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...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My response to Eliot Seide

Letter to the editor/opinion piece submitted for publication, exclusively, to the Duluth News tribune:

I read with interest the puff piece by Eliot Seide, “Union’s view: What does organized labor want;” Duluth News-Tribune September 6, 2010. {See below}

Seide presents a very important list of what labor wants; unfortunately this essay omitted more than a few important items at the top of the “wish list” of most working people.

First on this list is the desire for peace and an end to these dirty wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seide, in typical liberal tradition like Samuel Gompers, is content to let Democrats establish his agenda so he says nothing about the need to end these dirty wars.

I would like to share a left-wing working class socialist perspective with readers in the interest of dialog, discussion and debate.

The most fundamental and important question every union leader and all rank-and-file workers should be asking in relation to Labor Day: How is this war economy working for you?

How is the WAR ECONOMY working for YOU?

A vitally important question for Labor Day because we can’t pump trillions of dollars into wars and occupations while expecting to solve our own social/economic problems.

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world; the problem is a few people own and control most of this wealth.

This wealth created by working people is being squandered on fighting two wars, financing the Israeli killing machine and funding over 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil protecting Wall Street's greedy interests--- instead, what we need is a public health care system of 800 primary care facilities serving as bases of support for over 30,000 neighborhood public health care centers spread out across the United States providing free health care for all Americans which would create around ten-million new, good-paying jobs with affirmative action enforced.

We wouldn't trust a private-for-profit free enterprise system to teach our children to read and write so why would we continue to rely on this failed private-for-profit health care system? Public education provides quality education for our children and a public health care system will provide us with a world-class health care system.

As for anyone concerned about the high cost of health care; VA, the Indian Health Service and the National Public Health Service have all proven we get the best health care at the best price through public health care.

Elected public officials should be able to comprehend the benefits from peace and a public health care system. Look at unemployment; workers in our country and our state need jobs, not wars. Solving the problems of working people is what creates real jobs. We should be discussing a national public child care program, too--- this would create millions more jobs. We should be looking at reducing the age of retirement not making people work until they drop dead; lowering the retirement age to 60 would put millions of people to work while in the final analysis the solution to solving any problems relating to Social Security is a full employment economy… everyone pays in--- can capitalism deliver full employment? If not, socialism can.

By ending these dirty wars, implementing Mark Dayton’s call to “Tax the Rich” and the reforms cited above we can get America back to work.

In order to turn this country around, we are going to have to rebuild the historic coalition of liberals, progressives and the left; the only coalition which has ever won real progress for working people.

How is the WAR ECONOMY working for YOU? Does it make you sick?

Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for real change on this Labor Day not the mere “wish list” Eliot Seide has provided; no doubt Eliot Seide still has high hopes for Barack Obama even though Obama is dashing the hopes of working people for jobs, health care and child care in wars.

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

40,000 Minnesotans go to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages without any rights under state or federal labor laws.

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Phone: 218-386-2432
Cell Phone: 651-587-5541

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net


Published September 06 2010

Union’s view: What does organized labor want?

The answer to what organized labor wants is simple and timeless. We want what most workers want. We want a better life for ourselves and for our families. We want to unite and change the things that oppress most workers today. By: Eliot Seide, Duluth News Tribune

We want respect and dignity. We don’t want bad employers who kick their workers around during the recession, forcing them to work longer, harder and cheaper while executives line their pockets with gold.

We want secure jobs with good wages and benefits. We don’t want to continue working harder while earning less. We don’t want to be slaves to Wal-Mart and Wall Street. We don’t want St. Paul’s Ford plant to close and shove its workers into the scrap heap. We don’t want bankruptcy courts to permit employers to walk away from pension and health-care obligations to their workers.

We want safe working conditions. We don’t want workers killed or injured on the job. We don’t want more mining and environmental disasters when employers like Massey Energy and BP put profits and production ahead of worker safety and public health. And we certainly don’t want those industry officials put in charge of government oversight programs.

American workers have endured enough. They know they deserve better. Now the labor movement is evolving to meet the challenges of our age. Unions will reach out to all who need fair wages, real health care, a dignified retirement and respect on the job. As union membership swells, workers will build more bargaining and political power. Together, workers will turn their adversity into strength, as they have throughout history.
Bad bosses beware. That’s our union’s message this Labor Day. Wherever workers are screwed, they multiply and fight back. They unite for better solutions.

Tired workers, rejoice. Enjoy a well-deserved day of rest this Labor Day. Then join the labor movement to stop the erosion of workers’ rights.

Never forget that unions have made life better for all working Americans. Unions brought workers the weekend and the 40-hour week. We helped pass laws to end child labor and protect workers’ safety and health. We won battles for Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage. We fought for health care, sick pay and pensions that brought workers more security. We stood for equity in pay and treatment.

Workers rise or fall together. That’s why my union advocates for all workers — not only our members. We believe all labor should be rewarded with wages that can raise a family, health care if people get sick, and a retirement that’s dignified.

AFSCME Council 5 salutes Minnesota workers and our predecessors who won the rights we now enjoy. As Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor said, “Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected.” We continue the fight for prosperity and opportunity for all.

Eliot Seide is director of AFSCME Council 5, a union of 43,000 public and nonprofit workers in Minnesota.