June 2011, Week 1


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Fri, 3 Jun 2011 20:46:04 -0400
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Tidbits - June 3, 2011

* Re: Why the Democratic Party Has Abandoned the Middle
  Class in Favor of the Rich (Duane Campbell)
* LaPena Honors Angela Davis - Bay Area - June 8
* video - "Historians, Power, and Politics: Jesse Lemisch's
  Classic Critique of Anti-Radicalism in the American
  Historical Profession,"
* audio - Building Bridges: Aronowitz, Baker & Lynd - What
  Is To Be Done?
* Re: Germany Will Shut All Nuclear Power Plants by 2022
  (David Ecklein)
* response to Reich's Truth About the American Economy 
  (Peggy Dobbins)
* New York Photo Exhibit - Builder Levy portrait photos
  June 29 - August 13


* Re: Why the Democratic Party Has Abandoned the Middle
Class in Favor of the Rich

I think Kevin Drum is wrong here in his description of
labor. I posted this on Talking Union.

Liberals discuss labor.  Decide labor is dead. And that
"progressives" are an organized force.

Kevin Drum: In Mother Jones.

Why the Democratic Party has abandoned the middle class in
favor of the rich.


Robert Cruickshank.

On Daily Kos. Responds to the Drum piece.  Several hundred


Both of these essays describe what the authors believe to be
the history of labor in the recent era.  Kevin Drum argues
that labor is dead.

In my own view, both of these seem to be looking at labor
from the outside, relying upon news reports and third hand
opinions. Fundamentally, for example, their analysis treats
labor as a single, coherent entity rather than the complex
combination of unions and movements.

It is long past time for the various progressive  forces in
the U.S. , each of which is being crushed by casino
capitalism, to work together to defend democracy. This
requires unions, teachers, academics, Democratic Party
activists and others to recognize that what they have in
common is the need for a powerful united front to defend
against the right wing onslaughts


To follow labor issues, I recommend

and In These Times labor blog.

Duane Campbell


* LaPena Honors Angela Davis - Bay Area - June 8

36th Anniversary Series Honoring Angela Davis

La Pena Wednesday June 08, 2011 $15 adv. $17 dr. - 7:30pm

For advance tickets click here.

La Pena Honors Angela Davis. The long-time activist and
community leader will be inducted into La Pena's Hall of
Fame and will speak to us about the role of radical social
movements in the contemporary moment.

From the late 1960s through the 1970s, Angela Davis was
known for her political activism within the Communist Party
USA, the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party
for Self-Defense.

She is the founder of Critical Resistance, an organization
working to abolish the prison-industrial complex. A retired
professor with the History of Consciousness Department at UC
Santa Cruz, Angela is the former director of the
university's Feminist Studies department.

Her research areas include feminism, African American
studies, critical theory, Marxism, popular music and social
consciousness, and the philosophy and history of punishment
and prisons.

Special opening appearance by Tru Bloo, an Arab- Armenian
hip hop MC who with skills & wisdom brings a message of
self-realization and self-empowerment.


*  "Historians, Power, and Politics: Jesse Lemisch's Classic 
Critique of Anti-Radicalism in the American Historical 


Preliminary updating of On Active Service in War and Peace: Politics and Ideology in the American Historical Profession (1969, 1975). 

Presentation by Lemisch, commentary by Blanche Wiesen Cook, Staughton Lynd, Rusti Eisenberg, John McMillian, Robert Cohen (took place May 4, 2011 at New York University)



* Building Bridges: Aronowitz, Baker & Lynd - What Is To Be

Building Bridges: Your Community and Labor Report
National Edition - Produced by Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg

                         What Is To Be Done?
In this period of intensified class warfare against the
working class and the poor, what will it take to mobilize
the people for the mass movement it will surely take to win?
Many have been heartened by the fightback in Wisconsin and
many of the frontline states. But is the predominately
electoral strategy that is currently being followed
sufficient to win? What is the role direct action, strikes,
including general strikes, and cross union and community
solidarity? We talk with:

General Baker has been called the most important 21st
century American revolutionary. He was a leader of the
Detroit wildcat strikes in the 1960s, a founder of the
legendary League of Revolutionary Black Workers, the Dodge
Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM), & the first American to
refuse induction to fight in Vietnam. The book, "Detroit: I
Do Mind Dying" (about the worker revolts of that era) calls
Baker the "soul of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement
(DRUM)." An autoworker for 30 years, he remains a champion
of the unemployed and unorganized workers.

Stanley Aronowitz is a Professor of Sociology at the
Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he
studies labor, social movements, science and technology,
education, social theory and cultural studies. He is author
or editor of 25 books including: Left Turn: Forging a New
Political Future; How Class Works; The Jobless Future with
William DiFazio); and False Promises: The Shaping of
American Working Class Consciousness.

Staughton Lynd has dedicated his life to activism and social
change as a historian, lawyer, and labor activist. He helped
direct the Mississippi Freedom Schools.  In April 1965 he
spoke at the first march on Washington against the Vietnam
War and became an early leader of the anti-war movement.
Subsequent to becoming an attorney he spent years focusing
on labor and prison issues. He wrote the definitive history
of the 1993 Ohio prison uprising at Lucasville as well as
the ever popular "Labor Law for the Rank and Filer" and
"Rank and File" oral histories of the 1930's

To Download or listen to this 28:09 minute program,
go to our website


* Re: Germany Will Shut All Nuclear Power Plants by 2022

Another article on this appeared in Der Spiegel as forwarded
by Common Dreams:

There was one comment on the article which interested me:

"Posted by gonzonews  May 30 2011 - 1:37pm "Most of the
serious problems with uranium fueled reactors are eliminated
with Thorium reactors. The U.S. and many other countries
went with uranium reactors in the 1950's because uranium
reactors produce plutonium to make nuclear weapons. Another
major difference is that it is nearly impossible for a
thorium reactor to have a meltdown. They create a much less
radioactive waste and can make use of waste products from
uranium reactors thus reducing the total amount of nuclear
waste. India has one up and running with more planned.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium_fuel_cycle "

Why is this promising technology not discussed more widely?

I believe China also has working thorium reactors.  Thorium
is much more abundant than uranium; there are extensive
reserves in the United States itself.  Why let adverse
preconceptions born from experience with 40-year-old uranium
reactor designs hamper consideration of this promising
alternative?  Do we have to wait for others to prove its

Dave Ecklein


* response to Reich's Truth About the American Economy

puzzlements addressed to Shorter work TIMErs(SWTers),

In the following excerpt from his recent Congressional
testimony, Reich said:

But contrary to popular mythology, trade and technology have
not reduced the overall number of American jobs. Their more
profound effect has been on pay. Rather than be out of work,
most Americans have quietly settled for lower real wages, or
wages that have risen more slowly than the overall growth of
the economy per person. Although unemployment following the
Great Recession remains high, jobs are slowly returning. But
in order to get them, many workers have to accept lower pay
than before.

Then he goes on to cite as coping mechanism 2, between 1)
women entering the labor force and 3) debt

Coping mechanism No. 2: Everyone works longer hours. By the
mid 2000s it was not uncommon for men to work more than 60
hours a week and women to work more than 50. A growing
number of people took on two or three jobs. All told, by the
2000s, the typical American worker worked more than 2,200
hours a year - 350 hours more than the average European
worked, more hours even than the typically industrious
Japanese put in. It was many more hours than the typical
American middle-class family had worked in 1979 - 500 hours
longer, a full 12 weeks more.

I'd like to see stats for his 'contrary to popular
mythology.'  I wouldn't question that people are working
longer hours for lower hourly wages, yearly salaries, and
pay when you're finished and we'll tell you when that is.

The problem I see is the inability of people who have not
bottomed out -- which includes Reich and most  I'll say
"progressives" as well as conservatives, with stable enough
income to afford the time to comment online -- is they
maintain their right to remain ignorant of a) what the smart
capitalists -- big and little, liberal and conservative,
-- know and are acting on to protect their little families'
from rainy days:  the U.S. dollar is no longer a good
vehicle for ensuring equitable exchanges of different forms
of labor time, and even less so, for exchanging different
forms of world average labor time (ie socially necessary
labor)    That is to say pundits are pontificating as if
ignorant, tho I assume they are doing what they can to
protect the purchasing power of their portfolios.

b)Secondly they maintain the right to remain ignorant of the
law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.  I think
the limits to growth people on the SWT list "get" this,
though not necessarily through the same set of analytic
glasses that convince me.  To wit:  the high wages and
benefits enjoyed by  organized industrial labor in the U.S.
and Europe depended on their producing more units of equal
use value in much less time than other (less competitive)
workers producing items of similar use; AND even more
importantly, US and European high wages and benefits
depended on the fact that their commodities of necessity,
purchases they had to make (cars, computers, Armani suits?)
to do and keep their jobs (reproduce their labor power)
consumer commodities they had to purchase with their pay
contained less world average labor time than the items they
produced (and that were sold. Keynesians recognize
overproduction as a problem; some see compounded by  their

I've been critiqued on the list by mainstream academic
economists for the limitation of my terms of analysis to
those used by Marx and Engels and encouraged to note that
economists now see fit to seek ways to calculate the cost of
depleting non renewable resources at one end  and
"positional values" at the other. I have no problem seeing
any commodity one must purchase -- eg Armani suit, Country
Club membership -- to get and keep one's job as a use value
embodying measurable world average labor time, which may or
not be realized.  And certainly the real value around which
the price of non renewable resources fluctuates can be
computed by measuring the world average labor time added in
extracting them AND in manipulating the price we pay.  The
labor performed by price manipulators is onerous and
difficult.  I suspect they spend as much of their time
feeling like slaves as like masters.  We should free them.

I'm open to any non violently pursuable reform that
guarantees the otherwise unemployable -- whose  skill sets
range more broadly than I can conceive -- a livable wage in
exchange for 20 hours of labor, bossed time, a week.   I
would not discriminate against former price manipulators,
lobbyists, hedgefund packagers.

(The cynic in me notes that right now it looks like the
labor is going to be the labor of taking and passing a urine
test in Florida in exchange for receiving Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families.  Maybe drug testing is The
Growth industry. What does Krammer say?)

It does sound like slavery; doing as you are bade to
subsist.  Yet, I do not want to return to the cave I believe
human progress may be measured -- in  quantitative equal
interval, universally standardized units, units of time,
time free from time spent doing as you are bade to subsist,
time free from labor, free time  as opposed to labor time.
I also want to believe it is possible for wage slaves to
control Congress and the Executive, via which the conditions
of labor and subsistence may be defined in the interest of
the wage slaves, not the slavers.

When I first began following this list, years and at least
one computer ago, it struck me that we could measure and
compare countries' and companies' "degrees of freedom" as
paid time off.  Someone wrote back "Let Freetime ring."
Contributors to SWT have made huge progress

peggy dobbins, phd 
sociology as a form of art


* New York Photo Exhibit - Builder Levy portrait photos
June 29 - August 13


A group exhibition at the FLOMENHAFT GALLERY
Featuring a special selection of Builder Levy photographs

June 29th  --  August 13th
Tues. - Sat. 10:30 - 5pm

547 West 27th street Suite 200
New York, NY 10001
(212) 268-4952

The book, Builder Levy Photographer will be available at the

Eleanor Flomenhaft, the gallery director selected six gold-
toned gelatin silver print and platinum print photographs by
Builder Levy, along with work by the photographers Carrie
Mae Weems, the Gerlovins and Neil Folberg. Other artists
selected for the show include Emma Amos, Siona Benjamin,
Mira Lehr, Roger Shimomura, Linda Stein and Estelle Kessler

Opening reception Wednesday June 29th 2011
6 - 8pm

It would give me great pleasure to see you at the opening!

Please note: To respond, use my email below.
Builder Levy: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Author of: Builder Levy Photographer and
Images of Appalachian Coalfields
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