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...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Iraq: Why No "Exit Strategy"?

Democrats have demagogically used the lame excuse of "No Exit Strategy" to criticize Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.

The fact is, both Democrats and Republicans have always been aware that there would never be any "exit" from Iraq as long as there is oil in the Middle East; to access that oil requires domination of the region.

Much of the peace movement would rather not talk about the term "exit strategy" because to explain why there is no "exit strategy" means having to learn about, and then explain to the American people, what imperialism is all about... imperialism is the final and most advanced stage of capitalism... as we can see from what is taking place in Iraq, imperialism is very barbaric, parasitic, and cannibalistic; it is a completely inhumane system in which wars for plunder and profit are the rule, rather than, the exception.

If we are going to end this war in Iraq from within our own country as is our responsibility to the people of Iraq and the rest of the world, this will require that the American people be educated to the fact that what is taking place in Iraq is an imperialist adventure to dominate and control Iraq for oil and regional domination.

The Rockefeller's outlined this strategy of U.S. imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, long, long ago in stating: "Own nothing and control everything."

This has been the guiding world outlook of the American capitalist class for well over a century with working people and the rest of society along with the peoples' of the world, and the general well being of our planet and its ecosystems paying a terrible price for tolerating this line of thinking as it has been extended to permeate every area of life and subverting and warping the politics of our country.

Whether stealing the land from the First Peoples, to pits of the Iron Range in Minnesota, or the coal fields of West Virginia, or the oil fields of the Middle East, the objectives of the capitalists have been to rape Mother Nature in the process of exploiting human labor in order to rake in the profits for this small group of people.

Why would anyone even think in terms of an "exit strategy" with the intent being to control the oil fields of the Middle East through regional domination?

Who is naive enough to believe all of the lies and deceit Bush and the military-financial-industrial complex concocted in order to justify the war in Iraq?

The first lie: retaliation for the World Trade Center. No one in their right mind plunges a nation into war with another nation for the actions of a few individuals. What kind of perverted logic and demented mind would send more people to their deaths to avenge the deaths of those killed? This is the height of insanity. Well over 3,000 Americans have returned in body bags from Iraq. As we know, the lives of Iraqis do not matter; no one has bothered to count.

The second lie: Weapons of Mass Destruction. There never were any such weapons.

The third lie: To get rid of Saddam Hussein. He has been hung.

The fourth lie: the "exit strategy." There is none because you don't plan to exit when your intent is to stay to steal the oil.

The fifth lie: This is not an imperialist adventure for oil and regional domination. If not, then what is it?

The sixth lie: We can "win" this war in Iraq. If the war is not about oil and regional domination, what is there to win? John McCain intends to base his Presidential aspirations shamefully and pathetically claiming he has the leadership ability to win this war. Hitler told the German people the same thing until he got to Stalingrad.

Why would there now be an "exit strategy" when the goal from day one has been to secure the oil; with the overall objective being dominating the politics and economics of the Middle East?

If the American people do not put an end to this war in Iraq they will pay a terrible price for allowing this carnage to continue.

So far, the only plan to get the U.S. troops out of Iraq is the "Blueprint to end the War in Iraq" put forward by former United States Senator George McGovern and the man who should have been president instead of that creepy, crooked, warmonger Richard Nixon.

I think it is unconscionable that anyone claiming to be for peace and for an end to this dirty war in Iraq would even consider anything less than what George McGovern has put forward because to make a compromise with Bush is just allowing the military-financial-industrial complex room to maneuver and manipulate as they try to "secure the population" of Iraq in quest of oil profits and regional domination of the Middle East.

Anyone proposing any kind of "compromise" with these merchants of death and destruction should at least be the first ones to step forward to replace those young people over there right now who do not want to be in Iraq. And I don't see anyone stepping forward to do this.

This is the very first time that I have ever seen segments of a "peace movement" urge a "compromise" involving the continuation of a war. Again, unless people like Robert Borosage and Keith Ellison along with his last remaining supporter from the peace movement--- a frail, gaunt, sickly old professor who has spent his entire life hiding in the ivory towers of academia are willing to step forward and volunteer to replace Minnesotans who only joined National Guard in order to get a little fresh air on weekends and make a few extra bucks because they couldn't feed their families on the poverty wages paid by casino operators and Holiday Gas Stations; or to get a college education.

There isn't a single member of the Minnesota Legislature, the United States House of Representatives or the United States Senate that could not be replacing any member of the Minnesota Army Reserves or the National Guard over in Iraq... and they could have as many tours of "duty" as they want over there as Bush has planned for a permanent American occupation.

Anyways, there is no "exit strategy" from Iraq because Bush never intended to leave. And, he still doesn't; because this idiot sitting in the White House and strutting around the globe is a mere puppet on a string; the strings are being pulled, however clumsily, by the merchants of death and destruction who make up the military-financial-industrial complex. Hitler had such a powerful complex, too; once his generals reached Stalingrad there was quite a surprise for this imperialist butcher of Lidice; and Nixon had the same kind of awakening in Vietnam.

In both the Soviet Union and Vietnam the invading armies met their match but a terrible price was paid by humanity in each case.

Does it really take having 55,000 body bags returning from Iraq with the American military on the verge of being defeated by the popular resistance of the Iraqi people for this imperialist war and its carnage and destruction to come to an end?

The only alternative is for the American people to step forward and take the appropriate collective action to end it... if this means impeachment of Bush and Cheney and their war crimes trial... so be it; or massive numbers of the American people taking to the streets and raising so much hell the government can no longer function; or work stoppages... or a combination of these actions and other methods of resistance to this dirty, illegal, immoral, and unjust war, so be it... but let's stop this war right now because the present politicians will never develop an "exit strategy" because they have known that the strategy, from day one, has been to occupy the oil fields of the Middle East... this is their goal and primary objective.

Had the Democrats thought an "exit strategy" appropriate why didn't they ask the details before they voted for this dirty war; after all... the majority of the United States Congress in both the House and the Senate who voted to give Bush the right to go to war are still in the United States House and Senate... and many of them have sat in their seats through other wars... it is not like they are so stupid that they did not think of asking Bush for his "exit strategy;" or are they so stupid? Christopher Dodd, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden... how pathetic. And this opportunist Barack Obama. None of them have the courage to say that the United States went to Iraq to stay, therefore, neither they nor Bush had the need to consider an "exit strategy."

In my opinion all peace activity should be tied to supporting George McGovern's very humanistic, anti-imperialist, liberal and progressive "Blueprint for ending the war in Iraq."

The Roseau County, Minnesota DFL Convention passed a resolution calling for "setting a date to end the war in Iraq that was based upon lies and deceit." It is my belief, as the elected member of the State Central Committee elected by the Roseau County Convention to bring forward the resolutions that we passed, including this one, that McGovern's "Blueprint for ending the war in Iraq" is the only proposal in keeping with our resolution; there were no resolutions supporting keeping the war going of continuing to fund this war in any way, shape, or form. As such, I am encouraging the State Central Committee to convene a special session for the purpose of discussing McGovern's proposal and I encourage all of those for peace including Charley Underwood and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and the DFL Progressive Caucus, Peace First, and Peace in the Precincts to join me in supporting such an initiative. More than 130 delegates to the last state convention who are members of Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice have asked me to suggest to Co-Chairs Brian Melendez, Donna Cassutt, and Executive Director Andrew O'Leary that a special meeting of the MN DFL State Central Committee be convened for the sole purpose of discussing, and debating George McGovern's "Blueprint for ending the war in Iraq" with the intent of endorsing it as the position we expect our elected officials to pursue. After such a meeting Minnesotans will then have a clear idea where the Minnesota DFL stands in relation to ending the war in Iraq.

Class Consciousness & Politics

Former Attorney General and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party candidate for governor Mike Hatch is now gone from his $100,000.00 a year job to which he was appointed by his cloned successor Lori Swanson. Mike Hatch is gone from state government; good riddance. But the politics he represented remain

The real question that now needs to be asked, and answered, is, "How did such a self-centered, self-serving, opportunist politician who has stood for absolutely nothing ever get nominated, then elected in the first place?"

Mike Hatch used issues of importance to working people to grand-stand; rather than getting problems solved. On the national political scene John McCain is a master of this tactic; as were fascists Hitler, Franco and Mussolini.

Mike Hatch was well trained by those who put forth the idea that what is needed to win in elections was "progressive sounding policy directions" without providing progressive solutions.

Two issues that readily come to mind where Hatch did this are predatory lending and health care. Both issues of enormous importance and consequences to working-class families.

The real solution to predatory lending is the establishment of a state bank to loan money to anyone who wants a home with payments in line with income. There is no reason why a working class family shouldn't have a modest home to live in just because some banker says "no" to a loan.

Hatch used the old, "Help me win and I will take care of you after the election" technique. He used this one real well with the United Automobile Workers leadership regarding the closing of the Ford Plant; Gettelfinger and Williams just sucked this right up and told local UAW leaders, "Get Hatch elected and your problems are good as solved." Now that the going is getting rough, Gettelfinger and Williams are no place to be seen; they don't want to hear about the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; nor do they want to participate in a discussion of the only way to save the Ford Plant: Public Ownership.

This says a great deal about the role of money, corruption, manipulation, and
control in Minnesota politics generally, and in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party specifically.

Too many workers have bought into all the bullshit from Gettelfinger, Williams and Ray Waldron about workers being "middle-class."

Workers are working-class.

The well-heeled of the "Summit Hill Club," the DFL Business Caucus, the CEO's of Ford Motor Company, the casino managements, the CEO's of the insurance, HMO's, pharmaceutical, mining, forestry, power generating, and banking industries... these are the capitalist class. The spokespersons for this capitalist class include the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and the American Medical Association among other lobbying groups who are employed by this capitalist class which lives off the labor of the working class.

The lack of class consciousness in politics is what allows opportunist politicians like Mike Hatch, Amy Klobuchar, and Keith Ellison, together with the majority of the State DFL legislative caucus to continue to get away with offering up nice sounding progressive policy directions at election time without offering forth a single solution once elected because they are fully aware that those who are funding their campaigns would have to pay for real solutions to the problems working people are experiencing; this is what class struggle is all about... if workers were to be paid real living wages this would come out of the corporate bottom line... profits would suffer; wouldn't that be the pits?

The United States is not immune from the class struggle as apologists for the capitalist system turned political science instructors turned politicians like State Senator Leroy Stumpf tells his students; but the again, Leroy Stumpf is the only DFL'er ever to get campaign contributions from the Marvin family, owners of Marvin Windows and Doors where the family got rich paying poverty wages and beating up union organizers... and laughing and boasting about the beatings to boot.

In fact, there isn't a single problem where the class struggle is not apparent... from the Ford Plant closing issue to single-payer, universal health care. Working people want to keep the Ford Plant open; the business community wants this plant demolished and out of site, out of mind as quickly as possible because this plant represents this class struggle; a struggle between the bosses and the workers; the workers have struggled for almost a century to get wages up and to make working conditions better... we can't have this example of the determined struggle of working people for a better life serving as an example to all those other workers employed in the area getting poverty wages, can we? We all know the issue: The higher the wages paid, the less profits for business. This is the capitalist system when everything else is stripped aside.

Seventy-two percent of the DFL convention delegates voted for single-payer,
universal health care as a result of a very prolonged grass-roots organizing
effort; in fact, this struggle for single-payer, universal health care has been going on as long as the Ford Plant has been around. Legislation supporting single-payer has not been forthcoming from the DFL caucus in the Senate or the House. We need to know why because this gets us down to the nitty-gritty: the DFL Business Caucus and the well-heeled are firmly in control of the Minnesota DFL and they have blocked any attempt by working-class Minnesotans to have their health care problems resolved through legislation. This is a battle between working people and the HMO's and the insurance industry; again, what is good for working people is seen as bad for the capitalists. Again, class struggle... which makes it imperative that working people develop a class conscious outlook towards problems; otherwise, these problems in health care will never be solved.

Not only in the areas of health care and the Ford Plant closing is this lack of class consciousness on the part of working people an obstacle to solving problems; but also on a number of other issues of importance to working people: the lack of rights for over 20,000 casino workers employed in this state at poverty wages who go to work in smoke-filled casinos as workers wearing union jackets and buttons plunk their hard earned money into slot machines without any consideration for their fellow workers who don't even have the basic package of rights all other workers enjoy; Minnesota's "At-will hiring, At-will firing" legislation, the major impediment to union organizing that not even "card check" will solve has yet to be repealed to reflect real human rights in our modern world; Minnesota's unemployment Compensation laws are among the most backwards in the United States--- giving employers the right to appeal decisions without providing any reason... talk about a class issue! Enabling, through legislation, the right of the employers, without reason, to challenge the claim of a worker to the miserly little bit provided by unemployment compensation... this is the very clear example of just how class based politics really is.

The real irony in all of this is that the leadership of the Minnesota AFL-CIO
and other unions dumped so much money from members' dues along with other union
resources into supporting both Hatch and his clone, Lori Swanson... and what do
they get in return? A kick in the butt; because the trade union movement, for the most part, lacks class consciousness; and, the rank-and-file members have not established any kind of rank-and-file organizations in order to keep the leadership accountable for fostering a progressive working class agenda as an alternative to the capitalist agenda put forward by the big-business community.

This should send a message to rank-and-file union members to get involved in
their unions and do some house cleaning, too.

Had the rank-and-file members of the UAW Ford Local 879 been organized independently of the administrative caucus of Gettelfinger and Williams, they would be in a much better position today to fight to save the plant and their jobs. Here again, you have this union leadership of Gettelfinger that pursues the same line of thinking as the leadership of the Minnesota DFL... posture for the membership and their local elected leaders with nice sounding progressive policy statements... and once the wrecking ball hits come out fighting mad... but by then it is too late.

It takes class consciousness to figure this all out.

No wonder Humphrey and Mondale threw Elmer Benson and the Red Finns out of the Minnesota DFL; and Reuther threw the Reds out of the UAW... its all about class consciousness.

The sooner working people start thinking about life and their problems as being part of the working class, rather than the middle class, the quicker we can get on with establishing a political agenda that sets for itself the task of solving real problems with real solutions. Until then, I'm afraid we can kiss the Ford Plant good-bye, and forget about single-payer, universal health care.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,
Red Lake, Casino, Hotel, and Restaurant Employees' Union Organizing Committee


Member of the MN DFL State Central Committee, Roseau County