Tidbits - Feb. 24, 2022 - Reader Comments: Ukraine Crisis - Now War; AOC; Police Reform; Eddie Kay Remembered; 1619 Project; Ottawa Truckers 'Revolt'; Resources; Announcements; more....

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Draw World War III  --  cartoon by Dr. James MacLeod
Re: U.S. Labor Leaders Statement on Ukraine Crisis (Buzz Davis)
Ukraine: Good Guys and Bad Guys (Fred L Pincus)
Re: AOC Hasn't Given Up on Her Vision for Social Change (Susan Gutwill)
Re: After Amir Locke Killing, Is Police Reform Even the Solution? (Ted Pearson)
Re: Post Office Prevented from Going Electric by Republicans (Ken Roseman)
Re: In the 1770s, First Smallpox Vaccinator was Abused, Not Thanked (Steven Gillis; Jean Douthwright)
Re: The Labor Movement has Lost a Great Organizer - Eddie Kay (Alan Barnes; Marilyn Albert; Josh Kiok; Mark Dudzic; Bill Fletcher Jr.; Tara Levy; Rand Wilson; Dennis O'Neil; Jay Mazur; Gloria Johnson; Mark E. Zink)
Re: Paul Farmer, Pioneer of Global Health, Dies at 62 (Capn' Steve Krüg)
Root of Inflation  --  cartoon by Mike Stanfill
Re: The Hidden Stakes of the 1619 Controversy (Seth Racusen; Bob Wing)
Re: In Bessemer and the South, Black Workers Hold the Key (Joseph Kaye)
Re: 'The Mexican American Experience in Texas’ Takes a Deep Look at Our Sordid State History (John Berman)
Re: The Ottawa Occupation and Canada: a Call to Step Up (Jay Mazur; Stephen Wells)
Re: America’s Disastrous 60-Year War (Stan Nadel)
Re: Suharto’s US-Backed Coup in Indonesia Supplied a Template for Worldwide Mass Murder (John Aldis)


A Webinar and Power Point on International Relations, Militarism, and Foreign Policy (Massachusetts Peace Action)


Power Concedes Nothing: February 27 Monthly Political Forum with Linda Burnham & Max Elbaum (Voices for New Democracy)
‘Free All Political Prisoners’ - Washington, DC - February 28
No Pasaran ! Stop the Far Right: Building the Alternative - Berlin - March 19 (Party of the European Left, Die Linke, Transform Europe)


Draw World War III  --  cartoon by Dr. James MacLeod 

Dr. James MacLeod
February 24, 2022


Re: U.S. Labor Leaders Statement on Ukraine Crisis

Will it be War or PEACE?  Dear Citizens:A few leaders are taking our world where nearly all of us do NOT want to go, i.e. to a world of MORE WAR!Please take action below -Tell Pres. Biden you want peace not war.  You want him working through the United Nations - that's what it was set up for.We must exert all the pressure we can to stop this insanity.Peace!& Thank You for taking Action!  

Buzz Davis in Tucson
member of the Am. Fed. of Teachers - WI & Veterans for Peace


Ukraine: Good Guys and Bad Guys

Sometimes, there are no good guys in an international crisis. Ukraine is a case in point.

It’s not surprising that both Democratic and Republican politicians as well as the mainstream press see the U.S. and NATO as the good guys and Russia as the bad guy. There is almost no discussion of U.S. imperialism and no appreciation of Russia’s concern of being surrounded by hostile NATO forces.

But many left analysts do the same thing, in reverse. They correctly denounce Western imperialism but, at the same time, ignore or even justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I watched a webinar sponsored by the United National Antiwar Coalition on February 22, shortly after Russia recognized the two breakaway republics and sent in “peace keeping” troops. Most of the dozen or so speakers totally ignored the Russian invasion while a few said something like “we may have differing opinions on it.”

After leaving the webinar, I felt like I had just returned from some alternative universe. My guess is that most of the speakers prepared their talks before the Russian invasion but didn’t try to update their comments.

I first became aware of the “no good guys” scenario when I was marching in a demonstration to oppose a U.S. invasion of Iraq some decades ago. The crowd started chanting “The people united will never be defeated” and I remember thinking “Are we supposed to unite with Saddam Hussein?”

A more recent example is Afghanistan. It was great that the U.S. was finally forced to withdraw after 20 years of brutal intervention and failed attempts to prop up a puppet government. But the Taliban? Are we talking about that old cliché – “out of the frying pan, into the fire?”

The Ukraine crisis is complex and I’m still learning about it. Of course, we on the left should emphasize the U.S./NATO role and expose the lies of the mainstream press. We should also explain Putin’s legitimate concern about being surrounded by hostile forces. But ignoring or justifying the Russian invasion is unjustified. It’s wrong.

Using this one-sided approach will also make it difficult to rally large segments of the American population. If I’m skeptical, imagine the reaction of more mainstream folk. Not criticizing Russian aggression makes the left critique of American policy seem less credible.

Fred L Pincus,
Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, He is the author of "Confessions of a Radical Academic" (Adelaide Books).


Re: AOC Hasn't Given Up on Her Vision for Social Change

Beautiful interview with AOC

Susan Gutwill


Re: After Amir Locke Killing, Is Police Reform Even the Solution?

Yes, trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity. How about something different? How about letting the people in communities decide how and by whom their neighborhoods are policed? Do you really think that people don’t know how to stop the flow of guns and drugs into their communities? Community Control of Police will not solve problems of poverty and white supremacy, but it can take a giant step toward public safety.

Chicago is blazing a trail with the passage of the Empowering Communities for Public Safety Ordinance (ECPS), creating elected councils in each police district and a Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. A proposal before the City Council will call a referendum on the direct election of this Commission and expanding it’s powers giving it control of police policies and procedures, leadership, and discipline.

This is not a revolution but neither is it just nibbling around the edges of reform. It fundamentally changes the relationship of power.

Ted Pearson


Re: Post Office Prevented from Going Electric by Republicans

Why can't President Biden fire this guy? Why are we stuck with this remnant of the "45" era?

Ken Roseman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: In the 1770s, First Smallpox Vaccinator was Abused, Not Thanked

Coming from generations of dairy farmers, Jesty knew the folklore about a certain farm disease well. Cowpox—a pesky infection farmers occasionally saw in the spring, manifested as reddish bumps that enlarged and erupted like craters on a cow’s udders. Milkmaids, farm hands, farmers—anyone who touched the teats often got infected and developed the telltale lumps and ulcers on their hands. Fortunately, they rarely became seriously ill and all of them seemed to gain an immunity from smallpox. Jesty himself had been infected as a young man and carried the scar on his hand like a branding burn. And in the decades that smallpox had come and gone, it had never afflicted him. His two dairymaids had the same experience as they cared for sick relatives without fear of contracting smallpox. It thus made perfect sense to Jesty that deliberately infecting his wife and children with cowpox offered the best protection against smallpox.

Steven Gillis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It is a pretty amazing technology and hard to believe!
Get your vaccinations everyone.  Save your life and the lives of others.

Jean Douthwright
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: The Labor Movement has Lost a Great Organizer - Eddie Kay

(posting on Portside Labor)

“He always preached, don’t do for the workers; rather build the workers confidence and organization so that they can do for themselves.  He specifically advocated for empowering workers on the shop floor, whatever that particular industry was.  Anyone who has ever worked in the position of an internal organizer knows how hard it is to do this in practice, much less do it consistently over a period of years.  Eddie organized this way his whole life, and constantly developed workers who understood and could lead their own organizations, wherever he went.”

Alan Barnes
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I have lost a dear, dear friend who gave workers everything he had.

The article about my dear friend Eddie Kay was very good, capturing his greatest accomplishments and character traits. Two things should be added: Eddie pointedly did not retire from 1199 but as he said it, "I am resigning". He boldly stated the reasons why, to some controversy. He objected to the direction 1199 had taken, of "cooperation" with the hospital industry. He taught all of us not to collaborate, but to fight.

As an 1199 organizer, I was privileged to represent workers in Queens who had been trained by Eddie. An astute co-worker could immediately feel the difference between the Queens-Long Island workers led by Eddie and most other members of the union. Those workers were more militant, more self-organizing, and were the backbone of the Save Our Union movement.

Another thing everyone must know about Eddie was that he was an open and unafraid Leftist and socialist. He influenced many with his political ideas, which he never compromised. He was viciously red-baited, especially during the Save Our Union movement. He didn't care. In one of my last long phone conversations with him, he wanted to send me a book, he felt it was so important . The name of that book is "Russia At War".

I want to add that Eddie combined his militant trade unionism with his socialist politics consistently through the years. He influenced a lot of workers to understand socialism and support it. He could have given a Master Class to all the young people now who want to combine their union activism with their red politics....

Marilyn Albert


Eddie Kay, fall 1969, SUNY Stony Brook, NY, during cafeteria workers strike.

Photo credit: Josh Kiok\Portside

I took this photo of Eddie Kay in the fall of 1969 at SUNY Stony Brook during a cafeteria workers' strike.

Please convey my condolences to his family if you are in touch with them.

Josh Kiok


Eddie was the real thing. I got to know him when my wife was active in the 1199 Save Our Union movement in the 1980s and then reconnected during the Labor for Bernie efforts. I don't think I've ever met a more dedicated, smart and strategic organizer. What a life he led!

Mark Dudzic
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


This is a great loss. I met Eddie back around 2015. We immediately connected. He was unique. He had the sort of organizing experience that you wish that you could have downloaded onto a program. He was also especially blunt in his opinions. (In other words, he was a New Yorker!!) He will be missed. I am also very grateful for the assistance that he offered me at a key moment,

Bill Fletcher Jr.
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Eddie Kay truly understood workplace organizing, as described in this excellent obit.

Tara Levy
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A legend!!

Rand Wilson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A real fighter for the working class, Eddie Kay, has died. This short obituary lays out some of his contributions as an organizer and strategist in the trade union movement.

I would be remiss if I didn't hold up one more: Eddie's role in a campaign that has helped change the battlefield in the perpetual struggle to defend  postal workers, postal unions and the USPS itself. Ten years ago this winter, he came to the aid of an ad hoc crew of stewards, members and retirees which had pulled together a slate to dump the corrupt mildew-butts* who had been running the NY Metro Area Postal Union  for years. He helped the United For Change Slate make a battle plan and train its members and supporters to go all out to reach every member.

On April 24, 2012, the slate, featuring folks like Jonathan Smith, Chuck Zlatkin, Kevin Walsh, and J Renee Bost Nevels swept into office. The largest local in the APWU could again play its part in the postal struggle, including pushing for the election of much-needed new national leadership in the union. Eddie Kay played a key role--not for money nor for a cushy job (he was never even an APWU member), but out of belief in rank and file union democracy and for the love of combat!

* Note: Mildew butt is a colorful old term in the union movement, which definitely needs reviving. It describes officials who leave their nice union offices so seldom that there is moss growing where their lazy hindquarters meet their chair.

Dennis O'Neil
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


I first met Eddie in 1969 when I was part of the organizing committee to bring1199 to the Presbyterian medical center. Since then I have always been impressed with Eddie's clear thinking and dedication. No one ever outworked Eddie. At the Abe of 80 he was leafleting postal truck drivers for a union election. When in 2016 we organized labor for Bernie Sanders, Eddie was out there leafleting workplaces before day shift workers thought the city. Eddie retired as the chief organizer of District Council 1707 AFSCME after a successful organizing drive at the age of 87. In retirement he an active role in the fight for social justice . Last couple years in the middle of the pandemic and in declining health Eddie was organizing support for progressive insurgent Democratic candidates. Eddie always put the interests of the working class first, he was always an inspiration to me any one who knew him.

Jay Mazur
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Loved Eddie Kay! Took a class he taught at Cornell’s Labor Studies program.

Gloria Johnson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Eddie Kay was a fantastic Labor Leader who I had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions. He will be missed immensely!

Mark E. Zink
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


The dean of Union organizers, Eddie Kay, talks about what makes a union strong. At the NYPAN dinner, January 27, 2018 at the 1199  SEIU penthouse.

Watch here


Re: Paul Farmer, Pioneer of Global Health, Dies at 62

Thanks for running this. Farmer was our kind guy:

“In this increasingly interconnected world, we must understand that what happens to poor people is never divorced from the actions of the powerful. Certainly, people who define themselves as poor may control their own destinies to some extent. But control of lives is related to control of land, systems of production, and the formal political and legal structures in which lives are enmeshed. With time, both wealth and control have become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few. The opposite trend is desired by those working for social justice.”

- Paul Farmer

While I assume most readers are familiar with him and his work(s), my favorite still is "The Uses of Haiti".

Capn' Steve Krüg


Root of Inflation  --  cartoon by Mike Stanfill

Mike Stanfill
February 22, 2022
Raging Pencils


Re: The Hidden Stakes of the 1619 Controversy

Thanks for posting - that's a helpful essay. I would add one other point to it that I think supports the arguments advanced - the support for the American Colonization Society, from Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Francis Scott Key and Abraham Lincoln, among others. The colonization project was a more radical idea than apartheid and needs to be framed as such. Apartheid allowed the possibility that distinct homelands might share a greater territory, and in that sense, paralleled the removal policy for native Americans in the US. Colonization insisted that whites and blacks could not share a territory. This saga also challenges the arguments about the anti-slavery intent of the framers.

Seth Racusen
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


It is an excellent piece, especially in bringing to light the longstanding debate among historians. But, in my opinion, it is too even handed about the radical and reactionary tendencies of the American Revolution. To me, the most important result of the Revolution to contemplate is the enormous expansion of slavery from about 660,000 in 1790 to 4 million in 1860, continental Native genocide and U.S. imperial expansion between the Revolution and the Civil War that not only underlay the Civil War but of course rewrote the geopolitical map of the world from then on. Meanwhile Britain abolished slavery in its colonies in the 1830s.

Bob Wing
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: In Bessemer and the South, Black Workers Hold the Key

The key to successful organizing in the South is combining militant trade unionism with militant anti-racism, something the unions have generally refused to do in the past.

Joseph Kaye


Re: 'The Mexican American Experience in Texas’ Takes a Deep Look at Our Sordid State History

Makes me wonder why, given all the appropriate outcry to pressure the Washington football team and Cleveland baseball team to change their racist and offensive nicknames, that a similar movement hasn’t also taken shape to force the Texas Rangers (baseball) to do the same.

John Berman


Re: The Ottawa Occupation and Canada: a Call to Step Up

While truckers protest might have been a great opportunity for the left to provide leadership in this anti-government struggle that did not in fact happen. Instead that leadership was provided by far right forces on both sides of the border. We can't do politics based on what we wished happened.

Jay Mazur
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Invoking emergency powers to put down clearly peaceful protest by workers is crazy. When are you going to write about crazy? Or is that verboten?

Stephen Wells
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: America’s Disastrous 60-Year War

Why would leftists use the derogatory term "Vietcong" instead of "Vietnamese" or "NLF/National Liberation Front" prisoner? Have we forgotten the history already?

Stan Nadel


Re: Suharto’s US-Backed Coup in Indonesia Supplied a Template for Worldwide Mass Murder

The "Year of Living Dangerously." My wife (Pheny Aldis) had come to the U.S. 4 years earlier and we met in 1965 in the microbiology class at Kansas University. That is who told me about the goings on in Indonesia.

It was painful listening to this from somebody whose Chinese family was still living there.

There have been quite a few movies and Youtube stories about this awful time. I (the U.S. and the "CIA") were accused of causing the coup by some friends in Indonesia in 1970. I naturally discounted their stories at the time.

Watch here

John Aldis
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


A Webinar and Power Point on International Relations, Militarism, and Foreign Policy (Massachusetts Peace Action)

Watch here


Power Concedes Nothing: February 27 Monthly Political Forum with Linda Burnham & Max Elbaum (Voices for New Democracy)

Join Voices for New Democracy and our comrades at Convergence Magazine on Sunday February 27th at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT for our next monthly political forum hosting Linda Burnham& Max Elbaum, co-editors of the new book Power Concedes Nothing: How Grassroots Organizing Wins Elections.

Burnham and Elbaum will discuss the new book, a collection of essays exploring grassroots mobilization as the key to electoral power, including ousting Trump in 2020. Now, with 2022 posing the greater threats to democracy, all progressives need to unify and work together to preserve it while at the same time building grassroots power. Join us.

Click here on Sunday, February 27th at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT to join the forum.

Voices for New Democracy


‘Free All Political Prisoners’ - Washington, DC - February 28

February 28, at 12pm, supporters of a just and free society gather at the Department of Justice, calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to liberate America's political prisoners: Julian Assange, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and all the nonviolent victims of the violent empire. We demand that all political prisoners unjustly sentenced to ‘serve’ years and years in prison and some suffering in solitary confinement should be freed and the cases against them dropped. Now.

Event’s speakers:


No Pasaran ! Stop the Far Right: Building the Alternative - Berlin - March 19 (Party of the European Left, Die Linke, Transform Europe)

Over the last decade, the rise of the far-right has accelerated globally, in its biggest upsurge since the 1930s. It takes many different forms, but it presents a real threat to our democracy and diverse communities wherever it is found. From street attacks and mobilisations to government office, they use Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and racism to spread hate and fear. They attack trade unionists and the left, and the rights and liberties of us all; the onslaught on women’s rights, in particular, has been severe. In the time of Trump, they received an enormous boost, becoming increasingly internationalised, well-funded and well-organised. They used ‘lawfare’ and coups to overthrow legitimate governments and exclude left candidates. Trump has gone but Trumpism continues; its increasing paramilitary orientation, fake news and anti-fact approach presents an enormous challenge, particularly during the pandemic. The far-right has weaponised the pandemic in its own political interests, and the economic crisis that is running alongside the virus is being exploited by the far-right to build its social and political base. But there are victories too, where the people mobilise for a different vision of society and defeat the hate and fear. We must build that alternative together.

These are crucial issues for us to address: it’s urgent for us to analyse and get organised together to defeat the far right.

This conference brings together activists and experts from Europe and beyond to plan the most effective ways of challenging the far right and defeating them. We will share experience, analysis and strategies for mobilisation and action.

In the first part of the conference, we will be looking at the internationalisation of the far-right, the role of neoliberalism and war in its rise, its attacks on our rights and liberties, the increase in racism and Islamophobia, how the pandemic is used by the far right, and how the Left is responding.

In the second part, we will focus on how we fight back, with movement building and grassroots work, unity in action and alliances, international solidarity and coordination, migrant self-organisation and solidarity with migrants, and effective trade union action across borders.

Our main aim is to build a new narrative – based on the reality of people’s lives, to create a different society where there is no space for fascism in any of its forms.


* To strengthen a radical left counter-narrative to far-right manipulation of interlocking crises
* To develop and strengthen European-wide mobilising in this and other areas
* To share best practices and concrete actions of social struggles, movements, politics to fight back the far-right
* To develop and strengthen unity on the left and across progressive movements in Europe
* To facilitate movement-building in individual countries via a preparatory process
* To work together to build a society where there is no space for fascism and everywhere is free of fascism.

Organising committee: Party of the European Left, Die Linke, Transform Europe.

Register Now

Source URL: https://portside.org/2022-02-24/tidbits-feb-24-2022-reader-comments-ukraine-crisis-now-war-aoc-police-reform-eddie-kay