Thursday, October 31, 2013

Food Stamp Program Faces Unprecedented Cuts


Defend Ethnic Studies

Defend Ethnic Studies- Or we will lose them.

At several  CSU campuses including San Jose, Bakersfield, Long Beach, Sacramento State, and elsewhere ethnic studies professors are not being replaced, classes are being reduced and majors could be eliminated.

This letter went to CSU Presidents, the Chancellor, and the California State Assembly.
Dear California State University Campus Presidents,
The California Faculty Association’s Council for Affirmative Action and Board of Directors are writing to you out of a deep concern for an emerging pattern on a number of campuses within the CSU—an initiative to drastically cut existing race and ethnic studies departments or to merge them into larger departments. To our knowledge these efforts have either already started or are being considered at San Jose State, CSU Bakersfield, and Long Beach State to name but a few.
While it may seem tempting to try and find campus “efficiencies” in the name of austerity, there are larger issues at stake here. We believe that those issues must influence decisions that have a significant social and political impact.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Corporations and the corporate state

Our Invisible Revolution

By Chris Hedges
“Did you ever ask yourself how it happens that government and capitalism continue to exist in spite of all the evil and trouble they are causing in the world?” the anarchist Alexander Berkman wrote in his essay “The Idea Is the Thing.” “If you did, then your answer must have been that it is because the people support those institutions, and that they support them because they believe in them.”
Berkman was right. As long as most citizens believe in the ideas that justify global capitalism, the private and state institutions that serve our corporate masters are unassailable. When these ideas are shattered, the institutions that buttress the ruling class deflate and collapse. The battle of ideas is percolating below the surface. It is a battle the corporate state is steadily losing. An increasing number of Americans are getting it. They know that we have been stripped of political power. They recognize that we have been shorn of our most basic and cherished civil liberties, and live under the gaze of the most intrusive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. Half the country lives in poverty. Many of the rest of us, if the corporate state is not overthrown, will join them. These truths are no longer hidden.
It appears that political ferment is dormant in the United States. This is incorrect.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bi-partisan Consensus: Capitalism is untouchable- Wolff

US Politics' True Bi-partisan Consensus: Capitalism is Untouchable
Portside Date: 
October 23, 2013
Richard Wolff
Date of Source: 
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The Guardian
The economic aim of both major US political parties is, in the end, the same: to protect and reinforce the capitalist system.
The Republican party does so chiefly by means of a systematic, unremitting demonization of the government. They blame it for whatever ails the capitalist economy. If unemployment grows, they point to government policies and actions, and attack particular politicians for what they did or did not do to stimulate the economy, directing criticism away from the employers who actually deprive workers of their jobs.
Republican solutions for capitalism's ills always involve reducing the government's demands on private capitalists – lower their taxes, deregulate their activities, and privatize government production of goods and services. Their program for the future is always: free the private capitalist system from government intervention, and you will get "prosperity" and growth.
The Democrats protect and reproduce the system by assigning to the government the task of minimizing the problems that beset capitalism. So, for example, they want the business cycles that are an inherent affliction of capitalism to be foreseen, planned for, minimized and overcome by government intervention. This is the underlying purpose of Keynesian economics and the monetary and fiscal policies it generates.
Beyond cycles, capitalism's more long-term problems, such as tendencies to produce great inequalities of income and accumulated wealth, lead Democrats to propose very modest government redistribution programs. Minimum wages, progressive tax structures, food, housing and other subsidies, and freely-distributed public services exemplify Democrats' Bandaids meant to protect capitalism from its own potentially self-destructive tendencies.
From the GOP, you will hear denials that such self-destructive tendencies even exist. Economic problems always reduce to pesky and unwarranted government tampering in the free market. The few Republicans who will admit that capitalism is responsible for its own ailments also see capitalism as a fully self-healing system. The best solution for capitalism's problems, they insist, is to let the system function and correct them. Anything else will just make matters worse.
Most Democrats will paint Republicans as slavish servants of short-sighted corporations and the few whom they make rich. These, say Democrats, threaten capitalism's survival by failing to utilize government solutions to problems that consequently become worse and increasingly dangerous, putting the whole global economy – and capitalism's reproduction – at systemic risk.
Republicans will disregard Democratic economic policy as steps toward what they call "socialism": socialism defined as government ownership and operation of what should be private enterprises.
Neither party, though, has figured out how to prevent capitalism's business cycles. Both consistently fail to make sure that cycles they failed to prevent would be shallow and short. So, today, Republicans blame the crisis since 2007 on government over-regulation and interventions in the housing and finance markets (and they blame Democrats for championing those policies). Democrats blame the crisis on too little regulation of those markets and insufficient redistribution (and – you guessed it – they blame Republicans for opposing those government policies). In short, crises, like everything else, are just opportunities to be explained and exploited politically to advance each party's characteristic policies and their electoral strategies.
In what were "normal times", US capitalism would reproduce itself with nice, calm oscillations between Republican and Democratic presidencies and congresses. For the minority of Americans who legitimately cared about which party was in or out, their interests focused on issues usually disconnected from any structural debate about the capitalist economic system. These included local and regional issues, foreign policy, social issues like sexuality, access to guns, flag-burning, draft protests, and so on. Capitalism rolled along, in part, because both parties functioned as alternative cheerleaders for it, treating it as beyond criticism.
Recent political gridlock, shutdowns, etc suggest a "new normal" has arrived. Political combat between the parties has become more intense and intractable, because capitalism has changed since the 1970s. By then, the post second world war boom in western Europe, north America and Japan – and also anxieties about the USSR, China, and their allies – had lofted real wages and government-funded social services far above their levels in capitalism's global hinterland, especially Asia, Africa and Latin America. Capitalists in western Europe, North America, and Japan were therefore eager to evade both the high wages and the taxes they faced.
Major technical breakthroughs at the time made evasion possible. The ubiquitous availability of jet travel made movement around the globe much easier, cheaper, and faster. Computer and telecommunications advances enabled enterprise headquarters to monitor, command and control production facilities anywhere on the planet. It suddenly became practical to move production and distribution sites from locations of high wages and taxes, to locations of poverty and weak government. Sharp competitors led the way as, first, manufacturing and then, service jobs were increasingly "exported" or "outsourced". Laggards suffered and so learned the importance of following their more nimble competitors.
Most Republicans and Democrats facilitated the process by endlessly promoting "free trade" and arguing that any constraints on free enterprises' relocations were unthinkable, inefficient and other synonyms for "really bad". As more and more jobs left the US, and formerly prosperous cities and states entered long-term declines, the two parties blamed their favorite targets: one another.
The idea that capitalism and capitalists were the problem was something neither Democrats or Republicans allow into their debates and talking-points. Yet, it was precisely capitalists' profit-driven, self-interested decisions to move that have caused our economic problems. And so they remain.
- See more at:

antiracismdsa: The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexic...

antiracismdsa: The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexic...: The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration David Bacon.
Excellent piece on immigration.  David Bacon was a featured speaker at the DSA convention.

Choosing Democracy: Mayor Johnson Shoots an Air Ball

Choosing Democracy: Mayor Johnson Shoots an Air Ball: When A Mayor Shoots An Air Ball  By  Seth Sandronsky Seth Sandronsky ZSpace Page   Inaccuracy reigns in U.S. politics today.   We t...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Obama is not a socialist, but we are !

Obama is not a socialist, but we are !
The  nation’s largest  democratic socialist organization meets in Emeryville  Oct. 25/27  to plan for :
 Socialism in the Age of Obama.   
The  DSA convention begins with a Bay Area  outreach event -- Building the Next Left -- Rebirth and Renewal,  Friday, October 25, 2013,  Humanist Hall,  390 27th Street, Oakland. The event features writer John Nichols; Catherine Tactaquin, Director of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights; Steve Williams, Co-founder of POWER ( People Organized to Win Employment Rights); and Maria Svart, National Director of Democratic Socialists of America.
Last week  right-wing politics in the Congress forced the nation precariously close to a default on the national debt that could  have produced  a second great economic crisis.  The Democratic Socialists of America view this political corruption and cynicism as an opportunity to organize a New Left -- a powerful political movement left of the Democrats working with labor, workers organizations, immigrant groups and social movements to --
Rebuild a Participatory Democracy in a Multicultural U.S.
Speakers at the convention include: John Nichols, Tom Hayden, union leaders Jose La Luz and Michael Lighty, immigrant rights activists Catherine Tactaquin and David Bacon,  Joe Schwartz, Maria Svart, Steve Williams and more.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Forum- Residential Segregation and School Closures

The Black Parallel School Board  &Southeast Village Neighborhood Association
Presents  A Community Forum featuring

Dr. Hernandez from the Sociology Department @ UC Davis
 “Residential Segregation and School Closures”  

Free and open to the public!!!
Thursday, October 24, 2013 from 5:30pm -8:00pm
George Sim Community Center, 6207 Logan Street, Sacramento, CA  95824
Numerous co-sponsors including the Progressive Alliance, DSA, and others.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bart Strike settled- DSA Convention on Schedule

The Bart Strike has been settled.  We await a vote on the contract.

Building the Next Left : Rebirth and Renewal
A public event sponsored by Democratic Socialists of America

Date and Time: Friday, Oct. 25, 2013.  7:30 PM. 
Location: Humanist Hall. 390 27th Street, Oakland, California


John Nichols – Washington Correspondent, The Nation
Catherine Tactaquin, Executive Director. National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
Steve Williams. Co-founder .Former Executive Director,   POWER ( People Organized to Win Employment Rights) S.F.
Maria Svart – National Director, Democratic Socialists of America


Mario de Mira aka Nomi from Power Struggle

DSA, the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, is the largest socialist political organization in the country, with more than 6,000 members and active locals in more 40 U.S. cities and college  campuses. DSA Locals in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Wichita, among others, have taken an active role in the Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Freedom Plaza, and other Occupy protests in support of jobs and economic justice.

This meeting is organized in conjunction with the 16th National Convention of Democratic Socialists of America, which is being held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Emeryville, Ca. Oct. 25-27. . Visit for more information. A full press kit with bio’s and photographs will be available

Monday, October 21, 2013

DSA Supports Bart Strikers- Will Hold Its Convention Oct.25-27 in Oakland

 DSA, which is celebrating its National Convention in Emeryville the weekend of October 25‐27 will face some of the inconveniences faced by 400,000 Bay Area commuters. But we join with the broad Bay Area progressive community in unconditionally supporting the BART workers in their fight for a fair contract
The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) joins with the broad labor and social justice community in the Bay Area (including Jobs with Justice and the Chinese Progressive Association) in supporting the strikers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART).
Even after the BART employees, represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, and BART management were nearing a difficult economic agreement, management insisted that workers sacrifice long established work rules. The union negotiators offered to submit the rules to impartial binding arbitration, but the BART management team, led by a highly paid union busting attorney, refused. This precipitated the strike.
DSA, which is celebrating its National Convention in Emeryville the weekend of October 25‐27 will face some of the inconveniences faced by 400,000 Bay Area commuters. But we join with the broad Bay Area progressive community in unconditionally supporting the BART workers in their fight for a fair contract. We reject this new assault on public sector workers and their unions. The BART unions have helped thousands of people.of color and immigrants to gain secure and stable jobs, and BART workers are fighting to retain those conditions of work, which we all want to have. We stand with them in their just struggle.
For the Bay Area Chinese Progressive Association statement on the strike see:
For the Bay Area Jobs with Justice statement on the strike see:‐10‐19/support‐bay‐area‐transit‐strikers

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Government is Open. Now Fight for Just Government Policies

The Government is Open: Now fight for Just Government Policies
By Joseph M. Schwartz 
Progressives  welcome the defeat of Republican efforts to use the government shutdown and the threat of government default  to overturn the Affordable Care Act.  This is a victory for majoritarian democratic government over an extreme minority’s attempt to overturn democratic legislation. 
But the democratic left should also be aware  that a victory over minoritarian extremism could well be followed by a bi-partisan budget agreement  that would further gut anti-poverty programs such as Food Stamps, WIC, and Head Start, cut the real value of Social Security, and curtail Medicare and Medicaid funding.
The Senate bill that will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and extend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 will be accompanied by a motion that instructs House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a blueprint for taxing and spending over the next decade. The elite Washington consensus between Republicans and moderate Democrats in favor of fiscal austerity threatens to yield a bi-partisan long term budget agreement that would gut the historic gains of the New Deal and Great Society programs.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What if we default on our debt ?

“Sitting on the Pavement, Thinking About the Government” –
What if we default on our debt?  (Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues”)
 Bill Barclay 
The debt ceiling, the dollar and hegemonic currencies

Let’s begin by clearing up a possible lingering misconception about debt and defaults.  If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling and we default, does that mean the U.S. is broke?  No.  The U.S., like any country that 1) controls the creation of its own currency and 2) issues its debt in its own currency, cannot go broke.  However, political calculations can impose deadbeat status on such a country. 

What about other countries, why don’t they have this problem?  The answer is equally simple.  With the exception of Denmark, no other wealthy industrial society has a debt ceiling – and Denmark’s is set at over twice their actual level of government debt – and it is not a political football.  So yes, the U.S. is, as our national meme says, exceptional.  The debt ceiling – and any associated problems – are our own creation. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Democratic Socialists of America

What are you doing this week? Will you participate in our Days of Action, October 15-16?
Tell Congress:
  • Get back to work and don’t touch Social Security!
  • Pull us back from the brink without cutting Medicare!
  • Why not Single Payer Healthcare – Medicare for All?
Tea Party factions in Congress have shut down our national government in a failed bid to stop the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now they are threatening to throw our national economy back into recession by refusing to raise the debt ceiling. They’ve also changed their focus from the ACA to instead demanding changes to Medicare that will raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for moderate-income beneficiaries. If they succeed at that, Social Security is sure to be next on their target list.

 your Representative:  Tell him/her to end the shutdown and stop an economic meltdown.
Call the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121 to be directed to your Representative's office.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bill Moyers: Sabotage of Democracy

Bill Moyers Essay: On the Sabotage of Democracy

Bill Moyers Essay: On the Sabotage of Democracy | Moyers & Company |

Oil Industry spends 45.4 Million on California Lobbying

by Dan Bacher
A new report released by the American Lung Association reveals that the oil industry lobby, the biggest corporate lobby in California, has spent $45.4 million in the state since 2009.
The report was unveiled at a crucial time in California environmental politics – just a couple of weeks after Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 4, the green light to fracking bill, and less than 10 months after a network of so-called “marine protected areas” created under the “leadership” of a big oil industry lobbyist and other corporate operatives was completed on the California coast.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Choosing Democracy: Test Obsession is Killing Education

Choosing Democracy: Test Obsession is Killing Education: by Jeff Bryant. Scores on the SAT –  “the nation’s most widely used”  college entrance exam – made news headlines recently, and the aver...