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Tidbits - November 24, 2016 - Reader Comments: Not a Revolution - Yet; Slavery, Democracy, the Electoral College; The U.S. Working Class; This Was Not a Working Class Revolt; Labor Leaders Deserve Their Share of the Blame; and more....

Reader Comments: Not a Revolution - Yet; Hamilton; Enabling Neo-Fascists; Slavery, Democracy, the Electoral College; Understanding the U.S. Working Class; This Was Not a Working Class Revolt; Remembering Tony Mazzocchi; Social Security is NOT Going Broke; Labor Leaders Deserve Their Share of the Blame; Honor the Thousands of Undocumented Workers; Venezuela; Flu Shots: Facts & Fallacies; and more.. Announcement: What Happened? What Now? - Labor Forum with Bill Fletcher

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - November 24, 2016,Portside
Davis starts by saying "Progressives who think they've woken up in another country should calm down, take a stiff draught, and reflect on the actual election results from the swing states."  The problem with his analysis is not his recitation of facts about who voted and why, but that there is no assessment of what the Trump ascendancy to the power of the state in the world's leading superpower really means.  Without a concrete strategy for uniting all the potentially anti Trumpists this analysis means little.
Ted Pearson
Here's some back story on the repugnant phrase "alt-right." My son (Daniel Jordan, III, I'm the "Jr.") is pursuing a PhD at the University of Cambridge in England on the rise of Fascism in Franco's Spain. He pointed out that the term "alt-right" has a hidden meaning:
"Altreich - old state or old country; term used after the annexation of Austria in 1938 to refer to that part of Germany that was within the 1937 (pre-annexation) boundaries." It seems to me this is not a coincidence considering that the so called 'alt right' has already expressed a superficial understanding of Nazi terminology.
It seems too much a coincidence that they came up with "alt-right" without it being tied to the German phrase. This fits with the LA Times article on the code language of these Neo-Nazis.
Daniel Jordan (Jr.), PhD, ABPP
Shame shame on the NYT.
Deborah Nagle-Burks
Former CBS, ABC Radio USA reporter
Trump...not only do some people not love you....some people HATE you and your sexist, fascist, gay-hater Veep. You don't have the power to demand an apology and if you start using the office of the President to punish people who don't like you....well that's the damn end of the line, isn't it?
John G. Hertzler
The cast has to apologize because of the audience? If Trump thinks this is bad, he ain't seen nothing yet.
Jerome Conner
Trump Wants An Apology From Hamilton. Chrissy Teigen's Response Is Perfect
Model and entrepreneur Chrissy Teigen, wife of music icon John Legend, vented her frustration in a tweet that perfectly nailed how the vast majority of the American people feels about the situation.
Jan Anders Kolshus
Pence should apologize for legalizing discrimination in Indiana. And by defunding Planned Parenthood causing an outbreak of HIV. Way to go Mikey!
Howie Leveton
Credit:  Carlos Latuff // Mondoweiss
If you read this, you should ask: How have Americans allowed the Electoral College to exist this long?!? Even if you can't see the undemocratic nature of it, the fact that it was an instrument of slavery should seal its fate.
Judyth Hollub
taking my 7th grade nieta to school today, i was surprized to hear she knew what the electoral college is. "we just talked about it yesterday - because hillary got more votes, but not more electoral college votes. ". looking forward to sharing this article w her.
Marta Greenhoe Kaufman
Always cow-towed to the Southern states -- compromises galore over slavery. Count them: Commercial Compromise; Fugitive Slave Laws; 3/5 Compromise; Missouri Compromise; 1850 Compromise; Dred Scott Decision; 1877 Compromise; Plessy Decision; THE CIVIL WAR and RECONSTRUCTION; FDR's New Deal; "All deliberate speed"; Evisceration of the Voting Rights Act; and we don't have to stop there!
The Emancipation Proclamation only freed [slaves in] the states that were rebelling.  States remaining in the Union did not have freed slaves.
Ethel Kirk
This article adds to understand of voter motivations
Jane Fellman
I thought of my father on election night too. He was Director of the Steelworkers Union's District 6, which when he died in 1973 was the largest district of that international union. I was brought up in a middle class household but met many workers, my father's members and colleagues, in my early life. This was the generation who served in the war, and then went back to their jobs and built their unions to have a say in their working conditions, to have enough money to buy houses and raise their families and send their kids to college. The children did better than their parents who gave their kids real opportunities, which we took.
They were the salt of the earth, not feminists but proud of their wives and daughters. They believed in the democratic process and ran their union meetings and conventions on those principles. In the USW a culture grew up which educated them to think about their `brothers' on the line; they worked for a better society, and over the years the union had programs about civil rights, the environment, health and safety on the job. In other words they were progressive citizens.
I remember going to Homestead Pa. for a conference and that is when I saw the results of the rust belt. There were only two plants left and only one plant running. The rest were dismantled and under piles of grass that looked like bunkers. I spoke to a Steelworker in his 50s who had to retire early (because of the union he at least had a good defined benefit pension) and he told me he had gained weight because he was still eating as he did when he worked. He had not adjusted to his new life of leisure. He was on the committee of active seniors who helped organize the conference which partly was to remember the vicious Homestead Strike of 1892 that killed some workers and was part of their drive for a free and democratic union.
A whole segment of the industrial economy very quickly lost their livelihoods and their pride. In the case of the USW they didn't lose their union but many other workers like them did. The level of unionization in the industrial sector in the US has dropped dramatically, not just for loss of jobs, but because Republican politicians have supported the corporations and worked against them. This destruction has culminated in many right to work laws, which Trump no doubt will expand to wipe out organized labor altogether.
So while it is not surprising that working class communities in the rust belt voted as they did, after what they have been through, it is a marked change. The union supported the Democratic Party with money and organizers and it said thank you and did nothing for workers in return. So if the trade deals gets smashed as Trump has promised, they no longer care.
It is a sad situation, but it is the result of the professional middle class ignoring the needs and wants of workers for years. When they were young they built a movement and moved forward. When they began to face multinational corporations and conservative politicians who
opposed their organizations, they got very little help.
Trade unionists and their members worked so hard to bring about a society in which everyone could live decently. They faced corporate opposition consistently and the companies always had the state on their side. Without a democratic labor movement the country has lost one of the most important tenets of a democratic society. And some workers are now taking a cue from the wealthy and acting like they live in a `dog eat dog society' which their experience has taught them they do.
Laurel MacDowell
Well ok, but what is the left supposed to do? Those jobs aren't coming back, and husband-breadwinner families aren't either. Elvis has left the building. Can anything be done other than sympathize and build more safety net?
I understand that these guys don't want sympathy, and find the safety net insulting, and would rather be harmed by the right than reconsider.
It is frustrating that we all, all of us together, have to die on their hill. That is what we're doing now: nobody but the 1% will get anything they want, and at the end of it we won't have a habitable planet.
Are their habits and expectations worth that?
Ratushebarl Ramsongs 
This is a persuasive interpretation of the election results. Worth reading.
Rosalie Byard
Here is another article that mangles the concept "social class." If based on income, an iron worker making $90,000 is "upper class," the owner of a business employing 10 people and making $62,000 is "middle class," and a self-employed street merchant who makes $38,000 is "lower class." Oh, and the middle class is the "middle 50% of [all] families," which means it will always be twice the size of the "poor" and "rich" "classes."
If people who adhere to those wacky definitions constitute the "left," it is no wonder that the "left" in our country is in such deep shit.
What complete confusion. Why not use the following definition: "Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organization of labor, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and the mode of acquiring it. Classes are groups of people one of which can appropriate the labor of another owing to the different places they occupy in a definite system of social economy." Lenin, A Great Beginning, in Collected Works, Vol. 29, p. 421.
Granted, that would only be our great beginning. We would still have to analyze very important strata within each class. But at least we could then begin by calling the iron worker a worker, the owner of the business a (small) capitalist, and the street merchant a member of the middle class. At least then we could coherently dissect the Trump vote.
Michael Arney
Excellent quote:
When was the last time you heard or read the phrase:
"Black Working Class"?
Bout the last time they talked about "White on White Crime", right?
Every racial group has a working class and their class interests are the same. So why are they continuing to discuss the working class of the White racial group in particular with such intrigue and concern? Cause the racial groupings' interests are not the same.
This is placing racial interests before class interests and pretending not to, even as the first word "WHITE" should clue you in...
Knock this talk off. It's just more whistling." Obadiah Freeman
Julie Lu
(posting on Working Class Studies Association page, in response to Portside post)
And if I had a dollar for every time the WWC has been blamed (contrary to most statistics) for being the cause behind Trump's presidency, well, I might be close to his income.
Kari Fisher
In other words, white people elected Trump. Period.
Julie Lu
(posting on Portside Labor)
The recent United Electrical Workers Leadership's analysis and orientation for the future of progressive political and economic developments in the US was right on target, emphasizing the necessity of coalesced solidarity of the country's center-left forces. No surprise here, of course, because the UE has long served as a beacon of combined idealism and common sense in such important matters.  The successful New Deal coalition (which included the UE) understood the shorthand expression of the formula: "No enemies on the Left."
James Young
Tony was a friend. We more than once showed up for the good fight. May I humbly suggest that you, would speak, as he would to workers in working class language. There is another place to use academic parlance, and it is valid. I am in no way suggesting the dumbing down of workers, but I am suggesting language that encourages workers to read on, especially the sentiments of their friends and allies.
Dan Kane
At the Labor Party founding convention backed by a massive appeal by Tony Mazzocchi, Sandy Handley and I represented our Local affiliate of the I.U.P.A.T. We developed a platform and an appeal among we 1600 delegates from labor all over the country. At the last minute Richard Trumka led an appeal to abandon our platform and organize instead for Bill Clinton. It was our undoing as we are now the only major country without a party that represents labor. Clinton completely undermined the middle class with NAFTA, and his final insult was the over turning of Glass-Steagall,which led directly to the crash of 2008. All of Clinton's major legislative pieces were Republican inspired from Welfare Deform, the Omnibus Crime Bill, GATT..and in the end it sent the white working class misguidedly to Trump. Good piece here by Adolph Reed.
Earl Marty Price
Finally an article that addresses the real issue in this election -- as opposed to condemning the economic victims of elite globalization as "misogynists" and "fascist pigs".
Paul Zielinski
We need a new party period. And maybe a couple or a few. If the Dems are too stuck on pointing fingers, and never taking responsibility, leave them and their elite asses to fend for themselves. Their interests are not the interests of the working class, minorities, women or the poor. America is a diverse country, yet we only get two elite parties - one hyper-religious, that wants to destroy government and one so stuck on itself that we are all supposed to aspire to be like them, while only a few will get in. Please. The Dems are like a bad high school cafeteria clique.
Susan Harrison
We only get two parties because we have a constitution that mandates a winner-take-all electoral system. If you want to have multiple parties (for more than a brief transitional period), you have to amend the constitution to allow for some kind of proportional representation.
Hayyim Feldman
Our constitution did not anticipate, or prepare for parties - true. It should have. I understand that changes may or would be required, but we could have more than two. Right now about 1/2 of all registered voters are not affiliated with a political party, yet they have to choose one or the other candidate put forward by the duopoly that prevents, with the cooperation of the msm, others from coming forward. We could start by giving control of the debates back to the LWV. Our "democracy" is a joke.
Susan Harrison
This essay is spot on in nailing the cause of Trump's election and the course of action needed right now. I'm curious to know what FB friends who have tried to explain motives for many Trump voters have to say about this. I believe they might agree with the analysis, if not the remedy.
Ken Tichacek
In a global economy, unions can't mandate wages. It's isn't U.S. labor vs. U.S. employers. The vast majority of the global labor force is beyond the control of unions and a much higher percentage of employers are now foreign owned. The only candidates really talking about import tariffs were Bernie and Trump. The only candidate talking about tariffs coupled with economic incentives to keep companies here was Trump and that was part of his appeal.
Bill Wilson
August 5, 2014
I was at the Standing with #Standing Rock protest for the halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline at 26 Federal Plaza in New York on November 15. The composition of the predominantly white police force was a sign of things to come. Out in full force with weapons of all kinds, vests, bullet-proof jackets, trucks, vans and vehicles to transport prisoners, they were a considerable force made up of regular officers, police with the acronym DHS on their jackets, the Strategic Response Group, Homeland Security and scores of unidentified others in plainclothes. They filled the street between the protestors and the building that housed the Army Corps of Engineers. They were grim and watched.
This display of authoritative strength was incongruous with the people who had come to the protest. It was a predominantly white group made up of young people, hipsters, older lefties and people of varying ages; citizens who appeared to have come just to show support for people who are fighting to keep a pipeline from contaminating their community.
An indication that this expression of protest signaled a new order, intentionally or not, was that the speakers used a human echo system to get their message to the crowd. There were no microphones or megaphones. A speaker shouted out one sentence and the crowd, in tum, repeated it so that all could hear. No one seemed to know why this was happening and it wasn't explained as the demonstration progressed.
The truncated hard-to-hear messages were about treaty obligations, sustainable energy, the fatality of fracking, contaminated groundwater, pipelines located too closely to nuclear plants, environmental racism , so-called racist entities like Energy Transfer Partners that are behind the deal and the banks that are funding these projects.
This event had the feel of a demonstration of protest in lockdown with limits on the ability of people to easily communicate dissent.
Millions of people did not vote in this election because of feelings of disenfranchisement, self-defined ethical reasons, dissatisfaction with the choice of either candidate as well as many reasons that have not been articulated.  A consequence of this was the formidable militarized police force that could, in a moment, crush people who were a perceived threat.
The subway ride away from Federal Plaza was another troubling signal of our transforming democracy. The signs in subway cars instructing citizens to say something, if they see something, were made up of photographs of citizens of every color which was in contrast to the nearly white police force and protesters.
American life is being redesigned to be fearful, to not look at the evidence and to hope that what is evident is not real or might be different with optimism. The incoming administration has voiced disbelief in climate change, the importance of fossil fuels and the supreme importance of national security.
When we shouted that President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers had to stop this pipeline, we were not looking at the discrepancies that are facing us.
Will Americans accept the same salary levels as people in non-western countries if industry comes back to the United States?
Have we researched and do we comprehend the positions of the principals who are shaping this new administration?
Will the clearly articulated tenets of white nationalism and support for "stop-and-frisk" be beneficial for all or for a specific group of Americans?
The November 15 DAPL protest was a glaring indication for those of us who want an inclusive justice that we are just as divided within ourselves in terms of class, race and gender as we are with the Other America that sincerely believes a President Trump will deliver us.
In the square where we stood, one building's message, carved in stone from an earlier time, stated, "The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government."
Our obligations to our country only starts with a protest and only when people of all colors are walking side by side, will the coalition that Senator Sanders speaks of, come to fruition.
If we don't reflect on this and act now, small hemmed in protests control led by the State will become the norm. 
C. C. Jones
(posting on Portside Labor)
South Carolina 1856. Black slaves had the right to work. That was the only right they had.
Ian King
(posting on Portside Labor)
THIS!! Here is a very sad story that every union member NEEDS to read. Here is how our Pie-Card (non) leaders took us and our unions down the rat-hole when many of us could see the obvious--the working class was shit upon, the middle class was disappearing for decades, people making less than $90,000 per year were working harder and doing worse, and nobody in politics seemed to do anything that made a difference to their economic condition--it stayed shitty since 1980 as 90% of new wealth went to the top.
Two candidates in 2016 continued the theme that Obama offered and did not deliver: CHANGE AND (it's buddy) HOPE.
Our union leaders related more to Hillary than Bernie and woe is us. Woe is ALL of us. Now, we have a narcissistic sociopath with neo-Nazi and Fascist leanings who just hired Bannon, a White Nationalist, racist.
Union Leadership needs as much of a house-cleaning as the Democratic National Committee, as they HAVE ALL FAILED WORKING PEOPLE.
Jack LaSalle
Gregory Cain Leaders are selected by members. They are not magicians. Some become self-serving bureaucrats and do little for the membership. The organization that is supposed to be the political voice/arm of the trade unions long ago cut the unions loose. What political organization was that? You are on your own. No moreNationalFair Labor Standards Act No penalties for employer interference in organizing efforts, no more protection for union stewards from dismissal, No aid for workers when jobs move to the PRC, Mexico, etc. The Union movement is crucial but it has to rethink its tactics and strategy so it can increase membership, union size and undermine (legally) the Taft Hartley law. If the dems and the union movement would get together that would help. There are things to do that could work for b
Gregory Cain
Rank and file voted for Trump in MI, one of the biggest union states in the country.
MI votes as much red as blue.
Lack of education, collecting a union wage and having no clue what unions are about or why they're getting the wage they're getting.
Union miners voted Republican.
Dave Nelson
...Hillary did talk about union workers. She said she was going to put coal miners out of work and coal companies out of business. She may not have used the word "union", but it was understood. Of course, she promised another billion dollar training program for displaced miners because that has worked so well in the past.
Michael M. Manty
BLM is just what the words say. It is not and have never been a terrorist group. Apparently you need to be educated, so let me, a black woman, school you. Black Lives Matter is a movement born after so many of our black men and women were killed by racist cops. By the way, they were unarmed, it could be caught on video and still the cop walks free. So we are simply saying these are human being and should be treated the same as any other race. How in the heck you call this a terrorist is mind boggling.
Cassie Bell
(posting on Portside Labor)
Horrible horrible Hillary. Winning the popular vote.
Scott Dennison
Christian (& Portside)
I am most surprised and disappointed that in the same sentence, you write "... blacks, Latinos ..." without even thinking that both terms refer to entire classes of people, yet one is "capitalized," while the other is "lower case," and thus marginalized as not as important or worthy of being treated with equal status.
James E Vann
Trump's election is the logical outcome of efforts by the American right to roll back the gains of the 1960s.
Beginning in the late 1970s, the right stepped up its attacks on abortion clinics and began attacking political correctness on campuses. They campaigned for law-and-order policies to strengthen the police and prison systems. They clamored for cuts to social benefits. They fought against unions and for right-to-work states. They attacked affirmative action and fought to re-instate racist practice. They won local and state elections. Now their representatives have captured the highest political offices in the nation.
The right has won for two reasons:
Most important, a weak organized working class decimated by the employer's offensive and led to defeat after defeat by reformist leaders who bargained concession contracts.
Second, a left that never recovered from the McCarthy attacks. As a result, 1960s activists did not understand that the reforms they won could be lost unless the struggle intensified to challenge the system as a whole.
Trump's victory is directly linked to McCarthyism.
McCarthy's chief counsel and the strategist behind his anti-communist witch hunt was Roy Cohn. From the 1970s onward, Cohn has served as Donald Trump's legal advisor.
Socialists must be clear that the Trump election is no aberration or mistake but the result of decades of persistent organizing by the right.
In order to turn things around, we must out-organize them. We must mobilize on every possible front. We must fight as though our lives and the future depend on it. Because they do.
Susan Rosenthal
This statement from the NPC [National Political Committee] of DSA was in the very widely read leftist news feed called Portside.
If as the DSA argues the left and unions are dominated by "middle class men" why don't they engage their brothers who famously supported Trump?
Michael Munk
The name is to honor the thousands of undocumented workers that provide food to our many tables today and for the legacy of the millions of workers that were forced to become slaves to provide for the accumulation in this country.
We are a movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
It has been over a decade since the Mega Marches of 2006 - and in the past 10 years, many attempts to pass "bipartisan commonsense comprehensive immigration reform" have come and gone. We have gotten on buses to march when they said to march and told our cousins to vote when they told us it was time to vote. And yet - time and again, the political parties, the presidents we've elected, and D.C. lobbyists representing our interests have failed to deliver on the promise they have made to our community for the past 20 years.
After so much sacrifice, pain, trauma, and hard work, we think it is time for our community to try something new. Sustained mass non-cooperation. Widespread boycotts. A general strike.
We learned that the hardships we face - the raids, the separation, the deportations, the exploitation - continue because we allow them to. We cooperate with these atrocities when we spend our money and when we work hard without meaningful pay. Our power lies in our bodies that are made invisible, but provide so much sustenance to this country. So it is time to ask - what would a day without immigrants really look like? What would a week without restaurant workers feel like? This country would have to choose between continuing to exploit workers and separate families, or finally coming to terms with our racist history and giving us the protection, the dignity, and the respect we demand. 
We are students of the thousands of farmworkers that stood up to the exploitation with the leadership of Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong and Cesar Chavez, and students of the thousands of African-Americans that stood up to the racist Jim Crow system all over this country. We come from cultures that have a rich tradition of popular struggle and movement building. Along with so much else, we bring these stories of resistance to the U.S. when we migrate. They live in each of our communities. 
We are fighting for a new day of justice, reconciliation and unity for our immigrant and undocumented communities. We are fighting for permanent protection, dignity, and respect.
Will you join us?
To reduce the collapse of Venezuela's economy to a neo-liberal capitalist reactionary plot" is not only inaccurate, but short-sighted in extreme! All the VERY REAL plots and machinations of the right would not have the impact that we see today if the Maduro administration had not allowed government corruption, economic incompetence and political inflexibility to guide his response to the crisis. The Bolivarian revolution is in danger of being reversed once Maduro is no longer President, because even among the working classes, recognition of its accomplishments is being replaced with disgust with its failures.
Francisco Gonzalez
pro vaccine, but soberly so. Is this all wrong?
Steve Meacham
Please read the following short article written by an MD who uses homeopathy in her practice.
Most MDs are pretty conservative people and so is this article so it should carry some weight with you. This is a current response by an MD to an article that was similar in intent to the one you recently posted.
Given your horrifically biased and totally inaccurate article last week by a quack you need to avail yourself of the opposite point of view.  I will add, people who have benefited from homeopathy are not deluded.  The Swiss study on homeopathy concluded that patient satisfaction was so high they would include homeopathy in their national health program.
tanya marquette
new paltz, ny
I understand some of you are very worried about the election of Donald Trump. But I want you think about this:
First they went for Yugoslavia, and you didn't worry: a country died
Then they went for Afghanistan and you didn't worry: 220,000 Afghans have died.
Then, they went for Iraq, and you didn't worry: 1 million Iraqis died.
Then they went for Libya, and you didn't worry: 30,000 to 50,000 people died. Did you worry when Qaddafi was murdered with a bayonet up his rectum? No. And someone even laughed.
Then they went for Ukraine, and you didn't worry: 10,000 people died and are dying.
Then they went for Syria, and you didn't worry: 250,000 people died
Then they went for Yemen: over 6,000 Yemenis have been killed and another 27,000 wounded. According to the UN, most of them are civilians. Ten million Yemenis don't have enough to eat, and 13 million have no access to clean water. Yemen is highly dependent on imported food, but a U.S.-Saudi blockade has choked off most imports. The war is ongoing.
Then there is Somalia , and you don't worry
Then there are the countries that reaped the fallout from the collapse of Libya. Weapons looted after the fall of Gaddafi fuel the wars in Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic.
Now you are worried about yourselves, but there are only the dead and their survivors left for whom you didn't speak up for.
Give me one reason why anybody should worry about you, who seem to believe that only you count because you are Americans.
My very best wishes for your precious safety and comfort and may you continue to look in the mirror and see no one there. 
Trust me, a mirror does not lie.
One who does not worry about you.
(A reader in Belgium)
Bill Fletcher Jr, international activist and co-author of Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2016, 6pm
1199 SEIU Martin Luther King Jr Labor Center
310 W 43 St, 7th flr, west of 8th Ave
Take A, C to 42 St, 1, 2, 3, 7, N, R, Q, W, or Grand Central shuttle to Times Sq
Co-sponsors: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, CCDS Education Fund, Democratic Socialists of America (list in formation)