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...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Letter I sent to the Frances Perkins Center

This is a letter I sent to the Frances Perkins Center in response to a newsletter I received from them:

Season's Greetings;

A couple points about the current Frances Perkins Center newsletter.

I have never been to the Center; but hope to visit it soon.

You state the Center is on the "shores" of the river; I am wondering if "shores" is the correct term because usually people refer to the "shores" of rivers as "banks." A minor point.

However, a more important point is this: You keep failing to mention the tremendous people's movement that Perkins and FDR were "partnered" with in pushing through Social Security. In fact, Perkins was FDR's liaison of sorts to these powerful movements more properly called "The People's Front;" without all three, I doubt we would have Social Security today.

You also state:

"We are one of over three hundred organizations participating in the national Strengthen Social Security coalition; we have sponsored a number of educational forums, published a collection of essays on the history, financing and challenges of administering Social Security; and we continue to advocate for measures that will ensure that the “promise to all generations” made by Frances Perkins and Franklin D. Roosevelt will be kept."

This coalition really concerns me because it seems like many of your "coalition partners" have already stated their intent is to back whatever President Barack Obama does with the intent to protect Obama's political butt rather than defend Social Security from Obama's and the Democrat's initiated attacks on it.

As part of your "educational forums" on Social Security I hope you are pointing out that most Democrats in Congress and the existing labor federation, the AFL, did not support, but opposed Social Security.

I, and am sure many others, would be very disappointed with the Frances Perkins Center should you go along with ANY cuts at all to Social Security or its associated programs--- in fact, I think Frances Perkins would be insisting Social Security should be strengthened and expanded--- both its benefits and programs.

The only real way to put Social Security on a firm financial basis is:

1. Prevent the government from delving into the Social Security Trust Fund diverting these revenues to the general fund which is mostly used for militarism and wars, which Frances Perkins abhorred; and,

2. A full-employment economy where everyone pays in and everyone gets something out.

Full-employment could be created if the National Public Health Care System Frances Perkins advocated for were brought into existence--- this would create some 12 to fifteen million new jobs.

Frances Perkins was also a tremendous and untiring advocate for children. If we created a National Public Child Care System for working class families we would be creating some three to five million new jobs.

In addition; if we brought back the WPA and CCC, more of Frances Perkins' favorite public works projects, another 6 million or so jobs would be created.

All of this could be paid for through the kind of sensible budgets Frances Perkins advocated; budgets which would entail drastic cuts for militarism and wars resulting in a huge "peace dividend" to fund these human needs programs putting people to work solving some of our most complex social problems.

If a "peace dividend" wouldn't be plenty to pay for such a human needs centered budget then we simply would have to tax the rich, tax corporate profits and place a tax on all Wall Street transactions.

It is my hope you will share these thoughts with your coalition partners who should be gearing up for a powerful "people's front/people's lobby" if we are going to save Social Security and secure real living income benefits for Social Security recipients.

The age for receiving Social Security benefits should be reduced to age 55 and not increased.

The national Strengthen Social Security coalition [ http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/ ] the Center is a member of should be much more than a public relations gimmick; either bring the grassroots of America out in force in a massive mobilization to protect, defend and expand Social Security or state up front this is not the coalitions intent so others will know this has to be done.

I would note that in the past, many of the participants in this coalition [ http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/about/coalition ] have done little more than hold a few press conferences voicing concerns then doing nothing which would include Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO which is on your coalition's Steering Committee.

A powerful movement won Social Security. That movement has friends of Social Security in the White House and Frances Perkins. Today, Social Security has no friend in the White House, no friends in the Obama Administration and very few real friends in Congress. In addition, And Social Security lacks the kind of grassroots people's movement required to defend it like the powerful movement that won Social Security even though it is quite obvious the movement to defend Social Security will have to be even more powerful because the Wall Street crowd which opposed Social Security in the beginning is even stronger today.

I would point out that Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO has already sent out signals he is willing to accept cuts to Social Security even though he goes through his usual moans, groans and vulgarities lamenting concessions.

I would further point out that this coalition has no authorization from Social Security recipients or the American people to accept any kind of cuts to Social Security.

A list of members of this coalition is not enough; the members of these organizations have to be brought into the battle and struggle to defend Social Security.

Appreciative of the work the Frances Perkins Center does,

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