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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...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Controversy continues to swirl around the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant

I have blogged several articles about this story making its rounds on the Internet:

How Closing Manufacturing Plants Can Be Transformed into Community-Saving Business Ventures

By Angela Walker , AlterNet. Posted November 12, 2008.


This was one of my blog postings:


I have been getting numerous responses to my blog posting. Many of the people I am hearing from agree with me about using public ownership to save the Ford Plant, others do not.

First, allow me to apologize for something I published which is inaccurate along with an e-mail I received this morning.

Regarding the high-priced, upscale Lund's Supermarket next to the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

I made the statement that Lund's Supermarket is non-union.

I heard from four people now about this including a person in Lund's Supermarket management who assures me that Lund's Supermarket is a union store and workers are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 789 (UFCW). I heard from two members of UFCW Local 789 and a member of another union who first brought this concern to my attention.

I walked the strip of businesses from the Ford Plant on Ford Parkway for four days about two years ago asking people how much they made and if they were in a union.

I spoke with 13 employees of Lund's Supermarket... one butcher told me how much he made was none of my business... two were management, while the others were baggers and employees carrying groceries out for people. So, after now being informed that Lund's is union I began to wonder how it was that no one told me they were in the union when I asked them.

Then I open my e-mail this morning and I have this e-mail in my in-box from a woman who works at Lund's Supermarket which might explain some of this. She asked that I not use her name:

Mr. Maki- a friend forwarded me your blog posting. I work at the Lunds next to Fords. We do have a union if you can call it that. Most of us working here get so low wages we might as well not have a union for all the good the union does us. Let me put it to you this way my full time job at Lunds can't support a family. I have another part time job and my husband works seven days a week. It is possible that the employees you spoke to dont know they were in a union because the union wont do nothing for us. I hope the Ford plant can be saved.

I also heard from Brandon Knight who covers the Midwest for Global Exchange out of Lansing, Michigan. Brandon tells me that he is sure he can trust all information provided by Lynn Hinkle even though he never read S.F. 607 nor does he know if UAW Local 879 has ever informed its membership that they are part of this "ARISE" coalition. As an explanation as to why the twenty or so students from the local college, McAllister University, working through Global Exchange never bothered to ask the past or present workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant what they wanted to see happen, Brandon explained that the students weren't aware they should or needed to do this. Brandon chalks up all the inaccuracies in the story to Angela Walker being a volunteer reporter.

Brandon also insists that the proposal for this new green community that ARISE is advocating does not call for the demolition of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant even though he can't explain how this new "green" development can be constructed with the plant not being removed.

Nor can Brandon Knight explain why Global Exchange did not get behind the effort to push S.F. 607 through the Minnesota State Legislature.

I spoke with Angela Walker, also, she cannot explain how it is that she did not report the fate of S.F. 607 having been defeated in committee long, long before her story was written.

With this out of the way, let's look at the issue about this article originating from Global Exchange and disseminated by Alternet.org and spread all over by organizations like "Progressives for Obama" headed up by Carl Davidson, Tom Hayden and Bill Fletcher, Jr. who is also aware of the developing movement to save the Ford Plant through public ownership.

I would point out that Carl Davidson went ahead and posted this article knowing that there were problems with this article since he has been kept fully informed of the developments around the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant--- but, Davidson went ahead and posted this article anyways on the "Progressives for Obama" web site. What motivated him to post it is for Davidson to explain... perhaps simply because it fit in with the kind of skewed and convoluted progressivism he advocates on behalf of Barack Obama, I don't know.

I am glad to hear from so many people no matter what their views because I think that discussion is healthy and controversy helps to build movements with people bringing forward all kinds of ideas.

My primary concern in writing what I did centers on one specific paragraph written by Angela Walker of Global Exchange:

"Yet something unusual is in the works that could change the future of this 140-acre manufacturing site and convert it into a model for green manufacturing. A coalition of the local UAW 879, McAllister University students, and affordable housing and environmental groups have formed the Alliance to Reindustrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) to design a green manufacturing site. The ARISE project is currently being considered by the Minnesota Legislature under Senate File 607 as a way to transition workers into a mixed-use facility for green manufacturing."

This paragraph, as I am sure everyone will agree, is the crux of this entire article. If there is anything not true in this paragraph, the entire pretext for writing this article is obviously flawed.

Now, I don't know if Angela Walker set out to intentionally write an article intended to mislead her readers... only she can explain if she did this or not.

Nor do I know if someone put her up to writing an article filled with misinformation.

Nor do I know if Lynn Hinkle used this group, Global Exchange, to promote misinformation.

One thing for certain though, I haven't heard an explanation from Lynn Hinkle even though I sent him everything I wrote.

Let me go through this paragraph once more, point by point, so we all understand exactly what is at issue:

"Yet something unusual is in the works that could change the future of this 140-acre manufacturing site and convert it into a model for green manufacturing. A coalition of the local UAW 879, McAllister University students, and affordable housing and environmental groups have formed the Alliance to Reindustrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) to design a green manufacturing site. The ARISE project is currently being considered by the Minnesota Legislature under Senate File 607 as a way to transition workers into a mixed-use facility for green manufacturing."

If any of the following is actually true, yes, something unusual is definitely in the works:

"Yet something unusual is in the works that could change the future of this 140-acre manufacturing site and convert it into a model for green manufacturing."

But, is this statement true: "A coalition of the local UAW 879, McAllister University students, and affordable housing and environmental groups have formed the Alliance to Reindustrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) to design a green manufacturing site."

Is UAW Local 879 part of this coalition? If it is, none of the elected leaders will own up to it. And for good reason they will not own up to this even if it is true. The elected leaders of UAW Local 879 have a responsibility to work to protect the jobs of the members first and foremost. The elected union leaders never even bothered to inform the members of Local 879 that the Ford Motor Company had taken the profits made from working them ten hour days and invested those profits building a new Ford Ranger plant in Thailand. And, Lynn Hinkle and Global Exchange have omitted this one small detail as did Angela Walker in her article.

In fact, it was Lynn Hinkle who pushed for ten-hour days at this plant in the name of "green manufacturing." Any progressive union leader would have pushed to shorten the work week to thirty or thirty-two hours with forty hours pay so employment could be created for more workers... anyone who thinks ten hour days working in this factory or any other factory can be construed as "progress" has never worked in a factory. There is a reason the working class in this country led the international struggle for the eight-hour day.

Isn't it nice to go around advocating the building of nice new green communities built at the expense of the present workers losing their jobs! All in the name of "green."

Before I go any further, for the record, let it be noted that S.F. 607 was killed in Committee over a year before Angela Walker wrote her article for Global Exchange which is now being distributed by Alternet.org and posted on a myriad of web sites and blogs like "Progressives for Obama."

It is kind of strange and it would seem to me difficult to explain how this "ARISE" coalition could be now claiming to be working with the very same legislators who killed S.F. 607.

And, anyone taking the time to read S.F. 607 clearly sees that the unambiguous language of S.F. 607 is in complete contradiction to what this "ARISE" coalition is pushing for as S.F. 607 clearly calls for keeping the plant and hydro dam intact as an industrial unit; in no way, shape or form can anyone--- not even Lynn Hinkle--- twist S.F. 607 to mean that this plant should be demolished and replaced with some kind of "green community."

In fact, if it is a "green community" that "ARISE" wants to create in an urban environment; why don't they choose a run-down, dilapidated, rat-infested slum area of the Twin Cities of which there are many areas far larger than the 140 acres the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is located on to construct their new "green community"--- where the creation of such a visionary community would actually do people some good.

But alas, here is part of a letter from the former Secretary-Treasurer of UAW Local 879 to me:

Alan Maki. I have been reading some of the Green Party propaganda you have been been espousing. These types of attacks lend no credibility to your cause by accusing good people of bad things. Your accusations against Senator Metzen are both untrue and uncalled for. Jim has had a long standing relationship with the UAW which continued with his full support of our Ford Plant Legislation that called for the Fo Mo Co to keep TCAP in saleble condition for a period of 2 years after its' closing. This bill would have given us time to find other manufacturers to take over the property and keep good paying jobs in St Paul. If you had asked I would have told you our legislation was doomed because of pressure the St Paul Building Trades put on legislators to oppose our bill. Their goal, although shortsited, was to create short term building trades jobs by tearing down our plant and building condos. The St Paul Mayor was a huge ally of theirs in shooting down our bill. Other Senators who helped us were Tomassoni and Sparks. The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee - Bonoff, who is running for Congress in the 3rd district, and Saltzman. Murphy and Bakk got up and left the hearing just before the vote.My point is please refrain from attacking Senator Metzen. He is a good freind of the UAW and our family of members.

Bob Killeen Secretary-Treasurer UAW Local 879

First of all, does this sound like someone representing a union local who would now be pushing "green?"

Second, why didn't UAW Local 879 form a massive coalition with community organizations, church groups and other unions to get S.F. 607 pushed through the Minnesota Legislature? This is a question requiring an answer to; and why does the leadership of UAW Local 879 continue to drag its feet on such an initiative while this plant is still operating? One might ask Lynn Hinkle why he has not sought to develop nation-wide support for such an undertaking as he now makes presentations across the country on "greening" what is left of America's industrial base." Presentations that Brandon Knight of Global Exchange is so enamored with that he will take every word uttered by Lynn Hinkle as the gospel truth.

This was my response to Robert Killeen:

Brother Killeen;

Thanks for this letter. I was by your office several times to talk about this vote. You weren’t in.

I am sorry about any confusion. I do not take back anything I have said about Senator Metzen.

I did not “accuse” anyone of “bad things.” I simply have written and spoken based upon information I received from Senator Metzen’s office. I sent several e-mails, made numerous phone calls; and stopped at Senator Metzen’s office twice before I ever wrote or spoke a single word to anyone about this. I can asure you, if there is any confusion it is of Senator Metzen’s own making.

Since I notice this e-mail from you was not Cc’ed to Senator Metzen I have not sent it to him. You may send it to him if you chose; or with your permission I will forward this entire correspondence to him.

You should also know that two members of Senator Metzen’s staff have contacted me claiming that I am not telling the truth. Again, I asked them to provide me with minutes from this hearing which would clarify things. They refused. And I am not going to go through the trouble of suing a State Senator to obtain records which should be public and provided to the public upon request to begin with.

In fact, Metzen’s Committee is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats… all of whom your local has supported.

I have in fact noted numerous times Senator Tomassoni’s support for this important legislation; in fact, the record of this hearing clearly shows that he was the one and only Democrat to support this legislation… The record clearly shows one thing: Tomassoni moved for support of this proposed legislation and the record states the motion failed. If you have any written record of the proceedings from Sen. Metzen’s Committee Hearing in question to substantiate what you are now saying, please provide me with the official minutes of this hearing as recorded by the Committee Clerk/Secretary. The only Senator’s name I find in writing from the minutes of this hearing, such as they are, is that Senator Tomassoni was the lone, sole supporter of this legislation. This is based upon the records I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.

I have charged that the minutes of this particular Senate Hearing were probably kept in such a shoddy fashion so that no one would be able to tell from reading the minutes what went on in this hearing. If this is the case it raises an even larger issue which goes right to the heart of attempting to subvert democracy and the right of people to expect honest and open government from those whom they elect. Again, I stated all of this in an e-mail to Senator Metzen to which he never responded.

I find it strange that, at this late date, you are providing an account of this Senate Hearing that the clerk should have noted in the official minutes from the hearing at the time she provided me with the minutes.

Please feel free to request that Senator Metzen provide you with all correspondence I made with his office and that which was sent to me. I give him the right to release all such documents to you provided he releases everything without any omissions.

For the record, I have not been espousing any “Green Party propaganda.” Nor do I support the Green Party, even though I am strongly leaning towards supporting who I consider to be the best Democrat in the Presidential race, Cynthia McKinney; who, as you know was forced from Congress largely by the same grouping of business oriented Democrats who are pushing for the closing of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant.

The St. Paul mayor you refer to is a Democrat. Representative Paymar is a Democrat. Murphy is a Democrat. Rod Skoe is a Democrat.

There is something seriously wrong with a Democrat who you say is a big supporter of the UAW when he is the Chair of the Committee and he can not control his own Caucus members when it comes to such an important vote. In fact, the UAW has supported every single DFL member of this Committee. I do not have to draw any conclusions from this; the facts speak for themselves.

I have worked in the Democratic Party in several states over a period of some thirty years--- since I could vote, in fact; never have I seen such betrayal except over these “Compacts” creating casinos sending 20,000 Minnesotans to jobs in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any of the rights your own members enjoy protected under state or federal labor laws.

You can call me when ever you like about any issue or concern you have; I have been to the Plant often. I have left every leaflet I have distributed at the Plant at your office.

I am a member of the Minnesota DFL State Central Committee, not a member of the Green Party. You will not find anything that I have written contrary to this. In no way, shape, or form have I distributed anything in the nature of “Green Party propaganda;” nor anything which approximates such.

I do not understand how you can say the “The true culprits were all Republicans on the committee…” when all the evidence in the minutes of the meeting as recorded by the clerk of the Committee clearly shows it was Democrats who are the culprits. In fact, even if all Republicans had refused to attend the hearing and refrain from voting, the Democrats would not have voted for this legislation.

Again, what I write and what I say is based upon the minutes I received from Senator Metzen’s own Legislative Assistant.

In fact, the building trades unions provide Metzen with more campaign contributions than does the UAW. I am very concerned about the role of the building trades unions in all of this; however, I know from experience that their position on this issue can easily be reversed should your local clearly articulate the issue involved here in a way that people understand. If you choose to do this, by the time you are done, the building trades leaders will be hanging their heads in shame; seen by everyone as very pathetic as they pander for jobs by taking away the jobs of other working people.

I have tried to speak with Senator Metzen about this prior to the Committee Hearing, the day after the Committee Hearing, and as recent as yesterday. Senator Metzen, if he is concerned about anything that I am saying or writing can call me, sit down and talk with me, or send me an e-mail just as you have done.

I would be more than happy to sit down with you and Senator Metzen to discuss where we go from here.

I talked with Senator Cohen’s Legislative Assistants on several occasions, including yesterday; she tells me Senator Cohen plans no further legislative action. This is not right that the Democrats are dropping the ball in trying to save the Ford Plant.

As long as this Plant is still standing this will not be a “done deal” no matter how loudly the proverbial fat lady sings. Working people never give up, and working people never give in to corporate domination and greed; if they do, they lose.

If the Democrats snooze; working people lose. If the Democrats acquiesce, working people lose. There needs to be accountability here; there is no accountability; not from Senator Metzen, not from Representative Paymar; not even from Ron Gettelfinger or Bob King.

I would encourage you to invite the leadership of the Minnesota DFL and all DFL legislators and the U.S. Senate candidates to tour the plant with you so they know exactly what is at stake; and, encourage them to talk with rank and file workers about what a job means to a worker and his/her family. I think one of the very big problems is that most of the politicians with the power to save this Plant are so far removed from the life of working class families and their daily struggles to survive that they can look the other way, and then later say, “I didn’t know.”

I would also encourage you to insist that the Minnesota DFL take a position in support of public ownership of this plant; there is simply no other way to save it. This is not a “far out idea” as some of those looking for excuses to take the wrecking ball to this plant have stated. Public ownership has been very successfully used as a tool by the labor movement to save plants and jobs all over the world, including in Canada… the huge bus plant in Winnipeg being one very good example. I would also encourage you to talk with Bob King and Ron Gettelfinger about supporting public ownership of this plant… we can’t do any worse than the legislation which failed.

WE haven’t even explored the possibility of a joint China-Minnesota government venture to save this plant. Why not? Your Local supported Mark Dayton, you mean to tell me that Mark Dayton can not broach this issue with the Chinese; the Chinese aren’t afraid of public ownership. What about George Lattimore? Your local supported him for years; he has all kinds of connections in China.

As long as we are talking about some differences of opinion we may have over this entire matter of what happened in Metzen’s Committee where this legislation was defeated; I am of the opinion that you should have mobilized your entire membership including those working and those retired to turn out for this hearing in support of this legislation since you knew there was going to be strenuous opposition. Large numbers do not always assure legislative victories over the well-heeled, corrupt Summit Hill crowd; however, it never hurts to bring along a great big crowd… your dad must have agreed with this concept as he was a big supporter of the demonstrations aimed at closing down the Schools of the Americas… something that really should be shut down.

Yes, close the “School of the Americas”--- this killing machine--- and fund the continuing operation of the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant; tax-payers would be the real winners and humanity would be the better for it.

I think if we sat down and talked about all of this and tried to work out a common strategy aimed at saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant we would be further ahead.

In case you missed my letter to the editor in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on saving the Plant (Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007; Page OP 4), here it is:

Your excellent editorial (Sunday, Nov. 25, 2007) on saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant missed one important point.

For all practical purposes there is little chance of saving this plant unless it is brought under public ownership; free enterprise has failed to save the plant and the jobs.

Tax-payers already have a huge investment in this plant. More tax-dollars should be invested to save this plant and these important manufacturing jobs.

What tax-payers finance they should own.

Minnesota legislators have a fiduciary responsibility to see to it that this plant survives through public ownership.

Alan L. Maki

Warroad, Minnesota

Our approach to saving the Ford Plant is that we are willing to work with anyone and everyone towards this end; this includes you, your local, the Greens, the Democrats, the Reds, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists and those who have no party or organizational affiliations at all.

Saving this Plant is an issue dear to many, many Minnesotans; not only the members of your local.

As a result of my activities I have had people contacting me from all over Minnesota, the country, Canada and other parts of the world wanting to know how they can help. Just last week I heard from an eighty-seven year old former St. Paul resident, now retired and living in Arizona, who broke down and cried when she told me what this plant meant to her family and her family’s friends--- a lifetime of a decent life won through struggle. And our conversation ended with her saying: “Why did our families fight so hard; just to end up losing it all.”

We are working with very limited resources in order to encourage dialogue, debate and discussion on this issue while working towards creating the greatest possible unity on this issue; it is not my intent to burn any bridges; I would much rather build bridges of open communication… towards these ends I would be happy to sit down and discuss this issue with you, Senator Metzen and any other interested parties, and adjust tactics as called for.

I will be in the Cities early next week if you would like to meet.

Yours in the struggle to save the Ford Plant through public ownership,


Alan L. Maki

58891 County Road 13

Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432

Cell phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

The paragraph in question goes on to state:

A coalition of the local UAW 879, McAllister University students, and affordable housing and environmental groups have formed the Alliance to Reindustrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) to design a green manufacturing site.

First of all, Lynn Hinkle, Leo Gerard, President of the United Steel Workers, and none other than top-dog environmentalist, Carl Pope who heads up the Sierra Club, have all assured us that the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is a certifiable green manufacturing operation and the largest green industrial manufacturing operation in the world which is powered by, according to Carl Pope, "clean, green, hydro."

So, one has to ask, "Why would this "coalition" want to demolish the largest, greenest manufacturing operation in existence in the world and "design a green manufacturing site?" Should not these "environmentalists" be interested in fighting to keep this plant in operation and saving two-thousand jobs while bringing those environmentalists from all over the world to see that green manufacturing in a huge industrial operation is really possible?

One would think that this ARISE "coalition" (if there is really even such a coalition) would choose a more appropriate manufacturing facility to turn "green." Perhaps they should take a look at Alliant Tech and how they could turn a war industry "green;" "swords into ploughshares."

In closing I would just like to point out what most people already know; fighting against these huge corporations for what is right and to save jobs is a very difficult struggle.

Organizations like Global Exchange should understand that struggling against these global capitalist giants requires more than a vision.

Winning requires the building of real coalitions focused on solving real problems impacting the lives of real living, breathing human beings.

Saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and two-thousand jobs is a struggle which can be won.

I find it very interesting that those groups bringing forward such sweeping visions for change are so focused on demanding of the rest of us that we pause from our daily struggles for justice to share their vision of what they think our vision should be, that they remain on the sidelines of the real struggles of the people for justice and dignity.

Lynn Hinkle and Global Exchange are entitled to their visions of "green communities," but, the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is located in a residential community which includes very good housing, there are all the shopping and amenities one would want and expect in such a "green community;" all anchored with a modern public library, a huge Planned Parenthood facility, doctor's offices, restaurants... all situated along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River with beautiful huge parks part of the landscape where people fish, swim and lay in the sun; and most importantly, the people of this community and of the Twin Cities and people from all over Minnesota understand how important saving the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is to saving all of this.

There might be a more diverse, greener community in America than the Highland Park community of St. Paul, but I don't know where.

Why would the advocates of "green communities" not want to fight and struggle to save this very important model of a "green community?"

The "vision" of the "green community" is here. All that Global Exchange members and others have to do is wake up from their dreams and open their eyes and the community they are talking about is before them... it just needs to be saved from the wrecking ball the real-estate speculators can't wait to bring in.

The problem is this: "free enterprise" has failed to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant. Public ownership of this plant is the only alternative.

Now, it is time to take real concrete action to save this plant.

We have been working diligently with very limited resources to save this Plant; and, in the process, save an existing model green community.

The Ford Motor Company should not be allowed to sell pick-up trucks in the United States if they do not keep this Plant open. Congress can see to that. It is time for James Oberstar to shut his big mouth for once and put action behind his words. We are sick and tired of hearing him talk about, "Jobs, jobs, jobs" as miners on the Iron Range and auto workers in the Twin Cities continue to lose their jobs by the tens of thousands.

Outfits like Global Exchange and the Campaign for America's Future should put up the resources to organize a real fight to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant. The UAW needs to flex its muscle and we need to ask where the AFL-CIO has been hiding out as this plant goes down.

Certainly John Sweeney understands the difficulty of such struggles and the resources required to wage such a struggle if we are going to save jobs. Let Sweeney put some money and resources where his mouth is, too.

John Sweeney knows something about "arm-twisting" when it comes to politics even if the president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the leaders of Local 789 do not... let the "arm-twisting" begin starting with Democratic Minnesota State Senator James Metzen who Chairs the powerful Committee on Business, Industry and Jobs... modify S.F. 607 to ten years to give this all a chance to work as we go through the hoops to bring the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant under public ownership.

The hydro dam should be placed under public ownership immediately and without any further delay. The Ford Motor Company should have to pay their electric bill just like the rest of us do. Excess power should be provided to the public schools for free.

It makes no sense to demolish a perfectly good factory.

Who is Lynn Hinkle and Global Exchange expecting to bank-roll their vision of an alternative "green community?" You got it, tax-payers, of course. Tax-payers who still owe millions for refurbishing the hydro dam and building the UAW-Ford-MnScu Training Center and who have subsidized Ford's production--- even to the extent of paying wages and for training its employees who they now want to throw out on the street.

It is almost a joke to have to win the battle to convince politicians that public ownership is the only feasible alternative left to saving this plant because the entire operation of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant has been so thoroughly subsidized by the public already who have picked up the tab repeatedly for any of the problems while the Ford Motor Company has walked off with all the profits including enough profits to build new plants in Thailand, Brazil and China.

Former leader of the Minnesota Senate, Democrat Roger Moe, while campaigning for governor declared that the tax-payer subsidies he had pushed through the state legislature assured continued operation of the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant "for the next seventy-five years." Well, Ford no longer wants to keep this Plant in production so legislators should take the appropriate action to bring the plant under public ownership--- workers at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant assure me that they don't mind getting a pay-check signed by the Governor of Minnesota.

Not only are we talking about saving a model green community here built around what has become a model of green manufacturing... we are talking about creating a model for saving America's industrial base which includes first and foremost the auto and steel industries... after all, isn't this the direction real progressives claim they want to see our country move towards?

In conclusion I quote the final sentence of the paragraph in question:

"The ARISE project is currently being considered by the Minnesota Legislature under Senate File 607 as a way to transition workers into a mixed-use facility for green manufacturing."

I think I have explained that this is an outright lie. Why would any politician put forward S.F. 607 if they were working with this "ARISE" coalition to demolish the Plant?

If, in fact, such a scheme is taking place, let us all here the complete details, including who is involved so that everyone can take part in the decision-making process for a change.

In closing, let me point out one very important fact:

At one time the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant was one of the dirtiest most unhealthy workplaces in the world. There were no homes or other businesses located anywhere near this plant.

From the inside of this plant the workers fought like hell to force better working conditions and for a better working environment against a money-grubbing greedy employer motivated only out of profit while outside the plant the community fought tooth and nail to force the Ford Motor Company to clean up its act; often the struggles of the workers and the community merged as labor and the community came together to fight this huge corporate giant.

As conditions in and around the plant began to improve an entire community, the community of Highland Park, sprung into existance around this plant... until today the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant and the entire Highand Park community in the City of St. Paul is a very liveable community and the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant is one of the more decent places for human beings to work--- all of this a product of successful struggles of workers and the community against a corporate giant... struggles which many predicted would fail... the people won some very important battles... now comes the greatest challenge of all, to protect what THE PEOPLE have created, a truly complete green community; today, the struggle which continues is over ownership and control of what has been created from the struggles of the past.

Karl Marx observed that all history is the history of class struggle... need we say more.

Just something for everyone to think about as you re-read this article by Angela Walker written for Global Exchange and distributed by Alternet.org:



How Closing Manufacturing Plants Can Be Transformed into Community-Saving Business Ventures

By Angela Walker , AlterNet. Posted November 12, 2008.

Ford's oldest plant in operation, which is set to close in 2011 will be the epitome of the changes to come.

Hit hard by the slowdown in the marketplace and higher fuel prices, Ford Motor Company recently experienced its largest quarterly loss in its 105-year history. With people evacuating their fuel-inefficient vehicles, Ford is experiencing its delayed rude awakening about the unsustainability of an auto industry geared towards producing pickups and sport utility vehicles. Despite plans to introduce six small cars made in Europe to the U.S. market, Ford today announced another 10 percent reduction in salaried payroll costs and will cut as many as 2,200 salaried jobs by January.

The oldest Ford plant still in operation -- the Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant in St. Paul, Minnesota -- will be the epitome of the changes to come. With plans to shut down in 2011, an additional 900 jobs will be lost in a plant that used to employ 2,000 workers. Communities throughout the state have already experienced the brunt of the country's economic downturn, Minnesota having lost 50,000 manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2006 alone, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

"We're just hemorrhaging," states former United Auto Worker (UAW) official, Lynn Hinkle, who retired over a year ago from a 30-year career at the Twin Cities Ford plant.

Yet something unusual is in the works that could change the future of this 140-acre manufacturing site and convert it into a model for green manufacturing. A coalition of the local UAW 879, McAllister University students, and affordable housing and environmental groups have formed the Alliance to Reindustrialize for a Sustainable Economy (ARISE) to design a green manufacturing site. The ARISE project is currently being considered by the Minnesota Legislature under Senate File 607 as a way to transition workers into a mixed-use facility for green manufacturing.

ARISE is re-envisioning how people look at industry, which historically has collided with the environmental movement. Their reindustrialization plans serve as an opportunity for industry to play a key role in the green economy.

"It is becoming increasingly clear to people in the union movement that our job security is dependent upon the new energy economy," states Hinkle. "If you're about family sustaining jobs, you have to connect global warming solutions and jobs otherwise you're going to have neither."

Ford's current training center would be converted into a green jobs training program for onsite wind turbine manufacturing and installation, and light rail car production. A plan to expand the light rail system is in the works to reach out to surrounding, traditionally low-income communities, which have been working with ARISE on the reindustrialization plans.

The Ford plant, located on the Mississippi River, is already connected to a hydroelectric system, which produces 18 megawatts of hydropower, and has powered the plant for over 80 years. Additionally, there exists a maze of tunnels onsite that were originally dug out for silica, used in making glass for windshields. These tunnels may be used for ground-source heating.

"We believe there's enough green energy sources on site to go totally noncarbon," says Hinkle.

With 140 acres, the coalition has the space to get creative with its envisioning and holistic approach. Businesses would be brought in to develop retail shops on the lower levels of buildings with affordable, residential units above. Walkways up and over the buildings would connect rooftop restaurants and bars to urban gardens with beautiful views of the Mississippi River. To connect the shops to the light rail, small electric vehicles would be produced onsite.

Throughout the last century, manufacturing jobs and industry have played a significant role in the growth of cities and development of communities by providing families with low entry-level jobs. Communities cannot afford to continue experiencing the off-shoring of their manufacturing jobs, especially during the current economic downturn. ARISE's plan is to develop this site as a prototype for turning brown fields, or old industrial grounds, into green manufacturing sites to support green jobs and sustainable community development.

Student group Summer of Solutions -- in partnership with economic justice organization, Global Exchange -- sees the future of their generation invested in this project.

"If we're going to build the green economy, we have to start here," says McAllister graduate Joseph Adamji. "The green jobs movement and the whole idea of shifting and expanding economic opportunity are to make social changes happen. As much as this project is about the Ford site, we need to use it as a model for how we develop communities, intentionally and sustainably."

City planners hope to see this space used as a central hub for sustainability projects for St. Paul and beyond.

"We could redevelop old manufacturing cities like Detroit and bring economic opportunities and prosperity," states Adamji. "We're trying to say that industry can play a role in the green economy."

Decarbonize, reindustrialize, equalize, is what ARISE is saying. The new energy economy can be used to battle lagging economic opportunities and social inequity. ARISE hopes to inspire communities -- from Flint, Michigan to Richmond, California -- to decide how they want to develop a new sense of community. Reindustrialization can be part of this process by formulating ways to generate green energy, mass transit, higher density and energy efficient buildings, and affordable housing.

"This is an opportunity to change the landscape literally and figuratively," says Hinkle. "What a great basis to rebuild the union movement. It's an opportunity for the green union movement to emerge, where unions can stand center stage and create aspirations for our entire society."

Angela Walker is the media director for Global Exchange.