, Georgetown Solidarity Committee, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (MEChA), Student-Worker Solidarity and Intersectional Feminism Magis Row Houses, and the Alternative Spring Break groups: Kino Border Immersion; Worker Justice DC; Fair Food: Labor, Migration, and Advocacy; and Racial and Economic Justice Baltimore.
Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor
Georgetown University 
Maguire Hall 209
37 and O Streets, NW
Washington, D.C., 20057
Join the UCLA Labor Center's 2016 banquet as we celebrate the movement for worker justice in Los Angeles. Together, we have helped to advance worker rights, we have recruited a new generation of young leaders into the labor movement, and together, we have fought for economic justice and against wage theft.
This work is possible only with your partnership, your encouragement, and your support.
Thank you for being part of the UCLA Labor Center family.
Contact Shukry Cattan for any questions at 213-480-4155 x247 or