Wednesday, December 5, 2012
I am bringing to the proverbial public square some ideas I hope will gain widespread discussion.
I am bringing forward my ideas after my long-time experiences working in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party; over 40 years working for peace and social justice and over thirty of those years working in the labor movement.
I share the working class ideological views centered in activism held by our two former socialist governors Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson and United States Congressman John Bernard who were elected on the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party ticket.
Like many of you, I am just plain fed up.
I am angry with politicians who have been bought off by corporate lobbyists to do the bidding of big-business be these big-businesses the forestry industry, big-agribusiness, bankers, the power generating industry or the mining companies owned by absentee Wall Street “investors” who have left us with nothing but huge open pits filled with pollution and communities mired in poverty while they abscond and make off with the profits.
I am angry and fed up that a government conducts murderous drone wars in my name.
Those who call themselves liberals, progressives and leftists who supported Obama and the Democrats who think they are going to wiggle their way into the Democratic Party in order to wrest control of the Democratic Party from corporate dominance should consider studying what is taking place here in Minnesota.
Watch very closely what transpires.
But don't just watch; participate, too. Get active.
Better yet; try to influence from a liberal or progressive pro-people anti-big business perspective what these Minnesota Democrats will do. Good luck!
The six billion dollar fiasco created and presented by Madison Avenue in the best Hollywood tradition all financed by Wall Street passed off to the world as “elections” in this great bastion of democracy is finally over.
First we were told we needed to support Obama out of fear of Romney.
Now we are told we must accept these Democrats working in cahoots with the same Republicans we were told we needed to fear lest we fall off “the fiscal cliff.”
There is no doubt capitalism is on the skids to oblivion; we are on a dangerous road leading straight to hell.
What, if anything, have working people gained by electing Democrats?
What will Minnesota Democrats do with their new super majority?
Obama and the Democrats at a national level claim they have been forced into this thoroughly reactionary "grand bargain" with the Republicans to continue these poverty breeding imperialist wars paid for through austerity measures being shoved down our throats; but what is the excuse of the Democrats here in Minnesota should they follow along Obama’s Wall Street road to hell?
What can we expect from Minnesota Democrats with their new majority?
Minnesota Democrats, all of whom call themselves “liberals” and “progressives” now have an opportunity to earn these labels.
So far, Minnesota Democrats have shown themselves to be just as “liberal” and “progressive” as anyone supporting Obama can be; which isn’t liberal or progressive at all since Obama is nothing but one more war monger in the Oval Office.
Here in Minnesota we now have a Democratic governor plus the Democrats are now in majority control of the State's House and Senate.
Democrats now have a super majority here in Minnesota.
If Democrats ever intend to wield their influence and power on behalf of working people now is their opportunity because we saw how Obama and the Democrats procrastinated and threw their opportunity away when they had a super majority nationally.
As we so dramatically saw nationally in 2010, super majorities don’t last long--- use it or lose it.
There is nothing preventing Minnesota Democrats from bringing forward a truly progressive legislative agenda intended to begin solving the problems of the people in the spirit of the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party of Floyd Olson, Elmer Benson and John Bernard.
There is nothing stopping the Democrats in Minnesota from bringing forward real reforms; a real “people’s bailout.”
There is nothing preventing Minnesota Democrats from becoming a national voice of advocacy for peace and re-ordering priorities along the lines suggested by the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternative Project so we have the resources to solve our many deep problems creating so much human misery: http://www.mnasap.org/
These dirty never-ending Wall Street wars are going to make us all poor; they already are making us all poor.
Does anyone really believe these Democrats will improve the lives and living conditions of working people?
We can't rely or depend on these Democrats to do anything for us; we need to stand up and articulate and demand the kind of state and country we want.
We need to participate in the budget process if we want the budget process to reflect OUR priorities.
Does anyone actually believe these Democrats with their huge majority handed to them will now enforce Affirmative Action and move to end racist inequalities in Minnesota?
Does anyone really believe these Democrats will move to eliminate poverty or at least alleviate poverty rather than making poverty worse?
Does anyone think these Democrats will remove the primary and main obstacle to union organizing in Minnesota by rescinding this draconian "At-will hiring; At-will firing" legislation presently on the books giving most employers free reign to fire any worker engaged in union organizing, defending their rights, demanding a voice at work and in their communities or fighting for full equality?
What these Democrats could do with their new super majority and complete control of the state legislative apparatus to improve the lives and living conditions of working people of all races is just about without limit or restriction--- but, what working people will be getting from these Democrats is another matter; most likely nothing but a kick in the ass and a knee on their back holding working people down.
This "liberal" Democratic Governor Mark Dayton has demonstrated very clearly what these worthless Democrats intend to do with their new found super majority power:
* Harass and intimidate public employees to no end, restrict their rights and cut their standard of living.
* Refuse to enforce Affirmative Action on public works projects including the new billion dollar plus Viking Stadium and the billion dollar bridge across the St. Croix River boondoggle; both projects which will further enrich contractors and construction companies while deny people of color, women and the handicapped the jobs to which they are entitled while providing out-of-state white construction workers with the best-paying jobs.
What we can expect from Governor Mark Dayton who came to power promising to "tax-the-rich" and enforce Affirmative Action is higher taxes on the working class and more discrimination and expanding poverty.
There are possibly two state legislators who we can count on to stand up for the rights of working people in general but probably none who will take a stand for full equality in employment. Out of the more than 200 State Legislators we had ONE we could count on to defend the rights and livelihoods of all working people in addition to promoting full equality--- this state legislator has retired. And if we look at the United States Congress we don’t even have one member of the House or Senate we can rely on to consistently defend the rights and livelihoods of working people while defending full equality in jobs, housing and education.
Neither of the Co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have had the moral and political courage to insist on the enforcement of Affirmative Action in employment when it comes to spending public funds. Congressmembers Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Raul Grijalva should be ashamed of themselves.
The cost of health care will increase as more and more Minnesotans have no access at all to health care as other Minnesotans will "pay" for their health care with their homes.
Drone wars and the Israeli killing machine along with the militarism and wars spun by Wall Street’s merchants of death and destruction includes squandering the wealth of our Nation maintaining over 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil protecting Wall Street’s interests as human needs go unmet.
Where are the Minnesota Democrats who will stand with casino workers employed in this hideous Indian Gaming Industry in smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages and without any protections all other workers have under state and federal labor laws?
Democrats take millions in campaign contributions out of this hideous Indian Gaming Industry while turning their backs in indifference to the growing poverty on Indian Reservations. The racist indifference of Democrats to this poverty is no different than what people are getting from the Republicans.
8th District Congressman elect Rick Nolan even went seeking support from a corrupt and violent criminal like Archie LaRose while completely ignoring the poverty being imposed on the people of the Leech Lake Indian Nation.
Rick Nolan sought, and received, the support of wife beater Kevin Leecy.
Go ahead, Democrats; celebrate your victory--- once again the people of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District are the big losers.
Let’s remember; the Democrats of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District were so uncaring they held their last convention in the smoke-filled Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minnesota where workers have no rights.
A very sad state of affairs in a state which once boasted of having two socialist governors--- Floyd B. Olson and Elmer Benson--- elected on the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party ticket who made improving the plight of ALL working people and eliminating racist inequality their primary order of business; and in a country which could once boast of presidents like Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt whose cabinet included such esteemed progressives as Frances Perkins, Henry Wallace and Harry Hopkins.
The time has come for a new grassroots working class based people’s party similar to Canada's socialist New Democratic Party--- a complete restoration of our own socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.
If you still don’t agree we need a new political party just sit back and watch what Minnesota Democrats are going to do with their new super majority in state government supported by Democrats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
We shouldn’t sit back and watch.
What we should be doing is forming a massive “People’s Lobby” to insist these Minnesota Democrats take steps to solve our problems.
Think about this:
If Minnesota Democrats with the new super majority the working class in Minnesota has handed them can’t take small steps like rescinding “At-will Employment,” raising the minimum wage to a real living wage legislatively tied to all cost of living factors and indexed to inflation and enforcing Affirmative Action--- what can we expect these Democrats to do other than serve the interests of the mining companies and big-business?
A progressive program for real change...
* Peace--- end the wars and occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan & Libya; shutdown the 800 U.S. military bases on foreign soil. No new Wall Street imperialist wars. End drone attacks.
* A National Public Health Care System - ten million new jobs.
* A National Public Child Care System - three to five million new jobs.
* Re-establish the Works Progress Administration (WPA) - three million new jobs.
* Re-establish the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) - 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 based on all cost of living factors & indexed to inflation.
* 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. Rescind “At-will” employment the main impediment to union organizing.
* Roll-back and freeze the price of food, electricity, gas and heating fuels; not wages, benefits or pensions; no more concessions.
* Defend and expand Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare; repeal Obamacare which is nothing more than the “Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry Bailout and Profit Maximization Act of 2010.”
Wall Street is our common 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.
Organize the “People’s Lobby” to counter the interests of big-business.
Re-establish the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.
The entire Nation needs to be watching to see what Minnesota Democrats do with their super majority.
The fact is Minnesota Democrats with their new super majority can immediately implement four very modest and basic but important reforms forging a bond with Minnesota’s working class that won’t cost tax-payers one single penny:
1. Rescind “At-will Employment.”
2. Enforce Affirmative Action by attaching riders requiring its enforcement to all public works projects.
3. Raise the minimum wage to a real living--- non-poverty--- wage.
4. Place a moratorium on all home foreclosures and evictions.
Minnesota Democrats have repeatedly acquiesced and refused to struggle against the Republicans. Even with their new super majority these Democrats are already talking about finding “common ground” with the Republicans instead of finding “common ground” with suffering Minnesotans whose votes delivered them a super majority.
We call this a democracy yet most of us understand Wall Street has complete political and economic control over the country even though the majority of the people in this country are working class. What kind of democracy is this?
Restoring and defending democracy requires we challenge Wall Street for political and economic power.
Defending our rights and our livelihoods mean we need to make these Democrats understand that they have been handed a super majority to fix problems not buddy up with Republicans to make our problems and our lives worse.
Yours in the struggle,
Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
Founder, Minnesotans for Peace and Social Justice
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763