Reparations

Reparations for the enslavement and subsequent discrimination against black people has been the most important issue facing U. S. society at least since 1865, if not 1619. It is a very good thing that the issue has been placed on 2020 presidential campaign agenda by Harris, Warren, and Booker, no matter what other disagreements we may have with them. [I’m still supporting Bernie, even though he has waffled on this issue – I’m hopeful his position will evolve.] Next week I’ll examine all their proposals, but my first impression is that all of them hesitate on the issue of race, […]

Democracy is Coming to the USA

Our democracy – such as it is or ever was – is in trouble. Nationally, it’s warped by its remnants of slavery and Jim Crow. When two presidents over 16 years are elected despite their loss of the popular vote, you might think it’s time for something new. Let’s rebuild democracy from the other end, from the bottom up. Start with the schools. Perhaps if democracy were not only taught but practiced in the schools, it might be growing rather than shrinking. What would a democratic school look like? As far as the younger children go, it would maximize choice. […]

MLK calls for Reparations

 “At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land. Through an act of Congress, our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the mid-West, which meant it was willing to under girth its peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided country agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize […]

Hey, California! Statewide Teachers’ Strike?

How about a statewide teachers strike in California? I’m sure many people are working on this. LA is going on strike Monday (1/14/19) and Oakland is “Strike Ready” on the verge. And let’s include a parent boycott at the same time. Even if it was only for one day, it could make the legislature move. I spent 45 years in the schools first as a teacher then as a parent organizer. I am so sick of this battle over money. It’s been 40 f-ing years since Prop. 13, we have a Democratic supermajority, and a 9 billion dollar surplus in […]

White Knight Re-issued for the 40th Anniversary of Jonestown

White Knight or how one man came to believe that he was the one who caused the San Francisco City Hall killings and the Jonestown Massacre — A novel by Henry Hitz In 1977, a fireman named Dan White saved a woman and her babies from a fire in the Geneva Towers apartments in San Francisco. It is this scene which opens White Knight, the story of one witness to that fire, Barney Blatz, and his entanglement with the political and personal catastrophe which followed. With the November, 1978 Jonestown Massacre of 912 people and, nine days later, White’s murder of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, the city and Barney unraveled. “There’s a bumper sticker that reads ‘Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from […]

Politics Is About Power: Assessing the 2018 Mid-Terms

This Guest Blog from Max Elbaum is one of the most cogent analyses of the recent mid-term election in the U. S. It’s long but worth reading in full: Politics is about Power. One of the positive things about this moment is that the question of power has moved central to discussion on the left. Not just how to speak truth to power, or how to protest those in power, or pressure those in power. Rather, how to take chunks of power from those who have it now and get it for the exploited and oppressed. I haven’t seen that […]

A Day of Atonement for Jonestown

It was a beautiful event commemorating Jonestown on November 18. If you click on the picture above, it should take you to the video. I’ve already characterized Jonestown in a previous blog entry as among the worst incidences of white supremacist genocide in our country’s blood history, perhaps comparable only to the Trail of Tears which killed 4000 Cherokees. This conclusion is based on the results of the Jonestown tragedy, 918 killed, 70% of them black. Results reflect intentions. But this understanding doesn’t explain what happened. Calling People’s Temple a cult as People Magazine did recently doesn’t explain anything either. […]

Revitalizing the union movement

Do you have a story of rank-and-file union organizing? Clearly the union movement needs some revitalizing. My friend Ken Epstein and I are compiling  an anthology of labor organizing stories, breezy enough to appeal to young people who need to pick up the torch. Please PM me or leave a comment if you have a story you’d like to tell. Not just successes. We can learn from failures too. I went into teaching in order to forge a parent-teacher alliance as part of the movement for revolution. In the process I got involved with the teacher’s union, where with a […]

Can the tech nerds lead us?

Can the tech nerds lead us? The most uplifting event of the last week wasn’t the election, which was a wash, some good, some bad. Government will be slightly less evil for it. But the strike by Google workers was thrilling. Supporting the Marriott workers? Not wanting the military to use their creations? Against sexual harassment? Pro immigration? These tech workers may be the autoworkers of today, the ones whose sit-down strikes gave us the weekend and much much more. They are in a position to shut this country down. They can taste their power. You like disruptive paradigms? We […]