Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


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...


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...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The "New Democratic Majority"

I have been traveling through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan the past couple weeks. There is definitely a "new democratic majority" that politicians and the media refuse to consider. I have been talking with people about their views concerning the results of the November 7th Election. The overwhelming sentiment of the people I have been talking with is that the Democratic Party is continuing to serve the interests of the military-financial-industrial complex and is refusing to adequately address the longstanding grievances of working people, which includes:

* Ending the war in Iraq and using the funds for socially necessary programs that include public education, public housing, public libraries, infrastructure maintenance, environmentally clean mass transit, child-care centers, and single-payer, universal health care. Global warming, environmental pollution and contamination are on top of every one's list of priorities; working people have a right to live and work in healthy environments with clean air, water, and land.

* Bringing forward legislation in support of no-fee, comprehensive, all-inclusive, universal health care that is publicly funded and publicly administered is the number one item on every one's mind when talking to people. People are thoroughly fed up with this health care mess and want a health care system that takes the profit gouging insurance companies completely out of the picture.

* Working people are fed up with the insurance company rip-offs and scams at every level from health insurance to auto and home insurance. The insurance companies could easily be pushed right out of the picture in all three areas--- health, home, and auto. Publicly administered programs could easily replace these insurance company parasites that make such extravagant promises when pitching their scams but deliver so little when a claim is made. Health insurance should be financed like social security through a payroll tax while home and auto owners would pay into government administered universal programs where everyone pays at the same rate based upon what is being insured.

* Public ownership of the energy producing industry is now being talked about by many working people.

In my travels I talked to many people about the shameful, despicable, and Draconian conditions casino workers have been forced to work under at poverty wages in smoke-filled casinos. I could not find one single person in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan who did not find this problem shameful... the casino managements and mobsters who really own these casinos and the politicians they have paid off for this "favor" are alone in defending this most outrageous abuse of human rights. As more people become aware of the plight of casino workers politicians become hard pressed as they try to pretend they are concerned about working people because with over one hundred thousand casino workers employed under these conditions in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan this is widely recognized as a club hanging over the head of every worker and an impediment to union organizing efforts everywhere. The public is becoming aware that good union contracts are better than any government anti-poverty programs and a whole lot cheaper. Anyone who steps foot in a casino readily understands that our proposed contract that we describe as "one roll of quarters, per hour, per employee" which would include wages and benefits (provided single-payer, universal health care legislation is implemented) would be a fair first contract for casino workers.

The proposed legislation that would see a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour over many years is entirely inadequate; just high enough to push many people beyond the threshold levels and off of social programs; it is a poverty wage by any standard and the AFL-CIO, Change To Win and those advocating this miserly minimum wage are only doing so for political reasons and to try to bolster their own sagging images as they have presided over contract negotiations resulting in millions of jobs being lost by their own members and drastically reduced wages and benefits for their remaining members. Sweeney, Hoffa, and Andy Stern are viewed as big jokes by the workers they claim to represent. They can't defend the living standards of their own members and now they want to give poverty wage workers the shaft, too. Working people understand that every job is a good job if the job pays a real living wage--- with adequate benefits; any job that needs to be done requires a real living wage. A real living wage is easily ascertained from the calculations of the what the United States Department of Labor calculates a living income to be... we need look no further than the United States Department of Labor to determine what the minimum wage should be.

Students everywhere in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan are upset with rising tuition and the high interest rates on student loans... the proposals by the Democratic Party are completely inadequate, and students are universally disappointed with the mediocre educations they are receiving for the amount of money they pay.

Consumers are upset with rising prices at the grocery store and with the rip-off at the gas pumps.

In general, there is a massive ripoff and profit orgy in every area of life.

Foreclosures are everywhere and nothing is being done about predatory lenders in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Michigan. Outfits like "Rescue Mortgage" based in Edina, Minnesota continue to rip people off left and right without any intervention from an a newly elected Attorney General here in Minnesota who made ending predatory lending practices her main platform plank. For generations we have heard that home ownership is the working person's hedge against inflation and a good investment; today those homes are being stolen out from under working people left and right... if not by scam artists like Rescue Mortgage Company than they are being seized as payment for health care and nursing home bills.

In every area of life working people are getting screwed and coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan in body bags with another Republican war with Democratic Party support in Iran looming before us as the death toll and destruction in Iraq continues without any end in sight.

In my travels through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan I found a "new democratic majority" coming together in very loose ways with people beginning to see the need to look beyond the Democratic Party for real change.

In fact, the Democratic Party is not in any real way part of the "new democratic majority" reflected in the November Elections... very few working people harbor any illusions of real gains coming from their votes for Democratic Party candidates which they voted for simply to protest the war in Iraq and the need for single-payer, universal health care as they tried to get attention for their other accumulating grievances.

It is now up to working people to decide around their kitchen tables how they will become involved in the political process and discuss the need to get rid of this rotten capitalist system that has turned everything from the war in Iraq to health care into scams and rackets enriching the few.

Until working people are willing to put the need for creating a cooperative socialist system at the center of political debate chances are things will not change as a bunch of crooked and corrupt politicians paid to serve the military-financial-industrial complex continues to call all the shots.

In short, working people in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan are not buying into the phony "proposals" of the Democratic Party that pretend to alleviate problems.

The real question now is: What will working people do to turn their unions around and create the kind of community, statewide, and regional organizations capable of uniting the "new democratic majority" of the working class to struggle for an alternative agenda based upon the politics and economics of livelihood with public ownership of major industries including: power-generating, health care, mining, and auto as the solution?

Let there be no mistake; the "new democratic majority" exists solely outside and separate from the the Democratic Party no matter how feverishly Democratic Party hacks and pundits work overtime to explain the results of the November Elections; those who fail to comprehend this have missed the boat once again.