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Tidbits - Aug. 15, 2019 - Reader Comments: Understanding El Paso; Toni Morrison; Brexit; DSA; Socialism; Italy-Migrant Solidarity; Resource: The Great Recession; #ElPasoFirme Against White Supremacy - Sept 7; US Climate Strikes - Sept 20; more

Reader Comments: Understanding El Paso; Toni Morrison; Brexit; DSA; Socialism; Italy-Migrant Solidarity; Resource: The Great Recession at 10 Years; #ElPasoFirme Against White Supremacy - Sept 7; US Climate Strikes - Nationwide actions - Sept 20; more

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, Shorts, AND cartoons - Aug. 15, 2019,Portside

Re: From El Paso to the War on Terror, the Dangers of Historical Amnesia (Lennis Longo)
Re: To Understand the El Paso Massacre, Look to the Long Legacy of Anti-Mexican Violence at the Border (Nestor L Rivera Diaz)
Re: The El Paso Shooter Embraced Eco-Fascism. We Can't Let the Far Right Co-Opt the Environmental Struggle (Joseph Maizlish)
Dog Whistle Politics  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail
Re: We Need to be Once Again United for Peace and Justice (Nina Davis)
Re: Toni Morrison Nobel Lecture (Joyce Parkes)
Re: After Brexit: You Can Get Anything You Want at the Vulture Restaurant (Robert Supansic)
Re: This America: The Case for the Nation (Carl Davidson)
Re: What the Socialists Just Did - and Why (Michael Arney)
Re: What a Socialist Society Could Actually Look Like (Nick Eliopulos)


`There's no death in dying': Baltimore artist honors Toni Morrison with mural (Sameer Rao - Baltimore Sun)
Photo of three Italian grandmothers with migrant children in their laps goes viral in Italy (Dolors Massot - Aleteia)


The Great Recession Ten Years On (William J. Barclay - Chicago Political Economy Group)


#ElPasoFirme Against White Supremacy - Join us for a  March and a Day of Cultural Resistance - El Paso - September 7 (RAICES)
US Climate Strikes - Nationwide actions - September 20 (Strike With Us)


Re: From El Paso to the War on Terror, the Dangers of Historical Amnesia

Dear God help the USA not to go the path oh NAZI Germany

Lennis Longo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: To Understand the El Paso Massacre, Look to the Long Legacy of Anti-Mexican Violence at the Border

What they don't teach about US History

Nestor L Rivera Diaz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The El Paso Shooter Embraced Eco-Fascism. We Can't Let the Far Right Co-Opt the Environmental Struggle

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Such campaigns unfortunately aren't new.

In 1993 a few others worked (successfully) to resist efforts to get the Sierra Club to take an anti-immigration stand.  The anti-immigration people claimed that the immigrants to the U.S. would become hyperconsumers like much of the U.S. population (rather than remaining modest or desperate underconsumers in their lands of origin), and that would be harmful to both the U.S. and world environment.
No doubt those attempts and the resistance to them has continued.

Then as now the need is to show a few things:  That some of U.S. overconsumption is connected to the poverty in those lands, and that simple decency as well as environmental wisdom required that U.S. activists oppose the hyperconsumption in the U.S. and the abuse of and robbery from those other lands and their societies.

As for the readiness to jettison people with whom the econationalists don't readily identify with -- that's the imperial and class belief everywhere and always, the result of a cultural disease and the cause of so much horrid behavior and misery.  Let us be worthy opponents to it and promote the alternative -- universal compassion as the basis of policy.

Joseph Maizlish, 
Los Angeles


Dog Whistle Politics  --  cartoon by Robert Ariail

Robert Ariail
August 7, 2019


Re: We Need to be Once Again United for Peace and Justice

Great article. But where do we go from here?What actions can we take to unite people against racism and the slippery slope into fascism? A mass Rally in DC against the criminalization of immigrants and their innocent children?A Rally outside one of the immigrant detention centers to shut it down? A Rally against police terror and the shooting of innocent people of color?

Nina Davis


Re: Toni Morrison Nobel Lecture

(posting on Portside Culture)

a passionate and well written speech. Such dedication to history and the arts. Regards. Joyce.

PS: Do you know that the President and Committee members of each PEN Centre can submit a candidate for Literature to the Nobel Prize Committee? Aye! (I am a past President of PEN Perth Centre.)


Joyce Parkes


Re: After Brexit: You Can Get Anything You Want at the Vulture Restaurant

This is entirely correct. A closer relationship with the U.S. after Brexit will amount to a sting of the scorpion's tail.  Britain will have no seat in the U.S. Congress, not even the observer status of  Puerto Rico's representative.  Instead, Britain will be subject to the full force of the dictates of U.S. capital.  Let us hope that Britain will be spared the destruction of a major hurricane followed by the prospect of Trump throwing them paper towels.

Robert Supansic


Re: This America: The Case for the Nation

(posting on Portside Culture)

In a small way, I've been plugging away at her challenge piece by piece in the study guides I've been making about different aspects of our history. Check them out here:

Carl Davidson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: What the Socialists Just Did - and Why

Harold Meyerson provides a thoughtful article on strategy and tactics of DSA, and he hints and states directly a policy resembling that of the Popular Front. Every member of Our Revolution and DSA should read it. However, as an argument that will stay in the footnotes, 

I take issue with his notion that at "the behest of Stalin" the CPUSA (temporarily) dissolved itself in favor of FDR's re-election. To think that every major decision of the CPUSA or any CP was a result of Stalin's orders doesn't clarify much and probably serves to stunt our country's Left memory and understanding. Some actions of various CPs were the result of direct Comintern or Stalin's intervention; dissolving CPs was certainly not one of them.

Michael Arney


Re: What a Socialist Society Could Actually Look Like

Gindin's responses are virtually incomprehensible in their vagueness. He introduces so much complexity that it seems hopeless any sort of widely shared socialist impulse can find its way out of a paper bag. and at one point he said:

"If you gave workers factories right now, they wouldn't know what to do with them. There's nothing about capitalism that teaches you how to run things, never mind how to actually coordinate all this complexity."


That seems remarkably general and ill-informed, insulting, and contrary to fact. There are examples of worker-run factory enterprise around the world. For instance,

This interview was really disheartening.

Nick Eliopulos
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


`There's no death in dying': Baltimore artist honors Toni Morrison with mural

By Sameer Rao

August 7, 2019
Baltimore Sun


Artist Ernest Shaw Jr. painted this mural in honor of author Toni Morrison. It is located in Graffiti Alley in the Station North neighborhood.

Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun

Many fans of celebrated author and social critic Toni Morrison, who died on Monday at age 88 from complications of pneumonia, consider her passing a substantial loss. Baltimore artist Ernest Shaw Jr. isn’t one of them.

“I consider it an acquiring of an ancestor,” he said Wednesday — his own 50th birthday. “She’s now doing the work that needs to be done with the other side. There’s no death in dying. She’s just transitioned to another round.”

Shaw said this while standing adjacent to a new mural he created in tribute to Morrison the previous day. It occupies a wall in Graffiti Alley by the back entrance to Motor House, the Station North arts center where Shaw works as senior artist-in-residence.

The West Baltimore native recounted finding out about Morrison’s death Tuesday, while listening to WEAA. He felt moved enough by the news to, without any prior plans, create the mural. It features the “Beloved” author’s face next to maroon text that reads “FOR: TONI M." The whole process, which fellow artist Charles Mason III documented on Shaw’s Instagram, lasted from about 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“This is my way of pouring libations,” he said, referencing a ritual that many cultures, including those of the African diaspora, perform to honor ancestors.

Shaw honored another ancestor and inspirational artist, author James Baldwin (whose eulogy Morrison wrote), in “Testify!," his exhibit now on display at Motor House. He said that the three constituent projects within “Testify!” relate to several aspects of Morrison’s own writing.

“Her work touches on each of those projects: talking about the dehumanization of black men and boys, sexual assault and abuse of black girls, and specifically, blackness, manhood and black masculinity,” he said.

Shaw also noted that Morrison’s words and public commentary influenced his personal and creative growth, especially over the last five years. He referenced her exploration of the “white gaze,” the idea that the person looking at a piece of art is presumed to be white and what that means for the creator.

“Once she became aware of the white gaze, and learned how to write and create with no regard for the white gaze, [it eventually had] no influence on her creative process as a woman of color,” he said.

Morrison’s previous commentary on Baltimore includes a 2015 appearance on “Charlie Rose,” in which she discussed black communities’ responses to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and similar events. She also praised author Ta-Nehisi Coates for fulfilling Baldwin’s literary legacy. Shaw said that this endorsement meant a lot to him as a fellow West Baltimorean whose work highlights black identity.

Shaw held no illusions about the possibility that his mural, per the culture of Graffiti Alley, will be painted over or tagged. This realization didn’t bother him, he said, as the work served a much larger function.

“This is my ode to her, to help her maybe, potentially, usher her to — or to assist in her having a peaceful and smooth transition to her final destination," he said.

Those interested in seeing the mural and “Testify!” in one fell swoop should do so before the latter exhibit closes on Sept. 28.

[Sameer Rao is an arts and entertainment reporter on The Baltimore Sun's features desk. He spent almost four years reporting for Colorlines and freelanced with The Guardian, VICE, The Washington Post Express, WXPN's The Key and other publications on various topics. Sameer also served on the Asian American Journalists Association's national boards.]


Photo of three Italian grandmothers with migrant children in their laps goes viral in Italy


Sandro Ruotolo | Facebook | Fair Use  //  Aleteia

By Dolors Massot
August 11, 2019

"This is the Italy I love," wrote a commenter on Twitter.

They are three Italian grandmothers named Nicolina, Vincenza, and Maria, and they surely never imagined they’d become famous on the social networks in their country. Yet, today they have, thanks to a simple act of love.

The three have gone viral on Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, just a few days after they decided to have a photo taken in which each of them is holding an African immigrant child on her lap.

The photo was taken in their hometown, Campoli del Monte Taburno, located in southern Italy, an hour northeast of Naples. The town is home to a welcoming center for migrants, and by taking this picture, the elderly women demonstrated that they are in favor of giving a warm welcome to these people who arrive from Africa by crossing the Mediterranean.

The photo, in which the smiling grandmothers are shown sitting on a bench in the town and taking care of the little kids (one is sleeping, one is snacking, and one is looking around), was first published in a Facebook group called “You’re from Campoli if …” (“Sei di Campoli se …”, in Italian). Although it’s a closed group with only 891 members, the image quickly spread through social media.

Messages of support didn’t take long to appear. “I see that the world is still able to show humanity: grandmothers who act like grandmothers for children at a welcoming center. Above all today, when 150 people probably lost their life at sea, it heals my heart,” wrote someone on Twitter.

One of the grandmothers’ actual grandsons chimed in, according to the website Open: “To think that 37 years ago, I was on that same lap, wrapped in that same smile, and now miles away and a few years older, I’m very happy to be able to share the same emotions with a child I don’t know, but who deserves it all and more. You’re beautiful, grandma, obviously all the people in the photo are beautiful.”

“This is the Italy I love”

“This is the Italy I love,” said another user. “This is my land!!! Solidarity, but above all, Love.”

These messages speak of the desire to serve and to help migrants, something Pope Francis has encouraged. In comments in Italian after the praying of the Angelus on July 28, the Pope expressed his sadness for the deaths of 116 people in the waters of the Mediterranean, and asked the international community to cooperate to “avoid the repetition of similar tragedies and to guarantee the safety and dignity of all.”

The photo of the grandmothers has generated a lot of conversation and discussion in Italy, and above all, is a wake-up call to our conscience. No one can remain indifferent in the face of a drama of such magnitude. The legal obstacles set up to keep non-governmental organizations from patrolling the sea to help save migrants in danger near the coasts of Libya, where most of the migrant ships set sail, have failed to lower the number of people who try to cross over to Europe, and haven’t diminished the number of deaths due to shipwrecks.

It is estimated that there have already been 600 migrant deaths at sea this year in what is considered the most deadly migratory route on the planet.


The Great Recession Ten Years On

By William J. Barclay
August 2019
Chicago Political Economy Group

June 2019 marked ten years since the official end of the Great Recession. Of course, declaring the ends (and beginnings) of recessions is rather arbitrary and always done in retrospect. It was not until September 2010 that the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared that what became known as the Great Recession had ended in June 2009. The same body determined the Great Recession began in December 2007, but did not make that call until a year later, in December 2008.

The Great Recession was the deepest and longest since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and books and papers analyzing the event are legion. Ushered in by the financial crisis of 200-2007, the Great Recession featured high unemployment, housing foreclosures, GDP downturns, government interventions aimed at countering the downward spiral, and more. However, less attention has been paid to the structure and functioning of the economy in the years that followed, and the long shadow of the Great Recession is still with us a decade later-particularly in the ways that the crisis changed, or failed to change, the U.S. economy.

There are three striking features of the American economy that have emerged in the past decade-two that are new and one that is a reincarnation of an already established trend:

  • *The United States is in a prolonged period of slow growth that was triggered by the financial crisis and the Great Recession.
  • *There is an ongoing decline in labor force participation-especially among males- alongside an official declining and now low unemployment rate.
  • *Lastly, despite its role in triggering the Great Recession, finance has returned to its position as the dominant sector in the U.S. economy, with the associated process of financialization.

Read full report here.

[Chicago Political Economy Group are labor and community activists, academics, and others interested in political economic analysis and related progressive policies.

We believe that deep structural problems in both the U.S. and larger global economy have led to the current crises and enduring oppression linked to such factors as class, race, gender, ethnicity, and immigration status, which cannot be resolved by reforms relying on private sector activity. Further, the subordination of U.S. national interests to the profit concerns of the corporate and financial sector has led us to a policy which relies on military domination and repression of weaker nations.

We seek to study, understand, and promote ideas and policies that will revive the U.S. economy and make the U.S. and world economies more just, democratic, and sustainable. Fundamental to our vision is a large scale living wage federal jobs program which could be financed through a tax on financial speculation. We welcome opportunities to collaborate with others.]


#ElPasoFirme Against White Supremacy - Join us for a  March and a Day of Cultural Resistance - El Paso - September 7 (RAICES)

Across the country, millions of hearts beat with El Paso, from Pasadena to Parkland, Phoenix to Philadelphia. And on September 7, our hearts will beat together in El Paso for a day of action and creative resistance against white supremacy. We are calling for our sisters and brothers from across the country to come down to the border and join Border Network for Human Rights and other local organizations in this fight. What has been polluted by hatred and racist violence, we can begin to cleanse with song and collective action.

Join the El Paso community for a concert and march at the border.

As communities of immigrants and refugees, El Paso has a place in all of our hearts: A community that straddles borders and cultures, a symbol for safety and inclusion for people from around the world, citizens and non-citizens alike - a symbol of hope and home.

That symbol has been attacked for a reason. Our families were attacked by a man who sought to make us disappear. He may be detained, but his world view has been incited, enabled, and promoted by individuals in public office. It has to be said.

What happened here was foreseeable. Two tendencies have intersected that invariably will lead to this violence. The uncontrolled access to weapons of war that has enabled mass atrocities in cities over and over again has converged with the white supremacist political agenda that we see at every Trump rally, that we hear in every Trump speech.

Sadly, too many local, state, and federal elected officials have remained silent, and worse, have served as a conduit to this worldview. The hate-filled speeches that incite violence, the criminalizing of entire families and communities, and the collusion of elected officials with hate groups - enough is enough.

It's time that we join our voices to defeat the sickening worldview that shows contempt for our lives, and profits from our suffering. Join the El Paso community on September 7 for an evening of peaceful protest against the white supremacist rhetoric that fosters violence against immigrant communities.

Because no wall or cage can restrain a song. Because compassion and solidarity are a universal language that knows no borders. Because together, we have the power to alleviate pain and confront injustice. And what has been polluted by hatred and racist violence can be cleansed by song and collective action.

Click here

In Solidarity,

Erika Andiola
Chief Advocacy Officer, RAICES

#ElPasoFirme is anchored by Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), Refugee And Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON), Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA), Repairers of the Breach, Poor People's Campaign, and is endorsed by a broad array of faith, immigrant, civil rights, and grassroots organizations.

1305 N. Flores
San Antonio, TX 78212


US Climate Strikes - Nationwide actions -  September 20

On September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC, young people and adults will strike all across the US and world to demand transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Millions of us will take the streets to demand a right to a future, and we're inviting you to


Find a strike near you to attend on September 20 on the map below. If you don't see an event in your area, organize one! We'll provide everything you need to get started in planning something in your community so no experience is necessary.
Whether you're 7 or 77, you're invited to join the movement.

[Not in the US?  Click here for International Global Climate Strike site.]

Click on an event on the map below to RSVP

Click here

With the consequences of climate change becoming ever more clear and dire with each passing day, a new powerful wave of the climate movement has been swelling up over the last couple of years. Young people around the world have been rising up to defend our future, and have been going on strike - every week, all over the planet - for months. On September 20, for the first time, the adults are joining us.

We, as a global society, are at a crossroads. We have a decision to make. Are we going to choose money or power or are we going to choose the future? The September 20 strike is an invitation to everyone to choose us. Choose the kids, choose humanity, choose the future.

Led by a diverse coalition of youth-led and adult-led organizations, September 20 is an intergenerational day of striking that will launch an entire week of climate action across the world. Find out more about week of action here.
September 20 is only the beginning. We must carry this energy to the 2020 elections, and beyond to ensure real, bold action is taken to address the climate crises. This is history in the making, and it's time we take back the narrative to save our futures.

The demands set forth by the youth coalition will be released soon.