Tidbits – Apr 21, 2022 – Reader Comments: Ukraine and the Left; Grad Students; Who Is Working-Class; Amazon Rainforest; Jackie Robinson; Amazon Rally Sunday; May Day; Global Green New Deal; Labor Notes Conference; Teaching Socialism; Mark Rogovin;
Re: How To End the War in Ukraine: A Solution Beyond Sanctions (Michael Eisenscher; Paul Buhle)
On the Question of Ukraine and the Left (Joe Delia)
No More Masks!!!! -- cartoon by Dr. James MacLeod
Re: Feminist Resistance Against War in Sweden (Mike Liston; Stan Nadel)
Re: By Helping Self-Organized Workers, Labor Can Save Itself (Arlene Halfon)
Re: Fordham University Grad Students Vote To Unionize; Seeking Wage Increase to $26K in New Contract (Rafael Arturo Guariguata)
Re: Indiana University Graduate Workers Go on Strike for Union Recognition (Josh DB)
Re: Corporate Media Ignores Bernie’s Corporate Greed Hearing (Senya Means)
Sign of Hope -- North Carolina restaurant
Re: When Boomers Come Together (Van Caldwell)
Re: Who Is Working-Class, and Why It Matters (Joe Berry; Mark Roth)
Untraceable -- cartoon by Rob Rogers
Re: The Amazon Rainforest Can’t Survive 4 More Years of Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (Charles)
Re: Jackie Robinson Was a Radical – Don’t Listen to the Sanitized Version of History (Margaret Power; Arlene)
Re: Abbott Elementary Finally Does Right by America’s Most Wrongly Portrayed Profession (Amy Laiken)
All Out - Amazon Labor Union Rally at LDJ5 with Teamsters' President Sean O'Brien, Flight Attendants' President Sara Nelson and Senator Bernie Sanders - Staten Island - April 24
What does a Global Green New Deal mean for the internationalist left and its allies? - Brussels, Belgium - April 26 (Rose Luxemburg Stiftung)
May Day: March for Worker Protections & Citizenship! - New York City
Annual May Day Festival - Haledon, NJ (American Labor Museum)
2022 Labor Notes Conference is less than two months away: June 17-19 - Early bird registration ends May 1
Radical Teacher Call for papers on Teaching Socialism - Submission Deadline: Aug. 12
Mark Rogovin – Artist, Activist, Author, and “Seat-of-the-Pants” Historian - May 13 - July 1 (Uri-Eichen Gallery; Illinois Labor History Society and the Forest Park Historical Society)
Throughout the Iraq and Afghan wars, as of October 2021, the US total military casualties were 7,054. In Vietnam, 58,220. It is simply unbelievable that Russian losses would approach or exceed 40,000 after two months of combat. I suspect this figure reported by WAPO, which McCoy cites, came from the Ukrainian government. Relying on a combatant government to report accurately the losses of its adversary makes for both bad journalism and even worse scholarship. And, it was unnecessary for the argument he makes, which could have been described as "excessive", if referenced at all. Can that claim be corroborated by other more detached sources?
He is the proper successor to William Appleman Williams, here in Madison, not because he is a lefty but because he is a realist.
To my political friends and comrades:
Hoping to foster a dialogue/exchange on the question of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and the subsequent general Left response), I submit a few questions and observations and welcome any comments and criticisms.
I don’t think I’m alone in observing that the left has been unable to articulate a clear and internally logical response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Why do some on the left view NATO policy itself as the prime factor that explains Putin’s motives and calculations, and thus, the nature of Russian aggression?
The growth of the industrial-military complexes that now infest every region of the world must be countered and dismantled. While we work toward that outcome, will we stand by in our privileged peace and allow authoritarians to rape, murder and oppress other peoples?
Is blaming NATO instead of viewing unprovoked Russian aggression for what it is based on a view of modern-day Russia as somehow “different” from other capitalist economies? Does Russia not have economic goals of expanding capitalist markets and exacerbating wealth inequalities throughout the world, much like the U.S. and most other major capitalist countries -whether they be liberal democracies or authoritarian regimes?
In conclusion, we must address how leftists/socialist’s will deal with the question of democracy (liberal) vs. authoritarianism as we work to build a socialist future. The only interpretation I can draw from these bizarre and contradictory viewpoints outlined above is that we on the radical Left have under-theorized the nature of Democracy and thus are inadequately prepared to confront a growing authoritarian world-order that threatens all working-class people.
Again, comments welcome.
Southeast Community Research Center
Dr. James MacLeod
April 20, 2022
Neutrality has been good policy for Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Austria for quite some time. It would be a big mistake to change that policy now. I hope good sense of people like these wise women prevails,
Of course this is from a country that also saw no reason to fight against Nazi Germany--portraying this Swedish propensity to sit back and make money rather than to act to oppose aggressors as something noble strikes me as a dubious project.
As long as the emphasis remains on organizing an industry, business, or one shop at a time, the overall goal will be difficult, if not impossible for some.
We have many models of organizations, domestic (ACLU, Planned Parenthood) and international (Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders) that "organize" to help EVERYONE who is affected, whether they participate in the organization or not. They all have local chapters to deal with local issues and special segments to deal with specific sub-issues. However, the entirety of one organization is consistent and works together.
No-one can deny what good unions have done for its member in terms of wages, hours, working conditions, benefits, etc. Meat packers certainly could have benefited when forced to work in desperate conditions. Unions have even set the standard for many of these issues for labor, in general. However, there is no one organization that speaks for ALL WORKERS. Separate organizing should no longer be necessary. The most obvious example of this practice are the unions who lobby against Universal Health Care for everyone because they want to be able to show that good health care can only be achieved by belonging to the SPECIFIC union. Go on strike and you can lose your health care; leave your job and you can lose your health care. Change jobs and you may have to adjust to new (whether better or worse) health care conditions with different doctors.
A union may start out with the best of intentions; many then become more concerned with "growing" and "preserving" itself, rather than working for workers. AND of course, until each group of workers wins its own union, many are still left behind.
Times have changed since my father's union days (100 years ago) and organizations must change with the times.
(posting on Portside Labor)
"Fordham University graduate workers became the latest New York-based employees to successfully unionize in a landslide 229-15 vote — forming a union with the Communications Workers of America."
Rafael Arturo Guariguata
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
My grad worker union UIC Graduate Employees Organization https://www.facebook.com/uicgeo is also on strike as we speak, to pressure the University of Illinois at Chicago to give us a living wage and a fair contract.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Bernie Sanders had a corporate profits hearing? HOW COME NOBODY KNEW ABOUT IT?
I'm glad I'll be dead before the motherfucking fascists overrun the country.
“The changes we need to make over the next few years to safeguard our democracy and stabilize the climate are going to be hard. Without the active participation of a good proportion of Americans over the age of sixty—a.k.a. “Boomers”—these changes will be impossible.
That’s why we’ve formed Third Act: because we badly need experienced people across as many fields and industries as we can get to join this fight. We’ve got, literally, no time to waste.”
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
I agree with most of Van’s Gosse’s argument except for a major “tenured professor blindspot”. Most teachers are objectively working class and so are most college teacher, who are 75% contingent today. They are also becoming part of the “class for itself” as more and more organize and redefine their own status in practice. The class character of the profession has changed over the past 50 years and even the “contradictory class locations” (thanks Eric Olin Wright!) of the remaining 25% on the tenure track have shifted more toward proletarianization. For a fuller discussion of this and other matters regarding higher ed and especially contingent faculty labor, see our recent book, "Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the Contingent Faculty Movement in Higher Education”. https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745345529/power-despite-precarity/
Let me start out with this: does anyone reading this think that any working or middle class person will read the article and discuss it? It's overloaded with classical socialist political verbiage, based on a century of such discussions. If "ordinary people" don't read it and discuss it, what is its function?
Now let me offer my analysis, and I promise you that anyone can read it.
First, let's define "working class" and "middle class". Originally, the middle class were small-to-medium business owners, and professionals (e.g. doctors and lawyers who were the business). Since the fifties, at least, the US media has pushed the idea that "middle class" related to your income, *not* to what used to be considered class. If you were within perhaps some percentage of median income, you were middle class - that is, since the current median income is close to $60k/yr, if you earned between $35k/yr and $80k/yr, you were middle class.
In the real world, this is bs, and nothing but. The reality is that if you live from paycheck to paycheck, you're working class, whether you accept that or not. If a $1000 surprise medical bill is a disaster. Over half of all US adults would be looking at debt or bankruptcy with a $1000 medical bill.
College degrees have nothing to do with it. Speaking as a computer professional, most of my decades of work required nothing more than what I learned before finishing my associate's degree... but HR departments, now heavily outsourced, and not knowing anything about the company they're serving, add degrees and certificates for no reason.
Further, the type of degree matters. Teachers, with a BS, and some with a Master's, start at well under $40k/yr., while an MBA, meaningless as that is, can look at well over $50k and up... and yet which is more important?
Ethnics - and I'm including African-Americans here - are denigrated as a matter of course, and so earn less, as do women.
The actual middle class in the US is and was not anywhere near as large as the media would have you believe, and the working class far larger. This is, of course, part of the strategy of the wealthy, to keep us from organizing. An "administrative assistant" is salaried, where a secretary wasn't... and the latter could organize, and be paid time and a half, where the former is now salaried, and gets nothing more, no matter how many hours they work. The same is true of programmers - and I say this from personal extensive knowledge - the only thing I've ever "managed" were computers... but all of us are listed as "management".
Reality again: my first professional job, many years ago, was as a "sr. programmer I". A few months after I was hired, I asked a friend who was higher up why "senior", and he told me, and this is a direct quote, "they got rid of those a couple of years ago, because they were eligible to join the union." For that matter, I was always allegedly "salaried", which used to mean "work till you're done, then you can leave whenever", but now you have to charge every hour to an account. Ask anyone, and you'll find it's true. We're hourly, but it's obfuscated.
Racism - it's absolutely no different than what the British did in Northern Ireland with Protestants vs. Catholics, except it's easier to mentally put someone in a category if you can look at them and know.
If we want to organize the working class, we need to talk to others about how much they're making, and point out who's using them, and who isn't. The black or Hispanic person over there isn't taking your job, it's the boss, who wants higher ROI... and so won't hire more people, but makes you do more work.
What did you think "increased productivity" meant?
April 20, 2022
This is 100% true, it's a planetary nightmare in the making. I've been to Brazil 3 times, starting in the early 1970s. It was so dramatically different then, the Amazon really was enormous and could rightly be seen as the "lungs of the planet". The last time I was there (mid 1990s), it was clearly evident than enormous swaths of that forest had been already burned and converted into soybean plantations, cattle ranches and so on.
This was before Bolsonaro. Things have become severely worse since then. Virtually all of the scientific projects that were there have been completely eliminated or defunded to stagnation. The loss of irreplaceable genetic content is beyond comprehension, all for the sake of extremely short sighted momentary commercial gain, and Bolsonaro's desperation to stay in office.
The world is mostly distracted for the moment by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a dire and important situation, but the impending complete destruction of the Amazon has vastly greater potential consequences, of which most of the general public is essentially clueless, or just sees as some sort of distorted "green" political issue that doesn't concern them. They could not possibly be more wrong about this.
The scale of this disaster can not be overstated.
That was a really good article. I learned a lot about him.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
I grew up in Brooklyn, a few blocks from Ebbetts Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers played. We could see games from the roof of the apartment building. Baseball was a big important thing in our community because of Ebbetts Field.
It was an Orthodox Jewish immigrant neighborhood, where even as a child when I didn't know the word(s), I felt that my family and neighbors were what we would now call bigots and racists.
Even so, there was a pride in my parents' voices when they talked about Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers for being the first baseball team to have a Black person (of course, that wasn't one of the words they used). For them, it was a wonderful team even if they never won competitions. We were all more moral because we lived in Brooklyn near Ebbetts Field.
In retrospect I find it all amazing.
(posting on Portside Culture)
Just watched the first 2 episodes tonight. Smartly written and very funny.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page
Sunday, April 24 -- 3:30pm
Amazon warehouse LDJ5 is the second Amazon warehouse to file for union recognition. NLRB supervised election begins April 25, thru April 29.
Hear from Amazon workers and leaders of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU)
Amazon Labor Union
A vision for achieving climate, social and economic justice
Please note: this is a face-to-face event taking place in Brussels
The prevailing neoliberal global economic system has put societies and nature in a threatening situation. Despite decades of promises to end extreme poverty, to fight world hunger and provide a decent life for all, to mitigate the climate change and the extinction of various species, the economic policy of exploiting nature, resources and people continues to drive the global economy and destroy the foundations of life on the planet and the planet itself. Instead of improvement of living conditions, we experience a variety of crises that influence and increase each other. A Global Green New Deal could initiate the transition from the current system to a climate-friendly, fair and just way of economics and a fundamental change of the world economy. A comprehensively, equitably and environmentally sustainable Global Green New Deal that addresses the multiple crises is more necessary than ever.
Welcome address: Anna Schröder (Head of Office of RLS Brussels)
- Asad Rehman (Executive Director of War on Want)
- Sabrina Fernandes (Member of International Research Group on Authoritarianism and Counter-Strategies Brazil)
- Katie Gallogly-Swan (Policy Coordinator at the Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center and UNCTAD)
- David Adler (General Coordinator at Progressive International)
Moderation: Katja Voigt (RLS Berlin), Nessim Achouche (RLS Brussels)
Due to limited capacity, we kindly ask you to register.
Rue Théodore Verhaegen 158
Have a look at the other public event Political implementation of the demands for a Global Green New Deal of our Green New Deal conference!
It's been two years since the pandemic started. The pandemic disproportionately impacted Black and brown communities, many pushed to the frontlines as essential workers to provide for their families and our communities. In times of need, our most impacted and vulnerable communities are left to fend for themselves excluded state support and from a pathway to citizenship.
May 1st: International Workers Day, dozens of community based organization, unions and allies will take to the streets of New York City for worker protections and a full pathway to citizenship in the United States.
Sunday, May 1st 2022
Start location: Washington Sq. Park
End location: Foley Square
Participating organizations (list still in formation):
Make the Road New York; NICE; CUFFH; LIUNA Local 79; Arab American Association of New York; New York Communities for Change; Center for Popular Democracy; New York Immigration Coalition; We Are Home; Cabrini Immigrant Services; Labor Council for Latin American Advancement; Amazon Labor Union; African Communities Together; Minkwon Center; 1180 CWA; New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, RWDSU/UFCW, The Retail Action Project (RAP); Professional Staff Congress-AFT; Literacy Assistance Center
Your organization can endorse here
Sunday, May 1 - 1 PM
American Labor Museum / Botto House National Landmark
83 Norwood Street
Haledon, NJ 07508-1363
The Annual May Day Festival plans call for instrumental and vocal performances by Bev Grant, former lead of the folk/rock band, Human Condition and founder and director of the Brooklyn Women's Chorus, and Carolann Solebello singer/songwriter, and by the NJ Industrial Union Council's "Solidarity Singers." George Mann, who presents concerts that are part sing-along and part history lesson, will return, accompanied by Marty Confurius and Al Podber, and Annamaria Stefanelli, lyric soprano, will sing opera arias that were popular among immigrant workers. This is an outdoor public event, which will be moved indoors in the case of inclement weather. There is a $10 per person suggested donation. This program is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
The 2022 Labor Notes Conference is less than two months away: June 17-19.
Act fast and register today—the early-bird rate of $130 expires on May 1!
The Labor Notes Conference is the biggest gathering out there of grassroots union activists, worker center leaders, and all-around troublemakers. We're excited to get back together with labor activists from all over to share stories, strategize, and get a big dose of much-needed inspiration.
- Join thousands of union members, officers, and labor activists who are on the front lines in our workplaces and our communities, organizing new workers and agitating together. Meet troublemakers from across the country and around the world.
- More than 100 meetings and workshops include creative organizing tactics, beating apathy, running for local union office, winning contract campaigns, understanding the economy, and reviving the strike.
- Organize with others in your union, industry, or campaign. Face-to-face meetings to share tactics and swap notes are the heart of the Labor Notes Conference. Join an existing industry, union, or caucus meeting—or contact us to set one up.
Great Labor Arts Exchange
This year we’re teaming up with the Labor Heritage Foundation to bring together workplace activists, artists, and labor educators who are strengthening the movement with songs, poems, hip-hop, posters, cartoons, puppets, and more.
Enter your song, poem, rap, or spoken word piece in this year’s contest! Details coming soon.
Arts workshops and performances will be woven throughout the weekend. But for an extra helping of culture, arrive early—the Great Labor Arts Exchange gets started at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 16.
Main Office: 7435 Michigan Ave, Detroit, MI 48210; (313) 842-6262
East Coast Office: 104 Montgomery St, Brooklyn, NY 11225; (718) 284-4144
Socialism is back in political discourse and action. It underlay the politics of many participants in Occupy Wall Street, the 2011 action in Lower Manhattan that galvanized radical demonstrations and other activities across the country. Bernie Sanders ran his 2016 and 2020 campaign for president on a platform he called socialist, which enlisted thousands of young organizers. Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is now a national organization with over 95,000 members, some of whom have won seats in Congress (most notably, AOC and Rashida Tlaib). Polls show that over half of people in their 20s have a negative view of capitalism and roughly half view socialism favorably.
But what do proponents and opponents actually mean by “socialism”? How do they see relationships between socialism, whatever its definitions, with its traditional emphasis on class struggle, and current movements concerned with race, gender, and sexuality? How are Americans “educated” about socialism in and out of formal schooling? Can we teach about socialism without teaching about communism and capitalism, not to mention neoliberalism with its wholesale devastation of human lives? We hope this issue of Radical Teacher will clarify definitions, identify sources of mystification, and discuss what is at stake politically.
We’d like to hear where teaching and learning about socialism is taking place today. Is there renewed interest on college campuses, and perhaps even in high schools? And with the burgeoning of explicitly socialist activism, to what extent have opportunities for teaching and learning about socialism expanded beyond the confines of the campus and the teacher/student relationship, forging connections with political activism?
If we think of socialism as a live ideal in American and international history, a force in present struggles, and a possibility for our future, what should we teach? To whom? What histories of socialism’s idols might be pertinent? What wins, losses, and dead ends? How would a socialist organization of the American political economy differ from what will exist if things go on as they are, and how might we explore such differences in (or outside of) a classroom?
This would not be an academic exercise. As climate catastrophe and other dangers loom, we more surely now than ever before face Rosa Luxemburg’s choice of socialism or barbarism. Indeed, in this time, can radical teachers be at all satisfied to understand the world but not change it?
The editors of this issue are interested in articles on teaching (in or out of school and college) that try to dispel the ignorance in the U.S. about socialism domestically and internationally, renewing its vital presence in political vision and resistance. For instance:
- How have you and your students and colleagues explored current misunderstandings of socialism? Hostile misrepresentations?
- How have you connected ideas of socialism now to past ideas and practices of socialism? To “actually existing socialism” in other societies?
- Have you found ways to put students in touch with socialist organizing? With young people who have worked in the Sanders or AOC campaigns, for instance? With anti-capitalist organizers in Black Lives Matter?
- How might teaching about socialism connect to movements grounded in race or gender? To the ongoing concern with intersectionality? To environmental activism and the political analysis that climate change cannot be adequately addressed within the confines of capitalism?
- Can teaching about socialism be disinterested and neutral? Should it be? Or should radicals teach as advocates of socialism?
- In the current political atmosphere, will openly socialist teachers put their careers at risk? How can leftists who do have job security defend adjuncts and graduate TAs against repression? Can they turn repressive attacks by administrators, trustees, and politicians into political lessons?
- Does teaching socialism call for progressive pedagogies? Democratic classrooms? Student-initiated learning projects? Ways of moving from individual to collaborative forms of learning?
- What kinds of resistance from students have you encountered in teaching (about) socialism? How, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, have you tried to deal with them?
- What texts—analyses stories, poems, dramas—have you found most engaging for students? What do you do with them?
- How would you structure Socialism 101?
Radical Teacher, founded in 1975, is a socialist, feminist, and antiracist journal dedicated to the theory and practice of teaching. It serves the community of educators who are working for democratic process, peace, and justice. The magazine examines the root causes of inequality and promotes progressive social change. We publish articles on classroom practices and curriculum, as well as on educational issues related to gender and sexuality, disability, culture, globalization, privatization, race, class, and other similar topics. Radical Teacher is a peer-reviewed journal.
Radical Teacher articles are typically 4,000 -- 6,000 words, though we consider shorter or longer submissions. To submit a manuscript, register on the journal’s publication site
We also encourage the submission of Teaching Notes, Reviews, and Poetry related to the topic of the issue (“Teaching (about) Socialism”). Follow the same general submission process as for articles; however, rather than selecting the topic of the issue, select the section to which you are submitting: “Teaching Notes,” “Reviews,” or “Poetry.” You may want to send a query first to the editors of these sections.
471 Waverly Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Michael Bennett, Managing Editor
Mark Rogovin – Artist, Activist, Author, and “Seat-of-the-Pants” Historian
Highlighting Mark's work in Mexico with Muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, his murals in Chicago, creation and the work of the Public Art Workshop in Austin, Chicago, creation and the work of the Chicago Peace Museum, and his work preserving and sharing the history of the Haymarket Martyr's Monument.
May 13th to July 1 by appointment outside of scheduled programs
2101 S Halsted
Chicago IL 60608
In partnership with Michelle Rogovin, Alexis Ellers, the Illinois Labor History Society, and the Historical Society of Forest Park.
May 13 from 6-10pm with discussion at 7pm Mark Rogovin and the Black Left: Building an Art of Allyship
For decades, Mark Rogovin dedicated himself to the struggle for racial and economic justice through public art, activism, education, and publications. Alongside and intertwining with his work in murals, Mark celebrated the work of Black activists, including Margaret Burroughs (with whom he worked closely), Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, and Angela Davis. This talk gives insights into the many projects he engaged in on behalf of their legacy of struggle.
May 22 Time TBA: Illinois Labor History Society and the Forest Park Historical Society
Program on Mark's vital work on the restoring and sharing the history of the Haymarket Martyr's Monument
June 10 from 6-10pm with discussion at 7pm -Teaching, Mentoring, and Art for the People: Mark Rogovin in Mexico
Mark Rogovin spent several summers in Mexico during the 1960s. He studied with sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett and worked with muralist on The March of Humanity, Siqueiros’s last, and largest mural. The centrality of education and mentorship in preparing young artists to create art for the people, as well as what he learned about sculpture and mural painting from Catlett and Siqueiros – to whom Catlett introduced Mark Rogovin, making his experience with Siqueiros possible – was crucial to his own development as a public artist, a teacher, and a mentor to the next generation in Chicago and beyond.
Other events and programs to be announced!
Masks will be required, air cleaner installed in space. Snacks and drinks as usual, we just ask that you consume outside! Questions and to schedule an appointment? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 852-7717
2101 South Halsted
Chicago, IL 60608