Bernie Sanders is no Eugene Debs

From the Socialist Worker, May 26

by Howie Hawkins

Howie Hawkins is a veteran activist, working Teamster and leader of the Green Party nationally and in his home state of New York. Last November, his campaign for governor against incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo won 200,000 votes, nearly 5 percent of the total–the most successful left-wing independent campaign in New York in more than 50 years.

Here, Hawkins contributes to the discussion on the left about the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Bernie Sanders is no Eugene V. Debs

BERNIE SANDERS’ entry into the Democratic presidential primaries should be seen as his final decisive step away from the democratic socialism he professes to support. He will raise some progressive demands in the primaries and then endorse the corporate Democrat, Hillary Clinton. Nothing changes.

Sanders is violating the first principle of socialist politics: class independence. The socialist movement learned that principle long ago when the business classes sold out the workers in the democratic revolutions of 1848 that swept across Europe and parts of Latin America.

Drawing out the lesson from these failed revolutions that the middle-class proprietors and professionals could not be trusted as allies of the workers in the battle for democracy and workers rights, Karl Marx told exiled German revolutionaries in London in 1850 that the workers needed to form their own party to look out for their own interests:

Even where there is no prospect whatsoever of them being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to bring before the public their own revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection, they must not allow themselves to be seduced by such arguments as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the Democratic Party and making it possible for the reactionaries to win. The ultimate intention of all such phrases is to dupe the proletariat. The advance which the proletarian party is bound to make by such independent action is infinitely more important than the disadvantages that might be incurred by the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.

The Democratic Party that Marx was referring to in his 1850 speech was the most pro-democracy of the German parties based in the business and professional classes, which were fighting for universal suffrage against the ruling feudal landed aristocracy, but stopped fighting for workers’ rights once propertied men had the vote. But the argument applies just as well to the Democratic Party in the U.S. today–a party that poses as the champion of working people, but serves business interests.

Sanders has now gone into coalition with the billionaire class he professes to oppose and that finances the Democratic party. Sanders won’t see the billionaire’s money. But he has made it crystal clear that he will support their candidates by promising to support the winner of the Democratic presidential nomination.

Continue reading at: Bernie Sanders is No Eugene Debs

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Now For Something Totally Different

yet with a very cool sound.  From Latinos Post

“The song is ‘Abale Ndikum Gem’ by Gasper Nali, next to the Nkhata Bay in the Republic of Malawi. He is playing a small drum with his foot and one of his large string guitars that he makes of recycled materials, including wire from burnt tires. Nali was featured in the documentary, ‘Deep Roots Malawi’, where he explains the origin of his instrument.

Translated to English from Chichewa, the national language of Malawi, “Back in Zingwangwa my younger brother first made a guitar with three strings. I told him it was a good idea to make that kind of instrument. We started practicing and the sound was good, really good. So we decided to make a one-stringed guitar, which is called a Babatoni. We cut a cow skin and fixed it on a mortar well. When we played people loved the music.”

Watch the original video of Nali here: []
Watch Nali and many other inspiring musicians in ‘Deep Roots Malawi’ here (Nali is approx. 22 min in): []
Visit his MySpace page to listen to a few more his tunes: []

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The African-American roots and Civil War origins of Memorial Day

Progressive Action NH:

So let the truth be told that was never told to you in school and let it be remembered that Memorial Day never stood for commemorating any war; it stood for celebrating the United States’ achievement in overcoming the most inhumane socio-political-economic system practiced in Western civilization at that time.

How unfortunate that the later devolution of the reconstruction effort by President Andrew Johnson re-enslaved African-Americans in a horrible culture of Jim Crow. How horrible still that we have yet to pluck out it out of our system.

Telling the true stories our of our history drive the hoe that will pluck those weeds.
h/t Carlito Rovera and Blue Street Journal

Originally posted on theGrio:

Memorial Day is meant to be the day the nation honors its war dead. For many Americans, it has also become a day to throw barbecues and beach parties, for blockbuster movies to open, and for students to prepare for graduation and prom season; all signaling the unofficial start of summer. But few Americans are aware of the holiday’s roots in the Civil War’s aftermath, and of the heavy influence of African-Americans in the early celebrations of what used to be called Decoration Day.

On May 1, 1865, freed slaves gathered in Charleston, South Carolina to commemorate the death of Union soldiers and the end of the American Civil War. Three years later, General John Logan issued a special order that May 30, 1868 be observed as Decoration Day, the first Memorial Day — a day set aside “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves…

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So Trump Comes to New Hampshire

and this is the bag of mixed nuts he decides to stick his pudgy hands into…

Harrison 2

For the viewing challenged, the money quote: known Free Stater Harrison De Bree and an Andy Stachura who both add to the conversation about the frustration of getting their agenda through:

Stachura: “SHILLS and Traiters! These usurper [sic] need a stiff heavy hand and proper punishment!

Harrison: “Complaining on Facebook won’t get you anywhere.  So who is going to be the first one to string a rep up on the birch tree in front of the statehouse?”

Nice sentiments.  These are Josh Youssef’s colleagues.  Josh Youssef will head up Trump’s initial ground campaign work in New Hampshire.  For more on Youssef refer back on this blog to Donald Trump Starts in NH on Questionable Footing

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In Rock and Roll You Just Get Older

…singing the same old songs.

98ROCK Tampa Bay's photo.

But in politics, you just get better…

with your song being the call and response of the people.

Donald Trump Starts in NH on Questionable Footing

As Miscellany Blue reports below, Donald Trump has named a local New Hampshire curmudgeon and accomplished liar to spear-head his presidential “exploration” team in New Hampshire.  We think he couldn’t have picked anyone better to represent his values.  Read below:

Donald Trump names controversial figure to N.H. leadership team

(Photo: Michael Vadon / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Josh Youssef, the Laconia businessman named to Donald Trump’s New Hampshire leadership team, has an extensive history of provocative remarks and controversial conduct. The 2012 Republican state senate nominee in District 7 will serve as the Belknap County chair for Trump’s exploratory presidential campaign.

In 2013, the state Attorney General’s Office ruled Youssef violated the state’s election law when he published a deceptive and misleading website during his unsuccessful senate campaign.

The charges grew out of a public spat between Youssef and attorney Ed Mosca, who was representing Youssef’s ex-wife in their contentious divorce case. In August 2012, the Concord Monitor reported Youssef had accused Mosca of trying to sabotage his campaign by posting court documents related to the divorce on his blog,

A few weeks later, an anonymous website (first reported by Miscellany Blue) appeared that was virtually identical to Mosca’s blog in look and feel. The copycat site,, praised Youssef and accused Mosca of waging a “personal vendetta” against him.

Mosca filed a formal complaint and the Republican leadership of the state Senate called on Youssef to publicly address the allegations. “These allegations are serious and deserve to be fully investigated,” Senate President Peter Bragdon and Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said in a statement.

Youssef eventually admitted creating the copycat site. The state Attorney General’s Office ruled the act violated a state law that prohibits falsely representing someone else for the purpose of influencing an election.

In a YouTube video, Youssef defended the anonymous copycat website as protected political speech, which he called “the underpinning of our entire political process.” Mosca’s complaint, he said, was “just a politically-motivated trick to try to derail my bid for the state Senate.”

Court documents from Youssef’s divorce also revealed he failed to file federal income tax returns between 2004 and 2008. Concord Monitor reporter Annmarie Timmins confirmed the records indicated Youssef owed $60,000 to the IRS, which began garnishing his wages in January 2012.

Jump on over to Miscellany Blue to read the rest:Trump Names Controversial Figure to N.H. Leadership Team


Message from Jeff Woodburn, NH Senator

Dear Friend:

After the packed public hearing a few weeks ago, full of testimony against
the GOP House radical budget proposal, the Senate Finance Committee began
taking action on their own proposal. And so far the results are not good.

Yesterday the Senate Finance Republicans voted to cut funding for substance
abuse prevention in a party-line vote of 4-2. These cuts would remove the
Office of Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Health as well as a senior
director position. Losing these resources and personnel would significantly
impair our ability to provide necessary treatment and coordinate a
statewide response to the current substance abuse and heroin epidemic. Not
only were these positions included in Governor’s Hassan’s budget, they were
even in the House version.

To quote my colleague Senator Hosmer, “Senate Republicans move to strip
this essential position shows they are out of touch with the needs of NH
communities and I urge them to reconsider their actions that are putting
the health and well-being of Granite Staters at risk.” I echo Senator
Hosmer’s statement and urge Finance Committee Chair Senator Forrester to
reconsider these harmful cuts to common-sense priorities. Please join me in
sending that message as the budget process continues in the Senate.

Thank you for all you do,

Jeff Woodburn

Senate Democratic Leader


NH Senate Committee Slices, Dices and Mixes Budget — Final Outcome Yet Unknown

NH State House Watch, the American Friends Service Committee

State House Watch May 22
2015 Issue 19

State Budget Starts to Take Shape

Senators continued their work on the budget last week.  First, the Ways and Means Committee approved revenue projections $118 million higher than the estimate used by the House.  That gave the Finance Committee room to approve restoration of millions of dollars (cut by the House) for elderly services, the developmentally disabled, emergency homeless shelters, and substance abuse treatment. The restored funds, however, still fall short of what the Governor proposed, let alone what is actually needed.

Like the House, Senate Finance voted against renewing the expanded Medicaid program (NH Health Protection Program), which is due to expire in December 2016.  Read more here from NHPR. The full Senate also voted, along party lines, against extension of the Health Protection Program.  Pat and Woullard

One question still hanging over the Senate deliberations is whether Republican Senators will follow through on their plan to cut business taxes.  See more analysis from the NH Fiscal Policy Institute here.  We have not heard whether language authorizing privatization of the Sununu Youth Center will be retained or deleted. Nor have we heard whether Senators will come up with funds for the state employee pay raise already approved through collective bargaining.

The Senate Finance Committee will meet next week on Tuesday and Wednesday, by which time they are expected to approve their budget proposal and send it on to the full Senate.  NH Voices of Faith will be present outside the hearing room, continuing its witness for a budget that speaks to our highest moral values.

The full Senate is expected to vote on the budget on June 4. After that it goes back to the House, which can accept the Senate budget or call for a Committee of Conference (CoC) to resolve differences. Given that the Senate had the benefit of better revenue projections than the House did, we wonder if the House might just adopt the Senate budget and save the trouble of a Committee of Conference.

Speaking of Committees of Conference, the House lays out its 2015 CoC Procedures near the top of the House Calendar.  Here’s a short version:  If the House and Senate approve different versions of the same bill, each chamber can opt to a) “concur” with the other, i.e. accept the language of the other body, in which case it goes on to the governor; b) non-concur and call for a committee of conference (CoC); or c) non-concur and not accept a CoC, in which case the bill dies.

If CoCs are formed, members are appointed by leadership. The objective of the CoC is to reach agreement on new language that would be acceptable to both chambers.  If it is unable to do so, the bill dies. COCs need to approve reports unanimously, but leadership can replace members at any time.  CoCs would be formed between June 4 and June 11, and would need to complete their work by June 18.  The House and Senate will vote on CoC reports during the week of June 22, with June 25 the final day for action.

Updates from Last Week

HB 614, implementing the goals of the state’s 10-year energy plan, was approved by the Senate and referred to the Finance Committee for further consideration.  A floor amendment was added calling for shortfalls in funding to be met by transfers from the renewable energy fund. Any monies not expended would be returned back to the fund at the end of the biennium.

SB 219, the bill that would require employers to provide a clean, private space for nursing mothers to express breast milk, had already passed the Senate on a voice vote and seemed like the kind of bill that would sail through without difficulty.  Employers with fewer than 50 employees whose businesses lacked sufficient space were exempted.  Even with that sort of accommodation, the House Commerce Committee voted 13-8, along party lines, to retain the bill.  We are disappointed that a bill aimed at helping working mothers breastfeed their babies turned into a partisan issue.

Dueling EBT Bills

Last week we reported that the Senate amended and passed HB 219, the House bill intended to limit how people receiving benefits via EBT cards can use them. The amendment included an unenforceable ban on the use of cash obtained through EBT to purchase goods and services that the Senators believe poor people should not spend money on. With the amendment, the bill became a mirror of SB 169, a bill already adopted by the Senate and sent to the House.  You with us so far?

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee took up SB 169 in executive session on Tuesday.  Representative McMahon, the prime sponsor of HB 219, proposed an amendment that replaced the language of SB 169 with the text of the original version of HB 219, a bill which limits the sites where EBT cards can be used but does not try to regulate the use of cash. The amendment was approved, and the full committee voted OTP/A on the bill, with a vote of 17-0.  The House committee also voted NOT to concur with the Senate on HB 219, the House EBT bill altered by the Senate. They’ve asked for a Committee of Conference on the bill.

If you’re confused, try this: The House passed its bill, which was altered by the Senate to mirror its own. The House took umbrage, and altered the Senate bill to mirror its bill, and called for a CoC.  If the Senate agrees, differences could be resolved.  From the State House Watch perspective, the best possible outcome is that everyone will be so annoyed by all of these shenanigans that neither of the odious bills aimed at demonizing poor people will pass.

Coming Up in the Senate

The Senate will be in session on Thursday, May 28, starting at 10 AM.

Regular Calendar

HB 315, relative to termination of tenancy, is recommended for defeat. This bill would provide additional grounds for termination of tenancy with only 7 days’ notice. The committee recommended killing the bill on a vote of 4-1. We actively opposed this bill, and are pleased with the Senate Judiciary Committee’s action. Landlords already have sufficient power to evict tenants with only 7 days’ notice.

HB 25, the capital budget.  (Look at the Senate Calendar Addendum for the version approved by the Senate Capital Budget Committee.)  We are pleased that it includes $1 million for the Affordable Housing Fund.  We have to observe that Governor Hassan had proposed $2 million for this fund and housing advocates had suggested $5 million, but $1 million is $1 million more than the House approved. The Senate’s capital budget proposal includes additional funds for a new women’s prison and does not include funds for a commuter rail study supported by the governor.

Coming Up in the House

The House will be not be in session until Wednesday, June 3.

Coming up in House Committees

Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services, Room 307, LOB

10:00 AM  Executive Session on SB 255, establishing a low-wage service worker task force. This task force would be charged with studying the growth of the low-wage service sector as compared to the growth of other job sectors; the demographics and rate of poverty of workers in low-wage industries; the impact on children, families and communities; the cost of state services used by low-wage workers; and the effects of low-wage jobs on the local economy.  There is some fear afoot that the House will turn a serious task force into a legislative study committee that is less likely to look very deeply into the issue.

Coming up in Senate Committees

Tuesday, May 26

Finance, Room 103, SH
9:00 AM    Executive Session on the Budget

Wednesday, May 27

Finance, Room 103, SH

9:00 AM  HB 550, relative to the administration of the tobacco tax. This was a routine bill addressing how the tobacco tax is managed. The Senate already passed the bill and referred it to Finance.  At this hearing Finance will consider “non-germane amendment” 2015-1906s that changes the title and limits the inclusion in the business profits tax of the net increase due to certain sales or exchanges of an interest or beneficial interest in a business organization.  In other words, the taxes on profits from the sale of an interest in a business will be limited, which will mean less revenue for the state.

Following the public hearing on HB 550, the Finance Commitee is expected to complete its deliberations on the budget.

“State House Watch/White House Watch” Radio

We’ll take a holiday break next week and replay last year’s Memorial Day music special.  You can hear us Monday from 5 to 6 pm and Tuesday from 8 to 9 am at 94.7 FM in the Concord area and at anywhere you can get an internet signal.  You can also download podcasts of past shows, including last week’s with Brenda Libby from Community Bridges and Michele Holt-Shannon of NH Listens.

Governing Under the Influence

Check out our website to find out why Arnie handed a plastic whistle to New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie, and to read about Senator Lindsey Graham’s encounter with a band of peace activists in downtown Manchester.  There’s also a new post on the Obama administration’s trillion dollar plan to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal, all to the benefit of some likely suspects.  Next week we’ll see the return to the NH campaign trail of Senators Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz (no joint appearances scheduled), as well as Carly Fiorina  Check out the candidate calendar, and let us know if you plan to be at any of the events.  As noted below, we’re doing another “bird dog training” Thursday in Milford.  No dogs and no birds will be harmed, and you’ll have fun honing your political skills.

Events Coming Up

Friday, May 22 – Saturday, May 23

Ancestral Reburial – The Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail invites you to honor the dead who were found buried beneath a Portsmouth street as they are reinterred in sacred ground.  Friday night, beginning at 7:00 pm, with an overnight vigil at the New Hope Baptist Church, 263 Peverly Hill Road, ending with a sunrise service at 6:00 am on Saturday morning.  A motorcade will transfer the caskets to the State Street entrance of the African Burying Ground Memorial Park on Chestnut Street. At 8:30 AM there will be an unveiling of commissioned artwork, and at 9:00 am the reburial ceremonies will begin. Wearing white or traditional African attire is encouraged. More information is here and on Facebook.

Friday, May 22

“Who Am I Going To Be: African Youth Building Lives in NH,” a documentary by Lynn Clowes, will be shown at 7:00 pm at the Concord Quaker Meeting Meetinghouse in Canterbury. Lynn Clowes will be on hand to lead a discussion and answer questions about the constellation of challenges that African youth face as they build new lives in NH. Click here for directions.

Saturday, May 23

Walk For Democracy in the Upper Valley with the NH Rebellion. 11:30 AM – Meet at Lebanon Green for rally and sign making.  Noon – Walkers depart on 6 mile walk to Hanover. 2:00 PM  – Arrive at Hanover Green, and celebrate with speakers, street theater, burgers, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Details and registration here. Sponsored by the NH Rebellion, AFSC/Governing Under the Influence, Open Democracy, Take Back Our Republic, NH Peace Action, and the Stamp Stampede. Contact Eric if you want to help carry AFSC banners.

March Against Monsanto to raise public awareness and bring political pressure to bear regarding Monsanto’s farming and business practices as well as the dangers of genetically modified food. An estimated 38 countries on 6 continents, and some 428 cities, will participate in this peaceful, informational protest. Noon to 2 PM in Portsmouth.  Meet at the farmer’s market at Portsmouth City Hall, 1 Junkins Avenue at 12 noon for a march to Market Square. Visibility at Market Square from 1:00-2:00 PM. More information on Facebook.

Wednesday, May 27

Legislators and anyone else who supports affordable housing are invited to join Housing Action NH for a Home Matters in NH Week breakfast and award presentation Wednesday, May 27, from 8 to 9 AM in the State House cafeteria. Home Matters in NH Week will highlight policy solutions that help create housing matched to NH’s needs. The breakfast includes a presentation of five Home Matters in NH Awards, honoring outstanding work in three categories that help advance policies for more affordable housing and ending homelessness. Senators Jeb Bradley and Martha Fuller-Clark will receive this award for their legislative work, along with Concord resident Mike LaFontaine, formerly with the NH Community Loan Fund, for his long-time advocacy. Concord Monitor reporters Megan Doyle and Jeremy Blackman will be honored for their recent series covering the issue of homelessness in Concord. Encourage your Representatives to attend this important event, and please join us if you can. Please RSVP here.

Thursday, May 28

AFSC Bird Dog Training, Milford UU Church, 6 to 7:30 pm.  Co-sponsored by 350NH, NextGen, UU Congregation of Milford.  Contact Olivia for more information.  (No dogs, no birds, just skills training for activists trying to affect the political discourse during NH Primary season.)

June 11 to 13

Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans for Peace and Co-Chair of the “Don’t Shoot” coalition, will speak at several events in New Hampshire about building peace at home and abroad.  Events include NH Peace Action’s annual membership meeting, June 3 in Sanbornton and events in Hanover and Manchester organized by AFSC’s Governing under the Influence project.  More details soon.

Saturday, June 13

“The Last Call, The Untold Reasons of the Global Crisis,” a film asking, “Can the golden age of unlimited growth last forever?” and “Are there no actual physical limitations to growth on our planet?”  7:00 PM at the Concord UU Church, 274 Pleasant Street, Concord.  Free and open to the public, with discussion afterwards. Contact John Warner for further details.

-Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty

PS – Don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook.  Search for “American Friends Service Committee-NH” to “like” us.  After all, we are your Friends.

AFSC’s New Hampshire “State House Watch” newsletter is published to bring you information about matters being discussed in Concord including housing, the death penalty, immigration, and labor rights.  We also follow the state budget and tax system, voting rights, corrections policy, and more.  Click here for back issues.

The AFSC is a Quaker organization supported by people of many faiths who care about peace, social justice, humanitarian service, and nonviolent change.  Arnie Alpert and Maggie Fogarty direct the New Hampshire Program, publish the newsletter, and co-host the “State House Watch” radio show on WNHN-FM.  Susan Bruce helps with research and writing.  Fred Portnoy, WNHN Station Manager, produces the radio show.

“State House Watch” is made possible in part by a grant from the Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust.

Your donations make our work possible.  Click the “DONATE NOW” button on our web page to send a secure donation to support the work of the AFSC’s New Hampshire Program.  Thanks.

American Friends Service Committee
4 Park Street
Concord, NH 03301
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Union Cookout

As always this time of year and during other festive holiday events, the AFL-CIO has a handy reference guide for popular outing foods that are union made.

Here’s the next country ready to throw in the towel on the U.S. ‘war on drugs’

Progressive Action NH:

It most likely will be outside forces that put an end to the drug war, particularly those tired of US imperialism anyway.

Originally posted on Fusion:

Add Ecuador to a growing list of countries pushing back against the U.S. “war on drugs.”

A ruling party lawmaker recently introduced legislation that would make Ecuador the second country in the world — and the first in the Americas— to decriminalize the personal use of all drugs, from marijuana to cocaine to heroin.

The bill, presented by a lawmaker allied with President Rafael Correa, would regulate the consumption of over 100 substances and create a state agency to control the importation, exportation, production and cultivation of illegal drugs. Anyone interested in using or obtaining drugs would have to register with the agency.

If approved, the South American country would follow in the footsteps of Portugal, which in 2001 radically shifted its drug policy from prosecution to prevention and rehabilitation. It would also reflect the growing challenge from some Latin America countries to the decades-long U.S. approach to fighting drugs that…

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