Tidbits - January 25, 2018 - Reader Comments: Immigrants Have Always Come; Women's March in Pictures; #TimesUp; Organizing Working People Is Not a "Lost Cause"; Voices from Puerto Rico; Roseanne Show; Three Billboards; Marcus Raskin Memorial; and more....

Portside Date:
Date of source:

Re: Yes, Your Ancestors Probably Did Come Here Legally — Because 'Illegal' Immigration is Less Than a Century Old - No Visas Were Required Until 1924 (David Wilson; Ronald A. Tyson; Jay Schaffner; Salma Vahdat; Teresa López; Leonard Polletta)
Wretched Refuse - Rob Rogers cartoon
Re: Palestinian American Women’s Association Pulls Out of Women’s March LA (Frank Chadwick; Barry Cohen; Stan Nadel)
Steve Bannon testifies to Congress - cartoon by Lalo
Re: Lorde is Only the Latest: How Touring in Israel Thrusts Musicians Into Controversy (Howie Leveton)
Re: The Lefty Critique of #TimesUp Is Tired and Self-Defeating (Geoffrey Jacques; Ethan Young)
Re: A Powerful Economic Justice Movement Is Brewing, Even in This Dark Time (Ilia Pagan Rivera)
Response to Why a Successful Union Organizer Thinks Traditional Organizing is a Lost Cause (Pat Ford)
Re: Republicans Plucked Out CHIP but Let a Slew of Other Health Programs Languish (Lizzi Azalia Swane)
Re: Florida Prisoners Prepare to Strike, Demanding an End to Unpaid Labor and Brutal Conditions (Edward Valdes; Gregg Wiliam Myers)
Re: Taxing Puerto Rico to Death (Maria Minguela; John Rossier; Angel Gomez Utsett; Wilfredo Colon; Jorge Ortiz; Miriam C Gonzalez)
Re: Nuclear Abolition: A Model for International Youth Activism (Laura Lynch)
Re: Why It Matters That Roseanne and Dan Voted for Trump (Sheva Kuvet Hart; Chris Elliott; Jacqueline Wallace; Lynne Weintraub)
Re: Tone-Deaf ‘Three Billboards’ Tries Absolving White People of Racism. And Oscars Season Loves It (Elinore Krell)


Women's March - 4.2 million strong - in pictures (collage by Working Families Party)
Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (National Centers for Environmental Information)


Memorial Service: IPS Co-founder Marcus Raskin - Washington DC - February 12
Spirit of Justice: A Conversation Between Michelle Alexander and Naomi Klein - New York - February 15
2018 Labor Research and Action Network - Nashville - May 31 - June 1


Re: Yes, Your Ancestors Probably Did Come Here Legally — Because 'Illegal' Immigration is Less Than a Century Old - No Visas Were Required Until 1924

This article is more or less correct, but the headline is extremely misleading: "illegal immigration" is at least 142 years old, not "less than a century." As the article correctly notes, the first major federal immigration law barring a nationality was the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. However, the article itself fails to mention that by 1917 almost *all* Asians were barred from entering the U.S. And of course there's a philosophical question. I'd say my ancestors didn't in fact enter the country "legally"; since there were no immigration laws when they arrived, they didn't enter legally or illegally--they just entered.

My colleague Jane Guskin and I put together a chronology of U.S. immigration laws that may help people understand how discriminatory the immigration system has been since its start. The system isn't broken--it was designed to be the racist horror we are confronted with today:

Click here.

David Wilson


This analysis is superficial and flawed. The groundwork for the 1924 act was created by the Emergency Quota Act (a.k.a. the Emergency Immigration Act of 1921). This law enacted the policy that came to be known as the National Origins Formula, which put limits on the number of people from any particular country eligible for legal immigration based on a formula that used a fixed percentage of the number of individuals from that country that were counted in the Census of 1910. In practice, this limited the number of people from, say, Greece who could immigrate to the U.S. to three percent of the total number of people in the U.S. of Greek origin counted in the 1910 census. Of course, this policy favored Northern Europeans and discriminated against Eastern/Central Europeans, Southern Europeans, and non-Europeans.

The significant changes made by the 1924 law were that the quota from any particular country was set at two percent of the number of people from that country counted in the 1890 census, and permission to enter the country required consular pre-approval (a visa).

Ronald A. Tyson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


My parents were among the millions that came here without papers. Not sure when my mother came (different stories over the years); my father came with his brother (two years older), in January 1922. He was 13, his brother 15; and they traveled by themselves across the ocean to meet their two older brothers in Chicago. How they got from New York to Chicago - who knows, who remembers.

Have tremendous feelings, sympathy and love for today's immigrants, Dreamers - all who came to get free from the economic or political binds that they and their families faced. Need to pass a Clean Dream Act Now!

Jay Schaffner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This post was very informative in re our country’s history of immigration

Salma Vahdat
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The immigrant issue in USA is the most absurd thing. All European, Asian and African descendants there once had forefathers that once were immigrants. Nobody there is native, except for the Indians.

Teresa López
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This article really resonated for me. My father came here without a visa, as a stowaway, in 1926 at the age of 16. He was "illegal" and was arrested by the INS in the 30s, went to Havana, Cuba via "voluntary departure" and was allowed to return to the US after obtaining a visa. He returned to his hometown, Waterbury, CT, rejoined his brother and his family, returned to his job at Chase Brass and Copper Co and some years later married my mother. He like many Italians who came here then were subject to discrimination bordering on outright racism because of their dark skin and he never got over being ridiculed as a "dago", "guinea" and "wop". It's a legacy that too many Italian Americans forgot or never learned.

I recently learned that the 1924 immigration act that prohibited and reduced immigration from Southern European countries (i.e. Italy) was spearheaded by the KKK, as reported by Linda Gordon, in The Second Coming of the KKK. So the roots of this anti-immigration movement that Republicans are leading has racist, white supremacist roots.

Leonard Polletta
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Wretched Refuse - Rob Rogers cartoon

The Statue of Liberty is engraved with an Emma Lazarus poem called New Colossus that ends with the lines, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore ..." As far as I know there is no mention of Norway.

Rob Rogers
January 18, 2018
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Re: Palestinian American Women’s Association Pulls Out of Women’s March LA

How long have I been a progressive? Going on half a century, starting with demonstrating against the Vietnam War on a government installation back in 1971. And what has been the most consistently demoralizing aspect of that experience? The unfailing willingness of some progressive organizers--once an energized and excited crowd is assembled, ready to take on the world--to explain to all of them that they are the real problem, because they may all want the same things, but not for exactly the "right" reasons. .

The differences we have with each other are not trivial, because we are not robots or drones or mindless followers. But they are dwarfed by the differences we have in common with the right. If we refuse to work together until we are all on exactly the same ideological page, we will never get past endless "organizing" meetings (and I bet everyone reading this knows exactly what I mean by that). We can work from what we have in common, or we can obsess on what we disagree about.

This is not in any way  to say Scarlett Johansson isn't a tool. It is only to say that tools can be used to achieve worthy ends.

Frank Chadwick


Here's my two cents about the article advocating a boycott of the LA Women's March.

It seems to me that boycotting Israel is very different from boycotting any coalition or action that includes people who don't boycott Israel. The point of a boycott is to isolate the target and bring pressure to bear on that target. But boycotting the LA Women's March serves to weaken an important action and to isolate those calling for a boycott of the march -- quite an the opposite pair of effects than what was presumably intended.

Having good principles doesn't mean that you don't also need sensible tactics.

Barry Cohen


So now these leftists are demanding a blacklist be enforced against someone who has expressed disagreement with their political demands, but has done nothing to actually harm or oppress anybody.  Johansson just refused to give up a job working for Soda Stream because she doesn't agree that it is a criminal operation.  So now she is to be blacklisted--leftists should find that logic familiar, and unacceptable.   Especially because Soda Stream has moved its factory to the Negev inside pre-1967 Israel , no longer has any operations in the occupied territories, and employs Jews, Arabs and Bedouins there on equal terms. The BDSers find one excuse after another to claim Soda Stream is operating on stolen land, but the truth is that for these activists all of Israel is stolen land and nothing will satisfy them short of the elimination of Israel--a project that would require massive ethnic cleansing of Jews at the very least and most likely genocide as well. Let's be clear, this isn't about peace or two states for two peoples or justice for all, it is a campaign that was started by Palestinian allies of Nazi Germany in the 1930s who were determined to make Palestine Judenrein and which should have no place on the left.

Stan Nadel


Steve Bannon testifies to Congress - cartoon by Lalo

Lalo Alcaraz
January18, 2018


Re: Lorde is Only the Latest: How Touring in Israel Thrusts Musicians Into Controversy

Stop equating rejection of horrible policies with anti Semitism.
Almost half of Israel rejects Bibi, are they anti Semitic too?
Every good Jew should kick Bibi in the ass!

Howie Leveton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Lefty Critique of #TimesUp Is Tired and Self-Defeating

[responding to Ethan Young comment in Tidbits - Jan. 18, 2017]

"Celebrity worship," as you call it, is part and parcel of modern society, because celebrity itself is part and parcel of modern society. I would say it's characteristic of bourgeois society, but I'm not so sure that's the case. All modern societies seem to have produced celebrities. Celebrities in democratic societies that have participated in politics include many who have served honorably in office. I wouldn't have minded seeing Paul Robeson in the Senate or some other prestigious political office back in the day. His fame as a political activist and spokesperson rested on his celebrity, not the other way around. In our country's recent history it has seemed that right wing, rather than left wing, celebrities have been most successful in politics. Left wing celebrities should have their shot, too. I'm afraid I don't see much of a downside, potential or otherwise, to such a development.

Geoffrey Jacques
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


About Robeson - what's the difference between fame and celebrity? And how many celebrities come even close to the writer/leader/ polymath/organizer/athlete/actor/singer? Recognizing celebrity is not the same as worshiping celebrities. How many left wing celebs have run for office? One that I can think of - Al Franken - had a fierce uphill fight, then a swift downfall, and what that had to do with his fame is open to discussion.

Ethan Young
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


One way of thinking about celebrity is that a celebrity is someone who is famous for being famous. Fame usually adheres to a person because of some act or other, while the relationship between celebrity and the act that brought the person fame is somewhat more ambiguous. Celebrities are often show business personalities, but their celebrity rests more on their social visibility than on their work. Most people who work in show business, including most well-known actors, are not celebrities, just as most other people who are famous in their fields are not celebrities. (All this was somewhat truer in the past than it is now.) Lots of people in the United States in the 1940s knew Robeson by name and some even knew his face or voice, but few knew why he was famous. His movies and stage performances as an actor did not have large audiences. While I'm not sure about this, I suspect his music received adequate, but hardly saturation-level, radio play. He was known as a concert and recording artist, but was hardly in the same league as, say, Armstrong, Cole, or Eckstine, let alone Crosby or Sinatra; he may have been about as well-known in this country as McCormack, the Irish tenor. In fact, Robeson's fame and reputation were largely created overseas, where he spent most of the 1930s. He was a celebrity largely because he was famous for being famous. That's one reason why, in 1949, the press could so easily have a field day with him and ruin his career over his Paris remarks.

Geoffrey Jacques
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: A Powerful Economic Justice Movement Is Brewing, Even in This Dark Time

I hope the movement becomes massive, with power and creativity to inspire and move citizens, disregarding ethnicity, race, religion, class, age or gender.

Ilia Pagan Rivera
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Response to Why a Successful Union Organizer Thinks Traditional Organizing is a Lost Cause

(posting on Portside Labor)

I read with great interest the article mentioned above.  In this current atmosphere of the role African American women are displaying in political and community organizing, I felt it important to comment on this article. 

SEIU is known for two major national organizing campaigns,  Home Care Workers and Justice for Janitors.   In both of these campaigns African American women were unsung (s)heroes, Ophelia McFadden, Home Care and Arline Neal Building Service.

While David Roth played a key role in the organizing of the Home Care workers in Los Angeles CA, Ophelia McFadden was the visionary and architect for organizing Home Care Workers.  Ophelia McFadden was the General Manager, Local 434 and Local 434B Home Care Local. 

Late 1980’s McFadden began organizing home care workers in Los Angeles County CA.  Her commitment extended beyond the Los Angeles County borders.  As Executive Director of SEIU Local 616, I was given the authority to organize home care workers in Alameda County CA.  McFadden sent me her organizers resulting in me receiving enough cards to file for an election.  That gesture resulted in Local 616 winning the first election in California for 6000 Home Care workers.  McFadden understood what was most important was winning the first campaign, not being the first to win a campaign.  It was McFadden’s vision and tenacity that resulted in the largest union organizing campaigning since 1937!

Arline Neal, was the former President of SEIU Local 82, the major local for SEIU’s Justice For Janitors campaign.  Wherever there was injustice, Neal was leading the struggle to correct it.

Neal was ahead of her time.  Neal joined Local 82 in 1946.  In addition to organizing and representing janitors in the 50’s and 60’s in the District of Columbia, she was an advocate for undocumented workers, assisting Latino janitors with issues of citizenship, deportation and grievances in the workplace when during that same time period, she herself was denied access to services and establishments do to the Jim Crow era. 

Neal was an active participant and organizer of the historic 1963 March On Washington.  It was said, that no one visited the District without paying homage to Arline Neal.

Ironically, due to mergers of local unions, none of the three locals mentioned exist today.

As always,

Pat Ford
SEIU Executive Vice President,  (1996 - 2004) Retired 


Re: Republicans Plucked Out CHIP but Let a Slew of Other Health Programs Languish

By failing to allocate funding for programs established by law, they are committing treason against the people. Arrest all who supported this sanction and throw them in jail

Lizzi Azalia Swane
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Florida Prisoners Prepare to Strike, Demanding an End to Unpaid Labor and Brutal Conditions

No last time I checked slavery was over with a long time ago

Edward Valdes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Slavery is still legal for those incarcerated.
The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery “except as punishment for a crime”

Gregg Wiliam Myers
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Taxing Puerto Rico to Death

January 20 was the four month anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Still no power for thousands of families, including mine.

Maria Minguela
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


You do realize its not the Gov. of the U.S. that imposes the taxes here and the high cost of food ? You understand its YOUR gov. don't you ?

John Rossier
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The Jones Act is imposed by the U.S. and all imports are marked up 20%,that is a big tax.

Angel Gomez Utsett
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


As an American Citizen, and as a US Army Disabled Veteran,I say to the Mainland Government; shame on you!...

John Rossier, maybe don't recognize the abuse the US Government is doing here!

Wilfredo Colon
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A phrase, generally attributed to James Otis about 1761, that reflected the resentment of American colonists at being taxed by a British Parliament to which they elected no representatives and became an anti-British slogan before the American Revolution; in full, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”. --- IT STILL IS.... 


You cannot be diplomatically correct with an island immersed in suffering after going through 2 devastating storms, still have people dying, with no power, water and food, scattered throughout the island. Thanks, USA.

Jorge Ortiz
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


John Rossier its called the Jones act.... learn some history & politics PR is a colony. A gift from Spain to USA. Read up on the Spanish American War. Don't comment if you don't know the facts on PR history & trajectory.

Miriam C Gonzalez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Nuclear Abolition: A Model for International Youth Activism

AMERICAN MEDICAL STUDENTS (members of the student Physicians for Social Responsibility PSR) SPEAK OUT ABOUT THE NEED TO TAKE THE ABOLITION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS SERIOUSLY! via Portside ... 

"Abolishing #nuclear weapons and eliminating the possibility that humanity will destroy itself in a nuclear holocaust is part of our generation's progressive struggle. Unlike the nuclear-armed countries that view nuclear weapons as tools to maintain their geopolitical power, we see our campaign for abolition as being enmeshed in a larger international movement for racial, economic and social justice. Nuclear weapons are a women's rights issue because radiation exposure severely harms women's reproductive health. Nuclear weapons are a racial justice issue because Indigenous communities are disproportionately affected by the mining of uranium and the radiological consequences of nuclear testing. Nuclear weapons are a global health issue because even a regional nuclear war would loft enough soot into the atmosphere to cause abrupt climate change and place 2 billion people at risk of famine from decreased crop production. Nuclear weapons are an environmental issue because millions of gallons of radioactive sludge from Cold War-era weapons production still seeps into our soil and drinking water. Nuclear weapons are a socioeconomic issue because spending trillions of taxpayer dollars to maintain and upgrade our nuclear arsenal diverts resources away from health, education and infrastructure programs. As stated by Pope Frances, nuclear weapons are also a moral issue because peaceful coexistence can only be sustained by an ethics of solidarity, not an ethics of fear." 

Laura Lynch
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Why It Matters That Roseanne and Dan Voted for Trump

(posting on Portside Culture)

They voted for Trump for the Me Factor!

Sheva Kuvet Hart
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


They became millionaires when they won the lottery, thus rich pigs who would support DT.

Chris Elliott
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I will never watch this show.

Jacqueline Wallace
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Used to like this show. Refuse to watch the reboot.

Lynne Weintraub
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Tone-Deaf ‘Three Billboards’ Tries Absolving White People of Racism. And Oscars Season Loves It

(posting on Portside Culture)

This movie is on my 'must see' list so I felt disappointed when I read this review. But it's a point of view that needs to be heard.

Elinore Krell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Women's March - 4.2 million strong - in pictures (collage by Working Families Party)

Click here to watch on Facebook.


Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters

The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is the Nation's Scorekeeper in terms of addressing severe weather and climate events in their historical perspective. As part of its responsibility of monitoring and assessing the climate, NCEI tracks and evaluates climate events in the U.S. and globally that have great economic and societal impacts. NCEI is frequently called upon to provide summaries of global and U.S. temperature and precipitation trends, extremes, and comparisons in their historical perspective. Found here are the weather and climate events that have had the greatest economic impact from 1980 to 2017. The U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2017). The total cost of these 219 events exceeds $1.5 trillion. This total now includes the initial cost estimates for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted. The 1980–2017 annual average is 5.8 events (CPI-adjusted); the annual average for the most recent 5 years (2013–2017) is 11.6 events (CPI-adjusted).

See more here (thanks to U.S. Labor Against War)


Memorial Service: IPS Co-founder Marcus Raskin - Washington DC - February 12

February 12 --  4:00 pm - 8:30 pm    

Institute for Policy Studies co-founder Marcus Raskin, a philosopher, analyst, and mentor to generations of activists, whose ideas helped shape left-leaning thought for decades, died December 24 at his home in Washington at the age of 83.

The staff, family and friends of the Institute invite you to join us at a memorial and celebration of Marc and his life and work at the Sixth & I Synagogue, followed by an open mic of “Marc stories” at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K street NW.

Affectionately known as Marc by IPS staff and friends, he was an intellectual pillar of the movements for progressive social change for more than a half century. He founded the Institute for Policy Studies with fellow Kennedy administration official Richard Barnet in 1963 and built the organization into the leading progressive, multi-issue think tank in the nation’s capital.

4:00 to 6:00pm
Sixth & I Synagogue
600 I Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

7:00 to 8:30pm
Busboys and Poets
1025 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Please join us to celebrate Marc’s life and reflect on his legacy. And read “A Tribute to Institute for Policy Studies Co-founder Marcus Raskin“

Institute for Policy Studies
1301 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036


Spirit of Justice: A Conversation Between Michelle Alexander and Naomi Klein - New York - February 15

Thursday, February 15, 2018 -- 7:00 to 9:00 pm 

Riverside Church 
490 Riverside Drive

Free.  Registration is required.

Join us for a riveting dialogue with award-winning journalist and best-selling author Naomi Klein and Union visiting professor Michelle Alexander about the current crises of our time and why we must connect the dots between the intersecting issues of white supremacy, rape culture, climate chaos and wealth hoarding. How do we move from strategic alliances and coalition building to a true political synthesis that not only connects these oppressions and injustices but maps a positive and healing future for all people and the planet? Alexander and Klein will explore these issues and more as part of The Spirit of Justice public dialogue series at Union Theological Seminary.

Naomi Klein is the author of numerous best-sellers, including the National Book Award nominee No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need (2017); This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate (2014), The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) and No Logo (2000). Michelle Alexander is a visiting professor of social justice at Union Theological Seminary, as well as a civil rights lawyer, legal scholar, and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010).

The Spirit of Justice is a conversation about what it will take to birth a new America, a nation in which every life and every voice truly matters. The last presidential election was a painful reminder that it is dangerous to view American history as a slow but steady march towards greater freedom, justice, and equality for all. The truth is far more complicated. But one thing is clear: Since the days of our nation’s founding, there have always been people who have courageously embraced and embodied a spirit of justice. People of all colors, backgrounds, and walks of life have, in various ways, shown up in American history as revolutionaries, challenging us to reimagine what dignity, justice, and equality ought to mean and forcing us to reconsider who should be considered worthy of our collective care, compassion, and concern. While some may wish to return to a time when most Americans had few rights and little hope for justice, The Spirit of Justice aims to amplify the voices of modern-day revolutionaries — artists, activists, scholars, healers, teachers and more — who are committed to moving forward in new ways with a keen understanding of the political history and moral dilemmas which brought us to this moment in time.

A free livestream of the dialogue will be available


2018 Labor Research and Action Network - Nashville - May 31 - June 1

The 2018 Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN) national conference will be held Thursday, May 31st and Friday, June 1st at Vanderbilt University. Scholars, labor practitioners, and activists from across the country will convene in Nashville, TN to share new ideas and lessons learned, and connect around research and campaign work. We hope this conference is an opportunity to develop an offensive strategy in the changed political climate nationwide, and to learn from the unique challenges faced by organizers and researchers in the South and in right to work states, including from active campaigns in the Nashville area.

LRAN invites those interested to submit ideas that fit within at least one of the following tracks. We encourage proposals that illustrate the role of research in illuminating these issues and informing campaigns. We also encourage a range of speakers, including those directly impacted by the issues raised in the tracks. A wide range of formats is accepted, including panels, workshops, training’s, film showings and strategy sessions.

Workshop submissions are due by Friday March 16th. Proposals are being collected through this form

For More information see the Call for Proposals click here - LRAN Call for Proposals 2018 II

Source URL: https://portside.org/2018-01-25/tidbits-january-25-2018-reader-comments-immigrants-have-always-come-womens-march