The Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

a panel discussion

The War on Women Today
Monday, March 28, 6pm PDT, 7pm MDT, 8pm CDT, 9pm EDT

Across the globe, the rights of women, nonbinary people, people of color, low-wage workers, are under attack.
At this event CCDS is focusing on women’s health, education, race, and gender, and how here and abroad, people are fighting back. We present this as part of International Women's Month


Mildred Williamson
Right to Life and Reproductive Justice for Black Women

Mildred Williamson, PhD, MSW, has spent her career in public service with human rights/social justice as her passion. She has more than 30 years of experience in developing and leading public health safety net programs for vulnerable populations. She recently retired as Executive Director of HIV Services for Cook County Health and continues to serve as Adjunct Assistant Professor the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (UIC-SPH). She served as HIV/AIDS Section Chief for the Illinois Department of Public Health from 2008-2015 and began her public health career at Cook County (now John H. Stroger) Hospital in 1989 as the first administrator of the Women & Children HIV Program, which today, is part of the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center - the largest provider of comprehensive HIV services in the Midwest. Dr. Williamson obtained her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Social Work at the School of Social Service Administration/University of Chicago. 
Ms. Erica Michelle Carter
"pro-woman advocate"
Erica Carter is a native of Columbia, South Carolina. She currently resides in VA and is a software engineer in the insurance industry. Much of Erica’s advocacy work, past and present, has been for the improvement of conditions for the marginalized and poor living in her beloved place of birth, South Carolina. Some of her past work has been in the area of teen pregnancy prevention and affordable housing. She was a graduate student of Political Science/Policy at the University of South Carolina and her area of study was social welfare policy development, implementation, and evaluation. She has engaged in research projects pertaining to issues of out-of-wedlock childbirths, welfare and Medicaid policy interaction, and state welfare-to-work programs. Erica is currently a member of the National Coordinating Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS) and the SC Progressive Network.
Meta Van Sickle  
Where we've been and where we still need to go: Teacher's rules, pay and working conditions
Meta Van Sickle has been teaching at the College of Charleston for 30 years. She primarily studies ways to ensure talent development in the sciences for all students. She is an advocate for teachers and believes they make the most difference for the education of children.
Linda Alcoff
"The significance of the MeToo movement for women workers"

Linda Martín Alcoff is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York. She is a past President of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division. Recent books include Rape and Resistance: Understanding the Complexities of Sexual Violation (Polity 2018); The Future of Whiteness (Polity 2015); Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self (Oxford 2006), which won the Frantz Fanon Award for 2009. See more books at She has also written for the New York Times, Aeon, the NY Indypendent, and other newspapers and magazines. For the past decade she has taught courses on decolonial philosophy and epistemology in various places around the world. In 2021 she was named by as one of the ten most influential philosophers today, based on citations. She is originally from Panama, but lives today happily in Brooklyn
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When: Mar 28, 2022 09:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Harry Targ

Vivay Prashad, in his fascinating book, The Darker Nations, traced the rise and subsequent demise of the Third World Project from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Third World Project, mainly the mobilization of poor and marginalized peoples around the world, envisioned the construction of progressive governments that would provide for basic social and economic needs and institutionalize democratic participation in political life.

This project was derailed for several reasons. One of the most significant was the willful construction by threatened elites of fundamentalist religious institutions.

In the Middle East, the tottering dictatorships plowed financial resources into the creation of fundamentalist Islamic organizations. “Political Islam” was introduced into global political culture to divert and divide social movements for fundamental change. Political Islam called for a return to the past and a rejection of modern secular ideas about social and political institutions. Religious dogma worked to replace visions of egalitarian societies. Ironically, in order to maintain stability, United States foreign policy supported insurgent Islamic fundamentalist movements in various places such as Afghanistan.

In Latin America, religious fundamentalism took a variety of forms. The leadership of the Catholic Church launched a frontal assault on newly created radical regimes, such as in Nicaragua, that based their political principles on a theology of “liberation.” Also, Evangelical Christian organizations, with funding from worldwide economic elites, infiltrated Latin American countries experiencing revolutionary ferment, urging the poor to reject earthly solutions to their problems.

In North America, the religious right mobilized financial resources to appeal to an electorate frustrated by challenges to U.S. hegemony overseas and economic stagnation at home. In each political venue, whether dominated by Islam, Christianity, or Judaism in the case of Israel, religion was used to divide and conquer.

The sector of the population most impacted by fundamentalisms of every kind is women. Women are forced out of the political process as patriarchies reinstitute top down control of their political, economic, and cultural lives and their bodies. Women’s institutions, particularly ones that encourage progressive public policies, are marginalized. Often politicians using religious dogma as their rhetorical tool, support public policies that punish poor women, women of color, and progressive women in general. In sum, the resurgence of religious fundamentalism has been used to divide majorities of people along various lines that defuse their solidarity and the targets of such assaults are most often women.

A current example of this strategy of attacking women by raising the specter of religious orthodoxy occured Friday February18 when the House of Representatives approved an amendment to budgetary legislation which would end all funding of Planned Parenthood, a national organization that provides vital reproductive health services to low-income women. Congressman Mike Pence (IN), who introduced the proposal, declared that American taxpayers should not have to pay for abortions. He failed to mention that they don’t because the government currently forbids the use of federal dollars for most abortions. Consequently, that could not have been the motivation for this legislation.

Rather, most of the 240 House members who voted to cut all allocations to Planned Parenthood wished to raise the religious issue to justify their general goal of ending public health care and guarantees for basic public health services for all. Pence failed to make note of the fact that Planned Parenthood gives contraceptive assistance to poor women, does HIV tests, screens women for cancer, and provides reproductive health care for women. Planned Parenthood, like ACORN the community organization that was victimized last year, is under assault to achieve political goals. The attacks serve to divide the electorate to destroy another organization that serves the needs of the working class, in this case working class women.

Data from the Guttmacher Institute point out that in recent years almost half of women who need reproductive health care are not able to afford it. Four in ten women of reproductive age had no health insurance.

The health care reform legislation of 2010 opens the door for expanded insurance coverage for reproductive health and family planning. Among those without health care as of 2009 were 14 million women of reproductive age. According to the new health care law, if not defied by state governments, Medicaid programs will expand family planning services to lower income families in years ahead.

As the Pence amendment suggests, existing health services for women and prospective new ones are under threat by health care opponents. They want to destroy major providers of health care for women such as Planned Parenthood. And, in the end, they want to destroy any form of public health for people.

How to do it? Transform the discourse from providing health care for the people, a broadly accepted idea, to religious dogma, in this case anti-abortion dogma.

It is time for progressives to respond. Attacks on Planned Parenthood are attacks on the working class, especially people of color, and women, and the very idea that governments are created to serve the needs of the people.
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Reprinted from Smithsonian Magazine

Why the Equal Rights Amendment
Is Still Not Part of the Constitution

A brief history of the long battle to pass what would now be the 28th Amendment

Associate Editor, Special Projects

Election Day in 2019 didn’t involve any high-profile House or Senate or Presidential seats up for the taking, but it had historic consequences nonetheless. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, voters handed Democrats control of both its statehouse chambers, and within a week of the 2020 legislative session, the new majority voted to make Virginia the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.). Nearly a century after it was first suggested, the E.R.A. now stands a renewed chance of making it into the Constitution as the 28th Amendment.
What are the origins of the E.R.A.?

In 1921, the right for women to vote freshly obtained, suffragist Alice Paul asked her fellow women’s rights activists whether they wanted to rest on their laurels. The decision at hand, she said, was whether the National Woman’s Party would “furl its banner forever, or whether it shall fling it forth on a new battle front.”

Eventually, Paul and some fellow suffragists chose a new battle: a federal guarantee that the law would treat people equally regardless of their sex. Paul and pacifist lawyer Crystal Eastman, now considered the “founding mother of the ACLU,” drafted the “Lucretia Mott Amendment,” named after the 19th-century women’s rights activist. The original E.R.A. promised, “Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.” Read more

Lila Thulin is the associate web editor, special projects for Smithsonian magazine and covers a range of subjects from women's history to medicine.
Ukraine: A conflict soaked in contradictions

There are wars in Africa and Asia and some are rarely commented on in the media, so why is Ukraine different?

MARCH 3, 2022

Surprise and horror have defined the reaction to the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. That’s likely because although the intervention has followed the contours of a modern land war, it has also marked a break with the past in a number of ways.

The world has become used to military interventions by the United States. This is, however, not a US intervention. That in itself is a surprise – one that has befuddled reporters and pundits alike.
Even as we deplore the violence and the loss of life in Ukraine resulting from the Russian intervention – and the neofascist violence in the Donbas – it is valuable to step back and look at how the rest of the world may perceive this conflict, starting with the West’s ethnocentric interest in an attack whose participants and victims they believe they share aspects of identity with – whether related to culture, religion or skin color.
White wars
War in Ukraine joins a sequence of wars that have opened sores on a very fragile planet. Wars in Africa and Asia seem endless, and some of them are rarely commented upon with any feeling in media outlets across the world or in the cascade of posts found on social media platforms.
For example, the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which started in 1996 and which has resulted in millions of casualties, has not elicited the kind of sympathy from the world now seen during the reporting on Ukraine.

In contrast, the startlingly frank comments from political leaders and journalists during the conflict in Ukraine have revealed the grip of racism on the imaginations of these shapers of public opinion.

It was impossible recently to get major global media outlets interested in the conflict in Cabo Delgado, which grew out of the capture of the bounty of natural gas by TotalEnergies SE (France) and ExxonMobil (US) and led to the deployment of the French-backed Rwandan military in Mozambique.

At COP26, I told a group of oil-company executives about this intervention, which I had covered for Globetrotter, and one of them responded with precise accuracy: “You’re right about what you say, but no one cares.”

No one, which is to say the political forces in the North Atlantic states, cares about the suffering of children in Africa and Asia.

They are, however, gripped by the war in Ukraine, which should grip them, which distresses all of us, but which should not be allowed to be seen as worse than other conflicts taking place across the globe that are much more brutal and are likely to slip out of everyone’s memory because of the lack of interest and attention given by world leaders and media outlets to them.

Charlie D’Agata of CBS News said Kiev “isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades. This is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to choose those words carefully, too – city, where you wouldn’t expect that, or hope that … [a conflict] is going to happen.”

Clearly, these are the things one expects to see in Kabul (Afghanistan) or Baghdad (Iraq) or Goma (the Democratic Republic of Congo), but not in a “relatively civilized, relatively European” city in Ukraine. If these are things that one expects in the former cities respectively, then there is very little need to be particularly outraged by the violence that is witnessed in these cities
You would not expect such violence in Ukraine, said the country’s deputy chief prosecutor, David Sakvarelidze, to the British Broadcasting Corporation, because of the kind of people who were caught in the crossfire: “European people with blue eyes and blond hair being killed every day.”
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War is not the Answer!

 “It’s who we are as Sisters of St. Joseph,” Sister Sherryl White explains, holding a “Pray for Peace” banner outside the Motherhouse along Route 65 in Baden. Desiring to bring people together to pray for peace in Ukraine, the Sisters welcomed the community to attend a prayer service and public witness earlier this afternoon.
“It’s who we are as Sisters of St. Joseph,” Sister Sherryl White explains, holding a “Pray for Peace” banner outside the Motherhouse along Route 65 in Baden. Desiring to bring people together to pray for peace in Ukraine, the Sisters welcomed the community to attend a prayer service and public witness earlier this afternoon.

“We’re here, standing with our dear neighbors, to witness that war is not the answer, that praying for peace does make a difference. We believe that,” she says as passing motorists honk in support. “That’s why we’re asking everybody driving by to do the same - all ages, all races, all denominations, all people - to realize that we are one, and that’s our future together.”
Let's Change the Dance Step: 
Ukraine, Russia and the Global Superpower

by Jay D. Jurie

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is largely a result of the United States determination to become the sole and exclusive global superpower.

No, the US didn't "make" Russia invade Ukraine, and to be clear about this, Russia should not have done so. But in so doing, Russia fell into a trap set by US foreign policy elites. 

Both Ukraine and Russia have fallen afoul of the US rise to geopolitical primacy and economic supremacy on a world scale. History amply documents US expansion and a drive toward dominance, with an explicit reliance upon force where deemed warranted. This is highlighted as follows:  

Even prior to the American Revolution military campaigns took lands from indigenous peoples. During the American Revolution control of the 13 colonies was won from Britain. In 1805 President Jefferson doubled the existing size of the nation with the Louisiana Purchase of lands which the French had wrested from their original inhabitants. 

Among those who launched the War of 1812 were "War Hawks" who sought to invade and incorporate Canada into the US. The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 made clear US ruling elites saw the entire Western Hemisphere as their sphere of influence. President Jackson avidly waged war against native peoples and in 1835 oversaw the Cherokee Removal. The Manifest Destiny proclamation in 1845 provided a rationale for the expansion of the US across the North American continent. In 1846-48 Manifest Destiny was given practical expression with the Mexican-American War conquest of huge swaths of territory from Mexico. In 1867 William Seward engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia.

Two items in the late 19th Century propelled the United States beyond the North American continent and onto the world stage. The first and most significant was the Spanish-American War of 1898. By this point, the US was already planning to construct a canal across the isthmus between North and South America. With that plan came the imperative to establish control over approaches to the canal from both the Atlantic and Pacific. 

Spain, a world power well past its prime, was the only foreign entity positioned in the way of that access. So in displacing Spain the US took over the sea lanes in question, acquired the colonial possessions, ports, and military bases of Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, the Philippines, and Guam, in the process further projecting power and influence. The other item was the military coup that overthrew the Hawaiian Kingdom and turned those islands into a US colony. At virtually the same time, the US participated in the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion, further establishing the US as a rising power in the Pacific Basin. In 1903, the US completed its control over the canal project when it backed the secession of what became Panama from Colombia.  

World War I, with the deployment of troops in Europe, intervention in the Russian Revolution, participation in the Treaty of Versailles, and the formation of the League of Nations, saw a significant jump in US power and global prominence. In the late 1930s a very limited analogy can be made between Japan and the US with the current events involving Russia and Ukraine. No, the US didn't "make" Japan attack Pearl Harbor in 1941 nor did the US have any specific foreknowledge of that attack, but as far back as 1917 Vladimir Lenin predicted the inevitability of war between the two over control of the Pacific Basin. By cutting off the flow of vital resources to Japan, the US underscored that inevitability, arguably goading the Japanese into making the first strike. Again, as with the Ukraine and Russia, Japan did not have to allow itself to become provoked, but the US helped set the stage for that to happen.

At the conclusion of WWII, the US was finally positioned to assume a role as a leading world power. During the war and continuing on from that point, as authors such as Chalmers Johnson and David Vine have informed us, the US constructed a series of military bases around the world. These number in the hundreds, and that does not include the aircraft carriers and their supporting fleets nor the nuclear-armed submarines that routinely patrol the world's oceans. The military itself has continued to expand its mission, in recent years adding an Africa Command and a Space Force 

All of this protects US priorities and transnational corporate interests. While it projects US power, it is supported by a domestic military-industrial complex that profits from and is dependent upon this activity. From its inception, the Cold War featured a series of proxy conflicts in which the US sought to expand and solidify its position. 

As opposed to the US, the Soviet Union has confined the external deployment of troops to neighboring countries under its influence, except in the cases of Cuba and Afghanistan, where they were invited in by existing governments. It should also be noted Afghanistan borders Russia. While the Soviet Union has supported a variety of actors, movements, and struggles in diverse locales, sometimes with military equipment and supplies, the US is the only nation in the world that has established a worldwide network of military installations.  

In 1949 the US and its major Western European partners created NATO. In 1955, the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies formed the Warsaw Pact in response.  After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union the pretext for the Cold War disappeared. 

"Communism" was "defeated" and virtually disappeared as a competing ideology with Western capitalism. The Warsaw Pact was disbanded, but NATO was not because in its new capitalist incarnation Russia still constituted a rival power, outside US dominance and control. So what re-emerged, in essence, was pre-WWI great power chauvinism with old-fashioned competition over resources, economic control and geopolitical dominance. 

In keeping with the long sweep of US history, force remains an option be exercised against any who are not in line with what has been termed Pax Americana, that is, against those seen as not cooperating with or subordinating themselves to US prerogatives. Indeed, it can and should be said this is a considerable part of the history of the US as a whole. Recent examples include Nicaragua, which was benignly neglected so long as pro-US President Anastasio Somoza was in power, as was Panama so long as Manuel Noriega was compliant, and Iraq so long as Saddam Hussein showed no signs of meaningful national sovereignty. This strategy has been expressed in a number of ways, including US presidential proclamations, such as the Truman Doctrine that formed NATO, policy papers, such as the Project for a New American Century and the Wolfowitz Doctrine, and as shown above, implemented by numerous military or other governmental interventions.  

From the perspective of the US foreign policy elites, Russia, especially with its formidable nuclear arsenal, represents an ongoing and serious challenge.  A look at the world stage today reveals in addition to Russia that Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea have been subjected to disruptive measures intended to keep them marginalized, and in all likelihood taken down by force if and when opportunity presents. China is also a major consideration, but that is a story in its own right.

As regards Russia, at the February 1945 Yalta Conference Joseph Stalin articulated the Soviet fear of Western aggression as the basis for creating and maintaining a belt of buffer states that were incorporated into the Soviet Union or subsequently became the Warsaw Pact. In 1812 the French invaded Russia and succeeded in capturing Moscow. With the remainder of Napoleon's army that had not been decimated exhausted, and supplies depleted, the French were defeated by the Russian winter and Russian resilience. But in the process substantial damage was inflicted on Russia leaving them in trepidation of further Western incursion.  

This fear was more than validated by Nazi Germany's 1941 Operation Barbarossa, the single largest land invasion in world history. German troops laid siege to Leningrad for nearly three years, with hundreds of thousands of residents dying, many from starvation. The Germans made it to within a few miles of Moscow, and for a time managed to occupy Stalingrad. As with Napoleon, winter and Russian perseverance ultimately led to their defeat. 

It's estimated well over 25 million Soviet citizens died as a result of Operation Barbarossa. Concerns of Western invasion initiated by Napoleon were magnified many times over by the intense struggle to repel the Germans. In light of these events, it should come as no surprise that dread of further Western attack is deeply embedded in the Russian psyche.

As has already been said, this does not excuse or justify the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a transgression that was preventative rather than preemptive in nature, but does supply some historical background and explanation. We cannot fully comprehend and assess what's transpired without situating what is occurring in its larger context. There is considerably more involved with Russia's attack on Ukraine, but the manner in which the US set the stage and managed the production is key to understanding the overall situation.  Rather than having been disbanded, the expansion of NATO was crucial in tightening the screws on Russia.

In this specific instance the US used the threat of NATO expansion to Ukraine, as well as other machinations, to put that country on a crash course with Russia. In this manner both Ukraine and Russia can be considered victims, they have been manipulated into playing roles not entirely of their own choosing.  To date, US foreign policy elites and their faithful corporate media outlets have likely succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in demonizing "the madman" Putin and in isolating Russia while even worse, enabling massive death and destruction in Ukraine.

Regardless of how the Ukrainian debacle plays out, unless it results in full-scale nuclear war, Russia will most likely remain an impediment to the achievement of US aspirations.  What is the end game with Russia is envisioned by the US? Most probably regime change of some sort. 

Possibly a further break-up of the Russian Federation into smaller, more easily subjected and controllable pieces. Perhaps the replacement of Russian oligarchs with Western-based transnational corporations. Other US objectives include maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency and the expansion of trade relations with Europe while simultaneously holding Russia in abeyance and degrading its economic capacity.

In the wake of the Russian invasion those of us who "believe a better world is possible" should demand an end to the war, and call for Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine. We should express our solidarity with the Ukrainian people and join efforts to help them rebuild their country. We must also make clear that the working people of the Ukraine and Russia, no matter their ethnic or linguistic background, have far more in common with each other than they do with their present governments. As expressed in the US Labor Statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine: "Working people...have a common interest in reining in the power of their militaries and redirecting the vast resources going to war into programs that support and improve their lives and address climate change." 

We must demand the abolition of NATO and its replacement with security guarantees for all. We must advocate for the rejection of great power chauvinism and superpower rivalries.  We must not erroneously seek the devolution of a world dominated by the US, or any superpowers, into one that is multipolar, but rather, as Terri Mattson of Code Pink has told us, seek to construct one that is multilateral. And ultimately, construct a global system organized around transnational working class solidarity.  

Those of us in the United States have a special responsibility to insist the US divest itself of its empire of military bases, to press for an end to US foreign meddling, and to organize against US entrenchment as the sole and exclusive global superpower.  


 Harry Targ

 Original essay on NATO posted on May 12, 2012
 (To quote a tired but true slogan, “war is not the answer.” The Russian invasion of Ukraine threatens the lives and property of Ukraine’s, the lives of Russian soldiers and protesters, raises fears of an escalation of war throughout Europe, and raises the danger of nuclear war.

“We” need to demand “back-channel negotiations” as occurred during the Cuban missile crisis, diplomacy at the United Nations, and summit meetings of diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, and Europe. And conversations on the agenda should include forbidding Ukraine from joining NATO, establishing regional autonomy for Ukraine citizens who want it, pulling back NATO bases from Eastern European states, and/or abolishing NATO itself because the reason for its creation in the first place, defending against an attacking Soviet Union, no longer an issue.

The "we” at this moment could be a resurgent international peace movement, taking inspiration from peace activists in Russia and around the world. As horrible as this moment is, it is potentially a “teachable moment,” a moment when peace becomes part of the global progressive agenda again and people all around the world can begin to examine existing international institutions such as NATO.

The essay below about NATO remains an important part of the story. And while we react with shock and condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, whatever the complicated and understandable motivations, we need to be familiar with the historic context of the very dangerous warfare that we are living through now.

As James Goldgeier wrote over twenty years ago on a Brookings Institute web page: “The dean of America’s Russia experts, George F. Kennan, had called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe ‘the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era.’ Kennan, the architect of America’s post-World War II strategy of containment of the Soviet Union, believed, as did most other Russia experts in the United States, that expanding NATO would damage beyond repair U.S. efforts to transform Russia from enemy to partner.” James Goldgeier, Brookings Institute,  “The U.S. Decision to Enlarge NATO: How, When, Why, and What Next?“, June 1, 1999).

During World War II an “unnatural alliance” was created between the United States, Great Britain, and the former Soviet Union. What brought the three countries together, the emerging imperial giant, the declining capitalist power, and the first socialist state, was the shared need to defeat fascism in Europe. Rhetorically, the high point of collaboration was reflected in the agreements made at the Yalta Conference, in February, 1945 three months before the German armies were defeated.

At Yalta, the great powers made decisions to facilitate democratization of former Nazi regimes in Eastern Europe, a “temporary” division of Germany for occupation purposes, and a schedule of future Soviet participation in the ongoing war against Japan. Leaders of the three states returned to their respective countries celebrating the “spirit of Yalta,” what would be a post-war world order in which they would work through the new United Nations system to modulate conflict in the world.

Within two years, after conflicts over Iran with the Soviet Union, the Greek Civil War, the replacement of wartime President Franklin Roosevelt with Harry Truman, and growing challenges to corporate rule in the United States by militant labor, Truman declared in March, 1947 that the United States and its allies were going to be engaged in a long-term struggle against the forces of “International Communism.” The post-war vision of cooperation was reframed as a struggle of the “free world” against “tyranny.”

In addition to Truman’s ideological crusade, his administration launched an economic program to rebuild parts of Europe, particularly what would become West Germany, as capitalist bastions against the ongoing popularity of Communist parties throughout the region. Along with the significant program of reconstructing capitalism in Europe and linking it by trade, investment, finance, and debt to the United States, the U.S. with its new allies constructed a military alliance that would be ready to fight the Cold War against International Communism.

Representatives of Western European countries met in Brussels in 1948 to establish a program of common defense and one year later with the addition of the United States and Canada, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. The new NATO charter, inspired largely by a prior Western Hemisphere alliance, the Rio Pact (1947), proclaimed that “an armed attack against one or more of them…shall be considered an attack against them all…” which would lead to an appropriate response. The Charter called for cooperation and military preparedness among the 12 signatories. After the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb and the Korean War started, NATO pushed ahead with the development of a common military command structure with General Eisenhower as the first “Supreme Allied Commander.”

After the founding of NATO and its establishment as a military arm of the West, the Truman administration adopted the policy recommendations in National Security Council Document 68 (NSC 68) in 1950 which declared that military spending for the indefinite future would be the number one priority of every presidential administration. As Western European economies reconstructed, Marshall Plan aid programs were shut down and military assistance to Europe was launched. Greece and Turkey joined NATO in 1952, and fueling the flames of Cold War, West Germany was admitted to NATO in 1955. (This stimulated the Soviet Union to construct its own alliance system, the Warsaw Pact, with countries from Eastern Europe).

During the Cold War NATO continued as the only unified Western military command structure against the “Soviet threat.” While forces and funds only represented a portion of the U.S. global military presence, the alliance constituted a “trip wire” signifying to the Soviets that any attack on targets in Western Europe would set off World War III. NATO thus provided the deterrent threat of “massive retaliation” in the face of first-strike attack.
With the collapse of the former Warsaw Pact regimes between 1989 and 1991, the tearing down of the symbolic Berlin Wall in 1989, and finally the collapse of the Soviet Union itself in 1991, the purpose for maintaining a NATO alliance presumably had passed. However, this was not to be.

In the next twenty years after the Soviet collapse, membership in the alliance doubled. New members included most of the former Warsaw Pact countries. The functions and activities of NATO were redefined. NATO programs included air surveillance during the crises accompanying the Gulf War and the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. In 1995, NATO sent 60,000 troops to Bosnia and in 1999 it carried out brutal bombing campaigns in Serbia with 38,000 sorties. NATO forces became part of the U.S. led military coalition that launched the war on Afghanistan in 2001. In 2011 a massive NATO air war on Libya played a critical role in the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime.

An official history of NATO described the changes in its mission: “In 1991 as in 1949, NATO was to be the foundation stone for a larger, pan-European security architecture.” The post-Cold War mission of NATO combines “military might, diplomacy, and post-conflict stabilization.”
The NATO history boldly concludes that the alliance was founded on defense in the 1950s and détente with the Soviet Union in the 1960s. With the collapse of Communism in the 1990s it became a “tool for the stabilization of Eastern Europe and Central Asia through incorporation of new Partners and Allies.” The 21st century vision of NATO has expanded further: “extending peace through the strategic projection of security.” This new mission, the history said, was forced upon NATO because of the failure of nation-states and extremism.

Reviewing this brief history of NATO, observers can reasonably draw different conclusions about NATO’s role in the world than from those who celebrate its world role. First, NATO’s mission to defend Europe from aggression against “International Communism” was completed with the “fall of Communism.” Second, the alliance was regional, that is pertaining to Europe and North America, and now it is global. Third, NATO was about security and defense. Now it is about global transformation. Fourth, as its biggest supporter in terms of troops, supplies and budget (22-25%), NATO is an instrument of United States foreign policy. Fifth, as a creation of Europe and North America, it has become an enforcer of the interests of member countries against, what Vijay Prashad calls, the “darker nations” of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Sixth, NATO has become the 21st century military instrumentality of global imperialism. And finally, there is growing evidence that larger and larger portions of the world’s people have begun to stand up against NATO.
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SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2022 AT 1 PM – 2:30 PM
'Democracy in Chains' by How Nancy MacLean's book helps the US in fighting the Right

We’re inviting you to join us on Sunday, March 13th for a presentation on Nancy MacClean's book "Democracy in Chains - The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America." The book is an invaluable history showing the deep connections between neoliberalism, white supremacy and the neo-Confederate right.
After a PowerPoint presentation by Carl Davidson, we will engage in Q&A and group discussions on how to ‘break the chains.’ Carl is the founder of the Online University of the Left. He also works for left unity through CCDS, Leftroots, DSA, and Liberation Road. In earlier decades, he was a leader of the CPML and the LRS, and a writer and editor for the Guardian.
Please join us on Sunday, March 13th, (Note: Daylight Savings time starts) 10AM PST, 1PM EST.
Carl Davidson is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

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In case you missed it!
Past months 4th Monday's programs.

The Left, Progressives and Social Media-- October 2021

November Fourth Monday: Assessment of COP 26, US-China cooperation and future prospects:
Fourth Monday in September, watch here: IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
From the CCDS Socialist Education Project...
A China Reader

Edited by Duncan McFarland

A project of the CCDS Socialist Education Project and Online University of the Left

244 pages, $20 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

The book is a selection of essays offering keen insight into the nature of China and its social system, its internal debates, and its history. It includes several articles on the US and China and the growing efforts of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

Click here for the Table of Contents

Taking Down White Supremacy 

A Reader on Multiracial and Multinational Unity 

Edited by the CCDS
Socialist Education Project

166 pages, $12.50 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

This collection of 20 essays brings together a variety of articles-theoretical, historical, and experiential-that address multi-racial, multi-national unity. The book provides examples theoretically and historically, of efforts to build multi-racial unity in the twentieth century.

      Click here for the Table of contents
There will be a Zoom meeting of the Medicare for All Update Group on Wednesday, March 16th, 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern Time. The Zoom link will be sent out closer to the date

Here is our proposed agenda:
  • Update on Medicare Privatization and Direct Contracting Entities - Congressional hearing was held, Elizabeth Warren speaks out!
  • What happened with the California State Single Payer bill, AB 1400? What is happening with the New York State single payer bill, New York Health?
  • Report on what will happen at the virtual national Medicare for All Conference on April 2-3?
  • Questions and Discussion
If you want to get the Zoom link, please email [email protected] to receive the link in March.

Thank you - Corinne, Sandy & Marilyn

Where Black History Month intersects with the UAW Flint 
Sitdown Strike of 1936-37

An interview with J.D. Dotson, Buick Foundry Worker & “Rebel Rouser” (1982)
by Frank Hammer 

February 11, 2022 marks the 85th Anniversary of one of the most profound labor struggles in the US - the 44-day occupation of multiple GM factories by militant auto workers in Flint, Michigan. Referred to around the world as the Great Flint Sitdown Strike, it culminated in General Motors recognizing the United Auto Workers (UAW) as the sole bargaining agent at GM plants across the country, and agreeing to a first contract, which was all of one page.  

The role that Black workers played in that strike is very rarely mentioned, if at all. There was Roscoe Van Zant, pictured above with some of the leaders of the successful occupation at Chevy Plant 4, the only Black worker who was actually part of the Sitdown. Martha Grevatt, retired Chrysler Tool & Die Maker and former Trustee of UAW Chrysler Local 869, told about him in The Occupy that won the union published in Workers World (Feb 13, 2012). She wrote:
One of the heroes inside Chevy 4 was Roscoe Van Zandt, an African-American worker. He stayed inside the plant from beginning to end. This was dangerous for a Black worker…At first, he kept to himself, but Socialists like Johnson and Howard Foster educated the white workers on the need for solidarity. There was one bed in the plant, and they gave it to Van Zandt.” A Sitdowner who knew him told Martha that he was
“a natural leader.”

Martha, who is a member of the Steering Committee of Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD), mentioned other African American workers:

GM was a Jim Crow operation then. In most plants Black workers were only employed as janitors. The exception was the Buick foundry, where conditions were the worst, and Black workers’ jobs were the worst of the worst. The Buick plant was not on strike, but was idled, and Henry Clark and Prince Combs, in whose homes the dimly-lit organizing meetings had occurred, built support for the union. J.D. Dotson was a Black Communist who carried messages from one picket line to another and in and out of the occupied plants.

I met J.D. Dotson in 1982 during one of the many Sitdowners’ “Pioneer Reunions,'' held during the summer in Flushing Park in Flint. I would go up with other Detroit auto workers to be part of the wonderful picnics attended then by a couple of hundred Sitdowners and their families. Here’s my interview which appeared in the underground newsletter, Straight Talk published by rank and file members of UAW Local 909 at what was then the Chevrolet Motors plant in Warren, MI. We urged fellow workers to “read his remarks on the company’s tactics for keeping workers down and divided, and how the autoworkers overcame them.” He was memorialized many years later in this artist’s graphite drawing: 

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J.D. Dotson, in his own words

“For years the Black man was kept out of work in the factory. The only time he worked was when the white man didn’t want to work. There was no union, so when the white man would stop work and strike, the boss would go out and bring the Black man into the shop in box cars. They had cots and we would sleep, eat, and work right there in the shop. When the whites got hungry, they would come back and we would be turned back into the street like we were sheep.

At Chevrolet the only thing a Black could get was a mop and a broom. At Buick we had some shake out job in the foundry that nobody did want.

You didn’t get water

You didn’t know from day to day whether you were going to work. When we did, we worked from six in the morning to six or seven in the evening.

You didn’t get water. They had one man who would come around with one of them old pint milk bottles, rinse it out and give you water. We could drink water with one hand, watch for the boss, and keep working with the other hand. You had to eat right on the job with dust, oil and everything in the foundry. You didn’t wash your hands because if you did, you didn’t have a job. This was not one day - this was everyday.

I remember a white man who was made superintendent and then he hired his brother. They would go around with old gloves and get them real dirty and nasty. If you said you needed a pair of gloves and your gloves were no good, he would give you a pair of the gloves he carried around with him. If you said you wanted a clean pair he would fire you. Some days you could take a toothpick and push it through the blisters on your hands - it would be so hot while you were trying to work. 

We hid in basements 

John L Lewis told us as long as the boss could keep white and Black separated, they were going to use both of us. He said the only way we could get anywhere is to get organized. There should be no discrimination. The Black man wouldn’t be offended by the white man because he knew he wouldn’t get anywhere without him.

In 1929 we started to organize in secret - five Blacks and two whites. We would go from place to place in open cars in zero weather to get a union started. We hid in basements. We couldn’t let nobody know what was going on, or they would go back in the shop and tell the boss.  

We were called “reds, commies” and were called “goons.” The big manufacturer owners called us this. If you were weak minded they would tell you, “don’t have anything to do with that man because he’s a “goon.” Anytime you were a labor leader and fighting to get the union started they would call you a “goon” or a “rebel rouser.” They couldn’t put us any lower, even though a lot of people didn’t know what the meaning of a “goon” was. 

We started under the AFL [American Federation of Labor]. Later on we got two unions in the shop, the AFof L and the CIO [Congress of Industrial Organizations]. We held an election to see which one we would use for our bargainers, and we accepted the CIO.

The AFof L, you see, was all white, and for years was skilled trades. The Black man couldn’t get into the unions until we brung in the CIO. The only way we got anything was when the union came into existence. That’s when we came into power.”
You won’t find any information on the UAW’s website or facebook page about J.D. Dotson. He was a member of the Communist Party, USA, as were many of the other leaders of the Flint Sitdown strike. Their history fell victim to the MCarthy-era witch hunts in the 1950s and a whitewashing of our UAW history by the Administration (Reuther) Caucus.* It’s time J.D. Dotson and the others - men and women - were placed in a position of honor for having risked their lives for the UAW. 
PS - The notice below appeared on the UAW’s facebook page one day before “White Shirt Day,” as it came to be called. It’s flawed - 3 or 4 plants were occupied, not just one. Women didn’t work in GM factories then, but women from other factories along with the Sitdowners’ wives and girlfriends did play an outsized role as part of the Women’s Emergency Brigade.  

“Tomorrow UAW members celebrate White Shirt Day, honoring the workers who participated in the Flint Sit-Down Strike of 1936 and 1937 In the face of anti-union sentiment, brutal working conditions, and low wages, men and women working for General Motors came together to orchestrate a historic sit-in, where they occupied the Flint factory and demanded a seat at the bargaining table with GM, and won that right.

We will be sharing links tomorrow from UAW Region 1D, to join in the celebration. Remember to wear your White Shirts as well.”

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The General Motors facility in Silao, Mexico, where a group of workers has formed an independent union that will compete for the chance to represent thousands of employees in an election set to take place this week.Credit...
Luis Antonio Rojas for The New York Times
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Historic Victory for Workers at the
GM Auto Plant in Silao (Mexico)!
By Juan Carlos Vargas *
On February 1 and 2, the vote was held to obtain union representation for workers at the General Motors plant in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico. In this vote, in which 5,389 valid ballots were cast, the National Independent Union of Automotive Industry Workers (SINTTIA) was the winner with 78% of the votes. This was an historic victory for a union forged in the struggle of workers who for several years have fought for union democracy at this plant.
Despite the blackmail of the charro organizations [company unions], vote-buying, and threats against their leaders, SINTTIA was able to prevail over three charro unions. It was a scathing defeat for the CTM – the corporatist union confederation that is a close ally of the PRI-PAN governments. Finally, a genuinely independent union will be able to negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement with a transnational automobile company.
"We showed them that it is possible to beat the CTM, that it is not invincible, and that there are ways to get rid of protection unions [that is, protection of the interests of the bosses] and charro structures," stated SINTTIA General Secretary Alejandra Morales at a post-election press conference. She went on to announce that SINTTIA will seek to negotiate a wage increase "above inflation, because the CTM always negotiated below it.” Other items such as monthly productivity bonuses also will be placed on the negotiating table, she said. [1]
Background: A Victory Following a Long Struggle
The SINTTIA swept the vote because it earned the confidence of the majority of the plant's workers. This victory is a result of a several-year struggle to organize workers in the face of continued repression, harassment, and firings – but also a struggle to link up with unions and labor activists nationally and internationally.
In 2019, the Generando Movimiento (G.Mov) group was founded, led by Israel Cervantes, a worker who along with others was fired without cause from the company in response to his fight for democratic unionism and labor rights.
During 2019 and 2020, the CTM union at the Silao plant colluded with the company to fire dozens of workers who were promoting the demands and activities of GMov.
GMov publicized the GM workers' struggle at a national level, attending the conventions of unions such as the SME (electrical workers), the NCT (New Workers Central), the CNTE (education workers), and the UNT (National Workers Union). In addition, it joined in solidarity with a wide range of social and political organizations.
GMov's struggle also crossed borders, gaining the support of the Binational Conference Against NAFTA 2.0 and the Wall of Shame and its affiliated organizations, as well as the UNIFOR union of Canada, affiliates of the CUT of Brazil, and the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the United States.
When General Motors forced the workers to return to work in the middle of the pandemic, arguing that their work was “essential” – as occurred as well with the maquiladora sweatshop companies along the border – GMov carried out a campaign denouncing the conditions at the plant and the sharp increase in COVID infections. In contrast, the charro CTM union refused to lift a finger to support these workers, many of whom were fired for speaking out.
In April 2021, to comply with the new Federal Labor Law, the CTM union in Silao organized a vote for the ratification of the contract, but this vote was full of irregularities. There were numerous allegations of vote-buying, meddling by management to "guide the vote," blackmail, and threats of loss of rights or employment. GMov workers documented this situation, made it public, and filed the corresponding complaints.
The North American automobile unions (UAW and UNIFOR) seconded the complaints. As a result, the Mexican government was forced to intervene and to order the annulment of the fraudulent vote. The government proceeded to order a new contract vote.
In August 2021, a new ratification vote was held under the supervision of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Ministry of Labor, and the National Electoral Institute. The result was a massive rejection of the CTM union, which lost jurisdiction over the contract.
The defeat of the CTM in this contract vote opened the door to the possibility that a new union, an independent union, could win the affiliation of the majority of workers at the plant. It was then that GMov, together with active workers in the plant, built the SINTTIA union with the intention of representing the workers in Silao.
On November 3, 2021, the protection contract that the CTM had negotiated with General Motors was terminated, and the process to obtain the official registration of new unions in the plant was opened.
In order to determine which organization would negotiate a new collective-bargaining agreement, an election was held on February 1 and 2, where SINTTIA obtained 4,192 votes, that is, 78% of the total valid votes.
NAFTA 2.0 and Trade Union Rights: A Carrot and a Big Stick
After the victory in Silao, the Los Angeles Times and other corporate media spread the idea that this victory was the sole and direct result of the implementation of Chapter 22 of NAFTA agreement. What really happened?
In 2019, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and the Mexican Congress approved a labor law reform that was first proposed and discussed within the framework of the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations between then presidents Obama and Peña Nieto. The agreement was not approved under those two presidents, as the AFL-CIO in the United States demanded modifications to NAFTA 2.0’s labor chapter as a condition for giving its support to signing what is fundamentally a corporate “free trade” pact. The Democratic Party leadership backed the AFL-CIO’s amendments.
The U.S. trade representative, heeding these different requests, called for Mexico to (1) adopt a new federal labor law, and (2) include enforceable labor rights in the body of the agreement, not as a parallel labor agreement (as was the case under NAFTA). Mexico’s new labor law was adopted under López Obrador’s administration, and the USMCA agreement was signed in January 2020 by Trump, Trudeau (Canada’s prime minister), and López Obrador after the inclusion of Chapter 22 and its labor provisions.
On the surface, the new labor law promotes "free unionization" and "union democracy." But two years after USMCA’s adoption, things have not changed for the overwhelming majority of workers in Mexico. The GM workers in Silao are the exception to the rule.
The new legal framework requires that workers be able to vote individually and secretly on a contract’s ratification … or rejection. One would think that this would have opened the door wide to an upsurge by workers, particularly in the maquiladora companies, who have been suffering for decades from protection contracts, as well as low wages and no benefits. But this has not happened. According to CILAS data, to date 3,000 collective bargaining agreements have been put to a vote, and in only 20 cases have the protection contracts been rejected, as occurred in Silao.
The new legal framework also requires unions to modify their by-laws to allow the free election of leadership through secret and direct votes. Some of the large unions – SUTERM (energy) and SNTE (education) – proceeded to make a few modifications. But this new construct has not meant an immediate change for the better. Quite the contrary. Here are two examples from the recent past:
Example Number 1: Elections to the SNTE sectional leaderships in Baja California and Aguascalientes were held in November of last year. The elections were rigged. Union members who were not part of the union mafia of Elba Esther Gordillo and Juan Diaz de la Torre were not allowed to run for union office.
Example Number 2: Mexican union activists were focused on the February 1 union leadership elections in the Mexican Oil Workers Union (Sindicato Petrolero), an election that attracted national attention due to the numerical and economic importance of this union. It was a vote to replace the corrupt general secretary, Carlos Romero Dechamps. The winner, with 70.6% of the 44,983 total votes cast, was Luis Ricardo Aldana, former treasurer of the union and a close personal friend of the outgoing general secretary.
Despite the documented voting irregularities, the denial of registration to opposition candidates (such as María de Lourdes Díaz Cruz "Lula" of the National Movement for Oil Transformation), the vote-buying and threats, the charro union mafia in the oil workers’ union emerged strengthened from this vote and legitimized by the Mexican president himself.
The truth is that the federal and state labor authorities have hindered registration of new independent organizations. Even in Silao, they allowed management’s repression against the union organizers. They turned a blind eye to the threats by the charros, the very same ones who have created a new so-called independent union federation: the Autonomous Confederation of Workers and Employees of Mexico (CATEM). This is a federation promoted by Senator Pedro Haces, with the approval of President López Obrador. It’s a federation that is no different from the corporatist CTM. All that changed was its name.

The labor chapter of the USMCA has turned out to be a carrot behind which there is a big stick – the stick of everything else contained in the treaty: the plundering of Mexico’s oil, gas and mining resources; the continuity of megaprojects and the subjugation of our sovereignty to U.S. corporate interests. It’s a treaty that will be used to impede the implementation of measures such as the recovery of the energy industry.
[See below the Open Letter to AMLO regarding the urgent need to renationalize Mexico’s energy resources and the accompanying article by Alan Benjamin on the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clause in NAFTA 2.0 that will impede the renationalization of Mexico’s energy resources.]
What Made it Possible for the Workers to Win this Victory in Silao?
Contrary to what the mainstream media are telling us, neither the new labor law nor NAFTA 2.0 were the only – much less the direct – causes of the victory in Silao. Rather, the victory was the result of a long process of organization, consistent work, and resistance to repression that had targeted activists such as those in Generando Movimiento, who suffered harassment, firings, and blacklisting by the company, and neglect by the labor authorities.
What made the difference was the existence of a nucleus of activists and organizers, who, with a class-based organizing perspective, did their best to spread their struggle nationally and internationally.
The new labor law helped pave the way for this victory, it is true, but without an organizing, internationalist perspective little will change; without such a perspective the law will remain little more than a piece of paper.
• Long live the workers of Generando Movimiento!
• Long live SINTTIA!
• National and international solidarity with the SINTTIA workers in their struggle for a new collective bargaining agreement!

* Juan Carlos Vargas is a member of the Organization of Workers and Peoples (OPT), an independent political organization founded by the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME). He is also a member of the National Executive Committee of the New Workers Central (NCT) trade union federation.
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Women Leaders Gone but not Forgotten
Berenice Carroll

The CCWH is very sorry to learn about Bernice Carroll’s passing. Bernice is one of CCWH’s founders. She was a very good mentor for a generation of historians.

Dr. Berenice Carroll, a pioneer of women’s rights, passed away on May 10, 2018 in Lafayette, Indiana. Born in New York in 1932, Dr. Carroll was a significant leader in the research and study of the United States, global peace and war, and women’s studies as well as an essential figure in the founding of several NGO’s and community organizations, and leading activism for over five decades.

Dr. Carroll was a Professor Emerita of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She served as Chair of the Division of General Studies from 1966-1969 and Director in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies from 1983-1987. While Director of the Gender and Women’s studies, she oversaw the creation of the Women’s Studies Program and the approval of a Women’s Studies Minor.

In 1990, Dr. Carroll continued her academic career at Purdue University as the Director of the Women’s Studies Program. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Violet Haas Award for developing an educational program that promoted the advancement of women and their rights at Purdue University.

y is her community engagement, service, and exceptional activism. She was the co-founder of Grass Roots Group of Second Class Citizens in Champaign-Urbana, which worked for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. She was also the co-founder/board member of A Women’s Place/A Women’s Fund, the FIRST shelter for battered women in Illinois, which eventually also included rape crisis counseling and assistance.[1] Carroll held leading positions in AAUP as well as UPE (IFT/AFT), she served on the executive board of SANE (National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy), on the council on the Status of Women at Purdue and the editorial and publication committees of Community Times (Lafayette). Among other involvements, she was the co-author of an amicus brief filed in support of military personnel refusing deployment to Iraq on grounds of Nuremberg Principles starting in 2005, served as faculty advisor for the Purdue Organization for Labor Equality (POLE) as well as an observer and advisor in hunger strikes and other forms of nonviolent actions in the last ten years.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Archives worked with Berenice for several years to preserve her papers. These papers documented her earliest community organizing activities, peace newsletters and grassroots records from local, national and international communities, her course work, her research and publication files, and research notes. Especially noteworthy are the research projects she did not complete, including an extensive index cataloging all wars known in human history (as to causes/numbers of victims/consequences), unpublished manuscripts, and conference proceedings of Common Differences: Feminism and the ‘Third World,’ the first conference of its kind and one she helped organize at Illinois in 1983.

Berenice’s exceptional work for women’s rights helped pave the way for others and she will be dearly missed.
Connie Hogarth, Relentless Social Activist, Dies at 95

As leader of a group in Westchester County, N.Y., she was arrested more than 20 times for local and national protests, including ones against nuclear power plants.
Connie Hogarth in 1996. She was “the pre-eminent dissenter” in Westchester County, a magazine called her, known for organizing protests against nuclear power, apartheid and the Iraq War.Credit...Susan Harris

March 1, 2022

Connie Hogarth, a relentless activist who for nearly a quarter-century led a social justice organization in suburban New York that orchestrated protests against nuclear power and worked on behalf of causes like women’s rights and the environment, died on Feb. 11 at her home in Beacon, N.Y., in Dutchess County. She was 95.
Her son Ross Hogarth confirmed the death.

“To obey one’s conscience — to do what one believes to be right — is, I believe, a primary obligation and should supersede the obligation to obey the law,” Ms. Hogarth wrote in an op-ed essay in The New York Times in 1977.

By then, the progressive group that Ms. Hogarth was running, the Westchester People’s Action Coalition, or Wespac, was four years old, having established itself as a vehicle for social action through protests, lobbying, pushing for minority jobs on construction sites, and sending public speakers to schools to raise alarms about issues like climate change.

Nuclear power, in particular, engaged (and enraged) her. She was one of more than 1,000 protesters arrested at a rally in 1977 on the site that became the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant in New Hampshire. In 1979, she and more than 200 others were arrested for trespassing at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, a village in Westchester County. She spent 12 days in jail.

At her trial, she wanted to use a defense based on a state statute called “competing harms,” which allows criminal conduct when it is necessary to avoid imminent injury; she cited the potential impact of a nuclear accident on the lives of New Yorkers. (One had occurred several months earlier at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania.)

But the judge disallowed the defense, and she was found guilty.
“Having gone through this is not a deterrent from going back to Indian Point again next year and every year until that plant is closed down,” Ms. Hogarth said after the trial.
She lived to see Indian Point shut down last year.

Ms. Hogarth could be fiery in expressing her outrage, but she trained volunteers in nonviolent civil disobedience.
“The thing that she was very insistent on, in lots of training and preparation for these actions, is that the police or even hostile passers-by are not our adversaries,” Charlie Scheiner, who founded Wespac with Ms. Hogarth, said in an interview. “They’re human beings and can be talked or even reasoned with.”
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Ms. Hogarth, in an undated photo, with Pete Seeger at a protest rally at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y. “Connie’s an indefatigable organizer,” Mr. Seeger said in 2006. “If it doesn’t work in one way she’ll organize it in a different way.”Credit...Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

She and Pete Seeger, the folk singer and a neighbor of Ms. Hogarth’s in Beacon, protested weekly during the Iraq War with other peace protesters at a busy intersection along Route 9 near a shopping mall in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., encouraging motorists with their signs to honk if they opposed the war.
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Move the Money Task Force
Would you like to participate in this?
Contact Janet Tucker at [email protected]

February 28, 2022

Statement from Cuba’s Revolutionary Government

 The U.S. determination to continue NATO’s progressive expansion toward the Russian Federation’s borders has brought about a scenario with implications of unpredictable scope, which could have been avoided.

United States’ and NATO’s military moves toward regions adjacent to the Russian Federation in recent months are well known, and were preceded by the delivery of modern weapons to Ukraine, which together constitute a military siege.

It is impossible to make a rigorous and honest examination of the current situation in Ukraine, without carefully assessing the Russian Federation’s just demands of the United States and NATO, and the factors that have led to the use of force and non-observance of legal principles and international norms which Cuba strongly supports and, are, particularly for small countries, an essential resource in resisting hegemony, abuse of power and injustice.
Cuba is a country that defends International Law and is committed to the Charter of the United Nations. Cuba will always defend peace and oppose the use of force, and threats to do so, against any state.

We deeply regret the loss of innocent civilian lives in Ukraine. The Cuban people have had and continue to have a very close relationship with the Ukrainian people.
History will hold the United States accountable for the consequences of an increasingly offensive military doctrine beyond NATO’s borders, which threatens international peace, security and stability.

Our concern has grown worse with NATO’s recent decision to activate, for the first time, its Response Force.

Ignoring the well-founded claims made by the Russian Federation concerning security guarantees for decades and assuming that Russia would remain defenseless in the face of a direct threat to its national security was a mistake. Russia has the right to defend itself. Peace cannot be achieved by mounting sieges or encircling states.

The draft resolution on the situation in Ukraine not adopted by the UN Security Council February 25, which will be submitted to the General Assembly, was not intended as a genuine contribution to resolve the current crisis.

On the contrary, it is an unbalanced text, which does not take into account the legitimate concerns of all parties involved. It does not acknowledge either the responsibility of those who instigated or took aggressive action that led to the escalation of this conflict.

We call for a serious, constructive and realistic diplomatic solution to the current crisis in Europe, via peaceful means, ensuring the security and sovereignty of all, as well as regional and international peace, stability and security.

Cuba rejects hypocrisy and double standards. It should be recalled that in 1999 the United States and NATO launched a major attack on Yugoslavia, a European country that was fragmented with a high cost in human lives, in pursuit of geopolitical objectives, disregarding the UN Charter.

The United States and several of its allies have used force on many occasions. They have invaded sovereign states to bring about regime change and interfere in the internal affairs of other nations that do not submit to their interests of domination, defending their territorial integrity and independence. 

They are also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, which they label as “collateral damage,” millions of displaced persons and widespread destruction across our planet in their wars of plunder.

Havana, February 26, 2022
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March 30, 2022: Acclaimed lecturer & author on Cuba, Dr. Helen Yaffe Speaking Events in Wisconsin

Posted on March 1, 2022

Save the date Wednesday, March 30 (during the day and evening): Acclaimed lecturer & author on Cuba, Dr. Helen Yaffe will be speaking in Milwaukee/Waukesha, on campus, virtually. This includes as Carroll University Convocation Speaker on Wednesday, March 30 @ 7:00 pm CST [Physical location, with face masks required: Carroll University Campus Center Ballroom,100 N East Avenue, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186; parking available on the street or in the Campus Center parking lot.] An online link will also be available. Also at 2pm at Marquette Univ. [Physical location in room 176 of MU’s Lalumiere Hall, 1338 W Clybourn St, Milwaukee, WI 53233, with an online link to be available]. Please check our social media and website as details develop.

We invite you to before that view her two films, which are available on You Tube:
1)  Cuba’s Life Task: Combatting Climate Change (2021), which premiered in November during COP26, the international climate change conference in Glasgow. (Trailer at:, and film at
2) Cuba & Covid-19: Public Health, Science and Solidarity (2020) (, These & other video interviews on BBC, etc., can also be seen on YouTube, including at:–Rg

Here is her short biography:
Dr Helen Yaffe is a Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow and a Visiting Fellow at the Latin America and Caribbean Centre at the London School of Economics. Her teaching focuses on Cuban and Latin American development. Since 1995 she has spent time living and researching in Cuba and participating in solidarity campaigns. She is the author of We Are Cuba! How a Revolutionary People Have Survived in a Post-Soviet World (Yale University Press, 2020), Che Guevara: the Economics of Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009) and co-author of Youth Activism and Solidarity: the Non-Stop Picket against Apartheid (2017). She has co-produced two documentaries: Cuba & Covid-19: Public Health, Science and Solidarity (2020) and Cuba’s Life Task: Combatting Climate Change (2021), which premiered in November during COP26, the international climate change conference in Glasgow.
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CHANGEMAKER PUBLICATIONS: Recent works on new paths to socialism and the solidarity economy

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We are a small publisher of books with big ideas. We specialize in works that show us how a better world is possible and needed. Click Gramsci below for our list.

Standing Up: Tales of Struggle
by Ellen Bravo and Larry Miller
(Brooklyn, NY: Hard Ball Press, 2022) 

reprinted from The New York Labor History Association (NYLHA)

Art Imitates Life

Ellen Bravo has spent more than five decades as an activist. The founder of the Milwaukee Chapter of 9 to 5 in 1982 (part of the National Association of Working Women), Bravo moved on in 2004 to direct Family Values @ Work. She has participated in numerous campaigns for gender equality and economic self-sufficiency. As recently as January 4, 2022, Bravo’s letter to the editor appeared in The New York Times weighing in on a story asking: “What Do You Think You Should Be Paid?” No surprise, Bravo argued that standards should be “clear, fair and transparent and applied equally to all.” Now, with the publication of Standing Up: Tales of Struggle, she translates her experiences into fiction. This isn’t her first foray as a fiction and non-fiction author. Her previous books include the fictional Again and Again (2015) and the non-fiction Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation (2007), based on her grassroots organizing work. This time, she has partnered with her husband, Larry Miller, also an organizer with decades of experience.

The stories in Standing Up are linked thematically and appear in chronological order, beginning with 1970. For those of us who have similarly spent time as organizers, the book feels like an anthropological field trip into the past. It could feel like a trip to a distant planet for some, if not for the problems that appear repeatedly and still resonate, sadly, in 2022. Almost like an echo chamber – the same concerns and fraught situations confronted the characters in the 1970s: Racism; class inequities; incarceration; ex-convicts and the entry-level, low-wage jobs they are confined to; arrests for crimes that are a result of poverty; people of color being assigned to the more difficult jobs. “Jim Crow? Oh, you thought that was over?”

The stories pay attention to jobs we normally don’t think about; the call centers; the people who make pipe; or process checks; the hospital laundries. What they entail close up, the daily indignities, and the dangers inherent in routinized sloppy procedures that are just part of the day’s work. One example — the contaminants employees are exposed to while working in the hospital laundry. The hardships resulting from the lay-offs and shift work and the havoc they cause in a working person’s life. One character, questioning company policy, says: “Why do we have to wait five years to get sick?”

The stories describe the choices people have to make and their impact, a sick child, an abusive husband; the constant costs of having too little money; the sheer drudgery of doing these jobs and the utter lack of any control over their working lives; the small indignities and the larger practices that play havoc with those lives.

The main theme that runs like a thread throughout the stories is organizing. In the acknowledgments, Bravo describes a conversation with her father, as he dismissed her plan to become an organizer. Countering his litany of drawbacks, she presciently told him: “You’re forgetting the joy.” The stories describe what happens when the people who Imbolo Mbue calls “the deliberately unheard” (as opposed to “the voiceless”) stand up for themselves and others.

The book captures the process in different settings, when people consciously act to fathom and then dismantle the obstacles they encounter, piece by piece. The process of convincing one’s self and the challenge of then convincing others to take a risk and speak up, act up. What it’s like to challenge one’s immediate environment through taking collective action and the changes – the personal epiphanies – that can result. The small victories and then passing it on, finding the next cause, once empowered by the contagious spirit of organizing.

A few of the stories stand out for their fine-grained examination of this process. Two favorites are “We Won’t Let You Pollute Our Playground,” about an inspired bit of community environmental organizing and “Feminists and Firefighters” about the work of advocates during a training session on sexual harassment. This story is pitch-perfect and worth quoting for some of its insights. “She thought of those women whose stories filled her head at night when she couldn’t sleep. What those women wanted was so simple it hurt. Believe us; don’t blame us.” Trying to distinguish between being a passive observer and speaking up, one character says: “It would make all the difference in the world. You know who they are but did nothing to stop them.”

Bravo and Miller’s hopes for the book are that it will nourish those already engaged in struggles and spur on new generations of activists. Combined, the stories are like a cookbook for activists with details of inspired campaigns borrowed from the records of two senior organizers who are happy to share. Outside the focus traversed in the novel, there is another question organizers need to confront. And that is, assembly line by assembly line, workplace by workplace organizing will only get us so far. It leaves untouched the larger forces that have eradicated the American Dream – the dreams of hard work and fairness; of justice and a life worth living. The power dynamics and political equation that have robbed the working-class of so much over the decades since 1970.

Reviewed by Jane LaTour, a former Executive Board member at the New York Labor History Association, Jane worked on factory assembly lines for seven years and took part in many campaigns in the workplace. Her first job in the labor movement was as a union organizer for District 65. She twice served as the director of the Women’s Project for the Association for Union Democracy (AUD). Her book, Sisters in the Brotherhoods: Women in New York City Organizing for Equality was published in 2008.  

The New York Labor History Association (NYLHA) was founded in 1976 by trade unionists, academics, students, archivists, educators, labor editors, attorneys, and retirees, mostly from New York State. NYLHA encourages the study of workers and their organizations and serves as a bridge between past and present labor unionists and academics.
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James Campbell: A Life To Remember


A tribute to James E. Campbell, a well-known and widely influential leader of the civil rights and socialist movements for the last seven decades. He worked as an actor, writer, and organizer, working with Jack O'Dell, Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz, Bayard Rustin, James Balwin, and many others. He served as an editor of Freedomways magazine and as national co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. He passed away earlier this year in Charleston, NC.

Order your copy today here.
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