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...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mark Froemke is crying because he doesn't think i have a right to be commenting on the American Crystal Sugar lockout.

I have received a lot of private messages and e-mails suggesting I shouldn't be talking about the "internal problems" of the labor movement while workers are fighting for their rights, their jobs, the survival of their union and to protect and defend their living standards.

Mark Froemke is the biggest cry-baby of all. He is the one who led workers into this mess and now he would rather no one discuss the mess.

I don't buy this line of thinking at all because it is when workers are in struggle is when they draw the best conclusions when everything is fresh in their minds.

The time to analyze is now not later so the mistakes can be corrected--- if not by the leaders than the rank-and-file. Workers have a right to mull over all views. To suggest workers can't think during a struggle is a bunch of crap. This view that all critical comments should be withheld until after the struggle is over only serves the interest of the most bureaucratic union leaders who are generally the most corrupt, too.

The fact is, the local and international leadership of BCTGM is notorious for sucking workers into these kinds of no-win lock-outs and the leadership snuffs out rank-and-file activists who question any of this.

This lockout has gone on for some eighteen months. There is now only one thing left to salvage--- the union. And the longer this lockout continues the more difficult it will become to salvage the union.

We know this from past history. If we look at the lockouts that have gone on for long periods of time like this many workers are forced to find employment elsewhere and the scabs then are brought into the union. What kind of union do you end up with--- if the union is even left standing--- if you have a union full of scabs.

The United Steelworkers have had to deal with this on the Iron Range for several generations now. Anyone can see how this has retarded the union's militancy.

it is simply dishonest for union leaders to fail to put ALL options on the table for workers to discuss and decide how they want to proceed when facing a lockout by management.

Workers should have had the right to at least discuss the occupations of the plants as one of their options.

It was at the point where the leadership of BCTGM prevented this full discussion that these union leaders put the union and members' jobs at risk.

Everything these union leaders have done since has been too little and too late and done wrong.

Obviously these union leaders from the local union leaders right on up the ladder to Richard Trumka thought they had cultivated a very cozy relationship with management. Anyone can read their statements. These statements are there in writing. And they really expected the Democrats like Congressman Collin Peterson who "represents" the area with these plants and the self-proclaimed big-time liberal billionaire Democratic Governor Mark Dayton to bail them out.

And now this same BCTGM leadership lacks the courage to hold these politicians accountable by insisting this Democratic super-majority passes anti-lockout and anti-scab legislation.

I don't mind going out and leafleting the supermarkets in solidarity with American Crystal Sugar Company workers but that doesn't mean I have to keep my mouth shut about these "leaders." If they were leading this struggle from a position of working class consciousness this would be different.

I would note that these same BCTGM "leaders" who resent workers thinking about their situation and what others have to say are the very same union officials who try to silence progressives voices in general be it inside the Democratic Party or outside the Democratic Party or during other struggles.

I would note that it was Mark Froemke, a leader of this BCTGM union and a Vice-President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO who stuck his nose into quashing a resolution calling on the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party's State Convention delegates to support rescinding "At-will hiring; at-will firing" which is the main impediment to union organizing in this country. Froemke also stuck his nose into the struggle to save the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant as he "lobbied" labor leaders and activists not to support trying to save the Plant and two-thousand UAW jobs through public ownership. I could go on and on about how Froemke stepped in and nominated Collin Peterson who is nothing but a Republican pretending to be a Democrat because the management of American Crystal Sugar wanted Peterson elected because they own him even though a peace activist was poised to get the nomination--- and Froemke was a registered voter in North Dakota at the time!

So, we all have a right to have a say and bring forward our views regarding this lockout.