Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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Alan Maki

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

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


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

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

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

When will Governor Mark Dayton call the "Red Dog" play to sack poverty?

May 22, 2012

Submitted for publication to the Minneapolis Star Tribune as a “Commentary.” 697 words; guidelines allow for up to 700 words.

Governor Dayton, state legislators, the business community, organized labor and the foundation-funded outfits went into a “blitz formation” and scored a touchdown and the billionaire owners of the Vikings got their new stadium.

See: Vikings stadium backers go into blitz formation (Star Tribune article by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, March 4, 2012)

Link: http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/141313353.html

Apparently the “blitz formation” works as well in politics as on the football field so one has to wonder why after having scored this touchdown for the billionaire owners of the Vikings, Governor Dayton together with his friends in the business community, organized labor and the foundation-funded outfits don’t use the same “blitz formation” to tackle the problem of poverty?

I am assuming the crowds would cheer much louder if the governor and his friends in business and labor sacked poverty.

Governor Dayton was the primary cheerleader for a new Vikings Stadium although he is leading no cheers to alleviate, let alone eliminate, poverty.

Governor Dayton, during his tenure as governor of Minnesota, hasn’t even attempted to articulate an explanation as to why poverty still exists in a state where a billion dollars can be found for a new Vikings Stadium let alone bring forward any legislation to alleviate poverty.

Minnesota legislators have some kind of committee they call “Ladder Out of Poverty.” It seems the ladder must be missing quite a few rungs and constructed from rotting timber because no one can use the “ladder” for its stated purpose.

What does cause poverty?

What can be done to alleviate and eliminate poverty in Minnesota?

Governor Dayton claims to be a “progressive.” The four primary goals and objectives of progressives has been to establish open and honest government responsive to the needs of the people, end dirty imperialist wars, put an end to poverty and establish racial equality.

Progressives want to see governor Dayton head up a “blitz formation” to end poverty which hurts people of all races but is concentrated among people of communities of color because of the racist injustices in our society.

An open and honest government would lead the way in questioning why poverty exists and why there are these racist aspects to poverty.

An open and honest government would pull out no stops in using all levers available in a democratic society to eliminate the scourge of poverty.

Obviously, capitalist society can not provide people with a “ladder out of poverty” while sinking billions of dollars into dirty imperialist wars.

Minnesota had two very progressive governors elected on the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party ticket; socialists Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson. Olson and Benson were of like minds. They believed it was their job to bring into play reforms to alleviate the problems of poverty as working people--- rural and urban--- continued to unite until they were powerful enough to eliminate the source of poverty: capitalism.

Governor Elmer Benson decided after he couldn’t get any help from Democrats or Republicans he needed to organize a blitz of sorts to help him push through reforms to help people cope with the problems of poverty. For this purpose Benson organized the powerful “People’s Lobby.”

Today, once again, the people of Minnesota need to form our own team by reviving the “People’s Lobby” to show Governor Dayton what a real “blitz” can accomplish when it is the people using this “blitz formation.”

For Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to be a cheerleader for a new Vikings Stadium from which billionaires will get even richer as he sits cowardly, quietly and silently on the sidelines when it comes to the struggle against poverty and its most pernicious racist aspects on Indian Reservations and in the inner cities of Minnesota is completely unacceptable to Minnesotans who cherish our progressive culture and traditions.

Any school child understands people without living wage jobs are going to be poor.

The solution to poverty is very simple: Put people to work solving the problems of the people and society instead of squandering the wealth of our nation on militarism and wars.

Build public health care and public child care centers instead of football stadiums.

Bring back the WPA, CCC and C.E.T.A.

Enforce Affirmative Action.

Tax the rich; don’t subsidize Wall Street’s wars and football stadiums for billionaires.

Government budgets and the actions of public officials are all about priorities.

Why the great sense of urgency in building the Vikings a new stadium when they already have a stadium but these same politicians and their business and labor partners together with the foundation-funded outfits have no sense of urgency when it comes to solving very urgent and pressing problems of human beings mired in poverty? To the poor these politicians and their over-paid hacks counsel "patience" and suggest people be satisfied with baby steps and incremental reforms.

Let’s have a well organized “blitz formation” against poverty: meetings around kitchen tables, in union halls, community centers and church basements; letters to the editors and letters to public officials; personal and mass lobbying; picket-lines and demonstrations; involvement in the electoral process.

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