OVER FORTY YEARS OF LEAD POISONING IN CHILDREN — THE CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM

By Nayvin Gordon and Karyn Pomerantz, October 28, 2019


The US Department of Health and Human Services promoted October 20-27, 2019 as national lead prevention week. As of 2017, pediatricians reported that more than half a million US children had lead poisoning (AAFP, 2019).


The poisonous effects of lead have been documented for over 2,000 years. It is an environmental toxin whose effects are totally preventable; it has no biological role in the human body. Lead causes irreversible brain damage, especially in children. It affects numerous organs, such as the heart and kidneys, and influences behavior and cognition measured by IQ scores and other tests. Researchers have postulated that lead poisoning contributes to higher rates of impulsive behavior, attention deficit disorders, and poorer ability to process information. Nonetheless, the law does not require testing of all children for dangerous lead levels.

Continue reading “OVER FORTY YEARS OF LEAD POISONING IN CHILDREN — THE CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM”

THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN: LABOR STRUGGLES AND THE BOSSES’ STATE

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by Al Simpson

In this article we’ll discuss one of the largest, best organized and most well-armed labor insurrections in U.S. history: the Battle of Blair Mountain. As you’ll see, brutality, open cynicism, and treachery on the side of the bosses were not in short supply, while workers displayed courage, daring and unity. Continue reading “THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN: LABOR STRUGGLES AND THE BOSSES’ STATE”

RACISM and CAPITALISM: EXPLORING the DYNAMIC BETWEEN CLASS OPPRESSION and RACIAL OPPRESSION

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Presidential Speech given at the 2013 Annual Convention of the Association for Humanist Sociology

An apple growing on a farm in Western Michigan. Another apple growing wild on a tree outside of Rome, 2,000 years ago. A Yamaha motorcycle. So, which of these have the most in common. The obvious answer, and it is a correct answer, is the two apples. But is there another way to look at the question? ‘‘Sociological Imagination,’’ as conceived by C. Wright Mills and utilized by many social scientists, provokes us to consider not just what things are ‘‘in themselves’’ but also what they ‘‘are’’ in their broader contexts and relationships to people, institutions, and broader social processes. Certainly, the two apples have a great deal in common. What does it take to create an apple? A seed, proper soil, water, and sunlight and time. But the modern, farmed apple also needs something else—it needs the belief of the farmer that growing that apple might help create a profit. Today’s apple and today’s motorcycle have something in common: They both need entrepreneurs who believe that they can make a profit from that enterprise. And, therefore, they both need a particular type of political economic climate that favors the development of both the apple and the motorcycle. Continue reading “RACISM and CAPITALISM: EXPLORING the DYNAMIC BETWEEN CLASS OPPRESSION and RACIAL OPPRESSION”

ANGELA DAVIS COMMENCEMENT SPEECH AT BRYN MAWR COLLEGE INCITES DEBATE

imagesA conservative news site used one black woman’s opinion to argue that racism is obsolete. Another student, whose article is reproduced here, refuted the first student critic on College Media Network on 6/21/18.

Viewpoint: Antagonistic Reaction to Angela Davis Speech Shows Why It Was Necessary

Conservative news site uses one black woman’s opinion to argue that racism is obsolete.

By Elena Neale

Activist Angela Davis gave a commencement speech at Bryn Mawr College on May 19. A black woman who was in the audience wrote a critical letter of the speech in her local newspaper. A right-wing college news site used that letter to argue that racism is no longer an issue. Continue reading “ANGELA DAVIS COMMENCEMENT SPEECH AT BRYN MAWR COLLEGE INCITES DEBATE”

ONE STATE IN PALESTINE/ISRAEL CANNOT BRING EQUALITY AS A CAPITALIST STATE

by Ellen Isaacs

appearing on Counterpunch 6/6/18

As we reflect on the latest brutality against protestors in Gaza and the struggle to end the outrageous Israeli occupation of Palestine and oppression of Israeli Palestinians, it is important to formulate a goal for what we would hope to attain. This goal does not have to be achievable in the near future or even near distant future, but it provides a framework that defines what immediate struggles we engage in and whom is declared to be an ally or an enemy. In fact, it is unlikely that this conflict will be settled between Israelis and Palestinians in isolation, as the whole region will probably be enveloped in larger conflicts between Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the US and Russia long before that happens. However, it is to be hoped that there would be, at some time, a unified Palestine/Israel, or perhaps some larger regional entity, that would provide for equality, opportunity and freedom for all who live there. With that vision, I know that organizing in the present must strive to be multiracial, multinational, and to be led by rank and file people, as opposed to economic moguls, politicians or religious leaders. Continue reading “ONE STATE IN PALESTINE/ISRAEL CANNOT BRING EQUALITY AS A CAPITALIST STATE”

THE REAL LESSON OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: ARMED RESISTANCE TO RACIST VIOLENCE WORKS

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by Al Simpson

During the early civil rights era, from 1955 through to the early 1960s, the attempts at desegregation of accommodations were portrayed as nonviolent protests. It was heavily stressed that all such protesters – the persons who acted to desegregate lunch counters, libraries, amusement parks, stores, etc. – were trained in nonviolent protest, and they would not strike back if hit or threatened or react to taunts. Hotheads were weeded out. This was done because nonviolence was politically acceptable to white liberals, on whom various civil rights organizations depended for donations. Continue reading “THE REAL LESSON OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT: ARMED RESISTANCE TO RACIST VIOLENCE WORKS”

I’VE BEEN WORKIN’ ON THE RAILROAD

A communist worker describes the struggle to build militancy and overcome racism in trade unions in the 1950s-60s

By Wally Linder     

In the 1950s, in order to move the working class to the left, the US Communist Party’s (CP) policy of industrial concentration aimed to build a mass base especially in the basic industries, those areas which held the lifeblood of the country in their hands: auto, steel, electrical, railroad and so on. So in that summer of 1953, I sought a job in auto plants, in GM Tarrytown, N.Y. and Ford in New Jersey but without success, but I soon was hired on the Baltimore & Ohio where I would spend the next decade. I later discovered that the CP had a railroad section comprising 65 members in 13 party clubs on 13 different roads in various crafts. Metropolitan New York’s 90,000 railroad workers comprised the second largest rail center in the US, next to Chicago’s. As it turned out, it became among the most rewarding and exciting decades of my seventy adult years, when I started “workin’ on the railroad.” Continue reading “I’VE BEEN WORKIN’ ON THE RAILROAD”

NATIONALISM – A TOOL TO EMPOWER THE ELITE

by Karyn Pomerantz,  April 12, 2018 

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Nationalism, also known as patriotism, is a widespread concept promoted by capitalists to attain the loyalty of workers of a given country to their own ruling class. Those in power rely on this ideology to win workers to die in their wars or sacrifice wages and benefits so that the rulers can afford to maximize profits and live well and, in the case of imperialist nations, continue to plunder the wealth and cheap labor from smaller nations. Flag waving, parades, national holidays, sporting events like the Olympics and an endless barrage of media and educational input re-enforce this view. Racism plays an important role in depicting “enemies” as subhuman, such as labeling Vietnamese fighters as “gooks” or Muslims as “ragheads” or terrorists. Continue reading “NATIONALISM – A TOOL TO EMPOWER THE ELITE”

RIGHT-TO-WORK: ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF ORGANIZED LABOR

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by Ellen Isaacs

with major input by Student Worker Solidarity of Barnard College/Columbia University

The Supreme Court may soon rule against workers in Janus v. AFSCME, a case that will determine whether right-to-work legislation applies to the public sector. Contrary to the deliberately misleading framing, right-to-work laws do not give workers the “right to work.” In reality, they are a concerted well-funded effort to strip workers of their rights at work. Right-to-work laws allow workers at a unionized workplace to have the benefits of a union contract, such as higher wages and health insurance, without joining the union or paying the union a service fee for representing them. In other words, the intent is to undermine workers’ organizing and eventually defund, weaken, and destroy unions. This case would impose right-to-work on state and local governments in 23 states, in effect making it nationwide. Continue reading “RIGHT-TO-WORK: ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF ORGANIZED LABOR”

March for Our Lives-Build Multiracial Unity

by Karyn Pomerantz, March 23, 2018

Blog march for our lived feg 2018Thousands of young people are marching against mass violence in schools and neighborhoods.  They are demanding new gun control laws to prevent school murders, impressing many with their determination and maturity. Continue reading “March for Our Lives-Build Multiracial Unity”