Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Don't vote out of fear...

Talk by Alan Maki in Duluth, Minnesota; September 18, 2008 as part of a forum:

“Which way for labor in the 2008 Elections.”

Which way for labor in the 2008 Elections… this is our topic. I have heard comments here that Obama and the Democrats are going to fix this and fix that. I say this in a friendly manner, not to mock or make fun of any one; but, please, spare me--- spare us; capitalism is on the skids to oblivion and Barack Obama is not going to do a damn thing for the working class. My concern is not if Obama will throw a bone here or there to whoever gives him the biggest campaign contributions… and with unions spending over 70 million dollars--- not even counting all the woman/man hours being volunteered on his campaign; what we need to be looking at is solutions to problems which will address the concerns of the entire working class. What are such issues?

At the top of my list is peace; we cannot have guns and bombs and health care and child care; single-payer universal health care or socialized health care--- in my opinion we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about socialized health care… we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about socialism for that matter; another working class issue is card check or the Employee Free Choice Act--- however, this Act will mean absolutely nothing for workers in 28 states where the reactionary “at-will hiring, at-will firing” legislation is in place--- including here in Minnesota and even the big industrial state of Michigan… it has been Democrats who refuse to rescind this most repressive , anti-worker legislation--- David Bonior, the great defender of the rights of working people along with John Edwards and Obama have not uttered a peep in opposition to this legislation even as they tout the Employee Free Choice Act… complete hypocrites; we need to be talking about this mortgage question and student debts… these are very important working class issues and in my opinion the solution is the government stepping in and forgiving these debts or at least making student debts payable at 50 cents on the dollar with a token interest of 2 to 3 percent which would be seed money for a federal bank similar to the State Bank of North Dakota. Perhaps the most important issue, working class issue, along with peace and socialized health care is raising the minimum wage to a real living wage--- the time has come to stop pulling figures from a hat at election time… there is only one way to once and for all resolve this issue in a way that begins to pry wealth from the corporations and business, and this is to legislatively tie the minimum wage to the cost of living factors as calculated by the United States Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics… anything short of this is unfair to the working class and leads to the continued impoverishment of the working class… our goal is to advance in improving the standard of living for all working people--- organized labor cannot afford this “club” of impoverished workers to be held over its head by business and the bosses… it is shameful and disgraceful the way organized labor’s “leaders” have continued with this nickel and dime and quarters here and there crap… in fact, what right does a Methodist preacher like John Sweeney have to be speaking on this minimum wage issue at all when many of the present union contracts are little better than poverty wages and he has the gall to take the money from worker’s paychecks for union dues… he does not do an adequate job representing those workers he is being paid to represent, much less represent workers who he has never even consulted with. Yes, he consults with the poverty pimps of all these organizations whose directors and staffs make their living as a result of the disgraceful poverty in this country… but, Sweeney has never consulted with the workers being paid this miserly poverty minimum wage which the employers use to drag down the living standards of the entire working class. Once and for all we need to be clear on this issue… if a job needs to be done, that job should pay the worker doing the job a real living wage… if the employer does not want to pay real living wages then let that employer do the job himself.

My intent in coming here tonight is not to talk about demands that we need to make on Obama so much… suffice it to say that we will get no more from an Obama Administration than what we have received from George Bush… shit. Maybe even less if I read right where this rotten capitalist system is headed… as many of you know, for months now I have been saying that capitalism is on the skids to oblivion, but this is a matter for discussion for another time.

What I have not heard from Obama or anyone on his “team” is how any of the fixes will be made for the problems he has articulated so eloquently. It is very dishonest to lead people to believe that their problems are likely to be solved because their problems are now being mentioned after eight years of Democrats acquiescing and giving Bush everything he wanted… especially if the only reason for talking about the problems is to get you to give up your valuable vote with no intent to solve your problems. Usually they call this fraud. Previously we were led to believe that Obama is a “progressive.” We now know nothing could be further from the truth.

Your vote is very important… or so they say--- even if there is the tendency not to want to count votes in this country. However, this is neither here nor there, it is a sad commentary that in a country where politicians and the capitalist sooth-sayers boast to the world that this is the world’s greatest democracy we now have to have people watching closely to make sure our votes get counted.

But, beyond making sure your vote gets counted there is an even more fundamental issue involved which no one seems to want to talk about… and this is accountability… or, more precisely, getting something of substance from these politicians in return for your vote. Why should we march off to the polls like a bunch of cows being called in from the pasture every election day without getting a single thing in return for our votes?

As working people, we haven’t received a goddamn thing for our votes for well over sixty years in this country. The politicians--- of both political parties--- all owned by our bosses have quite literally been shitting all over us. Rita has a beautiful graphic of this on her blog, it is titled “Minnesota Outhouse” I believe… it is a two story out house--- politicians use the upper story, the people use the ground floor… I think you get my point.

If I am distorting this in any way… please set me straight right now before I make a fool of myself and go any further.

Anyone can run down a list of our problems… from unemployment to the robbery at the pumps to a war for oil in Iraq to home foreclosures and food prices soaring out of control… to poverty wages... to college tuitions soaring skyward as fast as the price of gas at the pumps. And I will give you this, it is better to have a bunch of charlatans at least mentioning our problems rather than a bunch of arrogant crooks pretending these problems don’t exist as capitalism is on the skids to oblivion.

Obama says he is for ending poverty. I would say the same thing and so would you if you were running for president... it sounds good; but, like me, I would be willing to venture a guess that each and everyone of you would feel obligated to tell people you expect votes from how you intended to help them solve their problems and what actions you intend to take to eliminate this scourge of poverty. Do you know anyone running for public office, especially the charlatans passing themselves off as politicians for the presidency, who would actually say, “I don’t care about poverty?” The question is not whether one acknowledges the existence of poverty; the question is what do you do to eliminate poverty? How do you end poverty when tens of millions of working people are being paid poverty wages? Correct me if I am wrong, but you either provide social programs to overcome the problems associated with this poverty; or, you pay people real living wages... common sense dictates we will have to do both. I have heard no suggestions from Barack Obama he intends to do either.

What organized labor has not been able to accomplish at the bargaining table, we have a right, and an obligation, to fight for in the state house and in the halls of congress.

We need legislation to solve the problem of poverty… poverty is a class issue in our country… poverty is a working class issue and we should be concerned with rising the entire working class out of poverty because any worker living in poverty drags the standard of living for the rest of us down--- if you don’t believe me you go home and think about this. This idea that there will be opposition to resolving this problem other than in some “incremental” way is foolish. Do you know any banker who will take “incremental” payments on a mortgage if you can’t afford the agreed payment? Go to the SuperValu grocery store down the street here… when you get done checking out, you tell the cashier, “I’ll be paying this in ‘increments’; see you next week.”

We need a working class solution to ending poverty in this country… this means legislatively establishing a federal minimum wage that is a real living wage based upon real cost of living factors as calculated by the United States Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics. To the extent that social programs are used to create single-payer universal health care, rolling back college tuitions or making education, including all higher education free as it should be, the minimum wage can be reduced. Get the government to bring the energy industries under public ownership and reduce the cost of home heating fuels and the minimum wage can be reduced, further. I hope you see what I am trying to do here; I am trying desperately to find ways to help these poor business people from having to pay a higher minimum wage. There is no reason why any worker should be doing any job which needs to be done and not be paid a real living wage for doing that job. If an employer disagrees with this, let that employer do the job himself or pay our heating bills and educational expenses, the rent, health care costs, etc.

We need to look at the health care issue in the same way. These politicians who talk about how we need to “be patient and let the political process work” will never take care of this health care mess. Look, we all know what we really need is socialized health care. We indicated we would settle for a reform--- single-payer universal health care; the politicians smelled blood, they saw weakness… they moved quickly to try to derail our single-payer movement. Our response should be to insist that we will settle for nothing less than socialized health care. People before profits. Health care, not warfare.

How will these problems be resolved… this is the real question. We have yet to hear the solutions to these very specific problems from Barack Obama or any other Democrat running for public office. If any of you know of one single politician putting forward solutions to any problems, I challenge you to prove me wrong right now.

Does anyone really expect the workers I represent--- casino workers--- to make the trip to the polls and vote for Obama? What will they get for their vote if they do vote for Obama? I can appreciate anyone who votes for candidates that have delivered for them, or candidates who might deliver for them in some way, even a very small way, which is always welcome. However, this “I got mine, FU” attitude has to end. An injury to one is an injury to all has to be the mantra of all working people. People should vote for candidates who help them… but, in the same manner, no one should expect casino workers to vote for politicians who do not help them… in fact, we are talking about politicians who have hurt us, Barack Obama is one… and knowingly continue to hurt us… this is an issue of basic human rights, it is an issue of social and economic justice involving the intentional denial of the most basic and fundamental rights to working people.

Here is the situation of thirty thousand Minnesotans and two-million casino workers employed in the Indian gaming industry across the country find themselves in…

Casino workers are employed in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages and have no rights--- none, zilch--- no rights under state or federal labor laws. Casino workers go to their jobs every day in these smoke-filled casinos, completely at the mercy of a bunch of violent and vicious mobsters who operate and manage these casinos including the casino right here in Duluth. If you think I exaggerate who casino workers are employed by… you go home and google up Frank Fertitta and Station Casinos. These casino managements are the worst kind of sleazeballs and scumballs imaginable. You go home and google up the name Frank Fertitta… and I guarantee you, if you knew this man walked by your child’s school-yard everyday you would live in fear. The Democrats take Fertitta’s money. Over five-thousand casino workers are employed by Mystic Lake Casino… check out what kind of sleaze-ball Stanley Crooks is. His name fits him well.

I really don’t want to see McCain elected… but, I hope you understand why casino workers are not thrilled about being asked to vote for Obama, who has only made two promises to any of you which we can depend on him to keep: Increasing military spending, getting us into at least one more war in Pakistan and expanding a very vicious and deadly war in Afghanistan where the losers are beheaded and the victors display the heads of the losers on flag poles--- this should be a sight for the American people to behold; and continuing this dirty war for oil and regional domination in Iraq… the other promise Obama has made is to re-introduce American youth to a new wave of militarization where, “if we” are at war, everyone will serve--- which means American youth will again become acquainted with the draft… this should be an interesting experience for America, too... my prediction is that we will soon see the thousands of the youth now packing football stadiums and arenas to cheer Obama on… these same youth will be rioting in the streets and burning Obama in effigy as soon as the first draft cards are mailed out.

Where does that leave us on the issues you have spoken about, upon which the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council and our organizing committees have been very vocal on… more vocal, I would remind you than any of the “leaders” of your unions--- the reason I was probably invited here to speak tonight instead of Ray Waldron the President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO is because we have been a clear outspoken voice for single-payer universal health care; “card check” which includes putting an end the biggest obstacle we all have to union organizing--- at-will hiring, at will firing, an issue I have raised at every single state convention of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party as a delegate and as a member of the DFL State Central Committee, and in resolutions which have unanimously passed at the precinct caucus level in Roseau County; we have vigorously championed the struggle against racism and for full equality--- in the contracts we are mobilizing around, affirmative action for Native Americans is a model for the entire labor movement to emulate if there is a real desire to end racism which Richard Trumka, Jimmy Hoffa and Leo Gerard now find themselves very belatedly lamenting, as you will recall, I was the author of the resolution on single-payer universal health care, which was seconded at the DFL State Convention by our friend here from the USW and passed by 72%.--- and I hope you don’t take offense at me saying this, but this past spring you introduced a resolution at your precinct caucus calling for “affordable universal health insurance” which is not the same as single-payer universal health care; in a way, it is kind of funny, because I am probably being attacked by Democrats and Republicans across this state and in Michigan more than anyone else and I am not even running for anything… if the Democrats in Minnesota and Michigan spent as much time campaigning against John McCain as they do attacking me, there would be no question that John McCain would lose these two important states.

I don’t have time to talk about what is going on as far as trying to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant… let me just say we are hearing nothing from the politicians on this issue either… suffice it to say, jobs on the Iron Range will be lost if this plant is allowed to close… what tax-payers have financed and subsidized, tax-payers should own. I am on my way to a forum in St. Paul on this topic Monday evening… public ownership of the Ford Plant and hydro dam is being proposed as the fix.

Neither do I have time to talk about water issues and saving the Big Bog from peat mining.

I have just about used up my allotted time… you agreed to pay my gas for coming here this evening, I am wondering if I could buy a little extra time to say what is on my mind… if I were to contribute the gas money to you would I be able to continue…

Thank you. I will try to be brief in concluding. Ok, how about I just agree to conclude when I am done?

As a “red” Finn whose family hails from the Iron Range where it used to be understood that workers are workers and bosses are bosses, two classes who have absolutely nothing in common with the exception that one works for the other who gets rich off of their labor--- from the Iron Range today we hear the disgraceful perversions of the words “progressive” and “left” which insult the struggles of our grandparents and parents… some of you, your great-grand parents.

Many of you have heard about the ruckus at the old “Finn Hall,” Petrell Hall, not far from Two Harbors a couple weeks ago where I was told to take my opinions and “go back to Russia” because I supported the class struggle viewpoint of Gus Hall a viewpoint that used to be the hallmark of the Communist Party USA. I hope that video gets shown all over Duluth and Superior and the Iron Range because I have the right to speak my views. I stand on that right based upon the blood and sweat and struggles of my grandparents--- proud “red” Finns--- and my own struggles… including standing up in opposition to that dirty war in Vietnam while John McCain was delivering payloads of napalm and cluster bombs on the innocent people of Vietnam, to standing up for the rights of casino workers… no one is going to tell me to “go back to Russia” because I voice opinions counter to their own. I have never suggested that anyone should leave their country because of their political views… although I agree with Dennis Kucinich that Bush and Cheney should be behind bars… just like any other crooks… but, this has nothing to do with the right of Bush and Cheney to express their views it is about criminal wrong-doing.

Sisters and brothers, comrades and friends, I submit to you, unless working people stand up and say , “Enough,” the pathetic situation in politics we face today will continue to worsen right along side our standard of living which is being driven, down, down, down… I can only say to those of you in this room who think there is some kind of “salvation” to be found in Barack Obama… I ask you to explain what you base your assessment on… as all of you know, I am very open-minded, though class biased; it is up to you to convince me why I, or any casino worker, should vote for Barack Obama. I haven’t heard anything here tonight which would lead me to vote for Obama. As all of you know, I have been a very ardent supporter of Democrats who have a clear track record in defense of standing up for the rights of working people, even when this support has been based upon very minimal accomplishments and less than adequate promises… which most politicians have refused to try to make good on once elected.

I would not vote Republican unless Lincoln were to rise from the grave… and after eight long years of George Bush, I likely would be hesitant voting for Abe Lincoln if he were to present himself in this election as a Republican. On Labor Day I marched with America in opposition to the Republican Party in St. Paul. Yes, America marched against the Republican Party… it was a great demonstration.

I don’t share some of your fears of John McCain, even though I detest him and everything he stands for--- the guy, and this Neanderthal moron, his running mate--- are both a disgrace to the human race--- McCain is a warmonger and a war criminal who deserved everything the Vietnamese dished out to him for dropping napalm and cluster bombs on innocent working people and peasants tending to their rice paddies trying to survive--- just as we, as working people, are struggling against great odds trying to survive. McCain and his backers should be thanking the Vietnamese people for keeping him alive to run for president with Palin, an uncaring mother who encourages and sends own her son into a senseless oilman’s war because she supposedly communicates with God in strange tongues and God tells her that this war is for Him and not Cheney’s friends at Halliburton and Exxon/Mobil. First a small town in Texas lost its village idiot... now Alaska may lose one, too.

But, do you conduct your struggles through your unions out of “fear” of your bosses? No. Our struggles are waged on the basis of what is right and just… to improve our standard of living.

And our electoral struggles should be based upon the same struggles for peace and social and economic justice, with the same courage--- without fear.

If “fear” was to be our guide to action, the “red” Finns of the Iron Range would never have stood up to the mining bosses.

I can assure you, and I think you know, the “red” Finns of the Iron Range had more to fear from their bosses than we have to fear from John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Our struggles for a better life as trade unionists have never been based upon fear… ok, for some sixty years the bogey man of anti-communism struck fear into organized labor… but, take a look around you, look at your communities, look at the massive unemployment, look at this dirty war, look at how every stream, river and lake in this “land of ten-thousand lakes” has been contaminated to the point where pregnant women and nursing mothers are warned that consuming the fish from these waters which appear to be so beautiful and harmless, are nothing but reservoirs of death and sickness and deadly cancers as that arrogant plant manager at MinnTac tells a group of trout anglers about their concerns over United States Steel polluting the Dark River… “This is the land of Ten-Thousand Lakes… can’t you find someplace else to fish?”

We have paid a terrible price because gutless “leaders”--- who now counsel that we should consider our choice for president (and most other political offices) should be based upon fear. If I were to allow “fear” to dictate my course in life, I would never enter a casino managed by the likes of a vicious, violent mobster like Frank Fertitta talking union to casino workers.

I sure as hell won’t enter a voting booth, fearful of John McCain, while getting nothing in return for my vote--- the “vote,” which we are constantly reminded, every day, is the most precious aspect of democracy. But, what does your vote mean if you cast it out of fear and you get nothing for your vote as the corporations deliver their “votes” via lobbyists deployed with brown paper shopping bags filled with cash and get everything, and more, than what they ask for… at your expense.

Because we, as working people, still fear taking the leap to organizing a working class political party, we are paying through the nose at the gas pumps as millions go without health care because politicians like Barack Obama have no shame in standing before America saying he will increase the military budget when each and every worker in this room--- along with just about every one else in America understands the basic little truth brought forward over one-hundred and fifty years ago by Karl Marx, that every expenditure on military adventures and armaments is tantamount to taking your pay-check out of your wallet and tossing it into the ocean--- would anyone in this room walk out to the end of Canal Street and toss the contents of your billfold out into Lake Superior? What do you suppose would happen to you? The police would probably take you to the psych ward. Yet, this is what these politicians do with your hard earned money… Barack Obama has no shame in saying--- as people are homeless and hungry, without health care and can’t afford the cost of college--- that he intends to piss your money away by increasing the military budget and expanding these oil wars… no shame. Obama gets no sympathy or support from me.

The capitalist class feared Karl Marx, in fact, they still fear a man over one-hundred years dead… imagine, the John McCains of this world who we are told we should fear, are themselves afraid of a man who has been so long dead that his remains are most likely mere grains of sand like you have out on the beaches along Lake Superior here. Marx’ ideas so feared, that the mainstream media will not stop their attack. There is a lesson here for us. We need to make the McCains--- and Obamas--- of this world shake and tremble in fear of the working class, not the other way around.

I can assure you that Frank Fertitta will fear no one walking into one of his casino operations who fears John McCain. I can assure you, Cleveland Cliffs will have no fear of any man nor woman coming to work in a taconite plant who fears John McCain. I can assure you, United States Steel will laugh in the face of any union leader sitting at the bargaining table who displayed a fear of John McCain. On the other hand, working people will sit as equals at the bargaining table with these greedy, corporate monsters and pigs if working people were to say to Barack Obama, “You aren’t getting our votes unless you provide something in return.” If this were done, you might actually end up getting something other than poverty for your labor. At the negotiating table you threaten to with-hold your labor. At the polls, this is the way to bargain with the politicians, too, by with-holding your vote unless you get something in return that will improve your life.

Even though you may disagree with me as far as voting for Obama goes, maybe on some other things I have said here tonight we agree… I want you to know, I didn’t hire this guy in the green cap to start clapping for me all night; I hope we can continue to discuss these things as we continue to work together on issues concerning finding solutions to the problems of working people… issues which, I remind you, Barack Obama is not on our side, or, if he is, he certainly hasn’t said--- increasing military spending and re-introducing the military draft are not the kinds of things I think of when considering voting for any candidate for public office--- even when John McCain and Sarah Palin are waiting in the wings.

Let me just close with this:

Some have charged, like Bob Walls of the International Association of Machinists up in International Falls, that I am using the problems of casino workers to advance some kind of far out left ideas and my intent is to destroy the Democratic Party--- to Bob Walls and those with such backwards thinking, I say to them, “Solve the problems of casino workers, than I will not have this wide open forum for my ideas that I now do.” But, remember, it was within the last two years that Minnesota Democrats in the state legislature, initiated, and passed legislation, requiring all places of employment to be smoke-free--- except for this state’s casinos. The mutterings and musings of this muddle-headed racist bigot up in International Falls passing himself off as a “labor leader” who is as afraid of John McCain as he is of Boise Cascade management… goes right in one ear and out the other ear… just as his mutterings do with most Boise workers who are getting pretty damn fed up with his being afraid of management, and they are getting ready to rumble. If anyone doubts that Bob Walls is the racist bigot I maintain he is, I suggest that you contact Jody Beaulieu, the Red Lake Nation Archivist and Secretary of the Red Lake Nation Tribal Council, to whom I turned over the letter I received from Bob Walls, which makes the leaders of organized labor who “fear John McCain,” two faced hypocrites in saying they are opposed to racism--- they have turned in indifference to this racist letter; why is Bob Walls still the International Rep for the IAM some four years after writing such a racist, bigoted and biased letter to anyone? Can such a bigot represent all IAM members? It is almost enough for me to know that Bob Walls is supporting Barack Obama, for me to say I will not walk across the street to vote for Obama, but such bigots will never determine what I say or do when it comes to the struggles of working people for better lives.

As working people we need our own political Party along the lines of the old Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party which elected two socialist governors--- Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson, and John Bernard, that courageous member of the Communist Party from the small mining community, Eveleth, on the Iron Range; miners elected John Bernard to Congress because they knew they could rely on a Communist to fight like hell for them.

I expect that Barack Obama will not be receiving many votes from casino workers here in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan or Iowa… and, I can assure you, McCain will be lucky to receive ten votes from Minnesota’s thirty-thousand casino workers… we are voting in our way, according to our interests, by voting for neither.

With that said, Election Day is still a ways off… we could be convinced to change our minds if offered something of substance. I would be a fool to sit here and join the chorus of support for Barack Obama sweeping the country as more than two-million casino workers continue going to their jobs in smoke-filled casinos for which they receive poverty wages without one single right in the workplace under state or federal labor laws as Brian Melendez, the Chair of the Minnesota DFL stood before thousands of delegates and guests right here in Duluth and declared: “We stand in solidarity with our friends operating their casino businesses” while never uttering one single peep of concern for the thousands of Minnesotans employed in these hell holes, and Barack Obama takes campaign funds from the likes of Frank Fertitta… and the Minnesota DFL is receiving campaign contributions from these same casino managements.

By all rights, given the plethora of problems in our country today, Barack Obama and the Democrats should win in a landslide over the Republicans… if they don’t; it is of their own making. If the race is as tight as they say in Minnesota and Michigan, Obama and the Democrats might want to keep an open mind to the injustices of casino workers… if you ask me, they are kind of stupid if they don’t offer us something for our vote… I have extended our hand… and it has yet to be grasped. A lot worse things have been said in politics then I have said here tonight with the fences ending up being mended in time for an election.

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to speak my views here tonight. I have never had the opportunity to speak to so many rank and file working class activists in one room here in Duluth, maybe after what I said here tonight I never will again. I am thinking, judging from the enthusiastic response to the things I have said here tonight, that we are mostly of like minds even though we may disagree to one extent or another on Obama. There is a lot that one-hundred and twenty workers can do. When I agreed to speak here tonight, I was thinking there would be maybe fifteen to twenty people. I think the turnout and your enthusiastic response signifies a real turning point for politics in Minnesota. Again, thank you for the very warm reception, I apologize for talking longer than my allotted time; and I would ask of you, that if you are considering going to the local casino here to pass some time--- and spend your money, that you instead take a walk out in the woods, go fishing, play checkers or cribbage with a friend rather then patronize a business that so ruthlessly exploits working people as the politicians and political hacks turn their backs on us.

I would especially like to thank Rita and Benny and the members of the Duluth-Superior Club of the Communist Party for all of their hard work and efforts in bringing us together here this evening to discuss the working class and the 2008 elections. I appreciate the opportunity for dialogue with the other four members of the panel here.

Maybe, also, I should just mention, that around two-hundred people turned out at FinnFest 2008, held right here in Duluth, to hear the prominent and respected Finnish journalist, Tuomas Savonen, talk about the life of Gus Hall; and about sixty people turned out to hear Toumas talk about the life of Gus Hall at the old “Petrell Hall.”

I find all of this very encouraging, considering the circus being passed off as politics in our state.

I have some cards here with my blog address… I invite you to check out my blog… feel free to call me or e-mail me… let’s stay in touch.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Check out my blog:

Thoughts From Podunk


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I voted early...

I voted for Cynthia McKinney the most progressive candidate in the race.

After this farce of an election foisted on us by Wall Street bankers and corporate profiteers the time has come to consider a real working class, anti-capitalist alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties--- both of which represent big capital as does Barack Obama.

The muddle-headed professors and middle class intellectuals who make their living off of writing about the problems of working people and the poverty pimps funded by the foundations of the great "philanthropists" who are some of the worst exploiters of the working class have exhibited no urgency towards the problems of working people; to these muddle-headed professors and middle class intellectuals foreclosures and evictions, homelessness, joblessness, lack of health care and every miserable thing associated with poverty and the impoverishment of the working class are mere statistics to be published in their newspaper articles, books and scholarly periodicals which are only read by their like-minded muddle-headed and confused friends who are not grounded in the reality of what capitalist crises mean in the everyday lives of working people.

The time has come for working people to begin expressing their views and taking an active role in building their own grassroots and rank and file organizations in their communities and where they work and go to school.

No one can speak better for working people than what we can speak for ourselves.

Education must be combined with a militant and united determination to fight for needed reforms while struggling to put an end to this rotten capitalist system that breeds nothing but profits for the wealthy and Wall Street coupon clippers and more poverty and continued misery for the working class.

After more than seventy years of attack and assault on the left-wing liberal and progressive movement in this country by corporate "think-tanks" and the mainstream media, the foundation of a progressive socialist base is still firmly intact just waiting for us to rebuild the movement for social change, peace and economic justice upon.

Every vote cast for Cynthia McKinney is a vote to rebuild the real progressive movement in this country and any and all working people who are fed up with the status quo should not be intimidated and bullied by the capitalist sooth-Sayers who use the worst kind of trickery and shenanigans trying to convince us that Barack Obama is the "lesser of two evils" when none of these weak-minded, muddle-headed intellectuals who continue to hide out in their Ivory Towers and glass offices away from the day to day struggles of working people for survival are non-struggle, no-shows when the sheriff arrives for evictions; middle class professors and phony labor "leaders" who don't know the difference from middle class and working class who don't have to worry about having to put a roof over the heads of their families or where their next meal will come from or how they will pay doctor and hospital bills or the cost of higher education for their children or figure out which of their co-workers they should hit up for a $20.00 loan to fill their tank to get to work until their next miserly pay-check comes at the end of the week as they are being chased by the bill collectors; these middle class professors and phony labor "leaders" have had every opportunity to bring the resources at their disposal into the class struggle--- instead they sit twiddling their thumbs with their feet up on their desks playing computer games between watching their fortunes take a nose-dive as the stock market "makes a correction" and the rest of us get the "thrill of a lifetime" on the capitalist roller-coaster ride as Alan Greenspan ponders why the track broke rather than figuring out how to save us instead of letting us fly off the track into the air as we crash on the concrete below.

Don't let the fear of a war-monger like John McCain and a Neanderthal like Sarah Palin determine who you will vote for because Barack Obama and Joe Biden, while perhaps no worse, certainly are no better.

A vote for Cynthia McKinney will strengthen the progressive movement and provide the needed catalyst for the difficult struggles which lie ahead... do not be bamboozled with all this "lesser evil" nonsense which has been pitched to the working class like Joe Blanton's most perfect World Series slider.

Barack Obama had the perfect opportunity to hit a grand slam home run when Bush pitched his "Wall Street bailout" and Obama struck out.

Beware: The "lesser evil" game is a trap!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Make way for the working class to have a say…

This enormous economic mess we are now experiencing, along with the heavy debt the bankers and the politicians of both major political parties have saddled us with, can be summed up very simply: The capitalists have taken all the profits and left the working class with all the problems.

There are only two sources of wealth: Labor and Mother Nature.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense understands that if you allow labor to be continually exploited and Mother Nature to be repeatedly abused and raped there will be severe consequences.

We are now reaping the consequences for allowing this parasitical monster of state-monopoly capitalism to have spun its web of corruption in the form of a cannibalistic military-financial-industrial complex which now threatens to consume and destroy our families, our communities, our State and our Nation while wreaking havoc in other lands.


The time has come to put the needs of people before corporate profits.

There is only one alternative; for working people to come together to build a new society on the foundation created by the socialists of the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.

We need to fight and struggle to re-establish the liberal, democratic and progressive socialist traditions for which Minnesota is known around the world.

We have complex problems before us… but, any country which can spend trillions of dollars on wars to steal the oil of other nations, and trillions of dollars bailing out corporations and bankers looking for using socialism to solve the problems of their own creation as they have sought to prop up their rotten capitalist system--- which they have touted to the world as being the best--- at our expense… This Nation can now come up with the resources to use socialism to solve the problems for the rest of us, too.

What is good for the goose is, in this case, is even better for the gander.

Let Barack Obama and John McCain volunteer to go off exploring the caves of Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for Osama Bin Laden; we have better things to do.

Our first priority is to end these dirty wars for oil and redeploy those funds--- as we bring home the troops--- to creating a world class socialized health care system which will create millions of new jobs; five messes the money-grubbing Wall Street coupon clippers and their bought and paid for politicians created, all solved at the same time by ending these dirty imperialist wars for oil and regional domination--- we get health care not warfare, and we begin to solve the problem of unemployment--- and when we put people to work in this way we begin to create a new--- functioning--- people oriented, cooperative, socialist economy where democracy will flourish because it will require the full participation and involvement of all people working together in order to succeed.

Second, without further delay, we need to establish the State Bank of Minnesota to accomplish for our State what the State Bank of North Dakota was set up, by workers and farmers, to do--- fund enterprises to keep people working.

Third, we need a minimum wage which is a real living wage arrived at by the calculations of the United States Department of Labor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development--- based upon the real figures relating to the real cost of living and this minimum wage should be required by legislation to be updated quarterly right along with the release of all economic indicators to assure a quality life and decent standard of living for all working people and their families.

We have finally come to the point where even the parasitic bankers and the exploiting industrialists now concede that only socialism can bail them out of this horrible mess and solve their problems... capitalism has reached the end of the line and the only thing now to be had from the system is unending human misery.

At the point where society has to pay to clean up the corrupt mess these parasitic predatory lenders and financial institutions have created, this is the time to say:


What tax-payers finance, tax-payers must own.

If Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs do not like these terms, these greedy pigs should make the trip to their off-shore banks in the Cayman Islands and make withdrawals from their accounts to pay to solve their own problems.

The time has come to roll up our sleeves, come together, and get to work quickly before this entire rotten system collapses---like the I35-W Bridge--- and crushes us all while leaving our children and grandchildren with the clean-up and the bills.

I firmly believe working people can run our country and our state better than any of the big-business politicians being funded by the corporate lobbyists.

Effectively using the tools of public ownership and nationalization combined with modern, scientific planning for the common good, we can put people to work in decent jobs at real living wages... we hear it all the time just before Election Day: Jobs, Jobs, Jobs... but we never see the jobs, and if we do, these jobs are poverty wage jobs no one can live on.

I intend to run for Governor of Minnesota in 2010.

I invite all working people who think that it is possible to create something better than the mess we are now in, to come together and work from where socialist Governors Floyd B. Olson and Elmer A. Benson left off in trying to create a just and decent society where people live and work in harmony with Mother Nature, to join with me, in establishing the Minnesota Party to give the bankers, the mining, forestry and power generating industries along with the industrialists and big-agribusiness a real run for their money.

Let’s run these parasites that have been living off of our labor and destroying Mother Nature right out of our state. We can get along just fine--- even better--- without them.

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council


Candidate for Governor of Minnesota

Former member: Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words...

Note: Click on pictures to enlarge.

The past as prologue? Lining up for food and water, Louisville, Kentucky, 1937. By Margaret Bourke-White/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images.

This is the way the American working class responded...

Billboard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

An Open Letter to Barack Obama…


Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

and Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party activist

October 12, 2008

“The vision of working class Minnesotans for the change we need”

Barack, speaking for casino workers who are forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights, some of us have already decided to vote for you, others among us could possibly be persuaded, while others among us--- including myself--- we may be voting for other candidates like Cynthia McKinney; and some people who feel completely disenfranchised by the present state of politics in our country where government is not responsive to their concerns and problems, very unfortunately--- but understandably so--- sadly, may not vote at all… however, we all share a common vision for the kind of change we need; and, that vision is one where the problems of working people need to be solved before the interests of bankers and the Wall Street crowd…

Barack, you began your political career as a member of, and with support from, the socialist New Party in Chicago. We expect that as President you will adhere to this vision of people before corporate profits. You are campaigning in Minnesota where socialist politicians Governor Floyd B. Olson, U.S. Senator and Governor Elmer A. Benson and United States Congressman John Bernard are held in very high esteem… when campaigning in Minnesota, we expect you to address the concerns of working people:

1. Single-payer universal health care as a step towards socialized health care.

2. Public ownership of the Ford Plant and hydro dam to save two-thousand jobs.

3. End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now; no war in Pakistan---redirect money to things people need.

4. Moratorium on all home foreclosures and evictions; renegotiate the mortgages.

5. For an end to the robbery at the pumps.

Barack, we expect you to open up the “Compacts” which have created the Indian Gaming Industry to include provisions for the protection of the rights of casino workers--- we are talking about basic human rights and dignity, the right to decent jobs at living wages in a fabulously profitable multi-billion dollar industry.

Barack, we expect you to work for an end to poverty as called for in the United Nations’ Millennium Statement, and we expect an Obama Administration to work towards the full implementation of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights which will observe its Sixtieth Anniversary on December 10, 2008; here in the United States we have a very long way to go in fulfilling its goals and objectives.

Barack, socialism isn’t just for solving the problems of the bankers, investors, financiers and the Wall Street crowd… in the case of socialism solving problems, what is good for the goose is even better for the gander.

Barack, I have been involved in the Democratic Party in one way or another for over thirty years… I have petitioned, I have chaired campaigns and raised funds; I have served in various capacities in Democratic Party organizations over the years in three states; from trustee to local precinct chair to being a member of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party State Central Committee--- I have supported Democratic Party politicians--- and those of other parties, also--- for every office when they advanced the cause of peace, civil rights, the protection of our environment and rights of working people… and, quite honestly, in the case of others like Valerie Solem, Matt Entenza, Mike Hatch, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, when they sought to restrict the rights of working people and encouraged war--- I opposed them.

Barack, in your case, I probably am not going to be voting for you, but, I wish you well in your pursuit of the Presidency… In saying this, I speak for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council and our Organizing Committees at casinos in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. I believe--- based upon my travels and discussions with many people from all walks of life--- I also speak for many other voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.

Barack, you continue to speak to the concerns of the “middle class;” we are concerned with the problems of the working class.

Barack, let me be perfectly frank and up front with you. There is a short time left until Election Day. What we want is something in return for our votes. Please think about this.

Barack, you write me often and I appreciate the opportunity to stay in touch; you can expect that I will be keeping in touch with you, too, as you have requested, and I appreciate that you indicate you are very open to communication and I trust that you are sincere in wanting change; so we have a great deal to discuss.

I have always believed in building bridges because I seldom find that burning bridges solves problems.

Sometimes building bridges is tough work because of the swift, turbulent and murky waters.

Good luck and best wishes.

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki

Thursday, October 9, 2008




Campaign for America's Future STAFF

By David Sirota

October 9th, 2008 - 11:19am ET

Is Henry Paulson a crony communist or a businessman? The answer could be the difference between economic disaster and recovery.

Understanding Paulson's role in stopping —or fueling — the credit crisis requires a review of two axioms from Economics 101: 1) A credit crisis occurs when banks stop lending and 2) The amount banks can lend is a multiple of the capital in their vaults. Therefore, ending a credit crisis means prompting new lending — and that means maximally increasing bank capital.

Enter Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs executive and current Treasury secretary. The bailout he fearmongered through Congress aims to waste almost a trillion taxpayer dollars buying banks' bad mortgages — a scheme all but ensuring a disastrous outcome.

If Paulson pays banks exactly what their mortgages are worth, he will not increase banks' capital (or their lending ability) — he will merely convert one asset (mortgages) into another (cash), making no impact on the credit crisis. If, to protect taxpayers, he buys mortgages at lower prices than banks list them, banks will have to write down their capital and consequently contract lending — and the credit crisis will worsen. If Paulson overpays for mortgages, he may marginally augment bank capital, but also incur massive taxpayer losses when he later resells the mortgages at their real price.

The silver lining is a little-noticed provision in the bailout bill allowing Paulson -- if he chooses — to buy ownership stakes in banks. According to Robert Johnson, the Senate Banking Committee's former chief economist, this would cost roughly $375 billion less than the mortgage-buying plan — and, better yet, more aggressively attack the credit crisis.

Mortgages may be underpriced today, but they retain some value on banks' books. So rather than purchasing mortgages (a capital-neutral transaction), Paulson could buy bank stock, infusing banks with new capital on top of their mortgages. That would exponentially increase lending capacity, prevent taxpayers from buying toxic assets, give the public a share of future profits, and grant regulators ownership leverage to restructure bank management.

This is where Paulson's personal proclivities come in.

A crony communist looking to socialize risk and privatize gain would consider these options and choose to buy mortgages — that is, choose to ignore the credit crisis, reward discredited executives and permit banks to keep any subsequent profits — all while inhibiting a potential government-mandated housecleaning of Wall Street. Indeed, the Financial Times' Wolfgang Munchau says Paulson's mortgage-buying program is driven by "a wish to benefit the investment banks he once chaired, and which stand to gain handsomely from such a package."

A businessman, by contrast, would limit taxpayers' exposure, give us a stake in future gains and demand management control. He would, in short, treat taxpayers like Warren Buffett treats his Berkshire Hathaway shareholders when buying banks with their money.

This is how Sweden successfully confronted its banking crisis in 1992, and how England is addressing its own meltdown today. In fact, world leaders are citing our crony communism as a cautionary tale. "This is not the American plan," said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in announcing his bank rescue. "We will have a stake in the banks — we are not simply giving money."

The bailout bill's failure to make this course of action mandatory should have killed the legislation in Congress. But banking CEOs and their lobbyists turned "should have" into "didn't." They love crony communism and hate government ownership stakes because, as financial analyst Luigi Zingales says, "Nobody likes to pay for their own mistakes — it is much better to have the taxpayers pay."

Considering the opposition, then, it is a miracle any ownership stake language slipped into law. Whether Paulson now uses that language will signal how deep Washington corruption runs.

Crony communism or crony capitalism...

By Alan Maki | October 9th, 2008 - 1:04pm GMT

Perhaps you could explain where this "crony communism" comes from?

It sounds to me like you are trying to confuse an already complex problem.

As a proud "red" Finn I take great exception to the cheap manner of injecting anti-communism into a discussion about such an important topic.

Obviously you really are writing under the illusion that capitalism can be "regulated" out of this mess.

I think the way to address this issue is to first start by asking the question: From a working class point of view, who is suffering most as a result of this economic mess and how do we relieve the problems of working people, first?

Obviously, working class people trying to put a roof over the heads of their families are the primary victims here so we should first, and foremost, be concerned to keep these people in their homes... no matter what happens to the economy as a result... the last thing we need in this country is a new wave of homelessness. Any country that can squander billions of dollars on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan can subsidize housing.

This means, the first step--- and the first step now, not after Obama is elected tens of thousands of foreclosures and evictions later--- there needs to be a federal moratorium declared on home foreclosures and evictions.

Second step. The federal government should purchase each and every home mortgage as it comes up for foreclosure. The mortgage should be adjusted based upon present market value and the former mortgage holders should have to eat the difference.

Third. Interest payments on these mortgages should be based upon a sliding income scale taking into consideration any other extenuating circumstaces of the family--- unemployment, health care expenses and bills, educational expenses, etc--- interests should range from Zero to 4%.

All interest should be used to establish a federal bank along the lines of the State Bank of North Dakota.

After this is done, the Wall Streeters should be told to take care of their own mess... they can make some withdrawls from their accounts in the Cayman Islands where Goldman Sachs seems to enjoy fun in the sun.

As for you, as a progressive, injecting this kind of pathetic and shameful anti-communism into this discussion; you can take your anti-communism and shove it where the sun never shines.

This is corrupt, crony capitalism; nothing more, nothing less.

If the entire capitalist system, which has obviously turned cannibalistic, collapses, I say, "good riddance;" working people will establish a healthy democratic socialist economy in its place without all the pain of going through another massive capitalist economic depression.

Working people are not stupid when it comes to solving problems; why do you think management has a "suggestion box" next to every time clock in every mine, mill and factory in this country?

Now is the time to have a good open debate in this country: Which way America... capitalism or socialism?

This is supposedly a democracy... let's vote :)

I am insulted and offended that Barack Obama would find such urgency in caring for the Wall Street coupon clippers while telling the rest of us that our problems can wait until after he gets elected. We have all heard this line of bull before.

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

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

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chickens Home to Roost

This is my response to Leo Gerard's:

Chickens Home to Roost


By Leo Gerard, President, USW

October 7th, 2008 - 10:12am ET

While the recently passed bailout bill may or may not help to stabilize the credit markets (and on Monday it looked as if it may have in fact made it worse) it is absolutely clear that it does nothing to address the fundamental cause of this crisis – declining home prices and eight years of stagnant wages for the overwhelming majority of working families.

George W. Bush’s chickens have come home to roost, and they’re not pretty.

With the full support of Arizona Sen. John McCain, who voted with him 90 percent of the time, eight years of the Bush-McCain philosophy have left us in a terrible mess:

138 trade deals – every single one enthusiastically supported by McCain – have contributed to a loss of 3.9 million manufacturing jobs and the growth of our current account balance by $4.4 trillion.

A federal budget, which was running a $236 billion surplus in 2000, will balloon to an estimated deficit of $407 billion in fiscal 2008, and perhaps $500 billion in 2009.

And last week we learned that another 159,000 jobs were lost last month, many more than expected and the worst job losses in five years.

We have mortgaged not just our homes but our entire future to foreign governments that have made clear in recent days that they care not one wit for the concerns of America’s working families. The people with the leverage are now the Chinese, the Russians and the oil-producing countries, each of whom will want assurances that the debt they hold now and the new debt they will soon be buying are worth something.

If anything good can come out of this awful mess, we must begin by clearly and unequivocally recognizing the absolute bankruptcy of the Bush-McCain approach.

Congress and the next president, together with all those who care about America, need to come together and develop concrete plans for supporting real productive activity in this country and making meaningful public investments in our economy. We must create real wealth in our economy, and value-added manufacturing is the best answer.

Over and above creating millions of jobs and preserving countless more, investments in the “real economy” also offer the greatest opportunity to get something back on the hundreds of billions of bad loans which our government is about to acquire from Wall Street on behalf of the American people who live on Main Street. Just as we cannot consume our way to financial health, neither can we “swap” enough paper to re-create a vibrant economy.

Government must take the lead in revitalizing the economy that Wall Street speculators have almost destroyed. To create jobs, we need to invest in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure – our roads, schools and bridges. We need to rebuild our outdated electricity grid and build new broadband lines to connect all of America. And we need to create the jobs of the future by transforming our energy economy, tapping our natural gas reserves, investing in clean coal, and finding ways to safely harness nuclear power.

We must also invest in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power, solar power and the next generation of biofuels, investments that will lead to new industries and millions of new jobs that pay well and can’t be offshored.

We need to once and for all bury the philosophy that worships only business, free markets, deregulation and free trade, and replace it with an economic program that restores the balance of power between workers and business, rebuilds the middle class and curbs corporate excesses.

My response:

Chickens Home to Roost

By Alan Maki | October 7th, 2008 - 4:27pm GMT

Mr. Gerard,

You and Carl Pope of the Sierra Club visited the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant here in Minnesota pledging your support to saving two-thousand good-paying union jobs by keeping the plant and the hydro dam providing power to the plant together as an industrial manufacturing unit... you walked away from this struggle after grand-standing, never to return.

Now, here you are talking about reforms aimed at saving capitalism... the very system that has created this mess.

Saving this plant through public ownership could provide an example of what will be required to get us out of this economic mess.

A solution you don't mention to this entire economic mess is one of nationalization and public ownership of closing mines, mills and plants resulting in job loss.

You support reforms and regulation being used to save a system which is responsible for Wall Street coupon clippers stealing the wealth created by American workers which is now invested in cheap labor "markets" overseas... thus creating this crisis of over-production... American workers are now so poor they can't buy back what is being produced.

What kind of "balance" do you want to "restore between workers and business"? The "balance" that existed during the first half of the Twentieth Century on Minnesota's Iron Range?

Or, the "balance" that turned working people into beggars from 1948 to present where unions became mere "pawns" without any power in the neo-liberal agenda because union "leaders" feared standing up to capital out of fear of being called "reds?"

Yes, the chickens really are coming home to roost, haven't they? I think this is called "class collaboration" trade unionism.

Capitalism has failed and is on the skids to oblivion dragging working class families into the morass of economic depression and your union, the AFL-CIO and other progressive organizations are pumping millions of dollars into Barack Obama's campaign when it is now obvious Obama is owned by Wall Street.

How about investing some of this money and union resources in developing a grassroots/rank-and-file struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant?

When are you going to have the courage to stand up and say what the problem really is: capitalism.

The solution is a cooperative system of socialism.

Maybe you should spend some time explaining to working people in the United States why their sisters and brothers north of the border have their own labour party--- the socialist New Democratic Party.

Who is this "we" who must invest in your "new green economy?"

I assume you are referring to the American tax-payer.

If so, then it is time to say, "What tax-payers finance, tax-payers should own."

We don't need labor leaders advocating "rebuilding the middle class;" let the middle class speak for itself... labor leaders are supposed to speak for the working class and fight for the elimination of poverty.

What we need is labor leaders leading the struggle fighting against the impoverishment of the working class.

Workers create all wealth; wealth that Wall Street coupon clippers have been stealing for years because this is how capitalism operates and this is what causes the present economic problem.

We need to get rid of this rotten capitalist system which breeds war, racism, poverty and economic depressions and recessions causing working people to suffer; not try to "reform" and "regulate" its continued existence so it can continue breeding more misery.

The capitalist system is weak and on the ropes... now is the time for the working class to deliver a knockout punch.

Over 70% of all working people in this country make less than a living income; paid less than a living wage for the jobs they are employed to do.

What unions can't win at the bargaining table must be won for all workers through social programs like socialized health care and a real living minimum wage.

This is the only country in the world where union leaders continue to tell the working class that capitalism is worth saving when what is required is creating a socialist economic system based upon producing for human needs not corporate profits.

In working to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam powering the operation and saving two-thousand jobs we can find real solutions to the problems you articulate.

Consider this: If you save two-thousand jobs in the Twin Cities, this is two-thousand jobs you can knock from your statistics... and saving these two-thousand jobs saves hundreds of jobs on the Iron Range and in the "Rust Belt."

Wall Street has turned to socialism to solve its problems; what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

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


What they don't want to talk about


There is plenty that Barack Obama does not want to talk about, too.

As far as the “Savings and Loan crisis” mentioned in the Obama campaign piece at the very bottom… Democrats--- like in the present Wall Street bailout--- were mired up to their eyeballs in this corrupt mess along with John McCain.

There are those in the Obama camp who want to stamp out and destroy any progressive voice under the guise that if you don’t support Barack Obama you must support John McCain… along with this we get Obama’s appeal to the “middle class” which is his attempt to escape all accountability… and then we get the charge of “racism” which is a very cheap trick on the part of the Obama campaign to silence those who insist on getting something of substance from an Obama administration while, quite ironically, this trillion dollar Wall Street bailout which Barack Obama has not only supported, but been a principal advocate for, is one of the most racist measures ever brought forward in the annals of American history--- bar none--- since this bailout will force the United States government to wipe out just about all social advances made in this country since the Civil War under the guise of “belt-tightening” and the need to “cut fat” from the federal budget in order to pay down this “bailout.” Wall Street’s bailout is our suffering.

This is all meant to intimidate progressive voices into silence.

For those who would deny this attempt to bully people into intimidation, here is just one of many similar things I have received via e-mail, mail and phone calls from ardent Obama supporters:

HEY DIPSTICK. Your an idiot and I'm embarrassed to see that you would try to use a title as though you are part of the labor movement. All you are is an embarrassment to those of us who actually fight for working people each and every day. Rather than always having a negative attitude and complaining, why don't you have some sort of meaningful ideas that will actually help people. My personal feeling is the real agenda here is to try and make the labor movement look idiotic. Get a life! Maybe you should come out of your shack once in a while and visit the real world.

Once again stop sending me your commie bull shit!

Erik Skoog

Teamsters Local 320

Special Projects Director

While Mr. Skoog seems to be unhappy that I come out of “my shack” too often to voice my views and spend more time on the road talking to people than in “my shack,” the real intent and motive behind this kind of pernicious, viral hate campaign is very clear. We get a very good idea what kind of “Special Projects” Erik Skoog is hired to work on for Barack Obama.

I call on Barack Obama and all those involved in his campaign to disown and disavow themselves from this vicious campaign of hate articulated so “eloquently” by Erik Skoog.

In fact, it has become darn near impossible for anyone to raise concerns and criticisms of Barack Obama and for a progressive people’s agenda without being pounced on… this is not healthy for democracy.

Because of my positions which I voice very openly, the Obama forces in Minnesota and Michigan have targeted me for a campaign of hate… if they would have spent half the time attacking this trillion dollar Wall Street bailout as they are spending attacking me, we would not have to worry about McCain being elected nor would we be worrying about the consequences and impact from this Wall Street bailout for which we will be paying in so many ways for years to come.

I think it is great that John McCain is being exposed for the right-wing, reactionary that he is… and Sarah Palin is even a bigger warmonger, moron, Neanderthal and foe of democracy than McCain himself--- possibly more pro-corporate and corrupt than Dick Cheney if such is possible; however, to cheer on Obama without questioning his own very reactionary Wall Street policies and politics, I believe, is equally as wrong as letting John McCain off the hook. Barack Obama is, himself, very reactionary as far as advancing the rights and defending the standard of living of working people is concerned.

Make no mistake: Any policies which advance the interests of Wall Street are always reactionary when viewed through the eyes of working people.

While it may be true that the election of Barack Obama will provide some relief from Republican rule, there is nothing to suggest that in an Obama Administration we will be relieved from the strangle-hold big-business has on our country… I challenge anyone to dispute my assertion… Obama speaks in platitudes lacking any substance just as Sarah Palin “talks in tongues” expecting people to understand what the heck she is talking about.

Will an Obama Administration provide us some “wriggle room?” Possibly; however, without a very strong progressive, working class movement we will never realize any advances away from the reactionary policies of big-business Wall Street interests, and allowing Barack Obama to “lead” rather than this growing progressive grassroots network which includes many rank-and-file working class activists will get us no further ahead under an Obama Administration than one of John McCain.

The progressive movement must not acquiesce to Obama, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs like the Democrats have been doing for the Republicans for eight long years.

I find it very interesting that Barack Obama wants to attack John McCain because of his involvement with the savings and loan scandal when this trillion dollar bailout is an even bigger scandal which Obama could have led the people in opposition to; and Obama did not… giving us our first concrete clue that we will have to struggle tooth and nail for the rights and advancement of a progressive working class agenda.
I don’t believe it is enough to pass along Barack Obama’s campaign material without creating the kind of discussion, dialogue and debate needed to create a base of support for the kind of all-people’s united front for peace and social and economic justice which will be required to wrest our country from the control of the military-financial-industrial complex once and Obama Administration is in power.

The most wealthy men in the world--- Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, along with Goldman-Sachs--- the biggest Wall Street investment and financial house, do not support Barack Obama by investing huge sums of money in his campaign for nothing; these Wall Street coupon clippers and parasites demand and insist in getting their money’s worth out of any politician they endorse and support… and you can be sure that our interests--- the working class’ interest--- is not ever the same as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Goldman-Sachs who are looking out for their own selfish interests.

I hope you will read my latest posting on my blog on the official Barack Obama website which includes a very important letter to Barack Obama from one of his original supporters concerning Obama’s stand on this trillion dollar bailout which is the most corrupt fiasco in American history for which the American working class will pay a horrific price.

Here is the link to my blog:


And below is what I posted on my regular blog… the term “middle class” is being used by Barack Obama as a means and a way to escape his own accountability, and progressives and working class activists--- those who support Obama, along with those who support other candidates, and the great number of people who will not be voting at all because they are so fed up--- should not allow Obama to ever escape accountability for his actions.

To the extent that there really is a “middle class” in our country, this “middle class” is very small and politically insignificant… this “middle class” will advance right along with any gains made by the working class while the same cannot be said for any advances solving the problems of this very small “middle class” when considering the problems associated with poverty from a working class position.

We must be very clear in understanding this, Barack Obama could have, and should have, led the opposition to this trillion dollar bail out; and he did not… and no one should close their eyes to this while assuming Obama will correct the problem once elected because Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs enrich themselves through this most crooked and corrupt deal… when they profit, we lose. Any progressive gains we make will be at their expense.

Barack Obama and his campaign are doing a pretty darn good job of turning this debate away from the real issues at every opportunity, too… it is our job, as progressives--- no matter what candidates we support--- to try to keep the debate and discussion focused on the real issues so that no matter who wins this election, the progressive all-people’s united movement for real change comes out as strong as possible in a position to turn our country away from this very dangerous road to perdition which we are on…

Monday, October 6, 2008

Middle class bail out or working class bail out?

We need more concrete proposals from Barack Obama on how he intends to save "Main Street"... As anyone can see, people are expecting much more than what is in your typical newspaper story about "middle class bail out."

We especially need to end this talk about "middle class bail out;" we need to be talking about solving the problems of the "working class."

Solving the problems of the working class means talking about specific solutions aimed at eradicating poverty, which at a minimum, requires a massive redistribution of wealth in this country.

People want, and expect, Barack Obama to get specific. How are we going to bail working class people out of poverty?

Wall Street received its "bail out," now the working class is entitled to its bail out... a working class "bail out" requires two legislative acts--- 1.) make the minimum wage a real living wage; and, 2.) socialized health care.

All this talk about "the middle class" which has become so popular in the politicians' vocabulary is nothing more than an excuse for evading what really is required and needs to be done to eliminate poverty.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense, compassion and empathy for human beings understand that what is required is a detailed program and plan of action to eradicate poverty.

October 17 is the International Day of Action for the Eradication of Poverty yet we haven't heard a mention of this by Barack Obama or his campaign.

December 10, 2008 marks the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights--- Barack Obama and his campaign have ignored this important document which clearly enunciates and articulates the rights all human beings are entitled to by birth.

As long as our country's resources are squandered on weapons of war and militarism and the interests of the Wall Street coupon clippers remains of paramount importance in the United States, poverty will remain and our basic and fundamental rights articulated in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights will not be attainable for the vast majority of the working class, of which many working people are impoverished; most working class people know nothing about a "middle class" life.

The Wall Street bail out will lead to further impoverishment of the working class.

Posted by Alan L. Maki at 8:08 PM

Alan L. Maki

Director of Organizing,

Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

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-----
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 11:35 PM
Subject: Fw: What they don't want to talk about

Please open the link below "watch a Preview right now and share it with your friends.

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



Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 11:26 PM

Subject: Fw: What they don't want to talk about

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

From: David Plouffe, BarackObama.com


Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 2:10 AM

Subject: What they don't want to talk about

Over the weekend, John McCain's top adviser announced their plan to stop engaging in a debate over the economy and "turn the page" to more direct, personal attacks on Barack Obama.

In the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, they want to change the subject from the central question of this election. Perhaps because the policies McCain supported these past eight years and wants to continue are pretty hard to defend.

But it's not just McCain's role in the current crisis that they're avoiding. The backward economic philosophy and culture of corruption that helped create the current crisis are looking more and more like the other major financial crisis of our time.

During the savings and loan crisis of the late '80s and early '90s, McCain's political favors and aggressive support for deregulation put him at the center of the fall of Lincoln Savings and Loan, one of the largest in the country. More than 23,000 investors lost their savings. Overall, the savings and loan crisis required the federal government to bail out the savings of hundreds of thousands of families and ultimately cost American taxpayers $124 billion.

Sound familiar?

In that crisis, John McCain and his political patron, Charles Keating, played central roles that ultimately landed Keating in jail for fraud and McCain in front of the Senate Ethics Committee. The McCain campaign has tried to avoid talking about the scandal, but with so many parallels to the current crisis, McCain's Keating history is relevant and voters deserve to know the facts -- and see for themselves the pattern of poor judgment by John McCain.

So at noon Eastern on Monday, October 6th, we're releasing a 13-minute documentary about the scandal called "Keating Economics: John McCain and the Making of a Financial Crisis" -- it will be available at KeatingEconomics.com, along with background information that every voter should know.

Watch a preview right now and share it with your friends.

The point of the film and the web site is that John McCain still hasn't learned his lesson.

And this time, McCain's bankrupt economic philosophy has put our economy at the brink of collapse and put millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes.

Watch the video to see why John McCain's failed philosophy and poor judgment is a recipe for deepening the crisis:


It's no wonder John McCain would rather spend the last month of this election smearing Barack's character instead of talking about the top priority issue for voters.

But if we work together, we can make sure the focus stays on the economy -- and how to fix it.

Please forward this email to everyone you know.



David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

P.S. -- The documentary will be live at noon Eastern at www.KeatingEconomics.com.

Paid for by Obama for America

This email was sent to: hemlock5042@msn.com

Monday, October 6, 2008

Middle class bail out or working class bail out?

We need more concrete proposals from Barack Obama on how he intends to save "Main Street"... As anyone can see, people are expecting much more than what is in your typical newspaper story about "middle class bail out."

We especially need to end this talk about "middle class bail out;" we need to be talking about solving the problems of the "working class."

Solving the problems of the working class means talking about specific solutions aimed at eradicating poverty, which at a minimum, requires a massive redistribution of wealth in this country.

People want, and expect, Barack Obama to get specific. How are we going to bail working class people out of poverty?

Wall Street received its "bail out," now the working class is entitled to its bail out... a working class "bail out" requires two legislative acts--- 1.) make the minimum wage a real living wage; and, 2.) socialized health care.

All this talk about "the middle class" which has become so popular in the politicians' vocabulary is nothing more than an excuse for evading what really is required and needs to be done to eliminate poverty.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense, compassion and empathy for human beings understand that what is required is a detailed program and plan of action to eradicate poverty.

October 17 is the International Day of Action for the Eradication of Poverty yet we haven't heard a mention of this by Barack Obama or his campaign.

December 10, 2008 marks the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights--- Barack Obama and his campaign have ignored this important document which clearly enunciates and articulates the rights all human beings are entitled to by birth.

As long as our country's resources are squandered on weapons of war and militarism and the interests of the Wall Street coupon clippers remains of paramount importance in the United States, poverty will remain and our basic and fundamental rights articulated in the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights will not be attainable for the vast majority of the working class, of which many working people are impoverished; most working class people know nothing about a "middle class" life.

The Wall Street bail out will lead to further impoverishment of the working class.