January 2013, Week 2


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Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
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Sun, 13 Jan 2013 18:09:07 -0500
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Tidbits - Reader Comments & Announcements = January 13, 2013

* Re: Differing Views - How Should the Left View Hagel's
  Nomination (David McReynolds)
* Re: 'Flip the Script' - Jobs over Deficits (Tom Gogan)
* Re: Why Jobs Must Be Our Goal Now (Laurel MacDowell)
* Jill Benderly 1955-2013
* Report from Iraq - Video Available (Michael Zweig)
  York demonstration at Greek Consulate


* Re: Differing Views - How Should the Left View Hagel's

Let me come at this from a slightly different angle. As a
socialist, of course I would prefer a Vietnam Vet from the
left to be named Secretary of War (sorry, I mean Defense). And
as a pacifist, I'd prefer we abolished that post. After all,
while Chuck Hagel was fighting in Vietnam, I was fighting to
get him and all the other US troops out of Vietnam. And as a
member of the "gay community" I could always take offense
about his documented bigotry of some years ago.

But in this imperfect world, where whoever we get as Defense
Secretary is going to be supportive of the current
political/economic system, let me briefly suggest the values
of Hagel's nomination.

First, very rare in Washington - so rare it makes Hagel seem
positively eccentric - he actually volunteered for Vietnam,
where he saw service in the front line. This sets him apart
from almost all the neocon crowd, notorious for their distance
from the battles to which they would consign our youth. Hagel
actually knows what it is like to be in battle, to be scared
out of his wits, to be wounded, to have comrades die in

Second, I value him precisely because he is politically
incorrect. Sure, he should not have made a nasty crack about a
gay ambassador, and he has since apologized for it. But how
different was the Chuck Hagel who made that comment more than
ten years ago from the majority of men in the military? Sure,
he should have said "Israeli" rather than "Jewish" in
referring to the Israeli-directed political pressures on
Washington. (These days, given the weird enthusiasm of many
Christian conservatives for Israel - conservatives who, behind
the backs of their Jewish friends, make those anti-Semitic
comments for which the Rev. Billy Graham was famous in his
informal chats with Nixon - we are dealing with a combination
of Netanyahu supporters and Christian Zionists, while the
Jewish community is increasingly divided on the matter of the
Israel of today). But he was on target - the House and Senate
has very few members who would risk the slightest public
dissent from Israeli policy.

Third, I think Obama is gently letting Netanyahu know that the
White House is going to cut a more independent line in the
Middle East.

But fourth, and most important, Hagel has been willing to
admit when he was wrong, and to speak with vigor about US
policy when he thought it was wrong. He is likely to be a
restraining force within the President's circle on matters
such as an attack on Iran.

So I'm delighted with this appointment. Which doesn't mean we
can relax - the forces for war with Iran are active and must
be opposed. Those of us who oppose the current Iranian regime,
but do not see the Iranian people as the enemy, need to
mobilize and be heard. In that regard I think Hagel gives us a
slight edge.

David McReynolds


* Re: 'Flip the Script' - Jobs over Deficits

NOW Bill is TALKING !  Mass disruptive nonviolent pressure
from below -- workers, women, immigrants -- and our allies --
is what's called for.  Starting with the fight for JOBS - and
link that to cutting back runaway Pentagon spending --
Electoral alone is a mousetrap.

Tom Gogan


* Re: Why Jobs Must Be Our Goal Now

I agree with Robert Reich. Jobs should be the focus, but we
must link to "green jobs." We need to change our energy regime
and grow solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy sectors. We
need to make smaller cars, and more hybrids. We need to better
retrofit our buildings. All of this work makes for jobs
because responding to a crisis such as global warming means
mobilizing everyone to move in the same direction to reduce
carbon. If we can link that goal with employment, people will
be working more and carbon will go down. We need people to
actively push their politicians at all levels to move in this
direction. As consumers we can create demand by demanding
local food, smaller cars, more alternative forms of energy.
Make this your new year's resolution. Push for movement on the
issue of global warming or sooner or later we will be sitting
ducks for disaster.

Laurel MacDowell


* Jill Benderly 1955-2013

International social justice development activist, educator
and feminist Jill Benderly died on January 10 in her hometown,
Washington, DC, after a struggle with colon cancer. She was

Benderly had worked in Eastern Europe since 1986 and lived in
Zagreb, Croatia, from 1994 to 2010. From 1994 to 2006, along
with her co-founder Lael Stegall, Benderly co-directed World
Learning's STAR Network (Strategies, Training, Advocacy and
Resources), a $10 million project supporting women's social
change leadership in the Yugoslav successor states. She served
as founder and Academic Director for SIT Study Abroad's
program on Gender, Transformation and Civil Society in the
Balkans and later as Associate Academic Dean for Europe at
World Learning/SIT Study Abroad.

Benderly earned an A.B. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton
University and an M.A. in Women's Studies and East European
Studies from George Washington University. She published,
presented, and taught extensively on new social movements,
women's empowerment, feminism and nationalism, trafficking in
human beings, and the impact of international assistance in
European conflict zones. She co-edited the book, Independent
Slovenia: Origins, Movements, Prospects (St. Martins, 1994).
At the time of her death, she and co-author Jill Irvine were
preparing a book with the working title Entangling Encounters:
Women's Activism and International Involvement in the Balkans.

Prior to her work in the Balkans, Benderly was active in
reproductive rights organizing and was an editor for the
Guardian Newsweekly.

Donations in her memory can be sent to the Balkan Women's
Fund, created with the Tides Foundation according to her
instructions. Donations will go to women's groups she selected
to carry on the work that was so much a part of her life in
the countries of former Yugoslavia. To make a donation, send a
check payable to Tides Foundation, and put Balkan Women's Fund
on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to Evan Kraft, 5233
Nebraska Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20015.

Benderly is survived by her husband Evan Kraft and their son,
Sasha Benderly Kraft. She will be missed by many, many people
on two continents.

[submitted to Portside by friends of Jill]


* Report from Iraq - Video Available

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I recently returned from Basra, Iraq where I attended the
fourth Iraq Civil Society Solidarity Initiative conference,
involving Iraqi unionists, women's rights activists,
environmentalists, and others seeking to establish a
democratic, non-violent political process in Iraq.

Here is the link to a report-back I presented in New York City
on December 13, 2012 - over 100 images with the talk as a
soundtrack.  The link also allows you to see the video
/Meeting Face to Face: The Iraq-U.S. Labor Solidarity Tour
/that documented the 2005 visit to the United States of six
Iraqi labor leaders, many of whom were also at the Basra
conference, and other videos you may find interesting.


The people of Iraq are facing many of the same issues we face
in the United States - privatization, attacks on workers and
their unions, environmental degradation, the oppression of
women.  But there are many threads of social activism in Iraq
with which we in the United States can establish links of
solidarity.  To learn more about labor solidarity with Iraq,
connect with U.S. Labor Against the War at <
www.uslaboragainstwar.org <http://www.uslaboragainstwar.org>>.
To learn more about environmental and women's issues raised at
the conference and discussed in the report-back, visit Nature
Iraq at <http://www.natureiraq.org/site/en/> and the Al-Amal
Family Support Center at

with best wishes,

Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
Department of Economics
State University of New York
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384
[log in to unmask] <
mailto:[log in to unmask]>
www.workingclass.sunysb.edu <



In Solidarity with ATHENSANTIFA19JAN, Against Racism,
Homophobia and Violence

Saturday, January 19, 1pm - 3pm
Greek Consulate, 69 East 79th Street, New York City

In solidarity with the people of Greece and all the people of
the world who fight for justice, liberty, equality and freedom
from racial, sexual or other forms of discrimination we call
for a rally at the Greek Consulate General in New York on
Saturday January 19, 2013.

From New York City - one of the centers where the global
financial crisis is orchestrated - we watch in dismay the
unraveling of the social and political disaster in Greece and
in Europe, in general. We daily become witnesses to the cruel
economic policies and the systematic attacks against the
weakest and most destitute groups of our societies.
Immigrants, refugees who flee the US wars in Asia and minority
groups, have been turned into scapegoats subject to racist
public policies, police violence and assaults by the Neo-Nazi
squads of Golden Dawn.

We condemn the Greek government and the EU for dotting the
country with concentration camps. In language lifted straight
from the Nazi lexicon - these so-called `closed-hospitality'
centers - house today an unknown number of people with little
or no access to basic rights stipulated by international law.
FRONTEX has turned the whole country into a concentration camp
because the EU lacks the will to implement a responsible and
humane immigration policy.

We condemn the police violence unleashed in every protest in
the streets of Greece. The heavy use of chemicals, the arrests
of civilians who resist the police brutality, the torturing of
antifascist demonstrators, make it clear that any adherence to
the basic principles and values of democracy has long been

We condemn the Neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn and the mainstream
media that systematically conceal the crimes that Golden Dawn
commit day after day against Muslims, migrants, people of
color, gays, leftists, journalists and anyone who speaks up
against them. We will resist their attempts to make racism,
religious fundamentalism, and homophobia into a rule of life.
We will resist their plan to rewrite the historical record, as
they do when they deny the Holocaust. We will resist when they
obstruct freedom of expression, as they did by closing down
Terrence McNally's play Corpus Christi for offending their
sick moral order.

We fight against racism, religious fundamentalism, homophobia.
We fight for open and free societies and against any form of
discrimination. Join us for the rally at the Greek Consulate
General in New York on January 19, 2013.

Endorsed by Aristeri Kinisi (Greek-American Left Movement) NY,
Syriza NY, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Antarsya NY,
Queens Socialist Alternative, Queens College Socialist Club
(list in formation)

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