Saturday, March 09, 2019

Why Don't You Do Right - Peggy Lee - Benny Goodman Orch 1943

The Very Thought of You -Al Bowlly

Iris DeMent -- He Reached Down

*The Lessons Of The Paris Commune- Leon Trotsky's View

Click on title to link to Leon Trotsky's 50th Anniversary article in 1921 "The Lessons Of The Paris Commune".


The Lessons of The Paris Commune, Leon Trotsky, Pathfinder Press, 1971

George Bernard Shaw once called Leon Trotsky the ‘ Prince of Pamphleteers’ and his little book on the Paris Commune certainly bear this out. All militants pay homage to the memory of the Commune. For a historical narrative of the events surrounding the rise and fall of the Commune look elsewhere. However, if you want to draw the lessons of the Commune this book offers a superior strategic study. Not surprisingly Trotsky, the organizer of the Russian October Revolution in 1917 and creator of the Red Army, uses the strength and weaknesses of the Commune against the experiences of the October Revolution to educate the militants of his day. Today some of those lessons are still valid for the international labor movement in the seemingly one-sided class struggle being waged against it.

When one studies the history of the Paris Commune of 1871 one learns something new even though from the perspective of revolutionary strategy the Communards made virtually every mistake in the book. Nevertheless, one can still learn lessons and measure them against the experience acquired by later revolutionary struggles and above all by later revolutions, not only the successful Russian Revolution of October 1917 but the failed German, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Chinese and Spanish revolutions in the immediate aftermath of World War I. More contemporaneously we also have the experiences of the partial victories of the later Chinese, Cuban and Vietnamese revolutions. Trotsky’s analysis follows this path.

Notwithstanding the contradictory nature of later experiences cited above, and as if to show that history is not always totally a history of horrors against the fate of the masses, Trotsky honored the Paris Commune as a beacon of the coming world socialist revolution. It is just for that reason that Karl Marx fought tooth and nail in the First International to defend it against the rage of capitalist Europe and the faint-hearted elements in the European labor movement. It is truly one of the revolutionary peaks.

The Commune nevertheless also presented in embryo the first post-1848 Revolution instance of what was to be later characterized by Lenin at the beginning of World War I as the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the international labor movement. Moreover, after Lenin’s death this question preoccupied Trotsky for much of the later part of his life. Trotsky’s placing the problems facing the Commune in this context made me realize that this crisis really has a much longer lineage that I had previously recognized. Unfortunately, that question is still to be resolved.

Many working class tendencies, Anarchist, Anarcho-Syndicalist, Left Social Democratic and Communist justifiably pay homage to the defenders of the Paris Commune and claim its traditions. Why does an organization of short duration and subject to savage reprisals still command our attention? The Commune shows us the heroism of the working masses, their capacity to unite for action, their capacity to sacrifice themselves in the name of a future, more just, organization of society. Every working class tendency can honor those qualities, particularly when far removed from any active need to do more than pay homage to the memory of the fallen Communards.

Nevertheless, as Trotsky notes, to truly honor the Communards it is necessary to understand that at the same time the Commune shows us the many times frustrating incapacity of the masses to act in their objective interests, their indecision in the leadership of the movement, their almost always fatal desire to halt after the first successes. Obviously, only a revolutionary party can provide that kind of leadership in order fight against these negative traits. At that stage in the development of the European working class where political class consciousness was limited to the vanguard, capitalism was still capable of progressive expansion and other urban classes were at least verbally espousing socialist solutions it is improbable that such an organization could have been formed. Nevertheless such an organization was objectively necessary.

It is a truism in politics, including revolutionary politics, that timing is important and many times decisive. As Trotsky noted seizure of power by the Commune came too late. It had all the possibilities of taking the power on September 4, 1870 rather than March 18, 1871 and that would have permitted the proletariat of Paris to place itself at the head of the workers of the whole country in their struggle. At the very least, it would have allowed time for the workers of other cities and the peasantry in the smaller towns and villages to galvanize their forces for action in defense of Paris and to create their own communes. Unfortunately the Parisian proletariat had neither a party, nor leaders forged by previous struggles who could or would reach out to the rest of France.

Moreover, a revolutionary workers' party, while entirely capable of using parliamentary methods is not, and should not, be a machine for parliamentary wrangling. In a revolution such activity at times amounts to parliamentary cretinism. The Central Committee of the National Guard, the embodiment of organizational power, had more than its share of such wrangling and confusionist politics. In contrast, a revolutionary party is the accumulated and organized experience of the proletariat. It is only with the aid of the party, which rests upon the whole history of its past, which foresees theoretically the road forward, all its stages, and knows how to act in the situation, that the proletariat avoids making the same historical mistakes, overcomes its hesitations, and acts decisively to seize power. Needless to say those same qualities are necessary to retain power against the inevitable counter-revolutionary onslaught. The proletariat of Paris did not have such a party. The result was that the revolution broke out in their very midst, too late, and Paris was encircled. Like other revolutionary opportunities six months delay proved fatal. Capitalism cruelly exacted its revenge. That is a great lesson of the Commune, for others read this book.


Trump, Democrats Push “Regime Change” U.S. Imperialism Hands Off Venezuela!

Workers Vanguard No. 1148
8 February 2019
Trump, Democrats Push “Regime Change”
U.S. Imperialism Hands Off Venezuela!
FEBRUARY 4—The U.S. imperialists’ transparent attempt to engineer the overthrow of Nicolás Maduro’s bourgeois-populist regime in Venezuela is a dire threat to the workers and poor. On January 23, Juan Guaidó, head of the opposition National Assembly, declared himself president and was quickly recognized by the U.S., Canada and a host of Latin American states. Five days later, the Trump administration, having already intoned that the “military option” remains on the table, leveled sanctions against the state oil company PDVSA, which accounts for nearly all of Venezuela’s hard currency. This will vastly worsen shortages of food and medicine for the impoverished urban and rural masses while further crippling the country’s one economic asset.
The White House then declared that Venezuela’s financial assets abroad now belonged to the Guaidó cabal. The Bank of England added to this state-sponsored larceny by withholding $1.2 billion’s worth of Venezuela’s gold. A growing chorus of European imperialists has joined calls for new elections to force “regime change.”
The U.S. effort to topple Maduro is backed by both the Democratic and Republican parties, whose attempts to unseat the Venezuelan regime date back to a failed coup attempt in 2002 against Hugo Chávez. Like his handpicked successor Maduro, Chávez was a bonapartist capitalist ruler. But in that capacity, he used oil revenues to fund social reforms that benefited the urban and rural poor and further earned Washington’s animosity by denouncing U.S. military interventions and bucking its policies in Latin America.
In particular, beginning with Chávez, Caracas established close ties with Havana and has provided its Stalinist regime with oil, helping keep the Cuban bureaucratically deformed workers state afloat in the face of relentless U.S. imperialist hostility. The campaign to drive out Maduro also aims to further starve Cuba, which has been subjected to nearly 60 years of economic blockade, and to foment capitalist counterrevolution on the island. Unlike in Venezuela, in Cuba the bourgeoisie was expropriated as a class in the years following the 1959 Revolution led by Fidel Castro’s guerrilla forces. It is crucial for the international proletariat to stand for the unconditional military defense of Cuba against imperialism and counterrevolution.
In addition, the Trump White House is angling against the Chinese deformed workers state, which along with capitalist Russia, provided Maduro with loans after Venezuela’s economy went into a tailspin a few years ago. The Russian and Chinese governments both voiced opposition to Washington’s provocations. The Beijing regime, which is being repaid with oil, has also held discussions with Guaidó, who has offered to respect Venezuela’s agreements with China.
The working class in the U.S. has a particular duty to oppose the imperialist machinations of its ruling class, which for over a century has slashed a long and bloody trail of wars, military coups, death squads and embargoes to keep Latin America under its jackboot. Opposing economic sanctions as well as any military intervention in Venezuela would strengthen the hand of U.S. workers in waging class struggle against the racist capitalist rulers at home. It is also in the interests of working people to demand: cancel Venezuela’s debt to the U.S.!
As Marxists, our opposition to U.S. intervention in Venezuela does not imply the least political support to the bourgeois Maduro regime. At the same time as Washington has increased starvation sanctions, imperialist propagandists point to Venezuela’s hyperinflation, shortages of necessities and collapse of the oil industry as proof of the failure of “socialism.” In fact, there was nothing socialist about the “Bolivarian Revolution.” Taking the reins of the capitalist state apparatus in 1998, Chávez, a former army lieutenant-colonel, was faced with restoring faltering oil profits, the lifeblood of the Venezuelan bourgeoisie. He immediately moved to discipline the oil workers union and increase the efficiency of the state-owned industry. These moves earned him support from much of the ruling class, including the bulk of the military high command, which helped restore him to power following the 2002 coup.
It was when Chávez began to use some of the oil revenue to ease the plight of the desperately poor masses that a growing section of the bourgeoisie, which got fat by siphoning off oil profits for themselves, really turned against him. Those lily-white bloodsuckers were horrified that a man of black and indigenous heritage was using some of those funds to finance reforms benefiting poor and dark-skinned Venezuelans. Nevertheless, far from a step toward socialism, the reforms served to defuse the discontent of the workers and poor and ideologically bind them to capitalist rule through Chávez’s bourgeois United Socialist Party.
While oil prices remained high and the government was flush with cash, Chávez was able to fend off challenges to his rule and remain popular with working people—as well as with a section of the capitalist class that was doing very well for itself. But with the huge drop in international oil prices between 2014 and 2016, Maduro has faced an ever-deepening economic crisis. Now, as Guaidó and his U.S. backers stoke unrest, Maduro is relying on the military, the main power in the state apparatus. Chávez and Maduro both sought to secure top officers’ loyalty by giving them positions in food distribution, the oil industry and other lucrative businesses. While most of the brass has so far stuck by Maduro, one air force general has thrown down with Guaidó, who, along with his imperialist handlers, is calling on the military to switch sides.
Last week, as right-wing mobilizations continued, oil workers rallied to denounce the U.S. sanctions and defend Maduro. We would oppose any U.S.-backed coup against Maduro and say that the proletariat must come to the fore in struggle against the imperialists and their Venezuelan cronies. But the workers must be organized based on political independence from the Maduro regime and all capitalist forces. The working class has the potential to lead all of the poor and the oppressed in a socialist revolution that sweeps away the capitalist state. That requires the leadership of a Leninist-Trotskyist party committed to the struggle for workers power from Venezuela to the U.S.
Imperialists’ “Democracy” Card
Juan Guaidó, we are told, has rightfully claimed the presidency on the basis that Maduro was not “democratically elected,” and power has therefore passed to the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly. In fact, the obscure 35-year-old was selected in December to head the Assembly by leaders of his right-wing Popular Will party. Groomed at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., Guaidó is a disciple of Leopoldo López, head of Popular Will. Currently under house arrest, López, who hails from the Venezuelan elite, graduated from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a CIA recruiting ground.
Guaidó prepared his power bid by visiting Washington in December before swinging through neighboring Colombia and Brazil. Colombia’s “democracy” is headed by Iván Duque, one of a long line of right-wing rulers notorious for terrorizing and killing peasants and leftists. Brazil’s is led by Jair Bolsonaro, an admirer of the country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship. Helping direct anti-Maduro operations will be the old Cold Warrior, Elliott Abrams, recently appointed U.S. envoy to Venezuela. In the 1980s, Abrams was a linchpin of the Reagan administration’s anti-Communist dirty wars in Central America and its support for bloody juntas in Argentina and Chile. In 2002, he was a prime mover of the failed coup against Chávez.
While Trump’s Republicans are calling the shots, the Democratic Party is a full partner in the drive to bring Venezuela to heel by driving out Maduro. This includes “socialist” statesman Bernie Sanders, who issued a January 24 statement denouncing Maduro’s “violent crackdown on Venezuelan civil society” and his “fraudulent” re-election last year while also delicately disapproving of the U.S. history of “inappropriately intervening in Latin American countries.” Sanders’s call for “fair elections” is just a means of covering U.S. imperialism’s heavy hand with the glove of “democracy.”
As the parties of U.S. imperialism, the Democrats and Republicans alike see every inch of land south of the U.S. border as their empire. Sanders might well think that sending in U.S. troops could backfire in Venezuela and spark turmoil throughout Latin America. The way that the Barack Obama administration did things was to impose starvation sanctions and channel funds to the opposition, an approach that Trump simply continued upon taking office. And it’s not as if the Democrats are averse to the “military option,” in Latin America or anywhere else (for example, John F. Kennedy’s 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba; Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic; the 2009 Honduras coup supported by Obama; not to speak of the millions killed in the wars in Korea and Vietnam).
Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and the International Socialist Organization (ISO), which posture as opponents of U.S. imperialism, were gung ho for the Sanders presidential campaign in 2016, with SAlt openly working inside it. These reformist outfits likewise cheered the election of Democratic Party Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). SAlt and the ISO serve as a fifth wheel to those like Sanders and the DSA, whose aim is to get the Democrats back in control of the imperialist machinery. We in the Spartacist League seek to break labor’s ties to the Democratic Party and to build a revolutionary workers party that links the struggle against U.S. depredations overseas with the fight against wage slavery and racial oppression in the imperialist heartland.
Dead End of Bourgeois Populism
Some reformists, such as the Workers World Party and Party for Socialism and Liberation, have rallied to Venezuela’s defense while continuing to support the Maduro regime and the myth that chavismo was the road to “Bolivarian socialism.” One organization that had embraced Chávez, the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) of Alan Woods, is distancing itself from Maduro’s increasingly unpopular rule. Having spent a decade advising Chávez on how to run his government, the IMT now proclaims that Venezuela’s woes show “the impossibility of regulating capitalism, and the disaster of policies of state intervention within the limits of capitalism” (, 29 January). Meanwhile, its comrades in Venezuela declare that the problem is not the fraudulent Bolivarian Revolution but its “mediocre leaders.”
In contrast to such opportunists, we told the truth about the bourgeois Chávez/Maduro regime from the beginning. In opposing the 2002 coup attempt, we pointed out that while Chávez had won mass support through his irreverence toward the rich and pride in his indigenous origins, “the role of populists like Chávez is to protect the capitalist order by deflecting the just rage of the oppressed masses” (“CIA Targets Chávez,” WV No. 787, 20 September 2002).
It is a statement of Venezuela’s continued subordination to imperialism that it has exported most of its oil to the U.S. and depends on imports of food, medicine and manufactured goods. In countries of belated capitalist development, the bourgeoisie is too weak, too fearful of the proletariat and too dependent on the world market to break the chains of imperialist subjugation and resolve mass poverty and other burning social questions. Populist reform and neoliberal austerity are two faces of capitalist class rule in such countries, alternating from one to the other under shifting political conditions.
The only way forward is that of permanent revolution, the theory developed and extended by Leon Trotsky, who along with V. I. Lenin was a principal leader of the October 1917 workers revolution in Russia. As Trotsky stressed in The Permanent Revolution (1930), the fight must be for “the dictatorship of the proletariat as the leader of the subjugated nation, above all of its peasant masses.”
Workers rule would place on the order of the day not only democratic tasks, such as agrarian revolution that gives land to impoverished Venezuelan peasants, but also such socialist tasks as collectivizing the economy. This would give a mighty impulse to the extension of socialist revolution internationally. Only the victory of the proletariat in the advanced capitalist world can ensure defense of the revolution against bourgeois reaction, eradicate poverty and open the road to a society of material abundance. This is the perspective of the International Communist League as we seek to reforge Trotsky’s Fourth International as the world party of socialist revolution.

Federal Judge Hilton-Free Chelsea Manning Now!

We Still Will Not Leave Our Sister Behind-Smedley Butler Brigade, Veterans For Peace, Boston and its allies are standing out in Central Square, Cambridge Ma (Corner Prospect and Mass Ave) Monday March 11 from 5-6 PM calling for freedom for heroic Wikileaks whistler-blower Chelsea Manning. We are also asking for Presidential pardons for whistle-blower Reality Leigh Winner and American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier.

Here is Chelsea’s address: Chelsea Elizabeth Manning William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center 2001 Mill Road Alexandria, VA 22314 

Her jail does NOT accept: -books or cards You CAN write letters with pen or colored pencils on paper and send newspapers.

Once Again, If I Dare, On The Summer Of Love, 1967 -To Be Young Was Very Heaven-Out Of The Blue- Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”-NPR’s “American Anthem” series

Once Again, If I Dare, On The Summer Of  Love, 1967 -To Be Young Was Very Heaven-Out Of The Blue- Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth”-NPR’s “American Anthem” series

By Seth Garth

This is a link to an American Anthem segment on the famous Buffalo Springfield song For What It’s Worth which became, well, an anti-Vietnam War anthem although it did not start out that way:  

A couple of years ago back in 2017 Growing Up Absurd In The 1950s and its’ sister and associated publications commemorated what seemed like a 24/7/365 non-stop 50th anniversary tribute to the Summer of Love, 1967. Although it would in the end cost the prime mover of that commemoration Allan Jackson his job as site manager (he has since come back as a contributing editor) that extensive coverage made sense to a lot of the older writers at this publication. Under the guidance of the late then free spirit and still missed Pete Markin a number of us from the old working-class Acre section of North Adamsville south of Boston out to San Francisco that year. That town, and especially Golden Gate Park and the Haight-Ashbury section, was the epicenter of what was something like the beginning of a cultural revolution among certain segments of the young.

Those events in San Francisco (and Big Sur and Todos el Mundo south of that town) were written about extensively by those still standing from those days. There is therefore no reason to drag those writings out of storage here. What is important to note is that San Francisco was by no means the only place on the West Coast (and eventually in certain clots across the country) where the young alienated or just looking for something different congregated to form youth nation. Los Angeles, as the link above details, was also a hotbed of such activities. It was there that the legendary group Buffalo Springfield learned to fly and where Steven Sills wrote what would become a youth and anti-war anthem For What It Is Worth. To parse a line from the English poet Wordsworth-“to be young was very heaven.”   

(The younger writers here who has either no clue or no interest in the Summer of Love, 1967 had to check with parents or grandparents about what they remembered if anything of those times. They would wind up rebelling against having to write about those times. That led to the show-down that sent Jackson into exile.)    




Alexandria, VA — On Wednesday March 6, 2019, Chelsea Manning appeared before a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) and refused to answer questions from prosecutors regarding the release of information she disclosed to the public in 2010. Chelsea invoked her 1st, 4th, and 6th Amendment protections to provide just cause for her refusal. This morning Chelsea returned to the court for a hearing wherein Judge Hilton found Chelsea in contempt and remanded her into federal custody stating that the length of Chelsea’s detention will be “until she purges or the end of the life of the grand jury.”  The following is a statement from Chelsea Manning’s support committee regarding Chelsea’s detention and Judge Hilton’s contempt order:
“The court’s decision to imprison Chelsea Manning for refusing to comply with a grand jury is pointless, punitive, and cruel.
“Chelsea has clearly stated her moral objection to the secretive and oppressive grand jury process. We are Chelsea's friends and fellow organizers, and we know her as a person who is fully committed to her principles. If Judge Claude M. Hilton and AUSA Gordon Kromberg believe that subjecting Chelsea to more punishment will change her mind, they are gravely mistaken.
“It is no secret that members of the current administration have openly expressed their hatred for Chelsea. Donald Trump himself has tweeted about his desire to undo Barack Obama's commutation and put Chelsea back in jail. We reject the logic that Chelsea should comply and answer questions regarding events for which she has already provided ample testimony, and we condemn the government's punitive efforts to back her into a corner.
“By resisting this grand jury, Chelsea has made the same sacrifice as dozens of activists before her, who have opposed the grand jury system at the expense of their own freedom. Chelsea has already served prison time for standing up against government secrecy and revealing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know, and so does the government, that she will not turn tail and allow this shadowy grand jury to eclipse her legacy of speaking truth to power.
“To quote Chelsea, 'we got this.'
In the coming months, Chelsea will need support to pay for her legal fees, as well as money for commissary. Please donate to our fundraiser here:
Chelsea Manning is represented by Moira Meltzer-Cohen, appellate attorney Vincent Ward, and local counsel Chris Leibig and Sandra Freeman.
All are encouraged to support Chelsea any way they can.  To learn more about Chelsea Resists or to donate to Chelsea’s legal defense visit:
Questions regarding Chelsea Manning’s support committee should be directed to

BREAKING: Students descend on OSU President Drake’s office, launch sit-in on eve of International Women’s Day

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Upon arriving at the President office inside Bricker Hall, students with the Ohio State University Student/Farmworker Alliance chapter took turns reading aloud a powerful letter, addressed to President Drake, expressing the urgency of their demand to end OSU’s business relations with Wendy’s. Here is an excerpt of the letter:

Dear President Drake,

We are here today to demand that you cut OSU’s contract with Wendy’s. Now is the time. Ohio State has been stalling for six years. Six years of students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members calling on you to demonstrate Ohio State’s commitment to human rights through one simple action: refusing to do business with Wendy’s until they join the Fair Food Program. You and the Ohio State administration have continually evaded our call to action, prioritizing the public image of Wendy’s over your own social responsibility. We are here today, on the eve of International Women’s Day, to invite you to follow through on your word that you “actively support fair treatment of workers” by cutting the contract. Now is the time...

Although President Drake remained behind closed doors in his office while the students’ read the letter, he did make a brief appearance during the sit-in, flanked by campus police. Ignoring students’ questions and demands for a meeting, President Drake emerged from his office and exited the building as quickly as possible, with their songs and chants echoing at his back. By 5:30, as the building was shutting down, a larger contingent of police entered the room and threatened students with arrest if they refused to leave.

But even after the sit-in participants were physically forced out of the administration building by both campus security and police into the chilly winter air, their spirits remained high. Singing as they exited the building, students held an impromptu reflection on their experience, solidifying their determination to keep the campaign going... READ MORE
PLUS: Join today's national call-in day to President Drake's office!

In just a few short hours, over 800 farmworkers and allies will be gathering in Goodale Park in Columbus for the International Women’s Day March through Columbus into the heart of the Ohio State University campus. If you can’t be with us today, make sure to take part in the Alliance for Fair Food national call-in day TODAY to President Drake’s office! Here’s how:

1. Call the Office of the President of Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio at (614) 292-2424

2. Ask if you can leave a message for President Drake regarding OSU’s business with Wendy’s tomato purchasing policies.

3. You’ll likely be directed to an assistant. Once you get someone on the line, give your statement. Feel free to offer your own personal comments, or use the script provided below!
“Hi, my name is ________ and I am calling to urge you, President Drake, to cut Ohio State’s contract with Wendy’s. By refusing to sign onto the Presidential Award-winning Fair Food Program, Wendy’s has put profit above workplace protections against wage theft, sexual assault, and modern-day slavery. They have also rejected the notion of paying workers just one penny more per pound of tomatoes in an effort to raise wages for some of the nation’s lowest paid and most exploited workers. As one of the country’s largest and most renowned universities, it is OSU’s responsibility to cut its business ties with Wendy’s until they commit to improving workplace conditions and wages for farmworkers on the fields they purchase tomatoes from. If OSU truly strives to embody its motto of “Education for Citizenship” then it should hold Wendy’s accountable and show students, community members and the world at large that OSU will be on the right side of history on this issue. The choice is yours, President Drake, and OSU students, many of whom have sacrificed classes, assignments and other activities to join in solidarity with farmworkers, are expecting you to make the only moral choice — to boot Wendy’s off-campus until they join the Fair Food Program. It’s time for the OSU administration to join the campus community in supporting the farmworkers who feed us.”

4. Post about it! Let us know that you called and invite your friends to make a call, too, on social media.

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Sanders, Warren and Other Lawmakers Sign Pledge to End America’s “Forever Wars”

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Sanders, Warren and Other Lawmakers Sign Pledge to End America’s “Forever Wars”
Eight members of Congress have taken a pledge to work to bring ongoing U.S. global military conflicts to a “responsible and expedient” end, the result of a first-of-its kind lobbying effort by military veterans on Capitol Hill.  The pledge was written and organized by a group called Common Defense, made up of veterans and military families, which advocates for scaling back U.S. military commitments overseas. Common Defense boasts of more than 20,000 veteran members in all 50 states, and it threw its endorsement behind almost 30 candidates in the last midterm election cycle…  All of the signatories so far are members of the Democratic caucus, and most of them are associated with the left wing of the party: Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren; Omar and other freshmen Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ro Khanna, and Rashida Tlaib; and Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan. Common Defense is also courting more moderate lawmakers, particularly those in swing districts and Democrats.   More    Other than Warren, apparently no one else from Massachusetts.

Fair Food Nation comes together to celebrate International Women’s Day in style with massive march demanding Ohio State University “Boot the Braids”! Coalition of Immokalee Workers

Coalition of Immokalee Workers<>
Protesters leave hundreds of red carnations at the doorstep of the Ohio State University administration building on Friday afternoon following a march to the OSU campus through Columbus, Ohio. The flowers – given first to the OSU students who held a sit-in on March 7th, and then to the rest of the participants in the action – symbolize the strength and resolve farmworker women maintain even while routinely confronting sexual harassment and assault outside the protections of the CIW’s Fair Food Program, the leading human rights program in US agriculture today. Students at OSU are demanding that their administration cut the university’s contract with Wendy’s until the hamburger giant agrees to join the Fair Food Program.
On Friday, hundreds of protesters – including workers from Immokalee and their families, Ohio State University students, and Fair Food allies from across the northeast and midwest – braved snow flurries and bitter cold to gather in Columbus, Ohio, where they marched to support the efforts of OSU students to “Boot the Braids” from the flagship university’s campus. Friday’s march and protest followed Thursday’s sit-in at OSU President Michael Drake’s office by 25 students, staff, and community members, during which President Drake refused to meet – or even speak – with students calling for OSU to cut the university’s contract with Wendy’s until the Ohio-based fast-food chain joins the Fair Food Program. The campaign at OSU gained momentum in the wake of last month’s news that Wendy’s would not be returning to the University of Michigan campus following successful student and community protests there. 

Today’s report includes photos and video from a day jam-packed with events (a day so full of action, in fact, that we don’t even have space in today’s post to touch on two remarkable articles published yesterday on the Campaign for Fair Food and the Fair Food Program, one that took up nearly the entire front page of the New York Times Business section, the other a powerful op/ed by Time’s Up leader and Fair Food ally Alyssa Milano. We will return to those articles next week!).

International Women’s Day provides a prism for conversation on women’s rights as human rights…

Friday’s activities at OSU began bright and early with a morning reflection – held in the sanctuary (below) of the Summit United Methodist Church, our longtime ally and gracious host for so many CIW visits to Columbus – on the Fair Food Program and the rights of women farmworkers in our food system.
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