The Far Right Is Antisemitic — and So Is the Radical Left

From The Algemeiner:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/26/the-far-right-is-antisemitic-and-so-is-the-radical-left/

by Maddie Solomon
July 26, 2019

I’m sitting in Charlottesville, Virginia — the city where the ugly “Unite the Right” rally took place two years ago that gripped the nation. The sun is radiant and the houses are pretty, but I can’t deny the choked up memories of weapons, white supremacy and violence. It’s my first time here — my dad used to tell me that Jews don’t go to the South. However, I have also spent the past six months witnessing a form of antisemitism on the left: Ilhan Omar, the BDS movement, and the comparison of Jews to Nazis. Internal dissent to these ideas is rarely, if ever, welcomed in leftist spaces — including college institutions on the West Coast.

In college, I experienced Jewish paranoia for the first time — because we seem besieged on all sides.

Donald Trump often uses Israel as a shield to defend his racism. Yet Democrats fail to condemn antisemitism at home; most Jewish voters are already estranged from the party. In fact, we’ve never really had a home; why did we expect our political and academic institutions to provide one?

The right will most definitely not fight for us, but neither will the left. I’m a progressive, and I’m disappointed with the state of affairs in the Democratic Party. My identity is being politicized, and never for the right reasons.

I’m angry at the right for how they unfairly treat minorities, and uphold racial harm. And I’m frustrated with the left for how they ignore antisemitism, endorsing stereotypes about Jewish monopolies and power. A direct correlation exists between anti-Israel and antisemitic activity; when BDS comes to campus, antisemitism thrives.

The right blames immigrants for stealing their jobs, despite the fact that immigrants bolster the economy. The left voices their frustration with capitalism through accusations of Jewish control of foreign affairs, a false idea deeply shared by the right.

And yet this crippling leftist dissociation is also the Jewish paranoia speaking. Our ancestors have fled persecution, genocide and violence. Fear of religious persecution has become fear of political ostracization — and now, we sometimes feel we can’t speak up in our own party.

Too often, we confuse criticism with hatred for the party itself. My peers will assign me names: confused, moderate, conservative, immoral. Most Jewish students, including myself, self-identify as liberal; in fact, Jews are largely one of the most liberal ethnic groups, consistently voting Democrat. And we are in danger, because Trump uses Israel as a shield for his inexcusable actions, which could lead to dire consequences for Jews and Israel.

I’m choosing to critique the radical left’s chosen form of antisemitism not because it is morally equatable with the alt-right, but because it is harder to discern. Academia is normalizing anti-Jewish sentiment once again; backed by professors, these institutions have made it sexy, progressive, and legitimate to target Jews and Israel.

From California to Charlottesville, Jewish paranoia prevails. I am relieved to be leaving Virginia, but it would be ignorant to assume that the West Coast and the political left will offer me and other Jewish students political asylum. Thus, it is up to us to stand up to physical and ideological violence, no matter what party it originates from.

Continue reading at:  https://www.algemeiner.com/2019/07/26/the-far-right-is-antisemitic-and-so-is-the-radical-left/

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Friday Night Fun and Culture: Ace of Cups

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Another Summer of Love

I lived the “Summer of Love”.  Saw it play out in the East Village and on MacDougal Street, at the demonstration outside the Pentagon and the Haight Ashbury and Berkeley.  Hippie men were the heroes, hippie women for the most part were the supporting cast.  The feminist movement was mid-term just waiting to be born.

Women musicians, poets, artists, photographers etc were considered cute but never as good as men who could produce crap and have everyone praise it because after all they had dicks.

I think it is great that the women who played music, wrote and were artists are finally getting attention.  Too little and fifty years too late but still nice.

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/286743/another-summer-of-love

A half-century after its founding, the pioneering all-women rock band Ace of Cups is back—with a Jewish grandma leading the way

By Andrea Cooper
July 5, 2019

Denise Kaufman can’t help smiling as she belts out her lyrics on stage. “There’s a whole lotta people tryin’ to mess with your mind,” she sings, in “Feel Good.” “When you were just a little child they filled you in with every sin they could find/Tellin’ you it’s wrong to want my good lovin’/One way for you to know for sure/Does it feel good baby? How does it feel?”

She nods in time as bass licks propel the song forward. As she bobs her head, her long, curly, gray hair moves around her face. Kaufman is 72 years old, on tour with her septuagenarian band mates. In November 2018, they released their self-titled, long-overdue first album, and they already have plans for a second. Kaufman is a joyful singer, an unstoppable rocker, a Jewish grandma.

The band is Ace of Cups, which Kaufman helped found in 1967, during the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco. Deeply in the countercultural mix, Ace of Cups opened for Jimi Hendrix at Golden Gate Park and shared stages with the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. But they had disbanded by 1972: No studio would offer a recording contract to an all-female group, and music gave way to the need to earn a living.

But Kaufman and Mary Simpson Mercy (vocals, electric and acoustic guitar), Mary Gannon Alfiler (vocals, ukulele, bass, percussion), and Diane Vitalich (vocals, drums) never stopped playing, though, all of them gigging over the years with other bands. Now, more than 50 years on, Ace of Cups has reunited, with their double album featuring such guest artists as Taj Mahal, Peter Coyote, and Buffy Sainte-Marie.

“What a debut it is,” Morgan Enos wrote in Billboard, “brimming over not only with great songs, but a formidable guest list … It’s the sound of four maximum-eclectic musical lifers, unfettered by old frustrations in the biz and purely ready to jam.” The band is touring, too, through Aug. 17, when they conclude with a benefit in San Francisco with headliner Jason Mraz. Next year, the band is slated to release another double album, three-fourths of which is already recorded.

It’s been a heady time for Kaufman, a guitar, bass, and harmonica player whose Judaism has “always been central” to her. Her father’s father founded a small synagogue in Boston. Her mother, Golda, born to a Jewish family in London, sailed to the U.S. to visit but ended up staying because England had entered WWII during her voyage, and London was being bombed. In her new country, Golda, a trained soprano, fell in love with Hank, a graduate of Harvard. They settled in San Francisco, where they enthusiastically supported their young daughter’s musical education. There were piano lessons and Pete Seeger concerts and years of Denise’s performances in a teen light-opera company. Golda and Hank were also social activists in Jewish and civic causes.

Kaufman drew upon that foundation of activism when she was arrested as a freshman at Berkeley as part of the Free Speech Movement. She spent the next year crossing the U.S. on the bus with the Merry Pranksters, a group of friends led by author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) who some credit with launching the psychedelic era. The Pranksters would stop in a community, rent space, and create light shows and music events. “The Grateful Dead would play—that was our band,” Kaufman remembered. On hand were vats of “electric Kool-Aid and not-electric Kool-Aid,” the former seasoned with LSD. In Tom Wolfe’s book about that journey, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Kaufman is “Mary Microgram.”

Kaufman says her ’60s experiments with then-legal LSD and psychedelics allowed her to reach an understanding of the oneness of all people and our common humanity: “It was a deeply spiritual opening for me. I felt like I had tapped into the divine.” The rest of her life, she added, “has been integrating and living from that.” Kaufman had returned to San Francisco by 1966 and recorded a single, “Boy, What’ll You Do Then.” At a New Year’s Eve party, she heard someone playing blues guitar in an upstairs bedroom. It was “this blond girl with shoulder-length hair”—Mary Simpson Mercy—and Kaufman pulled out her harmonica. Mercy soon invited Kaufman to join some female friends who jammed together.

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/286743/another-summer-of-love

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America’s Real Divide Isn’t Left vs. Right. It’s Democracy vs. Oligarchy.

From Robert Reich:  https://robertreich.org/post/186165252840

Robert Reich
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

I keep hearing that the Democratic party has moved “left” and that some Democratic candidates may be “too far left”.

But in this era of unprecedented concentration of wealth and political power at the top, I can’t help wondering what it means to be “left”.

A half-century ago, when America had a large and growing middle class, those on the “left” sought stronger social safety nets and more public investment in schools, roads and research. Those on the “right” sought greater reliance on the free market.

But as wealth and power have concentrated at the top, everyone else – whether on the old right or the old left – has become disempowered and less secure.

Safety nets have unraveled, public investments have waned and the free market has been taken over by crony capitalism and corporate welfare cheats. Washington and state capitals are overwhelmed by money coming from the super-rich, Wall Street and big corporations.

So why do we continue to hear and use the same old “right” and “left” labels?

I suspect it’s because the emerging oligarchy feels safer if Americans are split along the old political battle lines. That way, Americans won’t notice they’re being shafted.

In reality, the biggest divide in America today runs between oligarchy and democracy. When oligarchs fill the coffers of political candidates, they neuter democracy.

The oligarchs know politicians won’t bite the hands that feed them. So as long as they control the money, they can be confident there will be no meaningful response to stagnant pay, climate change, military bloat or the soaring costs of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, college and housing.

There will be no substantial tax increases on the wealthy. There will be no antitrust enforcement to puncture the power of giant corporations. No meaningful regulation of Wall Street’s addiction to gambling with other peoples’ money. No end to corporate subsides. CEO pay will continue to skyrocket. Wall Street hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to make off like bandits.

So long as the oligarchy divides Americans – split off people of color from working-class whites, stoke racial resentments, describe human beings as illegal aliens, launch wars on crime and immigrants, stoke fears of communists and socialists – it doesn’t have to worry that a majority will stop them from looting the nation.

Divide-and-conquer allows the oligarchy free rein. It makes the rest of us puppets, fighting each other on a made-up stage.

Trump is the puppet master.

He has been at it for years, long before he ran for president. He knows how to pit native-born Americans against immigrants, the working class against the poor, whites against blacks and Latinos.

He is well-versed in getting evangelicals and secularists steamed up about abortion, equal marriage rights, out-of-wedlock births, access to contraception, transgender bathrooms.

He knows how to stir up fears of brown-skinned people from “shitholes” streaming across the border to murder and rape, and stoke anger about black athletes who don’t stand for the national anthem.

He’s a master at fueling anxieties about so-called communists, socialists and the left taking over America.

He can make the white working class believe they’ve been losing good jobs and wages because of a cabal of Democrats, “deep state” bureaucrats and Hillary Clinton.

From the start, Trump’s deal with the oligarchy has been simple: he’ll stoke tribalism so most Americans won’t see CEOs getting exorbitant pay while they’re slicing the pay of average workers, won’t pay attention to Wall Street demanding short-term results over long-term jobs, and won’t notice a boardroom culture that tolerates financial conflicts of interest, insider trading and the outright bribery of public officials through unlimited campaign “donations”.

Continue reading at:  https://robertreich.org/post/186165252840

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Megan Rapinoe’s full World Cup parade speech

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The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969: when Vietnam came home

I was already on hormones and in transition when I participated in the Battle For People’s Park in 1969.  I went full time between its wind down and Stonewall.  For me People’s Park and the idea of “The Commons” have always played an important role in shaping me.

From The Guardian UK:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/06/the-battle-for-peoples-park-berkeley-1969-review-vietnam

A year before Kent State, police shot at protesters in California, killing one. A new oral history of the clash is a searing read


Sat 6 Jul 2019

On 4 May 1970, the Ohio national guard shot at hundreds of students protesting against the invasion of Cambodia, wounding eight and killing four. Kent State was seared into the national consciousness. The US government had authorized the killing of its own (white) children.

But what many might not know is that a year earlier in Berkeley, California, police opened fire with buck and bird shot on a large crowd of young protesters seeking to keep open People’s Park, an impromptu community garden on land UC Berkeley wanted to use. Fifty people were hit.

James Rector, a 25-year-old visitor from San Jose, was killed. Alan Blanchard was blinded. Donovan Rundle was shot point blank in the stomach and almost bled to death. After two dozen surgeries, he would live with chronic pain for the next 50 years.

“Bloody Thursday”, 15 May 1969, was the day the Vietnam war came home. The streets of Bohemian Berkeley, the New Left’s west coast HQ, became a bloody war zone. Martial law was declared, a curfew imposed and national guardsmen with unsheathed bayonets and live ammunition occupied the town. A military helicopter doused the campus with tear gas. Many members of the Alameda county sheriff’s department had just come home from Vietnam. Some later admitted that they treated antiwar students like Viet Cong.

This pivotal event in 60s history comes back to life in an excellent new oral history, The Battle for People’s Park, Berkeley 1969, by Tom Dalzell. The book recounts the chaotic 40 days and nights from 20 April to 30 May 1969 with detail that reads like a gut punch. A large-format book, lavishly printed with hundreds of never-before-published color photographs, it is a hybrid oral-visual history that reads like watching a documentary.

People’s Park evokes haunting memories of Kent State. Republican governors in California and Ohio were running re-election campaigns and rallying their base by demonizing the student movement. The chancellors of UC Berkeley and Kent State were out of town on the days of the shootings, contributing to disorder, handing law enforcement greater rein.

In his foreword to People’s Park, Todd Gitlin explains that California’s governor, Ronald Reagan, ran his 1966 campaign on making welfare “bums” go back to work and cleaning up “the mess in Berkeley”. By the time he was running for re-election he had all but granted the national guard and law enforcement officers permission to shoot to kill: “If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with, no more appeasement.”

Continue to read at:  https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/06/the-battle-for-peoples-park-berkeley-1969-review-vietnam

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At 18 He Helped Make History at Stonewall and He’s Still Making News Today

From The Tablet:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/287079/mark-segal-stonewall-making-news-today

After witnessing the Stonewall riots first hand, Mark Segal went on to become one of the most influential LGBT activists and publishers in America

By Peter Fox
June 27, 2019

Mark Segal was 18 years old on the night of June 28th, 1969, when he entered the Stonewall Inn. On the night of the historic Stonewall riots Segal had been living in New York for just six weeks, but he had already become immersed in the elusive Greenwich Village gay night scene. Raised by the only Jewish family in south Philadelphia’s Wilson Park housing project, Segal was no stranger to being an outsider. He told his parents he was leaving Philly to go to school in New York. In truth, he’d left to find a gay community. Watching an episode of The David Susskind Show years earlier he’d learned that gay people existed in New York and he knew then that was where he belonged.

Segal would go on to organize some of the earliest American LGBT organizations, help plan the first Pride March in 1970, found the longest running LGBT weekly newspaper, the Philadelphia Gay News, and become one of the most important figures in the alternative gay press. But on that night at Stonewall he was still a teenager just exulting in the chance to drink and socialize with other LGBT people at a time when homosexuality was still treated as a psychological affliction by the medical establishment, immoral by most religions, and criminal under law. In 1969 homosexuality was a crime in every state except Illinois.

The Mafia-run Stonewall Inn located in New York’s famed Greenwich Village was a kind of sanctuary. It appealed to the less-privileged LGBT people who couldn’t fit in among the more white-collar and buttoned-up secret societies of gays that existed at the time. If you were a well-off gay white male you went to Julius’s—the oldest gay bar in New York. If you were poor, or more radical, your home was Stonewall. The inn was a gathering place for street kids, artists, and gay people of all different races and ethnic backgrounds. It was one of the hearts of New York’s vibrant, bohemian LGBT community and it would become the birthplace of America’s gay civil rights movement.

It started when New York City police raided the bar as they had many times before. The cops were looking to bust an illegally run, Mafia-owned establishment selling water-downed liquor without a license but also came to abuse the patrons, throwing around anti-gay slurs and using the vulnerable population as a chance to arrest as many people as possible and pad their records. They had done this many times before, including just four nights earlier at the Stonewall Inn.

Segal was carded by the police that night but with no money to offer for a bribe, he says that he was fortunate to be quickly released. The people arrested were primarily minors, trans women, and crossdressers, which was still illegal at the time. Segal watched from across the street, terrified as the raid unraveled into chaos.

Yet the terror was mixed with other emotions.

“There was an odd, celebratory feel to it,” he says. Within moments of taking in the scene, he thought to himself, “this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”

Most people ran away to avoid arrest, but those who remained were drag queens, hustlers, runaways, street kids—the people who had nothing to lose and were willing to fight back.

In 1969, American society was all about rebellion. “African Americans can fight for their rights, Latinos can fight for their rights, women can fight for their rights, what about us?” Segal saw the social uproar of the era and thought, “why not me? Why not my people?”

For Segal, the aftermath of the Stonewall riots was a “magical year.” He played a role in starting the Gay Liberation Front, an umbrella group that became one of the first major American LGBT organizations, and helped found the first transgender and gay youth organizations, serving as its president at the age of 19. 

Continue reading at:  https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/287079/mark-segal-stonewall-making-news-today

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