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Tidbits – April 14, 2022 – Reader Comments: Cutting Military Spending; Organizing Amazon – What, How, Who; Ukraine; Nationalize Fossil Fuels; Racial Equity and Housing Justice; Puerto Rico; Resources; Announcements; More…

Reader Comments: Cutting Military Spending; Organizing Amazon - What, How, Who; Ukraine; Nationalize Fossil Fuels; Racial Equity and Housing Justice; Puerto Rico; Resources; Announcements; more....

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - Apr. 14, 2022, Portside

Re: What Would It Take for Military Spending in America To Go Down? (Tom Gogan)
Re: Is the US Hindering Much-Needed Diplomatic Efforts? (Stan Nadel)
The Dream and The Hope  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
Re: The Rank-and-File Organizers Who Took On Amazon (Rafael Arturo Guariguata; Marti Murphy; Alan Warren; Labor Community Alliance of South Florida)
Being in a Union  ---  cartoon
Re: Amazon Union’s Chris Smalls Is Part of the Legacy of Black Labor Organizing (Steve Wishnia)
Re: By Helping Self-Organized Workers, Labor Can Save Itself (Mike Mauer)
If We Can Unionize Amazon Workers, Then Workers Anywhere Can
The Ukrainian Family  --  painting by Marc Chagall
Re: It’s Time To Nationalize the Fossil Fuel Industry (David Raun; Kathryn Evann Wegner; Frank Hughes; Jim Lockwood; James Van Pittman)
Re: We Need To Start Our Own People’s CDC (John Dietzel)
Re: Child Care and Elder Care Investments Are a Tool for Reducing Inflationary Expectations Without Pain (Lisa Rung)
Insulin Prices  --  cartoon by Mike Stanfill
Re: Stormy Days Coming for Solar Power in the Sunshine State (Daniel Millstone)
Re: Where Is the Women’s Movement? (Eleanor Roosevelt)
Re: What We Found When We Went Looking for Another Earth (Arlene Halfon)
Too Lazy  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
Re: The Red Scare Scarred the Left — But Couldn’t Kill It (Nancy Schimmel)
What’s Old is New Again: Some Initial Thoughts on the Amazon Workers Victory (Rosemary Feurer in Laboronline)

Resources:

Book - Special price - The Real Story Behind Operation Pedro Pan (University Press of Florida)
Podcast - American Trade Unionism with Chris Townsend

 

Announcements:

Calling All Educators! Teaching for Racial Equity & Housing Justice - Curriculum Launch - April 21 (Othering & Belonging Institute, Univ Calif, Berkeley)
The Diaspora Speaks: What is Happening in Puerto Rico - New York - April 23 (The Pro Libertad Freedom Campaign)
Stopping Gender-Based Violence and Harassment at Work: The Campaign for an ILO Convention - April 26 (Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and the Solidarity Center)
Million Worker March book signing - New York - 2 events - May 11 and May 21 (Million Worker March)
Sacrifice and Rebirth - Commemoration of the 1937 Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre - Chicago - May 21 (SOAR - Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees)

 

Re: What Would It Take for Military Spending in America To Go Down?
 

 

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Astore's generally astute analysis leads to his rather defeatist conclusion.  The fatal flaw here is that he leaves out the protagonism of the US and world's peoples, in particular our working classes and their allies, who will have the final word on all this.  More and more of us are raising our voices against militarism and the wars abroad and their direct and indirect negative impacts on our own communities.

This movement is still small but is destined to grow.   Here in NYC it is beginning to  take shape via a loose coalition under the slogan "Move the Money --From War to Our Communities!"  Nationally, it is taking shape via the Poor Peoples Campaign and other coalitions calling for divestment from the war profiteers and redirection of our tax dollars from war and militarism to our most impacted poor/ working class communities. Worldwide, it takes the form of resistance to imperialism and calls for reparations and rebuilding devastated countries' economies.

Tom Gogan

Re: Is the US Hindering Much-Needed Diplomatic Efforts?
 

Regarding Richard Sakwa, Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent, see Kuzio, Taras (21 June 2016). "When an academic ignores inconvenient facts". New Eastern Europe.

He, like most of the other experts cited in this article are all Putin explainers or Putin defenders from that portion of the left that seems incapable of seeing anything bad anywhere in the world without attributing it to misdeeds by the US or Israel. Of course they are often right, but not when it becomes a knee jerk reaction that basically excuses the misdeeds of other actors--its pure campism.

Stan Nadel

The Dream and The Hope  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers

April 12, 2022
robrogers.com

Re: The Rank-and-File Organizers Who Took On Amazon

(posting on Portside Labor)
 

“If we can unionize Amazon…, then workers anywhere can unionize their workplaces. That means you.” -Angelika Maldonado

Rafael Arturo Guariguata

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

We should not be afraid risks. We need less consulting contracts and more actual rank and file leadership. We need to take more shots and not be afraid to lose. We need to develop our organizational capacity, fighting does that. We must lead workers into struggle.

Marti Murphy

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Bring it on. In Union is power. The working class has to unite and organize to make better working conditions, better wages and a more just and kinder Society for all, rather than just a select and already rich few. Enough is enough.

Alan Warren

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

In a famous satirical poem, composed in 1953 after construction workers in East Germany went on an insurgent mass strike, the playwright Bertolt Brecht asked whether a government, having lost the confidence of its people, might prefer “to dissolve the people and elect another.”

When Amazon was faced with worker walkouts at its massive fulfillment center on Staten Island during the pandemic, it engaged in precisely that tactic, firing warehouse workers Chris Smalls and Gerald Bryson in March and April 2020 for speaking out about safety concerns. In fact, labor turnover, which includes weeding out people the company perceives as agitators, has been one of the key tools for Amazon to avoid an organized workforce.

But nearly two years to the day after the firings, Staten Island workers in warehouse JFK8 notched a historic victory against Amazon, turning their workplace into the first union shop at the nation’s second-largest employer. The company smeared Smalls, calling him “not smart, or articulate” and seeking to make him “the face” of organizing efforts.

Labor Community Alliance of South Florida

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Being in a Union  ---  cartoon
 

United Steelworkers Local 1219

Braddock, PA

Re: Amazon Union’s Chris Smalls Is Part of the Legacy of Black Labor Organizing
 

I find it ironic that an article lamenting that "few have acknowledged the long history of Black labor leaders " fails to mention A. Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

Steve Wishnia

Re: By Helping Self-Organized Workers, Labor Can Save Itself
 

I’m puzzled as to why a number of informed labor commentators mischaracterize Starbucks Workers United as an entity “without organized labor at the helm or even in the picture.” Workers United is an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest labor unions in the country.

It's a worthwhile endeavor to analyze why the Starbucks organizing has been so successful and how we can replicate that success, but our analysis has to start from the facts.

Mike Mauer

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

If We Can Unionize Amazon Workers, Then Workers Anywhere Can

The Ukrainian Family  --  painting by Marc Chagall

Marc Chagall’s “The Ukrainian Family” was painted during WWII. It could have been painted today.

Martin Shaw

March 28, 2022
Political Racism

Re: It’s Time To Nationalize the Fossil Fuel Industry
 

Impossible as long as theirs only two fossil fuel warmongering oligarchy parties in Washington.

David Raun

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

A little late.

Kathryn Evann Wegner

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

past time. sadly what mr raun said

Frank Hughes

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

We already gave them the money with royalty holidays in Alberta, just need to pick up the keys

Jim Lockwood

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

The ruble to gold impact has not been felt yet, once it is this should be on the table.

James Van Pittman

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: We Need To Start Our Own People’s CDC
 

This is disturbing, and brings into focus my unhappiness with recent changes in masking requirements.  Seems like someone's gaming things; improve results by changing metrics.

I'm very disappointed.

John Dietzel

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Child Care and Elder Care Investments Are a Tool for Reducing Inflationary Expectations Without Pain
 

What we need is a caretaker's stipend so people could choose to care for their own loved ones if they want.

Lisa Rung

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Insulin Prices  --  cartoon by Mike Stanfill

Mike Stanfill

April 4, 2022
Raging Pencils

Re: Stormy Days Coming for Solar Power in the Sunshine State
 

The Florida fossil fuel folk and their allies in electric power generation and delivery have concocted a scheme to make rooftop solar less attractive to condo and homeowners. As rising seas threaten Floridians and as solar enjoys vast popular support,  the misbegotten GOP is dancing to the tune of Florida Power & Light. Thom Hartmann reports. Thanks to Portside for sending this around.

Daniel Millstone

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Where Is the Women’s Movement?

(posting on Portside Culture)
 

A movement that fails to acknowledge the centrality of class to oppression under a capitalist society isn't moving at all. It's simply promoting a new way to sustain the status quo.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: What We Found When We Went Looking for Another Earth

(posting on Friday Nite Videos)
 

It amazes me that an MIT Astronomer could be so "Planetcentric". But I've seen and heard it before.

Saying that the conditions on another planet cannot support life, assumes that "life" on another planet will not adjust/adapt/evolve to the conditions on the planet instead of the conditions on Earth. Saying that one revolution around the sun takes four days, without explaining that it's four days in Earth time, assumes that "time" is the same on another planet. Life, minds, vegetation, growth, and all other conditions may adapt to the four days in our time as a year in their time. OR it may be something totally different.

At this point, she can't possibly "know" the answers to these dilemmas. She may be right; it may be what I just suggested. Most likely, answers to both those questions and many others, are different from what we may even be able to envision.

Religion is based on immutable "facts"; Science should be open to all possibilities.

Arlene Halfon

Too Lazy  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers
 

Rob Rogers

April 25, 2014
robrogers.com

Re: The Red Scare Scarred the Left — But Couldn’t Kill It
 

"Protesters in 1960 stormed a HUAC hearing in San Francisco, with police on camera shown violently dragging protesters down the marble steps of City Hall." As I remember it, the HUAC gave tickets to right-wing organizations and students couldn't get in to watch the hearings. They sat in the halls outside in protest and were dragged down the stairs. It was, as usual, the police doing the storming.

Nancy Schimmel

What’s Old is New Again: Some Initial Thoughts on the Amazon Workers Victory

by Rosemary Feurer

April 4, 2022
Laboronline (LAWCHA)

In the past twenty years, I have been told time and again about how it is nearly impossible to organize Amazon, Starbucks, Wal-Mart and so many other leading workplaces until we get the Pro-Act, card-check (various government laws to make unionization easier to attain.)1. This has come from some of our leading historians and sociologists and union officials. You live in the past, they responded. You don’t understand, they assured me. We need to elect Democrats in order to move forward.

In the past twenty years, I’ve been lectured to, time and again, that the history of the 1930s is not very relevant to the present. Fordism is gone, they said. You have a romantic view of the world, they said. The reason the labor movement needs to be embedded in the Democratic Party is because things aren’t like the 1930s.

Amazon workers victory is a breakthrough in that respect. And when I read that the manual being used by the Amazon workers in New York was William Z. Foster’s, The Organizing Methods in the Steel Industry the 1936 “old school” manual that served up the distillation of past struggles to the Left-wing organizers of the 1930s about 1) conquering fear 2) using community resources 3) effecting a left-wing genre of SALT-ing and rank-and-file democracy 4) figuring out class ways to unite a diverse base of working class lives, I was not surprised.

And when I found the constitution of the new Amazon Labor Union mandated that the executive officers would not make more than the average wage of the workers, I was not surprised.

What’s old is new again.

There is no way to reinvent the 1930s insurgency. Thank heavens!! That insurgency was  fraught from the beginning, with models of Congress of Industrial Organization governance that derived from the United Mine Workers of America’s top down structures. These were learned from a generation of capitalist influence in the mining industry. The CIO was managed from on-high by men who were autocrats at heart. That catered to an alliance with a capitalist party that continued even when it was outright destructive.

Contra the leading suppositions about how the 1930s “made a New Deal,” that was the same in Chicago or Toledo or St. Louis, there was not one national campaign in the 1930s, but many different ones, with streams that led to great possibilities, and streams that led to a dead-end, top-down labor movement allied with the state’s foreign policy and committed to the growth of capitalism.

Those are my initial thoughts. Historians never predict, but we can hope we don’t have the repeat of the 1930s insurgency, in which the leadership of the old guard AFL & CIO used red-baiting and other nefarious methods to staunch the best models of unionism. Struggle-based unionism needs to have a chance, and only with this bottom-up organizing will it have a chance to prove itself.

Over the weekend, I heard a resounding chorus of pundits saying there is no historic precedent for this Amazon workers victory. When you couple the constitutional provision for democratic union model with the manner of organizing, there are untold number of historic precedents, but also causes for concern: the break-through strike/immigrant organizing  of Passaic, New Jersey in 1926, the early 1930s wave of auto industry organizing, from Briggs to Toledo-Lite, the community-based organizing in Minneapolis Teamsters that broke through the Citizens Alliance, the Black women nutpickers and ragpickers of St. Louis.  What happened to those? The labor movement was as implicated in their demise as was capital’s repression.

If today’s new style of organizing can get a platform, they can learn from the failures of the 1930s as well as their own hearts and heads.

  1. This is not an argument against these proposed laws, which would set up obstacles to union-avoidance strategies that have become the mainstay of corporations such as Amazon. But it useful to remember that resources devoted to electing moderate Democrats have not resulted in these laws, and that it was the workers’ uprisings of the 1930s that resulted in the Wagner Act.

[Rosemary Feurer is editor of Labor Online, author of Radical Unionism in the Midwest, 1900-1950 and Against Labor, co-edited with Chad Pearson. She is completing The Illinois Mine Wars.]

Book - Special price - The Real Story Behind Operation Pedro Pan (University Press of Florida)
 

What was really behind the airlift of 14,000 Cuban children to the United States in the early years of the Cuban revolution? Was Operation Pedro Pan an urgent rescue mission or an integral part of Washington’s secret war to undermine and overthrow the revolutionary government?

This new book takes a fresh look at the multiple and complex factors driving the exodus of Cuba’s children, examining the rapid and profound social reforms implemented after the 1959 revolution that affected women, education, religious schools, and relations within the family and between the races. The author considers why Cold War anticommunist scare tactics were so effective in setting the airlift in motion, exposing the U.S. government’s manipulation of the aspirations and insecurities of more affluent Cubans.

Offering an original perspective on this still controversial episode in US-Cuba relations, this book traces the parallel stories of the generation of the Cuban revolution: the young Cubans who flew off to Miami with Operation Pedro Pan and those who stayed, including the 100,000 teenagers who also left their homes in 1961 to teach literacy in mountainous and marginalized parts of Cuba. In showing what these divergent journeys reveal about the historically fraught relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, the author also sheds new light on the nature of the deep social revolution that was unleashed on the island after 1959.

OPERATION PEDRO PAN AND THE EXODUS OF CUBA’S CHILDREN

By Deborah Shnookal

University Press of Florida, June 2020

ISBN 9781683401551 Hardcover $85 reduced to $35

University Press of Florida is offering this book for $35 and free shipping on all orders with code LASA20 through May 31, 2020.

Podcast - American Trade Unionism with Chris Townsend

Listen here

We welcomed today Chris Townsend to discuss his four decades as a union organizer and the relevance of William Z. Foster’s book, “American Trade Unionism” on today’s labor struggles.

Calling All Educators! Teaching for Racial Equity & Housing Justice - Curriculum Launch - April 21 (Othering & Belonging Institute, Univ Calif, Berkeley)

Curriculum Launch: Teaching for Racial Equity & Housing Justice

April 21 | 4:30 - 6:00 PM PST

Register here

Coming out of a two year-long project in collaboration with Bay Area teachers, this curriculum is designed to make more accessible the Bay Area's histories of racial dispossession in housing as well as its histories of resistance and housing justice organizing. Join us in community to share the launch of this teaching and learning project that advances justice, needed restitution, and belonging for all. Artwork from Black Quantum Futurism.

Othering & Belonging Institute

University of California, Berkeley

460 Stephens Hall

Berkeley, CA 94720

Tel: 510-642-3326

The Diaspora Speaks: What is Happening in Puerto Rico - New York - April 23 (The Pro Libertad Freedom Campaign)


 

Stopping Gender-Based Violence and Harassment at Work: The Campaign for an ILO Convention - April 26 (Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and the Solidarity Center)
 

The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor and the Solidarity Center invite you to a virtual conversation and book launch,

Stopping Gender-Based Violence and Harassment at Work: The Campaign for an ILO Convention 
 

Tuesday, April 26 | 10am ET

Register here

In June 2019, the International Labour Organization adopted a ground-breaking global treaty on eliminating violence and harassment, including gender-based harassment, in the world of work. This historic treaty was the result of a global grassroots, cross-movement campaign to end gender-based workplace violence led by women trade unionists and their allies. In their newly published book, Stopping Gender-Based Violence and Harassment at Work: The Campaign for an ILO Convention, Jane Pillinger, Robin Runge, and Chidi King document the critical role of women and unions in achieving this landmark victory. 

Join us on April 26 to hear from the authors who were directly involved in the campaign and key women union leaders of the global movement to end gender-based workplace violence and harassment. 

 

Featured Panel

  • Robin Runge, co-author
  • Jane Pillinger, co-author
  • Cathy Feingold, International Trade Union Confederation
  • Rose Omamo, Amalgamated Union of Kenya Metal Workers

Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor

37th & O Streets, NW Maguire 209

Georgetown University

Washington, District Of Columbia 20057

Phone: (202) 687-2293

Million Worker March book signing - New York - 2 events - May 11 and May 21 (Million Worker March)

This anthology is a call to working people organized and unorganized to unite and mobilize around our own agenda.

This is a book about African American trade unionists from one of the most renowned radical labor organizations in the world, the International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, that defied the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO and mobilized the MWM on October 17, 2004, at the Lincoln Memorial.

Find out how the MWM reclaimed May Day in 2005. On May Days in the years that followed, the ILWU shut down the ports to demand justice for victims of police violence and jail for killer cops; to demand universal health care, and to demand workers' rights for all.

The ILWU shut down West Coast ports – to oppose wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and in solidarity with Palestine.

On Juneteenth 2020, ILWU Local 10 mobilized 29 Port Stop Work Actions to Stop Police Terror, to End Systemic Racism and to Stop Privatization of the Port of Oakland.

Author Clarence Thomas is: A third-generation longshore worker, a labor and community activist, who has led or been a part of many historic rank-and-file struggles and solidarity actions at the point of production, championing the struggles of African Americans, the oppressed, and the working class at home and abroad.
 

As a student at San Francisco State in the late 1960s, Thomas was a Black Panther and part of the Black Student Union leadership in the longest student strike in U.S. history. The student strike won the establishment of the first Black Studies Department and a School of Ethnic Studies. Today’s Black history is taught by graduates of these studies in colleges and universities around the country.

Purchase ‘Mobilizing in Our Own Name’ at a 15% discount and have it signed by Clarence Thomas at the event. https://tinyurl.com/54drzhmx

Clarence Thomas Book Signing | Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, May 21, 2022

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

At TWU Local 100

195 Montague Street, 9th Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11201 

Purchase ‘Mobilizing in Our Own Name’ at a 15% discount and have it signed by Clarence Thomas at the event. https://tinyurl.com/54drzhmx

Million Worker March

Sacrifice and Rebirth - Commemoration of the 1937 Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre - Chicago - May 21 (SOAR - Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees)

Join SOAR (Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees) on Saturday May 21st at 1 pm, at 11731 S Avenue O, for the 2022 Commemoration of the 1937 Republic Steel Memorial Day Massacre. For a video about this historical event, visit this link: https://vimeo.com/677375113