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Tidbits - Dec. 3, 2020 - Reader Comments: Stopping Future Authoritarians, Working Class Voters, Urban-Rural Divide; Nursing Home Workers; Georgia Runoff; Biblical Roots of Socialism; China; How to Rebuild the Economy; Discount/Free Books; Announcements;

Reader Comments: Stopping Future Authoritarians, Working Class Voters; Nursing Home Workers; Georgia Runoff; Urban-Rural Voter Divide; Biblical Roots of Socialism; China; How to Rebuild the U.S. Economy; Discount/Free Books; Resources; Announcements;

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Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - Dec. 3, 2020, Portside

Re: How do we Avoid Future Authoritarians? Winning Back the Working Class is Key (Harry Targ; Ted Pearson; Marlena Santoyo)
Re: Why Nursing Home Aides Exposed to COVID-19 Aren't Taking Sick Leave (Gail Joseph; Fran Tobin)
The Real Reason Trump Won’t Concede  --  meme SolidarityINFOService
Re: If Biden Wants to Be Like F.D.R., He Needs the Left (Warren Chamberlain; Gene Grabiner; Tom Canel; Eleanor Roosevelt; Francis Kenny)
You're Welcome  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich
Re: Why Georgia is Now on Everyone's Mind (David Slavin)
Re: Not Every Trump Voter (David Wilson)
Re: What We Must Do: Understanding and Overcoming the Urban-Rural Divide (Elliot Fratkin; Dan Morgan)
Re: Why Democrats Keep Losing Rural Counties Like Mine (Mike Arney)
Re: 'From Each According to Ability; to Each According to Need' – Tracing the Biblical Roots of Socialism's Enduring Slogan (Geoffrey Jacques; John A, Imani; Gordon Gland)
Re: How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Without Erasing the Exploitation and Genocide of Native American People (Quince Grove)
Re: Book Review of The Inner Level (Ronald Reosti)
Re: The Huawei War - Media Bits (Mike Liston)

 

Resources:

Report - Principles for the Relief and Recovery Phase of Rebuilding the U.S. Economy (Economic Policy Institute)
How to Organize Your Building (Jewish Currents)
40% OFF ALL Haymarket Books - Now thru January 4
Free Hard Ball Press book for the holidays - Give a child this sweet Christmas labor story.
Digital collection now available: Stephen Lewis poster collection (Healey Library at UMASS Boston)

 

Announcements:

Organizing the Diaspora: The U.S.-China Conflict, Anti-Asian Racism, and Transnational Solidarity - December 4 (Democratic Socialists of America)
The US Labor Movement and Racial Justice - December 5 (NYC-DSA Labor Branch)
Webinar Resisting the Racism of COVID-19 - December 8 (Democratizing Knowledge Project)
2020 Academy Awards - December 9 (Midwest Academy)
Public Health, Private Equity, & the Pandemic - December 10 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)
Dismantling Antisemitism, Winning Justice: A Panel Discussion - December 15 (Jewish Voice for Peace; If Not Now; United Against Hate; Jewish Currents; Foundation for Middle East Peace; Arab American Institute; JFREJ; The Jewish Vote; The People's Collective for Justice and Liberation)
Break ‘Em Up! Redistributing Economic Power to the People - December 15 (People's Action - American Economic Liberties Project)

 

Re: How do we Avoid Future Authoritarians? Winning Back the Working Class is Key
 

IMO this article by Bernie Sanders, posted on Portside, provides a useful analysis and program of action for progressives in the coming months (the first 100 Days?).

Perhaps organizations might embrace particular campaigns to educate, organize, and agitate around in the spirit of the Sanders program. We might be best equipped to address the healthcare issue, with members who have been active in such issues for years. I would be excited if we established a Healthcare for All Task Force to lead us in this campaign.

Harry Targ

     =====

I think what Bernie says is true, but it’s only part of the truth. I think that until progressives come to grip with the reality of settler colonialism in the U. S. and the role of African slavery and the genocide of the indigenous inhabitants we will not overcome, and the Left needs to say this. The “American Dream” is the mythology of the settlement of a land “wrested from the wilderness” (stolen from its people) by European settlers (pioneers) and the building of an economy based on slave and wage labor in agriculture and manufacturing which were both the goals and the means for conquest and settlement. The United States has exported this nightmare to the whole world. This nightmare history has no redeeming qualities – there is nothing that can justify the death and suffering this system has wrought and continues to wreak.

Trump voters feel entitled to this dream, which is a nightmare in reality. They feel this dream is theirs and is under attack, as well it needs to be. But the chickens are coming home to roost.

The Black Lives Matter movement of mainly young people led by Black youth but embracing all races, has become the conscience of our nation. Trump may be pushed out of the White House but Trumpism and the American Nightmare are far from extirpated. In the wake of the election there needs to be a revival of organized Labor and class struggle that will rebuild and unite our multi-racial multi-national many gendered working class grounded on the rejection of the American Nightmare and white supremacy. Until the fight to restore those who suffered and continue to suffer from this ongoing crime becomes the fight of the whole working class our country will be just riding on a pendulum swinging between lesser or greater degrees of lies and oppression.

Just to let you know what prompted this was not Bernie’s piece, but the article “The New US-While Calling Our Trump White Women", which was very disturbing because it was so true. I did an experiment with it. I did a global replace of “women” with “workers”. It’s as much or more disturbing, and true.

Ted Pearson

     =====

One side is for ending starvation wages and raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. One side is not.

One side is for expanding unions. One side is not.

One side is for creating millions of good paying jobs by combating climate change and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. One side is not.

One side is for expanding healthcare. One side is not.

One side is for lowering the cost of prescription drugs. One side is not. One side is for paid family and medical leave. One side is not.

One side is for universal pre-K for every three- and four-year-old in America. One side is not.

One side is for expanding social security. One side is not.

One side is for making public colleges and universities tuition-free for working families, and eliminating student debt. One side is not.

One side is for ending a broken and racist criminal justice system, and investing in our young people in jobs and education. One side is not.

One side is for reforming and making our immigration system fair and humane. One side is not.

Marlena Santoyo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Why Nursing Home Aides Exposed to COVID-19 Aren't Taking Sick Leave
 

Thank you for this long overdue article on nursing home care and the pandemic. As an R.N. who spent 8 years as a long term care surveyor and a bout 15 years as a nursing assistant instructor, I can add a little to the facts. 

Nursing home owners are interested in the bottom lime, namely, their profit. Equipment is in short supply, and CNAs are given way too much work by Way of assignments.  Medicare and Medicaid patients are often allowed 20 minutes of care per shift.  Continent patients are told to wear diapers as staffing is too short to get to them when then need assistance, for example.

More to the point, training of nursing assistants is rarely even 2 weeks long, with the federal standard being 75 hours.  They are expected to show mature judgement with almost no experience.  Infection control is but one of the complex concepts they are expected to master  Additionally, practical nurses, with a single year of training are often their only supervisors, and I have never seen a nursing home with adequate staffing by registered nurses.  Preparation for this job is inadequate - guidance is almost non existence for new, or even experienced nas.  In many settings, they pass medications with inadequate additional training.

I think that it was a given that patients living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities ( Wisconsin mandates very few hours of training for care givers in these facilities!) would be victims of this pandemic.  All infections are under reported. Within the past year, our state reduced the state requirement for nurse assistant training from 120 hours to 75 hours.

This is a scandal that really needs to be exposed, but the lobbyists are very powerful in this country, and we must never discount the importance of profit!

Thank you for your important article.  It highlights the atrocious treatment of the poor and the undereducated among us, especially vulnerable women and immigrants.

This country has a lot to be ashamed of.

Sincerely,

Gail Joseph

     =====

This is a very good article, but please stop spreading the "COVID-19 pandemic has devastated America's nursing homes" language.

Nursing homes are doing just fine.  It's those that live and work in them that are devastated. 

The facilities, overwhelmingly privately-owned, for-profit entities, are making money - overwhelmingly from public dollars - getting hundreds of millions of extra and doing little or nothing for those with nowhere else to go. 

This may seem nitpicky, but talking about facilities as devastated rather than those stuck inside (even this piece leaves out the voices of those most likely to die) leads to institutional responses that prop up the institutions.
Across the country, disability advocates and disaster relief specialists have been calling for a rescue - moving folks into safer, non-congregate settings, with needed supports.  Reducing the population density in institutions ('petri dishes for covid) reduces the spread of the virus and increases safety for all residents and workers.

Fran Tobin

 

The Real Reason Trump Won’t Concede  --  meme SolidarityINFOService
 

SolidarityINFOService

Re: If Biden Wants to Be Like F.D.R., He Needs the Left
 

"The radical and sweeping nature of its proposals enabled the administration forces to say to the indifferent and to the conservative that unless the latter accepted the moderate program put forward by the administration they might later be forced to accept the radical and far-reaching provisions of the Lundeen bill."

Warren Chamberlain
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

I get what you’re saying re: Biden and the Left. But can he be pushed?

Gene Grabiner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

My take:  This is true.  Also, we need to defend Biden from the RIGHT, as we pressure him from the Left.  The maintenance of the Democratic coalition is key.

Tom Canel
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

The real pressure from the left, especially during the Popular Front era was the CPUSA's push to form a serious and substantial Farmer-Labor coalition party in opposition to both the Democrats and Republicans. This pressure led directly to Social Security in 1936, but it continued during the ill-fated rightward shift taken by the Administration in 1937, warning FDR that he couldn't take leftward support for granted. But the pressure wouldn't have worked if it wasn't based on serious party-building efforts. A lesson for 2021.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Most dems are not that extreme left thankfully.
What we need is accountability and jail time for lies and corruption.
From the top to the lowest rungs of the sewer Washington has been transformed into.

Been true blue all my life.
WTF Does an "OATH" really mean any f$#@*n way.
Ole Joe is well aware of this

Francis Kenny
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

You're Welcome  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich
 

Mike Luckovich
December 3, 2020
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

Re: Why Georgia is Now on Everyone's Mind
 

Yes! 24 Nov 2020 on the two US Senate runoff. Having lived in Decatur, next door to Atlanta, for twenty years, I think the article overlooks critical weaknesses in the Democratic establishment's game plan to take the seats and secure a Senate majority. Despite the heroic efforts of Fair Fight and Stacey Abrams in registering hundreds of thousands of voters, the voter demographics in Atlanta on 3 November reveal a grave weakness in turnout. 

Atlanta Progressive News reporter Adrian Paulette Coleman noted that overall voter turnout in the city was 59%, with 221,000 votes cast out of 371,500 registered. There are 167 voter precincts in the city. In the two or three dozen precincts of the predominantly white and affluent north side, voter turnout was above 70%. It's safe to say that Purdue's votes came from these precincts, even if support for Ossoff from liberal whites offset Republicans. However, in 32 precincts concentrated in the predominantly Black working class and poor south side of the city, voter turnout was less than 40%.  

The Atlanta south side has been subjected to widespread property speculation and gentrification over the last decade, with affluent buyers, Black and white, profiting, and with Atlanta's Black Democratic political establishment enabling them and sharing in the spoils. For several years, a local realtor, has been documenting this collusion and conflicts of interest. The local gentry have been able to control Neighborhood Planning Units by forming private, dues-paying associations to take seats on the local NPUs. [for extensive evidence on real estate speculation, see RobbyCaban.com] I can't help but draw a connection between low turnout in Atlanta's south side Democratic strongholds and venal party officials who have abandoned working people in these historic Black neighborhoods to upheaval and displacement. 

Consider also that Ossoff garnered 100,000 less votes than Biden (Biden 2.474 million versus Ossoff 2.374 million) and that without the "spoiler" Libertarian candidate, who got more than 2% of the vote, Purdue most likely would have made the 50% threshold. This runoff would not be happening. Ossoff has a big hill to climb. In the other Senate race, the open primary, Warnock won 33% of the vote (1.6 million) to Loeffler's 26% (1.267 m). Loeffler will likely get almost all of Doug Collins 975,000 votes (20%) plus 2% from the half dozen other Republicans who ran. Four other Democrats in the Senate race got about 652,000 votes (16.3%) combined. 

Will the Democratic voters show up for the runoff? There is good reason to think not. First off, the local races drew enthusiasm in Cobb and Gwinnett counties (northwest and northeast of Atlanta) are over, with two Black women winning county commission seats in each and a Black woman elected as Cobb District Attorney (along with a white woman winning the 7th Congressional District seat (Gwinnett). These races will not be on the ballot on 5 January. Several of Warnock's Democratic rivals, particularly Tamara Johnson Shealey, ran on a Sanders-progressive Democrat platform: Medicare for All, Green New Deal, and specifically called for reparations for #ADOS (American descendants of slavery). With only a shoestring budget, she traveled the state for two months talking to voters. She won 106,000 votes. But her message sharply criticized the Democrats and Warnock in particular for unwillingness to adopt a specifically Black agenda. It's worth speculating as to whether Tamara Johnson Shealey's 106,000 voters could put Ossoff and Warnock over the top. And that's the rub. Ossoff and Warnock have taken voters like those who voted for Tamara for granted. 

But the low voter turnout in Atlanta's predominantly Black and low income south side suggests not apathy but angry rejection of Democrats by a long-ignored constituency. Yet both candidates run to the center. They seem to assume the Black vote is in their pocket and see the "lean Republican" voters as the key to victory. Centrist Republicans sick of Trump were willing to vote against the orange monster but not against Purdue. They may even want the Senate to remain under McConnell's control to serve as a counterweight to Democratic control of the House and Executive. I have seen no efforts on the part of Georgia Democrats to address that argument or to acknowledge their strategy. After Trump's gargantuan tax cuts in 2017 and the multi-trillion dollar Covid relief bill last spring, Republican justification for restricting spending is patently lame. But McConnell still used this fig leaf to block another relief package, unless the lion's share goes to the 0.1% and their enablers in the 9.9%, the upper middle class centrists who "lean Republican" to keep their taxes low. 

Ossoff, Warnock, Stacey Abrams and the Democratic establishment seem to hope the "Republican problem" and "Black working class problem" will both go away. Democrats ignore specific Black demands because they assume Black voters have no alternative and took the Black vote for granted. Ossoff and Warnock are to the left of the previous generation of Georgia moderate Democrats, such as Jimmy Carter, Sam Nunn, Max Cleland. They support Medicaid expansion, but oppose Medicare for All, Green New Deal, and radical police reform. Will that be enough? 

The Georgia Democratic coalition around the candidates is comprised on the one hand of a predominantly working class Black base of support heavily dependent on Black women's organizing efforts, tied to mainly female, liberal, middle class "white allies." The two groups have different priorities if not direct conflicts of interest. The "white allies" rallied around Ossoff in 2017 in his bid to unseat anti-abortion absolutist Karen Handel in the 6th Congressional District. Despite raising $27 million, he lost. Then in the 2018 Democratic primary state senate race in the 40th district which covers the southern half of the 5th CD, they rejected a Black woman candidate (the same Tamara Johnson Shealey) for a white women in the Democratic Primary. She unseated a Republican incumbent who Johnson Shealey ran against and had been gaining on in 2014, 2016. 

The only way out of this dilemma involves recruiting working class "whites," who have been set against their Black working class brothers and sisters since their early 18th century. LBJ was in the midst of passing historic civil rights bills of the mid 1960s when he observed that, "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." [recently quoted Rana Dasgupta "The Silenced Majority. Can America still afford democracy?" Harpers Dec 2020 p 51] It is the special responsibility of progressive 'whites' to take on this strategic task, one the 'white' left has almost entirely neglected. Generations of betrayal of Black working people by whites can be overcome, but only by building the kind of solidarity that poses an existential choice to 'whites': either racial superiority or class loyalty. But the left rarely present this choice or tiptoes around this essential condition for transformational change.

Sanders' op ed for The Guardian [How Do we avoid future authoritarians? Winning back the working class is key" 24 November 2020] suggests his thinking has advance little since 2015 when BLM activists took over his rally in Seattle. His response to his own question, "which side are you on?" remains the same laundry list of bullet points that includes racial justice without acknowledging the inequality within the working class, much less offering a plan to bring 'white' working people to the side of the rest of the working class. As long as Sanders, Our Revolution and the rest of the Democratic Party left, DSA, The Squad, etc. avoid the gnarly problem of how to win white workers to the fight against white supremacy -- the only path to solidarity -- Republicans will "Trump" class with race. The down ballot setbacks in the House and the state legislatures that took the Democrats by surprise reflect that Republican "Southern strategy" of race over class still wields power. 

David Slavin

 

Re: Not Every Trump Voter

(posting on Dispatches From the Culture Wars - Nov. 24)
 

This is an interesting article, but the section on immigration and wages is misleading. Author Nesrine Malik cites an Economist piece from February suggesting that Trump's anti-immigrant policies have somehow raised wages for lower-paid US-born workers. But the Economist article hedges a lot, admitting that other factors could explain the wage increase, such as new minimum wage legislation in a number of states and municipalities.

In fact, the minimum wage raises are almost certainly the main reason wages have gone up for lower-paid workers, as the Brookings Institute has noted. 

David Wilson

 

Re: What We Must Do: Understanding and Overcoming the Urban-Rural Divide
 

Since Trump's ascent to the presidency in 2016, I have dismissed his followers as racist, uneducated, and selfish people lacking any empathy for non-whites and non-Christians. I still feel that way, but this article helped me understand at least why rural poor people continue to support him.

Elliot Fratkin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

An essential discussion. It's not just rural USA but much of the world

Dan Morgan

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Why Democrats Keep Losing Rural Counties Like Mine
 

I am not doubting that the Democratic Party has failed rural America. However, Mr. Hogseth must explain what the Republican Party has done for rural America. He does not in this article. Furthermore, he implicitly and explicitly states that rural voters are logical in their rejection of the Democratic Party; yet regarding the rural vote for Republicans, he avoids the question of rationality. You can't have it both ways: you can't claim people are smart to reject the DP but not criticize them when they uncritically accept the Republicans. It is silly and completely inconsistent to ascribe the white vote for conservatives as strictly due to the failures of the DP.

He argues that the rural voters have (logically) rejected the DP. But he doesn't convince me that the rural vote for Trump and the Republicans has been rational. Might it be that the rural white voters, just like the urban white voters, are much more conservative and misled than we care to admit? Going from the DP to the GOP is not a progressive step; it is a reactionary step, a movement towards the worse of the two parties, even if the better of the two isn't working well. Did Trump really stand up to " 'elitist' Democrats and fight for citizens like" rural voters? Or did he merely promise to do so, and thoroughly blew them off for four years? If the answers are "no" and "yes," then explain how rural voters voted rationally by giving Trump their votes? Sitting it out or going third party would have represented a more "rational" response to the failures of both parties (though in the two party system, those wouldn't be the wisest choices, either.) And why are only Democrats labeled as "elitist"? When we do that, are we inadvertently accepting the FOX and GOP bullshit that conservative politicians are much closer to the ground?

Democratic failure leads to a vacuum to be filled ... by racial divide, in Hogseth's words. So these rural white voters, like far too many of their urban counterparts, are voting along racist lines. Led by whom? The Republican Party. The GOP is not working to protect the interests of rural America from executives, investors and shareholders. But the rural vote went to the Republicans. Looks to me like a case of racism being central to the class struggle. Sorry if that sounds too simplistic.

I don't think enough progressives are able to come to the following terms: many voters, especially but not exclusively white voters, are deeply conservative. Period. That isn't a permanent condition, but it sure the hell is a present condition.

Mike Arney

 

Re: 'From Each According to Ability; to Each According to Need' – Tracing the Biblical Roots of Socialism's Enduring Slogan
 

Over the years I have met many Christian Communists and Christian socialists. I've known Communists that became preachers, and preachers that became Communists. Some of these Christian adherents to socialism were Roman Catholics, while others were of various Protestant denominations. I came of age in the radical movement in Detroit, where the Rev. Charles A. Hill, a Baptist minister, was a friend of Communists and a legendary movement hero. The Catholic Worker movement was also strong in my town. And, of course, despite middlebrow culture's determination to erase the fact that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., another Baptist, was a also friend of Communists as well as a principled critic, and identified himself with democratic socialism, the truth will not go away. 

At a time when those that seek to use Christianity as a battering ram for fascism have become one of the faces of Christianity itself in this country, we should pay attention to articles such as the one posted below. This is especially true now in the United States, where socialism is seeing an upsurge. The Biblical roots of the socialist idea extend far beyond the example shown in this article. (Don't be surprised by the Stalin references. The facts they allude to were once widely known and uncontroversial.) Reading this is as good a way as any to begin to remember those roots.

Geoffrey Jacques
posting on Facebook

     =====

31 As they prayed, the house where they were assembled rocked. From this time they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God fearlessly.

32 The whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, as everything they owned was held in common.

33 The apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power, and they were all accorded great respect.

34 None of their members was ever in want, as all those who owned land or houses would sell them, and bring the money from the sale of them,

35 to present it to the apostles; it was then distributed to any who might be in need.

Acts of Apostles - Chapter 4

John A. Imani

     =====

Socialism is profoundly Christian. However, its proponents tend to be agnostic or atheist; whilst its opponents tend to be avowedly Christian.

To quote the King of Siam:
It is a puzzlement...

Gordon Gland
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Without Erasing the Exploitation and Genocide of Native American People
 

Why even have thanksgiving! Surely that's the real question!

Quince Grove

 

Re: Book Review of The Inner Level
 

but what drives inequality, neo-liberalism i.e. capitalism in the raw

Ronald Reosti

 

Re: The Huawei War - Media Bits (Mike Liston)

(Media Bits and Bytes - December 1, 2020)
 

I live in China and have done so for over two decades. The change has been tremendous and given that change, I have few doubts that China can survive this US onslaught and even thrive as per Morozov's article.  As best I can see, this mad desperate flailing about of a declining empire is only hastening its demise.  A real American would support cooperation with a rising China, a China that up until all these recent attacks has had an almost childish respect for Mei Guo (the US) which means Beautiful Land  in Chinese. 

Well, they know better know, huh? Good work, Uncle Sammy, the rest of you stay safe, 

Mike  Liston

 

Report - Principles for the Relief and Recovery Phase of Rebuilding the U.S. Economy (Economic Policy Institute)
 

Use debt, go big, and stay big, and be very slow when turning off fiscal support

By Josh Bivens

November 24, 2020
Economic Policy Institute

The economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic demands an overwhelming policy response. The pandemic has both caused horrendous economic harm and exposed the rot in our economy’s ability to provide security for all. The policy response must first stop the economic bleeding caused by the pandemic, and then second, build a more resilient economy that repairs the rot.

By “stop the bleeding” we mean using fiscal policy to end the crisis of joblessness and restore the labor market to a reasonable degree of health. Failing to invest enough to sustain a healthy labor market would fatally compromise both the political and the economic ability to structurally reform the economy’s key institutions to create fairer outcomes. We have seen this failure before, with fiscal recovery efforts following the Great Recession of 2008–2009 that were insufficient and too short-lived. As a result of this austerity, it took a full decade for the labor market to return to even its pre–Great Recession health (which was too modest a benchmark to begin).1 It seems clear that a key reason why the Obama administration was unable to get ambitious reform efforts finished after its first year in office was the continued intense labor market distress.

This memo explains why policymakers need to pass roughly $3 trillion in debt-financed fiscal support now, with the first $2 trillion hitting the economy between now and mid-2022. This amount of upfront stimulus, combined with investments that ensure a very slow phaseout of this fiscal support, are needed to ensure a return to a high-pressure, low-unemployment labor market by mid-2022. Specifically, the memo calls on policymakers to take the following actions:

Read full memo here

Economic Policy Institute
1225 Eye St. NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-775-8810 • epi@epi.org

 

How to Organize Your Building (Jewish Currents)
 

By Rose Lenehan , Tracy Jeanne Rosenthal; Illustrated by Matt Lubchansky

November 30, 2020
Jewish Currents


Matt Lubchansky  //  Jewish Currents

LIKE workers struggling with their bosses, tenants dealing with their landlords have little power—as individuals. Organizing, however, turns shared vulnerability into shared power. Tenants can create associations and unions to defend ourselves and our communities against the cruelties of a market-based housing system. 

The system as it currently stands prioritizes landlords’ right to property and profit over people’s right to shelter and to remain in the communities they’ve helped build. Why should a corporation’s target profit rate determine whether you can stay in your home of 20 years? Why does the sheriff show up to carry out evictions so much more reliably than the housing inspector shows up to enforce the housing code? 

Tenant organizing changes the balance of power. Organizing your building is the first step toward forcing a landlord to patch a roof, or negotiating a lower rent increase, or stopping the eviction and displacement of your neighborhood’s residents. It also creates community, establishing a framework for neighbors to take care of one another, plan for natural disasters and other emergencies, and mediate conflict without police.

You have the right to organize. You have the right to knock on doors, distribute flyers, and hold meetings.

Read more here.

Jewish Currents
POB 130049 
Brooklyn, NY 11213

info@jewishcurrents.org

 

40% OFF ALL Haymarket Books - Now thru January 4
 

For the holidays, we are offering 40% off ALL of our books until Monday, January 4!

Make sure to place your orders early—Covid-19 related delays mean longer shipping times!

This is the year to introduce your favorite radical books to your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and comrades, and to treat yourself after an impossibly long 2020. If you're looking for a place to start, check out some of our favorite reading lists:

If you appreciate our books and want to support our independent, radical publishing project during this time of crisis, please consider joining the Haymarket Book Club.

Haymarket Books  
P.O. Box 180165
Chicago, IL 60618

Tel: 773-583-7884
Email: info@haymarketbooks.org

 

Free Hard Ball Press book for the holidays - Give a child this sweet Christmas labor story.
 

Imagine young children reading a book about a union that wins back the job of a sanitation worker unfairly fired for taking toys out of the trash. That’s what they will discover in Good Guy Jake.

For years Jake has repaired and painted broken toys he pulled from the trash on his rounds and given to the children in the local shelter at Christmas. But when an angry motorist reports Jake to the sanitation company, the worker is fired for breaking city regulations.

His union takes the case to arbitration, where the union brings in a crowd of children. The children show the judge the toys Jake gave them in years past and testify that the gifts taught them the true meaning of Christmas.

The judge reinstates Jake, and the union announces they will organize a city-wide toy collection for all the children in all the city shelters, calling it the “Good Guy Jake Toy Drive.”
 
FREE WITH THE PURCHASE OF ANY 3 HARD BALL PRESS CHILDREN'S BOOKS.
                          Or...
Give a copy of Some Cuts Never Heal, a union shop steward detective novel.

"This well-plotted page-turner is guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of anyone anticipating a hospital stay anytime in the near future."
Publishers Weekly"

Drawing on 30 years' ex­perience as a critical care nurse, Sheard pro­vides realistic details of hospital routine and budget-cutting politics. Other bonuses are polished prose and elements of warmth and humor. Strongly recommended for most mystery collections." LIBRARY JOURNAL

"If you're a devotee of TV's "ER," you'll devour "Some Cuts Never Heal... In fact Sheard, a 30-year critical-care nurse, vividly takes the pulse of James Madison University Hospital in much the same way "ER" seduces viewers with the inner life of the emergency room."
Free with the purchase of any 3 books for grownups!

Order early from Hard Ball Press, a social justice publishing company...

Hard Ball Press
415 Argyle Rd., 6A
Brooklyn, NY, 11218
917 428 1352

 

Digital collection now available: Stephen Lewis poster collection (Healey Library at UMASS Boston)
 

University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) in the Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce that more than 500 activist posters from the Stephen Lewis poster collection, circa 1921-2017 are digitized and available online. UASC has been working with Stephen Lewis to digitize more than 3,000 posters through the Boston Public Library and make them available through our digital collections portal. We will add new posters on a regular basis.

The posters in the collection provide insight into poster design and serve to document a variety of issues that adversely affect a variety of people and communities around the world. Lewis has collected thousands of local, national, and international posters documenting labor organizing, student unions, political activism, and other radical and social justice movements and causes, such as the women’s and civil rights movements, socialism, communism, antiracism, and antifascism. Other topics include human rights, police brutality, political prisoners, Black History Month, Asian Heritage Month, art exhibitions, university events, conferences, memorials, and remembrances. These posters date primarily from the 1970s to the present. Earlier posters in the collection from the 1940s document efforts by the American government to promote war bonds and include several posters illustrated by Norman Rockwell.

 

Organizing the Diaspora: The U.S.-China Conflict, Anti-Asian Racism, and Transnational Solidarity - December 4 (Democratic Socialists of America)
 

Friday, December 4th at 7 pm ET/6 pm CT/5 pm MT/4 pm PT

2020 has seen rising tensions at various pressure points between the U.S. and China: political crises in Hong Kong and Xinjiang; increased anti-Asian racism, specifically Sinophobia, with the spread of COVID-19; and nationalist fearmongering on China from establishment politicians across the aisle.

Caught between this crossfire are Asian workers and others in the diaspora, from international students to long-time Chinatown residents. We have also seen heroic struggles against these forms of oppressions and have been inspired by the BLM uprising in the US.

How can leftists of color and allies help connect transnational solidarity to anti-racist movement-building at home? What are some of the possibilities or pitfalls to anticipate with a Biden administration in terms of building up Asian and Asian American movements from China to Chinatowns abroad?

Speakers in this webinar will show the interconnections between these aspects, addressing topics like the Chinese right wing, pro-Beijing disinformation, Chinese international students’ organizing, and avenues for left-wing solidarity with movements in Hong Kong and China against state repression while remaining vigilant against the forces of U.S. imperialism.

This event hopes to stimulate organizing that concretely gives shape to what connecting the transnational and local in the mass movement and beyond can look like.

Speakers:

  • Tobita Chow, Justice is Global
  • Helena Wong, Chinese Student Activist Network
  • David Xu Borgonjon, International and Immigrant Student Workers Alliance (IISWA)
  • Sharon Yam, Lausan Collective 
  • JM Wong, Pacific Rim Solidarity Network (Parisol) 

Register here https://act.dsausa.org/survey/organizing-the-diaspora/

Hosted by Democratic Socialists of America and DSA AfroSocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus

 

The US Labor Movement and Racial Justice - December 5 (NYC-DSA Labor Branch)
 

Saturday, December 05, 2020• 2:00 PM • Eastern Standard Time

Join the NYC-DSA Labor Branch for a conversation with the scholars Michael Goldfield (Professor Emeritus, Wayne State University and author of "The Color of Politics: Race and the Mainsprings of American Politics" and "The Southern Key: Class, Race, and Radicalism in the 1930s and 1940s") and Robin Kelley (Professor of American History, UCLA, and author of "Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression" and "Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination") on how the labor movement has addressed the question of race in the US and how that history applies to today's situation.

RSVP to receive a Zoom link!

RSVP here https://actionnetwork.org/events/the-us-labor-movement-and-racial-justice

 

Webinar Resisting the Racism of COVID-19 - December 8 (Democratizing Knowledge Project)
 

Resisting the Racism of COVID-19

Tuesday, December 8, 2020, 3 – 5 pm EST

REGISTER by Monday, December 7
https://syracuseuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/7016057635287/WN_ILqa0t7XTvKG0q5aRoj0KA

This event is free and open to the public

 

2020 Academy Awards - December 9 (Midwest Academy)
 

On December 9th, the Midwest Academy will honor these three visionary leaders:

  • Alicia Garza, Principal of Black Futures Lab & Strategy + Partnerships Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network -- transforming communities through innovative organizing methods and strengthening Black political power
  • Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation -- ground-breaking, responsive philanthropic strategies to reduce racial disparities, inequality and advance long-lasting change
  • Michael Podhorzer, Senior Advisor of The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) -- fighting for social and economic justice and striving to vanquish oppression in all its forms.

We hope you've already saved the date for our 2020 Academy Awards! https://secure.actblue.com/donate/awards20 It's sure to be an inspirational program, highlighting the progress we've made and energizing us for the work still to come.

Our annual fundraiser looks different this year, but the purpose is still the same -- to take a moment to honor some amazing social justice heroes while spotlighting just what good, strategic community organizing can do.  

Pay-what-you-can tickets are NOW AVAILABLE via ActBlue. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/awards20

We'd like to thank our early sponsors:

ActBlue, AFSCME, Center for Popular Democracy, CTU, New Jersey Citizen Action, Planned Parenthood, Rockefeller Family Fund, Sierra Club, UTLA, Jeffrey Blum, Heather Booth, Cathy Hurwit, David Medina & Tim DeMagistris, Eddy Morales & Hugh Harris, Nick Nyhart & Kathleen Mctigue, Mike Pratt, and Teresa Vilmain

Midwest Academy, Inc.
53 W. Jackson Blvd. #1634
Chicago, IL 60604

 

Public Health, Private Equity, & the Pandemic - December 10 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)
 

"Even before the pandemic began, an epidemic of hospital closures had turned whole swathes of the country into vast “health care deserts'... Private equity firms have grabbed up a significantly expanded share of the broader healthcare market over the last few decades, with rural hospitals and healthcare providers—which were often financially distressed to begin with, and relatively cheap to buy—among some of their favored targets for acquisition. The results have often been ugly." Max Fraser in the Fall 2020 issue of New Labor Forum

Join the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (@CUNYSLU) on Thursday, December 10 at 12 Noon (ET) for a virtual lunch hour event titled, "Public Health, Private Equity, and the Pandemic: Distressed Assets in Rural America" that will examine a timely example of how privatized health care is deepening inequality during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The discussion will be moderated by Samir Sonti, Assistant Professor of Labor Studies and Urban Studies at CUNY SLU, and will feature Max Fraser, Assistant Professor of American History at the University of Miami, who has written on this topic in the Fall 2020 issue of New Labor Forum.

This live event is co-sponsored by CUNY SLU's national journal, New Labor Forum​, and its new podcast, ​Reinventing Solidarity. This event will be held online via Zoom. Please download or update the Zoom app before joining the event. Click here to join the Zoom event on Thu. Dec. 10 at noon.

Featuring:

  • MAX FRASER - Assistant Professor of American History, University of Miami; Columnist, New Labor Forum
  • SAMIR SONTI - Assistant Professor of Urban Studies, CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies; Books & Arts Editor, New Labor Forum

Register here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/public-health-private-equity-the-pandemic-tickets-130292170389

CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies
25 West 43rd Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10036

 

Dismantling Antisemitism, Winning Justice: A Panel Discussion - December 15 (Jewish Voice for Peace; If Not Now; United Against Hate; Jewish Currents; Foundation for Middle East Peace; Arab American Institute; JFREJ; The Jewish Vote; The People's Collective for Justice and Liberation)
 

 

We believe that safety for marginalized people, including Jewish people, can only be achieved when all who are vulnerable are in solidarity with one another. It takes all of us being truly invested in the safety of our neighbors, and learning from one another's struggles, to protect each other.
Join social justice movement and political leaders as they share what fighting antisemitism looks like to them and how it connects to their own liberation struggles. Panelists will address their own experiences of fighting oppression, how they learned about and have experienced antisemitism, and how this informs their approach to dismantling antisemitism. Together, we will explore how learning from one another helps us fight against antisemitism, as well as those that seek to wield charges of antisemitism to undermine progressive movements for justice.

We welcome all to join us for a conversation with this powerful panel of leaders committed to dismantling antisemitism and winning justice as a joint struggle for a world where all of us live in safety, vibrancy and freedom.

The panel: 

  • Rep. Rashida Tlaib is U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district since 2019.
  • Peter Beinart is Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a Contributing Opinion Writer at The New York Times, a CNN Political Commentator, Editor-at-Large of Jewish Currents and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He writes the Beinart Notebook newsletter on substack.com.
  • Dr. Marc Lamont Hill is the Steve Charles Professor of Media, Cities, and Solutions at Temple University. He is also currently the host of BET News and the Coffee & Books podcast. 
  • Dr. Barbara Ransby is a writer, historian, professor, and activist. She is an elected fellow of the Society of American Historians, and holds the John D. MacArthur Chair at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Moderated by Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director of Jewish Voice for Peace and JVP Action.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 8:00 PM -  9:00 PM ET

Register here https://act.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/mRhy-i-JA0SekWIMi4RQCA2

 

Break ‘Em Up! Redistributing Economic Power to the People - December 15 (People's Action - American Economic Liberties Project)
 

On December 15th at 2pm ET, join the American Economic Liberties Project and People’s Action for the kickoff of our new virtual event series “Break ‘Em Up! Redistributing Economic Power to the People” to learn why. 

The “Break 'Em Up” series will bring together a diverse range of progressive voices to share information about the ways unchecked corporate power is hurting workers, small businesses, communities and our democracy. It will build on the momentum of the House Antitrust Subcommittee’s 16-month investigation into Big Tech, and galvanize the progressive movement around fighting monopoly power. 

Economic Liberties and People’s Action’s first event will examine how concentrated corporate power hurts labor and workplace organizing efforts.

Welcome:

  • George Goehl, Director, People’s Action
  • Sarah Miller, Executive Director, American Economic Liberties Project

Keynote Remarks:

  • Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee

Featured Discussion: Centering Worker Power in Anti-Monopoly Fights

  • Zephyr Teachout, Author of Break ‘Em Up and Associate Professor of Law, Fordham Law School

In conversation with Morgan Harper, Senior Advisor, American Economic Liberties Project 

Panel Discussion: The Consequences of Corporate Power for Working People

  • Saru Jayaraman, President, One Fair Wage and Director of the Food Labor Research Center, University of California, Berkeley
  • Sara Nelson, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO
  • Veena Dubal, Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings

Moderated by George Goehl, Director, People’s Action

Closing Remarks:

  • Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI), Chair of the House Antitrust Subcommittee

RSVP https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN__RJXZNJQTUyXPp_HdWWKgA

December15, 2020 --  02:00 PM in Eastern Time

American Economic Liberties Project  
1150 Connecticut Ave NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20036-4130