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Tidbits - Apr. 4, 2019 - Reader Comments: Martin Luther King Remembered; Military Budget; Reparations; Amazon, Foxconn; Puerto Rico; Mozambique; Brexit; Venezuela; Resources; Announcements; and more...

Reader Comments: Martin Luther King Remembered; Military Budget; Reparations; Progressive Candidates; Taking Care of Amazon and Foxconn; Puerto Rico; Mozambique; Brexit; Venezuela; Resources; Lots of Announcements; and more...

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources and Announcements - Apr. 4, 2019,Portside

51 years ago - I've Been to the Mountaintop - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech at Memphis Sanitation Workers Rally - April 3, 1968
Re: Trump Wants to Give 62 Cents of Every Dollar to the Military. That's Immoral (Kipp Dawson; Margie Bernard; Tommy Elder; Carmen Carter; Milton L Butts Jr.; Gerald Middlemist)
Re: The Green New Deal: A Strategy for a More Equal United States (Marvin)
Mueller Bombshell  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
Re: Bernie Sanders Asks the Right Question on Reparations: What Does It Mean? (Leone Hankey; Mali Martha Lightfoot; George Fish)
Re: Why Can’t We Close the Racial Wealth Gap? (John Woodford)
Re: When Former Prosecutors Rebrand Themselves as Progressives to Win Elections (Stephanie Simmons; Tina Shannon; Diane Laison; Sam Webb; Kathy Utley; Corkey Custer)
Re: The People of Palestine Are on the March (Harold Dyck; Stan Nadel; Gail Seaton Humbert)
Re: Thousands of Workers at US Factories in Mexico are Striking for Higher Wages (Wendi Galczik; Sarah Juracich)
Re: Do Corporations Like Amazon and Foxconn Need Public Assistance? (Mali Martha Lightfoot; Ed Glazar; Vance Petersen)
Re: A Week After Worker Strike, UC Davis Hospital Residents and Interns Seek To Join Labor Union (Roberto Buxeda; Judy Darida-O'Neal)
Re: Disaster Aid Bill Hits Snag After Trump Tells GOP Puerto Rico Gets Too Much Aid (Tom McCann)
Re: Mozambique Floods Cover More Ground Than NYC, Chicago, D.C., and Boston — Combined (Clifton Neely; Jack Radey)
Re: What a No-Deal Brexit Would Mean for Ireland (Philip Specht; Susan Collier Lamont; Tony Camarota; Adgita Diarie; Jack Radey)
Re: Venezuela, US Solidarity, and the Future of Socialism (Jonathan Nack; Marty Feldman)
Re: Fossils Document the Hour After the Meteor Hit (Scott Nicholson; Jim Noyes; Steve Warren; Jim Price; Rusty Rebar; Sue VanHattum; Sarah Menefee)
Re: Little Boy (Dick Hall)
Limit Nestle’s Michigan Water Withdrawals (Ellen Cantarow)


Attention Californians  --  New Campaign Tools to Keep the Pressure on CalSTRS (CodePink))
LeftRoots is launching a journal on strategy for liberation!


Picerno, Italy Commemoration of Vito Marcantonio - April 9 - 11 (Vito Marcantonio Forum)
Moral March For Housing - New York - April 11 (Housing Justice for All))
Socialism in Our Time - New York - April 13 & 14 (Historical Materialism and Jacobin)
From Swastika to Jim Crow - New York - April 17 (Leo Baeck Institute; Center for Jewish History; American Jewish Historical Society; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)
"The Women of Cancer Alley" – a Freedom Flicks screening - New York - April 18 (Center for Constitutional Rights; Louisiana Bucket Brigade)
City of Workers, City of Struggle - How Labor Movements Changed New York - Opens May 1, 2019 (The Museum of the City of New York)
Pete Seeger Centennial Celebration - New York - May 4 (Peoples Voice Cafe)
The Makings of a Progressive Foreign Policy - New York - May 10 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)


51 years ago - I've Been to the Mountaintop - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech at Memphis Sanitation Workers Rally - April 3, 1968

Watch full speech here.  


“We’ve got some difficult days ahead,” Martin Luther King, Jr., told an overflowing crowd in Memphis, Tennessee, on 3 April 1968, where the city’s sanitation workers were striking. “But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land” (King, “I’ve Been,” 222–223). Less than 24 hours after these prophetic words, King was assassinated by James Earl Ray.

King had come to Memphis two times before to give aid to the Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike. On 18 March, he spoke at a rally before 15,000 people and vowed to return the following week to lead a march. James Lawson and King led a march on 28 March, which erupted in violence and was immediately called off. Against the advice of his colleagues in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King returned to Memphis on 3 April 1968, seeking to restore nonviolence back to the movement in Memphis.

 After arriving in Memphis, King was exhausted and had developed a sore throat and a slight fever. He asked Ralph Abernathy to take his place at that night’s scheduled mass meeting at Bishop Charles Mason Temple. As Abernathy took the podium he could sense the disappointment of the crowd, which had turned out in the hundreds to hear King speak. Abernathy called King at the hotel and convinced him to brave the bad weather and come down to the temple. When King arrived, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. After Abernathy introduced King, the 39-year-old leader took the podium and began to speak to the audience extemporaneously. “Something is happening in Memphis,” King said. “Something is happening in our world” (King, “I’ve Been,” 207). Surveying great times in history, including Egypt, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, and the Civil War, King said he would “be happy” if God allowed him “to live just a few years in the second half of the twentieth century” (King, “I’ve Been,” 209).

As King recalled the events in Birmingham in 1963, he painted a bleak picture of the times, yet said this was the best time in which to live. As King concluded his speech, he began to reminiscence about his near fatal stabbing in September 1958. He exclaimed that he would have missed the emergence of the student sit-ins in 1960, the Freedom Rides in 1961, the Albany Movement in 1962, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, and the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965.

In a prophetic finale to his speech, King revealed that he was not afraid to die: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life—longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will…. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord” (King, “I’ve Been,” 222–223). Witnesses, including Abernathy, Andrew Young, and James Jordan said King had tears in his eyes as he took his seat. “This time it just seemed like he was just saying, ‘Goodbye, I hate to leave,’” Jordan supposed (Honey, 424). On 4 April, while King waited for a limousine to take him to dinner at Reverend Billy Kyles’ home, he was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute


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Re: Trump Wants to Give 62 Cents of Every Dollar to the Military. That's Immoral

Not “our” values. Our money, but THEIR power to spend it AGAINST us and the people like us across this planet.

Kipp Dawson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This provides no protection for U.S. citizens, only more poverty.

Margie Bernard
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


My God. My past reaction would be load up on defense stocks. But this is immoral.

Tommy Elder
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


pretty strange from I guy who did every thing he could to avoid military service. hope your feet are feeling better. try walking on them heard it helps

Carmen Carter
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A budget shows our values more clearly than any tweet, campaign speech, or political slogan.

Milton L Butts Jr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The Soviet Union collapsed because they spent so much on their military that their nations infrastructure literally fell apart.

Not terribly surprising that Putin is making sure trump causes the same thing here...

Gerald Middlemist
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Green New Deal: A Strategy for a More Equal United States

As had the New Deal in the Great Depression, the Green Deal will, if and when implemented not only save the earth, it will save capitalism for at least a generation.  One would, therefore, suppose that enlightened capitalists (i.e., those capable of thinking beyond the next quarterly bottom line) would wholeheartedly embrace its core principles.  But, like the scorpion riding the back of the good Samaritan swimming tortoise, it is in its nature to kill its would-be savior. 



Mueller Bombshell  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers
March 26, 2019


Re: Bernie Sanders Asks the Right Question on Reparations: What Does It Mean?

Unfortunately, When Sanders asked what Does it mean, That might have been the right question but it was not asked in the right spirit. He was kind of dissing the issue, Instead of forthrightly saying He supports making whole the harm over generations to black people And figuring out how to do that. White people regardless of how progressive or left-wing they think they are, are Just part of the problem when they start whitesplaining why reparations are not the answer In their expert opinions. That is not the way to end racism, and it certainly isn’t a way to win elections

Leone Hankey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I can't say how important I think asking this question is. I know people have vilified Sanders over the issue of reparations but he has never said anything other than calling for a need to identify a concrete plan or definition of what reparations might be. I have a lot of respect for that, other politicians say- Yes, we need to make reparations but say nothing about how that would be accomplished. That doesn't make them better, it means they are taking the easy way out by making empty promises that tell one set of people what they want to hear and drive another set of people into anger- over nothing because nothing is being proposed. For me, it's another reason I like Sanders as a candidate. He doesn't shy away from the hard questions.

Mali Martha Lightfoot
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Reparations is in so many ways a crummy idea that will end up de facto discriminating both against non-whites as well as whites, & will only further the racial divide--that is, if it could even be meaningfully calculated how much "reparations" are owed. I have a degree in economics--it's far too difficult to separate out effects from slavery from everything else, would naturally discriminate against blacks who are not descendants of US slaves, would force a heavy tax burden on all, inc. people not implicated w/ slavery at all, which would include a lot of whites (only rich people could afford slaves). Miserable idea, will only exacerbate the racial divide. Are far better things that can be done in the here & now to bring people together in solidarity, not further divide them on racial lines. & it's sooooooo "liberal:: got a social problem? Write a check! Reparations is just guilt-tripping white "radical" masochism.

George Fish
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Why Can’t We Close the Racial Wealth Gap?

Devah Pager's famous study gives the lie to this assertion, showing that Black job applicants with same credentials as white had less success even when the whites had a criminal record and the Blacks did not.

"What was surprising was that race actually turned out to be more significant than a criminal background. Notice that employers were more likely to call Whites with a criminal record (17% were offered an interview) than Blacks without a criminal record (14%). And while having a criminal background hurt all applicants’ chances of getting an interview, African Americans with a non-violent offense faced particularly dismal employment prospects. Imagine if the fake criminal offense had been for a property or violent crime?"

John Woodford


Re: When Former Prosecutors Rebrand Themselves as Progressives to Win Elections

We have always had racially based police killings since the founding of this nation. Here's the real question: Can a prosecutor be a good president? We had one for governor and he sucked. We know there will always be some back story and the ability to ignore the authentic for the sake of 'winning'. That's what makes a good prosecutor in a land of twisted laws. I don't think it is a trait I want in a president.

Stephanie Simmons
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It’s not the time to be running these kind of candidates. We need a different direction in this time of racialized police killings.

Tina Shannon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I think it is important to know whether this article is correct. I have seen other similar statements about Harris. On the other hand, one comment called this a right-wing smear. What is correct? It matters.

Diane Laison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


we also have to give people space to change; at least as much as we give ourselves.

Sam Webb
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Are you only picking women of color?

Kathy Utley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A lot of these hit pieces are from the right wing , disguised in progressive language. It’s a continuation of the election attacks in 2016.

Corkey Custer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The People of Palestine Are on the March

Just within a few weeks of an election, how convenient for Netanyahu that a couple of rockets landed in Tel Aviv, with no fatalities. Nothing like a manufactured, genocidal war against a racistly dehumanized enemy to shore up support for re-election.

Harold Dyck
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"The bombs start again. Israel, as if on a timer, begins to pulverize Gaza. The bombs strike from one end of the country to another,"  Those evil Israelis are at it again, dropping bombs on innocent Hamas sites in Gaza--that's the line here.  That rockets from Gaza were fired first at Tel Aviv goes down a black hole.  Phooey!

Stan Nadel


I don't have an appropriate emoticon to use for what Israel is doing is evil but it is.

Gail Seaton Humbert
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Thousands of Workers at US Factories in Mexico are Striking for Higher Wages

A little bit of karma coming their way? Couldn't happen to a worse bunch of greedy heartless psychopaths - Big Corp USA..

Wendi Galczik
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Good for them. Just because Mexico is a poor country doesn't mean these rich companies need to keep it that way...

Sarah Juracich
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Do Corporations Like Amazon and Foxconn Need Public Assistance?

(posting on Portside Labor)

No, they do not! There is not any logical explanation for offering FoxConn $219-500K per position created. Especially when FoxConn workers are being paid, in some cases, $14/hr. It would be better to put that kind of money into schools, healthcare, and housing for area residents. That would at least benefit the district:

"Taiwan-based Foxconn, the world’s largest maker of electronics components, had selected Milwaukee as its North American headquarters and Racine County as the site for its first American plant, an LCD television-screen factory that would, as the Journal Sentinel reported, eventually “create thousands of jobs.” In exchange, Foxconn would receive the largest corporate-incentives package for a foreign company in US history—between $219,000 to half a million dollars for every position created, according to the independent research group the Wisconsin Budget Project.

It was an odd choice for a cutting-edge campus, and an extraordinary gamble. Though manufacturing still exists in the area, it tends to be low-tech, and the job market is tight: just 3 percent of the local population is unemployed. It wasn’t unusual to offer tax breaks to a major employer, but the Foxconn package was so big that special legislation was required (though the Republican-controlled legislature had no trouble passing the bill). Many Wisconsinites, however, were furious: there had been no public debate about such a generous handout. Meanwhile, local schools and state universities were suffering from years of budget cuts, and inner-city communities had been hit by rising levels of incarceration and long-term unemployment not reflected in labor statistics..."

Mali Martha Lightfoot
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


No but their employees do

Ed Glazar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Could not agree more. Too often politicians throw in huge incentives for companies to relocate or build new facilities with no input from the general population or those directly affected. Millions of dollars have been given away here in Windsor. I am not all that certain they have been successful nor was any postmortem done to determine who actually got the cash.

Vance Petersen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: A Week After Worker Strike, UC Davis Hospital Residents and Interns Seek To Join Labor Union 

(posting on Portside Labor)

In the early 1980’s the Committee of Interns and Residents of NY participated in a strike in an attempt to assure that public hospitals had adequate supplies and equipment. The strike was initially a success but many of the doctors had little or no experience dealing with labor issues and , under the threat of being fired, began returning to work prematurely. It is very important to speak clearly to the MD’s and prepare them for a bitter struggle.

Roberto Buxeda
Posted on Portside's Facebook pager


Hospital workers in unions...a better outcome for patients, too.

Judy Darida-O'Neal


Re: Disaster Aid Bill Hits Snag After Trump Tells GOP Puerto Rico Gets Too Much Aid

Why do the republicans party and the president have a vendetta against Puerto Rico.

Tom McCann
Posted on Portside's Facebook page




Re: Mozambique Floods Cover More Ground Than NYC, Chicago, D.C., and Boston — Combined

Where is the humanitarian aid?

Clifton Neely
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Cuba has sent a field hospital, the US, which just cut off aid for Puerto Rico, and has done little for the survivors of the Paradise, CA fire, has the military massing "humanitarian aid" supplies... on the Columbia/Venezuelan border. Because Trump cares...

Jack Radey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: What a No-Deal Brexit Would Mean for Ireland

"There is a perilous likelihood that this year, in the event of a no-deal UK exit from the European Union, there will be a new hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Customs checks and passport inspections. Fences and wires. Police dogs and blast walls. Expect the worst."

Philip Specht
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Brexit is one of those both/and situations. The EU is better than the US, but it is neoliberal and moving more strongly in that direction every day. {Reminder! Neoliberalism is causing the death of life on this planet.) A country - in this case, Britain - could want to remove itself from "the clutches of a faceless and foreign transnational superpower" for very good reasons. Unfortunately, it's being done for all the wrong reasons.

"Of all the calamities of Brexit, a harder border between the two Irelands would be perhaps the most tragic, because while the damage done to Britain are the self-inflicted injuries of the 2016 referendum, no one in either Ireland asked for this.

"Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. Counties with heavy Remain votes correlate to Sinn Féin votes in the most recent British general election. Worse, the Republic of Ireland never got to vote on this at all. And yet it’s the Irish whose world is being upended more than anyone else in Europe."

Susan Collier Lamont
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The irony is that neoliberalism has been strongest in UK (going back to the Thatcher days) than any other EU country and the people who funded the Brexit campaign are hardcore neoliberals.

Tony Camarota
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


First it was the 'Iron' Lady, now it's the 'pot-metal' lady. Who knows maybe Jolly ole 'England will return to coal.

Adgita Diarie
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Ah... Obviously reimposing a hard border between the six counties and the rest of Ireland would be a bad idea. But the facile claim, "Borders mean conflict, borders mean war," which the article makes several times is a bit of a stretch to my way of thinking. Peace came to Northern Ireland because the Brits got tired of having their new stock exchange go up in an explosion, the Republicans got tired of their best young men dying or spending the rest of their lives in prison, and the Unionists got tired of living with war every day, as did the Republicans in the north, as did just about everyone. One of the prime forces pushing the Provisional IRA and the UVF towards the peace table were their prisoners, who were sick and tired of the struggle. Most importantly of all, there was an understanding that this was not getting anyone anywhere they wanted to go. So they stopped.

Now in Ireland the physical force as the only solution to occupation ideology goes far back, to the landing of Strongbow almost 1,000 years ago, and the IRA, while it too has deep historical roots, can trace its direct heredity back to before WWI, in the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen's Army. But after the peace talks were concluded, the Provisionals drew the same conclusion that the Officials had drawn many years before - that the gun, while it has a glorious history, magnificent songs, legions of martyrs whose names will live forever, and of course avoids all the frustrations of political struggle, compromise, talk talk talk, is never going to achieve a united Ireland. The ONLY route which can lead to success is the political road. And they destroyed their arsenal, their explosives, their AR-15s, their M-60s, their old British Enfields, their few RPGs, their homemade mortars, even their sainted Thompson submachine guns from America, the works.

Absent some great Orange atrocity (here I speak of the Unionists - Ireland sure takes some changing of gears mentally - the Unionists are for union with Great Britain, not trade unionism, and are the same as the Organgemen, while the people fighting for liberation are the Republicans...), it is very hard to see how there could be another war. The magnificent structure of the IRA, with its supply routes, safe houses, and entire underground structure has been dismantled. No army, no guns, who's going to war?

Jack Radey
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Venezuela, US Solidarity, and the Future of Socialism

Steve Striffler makes many good points.  He is correct that not much of a solidarity movement with Venezuela ever developed in the U.S.  The major responsibility for that weakness certainly lies with the U.S. radical left.  There are many reasons for this and Striffler explores some of them.  He does leave out a number factors though, such as the decline in radical left organizations in the U.S. from the 1970s until just a few years ago.

Striffler also doesn’t factor in the relative rise in anarchist thought with respect to socialist ideologies in the U.S. over the past two decades. Anarchists never looked kindly on Venezuela, nor any of the left governments that came to power in South America in the so-called pink tide, and have apparently no interest in building solidarity with socialist movements there.

Another major reason why no strong solidarity movement developed in the U.S., as compared to the movement of the 1980s in solidarity with Nicaragua and El Salvador, lies with the Venezuelans.  The Bolivarian revolutionary movement has never put anywhere near the emphasis on building a solidarity movement within the U.S. as the Nicaraguan or Salvadoran movement’s did. I’m not sure why that is, as the movement in Venezuela is much more internationalist than the movements in Central America.  It may be that the leadership in Venezuela did not the need for a strong solidarity movement in the U.S. If that was true when Chavismo was at the height of its power, it is certainly no longer true now.  Whatever their reasons may have been, the Bolivarian leadership never put near the energy into nurturing a solidarity movement in the north and developing a strong relationship with it.

The U.S. is on a path to war in Venezuela.  If the situation descends into war, and at this moment now, before it does, there is a crying need for the U.S. left to build a solidarity movement, as well as a broader anti-war movement.

In solidarity,

Jonathan Nack


The mainstream media (MSM) almost exclusively presents the State Department viewpoint on all foreign policy. With regards to Venezuela the MSM has been controlling the public perception of Venezuela with lies for 20 years. All other views aren’t open for discussion. Until progressives, if they ever do, overthrow the oligarchy that runs our country nothing much will change with our foreign policy.

Marty Feldman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Fossils Document the Hour After the Meteor Hit

I'll read the article (link to scholarly site in comments)...the headline is kinda spectacular, and thus kinda wonky.

BUT....Chicxulub, big asteroid that hit on the Yucatan Peninsula +/-66M years ago and caused a BIG extinction that killed the dinosaurs and most animal life on Earth DID happen.

And you can see evidence of the impact out in the Big Bend Region where the K-T Boundary Line, an Iridium rich layer of sediment (asteroids have lots of Iridium in 'em) that designates the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary Periods, is visible in the rock layers. I've seen it a few times.

Scott Nicholson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


a killing field laid down soon after the asteroid impact

Jim Noyes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The forensic science in this is fascinating

Steve Warren
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


this is really cool!

Jim Price
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"Key confirmation of the meteor hypothesis was the discovery of a buried impact crater, Chicxulub, in the Caribbean and off the coast of the Yucatan in Mexico, that was dated to exactly the age of the extinction. Shocked quartz and glass spherules were also found in K-Pg layers worldwide. The new discovery at Tanis is the first time the debris produced in the impact was found along with animals killed in the immediate aftermath of the impact." -- any old time another big rock could hit & turn all your careful plans to dust (life is more precious than it seems)...

Rusty Rebar
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Wow. This is exciting. And so lucky for Alvarez to get to see this, after figuring out why the dinosaurs died. He wrote a great book on those previous discoveries, T Rex and the Crater of Doom.

Sue VanHattum
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We probably have memories of this buried in our DNA

Sarah Menefee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Little Boy

(posting on Portside Culture)

A 50’s Poet who was at the vanguard of the “beat” generation. His Coney Island of the mind was his most commercially successful effort. Very talented, but was not bound by the discipline of traditional writing. His attempt to be avant-garde blurred his work, I can’t imagine his style works in the long form of a novel. I might have to find out.

Dick Hall
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Limit Nestle’s Michigan Water Withdrawals

I just signed the petition "Limit Nestle’s Michigan Water Withdrawals" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 200,000 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:


Ellen Cantarow


Attention Californians  --  New Campaign Tools to Keep the Pressure on CalSTRS (CodePink)

Keep the Pressure on CalSTRS: Teachers’ pension fund to meet with war profiteer General Dynamics.

On March 12th, retired public school teachers Jef Schultz and Susan Witka, CODEPINK co-founder Jodie Evans, and CODEPINK organizer Nancy Mancias met with CalSTRS External Affairs Director Diane Stanton and other CalSTRS staff members. We shared your serious concerns about the pension fund making millions by investing in war profiteer General Dynamics, a company responsible for killing innocent civilians around the world — including women and children. Read Jef’s moving speech to CalSTRS.

With your support, we have been able to move CalSTRS to investigate these investments. This is a huge victory! In April, CalSTRS is now scheduled to meet with General Dynamics and we want to make sure your concerns are represented at that meeting. We have a variety of new tools so you can be more effective when reaching out to them. You can send CalSTRS an email and you can also choose to send a letter to the editor.

Earlier in the year, we petitioned CalSTRS to make them aware that General Dynamics is partly responsible for the innocent lives lost in Yemen and that the company’s arms sales only contribute to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in the region. We successfully delivered over 800 petition signatures; however, our work is not done. We are in for a long fight, so we need you to join us in keeping the pressure on CalSTRS to divest from war profiteer General Dynamics.

For books, not bombs,

Ann, Ariel, Carley, Caroline, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Lily, Maya, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Paki, Ryan, Sarah, Tighe, Ursula and Zena with Susan Witka, Jef Schultz, and CalSTRS members
PO Box 475142
San Francisco, CA 94147



LeftRoots is launching a journal on strategy for liberation!

We’re really excited to share a new project that we’ve been hard at work on over the past few months. We’re launching a journal! 

Out to Win! will explore strategy for socialist liberation from the perspective of leftists on the front lines of movement struggles inside the belly of the beast. 

We offer Out to Win! as a window into our organization’s process of strategy development, and an invitation into a conversation that is far from finished. What will it take to put our forces on the offensive and win big for our people? What will it take to confront the climate crisis? What will it really take to win 21st century socialism?

This effort will be more than an effort to identify critical questions. We aim to provide our best responses to this urgent questions, and we hope Out to Win! can help us build our collective clarity about what our way forward should be on the road to liberation.

Read Out to Win! in English or Spanish

You can reach the Out to Win! editorial team at

PO Box 32217
Oakland, CA 94604


Picerno, Italy Commemoration of Vito Marcantonio - April 9 - 11

We are proud to announce that the hometown of Marcantonio’s family, Picerno, Italy is commemorating Vito Marcantonio with a three-day festival beginning on April 9th, 2019.

VMF founding member, Stephen Siciliano, a journalist who hosts Marcantoniana, published a story just over a year ago covering the Street Naming Ceremony at Marcantonio’s Lucky Corner on East 116th Street and Lexington Avenue in the East Harlem section of Manhattan. Saverio Romeo, a Picerno native currently residing in London, read the story and got in contact with us to inform the VMF of their intention to do an extended version of the VMF’s street naming.

Frank Marcantonio Jr, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Speaker of the City Council Melissa Mark-Viverito, LuLu LoLo Pascale, Gloria Quiñones, Roberto Ragone; Back row: Christopher Bell, Gerald Meyer
credit: Vito Marcantonio Fourm

The Municipality of Picerno has had the idea of an event on Vito Marcantonio for a long time. Matera, a site of great historical significance, has received from the United Nations the distinction of Capital of Culture. This has helped provide the financial opportunity for developing a commemorative Marcantonio event within a moment of great visibility for the entire region of Basilicata, which is located in Southern Italy, is an explosion of stories, characters, and ideas all coming from its towns and villages.. We all hope the event will be just the beginning of a number of activities celebrating the legacy of Vito Marcantonio, a great defender of human rights.

Various personalities from Avigliano, the hometown of Leonard Covello, the incomparable educational philosopher who dedicated his life to Italian immigrant children, will attend the event in the hope of creating a connection between the two towns based on the Marcantonio-Covello mentorship that evolved into a partnership.

In addition, the event organizers have sponsored two VMF members to attend the Festival in Picerno! The VMF has elected Roberto Ragone and Gary Bono as our ambassadors for this enriching journey that will help promote.

We look forward to hearing a report back from Roberto Ragone and Gary Bono who will share their experiences with Picerno and with those who attend to find ways to continue this valuable relationship.

Vito Marcantonio Forum


Moral March For Housing - New York - April 11 (Housing Justice for All)

Tenants' rights in New York expire in just 11 WEEKS! 

Join community, faith, & labor leaders to fight evictions. We'll have a rally at Abyssinian Baptist Church, followed by a march to the State Office Building to hold a vigil for those who have been evicted thanks to weak tenants' rights and unaffordable rent. 

100 New Yorkers are evicted every day. It's now or never for housing justice— We need Universal Rent Control!

Thursday April 11 at 5:30 PM - Doors open at 5 PM

Abyssinian Baptist Church
132 Odell Clark Pl
New York, New York

Housing Justice for All
Upstate/Downstate Housing Alliance


Socialism in Our Time - New York - April 13 & 14 (Historical Materialism and Jacobin)

Join us at New York's largest socialist conference for over 70 panels and workshops, featuring more than 200 speakers. See the full schedule now.

James Baldwin School
351 W 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Tickets are just $40 for the entire weekend. Single Day tickets now available.  

Join us for dozens of panels and workshops, including:
What happens if Bernie wins? • The socialist case for open borders • Feminism for the 99% • How the Democrats dug their own grave • What happened to Latin America’s Pink Tide? • Revolution and counter-revolution in the Middle East • Technology and working class composition • a special track informed by the Green New Deal, and much more.

We will also screen the film “A Feeling Greater Than Love” on Saturday at 5:00pm—free and open to the public.

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Socialism is on the march. How can a new generation turn this moment, radically open and turbulent, into a permanent feature of the North American social landscape?

On April 13-14, 2019, the Socialism in Our Time conference will explore this question. It will provide an emerging movement the space to ask new questions, identify key challenges, develop our understanding of capitalism, and consider struggles to build an alternative.

Over two days in New York City, Socialism in Our Time will bring together hundreds of scholars, seasoned activists, labor organizers, union members, and journalists, as well as many who are new to or curious about socialism. Both new and veteran leftists will connect, discuss, and debate at dozens of panels and workshops.

Perspectives on Socialist Strategy in the Democratic Socialists of America


  • Renée Paradis, DSA Socialist Majority
  • Neal Meyer, Socialist Call
  • John Michael Colón, Libertarian Socialist Caucus
  • Tawny Tidwell, Build
  • Miriam Bensman, DSA North Star: The Caucus for Socialism and Democracy

The Democratic Socialists of America has exploded as a political force since 2016. Membership has gone from less than 10,000 to nearly 60,000, DSA members hold elected positions everywhere from the House of Representatives to city councils around the country, and DSA members are playing key roles in working-class struggles of all kinds, including the labor movement, the immigrant rights movement, the feminist movement, and many others.

DSA is a multi-tendency organization, which means that a wide variety of perspectives exist within the organization on questions big and small for DSA: how should socialists approach elections generally and the Bernie Sanders campaign specifically? What should the organization's strategic priorities be, and to what degree should those priorities be coordinated in chapters throughout the country? What does democratic socialism even mean? Representatives from a range of caucuses and ideological currents within the DSA will explore these questions.

Only at Socialism in Our Time, on Saturday, April 13.

Socialism in Our Time


From Swastika to Jim Crow - New York - April 17 (Leo Baeck Institute; Center for Jewish History; American Jewish Historical Society; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 7 p.m.–9 p.m.
Forchheimer Auditorium
Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th St.
New York, NY 10011

Admission:  General: $10 ($7 for seniors)

Get Tickets

The recent uptick in antisemitic, anti-immigrant, and racist rhetoric have created a burst of new interest in the acclaimed documentary, From Swastika to Jim Crow. Based on the book by Gabrielle Simon Edgcomb, the film tells the little-known story of two very different cultures, sharing a common burden of oppression. In the 1930s, German universities were some of the first targets of Nazi activity. Jewish professors and intellectuals who were able to immigrate to the United States faced an uncertain future. Confronted with antisemitism at American universities and a public distrust of foreigners, a surprising number sought refuge in a most unlikely place – the traditionally black colleges in the then- segregated South. Securing teaching positions, these scholars came to form lasting relationships with their students, and went on to significantly impact the communities in which they lived and worked.

Nineteen years after the film was originally released, the filmmakers, Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher, feel its message—that more binds us together than separates us—must be heard. They passionately believe that as long as racism and inequality exist in our society, there will be a compelling need to bring From Swastika to Jim Crow to a wider audience. One-hour screening followed by Q&A with the filmmakers and Charles Chavis (George Mason University).


Steven Fischler and Joel Sucher founded Pacific Street Films in 1971, and they have produced and directed documentary films for venues as diverse as the United Nations, the BBC and commercial and public television in the United States. These include portraits of Hollywood artists like Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Jessica Lange, as well as investigations of police surveillance and misconduct. They are the recipients of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in Film, Emmy Awards, Cine Golden Eagles, and the John Grierson Award for Social Documentaries. Both the Museum of Modern Art and the Harvard Film Archives have honored Pacific Street Films with career retrospective programs.

Steven Fischler was the director of the 2007 PBS-broadcast documentary, “Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans & The Movies” and the producer of “Dressing America: Tales From The Garment Center,” broadcast in 2014. Fischler wrote and directed the documentary, “Five Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History,” which had its broadcast premiere on Thirteen/WNET in March of 2017.

In addition to his work with Pacific Street Films, Joel Sucher has written and blogged for a number of platforms including American Banker, In These Times, Huffington Post, Observer. com and

Charles L. Chavis, Jr. is Assistant Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution and History and Director of the Program for History, Justice and Racial Reconciliation, at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Before joining the S-CAR, he served as the Museum Coordinator for the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Chavis’s work focuses on the history of racial violence and civil rights activism and Black and Jewish relations in the American South. His areas of specialization include Civil Rights oral history, historical consciousness, and racial violence and reconciliation. He has received numerous grants, awards and fellowships and is the author of the upcoming book, “‘Maryland, My Maryland’: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State” and editor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America(Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).

Brian Jones, moderator, is the Associate Director of Education at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He recently completed a PhD in Urban Education at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is currently working on a book about the 1960s student uprising at Tuskegee Institute.

LBI, the Center for Jewish History, and the American Jewish Historical Society are grateful to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for its support as a promotional partner for this program.


"The Women of Cancer Alley" – a Freedom Flicks screening - New York - April 18 (Center for Constitutional Rights; Louisiana Bucket Brigade)

"The Women of Cancer Alley" – a Freedom Flicks screening 

On April 18, the Center for Constitutional Rights and Louisiana Bucket Brigade will be hosting a short-film screening and discussion featuring a group of women community leaders from the area along on the Mississippi River in Louisiana known as “Cancer Alley”.

This event elevates a legacy of community resistance to the discriminatory and environmentally destructive presence of the oil, gas, and chemical industry in Louisiana. Today’s fight in Cancer Alley, led primarily by Black women living in communities inundated with chemical plants, tank farms, and refineries, is on the front line of the national and global movement to combat climate change and environmental racism.

Thursday, April 18, 2019
6:00pm to 9:00pm

Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice
320 E 43rd St
New York, NY 10017

Join us as these community leaders announce their demand for a total moratorium on new industry plants in their region and a closure of existing plants. Learn how you can support these calls for an end to the destruction of their communities and consider ways we can uplift our collective vision of environmental justice.

"The Women of Cancer Alley" is a ground-breaking collection of short films produced by women who live among chemical plants, tank farms, and refineries in the area along the Mississippi River known as 'Cancer Alley', in south Louisiana. 
About Freedom Flicks

At the Center for Constitutional Rights, we believe in the transformative power of art and culture. Freedom Flicks, the Center’s long-running film series, harnesses the power of film to educate, activate, and build community. Freedom Flicks engages audiences across disciplines in stories of struggle and courage that shape our world, past and present. Our programming includes screenings of cutting-edge, socially engaged films followed by a short conversation with storytellers, lawyers, and activists. Join us.


City of Workers, City of Struggle - How Labor Movements Changed New York - Opens May 1, 2019 (The Museum of the City of New York)

Explore the fascinating history of labor in New York City.

For over two centuries, working people’s movements have shaped New York—and vice versa. Some of the first labor organizations in the country were formed by the city’s artisans in the early 19th century, and some of the nation’s foremost labor leaders have been New Yorkers, from Samuel Gompers and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn to A. Philip Randolph and Sidney Hillman, and more recently John Sweeney and Dennis Rivera.

But working New Yorkers have also struggled with each other over pay, power, and inclusion. New waves of workers—women, immigrants, people of color, and the “unskilled”—have repeatedly defined their own movements for a better life, and in the process remade city life in ways that affect all. City of Workers, City of Struggle traces the social, political, and economic story of these diverse workers and their movements in New York through rare documents, artifacts, and footage, and considers the future of labor in the city.

The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd Street
New York City

Open Daily 10am–6pm


Pete Seeger Centennial Celebration - New York - May 4 (Peoples Voice Cafe)

Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 8 PM – 11 PM

Peoples' Voice Cafe
Community Church of NY
40 East 35th Street
New York, New York

This year’s celebration of Pete Seeger will be an historic one. It’s Pete’s 100th birthday! So in addition to having a rollicking good time, featuring many of Pete’s favorite songs, sing-alongs and compositions, you might also discover something you did not know about Pete’s amazing and inspirational life. We will attempt in a two-hour program to cover many, if not most, of the different phases of his career, from his upbringing in a highly musical family and early influences through more than 75 years as a performer. Artists include Piedmont Blüz, Bev Grant, Hudson Valley Sally, Lindsey Wilson, Mike Glick, Vincent Cross, and others – maybe even a surprise guest or two! This concert will be a benefit for the Peoples' Voice Cafe.


The Makings of a Progressive Foreign Policy - New York - May 10 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)

original cartoon: Art Young, The Masses, July 1915

Friday, May 10, 2019: 9am-10:30am

CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
25 West 43rd Street
19th Floor
New York, NY 10036


  • Aziz Rana, Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
  • Katrina vanden Heuvel, Publisher, The Nation 

Progressive activists and political leaders in the U.S. have been slow to elaborate a vision regarding foreign policy. Although anti-interventionism and support for decreases in military spending are widely shared stances on the left, they do not comprise a comprehensive foreign policy platform.

What accounts for the lack of attention toward developing a progressive foreign policy platform? What would such a platform consist of? What would a non-imperial vision of the U.S. in the world look like? What current alliances would such a platform call into question? What are the current possibilities and the substantial obstacles to advancing a contemporary progressive vision for foreign policy? What can we expect from the growing progressive wing of Congressional Democrats?

Aziz Rana, Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, and Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation, present their take on the potential elements and strategies of a progressive U.S. foreign policy. Steve Fraser of the New Labor Forum will moderate.

RSVP here.

Read Professor Rana’s article on progressive foreign policy in New Labor Forum here.

See you on Friday, May 10th at 9am!