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Tidbits - Oct. 1, 2020 - Reader Comments: This election and a divided country - will we survive?; Pentagon response to Trump coup plot; Weaponization of religion; Save Our Post Office; Confronting White Power; announcements; more ...

Reader Comments: This election and a divided country - will we survive?; Pentagon response to Trump coup plot; Weaponization of religion; Save Our Post Office a Defense of Civil Society; Confronting White Power in 2020; resources; announcements; more

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - Oct. 1, 2020,Portside

Re: The Election That Could Break America (Donna Ristorucci; Pedro Aguayo; Miriam Haiman-González; Susan Lynch; Kevin Collman; Bennett Barouch)
Dumpster Debate  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
Re: At Pentagon, Fears Grow That Trump Will Pull Military Into Election Unrest (Ted Pearson; Judith Halprin; Jose Fernando Velázquez; Ruben Cedre)
Re: What Trump Taught America About the Bible (Eleanor Roosevelt; Donna Danute Mockus Ronge; Anne Hawkins; Danny Perez)
Re: The Frontline: A Black-Led, Multiracial Coalition Throws Down (Jasaga Sawyer)
Trumpism vs. McCarthyism (Paul Leavin)
Re: Ilhan Omar Is Not Here to Put You at Ease (Joe Bearns Sr.)
Robbin’ the Hood MAGA-style: Stealing from the poor to give to the rich  --  cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz
Re: California Schools Launch Anti-Racism Plan, Flouting Trump's Threats (Jody Sokolower)
Re: Telling the Truth About Slavery Is Not ‘Indoctrination’ (Stan Nadel)
Brooklyn Friends School Union Sets Strike Deadline (National Writers Union)



United States of Struggle: Police Murder in America - Four Decades of Protest Poetry by Gerald Lenoir - Free Download
The US Postal Service Is a National Asset: Don’t Trash It (Max B. Sawicky / Center for Economic and Policy Research)



Confronting White Power in 2020 - A Panel with Ibram X. Kendi & Kathleen Belew - October 5 (NYU Libraries)
Towards a New Majority - October 5 (Organizing Upgrade and Seed the Vote)
Solidarity School: Protecting The Vote & Climate Justice - October 7 (
Financing the future we want – from a green recovery to a just transition - October 7 (Transnational Institute)
Brooklyn Town Hall - Reimagining Community Safety and Policing II - October 8 (Brooklyn For Peace)
Angela Davis in conversation with Astra Taylor on fighting for democracy in a time of crisis. - October 13 (Haymarket Books)


Re: The Election That Could Break America

When Trump was asked at a press conference today if he would commit to a “peaceful transfer of power,” he replied “Get rid of the ballots and ...there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there will be a continuation.” Another reason, he says, “we” need nine Supreme Court judges (with the ninth being his choice, of course—to get him “elected” if the results are contested. Think back to 2000, when SCOTUS pretty much decided the election. 

Read the Atlantic magazine article ”The Election that Could Break America” by Barton Gellman. It actually quotes Trump election campaign officials and Republican state legislators that plans are in the works to sabotage the results of the vote by keeping the outcome in doubt (Trump’s narrative: an election by mail will be “a fraud,” it’s “out of control”) and having state legislatures replace the people’s vote with appointed electors loyal to Trump, among other options. This is not speculation, folks; this stuff is in the works. And apparently it’s legal. (Remember, Hitler came to power “legally.”)

Never mind “foreign interference” in our elections; our own government is interfering. The U.S. government has sabotaged elections and overthrown governments all over the world for decades. Now our government is planning to do it here. As the Atlantic article says, reasonable people might call it a coup. 

Progressives and democrats (with a small d) say the best way to force Trump and his people to concede is to vote in MASSIVE numbers so the results can’t be disputed (assuming Trump loses, which i don’t think is a foregone conclusion). And to vote early. Yes, of course! But we need to do more than that. The Democrats in Congress have introduced the “Protect Democracy Act.” Good. But that’s for the future. What about now? Can we survive another four years of Trumpism—think about democracy, health care, the pandemic, women’s reproductive rights, immigrants, racial inequality, class inequality, education, denigration of the press, etc., etc., etc.

This is my rant for the day.

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

Donna Ristorucci


We are in the early stages of a dictatorship. Thanks to the Republican politicians across the nation that have left the door wide open for 45 to do whatever the hell he wants to do.

Now toxic pathological Liar in Chief 45 wannabe dictator who has eroded some of the Constitution has gotten a step closer to his goal and might be America's first dictator.

Vote early or on D-day, November 03, 2020. Pray that God will hear our prayers and that our vote will deliver America from 45.

Pedro Aguayo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Miriam Haiman-González
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We are in the early stages of a dictatorship. Thanks to the Republican senators , they enabled Trump and they were derelict in their oaths of office. They backed a criminal and hopefully it'll hurt them at the ballot 

Susan Lynch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We may need massive civil disobedience!

Kevin Collman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


"The worst case, however, is not that Trump rejects the election outcome. The worst case is that he uses his power to prevent a decisive outcome against him. If Trump sheds all restraint, and if his Republican allies play the parts he assigns them, he could obstruct the emergence of a legally unambiguous victory for Biden in the Electoral College and then in Congress. He could prevent the formation of consensus about whether there is any outcome at all. He could seize on that un­certainty to hold on to power."

Bennett Barouch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Dumpster Debate  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers
October 1, 2020


Re: At Pentagon, Fears Grow That Trump Will Pull Military Into Election Unrest

Next the question will be what can the people do (besides campaigning for the most massive turnout)? And what will the Left do to help the people chart a course out of this impending disaster? I don’t think it’s inappropriate to start thinking about a most massive non-violent demonstrations and car caravans in DC and in cities all over the country in early December if Trump tries to prevent the tabulation of votes and the democratic selection of electors. If the abstract idea of using U.S. armed forces against the people violates generals’ sense of duty, there would be nothing better to make that less abstract than such mass action.

Ted Pearson


the citizens don't need fears in the pentagon - they need leaders who know what to do and make it plain they are able and prepared to protect and defend the nation from all perils foreign and domestic

Judith Halprin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


They have to contradict the illegal orders, not resign.

Jose Fernando Velázquez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Where is the responsibility/backbone of these Military leaders who threaten to resign? You should stand up to this wanna-be Dictator, if you resign he will replace you with his confederate minions, unless that's the plan and you are part of it; nothing like deflecting attention to look good in the eyes of the populace.!!!!!!

Ruben Cedre
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: What Trump Taught America About the Bible

He's not the first criminal fraud to wrap himself in the Bible and he won't be the last. But when his followers try to write him *into* the Bible -- "he's King Cyrus!" -- that's when it stops being a slimy con game and becomes a dangerous, poisonous cult.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Trumpet hasn’t even read any part of the Bible !!! He held the Bible upside down during his photo op in Washington !! He is coning the American people to get their vote !!!

Donna Danute Mockus Ronge
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Not when it is upside down and backward.

Anne Hawkins
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Danny Perez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Frontline: A Black-Led, Multiracial Coalition Throws Down

I would join, but something vital, to me, is missing from the platform considered here. We MUST, at some point, stop fighting and start creating. Too many have the notion that the "system" doesn't work. That's because there isn't a system. There is a program created by a few to rule the many and keep them subservient to the needs of the few. Nothing there to "overthrow." We have the means amongst us to create an actual system that supports our collective well being. We need to be busy creating that. As we do, our dependence upon this illicit program will diminish by default. Will they come after us? Absolutely, but they can't stop us. 

Changing this culture of hatred requires a wholly different approach than just expressions against it. Eliminate it. And the only path for doing that is creative action born from collective respect and communication. We need to be present with a plan that all can participate in. That said, a merger of some old truths with some modern ones may help toward that end. What John Lewis and Fannie Lou Hamer stood for fifty years ago is what Frederick Douglas and Sojourner Truth endeavored a hundred years before them. It is an ongoing struggle, obviously. But someone born in 2025 will inherit what we do now. Let it not merely be a culture of protest. May it be a culture of maintenance of a new community of beloved countenance. It is actually not difficult to achieve. Keep your eyes on the prize. And raise your head up. 

Jasaga Sawyer


Trumpism vs. McCarthyism

I would love to see someone a lot smarter than I am, compare the rise of McCarthyism with the rise of Trumpism, with the goal of understanding where the Trump phenomenon could lead, and how to fight it.  Of course there are many differences between the late 1940s and today; the various social, political and class forces are different, McCarthy was not the President, etc., etc..  As many are warning, this is a very dangerous time, even though we on the left are all working in our own ways to move our country forward.

Paul Leavin


Re: Ilhan Omar Is Not Here to Put You at Ease

We need to make a joyful noise. We cannot go back in time that Republicans yearn for. Those days did not exist in reality. We need bold actions to leave our world a better place for all, not just the ultra rich.

Joe Bearns Sr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Robbin’ the Hood MAGA-style: Stealing from the poor to give to the rich  --  cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Lalo Alcaraz
September 29, 2020
Pocho magazine


Re: California Schools Launch Anti-Racism Plan, Flouting Trump's Threats

As participants in the Save Arab American Studies coalition in California, we were disturbed that Mackenzie Mays' article on Education to End Hate (which you reprinted recently from Politico) ignored the implications of the connections to the pro-Israeli, anti-Palestinian Simon Wiesenthal Center in the midst of a battle to undermine ethnic studies curriculum in the state. (SAAS website) Our response was printed this morning in Mondoweiss. Can you please run this so your readers will be better informed? Thanks.

Jody Sokolower


Re: Telling the Truth About Slavery Is Not ‘Indoctrination’

Back in the 1950s there was a concerted campaign to promote patriotic indoctrination in the public schools, one that imbued many future radicals with strong feelings about the importance of the freedom and equality which supposedly distinguished the US from totalitarian countries. We became very patriotic, but it was a patriotism of principles and not symbols.  It was the shock of discovering the discrepancy between the ideals we had been indoctrinated in and the reality of American racism that first radicalized many of us and turned us into a generation of political activists.  So if the Trumpers want to bring that back I say bring it on guys, we'll make the most of it.

Stan Nadel


Brooklyn Friends School Union Sets Strike Deadline

For Immediate Release

October 1, 2020

Teachers and staff of Quaker school to begin striking October 5 if petition to decertify union is not withdrawn

 The Negotiating Committee of the Brooklyn Friends School Union has called for Monday, October 5 as the start date for a strike if the School does not withdraw its petition to decertify the union. The strike date was set after the Union voted by 96% to authorize a strike if necessary (120 Yes to 5 No). The Union has offered to engage in alternative methods of negotiation to avoid a strike. The School's Board of Directors has not responded to this offer.

Teachers and staff at Brooklyn Friends School, an independent Quaker school in Downtown Brooklyn known for its progressive curriculum, voted to unionize in 2019 by an 80 percent margin. Since then, the Union has been negotiating a first contract with the School. After the School's closure in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the School retained a new attorney who petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for decertification of the Union. The petition cited a recent decision by the Trump-appointed Labor Board rejecting a faculty petition for a union election at a religious college. Unlike that case, the Brooklyn Friends School Union has already been voted in and was certified by the Labor Board in May 2019.

Teachers and families have also been deeply concerned about the School's reopening, which began on September 14, because of inadequate safety measures, including lack of training and planning around social-distancing, and lack of any testing or tracing program. 

Staff and teachers are outraged that a Quaker school with a reputation for progressive values would seek to decertify their union in the midst of a pandemic when so many are concerned about health, safety, and job security. "We are already concerned that the School is reopening without adequate procedures in place to protect us and the children," said Sarah Gordon, a third-grade teacher who has taught at the School for 15 years and is part of the Union's negotiating committee. "This is a time for the School to be working collaboratively with us, rather than trying to destroy our union. Instead, they've made it clear that they don't want us to have any say in our own health and safety. It's incredible that they are using a bad legal precedent set by the Trump-appointed Labor Board to do so." 

The Union has made considerable efforts to avoid a strike and return to the bargaining table. Recently the Union consulted with labor relations experts who are Quaker about models of union-management partnership more aligned with Quaker process and values. On September 24, the Union sent a letter to the School's Board of Trustees expressing their willingness to engage in such methods. "We are open and amenable to these alternative methods, including mediation, in order to achieve a collaborative and productive partnership with the School's leadership, and avoid any disruption," the letter stated. The Board has not responded.

See for more information.

Contact: Maida Rosenstein

President, Technical, Office and Professional Union, Local 2110 UAW



United States of Struggle: Police Murder in America - Four Decades of Protest Poetry by Gerald Lenoir - Free Download

This book is a free download. But we're asking you to hit the DONATE button below 

and make a contribution to the Anti-Police Terror Project in Oakland, California.

(When you donate, write a note to let them know you downloaded the book.)

Watch and listen to Gerald Lenoir read a poem from the book titled Ultimatum below.

(Advisory: This poem contains explicit lyrics.)

This is a full color book with poems and graphics that describe and depict police murder of Black people and the 21st century protest movement for change. It includes Once Again, a poem dedicated to George Floyd; Ode to Oscar, written for Oscar Grant; They Killed Kayla, in memory of Kayla Moore; and Ultimatum, a passionate poem that delivers a searing challenge to institutional racism. The publisher is Magnum Opus Publications, a family-owned, Black-owned company.

Gerald Lenoir an activist-writer-poet who has been writing poems about police brutality since the early 1980s. He writes that it's "an intractable problem tied to a dominant narrative that devalues and degrades the humanity of Black people and to structures that perpetuate inequality and white supremacy.  Through all forms of communications and media, we must tell our story and rewrite our history." 


The US Postal Service Is a National Asset: Don’t Trash It (Max B. Sawicky / Center for Economic and Policy Research)

The financial problems of the United States Postal Service (USPS) are the result of misguided policy decisions — some of them long-standing — not declines in first-class mail, its primary source of revenue. With the increased demands of voting by mail in a national election and a boom in home package delivery, the pandemic makes a well-resourced postal service more important than ever.

Nostrums about the public debt have contributed to a decades-long, bipartisan attack on the US public sector, including the postal service. In the absence of negative consequences from the huge run-up of federal debt during the COVID-19 pandemic, and thanks to repeated Republican Party perfidy with respect to their own purported concerns about deficit spending, political anguish about debt has withered. At the same time, the pandemic has exposed chronic deficiencies in the government’s capacity to satisfy its most basic obligation: to safeguard the health of the population.

The weakening of the postal service’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities – in the name of self-financing – dovetails with the current, massive misfeasance of the federal government in the field of public health. A functioning post has become crucial for the conduct of an honest national election that is all about public health.

This report motivates the national interest in a robust postal service. Its historical contribution to the nation’s economic development acquires new relevance for those chronically excluded from the benefits of economic growth, including those in isolated, low-income rural areas, regions devastated by deindustrialization, and racially segregated urban communities. In the wake of the economic collapse, its rejuvenation could offer relief to bankrupted, suburban small businesses, including those conducted from the kitchen table.

Read full report


Confronting White Power in 2020 - A Panel with Ibram X. Kendi & Kathleen Belew - October 5 (NYU Libraries)

October 5 (7:00-8:00 PM ET): A Panel with Ibram X. Kendi & Kathleen Belew on “Confronting White Power in 2020,” moderated by Linda Gordon.

A Frederic Ewen Center Forum. 

The Frederic Ewen Center in partnership with NYU Libraries, the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation (OGI), NYU Reads, the Office of the ProvostNYU PressNYU Skirball along with School-based partners, and other offices across NYU. Learn more about NYU BeTogether and the Global Scholars & Innovators (GSI) SeriesNYU Reads, and the Frederic Ewen Center.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi is a contributing writer at the Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. He is also the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Kendi is the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and The Black Campus Movement, which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize. He is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist, and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, a young adult remix of Stamped from the Beginning, co-authored with Jason Reynolds. He most recently authored the #1 Indie bestseller, Antiracist Baby, available as a board book and picture book for caretakers and little ones.

Dr. Kathleen Belew spent ten years researching and writing Bring the War Home, examining previously classified FBI files and vivid personal testimonies and letters. She is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Chicago and has appeared on Fresh AirWeekend Edition, and CBS News. Her work featured prominently in the PBS Frontline documentary Documenting Hate: New American Nazis.

Historian Dr. Linda Gordon’s books include The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction (1999), the story of a vigilante action against Mexican-Americans, and Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits (2009); both won the Bancroft prize for best book in American history, making her one of four people ever to win this award twice. Her newest books are The Second Coming of the KKK: The Ku Klux Klan and the American Political Tradition (2017), and Inge Morath, Refugee Photographer (2018). Dr. Gordon is a Professor of History at NYU.

Sponsored by The Frederic Ewen Center in partnership with NYU Libraries, the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation (OGI), NYU Reads, the Office of the Provost, NYU Press, and NYU Skirball.


Tamiment Library & Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives/ NYU Special Collections
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012


Towards a New MAjority - October 5 (Organizing Upgrade and Seed the Vote)

In the final sprint to election day, most organizers are laser-focused on the imperative of defeating the authoritarian threat represented by a second Trump term. Many are also focused on the work needed to drive us forward after election day, whatever the result, to continue to build the movements we need.

On this special episode of This is Not a Drill, hosts Adam Gold and Rishi Awatramani talk with some of the most important organizers leading ambitious strategies to not only win in November, but build a majoritarian movement for racial justice and radical economic democracy. 

Join us as we talk to: 

  • Thenjiwe Tameika McHarris, The Movement for Black Lives
  • Maurice Moe Mitchell, Working Families Party
  • Cindy Wiesner, a volunteer with the Frontline
  • NTanya Lee, LeftRoots

Streaming on Facebook


Solidarity School: Protecting The Vote & Climate Justice - October 7 (

This year has made it abundantly clear that voting is one of the most powerful ways that we can engage civically. Now more than ever, our voices are needed at the polls. 

Since the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more – and the global lockdown from COVID-19 – we are seeing firsthand what it means to be fighting for our futures.

That’s why our third Solidarity School training webinar in collaboration with the Highlander Center and Black Votes Matter, will explore Protecting Votes & Building Power: Climate Justice & the Election.

Will you RSVP now to join us on Wednesday, October 7th at 5pm PT/8pm ET for this live training webinar on how we can make sure everyone’s vote is counted in this election?

RSVP now 

Increasing climate disasters – from hurricanes in the Gulf to fires in the West – are hitting Black communities, Indigenous Peoples, and families and workers of color first and worst. We can not and will not wait any longer for politicians to save us.

We are seeing across the country how voter suppression is being ignored by local officials, policy decision-makers, and our very own president. It’s going to take a united and concerted effort to make sure every vote is counted and ensure our democracy is protected. 

When 5,000+ of us joined together for a virtual gathering on Protecting Votes & Building Power in the wake of police murders against Black lives, we promised to continue political education and strengthen connections between movements for climate and racial justice. The next step is knowing just how high the stakes are this election season and what you can do to stay ready. 

It’s up to all of us to rise in solidarity to protect the right to vote this election season. RSVP for our Solidarity School webinar on October 7th, to dive into Protecting Votes & Building Power: Climate Justice & the Election. is a global movement that fights for a just and equitable world by stopping the fossil fuel industry from continuing to destroy our climate.


Financing the future we want – from a green recovery to a just transition - October 7 (Transnational Institute)

Tune in for TNI's new monthly webinar series: Ideas into movement, starting Wednesday 7 October 16:00 - 17:30 CET. This series will bring together thinkers and activists to analyse critical global issues and put forward transformative alternatives and solutions. Our focus is transnational, highlighting the global context and dimensions of different crises, as well as profiling the social movements, especially those in the Global South, that are leading struggles for justice.

In the first episode Financing the future we want – from a green recovery to a just transition we will explore the options and mechanisms we have in the current circumstances to avoid austerity and invest in a just transition. How can we ensure that the Global South benefits? How can we change the narrative to stop an unfolding crisis become a deepening emergency?

Wednesday 7 October 2020 at 4pm CET.


(Spanish interpretation will be available)


  • Professor Jayati Ghosh, award-winning economist Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Author of India and the International Economy (2015) and co-editor of Handbook of Alternative Theories of Economic Development, 2018.
  • Ann Pettifor, political economist, director of PRIME (Policy Research in Macroeconomics and author of The Production of Money (2017).
  • Oscar Reyes, Associate Fellow, Institute for Policy Studies and author of Change Finance, not the Climate (2020).
  • Alvin Mosioma is the founding Executive Director of Tax Justice Network Africa, a Pan-African Advocacy and Research Network of 31 members in 16 African countries working on Tax Justice and curbing of IFFs from Africa.

This webinar is organised by Transnational Institute

Brooklyn Town Hall - Reimagining Community Safety and Policing II - October 8 (Brooklyn For Peace)

This is Part II of Brooklyn For Peace's Virtual Town Hall on reimagining policing — important if you want to get a better understanding of today's vibrant movements for racial justice.

Please sign up to ZOOM here:


Angela Davis in conversation with Astra Taylor on fighting for democracy in a time of crisis. - October 13 (Haymarket Books)

Building on the insights of Astra Taylor’s award-winning film, “What is Democracy?”, renowned activist and writer Angela Davis and journalist, film-maker and activist Astra Taylor discuss what we can and should do now in this time of unprecedented crisis, but also of opportunity.

One of the main questions—how can a diverse coalition of activists young and old work together to map a path forward?

Introduced by David Palumbo-Liu (Stanford), with questions from the audience moderated by Bhaskar Sunkara (Jacobin).

This event is sponsored by Haymarket Books and Jacobin. While all of our events are freely available, we ask that those who are able make a solidarity donation to support our important publishing work.

***Register through Eventbrite to receive a link to the video conference on the day of the event. This event will also be recorded and have live captioning.***


Angela Davis is a political activist, scholar, author, and speaker. She is an outspoken advocate for the oppressed and exploited, writing on Black liberation, prison abolition, the intersections of race, gender, and class, and international solidarity with Palestine. She is the author of several books, including Women, Race, and Class, Are Prisons Obsolete?, and Freedom is a Constant Struggle. She is the subject of the acclaimed documentary "Free Angela and All Political Prisoners" and is Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Astra Taylor is a documentary filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She is the director, most recently, of “What Is Democracy?” and the author of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone. Her previous work includes The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, winner of a 2015 American Book Award. She is co-founder of the Debt Collective.


Haymarket Books is a radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago.

Our mission is to publish books that contribute to struggles for social and economic justice. We strive to make our books a vibrant and organic part of social movements and the education and development of a critical, engaged, international left.