Saturday, September 8, 2007

Democracy... the power of ideas

I received this interesting e-mail and thought I would use it for my first ever blog posting because I find this entire discussion so interesting and stimulating.


-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki []

Sent: Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:36 AM

To: ''

Cc: Sam Webb; Doris Marquit; Erwin Marquit; Dean Gunderson; Scott Marshall; Mark Froemke; Sue Webb; Elena Mora; Judith LeBlanc


Save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... voters should force the politicians to respond to this issue ... two points of view & "The Minnesota Problem"

Dan Margolis, Business Manager, People’s Weekly World;

Good-morning, Dan.

I think I forgot to send this to you.

You have my permission to post this--- edited as you see fit--- on your “Official Communist Party” MySpace site.

I kind of think this is what you have in mind as far as issues and ideas for your new “Official” site, right?

Don’t you think this gets us out from under all the other acrimonious things you so detest as we communicate and share our slight differences of opinion?

After all, what this does is present the views of Party leaders, Party members, friends of the Party, and mainstream politicians while welcoming the broad masses of working people and all other people to a friendly discussion. And, it’s a thoroughly working class issue which provides a discussion of the “ownership” question which Marx and Engels pointed out should always be included whenever possible when Communists address issues. And, you even have the issue of the war in Iraq. What more could you ask for in one easy to read and understand posting?

And look, I didn’t even quote Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, or Gus Hall… much less include their pictures or clenched fists or anything so offensive. Sue Webb might even enjoy the discussion this topic offers.

You could even request Sam Webb, Dean Gunderson, Scott Marshall, Mark Froemke, or even Erwin Marquit to respond and comment.

Look, it even includes the terrible way I attack some politicians just like Sam Webb accuses me of… and, it even demonstrates the terrible methods I use to attack the Party leadership.

This is your opportunity to expose “The Minnesota Problem” and the “Gus Hall Eight” all at the same time.

Anyways, anyhow… what do you think? Maybe after this gets posted and everyone sees the potential of this issue You and I and Sue and Sam and Ms. Mora can get together for dinner to talk things over at the Marquit mansion… if Erwin locks us out, what the heck… we can have a little picnic at the Ford Little League Fields… talk about your Field of Dreams?

Look, Dan, I will be perfectly blunt: I have never experienced such animosity over “thoughts” on any issue--- inside, or outside--- of the Communist Party and you know I have dealt with some pretty bigoted and fascist minded characters over the years… people just don’t understand why Sam Webb and the top leadership of our Party have dug in with such a vengeance on this issue... becoming so enraged they turn to banning Gus Hall’s books and writings, tossing them into dumpsters, and setting them out on the curb in cardboard boxes… all more reminiscent of the approach Pat Robertson would take on an issue. All people want is to gain some kind of insight and understanding to why--- and what--- has sent Sam Webb into this reclusive rampage. I know he is upset because I used the term “liquidation” regarding the disposal of Gus Hall’s writings… but, gees, isn’t this carrying things just a little too far?

Now, I know I am not exactly what you would call a “great Marxist thinker” along the lines of E.P. Thompson as cited by Chairman Sam Webb; and, I don’t have the voluminous research to my credit on the “property” question like Moshe Lewin who Professor Marquit discovered thanks to the Council on Foreign Relations… however, there are some people who think I have a point here regarding this Ford Plant issue which should be addressed.

Sam, Sam… come out of hiding from wherever you are; let us hear what the Chairman has to say.

Oh, by the way… if you know where there are any more copies of Gus Hall’s book, “Working Class USA… the Power and the Movement” around, I know some Ford workers who would like a copy.

Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood… the politics and economics of class struggle… what do you say?

You know, Dan, I think I will have one of those big posters made and place this entire correspondence up at FinnFest 2008 in Duluth, Minnesota next summer so people coming from all over the world can read and see for themselves what is taking place. You know, we are having a booth at FinnFest2008: Remembering Gus Hall and the Red Finns. I think Gus Hall and the Red Finns would have appreciated this kind of spirited, lively, discussion, dialogue, and debate so characteristic of what one used to hear at Mesaba Co-Op Park “Mid-Summer Festivals.”

Alan L. Maki

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki []

Sent: Friday, September 07, 2007 9:59 PM

To: ''

Subject: Save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... voters should force the politicians to respond to this issue ... two points of view & "The Minnesota Problem."

Dean Gunderson, the Chair of the St. Paul Club of the Communist Party & a leading member of the CPUSA District Committee of the Southern/Central Minnesota District has this to say:
The closure of the Ford plant in St Paul is a done deal. There was an agreement reached regarding the affected employees signed by the UAW and Ford Motor.

The campaigns we are involved with in St Paul do not
center around the closure issue. Both Mark Froemke and
Scott Marshall have advised our district that there is
nothing we can do regarding the closure.

Dean Gunderson, Chair, St. Paul Club CPUSA and member Southern/Central Minnesota District Committee

This is how one St. Paul City Council Candidate--- Pakou Hang--- the DFL endorsed candidate, responded to my questions on the Ford Plant:

First and foremost, I want to express my dismay on the
closing of the Ford Plant and on the loss of so many good jobs. For years labor leaders have argued that globalization has negative consequences at the local level and have not been listened to. Unfortunately, in Saint Paul, we are learning this lesson all too well.

To that end, I am interested in seeing the Ford Plant be developed for environmentally friendly purposes, but at the same time, retain its manufacturing jobs. Given its sheer size and proximity to the Mississippi River, I think expanding the plant’s hydro-electric dam and coupling it with co-generation technology could produce much needed “green” electricity for the city. Furthermore, I am interested in seeing how the plant could be modified to allow for the production of hybrid cars, wind turbines or other products that help the environment. I will support efforts to maintain manufacturing jobs on site.

I am intrigued by the idea of public ownership of the facility and would love to hear from union, community and business members to learn more about such a model.

As a member of the “Gus Hall Eight,” so named and publicly attacked by National CPUSA Chair Sam Webb for taking the “progressive” President--- Kathy Lantry--- of the St. Paul City Council to task on this issue along with that other stalwart “progressive” Council Member Pat Harris who wants to level the plant and replace it with racially segregated, up-scale housing so as to satisfy the insatiable greedy appetites of the real estate speculators and the construction industry represented by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce which has endorsed Mr. Harris, Webb’s favorite “progressive” politician in Minnesota… this is my point of view as placed on my blog today:

[ Note: I invite Sam Webb, Dean Gunderson, Scott Marshall, and Mark Froemke to respond. ]

Friday, September 7, 2007

Save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant... voters should force the politicians to respond to this issue

Doesn't it seem a little strange, that during an election, St. Paul candidates for city council are evading the issue of what can be done to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant?

Two-thousand jobs are at stake and Pat Harris' major concern is the contamination of the Little League Fields. How is it this soil was not tested long ago knowing Ford's record for contaminating its sites? Young people were allowed to play ball on this site... a site which we now know presents a danger. Here we have another issue of politicians not caring about human health and safety... just like with the I-35W Bridge.

Now, are we to trust Council member Pat Harris and the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce in telling us that a manufacturing use for this Plant can not be found?

Well, why not consider the option of public ownership?

Rangers can continue to be produced in this Plant indefinitely.

Common sense tells us there continues to be a strong market for the Ranger class of pick-up trucks in the construction industry, the Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, as vehicles used in recreation to pull boats and campers and for hunting and fishing.Slash the price of the vehicle, cut out advertising, and sell the vehicles to government agencies across the country and around the world at the real cost of production.

There is no reason why at least 7,000 workers can not be employed at a plant operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.Cut the work week to 36 hours with forty hours pay.

We talk about democracy in this country yet no one has asked Ford workers or the people in the community if they want to keep this plant operating. Certainly after all these years the existing work-force doesn't need Ford management to tell them how to build a world-class pick-up truck. Workers can run this plant if it is placed under State/Community ownership.

We always hear politicians talk about, "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."

Well, here is the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs managing this plant to produce vehicles society needs while putting people to work; and, what do politicians want to do? Demolish a perfectly good plant sending the jobs down the river just like what Ford has been doing for years with its contaminated waste.

The hydro dam and the plant should be protected through legislation as a single entity by bringing both under public ownership... after all, tax-payers have subsidized Ford's operation in St. Paul for about 80 years. Isn't it time tax-payers own the plant and the dam already?

For those who dislike the concept of public ownership because it sounds too much like socialism (as if capitalism has been able to solve this problem) I would suggest that should public ownership not work out, the plant could always be sold back to private industry or demolished later... but, saving this plant right now and at least 2,000 union jobs should be our primary concern.The candidates for St. Paul City Council should be addressing this issue. Why aren't they?

Some people say it will take too much money to bankroll such an operation... well, let's put an end to this dirty war in Iraq and we can create a world class manufacturing facility... the school and research center already exist as an integral part of this plant's operation.

Actually, I am wondering why the Chair of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, Brian Melendez, has not led a delegation of St. Paul and Minneapolis City officials and DFL state legislators on a tour of this plant to talk directly to the workers who will be losing their jobs to see what they think about the idea of public ownership of this plant.

Quite frankly, I think we all know the answer.

Two-thousand workers would rather be working and don't care who owns the plant.

These politicians could ask the workers if they want to run the plant and if they are capable of doing so. From the plant this delegation could tour the community and surrounding neighborhoods to find out what people think about this idea. Isn't this what democracy is supposed to be about?

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk

Ok friends, there we have it in a nutshell: The Minnesota Problem.

Do you have any thoughts on this issue?

If so, let me know: