From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 11:03 PM
Subject: [Bemidji] Fourth of July Parade in Debs, Minnesota
Yeah, Eugene Debs was a great dude. Got to spend some time in the joint for fighting for peoples rights. I like him. I don't like you though. I take issue with the statement;
"bunch of worthless politicians like Brita Sailer, Purcell, Dave Olin, Mary Olson and Rod Skoe"
See, the difference between you and me Alan, is that I know at least two of those people personally. They are good, hard working people who have struggled through life and through the process of free election to represent us and if I were to call either of them and ask to talk to them about the unfair treatment of workers they would gladly make the time for me. They would invite me to their home and offer me coffee maybe. Maybe we would just meet somewhere and talk. I would explain my concerns and fears, reasoning out things. After we talked they could no doubt direct me to state offices. Provide me with resources. They would assist me with solving the problem that I presented to them because we would be allies in fighting against injustice or for the people.
Who are your allies Alan? Where are the workers following you into this glorious revolt? What is your solution and what tactics are you using? I like your causes, that's the damnable thing. I think it's terrible that anyone has to work for a slave wage. It doesn't just happen on the reservations though Alan. Life on the reservations is not good Alan, I will give you that. And I would love it if you told me how to help. I would love it if you were to, instead of ranting for pages and pages, to give me a single, coherent statement outlining your solution. Just something I can do Alan. Someone I can call. Something I can sign. Somewhere I can volunteer. You've got passion all over the place, but you have the rallying ability of a loud cricket in a large room. You're a fanatic Alan, and I don't truck with fanatics whatever their cause. As far as I'm concerned the difference between the communists on streets of Debs and the capitalists on the Bemidji court lawn is little, and in the gap between them rests the remainder of us being slaughtered and starved by your inability to compromise.
Jeremiah T Liend
Inner City., Bemidji
Mr. Jeremiah Liend;
In fact, you know the problems casino workers face; I have stated these problems over and over again... and you have done nothing. I assume you are a mouthpiece for the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.
You also know there is a political solution to the problems and injustices casino workers are experiencing and so do each and everyone of the politicians I mentioned along with the 200 plus politicians sitting in the Minnesota State Legislature.
Here are the problems; I am numbering them for you:
1. 40,000 casino workers in Minnesota are employed in smoke-filled casinos.
The solution: Ban the smoking just as smoking has been banned in all other places of employment in Minnesota.
2. 40,000 casino workers in Minnesota have no rights under state, federal or tribal labor laws.
The solution: Re-open the "Compacts" and insert a clause that casino workers have the same rights as all other workers under state and federal labor laws.
3. 40,000 casino workers in Minnesota receive poverty wages.
The solution: Pay casino workers $40,000.00 a year like the politicians, the Indian Gaming Associations and tribal governments claim casino workers will be paid when they are seeking approval for their "Compacts."
4. 40,000 casino workers in Minnesota have no voice at work.
The solution: Support casino workers in their struggle for union contracts.
Now, as far as what you can do:
1. You print off this e-mail.
2. Go have coffee with these two fine politicians that you know.
3. Ask them what they intend to do to make things right and just.
Please let us all know what they say they will do.
Let me know after they have done these things so I can pack up and leave Minnesota and stop bothering you.
I am sorry I only said these politicians were "worthless;" I should have stated, "bunch of worthless, racist, anti-labor and bigoted politicians like Brita Sailer, Purcell, Dave Olin, Mary Olson and Rod Skoe."
As for you; you are nothing but one big blow-hard who has never lifted one little finger in the struggle for justice for working people and you never will.
As for your "free elections;" give me a break. If we had anything approximating "free elections" where issues were really the focal point and ALL people had full representation, none of these people I have mentioned would be sitting in the Minnesota State Legislature... they are sitting in this legislature only because they had their way purchased into it.
If there were genuinely democratic and "free elections," Minnesota would have over 20 Native Americans sitting in the State Legislature... in case you haven't noticed; even though Native Americans comprise the largest minority population in Minnesota, and a people who had their land (Minnesota) stolen from them in bloody, murderous campaigns... there is not one single Native American sitting in the Minnesota House or Senate. What do you intend to do to right this wrong? Or do you need to explain step by step what you should do?
If you cared one iota about ending racism, you would have put together some kind of interracial citizen's committee and seen to it that Native Americans are elected to public offices, including the state legislature--- the Red Lake Nation and Leech Lake would have their people in positions in the Minnesota House and Senate...
You sit right between these two huge Indian Reservations experiencing some of the worst poverty of any place on this planet and you haven't lifted a finger, or your voice, to bring forward any solutions aimed at putting an end to this poverty because paying casino workers real living wages instead of poverty wages would be a very big part of the solution to ending poverty on these Indian Reservations--- as any school child can tell you, poverty cannot be ended as long as employers are paying their employees poverty wages.
Then you have the unmitigated gall to suggest that you are doing nothing because no one is telling you what the problems are and what you need to do to solve those problems.
If you are really this dumb I would suggest you consider not posting to list serves because someone is apt to give you a piece of their mind in return for your stupidity.
Let me assure you that casino workers do not hold their breath waiting for uncaring people like you and these worthless state legislators to solve their problems for them.
Nor do we hold our breath waiting for racist union "leaders" like Ray Waldron and Steve Hunter who set up their little fronts using another "worthless creep" like you friend Audrey Thayer to hide their role as purveyors of racism and bigotry behind as Audrey Thayer talks about how Native Americans "perceive" racism in and around Bemidji... you Mr. Liend are are not a "perception," nor is John McCarthy of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association who lives in a two-million dollar home in a well hidden exclusive upscale community... a parasite who lives off the problems of Native Americans he has had a major hand in creating.
The difference between you and me is that these worthless politicians know that I mean business and I would never lower myself to sit down to have coffee with them. I know that the only way casino workers are going to get justice is when we sweep this state legislature clean of all these politicians who pander to the casino managements, the health care industry, the mining, auto, banking and power generating industries along with big agribusiness.
Like Eugene Debs said, we need a party that represents the working class and the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party represents big-business just like the Republicans.
As for State Representative David Olin... he and I sat with former United States Congressman and Jimmy Carter's Secretary of Agriculture, Bob Bergland, at Mr. Bergland's dining room table in his Roseau home, sipping, I believe it was coffee... and Bob Bergland turned to David Olin and asked: "Is anything Maki telling me about what goes on in these casinos true?" Mr. Olin turned bright red, looked at Bergland, eyes towards the table and said in a very soft, shameful voice: "It is all true; every single word of what he has told you is true." Bergland then asked: "Why did you allow this to go on?" Olin responded: "Because my hands were tied." Bergland asked inquisitively, "Tied by whom?" Olin replied, "By the Feds."
I had just got done explaining that the Red Lake Casino in Thief River Falls was the site of dope dealing, prostitution, illegal gambling, loan-sharking and illegal booze sales... providing the names of the culprits in management involved including the head of casino security.
David Olin had been the Pennington County Prosecutor who sat on his hands allowing all of this to go on before being elected as a state representative.
Like you, Olin has chosen to do nothing.
By the way, I provided, then Attorney General Mike Hatch, all of this information, complete with photographs taken using the casino's own surveillance equipment... neither Hatch, the head of Minnesota Public Safety, nor the United States Department of Justice did anything... Mike Hatch withheld the information for many months from the Commissioner of Public Safety and by then the FBI proclaimed the "trail to be too cold to investigate."
Today, the people of the Red Lake Nation are paying a terrible price as Floyd "Buck" Jourdain builds a feudal-like dynasty with Stanley Crooks (a genuine sleazeball if ever there was one) and his dope-dealing friends, pimps and mobsters as the New York Times has pointed out... of course you choose to read selectively just as former Pennington County Prosecutor David Olin--- now State Representative Olin--- selectively chose his prosecutions... he chose to go after some high school and college students smoking a little weed as Jourdain's friends peddle the hard stuff, everything from heroin, cocaine and meth that is being pumped into kid's veins and numbing their brains.
It is no coincidence that much of Representative Olin's campaign contributions come from the gaming industry and Floyd "Buck" Jourdain is one of his biggest boosters. Representative David Olin "worthless?"
I should have said Olin is a "worthless little creep" just like you.
86% of the workers employed by Red Lake Gaming Enterprises signed union cards stating they wanted Red Lake Casino, Hotel and Restaurant Employees' Union Organizing Committee to represent them in contract negotiations... Floyd "Buck" Jourdain refused to negotiate a contract with me as their elected and designated representative claiming that "your skin isn't the right color."
I wonder what color skin Floyd Jourdain's dope dealing friends have? According to the New York Times reporter their skin is white. Same color as John McCarthy's and the same color as the owners of the slot machines.
Floyd "Buck" Jourdain demonstrated his sympathy for people whose skin is the same color as his when they said they wanted a union contract--- a summarily fired them and then tried to deny these Native American casino workers unemployment compensation... this is why I stress class and the need for interracial unity in fighting these casino managements and these worthless politicians like Brita Sailer, Purcell, Mary Olson and David Olin.
Floyd "Buck" Jourdain wants to deal with people of a certain color... we say, let's send some Native American casino workers to represent northern Minnesota in the state legislature... do you have any friends among Native American casino workers you might want to recommend? Of course, keep in mind that Floyd "Buck" Jourdain is going to fire them if they start talking about the problems I have articulated here... so much for your "free elections." Workers without any rights on the job have no freedom to participate in your "free elections."
I thank you for responding to my post, Mr. Jeremiah Liend of Bemidiji, Minnesota the town which has the distinction of being the most racist town in Minnesota when it comes to Native Americans and employment, housing, health care, education and the police.
I can see your influence on the politicians you have coffee with--- the results are there for the entire world to see--- the racist results.
For a person you say you do not like; you sure rely on me to do your thinking for you.
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
Check out my blog:
Thoughts From Podunk
Cc: Maggie Bird
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
I received this e-mail I would like to share with the forum and some of my
I just wanted to let you all know that if you have concerns about the
> Iraq and/or Afghani Wars, Union issues, or freedom of speech in
> general, the Eugene V. Debs Peace and Justice Coalition will be
> marching in the Debs parade again this year on the 4^th , and if you'd
> be willing to participate, we'd love to have you join us (please do -
> there aren't that many of us as things now stand, and it's lonely
> getting heckled in a small group). Bring Debs back to Debs! The march
> takes about twenty minutes and isn't too taxing, if that would be a
> concern, and you can always drop out if you need to at the ice cream
> line. The parade starts at 11:00am and the lineup is at 10:00 - if you
> could be there by about 10:30 or so, that would be great. Also, if you
> know of anyone else who might be interested, please ask them to join
> us. I called down to the Debs Museum in Indiana and got a few "Debs
> for President" buttons if anyone would like to have one. I have a
> couple of posters from last year, and feel free to bring your own sign
> expressing whatever your concern may happen to be.
> On the 5^th , the Veterans against the Iraq war will be marching in
> the parade in Bemidji. There will be a float to ride for those who
> would need it. Please feel free to join us, and again, please spread
> the word.
> Kevin McColley
I can't make it to Debs for the parade but I think it is great people are keeping the spirit of Eugene V. Debs alive in this little community of Debs, Minnesota named after Eugene V. Debs; just north of Bemidji--- a community named to honor this great Marxist leader of our multi-racial, multi-ethnic working class.
We can trace the origins of the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party and the work of our great socialist governors Floyd B. Olson and Elmer Benson along with the Communist United States Congressman from the Iron Range, John Bernard, directly to the work of Eugene V. Debs and his Socialist Party. at one time, Debs' Socialist Party was elected to lead Thief River Falls and the Red Flag flew over that city hall. today, Thief River Falls has a city park named after Minnesota's great socialist governor, Floyd B. Olson and most people in Thief River Falls know nothing about Floyd B. Olson. nor do they know anything about Eugene V. Debs. This is the way the working class has been robbed of its history by so-called "educators" and the mainstream media.
Please keep in mind that the working class injustices Debs fought against--- including racism--- are still with us today as over 40,000 Minnesotans go to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state, federal or tribal labor laws in the Indian Gaming Industry in Minnesota.
Americans still lack socialized health care.
Workers are subjected to all kinds of exploitation and mistreatment in the
workplace--- from racial and sexual discrimination to terrible health and safety problems.
Also, please keep in mind that tens of millions of dollars are coming into Minnesota at this very moment in the form of Barack Obama's much ballyhooed "stimulus funding" and very few minorities are being hired on these projects... on many of these projects now underway utilizing these federal funds not one single Native American is working.
We have to ask how it is that so much tax money is being spent and so few Native Americans are benefitting from these "stimulus funds" here in Minnesota. by the time professors and other outfits have studied the situation, the work will have been completed.
How is it that the Minnesota AFL-CIO, the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council and outfits like the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union's "Racial Justice Task Force" are not monitoring and demanding full and complete compliance with affirmative action hiring and demanding that Native Americans get hired on these jobs?
This is not "perceived" racism we are talking about. this IS racism.
The main expression of racism in northern Minnesota is in employment hiring practices and not one single organization except for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council has raised this issue with Minnesota State Legislators and Congresspersons and our one United States Senator. Shame on Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar for ignoring this racism as she touts her role in obtaining these "stimulus funds" for Minnesota. Klobuchar does not even extend the courtesy of a response to our charges of racist hiring practices. which, can only be described as intentional acts of racism.
I have requested a complete list of all projects in Minnesota receiving these "stimulus funds" so that we can check job site by job site to find out how many Native Americans are being employed.
Amy "Republican Lite" Klobuchar is withholding this very important information which I assume she has since she is boasting that she was instrumental in getting "stimulus funds" for Minnesota. Senator Klobuchar wants to boast about the money but she wants to hide the racist hiring practices of the corporations and contractors receiving this money and outfits like the "Green-Blue Alliance" are also content to ignore these racist hiring practices.
We ask: Where are the voices of Steve Hunter, Ray Waldron, Audrey Thayer and Dick Anfang as tens of millions of dollars in "stimulus funding" is being spent in Minnesota on work being done right now?
Putting facts on pieces of paper detailing the racism after the work is done and the "stimulus funds" are spent is not good enough.
We need to know who is responsible and how compliance with affirmative action policies is being monitored and enforced right now on projects receiving these "stimulus funds."
Outfits like the Progressive Democrats of America and the Progressives for Obama have refused to move into action demanding affirmative action in hiring where these "stimulus funds" are being spent even as they hail the spending of these funds which further goes to prove that the Democratic Party is the same old racist and corrupt party that it was at the time it supported slavery and the mass hanging in Mankato.
The Green Party has been shamefully silent on this issue, too.
Where is the voice of that protector of the dope dealers, Floyd "Buck" Jourdain? Floyd "Buck" Jourdain works hand-in-hand with racist contractors and racist union "leaders" to deny the people of the Red Lake Nation jobs.
We need an explanation of how all of this is taking place. How is it that the great "free" media has refused to examine the racist "labor contracts" between tribal councils, unions and contractors and the role of this farce known as T.E.R.O.?
Why was there no oversight of these "stimulus funds" from the very beginning to see to it that Native Americans were hired and placed in positions from which they could enter apprenticeship programs so that they would have a future once the "stimulus funds" run out?
And, after all of these years, not one single Native American sits in the Minnesota House or Senate while northern Minnesota sends a bunch of worthless politicians like Brita Sailer, Purcell, Dave Olin, Mary Olson and Rod Skoe who go begging for votes on the Indian Reservations but then after being elected will not lift one little finger to make sure affirmative action in hiring is taking place... I am sure that Eugene Debs would have had something to say about this racism and how it hurts all working people.
Then there is the issue of the peat mining in the Big Bog in addition to the wars and the need for socialized health care and of course the need to get rid of this thoroughly rotten capitalist system that is destroying us all as the economy collapses.
Have you considered, or maybe you already have, a blog or a website detailing your Debs activities on the 4th of July and beyond.
I hope everyone will consider what we can do to help elect some Native American workers from northern Minnesota who will stand up and fight for these issues in the Minnesota state legislature... let's get rid of Brita Sailer, Mary Olson and Rod Skoe... we in northern Minnesota have a chance to stand up for justice and strike an important blow against racism and racist discrimination in jobs and hiring, housing, education and health care in the 2010 Election.
There is something terribly, terribly wrong when DFL party hacks will run around Indian Reservations drumming up support for DFL candidates but these party hacks make no effort to run Native American candidates
I hope everyone will go to their public library and check out the excellent book about Debs--- "The Bending Cross: A Biography of Eugene Victor Debs" by Ray Ginger and tell your friends about this book.
Here is a great speech by Eugene Victor Debs about the need for independent working class political action--- perhaps more relevant today than when this speech was delivered--- notice what Debs has to say about the use of the term "progressive:"
Speech at 1925 Conference for Progressive Political Action
Lexington Hotel, Chicago, IL
Fellow Delegates and Friends:
I appreciate fully the very cordial reception you tendered with such marked enthusiasm, but I don't forget that this high compliment is paid to the cause that I have been endeavoring to serve and to me personally not at all.
I wish that you were all Socialists. But I realize that a great many of you are not. I hope I have never been and never shall be narrow enough and bigoted enough to deny any human being the same right to his or her honest conviction and the same right to express these convictions and stand up and fight for them that I shall claim for myself.
There are, as I see it, two paramount questions before this body. The first is, shall a new party be organized, and secondly, if a new party is organized, what kind of party shall it be?
It is quite natural that there should be a very wide divergence of opinion as to these questions. It would be a miracle almost if the delegates composing this great body, representing so many different elements and constituents, were of one mind, of one purpose, as to the questions that confront them for consideration and action.
Speaking for myself and my colleagues, I favor the organization, here and now, of a new party. I also stand, in addition to the demand for a new party, that this shall be a party of the working class.
A party in this later day of our industrial and social development is either a capitalist party or it is a labor party. It is the one or the other. It cannot be both. We all know that in the evolution of industry and of society there has been a division of society, and that today it consists mainly of two economic classes,
The capitalist class upon the one hand and upon the other the working class; and these two classes, whether you admit it or not, are pitted against each other, not only in this country, but throughout the world, in an irrepressible struggle. These two classes can never be permanently harmonized or reconciled. It is this that is called the class struggle, that is shaking the foundations of the whole civilized world.
This is an age of organization. Working men realize this in having organized pretty thoroughly upon the industrial field in pitting themselves against the organized power of their masters and their exploiters. They have yet to learn that the labor question is essentially a political question. If they find it necessary to unite upon the industrial field, to unite and strike together, how can they consistently fight each other at the ballot box?
Politics is simply the expression in political terms of the economic interests of certain groups or classes. The masters and exploiters realize this fact and they are in politics, not in non-partisan politics, but in politics.
I have heard some allusions to non-partisan political organization. That is to say, a political party that is not a political party. I know of no organization, no political organization, that is or can be non-partisan. It is a question, as we believe, mainly of the education of the working class, and here let me say that my interpretation of the working class includes all useful workers of brain and brawn, all who usefully serve society in any trade, occupation, or profession. All of these properly belong to the working class. I draw the line at the exploiters and the parasites and there I draw it sharply.
Now it has been said that the time has not yet come to organize a new party, and when, I venture to ask, will that time come?
It was my good fortune to personally know the founder and Grand Chief, the first Grand Chief of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, to personally know the first Grand Master of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman. How often I have heard both of them tell of their early experiences in the efforts they made to lay the foundation of the organization of their class. There were but a handful of men who organized these two great brotherhoods. They were told that the time had not come for such work and everything possible was done to discourage them, but they were of such fiber, such moral fiber, that they had the courage to stand erect, to assert themselves, and to make the beginning that resulted in these great organizations.
Every great human movement has a small beginning in every age, in every nation. There have been a few heroic souls, women and men, who have ideas in advance of their time, who have had the courage to give expression to these ideas, to stand staunchly in their advocacy and to pave their way by their heroism, by their self-sacrifice to better conditions for mankind.
It was my pleasure, as well as my honor, to be with that magnificent woman, Susan B. Anthony, almost a half century ago, when she came to the town in which I lived, in response to an invitation that I had extended to her to advocate the cause of women's rights. I remember in escorting her from the station to the hotel how she was sneered at by passersby, who felt insulted that this brazen creature had been permitted to enter that community. I recall it all so vividly as I stand here in your presence this afternoon; all of the influences surrounding her were brought to bear to prevent her from advocating the right of women to take part in the affairs of society. They declared that the time had not come for it. They declared that it was impossible. They made all sorts of arguments to discourage Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, these magnificent women whose names are in history, the glory of their sex. It was a small beginning they made, but they had the courage to make it, and they have written their names in indelible letters in the annals of mankind. We may not be able to make a very great beginning here, but the important thing is that we shall make a beginning.
I have said that a party is either a capitalist party or it is a labor party. I deny that any party can by any possible means serve both these classes with the same fidelity. It is absolutely impossible. If a party serves the capitalist exploiter it is at the expense of his exploited victim, and if a party serves the exploited worker it is at the expense of his economic master.
Much has been said about wresting the power of monopoly from the hands of the few who hold sway in our affairs. Let it be understood that the economic power is always and everywhere the political ruler. How are you going to wrest this power from the hands of the autocracy, who are in the minority, unless you organize the workers and their sympathizers, who are in the majority, unless you educate and organize the masses? And build up the political power that will wrest from them the power they have to oppress and exploit the people by taking from them the private ownership of the instruments of production that make them the economic masters and the political rulers of the nation?
The question for us to consider is simply this: are or are we not in favor of this nation owning and controlling its own industries? That is the fundamental question. That is what confronts this body. As long as you permit a relative few to privately own the sources and means of wealth, the tools of production, they will be in power. You will be in servitude. You will produce the wealth and they will have it under whatever administration you may have. They will do nothing and you will have that, and that is what you have been getting under the administration of both the Republican and Democratic parties all of these years.
Now if what has been charged against these two parties by this body, by this conference, if the half of what has been charged, is true, then these parties are hopelessly corrupt and reactionary, and how can the great body of people who are oppressed and exploited and degraded, how can they hope for any relief by timidly approaching the doors of these corrupt parties and begging for some slight consideration, and be treated with contempt?
The class now in power cannot rule honestly. They must rule corruptly. They are in the minority. They have not the votes of their own to put them in power, but they have the money with which to corrupt the electorate. They have the money with which to corrupt the courts and to buy the legislators, and to debauch all our institutions. They have the power to do this because they have the money, and they have the money because they own the means of production and distribution. The great mass of the workers depend upon them for employment. In this system no working man - we boast of every man having the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and yet in this system that has been alternately supported by both of the capitalist parties, no man has a right to work. He can only work on conditions that the master who owns the tools he works with grants him permission to work, and the man who works by permission lives by permission, and is in no sense a free man.
Now we make the claim that the time has come for the great body of the workers and those who sympathize with them to organize a new party and to begin the work of extending the operation and activities of this party all over the country. We can make the beginning here.
We can start forth with a message. We can make the appeal that will ring all over this country, and I am satisfied that hundreds of thousands of the workers will respond to that appeal. But the great mass of the people are not articulate. They have no means of making themselves heard. If the question of organizing a new party, and that party being a labor party, if that question were submitted to the great body of the American workers, I am satisfied that a very large proportion of them would vote in favor of launching a new party.
There are those present-I concede their honesty-I impugn no man's motive-there are those present who believe that a kind of middle party can be organized that will embrace so many more of the people. They indulge the illusion that it is possible to permanently unite men whose interests are in conflict. It cannot be done. It is an impossible undertaking. I venture to say that if this body in the course of its deliberations decides upon organizing a middle class party that shall be neither one thing or the other, but that shall have progress for its shibboleth, that shall be known as a progressive party-and by the way-do you know of a party that is not a progressive party? I don't.
Do you know of any man or woman in this country who will confess himself or herself a reactionary? I don't. Rockefeller is a progressive. So is Morgan. So are all the rest of them progressive, and there is not a term in our vocabulary that has been more prostituted in the last few years than the term progressive. Now, what does it mean? Absolutely nothing.
Make your appeal broad enough to embrace small capitalists and workers and all sorts of elements, launch that party tomorrow, and I admit that it may make some little progress. I admit that it may have some small accession to its ranks, but it cannot live. Its death is a foregone conclusion. Organize a so-called progressive party combining all of these elements, more or less in conflict with each other, and they soon begin to disintegrate and they will go the way that all third parties have gone during the last fifty years.
A labor party is the only party that can be organized with any hope of making it a permanent party and achieving its historic mission.
It is a fortunate fact that the workers everywhere are beginning to open their eyes at last, beginning to realize that they have brains as well as hands, that they can think as well as work, that they are fit for something better than slavery and for cannon fodder. They are beginning to stand erect here and there and everywhere all along the line, beginning to realize that what is done for them must be done by themselves. And so they are gradually developing their self-reliance and they are making the appeal to their own solidarity.
They are still in the minority, and here let it be observed that every great movement in its inception was not only in the minority, unpopular, consisting of those who had ideas and courage, who did their work and rendered their service to humanity, these awakened and awakening and intelligent and awakening workers are still in the minority, but they are in alliance with the force of evolution, and as certain as I stand in your presence this afternoon, this minority will be converted in course of time into the triumphant majority and sweep into power and seize the reins of government in the name of the people and transfer the title deeds from the Rockefellers, Goulds, Vanderbilts, and Morgans to the people in their collective capacity, and then for the first time we will have democracy and self-government in the history of this Republic.
Ah, but this is far-fetched, some of you seem to think, and possibly it is. But it is the only issue before this body that is worthy of serious consideration. This is a movement that is making progress.
Now the workers have organized to a very large extent industrially. They are beginning to realize their interests, their power, their duty, their responsibility as a class now. I know that it is not very popular in the presence of some people to talk about classes. We are supposed to be a classless country. There are no classes in the United States. We are all in the same class with Rockefeller and the rest of them, and we prove it by voting that ticket on election day.
Now, Rockefeller and Morgan and Gary and the rest of them, believe me, are class conscious. I only wish the workers were as class conscious as are these great exploiting Capitalists.
The power that they have over people never can be abolished while they are in possession of the instruments that give them that power. That is the private ownership of the means of our common life. They own the railroads; they own the telegraph, the telephone; they own all these great agencies of production and distribution, the mines and the mills and the factories that have been socially produced, that are socially operated, that are socially necessary and still are held in private hands. The owners of the railroads have nothing to do with their operation. If every owner of an American railroad took a ship, an airship tonight, and left this planet, the people would never know it, for every train would come and go on time, and so with all of the great industries. Their private owners have no more to do with their management or their operation dm if they lived upon Mars. Now, if the people, in their collective capacity can develop these great industries, if they can operate them socially, and if their very lives depend upon them, can't they also develop intelligence enough to make themselves the owners and the masters of these industries and operate them, not to produce multimillionaires and billionaires, but to produce wealth in abundance for all of the people?
Poverty amid plenty is it not strange that in this land of fabulous abundance there is such widespread poverty and misery that defies the power of all language to properly describe? Here in America we live in perhaps the most favored land beneath the bending skies, vast areas of the richest and most fertile soil, all of the raw materials in inexhaustible abundance, the most marvelous productive machinery on the face of the globe, and the million of workers, men and women and children, aye children, two million of them still having their puny bodies coined into the capitalist profit, is infinitely more important than the working man's life.
Is it not strange that in this land of fabulous plenty there is still so much poverty, so many million of our people whose life consists of a long, hard, fierce struggle all the way from youth to age and at last death comes to the rescue and stills the aching heart and lulls that victim to dreamless sleep.
This all seems very strange to me, in one aspect of it, but not in another, for I have learned enough to know m my experience and observation that that very limited class that owns and controls the means of our common life not only controls the government in every department and has the injunctions issued under both Republican and Democratic administration on that paralyzes labor unions; they not only control the government in every department, but they control all of our educational institutions, they have the power to penalize, to proscribe, to exile the workers by discharging and black-listing the men, the best among them, for the reason they have intelligence enough and courage enough to stand up for the interests of their classes. They have the power to control the education, a large part of which consists of mis-education, the purpose of which is to keep the people in ignorance and, through their ignorance, in servitude.
Shakespeare was right when he said, "There is no darkness but ignorance and there is no slavery but ignorance," and that is the trouble with the American people, and the average politician tells them that he is so proud to stand in their presence, to look in their intelligent faces, he flatters their ignorance to keep them ignorant, while upon the other hand, the Socialist agitator has made himself an undesirable citizen, despised and persecuted, because he has the courage to tell the workers that they are ignorant and that they will remain where they are so long as they are ignorant, indifferent, and unorganized. He tells them about the class struggle, not because he is in favor of classes, quite the contrary, because he is opposed to classes and wants to put an end to the class struggle.
The capitalist, upon the other hand, tries to obscure it in every way possible. He'd not have the workers realize it and that is why the great majority of them remain in the parties of their masters. Who is it that votes the Republican party and the Democratic party into power? It is the working class. The capitalist doesn't vote a working class ticket, but the working class do vote the capitalist ticket, and that is why the capitalists are in power and the workers in servitude, and we want to reverse this situation and put the workers in power, and that is what will come to pass with a triumph of this great movement that I hope to see inaugurated here in the form of a new political party that stands foursquare to all the storms that blow for the working class, and those who sympathize with them in their heroic struggle for industrial emancipation, and it is coming.
As I stand here this afternoon, looking into your faces, many of whom are so familiar to me, I congratulate myself for being here. I feet all the better for being in a little nearer touch with those with whom I have disagreed and who have disagreed with me. I feel that it is so far better for us to be at least on decent human terms with each other, no matter how widely we may disagree, far better this than to be pitted against each other in hostile camps, wasting our time in abusing each other.
Now I have every respect for every one of this movement who is looking forward or who thinks he is looking forward. He is proceeding according to his light. I would do nothing under any circumstances to discourage the tendency, the progressive tendency of this movement. I would not utter a word to reflect upon any man or woman, any delegate in this body who, however reactionary they may seem to me, believe that they are looking forward and in their heart desire to be progressive.
I would encourage all of these tendencies and that is why the Socialist Party became affiliated with this Conference, not for the purpose of being absorbed or absorbing the Conference, but for the purpose of helping along, for the purpose of helping in the work of education and organization, encouraging those who don't yet see their way clear to come to the Socialist movement, and this Conference, whatever may be the outcome, my friends, is going to leave something that will have a permanent place in the annals of our nation. It is going to result in some good. We may leave here more or less disappointed. No matter. The very fact that this Conference has been possible is sufficient evidence to my mind that it is going to result in some good. It is the beginning. It will have its continuance. It is a more or less logical development. It will lead to something else, and in the right direction, and so I am very glad I am here, and have had the privilege of meeting those [who are here], many of them with whom I have hitherto been in disagreement.
Now I believe that it is impossible to compromise a principle, and the Socialist Party is committed to a certain principle. To compromise principle is to court death and disaster. It is better to be true to a principle and to stand alone and be able to look yourself in the face without a blush, far better to be in a hopeless minority than to be in a great popular and powerful majority of the unthinking.
Do you know that all the progress in this whole world's history has been made by minorities? I have somehow been fortunately all of my life in the minority. I have thought again and again that if I ever find myself in the majority I will know that I have outlived myself. There is something magnificent about having the courage to stand with a few with and for a principle and to fight for it without fear or favor, developing all of your latent power, expanding to the proportional end, rising to your true stature, no matter whose respect you may forfeit, as long as you keep your own.
I am glad to stand with a staunch revolutionary minority, and the capitalists understand what we are and what we stand for, even if the workers don't. They don't object in the least to the organization of a third party. They know very well it will not last very long, but they are decidedly opposed to the organization of a labor party. That is what they are opposed to, and if a labor party is organized, it must expect from the very beginning to be misrepresented and ridiculed and traduced in every possible way, but if it consists of those who are the living representatives of its principles it will make progress in spite of them, and in due course of time it will sweep into triumph.
So I have learned to be patient and to bide the time. I am expecting something from this body before it adjourns. But let me say to you, whether I receive what I expect or not, I shall not leave here disappointed. Long, long ago in my life I learned how to refuse to be disappointed. No one can disappoint me but myself, and I refuse to betray myself. I can't do that. I prefer to be on speaking terms with myself, and so I stand for this principle. Make the appeal to the working class on this principle.
You workers of brain and brawn, it is you and you alone who support the government and conserve all civilization. Were it not for you, the whole social fabric would collapse in an instant. It is you who do the work, the useful work. It is you who produce the wealth, every ounce, every dollar of it, you who support the government and conserve civilization. You have but to realize this to awaken to the necessity of unifying your forces all along the line, taking counsel of yourselves, cultivating self-reliance, closing up the industrial ranks, the political ranks, striking together, standing together in every hour of conflict, every hour of strife, and in due course of time the hour will strike, your day will have come, you will sweep into power and you will issue for the first time in human history the proclamation of the emancipation of the workers and the true civilization of all mankind.
In the great spirit and tradition of Eugene V. Debs...
Yours in solidarity and struggle,
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
Check out my blog:
Thoughts From Podunk
Cc: Maggie Bird
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
Info about Alan Maki: http://forums.e-democracy.org/p/alanmaki