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...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Enforcement of Affirmative Action: Missing from Obama's--- and the Democrat's--- Agenda

This letter to the editor appeared in northern Minnesota's leading daily newspaper, The Bemidji Pioneer, (published Sunday, October 11, 2009) containing this introductory title which says it all:

"County governments employ few American Indians"


The "Letter to the Editor" is then published...

At election time all the politicians come looking for native American votes and our money — dollars derived from Indian gaming revenues. The real story of what these politicians are doing for Indian people is told in the employment statistics of local county governments:

Beltrami County:.. 16 native Anishinabe out of a workforce of between 385-400 employees

Cass County ... six native Anishinabe out of a workforce of 300 employees

Itasca County … one native Anishinabe out of a workforce of between 380-400 employees

Hubbard County ... Unknown native Anishinabe out of a workforce of 195 employees

Crow Wing County ... one native Anishinabe of a workforce of 489 employees

Our counties receive tremendous resources from the state and federal governments not to mention local tax revenues paid by Indian people, too.

How can anyone claim that affirmative action guidelines are being adhered to when we find this kind of racism in hiring practices at the county level of government?

Is there any wonder unemployment on Indian reservations is over 50 percent and poverty is all pervasive?

Is there any doubt that the disgraceful and deplorable conditions of poverty among native Americans is not the result of an official government policy of institutionalized racism permeating the highest to lowest levels of government?

How can we expect that affirmative action in hiring policies will be enforced on all these huge construction jobs now receiving billions of dollars in “stimulus funds” if no one has monitored and enforced affirmative action guidelines at the county government level where employment practices are easiest to control?

Obviously, this situation results because we have not one single native American sitting in the Minnesota state Legislature demanding accountability from any level of government and none of those making the claims they are looking out for our rights are doing anything.

Fewer than 30 native Americans are employed out of over 1,500 workers employed in the five county governments comprising Senate District 4; how does the present senator explain this?

This situation is a disgrace; just like the poverty which institutionalized racism in hiring practices breeds.

Gregory W. Paquin


Note: Gregory Paquin is the head of Native American Labor Union #12 and is a Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party (MNDFL) candidate for Minnesota State Senate District #4 a seat currently held by Democrat Mary Olson whose campaign manager is John McCarthy, the head of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association.

I would add to this "letter to the editor" that Barack Obama and those supporting him have not done one single thing to see to it that long-standing affirmative action policies in place since the days of President Lyndon Johnson are being enforced.

Greg Paquin is right: Failure to enforce affirmative action in hiring only breeds greater poverty and the figure he has cited from an area in the United States with one of the largest Native American populations drives home this point.

Which begs the question:

Why aren't all these liberals, progressives, those on the left and the "leaders" of organized labor like Richard Trumka who supported Barack Obama and who roared that it was racism which threatened the election of Barack Obama, now stepping up to the plate and demanding stringent enforcement of Affirmative Action policies and guidelines already in place at every level of government as trillions of dollars in "stimulus funds" under the "American Recovery and Investment Act" now being dispersed?

Since these jobs being created will soon disappear along with the funds almost as quickly as they are dispersed; what is required is an immediate response to this problem... no doubt this community of left-wing intellectuals and university professors supporting Obama will call for an "investigation" years from now to find out how it happened that so much money could have been spent without the required oversight needed to assure that communities of people of color hardest hit and stricken by poverty were "overlooked" as trillions of "stimulus fund" dollars were spent.

In fact, if the billions of dollars being allocated for road repairs finding its way into the coffers of private corporations and contractors in the form of profits were instead ear-marked for poverty elimination through meaningful long-term employment initiatives on Indian Reservations like the Red Lake Nation, Leech Lake and White Earth Indian Reservations, poverty could practically be eliminated or at least brought "down to" and in line with the poverty, as disgraceful as this is, of the general population of this country.

Even the new head of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, Shar Knutson, has remained shamefully silent concerning institutionalized racism and its role in maintaining and expanding poverty in Minnesota.

Noted civil rights activist, Julian Bond, speaking on Minnesota Public Radio, fully knowledgeable of the deplorable poverty on Indian Reservations not once mentioned the role of institutionalized racism in perpetuating the most horrendous conditions of poverty being intentionally maintained by governments at every level who are refusing to enforce affirmative action guidelines.

Of course, the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association does not want to see Native Americans sitting in the Minnesota State legislature because they are aware that the first question that will be asked is:

Why are workers being paid poverty wages for working in smoke-filled casinos without any rights under state or federal labor laws?

Democrats who created these "Compacts" which gave birth to the Indian Gaming Industry are now looking to get their fingers on casino revenues as a quick-fix to Minnesota's, and other state's, deep financial problems exacerbated by this capitalist economic crisis made worse by billions of dollars of debt... and a situation made even more severe by government squandering our resources on wars and militarism.

A recent posting to a Democratic Party controlled list serve by, Marc Asch, a wealthy businessman prominent in Democratic Party circles in Minnesota calling for re-opening these "Compacts" so the state could get some of the revenues along with the mobsters who own the slot machines, declared:

From: Marc Asch

Subject: Re: press conference from legislators

To: mn-politics@forums.e-democracy.org

Date: Monday, October 5, 2009, 2:21 PM

Lee (Surma) wrote:
> Bcause the Indian Gaming Lobby and the Democrat party
> have reached nirvana and have become one in the same. If
> we taxed Indian Gaming like other states do,
Lee continues his practice of creating alternate realities.

Indian Gaming is controlled by a compact negotiated and signed by two
Minnesota Governors. The original compact was negotiated and signed by
Gov. Perpich (DFL). It was replaced by a later compact expanding the
type of gambling permitted negotiated and signed by Gov. Carlson (R.)

Governors of both parties are responsible for where we now are in our
ability to extract revenue from Indian Gaming. Certainly both signed
bad deals for the people, citizens and workers of MN. They not only
failed to extract reasonable payments in exchange for permitting Indian
gaming but they left workers without adequate workplace protections and
injured customers without access to fair and unbiased legal protection.

The how and why of two MN Governors getting it so wrong is a fascinating
story that I have never any solid reporting on the the press or in book

Our failures in this area have been curiously bipartisan.

Marc Asch marc@asch.org
34 North Oaks Road 651-484-9037
North Oaks, MN 55127

"Democracy is not a spectator sport."
Craig S. Wilson

Marc Asch

Noticeably, Marc Asch and the Democrats who in fact created this problem no matter how feebly Mr. Asch tries to portray this as a "bi-partisan" creation, are now looking to get their fingers into gaming revenues and profits only after they have no other place to look to come up with funds to solve the state's budget problems... although, this group of extremely wealthy business people led by Mr. Asch now controlling the Democratic Party in Minnesota which is led by their hand-picked leader, Brian Melendez--- a wealthy corporate attorney and backer of Barack Obama, have refused to consider they should perhaps levy a tax on their own obscene incomes lest Minnesota's historically progressive electorate starts calling for a tax on the wealthy to solve the problems created by this financial and economic crisis.

That Mr. Asch and his wealthy band of Democrats known as the "Summit Hill Club" and organized through the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Democratic Party's "Business Caucus," also profit from a working class divided when affirmative action guidelines are ignored and not enforced says something about how concerned Mr. Asch really is about the rights and the plight of casino workers... Native American workers form the base of the casino industry's workforce.

Poverty can run rampant in creating a living hell for Native Americans forced onto reservations; but, let the state slide into bankruptcy and these Democrats now want to call attention to the plight of casino workers as their excuse to re-open these "Compacts" which should have protected the rights of casino workers and extracted revenues for the state right from the very beginning of these "Compacts" being created... these Draconian "Compacts" are part of the racist and anti-labor legacy of the Humphrey family's dominance over Minnesota politics for so many years.

Mr. Asch and the Democrats have an interesting party line as they seek to protect their own wealth from being taxed; but, casino workers know that their rights and their plight will be ignored in Minnesota by Democrats just like the labor-backed Democrats led by Jennifer Granholm in Michigan ignored the rights and the plight of casino workers as they extracted some of the casino revenues for the state through opening these "Compacts."

A lot of people, most notably those suffering from poverty, are waiting to hear from Mr. Marc Asch and the dozen or so of the Democrats now vying to become the next Governor of Minnesota, what they intend to do right now in seeing to it that affirmative action guidelines are strictly enforced by government agencies like the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

Minnesotans know they can't rely of lame-duck and discredited Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty who is now seeking the Republican nomination for President in 2012 as a way to escape the mess he has left Minnesota in to do anything of benefit for working people, much less enforce affirmative action guidelines.

Minnesota Democrats, including all but one of the dozen, now running for governor, were all involved in killing legislation aimed at saving the jobs of two-thousand Ford workers employed at the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant slated for closure and legislation known as "The Minnesota People's Bailout." Tom Rukavina,the long-serving state representative from Minnesota's Iron Range, who makes no bones about being from the historically liberal and progressive "Farmer-Labor wing of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party" is the lone voice for labor running out of this large field of candidates, and from all appearances it looks like the Democrat's "Business Caucus" is already ganging up on Rukavina, trying to eliminate him from the field of candidates as the mainstream media mocks his efforts.

Rukavina's only hope for success will be determined by how effectively he can link his campaign to the grassroots and rank and file progressives in Minnesota who are active around peace and for enforcement of affirmative action and social and economic justice issues; since the same top echelons in the labor movement who have ignored, chided and ridiculed the "warriors for justice" are mocking and ignoring Rukavina's campaign.

As Richard Trumka and his staff claim they are looking for "warriors for justice," Native Americans in Minnesota are wondering why their plight and the poverty they are forced to endure at levels far exceeding the "average" were not addressed at a recent Political Action Conference sponsored by the Minnesota AFL-CIO and a number of Native American activists have already called upon Shar Knudson and Brad Lehto to explain how this happened with all the talk people heard coming from Richard Trumka that racism needed to be vigorously combated.

Of course, Sam Webb and the People's Weekly World trumpeted similar remarks... and just as similarly all questions of enforcement of affirmative action--- a most important key link in the struggle against racism--- are being ignored.

Is not this story now unfolding in Minnesota grist for the People's Weekly World?

Over the years working people have been able to count on the Communist Party U.S.A. and its publications to lead the way, and often blaze new ground and new paths, in the struggle against racism... today, one can't help but ask why there is such a deafening silence from its leadership and publications when it comes to insisting that Barack Obama and the Democrats monitor and enforce affirmative action guidelines for hiring minorities especially when millions, billions and even trillions of tax-dollars are being spent under the guise of "economic stimulus" which appears to be passing by the poverty plagued Indian Reservations in Minnesota and elsewhere in this country except for a very few short-term, poverty wage jobs.

When I recently very publicly inquired how many Native Americans had been directly hired into programs receiving these "stimulus funds," Brian Melendez, the Chair of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party issued an "order" instructing Minnesota's Democratic elected public officials not to provide me with this information because the information they supplied would be used to "embarrass" them.

What could, or should, be a bigger embarrassment to Democrats claiming the mantle of "progressivism" than their failure to insist that affirmative action guidelines in how our tax-dollars are being spent, should be enforced?

Someone did get some of the facts, and, as we can see, these facts definitely are a major embarrassment... something one would think the United States Department of Justice would be investigating... but, then again, the regional head of the U.S. Department of Justice, Ken Bergeron, boasts that he is a personal friend... of guess who? President Barack Obama.

The entire government of this country is nothing but a web constructed by Wall Street parasites held together by all forms of racism and bigotry--- especially institutionalized racism--- and its twin evil, corruption; Barack Obama has not lifted a finger to turn this situation around--- quite to the contrary, Obama has signaled, by his lack of voice and his intentional inaction in calling for strict enforcement of affirmative action; Obama has given a green light that this pernicious web of exploitation be strengthened rather than torn to smithereens as is required.

Affirmative action must be seen as an important weapon in combating the racist induced poverty in this country, and it is a weapon one would expect any liberal, progressive or those on the left to insist that Barack Obama should wield with enthusiasm; this "club" in the form of affirmative action should be used in smashing racist injustice and the poverty racism breeds.

Alan L. Maki