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Tidbits – Dec. 1, 2022 – Reader Comments: Railroad Workers Deserve Sick Days; More Gun Violence; Jewish Divide Over Netanyahu; Readers Debate Ukraine; Thanksgiving Origins; Afterlife of Paris Commune; Fifty Year Tribute to Juan González; More

Reader Comments: Railroad Workers Deserve Sick Days; More Gun Violence; Jewish Divide Over Netanyahu; Readers Debate Ukraine; Thanksgiving Origins; Afterlife of Paris Commune; Fifty Year Tribute to Juan González; More Announcements; Cartoons;

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - Dec. 1, 2022,Portside



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Reader Comments

Re: Democrats Were Dithering on Railworkers’ Rights. The Left Just Forced Their Hand.

Good! Let's see what happens in the Senate. Thanks, House Dems...and Repubs who voted for the bill (of whom there were, I believe, a few).

Linda Gillison

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Politicians in Colorado Springs Chose Flouting Gun Laws Over People’s Lives

The families of all those affected by this atrocity need to sue the county and the sheriff!

John York

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Colorado has a “red flag” law to keep some weapons out of the hands of people with a history of violence, and a huge majority of Coloradans support that law — still, some counties refuse to enforce it.

Norm Littlejohn

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Feeling Safe  --  cartoon by Rob Rogers

Rob Rogers

November 29, 2022

Re: Did Some in Our Federal Police Conspire To Overthrow America?

I love this article because it provides the details behind my speculations as a lone Washington, DC resident without access to information about the internal affairs of the government that a coup d'etat was in progress long before January 6, 2021. I don't have a subscription to Twitter and rarely view Facebook. Nevertheless, I was able to surmise months before January 6th from various scraps of news that there was the possibility of a coup d'etat underway and mentioned this to a friend.  When the January 6th event finally came, I was disturbed that the news media referred to that day as "an insurrection." I insisted in my silo that I was witnessing an attempted coup d'etat.  I recall saying as I went about my daily affairs while witnessing this televised drama on January 6th, "Where are the police?  Where is the national guard?" I was incredulous at their absence for such a long period of time. Then I learned that DC Mayor Bowser and Governor Hogan of Maryland had urged for permission to bring in the National Guard and were prevented from doing so.

My point:  If I, a citizen with none of the sophisticated apparatus of government intelligence, could speculate seriously about the possibility of a coup d'etat, where were those in the government who were not a part of the plot to overthrow the government, and those in the media who were investigative reporters, in their respective organizations as assessors of daily life in America?  You all know, this is not over!  There is bound to be another attempt at a coup because of the deep internecine machinery in place (and persistent will of those whose quest for power and authoritarianism) to carry it out. I remain grateful for their clumsiness, but one never knows, do one?

Velva Spriggs

Re: Media Misled on Issues Important to Midterm Voters

It's what happens when the same class of people own the economy, the media, and both political parties.

Brandon Mouser

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Teachers’ Union Leader Hits Back After Pompeo Calls Her the ‘Most Dangerous Person in the World’

Right on, Randi Weingarten. That attack by Pompeo would have been hilarious had it not been so freaking dangerous and sick.

Martha Livingston

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Hospital Billing Is a Crime Against American Patients

The entire insurance-medical industry shakedown racket is a crime against human beings.

Eleanor Roosevelt

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Rent Control Expands As Tenants Struggle With the Record-High Cost of Housing

This article again recites the old myth that rent controls cause less housing construction.  Not quite so simple!   That is a trope of the old discredited trickle-down theories.

Another element missing even in pro-rent control articles: rent controls foster community stability whereas the market opens up a "Wild West" speculative scramble that destroys communities everywhere.

Tom Gogan

Re: The Case for Supreme Court Term Limits Just Got a Lot Better

Excellent history.  However, as it stands, Article 3 Section 1 of the United States Constitution states they shall "hold their offices during good behavior" with impeachment, by the same process as presidential impeachment, the only remedy for violation of that provision. The author never mentions the difficulty and, hence, the rarity of amending the Constitution. So a "better case," sadly, doesn't matter. 

Marian Swerdlow

KETCHUP ON THE ÑEWS: Donald Dines with Deplorables  --  cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz

Lalo Alcaraz

November 29, 2022

Re: Policy Without Industrial Unions

A little 'thinking outside the box' will suggest that our teachers unions, with localities everywhere and national in scope, are well suited to take a lead in industrial policy, especially of the more radical sort. What is that? It was outlined by Father Arizmendi of Mondragon fame, who started his worker coop industry building by starting with a school that shaped potential worker-owners. Then he formed worker-owned credit unions. Last was the coop factory rooted in manufacturing. It is the three-in-one that works his magic--first a school, then a source of democratic credit, and then a factory. But the school comes first. Think it through, and you'll see why. Of course, industrial unions can play a leading role, as the Steelworkers already have, to a small degree. But our teachers can do a lot more. Perhaps it's one reason Pompeo decided they were his top adversaries.

Carl Davidson

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: COVID-19 in China and Global Concern

Via Portside come this very well done look at COVID-19 in China where, as we’ve all seen, widespread protests against prolonged lockdowns have changed political and social life there. I subscribed to a free version of Katelyn Jetelina’s substack.… If, like me, you have been an somewhat undereducated consumer of epidemiology reports, you may also want to subscribe. 

Daniel Millstone

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Netanyahu’s Comeback Widens Divide Over Israel Among American Jews

Wow -things appear to be changing --

NH Palestine Education Network

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The divide showed up in Pittsburgh this year as between Jews ready to vote for Summer Lee for Congress, and those opposed to her. The most progressive Jews actively supported Summer in the primary. The most right-wing voted not only for her centrist, AIPAC-backed opponent in the primary, but even for the Republican Trumper in the general (who was also supported by AIPAC.)

Alan Hart

Posted on Portside's Facebook page



Readers Debate Portside Ukraine Posts

Re: Q&A: Navigating the Left’s Ukraine Debate

Wow. you've managed to pretend to thoroughly analyze the Russo-Ukrainian conflict with no mention of Victoria Nuland and what her presence and actions indicate.

That's the way the State Dept. and Pentagon "analyze" the conflict, too.


John Woodford


Portside republishes an article (from Convergence) by Bill Fletcher Jr & Elly Leary titled Q&A: Navigating the Left’s Ukraine Debate. One need not be a fan of crony-capitalist Russia (and I am not) to find that said article is full of error: misrepresentations, faulty analysis, and whitewash of US imperialism. Where to begin! Some specifics.

1. They treat ethnically diverse Ukraine as a country where only Ukrainian nationalists have national rights and ethnic minorities have none. Forgetting that Marxist socialists support resistance and rebellion against unjust laws and unjust social orders; they spout legalisms about a sacrosanct Ukrainian sovereignty, objectively in opposition to the self-determination rights of its ethnic minorities. Why didn’t Crimea have a right to self-determination or Donbas to autonomy within Ukraine? They circumvent the issue, objectively siding with the US, NATO, and Kyiv in opposition the self-determination rights of those peoples.

2. They: pretend that the longstanding US interventions in Ukraine on the side of anti-Russia parties are irrelevant; propound the absurd assertion that the violent US-backed 2014 ouster of the democratically elected government was not a coup; minimize the significance of Kyiv’s subsequent and ongoing massive repression of opposition parties; and evade the Kyiv regime’s lauding, as national heroes, the Ukrainian fascists who collaborated with Nazi Germany and participated in its mass-murder war crimes in Ukraine.

3. They evade the fact that independent (including UN sponsored) opinion polls, in 2008 and 2009-11, found in every instance that at least 64% of Crimeans wanted Crimea to leave Ukraine and reunite with Russia (from which it had been transferred to Ukraine in 1954 without the consent of its people and against their wishes), dismissing the 2014 reunification as a Russian “invasion” and “seizure”.

4. They falsely quote Putin as describing Ukraine as a “national fiction”. In fact, there is no such phrase nor any assertion to that effect in either Putin’s February 21 pre-invasion speech nor in his February 24 TV address. Putin does express his disapproval of the USSR having given its constituent republics the right to secede; but what he actually said in February was: “Russia accepted the new geopolitical reality after the dissolution of the USSR. We have been treating all new post-Soviet states with respect and will continue to act this way. We respect and will respect their sovereignty”.

5. They assert that US & NATO promises, that NATO and its military bases (which now include nuclear capable missiles in Poland and Romania) would never move into former Warsaw Pact countries, were nullified by the dissolution of the USSR. But they know full well that Russia was/is internationally recognized as having succeeded to all of the rights and obligations of the USSR: treaty rights and obligations, permanent member of the UN Security Council, etc. Thusly, they engage in absurd apologetics for US-NATO betrayal of commitments (as they dismiss Russia’s valid objections to the aforementioned missiles as well as threatening NATO military exercises in the Baltic republics).

6. They blame Russia for the lack of peace negotiations, evading the fact that it is Zelenskiy who refuses to even consider negotiations (until Kyiv has conquered all territory which it ruled prior to 2014).

7. They make some concessions which are lacking in Fletcher’s previous Ukraine-War articles. However, they provide no source references for most of their problematic narrative. So, their misrepresentations, assuming not willfully deceitful, must result from ignorance, failure to properly investigate, and pre-existing prejudices (which I suspect result, at least in part, from their allegiances to the capital-serving and thoroughly imperialist US Democratic Party).

Fletcher co-authored 2 previous articles in the same vein. Factual refutations of most of his and allied misrepresentations (with sources provided) were published (September 17) by Covert Action Magazine [CAM] in my article titled Ukraine War, Divided Left: “Social Patriots” and the “Anti-Imperialism of Fools”!


Charles Pierce


I have been very disappointed at your coverage of the war that the US started in Ukraine. against Russia.

It was almost identical to the total lies of the Mass media flooding us daily.

Robert Fuzesi


"The Russo-Ukrainian War is no more a “proxy war” than was the Vietnam War. Yet it is important to remember that many liberals and right-wingers described the Vietnam War as a proxy war between the US, on the one hand, and the USSR and China on the other. They ignored the national question—the fact that the Vietnam War was about US aggression against the people of Vietnam (and, later, the people of Laos and Cambodia). A proxy war is taking place when there are bad actors on both sides, not when one side is fighting for their independence—even if the side fighting for independence seeks help from other nations."

Steven Sherman

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Reader Comments Continued

Re: The First Thanksgiving: Separating Myth From Fact

Giving thanks  Grateful to learn the difference between myths and facts.

Louise Murray

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Syracuse Cultural Workers Union


Oh come on. It does not one any good to substitute a bunch of new myths for the old myths. A fall harvest holiday was traditional in BOTH native communities and among the English Puritans.

Not just Puritans but all the English. The first Jamestown colonists celebrated one too years before the Pilgrims.

Absolutely no one thinks Thanksgiving commemorates Pilgrims feeding Natives. Every school child for generations knows the story of Natives teaching the newcomers about planting, etc.

The Pequot War was not waged between Pilgrims and local tribes but between an alliance of English colonists, Mohegan and other New England tribes against Pequots. Accuracy should count for something when supposedly debunking other myths.

John Burke

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Happy Thankful Day for family and friends, and all good things in my life! And even hard things that help me learn lessons!  And this story.

Gail Bourque

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: The Life and Afterlife of the Paris Commune.

The review is interesting, and runs a bit counter to the standard ML narrative as more nuanced and probably more accurate about the Commune. But it also raises one of my pet hypotheses, shamelessly stolen from DuBois, ie, that we have had our own 'Paris Communes' in the multiracial, worker-driven governments of Black Reconctruction--only they accomplished more than the one in Paris and lasted far longer, nearly five years. Wendel Philips, the abolitionist, who knew both, said so too. I think it matters because of 'new nation, conceived in liberty' was best represented by them, and its why they were overthrown. The long 1960s was our 2nd Reconstruction, and we would do well to think of today's bridge to a new order as a 3rd Reconstruction, improving on those that went before.

Carl Davidson

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This was a turning point in French culture. The only major figures who actually participated in the Commune were the painter Courbet and the poets Rimbaud (who was about 15) and (of all people) the decadent aesthete Verlaine. (Others, notably Hugo were supportive from a distance.) Flaubert was absolutely bloodthirsty -- he thought that 20,000 executions was too few.

John Emerson

Posted on Portside's Facebook page


And we should also commemorate the incredible 1980 Gwangiu Uprising in South Korea

Bill Gallegos

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Sham Justice  --  cartoon by Rex A. Jones

Rex A. Jones

January 29, 2021
Krazy Kartwonz Political Cartoons

Re: Ideas, Including Foolish Ones, Have Consequences

“[T]he civilization that ... whites created in Europe and America” is the civilization that has exceeded all others in human history in the intensity and longevity of exploitation inflicted on other civilizations around the rest of the world.


Mar-A-Loco...  --  cartoon by Jack Ohman

image - MarALoco_Ohman…

Jack Ohman

November 30, 2022
Sacramento Bee

Re: The Legacy of a Caged Bird

(posting on Portside Culture)

Paul Laurence Dunbar was one of the poets (along with Millay and others) whose texts were set to music by Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964) in his Circular Canons, most of which have never been performed, but deserve to be.

Leonard J. Lehrman

Re: The Fakelore of Food Origins

(posting on Portside Culture)

Except for Nanaimo Bars which were INVENTED in Nanaimo B.C. Canada.

Claire O'Connor

Railroad Workers United

Railroad Workers United is an inter-union, cross-craft solidarity "caucus" of railroad workers, and their supporters, from all crafts, all carriers, and all unions across North America. We urge union railroaders to continue being active in their craft union AND to join RWU in building solidarity and strength among all rail workers. We work with union rank & file railroad workers, but we welcome yet-to-be organized rail workers as well. In addition, we actively work with other labor and community organizations on issues of mutual concern. We do not accept managers or those who oppose our principles.

A Place for All North American Railroad Workers

North American railroad workers are divided into different unions based on their craft of work and on some short lines, workers are not unionized at all. In the US alone there are thirteen unions representing railroad workers with several more unions in Canada. What we need is solidarity, unity and democracyREAD MORE

RWU Urges the Operating Crafts to VOTE NO!

Based upon feedback from working railroaders of the operating crafts, the Steering Committee of Railroad Workers United (RWU) voted Wednesday 10/5/22 to urge members of the operating crafts to vote down the Tentative Agreement (TA) when they receive their ballots in the coming weeks.

Read the Full Alert Here

Follow us on Twitter: @railroadworkers. You can also follow us on Instagram: @railroad.workers.united  and on Facebook

We Are Not All in the Same Boat  -- meme

Fifty Years Defending & Chronicling America's Workers - featuring Juan González - New York City - December 9 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies & Democracy Now!)

"Fifty Years Defending & Chronicling America's Workers"

featuring Juan González

Friday, December 9, 2022

3:00pm - 5:00pm ET

Join us *in-person* at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies (18th floor) in Midtown Manhattan or *virtually* via Zoom!

For more than half a century, Juan González has been eyewitness to countless major movements led by working people in the Americas.

As a radical activist in the 1960s and 1970s with groups like the Young Lords, the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization, and the African Liberation Support Committee, he urged working class unity in the fight against racial oppression and colonialism.

As a respected journalist in mainstream media for decades, González personally covered major strikes in the U.S. and Latin America – the 1981 PATCO strike, general strikes in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico in the 1990s, the 2005 New York City transit strike, the resurrection of May Day by immigrant workers in 2006 – while also exposing the plight of maquila workers in Mexico and Central America, of U.S. workers thrown out of work by factory flight or sickened on the job by toxic chemicals.

González played key leadership roles in some of the country’s most successful media strikes of the late 20th century, including the 1990-91 five-month walkout at the New York Daily News, which electrified the city’s trade union movement.

González will discuss all these events publicly for the first time, offering behind-the-scenes vignettes on key moments, and summing up the main lessons he learned – lessons a new generation of union leaders and activists could find useful in their effort to rebuild and expand organized labor. 

Join us for this exclusive public lecture and the Q&A to follow.

Hosted by the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies.

Co-sponsored by the Sidney Hillman Foundation and the

Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY


CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

25 West 43rd Street, 19th Floor

New York, NY 10036

(646) 313-8300

Book Talk featuring Dr. James Benton - Fraying Fabric: How Trade Policy and Industrial Decline Transformed America - Washington, DC - December 14 (Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and The Working Poor)

Holiday Party and Book Talk featuring Dr. James Benton and his new publication "Fraying Fabric: How Trade Policy and Industrial Decline Transformed America" 

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

Book Talk 4:00 pm

Holiday Party 5:00 pm

Arrupe Multi Purpose Room

1575 Tondorf Rd

The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University engages questions of workers’ rights and the future of the labor movement.

The Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor

209 Maguire Hall

Georgetown University 37th and O Streets NW

Washington, DC 20057

Leo Panitch: Global Capitalism, the State, and the Socialist Challenge - Ottawa, Ontario - December 10 (Institute of Political Economy - Carleton University)

December 10, 2022 at 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

This symposium will assess the legacy of Panitch’s scholarship, education, and activism, featuring roundtables throughout the day and a keynote address by IPE Visiting Professor Stephen Maher.

The work of Leo Panitch left an immense impact on the field of political economy – from his critique of social democracy to his groundbreaking theorization, with Sam Gindin, of globalization and the American empire. As a professor at Carleton, he helped to place the University at the forefront of the study of political economy in Canada, and played a key role in the creation of the Institute of Political Economy. At the same time, he was deeply involved in politics, including the Waffle, the Ottawa Committee for Labour Action, and the Socialist Project. This symposium will assess the legacy of Panitch’s scholarship, education, and activism, featuring contributions from friends, comrades, students, and political economy scholars.

Symposium details and registration here