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...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm supporting Mark Dayton in the Primary Election

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I support Mark Dayton for Governor in the Democratic Party primary election…

  • Alan L. Maki

    Mark Dayton is the only candidate for Governor among the Democrats who has responded with advocating real solutions to problems so many people are experiencing.

  • You can't even get a straight answer on anything out of Kelliher or Entenza.

    If... you try to talk to Matt Entenza about problems of racism here in Minnesota he starts talking about how he helped Indians in Wisconsin years ago.

  • If you ask Kelliher what she is going to do to enforce affirmative action on public works projects she starts talking about how some of her best friends are black.

    Ask Mark Dayton what he intends to do about affirmative action and he tells you, "I'll enforce it."

  • I figure if a candidate is willing to stand up in opposition to institutionalized racism in a state like Minnesota where institutionalized racism has been allowed to run rampant for political expediency by politicians seeking suburban votes, that such a politician will be open to any other ideas when he/she can be convinced something is good for the majority of the people.

  • All we are getting from Kelliher and Entenza is never-ending high-priced fancy campaign brochures delivered to our mail-boxes that are filled with platitudes saying absolutely nothing.

  • I will vote for a minor party candidate instead of Kelliher or Entenza if this is my only choice.

  • It is very sad if Insight News, according to some accounts, based its endorsement on which candidate (Entenza)  is spending the most advertising dollars with them... I expected much more integrity from Insight News.

  • Thursday, July 29, 2010

    NAACP takes lead on Oct. 2 jobs march

    Note: this article has been slightly condensed for length.

    NAACP takes lead on Oct. 2 jobs march

    by: Pepe Lozano

    July 27 2010

    Mobilization is under way for a massive national march and rally Oct. 2 in Washington, where tens of thousands will demand jobs, immigration reform and full funding for public education and health care.

    The demonstration is being organized by a wide coalition of civil and immigrant rights organizations, labor and faith-based groups and community leaders. Leading groups include the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO and the United States Student Association. Nearly 200 groups have endorsed the event.

    The march is in part a response to the tea party movement's extreme racism.

    NAACP President Ben Jealous (pictured above) is calling the march "One Nation" with the tag line "Working Together." It will be a mass gathering of civil and human rights organizations, but also grassroots citizens from every walk of life, religion and race, he said.

    "If any of us are going to get our agendas through, if we're going to get the rights for workers down South to organize by passing the Employee Free Choice Act, if we're going to get jobs created, if we're going to get real resources for schools and teachers' jobs around the country, if we're going to get comprehensive immigration reform through, then we've got to all work together, all for one and one for all," he told the Charlotte Post.

    Organizers say it shows that even during hard economic times, civil rights groups, student activists and union members can rally together and make up the winning formula to pressure Congress to pass major reforms that benefit working people.

    But it has also became increasingly clear that racist attacks have escalated.

    And joblessness continues with no letup, hurting all Americans and hitting communities of color especially hard. The jobless rate for African Americans is 15.4 percent and 12.4 percent for Latinos, compared with 8.6 percent for whites, they note. (For Native American Indians in Minnesota unemployment is exceeding 65% with many people demanding to know why Obama and the Democrats refuse to enforce affirmative action. A.L.M.)

    "This is why we are calling for a great march on Washington," Jealous told the recent NAACP national convention. "The NAACP, along with allies and partners, will show America that the solid majority of this nation is ready and willing to fight back and ensure that all of the change that we voted for becomes a reality for all of our children. That ‘America the Beautiful' belongs to us. And that justice and freedom keeps moving forward."

    Organizers say the Oct. 2 demonstration will focus on pressing for more government spending on job creation. They hope it will be a show of force to remind lawmakers and the White House that people demand economic recovery and real change.

    "People are very excited," said Jealous. "The march is part of a broader civic engagement strategy to make sure we hold the people that they've elected accountable and making sure we get all the change that we voted for."

    Jealous said the march will also be a rallying force aimed at encouraging voters to make their voice heard at the ballot box come November.

    "We will be in Washington on October 2 and we will be at the ballot box on November 2," he said.

    Photo: NAACP President Benjamin Jealous addresses a press conference during the NAACP convention this month. (NAACP)

    Two important marches for peace, jobs and justice... August 28 & October 2

    1.The Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have invited peace organizations to endorse and participate in a campaign for Jobs, Justice, and Peace.   We endorse this campaign and plan to be a part of it.  On August 28, 2010, in Detroit, we will march on the anniversary of that day in 1963 when Walter Reuther, president of UAW, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders joined with hundreds of thousands of Americans for the March on Washington.  In Detroit, prior to the March on Washington, 125,000 marchers participated in the Freedom Walk led by Dr. King. At the march, King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech for the first time before sharing it with the world in Washington. This year, a massive march has been called for October 2 in Washington.  Momentum to build the Washington March will begin in Detroit on August 28th. 

    2.Endorse, promote and mobilize for the Saturday, October 2nd "One Nation" march on Washington, DC initiated by 1199SEIU and the NAACP, now being promoted by a growing coalition, which includes the AFL-CIO and U.S. Labor Against the War, and civil rights, peace and other social justice forces in support of the demand for jobs, redirection of national resources from militarism and war to meeting human needs, fully funding vital social programs, and addressing the fiscal crisis of state and local governments.  Organize and build an antiwar contingent to participate in the march. Launch a full-scale campaign to get endorsements for the October 2 march on Washington.

    A suggestion: Hold a discussion in your neighborhood, where you go to school or where you work on the books "Getting America Back To Work" by Stewart Acuff and Richard Levins; "Always Bring A Crowd, the story of Frank Lumpkin, steelworker" by Bea Lumpkin; "Working Class USA, the power and the movement" by Gus Hall. Study/discussion groups using these three books will help people better understand the issues and problems and bring them into activities and action.

    Education. Organization. Unity. Action. 

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Warriors for Justice forces racist Minnesota Public Radio to start addressing the problems in Minnesota's Indian Country




    Note: Tom Robertson has been the MPR lead in shoring up institutionalized racism for many years as he has refused to cover the problems of Native American Indians. Here, Tom Robertson makes the racist assertion that the Warriors for Justice haven't made any progress among Native American Indians when the facts are such that until now, Robertson has refused to report on any of these struggles for justice and he has refused to report on MPR that over 60 million dollars of public funds has been spent on the Bemidji Regional Event Center where public officials have refused to enforce affirmative action and local and state agencies have refused to even enforce non-discrimination in hiring and in the workplace on this project. Robertson then goes on to allow a racist, anti-labor, crooked, corrupt and undemocratic Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party hack like Michael Meuers to speak for his own racist positions.  For years, Minnesota Public Radio, just like the MN DFL, has taken funds from the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and its members as a payoff for refusing to report on the conditions under which casino workers are forced to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws and ignored the fact that these casinos are being constructed with non-union labor when DFL politicians have lied about this by claiming these casinos are "union constructed." Robertson has never asked DFL politicians or the leaders of the building trades unions to produce the signed union contracts on any of these casino construction jobs that are in fact the product of racist, anti-labor and illegal deals between corrupt politicians, tribal governments, labor leaders and racketeers. So, for years now, the problems of Native American Indians--- with racist unemployment which spins off deep-seated and pervasive racist poverty--- goes ignored by politicians whose goals and objectives are to accumulate larger and larger campaign funds as the problems of all working people go without being resolved. With the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association being a major contributor of campaign contributions to the MNDFL and it and its members being among the largest purchasers of media advertising and underwriting, democracy is being perpetually undermined making citizen participation in the political process more difficult and then "reporters" like the racist Tom Robertson turn around and mock Native American Indians and other working people who are trying to bring forward real solutions to racism, institutionalized racism in all its ugly forms and workers' rights across the board.

    How is it that a sign with this message is erected in Squaw Lake, Minnesota; but, its message is ignored by the media as far as casinos are concerned even though some 40,000 casino workers are forced to endure and suffer from the effects of second-hand smoke every single day of their working lives without mention by Tom Robertson and those in the media?











    While a lecture and book-signing about "getting America back to work" at the Duluth Labor Temple doesn't address affirmative action and Executive Order #11246 and "reporters" like Tom Robertson let this over-site go without bringing in anyone from the Democratic Party's coalition partner--- the AFL-CIO--- to raise questions?

    An all white audience at the Duluth Labor Temple in Duluth, Minnesota listens to Stewart Acuff suggest how to get America Back to work... Acuff in his book (page 83) calls upon all working people to become "warriors for justice." Perhaps the Warriors for Justice should have been invited to this talk and book signing?






    MPR could have had a reporter on hand to ask Stewart Acuff questions about what the AFL-CIO intends to do about lack of enforcement of affirmative action but chose not to be on hand to ask this question... but, Tom Robertson goes on to mock the Warriors for Justice as not having the support of the Native American Indian communities in northern Minnesota... perhaps Tom Robertson and Minnesota Public Radio are so racist and such an integral part of institutionalized racism which yields such hefty profits, that it never crossed Mr. Robertson's mind to go out among the people in Native American communities like Leech Lake, Red Lake, White Earth, Bois Forte and Fond du Lac to ask people how they feel about being denied jobs at the Bemidji Regional Event Center and other public works projects, and whether or not they think affirmative action should be enforced... since the Warriors for Justice are the only politicians advocating the enforcement of affirmative action on public works jobs, the results of such a survey by Tom Robertson would give us a much better indicator of the support that the Warriors for Justice have. Tom Robertson is obviously educated enough to understand that even though many smaller parties may not be successful at the polls, they are successful in bringing forward issues and problems in a way that requires the parties in power to right the wrongs and injustices.

    As for Sally Fineday, she has been a shill for the John McCarthy and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association for years--- obviously John McCarthy, the rich white man who heads up the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association, has a need for an Indian serving at his every beck and call on the county board of commissioners--- just as his DFL candidates Mary Olson and John Persell do in the Minnesota State Legislature. Of course, for John McCarthy, the more candidates he has out raising campaign contributions, the more he stuffs his own pockets after assuming ownership of Tony Doom Enterprises which produces campaign advertising for candidates.

    It is fortunate that we have the Warriors for Justice "railing against institutionalized racism" and the poverty it breeds along with all kinds of other social ills because, if not for the Warriors for Justice, institutionalized racism would not be a topic during this election cycle. Already, Warriors for Justice has forced even gubernatorial hopeful  Mark Dayton to condemn the failure of Minnesota departments to enforce affirmative action and he has called for the state to go into the casino business where anti-discrimination and no smoking would be enforced. I find it very informational that Tom Robertson in his report here aired twice on Minnesota Public Radio would not mention these facts... but, the, again, this is very institutionalized racism which has propelled concerned people to organize the Warriors for Justice, isn't it?

    Again, I ask, why didn't MPR's Tom Robertson ask MN DFL party hack Michael Meuers to address the issues that accumulated under his watch rather than be allowed to belittle the Warriors for Justice?

    Nor does Tom Robertson note that it was Michael Meuers who was the primary backer of the crook, Skip Finn who fleeced Indian people and is back into DFL politics, again... this time trying to help Michael Meuers, Sally Fineday and John McCarthy minimize the impact of the Warriors for Justice who, contrary to Michael Meuers' claims that the Warriors for Justice are irrelevant; the very fact that he has to be on radio refuting their impact speaks volumes.

    Alan L. Maki


    Civic participation on the rise in Indian Country

    by Tom Robertson, Minnesota Public Radio

    June 28, 2010

    LISTEN here:


    St. Paul, Minn. — Civic participation in Indian Country appears to be on the rise.

    In Bemidji, there are Native American candidates running for the state Senate and House of Representatives. A Native American is running for Bemidji City Council and another is seeking a seat on the county board.

    Among the candidates is Nicole Beaulieu, a 23-year-old member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. She's challenging state Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji in House Distict 4A.

    "There's a huge gap from the poor people and the people up here that have all the cash and all the money and all the clout, political clout," Beaulieu said. "And that really needs to be changed." 

    Beaulieu has teamed up with Red Lake Band member Greg Paquin, who is running against State Sen. Mary Olson, DFL-Bemidji, in Senate District 4.

    The two challengers share some common interests. They support using affirmative action policies to create more jobs for Native Americans. They rail against what they call "institutional racism."

    Native Americans have historically been among the least likely groups to participate in politics. They've only had the right to vote in the United States since 1924. 

    Historically, Native Americans have aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. On the Red Lake Reservation, for example, close to 90 percent of voters cast ballots for DFL candidates.

    But Beaulieu and Paquin are challenging DFL incumbents. When they failed to win the party's endorsement at its local convention, they decided to form their own party. They call it Warriors for Justice.

    Both the House and Senate districts include parts of the Red Lake or Leech Lake reservations. Beaulieu said the DFL takes Native American voters for granted.

    "They take our votes and they forget us after Election Day," she said. "That's why we started this Warriors for Justice. Because we can take this Native American vote and everybody who feels neglected from the DFL party, and we can put it towards a candidate and a party that's going to actually represent the hardworking people."

    It doesn't appear Beaulieu and Paquin are drawing large support from the Native American community. And DFL supporters don't seem worried about a challenge from the fledgling new party.

    Michael Meuers, former chairman of the Beltrami County DFL, thinks the party's stronghold in Indian Country is pretty much in tact. Meuers said Native Americans are deeply involved with the DFL party and have held top party leadership posts. He said it's clear the Indian community is becoming more active in politics.

    "The Beltrami County DFL gets nine delegates to the state convention, and a majority were Indian this year, which I've never seen before," Meuers said. "They're active, they're showing up, they're casting their votes and they're getting very politically sophisticated."

    Meuers said the trend started about 20 years ago, when local Indian reservations recognized they had some potential political power in their voting block.

    In 1990, voters in District 4 elected Harold "Skip" Finn to the state Senate, making him one of only a few Native Americans to serve in the Legislature. Finn, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, resigned in 1996 for stealing about a million dollars from the Leech Lake band through a self-insurance scheme.

    In 1996, a strong turnout on the Red Lake Reservation helped elect the first Indian county commissioner in Minnesota. That Beltrami County seat is still held by an Indian, largely because of the Native vote.

    Since then, voters elected an Indian as county sheriff. They elected an Indian to the school board. In Cass Lake, they elected that city's first Indian mayor.

    The key to the new-found political clout in Indian Country has been a very deliberate effort to get tribal members to the polls, said Sally Fineday, executive director of the Native Vote Alliance of Minnesota. The non-profit organization aims to empower Native Americans through civic engagement.

    Fineday is also running for a seat on the Beltrami County board. She said reservations in northern Minnesota have discovered they are significant swing voters.

    "We're beginning to understand that, you know what? If we actually do this, holy cow, we actually have people that are coming to us and they want to know what are our opinions about our community," she said. "We are definitely increasing Native Americans' interest, and we're definitely engaging Native American communities in rural areas to become more actively involved."

    The Native Vote Alliance of Minnesota works with most Indian reservations in the state, helping them organize voter registration drives, get out the vote rallies and non-partisan door-to-door campaigns.

    Nationally, the National Congress of American Indians is pursuing similar goals.

    There's also a partisan group called the Indigenous Democratic Network, commonly known as INDN's List. Kalyn Free is president of the Oklahoma-based organization, which got its start in 2005 and sponsors annual camps to teach Native American candidates how to win elections and raise funds.

    Free said the network aims to increase the number of American Indians running for and winning elected offices at the local, state and national level. The organization primarily supports Democratic candidates.

    "Since we started, we have helped elect 45 Indians to state and local office across the country," Free said. "We have a 70 percent win rate and, although we're never satisfied, we're very pleased with what we've done in the last election cycle. This election cycle we have a little over 50 tribal members that we are monitoring across the country."

    Free thinks Indian Country is in the midst of a political awakening as voter participation and candidate interest increases.

    She credits President Barack Obama for helping spark more political interest within Indian communities. In 2008, then-candidate Obama campaigned heavily for the Indian vote and visited several Indian reservations.
    Obama's administration has placed tribal members in key positions and has been open to hearing from tribal leaders about Indian concerns, Free said.

    "I think that is very inspiring to Indian Country, to say, 'Okay, we can rise to the highest levels by flexing our political muscle,'" Free said. "But we still need, we still have so far to go. I think there's 37 states in the country that don't have a single tribal member serving in the state Senate or the state House. Wisconsin is one of those. Minnesota is one of those." 

    There are roughly 35,000 eligible American Indian voters in Minnesota. But there are few statistics for how many of them actually show up at the polls. Several Native organizations are working to compile those numbers.

    Broadcast Dates

    Tuesday, July 20, 2010

    Special Book Signing with Stewart Acuff and Dick Levins

    Special Book Signing with Stewart Acuff and Dick Levins
    Thursday · 6:00pm - 8:30pm

    Location Duluth Labor Temple - Wellstone Hall, 2002 London Rd

    Created By

    America works, but only for the Financial Elite. In Getting America Back to Work, America’s best known and foremost union organizer and an award-winning University economist show how to put money and power back into the hands of working families. Dr. Richard Levins shows how “money talks” -- no, screams -- in Washington and on Wall Street. Stewart J. Acuff shows how organized people can get America back to working for ordinary Americans.

    Stewart Acuff was the longtime AFL-CIO Director of Organizing and is now the chief of staff for Utility Workers President Mike Langford.

    Richard Levins is an Economic Professor at the University of Minnesota and authored "Middle Class: Union Made."
    A book review...
    Getting America Back to Work
    by Stewart Acuff and Richard A. Levins
    Featuring the Editorial Cartoons of Steve Sack
    Tasora Books, Minneapolis, 2010

    The authors of Getting America Back to Work do more than explain how to create jobs. They also propose some basic reforms that would fundamentally alter how America works, greatly improve the standard of living of working families, and shift power and privilege from what they call the financial elite to the vast majority of working families.

    Stewart Acuff is the former national organizing director for the AFL-CIO and currently works as chief of staff for the Utility Workers Union of America. Richard A. Levins is a professional economist. Their book is concise and readable. It explains the causes of the Great Recession that began in 2007 and provides a clear road map to a better working economy and a more democratic society. Though brief, it is an excellent guide to strategic thinking about practical solutions for the current economic crisis.

    The authors show, step by step, how the financial elite and their corporate-funded political allies caused the Great Recession. First, beginning in 1980 with the election of Ronald Reagan, there came the drive to weaken unions, push down wages, and roll back worker protections and benefits, all of which created serious financial and political problems for the working class. To boost profit margins, company executives fought to shift costs to workers, to make taxpayers bear the risks and costs of crisis and privatize profit and benefits.

    Working families found themselves increasingly struggling to make ends meet. But now when they were forced to turn to the public sector in search of a safety net, they found that anti-government politicians were working to unravel that as well. Under the guise of relieving the "tax burden," right-wing politicians pushed for cuts in public education, health care funding, job-training and other basic necessities that have traditionally kept working families from hitting rock bottom in times of trouble.

    In describing this course of events, Acuff and Levins effectively debunk the claim that reducing taxes for the richest Americans leads to greater investment in the economy. It simply doesn't happen. Tax breaks for big corporations and the wealthy just give them more money to hoard or pay out in dividends to shareholders.

    In addition, the financial elite pushed a so called "free trade" agenda that opened the flood gates for the flight of manufacturing jobs out of the country in pursuit of the cheapest labor markets. While supporters of the move insisted this plan was good for business and therefore good for America, they cannot provide a satisfactory defense for the devastating harm it has caused working families and the thousands of communities that depend for their survival on a strong manufacturing sector.

    Meanwhile, corporate executives and the very wealthy have gotten even richer. Their incomes have grown, while their share of taxes has fallen and their influence over government has increased. Today, a veritable army of lobbyists swarms over Capitol Hill to protect their interests against the very different needs of working families. As a result, even though productivity and profits have soared in the decades following the Reagan years, wages and benefits have flat-lined. In fact, since 2000, most working families saw losses in their take-home pay.

    Anti-government, pro-big-business politicians, almost exclusively Republicans, have fought to dismantle the regulatory power of government as well. Under the Bush administration the general rule was to put former corporate executives in charge of the very agencies that regulate their industries – and then look the other way. Financial deregulation has allowed the big banks and brokerage firms to swindle working Americans out of their homes and retirement savings for years. Environmental and safety deregulation facilitated the corporate crimes that caused the loss of life at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine and BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, followed by the unprecedented ecological and economic catastrophe that has struck the Gulf States. There are countless other examples of what deregulation has wrought in terms of food safety, clean water standards, and workplace accidents and deaths.

    Only when the crash of 2007 hit, sounding the death knell for the Bush regime and Reaganomics, did the government finally move into action. Not for working families, of course, but to help prop up the banks and financial institutions that had caused the disaster in the first place. Meanwhile, the needs of the millions of workers who had lost their jobs in the previous seven years were ignored.

    This underscores one of the biggest ironies – hypocrisies really – of the right-wing ideological machine. Its theorists demand that the federal government refrain from any interference in the economy and keep out of people's affairs. But when big banks or big oil companies are in trouble, they are the first to demand that taxpayers foot the bill for a big government role in solving the crisis. But when the crisis has abated (for the banks and big corporations, at least) they act as if neither they nor the American people have learned anything from their reckless and criminal practices, and quickly revert to demanding that the government stay out of their affairs.

    Simply put, they want "government socialism" to protect them when they are in trouble, and unrestrained capitalism when times are good. As for working families, they're always on their own.

    Acuff and Levins offer a realistic alternative to this schizophrenic system. Instead of "free trade" policies, they say, let's invest in manufacturing in the US, especially in the emerging "green economy," to build the products and create the jobs we desperately need here at home. Millions of jobs could be created and many communities revitalized by such a simple step. Instead of viewing taxes as a "burden," they add, we should view them as the best means to provide meaningful and useful public services – things like affordable health and educational systems, infrastructure repair, environmental defense, workplace safety, and police and fire protection. The rich, especially, have a responsibility to pay their fair share.

    Above all, as Acuff and Levins point out, building a bigger and stronger labor movement is essential to improving the lives of working families. Laws that protect the right of workers to join or organize unions and win better wages and benefits need to be on the books and actively enforced. Congress therefore needs to pass the Employee Free Choice Act. When it becomes the law of the land, EFCA will give workers the power to decide which organizations they want to join and reduce the illegal interference and harassment employers use to block unionization.

    As Acuff and Levins note, from the 1950s to the late 1970s, about one-in-three workers were unionized. This meant that working people held more power in the workplace, in their communities, and in the country at large. During this period the economy, for the most part, was robust, and American workers made the things we used – and there was no NAFTA to promote the shipping of American jobs to cheap-labor markets overseas. In those days, when economic crises occurred, most union working families had some savings, the prospect of returning to work, good pension plans, quality health benefits, and a strong social safety net to fall back on in tough times. Today, as 90 percent of workers lack union protections and the safety net has been gutted, when the latest crisis struck on Bush's watch in 2007, it quickly became the worst recession since the Great Depression.

    We have a choice. We can continue to submit to the will of the financial elite and their political allies in a long and steady decline, or, as Acuff and Levins write, "we can bargain our way out of poverty, we can bargain the meanness out of work, we can bargain for wages that restore our buying power, and we can once again have an economy that works for ordinary Americans."

    Such a change requires a major shift in values, so that "our values, not the values of greed and short-term profits, can once again guide our country."


    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Gregory W. Paquin appeals ballot ruling to Minnesota Supreme Court

    Published: Friday- July 16, 2010 

    Paquin appeals ballot ruling to Supreme Court

    Greg Paquin, the Senate 4 Warriors for Justice candidate denied ballot access by Beltrami County Auditor-Treasurer Kay Mack, has appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. By: Brad Swenson, Bemidji Pioneer

    Greg Paquin, the Senate 4 Warriors for Justice candidate denied ballot access by Beltrami County Auditor-Treasurer Kay Mack, has appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
    In a petition filed Monday with the state’s high court, Paquin alleges that his petition with more than 500 signatures was “institutionally denied in a racially inherent manner by following the letter of the law requiring an address deemed insufficient by Kay Mack that disallowed the special circumstances inherent to native tribal people within the exterior boundaries of a reservation …”

    He alleges that the 170 names Mack denied because they contained only P.O. box numbers should have been admitted as many reservation residents do not use physical resident addresses.

    American Indians living on the reservation provided only P.O. box numbers “for many different reasons, i.e. fear, homelessness, which Kay Mack could have verified through a phone call to the post office regarding the owner of the P.O. box address system or a much easier way which would have been to cross reference any of these names who are registered voters who used those same P.O. box addresses to elect Barack Obama and Al Franken,” Paquin said in his petition.

    Paquin and House 4A candidate Nicole Beaulieu filed petitions under the Warriors for Justice banner for the Nov. 2 election. Each needed 500 valid signatures to secure the ballot, but Mack disallowed signatures chiefly because they carried only P.O. boxes and not physical addresses, as charged by state law.

    Paquin’s petition had 557 names. Mack ruled 214 signatures as invalid, with 170 having the P.O. box number problem. Another 23 addresses were outside the Senate 4 district and 17 had no addresses at all. Four were dismissed for other reasons.

    “The statute and rules are very clear that persons signing a nominating petition must list their residence address,” Mack said in her ruling.

    In an earlier interview, Mack denied that her decision involved “institutional racism.”

    “When the laws were drafted, they weren’t drafted with any specific race, with any specific geographical area or person in mind,” Mack said. “Election law just literally wants to be sure that there is one person, one vote, and to precinct them. They have to put them in a physical location for their residence. And that’s consistent across all election law.”

    People can’t reside in a P.O. box, Mack said.

    Paquin also claims he had contacted staff at the Secretary of State’s Office to ask about P.O. box numbers and was told that “P.O. box along with township cited would suffice …” He mentions the staff member by name in the petition.

    “You indicated that you spoke with someone at the Secretary of State’s Office and were told that post office boxes are acceptable to show residence,” Mack said in her June 14 decision. “I have spoken with both staff and legal counsel for the secretary of state, and have been told that staff at the Secretary of State’s Office would not have indicated to anyone calling the office that a post office box was acceptable.”

    Paquin is asking the Supreme Court to place his name under the Warrior for Justice Party label on the Nov. 2 ballot. He is also asking , on Beaulieu’s behalf, to have her name placed on the ballot.

    “This law Kay Mack cites to deny the Warriors for Justice ballot status has the effect of unduly inhibiting tribal self-governance which violates the preemption test and the infringement test the federal government assesses cases regarding state civil jurisdiction on Indian reservations,” Paquin wrote in his petition.

    In an order signed by Chief Justice Lorie Gildea, the case was set for scheduling the filing of documents and affidavits of service. It was also given expedited status.

    The case, A101177, is Gregory Wayne Paquin vs. Kay Mack, Beltrami County Auditor.

    E-mail: bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

    Note: This very issue has already been addressed, only recently, by the Arizona Supreme Court which has ruled that P.O. Box Addresses on petitions is adequate. The Arizona Supreme Court ruling was not appealed to the federal courts because in the United States it is generally regarded that the right of all to vote and run for public office is the cornerstone and foundation of democracy, and all who would look for ways to disenfranchise people seeking to participate in the political process are generally viewed as opponents of democracy.

    Minnesota Secretary of State, Mark Ritchie, has been an active participant in this sleazy campaign aimed at denying the Warriors for Justice ballot status because he fears a defeat for Democrats State Representative John Purcell and State Senator Mary Olson.

    It is widely believed here in Minnesota that mark Ritchie intentionally instructed his staff to provide the Warriors for Justice with misinformation which would be typical of the shenanigans Democrats and Republicans typically pull here in Minnesota to protect their candidates from third party challengers.

    In fact, the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party is owned by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association which fears the enforcement of affirmative action on public works jobs projects like the Bemidji Regional Event Center (BREC) because it will force up wages at the casinos in Minnesota--- thus costing the mobsters who own the slot machines and table games millions of dollars a year as they would be forced to pay out real living wages rather than the poverty wages under the most Draconian working conditions now the lot of some 40,000 casino workers forced to work in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages while U.S. and Minnesota tax-payers are forced to foot the bills for welfare and healthcare to pay for those things these poverty wage receiving casino workers can not afford. 

    It is no coincidence that it was the issue of affirmative action intentionally not being enforced by Democrats and Republicans in hiring on the planning, construction, staffing and maintenance of Bemidji Regional Event Center that was the catalyst for the creation of the Warriors for Justice in addition to a number of outstanding grievances suffered by Native American Indians in Bemidji, which is commonly referred to as "the most racist city in North America" where Native American Indians had their lands and resources--- the wealth--- stolen out from under them as they were forced to live in the enforced poverty of a reservation system while being systematically denied equality in employment and access to government services available to everyone else while using the glorification of Native American Indian heritage, culture, language and original way of life of living in harmony with Nature as a tourist drawing card even as the politicians disgracefully enforce institutionalized racism to which the well-heeled tourist crowd is completely oblivious as they enjoy what Native American Indians protected for centuries as they pluck their "spare change" into slot machines while being served by poverty wage paid employees as they refuse to look at the deplorable housing conditions and homelessness that is part and parcel of the rampant racist poverty driven by racist unemployment and poverty wages.

    It is rather ironic that the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association spends tens of millions of dollars every election cycle bribing Minnesota's politicians yet not one single Native American Indian is sitting among the more than 200 Minnesota State Legislators or its large Congressional delegation in one of the states with the highest Native American Indian population.

    Greg Paquin, a union pipe-fitter, got the idea of the name of Warriors for Justice from Stewart Acuff, a leading organizer for the AFL-CIO who has called upon all working people to become "warriors for justice;" see page 83 of Acuff's new book written with Minnesotan Richard Levins--- "Getting America Back To Work." Apparently, once again, Native American Indians are supposed to just sit patiently by living in poverty as others get jobs.

    In another twist of racist irony, the Minnesota AFL-CIO, which has become nothing more than a rubber stamp for the racist policies of the the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party, has remained quiet regarding the intentional lack of enforcement of affirmative action in hiring and in politics.
    It is of interest to note that Jessee Jackson and the president of the UAW have called for a march for "peace and social justice" but they have refused to address the problems of Native American Indians.
    Gregory W. Paquin, a union pipe-fitter and candidate for Minnesota Senate District 4 along with Nicole Beaulieu, a teacher and youth worker and candidate for Minnesota House District 4-A, deserve the support of all working people as they advance the struggle for workers rights, human rights and fight to end the poverty bred by institutionalized racism which drags down not only the immediate victims, but the living standards and quality of life for all of us. Let's all find ways to demonstrate our solidarity and support for Greg Paquin, Nicole Beaulieu and the Warriors for Justice because their struggle for justice will make democracy for meaningful for all of us.

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