I would encourage people to participate in this discussion, dialogue and debate even though we all know these people are not sincere in wanting our input; if they were sincere they would have sought out our input long ago rather than waiting for the last minute; instead, especially the Obama Campaign, has been hard at work trying to smother people's participation at every level of the decision-making process while now hypocritically saying our input is desired... we saw this very concretely here in Minnesota as these party hacks sought to thwart:
1. Any discussion concerning the plight of casino workers in the Indian Gaming Industry. Here in Minnesota some thirty-thousand casino workers are employed in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws; employed at the mercy of a bunch of mobsters who are the real owners of these casinos. Strung out in some 400 casinos across the United States over two-million casino, hotel/motel, restaurant and resort workers are employed under these Draconian conditions as Barack Obama takes campaign contributions from the Indian Gaming Industry, its management firms like Station Casinos owned by the sleazy and notorious Fertitta family together with the industry's legal/lobbying firms, the likes of Brownstein/Hyatt/Farber/Schreck.
2. All efforts aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, the hydro dam which has powered the operation for free for over eighty years, and most importantly, save two-thousand UAW, SEIU, Teamster and rail workers' jobs. Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party hacks employed by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and working at the behest of the Obama Campaign tried to smother any discussion concerning three resolutions brought forward at precinct caucuses. This dirty work was done under the auspices of supporting "free enterprise. Public ownership needs to be considered as the way to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and other closing auto plants. In fact, nationalization of the entire auto industry needs to be considered because the Wall Street coupon clippers have taken the wealth created by American workers and invested this money in plants overseas where labor and natural resources can still be exploited and stolen willy-nilly. No matter what the capitalist sooth-sayers have to say about the "supremacy" of "free markets," capitalism has failed miserably;
3. Any discussion of socialized health care and its first stage--- single-payer universal health care. Minnesotans have insisted they want a no-fee, comprehensive, all-inclusive single-payer universal health care system which is publicly financed and publicly administered... nothing less--- yet, the Democratic Party hacks and those employed by the Obama Campaign have systematically tried to force every phony scheme they could conceive down the throats of Minnesotans in the name of "affordable health care." Anyone who doesn't believe this is what the majority of Minnesotans want only have to place this alongside all other schemes and scams concocted by the insurance industry, HMO's, the American Medical Association, the Hospital Administrators, pharmaceutical companies and self-serving opportunist politicians like John Marty--- put all these alternatives on the ballot on Election Day and see what Minnesotans choose since they like elections so much;
4. All discussion about legislating a real living minimum wage. All discussion was trashed by the party hacks working for Obama during the precinct caucuses. The solution to a living minimum wage is very simple. Create legislation tying the minimum wage to all the cost of living factors monitored by the United States Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics. When the cost of living goes up, the minimum wage goes up--- if the cost of living goes down, let the minimum wage go down with it (We want to be fair to business, eh?) When all is said and done about this issue it must be clearly stated in no uncertain terms: Any and every job any employer--- large or small--- requires being done must pay the worker employed to do the job a real living wage; if this isn't acceptable to the bosses, let them do the jobs themselves;
5. Discussion of how to proceed with Social Security. This has never been mentioned. Hands down, the United States' Social Security system is the best existing social program available to the working class anyplace in the world. The only thing required is a full employment economy so Social Security is fully funded (unemployed people don't contribute--- nor do employers contribute anything for unemployed workers); along with greatly increased and expanded benefits to make a great social program even better for working people Social Security stands right along side public education and public libraries as a fantastic social program. Any attempt to privatize Social Security would destroy this excellent public social program;
6. Peace, this should be at the top of this list because the working class suffers from wars more than any other class. Tremendous human and material resources are wasted in preparation for wars and fighting wars as working class youth are expected to be the cannon fodder as the merchants of death and destruction profit.
7. Any discussion surrounding the "greening of America" and creating new "green industries." We have been through these massive government programs subsidizing the Wall Street coupon clippers in the past... from agriculture and forestry to rail and mining and automobile and energy industries. Tax-payers have nothing to show for one-hundred and fifty years of government subsidies of these industries. With these new "green industries" it is time to put an end to this scam. What tax-payers finance, tax-payers must own... including the profits according to the share tax-payers invest. If government is going to subsidize these operations and industries the people must have a say in all decision making from the get-go on wages, terms of employment, hours worked, etc. What is happening surrounding the decision made by the Ford Motor Company to close the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant should be all the proof required that the interest of tax-payers who have subsidized this operation from day one to the workers who have created all the wealth need to be protected.
We need a real progressive agenda which serves to unite working people to bring about real change as an alternative to the neoliberal agenda of state-monopoly capitalism; more commonly referred to as the military-financial-industrial complex.
We need to fight for such a progressive agenda inside and outside of the Democratic Party because we all know working people are going to have to begin putting together a real labor party in this country. We simply can't keep fighting the monopoly business interests which dominate the Democratic Party just like the Republican Party.
Working people need to be careful, and reject those who try to make elections turn on which candidate to support... the real question is what kind of agenda working people will support. The real question is what issues should be our primary focus. Most important, we need to focus on uniting for change around real solutions to long-standing problems which have not been addressed as noted above.
The following very pathetic excuse for a "progressive Democratic platform" is being boosted by "Change to Win;" This group which divided the house of labor even more than it already was divided.
Check it out; it is vague and hollow and means absolutely nothing; just like everything Barack Obama says. Check it out. Then submit real platform resolutions which address the real problems working people are experiencing by bringing forward real solutions.
As the Democratic Party considers what issues to run on in 2008, it is critical that the most urgent issue of our age -- the decline of the American Dream -- be among them.
The Democratic Party platform must be a platform for the American dream. The next President and the next Congress must promote policies that renew the dream, and provide an infrastructure of opportunity so all Americans, through their effort and hard work, can hope to achieve the American dream.
I, the undersigned, urge the Democratic Party to include the following in their party platform for 2008:
1. Workers must have the free choice to form unions at work so they can achieve living wages, affordable health care, and a secure and dignified retirement;
2. Affordable, quality health care must be available for all Americans;
3. A new trade model must provide for rising global prosperity for workers through rigorous enforcement of labor standards;
4. The Social Security system is fundamentally sound and must not be privatized;
5. Immigration reform must be comprehensive, stop the exploitation of workers, and allow undocumented workers a path to legalization;
6. Workplace fairness and the protection of basic legal rights of workers must be restored;
7. We must build a green America.
By endorsing and running on these positions, the Democratic Party can affirm its historic role as the party of working men and women -- and give those men and women real hope of seeing the American Dream restored.
We should use the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the basis for all our platform resolutions.
Look through my blog, especially those things posted on the right-hand side in blue and you will find examples of numerous resolutions, all of which have been passed by precinct caucuses and/or county and state conventions here in Minnesota.
I think we are looking at a landslide victory for Barack Obama shaping up. If we, as working people, are going to have any influence in the Obama Administration it will only be from a position of demonstrated strength.
Yes, we must engage in this platform debate.
But, we must also demonstrate that we are serious and that we mean business.
The only thing the business interests who have the dominant position in the Obama Campaign understand is working people in militant struggle fighting for their rights.
From now through the Election we need to be out in the streets raising hell.
Let's show Obama that we understand what it means to unite for real change.
Get your friends and neighbors together, make up some signs saying "We are fed up!" "Stop the robbery at the pumps!" "No more wars for oil!" "Tax oil company profits to pay for health care, education, housing!" "Boycott Mobil/Exxon/Esso!" Whoops, looks like I forgot about a platform resolution. Well, write it up and get this platform resolution in.
Simply bringing forward platform resolutions is no substitute for working people taking their concerns out into the streets and to the public square.
Without grassroots and rank-and-file activity behind these platform resolutions... as good as many of these resolutions will be, we know these resolutions will be filed in the circular file.
Barack Obama was a community organizer--- as such, he understands better than most people what is meant by "out of sight; out of mind."
Keep our problems within the confines of the very undemocratic Democratic Party structure designed for party hacks to maintain control through manipulation; and, without taking our demands into the streets and into the public squares, Obama is never going to have our problems placed in his mind. We need to make our presence known by becoming very visible to him.