Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Revisiting 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders' Pre-2000 Political Career--Part 2

In his 1991 book, The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders In Burlington, Vermont, Steven Soifer indicated how 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was re-elected as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont in November 1983:

"....The 1983 election differed from the previous mayoral election....Sanders received more than 50 percent in a three-way election...

"....A progressive critic expressed disappointment in Sanders's reelection campaign:....`His [campaign] slogan in '83 was `Leadership that's keeping Burlington strong.' It's not a radical posture to take. And the context of it [the campaign]--street improvements, keeping taxes down, efficiency in government, saving money,....at best they're kind of democratic, reform-oriented platform. He [Sanders], in fact, does what almost all politicians do, which is he runs left between elections and then back right, right before the election--not so much in the spoken word--but in what the machine produces. And the machine gets the word out real well...."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Revisiting 2016 Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders' Pre-2000 Political Career--Part 1

In his 1991 book, The Socialist Mayor: Bernard Sanders In Burlington, Vermont, Steven Soifer indicated how 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was elected to be the mayor of Burlington, Vermont in November 1981:

"...Sanders formally announced his independent bid for mayor [of Burlington, Vermont] in Fall 1980....After a tense recount [in November 1981], Sanders was declared the official winner, but by an an even slimmer ten-vote margin...

'How do we explain the extraordinary upset of Bernard Sanders over Democratic mayor Gordon Paquette?....The lack of a Republican candidate and the presence of three independent candidates, including Sanders, also was critical to Paquette's defeat. One of these independent candidates, restaurateur Dick Bove, ran against the incumbent after losing in the Democratic Party city caucus. If Bove had not gotten the 1,000 voters he did, Paquette almost surely would have won the election....

"The endorsement of the Burlington Patrolman's Association in a week before the election was still another crucial factor. Paquette had alienated this group over the years and the socialist challenger actively courted their support. One Sanders administration official commented that the endorsement `probably took him [Sanders]...to a situation where he was now a real legitimate contender.' And one newspaper reporter confided that it `gave Bernie an endorsement from a very credible source that in and of itself negated all the possible...red-baiting that would have gone Bernie's way....I mean how can you be a communist if the police are for [you]?'.

"The news media also played an important role....By giving Sanders a lot of coverage, the news media helped turn him into a major contender in the election. Said one progressive: `I can't believe he [Sanders] would have won as mayor if he had not been on the news almost every night--and sympathetically so!'....

"....One campaign worker said Sanders's identification as a socialist was `never brought up by the media or Paquette, even though the campaign was ready for it.' Immediately after the election...a story appeared in The Burlington Press on Sanders's socialist beliefs and philosophy, making it widely known for the first time...."

Friday, August 7, 2015

Black Female Worker`Not Seasonally Adjusted' Unemployment Rate Increases To 8.6 Percent In July 2015

Between June and July 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 7.9 to 8.6 percent; while the number of unemployed Black female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 71,000 (from 775,000 to 846,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” Bureau of Labor Statistics data. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Black female workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 34,000 (from 9,054,000 to 9,020,000) between June and July 2015.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 8.7 percent in July 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers in the United States (youth, male and female) was still 9.7 percent during that same month. In addition, between June and July 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the U.S. labor force decreased by 79,000 (from 8,870,000 to 8.791,000); while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 31 percent in July 2015.

Between June and July 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 6 to 7.3 percent; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Latino workers (youth, male and female) in the United States increased from 6.8 to 7 percent during the same period. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 134,000 (from 632,000 to 766,000) between June and July 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age who still had jobs decreased by 182,000 (from 9,933,000 to 9,751,000) during that same period.

The “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed Latino workers (youth, male and female) increased by 67,000 (from 1,789,000 to 1,856,000 )between June and July 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino males over 20 years-of-age was still 5.6 percent in July 2015. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latino youth between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 20.9 percent in July 2015.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age was still 14.4 percent in July 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all youths (Black, Latino, white and Asian-American) between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States was still 17.1 percent during that same month

The “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Asian-American workers increased by 13,000 (from 374,000 to 387,000) between June and July 2015; while the unemployment rate for Asian-American workers increased from 4.1  to 4.2 percent during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 4.4 to 4.9 percent between June and July 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 4 to 4.1 percent during the same period.. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all white workers (youth, male and female) increased from 4.8 to 4.9 percent between June and July 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed white workers increased by 136,000 (from 5.928,000 to 6,064,000) during the same period.

Between June and July 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed white female workers over 20 years-of-age increased by 267,000 (from 2,361,000 to 2,628,000); while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States increased from 5.5 to 6 percent during the same period.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all female workers over 20 years-of-age also increased from 4.8 to 5.5 percent between June and July 2015; while, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all male workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States was still 5.4 percent in July 2015. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.6 percent during that same month.

Between June and July 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed workers in the United States increased by 167,000 (from 8,638,000 to 8,805,000); while the official unemployment rate for all U.S. workers (male, female and youth) increased from 5.5 to 5.6 percent during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ August 7, 2015 press release:

“…In July, both the unemployment rate (5.3 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (8.3 million) were unchanged…The rates for adult men (4.8 percent), adult women (4.9 percent), whites (4.6 percent), blacks (9.1 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.8 percent) showed little or no change…In July, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.2 million. These individuals accounted for 26.9 percent of the unemployed…

“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in July at 6.3 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

“In July, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

“Among the marginally attached, there were 668,000 discouraged workers in July, little changed from a year earlier…Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…

“Mining employment continued to trend down in July (-5,000)….Since….December 2014, employment in the industry has declined by 78,000, with losses concentrated in support activities for mining.

“Employment in….construction, wholesale trade, information, and government, showed little change over the month…..”


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Australian Anti-War Activist Joan Coxsedge's June 29, 2015 Letter


(The following letter from Australian anti-war and Latin American solidarity activist Joan Coxsedge—who is also a former member of the Victoria state parliament--originally appeared in an Australian-Cuban solidarity group’s newsletter)

"June 29, 2015

Dear Comrades,                                                                                                                                                          
"Words dont often fail me, but Im lost for words (almost) to describe my contempt for the travesties of human beings that claim to represent us in Canberra. Their policies are becoming more overtly fascistic, terrifying in their range and vindictiveness. The following are defined as early warning signs: powerful nationalism, disdain for human rights, identification of scapegoats as a unifying cause, supremacy of the military, rampant sexism, controlled mass media, obsession with national security, close links between religion and government, protection of corporate power, suppression of labour, disdain for intellectuals and the arts, obsession with crime and punishment and rampant cronyism and corruption.

"Every time these creeps plummet to new depths, down they go again, even exploiting overseas terrorist outrages to gain some votes.  Never asking how we got to such a deplorable situation, never questioning our collusion with Washington in its brutal global role, its destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria, its support for repressive regimes around the world that imprison and torture their own citizens, and the murderous repression of its own poor.

"And then theres our pitiful Labor opposition, run by timid lookalikes. Free speech? Out the window, along with compassion and equality. The Labor rot started in 1984 when four reactionary unions (DLP) rejoined the Victorian ALP and helped destroy a once strong and progressive branch, part of a wider drive to destabilise the entire labour movement.

"Some of us fought like hell to keep them out, but we were sold down the river by some of our former comrades along with the media where we were the baddies and the crooks were the goodies. In a last ditch stand I wrote a leaflet called Fight the Right about their dodgy US connections and impact on our hard-won policies.  It was the beginning of Labors decline, part of a deeper malaise.

"James Petras writes about the rise of the non leftist left in Southern Europe in the Information Clearing House, about the disappearance of traditional leftist parties and decline of trade unions, replaced by a fragmented middle class radicalism angry at its loss of status, demanding participatory democracy in the existing rotten system, when its capitalism that is causing environmental ruin, mass poverty, gross inequality, plutocracy, the police state and racial disparity and must be replaced. 

"Close to the end of his life, Martin Luther King wrote: the real issue to be faced beyond superficial matters was the radical reconstruction of society itselfand the United States will have to adopt a modified form of socialism.  Kings final radical words have been erased from our history books, replaced by his much safer I have a dream speech.

"Latin American revolutions, especially in Cuba, have inspired the entire planet, bringing hope to every corner of our earth.  If left alone they would thrive, but the US Empire is once again on the offensive, getting ready to invade and destroy. 

"Every left-wing government has been facing bizarre protests and subversive actions, destabilisation tactics clearly designed in far-away capitals, almost identical to those used against China, Russia, South Africa and other rebellious nations. Their fragility is obvious, with their elites committing treason and collaborating with the West against their own people as we have seen in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Paraguay and Bolivia, to name just a few.  Propaganda, disinformation and the spreading of confusion have been some of their most potent weapons.  One of their dirtiest is the accusation of corruption made by corrupt pro-western politicians and individuals who misused hundreds of millions of dollars of the peoples money.

"The world has lost a courageous activist with the death of Ronnie Gilbert, an original member of the legendary folk group, the Weavers. While the great Pete Seeger was the most recognisable member of the group (Fred Hellerman and Lee Hays were the other two) it was Ronnie Gilbert who gave the Weavers its special style.  Who can forget her version of Leadbellys Goodnight, Irene.

"Gilbert was born and raised in New York City into a working class family and listening to Paul Robeson gave her the inspiration to become a folk singer. Most who know about the Cold War and the Red Scare is aware of what happened to the Weavers.  Suspected of being too left-wing, Joseph McCarthy and his merchants of fear smeared them as communists and had them blacklisted.  Despite their hit songs they were banned from appearing on radio or television and their contract with Decca Records was abruptly cancelled.

"The Weavers went from being one of Americas most popular groups to being almost totally ostracised.  They were forced to disband in 1953, but even with her career in ruins, Ronnie Gilbert went on to become a dedicated socialist activist, travelling to Cuba in 1961. During a Pete Seeger concert in California which he performed on a banjo, without any introduction he shouted out to her wishing her good luck.  The audience cheered.  How refreshing to see comrades like these stand up against powerful bullies and march in rallies to promote a cause.  Vale Ronnie Gilbert.

"Speaking of gutsy people who stand up against powerful bullies, Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London surrounded by a ridiculous police cordon and living in one room for the crime of telling unpalatable truths about government lies and the power of vested interests. He is a refugee under international law and should be given safe passage out of the UK.  The Assange case amplifies many truths, one of which is the accelerating global totalitarianism of Washington regardless of who is president."

"Joan Coxsedge"  

Monday, July 6, 2015

`New Freedom Ride'


They picked up guitars
And they sang out the truth
And broadsides they hurled at the world.
The poetry they wrote
It left people moved
And helped wake up many lost souls.

Pete and Joan

They sang out alone
In the Village, in Cambridge, in Newport.
And Bob and Phil
Protested Evil
And pointed their fingers at wrong.

Peter, Paul and Mary

They joined up with Judy
And freedom called over the air.
And Odetta and Buffy
Sang out their songs roughly
That peace it was better than war.

Richard and Mimi

Packed sorrows up freely
And Ritchie, he kept on the path.
And Gordon and Sis
They didn't give up
And Gil, he taught others his craft.

Freedom Singers and Tom

Spread the alarm
And Dave sang his blues out with soul.
And over in England
Peggy and Ewan
The danger in mines, they exposed.

The years have flown by

And people still cry
And the screen world is still filled with lies.
And some they still try
While others have died
And it's time for a New Freedom Ride.

Yes, they picked up guitars

And they sang out the truth
And broadsides they hurled at the world.
The poetry they wrote
It gave people hope
And helped wake up many lost souls.

Written in the 1990's, this protest folk song pays tribute to the protest folk singers, protest folk songsmiths and protest folk music scene of the late 1950's and early 1960's; and calls for a "New Freedom Ride" in the music scene of the 21st-century. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Black Youth "Not Seasonally Adjusted" Jobless Rate Increases To 38.5 Percent In June 2015

Between May and June 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Black youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased from 29.6 to 38.5 percent; while the number of unemployed Black youths increased by 112,000 (from 212,000 to 324,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” Bureau of Labor Statistics data.  

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States also increased from 17.3 to 24.4 percent between May and June 2015; while the number of unemployed Latino youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased by 129,000 (from 190,000 to 319,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age increased from 15.8 to 18.2 percent between May and June 2015; while the number of unemployed white youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased by 258,000 (from 714,000 to 972,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data..

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all youths (Black, Latino, white and Asian-American) between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased from 17.8 to 21.4 percent between May and June 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed youths between 16 and 19 years-of-age in the United States increased by 421,000 (from 1,025,000 to 1,446,000) during the same period.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 9.2 percent in June 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all Black workers in the United States (youth, male and female) was still 9.8 percent during that same month. In addition, between May and June 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Black male workers over 20 years-of-age in the labor force decreased by 57,000 (from 8,927,000 to 8,870,000); while the jobless rate for Black female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States was still 7.9 percent in June 2015, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data..

Between May and June 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latino male workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 5.7 to 5.8 percent; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all Latino workers (youth, male and female) in the United States increased from 6.3 to 6.8 percent during the same period.. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for Latina female workers over 20 years-of-age was still 6 percent in June 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed Latino workers (youth, male and female) increased by 131,000 (from 1,658,000 to 1,789,000) between May and June 2015.

The “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed Asian-American workers increased by 21,000 (from 353,000 to 374,000) between May and June 2015; while the unemployment rate for Asian-American workers increased from 3.9 to 4.1 percent during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of Asian-American workers who still had jobs decreased by 50,000 (from 8,804,000 to 8,754,000) between May and June 2015; while the number of Asian-American workers in the U.S. labor force decreased by 29,000 (from 9,157,000 to 9,128,000) during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for white female workers over 20 years-of-age in the United States increased from 4.2 to 4.4 percent between May and June 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for white male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4 percent in June 2015. In addition, the “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all white workers (youth, male and female) increased from 4.5 to 4.8 percent between May and June 2015; while the “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed white workers increased by 298,000 (from 5,630,000 to 5.928,000) during the same period.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all female workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States increased from 5.2 to 5.5 percent between May and June 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all female workers over 20 years-of-age increased from 4.8 to 4.9 percent during the same period. In addition, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate for all male workers over 16 years-of-age in the United States was still 5.4 percent in June 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate for all male workers over 20 years-of-age was still 4.6 percent during that same month.

Between May and June 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” total number of unemployed workers in the United States increased by 268,000 (from 8,370,000 to 8,638,000); while the official unemployment rate for all U.S. workers (male, female and youth) increased from 5.3  to 5.5 percent during the same period, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ July 2,, 2015 press release:

“….The civilian labor force declined by 432,000 in June….The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.5 million, changed little in June. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job….

“In June, 1.9 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier…These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey…..Among the marginally attached, there were 653,000 discouraged workers in June, essentially unchanged from a year earlier….Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them…

“Employment in mining continued to trend down in June (-4,000)….Since…December 2014, employment in mining has declined by 71,000, with losses concentrated in support activities for mining.


“Employment in…construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, and government, showed little or no change over the month…The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +221,000 to +187,000, and the change for May was revised from +280,000 to +254,000. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 60,000 lower than previously reported…”. 

Lawrence, Massachusetts "Not Seasonally Adjusted" Jobless Rate Increases To 8.5 Percent In May 2015


Between April and May 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Lawrence, Massachusetts increased from 8.1 to 8.5 percent; while Massachusetts’ “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate increased from 4.1 to 4.4 percent during the same period, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in 6 other major Massachusetts cities and in the town of North Adams was still higher than the “not seasonally adjusted” national U.S. unemployment rate of 5.3 percent in May 2015:

1. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Springfield, Massachusetts increased from 7.6 to 8.2 percent between April and May 2015;

2. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in New Bedford, Massachusetts increased from 7.4 to 7.5 percent between April and May 2015;

3. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Fall River, Massachusetts was still 7.4 percent in May 2015;

4. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in North Adams, Massachusetts increased from 6.6 to 6.8 percent between April and May 2015;

5. The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Brockton, Massachusetts increased from 5.6 to 6 percent between April and May 2015;

6. The official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Lowell, Massachusetts increased from 5.4 to 5.7 percent between April and May 2015; and.

The official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Worcester, Massachusetts increased from 5 to 5.4 percent between April and May 2015; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Pittsfield, Massachusetts was still 5.2 percent in May 2015. In addition, between April and May 2015, the official “not seasonally adjusted” jobless rate in Lynn, Massachusetts increased from 4.6 to 5 percent; while the official “not seasonally adjusted” unemployment rate in Boston, Massachusetts increased from 3.7 to 4.1 percent during the same period.

According to the Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s June 23, 2015 press release:

“Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for May…in…labor markets in the state…rose in sixteen…The statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for May was 4.4 percent, up 0.3 of a percentage point from the April 2015 rate….”


Between April and May 2015, the “not seasonally adjusted” number of unemployed workers in Massachusetts increased from 148,600 to 157,900; and around 44,000 of these officially unemployed workers lived in Boston, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Springfield, Worcester or North Adams, according to the “not seasonally adjusted” data.