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August 2010, Week 1

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Tidbits: August 4, 2010

1. Barbara Lee's Anti-War Bill
2. Modern-Day Slavery Museum visits the Boston Area and Northampton
3. Los Angeles People's Campaign Kick-off
4. Re: The Sentencing of Lynne Stewart (Ethan Young, Andy Pollack)
5. Re: Kiss This War Goodbye (Jack Radey)

===

Barbara Lee's Anti-War Bill

With momentum generated by the 100 supporters for her
amendment to the Supplemental, on July 30 Barbara Lee
introduced an important new bill HR 6045

which provides that "funds for operations of the Armed
Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended
only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly
withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed
Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel
who are in Afghanistan"

That bill already has 20 co-sponsors. Hopefully we can
round up many more during the August recess.

For more information on the bill and its co-sponsors,
check out
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-6045

===

Modern-Day Slavery Museum visits the Boston Area and
Northampton

Monday, August 9 - Boston Boston City Hall Plaza
(adjacent to MBTA stop) 10 am - 8 pm

Friday, August 6 - Quincy First United Parish Church,
1306 Hancock St., Quincy 8 am - 7 pm

Sunday, August 8 - Salem Downtown Salem (Essex St.
adjacent to the Visitors Center) 2:30 pm - 8 pm If you
are interested in the Newton stop, please contact
[log in to unmask]

Tuesday, August 10 - Northampton In front of Pulaski
Park on Main St., near Masonic St. and Smith College 10
am - 8 pm

The centerpiece of the traveling museum is a replica of
a truck used to enslave farmworkers in the US vs.
Navarrete (2008) slavery case that tells the stories of
six modern farmworker slavery cases, involving over
1,000 workers. The truck is  accompanied by an
examination of the history and evolution of slavery in
the fields of Florida and along the East Coast: its
roots, the reason it persists, and solutions.

Presented by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Free and open to the public

www.ciw-online.org/museum The museum was recently been
hosted by the U.S. State Department as part of the
release of the 2010 Trafficking in Persons report. The
museum endorsed by numerous human rights and anti-
slavery groups, including Amnesty International (USA),
Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, Anti-Slavery
International (UK), Free the Slaves, Freedom Network,
and Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human
Rights.

Visit www.ciw-online.org/museumor contact
[log in to unmask] for more details.

===

LA People's Campaign Kick-off 

Saturday, August 7

The May 19th Movement, named for the day being the day
of the group's first meeting as well as also being the
birthdates of Malcolm X, Ho Chi Minh, Augusto Sandino,
Lorraine Hansberry and Yuri Kochiyama, is dedicated to
the development of a local independent political party
with the express purpose of finding, running and
electing working class candidates to office in Los
Angeles to represent the interests of the poor and the
working poor.

Please send your feedback to the group so that we can
all share our ideas. Thanks!

To subscribe to the May 19th listserve send an e-mail
to [log in to unmask]

KICK-OFF MEETING

Saturday, August 7 1:30 pm

Afiba Center 5730 Crenshaw Bl LA, CA 90043

DRAFT Mission Statement: The Mission of the May 19th
Movement is to identify indigenous leadership from the
oppressed working class communities of Los Angeles and
run these leaders as Independent Candidates in the 2011
Los Angeles City Council elections in the 8th and 9th
council districts.  These independent candidates will
represent the interest the interest of their
communities, not for the interest of the status quo.
We already have these rights as guarantee by the
Declaration of Human Rights.  The problem is that there
is lack of political will and organization to effect
these rights.

DRAFT PLATFORM:

The Right To A Job For All Wanting To Work At A
‘Union-Wage’

The Right To Participate In Real Job-Training So As To
Dramatically Improve The Skill Levels Of The
Unemployed,

The Right To Housing And An End To Involuntary
Homelessness;  END FORECLOSURES NOW!!!

The Right To Free And Quality Health-Care;

The Right To Free Education Up To The Person’s Ability;

The Right Of A Worker To Go To Where He/She Can Best
Provide For Themselves And Their Families-SIN
FRONTERAS!!!!

Freedom from intimidation by the policing forces;
Social rehabilitation not penal incarceration.

Planning Meeting Thurs Aug 5th 6:30PM Coalition LA 2500
Wilshire Bl Ste 908 LA, CA 90057

===

More Responses to Michael Steven Smith's article, "The
Sentencing of Lynne Stewart"

Smith and Tax are at the crux of a real division among
lefties. There is a tendency to ignore the reactionary
nature of Islamic fundamentalism - which Tax rightly calls
out. What is missing is analysis that also recognizes the
furious rise of Islamophobia, which is translating into
state and vigilante attacks on ordinary Muslims in the west.
Fear of the increased presence ['incursion'] of Muslim
culture - in response to a demographic influx - is itself
transforming the modern western cultures that became more
cosmopolitan after WW2 and the disappearance of the remnants
of feudalism.

Of course, Smith would never defend the anti-woman features
of ortho Islam, and Tax wouldn't defend attacks on Muslims
by racists. But the debate is so explosive it can drive
people to extremes. See Paul Berman.

This issue will be even more divisive if it isn't taken on
in a sober way.

Ethan Young

==========

It pained me greatly to read Meredith Tax's commentary on
Michael Smith's article. I've respected her writing on labor
and feminism greatly, and always (and will continue to)
recommend her "Rising of the Women" as the place to start on
these questions. But her position vis-a-vis Lynne Stewart is
all too reminiscent of the shameful remarks of Yifat
Susskind at the 2007 US Social Forum when calling for
supporters of Palestine to join in the bashing of Hamas and
its supporters. And the response to those remarks is
unfortunately all too appropriate as a counterpoint to
Sister Tax's comments: http://www.leftturn.org/?q=node/728
"Defining Terms in the Age of Imperialism: Challenging
Alleged "Strategic Solidarity""

Andy Pollack

==========

Re: Kiss This War Goodbye

Dear Portside, One point that needs to be made is about
who all these secrets are meant to be kept from.  And
Vietnam provides some excellent parallels.  Among the
secrets of the Vietnam war were that the Johnson
administration had been eager to escalate, and was just
waiting for causi belli that it could use to sell their
aggression to the American people.  That Nixon was
bombing Cambodia.  That US forces (mostly Green Beret
types and CIA hirelings) were operating in Laos.  That
the Christmas bombing produced no major concessions
from the government of the DRV.  Were these secrets
that had to be kept from the enemy we were at war with
for fear if they found out it would jeapordize our
brave troops?  Well, in a word, no.  Believe it or not,
the Cambodians and Laotians were well aware of the
bombs raining down on them, and neither they, nor
anyone else in the world who was paying attention, had
any doubt as to whose bombs they were (like the drone
attacks in Pakistan, which neither the Pakistani
government nor the US will officially admit are being
done by us).  The Vietnamese government was well aware
that their torpedo boats had not attacked the US
destroyers, and that the US destroyers were supporting
raids against North Vietnam by the US-sponsored,
equipped, trained and directed South Vietnamese navy.

So who were the secrets being kept from?

You and me, baby.  As long as the government did not
officially admit it, the news media would not report
it, and it was not officially happening, at least as
far as the viewers of the evening news were concerned.

So to Afghanistan.  The people who live there are aware
that their "government" is a group of theives and
puppets, that the US runs assassination squads, that
the Taliban has widespread support and is increasingly
militarily sucessful, that they receive support from
the Pakistani government.  The left press, such as it
is, has been full of these stories all along, but with
the release of the Wikileaks, it is now official.

However, watch.  In 15 years school textbooks will tell
our grandchildren the same official lies that our
children found in their textbooks about Vietnam.  And
not just in Texas, either.

Jack Radey

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