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PORTSIDE  October 2010, Week 3

PORTSIDE October 2010, Week 3

Subject:

tidbits -- October 15, 2010

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 15 Oct 2010 23:58:50 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (281 lines)

1 Re: NPR and Journalists' Rights -- Fred Ryan
2 Chilean Miners -- Rose Daitsman
3 Re: Is Social Networking Useless? -- Nathan Weber
4 Re: The Foreclosure Scam -- Stephen Meacham 

=====
11111

From: Fred Ryan
Re: NPR posting

So there ARE a second class of citizens in the USA,
after all -- they are NPR journalists. These people
cannot run for office, put up an election sign, bumper
sticker, or sign any petitions. Sounds like they do not
have the rights of full citizens. Those of us living
and working outside the centre of world democracy would
never get away with this. Our journalists can run for
office -- and must have their jobs preserved for them,
if they lose.

Fred Ryan
Publisher - West Quebec Post
Gatineau, Quebec.

=====
22222

From: Rose Daitsman 
Subject: Chilean Miners

As I reflect on the memory of my late husband, George
Daitsman, former Education Director of the Allied
Industrial Workers Union, for whom Occupational Safety
and Health was an important concern, I picture him
watching the rescue of the Chilean Miners with tears
flowing. His sentiments are aptly expressed by his
buddy and co-worker at the AIW, Ken Germanson. George
and Ken were among the founders of the Wisconsin
Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, part of a
network of local Committees comprised of union members,
lawyers, health professionals, engineers and
technicians, organized all over the country to keep
OSHA honest.

Advoken's Blog
http://advoken.wordpress.com/2010/10/15/are-chilean-president%E2%80%99s-promises-for-mine-safety-real/

Are Chilean President’s promises for mine safety real?
Will Chilean President Sebastián Piñera fulfill his
promise to Luis Urzua to assure that mine safety in
that country will be improved?

President Piñera was present during the two days of
intense rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, front and
center as the news cameras rolled, hugging each miner
as he surfaced. His political popularity, which had
been waning, suddenly grew to 70% in his nation,
according to reports.

Urzua, the shift leader who has been widely credited
with organizing the miners through their horrible
ordeal was quick to urge the President to act to end
the chance of any further disasters, such as occurred
at the mine.

Was the President there for political purposes? If he
was, he reaped the benefits. Does he really care for
these men who risk their lives every day by going half
a mile into the earth? It sure looked as we viewed
through our ancient television set that he was indeed
sincere. If so, it’ll be a role reversal for him.

Piñera has been described by the New York Times as a
conservative billionaire and reputedly the third-
richest man in Chile. He also said he would seek to
privatize a part of Codelco, Chile’s state-owned copper
company and the world’s largest copper producer.
Piñera has a financial empire that includes a
controlling interest in the country’s largest airline,
Lan; a major television channel; and a stake in Chile’s
most popular soccer team.

It is ironic, too, that the desert city of Copiapó was
the scene in 1973, just after Gen. Augusto Pinochet
coup that dumped democratically-elected President
Salvador Allende, that military personnel murdered 16
men in the city, many of whom worked in the mine.
Those deaths are still memorialized in the city.

So the workers in Chile have some hope that greater
protections will come. The only question is that once
the great hurrahs over the rescue and the pictures of a
smiling President Piñera fade from memory is whether
this President will overcome his natural employer bias
to enact the long-needed reforms.

By: Kenneth A. Germanson, of Milwaukee WI. Born 1929 in
Milwaukee. Graduate of Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison,
1951 (journalism, economics). Newspaper editor,
reporter for 12 years; U.S. Navy Service in 1950s; more
than 30 years as labor union official, 18 years as
community worker.

=====
33333

From: Nathan Weber
Re: Is Social Networking Useless for Social Change?

Regarding Jeremy Brecher's and Brendan Smith's recent
Portside essay, I thought you'd be interested in my own
post regarding Malcolm Gladwell's article. It's based
on my experience in the civil rights movement.

http://nathanwebersblog.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Gladwell on the civil rights movement

In an otherwise perceptive recent New Yorker article
debunking the notion of a "Twitter revolution" (that
social media websites like Twitter and Facebook are the
key tools of today's demonstrations and mass uprisings
for social causes), Malcolm Gladwell, among our more
savvy social critics, reveals a profound ignorance
about the civil rights movement in this country.

After noting, for example, that the students involved
in the early sit-ins across the South described the
movement as a fever, he writes: "But the civil-rights
movement was more like a military campaign than like a
contagion. . . ."

Military campaign?

It was anything but, at least to my recollection.
Indeed, it was the most unmilitary enterprise
imaginable--egalitarian, grass roots, overwhelmingly
bottom-up not top-down. Tactics and strategy were
debated endlessly, rather than, as in the military,
ordered and followed. And the movement indeed spread
like a fever, a good, healthy, passionate fever,
washing like an endless wave across campuses and
cities, in small towns and large, from the North to the
South.

A personal note: Gladwell was born in 1963, when the
old decades-long, rather staid, civil rights movement
was getting into super-high gear. One year later, at
the vibrant age of twenty-two, I became actively
involved in that movement (up north). So Gladwell's
information comes from archival research. Mine comes
from organizing or joining rent actions against
slumlords in Harlem, sitting-in at dangerous traffic
intersections to demand street lights, picketing local
white-owned stores to prevent firings, demonstrating
against rampant police brutality. And from organizing,
house to house, apartment to apartment, a residents'
street group, the West 122nd Street Block Association.

Which meant knocking on doors, entering apartments,
sitting around with the tenants, discussing with them,
one on one, why it's important to do this and to do
that--indeed, learning from them what we may have been
doing wrong, and how to make it right--again and again,
day after day, month after month. The work was
difficult, frustrating and exhausting, but it was also
joyous, exhilirating. Above all, contagious.

Now, Gladwell is not one to make a statement and then
walk away from it without evidence. The problem is that
the evidence he cites is inadequate. After stating that
the key sources of the movement were the NAACP and
black churches, he writes that the NAACP "was a
centralized organization, run from New York according
to highly formalized operating procedures. At the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Martin Luther
King, Jr., was the unquestioned authority. At the
center of the movement was the black church, which had
a carefully demarcated division of labor, with various
standing committees and disciplined groups." He then
quotes Aldon D. Morris' The Origins of the Civil Rights
Movement: "Each group was task-oriented and coordinated
its activities through authority structures.
Individuals were held accountable for their assigned
duties, and important conflicts were resolved by the
minister, who usually exercised ultimate authority over
the congregation."

In short, to Gladwell, a military campaign.

Even if accurate, this history is incomplete. For it
leaves out the movement's most important organization.
Namely, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
(pronounced Snick), which Gladwell never mentions.
Although formed as an offshoot of Martin Luther King's
organization, SNCC's members--who bore the brunt of
white violence against the movement--were more akin to
anarchic democracy workers or worker-priests than to
organizational functionaries. It was the most grass-
roots of the civil rights organizations, in which
participants spent almost all their time and energy
working one on one with poor black southerners.

As word of SNCC's work and experiences spread, other
young people in the movement were influenced not only
by their activities but by their methods of operation.
For example, although the national office of the
Congress on Racial Equality may well have had a top-
down structure, the CORE chapters on campuses were far
more egalitarian (some might argue unorganized). The
CORE chapter at City College of New York, where I was a
member, was typical. But so were the chapters at NYU
and Columbia. And so were the non-student chapters like
East Harlem CORE (known as the River Rats) and others
throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. SNCC eventually
became the model for the early new left Students for a
Democratic Society, especially those involved in
community organizing in places like Newark, New Jersey,
or Cleveland, Ohio. Lest we forget, to the early SDS,
hierarchy was anathema. SNCC and SDS also spawned the
women's movement, in which most of the organizations
were also non-hierarchical.

So when Gladwell dismisses the view of social media as
fomenting mass activism, he may be right (although the
younger members of today's blogosphere appear to be
enraged at that view) but for the wrong reason.
"Facebook and the like are tools for building networks,
which are the opposite, in structure and character,
from hierarchies." True enough. But hierarchies are not
what made or characterized the civil rights movement,
or any of the other 1960s-1970s cultural revolutions
(women's rights, gay rights, anti-war, disabled rights,
etc.) that sprang from it.

Rather, what characterized those movements was
egalitarianism, in spirit, in structure, and in action.

=====
44444

From: Stephen Meacham 
Re: The Foreclosure Scam Exploding Before Our Eyes

Dear moderator

When Marcy Kaptur urged her constituents not to move,
City Life had been successfully organizing around this
issue for many months in Boston.  The point of saying
this is that there is a model that has involved
hundreds of people in direct struggle against the
banks, a model that has been winning.  What does
winning mean?  Stopping bank evictions after
foreclosure and thus gaining the leverage to get
people's homes back at far below loan value - the de
facto principal reduction the banks are trying so hard
to avoid.  Rather than a fruitless attempt to make loan
modification more effective, we should be demanding an
end to eviction/displacement and sale by banks to
occupants or non-profits at real current value. Not
only is this method effective in its results, it is
resulting in a very strong and growing movement - now
125 people facing foreclosure or eviction after
foreclosure at meetings every week.

_____________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest
to people on the left that will help them to
interpret the world and to change it.

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