Tidbits - November 21, 2013

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Stand with the Philippines

Sign this petition


    Superstorm Haiyan is a climate nightmare -- carbon pollution is driving more frequent and intense storms which are devastating vulnerable communities. New realities require new politics, I urge you to stop the sad tradition of feet-dragging on commitments to cut pollution, and breaking promises on finance. We must acknowledge the new climate reality and put forward a new system to help us manage the risks and deal with the losses to which we cannot adjust. I call on you to stand with the Filipino people by taking major steps forward on these issues at the Warsaw climate talks.

Enter your email address here.

Re: Capitalism and Unemployment

Richard Wolff writes (Portside, November 17) "In the United States, when capitalists decide to reduce employment . . . the question is: How will that unemployment be managed? The answer we see most often is that individual capitalists choose which individual employees they will fire. . . . An alternative option would manage unemployment by reducing everyone's work week by 7.5 per cent [official unemployment rate], or roughly 3 hours out of a week's 40 hours. . .In this way, unemployment would be shared by everyone and not imposed on a minority selected by capitalists."

There are two problems with this idea.  First, the shared-sacrifice option Wolff suggests would immediately reduce the wages of the 92.5% still employed.  The loss of 3 hours pay would be an across-the-board 7.5 percent pay cut.  Ouch.  For a full-time worker earning $10 an hour, the loss of $129 of monthly income would likely force that individual (or his/her family) to choose between paying the rent, health insurance, or groceries.  It's not a great option, despite the benefit of 3 more hours "leisure time" - likely to be used by many to seek other work options.

The second problem is that while wholesale reductions in hours may be one that is opposed by capitalists, as Wolff asserts, it is also a solution almost universally opposed by unions.  It is a mantra in organized labor that seniority should rule, and in most bargaining agreements layoffs by seniority shall prevail.  That way, sacrifices are borne by the least senior employees, protecting the job security, and hours, of the more senior.

On the other hand, in Germany, something like Wolff's solution is applied by law.  But, Germany has far more generous unemployment and other social security benefits, as well as stronger job protections, than the United States.  Germany also has a legal mandate for worker participation on corporate boards of directors.

Wolff has a tendency to over-generalize the problems of "capitalism as a system".  Not all capitalist nations are alike, in large measure because another "universal law" of capitalism is that government intervention and regulation is part of the systemic process. Capitalism is a system of political economy.  Because most capitalist nations are democratic to one extent or another, workers can have an influence on that intervention/regulation. Even with weak or nonexistent democratic structures, workers can have an influence through class struggle, as history has shown.  Democracy is much weaker in the US than in most other capitalist states, like Germany.  The ability to fight capitalist austerity and exploitation is very much dependent upon the expansion and strengthening of democratic institutions and working class participation in them.  The task for the left (and unions) in the United States is to politically organize to expand democracy and grass roots political participation in order to weaken the ability of capitalists to do as they please.  It's all about power, without which workers and unions will continue to be at the cold-mercy of capitalist decision-making.

Mark Zimmerman

Re: For de Blasio, Contract Talks Offer Problem
(posted on Portside Labor)

There IS money in NYC budget for SOME retro union pay AND for other progressive causes - education for one -- but not enough to give unions or other popular interests ALL they deserve/are owed. (See recent analysis by Fiscal Policy Institute on this.)

This is an opportunity for unions to put some of their prospective money where our new labor (representing working people in ALL aspects of their life, not only in the workplace) mouth is. It would be wisest in long view for city unions to sit down with other progressive claimants on city resources, and work out a unified proposal to Mayor and City for available funds -- including, but not limited to wage increases.

Carl Proper

Re: The End of U.S. Capitalism

Makes deBlasio look positively right wing

Joel Shufro


Hooray! This is the kind of articulate young candidate that we need in large numbers throughout North America. The Occupy, labor and environmental movements have gotten the ball rolling but you also have to have good people in office. This is great!

Laurel MacDowell

Chris Hayes interviews Kshama Sawant

Socialist: No longer such a dirty word
Kshama Sawant's success in Seattle is the latest evidence that many Americans don't view the "s-word" as a slight.

Listen to the interview here.

Re: Book Review: Capitalism Gone Wild

Packer is a shill who argued for continued U.S. occupation of Iraq by reporting interviews with Iraqis who he says told him "No Iraqi really wants the U.S. to leave, they just say that for political purposes".
I would give zero credibility to his report about a Packard Electric worker.
John Talbutt

Re: Lavrov Reveals Amended Draft Circulated at "Last Moment"

Seems to be a case of the U.S. Government not being able to take "Yes" for an answer!

Joseph Maizlish

Re: Why Are Children Working in American Tobacco Fields?

This is just disgusting and when I hear people trashing unions  this is just another reason why they are desperately needed

William Friesen

Re: Anti-Drone Summit Kicks Off in Washington DC

Are you aware that Press TV is owned and run by the Iranian government?

Just thought you should know.  See Wikipedia.

meredith tax

Re: Want 'free trade'? Open the medical and drug industry to competition

Utter nonsense Physicians in other countries don't pay tuition or the cost of their educations - this is handled by the taxpayers.So they don't graduate with $200,000 debt.

Keep in mind that four years of medical school and post graduate training of at least three years brings you to almost age thirty before you begin to make any money at all Keep in mind that this seven year + training is grueling and demanding and stressful. You basically give up your twenties for the privilege of practicing medicine.

Physicians in Canada for example make the same as in the United States.

And when you are really sick - and everyone will have their day - do you want some international graduate taking care of you? Good Luck

Drug prices should be negotiated but this was forbidden in the passage of Medicare D by Bush.
Why would anyone do that  - could it be they were paid off. Of Course


Human Rights Film Screenings Around New York City - Nov. 20 - 26

This November, CCR attorneys and advocacy program managers will speak at human rights film screenings around New York City. We will lead discussions at films about the ongoing injustice of U.S. military strikes and the indefinite detention of 164 men still languishing at Guantánamo. Please join us!

Every night at 7:30 p.m., between November 20 and 26, Dirty Wars - a brilliant film by journalist Jeremy Scahill about the hidden reality and staggering human costs of U.S. militarism - will screen at Maysles Cinema in Harlem. Dirty Wars tells the stories of three U.S. citizens who were killed in U.S. drone strikes. CCR and the ACLU are challenging the legality of those strikes in a federal lawsuit,  Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta. A court will decide any day whether to grant the government's motion to dismiss the case, so this is an excellent time to discuss the film with CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy, who will speak after the November 22 screening, and lead counsel in  Al-Aulaqi, CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who will speak after the November 26 screening. The November 22 screening will also feature independent Pakistani-American journalist Madiha Tahir whose new film, Wounds of Waziristan, highlights the stories of drone survivors and the families of the dead. Please buy advance tickets here and RSVP on the 7 Days of Dirty Wars Facebook page. Invite your friends!  For more information, see our event calendar page.

Dirty Wars and CCR staff will also make an appearance at Impugning Impunity: A Human Rights Documentary Film Series, presented by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) and co-sponsored by CCR. CCR Senior Staff Attorney Maria LaHood will lead a discussion after the festival's opening night screening of Dirty Wars on November 22 at 7 p.m. See this calendar event page for more information, and stay for the reception that will follow. Also, join CCR's Advocacy Program Manager Leili Kashani on the following night for a discussion after the 7:30 p.m. screening of the film ISN 310: Djamel Ameziane's Decade in Guantánamo. This documentary film tells the story of CCR client Djamel Ameziane, through his letters, paintings, and interviews with those who know him, including his brother and his CCR attorney, J. Wells Dixon. As we approach the 12th anniversary of detention without charge or trial at Guantánamo, join us for this important film and discussion.

Also: Help us keep the political pressure on Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to drop the appeal and start the reform process in Floyd v. the City of New York. Take action by signing and sharing this petition.

Vincent Warren
Executive Director,
Center for Constitutional Rights

Breaking the Silence: 'Our Harsh Logic' - Oakland - Nov. 23

Yehuda Shaul speaks about his experience as an IDF commander in the Occupied Territories.

Saturday, November 23, 7pm

Kehilla Community Synagogue
1300 Grand Avenue
Oakland (Lake Merrit)

RSVP on Facebook

Israeli soldiers speak out in their powerful new book, demanding to be heard on their role in carrying out the harshness of the Occupation. Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimony From the Occupied Territories 2000-2010 is considered "one of the most important [books] on Israel/Palestine in this generation" by The New York Review of Books. Listening to this testimony gives us each a chance to consider the role we play in allowing the Occupation to continue.

Yehuda Shaul was raised in an Orthodox family in Jerusalem and joined the IDF after graduating from Yeshiva High School. He co-founded Breaking the Silence in 2004 with fellow IDF veterans troubled by their experiences serving in the Occupied Territories.

Presented by Kehilla Community Synagogue's Middle East Peace Committee
Co Sponsors:

Suggested Donation: $10 to $20 (no one will be turned away)

Fighting Back Against Wall Street - New York - Nov. 25

Reserve your seat now for //Fighting Back Against Wall Street//, our forum in preparation for the New Day New York week of action:

This is our chance to connect across issues and organizations and deepen our understanding of the challenges we face with the coming of the newly elected NYC leadership. Not to be missed!

November 25, 6 pm

PSC/AFT, 61 Broadway, 16th flr, NYC


We are proud that this event is cosponsored by: Amalgamated Transport Workers Union International, Communications Workers of America District 1, Communications Workers of America Local 1180, Greater NY Labor Religion Coalition, Labor Press NY, US Labor Against the War NYC Chapter, NY Labor Coalition for Latin American Advancement, NY Students Rising, Occu-Evolve, Occupy Network, Professional Staff Congress-AFT, UAW Region 9A, LIUNA 78

Already registered? Please spread the word on Facebook!

Larry Moskowitz, on behalf of the Left Labor Project

The End of Europe's Welfare State? - New York - Nov. 25

A Conversation on the Future of Social Democracy

The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-NYC presents in collaboration with Jacobin Magazine a conversation between Petter Nilsson from Sweden's Vänsterpartiet (Left Party), distinguished scholar of social democracy Sheri Berman from Barnard College, and social scientist Adaner Usami from the New York University on the future of social democracy in Europe and beyond.

As Seth Ackerman's 2012 essay "Europe Against the Left" put it, the default mode of left politics in Europe in the past four decades has been a narrowing of political horizons. "This path has led from François Mitterrand's 1972 Common Program, with its exuberant call to `changer la vie' via a `rupture' with capitalism, to his `U-turn' into austerity a decade later, to his helpless plaint a decade after that, when pressed on France's endless mass unemployment, that `we tried everything.'"

Monday, November 25, 2013; 7:00pm until 8:30pm

163 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201

We'll be welcoming a delegation from the Vänsterpartiet at a casual reception afterwards.

Link to the Facebook event page and registration

Chanukah Message from Jewish Voice for Peace


At Jewish Voice for Peace (www.jvp.org), this Chanukah we re-dedicate ourselves to creating a world where all people can know peace, justice and equality. The music is The Time to Run by Dexter Britain

Stop the Closure of the Only Institution with an Exclusive Mission to Serve the Educational Needs of the Labor Movement -The National Labor College

Sign the Petition.

The National Labor College (NLC) is one of a kind, the only college in the United States with an exclusive mission to serve the educational needs of the labor movement. It is an activist institution made up of students, faculty and alumni who together form a learning community based on a common understanding of the world of work and the ecology of the labor movement. The College respects that its student body is made up of experienced, highly skilled working adults who have multiple commitments to family, job, union and community. In its academic programs, NLC honors higher learning that takes place both inside and outside the collegiate community.

Today, the NLC Board has determined to close the school.

Several costly financial decisions were made such as the decision to renovate the campus in 2006 and then build a 73,000 square foot building on the campus in 2007 (apparently the result of an overly optimistic 'build it and they will come' perception at the time). The physical college campus in Maryland is currently for sale and a buyer will eventually be found so that portion of the financial problem will be solved.

The long-term growth opportunity of the college rests in the administration's promising development of the institution's online format that now makes courses accessible to millions of workers throughout the world. Some courses could still be offered 'in person' via the use of our Central Labor Council offices, local labor union offices and worker's centers. I could not imagine a scenario wherein the school would not be financially viable after the sale of the NLC's Maryland campus is completed and financial resources become available for administering and maintenance of the institution's online instruction.

Please keep the National Labor College open.

New Day New York December 5th Day of Action

Thursday, December 5, 2013 -- 4:00 pm

Foley Square

Join us for a massive citywide mobilization unifying fast food workers, union members, activists and faith leaders in a Foley Square gathering and march to demand a tax on millionaires, universal pre-K for all children, good wages for all workers, affordable housing, quality healthcare, an end to inequality and the tale of two cities and the start of One New York that works for #AllOfUS.

50% Off PM Press for the Holidays!

From politics and the economy to prison abolition and parenting - we have books, CDs, and DVDs that span a wide assortment of topics and genres that we are offering to you at the phenomenal rate of 50% off list price through December.

To get your 50% discount at checkout, type in the coupon code: holiday

To help you peruse various genres or topics, we have broken down our title list with a variety of sample releases. Click on the title or image of each book to see more information and a preview online.

If you are more of the adventurous type, just click HERE and browse our webstore.

This special offer does not have a minimum (or maximum) quantity required for getting the 50% discount, so strike while it's hot!

Please also note: this special offer is not available for any further discount to resale customers or Friends of PM, nor does it apply to any Combo Packs.

Shipping Notes: U.S. orders must be placed by December 20th and shipped via Priority Mail to be received before the 25th of December.
If you are ordering internationally, please contact us for estimated shipping times: info@pmpress.org

Pvt. Chelsea Manning's fourth birthday in prison

On December 17, Private Chelsea Manning will turn 26. It will be the fourth birthday this young Army whistle-blower has spent in prison.

Thanks to this brave soldier's heroic actions, the public learned the following startling truths:

"When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others."-Pvt. Manning

See even more of What WikiLeaks revealed

While some of these documents may demonstrate how much work lies ahead in terms of securing international peace and justice, their release changed the world for the better. Private Manning's actions showed people everywhere how citizens can use the Internet to hold their governments accountable.

In Chelsea's request for pardon from President Obama, she wrote:

"As the late Howard Zinn once said, `There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.'

Private Manning's brave actions have set an example for us all.

Send her a birthday message at:
PVT Bradley E Manning
1300 N Warehouse Rd
Ft Leavenworth KS 66027-2304

Please note that regular letter paper must be used, as cardstock will be turned away. However, you can easily print out your own card by searching for "free birthday templates" online.

Faith Petric Memorial - Berkeley - Jan. 15, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)

friends, family & musical community celebrate the life of this wonderful folk trailblazer

Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 644-2020 / info@freightandsalvage.org

While admission is free, reservations are required. Please contact the Freight box office by phone (510 644 2020) or email. reservations@freightandsalvage.org

Source URL: https://portside.org/2013-11-21/tidbits-november-21-2013