Worker's rights, Native rights, sovereignty, Indian Gaming, Labor Unions, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, MIGA, racism & political corruption.
This sounds like a lot to talk about at one time but it really isn't.
We need to look at how all of these are inter-related to understand what is really going on in the State of Minnesota if we are going to be successful in our struggles for peace and social & economic justice.
As if these topics might be too much, I would like to include:
The Minnesota Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its so-called Racial Justice Task Force which has been operating in Northern Minnesota.
On a number of occasions I have requested to see the funding for the Minnesota Civil Liberties Racial Justice Task Force and have received no reply.
Usually one can follow the "money trail" to kind of figure out how all the pieces of the complex puzzle of this ugly two-headed monster comprising joined twins of political corruption and racism created by those who profit through the injustice of the rape of Mother Nature through utilizing labor; thus profiting from labor's exploitation.
As has been pointed out by all credible economists, wealth has a mother and father:
The Mother: Mother Nature.
The Father: Labor.
It is only when human labor is applied extracting natural resources and then going through the process of turning those natural resources into products of use that wealth is created. Therefore, most of the ongoing struggles taking place center around who owns and controls the mines, mills and factories because those who own and control the mines, mills and factories end up with all the wealth. It is not hard to see that in our society only a very few own and control the mines, mills and factories while the majority work creating the wealth yet have no say over how this wealth is used.
We could literally work "miracles" in solving most of our problems from health care to poverty if this wealth created by the many was not being hogged and hoarded by the few.
Those in power and in control over politics in our country have become very adept at raping Mother Nature utilizing labor to make their profits and they have to do their dirty work behind closed doors so as the majority of the people can't see what is going on.
They have also become very adept in creating new ways to gouge the people and exploit workers; the creation of the Indian Gaming Industry is a case in point.
Elmer Benson, Minnesota's most popular ever governor, always pointed out to me that if you want to find corruption look for racism; and, if you want to find out who the purveyors of racism are, look for the corruption and the corrupt.
It was this kind of thinking and ability to analyze what was taking place in society that made Elmer Benson a very astute politician and a politician of the kind that the mining, forestry, banking and power industries decided needed to be driven from office lest the real Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party become a symbol to American labor and the racially and nationally oppressed people in this country that we needed an alternative to what Elmer Benson called:
"This rotten, racist and corrupt system of capitalism."
All of this racism and corruption recently began to come together in semi-public view on a list serve called:
The Bemidji Forum.
The Bemidji Forum is part of the "E-Democracy" list serve which is manipulated and controlled largely by the Blandin Foundation... the Blandin Paper company has been raping our northwoods for many years... in the process, setting the standards for racial discrimination against Native labor--- if not setting the racist "standards" for barriers to employment of Native Americans, then at least maintaining a system of racism upon which the State of Minnesota was founded on.
It seems some participants wanted to talk about "alternative energy in northern Minnesota" but then they didn't want to hear how "alternative energy projects" had spun a racist back-room deal trading the peat bog for consideration of a casino so a peat mining operation could begin.
As for this peat mining venture, all the racist and corrupt shenanigans can be read on my other blogs:
What I want to focus on here is how racism and employment come together in the casino industry spinning a web of racist corruption which we are finding difficult to break free from--- as workers, and as a society.
First of all, let me state the facts as I know them to be with the only refutation having come from John McCarthy who is the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association even though he is a white man who has become tremendously wealthy doing the lobbying and knowingly and maliciously spreading lies surrounding what is involved when it comes to racism in the Indian Gaming Industry here in Minnesota and the United States:
* Casino workers are forced to work in loud noisy, smoke-filled casinos;
* Casino workers receive poverty wages;
* Casino workers have no rights under state, federal or tribal labor laws;
* Not one single Indian or tribe owns one single slot machine in Minnesota;
* Native American tribes are fronts for organized crime in this gaming industry;
* Profits from Indian Gaming in Minnesota run into the tens of billions of dollars yearly;
* Gross revenues are in excess of a trillion dollars a year.
* There has never been any accounting by anyone of what happens to the entire gross revenues from the India Gaming Industry in Minnesota on the part of any tribal government for their gaming enterprises.
Steve Hunter of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and John McCarthy are at the center of covering up what is taking place in Minnesota Indian Gaming Industry.
According to his own biography which can be found on the internet at the website of the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota:
Steven Hunter is the secretary/treasurer of the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Previously, he served as the political action director in Minnesota for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. Hunter graduated from the University of Minnesota and has served on numerous governing boards, including the Resource Center for the Americas, Transit for Livable Communities, Twin City Area Labor Management Council, American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, and the Community Solutions Fund.
Term expires: 2011
Spouse: Gail Antonson
What do we know about John McCarthy other than that he has enriched himself off the poverty of the Indian people by spreading every conceivable lie and falsehood about the Indian Gaming Industry.
The only thing we know about John McCarthy is that he is the Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association who lives, very unlike most Native American people, in a two-million dollar mansion in a very exclusive and hidden neighborhood at 8925 Cove Drive N.E. just outside of Bemidji, Minnesota and has his food flown in. We know that Mr. McCarthy's telephone number is 218-751-0560... and we also know that Mr. McCarthy distributes oddles upon oodles of money to Minnesota politicians at every level of government from tribal to local to county to state and federal. Who is this "candy man" to politicians? It is widely rumored that Mr. McCarthy's is well connected to what once was known as the Meyer Lansky Crime Family and the famed Kansas City Mob. To what extent these rumors are true or not we don't really know because the Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety has not been as eager to investigate Mr. John McCarthy as it has me.
We do know what both John McCarthy of the Indian Gaming Association and what Steve Hunter of the AFL-CIO/ACLU knows about Indian Gaming in Minnesota. They both know the facts I have cited above are true and we know they have both intentionally and with great malice aforethought, sought to lie and cover up these facts.
Mr. Hunter even conceived of the idea of a "Racial Justice Task Force" as an affiliate of the ACLU with Audrey Thayer being in charge... the alleged mandate of this Task Force was to ferret out racist discrimination so something could be done about putting an end to it.
But, the primary area of racist discrimination against Native Americans--- the largest group of people experiencing racial discrimination in northern Minnesota is in the area of casino employment and this area of racist discrimination has been intentionally completely ignored by Audrey Thayer and the ACLU's Racial Justice Task Force.
John McCarthy of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association peddles lies--- with great forethought--- about this racist discrimination against Native Americans in the Indian Gaming Industry. Native Americans form the core of the employees in the Indian Gaming Industry.
Now, Steve Hunter obviously is fully aware that workers without any rights under state, federal or tribal labor laws are workers who have no rights in the communities where they reside and are robbed of their rights to fully participate in the political process. Mr. Hunter supports the Employee Free Choice Act for ALL workers EXCEPT workers employed in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages working without any rights in the Indian Gaming Industry.
Mr. Steve Hunter, AFL-CIO officer and member of the board of Directors of the ACLU-Minnesota Chapter which initiated the Racial Justice Task Force making Audrey Thayer the head, also is fully aware that unions in Minnesota belonging to his Federation and the Building Trades unions with past memberships in his federation but now affiliated with the Change To Win labor federation are taking union dues from all workers on casino construction projects but these workers are not protected by a signed union contract, and their is no intent on the part of these unions for whom dues are being pay-roll deducted to try to secure a signed union contract with the Tribes, their Gaming Enterprises or the contractors they hire to build and maintain these casinos. The new Red Lake casino now under construction is a case in point.
One might ask, "Where does the racism come in?"
Well, about half the workers employed on the Red Lake construction site have been sent there to work by one Pete Nadeau, the TERRO Officer in Red Lake. Mr. Nadeau acknowledges that most of the workers he sends out to be employed constructing this new Red Lake Casino pay union dues which are deducted from their pay checks; but, Pete Nadeau is not concerned that these workers have never seen the union contracts they are paying to be protected by.
The problem is this: Without working under a union contract but paying union dues, not only do these workers have no rights of a union contract which they are paying for, for their protection; but, these Native American workers are excluded from the various apprenticeship programs that a union contract would entitle them to participate in so they could maintain jobs in the building trades if they so choose beyond their employment on one casino project. The building Trades Unions have been notorious for their racism and racist practices over the years in the United States--- excluding people of color, especially Native Americans until they are pressured to do otherwise; these casino construction projects are just one more example of this disgraceful and despicable acts of racism perpetrated against Native American workers.
Here we have John McCarthy and his Minnesota Indian Gaming Association creating lies to praise the Indian Gaming Industry knowing full well the racist corruption which accompanies Indian Gaming.
And then we have this Racial Justice Task Force claiming to be so concerned about Native Rights but refusing to address the most pressing, most widespread racism of all, the employment factor in the Indian Gaming Industry as the politicians rake in the dough handed out like candy to children at Halloween by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
Close scrutiny of the Racial Justice Task Force's funding would no doubt turn up involvement from Bemidji State University, the Blandin and Northwest foundations, as well as the tribal governments fronting for the mobsters who really own, control AND PROFIT from the Indian Gaming Industry.
There isn't one single tribal, state or federal public official who doesn't know what is going on... after all, they take the money handed out by John McCarthy as a payoff for maintaining their silence.
Check it out, these are the lies John McCarthy and his Minnesota Indian Gaming Association has told the public and public officials:
Mr. McCarthy denies that it is unjust that casino workers are employed in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws.
Let us be very clear about this:
Sovereignty has nothing at all to do with the injustices referred to in the statement above because there isn't any government in the world which has the right to subject working people to a smoke-filled working environment and then forcing the workers into an employment situation where the workers have no rights.
And through it all, John McCarthy sits in his two-million dollar home atop the hill in a hidden exclusive neighborhood having his food flown in as he keeps his bank account a secret because he doesn't want Indian people to know how wealthy he has become as a direct result of their having to live in poverty while billions and trillions of dollars makes its way into the hands of a bunch of mobsters and crooks quite lierally living off the "fruits" of racism... one might say, the rotten, corrupt fruits of racism which has spun a crooked and corrupt political system sucking in not only politicians but labor leaders like Steve Hunter and Ray Waldron.
One is tempted to as Ray Waldron and Steve Hunter: What has happened to the founding principle of the labor movement:
"An injury to one, is an an jury to all."
It seems that there are those like Steve Hunter and Ray Waldron who are more than willing to look the other way when the injustices being suffered are those of casino workers, and when the injustices are even worse were Native American workers are involved.
Of course, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party which developed the concept of these racist, anti-labor "Compacts" creating the Indian Gaming Industry going back to 1988 have done pretty well when John McCarthy comes a calling with his brown paper shopping bags filled with money instead of Halloween candy.
There you have it:
Worker's rights, Native rights, sovereignty, Indian Gaming, Labor Unions, Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, MIGA, racism & political corruption.
Perhaps DFL State Representative Tom Anzelc would like to respond since he used his position in the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council and his tenure in Rudy Perpich's Administration to get elected to his state house seat from the Iron Range north.
Roger Jourdain, the former Chair of the Red Lake Nation pretty well summed what casino gaming would offer Indian people in declaring:
"The only thing we will get from casinos is debt; racist, crooked and corrupt, rich white people will walk away with the profits leaving us the poverty to contend with."
And how insightful this very simple observation of Roger Jourdain's was.
Red Lake Nation Chairman Roger Jourdain demonstrated a keen awareness in observing:
"Debt equals poverty. The debt we incur from the casino industry will rob us of our land, our livelihoods and our sovereignty."
Roger Jourdain also observed:
"The only thing Indian people will get out of the casino industry is good wages if our people organize."
Today, the Red Lake Nation is dying in poverty and despair as dope dealers operate inside the casinos under the protection of the Red Lake Tribal Council and its highest officials distributing drugs to its youth.
Not exactly the healthy changes those like "Buck" and Darrel Sekki maintain come from casino gaming.
As for those who patronize these casinos and don't care about the plight of casino workers as they nervously puff on their cigarettes wondering why the one-armed bandit isn't paying out; they can take comfort knowing that state and federal building inspectors are not permitted on these job sites... that the contractors inspect their own work performed by workers not protected by the union contract they are paying dues for.
Something to think about as you return to your "luxurious" casino hotel room lying in bed smoking, trying to figure out how you will pay the monthly mortgage bill now that you have lost your money thinking you only came to win enough to pay the heating bill. Not to worry,though, Red Lake's fire department won't be far away should your cigarette slip from your lips as you cry yourself asleep... the basement brigade should arrive on time... maybe "Buck" will give the Red Lake Public Safety Department's Director's job to his son... the poor innocent kid who everyone is picking on who didn't tell his dad his classmates were about to be murdered.
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council