Tidbits – March 24, 2022 – Reader Comments: War in Ukraine; Take Action – Support Peace Talks Now!; Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson; “The Godfather”; Labor Secretary Pro-Labor?; Labor and Russian War on Ukraine Webinar; Rudy Lozano; More…
Re: NATO and the Road Not Taken (Vicki Rovere)
Re: Covering War Without Prejudice (Ted Pearson)
Re: There is No Wisdom in Pretending that Ukraine's Neo-Nazis Don't Exist (Charles; Daniel Jordan)
Re: Vladimir Putin Has Fallen into the Dictator Trap (Robert Supansic)
Re: Women Are Still Paid 22% Less Than Men (Joe Grogan)
Re: For 50 Years ‘The Godfather’ Has Sold Us a Beautiful Lie (Peter Nickitas; Tom Conroy; Elena Marcheschi)
A Labor Secretary Who Is Pro-Labor? Heaven Forbid. (Kevin Cullen/Boston Globe)
To End the War in Ukraine, Support Peace Talks Now! (Massachusetts Peace Action)
Webinar: Beyond Putin, Beyond NATO: Grasping the War in Ukraine (Shelter & Solidarity)
Labor and the Russian War on Ukraine - A Webinar for Working People - March 30 (former founders, leaders and supports of U.S. Labor Against the War)
Rebuilding the Medical For All Movement with Mark Dudzic - April 9 (The Brecht Forum, Revolutions Study Group and Marxist Education Project)
Some of these haters of American Democracy need to be gagged and bound in straight jackets. How anyone of this ilk can think/believe they are on the side of righteousness is just unfathomable. They will say and do anything to get their way even if it destroys the country. Sadly the reality is roughly half the country would like to see that happen. Worshiping the false idols, the Putins and Trumpers of the world, will do that to you.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Yes. but not just NATO! Here's the text pf the sign I've taken to two demonstrations:
DE-ESCALATION is not just for local police depts.
How to escalate from CONFLICT to WAR:
1. When a country is suffering (as in when the USSR broke up), don't offer help.
2. Vilify, vilify, vilify. Use "enemy" a lot.
3. Make big $$$ from arms sales.
4. Don't set firm limits on bad behavior.
5. Keep posturing that we're the "good guys" while supporting violence in Yemen, Syria...
6 Don't use tech skills to block cyber attacks. Just wait and then blame.
7. When a country is historically paranoid, surround and threaten it.
WE, U.S. PEACE ACTIVISTS, SUPPORT ANTIWAR UKRAINIANS & RUSSIANS. WE DO NOT SUPPORT THE U.S. GOVERNMENT'S HISTORIC UNWILLINGNESS TO ACT RESPONSIBLY FOR PEACE.
It’s impossible to cover war without prejudice. The bias of the media is so apparent in the heart-rendering stories of people living in fear of bombs and artillery fire without cell phone service, while somehow the people of Central America who have faced hardships and pain much greater for many years are ignored. Not to speak of the wars and terrorism that takes place against Africans. Is it simply that Black and Brown people “are not like us (white mass media managers)”. That may be why so many white people are ready to wring their hands, but the main reason for the mass media coverage of Russian atrocities in Ukraine is that it serves the interests of the U. S. imperialist capitalist class.
The crimes of Putin’s neo-imperialist Russia against the people of Ukraine (and the people of Russia, too) are great, but the double-standard in coverage is sickening.
March 22, 2022
Yes, they do exist, though relatively small in numbers. However, it is a valid point to consider, that being aligned with these neo-Nazis, in any context, even as marginally temporary allies of convenience against the Russians is exactly the sort of fuel Putin wants to justify his invasion of Ukraine.
Putin's initial narrative utilizes "denazification" as a major element of his "special" military action. This is a complex puzzle with many moving parts.
We went down this very path, ironically against the Russians, in Afghanistan, enlisting the most extremist religious elements there because of their focused efforts to drive out the Russians . . . which they did, only to leave behind something even more hideous than the Russian occupation.
I consider the nearly half of people who voted for Trump to be, by definition, neo Nazis. Let's talk about the nearly half of Americans who are neo Nazis.
(Posting on Global Left Midweek)
Reviving the peace movement to meet the challenges of multipolar militarism, repression and corruption will take some serious rethinking. Some contributions from Europe here.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
I don't know if there is really such a thing a "dictator trap."
If seems fairly clear to me that Putin's real miscalculation was his misreading of Western intentions. He thought his saber-rattling -- the buildup of Russian forces on Ukraine's border -- would force the West into negotiations on getting some face-saving autonomy for the breakaway eastern "People's Republics" and a promise that Ukraine would not join NATO. When the U.S. and NATO decided to stonewall that, be realized that their true objectives was his removal from power. That is what precipitated his decision to invade Ukraine. This is the most needless war I have seen in my lifetime.
Almost all the US presidents were. Here with millions of native Americans and abroad almost everywhere. You pick Bush but you ignore all others, why ? Because its the system not the man.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Since when hasn't spending on science research (including health care) not been "defense" spending? Since our Government decided to euphemistically call killing, weapons, wars, military, etc "defense" and decide that true "defense" (education, healthcare, food, housing, etc.) was superfluous.
Thank you for this important information. Here in Canada, the gap is even greater.
(posting on Portside Labor)
As a 35 year 1199er, we knew about the 24 hour shifts from the 1980s when the union first started organizing home care workers. So shameful that the 24 hour shift for 13 hours pay still exists today.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Prof. James MacLeod
March 17, 2022
Cubans are NOT “in the middle” between DeSantis and the Bishop. They are overwhelmingly right wingers, voted overwhelmingly for Trump and DeSantis. It’s ugly; don’t try to pretty it up
Prof. David Abraham
University of Miami School of Law
Puzo and Coppola appealed to the cell in the psyche that says, “Yes, I got the shaft and I want to get even someplace and sometime”. They appeal to the resonant cynical frequency that says, “Yes, they rigged the system and excluded you.” Thus, Puzo wrote an essay before “The Godfather” entitled “Why Crime Is Good for America”. Puzo argued in favor of the bribes that send bureaucrats’ children to college and put “your (the reader’s)” building permit, license application, or (you name it) petition at the top of the inbox pile, and in favor of teaching driver’s education students how to fold a $20 bill around a driver’s license to beat a ticket.
Does every cop fall for the greenbacked driver’s license test? No. Is every building inspector on the take? No.
Every anecdote of crime has another anecdote of true dealing.
Did Puzo, however, suggest that crime rests at the heart of America, in the soul of her soul? Is that why “The Godfather” begins with a quote from Balzac, “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”? And is that why the first words of Coppola’s masterpiece come from the mouth of undertaker Amerigo Bonasera: “I believe in America”?
Whoever thought the men in The Godfather movies were heroes?
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Tom Conroy exactly! Personally, I think the writer misses the real message of The Godfather and The Godfather series. Despite what some self-aggrandizing mobsters might tell themselves, nobody with any depth of understanding can logically consider the film’s characters heroes. They pay very high prices for their competitive machinations in pursuit of ever greater financial rewards - and so do the guilty as well as the innocents around them.
To me The Godfather and Godfather II particularly offer a metaphor for American capitalism, the systems it creates, the evils it promulgates, the individuals it corrupts, and the multitudes it destroys. Vito and Michael Corleone are not presented as heroes, and neither are their cronies or their hangers-on, including the women, sisters and wives who enable them, look the other way while faking innocence and piety.
This is a movie about clever people who’ve created an alternate pillaging system, being excluded from engaging in the kinds of extortion anointed as “legal” by the overarching systemic power structure. The juxtaposition of organized crime and capitalist corruption is blatant throughout The Godfather series.
And where’s the writer’s evidence that the film is primarily popular with men. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember and so have most of the women that I know. I think this is a very superficial take on film of much greater depth. I gain a deeper understanding for its brilliance each time I see it. I give this commentary thumbs down.?? ??
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
(posting on Portside Culture)
What a ridiculous piece. Let’s rebuild the peace movement and nuclear disarmament movement instead of engaging in looney nationalist kitsch. What a specific wheat variety has to do with the present day nation of Ukraine, I do not know.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Big business-supporting Republicans don’t like the success Marty Walsh has had in resolving labor disputes, so they want him investigated for possible ethics violations.
By Kevin Cullen
March 21, 2022
Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)
To all of you without the time or inclination to track every grimy detail of politics and policy in Washington, it may come as a surprise to learn that some people in Congress want Labor Secretary Marty Walsh investigated for ethics violations because he is, um, too pro-labor.
Maybe when they get through with Walsh, Republican representatives Rick Allen of Georgia and Virginia Foxx of North Carolina can turn their attention to the propensity of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to be too solicitous of soldiers.
Walsh has helped end labor disputes from the Worcester nurses strike to the standoff that threatened to scuttle the Major League Baseball season.
But it was Walsh’s decision to visit Kellogg’s cereal workers on the picket line in Lancaster, Pa., last October that first attracted the opprobrium of Allen and Foxx. They also didn’t like Walsh’s success in Worcester, despite the fact that Walsh was invited in by both management and labor, as he has been in other labor disputes.
Allen and Foxx have asked the Department of Labor’s inspector general to investigate whether Walsh getting directly involved in labor disputes is ethical.
It probably goes without saying that Allen and Foxx were among 147 Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results after the attack on the Capitol last year.
Their concern for the average American worker is touching, even if not entirely credible.
In 2016, at a meeting of House Republicans before they rejected a spending bill that included an amendment prohibiting discrimination against workers based on gender identity and sexual orientation, Allen read a Bible verse suggesting homosexuals are “worthy of death.” He told his colleagues that anyone who voted for the amendment would be committing a sin. Even some Republicans couldn’t stomach his act.
Foxx’s contributions to improving the workplace include introducing a bill that would force workers to undergo genetic testing and allow employers to know the genetic makeup of employees’ families. Because, hey, why would a company want an employee with a kid or a spouse who might have a chronic medical condition?
Beyond the sheer chutzpah of politicians who aren’t fazed by an attempt to subvert democracy demanding an ethics investigation, these paragons of workplace virtue do raise a legitimate question: should the US labor secretary be, you know, pro-labor?
To me, the answer is an obvious yes. The decline of organized labor in the United States has coincided with a growing gap between rich and poor, as well as a shrinking of the middle class that made the United States what flag-wavers like Allen and Foxx say is the greatest country on earth.
Faced with just those two indisputable facts, why shouldn’t the labor secretary be actively engaged in trying to end labor disputes while standing with workers who want better wages and working conditions?
When Walsh was running for mayor of Boston, and even after his election, some questioned whether a big labor guy like him could steer the city’s growth without alienating developers and entrepreneurs. As with Republicans today, the knock on Walsh then was that he was too cozy with labor.
Walking through the Seaport on Sunday, I was struck by just how much that area has grown and continues to grow.
Maybe the Seaport’s too developed, and maybe development in other neighborhoods suffered as a result, but after $48 billion in development and 140,000 jobs were created under his administration, can anybody seriously argue that Walsh’s pro-labor ethos as mayor stifled economic development?
The irony of right-wingers who bang on about God and the evils of sinners going after Walsh is that the secular socialists aren’t too fond of him, either.
Walsh’s appearance on the Kellogg’s picket line led a skeptical Tim Rivers at the World Socialist Web Site to declare: “Walsh exemplifies the corrupt corporatist relations between the unions, the corporations and the capitalist state which Biden is seeking to develop.”
When both the far left and the far right are mad at you, you must be doing something right.
[Kevin Cullen is a Boston Globe columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com.]
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has created a catastrophe. Thousands have been killed. Millions have been displaced. Billions are threatened by increased bellicosity between nations armed with omnicidal nuclear weapons.
Peace-loving people all over the world are asking an important question: What can we do to make it stop?
Today, President Biden left Washington DC for Europe where he will meet with officials from NATO, the European Union, and the G7. We must urge him to support negotiations between Ukraine and Russia to achieve an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Ukraine, a sovereign nation.
Despite calls from war hawks in Congress and the corporate media, President Biden has made clear that no US troops will be sent to Ukraine and a policy of shooting down Russian aircraft, a so called "no fly-zone," will not be implemented. These clear statements that World War III is not an option are good, but they're not enough.
When asked about what the US is doing to push peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine forward White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said we're doing so by being, "the largest provider of military and humanitarian and economic assistance in the world, to put them in a greater position of strength as they go into these negotiations."
More guns, bombs, and missiles can't end this terrible war. Peace talks can.
Attend our upcoming webinars to learn more:
- A negotiated settlement to the Russia/Ukraine conflict? With Anatol Lieven. Thursday, March 31, 1pm ET
- Ukraine: Prospects for Peace and Preventing Escalation? With Joseph Gerson and Phyllis Bennis. Tuesday, April 5, 8pm ET
11 Garden St
Cambridge, MA 02131
At the very moment when global cooperation is most urgently needed to combat catastrophic climate change, power politics over Ukraine brings to light the unreconstructed and undiminished Cold War orientation of the US military-industrial apparatus. While the singular responsibility for these casualties lies with Russia’s rulers, it is also true that there is a collective responsibility to understand the context and history in order that the propensity for war may be successfully challenged.*
Keti Chukhrov is an associate professor at the School of Philosophy & Cultural Studies at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow). Her latest book Practicing the Good. Desire and Boredom in Soviet Socialism (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) deals with the impact of socialist political economy on the epistemes of historical socialism.
Jonathan Michael Feldman specializes in research related to political economy, disarmament, green economics and studies related to democracy. Recent research focuses on reindustrialization via the mass transit sector in the United States, social change in Iran, and transnational networks related to state-building or development in Palestine. He writes periodically for Counterpunch and Portside. He is an associate professor at The Department of Economic History and International Relations at Stockholm University.
Alisa LaSotnik was born in Lviv, Ukraine, in a Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish family and raised abroad. She made a mini-doc, Fayanka in Fragments, during the Orange Revolution in 2005 about the meaning of freedom for the divided country. Currently in Spain and part of a network of refugee support. Until 2016, Alisa was a coordinator of encuentro5 in Boston.
Olena Lyubchenko is a Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, York University, Toronto. Her research interests include neoliberal restructuring, dispossession, and financialization of social reproduction as well as struggles around life-making. Olena’s dissertation draws on social reproduction feminism and traces the transformation of the gender contract and social citizenship model from the Soviet to the post-Soviet era in Russia.
Suzi Weissman is a Professor of Politics at Saint Mary’s College of California, is the author of Victor Serge: A Political Biography (Verso 2013), hosts the Jacobin Radio podcast and broadcasts the weekly “Beneath the Surface” on KPFK in Los Angeles. She sits on the editorial boards of Critique and Against the Current, and is co-producer of the forthcoming Lindy Laub documentary on Trotsky, “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.”
Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American Studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Her many books include Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration (2021) and Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (2014). Her next book, “Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions about Climate Justice” is due out in 2022.
Joseph G. Ramsey is a scholar-activist and organizer, based in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He teaches English and American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston Joe has edited four book-length anthologies, including the Works & Days volume, Scholactivism: Reflections on Transforming Praxis, and is presently at work on a book-length study of the critical communism of Richard Wright.
The Shelter & Solidarity online show is a joint effort of the Labor Press, Hard Ball Press, encuentro5, and Socialism and Democracy.The Shelter & Solidarity online show is hosted here. It is a joint effort of the Labor Press, Hard Ball Press, encuentro5, and Socialism and Democracy.
March 3, 2022
As a young high school student on the South Side and a college student at the University of Illinois Chicago, Rodolfo “Rudy” Lozano fought for courses on Latin American history and for more Latino faculty.
Lozano’s fight as an undergraduate at UIC led to his arrest with other protestors on the Chicago Circle campus. The struggles they fought would pay off and lead to the creation of the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services program and the Rafael Cintrón Ortiz Latino Cultural Center.
The former activist, community organizer and politician is the subject of a new exhibit at UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library, “A Search for Unity: Rudy Lozano and the Coalition Building in Chicago,” which will run until next fall, said David Greenstein, lecturer in Special Collections and University Archives. The exhibit is made up of papers, photographs, posters and other memories about Lozano, who was murdered when he was 31. Greenstein curated the exhibit with Peggy Glowacki, manuscripts librarian, and Elena Bulgarella, assistant archivist.
“The exhibit focuses on the way he tried to bring different communities of people together,” Greenstein said. “Including various Latinx communities in the Near West Side neighborhoods, Pilsen and Little Village, he brought together documented and undocumented workers that were fighting for better conditions.”
Lozano, who was born in Harlingen, Texas, to Mexican immigrant parents, was gunned down June 8, 1983, after losing a bid to become Chicago’s first Mexican-American alderman. According to news accounts, Lozano failed to force an aldermanic runoff by only 17 votes but managed to get enough Latino voters to support Harold Washington’s successful bid to become Chicago’s first Black mayor.
As a community organizer, Lozano forged coalitions between Black, Latino and white Chicagoans advocating for political change. His history as an activist goes back to when he was a student at the former Harrison Technical High School in South Lawndale, Greenstein said.
He advocated for the school to hire more teachers who were representative of his community and teach Mexican and Latino history because that was what the students were interested in learning, Greenstein said.
When Lozano arrived at UIC, he joined a student movement advocating for the university to recruit more Latino students and reshape the university’s curriculum to teach Latino issues. In addition, they were calling for a cultural center to serve the community on campus. His fight successfully led to LARES and the Latino Cultural Center. Latino students now make up the second-largest group of students on campus.
“For students, especially today, his story is valuable because he began his career so young,” Greenstein said.
After leaving UIC, he worked as a labor organizer with several local groups, including the Midwest Coalition for the Defense of Immigrants, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and the Center for Autonomous Social Action. As part of his work, he called on unions to advocate for both documented and undocumented workers. He also served to organize workers at the Tortillería Del Rey tortilla factory.
After noting that the time was ripe for the community to back Latino candidates in local elections, he ran for alderman in the 22nd Ward and was a supporter of Washington’s run for mayor. He forged a coalition of Black, Latino and progressive white voters and became an adviser to Washington, who was elected in April 1983. Lozano was expected to serve in Washington’s cabinet but was killed in June by an 18-year-old man he had let into his house to use the bathroom. The circumstances behind the killing remain controversial.
Among the items on exhibit are papers from his union organizing campaigns, including his notes and daily reports during the 1970s. Also included in the 24 boxes of archive materials are posters, photographs and campaign items from his aldermanic campaign, as well as items from Washington’s campaign. Many Washington-related archives show the importance of Lozano’s outreach to the Latino community as being pivotal to the mayoral victory.
The items also include records from UIC’s University Archives that document the creation of the Latino Cultural Center and LARES, as well as items highlighting his campus efforts as a UIC student.
In addition, archivists were able to digitize videos that had not been previously seen, including a 1979 May Day speech, which will now be part of the archives and the exhibit and will be available to researchers. Library officials are digitizing many items to make them available online to the public.
“It’s really exciting because you can see a young, dynamic activist speaking to a large crowd. You get a chance to see how dynamic of a speaker he was,” Greenstein said. “That’s available for the first time on display as part of the exhibit and will be preserved digitally as part of our collections.”
Last year, Cook County officials celebrated Lozano’s legacy by declaring July 29 Rudy Lozano day. He has a Chicago Public Library branch and several schools named in his honor.
You are invited to participate in this important labor webinar about the Russian invasion of Ukraine to learn more about the crisis and what we in the labor movement can do in response to this crisis.
Register today for this 3/31 event with Andy Campbell - author of the upcoming book "We Are Proud Boys." Founded right here in NY, the Proud Boys are at the center of the expanding extremist movement in the U.S. Their embrace by the radical GOP is securing their place in mainstream politics and are a growing threat to democracy.
No Surrender NY Welcomes Andy Campbell, Senior Editor at HuffPost, author of "We Are Proud Boys: How a Right-Wing Street Gang Ushered in a New Era of American Extremism."
Campbell will explain the growth of the extremist movement and offer an urgent warning about the future of far-right radicalization. It's a discussion you shouldn't miss.
Saturday, April 9, 2022 AT 2 PM – 4 PM
Tickets · $3 - $11
The world’s most expensive healthcare system failed catastrophically under the real-world structure test of the pandemic.
After the Pandemic: Rebuilding the Medicare For All Movement with MARK DUDZIC
The world’s most expensive healthcare system failed catastrophically under the real-world structure test of the pandemic. This crisis drove home both the absurdity of linking healthcare to employment and the importance of treating healthcare as a decommodified public good. But the politics of the emerging post pandemic period are not conducive to big, transformative initiatives like Medicare for All. We will explore this disjuncture between social necessity and political possibility and how it might be resolved with particular emphasis on the role of the institutional labor movement.
MARK DUDZIC is the Chair of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer and is a longtime union organizer and activist.
Don't miss it! Come to Richmond on Sunday April 24th to celebrate the NINE (so far) Starbucks stores in Richmond that are unionizing and the 150 stores nationally! Admission is free -- come support the workers and listen to great local bands and the great Bernie Sanders! #SBWorkersUnited