Honor International Women's Month
March 22nd
9pm ET, 8pm CT, 7pm MT, and 6pm PT

Join us in honoring the Outstanding Women Leaders in the Mass Movements

March 4th Monday Webinar
From the massive women’s march and rally after the inauguration of President Trump to the mass mobilization of Black Lives Matter, Standing Up for Racial Justice, and a variety of electoral, immigrant rights, and labor campaigns, women have played an extraordinary role in progressive politics.
This panel will discuss the centrality of women in contemporary politics, answering the questions of why women are so critical to the progressive campaigns of our own day and, paradoxically, why many women have gravitated to the right.

Our panelists have studied and worked in a variety of anti-racist, anti-misogynist, and pro-worker and pro-peace movements in the twenty-first century. They will discuss the centrality of women in their organizing and why some women have joined their adversaries.
Attica Scott is a Kentucky State Represenative form Louisville and a long time fighter for rights for all oppressed people. Scott has been an active participant in protests around the police murder of Breonna Taylor since they began.She also drafted and prefiled a bill dubbed "Breonna's Law" that would ban "no-knock" warrants in Kentucky, such as the one officers obtained to enter Taylor's home. Louisville Metro recently passed a law banning such warrants in the city.
In her own words: "I grew up in poverty. I’ve lived paycheck-to-paycheck. I’ve lived in fear of my kids getting sick bc I didn’t have health ins and couldn’t afford a doctor’s visit. I will never forget where I came from or who I represent. I will always stand with you." and
"to our neighbors in Eastern KY.Here are a dozen+ ways to support folks impacted by the winter storms + recent flooding via @HerKentucky Shout-out @hoodtotheholler for organizing 1000s of calls to check on folks. This is community. This is in action."
Anne Lewis is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work reveals working class people fighting for social change. Anne was associate director and assistant camerawoman for Harlan County, U.S.A. She moved to eastern Kentucky and joined the Appalshop cooperative.  

Documentaries she produced, directed, and edited include: To Save the Land and People (SXSW); Justice in the Coalfields (INTERCOM gold plaque); On Our Own Land (duPont-Columbia award); Chemical Valley co-directed with Mimi Pickering (POV); and Fast Food Women (Judges’ Choice, London Film Festival). Other recognized work includes: Evelyn Williams (Juror’s Choice, Black Maria Film Festival); Belinda (CINE Golden Eagle); and Minnie Black's Gourd Band (Retirement Research Foundation Silver Owl)
Robin D.G. Kelley said of Anne Braden: Southern Patriot (with co-director Mimi Pickering): “A magnificent portrait of the Anne Braden I knew: courageous, militantly anti-racist, and radical to the core.” Howard Zinn wrote of Morristown: in the air and sun, "Brings the complex issue of globalization down to its human level." The film was shown at the Library of Congress and toured 16 cities in Mexico with the Ambulante Festival.

Anne teaches film editing at the University of Texas at Austin and serves on the executive board of TSEU-CWA 6186. Her latest documentary, A Strike and an Uprising (in Texas) (audience award, Cine Las Americas) is based on two stories from Texas labor history – the pecan shellers’ strike of 1938 and the Nacogdoches food service workers’ uprising of 1988.
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Fourth Monday Webinar: Monday April 26, 2021, 9 pm Eastern


Speaker: Vince Emanuele

Vince Emanuele says progressives are spending too much time consuming media and not enough time organizing–he sees organizing of the working class and poor as the way forward. This perspective is articulated in a recent Counterpunch essay, https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/02/19/a-framework-to-defeat-the-white-power-movement-organizing-vs-punditry-state-power-and-how-the-left-relates-to-the-police-and-military/?fbclid=IwAR1UI7P4ixoUEpiZOVtgOOu4w8_Hv2uiRAdvfbrtIgcIO48zkKwjRLKnepA
Vincent Emanuele is an activist, writer, and community organizer. Born and raised in the Rust Belt, he joined the United States Marine Corps in 2002. In 2005, he refused orders for a third deployment to Iraq and began working with the anti-war movement. He is the co-founder of PARC (Politics Art Roots Culture) in Northwest, Indiana. Vince’s story is shared in the documentary film On the Bridge by director Olivier Morel.
USMC veterans, Sergio Kochergin & Vince Emanuele have founded PARCMedia, a news and media project that gives a working-class take on issues surrounding politics, ecology, community organizing, war, culture, and philosophy. PARCMEDIA can be followed on: https://www.patreon.com/PARCMEDIA or Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vince_Emanuele, or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1713FranklinSt.
His presentation will be followed by questions and discussion.

The Magic of Dr. Mildred Williamson

From Aids Foundation Chicago
February 25, 2021

By Kennedy Brookins

When I agreed to write a post about Dr. Mildred Williamson, who most recently served as the Executive Director of HIV Services at Ruth M. Rothstein's CORE Center, I thought this would center Mildred ’s career — the accomplishments, metrics and awards. And let’s be clear, she’s got all of those. But as I started talking with Mildred and her colleagues from years past, I realized that her legacy isn’t confined by the ways she fulfilled and exceeded at her job. Her legacy is the humanity she brought to the job itself.

Mildred was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, where her love of people and justice bloomed.

“Social justice has always been my grounding,” Mildred said.
She became deeply involved in social justice movements at age 13, campaigning and marching alongside others with the same heart as hers: a heart for people and a hope that they would be treated as such.

Mildred decided early on to pursue a career in social work and got experience working at various nonprofits around the city before eventually starting her master's program at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Though her initial interest was in maternal health, through various internships she started learning more about mother and child HIV transmissions, which piqued her interest. As graduation approached and the HIV epidemic started rising, she applied for a job at Cook County Hospital in their general HIV program.

“I found that every element of injustice, everything that I cared about, was and is so clearly represented in this epidemic,” Mildred said. “Everything is about an equity lens. That’s what was important to me: horizontal equity in the places I worked. We all bring our strengths and experiences into this work. We all bring value. That’s how we move forward.”

There's a noticeable difference in the way Mildred interacts and cares for those around her. AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC)’s Chief Programs Officer, Simone Koehlinger, spoke about her first time working with Mildred.

“There’s something about Mildred where she makes everyone around her feel that they are welcomed and they have a voice,” Simone said. “She has time for everybody.”
That seems to be the magic of Mildred: Her presence doesn’t intimidate or hoard power; it permits others to tap into theirs.

Ariq Cabbler, Executive Director at Brothers Health Collective, said that Mildred was simply “a game changer.” Most people know while at the Illinois Department of Public Health Mildred led one of the biggest HIV sections in the country. Many remember that she ensured that thousands of people living with HIV were able to get medications through the state’s drug assistance program. And others will recall her leadership of multiple community groups throughout the years. But for Mildred, it wasn’t about redefining a field. Mildred simply wanted to advance health equity and social justice.

When thinking about the road ahead to end the HIV epidemic, Mildred advises the next generation to go back to the basics.

“People are not getting what they need to thrive in society,” Mildred said. “The major interventions we invest in have to tackle the basic elements of what it means to be a human being: food, shelter, safety, education, et cetera. The goal is for our work and for policy to prevent poverty and suffering altogether, not merely help people cope with it.”

When you mention Mildred in conversation, people smile. It’s clear she was more than just a colleague or a boss. She was a friend and endless source of inspiration for many. Though she’s now retired, you are likely to still see Mildred in public health spaces. She hopes to consult when possible and, ultimately, reconnect with her original love of grassroot campaigning.
“The work doesn’t stop,” she said. “I’ll just go at a slower pace now.”

Kennedy Brookins earned her Master's in Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration with a focus on clinical interventions. She currently serves as the Community Outreach and Education Specialist for Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL).
Member of the Month for March
Mildred Williamson
Thank you Mildred for all that you do!!!!!
CCDS has outstanding memebers doing wonderful work. For that reason we want recognize these amazing CCDS members so we are starting Member of the Month recognization. If you have a member you would like to bring forward let Janet Tucker know at jlynjenks@gmail.com
Another Shero to honor this month

(from Carla Wallace on facebook) Today is the anniversary of Anne's death. (3/7) Her words to those of us who are white could never be more needed.

"Southern whites of my generation who got involved in the civil rights movement turned our lives around…Just as it was racism that has shaped our history as a region and as a country, so it was the struggle against racism that has moved our country in a more humane direction. Because they are at the bottom of this society, when People of Color move, the foundation shifts…in a sense the battle is and always has been a battle for the hearts and minds of white people in this country. The fight against racism is our issue. It’s not something that we’re called on to help people of color with. We need to become involved with it as if our lives depended on it because really, in truth, they do."
Solidarity with Bessemer, Alabama Amazon Workers!
Amazon Workers’ Union Drive Reaches Far Beyond Alabama

A vote on whether to form a union at the e-commerce giant’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., has become a labor showdown, drawing the attention of N.F.L. players, and the White House.
The votes on whether to form a union at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., need to be in by the end of the month.Credit...
Bob Miller for The New York Times

reprinted from the New Your Times

  • Published March 2, 2021
  • Updated March 4, 2021, 8:56 a.m. ET

Players from the National Football League were among the first to voice their support. Then came Stacey Abrams, the Democratic star who helped turn Georgia blue in the 2020 election.
The actor Danny Glover traveled to Bessemer, Ala., for a news conference last week, where he invoked the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s pro-union leanings in urging workers at Amazon’s warehouse there to organize. Tina Fey has weighed in, and so has Senator Bernie Sanders.

And on Sunday, President Biden issued a resounding declaration of solidarity with the workers now voting on whether to form a union at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse, without mentioning the company by name. Posted to his official Twitter account, his video was one of the most forceful statements in support of unionizing by an American president in recent memory.
“Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union,” Mr. Biden said.

A unionizing campaign that had deliberately stayed under the radar for months has in recent days blossomed into a star-studded showdown to influence the workers at Amazon, one of the world’s dominant companies whose power has increased exponentially during the pandemic. On one side is the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and its many pro-labor allies in the worlds of politics, sports and Hollywood. On the other is an e-commerce behemoth that has warded off previous unionizing efforts at its U.S. facilities over its more than 25-year history.

The attention is turning this union vote into a referendum not just on working conditions at the Bessemer warehouse, which employs 5,800, but on the plight of low-wage employees and workers of color in particular. Many of the employees in the Alabama warehouse are Black, a fact that the union organizers have highlighted in their campaign seeking to link the vote to the struggle for civil rights in the South.

The retail workers union has a long history of organizing Black workers in the poultry and food production industries, helping them gain basic benefits like paid time off and safety protections and a means to economic security. The union is portraying its efforts in Bessemer as part of that legacy.

“This is an organizing campaign in the right-to-work South during the pandemic at one of the largest companies in the world,” said Benjamin Sachs, a professor of labor and industry at Harvard Law School. “The significance of a union victory there really couldn’t be overstated.”
The warehouse workers began voting by mail on Feb. 8 and the ballots are due at the end of this month. A union can form if a majority of the votes cast favor such a move.

Wes Frazer for The New York Times
Amazon’s countercampaign, both inside the warehouse and on a national stage, has zeroed in on pure economics: that its starting wage is $15 an hour, plus benefits. That is far more than its competitors in Alabama, where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Movement to stop police murders and
end mass incarceration steps up in Los Angeles

By Paul Krehbiel and Estefany Mendez

Families, communities and organizations impacted by the injustices of the criminal justice system in Southern California are stepping up their organizing to support their loved ones while working to change that system. Goals include stopping police brutality and racism, and achieving real rehabilitation and re-integration into a more humane society, not more punishment, incarceration, and murders at the hands of the police and courts.

This movement has been years in the making. There are signs that a new day is coming.
Black Lives Matter conducted weekly protests for years outside the office of former District Attorney, Jackie Lacey for failing to indict killer cops, and demanding that Lacey be removed from office. Lacey did not bring charges against any killer cops, despite police having killed over 500 people, mostly Black and Latinx youth since Lacey was elected DA in 2012. Over 900 people have been killed by police since 2000. Nearly 80% were Black or Latinx; 98% were shot to death. Finally, the carnage and outcry were so great that Lacey was defeated in November 2020 by George Gascon, a reformer pledging to hold cops accountable and to change the system. On his inauguration day, Gascon presented a progressive reform agenda calling for abolishing the death penalty, ending the three-strikes law, reducing lengthy sentences, and shifting the focus toward rehabilitation and away from punishment. He also pledged to work to end “enhancements,” the routine steps prosecutors take to add 10-20 or more years onto the base crime sentence for the defendant allegedly being in a neighborhood gang (no proof is needed), for prior convictions (including plea deals), possessing a gun (even if not used), and other punitive measures.

The police murders of innocent people are the most egregious injustices. They are the tip of the iceberg of a fascism that is infecting our country from within, a system of power that exploits, dehumanizes and kills people with impunity. Every Black Lives Matter protest outside Lacey’s office mourned and commemorated the life taken by Los Angeles police and sheriff’s deputies. Ezell Ford (shot three times in south Los Angeles while his hands were in the air), Michelle Shirley (shot in her car after a traffic accident in Torrance in southern LA County), Ryan Twyman (shot 34 times as he sat in his parked car in Compton in south central LA – LA police killed four people within 24 hours of killing Twyman), Andres Guardado shot in the back while lying on the ground in Compton) and hundreds of others. Reports have been published in the major Los Angeles media about gangs of sheriff’s deputies and police that are organized to kill people. Members of these gangs win standing in their gang for the number of people they kill. Little has been reported on efforts to break up these gangs and bring charges against killer cops. Grassroots community and social justice groups have organized protest rallies and marches to protest these killings to demand that killer cops are prosecuted, and to demand an end to the killings.

Grassroots community groups in Los Angeles joined nationwide rallies on March 8 by holding a rally in East Los Angeles to demand that Derek Chauvin, the killer of George Floyd in Minneapolis, is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Chauvin’s trial began on March 8 in Minneapolis.

Stop Mass Incarceration

In addition to police brutality and murder, over 300,000 people are arrested each year in Los Angeles County, and over 100,000 booked into the county jails. There are over 17,000 people in a county jail on an average day, with the largest number incarcerated in the Men’s Central Jail/Twin Towers, which is the single largest jail facility in the world. Many are awaiting trial on a wide range of criminal offenses, including minor crimes such as selling a small amount of marijuana. There are 115,000 people incarcerated in California prisons, many for lengthy sentences including life in prison.

Many organizations have formed to deal with these problems. Initiate Justice, Justice LA, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition are just three of the larger ones.

Initiate Justice, for example, was founded by former incarcerated people and their families. They have 34,000 members in California prisons, and meetings of 100-200 activists. They are overwhelmingly young people in their 20’s and 30’s and majority people of color. Initiate Justice has internal committees. The Advocacy Committee works on passing legislation to reform the criminal justice system. One bill of four bills they are sponsoring this year is to drastically reduce the gun enhancement law (possessing a gun even if it wasn’t used), currently from 10 years to life in prison, to 1-3 years. Other committees are Inside Organizer, External Organizer, Healing, and others. The Inside Organizer Committee holds mailing parties where they write letters to Initiate Justice members who are incarcerated in California prisons. They address these members’ needs, and invite them to join campaigns to pass legislation and accomplish other goals.

Other newer and smaller groups, such as We are their Voices, and Families for Racial Justice, work to help individuals on their cases, and initiate or join larger demonstrations to protest injustices. We are members of Families for Racial Justice. Two or our cases, Rudolfo Cortez and Alex Krehbiel, are our family members. Their cases are mentioned briefly in the statement (see below) that Estefany provided at a rally on January 25 at DA Gascon’s office, called by We are their Voices, to support Gascon. Gascon won election handily, reflecting the public’s desire to reform our criminal justice system toward meaningful rehabilitation and away from punishment. But Gascon is coming under attack from conservatives, and police and prosecutor organizations who want to keep the system as it is.

But the tide is turning toward reform. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently endorsed a report by a blue-ribbon commission, Alternatives to Incarceration, that presented a comprehensive program of transitioning away from incarceration toward real rehabilitation and re-integration into society. The Board of Supervisors passed a bill to close Men’s Central Jail, and are discussing alternatives to incarceration. Voters, in addition to electing reform advocate George Gascon as our new District Attorney on November 6, 2020, also passed Measure J, which mandates that money be shifted away from policing and incarceration and toward social services. Many of these initiatives will take time to develop and implement, but reform groups are encouraged. Growing voices within the grassroots reform movement here are also advocating community control of the police, as developed by the Chicago-based National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, to end police violence and killings in the community.

Paul Krehbiel and Estefany Mendez are members of Families for Racial Justice, and Initiate Justice. Krehbiel is also co-chair of CCDS.

Ryan Twynan, 24, father of three young children, murdered by LA Sheriff’s deputies while sitting in his car.

Estefany Mendez holds poster she made for Alex Krehbiel and his family and young son at January 25 rally. Alex hasn’t held his 2 year old son yet because he’s incarcerated.
Statement from Families for Racial Justice: Rally for DA Gascon


My name is Estefany Mendez. I am a member of Families for Racial Justice. We are fighting for our loved ones who are behind bars, and all those who have been mistreated by the criminal justice system.
We are their voices. Here are just two, and how they and their families suffer.
Rudy Cortez has just served his base sentence and is now about to serve 10 additional years due to so-called “enhancements.” There is no evidence that enhancements promote public safety. Rudy won’t be able to be there for his children. Destiny, his 10 year old daughter, says her father won’t be there for her 5th grade graduation, or the first day of everything else.
Alex Krehbiel was a top student in his pre-apprenticeship classes and has a job offer from a building trades union. But he is in Twin Towers facing 23 years to life, when he should be in a mental health treatment remediation program under AB 1810. He hasn’t yet been able to hold his 2 and ½ year old son.

90% of people who have had enhancements added to their base charge are Latino and Black, profiles that fit both Rudy and Alex, demonstrating the racist nature of enhancements. Studies also show that over 50% of the incarcerated suffer from mental health issues. Many are treatable, but don’t receive help.

Rudy and Alex are just two of thousands of incarcerated people who have been treated unfairly. We also fight for all people who have been unjustly treated by the criminal justice system, and we are working to change it.

We want to thank DA George Gascon for his fair and humane reform program and we stand ready to help in any way. Thank you, Mr. Gascon.

For more information contact:
Paul Krehbiel, paulkrehbiel1970@gmail.com, 626-318-7134
Sharon Stewart, stewartsl@yahoo.com, 562-895-4339
Estefany Mendez, m.estefany@yahoo.com, 323-762-4192

CCDS National Coordinating Committee
Meeting Report

Sunday, January 31, 2021

by Ellen Schwartz and Janet Tucker

Reflections on passing of comrade Jim Campbell
Members of the NCC and others came together to remember the influence that Jim had on their lives and political development. With him, “Every moment was a teachable moment,” said Erica Carter. Pat Fry. recalled that he was a founder of the CCDS, and one of the first national co-chairs. He was determined to build a Southern region of the organization.
Paul recommended that we commit to compiling some form of recollection of Jim Campbell, perhaps a special booklet. Paul will take the lead.
Many people posted their remembrances of Jim on the Members List.
To see more on the remembrance of Jim Campbell see our February Mobilizer.

Time of day: Rightwing Rebellion, the Implications of Georgia, and the Prospects of a Biden Administration

Impacts and Significance of the Attempted Coup” was addressed by Carl Davidson. He said that the story is not completely told on this. Carl sees the attempt to overthrow the election as Trump’s “Plan B.” This was foreshadowed when during the debate with Biden when he told the Proud Boys to “stand by.” Trump had placed his supporters in key positions, so when the call came for assistance in holding back the mob, it was not forthcoming for many hours. And it is not over yet, as many in the House of Representatives and Senate, as well as every statehouse, are still loyal to Trump. We have a long struggle ahead, against the rightwing fascists, and at the same time, we must deal with Biden, especially his foreign policy. We have to begin at the bottom up, in city governments and up from there.

Meta VanSickle and Jay Jurie spoke to “The Significance of the Georgia Elections”
Meta stated that this issue is deeper than racism. In this country we have developed a caste system based on what people look like. The invisibility of this system to our consciousness gives it its power. What did Georgia do that South Carolina could not accomplish? The progressive candidates learned how to speak back to the media The progressives forged new alliances.

Jay said that he is not going to speak specifically about the Georgia experience, but rather on Florida which he thinks is interesting. He pointed out how a Democratic/left coalition came together to defend the nation against the fascist threat. He also recommended “Lead from the Outside” by Stacey Abrams. A lot of what happened there is attributed to Stacey Abrams and while she deserves a lot of credit, there were a lot of women of color in a number of organizations to whom credit should paid for Biden’s win as well as Ossof and Warnock. Looking at the map of electoral votes, California is #1, then Texas, and New York and Florida are tied for third place. Jay thinks after reapportionment Florida will be solidly in 3rd place. Florida has been ignored for too long. The white working class in Florida were pretty much ignored: there are sections that are unreachable, but there are some who are reachable. We need to work on capturing their loyalty, to capture the states like Florida, Texas which may come in play.

Paul Krehbiel spoke to the“Prospects for a Biden Administration” He stated that this moment exposes new opportunities for us. He is not referring to the armed right-wing militias, but to the steady rise of peoples’ movements. Biden has been always a centrist politician; on some issues “okay” and on others terrible. How can progressives have some influence on him? Looking at the things he signed off on his first day in office, there are many good things but in many ways they are common sense items and served to roll back some of the damage Trump did. His appointments, some good, but many the same corporate representatives that we always see. Where we’ll see the most difficulty is internationally with continuing Trump's policies threatening China, Venezuela. We should also worry that Trump got 11 million more votes than he did in 2016. But “we” also did a better job of turning out the vote.

A broad discussion followed. Several people asked essentially what we are doing concretely. We have to focus on our state legislatures,” Carl Davidson urged. Jay acknowledged that the Republicans have done a better job than we in organizing the white working-class population. He pointed out that the Republicans have an advantage over us in that they are the creators and controllers of jobs. Though we talk about “self-interest”, American workers tend to be very pragmatic. Harry pointed out the statements made about the life of Jim Campbell are not unrelated. Tom Gogan. gave examples of building successful campaigns. Sandy Eaton called attention to LADD – Labor Action to Defend Democracy.

Committee reports were heard after a short break.

Paul Krehbiel and Janet Tucker reported on the Racial Justice Committee. This is is a new committee that was formed just recently. The Committee is planning a webinar on fighting white supremacy, intended for spring or early summer. Paul pointed out that this represents something concrete that CCDS is doing.

Paul Krehbiel reported on the Labor Committee. Labor Committee has been meeting regularly. Prior to the election they focused on calling voters in battleground states. He noted the way various unions participated in the turnout effort. This administration and congress make possible cautious optimism about passing some good labor legislation, based on Bernie Sanders’s proposals. Good laws won’t fix everything, but would open up possibilities for action.
A discussion was held on restarting the healthcare task force. CCDS had task force a number of years ago which has since become inactive. Sandy Eaton started this discussion followed by others. Sandy agreed to begin a discussion about starting this task force. He was provided the list of people who had been active in the task force 10-12 years ago; they were not able to participate, but there are so many organizations nationally and locally, would a committee of CCDS be a help? Pramila Jayapal is re-introducing her bill; Bernie is going to re-introduce “a version” of his bill but it might be watered down to allow for more Senators to cosponsor. Some states have their own Single Payer bills.

Marilyn Albert said there are at least a couple of Medicare for All / Single Payer activists who are CCDS members and would not have been on the list Sandy was given so there is hope.
Mildred Williamson spoke on relationship of racism and health care. PNHP is her strongest connection with health care. She was fortunate to be on a PNHP call recently that focused on racism in health care. The focus of the call was questioning whether Medicare for All would be sufficient to deal with racism in health care. For people still on the fence on Medicare for All, COVID 19 has shown us all the importance of not tying health care to employment. Poor People’s Campaign has well shown the importance of connecting racism with the need for health care.

Jay Jurie asks what would CCDS do if a health care committee was reconstituted. Steve Willett said there should be a focus on local campaigns for universal health care. If there’s going to be a breakthrough that’s where it will happen.

Paul remarked on what Sandy said in his presentation, about contacting the rest of CCDS membership on this issue. If there were a response from a significant number of people it may make setting up a Health Care Committee viable.

Harry Targ recommended that Sandy and Marilyn give us regular updates on the movement for Single Payer. NEC to take up how to reconstitute a Health Care Committee.

Steve Willett reported on the Exploratory committee. The Committee voted to dissolve itself as possibility of merger with Liberation Road seems off the table. 1. Their focus is on attracting younger and more diverse folks than CCDS. 2. Irreconcilable differences on the matter of Democratic Centralism.

Carl Davidson says their concern is “we’re too disorganized”. If we had organized chapters where they have organized chapters it would be another story, but we’re just a bunch of “lone Rangers.”

Carl Davidson reported for the Socialist Education Project.
The China Reader is mostly done, just some editing remaining. He thinks this will be available soon. It will be useful in working to oppose a cold war on China. It will be250-270 pages.
There is a fourth Monday in February, Fran Shor, author of “Weaponized Whiteness” will present. Exploring a fourth Monday for March around Women’s History Month.

Our Peace and Solidarity Committee has been our of our more active committees. Pat Fry talked about the reinvigorated campaign against Cuba. The Former Secretary of State put Cuba back on terrorist state. She noted noted the formation of ACERE, new DC Cuba advocacy coalition. International Publishers has put out a new book on Hybrid Wars.
Harry Targ urged us to participate in the Mexico Solidarity project.
Biden's attitude toward the Middle East Policy is unclear.

Tom Gogan reported on Move the Money Campaign
Carl Davidson noted that our view on china is a minority view on the left. It will be a fight to get the peace movement to practice peaceful coexistence with China.

Membership Report by Steve Willett He stated nothing much has changed; there was a spike in membership around the convention, and dropped as usual after that, but this year, unusually, paid up members caught up by the end of 2020 to where we were in 2019. But looking at the last 10 years, the trend is undeniably downward. We have a little under 200 members, and something like 253 at the end of 2020 if including people no more than one year in arrears.

Treasurer’s Report by Meta Van Sickle. We are living within our means and have about $2000 more than we have been used to working within.
January 6

by Seymour Joseph

We watched in disbelief and fright
the attack on Democracy’s Citadel.
We never dreamed of such a sight
that turned our Capitol to Hell.
Marauders with murderous intent
were sanctioned in their wanton spree
by our departing president,
who sat and watched the scene with glee.
And yet among our congressmen
are many who support the man
who’d have them die if only then
he’d realize his evil plan.
Although it was a failed attack
it will not simply fade and die.
They struck their blow and then stood back,
but at his word they’re standing by.
CCDS Peace & Solidarity Committee Action Alerts
February 11, 2021
End the Blockade and Travel Ban of Cuba
In the House of Representatives, a Dear Colleague Letter is circulating urging President Biden to reverse the Trump administration’s rollback of measures toward normalizing relations with Cuba. Sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush, Steve Cohen and Gwen Moore, the aim is to obtain 100 members of Congress to sign on by February 17th. Please call and ask your member of Congress to sign. ACERE – Alliance for Cuba Engagement and Respect – is organizing the grass roots effort. For more info: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/ikenahem%40mindspring.com/WhctKJWQdjgQPnsNpXMkWdDsqmSpNdmFbhnTrqnNwbqJvCbpQRPRZhHJFvJTHHKJtSPLVHb
In the Senate, Sen. Ron Wyden introduced last week the U.S. Cuba Trade Act of 2021. The bill would repeal sanctions on Cuba and establish normal trade relations. It is co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin and Jeff Merkley.
End Sanctions Now
Codepink has just issued an alert to garner signatures for another Congressional Dear Colleague letter that supports the Biden administration’s review of the impact of U.S. sanctions in light of the Covid pandemic. The letter, sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Reps. Ilhan Omar and Chuy Garcia, asks President Biden to go beyond the pandemic and “take on a broader analysis of the humanitarian impacts of sanctions.” Please call your House Rep. and Senators to sign on to the letter.
This initiative will go a long way in thwarting right-wing efforts to apply more sanctions. On January 28th several Florida Members of Congress introduced the “Bolivar Act” which would pile on additional sanctions against the Venezuelan Government of President Maduro. The bill introduced by Rep. Michael Waltz and several other Republicans is also sponsored by Democratic Rep. Wasserman Schultz. U.S. sanctions have resulted in the deaths of thousands of Venezuelans since 2014, and are preventing life-saving medicines, medical supplies and food from entering the country, despite a global pandemic.
by Tom Gogan

The campaign scored its first radio interview in late January, airing on WBAI-Pacifica’s “Equal Rights” radio show. At the same time, we organized Zoom interviews with NYC Council Members and gained two new co-sponsors of our “Move the Money” Resolution 747-A, calling on Congress to significantly reduce Pentagon spending and redirect those resources to our communities. Just short of 40% of the City Council is now in support.

Feeling newly re-energized, we are using social media with more success and developing new tactics. A vibrant new campaign newsletter was unveiled this month. Outreach to Council Members is back on track, as we seek a clear majority. Our demand could benefit any city and town in the country, and we hope others will launch move-the-money campaigns in other cities and towns or counties.

Clearly there is a stirring around this issue nationally. Last summer, Rep. Barbara Lee – who later spoke at our virtual Town Hall meeting in mid-October – introduced an amendment to the annual NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act calling for a 10% reduction in the Pentagon budget. That amendment won the votes of 93 House members, far and away the most votes favoring downsizing the Pentagon since the Vietnam War. And in late February, USA Today – hardly a radical outlet – published a long article calling for major cuts to the Pentagon.

Our major stumbling block at this point is the Speaker of the NYC City Council, self-described progressive Corey Johnson, who so far has not green-lighted our resolution for a committee hearing, much less a full Council vote. In response to that, we have just initiated “Move the Money, Corey! Mondays” -- wherein we encourage groups and individuals to call into his office every Monday demanding that the hearing on this resolution be scheduled. We know he is getting the message. How much pressure it will take is still unknown, but in the process we continue to gain greater exposure and broaden our active base. We are on a roll !

Harry Targ
March 3, 2021

The Afghanistan Study Group, an advisory panel established by Congress in December 2019 to prepare policy recommendations about a peace settlement in that country, issued its recommendations on February 2, 2021. These are designed to give guidance to President Biden as he makes critical decisions about the US role in Afghanistan, particularly concerning the 2,500 US troops still in country.

While paying homage to agreements reached between the Taliban and the United States, including a promised US withdrawal of troops by May 1, 2021, the Study Group recommended that President Biden not adhere to an “inflexible timeline” for withdrawing US troops. In other words, in the guise of supporting a peace process, the Study Group recommended that Biden not withdraw troops at this time “to give the peace process sufficient time to produce an acceptable result.” And the report indicated that “the purpose of the US troop presence should also be clear: not to pursue an endless war but to support a peace process that will allow American troops to return home under conditions that guarantee our national interests.” And, as Phyllis Bennis has suggested, even the idea of a “complete withdrawal” does not include bombings and drone strikes. https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/02/afghanistan-study-group-final-report-pathway-peace-afghanistan

An interesting sidebar to the current Afghanistan story is its relative invisibility in the US media. Given the history of thousands of US troops positioned overseas, the 2,500 troops seems more like a modest police action. However, a Congressional Research Service report issued on February 22, 2021 indicated that during the fourth quarter of 2020 there were some 43,809 defense contractors working in Iraq, 27,388 of whom were in Afghanistan. And from fiscal years 2011 to 2019 Defense Department contracts for services performed in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan cost about $187 billion. “Contractors” are civilians working for the military. And as the report suggests, over the last 30 years “DOD has relied on contractors to support a wide range of military operations.” https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R44116

In short, while the presence of military personnel has seemed to lessen in the Middle East and East Asia in recent years, in fact their numbers remain large and unaccountable to the US public. And The Afghanistan Study Group, made up of legislative representatives, military officers, and defense intellectuals, recommends the continuation of their stationing in Afghanistan.

It is important to revisit the history of what may be called (as the Korean War has been called) “our forgotten war” or our more recent “endless war.” The latest phase of the US war on Afghanistan war began in October, 2001, allegedly in response to the 9/11 attacks on the US. But the US role as suggested in links below, has its roots in the initiation of CIA funding of rebels who were fighting against a pro-Soviet government in Kabul in the summer, 1979. In fact CIA support for rebels fighting against the government of Afghanistan in the 1980s included support for Osama Bin Laden.

Since 2001 over 100,000 Afghans have died, killed by multiple actors, and millions have been displaced. The cost in US dollars has reached $1.5 trillion and since 2001 775,000 US troops were deployed there. Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, argues that peace can only come from the allocation of financial resources, not for war but for economic development. Billions of dollars, she maintains, were “spent to prolong the war, enabling vast profits for military contractors, various warlords, and mafiosa-style groups that often gained control of foreign funds.” https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/03/secure-lasting-peace-afghanistan-task-force-proposes-prolonging-longest-us-war

Also long forgotten has been the Washington Post publication in December, 2019, of the “Afghanistan Papers,” a compellation of documents illustrating the years of government lies about the US presence in Afghanistan. It consists of 2,000 pages of interviews from some 400 military and diplomatic personnel involved in the Afghanistan policy. A retired general reported that the US government did not know how dysfunctional the operation was, including needless deaths of US troops and the Afghan people, runaway corruption, the inability to help build an effective and representative government and police force, or the inability to stem the opium trade. As indicated in the Washington Post story, the documents indicated the falsity of “a long chorus of public statements from US presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/

The context for the war in Afghanistan and recommendations for its continuation were recently provided by a report issued by Brown University’s Cost of War Project. This report presents data to indicate that the United States has engaged in “counter-terrorism” operations in 85 countries since 2018 including training programs. US troops have carried out ground attacks or bombing campaigns in at least ten countries and engaged in training exercises in 41 countries. The report suggests that the violence against people around the world, the casualties suffered by US citizens, and the wastefulness of war have led more and more Americans to call for an end to “endless wars.”

In response to the recommendation of the Afghanistan Study Group to extend the deadline for withdrawal of US troops, Stephen Miles, Executive director of Win Without War, said, “The word for spending another minute trying to ‘win’ on the battlefield after last two decades isn’t “logic”-it’s absurdity.”
The US has a moral obligation to help the Afghan people (and those around the world who have suffered from US militarism) rebuild what was largely destroyed by the endless U.S.-led war. But the context for rebuilding begins with an immediate withdrawal of troops and defense contractors.
50th Chicano Moratorium Organizing Committee FORMAL STATEMENT AND DEMAND FOR ACTION

February 24, 2021

We, the volunteers and advocates for social justice representing the 50th Chicano Moratorium Organizing Committee, release the following statement and demands:

The urgency and historic significance of the American Rescue Plan, is being amplified by the gamut of civic and community groups around the country, from labor to civil rights, health care, education, child, senior, unemployed, disability, homeless and other advocacy groups. Momentum is building for mass public pressure to get the strongest measure passed and signed as soon as possible.

In Southern California reside the nation’s largest concentrations of Latino/a essential workers, who have suffered the brunt of health and economic crisis, along with African Americans and Indigenous peoples. According to a recent MSN article, the mortality rate for Latinos is 21% higher per capita, and 7% higher for African Americans. (Article here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/california-tops-50000-virus-deathsincluding-806-in-la/ar-BB1dZFbc?ocid=msedgntp)

Los Angeles City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo recently stated that “Passing the stimulus bill would be a down payment on leveling the playing field and creating momentum to allow the federal government to enact a second economic plan.

”California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, an historic Latina labor leader who once led the 800,000-plus member Los Angeles Central Labor Council and was a member of the national AFL-CIO Executive Council, says “we need to go big with this stimulus package to begin our long road back to recovery from this economic crisis, and that’s what this plan will do.”

This crucial plan will help Americans by:

• Increasing national funding for COVID-19 testing, vaccines, treatments, education and supplies
• Hiring 100,000 additional public healthcare workers to improve underserved communities
• Increased access to health care coverage, including for mental health and substance abuse, and increased paid sick and family medical leave
• Financial aid for families in the form of a $1,400 stimulus check
• Enhanced and extended unemployment benefits and increased food assistance programs
• Critical aid to renters and homeowners struggling with rent or mortgage payments
• Monies for small businesses
• $170 billion for the re-opening of schools
• National minimum wage increase to $15 per hour
• $20 billion to support Tribal governments, including health care and increased access to clean water, electricity and internet

We therefore demand that the American Rescue Plan be passed with the utmost expedience and efficacy. We will not rest until the basic needs of our Brothers and Sisters’ needs are met with humanity and dignity. In Solidarity, The Chicano Moratorium Commemoration Organizing Committee P.O. Box 32614 • Los Angeles, CA 90032

(Editors Note: The Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War was a mass march and rally of 30,000 Chicano’s in East Los Angeles on August 29, 1970 to protest against the war in Vietnam. Co-chair was war resister Rosalio Muñoz, a Chicano leader in Los Angeles then and today.)

Review of New Book Union Made

Harry Targ

If you are an activist or just like to read a good story you might find the list of books at Hard Ball Press (www.hardballpress.com) to your liking. The most recent fictional offering of the press is Eric Lotke’s Union Made, a novel that combines labor activism, stresses and strains of workers’ lives, the machinations of corporations and investment bankers, and romance (the Press also has a list of non-fiction books about workers, guides for labor organizing and progressive children’s books).

Union Made tells the story of a union staffer, Catherine Campbell, who is working on a union organizing drive at a large retail chain with stores in Richmond, Virginia. Wages are low and manager sympathies for family/ work schedule needs are non-existent. Large numbers of Pac-Shoppe workers are passionate in their commitment to create a union. They see workers’ power, and particularly the ability to demand a livable wage, tied to union certification. But, as in so many labor struggles, organization and protest bring sacrifices. Some workers lose their jobs. Others get their schedules changed to make child care more difficult. And, on the picket line, some even experience accidental injury or mass arrests.

We learn from Campbell that union staffers must be respectful of the sacrifices workers make when they commit to a union drive. And we learn from her that staffers need to defer to the workers who must decide on strategy and speak for themselves. Staffers from the outside can assist and facilitate campaigns but can never replace the wisdom of the workers themselves. Campbell also is sensitive to the multi-racial, diverse ages, families, and immigrant statuses of low wage workers in huge corporations.

But Union Made tells another side of the story, that of Nathaniel Hawley, an accountant. Hawley works for an accounting firm which was bought out by a larger financial conglomerate. All of a sudden his accountancy shifts to analyzing the books of large corporations, including the books of Pac-Shoppe. Nathaniel is only sketchily aware of the Pac-Shoppe labor campaign going on in his town and only marginally feels concerns for workers’ needs, briefly portrayed in local media. His self-concept is tied to his job: being a good accountant, scanning financial records, and being a skilled mathematician.

However, Nathaniel’s life becomes complicated in two ways. First, he notices on television that a union staffer who has come to town to help the PAC-Shoppe workers organize is Catherine Campbell, a woman he had a crush on in high school. And second, his once obscure accounting firm, now an affiliate of a large corporation, has bought a large block of stock in Pac-Shoppe, because of the declining value of the stock during the labor dispute. Nathaniel’s dilemma is whether to side with the workers (and the woman he had a crush on) or maintain loyalty to his firm and job security as a well-placed accountant.

The dilemmas of union organizing, class struggle, and romance are described compellingly and in clear and entertaining prose in Union Made. Reading this novel also stimulates thinking about the role of the arts--fiction, theater, painting, photography, music, dance, and design--as vehicles for education and agitation. Some cultural critics and academics judge artistic creations that disengage from real life circumstances as superior. Often works of art are dismissed as ”merely political.” Eric Lotke’s Union Made and most of the offerings of Hard Ball Press take the view that artistic creations can both educate and entertain. With the growth of social movements in the United States,  there is a renewed recognition that life and art are inextricably connected and that art can help to inform and contribute to organizing.
Erik Lotke’s, Union Made, the latest Hard Ball Press publication, is in this tradition.
Hard Ball Press and its individual novelists and documentary writers and  growing list of authors should be supported.  For more on the press see the following:
Short Takes
Historicizing Rush Limbaugh

We need to revisit the history of policies of the Federal Communications Commission. When radio became popular, the prevailing sentiment was that the public airwaves belonged to the society at large and should reflect the public interest, and society rather than profits for the few.

This idea, which still warrants support, was frittered away with media consolidation and greater and greater control of the print media, radio, and television by smaller numbers of huge corporations. In 1987, Congress with encouragement from President Reagan, repealed the Fairness Doctrine, a 1949 law that required radio and later television to communicate a diversity of points of view and "balance" in the presentation of material
With the abolition of the Fairness Doctrine, Limbaugh emerged as the first rightwing, racist, reactionary to offer a model of radio and television discourse in defiance of any meaning of fairness or balance. Now corporate elites and politicians conjoin to limit and distort what passes for news and information.

Limbaugh was the beneficiary of changed policies, consolidation of the corporate media, and the rise of the right in political life.

Harry Targ
(reprinted from Portside)


Carl Davidson from Face Book
THE ANTIFA HOAX: IF YOU WATCH THESE HEARINGS, WATCH THE GOP TRY TO MISLEAD OR DIVERT WITH THIS BIG LIE. Here's the real scoop from a case-hardened, seasoned lefty of 50 years, me. There is no group called 'Antifa.' Can anyone name an ANTIFA leader? No? A street address of PO Box for a headquarters? No. Membership lists or dues payers? None. So what is it? It's an ad-hoc online call-out. Anyone will post a message, 'Hey, the Proud Boys (or some other fascists) are having an event at (name place, time, directions). Everyone who what to kick their butts, show up!' That's it. Different people initiate it, and different people show up. It varies every time. A useful anarchist tactic at times, but there is no organization like Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and other right-wing fascist bands of armed thugs. These are the real groups that attacked the Capitol to overthrow an election. But now you can watch Senators who know better keep trying to make a smokescreen to hide behind. It's instructive, even amusing

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Karl Marx's ideas are a common touchstone for many people working for change. His historical materialism, his many contributions to political economy and class analysis, all continue to serve his core values--the self-emancipation of the working class and a vision of a classless society. There are naturally many trends in Marxism that have developed over the years, and new ones are on the rise today. All of them and others who want to see this project succeed are welcome here.

Did you miss it?

Here is the link to our Februaru 22nd discussion on Weaponized Whitness
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In April Tim Sheard of Hard Ball Press be releasing two sweet children's books, one about an actual 1930's incidence of racist police violence and the teens who fought back, Down on James Street, and For All/Para Todos, about a young girl and her father who leave their impoverished country to come to a land "for all." Look for more next month.
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