Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

America Needs Warriors for Justice

Below is the posting of Stewart Acuff who heads up the National Organizing Department of the AFL-CIO which he posted on The Huffington Post on October 2, 2009.

Following Mr. Acuff's post are my comments which Mr. Acuff has not responded to.

On one thing stated by Stewart Acuff I whole-heartedly agree:

America is ready for change.

I could have asked:

Why doesn't the AFL-CIO put "warriors for justice" on its staff as organizers?

Why does the AFL-CIO merely criticize one aspect of capitalism which it knows can not be changed or reformed rather than join the movements and struggles of the rest of the working people around the world for socialism--- the only socially just economic system?

Why did the AFL-CIO pump millions of dollars into Barack Obama's campaign for the presidency rather than spending all that money helping to create a real party for working people like they have in Canada in the New Democratic Party?

Why doesn't the AFL-CIO support a real living wage for every single worker employed in the United States of America (and notice I say every single worker in America rather than every single American worker) based upon real cost of living factors determined by the scientific calculations of the United States Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics?

Mr. Acuff then goes on to ask the grand-daddy of questions of all questions:

Why then is change so hard to achieve?

The answer is rather simple:

Because the AFL-CIO allows the corporations to educate and indoctrinate working people with capitalist ideas instead of the AFL-CIO conducting the needed socialist education of working people.

The AFL-CIO will get its "Warriors for Justice" when it begins to properly educate working people as to the real nature of capitalism and the need for socialism and begins a discussion in earnest based upon the real politics and economics of livelihood.

And it just might help if Stewart Acuff was not so arrogant that he feels he does not have to respond to the questions and ideas posed when he makes a posting to The Huffington Post.

If Mr. Acuff understands anything about what working people in this country want he would understand that the questions and concerns that I am raising are the questions and concerns shared by most working people in the United States.

What I find most noticeably absent from Mr. Acuff's blog posting citing the need for "Warriors for Justice" is that he omits any mention of the fact that affirmative action in hiring guidelines are not being enforced by Barack Obama and the Democrats as trillions of tax-payer dollars are being dished out for massive projects which creates one of the greatest injustices in America as communities of people of color from urban inner cities to Indian Reservations are being intentionally plunged into worse poverty and despair than what has ever existed in the past as unemployment rates on Indian Reservations soar over 70% when multi-billion dollar construction projects on public buildings is taking place without the enforcement of the governments' own affirmative action guidelines within a stones throw... if Mr. Acuff needs a specific example I would cite the Bemidji Regional Events Center here in Minnesota and I would be happy to take Mr. Acuff and the leadership of the AFL-CIO on a tour across this country where trillions of dollars are being spent from the funds allocated under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act... funds, which in the first place should be allocated in a way that serve to end the extreme poverty being experienced by those living on Indian Reservations and other communities primarily inhabited by people of color where politicians are fully aware of the extreme poverty and most despicable living conditions in the richest country in the world.

I hope that Mr. Acuff's thoughts along with my voiced concerns and questions will give working class families something to think about around the dinner table and in the mines, mills, factories and other workplaces across this country, in community centers and classrooms or as friends gather in living rooms over a game of Scrabble or Cribbage or in peace vigils and demonstrations or on the picket lines or at labor union conventions.

Yes, America needs many "Warriors for Justice"... in the tradition of Eugene V. Debs, Mother Bloor, William Z. Foster, James W. Ford, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Gus Hall, Phil Raymond...

Yours in the Struggle,

Alan L. Maki
A working class warrior for justice

America Needs Warriors for Justice

It is beyond doubt that we are living in a period of potentially great historical change in the United States.

Just a year ago we trade unionists, progressives, and Americans of good will made history with the election of an African-American President--something many of us never thought possible -- and large majorities of pro-working family Democrats in both Houses of Congress.

With the implosion of our financial services sector and the consequent economic crisis and recession, it has become abundantly clear that unregulated, unfettered free market capitalism doesn't work for anyone. We now have irrefutable proof that greed is not good, that the markets don't by themselves work for the common good in the nation's interest, that if all the money and resources go to the top, the middle and the bottom are starved. And speaking of the middle, we now know that the middle class is in peril -- endangered by the policies of free market economics -- unfettered corporate-driven globalization, illegal and immoral union busting, contracting out, working rat, privatization, benefit busting, wage thievery -- all the policies that have made up the 30 year assault on working families and unions. While some may have doubted these truths two or four or more years ago, these truths are beyond doubt today.

Those who once held themselves up to be leaders of our society and government are now scorned -- Wall St, Bush, Cheney, AIG. The recipients of the governments bailouts continue to shovel obscene amounts of our money to executives without a clue while we suffer 10 percent unemployment, continued loss of health care, and declining wages and a consequent declining standard of living, and a potentially frightening future for our kids and grandkids and beyond.

Most importantly, our people are ready for and even demanding change. By significant majorities, Americans want a public healthcare plan included in the larger health care reform package, and Americans want the Employee Free Choice Act to be passed to once again allow American workers to freely form unions and bargain collectively.

America is ready for change.

Why then is change so hard to achieve?

Those who've prosecuted and benefited from the 30 year financial assault on America's working families refuse to let go, to give up what they've come to see as theirs -- the insurance companies, the union busters, the ABC, the Comcasts, the Walmarts, Wall St and manipulators of our finances, the Radical Rightwing including Cheney and Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove and Dick Armey and the Heritage Foundation and Cato Institute.

It is clear that if we are to win the change we voted for last fall and many of us have worked for for years, we are gonna have to fight, fight hard, and fight outside the normal Washington lobbying box.

Washington politics and lobbying does not work for workers and working families.

We cannot forget that we've gotten to the verge of passing the Employee Free Choice Act by running the largest national grassroots legislative campaign in the history of the American labor movement. Over the six year course of this campaign we've put literally hundreds of thousands of people on the street and more than a million workers in motion. We delivered one and a half million signatures to the Congress, sent half a million emails, wrote 300,000 handwritten letters and made 200,000 phone calls to Senators.

That's a ton of good work. But it is more than clear that we have to do more of it.

While the Employee Free Choice Act has not yet passed, we have realized many benefits -- more than a dozen states have passed new public employee collective bargaining laws including majority authorization. Public officials from town and county commissions to city councils to state assemblies to governors and mayors to the Congress to the President of the United States now realize what hell workers go through when they try to organize and bargain for a better life. More public officials than ever have weighed in to support workers trying to organize.

We have got to ramp up our grassroots lobbying by our members.

But just as importantly, we have to ramp up our effort to engage and organize workers who don't have a union, to make use of the progress and allies we've made and enlist unorganized workers in the struggle to organize their workplaces and to fight and struggle in the public policy fight to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. Every organizing campaign is a direct and clear reason to pass the Employee Free Choice Act.

It is not enough to wait for the Employee Free Choice Act to pass. We have to demonstrate its necessity with struggle--old fashioned struggle right now, today not tomorrow. And by their actions, unorganized workers have to demonstrate the necessity for the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act.

It is not enough to wait on the law to change.

History is not made and humanity is not advanced by those who accept the status quo. History is made and the human condition is advanced by warriors willing to struggle for a better life for their kids and grandkids, warriors who understand what they have was won by the blood and tears and sacrifice of our forebears.

America today needs warriors -- warriors to organize and struggle, to fight for change, to fight the Radical Right and corporate domination, to organize and struggle, to dare the rat bastards to stop us, to refuse to lose, to challenge the status quo, to tell those who've run our country and too many lives into the ditch that change is now, that we will fight in Washington but that we will also fight all across America.

The future is ours. Let's take it.

My two responses as posted on The Huffington Post:

Your insinuation that we have a Congress composed of those sympathetic to working people demonstrates just how out of touch you are with reality.

Congress is dominated over by Wall Street's coupon clippers and Barack Obama is anything but progressive.

You talk about organizing the unorganized yet the AFL-CIO has sat in silence as over two-million American workers are forced to work in the Indian Gaming Industry's smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws as the direct result of your Democratic Party partners creating the "Compacts" which brought this despicable casino industry into existence without one iota of concern or respect for the human rights of the working people who you knew would be employed in this industry just so the Democratic Party could reap huge political contributions from the mobsters controlling these casino operations.

The AFL-CIO has a back-bone about as stiff as a wet noodle; organize a political party like workers have in the New Democratic Party in Canada... a party for socialism not afraid to stand up for the rights of working people.

No mention of the need to enforce state and federal affirmative action guidelines in hiring policies when it comes to billions of dollars spent through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects leaving people of color and women in a lurch having to fend off poverty and discrimination by themselves.

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council

I was hoping others might comment on other aspects of Stewart Acuff's self-serving, hypocritical drivel about "we need Warriors for Justice."

First of all, there is not one single mention here of single-payer universal health care... by far the most popular health care reform proposal supported by working people who as "Warriors for Justice" have taken up this struggle by bringing the struggle for single-payer universal health care directly from the mines, mills, factories and working class communities where they work and live right onto the floor of the national AFL-CIO convention where Mr. Acuff did not even support their resolution... and the resolution passed in spite of opposition from the "leaders" of the AFL-CIO who did not want to embarrass President Barack Obama who has become an insurance salesman rather than the advocate for the needs of working people as Mr. Acuff and those at the helm of the AFL-CIO claim him to be.

Why hasn't the AFL-CIO divested all of its investments--- including the union health care plans and pension funds--- from the health insurance companies?

Why hasn't the leadership of the AFL-CIO "led" the way by becoming, themselves, "Warriors for Justice" on this and so many other fronts... including the fight for peace and the reordering of this country's priorities away from war and military spending?

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council