Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.


"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

We need a "people's lobby" if we are going to impeach Trump and remove him from office and secure any reforms from this "Blue Wave" and the newly elected "Democratic socialists."

This is the platform Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ran on:


https://ocasio2018.com/issues
Now, in order for her and her fellow “Democratic socialists” to follow through on this a massive people’s front type movement will be required... some kind of a “people’s lobby.” Is there any evidence such a “people’s lobby” is being considered or created? Has there been any willingness to discuss this?


The concept of a “people’s lobby” must be taken up immediately by grassroots and rank-and-file activists or we will not be able to move forward once this new “Blue Wave” is seated?


I have a little different view from these “Democratic socialists” but there is plenty that is close enough to begin a discussion of what kind of solutions to our problems are required:


https://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/2018/11/campaign-for-21st-century-full.html
Trump’s impeachment and removal from office needs to be a top priority.I would encourage all liberals, progressives and leftists to read, study and discuss what Minnesota's most popular socialist governor elected on the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party ticket who went on to become the campaign manager for Henry Wallac'e Progressive Party campaign in 1948 had to say about politics since he very successfully organized against very powerful corporate opposition, a "people's lobby," to get much of his very progressive legislation enacted:
http://collections.mnhs.org/mnhistorymagazine/articles/47/v47i04p154-161.pdf 



I also think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other newly elected "Democratic socialists" are going to have to give some deeper thought about climate change and global warming along these lines:


https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/climate-change-and-the-military-industrial-complex1


I am interested in what others have to say.

A "people's lobby" needs to be organized now.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”


Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”

We are fed up with politicians campaigning on promises of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and then failing to make themselves legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

We are fed up with our tax dollars being squandered on militarism and wars instead of being used to create jobs by solving the problems of the people and defending our living environment… its time to beat swords into plowshares. Put people to work solving the problems of the people.

A National Public Health Care System would create over twelve-million new jobs paying real living wages providing people with free health care---  general medical, eyes, ears, dental, family planning and mental health--- through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers; this is a better use of our tax-dollars than wasting our human and financial resources on a far flung empire of over 800 U.S. military bases around the world. Or, it could be financed the same way Social Security is financed. Or paid for with  a tax on Wall Street transactions. Or financed with a combination of these methods. Public funding. Public administration. Public delivery… nothing controversial; just like public education.

A National Public Child Care System would create over three-million new jobs providing working class families with free child care.

We need to restore the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (C.E.T.A.), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

“At Will Employment” legislation in states across the country needs to be rescinded and repealed to expand democracy in the workplace and provide workers with the right to freely participate in the communities where they live.

All attacks on immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, need to end. No racist Wall.

Planned Parenthood needs to be defended and programs expanded to all communities.

We insist Congress and the president enact full employment legislation which makes them legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment; assure everyone who wants a job employment at real living wages in line with the actual cost-of-living.

Full employment would provide stability for Social Security; everyone paying in; everyone getting something out. A Basic Income for All must be guaranteed. Pensions must be honored and protected. The Wall Street swindle of pension funds must end; restore the Glass-Steagall Act.

Turn Habitat for Humanity into a massive public works project to create jobs and assure everyone has a decent home.

Free education through university; cancel student debt. End military recruitment in the high schools.

Unemployment and lack of a National Public Health Care System is the price we pay for militarism and wars. We are entitled to a Peace Dividend……... Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood.

Prosperity can only be derived through peace and disarmament. Militarism and these dirty imperialist wars must end.

What we want right now:

An increase in the Minimum wage.

A $500.00 a month increase in Social Security.

Cancel all student debt.

Establish a National Public Banking System with branches at the local post offices.

The Democrats and Republicans comprise Wall Street's two-party trap. We are caught in this trap and we must break free. We need a working class based people's party that is both anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist to get us on the road to socialism or we are doomed. We must challenge Wall Street for political and economic power.

Where will the money come from?

A Peace Dividend and taxing the hell out of the rich.

We need to organize a People's Lobby to press for our demands. This People's Lobby could be the beginning of a new working class based people's party.



Such tremendous waste...

Amazon is being subsidized by tax-payers to the tune of billions of dollars.

One the one hand, perfectly good facilities like the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant are bulldozed to the ground.

On the other hand, taxpayers are subsidizing new buildings and infrastructure for Amazon to the tune of billions of dollars when Amazon could have used the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant for its new facilities... all in one location with access to all transportation: truck, rail air in a community fully high tech.

A small group of real liberal, progressive and left Minnesota legislators proposed legislation that would have kept the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant intact until a new use could be found for it... but, these politicians and their legislative initiative was derided and red-baited with the corrupt St. Paul Mayor chiming in that the legislation sounded like something Gus Hall, the long-time working class leader of the Communist Party would have proposed. 

What screwed up priorities these capitalist politicians bribed by corporations have.

Once again... we pay through the nose; they rake in the profits.

Love Canal... Picher, Oklahoma... Flint, Michigan

Love Canal... Picher, Oklahoma... Flint, Michigan.


Entire communities poisoned by capitalist greed.


Will your city be next?


What your eyes don’t see, what your nose does’t smell and what your tongue doesn’t taste may end up killing you.

Implement the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights now!

We need to understand something very important:


The present Democratic Party, in spite of a very small handful of those elected among the new Blue Wave who the corporate media describes as “democratic socialist...


The Democratic Party, in fact, is currently lost way out in very conservative Ronald Reagan land.
Anyone who believes they will get anything of substance, including very minimal reforms which are much less than even the “baby steps” touted by the well-heeled upper-middle class muddle-headed crowd lacking any understanding of class, without a very sharp and militant struggle is living in the fairy-tale world of the make-believe.


These people would have us believe we should not consider the massive squandering on militarism and wars.


And these uncaring people completely ignore costly massive destruction that these dirty, never-ending imperialist wars cause... the massive destruction, not even considering the loss of life, amounts to even more than the insane costs of militarism and the wars.


Just think what we could be doing with this money involved in the cost of rebuilding in the aftermath of these wars!


These Reagan Republicans now in control of the Democratic Party will not tolerate even the slightest criticism of their dirty wars, the costs associated with whipping up a new nuclear arms race.


These newly elected “democratic socialists” learn quickly not to talk about militarism and wars depriving us of the basic necessities of life and the human rights we are entitled to per the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights the great real liberal Democrat, Eleanor Roosevelt was so instrumental in drafting which these Reagan Democrats and even the newly elected “social democrats” completely shun as if it was poison.


The entire world, except for us, will be focused on the seventieth anniversary of the Declaration on December 10th.


Every liberal, progressive, Socialist, Communist and Marxist should be demanding legislation intended to fully implement the intent of this Declaration.


I urge you to circulate and share this Declaration with the intent of building a massive movement for its full implementation.


Let’s not allow the Reagan Democrats to detract us from initiating struggles for a real living Minimum Wage, a living Social Security income, a National Public Health Care System, a National Public Child Care System and cancellation of all student debt...


When considering the cost of these universal social programs consider the costs involved in these Reagan Democrats carrying out their reactionary warmongering neoliberal Wall Street agenda...


We need new priorities that put people and our needs before wars and profits.

What happened to the concept of the right to fair hearings?

A person can’t even get a fair hearing from the Social Security Administration... Frances Perkins would be ashamed of what Social Security has become... a government agency enforcing poverty.

Remove the cap on Social Security

Eliminating the cap on Social Security making all wages taxable at 6.2% would help in funding Social Security.


Im not sure how much that would raise if the cap were removed completely; does anyone know? But I do think it should be removed completely.


Ironically, those who need Social Security the least are those who benefit the most and they in this high income bracket are taxed the least.


And, even more ironic, it is these well-heeled people who are first in line to make sure they get every penny they can out of Social Security who lecture us that Social Security is not needed.

Social Security and racism

When talking about Social Security, it is important to note how racism has resulted in people of color receiving the lowest Social Security payments because racist discrimination in employment resulted/s in people of color being forced into the lowest wage jobs and longest times of unemployment.
What do we intend to do about this?

Social Security, history and class struggle

Why do we need to understand the history of how Social Security came into existence?


Because understanding the massive grassroots struggles on the part of the people to win this important reform from a corporate dominated government that continuously refused to provide it is key to defending and improving Social Security today.


Because without understanding history it becomes difficult to initiate struggles today.


Based on the urgency of the situation, we socialists have launched a struggle for an immediate $500.00 a month across the board increase for everyone on Social Security. The government should kick this in instead of talking about cutting Social Security.


Our objective, in the very near future, is to see to it that no one on Social Security receives less than $2,000.00 a month.


So far, no one else has suggested anything else nor have they initiated any struggles to defend Social Security and improve the livelihoods of those receiving Social Security.


According to everyone the economy is booming; employers are, in fact, reaping huge record profits.



Now is the time to increase the employer’s share and reduce the payroll tax on employees to pay for this in combination with this $500.00 contribution we are demanding from the federal government.


Record profits.


Wall Street is rolling in the dough.


A trillion dollars a year for militarism and wars.


Massive billion dollar giveaways to companies like Amazon.


And the workers now on Social Security created this wealth as current workers expand this wealth.


Wall Street oligarchs, the employers, are hoarding this wealth.


America needs a raise.


Raise the Minimum Wage to a real living wage based on the cost of living.


Raise Social Security to a real living income based on the cost of living.


The working class is entitled to a decent standard of living derived from the wealth we have created.


Labor, and only Labor with quite a little bit of help from Mother Nature, creates all wealth.


How much longer will we continue to allow this exploitation of Labor and rape of Mother Nature without demanding what we are entitled to... peace and a decent standard of living for working class families and a respect for Mother Nature.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Demand an increase in Social Security now!

I need your help getting this out.


We have begun making waves... let’s stay on this. I have included several of your suggestions.


Can you send this to your Representative and Senators now?


Let us know how they respond.


You can contact me at: red_finn@live.com



Get this out at your local senior center, union hall, community association, church group and especially retiree organizations. Spread the word through Facebook and other social media.



So; it seems Congress has been caught stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund once again; while pensioners receive a miserly 2.8% increase the theft from the Social Security Trust Fund is now 2.8, too- $2.8 trillion dollars!


And these politicians go around telling the big fat lie that Social Security is part of the federal budget, when it is not since employer and employee contributions pay for everything that is part of Social Security.


The one thing that really is the biggest part of the federal budget none of these worthless Wall Street bribed politicians or their party hacks and the media’s talking heads want to talk about which is nothing but more theft from the people is the expenditure on militarism and these dirty imperialist wars.


It took a fight to win Social Security and it is going to take an even bigger struggle to save it. Get prepared for the battle ahead.


No one on Social Security should receive less than $2,000.00 a month.


Everyone on Social Security should receive an immediate $500.00 a month increase.


The Federal government hasn’t been kicking anything into Social Security and it should... it should get this money from what is now being spent on militarism and wars... a $500.00 a month Peace Dividend for seniors.


And Social Security benefits and payments should not be subject to income tax.


Pensions and 401K plans must be protected and other retirement plans must be protected from shady Wall Street investment “advisors.”


Employers must not be allowed to get out of pension plans through bankruptcy schemes.

Should the Social Security Trust Fund be used by the government as a source of cheap loans to fight its dirty wars?

So, we see this line of thinking that the government is justified using the Social Security Trust Fund as a source of cheap loans.


Democratic Party hacks have argued this for years while failing to insist Social Security provides people a real living income.


This argument might be plausible if we had a national public banking system and a government focused on spending for human needs instead of squandering the wealth of the Nation on militarism and wars.


But, money paid into Social Security is intended for Social Security programs and not as a cheap loan for this rotten Wall Street government to fight their dirty imperialist wars.


I find it interesting these people don't support using these Social Security funds to provide seniors with a real living monthly income.

We are slaves to the debt Wall Street bankers profit from

We have become slaves to debt trying to maintain a decent standard-of-living on high-interest credit cards as we try to cope with an ever growing cost-of-living while working poverty wage jobs and living on miserly monthly Social Security payments.


The bankers profit from this debt for which we are forced to pay ever higher interest rates which further reduces our standard-of-living; thus making the struggle to survive even more difficult.

We need Social Security to be a real living income now!

Here is a good one.


I just got a private message telling me I should stop riling people up over Social Security because a radical like me associated with pushing for a Social Security increase makes it hard for the Democrats to associate themselves with legislation required to bring this about.


I am told to be patient; that the Democrats will get to this as soon as other pressing concerns are dealt with.


What a crock of shit!


We have been waiting for Social Security to become a real living income as FDR, Frances Perkins and the Democrat’s Committee on Economic Security promised way back in 1935!


If you keep your mouth shut you will get nothing.


We are entitled to a living income on Social Security... see Article 22...and it’s time for the United States government to live up to this beginning with a $500.00 a month increase for everyone right now. The United States government has never contributed one single penny towards Social Security but has robbed the Social Security Trust Fund blind to pay for its dirty imperialist wars:


https://unudhr.blogspot.com/2008/05/united-nations-universal-declaration-of.html?m=1&fbclid=IwAR2Dm0VYDxcxBLOd4GqkNThuE0i9e8Hk8sU_zaI65BabYmasNM5v1p0zQ54



We need to hound the Blue Wave until we get a raise...


We need to begin pestering these politicians in the same persistent way they begged for our votes with what we expect them to deliver.


Did any politicians get specific about what they intend to do with Social Security? No.


But we should:


So; it seems Congress has been caught stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund once again; while pensioners receive a miserly 2.8% increase the theft from the Social Security Trust Fund is now 2.8, too- $2.8 trillion dollars!


And these politicians go around telling the big fat lie that Social Security is part of the federal budget, when it is not since employer and employee contributions pay for everything that is part of Social Security.


The one thing that really is the biggest part of the federal budget none of these worthless Wall Street bribed politicians or their party hacks and the media’s talking heads want to talk about which is nothing but more theft from the people is the expenditure on militarism and these dirty imperialist wars.


It took a fight to win Social Security and it is going to take an even bigger struggle to save it. Get prepared for the battle ahead.


No one on Social Security should receive less than $2,000.00 a month.


Everyone on Social Security should receive an immediate $500.00 a month increase.


The Federal government hasn’t been kicking anything into Social Security and it should... it should get this money from what is now being spent on militarism and wars... a $500.00 a month Peace Dividend for seniors.


And Social Security benefits and payments should not be subject to income tax.


Forest fires and nuclear war

Paradise, California has been destroyed by a forest fire...


Just imagine the destruction that would result from nuclear war.

Was Barack Obama a peace president?

Barack Obama, the politician who campaigned for the presidency on a promise of peace, dropped over 26,000 bombs during his presidency; why are we only finding this out now?


Someone made a whole lot of money from this... and how much death and destruction resulted?

We need a cooperative socialist common wealth

In Baltimore, 75% voted to forbid privatizing the city’s water supply. Our water is too vital to let private profit-driven companies control it. What about our food, our land, our jobs and incomes?


Same logic applies: democratize the economy through public ownership and socialism.

Defense strategy report warns of grave erosion in US military superiority

Defense strategy report warns of grave erosion in US military superiority

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/416744-Defense-strategy-report-warns-of-grave-erosion-in-US-military-superiority


Why is anyone so insane they are planning a “strategy” for war with Russia and China when neither of those countries wants war with anyone, least if all war with the United States?


Where are the sane voices guiding us to a strategy based on peace, mutual respect and understanding working towards improving the lives of people and the environment and ending this insane militarism that is squandering the tremendous wealth created by the working classes of these countries?


What kind of organization is this that is given any credibility at all by Wall Street, the mainstream media and politicians?


No one wants to plan for war with Russia or China which are no threat at all to peaceful development.


It is insanity anyone would give an outfit creating this kind of report any credibility at all.


By the way, when was the last time you saw an article from any of the mainstream media from a think-tank promoting peace and cooperation between the United States, Russia and China and the other two-hundred or so countries making up this planet?


Anyone who thinks there is any sanity in Washington had better read this report paid for with our tax dollars for themselves:

Providing for the Common Defense

The Assessments and Recommendations of the National Defense Strategy Commission
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 / By: National Defense Strategy Commission


https://www.usip.org/publications/2018/11/providing-common-defense?fbclid=IwAR0I3UIqiEccO15B_8DquXLdFa9Lje5mtX0Ca01le3jvStnuB2N17Y8dBQY


Are you prepared to let these warmongers do your thinking for you as they “prepare” us for World War III?


More money squandered for militarism when we need to be beating swords into plowshares.


Total insanity.


Demand a Peace Dividend now!

Class consciosness and class struggle

What working people need to learn more about is the relationship between wages and Social Security income and cost-of-living and standard-of-living and the actual existing wealth we have created.


When will we as a class, the working class, decide the time has come to use the wealth we have created with our labor- the only real wealth creator- for the benefit of our own well-being rather than allowing a bunch of millionaire and billionaire Wall Street oligarchs hoard this wealth that should be ours in the first place in the form of higher wages and for improved Social Security benefits along with many other socially necessary requirements for us to live decent lives... like child care, health care, housing, pre-school and higher education?

Hillary Clinton for president?

Hillary Clinton is being touted as the best candidate to beat Trump.


I would say she has a better chance of being elected president of Libya.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A discussion about Social Security and those opposing a real increase

I don’t mind that people take issue with my call for Social Security to be a real living income for everyone beginning with a $500.00 a month across the board increase for everyone.


What really bothers me is people who insist that Social Security was never meant to be a real living income in retirement years because, first of all, these people do not understand that Social Security was not a gift from government but was fought for long and hard to attain through militant mass struggles of the American people.


And second, these people go on to suggest everyone should be putting money into some kind of personal retirement account or investments when the fact of the matter is, for most working class families they do all they can to try to just make ends meet from pay-check to pay-check.


The sheer hypocrisy of these people came out in a conversation I was having with a person who is employed by the Social Security Administration who stated she made $68,000.00 a year and then refused to tell us how much her pension was going to be while she derided our efforts to get a substantial increase in our present miserly meager monthly Social Security checks.


And third, we have the complete hypocrisy from politicians who have increased their own pay with the increase alone being more than they give us in a year while turning around saying the government can’t afford to kick in $500.00 a month to everyone on Social Security even though they have, without public debate, mired our country deeply in debt for many generations to come to pay for their dirty imperialist wars and senseless unbridled militarism. These same politicians vote to give tax breaks to the richest of the rich.


We now have an entire oligarchy of wealthy capitalists living off the wealth we have created and these fabulously wealthy Wall Street parasites are hoarding the wealth we are rightly entitled to in the form of real living wages and real living Social Security incomes... and then these wealthy capitalist oligarchs have the unmitigated gall to use this wealth against us.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Midterm Elections are over...

...The class struggle continues.

Freedom of the Press

Trump has stripped CNN's Jim Acosta of his press credentials, until further notice... another move towards fascism.

It can't happen here?

It is happening here.

Make Social Security a real living income

So; it seems Congress has been caught stealing from the Social Security Trust Fund once again; while pensioners receive a miserly 2.8% increase the theft from the Social Security Trust Fund is now 2.8, too- $2.8 trillion dollars!


And these politicians go around telling the big fat lie that Social Security is part of the federal budget, when it is not since employer and employee contributions pay for everything that is part of Social Security.


The one thing that really is the biggest part of the federal budget none of these worthless Wall Street bribed politicians or their party hacks and the media’s talking heads want to talk about which is nothing but more theft from the people is the expenditure on militarism and these dirty imperialist wars.

It took a fight to win Social Security and it is going to take an even bigger struggle to save it. Get prepared for the battle ahead.


No one on Social Security should receive less than $2,000.00 a month.


Everyone on Social Security should receive an immediate $500.00 a month increase.


The Federal government hasn’t been kicking anything into Social Security and it should... it should get this money from what is now being spent on militarism and wars... a $500.00 a month Peace Dividend for seniors.


And Social Security benefits and payments should not be subject to income tax.


Pensions and 401K plans must be protected and other retirement plans must be protected from shady Wall Street investment “advisors.”


Employers must not be allowed to get out of pension plans through bankruptcy schemes.

What needs to be done

This is my idea of what we need to unite the people around as we fight to impeach Trump and remove him from office:


First issue peace.


Second issue increase Minimum Wage and Social Security.


Third issue National Public Health Care System- publicly funded, publicly administered, publicly delivered.


Pay for what we need with a peace dividend and tax the hell out of millionaires and billionaires, corporate profits and tax on Wall Street transactions.


End racism and enforce Affirmative Action.


Create a National Child Care System.


Forgive student debt and make all education at public institutions free.


A new party and action in the streets is the way to win... it takes a struggle to win.


Keep it simple.

Jobs, jobs, jobs

We keep hearing about “jobs, jobs, jobs.”


We never hear about what is being done with the profits being created by workers employed in these jobs.


Nor do we hear one single peep about what kind of standard-of-living is being created for the workers employed in these jobs many of which are part-time jobs with most of these jobs paying miserly poverty wages while the employers reap huge profits from the exploitation of this labor.


We aren’t being provided a true analysis or the real facts...


Once again the truth is being cleverly concealed from the people.


And amid it all, Trump has the unmitigated gall to boast that he has increased spending for militarism and these dirty wars claiming this spending creates “jobs, jobs, jobs” when this squandering of our Nation’s wealth on death and destruction results in the greatest transfer of wealth to the filthy rich Wall Street merchants of death and destruction instead of being used to create socially useful and necessary programs like a National Public Health Care System and a National Public Child Care System which would create many more jobs paying far better wages while improving the lives of the people which would cost us far less than this senseless militarism and these dirty wars.


Talk about your screwed up priorities... only a complete moron like Trump could boast of such demented and warped priorities... although I notice the Democrats have voted for this militarism and these dirty wars right along with Republicans; and, during this Election Campaign we haven’t even had a debate on these screwed up priorities coming out of Washington. We have two parties with different names but both parties with the same profit oriented, instead of people centered, Wall Street agenda.


And Social Security is not even mentioned while neither party, each boasting of their concerns for jobs, education and health care offer no solutions to any of the problems.


And all of this is passed off as an example of the world’s greatest bastion of democracy when it is really all one big fraudulent scheme just like the schemes used by the Wall Street “investment advisors” who steal worker’s pension funds.


And this is the great capitalist system?


It’s time to bring on socialism.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Is it "Lying Ted Cruz" or "Crying Ted Cruz"?

Apparently it is some of both since he has run up against a little competition.

Water, water everywhere... but is it fit for human consumption?

It is ridiculous to think each individual person should have to seek out drinking water quality reports during this period of flooding in Texas Hill Country where Republicans hold power.

Reports concerning the safety and quality of drinking water should be provided by the government agencies responsible through the media just as the water levels are reported every single day.

I can appreciate that these Republican admirers of Ayn Rand think this is a personal responsibility to seek out this information; but, even Ayn Rand readily applied for, and accepted without protest, Social Security and Medicare.

This is how the Republican disdain for democracy comes forward in real life affecting our health and safety.

Common sense should tell us if it isn’t safe to be in the water it might not be safe to be drinking the water derived from these reservoirs.

Common sense should also alert us that something may be wrong when the waters upstream and downstream from us are contaminated and polluted.

Of course, there are scientific tests that can be performed and we should be informed on a daily basis of these test results just like we are informed of lake levels.


Friday, June 15, 2018

"The G-7: A Demise to Celebrate"

Please do not reply to the listserv. To
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correspond with the author, write immanuel.wallerstein@yale.edu. To correspond with us about your email address on the listserv, write fbcofc@binghamton.edu. Thank you.
 

Commentary No. 475, June 15, 2018
"The G-7: A Demise to Celebrate"

An institution called the G-7 held its annual meeting on June 12-13, 2018 in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada. President Trump attended in the beginning but left early. Because the views on both sides were so incompatible, the group of Six members negotiated with Trump the issuance of a quite anodyne statement as the usual joint declaration.

Trump changed his mind and refused to sign any statement. The Six then drafted a statement that reflected their views. Trump was angry and insulted the protagonists of signing the statement.

This was interpreted by the world press as a reciprocal political snub by Trump and the six other heads of state and government that attended. Most commentators also argued that this political battle signaled the end of the G-7 as a significant player in world politics.

But what is the G-7? Who invented the idea? And for what purpose? Nothing is less clear. The name of the institution itself has constantly changed, as have the number of members. And many argue that there have emerged more important meetings, such as that of the G-20 or the G-2. There is also the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that was founded in opposition to the G-7, and which excludes both the United States and west European countries.

The first clue to the origins of the G-7 as concept is the dating of the birth of the G-7 idea. It was early in the 1970s. Before that time, there was no institution in which the United States played a role as an equal participant with other nations.

Remember that after the end of the Second World War and up to the 1960s the United States had been the hegemonic power of the modern world-system. It invited to international meetings whom it wished for reasons of its own. The purpose of such meetings was primarily in order to implement policies the United States thought wise or useful - for itself.

By the 1960s the United States could no longer act in such an arbitrary way. There had begun to be resistance to unilateral arrangements. This resistance was the evidence that the decline of the U.S. as a hegemonic power had begun.

To retain its central role, the United States therefore changed its strategy. It sought ways in which it could at least slow down this decline. One of the ways was to offer certain major industrialized powers the status of "partner" in world decision-making. This was to be a trade-off. In return for promotion to the status of partners, the partners would agree to limit the degree to which they would stray from policies the United States preferred.

One could argue therefore that the G-7 idea was something invented by the United States as part of this new partnership arrangement. On the other hand, a key moment in the historical development of the G-7 idea was the moment of the first annual summit of the top leaders, as opposed to meetings of lower ranking figures like ministers of finance. The initiative for this came not from the United States but from France.

It was Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, then France's President, who convened the first annual meeting of the top leaders at Rambouillet in France in 1975. Why did he think it so important that there be a meeting of the top leaders? One possible explanation was that he saw it as a way of further limiting U.S. power. Faced with negotiating with the set of other leaders, each of which had different priorities, the United States would be constrained to bargain. And since it was the top leaders who signed off on the bargain, it would be harder for any of them to repudiate it later.

Rambouillet began a struggle between the United States and various European powers (but especially France) over all the major world issues. It was a struggle in which the United States did less and less well. It was seriously rebuffed in 2003 when it found itself unable, for the first time in history, to gain even a majority of votes in the U.N. Security Council when they were to vote on the invasion of Iraq by the United States. And this year, in Charlevoix, it found itself unable even to agree to a banal joint statement with the other six members of the G-7.

The G-7 is for all intents and purposes finished. But should we mourn this? The struggle for power between the United States and the others was basically a struggle for primacy in oppressing the rest of the world's nations. Would these smaller powers be better off if the European mode of doing this won out? Does a small animal care which elephant tramples on it? I think not.

All hail Charlevoix! Trump may have done us all the favor of destroying this last major remnant of the era of Western domination of the world-system. Of course, the demise of the G-7 will not mean that the struggle for a better world is over. Not at all. Those who back a system of exploitation and hierarchy will simply look for other ways of doing it.

This brings me back to what is now my central theme. We are in a structural crisis of the modern world-system. A battle is going on as to which version of a successor system we shall see. Everything is very volatile at the moment. Each side is up one day, down the next. We're in a sense lucky that Donald Trump is so foolish as to hurt his own side with a massive blow. But let us not cheer therefore Pierre Trudeau or Emmanuel Macron, whose more intelligent version of oppression is fighting Trump.

by Immanuel Wallerstein

Teen Vogue tackles Marxism... and does a good job

Who Is Karl Marx: Meet the Anti-Capitalist Scholar

The communist scholar's ideas are more prevalent than you might realize.


Check it out, share with friends, create a Marxist discussion group and political action committee or book club...

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/who-is-karl-marx