Tidbits - September 17, 2015 - Left and Labor Dialogue on Sanders and Corbyn; A Sanders - John Lewis ticket?; David Hilliard on Black Panther film; 9/11 and Cancer; lots of announcements; and more....

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Re: John Lewis: How We Won, and Are Losing, the Right to Vote (Rabbi Arthur Waskow)

Portside has  published a number of explorations of why the Bernie Sanders campaign has had so little traction in the African-American community. Senators Sanders' policies would seem to fit well the needs of the Black community. But his roots in almost entirely white Vermont and his focus on the first two primaries in very white Iowa and New Hampshire have obscured the multiracial relevance of his program; and till recently, his phrasing of his campaign in almost exclusively economic terms, subsuming race, has left many African-Americans  chilly, if not cold. That problem he has begun to fix. But still, many African-American politicians have ties to the Clinton machine, and none to Sanders.

One creative (and unprecedented) act could transform the situation: Sanders invites Congressman John Lewis to run with him for Vice-President;  Lewis accepts; Sanders commits himself to that ticket if the Democratic Party nominates him for President; the two become a team, campaigning together in both the very-white and more multiracial states.

Lewis would bring the highest, broadest, and deepest respect and admiration Americans of all colors and even many political stances have for any African-American politician - indeed, perhaps for ANY politician. His earthy roots and his bravery in the face of racist violence half a century ago have continued in a different context as he has done the hard, uncharismatic, unflashy  work of a serious member of Congress. His political views are far closer to Sanders' than to those of any other candidate for President.

And from Sanders' point of view, that decision would affirm and highlight his own participation in the civil rights movement 50 years ago. More important, it would make literally visible and emotionally feeling-full his understanding that racism remains a special worst-case aspect of the inequality of wealth, income, and power in America. Might it decrease his possible appeal to resentful-white-male voters? Possibly. But it would make clear his commitment to what our country really needs: a multiracial Populism, a multiracial democracy.

Shalom, salaam, sohl, peace, Earth!

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

[Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph.D., founded (1983) and directs The Shalom Center  In 2014 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award as Human Rights Hero from T1ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. In 2015 the Forward named him one of the 'most inspiring' Rabbis. His most recent book of 22 is Freedom Journeys: The Tale of Exodus & Wilderness Across Millennia, co-authored with Rabbi Phyllis Berman (Jewish Lights Publ., 2011). His most recent arrest of about 22 was in an interfaith climate action at the White House before Passover & Palm Sunday, 2013. See also Waskow, Jewish Environmental Ethics: Adam and Adamah, in Oxford Handbook of Jewish Ethics (Dorff and  Crane, eds.; Oxford Univ. Press, 2013).]

Re: Where Is Our Jeremy Corbyn?

What makes Chris Hedges so boring is that he so predictable. He happens* *to be making some very good points, and I agree with him, for the most part.

But the movement around Bernie is exciting, moving people, and needs something more than the predictable Hedges angst.

I wonder what his views on the Civil Rights movement would have been in the sixties* if he was aware that the heart of this movement - the Black Church - was homophobic, deeply sexist, and politically incorrect in others ways. But thank God that did not stop young radicals, pacifists, communists, socialists, from throwing themselves into the movement. Or the Cuban Revolution which was, at one point, shockingly homophobic?

David McReynolds


There are many, much more serious writers and thinkers than Hedges. I'm sick of his musings and wish Portside would look elsewhere for analysis. This drippy tract is typical.

We have a Jeremy Corbyn, right in front of Hedges's nose, and everybody else's. Any lefty who doesn't recognize the Bernie Sanders campaign as the direct equivalent is sleeping through the decade.

Ethan Young


No thanks for this ultra-leftist bull. Tiresome, waste of time.

Randy Shannon


Jeremy Corbyn is an honest consistent man with an alternative vision of how to run a democratic society on behalf of everyone not just the 1%. He has been consistent and is independent. I can see why David Cameron, a sycophantic product of the public schools system in Britain is hostile. And Tony Blair was totally corrupt, materialistic, phony and the creator of abysmal policies for the Labour party and the country. Thatcher was a horror, so thank heavens finally there is a leader with a humane vision and some common sense.

I don't count on anyone in America emerging like him. The U.S. society of today has hatched a long list of awful Republican candidates seeking self-aggrandizement including the appalling Donald Trump. The overwhelming dominance of corporate propaganda and the dumming down of Americans by an inadequate school system and the ubiquitous technology used by most people mindlessly works against democracy. Democracy needs the exchange of ideas by articulate educated citizens to work well. We haven't had that for some time in North America.

It is wonderful to see Corbyn leading but he has a lot to stand up to.

L. M.

Re: Europe's Refugee Crisis Was Made in America

And the U.S. fomented dissent in authoritarian and secular Syria in order to destabilize Iran !

Aaron Libson


The barrier between rich and poor which has grown underlies most modern problems. When you think of it what a stupid idea neoliberalism was. Bash the unions and destroy standards in many areas; bash the public sector unions and lower standards in government. Cut back on all programs. Govern on behalf of rich companies and subsidize them with tax breaks or let them get away with paying no taxes even as they invest abroad in the name of globalization. Globalization is not a problem in itself and it did employ people abroad, but the contractors had no standards and the multinationals took no responsibility. Even when there were workplace disasters they were very slow to correct problems.

The current flood of refugees are running from war but the flood will continue with climate events and destroyed economies. As for Syria, the president should have been taken out years ago. He is a maniac and now both his troops and those of ISIS are using chemical weapons. The barbarism is unbelievable, and the ethnic conflicts in the region underlying the violence are anachronistic. Ethnic nationalism is a static view of culture. In new world nations like those in North America multiculturalism can work very well and what underlies it is loyalty to a nation, democratic ideals, opportunities for everyone. Europe and the Middle East will have to learn such values quickly, or wars will continue and they will self-destruct.

Germany has taken a lead in helping the refugees. The U.S. and Canada should take many more and quickly. It is incredible that the presidential candidates have said little. In Canada's current federal election the 2 opposition parties have said Canada should take more refugees right away. The federal government is being forced to say it is taking more action, eve though it isn't. What is driving the discussion is people. The churches and other citizen's groups are organizing on the ground to sponsor refugee families as soon as possible. This is the same pattern as in Europe.

Laurel MacDowell


Washington created all this, using many different methods. It hasn't stopped.

Diane Laison
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Last nights debate -- 4 abortion myths DEBUNKED

Last night, abortion myths were rampant during the Republican presidential debate. So today, we're fighting back with the facts. This video dispels the myths--can you help more people see it by sharing it with your friends? 

This video has some factual information that may shock you--but that's precisely why you, and everyone, should watch it right now.

It's a minute long and will change the way you think about a critical issue. And it's really important--so if you like it, pass it on.

Watch and share it on Facebook.
Not on Facebook? Watch and share it from our website.

Thanks for speaking out.

--Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Karin, Adam, Holly, Kaili, Kathy, Onyi, Susan, Clarise, Anathea, Audine, Ryan, Shannon, and Vanessa, the UltraViolet team


1. Carly Fiorina is wrong about the Planned Parenthood tapes. I know because I watched them. Vox, September 17, 2015
2. Fiorina, Christie take aim at Planned Parenthood at GOP debate, CNN, September 17, 2015

Re: What the Trump Phenomenon Says About America

seen this before: bigoted millionaires in control of the state launched attacks against non-Christians and refugees while oppressing the poor...this is how Rome collapsed during the 5th century...

Francisco Gonzalez

Re: SEIU Battles Over Bernie

Just was does it mean that "75 percent of members felt favorable abut her [Hillary Clinton] when compared to other Democratic candidates," and how do members in Iowa and New Hampshire -- where campaigns are underway -- compare or contrast with that number?

Jim Young
SEIU retired member

Re: Clinton Wins Key NH Union Endorsements

Pathetic that union leaders keep selling out their members (& the rest of us) by endorsing & making campaign contributions to the same old DLC Corporate Democrats like Hillary Clinton (who like her husband's NAFTA bill exported a million jobs---Hillary's pushed for Trans-Pacfic Partnership that will export even MORE millions of jobs).

Lydia Howell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Washington State Supreme Court: Charter Schools Are Unconstitutional - A Landmark Ruling

Why post a rather anti-union piece by Seattle Times? Not left at all.

Christopher Balchin

On the Black Panther Party film

I am David Hilliard the executive director of The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation.  I'm compelled to inform the public of the Foundation's perspective on the PBS documentary film, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.   The filmmaker, Stanley Nelson identifies the film as the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party (BPP).   Huey P. Newton was the leader and standard-bearer of the BPP.  The film was made without input or consultations with The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation.

I was a founding member of the BPP, chief of staff and leader of the Party during the time Huey and Bobby Seale were incarcerated. Huey's brother, Melvin Newton and my brother, Roosevelt Hilliard were also founding members.  None of us are in the film.  Bobby Seale is not in the film. The filmmakers did approach the Foundation about the project.  I requested a copy of the treatment and was informed that they did not have one.  Films do not get funded without a treatment.

The film besmirches the memory and legacy of Huey P. Newton and inaccurately casts Kathleen Cleaver, the wife of Eldridge Cleaver as a principal storyteller and an essential member of the BPP.  The historical record will reveal that Kathleen and her late husband were associated with the BPP for approximately one year and did as much or more to destroy the BPP than the COINTELPRO operations.

The Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation does not support this film. Elaine Brown, a former leader of the Black Panther Party has also expressed her displeasure with it.  I agree with and support her analysis.   The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is not the story of the BPP, like many other academic and mainstream media interpretations of the Black Panther Party it is an inaccurate, external description of the BPP and its' legacy.

David Hilliard

Re: How the Geography of U.S. Poverty Has Shifted Since 1960

What do y'all make of this? Please note in particular repeated statements about poverty rates declining.

John Wessel

Re: One Map Shows Just How Expensive College Can Be for Students Making Minimum Wage

Important information for those who say the only thing needed to get a raise is more education. And grads have no guarantee of a job in their field paying good wages. Some grads are working minimum wage jobs. Some have several part time jobs. MOST grads have thousands of dollars in student loans.

Indianapolis Worker Justice Center
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: 14 Years Later, What We Know About 9/11 and Cancer

How many adults living and working downtown Manhattan develop cancer in a control population? What is the number of people included in this estimate? Why study a small subset of the population?  Do you know the level of symptoms accepted as '911 Related'? These can be nasal congestion. Should we spend billions on nasal congestion? Unfortunately this is and has been a slush fund.

Lynne Portnoy


This is a good effort to bring consciousness to the callousness of the government towards the public.

However, some important things are missing.

1. Comparison of amount of money poured into the interests of the 1%--the military, support of Wall St and the Banks, Big Pharma/ Big Agra with the paltry amount that goes into meaningful and ongoing health research and compensation for victim of 9/11 and other government supported big money ventures such as Vaccine protection of Big Pharma

2.  No discussion of the social nature of cancer. By this I mean the individual nature of disease and how it develops in individuals. It is not only amount of exposure to toxin but the combination of exposures from 9/11 as well as cumulative toxins from other things such as fertilizers in our food or chemical treatment for pest control in buildings, etc. There is no discussion that refers to individual susceptibility and individual weaknesses in one's immune system and organs that may not be in the strongest state of health. The consequence of numerous factors means disease will occur at differing rates over a person's life time. 911 would be a significant assault on the general health of the person while it may not be the only element of concern.

3.  And this may be the most significant in terms of the cutting compensation funds. It is a historical fact that the medical industry and government chose termination points based on financial concerns. We know that the medical industry sets an arbitrary standard of 5 yrs to declare a person 'successfully cured of a cancer' after treatment. However, it is well known that if you cut, burn and chemicalize a cancer, it will be reduced significantly but not necessarily killed. It WILL take about 5 yrs for the resurging cells to grow enough to begin to be detected again. The industry then says it is a new cancer, when in fact it is the same disease state that has not been cured at all. In this situation with 911, the government and industry do know that, despite all the money paid out to date, it is the tip of the iceberg. Cutting compensatory funds is akin to the years of denial for the damage of Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals to which American troops were subjected (not to mention the Vietnamese). This is a political maneuver to cut monies that should be spent on the public's health instead of illegal and unwanted wars by everyone except the 1% and its stooges.

Please stop shorting your articles of meaningful information.  We need you to have people who are real progressives writing and who are not afraid of naming the truth.

Tanya Marquette
New Paltz, NY

Re: Was Reconstruction a Success or a Failure?  And Why It Matters - A Review and Commentary on This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed
(posting on Portside Culture)

This article helps some of us to adjust our foggy glasses.

JoAnn Anglin
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Anti-gay KY Clerk's Case a New Twist on 'Right to Work'

Ms. Wilkes,

I enjoyed reading your essay. Solid arguments. Important perspective. However.

Please forgive me, but I have to point out a tiny fly in the ointment. You wrote the sentence: "Unions just don't happen." I think you meant: "Unions don't just happen." There is a difference. (I can't help it; I'm an editor.)

Thanks for the article. I wish you well.

Luís Torres


Check out "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Fundamentalist" -
Kentucky's own Kim Davis didn't want to marry gays - Gilbert & Sullivan and James Trumm have given us a lickety-quick commentary. [Go here.]

David Lippman

Re: Sean O'Casey: Unrepentant Socialist

This tribute was marred by its anti-Communist description of O'Casey as an "unapologetic Stalinist." What does that mean? Does it mean that he saw the Soviet Union as a "flame to light the way of all men towards the people's ownership of the earth"? Does it mean that he defended the Soviet Union's intervention in Hungary as "terribly necessary to save socialism"? Those are political positions that can be discussed and debated, but they should not be dismissed with a pejorative label.

Kevin Lindemann

Re: Mississippi Taxpayers Subsidize Howard Industries

This can happen without strategic requirements placed on subsidies to companies. Community stakeholder participation in those conversations should be welcomed.

Community, Faith and Labor Coalition
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: #Blacksexworkerslivesmatter: White-Washed `Anti-Slavery' and the Appropriation of Black Suffering

Some issues are complicated. This article puts forth a great defense of legalizing sex workers. You don't advocate for arresting the very people you are trying to help.

Becky Brenner
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Filter Fish

Oliver Sachs keeps on after death. Here, a lovely essay on gefilte fish. Thanks to Portside for the link

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Chicago Freedom Struggles Through the Lens of Art Shay - Chicago - Sept. 17 - Dec. 19

Opening reception and dialogue with Art Shay
September 17 from 5 to 7 p.m
Gage Gallery
18 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
(312) 341-6458

        Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
        Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

In the mid-20th century, Chicago activists troubled the waters of postwar inequity as they sought to create a democratic urban America. As a 1948 transplant to the Windy City, photographer Art Shay traversed the city's neighborhoods and suburbs, capturing confrontations in streets and alleys over civil rights, economic justice and political empowerment. Comprised of hundreds of never-before-seen images by one of America's most accomplished photographers, Troublemakers complicates-and even upends-the simple morality tales and popular memory of freedom struggles during these tumultuous decades.

Co-sponsored by the St. Clair Drake Center for African and African American Studies with generous financial support of Susan B. Rubnitz.

Women Leading the Global Labor Rights Movement - New York - Sept. 25


Friday, September 25 -- from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM

The Murphy Institute
25 West 43rd Street
#19th Floor
New York, NY 10036

In the past 20 years neo-liberal globalization has forced de-regulation of labor markets, increased the power and movement of capital and resulted in lower real wages, higher profits, increased inequality and diminished labor power. In Asia this has resulted in the highest gender pay gap in the world, and the majority of women work in employment that lack basic security, benefits, and safe working conditions. Women workers comprise the majority in the garment industry and domestic work is the most common occupation for women in Asia, accounting for one-third of all waged female employment. It remains to be among the lowest paid, least valued, and least organized sector.

Come hear and meet with three labor rights leaders from Bangladesh and Indonesia share their work organizing domestic workers and garment workers. Hear their stories and the importance of women's leadership in the fight for labor rights in the context of a global economy geared towards profits for multinational companies. We will also show a documentary short on garment worker organizing in Bangladesh.

For information, please contact Chaumtoli Huq at (347) 445-1867 or at chaumtolihuq@ gmail.com

Operation Condor film, Bolivia's Largest Film Ever, Coming to NYC Theaters

Olvidados (Forgotten) has been running continuously in theatres in Bolivia since it premiered on July 31, 2014. Produced by Carla Ortiz, a Bolivian actress and humanitarian known for her roles in Los Andes no creen en Dios and The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez, her first film is an epic, historical feature that tackles the dark past of Latin America under military dictatorships in the 70s. Directed by Mexico's Carlos Bolado and starring Damián Alcázar, the film premiered at the International Film Festival of India, won four Maya Awards and was Bolivia's Official Entry to the Foreign Language Film category for the 87th Academy Awards. The film will premiere in New York City on September 18th at the Village East Cinema followed by Los Angeles.

Filmed in Chile, Bolivia, and New York, Olvidados is the biggest budget production to come out of Bolivia, a country with a nascent film industry. Renowned actors from five countries appear in this international production, the first film to specifically address the horrors perpetrated under Operation Condor, a CIA-backed plan introduced by Richard Nixon's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, which was responsible for: 50,000 killed; 30,000 "disappeared"; and 400,000 arrested and imprisoned in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

Philippe Diaz, founder of Cinema Libre Studio says, "Olvidados is a very powerful and very important film that all North Americans should see. We have to accept once and for all that the use of torture didn't start in Iraq. It was always a tool of war used all over the world from South America to the Middle East and it is the price that we are paying now."

After premiering at the International Film Festival of India, it has been programmed as a gala screening or as an official selection at festivals in Bolivia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and the U.S. It earned six Platino nominations and recently won 4 Maya Awards for Best Film, Best Actor (Christian Mercado), Best Actress (Carla Ortiz), and Best Philanthropic Work done by a Celebrity (Carla Ortiz).

Mexican actor Damián Alcázar, best known in the U.S. for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and El Narco, stars and plays the role of a man in his 40s and then later in his 80s. He is the recipient of 8 Ariels (Mexican Oscars) for acting.

Witness Venezuela's Elections This December-6, 2015

Delegation to Venezuela December 2 to 12, 2015

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaking at March 2013 election rally, preceding the last presidential election in April 2013.

This December, witness one of the most important elections in the history of Venezuela, and of the hemisphere. On December 6, the people of Venezuela will exercise their right to vote in elections for deputies to the country's National Assembly. Voters will decide whether to carry forward the Bolivarian Revolution by retaining a Chavista majority in the National Assembly or return the political initiative to the traditional elites represented by most of the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD).

The stakes are high. Venezuela has been in the forefront of regional integration and independence from U.S. hegemony and push back against the neoliberal agenda over the past sixteen years and it has supported the building of a multipolar world. It has also been a leading force, since Chavez was elected president in December 1998, against the further propagation of those free trade agreements that would compromise the public nature of human services and diminish the sovereignty of participating nations in favor of transnational corporate interests.

Despite the current fall in petroleum prices, Venezuela has resisted austerity, declined to roll back progressive labor laws and the land reform, and increased social spending targeted to the most vulnerable sectors. For all of these reasons, this will be one of the most closely watched elections in the world. Come witness it from the inside and lend your solidarity to the people of Venezuela as they shape their own future, in the face of episodic attempts at extra constitutional regime change, escalating aggression from the US, which has proclaimed Venezuela as an "unusual and extraordinary threat" by executive order, as well as an "economic war" against the people waged by the country's elite.

Participants in this delegation will learn about Venezuela's electoral process and witness participatory democracy in action through meetings with community councils and other grassroots groups in Caracas and the neighboring states of Aragua and Miranda. The group will get a first-hand glimpse of the various areas of social transformation taking place in Venezuela, despite the economic challenges, including in education, healthcare, food sovereignty, and alternative media. The delegation will also include trips to touristic sites of interest.

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!"

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

Cost for Activities: $900. This will cover all lodging, all ground transportation, 2 meals per day, qualified trip leaders, and Spanish-English interpretation. Additional expenses during the trip will be minimal. Airfare not included.

To Learn more and hold a spot, email -  cbalbertolovera@gmail.com. Please be in touch as soon as possible, as space for this delegation is very limited. Please allow several days for responses.

Sponsored by the Alberto Lovera Bolivarian Circle NY
e-mail: cbalbertolovera@gmail.com

For more information go here.

Source URL: https://portside.org/2015-09-17/tidbits-september-17-2015-left-and-labor-dialogue-sanders-and-corbyn-sanders-john-lewis