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Tidbits - April 20, 2017 - Reader Comments: Syria Catastrophe; Day Without Immigrants; Montana Special Election; Trump, McCarthyism, and Russian Hacking; Combating climate change resources; Journey to Palestine and Israel; and more...

Reader Comments: Syria Catastrophe - Who Benefits?; A Day Without Immigrants - Hundreds Of Thousands Will Strike May 1; Montana Special Election; Trump, McCarthyism, and Russian Hacking; Portside's Culture posts; Resources: Combating climate change; New book - In the Fields of the North; Announcements: Rana Plaza film showings; Sarah Jaffe on American Activists; Women Fight the Islamic State; Marx's Capital-after 150 Years; Journey to Palestine and Israel; and more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - April 20, 2017,Portside
This is the best, most careful look at the Syrian tragedy that I have seen. It seems likely at this point that Assad will emerge the victor (sadly) but the primary need is the end of the war. One can look at Spain, in which Franco won, but which did evolve from a fascist state into a democratic one.
David McReynolds
Yes. Violence is never the solution. It always provokes more. War must cease to be seen as a way of handling problems. It is no longer a viable alternative.
Nora Staffanell
Capitalism benefits. Every human being suffers the consequence of capitalism. No one benefits, yet people believe wrongly that there are rational groups that do benefit from Late Capitalism. Everyone is a victim, and we can't blame the capitalist social relations (because of our fear of rebelling against Hierarchical civilization) that causes ALL OUR SUFFERING!
Michael Handelman
You left out some critical factors, oil, pipeline, Clinton Foundation, USA. Oh and you seem to think we live in a Democracy?
Celia Harrison
No time to check the facts when your approval is at an all time low.
Howie Leveton
"Assad is slowly winning the civil war that has been ravishing Syria for years, He already holds almost all the major cities that constitute the core of Syria. He has enough weapons to kill as many enemy civilians as his heart desires." 
So why would he use chemical weapons? Who else might have something to gain by an attack that looked like it was from Assad?
Ann Frick
Gee....maybe a country leader whose approval rating is in the shitter had something to benefit?
The other real question is this: Why would Assad risk being labeled a war criminal and risk facing prosecution? He would never have access to any country other than Russia. Now there can't be a solution for Assad "stepping down" and living in exile anywhere other than Moscow.
Steve Shaer
Yes, I wondered that myself, but perhaps the answer isn’t Syria or the US, but Russia.
If President Trump had done nothing, then Trump loses BIGLY; he looks weak and ineffective, and Putin knows he can dominate Trump.
If, as was the case, President Trump fires a barrage of small missiles aimed at a Syrian airbase, then Putin and Syria lose some easily replaceable equipment and Trump looks “Presidential”, forceful and measured, and his suspected links to Russia appear less possible; so, his value to Putin increases!
Clyde Grossman
I don't know of any liberal who actually approved of Trump's actions in Syria. I think that the author used that sentence as an attention grabber.
Fred Davis
U.S. just dropped the "Mother of All Bombs" in Afghanistan, and I can only remember this cartoon I made in 2007 - Carlos Latuff
[Carlos Latuff is a Brazilian freelance political cartoonist. His works deal with an array of themes, including anti-Zionism, anti-globalization, anti-capitalism, and anti-U.S. military intervention.]
Clowning is a socially useful, skilled artistic  profession.  It should not be compared to an - - - hole like Sean  Spicer.
John Vago
(posting on Portside Labor)
Thank you for posting this. We are hoping to get 1,000 union leaders and members to sign on to the statement!  
Rand Wilson
Go for it!
Laura Berish
Don't just strike. Go home. And we will do our best to make it without you.
Watch us. You think too highly of what they do. But some people such as yourself are totally helpless and dependent of others. We in middle America can farm and do everything else just fine without the slaves of illegal immigrant workers. You need to get out more. I live here. We're good.
Patrick Brock
You won't make it without them. No produce from farm labor. No restaurant workers. No dry cleaners or laundry personnel. No Garbage persons or street sweepers. No housekeepers. No doctors or nurses traveling to rural areas to provide health care. Small businesses would be cut by 2/3. No one to use as a scapegoat.
Carol Lynn Kunnerup
(posting on Portside Culture)
Lack of empathy is a big problem. Rather than looking for equity and justice for all, they only think of themselves and their own problems, even when those problems are small compared to others. They don't even consider what they are doing to the world they are leaving to their own grandchildren.
Ted Robak
Another MAJOR campaign promise that Trump is moving to violate - protecting social security! His guarantee of a 'bigger' and 'better' health care plan - another fraud.
Diane Laison
Single pay is what Republicans and those Democrats who don't support universal medical care call Medicare for All.  Give me my Medicare but I am opposed to that federal government program called single-pay or public option. Have you noticed?
Brad Smith
a really important article.
Paul Buhle
Portside's post last week was super-timely. New York Times just caught on today:
Same with USA Today:
Fred Niles
There is an error in the photo caption with this articles.  Joseph Welch was the Chief Counsel for the Army during the 1954 hearings, not the Chief Senate Counsel.
In a time when we have an Administration so loosely bandying about facts and "alternate facts," it is very important that journalism be resolutely factual, even in the small details.  It's particularly important when discussing something like McCarthyism, which most of the population is too young to remember or even know much about.
Jim Schaefer
Moderator's Note: Many thanks for the correction. You are right. We made the correction on our website, and also forwarded your comment back to our friends at The Nation.
One very under-reported aspect of this latest recourse to McCarthyism has been the concoction of that infamous "fake-news blacklist". 
Dale T. Mathews
Good article by Navasky. But, unwittingly, he bears witness to the persistence and insidiousness of anti-communist, anti-Soviet hysteria, when he himself says that Putin "is not Stalin." That "epithet", Stalin, is tossed out as it has been done for 70+years. Of course we all know what that means. It has been defined as pure evil by those who spawned and continue to propagate McCarthyism. It refers not only to Stalin but to the entire Soviet experience, the contributions of Communists, and socialism
John Gallo
Victor Navasky writes
"My own view is that we won't know what the Russians did or didn't do until a special prosecutor (or some other impartial mechanism) is put in place to investigate the matter, but that the readiness of much of the American press and establishment to assume that the worst charges against Russia (including collaboration with and by Trump) are true is, given the lack of specific evidence, at least in part a legacy of Cold War attitudes toward the Soviet Union."
"One lesson to be learned about McCarthyism has to do with the role that much of the liberal community played in it. I include here some of our staunchest liberal humanists and organizations, like the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr., New York Post editor James Wechsler, Senator Hubert Humphrey, Americans for Democratic Action, and even the American Civil Liberties Union, all of which were infected, I would argue, by the hysteria over the Red Menace. (There were, of course, noble exceptions: a small band of left-liberals like Yale Law School's Tom Emerson, Princeton's H.H. Wilson, the law firm of Rabinowitz and Boudin, and, not least, The Nation's former editor Carey McWilliams, among others.)"
Michael Munk
Interesting but why no mention of Donald Trump's close personal connection with Joe McCarthy's primary aide Roy Cohn? The analogy to Trump is his demonization and witch hunt of anyone who is not fully on board with him.
John S. Morawetz
Why? Because they can!
Larry L. Cunningham
What excellent research. What an assistance to those focusing on the state level if a well-funded liberal think tank could produce 51 state and D.C. versions.
Michael Arney
(posting on Portside Labor)
New rule: If we bomb, terrorize, support terrorists, declare unwinnable wars - such as the war on drugs and terrorism, arm guerrillas and destabilize other countries, we must take in all the people affected by our actions and pay restitution for the damage done.... Deal?
Miguel Alvaro Sarmiento
It thinks it has and it is not the south... it is the bigots who have been living under rocks who have been emboldened.
Ildiko Seitzer
It does little good to try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Your hemming and hawing, back-filling efforts would be better spent by tackling the issue of why and how the Democrats failed to  "craft the right message," as you so cynically put it.
Because p.r. message-crafting approaches are not what's needed. what's needed are solid analyses and programs and agendas that are succinctly described and openly fought for-- something beyond vote-grubbing p.r. ploys.
What's needed is not message-ing but concrete action.
The union households well knew that a vote for Stein or Johnson was in effect a vote for Trump.
John Woodford
(posting on Portside Labor)
The article is great.  The picture, not so much.
Gregory L. Williams
Lead Research Analyst
Office of Legislative Services
(posting on Portside Labor)
That is what I call a real STRIKE! Thank you teachers for showing the way towards quality education!
Elizabeth Milos Rieloff
Can we put single payer on the agenda in NYS? We are probably one GOP senator's vote away from having a majority in the GOP-controlled state senate. I and my neighbors have been calling, writing and visiting our so called Senator Simcha Felder on this issue and others. He has not written or called me back yet. Having a majority of Senate supporters is only a step but it's closer than we've been in years. Here, via Portside, Steven Wishnia reports on labor participation in the lobbying effort.
Daniel Millstone
"Tax Day" is becoming a protest tradition in many US cities.
Yesterday on the plaza of Oakland's Federal Buildings, I joined 20 peace and justice activists in a Tax Day community reading of Dr Martin Luther King's historic "Beyond Vietnam" speech.
"Beyond Vietnam," Dr King's courageous denouncement against the illegal US war against the Vietnamese people is an amazing and immensely powerful speech that is as relevant today as when it was first delivered 4 April 1967. "Beyond Vietnam" is likely the best of Dr King's many great speeches, and should be much better known than the universally popular "I Have a Dream." At the time of the speech, there was no visible, mass anti-Vietnam movement in the streets. Dr King's singular voice stood alone against the advice of all major contemporaries, and even among his own Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The speech caused an irreconcilable break with President Lyndon Johnson, who had worked closely with King in crafting the historic Voting Rights bill. "Beyond Vietnam" was not a public speech; it was delivered at NY's Riverside Church in a call to conscious to a convocation of ministers, clergy, rabbis, priests as a moral appeal to the religious leadership to protest the immorality of US actions against the poor of Vietnam and of the world.
Video presentations of "Beyond Vietnam" are accessible on Youtube; and can be read here.
James E. Vann
Oakland, CA
The Chronicle story on the bluegrass float at this year's San Francisco pride parade leaned a little heavily on the "controversy" theme; in point of fact, California Bluegrass Association members seem to be overwhelmingly in favor of the idea. Folks interested in learning more should check out the #BluegrassPride FB page
Jon D Weisberger
Really a very good movie.[Fences] Reflects people doing the best they can as flawed 'human beings'.
Awilda Jimenez 
(posting on Portside Culture)
Really enjoyed this story. Wow!
Karen Clements
(posting on Portside Culture)
staging and acting - superb
Marilyn Katz
The dishonesty of the claim that "Ms. Odeh was subjected to torture and sexual assault for resisting colonization and occupation" is breathtaking.  The evidence that she was a driving force in bombing a supermarket that killed a couple of university students is really incontrovertible.  She confessed the day after her arrest so the torture claims are suspect, bomb making materials were found in her bedroom, and her co-conspirators have confirmed her role on film in pro-Palestinian documentaries (see the video). 
Since when do Marxists, or any real leftists think that setting off a bomb in an ordinary supermarket is legitimately "resisting colonization and occupation"?  Even bomb throwing leftist revolutionaries targeted high government officials or agents of state repression, not supermarket customers. Treating Odeh as a leftist heroine is a betrayal of all leftist values.
Stan Nadel
Addressing Seriously the Environmental Crisis: A Bold, `Outside the Box' Suggestion for Addressing Climate Change and Other Forms of Environmental Destruction
Are you confused about climate change/global warming: is it real, or is it fake news?  And if it is real, what can be done about it?
I have just published (April 2017) a peer-reviewed article on this subject and what we can do about it in the (relatively new) journal "Class, Race and Corporate Power" on this very subject, and it is on-line for free.
Previously, gave a talk on this paper on March 18, 2017 at the free speech forum in Chicago called The Open University of the Left, for those who prefer to get their information via talks, where I discussed this and what we could do about it.  The program was video-taped and is now available on-line for free.
I presented the most accurate information I could, talking about the environment and human beings, and present-as far as I can tell-the very first specific program to substantively address climate change. I think this is important and deserves your consideration. Please read and/or watch, and if you think it's worth it, please send out to your friends, family and social networks-and ask them to do the same. We've GOT to address this issue and immediately! Thank you for your consideration!
A little bit about me:  I teach at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, Indiana; have a Ph.D. in Sociology, and have been teaching a course on the "Environment and Social Justice" for the last 10 years; worked for many years outside of academia, including as a printer, high school teacher, office worker, etc.; am a trade unionist, and am a former Sergeant in the US Marine Corps (1969-73) who "turned around" while on active duty.
Kim Scipes
In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte
Photographs and text by David Bacon
University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte
Publication date:  May 1, 2017
302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
paperback, $34.95
order the book on the UC Press website. use source code  16M4197 at checkout -- receive a 30% discount
In the Fields of the North is an intensive look at farm workers, documenting work life, living conditions, culture and migration through over 300 photographs and many narratives of workers themselves, in both English and Spanish. The conditions of farm workers have deteriorated greatly since the 1970s and 80s. At the same time, over half of the farm workers of today come from towns in Mexico where people speak indigenous languages like Mixteco and Triqui. In the Fields of the North shows that these conditions are provoking a new wave of organizing efforts. It does so visually, and in the words of farm workers themselves.
“David Bacon renews and updates the progressive documentary tradition with these extraordinary, carefully chosen portraits of farmworkers, their families and communities.”
 - Mike Davis, distinguished professor, sociologist and urban theorist, University of California, Riverside
“David Bacon allows us to be there. Inside the temporary ‘homes’ created in cabins standing in the middle of nowhere. Homes that often become permanent by filling them with the workers’ hope.”
 - Ana Luisa Anza, Editor and Managing Editor, Cuartoscuro
For more articles and images, see and
Law@theMargins with allies, friends and organizational partners are hosting contemporaneous screenings of Workers Voices: Sramik Awaaz on or around the 4th Anniversary of Rana Plaza.
Please join us for one of the screenings in Austin (April 24); Washington, DC (April 24); New York City (April 24); Manhattan, NY and Queens, CUNY Law School, New York; Pittsburgh (April 24) and Melbourne, Australia (May 3). 
These screening will be followed by discussions with community and labor organizers to lift up issues faced by workers globally. The screening will be connected through social media conversations using the #WorkersVoices To join please RSVP because space is limited. If you want to host a screening in your city, email:
The Workmen’s Circle, The Sidney Hillman Foundation, and The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research invite you to a panel discussion and reception with author Sarah Jaffe on April 26th at 7:00pm. This event is part of our activist literary series, with programs throughout 2017.
What has made ordinary Americans become activists in unprecedented numbers? How can we be active participants in the political process? With her book, Necessary Trouble, Jaffe discusses new avenues for protest, activism, and politics in the 21st century. Learn how to effectively fight for your rights for a better world for all. We hope to see you there.
Following this event, join us on May Day (May 1st), when we'll be celebrating International Workers’ Day to continue the fight for immigration and worker rights! (More information about the event/action to come this week.)
Wednesday, April 26
Doors open at 6:30; talk at 7:00pm
247 W 37th Street, 5th Floor
Author Meredith Tax will be speaking about here new book A Road Unforeseen; Women Fight the Islamic State
Friday, MAY 5 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
172 Allen Street
New York, NY 10002
Leftwing Kurdish feminists in Syria and Turkey are taking a leading role in fighting ISIS and building a bottom-up democratic and pluralistic society in Rojava (Syria). This discussion, led by Meredith Tax, author of A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State, will focus on how women transformed the Kurdish liberation movement from a classic guerilla struggle to something much more complex, how their feminism works out in practice, what obstacles they face, and what ideas they can offer US feminists.

After the eruption of the international financial crisis in 2008, Marx's Capital received renewed academic and popular attention. Leading newspapers throughout the world discussed again the contemporary relevance of its pages. Faced with a deep new crisis of capitalism, many are now looking to an author who in the past was often wrongly associated with the "actually existing socialism"; and who was too hastily dismissed after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
For many scholars today, Marx's analyses are arguably resonating even more strongly than they did in his own time. This international conference will bring together several world-renowned sociologists, political theorists, economists, and philosophers, from diverse fields and more than 10 countries with the aim of offering diverse scholarly perspectives and critical insights into the principal contradictions of contemporary capitalism and, in so doing, point to alternative economic and social models.
The conference is structured in nine plenary sessions and around several major themes. Among them there are: new interpretations of Capital in light of ecology, non-European societies and gender; the contemporary relevance of Capital; re-reading Capital as an incomplete project after the new critical edition of Marx's complete work (MEGA²); and the global dissemination and reception of Capital. The presenters will critically reconsider Marx's magnum opus as a work that continues to provide an effective framework to understand the nature of capitalism and the transformations of our times.
May 24-26, 2017 
The Marx Collegium
York University
Conference Organizer: Marcello Musto, The Marx Collegium - York University 
There's never enough time to do or see all that we would like, but we would certainly like to try to honor any priorities you might have.  For Muslim travelers, I know how important it is to have time for prayers at Al Aqsa, and we'll try our best to make that possible for our last Friday in Jerusalem. 
Mostly, we try to meet with as many voices of conscience - Palestinian and Israeli - as we can, those who have distinguished themselves as champions of human rights, justice and peace, and of course on this particular journey we hope to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the trade union community here and similar communities in Palestine and Israel.
Click here for more information. 
The Wisdom of Jesus, Mohammed and The Prophets of Israel (Peace be upon them)
An Interfaith Journey sponsored by The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and The Islamic Association of Greater Hartford - March 8 to March 18, 2017

This journey was led by Dr. Reza Mansoor, President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford, The Rev. David W. Good, Minister Emeritus for The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme and Mary Tomassetti, Coordinator, First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.
On March 8, 37 travelers set out for our Tree of Life Journey through Israel and Palestine, visiting many old friends and a few new voices of conscience.  It was great to reconnect with our friends Mazin and Jessie Qumsiyeh and see their work and generosity that created the Palestine Natural History Museum in Bethlehem.  We met for the first time with Fayrous Sharqaki of Grassroots "Jerusalem Tour," a great way for our travelers to receive an "occupation/colonization 101."  Also, in Nazareth, we met with journalist Jonathan Cook who with astonishing clarity laid out the insidious Kafkaesque nature of the situation.  We had a most remarkable meeting with Omar of Zochrot in a tour of a destroyed/erased Palestinian village, Malul, near Nazareth and also a tour of Nablus and presentation by the Human Supporters Association.  
Excellent presentations were given by our friends, Taiseer Maray in the Golan Heights, Sahar Vardi of American Friends Service Comm., Ivan Karakashian of Defense for Children International - Palestine, Oren Yiftachel of Ben Gurion University (formerly chair of B'TSalem), Hagar School, Rami Elhanan and George Saadeh of the Parents Circle, Khalil Alamour in AlSira (Unrecognized Bedouin Village), Amal Abu Alkhom of Bedouin Women for Themselves, students at Bethlehem University, the Aida Refugee Camp, Amal at Tent of Nations, Avner of Breaking the Silence, Ramzi of Al Kamandjati Music School in Ramallah, and Jeff Halper for our very last presentation.
We also visited Yad Vachem (the Holocaust Museum), and for many, one of the most  poignant of our experiences was a visit to Nabi Saleh to meet with the parents of Ahed Tamimi, the young 15 year old girl who was to speak at our Yale program on Feb. 1st but was denied a visa  (held in the black hole of administrative processing) by our own government.  We stopped by their home to offer an apology on behalf of our country but also to thank them for raising such a compassionate and courageous young woman with the hope she'll be able to join us for a future program.
One message we heard repeatedly, and have been asked to bring back to the US - the Palestinian people do not want or need our pity. They are strong, resilient, people rich in culture and tradition, and like our Native American family here, they will not be erased. They do need our action - they need us to stop funding the occupation, and to stop supporting this apartheid.
We were a group including Muslim, Christian and Jewish travelers, a dozen young college students and teens, and 37 interested and engaged listeners. At our last dinner, our guide Said said that he always gets a headache from group dynamics and challenges when he guides Protestant/Catholic delegations, and so he was rather apprehensive when he learned that there would be Jews, Christians and Muslims in ours, but he expressed his joyful surprise to see the deep friendships and cooperation within our group. A family has been created, and 37 people are ready to share their stories of witness on this journey to the holy land.
The Rev. David W. Good
We are still moved and humbled by the energy and power from those who attended the first SOA Watch Border Convergence. After 26 years of history at the gates of Ft. Benning, SOA Watch held its' first Convergence in Tucson and ambos Nogales, in order to respond to the present-day call to solidarity with Latin America. 
This November 10-12, join us in ambos Nogales for our second bi-national convergence at the militarized U.S./Mexico border, to build the grassroots power necessary to challenge the racist status quo and push back against U.S. intervention in Latin America. 
As we call attention to the militarization of the border and Latin America, we also call for an end to state-sponsored terrorism and violence against our communities inside the United States. Similarly, the mobilization at the border in Nogales is one more way to fight for the closure of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC and put an end to U.S. intervention in Latin America. 
So join us! Organize your community to join human rights activists, torture survivors, union workers, veterans, community organizers, migrants, faith communities, students and educators from across the Americas.
You can look forward to receiving more information about the Convergence in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please check our
SOA Watch Convergence website for important legal and travel information. 
See you at the border!
in solidarity,