Tidbits - October 22, 2015 - Are You a Capitalist?; Sanders; Clinton; The Grassroots; Afghanistan; Puerto Rico; Palestine; Announcements; and more....

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Re: The Presidential Debate Question No One Is Asking: `Are You a Capitalist?'

Maybe Anderson Cooper read John Nichols's piece, because he asked all the Democratic debaters if they were capitalists. But just believing that capitalism is good doesn't make you a capitalist. You have to have capital to be a capitalist. Very few can really make that claim.

Ethan Young
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Six Reasons Sanders Won, Despite What Pundits Claim

I agree. The polls posted live in the major social media and focus group right after the debate are the most authentic polls about the winner. Bernie Sanders is the biggest winner of all by over 70% votes in all major media. Thanks my friend Herb Fox for sharing this valuable review published by Portside.

Nurul Aman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Sanders and Clinton: How Change Comes

Sanders is right: ONLY people rising up can create the change we need---it's all that has ever done so. Hillary Clinton is PART OF THE PROBLEM--NOT any sort of solution. Clinton is BACKED BY WALL STREET & BIG BANKS (how do yo think that Bill & Hillary amassed a net worth of $100 MILLION? Payment for serving the 1% SO well w/NAFTA deal & REPEAL of Glass-Stegall in 1999 PAVING WAY FOR Wall St,./Big Banks CASINO CAPITALISM that melted down the economy in 2008-9) Clinton is not only an INSIDER but is so hated by the GOP, they will REPEAT their endless scandals bs towards her. But, BERNIE HAS NO SUCH SCANDALS: he's squeaky clean. www.berniesanders.com

Lydia Howell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Slow Burn: Bernie Sanders Ignites a Populist Movement

We can only hope.

Howie Leveton
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

It's The End of the World As We Know It...Again

credit - Matt Wuerker / Politico // Daily Kos

Re: Why Today's GOP Crackup Is the Final Unraveling of Nixon's `Southern Strategy'

As a progressive, white, lifelong politically obsessed Southerner, there is much in Greider's article which I would like to believe. However, I think that he has misunderstood much about the Tea Party movement and about what used to be a large part of the Democratic party, the moderate, centrist wing which chose Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Neither are/were primarily cynical ploys to play to racism and culturally conservative values. Rather, for the most part, both genuinely believe what they purport to believe. On the part of the Tea Party leadership, its predominant portion on principle fiercely believes in small government/pro-private sector (except, of course, for the military, law enforcement and prisons, and even there they are for privatizing) as well as low taxes above all -- that's what led to the Tea Party's defeat of Eric Cantor (especially the bailout of Wall Street -- look closely at the rhetoric of that campaign).

Alfred Rose
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Reject Plan to Continue War on Afghanistan

The US began the Afghan War, the longest expeditionary military campaign in American history is swiftly morphing into Obama's War. The painful irony is that as a presidential candidate Obama campaigned against the Bush Administration and his rival, Hillary Clinton, in the 2008 election, arguing that Iraq was the wrong war, and the neglected NATO/US military operations in Afghanistan needed to be wrapped up as expeditiously as possible. Once elected POTUS made game changing decisions to up the war ante with a sweeping Petraeus-style military surgical surge. He promised a equally swift exit plan. Now into his seventh year, in his second and final term in office his War in Afghanistan has become an albatross around his neck... and by extension the DNC's aspirations to maintain control of the White House. Indeed the Obama administrations foreign policies and defense strategies are a very mixed bag.

Larry Aaronson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Puerto Rico: The Crisis Is About Colonialism, Not Debt

it is beautifully written, and so comprehensive, and so well organized, and so damn convincing!!!! this is GREAT work -- felicidades!!!!

Ellen Bernstein


I hate to pick one part out of a good article and criticize it, but here goes anyways:  Being a merchant mariner of the US i find it distasteful to blame a group of people, working for decent conditions, to be blamed for PR ills. I speak of the Jones Act. The last time I heard the act trashed was by Sarah Pallin during the BP spill. If the only way to balance PR budget is to lower working standards we have already lost the war with capitalism.  

Capn' Steve Krug

Re: Stop Blackstone!

Food, water and shelter. They're grabbing the rock-bottom necessities of life. Then what????

Paula Meyer
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: On Police and Stolen Native Lives: A Lakota Mother Speaks

Speaking of injustice-what about Leonard Peltier languishing in a Federal prison for close to 45 years ?!!!!!

Aaron Libson

Re: Solidarity with the Palestinian Popular Resistance! Boycott Israel Now!

Time to end the occupation of Palestine by this brutal Apartheid regime...

Azim Hajee
Posted on Portside's Facebook page


Portside is circulating lies here from the BDSers.  There is no truth to the claim that "Israel has fanned the flames of Palestinian grassroots resistance by stepping up its attacks against al-Aqsa mosque compound, the Noble Sanctuary, located in the heart of the Israeli occupied Old City of Jerusalem."  The Israeli government has repeatedly said it will make no changes to the status quo, including prohibiting Jews from praying on the Temple Mount and there have been no attacks by Israelis--just attacks by paid groups of Muslim fanatics who have been harassing and attacking Jews who dared set their "dirty feet" on the Mount.  What we have been witnessing is a campaign to drive Jews off the Mount entirely--an act of religious bigotry that would restore the exclusion of Jews from the Temple Mount as practiced under Jordanian rule when the Jordanians ethnically cleansed the traditional Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem (described here as the Israeli occupied Old City). Muslim States are already taking the next step by asking UNESCO to declare the Western Wall square a Muslim site and not a Jewish one. So let's look at reality folks, this is simply about religious bigotry on the part of Muslim fanatics and their insistence on Muslim supremacy where they used to rule.  Why any real leftists would support this, and support the campaign of random murders of Jewish civilians intended to enforce it is beyond me.  This is the old "socialism of fools" and not a progressive stance at all. And the BDSers expose themselves here by supporting it.

Stan Nadel

Re: Why Tipping is Wrong
(posting on Portside Labor)

As a Former wait staff employed in upscale restaurants for many years in large urban centres in Canada, I can state unequivocally that I would not have been a waiter if there was no tipping. Fast food service is not the same as waiting tables in a proper restaurant - especially where gourmet foods are served. Many such restaurants have table side food preparation which takes experience and care to produce a quality product for the customer and tipping is essential to the main criteria of that expertise and quality.

Danny Meyer in eliminating tipping is denying such staff a fair due for the talent of these employees. Do not be fooled. This is an attempt to  reduce the cost and create an actual wage slave system that assumes a $15.00 per hour wage is a living wage. When I was thus employed in the restaurant industry some 30 years ago, if I earned less than $35.00 per hour, I looked for a better place to work. The standard restaurant /wage/ at the time was $5.00 per hour, the rest was tips - usually after splits with the front house and kitchen staff.

Personally I found that receiving tips for work well done was an appreciation  of the hard work and care I took in making certain my customers were treated to a special night out. Please note that the waiter is the end line prior to the customer and should have and demand the right of refusal of the food if it is not up to snuff thus also making certain the name of the restaurant stays on the tip of the tongue of the customer as a fine eating establishment and any owner should be demanding that customers /do leave tips/ for good service. Portside should be ashamed to print such a demeaning and demoralizing article and should check their facts not just applaud an industry shill such as /Saru Jayaraman /only to plug his book that means to discredit and place in further servitude and debt the wait staff of restaurants.

Fast food joints are not restaurants. There is no comparison between cooking to perfection a Tournedos at table side and a slab of meat slapped into a hamburger bun, stuck in a bag and shoved across a counter - no matter what the sauce may be; or a Caesar salad made from scratch next to you as you see and smell the ingredients that combine to a perfection of taste compared to a mess of greens in a plastic container with a cherry tomato and ranch dressing on the side.

By the way, the female staff in the RESTAURANTS I worked in made /more/ in tips than I did and if there was any harassment from customers, they were given their check and asked to leave. Perhaps the people at Portside have never been to an actual /restaurant/ where a three course meal (excluding drinks) will begin at $50.00 to $60.00 per person and go up from there. Or, perhaps the U.S. of A. has really hit the skids and only considers "meat-on-a-stick" as fair food.

Mr. D. Beschell
Ex Wait Staff


That article on not tipping is not progressive. If the minimum wage was a living wage, I'd understand the argument. But, even a $15 an hour MW is so NOT a living wage. How about first getting rid of all so-called sub-minimum wages and institute a federal minimum wage that includes annual COL increases (with no decrease when the COL goes down)...like we have in Oregon. Then we can talk about getting rid of tips. Until then workers that do get tips can surely use them...probably a lot more than the author of this article.

Michael Funke

Re: Rosalyn Baxandall, Feminist Historian and Activist, Dies at 76

With Roz Baxandall's passing we have lost a great woman of the Left. Her father Lew Fraad, who was friendly with my father (Nat Lehrman) was a doctor who often treated "Movement" folks for free.  He introduced her & her sisters to skinny dipping, which Roz passed on to her husband Lee Baxandall, who ran with it, inventing US naturism (nudism with a social conscience) and founding The Naturist Society.  Thousands of people are indebted to him, and indirectly, to her.

Her pioneering work in research and biography of such women as Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was (literally) inspirational.  The Flynn poems she published, and others to which she directed me at the Tamiment Library, became the basis of my E.G. Flynn Song Cycle, commissioned by Corliss Lamont, and sung & recorded by Helene Williams on Capstone Records. Parma Recordings plans to reissue that cycle, along with several other works by Joel Mandelbaum & me (including some to be recorded in Russia next July) next year.

I last saw Roz at an event in Manhattan organized by Candace Falk of the Emma Goldman Papers Project at Berkeley.  She was there with Barbara Garson, Alix Kates Schulman, and many other leading feminist lights.  All of us shall miss her greatly.  Our deep condolences to her son Phineas, whose friendship we treasure, and whom we hope to see when we're in Cambridge again next October.

Leonard J. Lehrman (& Helene Williams Spierman Lehrman)

Marxist Classes Beginning October 24th - Saturdays in New York


The Institute for the Radical Imagination
Fall 2015 - Three classes beginning Saturday, October 24th
256 West 38th Street, New York - 12th floor

Noon until 2 p.m.: Theories of Class: Towards a new Paradigm for the 21st Century with Stanley Aronowitz (CUNY Graduate Center and author of How Class Works) - Eight weeks

Class and class struggle has been the core of historical materialism as both method and theory. Beginning with the first part of Marx and Engels' The German Ideology (1845) and through the 20th century the left has honed its concepts on the basis of a three class model: the capitalist, middle and working classes and have only considered social movements peripherally within class structure.

This course will review traditional theories and propose a new and controversial theory of contemporary social class that addresses that omission. Readings: Marx and Engels. The German Ideology part one. Resnick, S. and Wolff, R. Knowledge and Class. Aronowitz, Stanley. How Class Works. The teaching method is close textual reading and participation by course members.

2:15-4:15 p.m. - Plato's Republic for Revolutionaries with Michael Pelias (LIU -Brooklyn) Eight weeks

At the end of the Introduction to the Grundrisse, Marx writes that the Greek arts "still afford us artistic pleasure and that in a certain respect they count as a norm and unattainable model." In this Historical spirit (Geist) we will engage the most broadly thematic text of Western philosophical thinking, Plato's Republic through a parallel reading and encounter with Plato's text from 380 B.C.E. with that of the French philosopher, Alain Badiou`s contemporary and reimagined translation of the ancient text.

The emphasis will be broadly on what themes (from epistemology to aesthetics) from classical antiquity can be rethought for the 21st century through an engagement with "democratic materialism" towards a new conception of the Good (Life) beyond contemporary notions of social justice. Readings: The Republic, translated by Allan Bloom (Basic Books) The Republic, trans. by C.D.C. Reeve (Hackett) Badiou, Alain. The Republic: A dialogue in 16 Chapters

4:30-6:30 p.m. - Marxism and Electoral Politics with Peter Bratsis (Professor - BMCC) Four Weeks

The radical left is, once again, faced with the task of judging whether or not electoral politics can have any efficacy as a mechanism for transforming and/or destroying capitalist societies. From the ongoing saga of SYRIZA in Greece to the recent rise of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party and the surprising successes of Bernie Sanders' campaign to become the Democratic nominee for President, it would appear that progressive political forces have returned to the electoral stage.

This four-week seminar will explore key texts within the Marxist tradition that have tried to make sense of electoral politics and how it can or can't be used as a means for revolution. Readings will include works from Marx, Gramsci, Poulantzas, Sartre, Luxemburg, Miliband, and Korsch. A key challenge will be for us to examine how current political and economic conditions impact the applicability of previous arguments and to extend the insights of Marxism in light of these recent developments.

Costs: $100 per eight week course. $50 for the four week session. $165 for two eight week courses, $140 for one of the eight week courses and the four week course, and $200 for all three courses

*Registration will take place on the first day of class.

[Thanks to Tibby Brooks for sharing this with Portside.]

Book Talk - Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic - New York - October 30

Gerald Horne, Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, will discuss his new book Confronting Black Jacobins: The U.S., the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic (Monthly Review Press, 2015).

Friday October 30 at 6:00 PM.

Tamiment Library
Tenth Floor of Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY

On Gerald Horne:

"Gerald Horne is one of the great historians of our time. His scholarly erudition is impeccable and his revolutionary fervor is undeniable."
- Cornel West

Copies of Confronting Black Jacobins will be available to purchase. The event is cosponsored by the Tamiment Library and the Frederick Ewen Academic Freedom Center.

For more info about the event, click here.
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For a full list of events at Tamiment click here.

Sara R. Haviland- Lecture on her New Book on James and Esther Cooper Jackson - New York - November 5

Sara Rzeszuket Haviland will discuss her new book James and Esther Cooper Jackson: Love and Courage in the Black Freedom Movement (University Press of Kentucky) at the Tamiment Library on Thursday November 5 (6:00-7:30 PM) She is an assistant professor of history at St. Francis College. She has contributed chapters to Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement and Red Activists and Black Freedom: James and Esther Jackson and the Long Civil Rights Revolution.

Thursday, November 5 at 6:00 PM.

Tamiment Library
Tenth Floor of Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY

On James and Esther Cooper Jackson: Love and Courage in the Black Freedom Movement:

"In this remarkable biography, Sara Haviland examines the ideas and activism of two of the most committed and significant freedom fighters in twentieth-century America."
Erik Gellman, author of Death Blow to Jim Crow: The National Negro Congress and the Rise of Militant Civil Rights

For more info about this event, click here.

RSVP at: Bobst@nyu.edu with guest names & title of event.

Labor's Finest Day Revisited: Paul Robeson Play Comes to Peekskill's Paramount Theater, November 7


Call Mr. Robeson, an award-winning play from the UK is to be performed at

Paramount Hudson Valley Theater on Saturday November 7, 2015.

This rollercoaster journey through actor/singer Paul Robeson's remarkable life highlights his pioneering and heroic political activism as well as his music. It features Ol' Man River and other famous songs, much fiery oratory, and a defiant testimony to the House Un-American Activities Committee. One of the highlights of the play is the infamous Peekskill Riots of August and September 1949, in which trade unionists from around New York State played a heroic role in providing security for Robeson and the thousands of concert goers.

Trade unionists protecting Robeson, September 4, 1949

Written and performed by Nigerian-born, UK-based playwright and singer Tayo Aluko with piano accompaniment by New York Labor Chorus pianist Dennis Nelson, Call Mr. Robeson was chosen by the UK Guardian's theatre critic as his top pick for things to see in London January 2011.

The play received a standing ovation at New York's Carnegie Hall February 2012 and was staged in London's West End October 2013, It has sold out several theatres internationally, including all seventeen performances of a 2015 tour of New Zealand and Australia (sponsored by trade unions in both countries).

Call Mr. Robeson enjoyed a 4-week residency at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden, October 2013 where BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends presenter Clive Anderson saw it and later described it as one of the most memorable plays of the year.

Call Mr. Robeson has won numerous awards against international competition including Best Musical Performance at the Atlantic Fringe in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, August 2013, Best Solo Show at the Stratford-upon-Avon Fringe, June 2013 and the Argus Angel Award for Artistic Excellence and the Best Male Performer Award at the Brighton Fringe, May 2008.

Saturday, November 7  --   7.00pm

Paramount Hudson Valley Theater
1008 Brown Street
Peekskill, NY 10566

Tickets $30, $20

Box Office:
914 739 0039 (ext. 2)

PALESTINE CALLING - Launch Party to Amplify the Cultural Boycott of Israel in NYC - November 14



Verso Books Loft
20 Jay St., DUMBO

$5-$25 sliding scale

Artists and cultural workers around the world are heeding the call from Palestine to refuse to do business as usual with Israel until it ends its occupation and apartheid policies. And as Israel escalates its violent repression, this call for international cultural workers of conscience to help remove Israel's cloak of impunity rings out with urgency. Here in NYC, Adalah-NY and culture-makers have teamed up to create a video of artists raising their voices for the boycott of Israel. Join us on November 14 as we celebrate the launch of this video and accompanying pledge campaign with a special screening and an evening of music and dancing. Bring your love for NYC's arts, your questions about boycott, and your friends as we gather to creatively amplify the call for justice for Palestine.

Tickets available at palestinecalling.bpt.me

Event on Facebook

Visit us online at adalahny.org

This event is wheelchair accessible.

Paid Family Leave for the Health of Working Families - New York - November 17

Tuesday, November 17
8:30-10:30 AM

Community Service Society conference center
633 Third Avenue @ 41st Street, 10th floor
New York

Other speakers to be announced

The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

Sponsored by
Community Service Society, Scholars Strategy Network-NYC Chapter
The Murphy Institute at CUNY
New York Paid Family Leave Insurance Campaign

Source URL: https://portside.org/2015-10-22/tidbits-october-22-2015-are-you-capitalist-sanders-clinton-grassroots-afghanistan-puerto