Skip to main content

Tidbits - November 10, 2016 - Reader Comments: This is How the Future Voted; The Rest is Up to Us; Trump and Reconstruction-Era White Supremacy; Support MST School Against Brazilian Terror; and more...

Reader Comments: Bertolt Brecht's message for our times; This is How the Future Voted; The Rest is Up to Us; Racism and White Nationalism up to the election and after; FBI plot?; Trump and Reconstruction-Era White Supremacy; Support MST School Against Brazilian Terror; Healthcare Justice Conference in January - planned before the election, now even more important; and more...

printer friendly  
Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - November 10, 2016, Portside
Your Help and Support is Needed
 
"In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times."
 
- Bertolt Brecht
 
[Motto to the 'Svendborg Poems' [Motto der 'Svendborger Gedichte'] (1938), trans. John Willett in Poems, 1913-1956, p. 320 (1976)
 
 
 
Bertolt Brecht
Picture Source: Wikimedia Commons
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
Tonight the country shifted. We do not know what it is. It seems to have elements of a fascist state. Definitely it is racist. Feels dangerous, unknown. It has some strong working class strains to it but so did national socialism. It is not a time where our experience will be useful, this is different. Human history is rife with bloody chapters. I am worried.
 
Carole Travis
 
 
 
 
 
Dear Facebook Family. Please take a moment to become a signatory www.our100.org/ to this important movement. As President Obama told us" don;t whimper, act ". Now is the time!
 
Virginia Montague
 
 
 
 
 
Now I'm 71 years old, and this is a brief history of America since I was born.
 
World War II ended, the United States was the only combatant whose industrial base was not severely damaged, and for a couple of decades a rising economic tide lifted all boats.  The power establishment declared Communism the new world enemy, and promoted fear of the USSR.  People believed in the American Dream, and movements arose to share the benefits of America's success with the people who were disempowered by the status quo: African Americans, women, people living in poverty, and people around the world suffering from US military aggression.  Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, but aggressively pursued the war in Viet Nam.
 
In 1968, progressives and young people supported an anti-Viet Nam War candidate, who arrived at the Democratic National Convention with more primary votes than any other candidate.  The Democratic Party nominated Hubert Humphrey, who had not been a primary candidate, and who would continue Johnson's pursuit of war.  It was a huge mistake.
 
Richard Nixon won the election by declaring that he would end the Viet Nam War, and by adopting the Southern Strategy.  Once in office, he expanded the Viet Nam War (in secret) and adopted policies designed to imprison hippies, poor people, and African Americans, who he identified as his political enemies.
 
Since 1968, the economy has grown, productivity has more than doubled, and the benefits have gone to the wealthy.  Wages peaked in 1968 for those at minimum wage, peaked in 1973 for the average hourly wage earner, and peaked in 1987 for the average first-year college graduate.  The wealthy class has obtained tax cuts, concentrated the media, removed the banking industry safeguards enacted after the Great Depression, cut human welfare programs, built a prison industry which is utilized for slavery, shipped jobs overseas, continuously grown the military industrial complex, promoted privatization, transformed the electoral process into one where money and attack ads are the winners, and purchased legislation which comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.  Both major parties adopted neoliberalism, with the basic tenet that property rights supercede human rights.
 
In 2016, the people of America realized that the status quo meant the victory of the class war being waged by the wealthy would continue.  Both major parties had primary presidential candidates who spoke to the frustrations of people who were ready  for a change.  The Republican Party nominated a candidate who promised change.  The Democratic Party successfully repressed its candidate for change, who had enthusiastic support from progressives and youth.  Party regulars, whose job as superdelegates is to assure the success of the Democratic Party, nominated the party insider who had been a participant in the emergence of neoliberalism.  Once again, by turning its back on progressives and youth, it was a huge mistake.
 
Donald Trump won the election by declaring that he would reject the TPP and take on the status quo - that he was on the side of the people - combined with the use of the Southern Strategy.  He is very unlikely to imprison the banking executives who have committed fraud, but he has promised to imprison his foremost political enemy.  He promised change, but the only changes we should expect are those which continue to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.
 
Bo Chagnon, of Raleigh, NC, is a grandfather who grew up wondering how the people of Germany went along with Hitler, and during his adult years witnessed in America the answer to his youthful question.
 
 
 
 
 
It's official. The Democratic Party has totally lost the loyalty of the working class in the former industrial heart of the USA, not just presidential, but congressional and state government as well. The authors are right that this reality demands a new kind of politics, but how prepared is the "Left" in this country to take up this challenge. Sanders was able to connect to the rust belt to some extent, but where are the young Bernies?
 
RD Worley
 
 
 
 
 
And the Lord sayeth unto Trump: Look ye upon what thou hast wrought.
(By the way, I'm an atheist, but you get the idea.)
 
Trump didn't "wrought" it, but he sure as hell turned it loose.
 
Judyth Hollub
 
    ====
 
Gee. Has to be investigated as a hate crime. Gimme a break. It is. If it weren't, the words say it is.
 
Claire Carsman
 
 
 
 
 
Read the article. The question mark below is not needed. There are efforts by the FBI to swing the election.
 
Diane Laison
 
 
 
 
 
Donald Nieman's "Donald Trump is Taking a Page From Reconstruction-Era White Supremacists" (posted Nov. 5) is accurate concerning the contemporary charlatan's political strategy of voter suppression. The comparison with US Reconstruction however, is problematic.
 
Racial violence against southern black voters claimed many lives to an extent difficult to imagine in today's United States. In addition, white opponents of political elites in southern states during Reconstruction were also targeted. Moreover, the party of Lincoln was not driven from every southern state by 1877. In Virginia - which never experienced Reconstruction - a coalition of whites and blacks voted for a rebellious party called the "Readjusters" that reduced farmers' taxes, increased taxes on corporations, and funded public education for all Virginias from 1879 through 1883. Blacks voted and served until poll taxes, literacy laws, and so forth, inserted into the revised Virginia constitution of 1902 effectively disfranchised them along with poor and rebellious whites. In 1890s North Carolina, a fusion coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and Populists ruled until racial violence ousted a democratically elected city government in 1898 Wilmington. Moreover, political elites in southern states faced numerous populist challenges from the Grange, the Agricultural Wheel, the Knights of Labor, the Farmers' Alliance, the Populist movement, and so forth from the 1870s through the 1890s (O. H. Ali, Black Populism in the New South, 2010; E. L. Ayers, Promise of the New South, 1992; C. V. Woodward, Origins of the New South, 1951)
 
Why not compare these past alliances and popular movements with progressive and coalition politics today instead of trotting out inaccurate and simplistic comparisons under the ubiquitous banner of white supremacy?
 
In solidarity,
 
Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie
 
    ====
 
Simple Definition of fascism
 
...a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
...very harsh control or authority
 
RACISM, FASCISM, WHITE SUPREMACY, KLU KLUX KLAN TO SEIZE POWER
 
It's happening.  Just what we feared is happening right now.  The right is rising before our very eyes.  We have been looking at the surface of the 2016 election with bated breath, watching the center and left wring our hands about an unpopular centrist candidate running against a vulgar bigot with inarticulate political positions.  But now it is clear:  the right, insinuated in all our police, national security, military and judicial agencies, supported by grassroots right-wingers and racists, are poised to take power on Nov. 8.
 
Is this a conspiracy?  Yes!  The right wing bigots, active for decades in the US, have grown more and more anxious over a change in US culture and politics.  The  disempowered 99% has had several translations: one is a rejection of income and rights inequality, protection of our planet against the fossil fuel regime and corporate domination at all costs; the other is fascism. 
 
Donald Trump has been a Trojan Horse for fascism and he has been signaling that to his minions over the last 8 years.  From denying the legitimacy of the first African American president, to the targeting of Mexicans, Muslims, Blacks, women and the disabled he has sanctioned violence and rejected the rule of law.  While we all know that justice is unequal in America, Trump has surpassed any modern view of how justice can be served.  The Koch Brothers' plan of dividing out right wing Americans by single-issue politics and then joining them in a coalition of hate and white supremacy that serves corporate power has gotten out of their control and has directly contributed politically to the rise of Trump and fascism.
 
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center which has been tracking racist and other violence for over 50 years:
 
"The pieces of the puzzle have been out there since reconstruction,  and have intensified and diversified ever since.  Right wing believers, attracted to law and order-type jobs, have been staffing the local, state and federal institutions of law enforcement, the criminal justice system, and the US military and security regime.  These organizations allow neo-fascists to work in areas in sync with their most fervent political beliefs. In many states supporters or outright members of the Ku Klux Klan, John Birch Society, etc. inhabit these jobs.  They are more and more closely networked with the rise of the information age and the technologies available to all of us.  They are politically and economically supported by the National Rifle Association; which has a great deal to gain from a fascist take-over.
 
The ideological and historic relationships are present. Just look at these startling facts:
 
1. 60 % of Trump's male supporters are or have been members of the Klu Klux Klan.
2. 90% of the Republican Party male leadership over 50 years of age were members of the Klan or are the children of a Klansman.
3. 60% of Southern-based Trump supporters have at least one member of their family that had participated in the murder or lynching of a black man.
4. 90% of the white males who support Trump are armed and believe it is their duty and right to shoot a Black or Brown person.
 
The Trump campaign has declared war on black and brown people and they will not disappear whether Trump or Clinton is elected.
 
When Trump says that if he loses the presidential election on Nov. 8, he will claim that "the system is rigged" and that his supporters should go to Black communities as goon squads to insure that there is no "voter fraud" we know that danger is upon us.  The fact that FBI Director Comey has done a "hail Mary" pass at the last moment in the election to raise doubt about Clinton, or as President Obama would say "innuendo" without the facts, should not surprise us.  Comey is part of this right wing take over, setting the stage for enough doubt to suppress the vote further. He is signaling that after the election indictments against her will be on their way.  She stands to be impeached and incarcerated. Trumps demand that Clinton to "jail her" is a further reminder that under fascism anything those in power want is on the table.
 
The racism and bigotry of the Republican Party and the mealy-mouthed response of the Democratic Party to intensify the murders of Black and Brown people by police and the expanded deportation of undocumented immigrants has softened the ground to plant the seeds of fascism, to create response fatigue to these injustices by most Americans, to get us used to these actions.  Now we are facing a direct threat to our government, one that will totally trample the existing fig leaf of the rule of law.
 
We must get the word out now that a fascist take over is directly upon us, that Nov. 8 will be the start of something much bigger than we ever thought.  Those of us who have worked to advance Black, Brown, Red, Yellow and Working Class White folks, those of us who have labored to protect the environment, our communities, our culture of openness never thought that a right wing take-over was possible.  But here it is.   This is a "call to arms" for people of color and progressive folks.  We must get organized to defend ourselves from military attacks from the forces supporting Trump, white supremacy and the Republican Party.  The Democratic Party no longer has the will or ability to protect Black, Brown, Yellow, Red and working people from this massive attack.
 
Sound the call.  Pass this on to everyone.  Know that Nov. 8 is our day of reckoning.
 
Curtis Muhammad
 
References:
 
 
 
 
 
Very presumably Bernie Sanders would have won against Trump. And I would have loved that so much  to see Sanders president. But why did he lost in the primaries against Clinton? Especially because 70 - 80% of the blacks voted for her and not for him - against their own basic interests. Why did they vote that way? I suppose because Sanders is a white man. And blacks have suffered so many injustices by white males. So the - to a certain degree very understandable - black racism first made Clinton and finally Trump the winner.
 
Dieter Sauerwald,
German unionist
 
 
 
 
 
Great idea!  With year-round daylight savings time the adults can have winter light when they come home from their 9-5 jobs, and the children can walk to school in the dark, during the coldest time of the day. Plus, in the summer we can continue to make it harder for the workers who start at 7 or 8 to tend their gardens in the morning, while the 9-5'ers can still have their extra hour for their golf games.
 
Philip Chagnon
 
    ====
 
In tthe early '70s, I think in 1973. during an oil crisis, we did not "fall back" and Dailight Savings Time continued all year--so you actually had a real life trial of this proposal. I was working a 7a-3:30p shift in the Northeast..Going to work at 6:30 am that winter, the sky was completely black, the stars still twiinkling. There was no window where I worked and at 3:30 dusk was already falling. My life was lived in darkness and misery.I have only ever experienced the & experienced the idealized 7a sunrise and 7p sunset was closer to the equator in Puerto Rico.
 
Marian Feinberg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There's no way to sugarcoat it. Yesterday's election results will have disastrous consequences for healthcare justice.  A President and Congress were elected who believe that healthcare is a commodity in the marketplace rather than a fundamental human right. This will not only close the door to real reform on a national level, it will also put all current publicly administered health programs  in jeopardy.
 
State-based initiatives did not fare much better.  Colorado Care--which would have created a publicly financed universal healthcare system for all Coloradans--and California Proposition 61--which would have required that public agencies pay no more for pharmaceuticals than the Veterans Administration--both went down to defeat in the face of heavy spending by the medical industrial complex.
 
But we do not have the luxury of walking away from this fight.  Healthcare remains the greatest cause of insecurity among working class Americans. Thirty million of us are completely uninsured and millions more will be vulnerable under the new administration.  Employment-based health insurance continues to implode, causing strikes, concession bargaining and massive cost shifting onto the backs of workers.  Thousands die every year because of inadequate healthcare. Tens of thousands of families are driven into bankruptcy.
 
The American people are demanding bold solutions.  Overwhelming majorities continue to support Medicare for All.  Now is not the time to retreat.  We need to lead the way in opposing the austerity healthcare policies of the incoming administration with a vision of healthcare as a right for everyone in America. We need to utilize every crack and leverage point available to us to ensure that everyone gets the healthcare they need.
 
This January 13-15--one week before the inauguration of President Trump!--we will convene the Single Payer Strategy Conference in New York City.  We invite you to join hundreds of union and social movement activists as we begin to craft a strategy to defeat the austerity healthcare policies of the Trump administration and reinvigorate the fight for healthcare for all.
 
We have no choice.  If we don't present a vision of a better world--and a plan to get there--people will succumb to division, demoralization and scapegoating. We need you to join us in New York City January 13-15. Register today for the single payer strategy conference and ask your union to send a full delegation.
 
No doubt about it.  Times are tough. The new political establishment is going after our healthcare.  Come to New York City January 13-15 and join the resistance!
In Solidarity,
 
Mark Dudzic
National Coordinator, for the National Advisory Board and Steering Committee
 
Labor Campaign for Single Payer
2929 South Jefferson Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118
 
Contact us at organizers@laborforsinglepayer.org or 201-314-2653
 
 
 
 
 
November 4, 2016
 
 
 
 
On the morning on November 4, 2016 police and military forces raided the National School Florestan Fernandes (ENFF), which is the leadership development school of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST), where social movement leaders from around the world are currently gathered to study and build together.
 
Three community organizers who are members of LeftRoots are currently studying with the MST at the ENFF, and we have received word from them that they are okay and were not injured in the attack.
 
According to reports, police raided the school at 9:25 am local time and fired live ammunition into the air. At the time of the release of this statement, police had withdrawn from the school and were posted in front of the ENFF waiting for warrants to be issued. 
 
LeftRoots condemns this attack on the MST, which is clearly part of a growing assault on social movements and the Left by the rightwing government which took power in a coup earlier this year.
 
The MST plays a vital role in not only building powerful grassroots organizing for indigenous, afro-descendant, women's and poor people's land rights in Brazil, but also plays a critical role in building a strong and vibrant Social Movement Left around the world, in part by bringing together cadre in their political education school, which was the subject of this raid. We call on all progressive forces to stand with the MST and Brazilian social movements.
 
While we standby for more information and direction from the MST as to how they would like international allies to respond, in the meantime we are asking folks to IMMEDIATELY call the US State Department and the Brazilian Embassy to demand that the police and military stand down, stop their attack on the MST and ENFF, release any activists who have been arrested, and cease intimidation tactics against social movements and human rights activists. It is helpful to note that there are U.S. citizens studying at the ENFF, which is currently under siege, and to demand the US pressure Brazilian officials to end the repression against the MST.
 
Brazilian Embassy: (202) 238-2700
 
U.S. State Department: (202) 647-6575
 
- The LeftRoots National Coordinating Committee