Sisters and Brothers;
Unless we act together the Ford Plant will close soon and two thousand jobs will go down the drain and into the river with it.
It will take the initiative of community activists and rank and file activists from your plant working together to save the Ford Plant and two-thousand jobs. It will require activity on a variety of levels from a variety of partners working in coalition.
I would encourage you to ask the UAW leadership of your local (UAW Local 879) to push the MN DFL to reconsider the legislation Democratic Senator Metzen dropped the ball on after Representative Tom Rukavina successfully pushed it through his Committee in the House. It is important that this Plant and Dam remain intact as one unit.
As you know, the great “free market forces” of capitalism have not been able to keep this perfectly good plant in operation.
This leaves us but one option; the option of Public Ownership. Public Ownership has been used all over the world to save many plants and even entire industries. The New Flyer Bus Plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba is one such example.
To be quite frank, our primary concern has to be with saving these two-thousand jobs. The jobs of those presently employed and for generations to come.
No one is considering the tremendous struggle and sacrifice of Ford workers and your union in securing a good place to work as part of the investment. No one is talking about the huge investment taxpayers have made in this Plant and Hydro Dam… not to mention training employees. No one mentions that workers create all wealth and as such are entitled to participate as equals in the decision-making process. The Ford Motor Company never sat down and talked about the future of this plant with workers or tax-payers.
I ask you to take these resolutions to your party precinct caucus meetings in February. Ford workers are scattered all over, even in Wisconsin… we need to reach out for support in order to save this plant. Just clip one of these resolutions to the resolution form.
Resolution #1 (Short Version) 0n the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/Hydro Dam and 2,000 Union Jobs
Whereas Ford Motor Company has stated its intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, sell the hydro dam to a foreign corporation, and displace two-thousand workers in the near future without consultation from the workers, the community, or local and state governments;
Whereas this plant, its operations, and the hydro dam have received continued support from every level of government including tax-payer funding, tax-breaks and tax abatements under promises to maintain manufacturing operations and with assurances workers would have job security in St. Paul, Minnesota;
Therefore be it resolved public ownership should be used to save this plant, hydro dam, and two-thousand jobs.
Resolution #2 (Full version) 0n the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant/Hydro Dam and 2,000 Union Jobs
Whereas Ford Motor Company has stated its intent to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, sell the hydro dam to a foreign corporation, and displace two-thousand workers in the near future without consultation with the workers, the community, or local and state governments;
Whereas this plant, its operations, and the hydro dam have received continued support from every level of government including tax-payer funding, tax-breaks and tax abatements under promises to maintain manufacturing operations and with assurances workers would have job security in St. Paul, Minnesota;
Whereas this Plant forms an important an integral component of Minnesota’s industrial base;
Whereas the closing of this Plant will cause very significant economic harm to the local community and the state including placing a strain on already overburdened social services which have already been drastically cut back;
Whereas all conciliatory efforts, as demanded, in favor of the management of Ford Motor Company have been granted by all levels of government under the promise Ford would maintain operations in St. Paul;
Whereas a similar threatened plant closing of the New Flyer Plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada during the 1970’sresulted in all levels of government intervening on behalf of the members of the United Automobile Workers union resulting in the public takeover of the operation with continuing successful operation at present;
Whereas “the free market” has not resulted in a solution to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam which powers the plant along with two-thousand union jobs; (over please)
Be it resolved that the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party instruct its State Legislative Caucus to bring forward the previous resolution in the form of legislation supported by the United Auto Workers Union and its members of Local 789 to save the plant and dam intact until a solution is found to continue operations and production;
Be it further resolved that the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party instructs all of its federal, state, and local Twin Cities elected officials to convene a special conference to explore public ownership as the remedy to saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam, and two thousand union jobs;
Be it further resolved that the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party support public ownership and democratic control of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant with production taking place in the best interests of the workers and the people of the State of Minnesota;
Be it further resolved that public ownership is the only viable means of saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant as all other means have been tried and exhausted;
Be it further resolved that funding is not an issue since any country which can squander billions of dollars on the occupation of Iraq can find the resources for saving this Plant, dam, and jobs;
Be it further resolved that the very significant burden of health care costs for employees be resolved through the State of Minnesota enacting legislation implementing single-payer, universal health care.
Alan L. Maki
Member, Minnesota DFL State Central Committee
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
If you have friends working in casinos please have them get in touch with me.
Twenty-thousand Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under tribal, state or federal labor laws.
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
Check out my blog; it’s where rank and file activists go for information:
Thoughts From Podunk:
Suggestions for how to use these resolutions:
• Take it to your precinct caucus meeting
• Get your union or community organization to support this resolution
• Write a letter to your state legislators supporting this resolution
• Copy and distribute this resolution widely
• Use this resolution as a petition, ask your friends to sign it
• Write a letter to the editor
• Blog this issue
• Post the resolution on web sites
• Discuss this resolution on Internet “list serves”
This leaflet made as a contribution in kind by the:
Iron Range Rank and File Labor Network… concerned and involved members of USW Locals 1938, 2705, 6860, 2660
All labor and materials for this leaflet have been contributed in solidarity with workers of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant… On the Iron Range we understand the future of our jobs hinge on the future of your jobs. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Alan Maki for taking up this struggle in his capacity as a member of the MN DFL State Central Committee. Without these kinds of community grassroots and rank and file outreach efforts we are all doomed as recent contract “negotiations” in our industries have demonstrated.
Please consider making a contribution to help us put this issue on the front burner where it belongs.
Out of sight… is out of mind.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sisters and Brothers;
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I got another e-mail from Alan Maki today.
I won't print that e-mail here but you can read it for yourself on his blog. I think Alan's blog points out one of the most important problems in progressive circles today--- the failure to confront racist, anti-woman, anti-youth, anti-labor bias and bigotry:
I would encourage everyone to read Alan's blog. Alan raises an important issue. I think we need to probe more deeply into this issue.
Alan touches on an important issue I think needs to be expanded on: Revisionism in our Party, the Communist Party USA, and how this revisionism undermines the struggles against racism and sexism and the struggle for labor rights and for the rights of young workers.
I don't think it is coincidental Alan has pointed out that Sam Webb stands in silence on this issue involving casino workers along with those he views as his "coalition partners." These "coalition partners" Webb has referred to are the upper echelons of organized labor and the business interests dominant in the Democratic Party.
I had been a big supporter of Dennis Kucinich until I heard Alan speak to this issue a few weeks ago at our union meeting. Alan was asked by the president of our local why he made disparaging remarks about Kucinich and refused to join the ranks of progressives in supporting Kucinich. His answer was pretty much what he has written in his blog interspersed with a personal experience concerning the struggle to achieve integration in the public schools another issue Webb remained silent on until the United States Supreme Court came down with its recent adverse ruling. Webb never brought our Party into struggle to try and stop the United States Supreme Court from making this terrible ruling that undermines years of struggles for civil rights including our Party's very distinguished and honorable role in this struggle against racism for human rights.
You see there is a pattern that has developed here.
The "pattern" is one created by revisionism.
The pattern involves refusing to engage in struggles at a time when this engagement can determine the outcome over an issue. Webb comments solely on regressive and reactionary things once these decisions have been made. Making him sound like the most revolutionary of voices in denouncing these things. The problem is the denouncements take place after-the-fact not in time to organize united struggles.
The recent auto negotiations provide a classic example of this. We didn't hear from Webb about the auto negotiations until his "Report" to the National Committee of our Party was posted on the CPUSA web site after it had all become "a done deal." Alan has impressed this "done deal" malarchy aspect of revisionism on us I think. Sam Webb and Scott Marshall proclaimed auto an important component of what our Party sees as key to industrial concentration. Both Sam Webb and Scott Marshal went on vacations when they should have been working to bring the issues forward in the months leading into the negotiating process. These were the key months when our Party's initiative and activity was needed and this involvement and activity never materialized.
Back to the casino issues.
Among the primary weaknesses of organized labor preventing organizing the unorganized has been the complete and universal failure of the labor movement to address: anti-communism, racism, sexism, and the rights of young workers and their specific problems.
The rights of young workers and their specific problems.
This is a biggie here folks so pay attention to this. One of the first jobs working people will have today as they enter the labor market is working in casinos. Does it bode well for organized labor or those engaged in "progressive" politics to remain silent as these young workers are forced to, as Alan Maki has been almost alone in publicly pointing out, that they go to work in these smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws.
Not only has Alan Maki been the foremost advocate of the rights of casino workers he just about "owns" this issue with a copyright stamped on it.
As everyone knows Alan Maki has been under constant attack from Sam Webb who fronts for the Democratic Party like the Indian Tribes front for organized crime with these casinos. Not coincidentally the issues are so related they can't be separated. Webb refuses to address these issues of casino workers as the problems they are in the labor movement and the Democratic Party. Not once has he addressed these issues because he does not want to offend his "coalition partners."
You can read Sam Webb's vicious attacks without any substance to back up the malicious accusations against Alan Maki. I find Alan Maki to be one of the most principled and articulate voices in the working class movement and on the left today:
How does this attack by Sam Webb on Alan Maki stand up in reality when Alan Maki's very public, transparent and open activity on an entire range of issues including defending the rights of casino workers is examined? Webb, forgive my French here, but Webb comes out looking and smelling like a complete asshole. No wonder Alan has made fun of Webb and encouraged Webb to circulate his attack widely.
Sam Webb has never addressed the problems of casino workers. Alan Maki is actively engaged working on this issue in a way most of us have never seen a union organizing drive conducted. A rank and file organizing effort without precedent since the 1930's before most of us were born.
We have one of these casinos right here in Duluth. Several of my friends work in this casino. What they tell me about the way they get treated is terrible. They also tell me Alan Maki is viewed by casino workers as a folk hero of sorts. How do casino workers view Sam Webb? Chances are they have never met him and don't even know his name.
Sam Webb's manner in using the Young Communist League blog for his viciously racist and anti-labor attack on Alan Maki really underlines how corrupting an influence revisionism has become in our Party that the head of the Communist Party USA would be involved in attacking a leader of the labor movement in the midst of an important union organizing campaign.
The attack on Alan Maki posted on the YCL blog really demonstrates how revisionism blinds us to the real issues. Alan Maki doesn't care about what Sam Webb or these revisionists say about him anymore than what he cares about what leaders of the Minnesota and Michigan Democratic Parties have to say about him. Why should he? If these kinds of insults could be intimidating factors it wouldn't make him much of an advocate for the rights of casino workers.
If Alan doesn't care, there is ample reason why the rest of us sould care about Sam Webb's vicious attacks on Alan Maki because others are now Webb's target, too- for many of the same reasons- including myself. Most of the members of the Communist Party USA in Minnesota and Michigan have sided with Alan Maki in this struggle against revisionism. One writer suggests that revisionism already has our Party on the road to liquidation. A charge I agree with completely observing the destruction of the Communist Party here in Minnesota. Because of Webb's longstanding feud with Alan Maki it is difficult trying to convince many working people to work with us now. I would point out that Alan Maki has been the voice of the Communist Party on just about every issue of importance to working people. He took up the struggle against home foreclosures long before any politician would acknowledge the issue. He was out fighting to prevent this dirty war from starting as he traveled to every corner of this state and was attacked by every right-wing, warmongering creep around. Alan Maki stood up and organized the opposition to peat mining in the Big Bog and he stood up to United States Steel's intent to continue polluting the waters of northern Minnesota.
I ask a very simple question: Where has Sam Webb and his revisionist friends been through all of this? Nary any sight of them. They wouldn't even step forward as those working in the iron ore mines and taconite industry were faced with the threat from Cleveland Cliffs to bring in scabs! Alan went onto Cleveland Cliff's property risking arrest to photograph the mobile homes Cleveland Cliffs brought in to house the scabs exposing this to the world. Now they decry, "The Minnesota Problem." "he Minnesota Problem.""The Minnesota Problem" is a problem of revisionism and betrayal of the working class by Sam Webb who pretended to be working in league with Gus Hall then like a Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell he trashed Hall's books after he died... what Webb didn't sell off through liquidations for pennies he tossed into the dumpster. Again, who brought this issue forward for all of us to hear about? Alan Maki. Not a peep of protest from these perverted leaders of the Young Communist League. As far as I can see they are as perverted in their personal lifestyles which dictate their political morals as they are in their thinking.
The main victims of racist discrimination in the casino industry are young workers of color. Many are young women workers. Like my friends who work in the Fond-Du-Luth Casino here in Duluth, Minnesota many are young Native American single mothers having a very difficult time making ends meet even as they work fourteen and sixteen hour days. I used to have to put in these kinds of hours myself as a single-mom trying to care for my five children as they were growing... let me assure Webb this kind of life is no picnic and the heck if I am going to stand for Webb using these kinds of conditions as something less than a footnote in his report to the National Committee. Webb told some big-business publication he has problems purchasing pajamas for his daughter. We are talking about working people not being able to afford to feed their kids who don't even know what it is like to wear a pajamas which weren't purchased from a rummage sale. Let Webb and his daughters go to work in one of these casinos. Better yet, let Webb's daughters ship off to Iraq since he thinks its alright for congress to keep funding this war as the Democrats use this war to play their little games. I have never heard of a Communist Party leader siding with the voices of business and imperialism the way Webb does.
Keep in mind Sam Webb attacks Alan Maki using the Young Communist League's blog not the CPUSA web site. I think we need to ask why?
This blog of the Young Communist League has never addressed the issues of casino workers! Many of whom are young workers! Many of these casino workers are young women workers. Many have small babies. Most of these young workers are working for the first time in their lives. This is their first experience working in the real world. This is their first experience with human exploitation. What an experience it is!
- Working in smoke-filled casinos
- Working without any rights
- Not a mention of this by Communist Party USA Chair Sam Webb or the leaders of the YCL.
In his revisionist outlook of the world Webb talks about "the old stage" and "the new stage" of the class struggle when working people are fighting to keep their heads above water and a roof over their heads under the same old rotten capitalist system that is just as rotten at any stage.
Alan Maki was fighting for peace and social justice and was helping to found the Young Workers Liberation League paving the way for the creation of the Young Communist League when Sam Webb was out partying at St. Francis Xavier University as people were having cluster bombs dropped on them and being napalmed in Vietnam.
In fact, by his own admission, Sam Webb was hiding out from the draft behind getting a university education in Canada. You call this a "Communist leader?"
Alan Maki stood up to the war machine of Richard Nixon when he was drafted to fight what Gus Hall called, "this dirty imperialist war."
If Webb's attack on Alan Maki isn't the pinnacle of typical perverted, cowardly revisionism, I don't know what is.
Webb represents the embodiment of a hypocritical racist and bigot parading around under the guise of being progressive. Webb certainly is no Communist.
Alan Maki is too nice of a guy to say these things as they need to be said.
Sam Webb is referring to me as "that bitch from Duluth."
I am just a "bitch" with two sons the military recruiters are constantly pestering to join their mercenary army. A mother with three children who can't find jobs and two children still in school. I am going to say what is on my mind I don't give a darn who cares. I certainly don't care what a revisionist puke like Sam Webb has to say about me.
In Peace, Love and Solidarity-
Rita (the bitch from Duluth)
Saturday, November 17, 2007
We should all sign the petition at the bottom and condemn this act of police brutality. A doctor tries to help a victim of police brutality and she becomes another victim of their brutality.
Scenes from a Cop Riot
Don't Come to Ann Arbor
By Catherine Wilkerson, M.D.
If the specter of another US foray into regime change disturbs you, google the word "Tanter." If the prospect of another country's being bombarded with US weapons outrages you, and if inserting the adjective "nuclear" into the narrative sends a chill up your spine, go to the "Guardian" website and search "Tanter." Or if you hanker to find out what a Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator can do to humankind, click onto the Union of Concerned Scientists.
But if you want to take a stand against another US/Israeli war crime, don't come to Ann Arbor. Not unless you're prepared for the worst. Unless you're prepared to be brutalized by the cops, thrown in jail, and subjected to improper and punitive medical treatment, you'd better keep your mouth shut. Or so the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor Police, and the Zionist forces in the community would have it.
When I became a doctor I knew I would encounter a lot of human suffering, but I never envisioned a time when my efforts to alleviate it would get me brutalized by the police, then charged with a crime. I never envisioned a time when I would witness another health "professional" brazenly violate the most fundamental principle of medical ethics: first do no harm. But thirty years after graduation, at a political event on the campus of the University of Michigan, those things happened.
The event was a presentation by Raymond Tanter, founder of the Iran Policy Committee and former member of the National Security Council under Ronald Reagan. Michigan's chapter of the Zionist organization, the American Movement for Israel (AMI), brought him to town on November 30, 2006 to whip up support for regime change in Iran. The "Islamo-fascist regime" must be overthrown, according to Tanter, before they acquire a nuclear weapon, and one option for stopping them would be nuking them first. Some of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrators the US has supplied to Israel would be OK, with Israel doing the deed.
A small group of folks showed up to protest. The room was packed, U of M cops were on hand, and the atmosphere was tense. Tanter fired up the crowd, especially when he declared that Israel will exist forever, triggering the longest and most boisterous of several rounds of cheering and applause from his supporters. But interruptions of dissent were not to be allowed, and the cops were there to make sure of it. One of the protesters, an Iranian woman, became the first target of the political repression in store for the night. At the behest of one of the AIM organizers, a U of M cop proceeded to remove her.
The cop, maybe 6'6 or bigger, grabbed her arm, dragging her to the floor, where he applied pressure point control tactics (PPCT) as she screamed. PPCT is what's called a pain compliance technique, using the infliction of pain to force someone to do what you order. It's used against someone who poses a serious threat of physical harm; someone, say, who's in the cop's grip, clutching a knife and on the verge of stabbing a person. In this case, the cop inflicted pain to force compliance with his order to stand up, while he pinned her to the floor with his knee. She kept screaming.
"Don't hurt her," called out the woman who'd been sitting in the next seat over, also an Iranian woman, a U of M Professor of Iranian History, in fact, and another dissenting voice at the event. One of the other protesters came to the first victim's aid and was hauled away, cuffed and arrested. A second protester came to the victim's aid and followed as she was hauled away. The AMI organizers were calling the shots.
I heard a commotion in the hall and stepped out of the room. In the hall I saw the same huge cop on top of the second protester who'd come to the first victim's aid. The cop had the man, a relatively small guy in his forties, pinned down, arms pulled behind his back, getting handcuffed. The cop used PPCT against this person also, not once but twice. The man writhed and cried out in pain.
The cop used his far-greater strength and body weight, along with the force of his knee on his victim's back to press his chest against the floor. It would be impossible for a person to inflate his lungs pressed against the floor with his hands cuffed behind his back like that. Asphyxiation being a well-known cause of death of people in custody, when the man started calling out that he couldn't breathe, I approached, identified myself as a doctor, and instructed the cop to turn him over immediately. The victim went limp. The cop turned him onto his back. I saw that the victim had a wound on his forehead and blood in his nostrils. He was unconscious.
Reiterating numerous times that I was a doctor, I tried to move to where I could assess the victim for breathing and a pulse. The cop shoved me, until finally, after my imploring him to allow me to render medical care to the victim, he allowed me to determine that the victim was alive. But he refused to remove the cuffs despite my requests. A person lying with hands cuffed beneath his body risks nerve damage to the extremities and, moreover, cannot be resuscitated. I continually re-assessed the man, who had now become my patient, and who remained unconscious.
Eventually an ambulance arrived, along with the fire department and a contingent of Ann Arbor police officers. While the paramedics went about their business, the first thing being to have the cop un-cuff the patient, I tried to fulfill my obligation to my patient. I tried to oversee what the paramedics were doing, which, contrary to protocol and the normal relationship between physician and paramedic, was all that I was allowed to do. I was forced to stay away. What I witnessed in the course of their treatment appalled me.
When the patient didn't respond to a sternal rub, one of the paramedics popped an ammonia inhalant and thrust it beneath the patient's nostrils. If you're interested in what's wrong with that, google Dr. Bryan Bledsoe, foremost authority on paramedicine, and read his article condemning this dangerous practice. That it's "just bad medicine" is sufficient to make the paramedic's actions unacceptable, but what happened next made my blood curdle. He popped a second inhalant and a third, then cupped his hands over the patient's nostrils to heighten the noxious effect. "You don't like that, do you?" he said.
At that point I issued a direct medical order for him to stop, but he ignored me. "What you're doing is punitive," I said, "and has no efficacy." Then as the patient retched, rather than rolling him onto his side to avoid the chance of his choking on his own vomit, a firefighter held his feet down and yelled, "don't spit." In thirty years of doctoring, I have never witnessed such egregious maltreatment of a patient. Again I spoke up, "this is punitive." I hoped to shame the paramedical into stopping his unethical behavior.
Suddenly an Ann Arbor cop ordered me to move away. As I headed for my purse and coat, the cop attacked me from behind, twisted my arms with extreme force behind my back, and shoved me against the wall. I begged him to release my left arm, explaining that I had a serious condition affecting my shoulder, and pleading with him because of the excruciating pain he was inflicting on me. I told him that I would do whatever he demanded. I told him that I had been in the process of complying with his order to move out of the way and that I was heading toward where my purse and coat were. He told me to relax and wrenched my arms harder. I was in agony. I told him that I would sit down, anything, that he was really hurting me and begged him to release my arm. Eventually he let my arms down.
But his brutality did not stop there. He then forced me to stand in the stairwell in a corner for a protracted period of time. I asked him if I could please go home, as I was in pain, and I was deeply traumatized. In yet another raw display of abuse of power, he forced me to stand there, causing me ongoing suffering and humiliation, before finally allowing me to leave.
The U of M proceeded with prosecution of the other three people, but I heard nothing further from them until I filed a complaint of police brutality. Now I'm facing criminal prosecution, too, along with the Professor of Iranian History, who, like me, was charged after she filed a complaint. We five are being prosecuted for "assaulting/resisting/obstructing" police officers, and in my case, for "assaulting/resisting/obstructing" paramedics as well.
So, if you want to take a stand against another war, don't come to Ann Arbor. Don't come unless you believe in the slogan the Wobblies chanted back at the time of the First World War, when the government was rounding up opponents of that atrocity and throwing them in jail. Don't come to Ann Arbor unless you too believe: AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL.
Catherine Wilkerson is a physician who practices primary care at a clinic in Ann Arbor that provides care to under served members of the community.
What you can do:
Sign this on-line petition
The police who did this should be arrested and prosecuted for assault.
The $1.6 trillion dollar question...
The $1.6 trillion dollar question...
The $1.6 trillion dollar question...
A new study by Democrats themselves puts the economic cost of the Iraq occupation at $1.6 TRILLION, or $21,000 per family. Every single penny has been wasted - not to mention the human cost to Americans and Iraqis and global hatred of the USA.
Why would Democrats want to give Bush one penny more?
I bet someone really creative could come up with a nice set of posters, leaflets, buttons, sample letters to the editor, resolutions, and petitions for an effective tabling effort around these three sentences.
I am thinking if we combined a strategy focused on these three sentences while suggesting that this money could be better used to:
* Establish a national bank to take over home mortgages to provide working people with low interest mortgages to save their homes from foreclosures; and, finance the building of low rent public housing;
* Bring the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and Hydro Dam under public ownership in order to save 2,000 jobs; and
* Provide the start-up costs to finance a single-payer, universal health care system…
We can turn this country around.
This is just the ticket towards building our movement the way it really needs to be built--- person by person, neighborhood by neighborhood, school by school and workplace by workplace.
A very good place to begin this tabling effort would be at your local supermarket or food co-op while building up to local precinct caucus meetings… this is how you can meet a lot of concerned and politically active people who might be willing to help build this effort with you.
I am forwarding this idea around to activists with Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice
Please join me in forwarding this e-mail to everyone on your e-lists.
This is the kind of activity that could take on the effect of a little snowball rolling down a steep, long hill on a warm spring day. If each and every person who participated in the demonstrations against the war on October 27 were to take up this kind of initiative we could put an end to this dirty war and change our country for the better.
Not one more penny, not one more vote for this dirty war.
Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
Check out my blog:
Thoughts From PodunkOK folks, lets put our heads together. I think we have a winner here. Something for everyone opposed to this war to get involved in at some level and in some way. This is the kind of grassroots activity it will take to end this war.
It seems to me we have skipped this important step in movement building of establishing a good solid foundation and building the peace movement one brick at a time.
Here in Duluth we had a huge demonstration in opposition to the war when it first started. What happened? We failed to go back out into our neighborhoods and continue building.
Public sentiment and opinion is about as overwhelming as public opinion can get on an issue but the masters of deceit and the bullies of war march on in complete defiance of the democratic will of the people.
We focus on building big demonstrations nationally, regionally, and some locally but we don't depart from these demonstrations with the concept in mind we need to go back out into our neighborhoods and work in a way where we bring some more people along to the next demonstration or activity. This needs to be corrected and this is a good way to make the correction.
I have another opinion. I think we waste a heck of a lot of time concerning ourselves with working for a bunch of useless politicians.
I think if we would concentrate on organizing to end this stupid and senseless war the politicians would have to start coming to us for a change.
Let them go out and peddle their own leaflets and make their own phone calls and spend their own money to get elected.
The entire darn bunch of them treat us like a bunch of fools and take us for granted.
I don't see too many politicians turning out for our demonstrations against this immoral war. The few that do we should help. The others let them fend for themselves just like they do to us under this god-awful, dog-eat-dog system.
You know I watched that worthless Pawlenty on television today talking about spending two-million dollars providing counseling for people losing their homes when the SOB should have been talking about passing legislation prohibiting foreclosures altogether and ordering these big mortgage companies to cut the interest rates down to something affordable like 3% and order the mortgage companies to apply 75% of the outrageous interest people have already paid to these predatory parasites towards the principal on the homes.
How people stand for this crap I don't know. The time to have offered counseling was before people bought the homes.
Here we are bombing people out of their homes in Iraq and the money lenders are kicking people out of their homes here.
Look at the picture.
There is something wrong.
Pawlenty supports this war. Pawlenty is now willing to allow tens of thousands of Minnesotans to be kicked out of homes that with the exorbitant interest people have paid on these homes, the homes have often been paid for two, three, and four times over the original price.
The Democrats sit in silence and do nothing as tens of thousands of Minnesotans lose their homes; just the way they did when Bush started this war.
The Democrats refuse to step forward to assert themselves in stopping this war and they refuse to assert themselves in stopping the bankers from taking away our homes.
I wouldn't lift my little pinky to support any of them.
If the Democrats can't solve these basic problems by Election Day not one of them is getting my vote. What kind of fool would waste their time voting for a bunch of politicians who sit and watch these rich scumbags send our jobs overseas and then sit scratching their butt as the parasitic bankers take our homes?
Instead of putting up a campaign sign for someone like a worthless opportunist like Hillary Clinton, put up a sign to end the war. Put up a fight to stop foreclosures.
Let these Democrats learn that people will vote for them only if they become solidly identified with our struggles for peace and social justice. When I see a politician standing in the doorway preventing the sheriff from evicting people from their homes that's the day I will begin to vote.
The entire mess this country is in is sickening. Working people are the ones suffering.
Stand up people and fight back!
In Peace, Love and Solidarity-
Thursday, November 15, 2007
People in the Duluth-Iron Range area are not happy at all with Joelle Fishman describing the campaigns of Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan as "negative" campaigns.
People even talk to me at work during lunch time and breaks about this posting I made.
Here is a sampling of opinions:
Bob Arroyo wrote from Duluth: So what if Cindy Sheehan gets elected. Won't the Democrats just have a real strong ally on their side if they are sincere in all the things they tell us they are for? People voted for Nancy Pelosi because they wanted an end to the bloody war. Now they can elect the real thing.
Tommy Bean from Two Harbors writes: My only regret is that McKinney and Sheehan are not running as a team to get into the White House.
Maribel Gary from Duluth says: What is with this Fishman woman? Doesn't she know this war is still going on? My kids are 2, 7, and 12. This war will still be going when my kids grow up if its up to the Democrats. I didn't raise my children so they have to go off to war and kill other people and maybe get killed theirself or lay in some dirty rat-infested hospital with their arm or leg blown off. McKinney and Sheehan are part of the peace movement that forced the Democrats to even talk about the war in the first place. I marched through downtown Duluth with other people trying to stop this war the Democrats gave Bush the permission to fight. If people remained silent we wouldn't even be hearing from the Democrats about the killing in Iraq. Thank God for McKinney and Sheehan they inspire hope and aren't afraid to act.
Justin Forrest wrote: I'm 17, still in high school. I live on the Iron Range and every single day military recruiters are in my school. I read about the high school kids in Illinois who protested the war and dozens got kicked out of school. We read about Vietnam in history class. I can see where this war is leading us. Pretty soon we will have people out in the streets every where. I say good. The more the better protesting. Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan represent these voices of protest. I am all for them. I will be able to vote on Election Day. I was going to do like my mom and dad do. They write in the name of the dead guy Gus Hall to protest not having anyone to vote for. I will cast my first vote for Cynthia McKinney.
Polly Hardin from Superior wrote: That Fishman woman should be ashamed of herself. If she expects me with two children growing up who will soon be draft age to keep voting Democrat she is nuttier than my grandma's fruitcake. I wouldn't vote for Hilary Clinton even if no one else was running.
Mickey Kaplan from St. Paul had this to say: I am just plain fed up with the Democrats. They say impeachment proceedings interfere with everything else they want to do. So far I haven't seen them do a damn thing. Maybe Joelle Fishman would like to pay for my health insurance.
Saundra Andrews from Cloquet wrote: I'm voting for Cynthia McKinney. To tell you the truth I never heard of this woman before. I was doing a Google search trying to get information about joining the Communist Party and your blog came up. I love your blog and your postings. Your picture of the two story out-house says it all- hilariously funny but how true.
Greg Watkins of rural Biwabik writes: Joelle Fishman must have some space for rent upstairs. What kind of communist would consider McKinney and Sheehan running for public office a problem?
Clara Kelly from Hibbing wrote: Fishman is way off the mark in her political thinking. There are a lot of things I disagree with the communist party on, this is one of those things. I don't think working people should have to bow to opportunist Democratic politicians all the time. It wouldn't hurt for the Democrats and Republicans to let some other folks have a say once in awhile.
Samantha Clark from Superior said: Cynthia McKinney was one of the very few Democrats along with Paul Wellstone who didn't buy into Bush's lies and deceit like most of the other Democrats did. No doubt the Democrats would have found someone to replace Wellstone, too, just like they did McKinney; he died, she hasn't. Wellstone is no longer a thorn in the side of Democrats--- Bush and Cheney made sure of that. Wellstone is dead so the Democrats can proclaim him a hero. They did the same thing with Martin Luther King. I don't understand something here. This Joelle Fishman woman thinks for political expediency we should continue voting for Democrats who first failed to see through the lies and gave their approval for the war, then they remained silent until Cindy Sheehan helped organize massive opposition to the war as Democrats continued to fund the war. Now along comes this Joelle Fishman whose thinking runs like this: we are supposed to vote for a party for war in order to stem the right-wing take-over of our country. Helloooooooooo! You-hoooo! Anybody home? The Democrats are a party of war which makes them part of the right-wing that has already taken over our country.
Well everyone, there you have the gist of the e-mails I received about Joelle Fishman's derogatory comments about Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan running for public office.
I didn't get a single e-mail supporting Joelle Fishman or Hillary Clinton. If someone sends me one I will post it on here.
I did receive a really funny e-mail about Hillary Clinton asking what Bill and Hillary have in common. It was a good one but I probably better not put the answer on here. Some people don't share my sense of humor.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Then I open my e-mail after being gone for a couple weeks and I click onto this link about the elections: http://www.cpusa.org/article/articleview/843/1/92/
Yeppers, just like Alan Maki says in his e-mail posted below.
My two favorite activists-
Cindy Sheehan < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cindy_Sheehan >
and Cynthia McKinney < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynthia_McKinney >-
under attack by Joelle Fishman.
I don't know about this folks but things seem to be going from bad to worse. What happened to respect for good honest activism in our party?
I would like to hear Joelle's response to what Alan writes. As usual I find his comments dead on right.
From: Alan Maki [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 11:47 PM
Cc: 'email@example.com'; 'Scott Marshall'; 'Dean Gunderson'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'; 'Walter Tillow'; 'Edwardadrummond@aol.com'; 'email@example.com'; 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Subject: Some thoughts on political independence and the 2008 Elections
This, below, is from a report by Joelle Fishman, one of the primary proponents of revisionist thinking which now dominates the “leading” circles within our Party.
This is a shameful statement which serves to divide the working class movement and an attempt to further separate working people from a progressive electoral strategy; it demonstrates a complete lack of class consciousness, worse yet, it is a withdrawal from the class struggle initiatives which have been the hallmarks of the Communist Party USA.
This revisionist perspective has always been present in the Communist Party; but, only recently has it become a dominant position after the leadership of Sam Webb, Scott Marshall, and Joelle Fishman successfully destroyed active Communist Party Clubs across the Midwest like the Minneapolis Club of the Communist Party USA under the guise of designating these working class community leaders and Party activists “The Gus Hall Eight” and the “Minnesota Problem” because they took their Club very public in immensely popular campaigns to end this dirty war in Iraq, save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the combined electricity producing hydro dam, and participated in community campaigns against racist police brutality.
In fact, the present policy of the Democratic Party to focus solely on “framing issues correctly” in order to get votes and “intentionally evading any discussion of providing solutions to problems” as part of an election strategy brought forward by George Lakey, a high paid linguist who believes you win and lose elections by playing with language rather than making the electoral arena part of the struggle to create better living conditions for working people. In a very real sense, Lakey’s theories on winning elections panders to the well-heeled, well-meaning liberals like Paul Krugman; fits in well with the no-struggle, sell-out policies of labor “leaders” like the UAW’s Ron Gettelfinger and Bob King, and plays directly into the hands of the multi-national capitalist corporations as part of the neo-liberal agenda which enables state-monopoly capitalism to maintain a stranglehold on the working class as the most elemental aspects of democracy are being smothered.
Under these circumstances it is only a normal part of the move towards real political independence that working people either stop participating in the elections, or begin initiating real forms of political independence. It is shameful that Joelle Fishman would further confuse an already confusing issue by throwing the campaigns of Cynthia McKinney and Cindy Sheehan with movement wreckers like Fulani and then do all of this dirty work under the guise of supporting the revolutionary, anti-imperialist, working class thinking of the great Communist Party leader Henry Winston.
Fishman than goes on to make the completely contradictory statement that “In this period, independent campaigns are most effective at the local level.” Well, what is Sheehan’s campaign if not local; and, what is Cynthia McKinney’s campaign if not arising from a real, honest, grassroots constituency of local activists? Oh, Fishman defines “local” as being limited to “municipal.”
Like Sam Webb and the “distinguished” feeble-minded professor Erwin Marquit who most people simply view as a booby-head anointed by Webb to the position of “Party Theoretician,” Fishman does not provide one single example of a single Communist as she states: “There are several in the 2007 municipal election cycle. Some are Working Families Party or Progressive Party and some utilize the Democratic Party ballot line. There are a few Communists among them, but not nearly enough.” If specific examples were given our Party would have something of substance to discuss as to whether or not this approach to politics really works. But, like everything else from the mouths or the pens of this bunch of fractional, factional, revisionists bent on liquidating the Communist Party like what they have done with the publications of Gus Hall and Henry Winston, everything is vague, without any specifics and we are just supposed to take the word of these pathetic “leaders” who have withdrawn the Communist Party Clubs from the class struggle in the shops and in working class communities.
The real “negative impact” Fishman refers to comes from an acquiescing, do-nothing Democratic Party leadership which is attempting to thwart and stymie the popular movements for an end to this dirty imperialist war and for single-payer, universal health care.
Make no mistake, this bunch of revisionists views everything in the exact same way they view the struggle for public ownership to save the St. Paul Ford Twin City Assembly Plant… there position clearly stated by Dean Gunderson who takes the mangled, caricatured description of a communist to heart; that a communist meets with a few people in the confines of an R.V. or an apartment reading meaningless, anti-working class nonsense pretending this is the way to participate in the peoples movements. Here is what Gunderson has written:
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.
Anyone with an ounce of common sense understands that the “plant closure” issue is far from a “done deal” as Gunderson states… only days ago, this plant was part of the UAW’s negotiations with Ford Motor Company and the plant will remain open for at least another year after Ford previously announced plans to close and demolish the plant this past summer. Scott Marshall and Mark Froemke provided this “advice” to Dean Gunderson, the Chair of the St. Paul Club of the Communist Party, over three years ago!
In the mean time the UAW local and community activists along with a few elected progressive, pro-labor, local and state politicians have been struggling to keep the plant open… obviously this struggle has born fruit for the time being… all the while the head of the CPUSA Labor Commission and Mark Froemke, the Party’s top man in the Minnesota AFL-CIO, did nothing but withdraw from this sharpening class struggle… just like Ron Gettelfinger and Trotskyite Bob King did on a national level.
Without any explanation, Fishman assigns political independence to non-partisan municipal elections. Using the issues surrounding the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, how do you confine the movements for working class political independence strictly to municipal elections?
In fact, Cynthia McKinney’s supporters in Minnesota have been among the staunchest supporters of saving the Ford Plant and the two-thousand jobs through public ownership and at least two United States Senate candidates--- one supporting the best Democratic candidate for President, Cynthia McKinney--- is an ardent supporter of the struggles unfolding to save the Ford plant; the other is more ambiguous, but brings the issue forward in a good way--- one a Green Party candidate, the other a major contender for the Democratic Party nomination with a better chance than the UFO experienced Kucinich.
Fishman does not even note the most despicable, manipulative, dishonest, and corrupt manner in which the monied interests in the Democratic Party undermined the popular, long-time serving Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney; in fact, Democratic Party leaders recruited and ran a candidate against McKinney because she took progressivism to mean you find real solutions to pressing problems.
Fishman fails to note that the United States is the only industrialized capitalist country without multi-party elections where the working class is as mired in the two-party trap as U.S. troops are in Iraq. Fishman uses classic revisionist thinking that somehow any attempt to break free of this two-party trap presents something dangerously negative without providing any proof… more revisionist “American exceptionalism.” There is no evidence that working people would be better off with any of the three top contenders for the Democratic Party nomination than with any of the present Republican Party candidates. In fact, class struggle, working class oriented policies can successfully challenge the most reactionary aims of any of these candidates; but, for Webb, Fishman, Marshall, Marquit, and Gunderson such struggle requires getting out and organizing among working people… it means Scott Marshall loading up his shiny new pick-up truck with leaflets, Peoples Weekly Worlds, Political Affairs and publications by real Communists like Gus Hall, Henry Winston, and William Z. Foster and getting this important material into the hands of working people; it means organizing person to person, neighborhood by neighborhood, and most importantly, plant by plant and mine by mine. Too much work for those whose idea of “struggle” is a weekend gathering at Mesaba Co-Op Park sitting around drinking wine and whiskey after asking workers to travel long distances under the guise of having a meeting to organize the fight for single-payer, universal health care and the struggle to save jobs on the Iron Range and in the Twin Cities.
Fishman concludes by stating:
The Peoples Weekly World / Nuestro Mundo, Political Affairs, and Dynamic have played a consistently important role, and that should be expanded even more. Our Party and press building campaign is very important to this effort. Increasing the readership of our paper will make an ideological contribution to the 2008 elections.
We should also develop our own program for 2008. How to end the war and occupation. A New Deal program for Gulf Coast and country. An emergency response to the economic crisis – Moratorium on foreclosures and payments on mortgages under various conditions. Extend benefits for the unemployed, and massive job creation which is already being developed by the Economics Commission.
Our work on the elections should build at the ground for the long term both coalition and our own constituency. There are new possibilities to develop left center relations between labor and the Party. We should think through how to strengthen those ties. In 2006 we reached new levels of participation in labor sponsored election activities. How can we deepen that in 2008 and consolidate labor’s growing independent trend?
Wow! Sounds terrific! However, when viewed in the context of what the Party has done, and has not done, and the most divisive manner in which it has been suggested that the Party abdicate its role in saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant along with the hydro dam and two-thousand jobs, Fishman’s statement is little more than empty rhetoric. It is only fair we use this concrete example of the pending closure of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant as our example to judge the honesty and intent of Fishman’s statement on our projected political and electoral work leading into the 2008 elections. There is not one shred of evidence Fishman’s words will be transformed into deeds. In fact, Fishman provides not one real example of that to which she alludes… so, I offer up the Ford Plant as the example.
Anyone can write these kinds of statements; only real Communists write these kinds of statements providing concrete examples. This report is a further example of the treacherous path to revisionist liquidation Sam Webb, Scott Marshall, Joelle Fishman and Party theoretician Professor Marquit are leading our Party down… instead of leading our Party into struggle… they are not only tailing the Democratic Party, they are “leading” us away from all struggle; after all, Fishman does not even provide any examples of Communist work inside of the Democratic Party, a very legitimate place for Communists to be working because so many workers still view the Democrats as the lesser-evil. However, it is not right that Fishman fails to acknowledge and support the healthy initiatives of other working class people breaking away from the Democratic Party. There is no question many of the so-called moves towards political independence are not only negative, but outright reactionary and even fascist; but, one role of the Communist Party is to help working people sort through this confusion and push forward the Communist line in a way that where ever Communists are involved we are pushing and prodding the peoples’ movements towards our stated goal of developing a broad based anti-monopoly coalition putting us on the road to socialism. Fishman views the numerous progressive tendencies approaching the 2008 elections with only one tendency--- the Democratic Party--- as being positive, everything else, as negative; this is wrong and highly divisive. The primary focus of working people will be on the race for president, congressional and Senate races as well as races for the state houses… why then would Fishman suggest the place for progressives to be active for independence from the two-party trap locally is only in the municipal elections; this doesn’t make any sense at all. What this demonstrates is the inability of these revisionists to think clearly.
If in fact the Party had the clout and “respect” in the Democratic Party and in the labor movement which Fishman and Webb continuously claims, it should be relatively easy to convince these elements to support a few good independent initiatives. Anyone can see that Cindy Sheehan would be a better choice for Congress than Nancy Pelosi.
This is a classic revisionist analysis being put forward by Fishman in her capacity of being in charge of the Party’s electoral work, it does fit in with the same kind of revisionist thinking concerning the issue of the Ford Plant, Webb’s willingness to “compromise” by giving up on the struggle for single-payer, universal health care just as this struggle is developing, the CPUSA National Board--- without consulting Districts and clubs--- issuing a very controversial and divisive statement in support of continued funding for the war in Iraq under the guise it was a step towards ending the war (no one saw this vote in this way), and liquidating and destroying books and pamphlets by Gus Hall and Henry Winston… make no mistake, the writings of these two Marxist-Leninist revolutionaries were a completely collaborative and complementary collective effort .
This is the heart and the meat of what Fishman has written:
Third Party issues
There are five third party presidential candidates, and two independent presidential candidates.
Bloomberg’s independent candidacy could have a negative impact on the election dynamics. Cynthia McKinney may be the candidate on the Green Party ticket, which could also have a negative spoiler impact in a close race. A new formation Unity 08 is projecting a ticket that would include one Democrat and one Republican for President and Vice President. We should also be aware of the new formation, Committee for a Unified Independent Party, of which Lenora Fulani is part. All of these efforts, from the left and the right, will be diversionary in one way or another, and do not recognize the main danger of the extreme right-wing and their corporate backers.
Of course the country needs a massive anti-corporate, pro-people third party. But how do we achieve that goal? It cannot be accomplished which the working class and people are forced into a defensive mode under ultra-right domination of the federal government. In the process of achieving that first task, the seeds of a new people’s party are being sown.
Sometimes we are criticized as “tailing the Democratic Party.” That is not the case. We have no illusions about the Democratic Party. We, along with labor and its allies recognize that at this moment the Democratic Party is the only vehicle that has the possibility to enable a big shift in politics in 2008..
Building the movement at the grass roots on the issues, bringing the troops home, universal health care, employee free choice act, and jobs, and connecting that program to the elections is the main expression of political independence in 2008, led by the Labor 2008 campaign. If the president and congress are elected with this mandate, and if the movement continues after election day, it will have to be taken into account.
As Henry Winston used to say in relation to tactical questions, take into account time, place, and circumstance.
Cindy Sheehan running against Nancy Pelosi is a negative. It takes the main fight away from the initiators and main supporters of the war – the Bush administration backed up by Republicans in Congress and some Democrats. That is where pressure can make a qualitative difference in the effort to achieve withdrawal.
In this period, independent campaigns are most effective at the local level. There are several in the 2007 municipal election cycle. Some are Working Families Party or Progressive Party and some utilize the Democratic Party ballot line. There are a few Communists among them, but not nearly enough.
I would encourage everyone to study Party documents very closely in relation to what is required of our movements and based upon real activity. Party policy and direction can only be discussed using real life examples. Let Webb, Marshall, Fishman and Marquit explain their positions based upon their involvement in real struggles; not empty, nice sounding words and rhetoric that they have learned to “frame” from the Democrat’s linguistic expert and guru, George Lakey, at the do-nothing “Campaign for America’s Future” conferences most working people can’t even afford to attend.
I will tell you, trying to get two-million casino workers who feel completely betrayed by the Democratic Party as they have been forced to work in over 400 smoke-filled casinos strung out across this country; working for poverty wages without any rights and protections under state or federal labor laws without any voice at work is going to be a hard sell… I invite Fishman and Webb to come into Michigan or Minnesota and make their case.
To expect that the present sell-out leadership of the UAW is competent or capable of leading any kind of progressive electoral activity is just as screwy thinking as believing Kucinich’s UFO encounter… yet Fishman and Webb hold up Kucinich as the real progressive candidate, knowing full well Kucinich will not be around when it counts; Kucinich is the chumming bait, a bait used to catch suckers, to keep people under the big top as the tent is collapsing.
We read in the PWW that Ron Gettelfinger and the UAW will be part of the struggle for single-payer, universal health care when the contract Gettelfinger let Ford dictate says something completely contrary:
The UAW and Ford have agreed to an unprecedented commitment to im-
prove the affordability, accessibility and accountability of the U.S. health care
system, including the pursuit of a lasting solution to our national health care
The parties have agreed to create the National Institute for Health Care
Reform that will serve as a premier research and educational health care reform
center dedicated to understanding, evaluating and developing thoughtful and
innovative reform to improve the medical delivery system in the United States
and expand access to high-quality, affordable and accountable health care
coverage for all Americans.
Ford has committed to five annual $1 million contributions to fund the
Really, does this sound like single-payer, universal health care will be a high priority on Ron Gettelfinger’s agenda? Not unless it is there five years from now.
Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
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Thoughts From Podunk