False Choice Event November 2 /Sandra Bland Policy Paper/ Safe Work Environment Act Report Part 1

This column appears in the October 29 – November 5 edition of the Hartford News…

Loose Cannon

Last Sunday Face the State host Dennis House interviewed Republican Hartford mayoral candidate Ted Cannon. Neither House nor Cannon mentioned Black/Latino unemployment or poverty once during their conversation. House said that “most people” want more police as a solution to gun violence in the city, a position that Cannon of course supports. Hartford’s poverty rate is annually among the highest in the nation (between 30%-40%). The unemployment rate among Black males age 18-25 in some parts of the city is as high as 50%. Black/Latino unemployment rates are at Depression era levels. Poverty and lack of economic opportunity are root causes of urban gun violence, not genetics as House and Cannon would lead you to believe. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have any interest in addressing poverty in Hartford.

A Public Bank for Connecticut

Don’t be fooled: Connecticut’s budget is and will continue to be a mess because of corporatist fiscal policies. Economist Farid Khavari talks about how a publicly owned SuperBank would benefit state finances. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN-iQd-F-zc Check out the Community Party’s A Public Bank for Connecticut Facebook page. State Representative Matt Ritter collaborated with CP on a public infrastructure bank bill that he introduced in 2013. https://www.facebook.com/PublicBankCT/timeline

Community Party Media

Community Party Radio on So-Metro Radio

Commentary on urban issues from a grassroots perspective. Next show: Election Day special Tuesday, November 3 at 9:00 PM Eastern Time 8:00 PM Central 6:00 PM Pacific. Mary Sanders, Arshad Saalik and I will analyze the Hartford mayoral election, city and state politics and the 2016 presidential race. Tune in! Replays the following Wednesday, same time. http://talk.sometroradio.com/ http://sometroradio.com/

False Choice: The Bipartisan Attack on the Working Class, the Poor and Communities of Color

Trebol Press has published my first nonfiction book on politics. The Democrats and Republicans spar publicly, but the reality is that these two parties have more in common than they have differences. This duopoly is run on corporatist economic policies that benefit the ruling class, at the expense of the workers and the poor. Global hegemony is at the core of the foreign policies of the Dems and the GOP. False Choice is a diary of national and global issues, set against the backdrop of the Connecticut gubernatorial election between Gov. Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley that was rated as the most negative in the country in 2014. The book also features commentary on politics at Hartford City Hall, including analysis of the highly controversial baseball stadium deal orchestrated by Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Council President Shawn Wooden. Visit the Trebol Press website for ordering info. http://trebolpress.com Check out the False Choice Author Page on Facebook for commentary on the Democratic/Republican duopoly and coverage of third party politics. https://www.facebook.com/False-Choice-Author-Page-103530079741195/timeline/

False Choice Event

Debbie Duncan Cook and Mary will host an event to promote my book at Trinity College, 300 Summit Street in Hartford on Monday, November 2 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. I will be available to listen and respond to your opinions on state, national and world politics, and how we can change the current system to benefit the working class, the poor and communities of color. FREE FOOD AND BEVERAGES! This event will be in Rittenberg Lounge in Mather Hall. See the campus map here.


No Sellout

Visit our blog for news and commentary you won’t get from the corporate media. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/

Sandra Bland Police Reform & Economic Justice Plan

This week we’ll share the final excerpt from our Sandra Bland policy paper. You can read the entire plan at No Sellout.

Poverty and the Need for TANF Reform in Connecticut (continued from last week)

by Mary Sanders

CT was already cited by the feds for their inability to get SNAP applications processed quickly enough and for disqualifying too many who actually qualified. People should not be going hungry, especially the kids. Their parents should have decent employment but if they do need assistance, their food stamps also shouldn’t run out mid-month. In another case, the young mother with a 4-year-old shouldn’t have been cut off of her cash benefits after 21 months when she hadn’t finished preparing for her HS exam. Now she sleeps on the couch at her mom’s house with her son on a cot near her. Someone should give her a housing voucher, daycare, a good educational/vocational program and help her, not punish her for missing an appointment and denying her extension. I opted our agency out of participating in the Jobs First model; I didn’t want to be part of that because I knew that most people needed more time. We run a food pantry and have a social worker but we also have English and GED classes and help people go to college. I don’t want to send people out to look for work if they have education and training needs. Some of the regulations have eased up a little, allowing people minimal training & education opportunities, but the majority of recipients of public assistance are still denied real vocational training or college, which would truly help towards self-sufficiency.

Tell our public officials that money needs to be allocated for the hiring of additional caseworkers to handle the backlog; we need timely processing of applications for assistance. We also need to be able to speak with caseworkers directly and not be relegated to a phone system that routes calls to full voice mailboxes. Tell them that more time needs to be allowed on public assistance while folks are going through adult education and vocational training or higher education so they can reach self- sufficiency (New York City recently implemented reforms, see our Resources section below). SNAP benefits also need to be increased, as food prices continue to climb and more housing vouchers need to be issued for all municipalities, not just urban areas. Those becoming homeless or jobless are flocking to the cities in search of services that are already stretched thin. Additionally, a committee of diverse stakeholders should meet regularly to assess the progress the department is making towards the goal of true client self-sufficiency. The department should not take credit for reducing welfare rolls when half of those exited simply were deemed non-compliant and were therefore removed. There are hungry children out there whom the department has forgotten about.

At the federal level, we already know that poor people are not a priority, and military and corrections systems are more fully funded than education, health and social services. Government officials believe it is more important to avoid taxing the rich and corporations, than to make sure kids have their needs met. It is time we rethink our priorities and come up with ways to protect our most vulnerable. There have been a few active grassroots community groups and non-profits trying to improve the lives of families living in poverty, a couple of them in Hartford have been around for years, organizing and meeting with legislators. The Community Party is also part of the discussion and we have some ideas on how to come up with the money needed. Plans to address hunger, affordable housing, healthcare, and education for low-income CT residents are the topics I want to see on the candidates’ platforms. Why aren’t they discussing these critical issues? Why are they afraid of the “P” word?

We will continue to enhance this plan in the coming months. Follow the Community Party on Twitter for updates. We will present this policy paper to legislators. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1

David Samuels

Contributors: Laurie Valdez, Janet Frazao-Conaci, Misha Charlton, Wendy Bueno, Arshad Saalik

This week we’ll share Part 1 of a post from the Undercover Lawyer blog site. Coming in 2016: the Community Party’s Safe Work Environment Act, an anti-workplace bullying bill. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/real-protection-against-workplace-bullying-safe-work-environment-act/ Visit the Undercover Lawyer: http://undercoverlawyer.hubpages.com/

1. Don’t Blame Yourself

When we are bullied, we tend to think that it means we are not a good worker, or perhaps even not a good person. In other words, we start to believe the words that the bully is saying, or implying about us. We start to blame ourselves.

But please, REMEMBER THIS! You don’t deserve to get bullied! No one does, but the bully wants you to think they you do. Don’t give into the lies. No one is perfect, and if you are trying your best to do a good job, that is all anyone can ask of you.

If they are unhappy with some specific aspect of your performance, they are obligated to tell you in a professional, direct way, not to intimidate you into not believing in yourself.

According to this BullyOnline, a site from the U.K. devoted to helping with bullying, a target is often chosen because of their strength, not their weakness.

This goes against the stereotype of a culture of a victim being a weakling man on the beach having sand kicked in his face by a muscular winner, but I think there’s a bit of truth in both paradigms.

First of all, the abuser is bothered by a strength he sees in his target that he does not have. Perhaps it’s that she is more intellectual, or more organized. Then, the bully will be bothered by that strength, out of jealousy, and find a way to “get in” and bother that person, a weakness, if you will.

So, there is a good chance you are actually being picked on because you are a good person, an honest person, a hard worker. Maybe people feel comfortable with you. It DOESN”T MEAN YOU ARE A BAD PERSON!

So, remember don’t blame yourself. This is hard to do, but you have to try. This is a test of your emotional, mental and spiritual strength. It is not easy to be belittled, ostracized and called out for no reason. It’s not easy but I do believe that we come out stronger from the experience.

2. Don’t Obsess About It

If you are experiencing work problems, it is sometimes very difficult to let things go. It is easy to go over and over in your mind, wondering why it is happening, and considering what you could have done differently.

This is a mistake. Obsessing about it takes away all your power, and makes you start to feel weak. This behaviour can also mean that you start to feel confused, wondering how much is your fault and how much is their fault.

An unwavering fixation on the problem can lead you into addictions, as you try to escape from what is happening. Recent parliamentary changes in Canadian laws acknowledged a connection between suicide and workplace bullying.

This moving article tells of the author’s own experience with her father committing suicide from experiencing workplace abuse. There is no doubt that it is very hard to not fixate on it. In order to get out of the cycle, it is usually necessary to take some kind of action, either by getting intervention, receiving counselling, or doing something to confront your intimidator. Doing nothing leads to internalizing it more and more, sometimes being unable to control the feelings.

During your time off, try to stop thinking about it for a while, and focus on other things. You won’t solve it by thinking about it day and night. If you have faith, I would also recommend prayer.

3. Don’t assume things will get better.

It’s often hard to know if it’s really bullying or if it’s just normal work relations. But if you really are being bullied at work, there’s a very good chance it won’t get better. The dynamic has been set up, and there is a good chance it will continue until some action is taken to stop it.

Many bullies are serial offenders, which means that they will choose one or two people to target, and keep bullying that person until they are forced to stop, or find a better target. If it wasn’t you, they would have to find someone else, because it’s part of their make up.

It is their problem, which means it is natural for them. The only motivation for them to stop will be when someone proves that they refuse to be bullied, or another person forces them to stop. In fact, it will likely get worse as the harasser becomes more confident in her ability to get away with inappropriate behaviour.

4. Don’t Fail To Document

Documenting your experience is the NUMBER ONE thing to remember when dealing with a bully at work. If you don’t keep track of what is happening, then in the eyes of the law, and other people, it didnt’ happen.

The only hope you have of ever confronting the issue in any formal manner, is to show what happened. You can only do that through documenting every incident, even if it is small, so that you can show the pattern of what is happening.

This article tells you more about how to document incidents as they happen. You need to write it down if you are going to ever be able to get help, or even prove that it was happening. There is now even an app to help in the documenting process called BullyProofAssistant.

This is important for whatever you decide to do. If you try to fight it through Human Resources, they will need a written record of what was happening. If you go to a lawyer or your union, they also will need to see documentation.

Even if you decide not to pursue recourse, you will rest easier knowing that you could, if you wanted to. Documentation is even good for your mental well-being, as you can view evidence that you have not been making these things up.

How to document bullying: April 11, 2012: This morning I finishing up some paper work, when my boss came into the office and came directly to my cubicle and asked loudly, “what are you doing, Cynthia? You should be keeping busy even when I am not around.” She said this in a serious tone that did not indicate a joking manner. She then walked away.

At 2:00 p.m., during the staff meeting, I brought a suggestion about hiring a person for the summer and she ignored me, and immediately started talking to another staff member. When I tried to bring it up again, she did not respond to my request at all, and asked a question of someone else.

Part 2 next week.

Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and world news headlines. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1 Check out my Facebook page for daily news commentary. https://www.facebook.com/david.samuels.948 Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm and So-Metro Radio the first and third Tuesday of each month at 9:00 PM for commentary on urban issues http://www.sometroradio.com/ Check out our No Sellout blog (https://hendu39.wordpress.com/) for the complete archive of CP columns and Northend Agent’s archive for selected columns (http://www.northendagents.com/). Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com

David Samuels
Community Party


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