Reader Comments: Parkland vs. NRA; Trump's Arming of Teachers - Not; Criticism of Pledge to Transform the Resistance, and America; Labor - War on Workers, Labor in the 70s, Janus, West Virginia Teachers on Strike; Science; Sex and Drugs; I AM 2018 - The Fight Continues - Memphis - April 2 - 4; and more.....
Portside, Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements and Shorts - March 1, 2018
Gotta get into long-term and long-form political orgainzing: fundraising, fostering other chapters/groups in other hot spots, voter registration drives, donations to ally politicians, petitions, working on the campaigns of ally politicians, not just demonstrations and social media views....
I am heartened by the backbone, the raw emotion, and the stirring, profound messages I've heard from so many. I am uplifted by the courage and determination in on-target messages--"Congress is failing us; our President is failing us"--Wow! I am thrilled hearing the empowerment that's resulted from the grief of horrible events experienced ... empowerment vs. victimization. Appropriate and healthy anger, Yes. God bless all of you.
Somewhere in the news reporting I heard that [the laws won't get changed until enough people stand up for a change]. How about starting a "go fund me" page? My gut says thousands of [$5] contributions would [send a concrete message] to Congress about the number of people in this country who desperately want gun laws changed, who believe it's possible to create safe schools again. The picture of hundreds at a Parkland vigil shores up my belief in community. The resolute resolve of Douglas-Stoneman's students bolsters my hope for a different future. Wayne Dyer: "What we are for, empowers us. What we are against, weakens us." I support the strong healthy power I sense coming from your corner of our world. Thank you.
A survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., has called on travelers to boycott spending spring break in the state until gun control legislation is passed.
"Let's make a deal DO NOT come to Florida for spring break unless gun legislation is passed. These [politicians] won't listen to us so maybe [they'll] listen to the billion dollar tourism industry in FL," David Hogg tweeted Saturday.
"Better Idea: Spend your spring break in Puerto Rico, it's a beautiful place with amazing people. They could really use the economic support that the government has failed to provide," he said in a separate tweet.
The gun control debate in Florida and across the county has intensified in the days after the shooting, with many, including Hogg, calling for stricter gun laws.
President Trump has called for "comprehensive" background checks, in addition to calling for the end of bump stock sales and a rise in the age to purchase weapons like the AR-15 to 21.
Various Republican lawmakers and the National Rifle Association (NRA) have spoken out against raising the age to buy an AR-15.
Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D) has vowed to introduce legislation banning assault weapons.
“We’re going to introduce legislation to make sure that assault weapons are illegal in every part of this country,” Deutch said last week.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office has been under scrutiny after it was reported that officers allegedly failed to enter the building after responding to calls about a shooter.
Hogg on Saturday defended an officer who did not enter the shooting scene.
"He — just like every other police officer out there at heart — is a good person. He didn't take action in this event, and I can't explain why ... there are no words to explain why he wouldn't take action to take out this individual, but I think it's a good example of if he didn't take action and four others didn't, I mean, who does?" Hogg told MSNBC.
This agenda fails because it does not address wars and the MIC
As a longtime anti-war and anti-imperialism activist and a conscientious objector, and a board member of the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, I am extremely disappointed that this plan of transformation excludes any mention of the wasteful expenses in lives and dollars of the many endless U.S. wars we are now waging, the empire of more than 800 military bases in 80 nations, the Special Operations forces conducting clandestine operations in more than 145 nations, the Obama-Trump plans to "modernize" our omnicidal nuclear weapons arsenal, and the more than one trillion dollars wasted each year on these wars and this empire. How can we transform the U.S. politically and economically while ignoring the biggest elephant in the room, a militarism budget which takes more than 65% of the discretionary budget? I support everything in this pledge, but I cannot sign it with such a glaring omission to it.
This article and discourse is an important and comprehensive contribution to understanding how the labor movement came to be where it is presently. It has a wealth of information for those who are interested. I lived through this period ,actually from the sixties to the present as a union member,officer and activist. 57 yrs as a member in good standing.
Maybe I missed it,but,I believe that the critical result of Patco was the legitimizing of “permanent replacements”. Workers are courageous , and will fight when called upon to do so. However, when scabs were temporary until a strike was concluded it was a different call to battle. After Patco ,employers often forced strikes by threatening a lock out. Strikes stopped and still are rarely seen. Without the ability to withhold ones labor, the ability to resist and fight is diminished. In no way am I suggesting workers can’t fight, or won’t fight. But I am saying that this is one of the most critical, if not the most critical reasons for employer success since Patco.
Just finished reading the wonderful interview with Lane Windham. Thought you might be interested in a recent article I wrote for Our Times, a popular labour magazine in Canada.
I argue that one of the oft-hidden tools of the employer offensive is the lockout, especially in Canada. I thought your readers might be interested in this piece. Find attached.
Of course the attack on "agency shop" -- in which non-union members pay a fee for representation -- is intended to weaken unions. That miserable trump-murdoch mouthpiece the NY Post says it directly. The right wants to weaken unions in large money so as to pay workers less. The progress, indeed, the existence, of this legally dubious but politically understandable law suit is entirely a result of the elections won by the misbegotten GOP. Personally, I don't feel I know how to help on this front. (Other than the obvious: defeat each and every trump ally.)
Below are the web addresses of two articles that I recently published calling on government to actively promote unionization in order to effectively counter rising inequality. I am Canadian-based (although I am a dual citizen) and both articles were written with a Canadian audience in mind. Much the same argument could be made with respect to the US because the US is a member of the Intl Labor Organization and has a treaty responsibility to promote collective bargaining and is also bound by other intl human rights documents. This is an argument that could be made by the Democratic Left in the US but it is not happening now. Instead labor and the left is on the defensive when it comes to unionization.
USA interfering in the sovereignty of Venezuela gets virtually no attention in the corporate mainstream media. They invaded Iraq when Hussein suggested going off the US petro-dollar. They invaded Libya when Gaddafi suggested going off the US petro-dollar. Watch now as the US corporate media will begin a propaganda campaign to invade Venezuela but not mention the petro-dollar at all.
As a random reader of misc. emails that float through my computer, I feel honor bound to thank and congratulate you on your position on this important matter. (My only ties to the MLA are extremely fragile; my father, Charles H. Shattuck, and professor of English and theatre at the Univ. Illinois, Urbana, was an active and interested member, and I worked as a 'nonacademic' staff members at the Univ of Calif, Berkeley, Near Eastern Studies Dept for several years). I was also a visitor/guest in Palestine several years ago, where I was very impressed by the evidence of Israel's inhumane and historically unjustified role in the occupied territories. The stubbornness and widespread nature of academia's view in this country relative to ongoing support of Israel's role is depressing and tragic, and I think your action is so needed and, hopefully, useful as we al struggle for fuller debate of the issues.
Since 2008, as even Forbes magazine has pointed out, the U.S. state has spent trillions of dollars bailing out large corporations; many that were and are effectively bankrupt, whilst imposing austerity on the working class. This, at times, also saw states assisting corporations by taking on their bad debts and toxic assets—wracked up through wild bouts of speculation—by swapping this financial junk for government backed bonds. Quantitative Easing (QE) too has seen states assisting capitalists through creating money and handing to over to corporations. Far from using this money wisely, corporations have gone on a speculative binge, leading to souring stock markets.
.....this is why the military loves 18 year olds !
Capn' Steve Krug
The examples in which gender is mentioned are all male. The WHO chart indicates the more extreme risk-taking in males. How much, if anything, does the chart tell us about female adolescents? We might have learned much more from a fuller story, and from a discussion of gender comparison.
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) is a college-based officer commissioning program. ROTC produces officers for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces except the U.S. Coast Guard. ROTC students are offered college scholarships in exchange for extended periods of active military service.
During the Viet Nam War, Committees Against ROTC formed on campuses throughout the nation. Protesting students pushed ROTC programs out of many colleges and universities. Some ROTC buildings, including Stanford University and Kent State University, were torched. CSPG's Poster of the Week was part of the national movement to end ROTC recruiting/training in schools.
Banning ROTC became illegal in 1994, under the Solomon Amendment, which denied federal funding to any university that prevented the military from "maintaining, establishing or operating" ROTC on its campus. Since 2001, and the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act, high schools that receive federal funds are required to provide student contact information to military recruiters upon request and to allow recruiters to have the same access to students as employers and colleges, unless parents explicitly request in writing that their children's information NOT be given to military recruiters. Most parents are unaware of this.
The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) is the related federally sponsored program for high schools and middle schools. Last week, 19 year old Nikolas Cruz massacred 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. JROTC trained Cruz to be a sharpshooter. He had also been part of a four-person JROTC marksmanship team at the school which had received $10,000 in funding from the National Rifle Association (NRA).
On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives blocked a bid to bring up a bill to ban sales of assault-style rifles in the state. They wouldn't even allow the bill to be discussed. If you want to be even more outraged, check out the 2017 NRA Recruiting ad-Fascism in the 21st century couldn't be clearer. If you want to be inspired and hopeful, listen to the students challenging the politicians that should be protecting them.
Tuesday, March 6, at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Goethe-Institut New York
30 Irving Place
New York, NY 10003
RSVP for the event here.
Because seating is limited, please register for this event
With their recent electoral successes across Europe and the United States, far-right parties seem to have become an “acceptable” political force in politics. The far right, however, is not confined to the populist “brand” of Marine Le Pen, Victor Orbán, or Donald Trump but contains all kinds of organizations and individuals—from populist to radical to outright terrorist.
A prominent example of the latter is Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people when he detonated a bomb in a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Another, more recent case in point is the far-right terrorist group known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU) in Germany. Between 2000 and 2007, the NSU murdered ten people and carried out three bombings as well as several bank robberies. The group was embedded in a well-known and widely spun network of right-wing organizations, many of which, like the white supremacist Blood & Honour, operate internationally.
At this event, we want to go full circle on the far right. During the first part of the event, Chip Berlet will speak about ethno-nationalist and neo-Fascist groups, drawing out similarities and differences between the US and Europe. The second part is going to focus on how the German NSU could remain active for seven years despite the fact that 160 police officers had been tasked nationwide with the investigation of the murders. Doris Liebscher will explain how the failures of the German security authorities in the NSU case point toward collusion and structural racism.
Chip Berlet is a scholar, journalist, and activist who has been writing about right-wing social and political movements for over 30 years. He co-authored the award-winning book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (Guilford 2000).
Doris Liebscher is a legal scholar, who works with the Humboldt Law Clinic Grund- und Menschenrechte at Humboldt University Berlin. She is co-editor of the book Den NSU-Komplex analysieren (transcript 2017), and co-founder and chair of the anti-discrimination office Saxony.
The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place on Tuesday, March 6, at 7:00pm (doors open at 6:30pm) at the Goethe-Institut New York (30 Irving Pl., New York, NY 10003). It is organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office and Avi Feldman, curator of the exhibition on the NSU Tribunal which is currently on display at MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38. The event will be followed by a reception
David Kotelchuck will discuss his book Abe and Julia: Honor and Survival During Hoover’s Reign (Blue Thread Books and Music, 2016).
Tuesday, March 6 at 4:30 PM
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
A reception with wine and cheese will follow the lecture. This event is sponsored by the Frederic Ewen Center.
Dr. David Kotelchuck is Professor Emeritus of Occupational and Environmental Health at the Hunter College School of Health Sciences, City University of New York. His Ph.D. is in high-energy physics from Cornell University, and he holds an MPH in Occupational Health from Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Kotelchuck has worked as director of health and safety for the United Electrical Workers union and was a founder of the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health at Hunter. He has a long record of civil rights, labor, environmental, and public health activism, and has worked closely with several unions on worker safety issues. He and his wife Ronda, who has had a distinguished career in preventive and primary-care health delivery, have two children and six grandchildren.
1968. Memphis, Tennessee. The heart of the Jim Crow South.
African American sanitation workers were called “boy.” They faced poverty wages, a plantation-style work environment, and degrading, unsafe working conditions. The city refused to recognize their union, or even their basic humanity.
After two sanitation workers were crushed to death on the job, 1,300 of their AFSCME Local 1733 brothers stood together, risked everything, and went on strike. They demanded dignity and respect. They marched in the streets carrying placards with four simple, but powerful words: “I AM A MAN.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. traveled to Memphis to rally the community and express his solidarity because he understood the connection between labor rights, economic rights, human rights, and civil rights. On the evening of April 3 at the historic Mason Temple, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) International Headquarters, Dr. King delivered his famous “Mountaintop” speech. Less than 24 hours later, he was gunned down on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of this watershed moment. On April 2-4, 2018, AFSCME, COGIC, and civil, human and workers’ rights leaders will gather in Memphis for a series of events honoring Dr. King’s legacy and the courage and sacrifice of the sanitation workers.
The I AM 2018 initiative is about drawing inspiration from the heroes of Memphis and connecting their struggle to today’s challenges.
I AM 2018 isn’t just a reflection on the past; it’s a call to action for the future. An urgent call to fight poverty and prejudice, advance the freedom of all working people, and remind America that there can be no racial justice without economic justice and no economic justice without racial justice.
AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services, and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.
The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) headquartered in Memphis, TN is one of the oldest and largest Pentecostal denominations in the world and the 4th largest Protestant group in the United States, with churches in 87 countries worldwide and a membership of nearly 6.5 million adherents.
Join us for a two-day conference at Mason Temple, COGIC’s global headquarters, where Dr. King gave his last, prophetic speech. The conference will focus on developing social, racial and economic justice strategies for the years ahead. The Mountaintop Conference is aimed at: Taking a scholarly look at Dr. King’s legacy and how it applies to modern times. Showcasing contemporary solutions for issues plaguing low-income communities of color.
The Mountaintop Conference is aimed at:
1) Taking a scholarly look at Dr. King’s legacy and how it applies to modern times.
2)Showcasing contemporary solutions for issues plaguing low-income communities of color.