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Tidbits - March 24, 2016 - Reader Comments: Brussels Attacks; Zika Virus; Bayard Rustin; Trump's Ideology and Working-Class Appeal; Labor Notes Conference; Abraham Lincoln Brigade; and more

Reader Comments: Zika Virus-Puerto Rico; Brussels Attacks; Elizabeth Warren; Bayard Rustin - from those who knew him; Letters from Langston; Dr. Quentin Young; Trump's Ideology of Violence and Working-Class Appeal; How Black Youth Helped Unseat Anita Alvarez; Demonstrating Against Trump; Future of Education-Colleges as Investments; Community Colleges; Announcements: Labor Notes Conference; Webinar: TPP is a feminist issue; 80th Annual Celebration Abraham Lincoln Brigade

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - March 24, 2016,Portside
Please Share! This is a seriously grave health epidemic affecting La Isla Boriqua
Friends, family -,the Zika virus is running rampant in Puerto Rico. We all need to do more.
Peter Schnall
I thought you might be interested in publishing this as a more subtle and informed response to Brussels than the one by Frank Barat you published yesterday, and one that draws on the UK experience.
Meredith Tax
By Kenan Malik
March 23, 2016
`Solidarity and anger. Those were my immediate emotions'. So I wrote last November after the Paris attacks: `Solidarity with the people of Paris, anger at the depraved, nihilistic savagery of the terrorists.' My emotions are much the same after the savage attacks in Brussels this week. `But, beyond solidarity and anger,', I observed in November, `we need also analysis.' I have written much over the past few years about why conventional views about radicalization and the making of European jihadis are wrong. So here, some of the main themes of my articles on jihadism.
I agree that the West engages in state terrorism via drone attacks and bombing raids. However, can Mr. Barat please explain why it is jihadists and Islamic terrorists who decide to bomb airports and subways, while Middle Eastern Communists and socialists, or the Kurds in general, chose not? Can he also explain the phenomenon of ISIS (and similar organizations) bombing innocent civilians in northern Africa and the Middle East -- how is the hell could that be linked to a response to imperialism?
Michael Arney
Learn and don't repeat our past mistakes, don't fight terrorism with terrorism.
Paul Troyano
Warren is great! The comment about neutering her was such filthy, vile male supremacist/chauvinist shit. Can't be polite about it.
Phyllis Mandel
Check-out Elizabeth Warren's response to the Wall St. lackeys!
Tom Smith
As a starter = cut the war budget IN HALF, & shut down ALL us military bases abroad
Matthew Borenstein
How many members the Congressional Caucus have endorsed Bernie?  I know the co-chair Rep Ellison has, and that there are some others too, but seems like most haven't.  I don't think any Senator has.  I think there are some Senate members other than Bernie in the progressive caucus.  I question how progressive and committed members of the Progressive Caucus really are.  If they're not willing to stick their necks out, why should us folks at the grass roots make them a priority?
In solidarity,
Jonathan Nack

This piece helps us to make some sense of Bayard's final years and the strange turn his politics took.
I had started (and at some point will complete) my own view of Bayard, from the powerful years *BEFORE the March on Washington, the impact homosexuality had on his life, and some effort to deal with the sad shift to neo-conservative views at the end. We are all complex. He paid so many dues and took so many risks, that I could never feel the kind of bitterness toward him that I felt toward Max Shachtman. My one regret, when I heard that he had died, was that I had never picked up the phone and asked Bayard to meet with me so I could hear his own explanation for his shift - I felt he owed me that.
*One lesson from his final years was that anti-Communism could become as corrosive as the worst of the Communist period. (And I remember, during the height of the civil rights movement, his saying that nothing but a  revolution would solve the race issue and also at one point telling me that if the Communist Party was really a serious force, he would join it.
Final note - Bayard, along with A.J. Muste was my mentor. And it is surely a tribute to Bayard, as a mentor, that when he took his political shift, I did not follow it.
David McReynolds
This makes me sad. Bayard Rustin kept his position by not opposing the war in Vietnam nor supporting more radical approaches in the civil rights struggle, eventually. Did he do it for security? because he was older? Because he was tired? Because his early life was so difficult as a gay man? Interesting to think about -- and perhaps to see why so many have become conservative in this country. But Bayard Rustin made a great contribution to the struggle in the beginning certainly.
"If one were to limit the definition of "selling out" to the drawing up of an explicit contract stipulating the exchange of political utterances and actions "x" in exchange for perks and sums of money "y", one would be hard put to find any examples of selling out in the entire history of the left. Political shifts are almost invariably accompanied by professed changes of belief. The fact, however, that some views will lead to federal prison and the chain gang, while others to the portals of power and a steady meal ticket is a distinction that should not be overlooked in attempting to dissect the motives of historical figures. As a man who fought black oppression and suffered as a gay, Rustin appears to many contemporary progressives as an attractive figure. And while his later choices should not prevent us from appreciating his genuine contributions, neither should these choices be allowed to slip down a memory hole in any rush to celebrate unsung heroes. One can easily understand why Barack Obama views Bayard Rustin as an exemplary civil rights leader. We on the left, however, should examine the past with a far more critical eye."
Joan Kramer
An excellent defense of honesty and a sad, if honest recognition of idealistic fatigue which can force a regrettable reordering of priorities.
Nina Udovicki
This is an OK essay about Bayard Rustin and how he and his group moved rightward into the AFL-CIO and mainstream of the Democratic Party. This is a subject that interests me personally and which I've discussed at length with others who were there including Steve Max and David McReynolds. The issues & events reported here are mostly accurate but a huge amount is omitted. Bayard was effectively exiled from the civil rights movement in 1960 -- forced out by Adam Clayton Powell. Before that they had all worked seamlessly with people connected to the Communist Party. He and his grouplet, the Schactmanites, always anti-communist, began moving way further right in 1962. In 1963, when negotiating for white house support of the March on Washington, the Kennedy administration's demanded that MLK cut ties with two CP people (with whom Bayard had worked closely in the past) Stanley Levison and J. Hunter O'Dell.Thanks to Portside for publishing this.
Daniel Millstone
Proud to be a friend of Jack O'Dell.
James H. Williams
Were you brought up, as i was, on Jesse Semple stories and other works by Langston Hughes? You may get a kick, as I did, out of this review of a new collection of Langston letters. Everyday, the virtues of online archiving are underscored to me. It's been 35 years or more since Arnold Rampersad was researching Hughes for his wonderful bio and new material keeps surfacing. Online publishing, pooling and sharing original materials like these has wonderful possibilities. Thanks to Portside for this.
Daniel Millstone

Dr. Quentin D. Young at Cook County Hospital in Chicago in the 1970s. 
Credit Health & Medicine Policy Research Group 
This obit is in Friday editions in other places, but not in my copy. I hope they save it for Sunday, the big day for late obits in the Times. This spills the beans about his membership in YCL, but not his later membership in the CP, which he almost lost his freedom over when he spat in HUAC's face for asking. Later on he was one of the New Left's favorite over-30s, and he was strictly "no enemies on the left." In case you were wondering where I got that stuff.
Ethan Young
(posting on his Facebook page)
Trump militia forms to `forcefully protect' rally goers against `far-left agitators'. In the 60s they called themselves the Ku Klux Klan and they wore white sheets; or they went by the name of White Citizens Council and had no unique uniform; or they called themselves the American Nazi Party and they wore brown shirts with swastikas arm-bands. Since the 60s there are now federal laws against hate crimes - when will they be applied to Trump?
Jay Schaffner
I guess Trump's version of a "great America" is one in which no one who disagrees with him or any of his supporters (like the KKK --- who support him whether he wants their support or not --- which is murky) if they do, they are  not allowed to say so, anywhere.
Steve Jonas
Stein and Jamieson's analysis would have done well to draw an analogy to the working-class appeal of other right-wing populists of recent times -- for example George Wallace and Ross Perot.  Wallace's appeal extended beyond racism to include Robert Kennedy supporters (after RFK's assassination) and Perot's popularity extended well past the libertarian/business community.  In both cases, however, the labor movement acted quickly -- as it did following Barak Obama's nomination -- to reduce the influence of a great deal of ethnic antagonism and corporatist propaganda among union families.  Unfortunately, the number of union families has been reduced significantly since then, but labor and its allies still operate the best ground game, which now includes social media resources.  The authors identify some of the issues on which anti-Trump campaigns can best begin the assault.  Time's a-wasting!
Jim Young
Harrisburg, PA
a good analysis of what Trump states on government (exclusive of the racism)
Tillyruth Teixeira
Two down, one to go. Lost perhaps in the Bernie/Hillary news has been the defeat of Anita Alvarez, Cook County State's Attorney, by Kim Foxx. Ms. Alvarez played a key role in hiding from view the video of the police killing of Laquan McDonald. I think that keeping the video secret aided the re-election of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel who remains in office despite is appalling record. Here Miles Kampf-Lassin has an interesting report about the campaign to help Ms. Alvarez out of office. People say that in this primary, the closer you were to the now-unpopular Mayor, the fewer votes you got. Thanks to Portside for the link.
As article describes, there was a large, informal coalition which came together to defeat Alvarez by the remarkable margin of 58% to 29% --
Alfred Rose

People against Donald Trump clashed with his supporters in a rally at UIC Pavilion in Chicago on March 11, 2016. Trump's speech was canceled due to the protest. 
photo credit: Scott Olson / Getty // In These Times
THE PEOPLE of Chicago mobilized a radical/progressive coalition and organized the protest that silent Trump at the University in Chicago. Emphasis upon the KEY WORD "Organized."
Bernie's people need to study this very closely and learn how to achieve this in the coming months and years.... dare I say decades or two...
Avanti Popolo, Sempre Sforza!
This is what the roots of Revolutionary work looks like, sounds like, feels like ACTS LIKE.
"Congratulations to the people-young and old, Black, Latino, Asian and White, Muslim, Christian and Jewish. They did what neither his competitors nor the Republican Party have been able to do-still the voice and the vitriol of Donald Trump.
The protestors, a loose amalgam of labor, women, immigration, students and Black Lives Matter activists, didn't do it through violence, or shouting. No dirty tricks-just the old fashioned way. They organized."
Larry Aaronson
Chicago Activists Should Be Commended, Not Scolded, for Shutting Down Donald Trump's Rally
Peaceful resistance doesn't egg on Trump's supporters-it forces them to back down. 
Bullies are empowered when people cower. Bullies cower when people fight back-even if that is only by standing up (silently or noisily) for what they believe.
Something strange is happening here, and it merits a serious discussion. In the week that has passed since Chicago shut up Trump, both the mainstream and other media have seen a rush of articles criticizing not Donald Trump but the protestors who shut his rally at the University of Illinois-Chicago down, defending Trump's First Amendment rights but not those of those of the demonstrators.
Writers from David Moberg and Clancy Segal on the Left, to moderate Ron Grossman of the Chicago Tribune, to right-wing ideologue Charles Krauthammer strangely agree on one thing: that the anti-Trump demonstrations and "violence" will turn off American voters and move them into The Donald's camp.
To buoy their arguments, they draw on what they believe are analogous situations: the election of Richard Nixon over Hubert Humphrey after the demonstrations of 1968 and, in the case of Grossman and Segal, events in Germany's Weimar republic during the 1930s which they say led to (or at least hastened) the rise of Adolph Hitler.
We should set the record straight on this question-not only for history's sake but as a guide to action now and in the future.
Read more here.
It is good Sanders is still fighting. As Gutterplan notes his campaign has had a huge impact on Clinton, pushing her towards a more progressive platform. Once the nominee is chosen there still must be other candidates and the Sanders' revolution can impact that, especially as he has mobilized many youth. If the Republican party splits, so much the better. Sanders should also work with the unions which are beginning to realize that many of their members find Trump appealing, and together they can try to shift that cohort in a progressive direction. The point is that the Democratic Party cannot be reformed without considerable effort during and after the election. More honest, forward-looking people need to run for office and that means money and reform of the election laws that give the rich the advantage.
Go Bernie Go!
Laurel MacDowell
(posting on Portside Labor)
More than 45,000 took to the streets on March 15th, 2016, as part of a massive demonstration led by teachers, parents and students, but drawing on all demographics of Hungarians who are livid with an intellectually and morally bankrupt, and rhetorically exhausted autocratic regime that has built its power on dividing society against itself and capitalizing on the increased vulnerability of desperate, marginalized people.
Graz Bugni
Teachers lead general strike of 45,000 in Hungary.....just saying....
Robin Potter
"...Hillary and Bill -- Arkansas natives --..."
Writer is misinformed mistaken
FYI:  Hillary was born in Chicago & makes no secret of that fact.
Maryln Fortin
They produce no profit, so as Milton Friedman and the neoliberals running our global economy would contend, they are worthless.
Andrea Houtman
"Have you heard the latest wisecrack about Harvard? People are calling it a hedge fund with a university attached. They have a point-Harvard stands at the troubling intersection between higher education and high finance, with over 15 percent of its massive $38 billion endowment invested in hedge funds. That intersection is getting crowded. Yale's comparatively modest $26 billion endowment, for example, made hedge fund managers $480 million in 2014, while only $170 million was spent on things like tuition assistance and fellowships for students. "I was going to donate money to Yale. But maybe it makes more sense to mail a check directly to the hedge fund of my choice," Malcolm Gladwell tweeted last summer, causing a commotion that landed him on NPR."
Rosemary Lee
This article is of great importance. I also taught in the Chicago City Colleges (Harold Washington and Malcolm X) between 2000 ands 2010 and was a founder of the union for adjunct (credit) faculty there (CCCLOC, IEA/NEA). I now have returned to San Francisco and my "home" college, City College of San Francisco.
We here are in an even more advanced stage of the same struggle Loos describes. We have been fighting since 2012 against attempts by our accreditor, ACCJC, to literally close down the college, or at least shrink it drastically. We have never been accused of any academic deficiency, only business and administrative practices they did not like (like treating faculty too well.) We have now got this accreditor on the run, under scrutiny and a sort of probation from the Feds themselves and on the way out as the accredit or of CA CCs.
Nevertheless, our current top administration, nearly all outsiders brought in to do the dirty deeds, are now refusing to bargain a reasonable contract settlement with our united union (all full-time and part-time faculty, librarians, counselors and coaches, both credit and non-credit). Without a contract since last July, we have been forced to take a strike authorization vote, which passed by over 92% with the largest turnout in the history of the union. If this strike happens it will be one of the largest strikes (about 1500 faculty) in higher education in recent decades and will be a fight for the soul and future of one of the largest community colleges in the USA. After years of struggle, the CCSF-AFT 2121 contract is one of the best in the USA, especially for the majority part-timers, and is one that unions across the nation have pointed to fort years in their own bargaining. We have, since the economic crash of 2007-8 and the accreditation debacle, taken over 9% in pay cuts and now, with reserves well about the state mandated minimum, management refuses to give any substantial amount back to us, who live the most expensive city in the USA. They also refuse to bargain over our proposals to rebuild the college's enrollment (We have lost 30% due to mismanagement, class cuts, and fear that accreditation will be lost.) We feel we are on the leading edge of the whole fight against the neo-liberal "reform" of higher education, and especially the trends Loos lists for the community colleges. Our slogan is Keep the Community in Community College!
We are asking for support nationally in the form of resolutions of support and of donations to our hardship fund, to help our part-time (and much lower paid) members weather a possible strike. For more information go here or To donate to our hardship fund, go here.
Thank you for reading all this.
In solidarity,
Joe Berry,
AFT 2121 Executive Board member representing retirees,
and International Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) Advisory Committee, National AAUP Committee on Contingency, Board Member of New Faculty Majority
March 23, 2016

Rhadebe in 2008, negotiating with police. 
Photo: John Clarke
Last night in Mbizana, Eastern Cape, unknown attackers impersonating police officers assassinated the activist and chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee at his home, in front of his young child. Sikhosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe from Mdatya village in Amadiba died on the scene after reportedly being shot in the head eight times.
Under Rhadebe's leadership, the Amadiba Crisis Committee has been resisting proposed mineral sands mining at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast by a subsidiary of Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC), 
There has been a long and well-documented history of conflict around this proposed development, not least because of the inability or unwillingness of the Minister and Department of Mineral Resources to intervene and listen to the concerns of affected people.
We, the undersigned organisations, are shocked by this brazen act of retribution against Mr Rhadebe, and extremely concerned for the safety of other activists of the Amadiba Crisis Committee. We are also alarmed by the trend of violent intimidation of civil society engaged in advancing human rights and environmental justice, fighting corruption and protecting the Rule of Law. Just yesterday, /18 non-government organisations issued a statement condemning the "military style raid" conducted on the Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) offices in Parktown, Johannesburg over the weekend. We expressed profound concern about what we regard as a context of increasing hostility by some within the state towards civil society.
Read more here.
Wow!  Bernie supporters who want to vote for Hillary's "experience" need to know this.  How can we get this out of the "left" press and into the mainstream press?
Claire Carsman
(posting on Portside Labor)
Thanks for posting this, though IMHO it deserves a rebuke.  Hillary is a prevaricator and neoliberal schemer.  All I make of this article is that AFSCME chooses to endorse neoliberalism (deadly for labor and everybody but the rich) rather than risk the general election to Trump.  Why not come right out and say that?
Dave Lewit
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Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and the arrival of the International Brigades & presenting the ALBA/Puffin Award for Human Rights Activism to Lydia Cacho and Jeremy Scahill
Saturday, May 7, 2015
2:30 - 4:15 pm
Reception to follow
Japan Society
333 East 47th Street
New York, NY 10017
With songs of the Spanish Civil War performed by Velina Brown and Barbez.
Seating is limited. Early ticket purchase is recommended.