Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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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, June 9, 2007

Bush finally states real intent in Iraq...

All the domestic and foreign news services carried this story in some form, did no one on the MN DFL State Central Committee see, hear, or read this:

WASHINGTON — Disbelief greeted the White House admission that President George W. Bush envisions U.S. occupation of Iraq for 50 years, modeled on the more than half-century U.S. occupation of South Korea.

Bush’s press secretary, Tony Snow, said of a prolonged U.S. stay in Iraq: “The Korean model is one in which the United States provides a security presence … over a period of years, and therefore the U.S. is a force of stability.”

This begs the question: What is the purpose of the United States being in Iraq?

Answer: One can only conclude the purpose of the United States going to war in Iraq was two fold:1.) To occupy the country; 2.) To steal the oil resources.

A comment: The reasons given for this war by Bush and both Democratic and Republican supporters of this war continue to change along with the growing opposition on the part of Iraqis, the American people, and the international community.

This war was not worth one death or one dollar being wasted from the beginning… it has been lie after lie after lie. The argument being used to continue the funding for this war is, “We need to support our troops;” this rings very hollow as the death toll mounts and suicides among U.S. troops stationed in Iraq rises and alcoholism and drug addictions plague those troops returning home’ many as paraplegics.

Not only should we not be supporting these troops in any other way than to get them out of Iraq, but not one more penny should be squandered on this dirty war for oil and regional domination.

The huge U.S. “presence” in South Korea has not assured stability in that region of the world. In fact, the South Koreans want the U.S. out; and, the U.S. presence in South Korea has created massive internal political instability which has often turned very violent and led to extreme repression of democracy--- including widespread violent suppression of the Korean labor movement and students insisting on their democratic rights to collective bargaining, freedom of expression, and the right to participate in the affairs of their own country rather than being dictated to by the United States government and American big-business interests who have used the repression imposed by the United States to build everything from automobiles and computers using cheap labor as American workers are loosing their jobs.

The U.S. presence in South Korea has cost American taxpayers trillions of dollars over the last fifty years; are we prepared to pay an even higher price along with all the consequences for a more than fifty year occupation of Iraq. To gain this presence it cost tens of thousands of American lives… just as this dirty war in Iraq will result in.

One could easily say that the oil industry should just be left on its own to pay for its own occupation of Iraq; however, this would not be right either. Capitalist corporations should not be allowed to run roughshod over any nation and its peoples, this just is not right.

Look at how people in northern Minnesota are so upset with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Governor, the Minnesota Legislature, and Congressman Oberstar providing a Canadian multi-national corporation with a permit to mine peat in the Big Bog in the Pine Island State Forest near Red Lake for the next fifty years with the local, state, and federal tax-payers picking up the tab for infra-structure and roads so this foreign corporation can truck away the profits while destroying our primary freshwater aquifer in the process… does anyone really believe that the Iraqi people are any more content and satisfied hearing that George Bush now intends to occupy their country on the same terms as South Korea has been occupied for over fifty years?

When one looks at all these fiascos carried out with profits in mind without any regard for people and their rights or their living environments we begin to see a very clear pattern that has developed… it doesn’t make any difference if it is the First Nations here in the United States, South Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, or the Big Bog in northern Minnesota… the pattern is as clear as the patterned peat lands of Minnesota when viewed from the air… first comes the war to occupy, then come the puppet governments to control as the resources are stolen using cheap exploited labor.

I would not have supported General George Armstrong Custer’s genocidal campaign against the First Nations’ peoples anymore than I support this dirty war for oil in Iraq. The barbarity and savagery of the nature of imperialism has not changed in the intervening years… there was the mass hanging of Native Americans in Mankato that had the same intent as the hangings taking place in Iraq… to frighten and intimidate people into silence and acquiescence. It has been much easier for Bush to get the Democrats to acquiesce to all of this than it is the people who are the victims. This was as true in the mass hangings at Mankato as it is today in Iraq. And look at what is taking place in Iraq now; the oil workers are being arrested because they are opposed to the new Iraq “oil law” which will give the oil companies the right to exploit the workers in the oil fields as American oil companies profit. Where is there any letter of protest coming from this “support our troops” bunch over the warrants that have been issued for the leaders of Iraqi oil workers struggling for their rights and to defend Iraq’s oil fields? Not a peep of protest.

When will the American people wake up to the true nature of imperialism being the final stage of a rotten, decadent capitalist system? It all began with the occupation of the First Nations in order to steal their resources; then it was slavery, then the attack on industrial workers, then war after war after war. If we cave to the “support our troops” without questioning what these troops are doing we allow our Nation to continue down this same shameful road of theft, pillage, and exploitation as this breeds greater injustice, poverty and despair.

The attempt to silence my views within the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party on the part of the hierarchy of the Minnesota DFL and the supporters of this dirty, disgusting, illegal, unjust, immoral war of aggression for the occupation of Iraq that is squandering our tax dollars to help the oil companies steal the oil and enable U.S. imperialism to use Iraq soil to establish regional domination in the Middle East, as has been done in South Korea, is just the way the old corrupt Democratic Party operated in trying to coerce silence as Native Americans were led to the gallows in Mankato… if you don’t believe me check out the history… and, by the way… it was the same Summit Hill Club and business interests calling the shots… pun intended.

To even suggest, as a few on the MN DFL State Central Committee have done, that we should “support our troops” by continuing to fund what these troops are doing in Iraq is to support continued carnage and mayhem. For anyone to suggest that because they have a loved one in Iraq is justification for the Democratic Party to continue supporting this war in Iraq through continued funding--- or in any other way--- is morally wrong and without any justification.

There is only one way to “support the troops” and that is to bring them home. Some may be bullied into silence by those like Katherine Speers, Susan Rego, Brian Melendez, and Walter Mondale… I will not be intimidated… my mandate based upon the resolutions from the Roseau County Convention is to do and say whatever it is I can to stop this war in Iraq... there is no mandate from either our county convention or our state convention for me to “support the troops” in what they are doing in Iraq.

I will use the dirty way in which I have been deprived of the right to participate on the MN DFL State Central Committees list serve as an example for all Minnesotans to see how those who support this dirty war in Iraq are using “support our troops” to destroy democracy here at home.

It is a sad day when the leadership of the Minnesota DFL will actively try to silence a member of the State Central Committee for advocating the will of the majority of state convention delegates as they sit in silence as Walter Mondale calls for renewed violence in the form of a “pre-emptive” first strike against North Korea after one bloody war in that region; and, if that is not bad enough, Mondale then takes to the airwaves on his daughter’s radio program to support the war in Iraq as other DFL elected officials vote to fund this dirty war and undermine the movement for single-payer, universal health care which could easily be financed with the funds being squandered on the war in Iraq as Minnesota politicians pretend to wring their hands in saying they can’t find the funds for creating a single-payer, universal health care system.

I have found it very interesting how the leadership of the Minnesota DFL has tried to use their disagreements with me in order to evade open dialogue and debate on this most important issue of the war in Iraq; just as they have evaded debate about sending 20,000 Minnesotans to work in smoke-filled casinos without any health care at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws.

It seems to me there is a frightening scenario that has developed: Bush intends to force Iraqi oil workers into the same relationship with the multi-national oil companies that casino workers have with their managements here in Minnesota.

I will never forget the night the campaign of carnage and destruction in Iraq began… I was sitting in the break-room of the Seven Clans Casino Warroad and the assistant manager of the casino and the head of security had their eyes glued to the huge television screen that was barely perceptible through the cloud of second hand smoke as management had sealed off the ventilation system to save on the heating bill… and these two were shouting with joy as every bomb was dropped as buildings were being destroyed and the country was being blown to kingdom come… I waited for the break room to fill to capacity and as these two shouted with glee as the bombs were bursting, not only in air, but destroying a country and killing its people… I said, “I wonder what our country would be like today if General George Armstrong Custer would have had access to such weapons… all of a sudden there was complete silence… a little while later a woman came over to me and said, “I guess we won’t be hearing from these two the rest of the night… I was so glad when you spoke up; I couldn’t bear watching that any longer while Juno and Rodney cheered on that kind of bone-chilling and moronic killing and destruction.” I think this young woman, whose brother was in Iraq for 18 months and when called up to go again decided to go to Canada, instead, pretty much speaks for all Minnesotans… since the day this war began this young working mother has been actively working with a peace organization and been involved trying to organize casino workers. She understands full well that the way to “support the troops” is to bring them home; to help those like her brother to not take part in this war; and to work towards peace and social justice… here in Minnesota and around the world. The other day she told me, “The night manager is calling me a Communist.”

It seems the leadership of the Minnesota DFL and casino managements have a great deal in common… they support the war, they want casino workers to continue being employed without any rights and without health care; and they want the same thing for the workers in Iraq.

Something, amid all of this death and destruction and exploitation of working people, is severely out of kilter.

Alan L. Maki
Member, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee


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

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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