Friday, November 16, 2018

What To Do If ICE Comes Calling

To read the 12 page document: Click on the link in the post  below.




Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Politics is About Power

These notes were the basis for a presentation to the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild on November 8, 2018.
Max Elbaum 
Politics is about Power. One of positive things 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 exploited and oppressed. I haven't seen that on the scale of today since 1960s, when the question of a path to power was put before the left in a different way. The differences are important, but the main thing is that radical discussion is again focused on finding a path to power. That's the context of our discussion tonight.
Elections are also about power. They are a barometer of relative stre3ngth of different social and political forces; and within certain constraints, they can shift that power. Those constraints vary, sometimes outcome of elections can shift things only in tiniest of ways, other times they have big consequences. This just-completed election, and likely even more the one in 2020, the stakes are quite high. There are three inter-related reasons for this.
First is the special danger posed by Trump and the GOP which under him has been captured by white nationalism and is permeated by the politics of racial and imperial revenge. Of course, Trumpism is not some fluke; reactionary anti-democratic blocs driven anchored in white supremacy have been common in U.S. society because of deep structural factors - a country founded on the genocide of the indigenous people and the enslavement of people of African descent. But if Trumpism represents pattern in US life, it is also something new.  In context of demographic change, decline of US global hegemony and failure of economic model dominated US since Regan, it is turn from dog-whistles to bullhorns and an attempt to put in place a semi-apartheid authoritarian system. There's debate on the left of what Trumpism does and does not have in common with classical fascism, but little debate that this is something different and extremely dangerous.
The second reason, flowing from the first, is that the country is polarized to a degree not seen at least since early 1960s and more likely since the Civil War. White nationalism's capture of the GOP has meant that racial polarization in country and partisan political polarization all but totally overlap and reinforce each other. Add in geographic polarization, and the way media has evolved means different sectors of society have nearly completely different sources of not just analysis but basic facts, and the chasm is even more severe. These and other factors rooted in political economy and the shifting power relations in global politics also means that the ruling class itself is more divided than its been in decades. That means the battle between the Trump and anti-Trump camps has squeezed out middle ground and past patterns of so-called bipartisan cooperation. It is now take-no-prisoners trench warfare.
The third factor, especially important for us in this room, is that within the anti-Trump camp there is a surging social justice motion rooted especially in communities of color, and among youth, women and the LGBTQ community. And host of progressive organizations of different types threw themselves into the electoral fray in ways not seen in decades or longer. More on this later if I have time, but for a quick sampling:

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 'We Have To Keep Organizing, We Can Not Stop' ...

DSA's newest Congresswoman

In a galvanizing victory speech to an electrified crowd of admirers, Ocasio-Cortez waved away the latest criticism—of her admittedly skeletal plan to pay for an expensive agenda—with the assurance that will finds a way. "They will always call the ambitious naive, they will always call the ambitious uninformed," she said, but the overwhelming excitement her primary win engendered matters—precisely because it was not partisan. Neither party does enough for its constituents, and her victory emphasized a widespread readiness for a fresh political approach, and the possibility of real change that new course presented. 
"Our deepest challenges are not left and right, they are not red and blue; they are top and bottom, they are right and wrong," she said. "It is not good enough to throw a rock at our neighbor's yard, we need to clean up our own house."
She also acknowledged disappointment at the evening's mixed bag of returns: Democrats won the House, but lost key gubernatorial races across the country to Donald Trump-approved candidates: Georgia Representative Stacey Abrams seemed poised to lose, narrowly, to Brian Kemp (although Abrams had not conceded at time of writing); progressive Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum lost to the same windbag who underestimated Ocasio-Cortez.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Sending Troops to the Border is an Election Tactic

Sending the troops is not about the caravan.
It’s about an election.
It’s a culture war being waged by the Trump Administration.
The migrant caravan is 800 miles away from our southern border. These Central American families will literally walk for months with small children in tow. Some humanizing reports are already showing stories of burnout and fatigue among asylum-seekers.

These are families – mothers, daughters, sons, and fathers – who are walking in horrendous conditions, unlikely to reach the border.
The Trump Administration is exploiting the vulnerability of these families as part of his culture war, entirely for political gain.

The reality is, the families are:
  • fleeing violence and lack of economic opportunity
  • traveling to the U.S. to seek asylum, which is legal
  • in no way a national security threat
Despite articles sensationalizing “record migration,” net migration to the U.S. is on the decline and has been since 2005.

And the caravans are nothing new and in no way are a “crisis.” Humanitarian groups have been organizing similar caravans since 2010.

Like the Irish "coffin ships" of before, these caravans are made up of families escaping horrors. They are simply families trying to go through our legal application process for asylum.

This election is going to end, but the fight for the soul of America will continue. And we must continue to fight. 
"Dear America" by Jose Antonio Vargas is now available at available wherever books are sold. The author will donate a portion of his proceeds to Define American.
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Thursday, November 01, 2018

NPE Action Endorses Tony Thurmond for Superintendent of Public Instruction in California!

California is a mess because of the intrusion of billionaires into education, billionaires who do not send their own children to public schools but want to control and privatize them. They pour millions into school board races, and they are now pouring millions into the state superintendent race, in hopes of capturing that important position. 
Tony Thurmond’s opponent, Marshall Tuck, has a long history in the charter industry. Although he claims to be a Democrat (as in DFER), Tuck was endorsed by the California Republican party. Thurmond won the support of 95% of the delegates to the California Democratic party convention. Tuck was also endorsed by Arne Duncan, and Duncan’s endorsement means support of charter schools, high-stakes testing, and misuse of test scores to evaluate teachers. 
California desperately needs accountability and transparency for its unregulated charter sector, not a fox in charge of the henhouse.

, Broad, and the other billionaires, should spend their money to improve schools rather than to attack teachers.

From the Sacramento Bee
Fresh off a Supreme Court loss that stripped them of millions of dollars in an annual revenue, California public employee unions are finding that they still have the big money they need to run statewide political campaigns.
It just might not be enough cash to keep up with their opponents.
The first test of California public-sector union spending after labor’s June defeat at the Supreme Court in Janus vs. AFSCME is unfolding in the race for state superintendent, a contest that typically attracts intense interest from education unions and groups that want to embrace charter schools. 
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