January 2011, Week 2


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Wed, 12 Jan 2011 21:42:01 -0500
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Tidbits: January 12, 2011

1. Support Woodlawn Cemetary Workers on MLK Day (NYC)
2. Attention Student Activists! - Apply Now for Davis-Putter
  Scholarships and Grants
3. Book Party: Steve Early, Embedded with Organized Labor (Binghamton, NY)
4. Hate politics, racism and anti-Semitism are political -
  and personal.(Jay Schaffner)
5. Re: It's Not a Game: Sarah Palin and the Madness of March
  (Lucy Rosenblatt and Stan Maron)
6. Re: Phil Ochs; There But For Fortune (Bill Barclay)
7. Re: Daley is a reflection, not a cause (David Shapiro and
  Ivan Handler)
8. Additional Readers Responses on the Mark Twain Controversy
  (Jean Carey Bond, George Fish, Thane Doss, and
   Amy Hendrickson)


Support the Woodlawn Cemetery workers on MLK day

Please post widely

Join us in Solidarity - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Monday, January 17, 2011, From 10am to 2pm

Good Evening Sisters and Brothers,

As some know. Teamsters Local 808 successfully
organized the Woodlawn Cemetery workers. The company
has decided to contract out the Landscaping work,
thereby laying off twenty three (23) members of the
bargaining unit.

The Bronx is the poorest urban county in America and
this attempt by the employer will exacerbate this
negative trend. The management of the cemetery has
decided to use a contractor identified as Brickman

The Brickman Group exploits immigrant labor, frequently
underpaying them and then abandoning them when they
choose to stand up and ask questions.

Woodlawn Cemetery intends to displace its heavily
minority workforce because they stood up and filed
charges against a management that wants to continue
running this historic Cemetery "plantation style".

The workers stood up and filed discrimination charges
against the Cemetery and organized demonstrations to
bring attention to this matter. A part of their
struggle to end the discrimination, favoritism and
exploitation of native Bronx workers they chose to
affiliate with Teamsters Local 808.

These are good jobs here in the Bronx and must be
protected. If we allow the Woodlawn Cemetery to defeat
the workers, there will be a Tsunami throughout the
cemetery industry in New York City and the surrounding
area. This will have a significantly negative impact
on a predominantly Hispanic and minority workforce. A
loss in the Bronx will set off a wave of loss of good
wages, health coverage and pensions for workers and
their families.

We call upon our allies in the struggle of the working
class to join with us on January 17, 2011, Martin
Luther King Jr. Day, to send a message to the Woodlawn
Cemetery management and to all capitalists who work to
destroy good jobs, that this is New York, a Union town
and we will not be defeated. History must show that
the push back against the capitalist offensive against
workers gained momentum in the Bronx.

Local 808 has been a supporter of numerous and diverse
struggles for justice and a redistribution of the
wealth of this nation for the working class. We humbly
call upon our friends and comrades to stand with the
Woodlawn Workers and Teamsters Local 808 in this
struggle for justice on a day set aside to commemorate
a warrior and a martyr for justice, January 17, 2011,
Martin Luther King Jr. Day.


There will be two locations for assembly of people and
workers who want to support this workers struggle. Take
the #4 train to the Woodlawn Station (last stop) across
the street is the Jerome Avenue gate of the cemerery.

The other location for assembly is the 233rd Street and
Webster Avenue gate of the cemetery. Take the #2 train
to E 233rd Street and walk east four (4) blocks to
Webster Avenue and E 233rd Street. That is the main
gate and the location of administrative office

Take the Metro North train to the Woodlawn station in
the Bronx and walk across the street.

The Woodlawn Workers struggle will commence on: January
17, 2011 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm


* Attention Student Activists! - Apply Now for Davis-Putter
Scholarships and Grants

Are you organizing for progressive social change? Leading
student movements on your campus or in your community? If
so, read on.

The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund has applications available
for student activists who are building progressive movements
for social change and will be enrolled in school during the
2011-12 academic year. Our website provides answers to
questions about the Fund, the application process, and the
students we support. If you know of students working for
peace and justice, or if you have a list of activist
contacts, please send this announcement along and refer
potential applicants to the Fund's website:
www.davisputter.org <http://www.davisputter.org>.

Since 1961 the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund has provided
need-based grants to students who are involved in building
movements for social and economic justice and are able to do
academic work at the college level. Grantees are both
graduates and undergraduates enrolled in accredited schools
for the period covered by their grant. Although citizenship
is not a consideration, applicants must be participating in
activities in the US and plan to enroll in an accredited
program in the US in order to qualify.

The maximum grant is $10,000 and may be considerably smaller
depending on the applicant's circumstances and the funding
available. All the funds come from individual donors and
there are 25-30 grants awarded each year. Grants are for one
year although students may re-apply for subsequent years.

Applications and the supporting documents -- transcripts, a
personal statement, two letters of recommendation, a
photograph, financial aid reports -- must be postmarked by
April 1, 2011. Those selected to receive a grant will be
notified in July.

Carol J. Kraemer

Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

www.davisputter.org <http://www.davisputter.org>


Book Party and Discussion with:
Steve Early author of
Embedded With Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home

Tuesday, February 8 at 7 PM

Two Rivers Book Store,

153 Conklin Ave, Binghamton, N.Y.

(For more information, call 607-238-8109)

Bring your questions, suggestions, and ideas about rebuilding unions, winning real health care reform, and defending public sector jobs and services.

Sponsored by:

Monthly Review Press, Haymarket Books, Verso,Two Rivers Book Store, and Labor Notes


* Hate politics, racism and anti-Semitism are political -
and personal.

When it is seen as acceptable political discourse to
identify those that hold contrary political positions with
rifle cross-hairs, what other meaning could there be, than
those so identified should be hunted or exterminated.

It is political. It is also personal. My children went to
the same progressive Jewish summer camp as Gabe Zimmerman.
My kids were also counselors there. They like others before
them, learned a sense of humanitarian and progressive
values. Values of helping others, compassion, opposition to
war, racism, oppression, inequality and anti-Semitism. Those
values led many of Kinderland's alumni over the years into
political activism, teaching, union organizing, social work
and politics.

My condolences to Gabe's family, to his finance. My
condolences to the families of all the victims of Saturday's
hate-filled massacre, fueled by the hate filled politics of
Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and

Jay Schaffner


* Re: It's Not a Game: Sarah Palin and the Madness of March

Thanks to David Zirin for a simple, but insightful article

Lucy Rosenblatt


Dave, I don't think she is thinking about much more than her
political career and I also think that she has found a
gimmick in these tough gal metaphors. She is digging into
the trash can of opportunism and it seems to be working for
a lot of these tea party people as well.

Stan----The guy from the Amherst cinema event who claimed to
have seen 20 unnecessary roughness offenses in that days
Patriot game. Well maybe just 15! Best wishes to you.


* Re: Phil Ochs; There But For Fortune - reply

Dylan may have been, as many have said, the poet laureate of
his generation but Phil Ochs (along with Joan Baez) was the

Bill Barclay


* Re: Daley is a reflection, not a cause

This is the best explanation of Obama I have read.It makes
Obama rational, not necessarily without feeling.But,it keeps
in place my argument from the beginning of his presidency
that we all lost by his trying to test the rationality of an
electorate informed and spurred by a uniquely charismatic
president to call-out congress members an senators for
opposing the majority of people's interests and testing
whether he could not by doing that raise enough money to
support his re-election despite the opposition of big
corporate money.I will be forever disappointed that he did
not have the courage (the normal pols would say, the
insanity) to give this a try.This is what I thought John
Phillips meant by calling Obama a pivotal historic figure.I
now believe John meant his phrase to be in terms of race

David Shapiro


In general I agree with the analysis, but I think there is
one flaw, namely that the left needs to be more adversarial
to have an impact. I think that would work if the left
could develop a larger more threatening base. That has to
be built on top of real economic institutions, such as those
emerging from the high tech, green jobs and workers
collective movements. Currently, the old economic
institutions that could be counted on, namely unions, have
been in retreat for over 40 years and many union members
have been voting with their enemies for at least that long.
Mobilizing unions has not delivered the votes needed and
probably will not in the future either. The country and
economy has changed. That is why a long term strategy based
on building new progressive economic institutions is so
important. This is not in opposition to unions, rather as
a new component of a progressive economic base. As this
sector grows, we should see larger progressive voting blocks
that can move things along. Without that base the left is
either going to have to capitulate to the "moderates" or
isolate itself. Neither option is desirable from where I
sit. While this does not mean much success at a national
level for a while, I think that different localities,
especially around large urban centers are in better position
to move faster getting progressive legislation passed. This
can be leveraged by others in less densely populated areas
ultimately leading to the potential for a very strong
national presence that can't be ignored and won't self
destruct because its policies will strengthen the base. The
tea party and all of the other deficit hawks are continuing
to damage the economy and working people's lives. The small
decrease in unemployment is probably going to be temporary
without some significant stimulus, especially if the ACA is
rolled back and the feds and states roll back services as
appears to be the case. This is one factor that will play
out for progressives if we can establish a real economic
direction on the ground, not just in polemics.

Ivan Handler


* Additional Readers Responses on the Mark Twain Controversy

Responses from: Jean Carey Bond, George Fish, Thane Doss,
Amy Hendrickson


Here's my late submission on the Twain controversy:

Editing the n-word out of Mark Twain's classics is anti-
historical, an assault on literary and artistic license, and
totally misguided. The fact that various schools and
libraries have sought to censor these works -- a main reason
given by the "corrected" version's editor for his
intervention -- reflects terribly on those institutions. How
much imagination does it take to preface the assignment or
distribution of these works to young people with a concise
explanation of their historical context? No wonder U.S.
public education ranks so low on international surveys. As
for the editor's excision of the non-existent tumor, how
dare he! His presumptuous action is like playing God.

Jean Carey Bond


As one of those who was lucky to have read Mark Twain's
humanitarian classic Huckleberry Finn in high school, I just
have to say that those who object to Twain's use of "nigger"
and "Injun" completely miss the point, and are willing to
destroy literature in the name of political correctness. I
would remind you that one of the most moving passages in
Huckleberry Finn involves the situation where Jim the black
slave is chained, and the self-righteous slave-owning
supporters have told Huck that to free a slave will send one
to hell. Huck wrestles with his conscience on this, and
decides that he must free Jim, and that if it means he'll go
to hell, he'll go to hell. If one really reads Huckleberry
Finn, one realizes that it is a very humane book and a
passionate, realistic, narrative in support of the equality
and dignity in person of all--and it is precisely through
"nigger" Jim that the lad Huckleberry Finn comes to
understand this! That is the real, the core, anti-racist
meaning of Huckleberry Finn, and that comes across
beautifully precisely because Twain, as a writer with
integrity, doesn't mince, prettify, or euphemize words.
Further, Twain was writing in the 19th Century, when those
words were in common usage, and his characters use those
words because Twain is faithful to the way people talked and
acted back then. This new "sanitized" version of
Huckleberry Finn is a travesty and an insult, and I hope the
new version falls flat on its face. Further, I hope all
intelligent readers over the age of 13-14 will go out and
buy, borrow from the library, and read the original,
unbowdlerized version of Huckleberry Finn.

George Fish,
Indianapolis, IN


{Irony alert}

It's just very important that readers of _Huck Finn_ come
away with a clear understanding of the widespread awareness
of and concern about the evils of slavery in pre-Civil-War
America. (It was a world, after all, in which Texans would
go to war for the right to enslave others, representing this
to future generations as a war against tyranny.) Twain was
simply irresponsible to suggest that anyone would use any
language other than the frank word "slave" to describe a
person held as chattel or that anyone would use a word that
might by some be considered demeaning. Surely not even a
child or an illiterate slave of 1840s America could have
been so inconsiderate as to use a word like "nigger" to
speak of a man or to avoid discussion of that man's being in
a situation/society that could treat him as something less
than a man deserving of the same dignity as all other men

Twain's mistaken understanding of his times simply needs to
be emended by today's editors, who clearly understand his
times and intentions better than he himself could have, just
as the Constitution needs to be restored to a purity of
purpose and intention beyond what its original framers were
capable of expressing, but very much clear to the
Constitutional originalists of today, who, having restored
the authority of the document by altering the meanings it
expresses to suit the intentions they know it contains,
would then reject further emendation as not among the
intentions of those who wrote and first amended the

Thane Doss,


If the `reformers' to Huckleberry Finn sincerely wanted to
help African Americans, they'd be doing something about
their disproportionate imprisonment, their
disenfranchisement afterwards, and the horrendous inequality
of opportunity in schooling.

Amy Hendrickson



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