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Tidbits – Sept. 22, 2022 – Reader Comments: Kidnapping Immigrants; Railroad Workers, Railroad Profits; Religion; Ukraine War; Sweden; My Revolutionary Inspiration, Barbara Ehrenreich; Frank Emspak, Troublemaker; the Worker-Led Upsurge; More..

Reader Comments: Kidnapping Immigrants; Railroad Workers and Railroad Profits; Religion; Ukraine War; Sweden; My Revolutionary Inspiration, Barbara Ehrenreich; New Book: Frank Emspak, Troublemaker; The Worker-Led Upsurge: Amazon and Starbucks; more

Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - Sept. 22, 2022,Portside

Open letter to Gov. DeSantis (Seymour Joseph)
Re: Railroad Companies Almost Inflicted an Economic Disaster on the U.S. (Patrick Dirden; Karl Edler; Elrick Somar; Raymond Parsons; Roger Person; Paula Franco)
Re: How an Attendance Policy Has Led the U.S. to the Brink of a Nationwide Rail Strike (Geoff Mirelowitz)
Re: Strike Settled. Now Let’s Nationalize the Railroads.(Linda)
National Abortion Ban  --  cartoon by Bill Bramhall
Two Quarterbacks  --  meme
Re: How Lawyers From One Giant DC Firm Influenced Trump’s Supreme Court Picks (Jean Douthwright)
Re: Modeling the Future of Religion in America (George Lessard; Maurice Wade; Tom Conroy)
Re: Peace Activists Hit the Streets From DC to San Francisco Urging Ceasefire in Ukraine (Ethan Young; Stan Nadel; Fred Niles; George Fish)
Re: Ukraine’s Tale of Two Colonizations (Jan Gilbrecht; Ethan Young)
Re: They Will Beat Their Swords Into Plowshares (Stan Nadel)
Re: Sweden: Right-Wing Coalition Wins Election by the Narrowest of Margins (Jennifer Nouri)
Re: Incarceration on TV Is Nothing Like the Prison Where I Live (Linda Gillison)

Resources:

My Revolutionary Inspiration, Barbara Ehrenreich (Lynne Segal in The Boston Review)
New Book: Frank Emspak, Troublemaker: Saying No to Power

 

Announcements:

The Worker-Led Upsurge: Amazon and Starbucks - September 23 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)
Examining Gil Scott-Heron's Genius - September 28 (Institute of Politics Policy and History (IPPH)- University of the District of Columbia)

 

Open letter to Gov. DeSantis
 

 

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

Congratulations on that stunt you pulled with the migrants. Lying about where they were headed and that they could expect work papers, whatever, was really neat.

I presume you got the idea from a much earlier and more tragic stunt pulled by the Nazis in those concentration camps — telling the prisoners they were going to take showers when they were actually going to be gassed to death.

I hope you realize that what you did is costly for you. It's widely being called “cruel” and “inhumane.” But so what? Who cares what people think about you? Politics is a nasty profession, and you, Governor, top the Nasty list.

Good luck. You'll need it.

Seymour Joseph

Re: Railroad Companies Almost Inflicted an Economic Disaster on the U.S.
 

Grateful, but more work needs to be done. Train and Engine crews need stronger leave policies. Negotiation teams believed the root problem is money. The real problem is quality of life. The class one RR’s have implemented draconian attendance policies that punish crews for taking time off for everything from routine physicals to bereavement leave. While the accommodations from the class one railroads are a good start, they need to go further by eliminating the attendance policies completely, allowing crews adequate rest times, etc. The real motive is to eliminate crews by attrition and terminations and allow for one person crews. Imagine one person controlling a two mile train hauling a million plus gallons of ethanol?

Patrick Dirden

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

They set the country up for disaster.

 But they never got blamed by anyone in main stream media or politics.

 

There will be no accountability.  And the supply chain and its costs will still be broken

Karl Edler

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

The actual reason for the conflict between railroad workers and their employers. The potential strike or lockout was not because of any dispute over pay, but because of inhumane attendance policies that currently mean railroad engineers and conductors are either working or “on call” 90 percent of the time. When they’re on call, they can be summoned to work on two hours’ notice or less, and then may be away from home for days at a time. Workers report that they have no sick days, paid or unpaid.  weekends. A wife of an engineer told Vice, “They go to work sick, they miss funerals of loved ones, they miss final goodbyes to parents on hospice, they miss holidays, birthdays, all of it.”

Elrick Somar

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

What did you expect? The railroad capitalists, among others, run the government....it's not "our" government and in this sense it's not "our" country....not yet.

This highlights the true elephant-in-the-room question.

Until the working class fights in it's own name, no improvements in our conditions of life and work can be wrest from the bosses. Until the working class take control of the government away from the capitalists, they will continue to wreck havoc upon us.

Raymond Parsons

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Many companies view there workers not as assets but rather as financial liability

Roger Person

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Thanks President and the hard working peeps.

Though they probably deserve much better!

Paula Franco

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: How an Attendance Policy Has Led the U.S. to the Brink of a Nationwide Rail Strike
 

"The rage among RR workers over their intolerable working and living conditions has been widely underestimated for months. This was captured by the action of the Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) appointed by Biden that recommended a contract settlement that rejected these concerns.

"Details concerning the most important issue fueling the anger of RR workers are only beginning to emerge. That issue is relief from draconian attendance policies that deny workers adequate time off for rest, family, and medical needs. Whatever concessions the billionaire RR owners may have made at the last minute were only the result of the strike deadline that was set for 12:01 am September 16. Until RR workers themselves can read and discuss the proposed contract, nothing is settled."

Railroad Workers Will Have Final Word on National Contract

Geoff Mirelowitz

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Strike Settled. Now Let’s Nationalize the Railroads.
 

Settled? Have the members voted??

Linda

National Abortion Ban  --  cartoon by Bill Bramhall

Bill Bramhall's editorial cartoon for Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, after republicans introduced a 15-week abortion ban in the Senate. 

Bill Bramhall

September 15, 2022
New York Daily News

Two Quarterbacks  --  meme

Facebook Tweet
WomenForJustice

September 17, 2022

Re: How Lawyers From One Giant DC Firm Influenced Trump’s Supreme Court Picks
 

Follow the law firm....

Just like "follow the money"....

Jean Douthwright

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Modeling the Future of Religion in America
 

Not a day too soon for the rest of humanity …

George Lessard

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

"I like your Christ, but not your Christianity." -- Gandhi

Maurice Wade

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Good news.

Tom Conroy

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Peace Activists Hit the Streets From DC to San Francisco Urging Ceasefire in Ukraine
 

Has anyone seen an elephant? I swear there was one in the room. Oh, there he is - making a quick, neutral walk-on in the article about peace in Ukraine. Putin.

How can we discuss the Ukraine war by denying agency to the man who ordered it? Marcy Winograd calls it "a proxy war." The suggestion is that Ukraine is a US proxy. Who is Russia a proxy for? There is nothing proxy about a gigantic military blasting foreign civilians to bits in their own homes. The US empire's endless trail of gore cannot and should not be nullified in past and present history. At the same time, the idea that we nullify Putin as the #1 warmonger in Ukraine, as his invading army rages through a far weaker neighbor, would put out the pilot light of internationalism.

Ethan Young

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

More like surrender activists in my opinion-- given that a cease fire in place now would leave Ukraine crippled and at the mercy of Putin's imperialism.

Stan Nadel

      =====

Incredible this article appears at the same time that the invading army is suffering military defeat and is being pushed back by the people and army of those being invaded.  The invading army is now mobilizing a reserve force of 300,000, and get this, there are those that are calling on people who are suffering at the hands of murder, plunder and foreign invasion to surrender and "negotiate". Just incredible.

Fred Niles

      =====

Negotiations that preserve the territorial integrity of the Ukraine are the only acceptable ones; negotiations that benefit Russia for illegally, immorally attacking the Ukraine and attempting to undermine its independence, that reward Russia with Ukrainian territory, are not acceptable. 

Just as in the negotiations between the US and the North Vietnamese to end the Vietnam War in the 1960s-1970s, the US antiwar movement demanded then that there be no "negotiated" giving up of Vietnamese territory to the US, because, same as with Russia today, the US was in the wrong, so must that be the US antiwar position today! 

Our antiwar position on the Ukraine must be the same as was our antiwar position on Vietnam back then, and must steadfastly stand now against Russian invasion and annexation, and for the independence and territorial integrity of the Ukraine. A "negotiated settlement" to the war that degrades or sacrifices Ukrainian independence and territorial integrity is negotiating Russia's "successful" aggression against a smaller nation by a larger one--same as Vietnam vs. the US back some over five decades ago.

George Fish

Re: Ukraine’s Tale of Two Colonizations
 

I'm sorry, but I missed the explanation about how neo-colonization by Russia would be worse than neo-colonization by the US. Could someone explain that to me? How about a Ukrainian referendum on that?

Jan Gilbrecht

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

      =====

Where can Ukraine be expected to turn, but the west? If they win the war, they will be screwed that way. Will the working people be ok with nationalism that trades anti-Russia for permanent annexation to US/NATO's hind end? Maybe a long time. In the immediate run, their choice is understandable. In the long run, things could take a different turn. But maybe not so long. People make democracy; states follow or react.

Ethan Young

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: They Will Beat Their Swords Into Plowshares
 

This is classic appeasement, let the Ukraine go the way of the Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War and Czechoslovakia after Munich (after all don't the Sudeten Germans have real grievances?) and all will be well. It was nonsense then and nonsense now.  Of course war is an environmental and human disaster, but sometimes there's no avoiding it and postponing it only makes it worse.

Stan Nadel

Re: Sweden: Right-Wing Coalition Wins Election by the Narrowest of Margins
 

Sweden: Right-Wing Coalition Wins Election by the Narrowest of Margins

Jennifer Nouri

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

Re: Incarceration on TV Is Nothing Like the Prison Where I Live
 

Sensationalism must be part of it. But staging the false narrative that the incarcerated MUST be incarcerated for reasons of PUBLIC SAFETY??? That's the story told by the carceral state to increase police, surveillance, and prison budgets.

Linda Gillison

Posted on Portside's Facebook page

My Revolutionary Inspiration, Barbara Ehrenreich

Lynne Segal in The Boston Review, September 15, 2022

Remembrances of the late author have focused on her best-selling Nickel and Dimed with only rare acknowledgement of the major roles she played in women’s liberation and U.S. socialism.

"None of the obituaries I have read of feminist fighter, activist, and writer Barbara Ehrenreich come close to capturing her significance to the movement, apart from the one penned by her lifelong friend Deirdre English for Mother Jones. Nearly all others give center stage to her powerful best-seller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001), a stirring undercover account of the appalling poverty, stress, and disrespect faced by the working poor, especially women. Written at the beginning of twenty-first century, it remains a shocking description of the obscene inequality characterizing our times. It is a book that any person of progressive leanings will applaud.

However, by the time Nickel and Dimed was published, Ehrenreich had already had a long career stretching back to the heyday of women’s liberation, when she’d left her indelible mark on the movement by battling to preserve within it the revolutionary socialist current initially at the heart of Western feminism. First and foremost she was, and remained, the archetypal socialist feminist."

Read the full article here

New Book: Frank Emspak, Troublemaker: Saying No to Power
 

Reviewed by James Young

TROUBLEMAKER: Saying No to Power

by Frank Emspak

Publisher: Frank Emspak; 326 pages

August 15, 2022

ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8218038915

Order from Barnes & Noble

Readers will be pleased that Frank Emspak wrote this memoir in the language used by people in everyday life. That is in keeping with an author who claims “Class consciousness at birth” and who urges others to organize democratic unions and worksites. Emspak believes that his recounting of his and others’ successes, failures, and stalemates over sixty-odd years of activism will aid new generations as they meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. He values the rise and important gains made by identity movements concerning matters grounded largely in sex, race, climate change , and other weighty issues, but Emspak – who’s both a skilled machinist and a doctoral-level historian – finds that the crux still revolves around decisions and actions that are rooted deeply in the world of work, its purposes, and its control and its impact  on everything else. 

The angles from which the author looks at his life are several, and the narrative therefore is not a smooth series of cause-and-effect events and relationships. But, not only is that to be expected of a life’s tale that includes an unconventional family background, a razor-sharp mind, and a high degree of interest in the way things work and how they may be improved through democratic labor unions and progressively conscious and socially skilled allies for social change. And the timing of this radicalized life? Begun just prior to the births of baby boomers in the USA and still making trouble for elites. Perfect for a hindsight and a foresight from today. Read this book.

[James Young is Professor of History Emeritus at Edinboro University, Pennsylvania, is the author of Union Power: The United Electrical Workers in Erie, Pennsylvania. He has been a union member all his life and a worker in several unions, including the SEIU and USWA. President of the Pennsylvania Labor History Society.]

The Worker-Led Upsurge: Amazon and Starbucks - September 23 (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies)

Join us in-person at SLU or virtually via Zoom.  Click here to register.

PLEASE NOTE:  in-person attendees must bring proof of vaccination and be masked during event.

CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

25 West 43rd Street, 19th Floor

New York, NY 10036

(646) 313-8300

Examining Gil Scott-Heron's Genius - September 28 (Institute of Politics Policy and History (IPPH)- University of the District of Columbia)

More information