This statute of socialist Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson who, indisputably, remains Minnesota's most popular politician because of his honest and open approach to state government while committed to improving the lives of working people; statue is at the entrance to the State Capitol Building.
The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, better known simply as the MN DFL, has become a study of political corruption and how the military-financial-industrial complex functions through state-monopoly capitalism with full complicity of class collaborationist trade union leaders and organizations funded through philanthropic grants which serve to silence any criticism of a political and economic system which is rotten to the core.
While there are many issues we could examine, the issue of the future of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is a case study; and study this issue we will over the weeks to come.
There comes a point at which working people can no longer accept the status quo without challenging the way corporations have a strangle-hold over our lives.
The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has developed a clear pattern in refusing to take up issues of importance to working people.
Let us consider how the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has worked with business interests and labor "leaders" who have no understanding of "class;" these labor "leaders" openly state they represent the "middle class" as they fear to even utter the words "working class."
What is the clear pattern of the MN DFL?
* The Minnesota DFL first abandoned the peace policies of the old Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.
* The MN DFL then jettisoned its support for single-payer universal health care and ever since has been playing election eve games by talking about fee-structured health care and "affordable" health insurance.
* The MN DFL then--- working with some of the most vicious mobsters--- crafted, initiated, and brought into being the "Compacts" creating the Indian casino industry resulting in more than 20,000 Minnesotans being trapped in smoke-filled casinos receiving poverty wages without any protections in the workplace under state or federal labor laws.
* The MN DFL has refused to reform unemployment compensation laws which give employers the right to challenge unemployment claims without even having to state any reason; all in complete violation of the due process provisions of the United States Constitution.
* The MN DFL has turned a blind eye towards the hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans experiencing and facing foreclosures and evictions; many the result of huge and outrageous medical bills.
* The Minnesota DFL has remained silent as Minnesota's last primary aquifer is destroyed in the Big Bog by peat mining as a Canadian company is allowed to truck away the profits.
* The Minnesota DFL has remained silent as United States Steel continues to dump billions of gallons of polluted and contaminated water into the streams, rivers and lakes of northern Minnesota.
* The MN DFL has refused to mount a campaign to end this dirty war in Iraq which is squandering our precious human and material resources while shamefully promoting new taxes to make our roads and bridges safe.
The MN DFL has slowly returned fully to the corrupt old ways of what the Minnesota Democratic Party was prior to the merger of the Democratic Party and the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party... a merger which never should have taken place in the first place.
Because the working class movement had been weakened and beat down through pernicious and malicious unrelenting and vicious anti-communist campaigns of Harrold Stassen, the fascist Joe McCarthy, and the pathetic excuse for a human being, that imperialist, undemocratic, corporate bootlicking politician Hubert Humphrey who was the author of the fascist and repressive Communist Control Act whose political career was manufactured by some of the most pathetic union "leaders" like George Meaney and the Reuther brothers who were on the pay-rolls of both the FBI and the CIA for many years; because of this the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party which relied on the Red Finns of the Iron Range and the Reds in the industrial unions as its base of support, the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party collapsed.
I sent the following letter to the editor of several newspapers today, we shall see what kind of "freedom of the press" we have in this great bastion of democracy:
Letter to the Editor;
Your newspaper has repeatedly pointed out our many social and economic problems; I don’t think your articles have pinned down the source of our problems.
The war in Iraq continues with no end in sight with dire consequences all the way around for most of us while a few corporations profit.
A new study by Democrats themselves puts the economic cost of the Iraq occupation at $1.6 TRILLION, or $21,000 per family. Every single penny has been wasted - not to mention the human cost to Americans and Iraqis and global hatred of the USA.
Why would Democrats want to give Bush one penny more?
This war makes no sense at all.
We could use this money to create a world-class, no-fee, comprehensive, all inclusive--- from prenatal to eye and dental along with all prescription medications--- single-payer, universal health care system which would be publicly financed and publicly administered; such a health care system would even be the envy of Canadians.
We could also use some of this money to establish a federal bank to take over the mortgages of working class families facing home foreclosures, lower the interest rates to something reasonable like 3% so people have homes to live in.
We would have enough money left over to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant through public ownership; saving 2,000 jobs as we protect one of the main pillars of Minnesota’s industrial base. Tax-payers have millions of dollars invested in this manufacturing complex which includes a hydro dam powering the entire operation; what tax-payers finance, tax-payers should own.
And, we would still have money left over; maybe a few road repairs could be made.
There is something drastically wrong with the priorities of Democrats and Republicans when “bi-partisan” billboards go up saying we need to increase our taxes to re-build rotting and rusting bridges that were not maintained as required in the first place after our taxes financed them to begin with as billions of our tax-dollars dollars were spent in a made for Hollywood campaign of “Shock and Awe” that resulted in bridges in Iraq being bombed as we watched as bombs bursted, but not in the air.
Why are politicians constantly telling us there is no money for these things we need when they have all this money to continue a war based upon lies and deceit? Even Alan Greenspan has stated this war is about oil and regional domination.
We are paying a terrible price for this war in so many ways: the death and destruction, not to mention paying through the nose every time we fill our gas tanks.
Let your Congressperson and United States Senators know it is time to stop all funding for this war in Iraq.
The only way to support the troops is to bring them home now.
Democratic politicians joined the Republicans in voting, again, to provide Bush with the funds to continue this carnage in Iraq. There is one word to explain all of this: profits. There is another word to describe it all: shame.
The military-financial-industrial complex has spun a complex web creating a frightening political structure which now threatens to strangle our democracy to boot.
It will take a powerful grassroots peoples’ movement to turn our country around. The “Red” Finns of the Iron Range and the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party of Floyd B. Olson, Elmer Benson and John Bernard created the foundation for a movement to accomplish progressive social change.
In my opinion “Red” Finn and Iron Ranger Gus Hall had it right when he said that capitalism is rotten to the core because the only thing the system successfully breeds is war.
Alan L. Maki
Democratic Party activist and Member of the MN DFL State Central Committee
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
I received the following letter from Bob Killeen the Secretary Treasurer of United Auto Workers Local 879 representing Ford workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant (following his letter is my response... in the days ahead, I will be detailing how the MN DFL sent SF 607 [Legislation aimed at saving the Ford Plant and Dam] down to defeat; how and why it all happened and the role of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and MN DFL'er, James Metzen, the banker, who Chairs the Minnesota State Senate Business, Industry, and Jobs Committee.]
I think everyone will agree it becomes necessary to understand how a piece of legislation like SF 607 could have gone down to defeat in a hearing on April 19, 2007 in Room 15 at 3pm in the State Capitol Building.
I will be providing the names and contact information for each member of this Committee and you can find out for yourself how each member of this Committee voted; or, if they were even present when the vote took place.
I find something very bizarre when a Committee so named would vote to take the wrecking ball to this plant after state legislators, including Chair Metzen, voted to invest so much of tax-payers' money in this operation over the years.
All of a sudden, Senator Metzen would like us to believe the Chair of this important Committee has little power or influence. I would point out that one of the PRIMARY REASONS the MN DFL leadership has provided to us concerning the need to elect a majority of Democrats to the State Legislature is because a MN DFL majority assures important Committees such as this have DFL Chairs and majority Committee membership. Either this is true, or it is not. I believe it is true; I also believe there now needs to be full and complete accountability as to why SF 607 authored by Senator Cohen went down to defeat in a Committee where the DFL members have a clear majority and DFL banker Metzen Chairs this Committee.
Here is Bob Killeen's letter to me:
From: Robert Killeen [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 10:23 AM
Subject: Senator Metzen Misinformation
Alan Maki. I have been reading some of the Green Party propaganda you have been been espousing. These types of attacks lend no credibility to your cause by accusing good people of bad things. Your accusations against Senator Metzen are both untrue and uncalled for. Jim has had a long standing relationship with the UAW which continued with his full support of our Ford Plant Legislation that called for the Fo Mo Co to keep TCAP in saleble condition for a period of 2 years after its' closing. This bill would have given us time to find other manufacturers to take over the property and keep good paying jobs in St Paul. If you had asked I would have told you our legislation was doomed because of pressure the St Paul Building Trades put on legislators to oppose our bill. Their goal, although shortsited, was to create short term building trades jobs by tearing down our plant and building condos. The St Paul Mayor was a huge ally of theirs in shooting down our bill. Other Senators who helped us were Tomassoni and Sparks. The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee - Bonoff, who is running for Congress in the 3rd district, and Saltzman. Murphy and Bakk got up and left the hearing just before the vote.My point is please refrain from attacking Senator Metzen. He is a good freind of the UAW and our family of members.
Bob Killeen Secretary-Treasurer UAW Local 879
Thanks for this letter. I was by your office several times to talk about this vote. You weren’t in.
I am sorry about any confusion. I do not take back anything I have said about Senator Metzen.
I did not “accuse” anyone of “bad things.” I simply have written and spoken based upon information I received from Senator Metzen’s office. I sent several e-mails, made numerous phone calls; and stopped at Senator Metzen’s office twice before I ever wrote or spoke a single word to anyone about this. I can asure you, if there is any confusion it is of Senator Metzen’s own making.
Since I notice this e-mail from you was not Cc’ed to Senator Metzen I have not sent it to him. You may send it to him if you chose; or with your permission I will forward this entire correspondence to him.
You should also know that two members of Senator Metzen’s staff have contacted me claiming that I am not telling the truth. Again, I asked them to provide me with minutes from this hearing which would clarify things. They refused. And I am not going to go through the trouble of suing a State Senator to obtain records which should be public and provided to the public upon request to begin with.
In fact, Metzen’s Committee is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats… all of whom your local has supported.
I have in fact noted numerous times Senator Tomassoni’s support for this important legislation; in fact, the record of this hearing clearly shows that he was the one and only Democrat to support this legislation… The record clearly shows one thing: Tomassoni moved for support of this proposed legislation and the record states the motion failed. If you have any written record of the proceedings from Sen. Metzen’s Committee Hearing in question to substantiate what you are now saying, please provide me with the official minutes of this hearing as recorded by the Committee Clerk/Secretary. The only Senator’s name I find in writing from the minutes of this hearing, such as they are, is that Senator Tomassoni was the lone, sole supporter of this legislation. This is based upon the records I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.
I have charged that the minutes of this particular Senate Hearing were probably kept in such a shoddy fashion so that no one would be able to tell from reading the minutes what went on in this hearing. If this is the case it raises an even larger issue which goes right to the heart of attempting to subvert democracy and the right of people to expect honest and open government from those whom they elect. Again, I stated all of this in an e-mail to Senator Metzen to which he never responded.
I find it strange that, at this late date, you are providing an account of this Senate Hearing that the clerk should have noted in the official minutes from the hearing at the time she provided me with the minutes.
Please feel free to request that Senator Metzen provide you with all correspondence I made with his office and that which was sent to me. I give him the right to release all such documents to you provided he releases everything without any omissions.
For the record, I have not been espousing any “Green Party propaganda.” Nor do I support the Green Party, even though I am strongly leaning towards supporting who I consider to be the best Democrat in the Presidential race, Cynthia McKinney; who, as you know was forced from Congress largely by the same grouping of business oriented Democrats who are pushing for the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.
The St. Paul mayor you refer to is a Democrat. Representative Paymar is a Democrat. Murphy is a Democrat. Rod Skoe is a Democrat.
There is something seriously wrong with a Democrat who you say is a big supporter of the UAW when he is the Chair of the Committee and he can not control his own Caucus members when it comes to such an important vote. In fact, the UAW has supported every single DFL member of this Committee. I do not have to draw any conclusions from this; the facts speak for themselves.
I have worked in the Democratic Party in several states over a period of some thirty years--- since I could vote, in fact; never have I seen such betrayal except over these “Compacts” creating casinos sending 20,000 Minnesotans to jobs in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any of the rights your own members enjoy protected under state or federal labor laws.
You can call me when ever you like about any issue or concern you have; I have been to the Plant often. I have left every leaflet I have distributed at the Plant at your office.
I am a member of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee, not a member of the Green Party. You will not find anything that I have written contrary to this. In no way, shape, or form have I distributed anything in the nature of “Green Party propaganda;” nor anything which approximates such.
I do not understand how you can say the “The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee…” when all the evidence in the minutes of the meeting as recorded by the clerk of the Committee clearly shows it was Democrats who are the culprits. In fact, even if all Republicans had refused to attend the hearing and refrain from voting, the Democrats would not have voted for this legislation.
Again, what I write and what I say is based upon the minutes I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.
In fact, the building trades unions provide Metzen with more campaign contributions than does the UAW. I am very concerned about the role of the building trades unions in all of this; however, I know from experience that their position on this issue can easily be reversed should your local clearly articulate the issue involved here in a way that people understand. If you choose to do this, by the time you are done, the building trades leaders will be hanging their heads in shame; seen by everyone as very pathetic as they pander for jobs by taking away the jobs of other working people.
I have tried to speak with Senator Metzen about this prior to the Committee Hearing, the day after the Committee Hearing, and as recent as yesterday. Senator Metzen, if he is concerned about anything that I am saying or writing can call me, sit down and talk with me, or send me an e-mail just as you have done.
I would be more than happy to sit down with you and Senator Metzen to discuss where we go from here.
I talked with Senator Cohen’s Legislative Assistants on several occasions, including yesterday; she tells me Senator Cohen plans no further legislative action. This is not right that the Democrats are dropping the ball in trying to save the Ford Plant.
As long as this Plant is still standing this will not be a “done deal” no matter how loudly the proverbial fat lady sings. Working people never give up, and working people never give in to corporate domination and greed; if they do, they lose.
If the Democrats snooze; working people lose. If the Democrats acquiesce, working people lose. There needs to be accountability here; there is no accountability; not from Senator Metzen, not from Representative Paymar; not even from Ron Gettelfinger or Bob King.
I would encourage you to invite the leadership of the Minnesota DFL and all DFL legislators and the U.S. Senate candidates to tour the plant with you so they know exactly what is at stake; and, encourage them to talk with rank and file workers about what a job means to a worker and his/her family. I think one of the very big problems is that most of the politicians with the power to save this Plant are so far removed from the life of working class families and their daily struggles to survive that they can look the other way, and then later say, “I didn’t know.”
I would also encourage you to insist that the Minnesota DFL take a position in support of public ownership of this plant; there is simply no other way to save it. This is not a “far out idea” as some of those looking for excuses to take the wrecking ball to this plant have stated. Public ownership has been very successfully used as a tool by the labor movement to save plants and jobs all over the world, including in Canada… the huge bus plant in Winnipeg being one very good example. I would also encourage you to talk with Bob King and Ron Gettelfinger about supporting public ownership of this plant… we can’t do any worse than the legislation which failed.
WE haven’t even explored the possibility of a joint China-Minnesota government venture to save this plant. Why not? Your Local supported Mark Dayton, you mean to tell me that Mark Dayton can not broach this issue with the Chinese; the Chinese aren’t afraid of public ownership. What about George Lattimore? Your local supported him for years; he has all kinds of connections in China.
As long as we are talking about some differences of opinion we may have over this entire matter of what happened in Metzen’s Committee where this legislation was defeated; I am of the opinion that you should have mobilized your entire membership including those working and those retired to turn out for this hearing in support of this legislation since you knew there was going to be strenuous opposition. Large numbers do not always assure legislative victories over the well-heeled, corrupt Summit Hill crowd; however, it never hurts to bring along a great big crowd… your dad must have agreed with this concept as he was a big supporter of the demonstrations aimed at closing down the Schools of the Americas… something that really should be shut down.
Yes, close the “School of the Americas”--- this killing machine--- and fund the continuing operation of the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; tax-payers would be the real winners and humanity would be the better for it.
I think if we sat down and talked about all of this and tried to work out a common strategy aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant we would be further ahead.
In case you missed my letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on saving the Plant (Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007; Page OP 4), here it is:
Your excellent editorial (Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007) on saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant missed one important point.
For all practical purposes there is little chance of saving this plant unless it is brought under public ownership; free enterprise has failed to save the plant and the jobs.
Tax-payers already have a huge investment in this plant. More tax-dollars should be invested to save this plant and these important manufacturing jobs.
What tax-payers finance they should own.
Minnesota legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that this plant survives through public ownership.
Alan L. Maki
Our approach to saving the Ford Plant is that we are willing to work with anyone and everyone towards this end; this includes you, your local, the Greens, the Democrats, the Reds, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists and those who have no party or organizational affiliations at all.
Saving this Plant is an issue dear to many, many Minnesotans; not only the members of your local.
As a result of my activities I have had people contacting me from all over Minnesota, the country, Canada and other parts of the world wanting to know how they can help. Just last week I heard from an eighty-seven year old former St. Paul resident, now retired and living in Arizona, who broke down and cried when she told me what this plant meant to her family and her family’s friends--- a lifetime of a decent life won through struggle. And our conversation ended with her saying: “Why did our families fight so hard; just to end up losing it all.”
We are working with very limited resources in order to encourage dialogue, debate and discussion on this issue while working towards creating the greatest possible unity on this issue; it is not my intent to burn any bridges; I would much rather build bridges of open communication… towards these ends I would be happy to sit down and discuss this issue with you, Senator Metzen and any other interested parties, and adjust tactics as called for.
I will be in the Cities early next week if you would like to meet.
Yours in the struggle to save the Ford Plant through public ownership,
Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
I invite comments and questions from all concerned as we discuss this important issue for the purpose of figuring out what kind of movement it will take for working people to have a say in this issue of what happens to the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam which powers this plant and the two-thousand jobs.
If we can't save the Ford Plant and two thousand jobs along with a hydro dam which sits on an expensive foundation which comprises a dam and a lock owned by the American tax-payers, what can we do to solve any problems working people are experiencing?
This past weekend I was at a fund-raising benefit for folk singer and working class activist Utah Phillips who is suffering a severe heart problem requiring a transplant. Utah Phillips has popularized a song: "No More Reds In The Union." I first heard Utah Phillips sing this song when I met him in Winnipeg while I was fighting deportation from Canada.
When the Reds get kicked out of the unions we end up with corrupt politics and a labor movement which is paralyzed in its ability to fight to keep plants open and save jobs.
Something to think about as you sit down for dinner this Holiday Season with family and friends.