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, August 30, 2007

Labor Day 2007

Alan Maki wrote:

This is being Blind Carbon Copied to a number of members of the DFL State
Central Committee who are very concerned about the impact that domination of
the DFL by the DFL Business Caucus and St. Paul Chamber of Commerce is
having inside of the MN DFL. I met with a group of members of the DFL State
Central Committee in Forest Lake about this very problem... I can assure
everyone... we have some very unhappy campers and a very serious crack is
getting bigger... many more hairline cracks with the potential of
dangerously expanding--- perhaps reflective of how the I 35W Bridge
collapsed? Something to consider and ponder.

Working people are not going to stand by indefinitely as their problems
worsen, unions lose influence, and business interests openly begin to
dominate the Minnesota DFL and other Democratic Party organizations like in
Michigan where a bunch of mobsters, the Fertitta Family--- fronting for the
Kansas City Mob, has greased the palms of so many Democratic politicians who
have taken the money... in the future, after the Fertitta's get their Gun
Lake casino... this money will flow to Republican Party coffers; this is
the way they have operated where ever they go. Just like the Ford Motor
Company and the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce has done with the future of the
Ford Plant.

I think we need to ask the question, "How much longer can the Minnesota DFL
continue under the present leadership which has refused to insist on the
unity of the Legislative Caucus on such an important and fundamental issue
as saving the Ford Plant?"

First we saw Michael Paymer desert Ford workers after being supported in
every way by the Local; then we saw Pat Harris and these other St. Paul
Council members (Democrats) get behind the DFL Business Caucus and the St.
Paul Chamber of Commerce in opposing the legislation to save the Ford Plant
and the dam.

Come on really... how does anyone expect working people to respond to all of

First everyone was willing to look the other way as the issues of casino
workers were brought forward. Now it is the issues of auto workers. There
will be another group of workers next and so on and so forth.

Does anyone really believe that when you have 20,000 casino workers slighted
by the Minnesota DFL, now 2,000 auto workers (not to mention widespread
community support for saving the plant) that there will not come a point
where all of this comes to a head? Add to this the games being played by the
Democratic Party concerning the war in Iraq and on the issue of health
care... if a group of legislators and members of the DFL State Central
Committee does not step in here and exert their influence... you will have a
very serious problem on your hands. There are warning cracks everywhere...
all being ignored... just like with the collapse of the I 35W Bridge.

Brian Melendez, Susan Rego, and Andrew O'Leary can continue trying to focus
the blame on me for bringing these issues forward... this kind of crap may
work for awhile... but, as sure as this economy is going to collapse like
the I 35W Bridge... the DFL is facing a major crisis if these problems are
not addressed in a timely manner.

The present leadership of the Minnesota DFL can only be very thankful we
have not successfully organized casino workers yet... because, let me assure
you the arrogance of the MN DFL in ignoring their plight will not be
forgotten soon... there is an old saying in the labor movement... we reward
our friends and punish our enemies. Our electoral activity has been somewhat
negligible up until now... we first urged voters to vote for all DFL
candidates except for Valerie Solem and not vote for any Republicans in the
state legislative race. Last election we urged voters through a leaflet
distributed in seventeen communities surrounding casinos around the state to
vote for all DFL candidates except for Mike Hatch because he would not
support our efforts to secure the rights of casino workers to be employed in
healthy work environments free of second hand smoke and not vote for any
Republicans. Were we effective? I don't know... however, the election
results would tend to demonstrate we were in our distribution of over
100,000 leaflets.

We are about to begin testing this same strategy in Michigan where the
Democratic Governor has ignored the plight of casino workers--- should the
Michigan House and Senate continue on the legislative path of approving this
Gun Lake Casino Compact.

I am assuming a number of unions will be looking at our strategy very
closely. It is just so easy to destroy political campaigns with so little
financial investment in which so much money and work has been invested in
this way. Consider the cost of distributing one-hundred thousand leaflets as
opposed to the resources invested trying to get Mike Hatch elected governor.

Voters are very sympathetic right now to appeals being made by workers
struggling against injustices.

This should come as no surprise to anyone considering the beating working
people have been taking.

Consider this: No matter how you view things; working people are the
majority of voters.

Now, I am once again suggesting that members of the MN DFL State Central
Committee and the Michigan Democratic Party ask themselves if they want to
continue down this road of allowing business interests to dominate their
state Parties and their legislative caucuses?

Already in Michigan we have linked up with a number of rank and file
organizations like Soldiers of Solidarity who are taking a look at our
electoral strategy.

Working people who have camped out in Democratic fields are just not happy
campers right now.

Anyone should feel free to distribute this e-mail as they see fit.

I have heard from a couple members of the MN DFL State Central Committee who
have just decided to throw in the towel, fed up with all of this... I am
sure more will follow... these quitters don't amount to much... but I would
assume some voters will follow... and this does matter, eh?

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Elected member, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central

-----Original Message-----

From: vivian votava [mailto:oldladyslater@yahoo.com]

Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 10:03 AM

To: Alan Maki; lhinkle@peoplepc.com; 'Christine Frank'; djrie@visi.com; eric-angell@riseup.net; 'David Shove'; DLONG@uaw.net; 'Nadine Nosal'; gdubovich@usw.org; lgerard@usw.org; miaflcio@voyager.net; charleyunderwood@hotmail.com

Cc: rep.bill.hilty@house.mn; rep.al.juhnke@house.mn; 'Mike Jaros'; rep.neva.walker@house.mn; 'Gary Garbarino'; 'Michael Johnston'

Subject: Re: a St. Paul city candidate and sitting council member answers an important question...


I find your tactics trying. I know you are not happy with the present DFL administration. I also think your targeting of Susan Rego is completely offbase. My goal as a grassroots democratic organizer is to encourage people that I view as having healthy and balanced outlooks get involved. The democratic party is the people who are involved. A lot of us work very hard and do not necessarily agree with everything going on. Instead of being angry at what is happening and encouraging people to defect, I believe we should be angry and encourage more people to participate. The angry people need to use their anger to fuel action. They need to be participating to change the party from the inside, so they can make sure they set the agenda, they push the agenda, they move up from the inside, they replace administrators they do not agree with.

Encouraging rage that leads to non-participation will make it more likely Republicans will be successful--and that will not suit your purposed, either. Is it really better for Minnesota to have Pawlenty than Hatch? Better for our schools? Better for our healthcare? Better for teenagers who get pregnant? Better for our roads? Better for our environment? Better for working people? We need to work to get people involved, not just angry. The rants make people tune out.

Better to get people to the caucuses--tell them we need to change the party, train them on how to do it, find someone you think would make a better Party Chair, and organize to make this happen. We need more union people involved in my district (SD56--Stillwater/Woodbury.) This is what should be--the more good people involved, the better the DFL will get. Right now your e-mails are rage and threats and only make things worse. I know I sound idealistic--and I am idealistic, but I have a strong realistic streak. Why waste our energy in anger when there is so much to do? We need to funnel anger to constructive actions. Our idealistic side needs to be tempered by our pragmatic side, and we need to be extremely persistent as we plow along, through an extremely frustrating process and time. We need to make positive change happen.

Vivian Votava

-----Original Message-----

From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Thursday, August 30, 2007 12:05 PM

To: 'vivian votava'; '

lhinkle@peoplepc.com'; 'Christine Frank'; 'djrie@visi.com'; 'eric-angell@riseup.net'; 'David Shove'; 'DLONG@uaw.net'; 'Nadine Nosal'; 'gdubovich@usw.org'; 'lgerard@usw.org'; 'miaflcio@voyager.net'; 'charleyunderwood@hotmail.com'

Cc: 'rep.bill.hilty@house.mn'; 'rep.al.juhnke@house.mn'; 'Mike Jaros'; 'rep.neva.walker@house.mn'; 'Gary Garbarino'; 'Michael Johnston'; 'colemanayoungii@house.mi.gov'

Subject: An exchange of views... RE: a St. Paul city council candidate and sitting council member answers an important question...


I appreciate your response; although I disagree with most of it. Because I disagree with you does not mean I don’t respect you and your views. I do think dialogue is very healthy; democracy requires an open dialogue and exchange of views. It is with that in mind I respond to you.

First, there is life outside the Democratic Party-DFL. I welcome the opportunity to work in the Democratic Party-DFL and with others not in the DFL, or those now leaving the DFL.

Second, what brings me to the Democratic Party-DFL at this time is primarily the casino workers and the unions who pay me to do what I do. They pay me rather well to do what I do because they are satisfied with what I do and how I do it. The only thing different about me is that I openly acknowledge why I am involved in the Democratic Party-DFL, I have no hidden agenda as some others like the DFL Business Caucus and the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and some others do.

All of us are involved because certain issues bring us here.

Third, I have not “targeted” Susan Rego. She made herself the bull’s-eye on the target when she arbitrarily, undemocratically and heavy-handedly barred me from participating on the DFL List Serve simply because I raised these issues. Preventing someone from bringing forward the issues does not make these issues go away. If it were so simple we wouldn’t be having this dialogue now.

I assume you agree, the issues I raise are very legitimate, even if you dislike my tactics and find them hard to take.

On the other hand, try to place yourself in the position of being one of the casino workers among some 60,000 between Minnesota and Michigan who go to their jobs in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages and without any rights at work… which means you have no rights in the community where you live because if the employer doesn’t like you being an advocate for living wages, etc. you get fired with no recourse of action under any law.

Which begs the question: What can you and others in the Democratic Party-DFL do in order to right this wrong and blatant injustice for which Democratic-DFL controlled legislators are largely responsible. After all, Jennifer Granholm, in Michigan has just negotiated another of these Compacts without considering the rights of casino workers or the condition under which they work. Well, here a top Democratic Party politician had the opportunity to make a difference and set the pattern for all future Compact negotiations in much the same way the United Auto Workers union has set the pattern for collective bargaining in our country for all working people beginning with the historic Flint Sit Down Strike, along with the Steel Workers Union on the Iron Range; whom I might add, many Democrats found their “tactics very trying” at the time, I am sure. But, on this Labor Day those struggles will be hailed by Democrats as campaign contributions from these unions pour into their coffers--- well, maybe with the exception of UAW Local 879 representing workers at the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

At some point, if you want me to consider your perspective, which I can assure you I can completely empathize with, you and others working as hard as you do in the Democratic Party-DFL are going to have to say something like this to your colleagues:

Ok, we got this Maki guy who is enraged and bad-mouthing us. What has triggered his anger? Is it he just makes peoples’ lives miserable for a living? Or, is there anything of substance we should be concerned about with what he is saying?

Now, if there is nothing of substance in what I am saying you can simply write me off as some kind of “nut case.” You need not even be concerned because no one is paying any attention to what I am saying… case closed.

However, if the situation of casino workers is as I am portraying it, and, if you don’t believe me you should look into it yourself… maybe walk into a casino… see if you observe much smoke… ask the employees how much they make… ask them what kind of rights they have. This is all very simple for anyone to do. Am I telling lies about all of this? I will let the facts speak for themselves.

Obviously I am telling the truth. If I am not it would be very easy to expose me as a liar… I have posted plenty on my blog… everything of which is there to be refuted, none of it has.

Don’t you find it unsettling that over two-thousand workers are losing their jobs at the Ford Plant and the UAW Local 879 used to be one of the major supporters of DFL and Democratic Party candidates and now when it comes to something so basic and so simple as the State Legislature taking action to save these jobs the legislation can not even get through a State Senate Committee dominated by Democrats?

Now, you ask me, wouldn’t we be better with Mike Hatch. Perhaps, but, given the DFL track record and the record of the Democratic sitting Governor in Michigan, I would not say “no” to your question… However, I do say it really doesn’t make any difference.

We had intended to run a campaign against Granholm like that which we ran against Hatch and Valerie Solem. After consulting with many labor leaders and especially rank and file activists in Michigan we decided not to. Plus, we really didn’t want to see Rich DeVos elected… he is the epitome of everything wrong with the corporate domination of our country… however, for casino workers, the outcome of the election really wouldn’t have mattered much just as Hatch’s election wouldn’t have helped much… he is adamantly opposed to casino workers having the same rights as all other workers--- he has stated this.

Plus, do you really believe Hatch’s election would have helped save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant? If so, what prevented Mike Hatch from showing up at the Senate Committee hearing and backing the legislation that would have kept the Plant and Dam intact so that either a buyer could be found, or the issue of public ownership had been thoroughly explored--- which it has not. Why not? Don’t you think the Minnesota DFL at least owes this to the workers and their union which has been a foundation and base of support to first, the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, and then the MN DFL? Anyways, nothing prevented Mike Hatch from showing up at this state senate hearing. He was a "no show." And, without getting through the Senate Committee, even if he had been elected Governor the legislation would not have come to his desk to sign.

Remember, these aren't Republicans opposing this legislation to save the Ford Plant, these are Democrats like Representative Michael Paymer.

Previously another member of the DFL State Central Committee asked me if the workers wanted to run the Ford Plant. I responded very honestly; I said I didn’t know… but, I also pointed out no one asked them this question. Would it be too much for Brian Melendez along with a delegation of legislators to walk through the Ford Plant asking workers this question and what they think of the idea of public ownership? Instead of doing this, we now learn from Kathy Lantry and another DFL candidate for St. Paul City Council they were never even asked any question about the Ford Plant during the DFL endorsing process. I would call this adding insult to injury if ever there was such a thing.

In addition we have the health care issues and the issue of the war in Iraq and many other issues that have gone unresolved. I don’t expect the Democratic Party or the Minnesota DFL to work miracles and solve all these problems. What I, and many others, do expect (well, many people, unlike me, have given up expecting anything from the DFL and Democratic Party) is that an effort be made to acknowledge, address, and then work to solve these problems.

I don’t know, how can I be more diplomatic or whatever it is in getting my points across in a way that will be listened to? Before our Organizing Committees took one single action I met with every single state legislator personally and Governor Pawlenty on this issue… you may ask Representative Bill Hilty, Tom Rukavina and others if you think what I am saying is not true.

You can’t solve a problem unless you first acknowledge the problem.

Has the Michigan Democratic Party or the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party acknowledged the problems I have brought forward:

1.) The plight of casino workers;

2.) The Ford Plant closing?

No. Not even an acknowledgment these problems exist.

I would like to know from you, and the many others who have made their views known along the lines as you have to me, what is it you really want me to do? Should I just walk away, wring my hands, and say, “Oh well, they win”?

To be very honest with you, if the Michigan Democratic Party and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party will not provide an avenue to advance such issues of concern to working people I want no part of either.

Is this what I am now hearing? If so, I need a letter from Brian Melendez here in Minnesota and Steve Tobacman in Michigan stating that these issues are of no concern to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and the Michigan Democratic Party… the Party organizations and the legislative caucuses.

With such a letter in hand I will walk away from the Democratic Party; but, not the issues… and then, well, I think you get the picture of where I am coming from… I have no anger. No disrespect for anyone. These are issues that have been placed on what I understand is a more than full plate… however, issues requiring immediate attention none-the-less… a Plant is scheduled to close and be demolished; casino workers are dropping dead from second-hand smoke related cancers, lung, and heart problems--- unless, of course, you think casino workers are somehow immune to the problems the scientific and medical community have made us so aware of.

I don’t mean for this to be taken as a letter of anger by you. But, neither should this letter be taken by you, or anyone else, to mean that I am smiling; because I am not.

The Democratic Party and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party will be involved in all kinds of Labor Day festivities this weekend, making endless speeches about the dignity of working men and women, about the alliance between labor and Democrats… through it all casino workers will be breathing in second-hand smoke without any rights, employed at poverty wages.

I appreciate the work you do in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party; I know you are sincerely concerned and want a better world for all of us to live in. Please raise your voice on the MN DFL State Central Committee and let your fellow State Central Committee members know there is a serious problem here.

As you can see this e-mail is going to leaders of both the United Steel Workers and the United Auto Workers… I am assuming a few of them might be making a speech or two during this Labor Day weekend… I am wondering if they will be including in their remarks reference to the plight of casino workers or those workers and the community faced with the closure of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; it will be interesting to see if they do.

My tactics may be “trying;” however, try breathing through lungs destroyed by second-hand smoke; try finding a job with wages and benefits like at the Ford Plant--- won through years of unrelenting and determined struggle to achieve a better life.

Happy Labor Day, yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Elected member, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee

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

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


-----Original Message-----

From: kathy.lantry@comcast.net [mailto:kathy.lantry@comcast.net]

Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 8:48 AM

To: Alan Maki

Subject: Re: Question...

I have received UAW endorsement in the past. I have not heard from them yet
this year.



-------------- Original message --------------

From: "Alan Maki"

Have you received the endorsement of UAW Local 879 representing Ford workers
in this election?

Have you received UAW endorsement in the past?

Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk