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Tidbits - Dec. 13, 2018 - Reader Comments: Immigration, Borders; Wisconsin GOP Coup; George H.W. Bush; 2018 elections; Impeachment Dilemma; GM Closings; Break Up Facebook; Marc Lamont Hill; Lots of Resources and Announcements;

Reader Comments: Immigration and Borders; Wisconsin GOP Attempt Coup; Books About Food; George H.W. Bush; 2018 elections; Impeachment Dilemma; Fighting GM Closings; Break Up Facebook, and ...; Marc Lamont Hill; Lots of Resources and Announcements;

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Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - Dec. 13, 2018, Portside

Re: The Left Case Against Open Borders -- A Review (David Wilson)
Re: Wisconsin Republicans Spurn the Will of the People (Kathy Davenport; Roberto Colon Ocasio; Gerry Garvey; Jim Langevin)
Re: The Ten Best Books About Food of 2018 (David Bacon)
Re: George Herbert Walker Bush and the Myth of the 'Good' Gulf War (Portside Moderator; Philip Specht; Nancy Hull McCormack; Jacqueline Ortiz; Dave Lott; Stephen Kroninger poster; Center for the Study of Political Graphics)
Looking Forward, Looking Backward (Sam Webb)
Crime Scene - Do Not Cross  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail
The impeachment Dilemma (Carole Travis)
Re: In 1970s, Workers at this GM Plant Tried to Reinvent the American Dream. Instead, They Watched it Fade Away (Alan Hart)
Re: Autoworkers Say Fight Necessary To Stop GM Plant Closings, UAW Betrayal (Joe Burns; Ford Cannon)
Re: Break Up Facebook -and Google, Apple, and Amazon (Dave Ecklein; John Case)
Re: Awake in Mississippi on a New Day (Norma Harrison)
Re: The Harsh and Unjust Punishment of Marc Lamont Hill (Joe Reppen; Gregg Dee; Roberto Buxeda)
Re: Trump's EPA Plans To Ease Carbon Emissions Rule For New Coal Plants (Aaron Formhals)
Re: Trump Administration Has Quietly Barred NIH Scientists From Acquiring Fetal Tissue (Michael Fish)
Re: What’s Really Behind France’s Yellow Vest Protest? (Stan Nadel)
Why I Recommend Portside (Benjamin Melançon)

Resources:

A New Toolkit To Organize for Sanctuary & Against War (Institute for Policy Studies)
Let's Talk Power: Organizers Weigh In About Mid-Term Results (Organizing Upgrade)
Wonderful Collection of Activist Poetry and Resistance Art - Stewart Acuff Reading from His Progressive Poetry (Hard Ball Press)
Rod Bush: Lessons from a Radical Black Scholar on Liberation, Love, and Justice (Ahead Publishing House)

Announcements:

We Must Struggle - Winter Book Sale & Prisoner Solidarity Event - Los Angeles - December 15 (Southern California Library)
Lessons from the Yellow Vest Movement - Brooklyn - December 17 (NYC Democratic Socialists of America and Jacobin Magazine)
2019 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference - Washington, DC - January 18 - 21, 2019 (Tefere Gebre and Fred Redmond)

 

 

Re: The Left Case Against Open Borders -- A Review
 

Thanks for sending out this rebuttal to the supposed "left case" against immigration that Irish writer Angela Nagle (note correct spelling) published last month.

I have a personal issue with Nagle's piece, since she cited an article of mine as the source for her quotes from Marx (they appear in a letter he wrote to two US collaborators in 1870). It's strange she chose to bring my article up, since its conclusions were the opposite of hers--and, unlike hers, were based on actual studies indicating how anti-immigrant policies affect the wages of both native-born and immigrant workers.

It's even stranger that she quoted Marx's letter at all. Nagle is calling for native-born workers to support anti-immigrant measures like E-Verify, which is backed by the Trump White House and rightwing propagandist Ann Coulter. In contrast, Marx stressed that capitalists foment these divisions between native-born and immigrant workers and then use the divisions to drive down wages for both groups. His advice to his US co-thinkers was to organize a coalition of immigrant workers and native-born workers, not that “hostility to immigration" should be "a union cause.”

Nagle says "most people need—and want—a coherent, sovereign political body to defend their rights as citizens," which at present would mean a capitalist "sovereign political body." Marx's position was: "The workers have no country" and "Workers of the world, unite."

David Wilson

 

Re: Wisconsin Republicans Spurn the Will of the People
 

Meanwhile in Missouri, state legislators are making plans to push through “Right to Work” even though the majority of voters voted against it.

Kathy Davenport
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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It's really a "coup d'etat" in the shrine of "democracy"--USA!!!

Roberto Colon Ocasio
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Did you notice Walker is an Evangelical Christian?? How come they never practice what they preach and are always so much more hypocritical than humanists?

Gerry Garvey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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I believe that law was in the pipeline before the election. Didn't matter who won. The statement that voters came out in droves to elect Evers is misleading. It was a close race.

Jim Langevin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: The Ten Best Books About Food of 2018
 

(posting on Portside Culture)

It's interesting, and depressing, to note that none of the ten best books about food are about the people who work to produce it (farm workers, meat packing workers) or who bring it to the table (truck drivers, supermarket workers, restaurant workers).  We're food obsessed, but not that interested in how the food is produced, or even more important, who produces it.  Just falls from the sky, I guess.

David Bacon

 

Re: George Herbert Walker Bush and the Myth of the 'Good' Gulf War
 

Original image should have been credited to Gary Huck / http://huckkonopackicartoons.com

Moderator

      =====

The famous Gulf War, where international policeman Bush heroically threw villainous Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, seems to have a far more sinister story behind it.

Philip Specht
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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A rigged war.

Nancy Hull McCormack
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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The world is FILTH,,always has been, only today, Multiplied

Jacqueline Ortiz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Bush 41’s violent legacy. Another war built on lies. A crime against humanity.

Dave Lott
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

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Uncle George Wants You

Uncle George Wants You
Stephen Kroninger
Offset, 1991
Madison, WI

George H.W. Bush is being eulogized as a patriot and accomplished statesman. His slogan was "A kinder, gentler nation." Here are some of his "kinder, gentler" actions.

  • Bush was CIA Director when US ally, General Augusto Pinochet, was torturing, executing, and disappearing people in Chile.
  • He continued Reagan's inaction on the HIV/AIDS crisis, allowing the epidemic to spread.
  • Ran openly racist campaign ads (see Willy Horton ad)
  • Invaded Panama with 24,000 troops. 3000 Panamanians died. Dictator Manuel Noriega, who had been a close US ally, was arrested.
  • Bombed Iraq on false pretenses--used depleted uranium.
  • To prevent Haitian refugees from entering the US, Bush ordered them to Guantanamo--where women who were HIV positive were sterilized without their knowledge.
  • Before Brett Kavanaugh, there was Clarence Thomas--nominated by H.W. Bush to the Supreme Court. [And let's not forget Joe Biden's role in getting Thomas nominated--Biden allowed Judiciary Committee members to savage Anita Hill during questioning and refused to call witnesses who were prepared to back up Hill's testimony.)
  • Bush pardoned Iran-Contra co-conspirators, paving way for Trump's impunity.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics

 

Looking Forward, Looking Backward
 

Politics, it is said on the left, is about power, usually with the P in the upper case. Fair enough. But it doesn’t follow that power should be either the point of departure or end game of left politics. What should? Vision and values.

Especially in these times when someone sits in the White House who is demonstrably without so much as a hint of an uplifting and noble vision, humane values, or a moral compass. If he has a lodestar, it is the accumulation, consolidation, and reckless use of raw power for vile and anti-democratic purposes as well as personal aggrandizement and enrichment.

In these circumstances, isn’t the embrace of a politics that gives pride of place to vision and values imperative for the left? This approach doesn’t ignore power. Power does matter. And in the strategic and tactical conversations of the left and the larger movement, it matters a lot. But it shouldn’t be primary and determinative, anymore than it was for the vision- and value-driven civil rights movement, led by the great revolutionary-democratic visionary Martin Luther King.

And it wasn’t as if King wasn’t mindful of power. How could he not be in the Jim Crow South, where racists used unchecked power and violence to enforce and sustain a system of racial subordination, oppression, and exploitation.

In the communist movement in which I spent most of my adult life, vision and values didn’t always frame political action. In too many instances they were expendable to the exigencies of power. And this was nowhere more so than In the Soviet Union and other socialist countries in Eastern Europe where the ideals of socialism were no match to the desire of power and privilege for the ruling strata. This practice eventually caught up with them, resulting in the sudden and unexpected implosion of these pioneering socialist societies and the dramatic weakening of the communist movement worldwide. Some big parties disappeared; others became a shell of their former selves. Few fully recovered. As for me, it was, if not immediately, a wake up call to take a critical inventory of my understandings of socialism, Marxism, politics, and the place of vision, values, and democratic accountability in my thinking.

[Read full comment here.]

Sam Webb

 

Crime Scene - Do Not Cross  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail
 

Robert Ariail
December 10, 2018

 

The impeachment Dilemma
 

Trump is named in a federal charging document with criminal acts of election tampering.  It is a certainty ‘his’ justice department will not indict him while he is In Office.

In January although the Dems control the House, they will only have 47 seats in the Senate.  A simple majority vote in the House of Representatives impeaches, but a supermajority, 67 Senators, is required for the Senate to convict. The case for bringing charges and conviction are clear. However the Senate is likely to find Trump Not Guilty.

Nancy Pelosi does not want the total focus of the work of the House to be a Trump circus where he is found Not Guilty just before the 2020 elections. Unless 20 (or more to be on the safe side) Republican Senators publicly pledge to convict Trump, Impeach Trump, should the apparent guilt be proven, Pelosi is unwilling to allow the House to hold Impeachment hearings.

The arguments to impeach and not impeach are both solid. Both have historic necessities underpinning them, but only one can be chosen.

I stand with Pelosi. Let Trump be tried out of office. His narcissistic world stage madness should be starved not fed. Deal with income inequality, impending climate catastrophe, criminal justice reform, green jobs, poverty, healthcare. The country’s Trump fury can be temporarily satisfied with jailing Jared, Don Jr and Invanka, and all their evil lackeys...and thugs.

Carole Travis

 

Re: In 1970s, Workers at this GM Plant Tried to Reinvent the American Dream. Instead, They Watched it Fade Away
 

(posting on Portside Labor)

The similar story, from my own plant and local union, of Building 12 at Erie GE in the '70s.

Building 12, Erie GE: Young Worker Militancy in the 1970s

Alan Hart
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Autoworkers Say Fight Necessary To Stop GM Plant Closings, UAW Betrayal
 

While I am a long time supporter of union reform, these folks are sectarian and attack good trade unionists.   Their reporting is not credible and I am surprised you are using them as a source of information.   This is not really a labor article but a post promoting a sectarian meeting.

Joe Burns

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Love this. Included in the reporting is a very key fact. Apparently, the labour contracts for 140,000 workers expire next summer. These announced layoffs are part of GOP planning to break unions and set the ground to move production offshore.
With robotics coming into play, workers are to be replaced by automation and by low cost labour in other countries.

Ford Cannon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Break Up Facebook (and Google, Apple, and Amazon)
 

Good article by Robert Reich.  But I would bust Microsoft first, which for some reason he doesn't even include in his list of Big Tech computer monopolies.  They have stuck us with inefficient and buggy OS (operating systems) for years.  Writers of application software are straitjacketed into specifications dictated by Microsoft OS.  They capriciously come out with new OS instead of fixing those with which we strive to become familiar, necessitating repurchase of essentially the same product, often bloated with unnecessary frills. 

Even at that, nearly every other OS they issue are, relatively speaking, duds (remember Windows ME, Vista, Windows 8).  Sweetheart deals with computer manufacturers insure that Microsoft OS goes on new machines (whether a dud or not - consumers find out after purchase, at their expense).  Microsoft drops support at their pleasure for past OS that still serve many people well.  The near universal use (on over 90% of desktop computers) of Microsoft OS presents a threat to both personal and national security due to their vulnerability.

Dave Ecklein

      =====

Why are two amazons better than one? Why is scale bad? I doubt breaking up these enterprises will raise wages or benefits for their employees, or workers generally. Bernie's $15 campaign against Amazon had more effect because Amazon IS SO LARGE.  None of them seem to be suffering the usual effects of monopoly, a lack of innovation. At  least not yet.

I think the remedy, if there is one, for too big to fail corps is additional public oversight rights, at the Director, Stockholder (Stakeholder) levels, in exchange for the greater public health safety security and economic risks associated with large-, global-scaled criminal or dangerous conduct, made too powerful to supervise by Citizens United and rising inequality, especially in political and legal access.

Too big to fail corps, or strangle holds on public information and media, require more 'socialization' remedies, not more privatized competition. This should not trouble Jeff Bezos all that much: Amazon Web services itself bills its services practically as public goods, as "things everyone that computes has to do" that just gets in the way of more user innovation. Pretty much like a Road, or Bridge. More socialism (but not more than we can swallow), Less capitalism (but enough to persist development in scarce goods and services). More free and cheap stuff to live -- abundance is the ultimate benefit of scale.. More opportunities to perform services for each other. 

Reintroduce the golden rule in resolving commercial relations between nations and peoples, and, in a democracy, social classes: "Do not demand of your partner concessions you would not yourself accept in their position"

John Case

 

Re: Awake in Mississippi on a New Day
 

Am I wrong in thinking ‘how can you write this and not mention Jackson Rising, Kali Akuno...

Building a solidarity economy in Jackson, Mississippi, anchored by a network of cooperatives and worker-owned, democratically self-managed enterprises. https://cooperationjackson.org/

Norma Harrison

 

Re: The Harsh and Unjust Punishment of Marc Lamont Hill
 

He's a RACIST! End of story.

Joe Reppen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Joe Reppen, no he is not a racist! The people of Israel continues to make sure that all generations after them never forget the atrocities they faced, but they themselves are acting as oppressors to the Palestinians. Israel should know that ALL men are equal. Have you looked at the excluding laws and policies that Israel has towards the Palestinians? The world should demand accountability and better treatment of the Palestinians from Israel.

Gregg Dee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Close down CNN and crush the notion that criticizing any country, any government or any individual makes you a racist, besides Joe, you may not want to hear about the treatment of black Jews in Israel, mostly from Ethiopia.

Roberto Buxeda
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Trump's EPA Plans To Ease Carbon Emissions Rule For New Coal Plants
 

Coal is dying and it soon will be dead. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a lethargic devil. It just can't compete with petroleum products as well as renewables (economically speaking)

Aaron Formhals
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Trump Administration Has Quietly Barred NIH Scientists From Acquiring Fetal Tissue
 

on the other hand, they are conducting secret biological warfare any which way they can.

Michael Fish

 

Re: What’s Really Behind France’s Yellow Vest Protest?
 

Yes, but it is being infiltrated by far right forces determined to turn the movement from a socialist direction into the "socialism of fools" as we see - https://www.thejc.com/news/world/gilets-jaunes-protests-emmanuel-macron… 

Leftists need to engage in our own critical analysis, not simply cheer every movement that seems critical of the neo-liberal ethos.  We can hope that our French comrades will prevent this movement from being turned in a fascist direction, but we need to look closely to be sure that that's what's happening.

Stan Nadel

 

Why I Recommend Portside
 

Fantastic curation of news and ideas on how to make the reality the news reflects, better.

Benjamin Melançon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

A New Toolkit To Organize for Sanctuary & Against War
 

As we face one of the most openly anti-immigrant presidential administrations in U.S. history, the campaign for sanctuary cities becomes more important each day. We hope to create a merging of movements into one that links the need for sanctuary with the need to end the wars and militarism that drive people out of their homes and to become refugees in the first place.

We offer this toolkit as a first step in understanding the implications of U.S. wars and militarism abroad and underscore the role of state violence in creating insecure communities in countries around the world. Our challenge now, is to strengthen our movement and expand our conversations on protecting refugees and immigrants as well as other vulnerable communities, in a manner that will:

Download Full Toolkit

Institute for Policy Studies  
1301 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036
202-234-9382

 

Let's Talk Power: Organizers Weigh In About Mid-Term Results
 


 

The 2018 Mid-Terms changed the landscape and set the stage for the intense political warfare that lies ahead. This page offers a collection of articles and interviews posted on Organizing Upgrade that assess the election results, dig deep for insights and lessons from some of the most dynamic campaigns and offer ideas on strategy from now through 2020 and beyond.

Among the pieces posted:

If you're looking for ideas on strategy from now through 2020 and beyond, check out these and other articles in the collection here.

In unity,

Organizing Upgrade editorial collective

 

Wonderful Collection of Activist Poetry and Resistance Art - Stewart Acuff Reading from His Progressive Poetry
 

Wonderful lifelong trade union activist & poet Stewart Acuff reading from his powerful new book https://www.hardballpress.com/fiction--poetry.html of poetry and resistance art, Justice Is Our Love in Action. Perfect little book to heal America's wounds, available from Hard Ball Press and booksellers everywhere. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfZbBq_RH44&t=2s  

Watch and listen here.

Timothy Sheard, editor Hard Ball Press, member National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981

HARDBALL PRESS
415 Argyle Rd., Suite 6A
Brooklyn, NY  11218

 

Rod Bush: Lessons from a Radical Black Scholar on Liberation, Love, and Justice
 

Roderick D. Bush (1945-2013) was a scholar, educator, mentor, activist and a loving human being. Contributors to this anthology share his lessons on how to effect liberation and radical social transformation in the everyday practices of scholarship, teaching, activism, and personal interaction through a loving spirit dedicated to social justice.

Roderick Douglas Bush (1945–2013) was a scholar, educator, mentor, activist and a loving human being. In reflecting on his life well-lived, the contributors in Rod Bush: Lessons from a Radical Black Scholar on Liberation, Love, and Justice share insightful lessons from his life and works. Rod Bush was deeply convinced that “Pan-European racism is the Achilles’ heel of the modern world-system, and the demographic situation of the United States, with its large, strategically located populations of color, is a key locus of struggle for a more just, democratic, and egalitarian world order.” This book shows by the example of Rod Bush how one can “be the change”—through a commitment to everyday practices and personal transformations that embody, enable, embrace, and engage global social change.

This anthology provides deep reflections on the question of how one can live radical principles in contemporary times. What does it mean to be human? How does one embed love and justice in one’s worldview and daily practice? Rod Bush, partner, colleague, teacher, mentor, comrade, and friend, was well known as an activist scholar who incorporated his values into his teaching, mentorship and everyday interactions. Therefore, his theoretical interests and practical involvements in movements are intimately linked and simultaneous.

Ordering information here.

 

We Must Struggle - Winter Book Sale & Prisoner Solidarity Event - Los Angeles - December 15
 

Southern California Library
6120 S. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044
(323) 759-6063

 

Lessons from the Yellow Vest Movement - Brooklyn - December 17 
 


Photo from Jonah Furman post in Lessons from the Yellow Vest Movement

Hosted by NYC Democratic Socialists of America and Jacobin Magazine

Monday, December 17, 2018 at 7 PM – 9 PM

Verso Books
20 Jay Street - Suite 1010
Brooklyn, New York 11201

The gilets jaunes (French for “yellow vests”) movement has captured the attention of the world, and does not appear to be going away. The movement that started as an online protest against a proposed fuel tax hike has morphed into a formidable threat against President Macron, even after winning the repeal of the proposed tax hike, an increase in the minimum wage, and mobilizing hundreds of thousands of people across France, as well as spilling over into Belgium and the Netherlands.

So who are the “yellow vests,” where did they come from, and what are the lessons of their movement for working class politics and environmental movements? The International Committee of NYC-DSA, the Climate Justice Working Group, the NYC International Socialist Organization, and Jacobin are excited to present a panel discussion on the movement, featuring Kate Aronoff, Jonah Birch, and (via Skype) Emre Öngün in Paris.

  • Kate Aronoff is a contributor to The Intercept and a writing fellow at In These Times covering climate and American politics.
  • Jonah Birch is a contributing editor at Jacobin and a sociologist who studies working-class struggle in France.
  • Emre Öngün is a longtime CGT unionist and socialist activist in Paris.
  • Moderator:  Ella Mahony

Thanks to Verso Books for hosting.

 

2019 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference - Washington, DC - January 18 - 21, 2019
 

Collective action is on the rise. More Americans are standing together to take action, in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work, to address racial and economic inequality and violence. Our theme for the 2019 AFL-CIO Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference, “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” celebrates and expands on this rising—on how we mobilize and train our communities and workers to meet the shared challenges we face head on.

Register for the conference today.

As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: “You look around the country, you see various forms of collective action on the rise...whether it’s Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement, the teachers’ movement, young workers coming together to stop violence—all of these are collective action where people are saying that the only way we’re gonna get this done is if we...lock arms with the people standing next to us.”

We look forward to you joining us in Washington, D.C., for the 2019 MLK Conference to rise up with courage and conviction to come together and demand a better way forward. There’s no time like the present to engage our affiliates, constituency groups and partners on the intersection of race and class and unite around a policy agenda to advance social and economic justice. We will gather Jan. 18–21, 2019, in our nation’s capital for the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference.

Register here to attend the MLK Conference.

We look forward to welcoming you to Washington, D.C., this coming January.

Visit TheMLKConference.org for more details.

In Solidarity,

Tefere Gebre
Executive Vice President, AFL-CIO
    

Fred Redmond
International Vice President, United Steelworkers
Honorary Chair, 2019 MLK Conference