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

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