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Alan Maki

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

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


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

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

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blocking Escalation Not Good Enough

From: Alan Maki [mailto:amaki000@centurytel.net]

Sent: Thursday, October 22, 2009 10:27 PM

To: 'David Swanson'

Cc: 'David Shove'; 'teresa_detrempe@klobuchar.senate.gov'; 'elizabeth_reed@levin.senate.gov'; 'keith@keithellison.org'

Subject: Re: Blocking Escalation Not Good Enough


I am glad--- and appreciate--- you have spoken your mind very forcefully and taken this initiative encouraging this action (see below).

I am sending this around for others to mull over and hopefully act on.

I do think you are missing one important point that needs to be addressed because it is so basic and fundamental to any kind of democracy and we never seem to get around to discussing this:


In addition to what you are proposing; I hope you will consider the issue of “accountability.”

In my opinion, there are two ways progressives can enforce “accountability” from these politicians:

1. Tell them in no uncertain terms---

A. No peace; no votes.

B. No real health care reform; no votes.

2. We need to get progressive peace and health care candidates to challenge all of the pro-war candidates in the caucuses, conventions and the primaries; and, if need be, run as independents on a platform of peace and health care in the general election.

There is no way in hell that in any country where the vast majority of the people want two things so badly--- peace and health care--- that these dirty wars should continue while the American people are denied health care.

For those who don’t want to criticize Obama and the Democrats, they still have a responsibility to move these issues forward without compromise coming from their lips before the battle even begins--- as you point out, this is an invitation--- a situation, if you will--- where you give into these warmongers and insurance companies by giving them one little inch and they take the proverbial country mile.

It is interesting that it is those politicians who keep voting to continue these wars while denying the American people health care who advise the anti-war and health care advocates that they need to compromise in order to maintain respectability.

And then, even on the “left,” we have these muddle-headed middle class intellectuals who are going around yelling “ultra-leftists” at anyone who dares to advocate the “radical” idea that democracy is based upon “accountability” and all the while they talk about how we need to fend off the danger from the “right” when nothing can be more reactionary than waging unconstitutional, illegal and unjust wars by squandering tax-payers’ dollars on death and destruction rather than providing health care to people for free.

Our union Organizing Council and our associated Organizing Committees were among the first to take a stand against the war in Iraq and then against the war in Afghanistan and the senseless carnage now taking place in Pakistan… this region of the world is just waiting to explode in massive violence and destruction as a result of the animosities, injustices and the human indignities spread and fostered by the United States government which might just as well be taking the resources of our country--- the wealth created by workers--- and dumping this wealth into the ocean… at least if this were to be done people would not be dying.

However, I think it has become obvious to the overwhelming majority of the American people that they have come to recognize that if their government has these kinds of resources to waste on such unjust wars, that this government can provide the best health care in the world for its own people without further enabling insurance companies to dig their greedy Wall Street fingers further into the public till as the merchants of death and destruction do.

If we can join together the people’s struggles for peace and health care a very powerful coalition could be forged that neither Barack Obama nor any member of congress would dare to oppose.

Again, the demand for “accountability” is primary, in my opinion, to forging such a massive coalition.

“Warriors for peace and justice” demanding “accountability” is what we need.

Our votes are too precious to continue throwing away on candidates who imply they are for peace and real health care reform to get elected; then turn around and wage wars with our tax-dollars which we thought would be ear-marked for health care reform, not health insurance reform.

Obama is a darn good health insurance salesman; Wall Street coupon clippers are smiling as the children die.

Thanks for your efforts;

Yours in solidarity in the struggle,

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

Blocking Escalation Not Good Enough


By David Swanson

Why is it that every time we elect "peace" candidates we defund the peace movement, stop calling for an end to wars, and limit our demands exclusively to opposing war escalations?

In 2006 we voted into Congress the candidates who looked most likely to end the war in Iraq. We congratulated ourselves on a job well done. Then we mildly urged them not to escalate the war they'd been elected to end, and they escalated it anyway.

In 2008 we voted into Congress and the White House the candidates who looked most likely to end the war in Iraq. Candidate Obama promised to pull out two brigades per month for sixteen months. Here we are in month 10 and that withdrawal has yet to begin. And what in the name of all that is true, good, and free-of-hope are we doing about it? Not a god damned thing.

Meanwhile Obama promised, much less noisily, to escalate a war in Afghanistan and has done so with no resistance, even as the American people have (at least in polls) turned against it. Now party leaders in Congress have given Obama the go-ahead for a larger escalation, and what have we done?

To begin with we've accepted the terms of the debate that our government officials always impose on us following an election: Are you for an escalation or do you think the current troop/mercenary levels are adequate? There is no room in that debate for arguing that the entire enterprise is illegal, barbaric, self-destructive, and must be immediately replaced with civilized acts of aid and diplomacy.

Of course we should oppose an escalation, just as we should prefer a "public option" to no healthcare reform at all. But self-censoring our demand for single-payer shifts the debate so far right that we can't even pass a public option. And self-censoring our demand for an end to wars shifts the debate to a point where the middle ground becomes an escalation of half the largest size anyone proposes -- and the war in Iraq is not even mentioned.

Well-meaning peace groups are pointlessly urging us to lobby the president, and are publicly whipping congress members on the following items: sponsorship of a bill that would require some sort of non-binding exit plan for Afghanistan if actually passed by the House and Senate and signed by the president, and sponsorship of a bill that would deny funding for an escalation in Afghanistan if actually passed by the House and Senate and signed by the president. But getting either of those bills through the Senate is going to be significantly more difficult than getting the House to stop funding the wars, and thus far no organizations have begun building a public list of House members committed to voting No on war money.

In June, because all the Republicans were voting No on the war money for their own crazy reasons, we only needed 39 Democrats to vote No to block it, and we managed to get 32. We could easily line up 39 right now if we worked at it. Then we could begin building from there in the direction of 218. Even if all you wanted to oppose was escalation, the way to actually do so would be to build a whip list of House members committed to voting No on war funding bills that did not limit troop levels in Afghanistan to the desired level. Nobody is doing that. The next supplemental spending bill will probably come by spring, and it'll come sooner the greater the escalation, but peace coalitions tell me they think it's smarter not to prepare for such fights ahead of time.

FireDogLake, which hosted our whip list in June, is fully immersed in healthcare struggles. United for Peace and Justice and a new anti-escalation coalition have both refused to host a list of congress members committed to voting No on war funding or even escalation funding. So, I'm going to provide, not a replacement for the anti-escalation campaigns, but a necessary addition to them. I'm going to post a list at the top of http://afterdowningstreet.org and encourage you to ask these 32 heroes from back in June (plus a very short list of Republicans) whether they are committed to voting against further funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please phone them at (202) 224-3121 and post your responses on the website.

Tammy Baldwin
Michael Capuano
John Conyers
Lloyd Doggett
Donna Edwards
Keith Ellison
Sam Farr
Bob Filner
Alan Grayson
Raul Grijalva
Michael Honda
Marcy Kaptur
Dennis Kucinich
Barbara Lee
Zoe Lofgren
Eric Massa
Jim McGovern
Michael Michaud
Donald Payne
Chellie Pingree
Jared Polis
Jose Serrano
Carol Shea-Porter
Brad Sherman
Jackie Speier
Pete Stark
John Tierney
Nikki Tsongas
Maxine Waters
Diane Watson
Peter Welch
Lynn Woolsey

Ron Paul
Walter Jones

Alan L. Maki
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763
Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell phone: 651-587-5541
E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

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