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...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Some thoughts about progressive politics...

In responses to my blog postings I have been getting all kinds of e-mails and phone calls as well as getting into discussions about what I write in my blog postings... I can't go to the grocery store or stop and get gas without someone talking to me about something they have read on my blog... I am not complaining because I publish my blog in order to get feed-back and promote dialogue and discussion. In fact, I am quite impressed with the power and influence that blogging offers in a world where the battle of ideas in our modern world is mostly dominated by the wealthy and powerful.

If there is one question that surfaces repeatedly more than any other, it is this:

"What can any working person do to make a real difference? These people like Bush just go right ahead and do what they want no matter what we say and how we vote. The Democrats are no better than the Republicans."

I think that just about anyone reading this blog can identify with this sentiment and frustration.

This morning I read an article in David Shove's "Progressive Calendar" by a young guy from the Twin Cities who is getting very frustrated, and rightly so, with military recruiters in the high schools. As one who stood up and refused to fight in that dirty war in Vietnam I can identify with his frustrations. It takes a lot of energy to stand up to the military establishment that has its fingers so deeply into our pockets and our lives. I thought the idea this young guy floated about running anti-militarism, peace candidates for the St. Paul School Board was a fantastic idea; this should be seriously considered.

I have read similar frustrations as vented by Charley Underwood in his wonderful "Peace Calendar" that takes so much work to compile on a regular basis, lamenting the fact that Keith Ellison who he worked so hard to support as a peace candidate for Congress caved in to the pressure campaign that was mounted by the merchants of death and destruction resulting in Ellison taking his cue from Walter Mondale, a decrepit old warmonger, rather than turning to the peace movement for direction on how to vote. Of course, out of a Town Hall meeting, Ellison got a feeble show of support from one irrelevant, reclusive, self-proclaimed old-lefty who lives a detached life in the ivory towers of academia... but, that kind of support is to be expected and shouldn't be discouraging to anyone.

So, what can be done?

I think this idea of running a candidate for the St. Paul School Board should receive serious consideration, but not be limited to the issue of getting military recruiters and militarism out of the public schools.

Young people aren't receiving enough support from the rest of us as they stand up to the military establishment that feeds the military machine with the young as canon fodder for these dirty imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the merchants of death and destruction now want to take us into another war with Iran, as old-goats like Walter Mondale shamefully call for opening up another war against North Korea. With thinking like this we all know the draft is just around the corner because the military recruiters are now having to spend over $200,000.00 just to suck in one new recruit to fill a body bag.

Progressives have a real opportunity to build on this young guy's idea by incorporating "get militarism and the recruiters out of the schools" with a more comprehensive program that would include support for public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the hydro dam; and saving UAW-Ford-MnScu Training Center. Young people need jobs, not war.

Think about this: young people need a future that includes good jobs, paying real living wages. St. Paul needs funds to keep its schools operating... property taxes are killing people (well, not in the same way as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), but, these rising property taxes that mostly go to finance the public schools, combined with high monthly mortgage and insurance payments is making life very difficult for many people... if the Ford Plant was brought under public ownership those profits that have been siphoned off over the last eighty years by corporate executives and Wall Street Coupon clippers could be used to help finance public education.

The excess hydro could be used to light the schools; another little break for tax-payers.

The Ford Plant would be an important part of the tax-base for a change rather than being a burden on tax-payers... any subsidies or tax-breaks would be to local tax-payers themselves rather than boost the corporate bottom line.

The hydro dam could be expanded to provide all the electricity for all the public schools in the Twin Cities.

Something for progressives to discuss around the dinner table.