Tidbits – May 2 – Reader Comments: UAW’s Fain in Solidarity With Students; Letter to Columbia Pres Shafik; Students Need Our Support Now; Anti-Zionism in the Jewish Community; Research Tools for Organizers; Setting a Larger Table-Religion & Socialism

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UAW's Sean Fain in Solidarity with Students



Letter to Columbia President Minouche Shafik

You are keeping no one safe, except for your donors, trustees, and the university’s endowment.

Robin D. G. Kelley

April 29, 2024
Boston Review

Photo credit: AP

Dear President Nemat Minouche Shafik,

As a former Columbia University faculty member and father of a Columbia graduate (PhD ’21), I am quite frankly appalled by your draconian, unethical, illegal, and dishonest actions toward your own students and faculty.

In the name of keeping students safe, you bring the NYPD on campus to break up a peaceful encampment, thereby endangering hundreds of student protesters—many of whom are Jewish students and students of color—and the campus community at large. Given the NYPD’s racist record, the fact that you would subject Black, Latinx, Arab and South Asian students to police repression suggests that you are either unaware or indifferent to the trauma our communities have experienced with the police. And your administration’s decision to evict students from their dorms, strip them of their meal cards, and have them charged with trespassing is nothing less than vindictive. After taking their tuition and fees, you render them houseless and potentially food insecure. How does this make students safe? As president, you must be well aware of the number of financially vulnerable students enrolled at Columbia.

In forty years, I have never seen such brazen cruelty toward students and faculty.

Read Robin Kelley's full letter here on the Boston Review website


Poison - Ivy  --  Cartoon by Mr. Fish


Mr. Fish
April 19, 2024
Mr. Fish - Clowncrack


Re: Why They Hate Us: Anti-Zionism in the Jewish Community

Israel's anti Palestinian policies engender and promote antisemitism

Matthew Borenstein


Re: The Two-State Solution Is an Unjust, Impossible Fantasy

"The Two-State solution mantra has allowed policymakers to avoid confronting the reality that partition is unattainable in the case of Israel and Palestine, and illegitimate as an arrangement originally imposed on Palestinians without their consent."

Jodda Mitchell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Sorry, I Just Can't Celebrate Passover

Friends and Family

Sadly, I won't join you for Passover. Not with what is happening in Gaza. I just can't.

There is a way to tell the story of Passover as the celebration of a freedom struggle. I think of it as the Pete Seeger, Kumbaya version. Moses is a freedom fighter, a Che Guevara, a Nelson Mandela. He stands up to Pharaoh, tells him, "Let my people go," and with God on his side leads his people out of bondage and on toward the promised land. It's a story of liberation. It's a story that inspired slaves to flee the plantations and make the perilous journey north with the hounds barking at their heels. Harriet Tubman was called the Moses of her people. The story of Passover can be read that way, but it no longer works for me. It leaves out too much.

The settlers in the West Bank, and all those in Israel who have become the cheerleaders for the genocide in Gaza pay attention to the parts we overlook. They pay attention to the parts that support their belief Jews are a chosen people, entitled to – no actually required – to commit genocide if necessary to claim the land God promised them. The story of Passover is the story of a tribe, which believed there was only one God and that God looked after them and cared for them exclusively. When they were enslaved by Africans in Egypt, their one God did not hesitate to engineer their escape by committing genocide. Is there a more appropriate way to describe the plagues, described in Exodus, which we celebrate by dipping our finger in the wine and dropping drops onto our Seder plate?

He turned all the water in Egypt into blood so that "the fish in the Nile died and the river smelled so bad the Egyptians could not drink its water;" He killed off their livestock, the horses, donkeys and camels, the sheep and the goats. He sent hail that "struck everything in the fields – both people and animals; it beat down everything growing the fields and stripped every tree." Then he sent a plague of locusts, which "devoured all that was left after the hail." I leave out the frogs and the flies and the gnats, that children find so amusing and come to the final plague, which killed all the firstborn in Egypt from "the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon and the firstborn of all the livestock as well." Compared to what God did to the Egyptians, what Hamas did to escape bondage in Gaza on October 7 was small potatoes. And one has to wonder, if God is all-powerful, wouldn't there have been a simpler way to free His people, like reaching into the mind of Pharaoh and implanting the idea it would be a good thing to let the Jews go? No, he chose genocide.

That's the genocide we celebrate at Passover. The story we tell ends with the deliverance from bondage. By ending the story there we leave out what the Jews did after they were freed from bondage and came to their promised land. It's recorded in the of Joshua. There we learn God said to Joshua, "get ready to cross the Jordan River into the book land I am about . . . to give to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot. . . . Your territory will extend "to the Mediterranean Sea." God gave Palestine to the Israelites "from the river to the sea."

The problem is, there were other people living there. The problem was quickly solved. The Jews crossed the river Jordan and came to Jericho. There, as the song goes, Joshua "fit the Battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down." It's not just the walls that came tumbling down. The Israelites "destroyed with the sword every living thing in it – men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys." and "they burned the whole city and everything in it." And then they went on to the city of Ai, and killed everyone who was in it, "12,000 men and women." And Joshua "impaled the body of the king of Ai on a pole and left it there until evening and then took it down and buried in under a pile of rocks at the entrance to the city. And the Jews burned Ai and left it "a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. That's the second genocide in the series begins with the genocide of the Egyptians.

And now we come to the third genocide in the lineage, unfolding now in Gaza, and again Jews are well on the way to leaving the place "a permanent heap of ruins and a desolate place." There is a direct line between the genocides told in the Bible and the one we are reading about every day in the news. Bondage in Egypt and the Holocaust in Germany are used to justify vengeance without mercy. God's promise of land to the Israelite is used to justify Israel's claim of exclusive right to all of Palestine from the river to the sea. And the Old Testament provides a guidebook on what to do with pesky Palestinians who refuse to submit or leave.

So that's why I can't celebrate Passover.

I will miss you. I wish we had a celebration I could feel good about. We could invent our own, as Maulana Karenga did with Kwanzaa. We could ditch that vengeful genocidal Old Testament God. We don't need to validate the idea that we are God's chosen people and Palestine is our promised land. I would love to celebrate instead, the secular Jewish tradition with which I identify, the tradition of the "Non-Jewish Jew." My list of our heroes would include Marx, Einstein, Freud, Rosa Luxemburg, and Emma Goldman; We could celebrate our solidarity with oppressed peoples all over the world. We could celebrate resistance; we could celebrate the Warsaw ghetto uprising. We could honor the victims of the Holocaust, our martyrs, by pledging always be on the side of the oppressed and all those who struggle against fascism.

I would like nothing better than to participate in such a celebration.

Take care,


[Osha Neumann is an attorney who represents people experiencing homelessness, also a painter, sculptor, and graphic artist. He is the author of Up Against the Wall Motherf**ker: A Memoir of the 60s with Notes for Next Time and Doodling on the Titanic: The Making of Art in the World on the Brink. His latest book, Is Hope Necessary?: Thinking about Language, Justice and Melting Glaciers in the Time of Fear and Foreboding awaits a publisher. He can be reached at www.oshaneumann.com.]


Gag Order  --  Carton by Rob Rogers


Rob Rogers
April 30, 2024


Re: To Accomplish What?

Jack Radey said a lot of things I've been thinking about protest tactics for 20-25 years, going back to the era of "Black Bloc" tactics, which were essentially parasiting on somebody else's demonstration to break windows and get into fights with cops, all in the name of showing off their own "militance." There wasn't much objective difference between that and the standard provocateur tactic of making a peaceful march look violent, scaring off participants—especially people who are older, have kids or jobs, or can't take a bust—who don't want to fight the cops, and alienating neutrals who might be sympathetic to the cause.

As an experienced activist once told me, "politics isn't self-expression." "What are you trying to accomplish?" should be the most important question about tactics. It takes an incredible amount of insular groupthink to believe that gluing yourself to a famous painting is an effective tactic to stop global heating. The recent traffic-blocking protests seem to come from a place more of "we're going to punish these apathetic sheeple" than of "we're trying to win them over."

Organizing people is really hard and takes better social skills than I have, but that's what it takes to gain change.

Steve Wishnia


Freedom of Expression Crisis…  --  Cartoon by Osama Hajjaj

Osama Hajjaj
April 29, 2024
Osama Hajjaj on X

[Usama Hajjaj is a Jordanian cartoonist]


Re: Wait! I Said DE-Escalate!

(posting on Friday Nite Videos)

In his final FB post Aaron Bushnell wrote: "Many of us like to ask ourselves, 'What would I do if I was alive during slavery? Or the Jim Crow South? Or apartheid? What would I do if my country was committing genocide?' The answer is, you're doing it. Right now."

    "When injustice takes place, few are guilty, but all are responsible.

    Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself."
    - Rabbi Abraham Herschel

    "It is always the right time to do the right thing."
    - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
    - Frederick Douglas

Karen Bednarek


Please cover the US police forces attacking campuses being training by IDF

Randy Shannon


Panic room  --  Cartoon by Mike Luckovich


Mike Luckovich
April 28, 2024
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Re: The Right Reads Gramsci: Project 2025 and Neo-Fascism

This article is interesting and urgent, but it is far too intellectual for the average person to comprehend. Even I got lost in the terminology. And its length will lose readers before they're half-way through reading.

Judyth Hollub
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Re: Where Militant Unionists Come To Plan

(posting on Portside Labor)

Check out the American Labor Studies Center <http://www.labor-studies.org/>. Working with the AFT and NEA, our mission is to promote the teaching and learning about the American labor movement and its history nationwide. We do both in person and online workshops for teachers.

The goal is not to indoctrinate but provide information about the history of labor and its role in today's economy. Resources are also useful for union education programs.

We own and have restored the home of Kate Mullany (www.katemullanynhs.org) who formed and led America's first bona fide all-female union in 1864. The ALSC  sponsors tours especially for young people.

Paul Cole
ALSC  Executive Director

Paul Cole is Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus of the New York State AFL-CIO and served as a vice president of the AFT, board member of the New York State United Teachers.


Re:  From World War II to Gaza: U.S. Labour Opposition to War and Fascism

one more song to add to your wonderful article:  "Step by step the longest march can be won"

Cathy Deppe


Now Playing at Theater Near You – The Same Old Story  --  Cartoon by Lalo Alcaraz


Lalo Alcaraz
April 29, 2024
La Cucaracha - pocho.com


Re: ILWU, Community Coalition, Defeats Proposed Baseball Stadium on Oakland Waterfront

(posting on Portside Labor)

Your article is DISGUSTING and ONE-SIDED. Is this newsletter only in favor of SOME UNIONS and not others? You should either close up shop or re-evaluate your entire operation.

The Oakland Coliseum-Arena complex has been home to thousands of well-paid and well-benefitted UNION jobs, probably many more than the Port of Oakland. The entire complex is 100% union serviced and operated. The A's leaving Oakland to go to stinking non-union Las Vegas, because their proposed new Oakland stadium was not approved, is ripping the heart out of thousands of union families in the Bay Area. Families that may have thought your newsletter was on their side, but apparently not.


Mark Sharwood


Guns don’t belong in classrooms  --  Cartoon by Jeff Stahler


Jeff Stahler
March 4, 2018
Salisburg Post (Salisbury, NC)


Students need our support right now.


Students need our support right now. 

UPDATES:  Brown University met with students and agreed on concrete steps to respond to students' demands. We applaud this news. University presidents and administrative staff need to listen to the demands of students and stop calling the police and armed guards to shut down dissent."¹ 

Northwestern University administrators also have met with student protesters and reportedly have come to an agreement after using police to shut down protests.²

Emergency action for UCLA: Students were violently attacked by anti-Palestinian counter-protesters. Failed by the university and LA elected officials, please take action for them. (See last tab.)


As of May 2, more than 1,600 students have been arrested for protesting on campuses. Instead of listening to student demands, university presidents are calling the police and armed guards to shut down their activism.³⁴⁵ 

Like a majority of people in the U.S., students want a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to genocide. 

It has been over 200 days of Israeli massacres of Palestinians. It must end. 

Students have played a pivotal role in changing the course of history, helping bring an end to the Vietnam War and South Africa's apartheid. And once again, students are making history.

Students are demanding that universities divest from corporations profiting from Israel's apartheid and genocide. They will not be silenced.

Take action with us. Email 37 university presidents and chancellors responding to nonviolent dissent with punishment and violence.  

** Once you send emails on the first tab you will get moved to the next tab with more targets. The list keeps growing.

1. "At Brown, a Rare Agreement Between Administrators and Protesters," The New York Times,  May 1, 2024.

2. “Student protesters reach a deal with Northwestern University that sparks criticism from all sides,” AP, May 1, 2024.

3. “Crackdowns at 4 College Protests Lead to More Than 200 Arrests,” NYT, April 27, 2024

4. "Gaza war protests have emerged across US college campuses," AP News, April 27, 2024. 

5. "Mapping pro-Palestine college campus protests around the world | Israel War on Gaza NewsAljazeera, April 29, 2024. 

Click here to add add your name

** Once you send emails on the first tab you will get moved to the next tab with more targets. The list keeps growing.

We'll send separate messages to all of these targets.

Dear [recipient position will go here]  [recipient name will go here],

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the recent treatment of students at your university who have been courageously speaking out against war and genocide in Gaza.

We are witnessing one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. More than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel. 

Students are rightfully speaking up and calling for divestment from genocide and for the survival of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. 

Your students should be saluted for their actions, not punished, and never victimized by police for exercising their rights. Shutting down dissent undermines the principles of free speech and academic freedom that universities are meant to uphold.

It is not too late to align with the values of justice and humanity. I implore you to change course and demonstrate leadership by standing on the right side of history.

[your name will go here]
[your email address will go here] [your location will go here]

Click here to add add your name

MPower Change is a fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy, Inc.
Contact: info@mpowerchange.org


2024 Research Tools for Organizers Training Series  (The Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) aka LittleSis)


Check out this great resource! Session 1 already happened, but there are 6 more. Free and taking place across multiple countries!

"Research into the relationships between powerful people, corporations, and institutions – aka power research – is essential if we want to know who we’re really up against in our fights for justice. This form of research helps us demystify the corporate playbook, find strategic targets and points of leverage, identify campaignable opportunities, reshape narratives to better inform the public, and find new ways that campaigns and movements are interconnected. In short, it not only helps us understand who we’re up against, it helps us see who is on our side and how to bring others into our work."

The Public Accountability Initiative (PAI) aka LittleSis is a nonprofit watchdog research organization focused on corporate and government accountability. We conduct and facilitate power research and public interest research on how power relationships shape policy in the United States. Our research brings transparency to the influence of big money and corporate power in our daily lives.

We frequently work in partnership with organizers and journalists to support challenges to this influence, and we also work to make power research more participatory, through trainings and workshops. We consider ourselves a movement utility that can help power the path toward a future grounded in racial, environmental, and economic justice.

PAI also oversees LittleSis.org, a wiki database and platform for power research. LittleSis is like the opposite of Big Brother – instead of surveilling our communities, we track the people and organizations in the power structure, from CEOs and major investors to politicians and lobbyists. Data on LittleSis is drawn from a diverse array of online sources, and maintained through a combination of automated scripts and user edits. Activists, journalists, and researchers use the site to conduct research, analyze data, and create visual network maps with Oligrapher, the LittleSis power mapping tool.


Setting a Larger Table  --  May 9  (Religion & Socialism Working Group of the Democrtic Socialists of America)



Online: The World’s Tectonic Geopolitical Changes and Their Implications  --  May 22  (Campaign For Peace, Disarmament and Common Security)


CPDCS has arranged an exceptional webinar panel on the Tectonic Geopolitical changes that are transforming the international landscape, their implications, and common security policies. Understanding the forces at play is essential to ending and preventing wars, reversing the climate emergency, and bringing greater security and justice to all.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hamas’ October 7 massacre, and the launching of Israel’s genocidal war, the U.S. National Security Strategy announced that the Post Cold-War era was over, and that China is the rival peer power. Competition for 21st century power and privilege was already well under way. How greatly the world has changed is reflected in the Global South’s greater influence marked by its reluctance to take sides in the Ukraine War and in South Africa’s charging Israel with genocide – with the U.S. and much of Europe deeply complicit - in the International Court of Justice.

These tectonic changes are playing out before our eyes and will affect our, our children’s, and our grandchildren’s lives. As we see here worldwide calls for ceasefires and to stanch the climate emergency, our actions make a difference.

The webinar from noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT is scheduled to accommodate our speakers from India, Turkey, and here in the U.S.

Click here to RSVP

The expert panel will include:

Campaign for Peace, Disarmament and Common Security  


24 Hour Peace Wave: No to Militarization – Yes to Cooperation - 2024  -- Virtual Event  --  June 22 & 23  (International Peace Bureau and World BEYOND War)


International Peace Bureau and World BEYOND War will hold the third-annual 24-hour peacewave on June 22-23, 2024. This will be a 24-hour-long Zoom featuring live peace actions in the streets and squares of the world, moving around the globe with the sun. There will be a live Q&A section on Zoom for the last 10 minutes of each hour.

This Peace Wave will happen during the RIMPAC war rehearsals in the Pacific and just prior to protests of NATO’s meeting in Washington in July.

The Peace Wave supports work for global peace and opposes military buildup including alliances like NATO, its partnerships around the globe, and related alliances such as AUKUS.

The peace wave will visit dozens of locations around the globe and include rallies, concerts, production of artworks, blood drives, installation of peace poles, dances, speeches, and public demonstrations of all variety.

The agenda includes twelve 2-hour parts:
(Click here for more information)

World Beyond War

Source URL: https://portside.org/2024-05-02/tidbits-may-2-reader-comments-uaws-fain-solidarity-students-letter-columbia-pres-shafik