Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rocky Anderson returns — this time shooting for nation’s top office

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/53014248-90/anderson-ballot-former-hall.html.csp


Rocky Anderson returns — this time shooting for nation’s top office


BY ROBERT GEHRKE

The Salt Lake Tribune


Nov 29, 2011 06:50PM

Disgusted with what he calls the corrupting influence of corporate money and militarism in politics, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is launching a new national political party and will likely be its presidential nominee.


“The end game is changing public policy in the interest of the people of this country. It’s changing our government,” Anderson said. “This is about taking on the two corporatist, militarist parties and in the process bringing the people of this country together so they can see that their interests, by and large, are really aligned.”

Anderson said he will likely be a candidate for the presidential nomination for the new party — which is yet-to-be-named. He said the formation of the party will be announced next week “and shortly thereafter I’ll be announcing my candidacy.” He has already started filling out paperwork for a presidential exploratory committee.

Once the announcement is made, he said a major effort to get on the ballot will start soon in all 50 states. The focus will first be on Mississippi and Vermont, which have a Jan. 1 deadline, but a relatively low bar to get on the ballot, Anderson said.

“This is being done with a long-term view so that we can grow and sustain a movement that will ensure that the public interest, rather than the corporate interests, are promoted by our elected officials,” said Anderson, who acknowledges he wishes he would have started the effort earlier.

Anderson said he is leaning toward calling the new organization The Justice Party or the Public Interest Party. He plans to host the party’s national platform and nominating convention in Salt Lake City over the Presidents Day weekend.

Anderson’s party won’t be alone in this election. The group Americans Elect has spent months qualifying its party for the ballot and plans to nominate a presidential candidate through a first-ever on-line primary. The group qualified for the Utah ballot earlier this month.

Anderson said the new party would converge nicely with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations around the country, but his intention is not to co-opt that movement.

Thad Hall, a political science professor at the University of Utah, said Anderson is mounting a far-fetched, quixotic crusade.

Hall said states make it difficult to get on the ballot and it’s even more difficult to win.

“Basically what Rocky is saying is he wants a bunch of Republicans to get elected,” Hall said, “because what’s going to happen in theses situations … he’s going to peel votes away from Democrats and end up electing a bunch of ultra-pro-life, ultra-gun, don’t-tax-the-rich, cut-benefits-to-the-poor people.”
Hall said American political parties are also well-branded and people “are well-sorted” into the Democrat or Republican bin. Few are truly independent, and “competing against thief branding is going to be really frigging hard” and require an enormous amount of money.

Matt Lyon, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, said he doesn’t consider Anderson’s latest action a repudiation of the Democratic Party — where Anderson ran for Congress in 1996.

“Rocky has always done what Rocky is going to do,” he said. “He hasn’t been involved with the Democrats for a very, very, very long time. ... He’s just Rocky.”

Anderson was in Washington last weekend meeting with supporters, formulating plans for the launch.
A leaked copy of the meeting agenda and minutes from a previous meeting noted that there was support for Anderson forming an exploratory committee as soon as possible. The document outlines a platform for the party focused on ending the corporate influence, stopping wars, promoting human and civil rights and ending for-profit prisons.

“The middle class in this country is being decimated and it’s without regard for political affiliation,” Anderson said in an interview. “All of us are being harmed while a very few are profiting enormously by the corruption, by bad public policy that they essentially purchase. These folks in Congress and the White House act as if they’re on retainer by Goldman Sachs, the insurance industry, with the coal and oil and gas industry, with the defense industry.”

Others involved in the discussions include Margaret Flowers, a doctor and leading proponent of a single-payer health plan; Kevin Zeese, an organizer of the Occupy D.C. movement; and former U.S. Rep. John Anderson, who ran for president as an independent in 1980.

Anderson said there is a “rich history” of third party candidates in the United States, from the Bull Moose Party of Teddy Roosevelt to the challenges mounted by Ross Perot and later Ralph Nader.

And he said it is unfair to blame Nader for costing former Vice President Al Gore the election in 2000 — although a relative handful of Nader voters could have swung the election in Gore’s favor. Anderson said the blame lies with voters who backed George W. Bush.

In August, Anderson sent a scathing letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, scolding her for failing to oppose torture, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and increased defense spending and refusing to address climate change, health policy and defense spending.

gehrke@sltrib.com
Twitter: @RobertGehrke
Paul Rolly contributed to this report.

--
Circulated by:

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

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

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

Primary E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net
E-mail: alan.maki1951mn@gmail.com

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 21, 2011

Proposal for a Minnesota Governor’s Advisory Committee for the Enforcement of Affirmative Action

Proposal for a Minnesota Governor’s Advisory Committee for the Enforcement of Affirmative Action  

Goal and objective: A level playing field.

All the talk about a new Vikings’ Stadium, the need for infrastructure development and repair, talk of light rail and other large-scale public works and joint public-private initiatives and projects begs the question:

What will be done to end racism in employment here in Minnesota that has historical roots combined with present indifference?

Fact: People without jobs are destined to be poor.

Unemployment, under-employment and poverty-wage jobs are the root of poverty.

Poverty is more than statistics. For living, breathing human beings, poverty means going without adequate food, clothing, health care, education, housing, and transportation.

When unemployment rises well beyond the “normal” levels for people of color, women and the handicapped, Affirmative Action as articulated and defined by Federal Executive Order Number 11246 must kick in unless we end up with large pools of unemployed in communities--- and on Indian Reservations--- of people of color which hurt us all, but no where near as much as it harms the victims of racism in employment.

These large pools of the unemployed serve to push down wages and living standards for everyone.

The enforcement of Affirmative Action will help make sure Minnesotans get the jobs funded by Minnesota tax-payers rather than workers from other states.

The enforcement of Affirmative Action will lead to encouraging and strengthening small businesses and entrepreneurship among minorities as minority contractors help recruit people of color through the enforcement of Affirmative Action.

Politicians who pander to the voices of bigotry, racism and hate often claim that advocating for the enforcement of Affirmative Action is so controversial that its enforcement creates divisions in society which tears apart our social fabric. In fact, issues like a new Vikings’ Stadium, as we have seen, are themselves very controversial.

Politics embodies controversy.

The Governor of Minnesota has the responsibility to provide leadership in the just struggle for the enforcement of Affirmative Action in a way that guides Minnesotans to creating a level playing field for everyone.

Governor Mark Dayton should establish “The Minnesota Governor’s Advisory Committee for the Enforcement of Affirmative Action” and this Committee shall consist of: one member representing the Governor, one member each from the AFL-CIO & Change To Win, one member each representing the following firms: public relations, architectural, engineering, general contractors and minority contractors, with two members representing each of the following communities: Black, Native American and Hispanic with at least one member from each of these communities being among the unemployed; three women and one handicapped representative--- 18 members in total.

All members of this Advisory Committee shall participate, together, in at least one training session explaining the history, goals and objectives of Affirmative Action and must be made aware of the present problems relating to how racism in employment has led to current social and economic problems in the specific communities of people of color, women and the handicapped.

This Advisory Committee shall present concrete goals and objectives in reviewing all public funding where there is any type of state involvement in funding and financing including proposals for bonding bills and any joint public-private ventures in which more than $20,000.00 in public funding is involved and/or more than 15 employees hired.

The loop-hole preventing enforcing Affirmative Action must be closed by the Governor and State Legislature refusing to participate in any township, city, county, state, park’s commission, school district, college or university where there is not an Affirmative Action Policy in place being enforced.

Affirmative Action must kick in when any project is first publicly proposed or there is significant public-private cooperation towards project development--- whichever occurs first; long before the first shovel is sunk into the ground.

It is up to the parties involved to implement Affirmative Action in a timely manner so as to prevent project delays which might lead to additional costs incurred by tax-payers. Where this is not done, any costs relating to project delays should result in fines levied at the direction of the Advisory Committee on the parties responsible.

Affirmative Action is the law of the land. For the victims of historic racist employment practices continuing today which results in the need for the enforcement of Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action is both a Human Right and a Constitutional Right.

The Governor of Minnesota has a Constitutional responsibility to see to it that Affirmative Action is enforced. This Advisory Committee provides the Governor with the tools to achieve the enforcement of Affirmative Action.

People should not have to resort to law suits, direct action and other means of protest in order to have their right to employment protected.

Everyone has the right to seek employment from a level playing field.

A means to enforce Affirmative Action on the Vikings’ Stadium (and all other projects stated above) in line with stated goals and objectives must be found before planning for this project proceeds any further.

I am submitting this “Proposal for a Minnesota Governor’s Advisory Committee for the Enforcement of Affirmative Action” for consideration to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton upon request from Micah Hines, General Counsel to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, who requested I submit this proposal in writing to Governor Mark Dayton.

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

Contact information:

58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

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

E-mail: amaki000@centurytel.net

Blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/

FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/alan.l.maki

Copies provided to:
NAACP
Urban League
Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
AFL-CIO
Change To Win
Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party
Republican Party
Green Party

Posted to:
FaceBook... http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150474417745086
Blog............ http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/proposal-for-minnesota-governors.html

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A victory for peace, the people and the environment; proving the people can win through determined struggle.

Please watch this video to get up to speed on this important issue:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_aSJgZOkLlU&noredirect=1


NEW 7 WONDERS OF NATURE ISLAND JEJU SAVED - FOR NOW

SUNDAY  20 November 2011. Thanks to ALL of you, who wrote to Jeju-do Governor Keun-Min Woo and UN SG Ban Ki-Moon in order to avert the planned dynamite blast of Gureombee (Gureombi), the world-famous volcanic cloud-rock and cultural site along Jeju's Southern coastline.

On November 18th, the government in Seoul - abusing the South Korean Navy under their orders - and SAMSUNG construction company (part of SAMSUNG Corp.) wanted to dynamite-blast Gureombee (Gureombi) belonging to Gangjeong village where the local people have been resisting day and night for now almost 5 years and demand to stop the building of a naval base, which also would see USAmerican naval vessels with nuclear weapons be stationed.

Thanks to YOUR efforts and due to the stand of Governor Keun-Min Woo that was averted.

In a global collective effort to stop this destructive blast, which also would have been a blast against national and international law as well as against world peace, would have crushed local needs and traditions under military boots and would also would have destroyed the pristine environment as well as the cultural heritage of the Jeju people forever, this rape of Jeju could be stopped - for the time being.

Apparently the police have turned down the companies' request for the blast of the Gureombi rocks now for the third time. It is told that the reasons were: 1. insufficiency of the documents; 2. concerns about possible incidences during the blast; 3. requirement for the agreement with the Island governor.
Several legal interventions against the naval base are also still pending while the powers-that-be, their military and their business cohorts like SAMSUNG wanted to just go ahead.

But, it is not over yet. (... and those, who didn't write yet have here another opportunity)

Jeju, an autonomous province, was recently selected among the New Seven Wonders of Nature, which with its UNESCO triple-crowned status lists the island among the world’s most precious cultural and national treasures. In addition, the marine ecosystem that lines Gureombee is an absolute preservation area designated by the South Korean government because of the many endangered species that inhabit this pristine ecosystem, including soft coral and the red-clawed crab. The spring water that bubbles up from the volcanic rock provides up to 80% of the drinking water for all residents of Seogwipo City, the southern half of Jeju Island. The destruction of Gureombee threatens the surrounding marine life and the clean water that farmers and villagers depend upon for their survival. As one villager expressed it, “Gureombee is Gangjeong, Gangjeong is Gureombee. We are One.”

Please take action now and send an email to Jeju Governor Woo urging him to stand strong and avert any blasting as well as the whole construction of the naval base. The Jeju Island governor must stand with his people to protect Jeju’s pristine nature from being destroyed. Governor Woo has the authority to order the Navy to halt the destruction of this pristine coastline.
Please send also an e-mail to the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki Moon, who - himself a South-Korean - actually holds the supreme military command for South Korea in his hands.

All Gangjeong villagers are pleading for your help to prevent any destruction of Gureombee and to put a halt forever to the naval base plans -at whatever cost. Your contacting the Governor and the UN Secretary General now will not only encourage them to o the right thing and really help save the village and lives, but also help to free the innocent officials, villagers and peace activists from state persecution.

STOP the BLASTS ! STOP the BASE ! FREE INDIGENOUS DETAINEES !

Sample letters

Write to: Gov. Keun-Min Woo : lmw2828@jeju.go.kr
Governor of Cheju-do, the Self-Governing Jeju Province and Cheju Island

Honourable Keun-Min Woo,
Dear Governor Woo,

Thanks you very much for your strong stand so far
to stop the blast of Gureombee, a government-designated absolute ecological preservation area.You hold the powers in your hand to make that decision permanent.

You also have the power to order the South-Korean Navy to stop the construction of the naval base,  to release innocent citizens from detention and to stop state persecution of officials, villagers and peace activists. Please do so.
We believe you don't want to leave behind a legacy of overseeing the destruction of a UNESCO preserved site and ancient Korean relics, and you want to be remembered as a protector of democracy and peace on Jeju Island.

South Korea’s Constitution guarantees all of its citizens’ human respect and the right to pursue happiness. Please be a pillar to restore and maintain peace in Gangjeong today.
Please uphold your promise to those who elected you and stop navy constructions and any planned destruction immediately. We don’t want the ‘New Seven Wonders of Nature’ to be brutally destroyed and be replaced with something which only can serve war.

Please speak out now in public to declare that you stopped that ill-conceived project once and for all and that all officials, villagers and peace activists will be set free and no further harassment of people, who just fulfil their democratic duties, will be allowed.

Sincerely,
----

Write to: Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations
New York, NY 10017 USA
+1-212-963-5012 fax: +1-212-963-7055
Email: ecu@un.org
CC to: Jamille Mc Cord, email: mccord@un.org and Anne Sophie Persson, email: persson3@un.org
as well as to: Mr. Kim Soo-Gwon < kimsoogwon@gmail.com>, because South Korea is violating Universally Guaranteed Rights. He is the chair of the human rights desk at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, located at 335 East 45th St New York, New York 10017. His telephone number is +1-212-439-4051and  his cell phone is +1-646-831-7188.


Your Excellency,
Dear Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon,

You said yourself: "World military spending has now risen to over $1.2 trillion. This incredible sum represents 2.5 per cent of GDP(global gross domestic product). Even if 1 per cent of it were redirected towards development, the world would be much closer to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.... I believe in a world of justice and human rights for all."

You have the historic opportunity to show to the world that you mean what you say, because until
April 17, 2012, you as Secretary General of the United Nations are technically the top of the chain of command and head of the still functioning UN Command in charge of all forces in South Korea. Thereby you are also in command of the South-Korean Navy.

Please order them today to stand down in any plan of establishing a naval base on Jeju Island and to leave the Jeju Islanders in peace.

Please stop any military action on Jeju and prevent the destruction of Gureombee - the world famous "Cloud-Rock" with its many ecological, cultural and economic functions important for the well-being of the Jeju people and their natural marine and island ecosystems.

As it appears the chief of the naval base business committee will be changed on Nov. 23. The newly appointed person could be the vice-commander of the 2nd Fleet, Pyeongtaek base, where the large U.S. military base locates. Please support all the people in South-Korea, who do not want to be dragged in a new regional conflict between the U.S.A. and China and rather would like to work hard to see North and South Korea be reunited.

Please also help to free innocent detainees and to stop the persecution of innocent officials, villagers and peace activists.

Please instruct UNESCO and UNEP to stand up against the wanton destruction of the natural and cultural heritage of these indigenous people on Jeju Island and protect their rights as well as endangered species of the pristine marine and island ecosystems.

As famous visual artist Choi Sung-hee stated: Jeju Island is the pearl of Korea and Gangjeong village is the diamond of Jeju Island.

Nature protected you, dear Secretary General, when you fled with your family to the remote mountainside for the duration of the Korean War, so now please help the Jeju people and especially the Gangjeong-do villagers to protect their nature and maintain peace.

Thanks

----

The Jeju Islanders also ask you to write to the South Korean Ministry of Defense to revoke the naval base construction policy and not to blast the Gureombi (Gureonbee) on Jeju Island, South Korea so that the military or navy do not commit this crime on their own.
Please write to:
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-Jin < defenattache@yahoo.com> and ask him to stop the plan.

... and because it has transpired that actually the government of the United States of America is behind the whole naval base plan, we urge you to try and reach out to President Barack Hussein Obama http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments
Also tell the people at his re-election campaign http://www.barackobama.com/contact-us?source=footer-nav that they can forget about any donations and support unless the U.S. government and their present president would rescind from dragging the whole world into warfare, close the U.S.American military bases especially in South-Korea and let the people re-unite peacefully.

---
Please send copies of all your letters in CC to
President Lee Myung-bak < president@president.go.kr>, who himself voted for Jeju Island as one of the NEW 7 WONDERS OF NATURE, but is, according to the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, not only the chief executive of the government and the head of state of the Republic of Korea, but also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, who already created havoc on the island in the recent past, though it is a self-governed, autonomous province.

Please send your missives also in BCC to office[AT]ecoterra-international.org
---

* FREE THE JEJU THREE
See: http://www.fpcn-global.org/en/system/files/%252Fhome/fpcn/files/drupal/save_jeju_island_oct_2011.ppt
Free the three peace activists who have been in prison for the past 82 days. They pose no threat to the community, will not flee from their home and therefore, there is no need for them to be locked up in detention . They are:
  • Mr. Kang Dong-gyun, The Mayor of Gangjeong village www.freemayorkang.org (He only did his mayoral duties.)
  • Mr. Kim Jong-Hwan (Uncle Jong) - Age 57 | Peace Activist and cook for the peace-camp
  • Mr. Kim Dong-Won - Age 25 | Photographer/videographer (Both KIMs only assisted the mayor during the brutal arrest.)
----------

STEP UP THE
BOYCOTT
AGAINST SAMSUNG

See: http://www.savejejuisland.org/Save_Jeju_Island/Samsung.html
* SAMSUNG and HYUNDAI corporations are instrumental for the past, ongoing and planned destruction at Jeju Island and are behind most of the illegal detentions and harassments of peaceful protesters on ground of "disturbing business".
SAMSUNG has become an integral part of the military-industrial complex.

Please prepare for a global boycott of their products. We need to do all to stop them from destroying this particular place where an activist made this video-appeal to the world, to you:
See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JaZhcrUvt4&feature=player_embedded
That SAMSUNG is perceived as a thief has been legally established just recently in democratic countries of Europe, where their products with apparently stolen patents were banned from being sold.
PROTECT: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYeUB-JLPFU&feature=player_embedded
WRITE TO:
Jung, YeonJoo: President & CEO,(Engineering & Construction Group) and urge him to
STOP SAMSUNG from stealing pristine nature from the Gangjeong villagers and the world.
Also write to:
Jeong, Ki Cheol - Senior Executive Vice President
Kim, Hee Won - Executive Vice President
Kim, Deok Lim - Vice President
Kim, Sung Lae - Vice President
via e-mail Samsung < kd78.park@samsung.com>
and tell them that the results of their Overseas Business Division will seriously decline, if their destruction on Jeju doesn't stop immediately and they wouldn't opt out from this disastrous project on Jeju island and from being at the core of serious human rights violations. Gangjeong KR Naval Base Protest Chaos Video EN GKNBCV 1
Consumers the world over will judge with their own purchase decisions, whom to trust and whom to give their money.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A couple "characters" have complained that they are victims of "racial discrimination" on the part of one of our Organizing Committees

Now some friends of Leech Lake Tribal Chair Archie LaRose are complaining that our Leech Lake Casino Workers Organizing Committee would not let them join and they are charging they have been the victims of "racial discriminated."

Since this has become a public dispute, with reporters from Fox News and Minnesota Public Radio who have never provided any coverage of our organizing activities before, as the Director of Organizing for the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council to which the Leech Lake Casino Workers Organizing Committee is affiliated, I will explain the situation here--- and since Fox News Television reporters and Minnesota Public Radio reporters are reading my FaceBook page they are free to quote me as they choose.

First; No one here has been discriminated against based on race.

Second; Each of our Organizing Committees is composed of members of all races employed in that particular casino--- including Leech Lakes' three casinos with a majority of each executive board being Native American.

Third; because these are organizing committees precautions have to be taken against infiltration by the casino managements since these casino managements have employed a number of detective agencies including Altegrity/USIS which is assisted by the FBI and the "Red" Squads centered around the Public Safety Commission here in Minnesota working in league with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and county and city police departments. Why these federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and departments are concerned about the activities of casino workers who strive for a safe and healthy working environment free from smoke and with tolerable noise limits as prescribed by various federal and state agencies while being paid poverty wages working without any rights beats me; let the reporters ask these agencies and police departments about this. Doesn't sound like a good investment of tax-dollars to me in these tight times where budget dollars are at a premium.

Fourth; It is up to each Organizing Committee's Executive Board--- all of which are interracial--- to vote, a simple majority vote, on who is allowed to be on the Organizing Committees.

Fifth; The characters in question, and to refer to them as "characters" is being rather nice since they are known to associate with the Native Mob and Archie LaRose whose position as Chair of the Leech Lake Tribal Council places him as the head of management of Leech Lake's three casinos- The Palace, White Oak and Northern Lights.

We would be complete fools to welcome such characters into our Organizing Committees.

My suggestion to these "characters" is that if they want to become part of a union so bad is that they convince their friend Archie LaRose to sit down and negotiate a contract with us and then all the workers from these three casinos, including these "characters," will be in the union and free to run for union office and participate in the union as they so choose.

My suggestion to Fox News and Minnesota Public Radio reporters is that since they will be doing a first story in over twenty years on labor/management problems relating to the Indian Gaming Industry and Leech Lake's three casinos, is that they look into the working conditions and pay of casino workers. They might begin with interviews of the foundation funded outfits receiving financial contributions from the Indian Gaming Association whose funding they receive to keep their noses out of the smoke-filled casinos where they would be forced to explain using science and medical information what happens to people forced to work in these smoke-filled casinos day after day--- yes, go interview the directors of the American Cancer Society, the Minnesota Heart and Lung Foundation and talk to Congressmember Keith Ellison about what this smoke does for people with Asthma.

As for interviewing me; I have nothing to talk to you pricks about.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why OWS needs specific concrete demands and leadership

Why OWS needs specific concrete demands and leadership

by Alan L. Maki on Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 9:12am
Why OWS needs specific concrete demands and leadership

By: Alan Maki Saturday November 5, 2011 7:03 am

Originally published in two posts on Firedoglake
 Links:

http://my.firedoglake.com/alanmaki/2011/11/05/why-ows-needs-specific-concrete-demands-and-leadership/

http://my.firedoglake.com/alanmaki/2011/11/04/we-need-to-talk-about-the-politics-of-economics-of-livelihood/

It is not logical to think people will continue to occupy anything indefinitely— not a park or a factory or a school or a Wall Street office or a politician’s office.

Movements for social and economic justice need clear demands aimed at solving specific problems intended to improve the lives and living conditions of people.

This is what unites and brings people into struggle.

All successful movements for social change have used this simple formula; it is the only one that achieves results:

Education + Organization + Unity in action = Victory for the people

In other words, you start out helping people to connect all the dots relating to their problems.

We have many people saying the strength of the OWS movement is that it is “leaderless” and “without specific demands.”

This creates confusion which is good for who? Obama, the Black Box?

So far what we are getting out of the OWS movement is that people are “fed up.” This is good that people vent their anger.

But, are people “fed up” with government, Wall Street or capitalism— or all three?

People are “fed up” because they are experiencing problems— very specific problems.

Unless people clearly articulate what they are “fed up” with anyone and everyone can claim they speak for OWS without having to solve the very specific problems of everyday living people are experiencing.

It is not like it is difficult to find out why people are “fed up.” Anyone can walk through a grocery store talking to people. Start up a conversation at the gas station. Engage people where they work or go to school.

In talking to people one quickly finds what the specific problems are.

It is only logical that people who are “fed up” should articulate their specific problems if they want these problems solved.

The problems can be articulated in a way that leads to people arriving at the conclusion there are specific solutions to their problems.

The specific problems and their specific solutions must be clearly articulated or people who are “fed up” are going to become more frustrated. Eventually they will come to the conclusion there is nothing they can do about their problems if struggles do not lead towards solutions to their problems.

If people become disillusioned in thinking it does no good to organize and come together, the result, if this happens, is that Wall Street remains in power and the problems just get worse.

Isn’t it our goal and objective to solve the problems people are experiencing in a way that the people have a chance to successfully challenge Wall Street for power?

That specific, concrete demands providing solutions to problems aren’t being adequately articulated by the OWS movement is not the movement’s strength it is a severe weakness. All movements need leadership. The more collective the leadership the better; but leadership none-the-less. After all, someone eventually has to sign a union contract or in some collective way agree that problems have been solved.

I question just how “leaderless” the OWS movement really is.

George Lakoff and his Rockwood Institute advising these do-nothing "progressive" Democrats have for a very long time articulated the position that only “progressive policy directives” are required and specific solutions to problems should be avoided at all costs. (See “Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressives” by George Lakoff)

It appears to me that OWS has a leader— the wrong one; either by chance or by intent, it doesn’t matter how this has happened. We need to turn this situation around.

Amy Dean, the darling of the Obama loving Democrats who seeks to turn every concern of the people into her own personal profit by "advising" people on what to do, “let the cat out of the bag” in her recent essay which tries to guide people towards the “leadership” of the Rockwood Institute. See: http://my.firedoglake.com/amybdean/2011/11/04/unity-is-strength-for-progressives/

Republicans have their “fed ups” with the Tea Party— another movement that is “leaderless” and without specific demands by design.

The Democrats now want their “fed ups” as long as people don’t come articulating specific problems they want solved.

Additional Note # 1. Please note: I added this comment after reading the discussions to my initial post on Firedoglake and several phone conversations:

If you look at the Occupy Oakland protests thousands of people turned out bringing with them their problems stated on the signs they were carrying.

People aren’t interested in shaping some new kind of democracy in isolation to their problems.

People want a say in the decision-making process so their problems get solved. People are fed up with politicians who won’t respond to their problems in a way that solves their problems.

If OWS continues to ignore the specific problems people are having people will get fed up with OWS, too.

We are beginning to see some discussions about occupying homes being foreclosed on and some discussions about occupying plants slated to close in order to try to save jobs. This is the general direction OWS will have to move in order to keep the movement growing.

We also saw how OWS made a list of demands an on that list was the demand to solve the health care mess— but, what did this demand for health care reform consist of? It called for a “financial means test” to determine eligibility for access to health care.

To suggest that it may take years for OWS to articulate demands relating to solving the problems people are experiencing smacks of the same kind of thing we hear from Obama and the Democrats so why not give Obama a chance to see what he can do with another 4 years?

If the main thing people were interested in is making friends and helping people one  person at a time while a new kind of democracy is being talked about then the signs people were carrying in Oakland would have reflected this.
Lots of signs said people want jobs; many others conveyed the idea that people want real health care reform.

Other signs took note of rising gas and food prices while other signs called for a moratorium on home foreclosures. Lots of signs called for defending public education from cuts. All kinds of signs called for peace, not wars.

What people are saying when they turn out in the thousands everyplace is that the majority wants peace and social justice and in a democracy this is what people should get.

I can guarantee that most of the 99% are not going to participate in long-winded discussions about “democracy” when they are without jobs, hungry and homeless.

Eradicating poverty is the most democratic demand of all.

It is the struggles of the people trying to solve their problems in the process of creating a better world to live in with improved living standards and a healthy and safe environment at work and in their communities that defends and expands democracy not the other way around.

Additional Note #2. Please note: This is the second edit including another comment to responses I have received on FireDogLake:

Leadership involves much more than some specific person. Leadership implies having an ideology that understands that bringing forward specific demands aimed at solving the specific problems of the people through universal social programs is the way to go.

In fact, “leadership” is being provided to the OWS movement or we wouldn’t be hearing this talk about how the movement should remain “leaderless” without specific demands. This is leadership through ideological saturation; a “leadership” I believe is wrong-headed intended to serve the goals and objectives of Barack Obama and the Democrats.

The criticism of Obama is that he hasn’t acted to solve the problems of the people in a timely manner. Obama and the Democrats demagogically claim they need more time.

Now we are hearing the exact same thing from the “leaderless?” OWS movement that it will take, perhaps years!, to develop specific goals and objectives which include bringing forward solutions to our common problems as we (the 99%) are all pushed into poverty.

It isn’t rocket science to determine what our common problems are and their solutions. Go into any supermarket in a working class community and most anyone can itemize the problems and provide a shopping list of the solutions.

Here it is. This isn’t something I thought up in a dream. This comes from years of discussing with people what kind of problems they have and what they think the solutions are. Anyone can print off this program and take it to church, to work, to school, shopping to ask people what they think about it. Here is an idea… maybe listen to the people for the “leadership” the OWS movement requires… what a novel idea when it comes to considering how democracy is supposed to work!

A program for real change…

* Peace— end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and shutdown the 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil.
* A National Public Health Care System – ten million new jobs.
* A National Public Child Care System – three to five million new jobs.
* Works Progress Administration – three million new jobs.
* Civilian Conservation Corps – two million new jobs.
* Tax the hell out of the rich and cut the military budget by ending the wars to pay for it all which will create full employment.
* Enforce Affirmative Action; end discrimination.
* Raise the minimum wage to a real living wage
* What tax-payers subsidize in the way of businesses, tax-payers should own and reap the profits from.
* Moratorium on home foreclosures and evictions.
* Defend democracy by defending workers’ rights including the right to collective bargaining for improving the lives and livelihoods of working people.
* Roll-back and freeze the price of food, electricity, gas and heating fuels; not wages, benefits or pensions.
* Defend and expand Social Security.
* Wall Street is our enemy

How is Barack Obama’s Wall Street war economy working for you?

Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for a real change.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tell Richard Trumka, Leo Gerard, Amy Dean, Joe Hansen and Jimmy Hoffa to get up off their asses and strike while the iron is hot

by Alan L. Maki on Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:01am

Now is the time for working people to move into action against Wal-mart with a massive organizing campaign. In my opinion, any campaign to boycott Wal-mart at this time should be in conjunction with a full-scale international union organizing campaign with Wal-mart being taken on by workers across the globe. With Occupy Wall Street spreading across the globe like a prairie fire on a windy day, this would be a perfect time to launch an international campaign to organize Wal-mart workers. Wal-mart is now the largest employer in the world--- what better target for Occupy Wall Street than one of the largest and most profitable of Wall Street's multi-national companies? All the ingredients are now here for a victory--- Wal-mart workers want a union and there is massive anti-Wall Street sentiment sweeping the globe which would make a consumer boycott very effective. I think people like Richard Trumka, Leo Gerard and Amy Dean need to be explaining why they are not thinking along these lines and throwing all their resources into this kind of working class struggle instead of pissing away the money of union members supporting Barack Obama who is obviously Wall Street's president. Wal-mart brings its products into this country by ship in containers from the low-wage areas of the world where these commodities are being produced and the longshore union is in a mode to fight. A consumer boycott and Wal-mart not being able to get its goods off the ships would make for a huge working class organizing victory. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Have you had enough? New Party on the horizon

Rocky Anderson
418 Douglas Street
Salt Lake City, UTAH 84102

Press Release  -  October 21, 2011

Have you had enough?
New Party on the horizon

The former Mayor of Salt Lake City and Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights, Rocky Anderson, calls for the formation of a new political party and a sustained movement committed to the public interest.

Two months ago, Anderson “divorced himself” from what he referred to as “the spineless, gutless Democratic Party.” Responding to an email from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which showed as the subject, “Standing strong,” Anderson wrote: “How dare you send an email with the subject line ‘Standing strong.’ You didn’t do it on Iraq, you didn’t do it on torture, you didn’t do it on signing statements, you haven’t done it onAfghanistan, you haven’t done it on defense spending, you haven’t done it on real health care reform, you haven’t done it on the debt ceiling fiasco.”

(Rolly: Rocky Anderson says adieu to the Democratic Party,” The Salt Lake Tribune, August 12, 2011.)

Anderson continued: “I’m done with the Democratic Party… I think the answer is a new political party that actually will advocate for and promote the interests of the public rather than the narrow interests of the wealthy who bought and paid for not only Congress but the White House… The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party.”

(Romboy, “Former S.L. mayor Rocky Anderson divorces himself from ‘gutless’ Democratic Party,” Deseret News, August 13, 2011.)

This country needs a new, powerful party that can win elections, according to Anderson.  “The pensions and other savings accounts of the middle class in this country have been decimated. The only way out is another party. I would call it, frankly, a second party that actually represents the interests of the American people. There isn’t a real opposition force in Washington, D.C., any more, and we the people have the capacity to change that -- and we must if our republic is going to survive.  I consider myself an Independent, but I would be very pleased to work with others to form not just a political party to run another campaign, but to launch a sustained movement for major change in this country.”

(“Rocky: Not a Democrat,” (Interview with Rocky Anderson by Lexie Levitt), City Weekly,September 26, 2011.)

Anderson said that people are fed up with the Democratic and Republican parties, Congress, and the Obama administration to the point of being ready to support a new party that rejects the corporatism and militarism of the two “Wall Street lap-dog” major parties.

The polls support Anderson’s view that the people of the United States are desirous of a new party, and bold, new leadership, like never before. Patrick Caddell and Douglas Shoen have written:

“The United States is in the midst of what we would both call a pre-Revolutionary moment, and there is widespread support for fundamental change in the system.  An increasing number of Americans are now searching beyond the two parties for bold and effective leadership.”

(Caddell and Schoen, “Expect a Third-Party Candidate in 2012,” The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2011.)

"Have you had enough?" asks Anderson. “Would you support the formation of a new party that will commit to:

  • affordable universal health care;
  • an end to the wars;
  • a significant reduction in the military budget and an end to the military-industrial-congressional complex;
  • investigation of illegal conduct, including war crimes, by executive officials during the current and prior administrations;
  • investigation of the events on 9/11 to answer significant questions that have been raised;
  • prosecution for illegal conduct leading to the economic melt-down;
  • disincentives for U.S. companies to send jobs overseas;
  • employee and environmental safeguards in trade agreements;
  • implementation of major domestic jobs and infrastructure programs;
  • an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy;
  • campaign finance reform to end the corrupting influence of money in politics;
  • treat substance abuse within a public health framework rather than as a criminal matter;
  • repeal the PATRIOT Act;
  • compassionate and rational immigration reform;
  • marriage equality;
  • an end to subsidies for oil and gas companies;
  • a ban on a Canada-to-Mexico tar sands pipeline;
  • air quality protection, including stricter ozone limits; and
  • aggressive action and leadership on the climate crisis and the environment?”

Rocky Anderson has been in the process of contacting some of America’s leading social, environmental and political activists with the goal of creating a powerful, broad-based political alternative to the increasingly unpopular Republican and Democratic Parties. He intends that the new party will have candidates in local, state, and federal races throughout the nation.

Anderson plans on hosting a meeting soon between leaders in various sectors of the country in order to draft a new platform and a long-term strategy capable of attracting a majority of voters, including millions of dissatisfied Democrats and Republicans who, until now, had nowhere else to go.

Anderson has stated his intention to do what is possible to get on the ballots in all 50 states and to campaign for candidates aggressively in all states. "The Democratic and Republican Parties have acted as if voters have no other real options. The people of this country will demonstrate that we, indeed, have another option - a party that will work in the public interest, rather than for the defense contractors, the health insurance companies, and the rapacious financial institutions that have caused such economic havoc in our nation and the world."

Anderson anticipates a broad-based coalition, similar to the one built by the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP), which won impressive political gains in the Canadian federal elections last May. The NDP is the political party that brought universal health care to the Canadian people.

Press info: Mackenzie Scott - Tel. 801-520-0491
Rocky Anderson - Tel. 801-557-9007