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Tidbits - December 8, 2016 - Reader Comments: Standing Rock-Tremendous Victory; Trump Changed Everything; What Next for the Left; Remembering Fidel; Why You Support Portside; Labor Scholarships; March for Immigrants....

Reader Comments: Standing Rock - Tremendous Victory to Start Trump Presidency; Trump Changed Everything; What Next for the Left; Remembering Fidel Castro and his Impact Worldwide and in the U.S.; Jobs, Shorter Work Week; Chelsea Manning; Tondalo Hall imprisonment; We Need Each Other - Why People Should Support Portside; Announcements: UMASS Labor Scholarships; Make $15 Real Under Trump; New York March for Immigrants

Tidbits - Reader Comments and Announcements - December 8, 2016,Portside
Shows what can happen when a people are united, when allies come to support the just demands. "A People United, Can Never Be Defeated" - this was the struggle of the Chilean people that resulted in the election of Salvador Allende, and became the struggle of the years-long fight against the brutal Pinochet dictatorship, that was engineered and supported by the U.S. government.
The victory for the Standing Rock Sioux in their fight for water rights, for their culture and land, coming just one month after the horror of Nov. 8th, shows that even when thinks look dark, that a people, united, can win.
We need to remember over the upcoming months after the Trump cabal takes power.
Jay Schaffner
To me as an environmental lawyer, this is a vivid demonstration of how the rule of law combined with massive citizen organization can win the day.
Though the legal arguments have long been made that the DAPL required an environmental impact statement, the government interpreting and applying that requirement was ultimately only achieved through massive organized resistance.
This can serve as a model and inspiration for the years ahead.
Sanford Lewis
I'm with Sandy here. This is a big victory. Keep on.
Daniel Millstone
This is real big. Yes, I know, it is temporary, yes, I know, the power of money, and the petroleum giants is not so easily beaten back, they will be back. Yes, I know, there are lots of pipelines, all of which have or will fairly soon leak into the irreplaceable water we need. But... this is big.
Why is it so big? Not so much for the killing of the Black Snake. It ain't dead, yet. But to have a victory, even a partial one, to start off the Trump Times, is critical. And the victory teaches SO many lessons, all of them right out in public, where people can see it.
What lessons?
1) Protest works. Its not just another demo, another occupation, more giant puppets, more chanting, then we go home with nothing. What kind of protest was it?
2) It was a unified protest. The first, ever, decision by most of the recognized tribes to throw down, to come together in unity, to throw their resources on the table and say, "No, this is our lives we are defending. We cannot and will not back off, or have a few of us bought off. We will stand together." Stand. Together.  This was a demonstration of the most fundamental idea in all of human culture. Solidarity.  Tribes from as far as New Zealand and the Amazon basin came, also people's of the far north. Environmentalists from around the world.  Ordinary people who had never been active before. Talking to my nurse in the cardio ward, she told me she had a baby ten weeks before.  Her mother had just retired as a teacher. Mother got a truck, went to all her friends collecting blankets and warm clothing, and headed for Standing Rock.  Nurse said she had planned to go with mom, but figured it might not be the best place for the new baby.  Its everywhere, and everyone understands.  Stand. Together.
3) It was, as ever in American society, the poorest, the weakest, showed the incredible courage, not to back down in the face of power.
4) It was non-violent. In the face of overwhelming violence - assault rifles poised, armored vehicles, water cannon, grenades and "rubber coated" steel bullets fired at people's heads, pepper spray, batons, tear gas, dogs, mercenaries and the daily threat of massacre - they held their discipline. And this is not a community of Quakers, this is a culture where the warrior spirit, frustrated, defeated, and quashed, lives on. For the young men, to watch their elders being savagely attacked, was very hard. And they held their discipline, despite all the lies told by the vicious scum of the sheriff's department, and echoed by the US Department of Justice. They endured.
5) I hate to say this, being a dyed in the wool atheist, but it was spiritual. To find the courage and endurance and hope, just like the Southern Civil Rights Movement the people reached down to their spiritual roots for strength, when rational thought might have told them they were in for another whuppin', they stuck like a rock.  Their belief gave them power that makes your jaw drop in astonishment.
6) Like the Southern Civil Rights Movement, they brought to the public's view the violence on which the system rests - its violence to our planet, and its casual and vicious violence against unarmed, non-violent people, praying for the welfare of the very men who beat them. Every effort was made to hide it - from the arrest of journalists, to the jamming of cell phones, to the shooting down of camera drones and the FAA banning such from the area. They wanted to do their dirty business in secret. But the courage of the people forced them to show their teeth in public. And the public reacted with revulsion.
7) It was massive. This was not a handful, full of moral righteousness (and self importance?) witnessing their conscience. This was 7,000 people, joining together to take a stand, and if necessary, stand to the death. To be massive it had to be disciplined, carefully calculated, on message, and massively supported with food, supplies, equipment, medical support, communications, and reinforcements.
8) The thing that tipped the scales, I suspect, were the 2,000 veterans. Kicking Indians around is not exactly new in American history. Veterans are a different story. In the early days of the Depression, tens of thousands of WWI vets marched on Washington from all over the country, demanding their promised bonus payment, which they had earned with their blood. Douglas MacArthur and George Patton led troops and tanks to break up their encampment and drive them out of Washington, as ordered by the Republican administration. This had something to do with the fact that the next election saw FDR swamp the GOP, and reshape the country. The message here was clear, "We fought to defend our country, its people, and its freedoms. We may have been suckered into fighting for the oil companies, but we pledged ourselves to defend the American people, and here are our people being savagely attacked by those same oil companies. We volunteered to put our bodies in the way to defend our people. We'll do it right here." And the authorities knew, there were many, many more vets, who were watching. Had the sheriffs gone apeshit on these vets, many of their brothers and sisters would no longer just watch. I salute their courage and their service. And their clarity.
9) And most important, perhaps. It moved hundreds of thousands of people from inaction to action. I hear and see it everywhere. People never before more than sympathetic moved to ACTION. We saw it with Black Lives Matter, with Occupy, with the Bernie Campaign, and on a thousand different fronts. It is happening. Its called a Mass Movement. You think we live in Trump's America? Everyone (except you and your friends, of course) are racist, misogynist scumbags? Wake up. Get out in the street. Trump lives in our America. The giant is awakened. You ain't seen nothing yet. And a victory is just the thing to drive home the lesson - this works. Soon as I'm healed up, I'll be seeing you out there.
Jack Radey
I am so proud of all our REAL American heroes for once again fighting for the rights of our Native American people and their right to have safe, clean Drinking Water. Could you please put this article on the public FB pages ! We need more citizens to stand up against the Trump generated hate against so many...and the GREED of a few. Trump even had invested in this crooked company.
Mary Wilson
"In the face of this we pray," Lyla June Johnston, a young Native leader, told me the day after the blizzards blew in. "In the face of this we love. In the face of this we forgive. Because the vast majority of water protectors know this is the greatest battle of all: to keep our hearts intact."
Amy Horwitz
Like too many liberals, Kingsolver has bought Hillary's bleat that "the Russians" or "the FBI" cost her the presidency. As long as such wistful thinking and factless claims influence the great majority of Clinton supporters, so long will the populist far right dominate the vote in the states that count--at least for the next generation or so.
Kingsolver writes about the shock and fear Hillary supporters suffered when they realized that they "just woke up in another country." Her observation suggests that the "previous country" we lived in was a comfortable fit for most of the costal professional class.
But maybe that's the problem? That "previous country" was not seen that way by enough Americans to upset the scenario of the ruling class and expose its armies of media pundits as clueless.
Mike Munk
The opening of a discussion centered on what needs to be done.
Howard Croft
Conservative Supreme Court justices like Scalia and Roberts have written opinions that states and cities can use to protect themselves from many Trump initiatives. Author is a noted jurist and legal commentator.
Ellen Ross
"You cannot confront a power until you know what it is. Our task in this struggle is to understand what we face. Only then can we work out what to do."
Trump had long ago revealed to all paying attention who he is... and isn't. It is those around him, who he appoints and their staffs who will be running the country. Read and be informed as I was! AND the EDUCATION keeps coming! Yes, please. Time to get systematic about this education.
Danajean Cicerchi
Rob Rogers
December 6, 2016
Ethan Young's (no known relative) evaluation of the Left's current variegated condition is accurate and similar to earlier assessments published in Portside and elsewhere.  I've suggested the old Popular Front slogan "No enemies on the Left" as an opening attitude upon which to build, since that's what seems to emerge -- implicitly or directly -- as a common theme.  The next step requires a move on the part of movers to coalesce around an aim at gatherings -- regionally in the early going, then perhaps nationally -- along the lines of Rally of the Democratic Left.  The size and purposes of such events must be planned to some degree by those groups who demonstrate a willingness to commit to the project but who are willing to leave an opportunity for influence by those who simply show up to the events, too.  A training component, as Ethan Young suggests, seems absolutely necessary, as do emphases on communications and many more capabilities and practices, as well as working out actions for near and middle-distance aims.  I'm thinking of the kind of focused but multi-purpose gatherings on the scales such as labor and the Left have sponsored over many years in their pursuits of various aims, but directed in these instances at coalescence and expanded competencies.  Community centers, college campuses, union facilities and other venues may be utilized for the larger face-to-face encounters and a network developed for space-to-space communications - beginning with the kinds of linkups already begun by some organizations.
Let's not permit this fight-back opportunity to slip away.  We have a world to win.  Who's up for it?
Jim Young
Harrisburg, PA
There's going to be a lot more seizing on the movements of the past for inspiration for how we behave in the future. I don't see us forming a united front because we're not a unified Left. A popular front would do just tine. A lot of variety there, a lot of newly discovered common cause. But we do need to get our analysis somewhat straighter, just to be practical.
John Crawford
The heart of the matter: "The prevailing understanding [among fans of ID politics-mm] of class puts the concept as one among many forms of injustice, rather than the basic structure of capitalist society."
Right now, though, the practical answer to "What is to be done" is the test coming in February when the neoliberal Dems can be defeated by Ellison for DNC. The congressional Dems have already decided to continue neoliberal leadership with Schumer and Pelosi.
Mike Munk
Re: Article excoriating the American left
Yes, well, I knew that all before, having lived nearly 77 on this planet. Could you PLEASE run articles in future that suggest HOW a "left" should prepare for the coming doomsday? I cannot say how f*****g sick I am of articles that analyze, analyze, and analyze, without suggesting a single concrete thing that will get a principled resistance on its national feet. -
Ellen Cantarow, 
New York City
Thanks, this kind of sober thinking is of real value, 
Mike Liston, 
.just GREAT!!! , depicting `the left' as chaos itself!   Shows your reporting is lacking - not down on the ground,. stuck in some room typing nonsensical paragraphs without talking to any of the many groups and individuals who have been pushing to get hold of our system so we can facilitate the move to socialism-communism.
Norma J F Harrison
The fact of the matter is, I haven't seen much of ANY kind of self-criticism on the Left in recent weeks. Probably there is some, but I am afraid that unless I am missing something, this is about as good as it gets, and as you say, it has a lot of deficiencies.  I found it rather turgid, am somewhat relieved to hear that I wasn't the only one who felt that way, based on responses I have read on other lists since the posting.  Still, it is good to see somebody try to analyze the "state of the Left," or at least begin to.
We have a long ways to go, though.
The thought occurred to me as I read this that perhaps one of the STRENGTHS of the Left in this country is its diffuse, amorphous character.  While we do indeed have organizations such as the ACLU which function in prosecuting a few of the Left's goals, perhaps it is better that we are not highly organized, or at least, it could be an advantage if this country were to move sharply towards totalitarianism.
On the whole, though, it is sad that Americans are not resisting the oncoming night in greater force.
Romi Elnagar
The Democrats have always been a party of the ruling classes. They use populism to gain votes. But they have no membership; only "voters" or the intent to vote DP by registering "Democrat". They have no formal union affiliations with voting power like the Social Democratic parties in Europe have or had. And the Dem. Party is explicitly pro-capitalist and has the blood on its hands of supporting slavery, genocide against Native Americans, Jim Crow lynchings and Jim Crow policies in general, interning Japanese-American citizens, calling out the National Guard in record numbers against strikes, dropping the atomic bomb, twice, on civilian populations, initiating and supporting wars for big corporations, wars for oil, the DP initiated and supported NAFTA, the DP supported mass incarceration policies, the DP initiated and supported and supports de-regulation of corporations, privatization at city, state and federal levels of gov., the DP supports cutting food stamps, etc., etc. . The Democratic Party is a party controlled by and for the big corporations. A vote for the DP (or the Repubs.) is a vote for the destruction of the working class.
Jeff Booth

A song for today and the many today's in the days ahead -- 
Get Up! Stand Up for Your Rights! Never Give Up the Fight
Here is a newer rendition of Bob Marley classic "Get Up Stand Up" by Playing for Change, along with the song "Words of Wonder."
(If you are not familiar with Playing for Change, check it out.)
This PFC Song Around The World features Keith Richards in collaboration with Roberto Luti, Titi Tsira and a number of worldwide musicians on a rendition of his reggae song, "Words of Wonder," off 1992's Main Offender. This video also leads into a cover of Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up," featuring Keb' Mo', Mermans Mosengo, Aztec Indians, Natalie Pa'apa'a of Blue King Brown, and Jamaican singer Sherita Lewis.
Thought you might want to print words from Fidel's May Day speech in 2000.
Here is the pledge millions of Cubans have signed, based on a speech Fidel Castro presented at a mass rally on May 1, 2000.
Revolution means having a sense of history. It means changing everything that must be changed. It means full equality and freedom. It means being treated and treating others like human beings. It means achieving liberation by ourselves and through our own efforts. It means challenging powerful, dominant forces within and without our society and nation. It means defending the values we believe in, whatever the sacrifice. It means modesty, selflessness, self-sacrifice, solidarity, and heroism. It means fighting with boldness, intelligence, and realism. It means never lying or violating moral principles. It means a profound conviction that no power in the world can crush the force of truth and ideas. Revolution means unity. It means independence. It means fighting for our dreams of justice for Cuba and for the world, which is the foundation of our patriotism, our socialism, and our internationalism.
Lisa Makarchuk
I have always appreciated Bill Fletcher's incisive comments of global reach. See what you think here. Fidel, Presente!
This is my own piece, in Portside, and I welcome comments, critique, or just thoughts.
Van Gosse
Like so many ignores the grassroots nature and role of the CP, people's organizations, unions and local government structure -- way more democracy and participation than we have in USA.
Leanna Noble
Indeed! an excellent analysis/discussion by my "Historians against the War compa, Van Gosse
Sherna Gluck
The mind-set for a number of people in this country is to forgive the abuser, the rapist, and to blame the victim! When does this stop?
When do we stop this?
Georgia Berner
Thank you Steven Rosenfeld.  Best update I have seen.  Pls. keep  them coming.  I am forwarding to a number of thousand folks in WI.  Peace!  
Buzz Davis
The importance of validated results and procedural justice are vital safeguards that more than outweigh inconvenience.
Marc Batko
READ it and take note of the harm already taking place.
Beth L. Jones
Robert Desmarais Sullivan of NEW ORLEANS
It is  very surprising that he will not pardon Edward Snowden, who is the reason we know as much as we do about the surveillance state. If he won't allow Snowden to get out of Russia he is unlikely to do the other things. Shame on him!
Laurel MacDowell
I think this is an important essay.
Fuck work
Economists believe in full employment. Americans think that work builds character. But what if jobs aren't working anymore? 
By James Livingston
November 25, 2016
Work means everything to us Americans. For centuries - since, say, 1650 - we've believed that it builds character (punctuality, initiative, honesty, self-discipline, and so forth). We've also believed that the market in labour, where we go to find work, has been relatively efficient in allocating opportunities and incomes. And we've believed that, even if it sucks, a job gives meaning, purpose and structure to our everyday lives - at any rate, we're pretty sure that it gets us out of bed, pays the bills, makes us feel responsible, and keeps us away from daytime TV.
These beliefs are no longer plausible. In fact, they've become ridiculous, because there's not enough work to go around, and what there is of it won't pay the bills - unless of course you've landed a job as a drug dealer or a Wall Street banker, becoming a gangster either way...
That's why an economic crisis such as the Great Recession is also a moral problem, a spiritual impasse - and an intellectual opportunity...
And by `we' I mean pretty much all of us, Left to Right, because everybody wants to put Americans back to work, one way or another - `full employment' is the goal of Right-wing politicians no less than Left-wing economists. The differences between them are over means, not ends, and those ends include intangibles such as the acquisition of character.
Which is to say that everybody has doubled down on the benefits of work just as it reaches a vanishing point.
Read full article here
[James Livingston is professor of history at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He is the author of many books, the latest being No More Work: Why Full Employment is a Bad Idea (2016). He lives in New York.] 
Will Jones
I  tried to sign the petition for Chelsea Manning but I am not sure it went through. The process seems unduly complicated to me.
She deserves our support.  So, I was disappointed.
Very truly yours,
Joan Davis
Let's cut defense spending and discretionary war spending.  Then we'll have money for everything else.
Mark Bailey
How is this different in kind from what the US has been doing in foreign election for many years? Also, I suspect the US government is doing it now with just these sorts of technologies as well. It is just a fact of life in a Great Power world. (Just like government spying on legal opposition here in the US.)
Joe Berry
I've always valued your work, shared it and used it. Yesterday for the first time I made a donation - I should have done it before - and I thank you. I also made a pitch to our staff that they consider personally donating; I hope that bears fruit. Could you build a "comment" field in your donation form?  You might garner similar appreciative and well-deserved thank-yous from more folks like me.
Deborah H. Ward
Director of communications
Did you know that Facebook complies with law enforcement requests to censor activists? They also censor documentation of  human rights abuses, including videos of police violence.
This week we celebrate a huge victory by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Millions of people first heard about Native American water protectors and their struggle through Facebook. But Facebook often removed live footage of police violence against the water protectors.
There are many incidents of Facebook's censorship, including: censoring accounts of activists covering the civilian uprisings in Charlotte, NC; the removal of live footage of water protectors against the Dakota Access Pipeline; and reports that Facebook sent data to help police track and surveil protesters in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD.
Facebook's videos and platform are powerful tools to document human rights abuses. And we'll need them more than ever under the new presidential administration.
Donald Trump has often threatened to use government power against his political enemies. His incoming administration will no doubt increase law enforcement's requests of Facebook. Facebook needs to stand firm now and be accountable to the public, including by clarifying its policies on removing content at the request of government actors. Facebook cannot be an arm of the police.
Sign the petition to tell Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Before Trump comes into office, address public concerns about Facebook complying with law enforcement to censor human rights documentation.
Facebook has become part of our lives and an important site for news education and organizing. It's more important than ever that Facebook live up to our community values.
In Struggle,
Libero Della Piana, People's Action
Most of us are all still reeling from the election of Donald Trump and terrified about what the next four years might really mean for workers and their unions. It has never before more important for labor and activist communities to have the hard conversation about where we have been and what will need to bring our movements forward. I would like to tell you about a special opportunity to begin this discussion.
The UMass Amherst Labor Center is announcing an exciting new scholarship program to start in January in our limited residency Master's degree program in Labor Studies (ULA). Designed for union officers, staff and activists, participants attend 5 ten-day sessions held in January and July and receive their Master's degree in three years. Check out our website for more information on the program.
Based in part on the contributions of two alums and their unions, we are delighted to announce a new scholarship program that will cover the tuition costs ($2,628) for up to ten (10) new students to start in the ULA session this January 8-18, 2017. Students would only need to cover their travel and a meal/facility charge.
This is a one-time opportunity to begin the program at a substantially reduced cost. If you are interested in this scholarship program, contact Tom Juravich, 413-545-5986, and he can assist you with the application process.
Tom Juravich
Professor of Labor Studies and Sociology
Labor Center Interim Director
UMass Amherst
634 Thompson Hall
200 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone 413.545.5986
Fax 413.545.3204

The workers' organizing team wants to invite you to join us Wednesday, December 14th at 7pm to participate in an important conversation about the role New York City and State have to play in protecting and defending immigrant workers during the presidency of Trump.
What: Workers' Forum: "Making $15 Real in the Era of Trump: How New York City and State can Support and Defend Immigrant Workers".
Hosted by Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change
When: Wednesday, December 14th 7:00pm. (Leave from offices in Brooklyn and Queens at 5:30pm)
Where: New York Law School. 185 West Broadway, Manhattan
Who: Low-wage immigrant workers, elected leaders, regulators, and community organizations discuss innovative strategies for ensuring that all New York's workers benefit from the historic $15 minimum wage increase.
It won't come as a surprise to any of you that low wage workers and particularly immigrant workers are feeling increasingly vulnerable -and will be even more susceptible to wage theft, unsafe working conditions, discrimination, and other forms of exploitation. We must also expect that Trump and his cronies will halt, abandon or repeal recent progressive improvements in workers rights protections at the federal level. The results will worsen abuse in immigrant communities and weaken high-road employers' ability to compete and thrive.
This forum will be an opportunity to strategize how we will continue to fight for economic justice and respect in the workplace, but also to tell our legislators, regulators, and allies the ways in which we expect them to stand up for and defend immigrant workers in New York.
We hope you can join us!

With six weeks before the inauguration of President-elect Trump, we must mobilize our communities for the fight ahead. Now more than ever, we are determined to defend and protect immigrants!
On Sunday, December 18th, International Migrants Day, the The New York Immigration Coalition will bring together our members and partners to rally and send a clear message from New Yorkers to President-Elect Trump and his administration: immigrant communities are here to stay and we will fight back against hate and anti-immigrant policies!
Join the movement to protect and defend America's immigrants!
When: Sunday, December 18th @ 1PM
Meeting Point: Dag Hammarskjold Plaza; E. 47 St. bet. 1 Ave. and 2 Ave
(we will march from the UN Headquarters to Trump Tower)
**Note: While we secure permits, the location and time are subject to change on December 18th.
Our Call to Action:
  • Defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides 50,000 New Yorkers work permits and other essential resources
  • Protect immigrant communities from deportation
  • Prevent the creation of a Muslim registry
  • Support refugee resettlement
Sponsoring Organizations:
(To join as an organizational sponsor, please email Carlene Pinto at
Atlas: DIY
Chhaya CDC
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition
LSA Family Health Service
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Left Labor Project
Make the Road New York
MinKwon Center
Safe Passage Project
Sauti Yetu Center for African Women and Families
South Asian Fund for Education Scholarship Training (SAFEST)
The Boaz Organization for Youth
Violence Intervention Program
Workmen's Circle