Tidbits - Nov.21, 2019 - Reader Comments: Medicare4All, Sanders, Warren, and the Left; Bolivia Coup; Electoral College; Announcements: Right to the City; Peggy Lipschutz Memorial; Kurdish Feminists; Delegation to Venezuela; and more....

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Medicare 4 All, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the Left (Randolph Shannon)
Re: Pramila Jayapal Takes On Medicare for All’s Critics (Michael Steinbrück; Micheal Crockford)
Where There’s Smoke…  --  cartoon by Matt Wuerker
Re: After Morales Ousted in Coup, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia (Gordon Galland; Pat Gibson)
AFL-CIO Condemns Military Coup in Bolivia
Re: What the Coup Against Evo Morales Means to Indigenous People Like Me (Cindy Hawes)
Re: 'A Threat to Global Stability': US Denies Israeli Settlements Illegal (Suzanne Crowell)
Re: The Electoral College’s Racist Origins (Craig Carl; Richard Mason; Jack Lewis; Nancy Phelps Anderson; Brenda Rumbellow; Jesse Bookhardt; Heath A Williamson)
Re: Sanders or Warren? Populist-Progressivism or New Deal? Take Your Pick! (Nikos Evangelos)
Re: You Must Never Vote for Bloomberg (Tom Trumper)
Re: The Strike at McDonald’s (Andrew Smith)
Re: Arkansas Teachers Went On Strike. Here Are the Corporate School Privatizers They’re Up Against. (Norm Littlejohn; Michael McCarley)
Re: Noel Ignatiev, Scholar Who Called For Abolishing Whiteness, Dies at 78 (Carole Travis; Aaron Libson; Philip Specht)
Re: The Stunning Achievement of Kasi Lemmons’s “Harriet” (Martha McLaughlin)
Re: The Report | Movie - Friday Nite Video (Dan Morgan)
Re: Shut Down the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC (Pablo Navarro; Craig Keene)
Re: Global Left Midweek - November 13, 2019 (Kipp Dawson)
Re: Why There Is No Kurdish Nation (Jorge Iván Santos)
Re: Hitler: Still Messing With Our Heads (Robert Supansic)


Annual Violations Report (Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association)


Right To The City Transatlantic Roundtable - New York City - November 22-23 - Co-hosted by the RLS–NYC and the RTC Alliance (Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office)
Peggy Lipschutz Memorial Concert Celebration - Chicago-Evanston - December 7
What's Happening with Kurdish Feminists in Northern Syria - Chicago - December 10 (The Social Justice Initiative at UIC)
Food Sovereignty Delegation to Venezuela – Witness Effects of Sanctions and Responses on the Ground - January 3-12, 2020 (Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York)


Medicare 4 All, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the Left

Jacobin Magazine, a left, and New Republic, a liberal magazine have both published articles attacking Sen. Elizabeth Warren's plan to stage the advance to a universal single payer healthcare system. They claim that Warren is 'selling out' Medicare for All.

I'm supporting Bernie for President. As you know I was elected a 2016 Bernie delegate. But will support Warren. If she gets the nomination I expect Bernie will make every effort to mobilize his mass grass roots organized base to help Warren defeat Trump, and I will put my all into that effort.

What's worrisome is this attempt to paint Warren as an 'enemy agent' of the right. Like some of you, I've been actively organizing for Medicare for All, HR676, since 2004. The first Citizens Congressional hearing on HR676 was held here at the Croatian Hall in Aliquippa with Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the leadership of labor from across western PA.

It was in my district that corporate vultures pushed Jason Altmire an operative for the healthcare industry for U.S. Representative, and he was key to defeating the public option in Congressional committee hearings on the ACA.

Despite the passage of the ACA and the incessant political war against public health care, the need and desire for a single payer plan has increased. And this defies the predictions that the ACA would "kill" M4A. Now these same people from the far left and the liberal right are saying that expanding the ACA in 2020 will "kill" M4A. Folks this is scare talk with no actual basis in history or reality. It appeals to the fear of betrayal and the fear of the powerful wealthy interests always getting their way. It is designed to divide us, not unite us.

I'm fighting like hell for Bernie and M4A. I hope that our labor bears fruit in a Bernie Presidency. However I've been at this long enough that I do not expect the oligarchs to accept a Bernie presidency. No point in speculating how they will act to prevent it, but be prepared for an unprecedented struggle to defend the Constitution if he is elected.

If Bernie is elected and is allowed to take control of the Executive Branch, there is very little chance that he will get M4A enacted in the new Congress. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't expect a 2020 Democratic landslide to sweep the Republicans and Blue Dogs out of office.

My hope is, if Bernie becomes President, that he will do exactly as Warren proposes: strengthen and expand the ACA with a public option and campaign for a Congress that will pass M4A in 2022. This would be the task of the 'political revolution' after Bernie (or Warren) is elected: mobilize against the 2020 incumbents who don't support M4A. Expanding and strengthening the ACA would further expand public control of the healthcare system, undercut its executives' economic & political power, and bring more people into the system. The current and new beneficiaries of ACA are the best cohort for expanding support for M4A.

To say that the political revolution is going to force Congress to pass M4A is magical thinking. It doesn't encompass the reality that our USA is controlled by the most powerful oligarchs in history who, in turn, control a massive state apparatus that must do its bidding. The political revolution is about deconstructing and disestablishing that servile massive state apparatus. (Maybe Trump is helping in this respect.)

The state apparatus that passes M4A and then establishes an efficient high quality universal health care system is not the one we have now. It must be replaced by the likes of us who are loyal to the American people, not the wealthy oligarchs. We have to become the insiders and this just won't happen in one year.

Warren is saying what Bernie can't say, but what he will have to do: push the transformation of our exploitative profit-based healthcare system to a truly democratic healthcare system.

Randolph Shannon
posted on Facebook, re-posting with author's permission


Re: Pramila Jayapal Takes On Medicare for All’s Critics

Pramila Jayapal, a second-term Representative from Seattle who has rapidly ascended as a progressive congressional leader, wrote the House version of single-payer. The co-chair of the Progressive Caucus has been touring the country to talk about it. She feels Medicare for All has been unfairly maligned during the presidential primary cycle.

“It is very frustrating to have your own party making the arguments of Republicans and insurance companies.” Jayapal told the Prospect in an interview after a health care town hall in Los Angeles. “And they’re not accurate in their representations.”

Michael Steinbrück
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Also: Barack, please have a seat.

Micheal Crockford
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Where There’s Smoke…  --  cartoon by Matt Wuerker

Matt Wuerker
November 20, 2019
The Nation

[Matt Wuerker is the staff cartoonist for Politico. Part of the team that launched Politico in 2006, he provides editorial cartoons, illustrations, caricatures, and animations for the print and Web platforms of the publication.]


Re: After Morales Ousted in Coup, the Lithium Question Looms Large in Bolivia

Lithium is the new oil...

Gordon Galland
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


follow the money

Pat Gibson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


AFL-CIO Condemns Military Coup in Bolivia


Re: What the Coup Against Evo Morales Means to Indigenous People Like Me

"For our indigenous president, after five centuries of colonization, 13 years was not long enough."

Cindy Hawes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: 'A Threat to Global Stability': US Denies Israeli Settlements Illegal

No Trump did it. Not excusing Pompeo but it is above his pay grade.

Suzanne Crowell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Electoral College’s Racist Origins

"Commentators today tend to downplay the extent to which race and slavery contributed to the Framers’ creation of the Electoral College, in effect whitewashing history: Of the considerations that factored into the Framers’ calculus, race and slavery were perhaps the foremost."

Craig Carl
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


We must abolish it one electoral vote equals 750000 popular votes and the Republicans control the electoral college

Richard Mason
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


There is almost nothing more important than knowing this (besides Climate Change etc).

Jack Lewis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


of course--as one would learn in a solid civics class--in college, but I hope High School teachers are not hampered in teaching this now.

Nancy Phelps Anderson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Nonsense. If you get rid of the electoral college, the only thing that will happen is that California and New York will elect the president, and only liberal presidents would be elected.

Brenda Rumbellow
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Brenda Rumbellow: so you prefer a minority decide who is elected? That doesn't make sense.

Jesse Bookhardt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Excellent twisting of facts and fantasy to write an article supporting straight democracy in this Nation! Are you really so blind you want the country to fall?

Heath A Williamson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Heath A Williamson: ...but does it make sense that a minority decide who is elected? States don't vote people do. If you lived in NY or California and I in Tennessee or Alabama, don't you think that your vote should count as much as mine? A human is a human.

Jesse Bookhardt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Sanders or Warren? Populist-Progressivism or New Deal? Take Your Pick!

Which one is going to fight? Who has the plan for getting it done?

Nikos Evangelos
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: You Must Never Vote for Bloomberg

We don’t need another oligarch.

Tom Trumper
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Strike at McDonald’s

(posting on Portside Labor)

Andrew Smith
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Arkansas Teachers Went On Strike. Here Are the Corporate School Privatizers They’re Up Against.

(posting on Portside Labor)

Number One Toxic Family in the USA.

Norm Littlejohn
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Haven't made a case against it. Just that you don't like it. Not the same thing.

Michael McCarley
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Noel Ignatiev, Scholar Who Called For Abolishing Whiteness, Dies at 78

Thank you for publishing this.  Noel, Don Hamerquist and I were founders of Sojourner Truth Organization in 1970.  We started in with collectives in Chicago, Danville Illinois, Cleveland, the Quad cities along the Mississippi in Illinois and Iowa, and Kansas City, KS.  We had relationships with collectives in Detroit, Boston, New York City, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Jackson MS. Later, Seattle, New Orleans and more.    STO lasted until around 1986. In the end years its focus was on mass direct action.

We did workplace organizing, saw white skin privilege as the main barrier to US working class consciousness, saw the trade union movement as narrowly representative of small sectors of the working class rather than organizations of the working class writ large and ultimately vehicles for mediation of deep class conflict rather than organizations that could lead the required breaks to change the world.  We were steeped in thinking and philosophy and direct action.  We understood that most humans operate with ‘dual consciousness’ and that activity. self generated activity  was required to enable people to see that they could become the subject of history, the drivers of history rather than its objects.

We had relationships with various black and Puerto Rican nationalist movements and Europeans who were involved in anti fascist work.  We were not Stalinists or Maoists, among our most important influences were Antonio Gramsci and CLR James. We were not widely known.  We did not engage in 'party building'.  Some of us saw that as a mistake.

Truth and Revolution a book by Michael Staudenmaier tells our story for the most part focusing on our ideas,  a symposium of our reflections on our work is a set of short looking back reflections by many of us that is easy to read and maybe interesting.   There are also various archives of some of our published material, this is the most comprehensive although with a distracting screened background. If you click on any of the items, you will be able to access them, should anyone care.

Again thank you Portside.  Noel was always outspoken and often controversial.  RIP comrade.

Carole Travis


That concept of no basis for white prerogative was put forth in the '50's and '60's by Dr. Herbert Aptheker. He challenged audiences to tell him where "Whiteland" was

Aaron Libson


"Noel Ignatiev, a provocative scholar who argued that the idea of a white race is a false construct that society would be better off without, died Saturday in Tucson, Arizona. He was 78. His best-known book, “How the Irish Became White,” was immediately influential and controversial upon its publication in 1995. It touched off a firestorm of debate at the time at academic conferences and in the pages of newspapers. In time his view that whiteness is a social and political construction — and not a phenomenon with a biological basis — has become mainstream."

Philip Specht
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Stunning Achievement of Kasi Lemmons’s “Harriet”

(posting on Portside Culture)

A must see movie. Superb realistic acting. Well done!

Martha McLaughlin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Report | Movie (Friday Nite Video)

(posting as one of the Friday Nite Videos)

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, CIA agents begin using extreme interrogation tactics on those they think were behind it

"Extreme Interrogation" again. It's TORTURE. Water torture is particularly traumatic. I know a woman tortured with near drowning in 1981 in Pinochet's Chile who was still unable to enter a swimming pool comfortably in 2001, and still had nightmares about the experience - 30 years later!

Dan Morgan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Shut Down the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC

I spent my High school years there. Some of the men at the school became family friends. The school was there to train officers in tactics to stop the spread of "communism ". That school has to close

Pablo Navarro
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Craig Keene
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Global Left Midweek - November 13, 2019

A timely and useful source of information, with links, on right now in Bolivia, Chile, and other hotspots in our world.

Kipp Dawson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Why There Is No Kurdish Nation

There is a Kurdish nation. What there isn't is an independent Kurdish state.

Jorge Iván Santos
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Hitler: Still Messing With Our Heads

(posting on Portside Culture)

Comparisons from history are always tricky but sometimes instructive.  By late 1932, three successive conservative German governments had proved ineffective in dealing with the Depression, each decreasing in popularity.  The one bright spot for the right was the electoral success of the Nazis by July 1932.  Then in a November 1932 election, the Nazis lost 34 seats in the Reichstag, suffering a 40 percent drop of votes in Thuringia  alone.  Something had to be done and quickly and a tiny group of conservative leaders persuaded a reluctant President Hindenberg to appoint Hitler Chancellor in late January 1933.

Neither Hitler nor Trump gained power by winning a popular vote, though both did so legitimately under their respective Constitutions.  More importantly, both emerged from the political thickets of the far right to take power due to the political crisis among mainstream German conservatives.  It was only after taking power that their historical paths diverged so clearly.

Robert Supansic


Annual Violations Report (Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association)


Click here for report (pdf)


Right To The City Transatlantic Roundtable - New York City - November 22-23 - Co-hosted by the RLS–NYC and the RTC Alliance

Against the backdrop of rising rents, gentrification, displacement, and the criminalization of poor and homeless people in cities worldwide, a growing number of urban grassroots groups and social movements are fighting for their “right to the city.” This expression was originally coined by the French philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre, who argued in his book Le droit à la ville (1968) that Paris and other cities were increasingly permeated by the capitalist logic of exploitation and capital accumulation: working- and middle-class neighborhoods were becoming mere warehouses of workers, whose urban environments were shaped for and not by them. Lefebvre described the right to the city as a right to “urban life, to renewed centrality, to places of encounter and exchange, to life rhythms and time uses, enabling the full and complete usage of these moments and places, etc.”

At a recent two-day workshop, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office and the Right to the City Alliance (also based in New York City) brought together housing justice groups from six European and three U.S. cities working on a variety of issues: gentrification and tenant rights, foreclosures and evictions, homelessness, and neoliberal city redevelopment. The goal was to determine the commonalities, differences, and best practices of these groups in order to network and learn from each other—thus contributing to better organized and more effective grassroots movements for housing justice at a time when the powers and interests of finance are tearing communities apart and dispossessing millions. Participating in this workshop were members of the following groups:

• A Város Mindenkié (The City is for All) – Budapest, Hungary
• EncounterAthens – Greece
• Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (Movement of Mortgage Victims) – Valencia, Spain
• Droit au Logement (Right to Housing) – Paris, France
• HABITA – Colectivo pelo Direito à Habitação e à Cidade (Collective on Housing Rights and the City) – Lisbon, Portugal
• Recht auf Stadt (Right to the City) – Hamburg, Germany
• Occupy Our Homes Atlanta (OOHA)
• East LA Community Corporation – Los Angeles
• Causa Justa :: Just Cause (CJJC) – Bay Area
• Picture the Homeless – New York

Additional participants included three academics (Margit Mayer – Free University Berlin, Peter Marcuse – Columbia University, and Gilda Haas – UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs), as well as staff members from RLS-NYC and the Right to the City Alliance.

The workshop revealed remarkable similarities between the groups and the socio-economic contexts within which they work. For instance, Occupy Our Homes in Atlanta and the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) from Spain both organize individuals and families affected by the foreclosure crisis and use similar tactics such as eviction resistance and home occupations. In both geographic contexts the housing markets were flooded with credit from external institutions, making subprime mortgages readily available and sold and ultimately causing a housing bubble. In Atlanta and other U.S. cities, banks began to swamp low-income communities of color with credit following a new banking deregulation bill passed in 1999. This legislation allowed commercial banks to sell mortgages to investment banks, which then pooled them together and sold them many times over in the financial market. After decades of denying people of color home loans, the banks now aggressively courted these communities, practicing what is called “reverse redlining:” the mortgages they sold to Black and Latino customers had higher interest rates and less favorable conditions than those offered to whites with similar credit ratings. Once the bubble burst, the results of these predatory practices were devastating. There are currently around 1,000 foreclosures in Atlanta every month, and nationwide Black Americans have lost a much higher share of their median wealth than whites (53% versus 16%).

In Spain, the real estate boom was in part funded by German and other Northern European banks desperate to invest their surplus capital. They too offered subprime mortgages to those who couldn’t afford them. On average, there are currently 115 evictions taking place each day in Spain. Making the situation particularly difficult for debtors is the fact that it is prohibited to simply walk away from an underwater mortgage. In the U.S. this allows many homeowners to start over—albeit under difficult circumstances—when they can no longer afford their mortgage payments. In Spain, by contrast, the inability to pay for a mortgage usually traps the individuals in life-long debt, causing such desperation that many people choose suicide. PAH has created an online memorial for those who have taken their own lives.

Another clear similarity exists between A Város Mindenkié in Budapest and Picture the Homeless in New York. Both groups fight against the stigmatization, criminalization, and displacement of “roof-less” individuals. They also adhere to the principle that their organizations should be led and represented externally by homeless people. One strategy both organizations have successfully employed has been to offer free legal clinics run by volunteer lawyers to inform homeless people about their rights and assist them with paperwork. Since its inception, Picture the Homeless has fought against the crackdown on so-called quality-of-life offenses such as panhandling, prostitution, graffiti, and sleeping or drinking alcohol in public, which New York City’s former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, implemented in the early 1990s. In Hungary there has also been a concerted effort to criminalize the homeless since 2010, rendering “dumpster diving” and living in public spaces not only illegal but punishable with high fines and even jail time. This criminalization has also led to the demolition of huts homeless people had built for themselves in the woods outside of Budapest. The similarities between these groups are not coincidental, though, because Picture the Homeless actually helped found A Város Mindenkié by conducting an extensive workshop in Budapest for local activists there several years ago.

The Right to the City Roundtable also highlighted some clear differences between the European and U.S.-based groups. For example, all groups from the U.S. have at least one paid staff member, whereas all European groups are entirely volunteer-led. This observation led to discussions about the advantages and drawbacks of having staff. The U.S. groups described how this feature can lead to an overreliance on large foundations with ties to private corporations. On the other hand, some of the community organizing strategies to mobilize those affected are very time-intensive. For instance, going from door-to-door to in neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosures is usually done by paid canvassers in the U.S.

Click here for more information

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office


Peggy Lipschutz Memorial Concert Celebration - Chicago-Evanston - December 7


What's Happening with Kurdish Feminists in Northern Syria - Chicago - December 10

What is going on in Syria and what does United States foreign policy have to do with it? Rojava is a semi-autonomous region in Northern Syria run by socialist feminist Kurds. It’s a remarkable story unfolding in a region under fire. It is now at the center of a deepening regional crisis.

Join the UIC Social Justice Initiative, Arab American Cultural Center and the Gender and Women's Studies department for a conversation about Kurdish women's struggle for survival. Attendees will learn about the research and first hand experiences of three feminist activists working on this issue, and one who has just come back from the region.

Author Meredith Tax will also discuss her book, A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State. The text recounts the dramatic, underreported history of the Rojava Kurds, whose all-women militia was instrumental in the mountaintop rescue of tens of thousands of civilians besieged in Iraq. Books will be available for purchase.

Guest speakers include:

The Social Justice Initiative at UIC


Food Sovereignty Delegation to Venezuela – Witness Effects of Sanctions and Responses on the Ground (January 3-12, 2020)


What’s going on right now in Venezuela? Come see for yourself how Venezuelans are coping with US economic sanctions designed to cause a social implosion. Sensationalized reports of Venezuelans eating zoo animals and rotten garbage present a distorted picture of what is happening in Venezuela. The media also omits serious analysis of the role of the food distribution program known as CLAPs run through a government-community partnership reaching millions of Venezuelans. There is no doubt, however, as indicated in a recent report by CEPR, that the US-imposed sanctions are indeed causing collective hardship and even death.

Join us for a special delegation (January 3-12, 2020) dedicated to studying the actual conditions on the ground and the struggle for food security and food sovereignty in Venezuela, at a time when the Donald Trump’s administration has initiated a new series of sanctions against the food programs that Venezuelan state has created 

The Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York, invites historians, artists, videographers, writers, political analysts, health professionals, agricultural production experts and other activists to join a delegation to Caracas, Venezuela this coming January 2020. Witness: communities organizing themselves in the face of manufactured food shortages to grow and distribute their own food; participatory democracy in action through community councils, ‘comunas’ and other forms of citizen organization; community-run art, media, education, health and nutrition efforts; alternative markets and fairs featuring homemade products and agroecologically produced foods; parks, natural areas, historic sites, and other reclaimed public spaces.

Come bear witness to the effects of the economic warfare and the sanctions against the Venezuelan people imposed by Donald Trump’s administration as well as the inspiring resistance to these, as Venezuelans push for food sovereignty in response to crisis. Come see the real “threat” posed by Venezuela – as living proof that another world indeed is possible. As the Venezuelan people assert, “Venezuela is not a threat – we are hope!”

Dates: January 3-12, 2020

Itinerary: Start and end in Caracas; visits to the states of Yaracuy, Miranda,  and Aragua.

For more information: email cbalbertolovera@gmail.com 

Welcome to Revolución Alimentaria, a hub of information on food sovereignty developments in the Americas and beyond, with an emphasis on regions in the midst of major social transformations. 

What is food sovereignty?

Food sovereignty, in short, is the right of people to determine their own food and agricultural policies.  It involves restoring control over food access and food production from large corporations and international financial institutions back to individual nations/tribes/peoples – and ultimately, to those who produce the food and those who eat it.  The concept of food sovereignty was originally conceived by the Via Campesina international peasants network, which continues to be at the helm of this growing global movement.

About the authors:  Christina Schiavoni is co-director at a New York City–based NGO, where she works in support of the food justice and food sovereignty movements in the US and around the world. William Camacaro, originally from Venezuela, is the co-founder and coordinator of the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle of New York and is an artist, radio host, and activist in New York City.

Source URL: https://portside.org/2019-11-21/tidbits-nov21-2019-reader-comments-medicare4all-sanders-warren-and-left-bolivia-coup