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, November 30, 2013

Nationalize the Leamington Heinz Ketchup Plant under Workers Control!

heinz 26-Heinz aerial.jpg

by Julius Arscott
The H.J. Heinz Company, the largest employer in Leamington, Ontario plans to shut the doors on its century old food processing plant in June 2014. The plant, which is Heinz’ second largest facility in the world, manufactures processed foods. It employs 740 full time positions and up to 500 seasonal positions, all members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 459. The closure will also impact local farmers who have grown tomatoes for generations in Southwestern Ontario. It is one of Canadas warmest areas with one of the longest growing seasons, known locally as the ‘Sun Parlor’. The facility was originally built in the area also due to the sandy soil and light rains that provide excellent conditions for growing field tomatoes.
The plan to close the Heinz plant coincides with closures in South Carolina and Indiana, reducing the workforce by 1,350 positions. This move follows the axing of 600 office jobs last summer after a $28 billion takeover by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and the hedge fund 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm. Heinz claims that sales in its North American division dropped by 1.4 per cent, or $46 million (U.S.), to $3.2 billion in the last fiscal year. The company claims that it has too much manufacturing capacity to meet the demand for ketchup, sauces, baby food and other products. Production will be shifted to their lower wage facility in Ohio, which will add 250 positions and invest $28 million to expand the plant.
heinz tomatoes-leamington

Heinz has contracts with more than 40 area farms to buy 40 per cent of Ontario
s 500,000-tonne tomato crop. Now farmers are asking for compensation from Heinz for the cancellation of their contracts and for work they have already put into next year’s crops. The farmers who were under contract to supply Heinz with tomatoes are left trying to find a new crop to plant in the spring, and some way to replace the business that has kept their farms busy and profitable for generations. The closure will have a major negative impact on an entire region.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne claims that the Ontario Government “did everything we could” to prevent closure of the plant. The Liberal leader has offered $200,000 to, as she says, ‘help’ the community of Leamington identify and pursue new opportunities for growth. This pittance of $160 per full time, part time and seasonal position has understandably enraged workers who depend on these jobs.

The hands-off approach of the Bay Street parties is no surprise. NDP MPP Taras Natyshak (Essex) criticized the government for not heeding warnings of the closure months in advance and pointed out the hypocrisy of the ruling Liberals, saying “Your Liberal government keeps talking about local food,…but stands idly by as processing facilities shut their doors and devastate communities.” Wynne’s response was to attack the NDP for attempting to “control the private sector”, something that she said she would not do.
The NDP should be calling for the government to force Heinz to compensate the farmers for all costs to date and honour their contracts. The Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association is on record since 2010 (when other processing companies were failing) with its demand that the government create a Farm Financial Protection Program (similar to that for beef farmers) for horticulture producers. Such legislation should be introduced immediately to protect all farmers from corporate failures.
Tim Hudak, leader of the Provincial Progressive Conservative Party claimed that the plant closed due to high corporate taxes — a cruel joke considering that Ontario has some of the lowest corporate tax rates in North America.

A leader of the UFCW stated “Today’s announcement is another example of a transnational private equity firm swooping in to a Canadian community and sucking up the hard-earned value of an operation that was built by generations of hard-working Canadian and their families”. Paul Meinema, President of the UFCW Canada National Council, said “This latest closure is another strong example of why our federal government desperately needs to review and reform existing foreign investment legislation, and to introduce a new approach that finally puts Canadians and the well-being of their communities first.”
On November 26 the Ontario Federation of Labour Convention adopted a resolution with no teeth, submitted by the UFCW Canada National Council. It calls on the provincial government “to take whatever action is necessary to support continued production at the facility.” A delegate who spoke to this issue urged the labour body to look at social struggles in Argentina and Bolivia that advanced the idea of workers’ control of closed plants, supported by government financial aid, as examples of what should be done in Leamington.
Efforts to protect jobs and benefits for workers need to take a class approach. Canadian nationalism benefits only the bosses. It deflects attention away from the real problem, capitalism. The maximization of private profits, a driving force of the global capitalist system, is the culprit in this drama.
Workers and farmers have power if they unite. In this case, workers in Leamington should occupy the factory, take control of the machinery, and operate the equipment for food processing – a socially useful function.

The corporate attack on the workers and farmers in Leamington
will devastate the region’s economy, a region already reeling from closures in the manufacturing sector in nearby Windsor, Ontario (just across the river from Detroit, Michigan). Workers and farmers create value through their labour in the food industry. Only through public ownership and democratic control can they continue this vital work and sustainably provide a variety of locally grown and locally processed foods to a vast region.

Rally, March and Demonstration on December 7, 2013 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota to increase the Minimum Wage

Kathleen Blake, Take Action Minnesota;

I am in receipt of this e-mail (see below) announcing your plans for a rally, march and demonstration supposedly intended to push to raise the Minimum Wage.

The problem is, you are advocating for a poverty Minimum Wage to come into effect in two years at which time, in terms of real money, the $9.50 an hour you are advocating will be a lower Minimum Wage than what it is today at $7.25 and hour.

You acknowledge this:

The wages of low- and middle-income working Minnesotans continue to stagnate, while the cost of housing, utilities, food, childcare, transportation and health care continue to increase. It costs a family of three (one adult and two children) approximately $46,000 a year to meet basic needs.

And; yet, you and the Democrats who you front for, proceed to advocate for a $9.50 Minimum Wage; why would you advocate for a Minimum Wage that is not a real living wage based on all "cost-of-living" factors as determined by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics?

The Minimum Wage should be legislatively tied to all cost of living factors, re-calculated quarterly for inflation and periodically increased to improve the living standards of working people.

The Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has a super-majority--- a Democratic governor, a Democratic majority in the State House and a majority in the Minnesota State Senate.

There is no reason why workers shouldn't have a real living Minimum Wage.

To betray working people for political expediency is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, union "leadership" in Minnesota and foundation-funded fronts for the MNDFL.

The Roseau County DFL's County Convention passed a resolution calling for the Minimum Wage to be legislatively tied to all "cost-of-living" factors provided by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics and this is the one and only fair and just way of resolving the Minimum Wage issue.

Why would you push for a Minimum Wage that is so much lower than what you acknowledge the actual cost of living to be?

There is also the matter of long-term unemployment which is acknowledged by politicians and economists alike to be the "new normal." This will require two remedies:

First, and most urgent; unemployed people are entitled to real living incomes from the time of job loss until they become gainfully employed.

Second; we need a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would legislatively mandate and require the President and Congress to work together to attain and maintain full employment.

It is high time to make these politicians who campaign on promises of "jobs, jobs, jobs" to fulfill these campaign promises. 

Working people are entitled to something for their votes.

Working people without jobs are going to be poor.

Working people paid poverty wages far below what the cost of living is are going to be poor.

Stop playing games with the lives of working people and bring forward alternatives which are really required to put an end to poverty.

In addition; you are holding this rally, march and demonstration here in northern Minnesota that has the most atrocious, despicable racist poverty resulting from racist discrimination in employment of Native American people. Poverty and unemployment on the Indian Reservations is so terrible, politicians and the media are too embarrassed to even talk about this. And your organizations and the MNDFL refuse to insist on the enforcement of Affirmative Action. Why is this? 

The MN DFL has created over 40,000 jobs in the Indian Gaming Industry where workers are forced to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages with constantly recurring wage theft and without any protections and rights under state or federal labor laws and your organizations remain silent and do nothing about this injustice in an industry where every single slot machine and table game along with all the other profitable enterprises comprising this hideous Indian Gaming Industry are owned by a bunch of racist, rich white mobsters for whom crooked and corrupt tribal councils are the fronts as the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association bribes Democrats to perpetuate this injustice.

Not a peep of protest from your organizations nor one single politician in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs has repeatedly refused to acknowledge these issues.

Not one single politician, union staff person nor the director of any of the foundation-funded outfits pushing this poverty wage under the guise increasing the Minimum Wage would work for the miserly wage of $9.50 an hour.

The whole bunch of you should be ashamed to engage in a campaign that uses the poverty of others for self-serving political expediency. 

It is pathetic that the MNDFL with its super-majority refused to raise the Minimum Wage during the last legislative session.

Even more appalling is the dirty work of Minnesota State Senator Tom Bakk who hails from the racist building trades unions who cries a sob story for the billionaires in the hospitality industry.

I would suggest that you add the following to your vocabulary:

* Cost-of-living.
* Standard-of-living.

From here we can have a discussion of what a fair and just Minimum Wage should be and how the Minimum Wage should be established so that it is a real living wage.

If employers don't like the idea of paying workers real living wages for the jobs they need to have done, let them do the work themselves.

And as far as small businesses who cry all the way to the bank? Just remove them from Minimum Wage legislation provided they hire their spouses and children to do the work.

Any public official bringing forward the idea workers should work for these poverty wages should be the first to accept such wages as their own pay--- and for most of these state legislators here in Minnesota this would be paying them far more than they are worth.

Kathleen; you wouldn't work for the pathetic miserly sum of $9.50 an hour so why would you push this kind of despicable poverty wage on any other workers?

In struggle for a real living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage,

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

From: Kathleen Blake <kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org>
Date: Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Subject: GR Rally to End Poverty Wages Sat Dec 7
To: Kathleen Blake <kathleen@takeactionminnesota.org>

Congressman Nolan and area legislators will join residents as we demand an end to poverty-level wages, Sat. Dec 7 at 5:30 PM.  See flyer for additional details.

Itasca Working Families Alliance and TakeAction Minnesota will hold a Rally to End Poverty Wages in Minnesota Sat. December 7 at 6 PMin Grand Rapids.  The Rally will be preceded by a March from the Angel of Hope Park at 5:30 pm, across the Pokegama Ave Bridge and on to the Big Red Chair (corner of Hwy 169 and Hwy 2), before moving inside to Brewed Awakenings Coffee House at 6 PM.
An area resident will give the perspective of trying to survive on minimum wage.  Other speakers will include US Representative Rick Nolan, Senator Tom Saxhaug, Representative Tom Anzelc and other area elected officials. 
As we gather across from the Christmas lights on the grounds of Old Central School, marchers will acknowledge the hard working men and women who make the holidays happen, despite being paid poverty level wages with few benefits.  A big fire will warm the marchers, in solidarity with the workers of McDonald’s corporation who are advised, on the company website’s budget for struggling workers, to allocate $0 for heat.
The wages of low- and middle-income working Minnesotans continue to stagnate, while the cost of housing, utilities, food, childcare, transportation and health care continue to increase. It costs a family of three (one adult and two children) approximately $46,000 a year to meet basic needs. Yet, a parent working full-time earning the federal minimum wage ($7.25) has a gross income of only $15,080, leaving a family of three at only 78% of the federal poverty level. Worse yet, workers covered only by Minnesota’s minimum wage law ($6.15) earn $13,000 a year – an income that leaves a family of three at 68% of the federal poverty level.
Economic Security is critical to the health of our children, families and communities.  End Poverty Wages in Minnesota.      
Kathleen O'Halloran Blake
Economy Organizer
TakeAction Minnesota

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

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

Kathleen Blake

Northern Minnesota Community Organizer

Kathleen began organizing as a young mother, under the guidance and encouragement of the local Community Action Partnership agency on the West Side of St. Paul, successfully developing a parent-cooperative Day Care Center along with other moms. Kathleen was the Founder and Director of Action through Churches Together in Itasca County, a 14 member faith-based coalition promoting social, racial and economic justice. Kathleen coordinated local and regional issue campaigns while with ACT. She also coordinated a Senate campaign across Northern Minnesota, building an effective outreach organization among local and regional party leaders and activists. In addition, Kathleen has worked on a Shareholder Campaign to elect a public to the board of a utility company. She graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a B.A. in Social Work.
Kathleen is proud to be part of building a stronger Minnesota with the TakeAction Minnesota team.
- See more at: http://www.takeactionminnesota.org/profile/kathleen-blake/#sthash.8Yt3Qrbb.dpuf

Kathleen Blake

Northern Minnesota Community Organizer

Kathleen began organizing as a young mother, under the guidance and encouragement of the local Community Action Partnership agency on the West Side of St. Paul, successfully developing a parent-cooperative Day Care Center along with other moms. Kathleen was the Founder and Director of Action through Churches Together in Itasca County, a 14 member faith-based coalition promoting social, racial and economic justice. Kathleen coordinated local and regional issue campaigns while with ACT. She also coordinated a Senate campaign across Northern Minnesota, building an effective outreach organization among local and regional party leaders and activists. In addition, Kathleen has worked on a Shareholder Campaign to elect a public to the board of a utility company. She graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a B.A. in Social Work.
Kathleen is proud to be part of building a stronger Minnesota with the TakeAction Minnesota team.
- See more at: http://www.takeactionminnesota.org/profile/kathleen-blake/#sthash.8Yt3Qrbb.dpuf

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Is Bernie Sanders just one more stalking horse for the Democrats?

We can't make decisions based around any of these politicians. They all play games.

We need to continue building organizations and movements around solving our problems and out of these movements and organizations we will find people to run for office that we can rely on.

I like Bernie Sanders. But, we don't know what the heck he is going to do. Are we supposed to wait for him to make up his mind as to whether or not he feels Hillary Clinton will take up working class issues, concerns and problems? We know for sure she will not bring forward real solutions although she is likely to sound like a soft socialist in order to get elected. How goddamn gullible do these people think we are that we are going to fall for another charlatan, fake and a fraud like Obama?

And what is with this interview? Bernie Sanders wasn't even asked about all of his votes supporting Israel?

And why is he so hesitant about talking about the need to elect more socialists to the House and Senate?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And they call this "democracy."

Minnesota has established a "Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs."


Committee Chair: Ryan Winkler (Democrat)


Susan Allen (Democrat)
Pat Garofalo (Republican)
Andrea Kieffer (Republican)
Jenifer Loon (Republican)
Joe Radinovich (Democrat)
JoAnn Ward (Democrat)

What I don't understand is why this Committee is searching for data and documentation everyplace except for the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics?

I have never seen nor heard such dishonesty from a group of politicians who are eager to find "evidence" to back their proposals for a pathetic and miserly "increase" in the Minimum Wage which won't kick in until 2015; which, in terms of real dollars, would leave the Minimum Wage lower than it is now.

These shysters with their Democratic super-majority are so crass and cruel as they try to create issues for themselves to run on in 2014 that they would try to pull off this cruel hoax hoping voters won't understand what they have done until the 2014 election is over.

A question to think about.

Back when Cesar Chavez was leading the struggles of farm-workers fighting for their rights, he got people to ask a question not being asked too much anymore:

How were the workers treated who harvested, packaged and prepared this food?

Democratic Party hacks turn from supporting Obama trying to put a good spin on the Democrats and it isn't working.

Obama tooted his own horn in an economic speech, appropriately delivered at DreamWorks Studio...

Declared Obama:

“America has gone farther, recovered faster than most other industrialized nations.”

But no one is buying, not even Obama's most ardent supporters, one of which is Robert Borosage whose livelihood is derived from foundation funding.

Borosage responds,

"But Americans aren’t buying and for good reasons.  They aren’t sharing in the recovery.  Mass unemployment continues. Over 20 million people are in need of full-time work. The participation rate in the economy has barely budged.  Corporate profits are at record levels, but workers aren’t sharing in the profits they help produce.  The richest Americans have pocketed virtually all the rewards of growth.  Median household incomes have lost more ground in the recovery than they did in the Great Recession.  The top 10% of Americans pocket more of the nation’s income than the bottom 90%."

But what does Borosage bring forward as the solution? Vote for more worthless Democrats like Obama.

Borosage and his outfit, Campaign for America's Future, helped provide Obama with a progressive cover for his reactionary Wall Street agenda to begin with.

Borosage and his outfit were the first to push the single-payer movement into the ditch for Obama; again, under the guise of progressivism.

Now Borosage and his buddy Dean Baker are pushing their concept of "full employment;" a concept, which even if implemented fully, would leave a huge pool of millions unemployed as a lever used to drive down wages--- what is progressive about this kind of thinking?

We need to break free from these phony progressives by launching a real progressive agenda that the majority of liberals, progressives and leftists can unite around--- and let's make something very clear; this is the majority of the American people.

The American people have defined the issues:

Full Employment.
Real health care reform.
Protection of our living environment.

We need to articulate these concerns by bringing forward a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make the president and Congress legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

The next time you hear any politician or their hacks like Robert Borosage talking about jobs and full employment as a campaign gimmick, ask them if they are willing to go on record supporting legislation that will mandate the responsibility for the president and Congress to attain and maintain full employment.

A "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" would include creating millions of new jobs through providing universal social programs like a National Public Health Care System (15 million new jobs), a National Public Child Care System (5 million new jobs), re-establishment of the WPA, CCC and CETA along with support for H.R. 1000, a jobs creating piece of legislation now lingering in Congress without any support.

Peace is the key to all of this.

If we are going to get our country on the right track, this will have to be financed by a huge "peace dividend." This means ending these dirty wars and funding human needs instead of this Military-Industrial Complex that, like Obamacare care, is a cash cow for Wall Street to profit from.

The next agenda must be a truly progressive agenda all liberals, progressives and leftists can unite around and fight for its implementation.

A grand alliance, which must include a working class based progressive people's party, struggling in our places of employment, in the streets and at the ballot box will be required.

68% of the American people aren't buying into Obama's lies.

The majority of the American people aren't buying into the spin of Democratic Party hacks as Americans now have less respect for the Democrats than the Republicans--- anyone still saying we don't need a working class based progressive party here in this country?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Protesters target St. Cloud temp agency office



Protesters gathered at the St. Cloud office of a temporary-employment agency Tuesday morning to decry what they call its shoddy treatment of local workers.
More than 40 protesters lined 25th Avenue South outside the St. Cloud office of The Work Connection, a St. Paul-based agency. They said the agency uses what they call an unfair practice of paying workers with debit cards, has fired workers without just cause and treats many workers, particularly Somali workers, with disrespect.
The event was organized by the Greater Minnesota Worker Center, a new St. Cloud-based group that aims to help low-wage workers get better pay and working conditions.
Some concerns voiced at the protest were leveled at temp agencies in general. Protesters say employers’ increasing use of the agencies creates another hurdle for low-income workers to find reliable employment.
The Work Connection was targeted because protesters said it’s widely recognized by area workers as the most difficult to work with among local temp agencies.
Protesters also called on St. Cloud-based GNP Company, which they said contracts with The Work Connection, to halt that practice and begin hiring workers directly.
The protesters compiled a list of their concerns and delivered it to The Work Connection staff. Jeff Wold, vice president of the company, said it will review the complaints and take action if needed.
We’re committed to fairness; we’re committed to treating people with respect,” Wold said.
Follow Mark Sommerhauser on Twitter @msommerhauser.

My "Letter to the Editor" submitted to the St. Cloud Times for publication.

I read with interest your article about people protesting the treatment of workers by a temp agency.

Mistreatment of workers seems to have become the "new normal" during these tough economic times when employers seem to think they have the upper hand because of the huge pool of unemployed workers they can hire from.

The issue of what the Minimum Wage should be has come up all across the state as the Democrats have thumbed their noses at workers without providing any increase in the present miserly Minimum Wage.

We need a Minimum Wage legislatively tied to all cost of living factors. Why should any worker have to work for less than what it cost to live--- and this is substantially more than $9.50 an hour.

The increase is needed now; not in 2015.

And these temp agencies raise another important issue: part-time employment.

If production in this country is going to continue using part-time workers than it is high time we consider providing all workers a guaranteed annual income providing a standard of living substantially above the poverty level.

What we really need is a full-employment economy and we aren't going to get that unless the politicians who campaign on a platform of "jobs, jobs, jobs" are forced by legislative mandate to be responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

If these Wall Street bribed politicians in Washington would put as much effort into creating jobs than the time they spend getting us into these dirty wars we would have a pretty decent country to live in.

What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity."

Fact: Workers paid poverty wages are going to be poor.

Fact: Workers without jobs are going to be poor.

The solution is simple: Put American workers to work at real living wage jobs.

Since the "free market" can't solve this mess the government is going to have to figure out a way to put people to work solving the problems of people and society.

A good "make work" project would be to create a National Public Health Care System providing the American people with free health care. Fifteen million jobs. We kill two birds with one stone and we finance the entire thing by ending this insane militarism and these dirty wars.

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

Re: Attention Dave Hill, Editor... Letter to the Editor submitted exclusively for publication to Northern Watch

We have many people living in poverty here in northern Minnesota.

Some people live in poverty because they have no job; workers without jobs are going to be poor.

We all know that most wages paid by employers in our area are poverty wages. Workers paid poverty wages are going to be poor.

Poor people require food stamps in order to feed their families. Food stamps are miserly to begin with and they have been cut.

I am under the impression that one of the primary goals of government is to improve the living standards of the people. Yet here we are with a government doing this at a time when people need this help to get through this economic crisis; a mess which they had no part in making...

On November 1 of this year, the country's food stamp program (referred to as "SNAP," which stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) took a big hit when its funding was cut by $5 billion or roughly 7% a person. This occurred when part of the 2009 economic stimulus package, which included a 13% boost for SNAP, expired.

Wall Street got its profits from the stimulus packages and now the people hurt have their standard of living cut; this is neither fair nor just.

There are many ways to fund increases in food stamps:

Cut the military budget.

Tax the rich.

Tax corporate profits.

Tax Wall Street transactions.

Cut subsidies to big-agribusiness.

Cut the pay of politicians.

And here is a novel idea--- roll back, and freeze, food prices.

Increase the Minimum Wage to a real living wage based on all cost-of-living factors and pay those without jobs a real living income for the duration of their unemployment.

Fixing this Food Stamp problem is a very simple issue; if these politicians in Washington can't solve a problem like this, how can we expect them to solve any problems working people are experiencing?

Here we are living in one of the most productive agricultural regions of the world and kids are going to bed hungry because we have a government in Washington with twisted priorities.

Perhaps our two U.S. Senators whose staff members tell me they read the Northern Watch would like to respond.

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

View from Indian country: Turkey with a side of death

by: Andrea Perkins
November 25 2013

This week the nation will be gathering for a day set aside for turkey eating and football. But underneath all that merriment is a false history that is also celebrated. Most people here in the United States understand that the Thanksgiving Day myth was started in 1621. It's the story of how the Puritans and Pilgrims landed in Patuxet (Plymouth, Mass.), and had a large dinner in thanks for their first harvest. This myth that has been woven into our nation's creation story. However there is a story that is largely forgotten or overlooked, and that is a story of disease and of genocide.

The true story starts off like this ...

"We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us" - Gov. John Winthrop of Massachusetts spoke these words in 1622 before a meeting to discuss the growth of the colony.


In the fall of 1620 a Puritan ship called the Mayflower landed in the Village of Patuxet of the Wampanoag Nation. They found a village that once held 1,500 to 2,000 people completely abandoned due to illness that had raged through the area a few years before. The Pilgrims saw this a sign from God that this space was cleared out for them. They began to build a settlement. That winter the Pilgrims lost over half of the people who had come over on the Mayflower.

During this time the Wampanoag leader Massasoit saw the newcomers as weak and manageable, and as potential friends and allies against other tribes and groups of settlers. By the spring of 1621 the Pilgrims began talks with Massasoit through his English translator Squanto, who has made his way back home from living in England as a slave a few years earlier. Massasoit established relations with the English, making way for trade between the peoples. In the summer of 1621 Massasoit gave the settlers the Patuxet area and the surrounding hunting grounds, which the English would rename Plymouth.

In October 1621, an Englishman by the name of Miles Standish went into Pequot territory posing as a trader. He cut the head off a Pequot man named Wituwamat and murdered his family. Standish then brought back the head to Plymouth where it was displayed at the settlement wall on a wooden spike. That same week the Puritans held their first Thanksgiving feast to celebrate the harvest and the victory of Miles Standish against that Pequot community.

1637- Mystic River Massacre:

With tension high between the Indigenous people and the Puritan settlers, the trade between the Wampanoag and the settlers slowed down. By 1633 the number of settlers arriving by boat was in the thousands. They were pushing their way into Algonquin territory at an alarming rate.

In 1633 two European slavers from England went into Pequot territory looking for Indigenous people for the slave trade. The slavers were killed by the Pequot people. The local English settlers were outraged by the killings and demanded that the Pequot hand over the ones responsible. The Pequot refused to hand over the killers. The Puritans were furious. Preachers and religious people demanded action from the settlement leadership using quotes from the Bible like this one from Romans 13:2 "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, rseisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." This set the tone for religious zealousness and self-righteousness in their revenge on the Pequot people.

This turned into what is known as the Pequot War which stretched from Massachusetts to southeastern Connecticut. It all came to a dramatic head on May 26, 1637, when English Captain John Mason and few hundred men arrived at the Pequot fort near the Mystic River in Connecticut and surrounded it. The English attempted a surprise assault, but met Pequot resistance. Captain Mason gave the order to set fire to the village and block off all exit from it. The Pequot people were trapped inside, and those trying to escape were gunned down. In the end, 700 women, children and elders were killed. People who had managed to escape were found killed and scalped. This would be known as the Mystic River Massacre. When news was spread of Captain Mason's victory, celebrations of "Thanksgiving" were held all over the New England territory.

Today - remember and fight:

We as Indigenous people remember this not as a day of thanks but as a day to remember the genocide and colonization of our people that continues even today. We are on the front lines facing destruction of the land, exploitation of our children, and our culture reduced to mascots. In the face of all this we continue to fight imperialism with all of our strength, and find power in our Ancestors before us.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wyndham Mortimer was labor's voice against fascism and war; for democracy and peace.

"...If our enormous productivity is diverted to a peace time economy, and trade re-opened with all the world, it would certainly result in a 'swift expansion of the material well being' for all the world.

"The threat of widespread unemployment would vanish, and we could look forward to generations of peace.

"The continuation of the present insane war economy can result only in more taxes, more misery; more of our sons wasting their precious lives; abysmal poverty for generations to come, a lower standard of living, a complete loss of all the liberties we praise so highly..."

Wyndham Mortimer writing in 1953 to members of the United Auto Workers union.

Mortimer had been the UAW Vice-President in charge of the Flint Sit-Down Strike and he signed the first contract with General Motors on behalf of the UAW.

Mortimer was expelled from the UAW in 1938 for being a "Red;" but a few months later militant rank-and-file members won his re-instatement in the union.

Mortimer joined the Socialist Party of Eugene Debs in 1908; in 1932 he joined the Communist Party and remained a member until his death in 1966.





          HOW CLASS WORKS - 2014
A Conference at SUNY Stony Brook
June 5-7, 2014

The Center for Study of Working Class Life is pleased to announce the How Class Works 2014 Conference, to be held at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, June 5-7, 2014.  Proposals for papers, presentations, and sessions are welcome until December 11, 2013 according to the guidelines below.  For more information, visit our Web site at <www.stonybrook.edu/workingclass>.
Purpose and orientation: The conference seeks to explore ways in which an explicit recognition of class helps to understand the social world in which we live, and ways in which analysis of society can deepen our understanding of class as a social relationship. Presentations should take as their point of reference the lived experience of class; proposed theoretical contributions should be rooted in and illuminate social realities. Presentations are welcome from people outside academic life when they sum up social experience in a way that contributes to the themes of the conference.  Formal papers will be welcome but are not required. All presentations should be accessible to an interdisciplinary audience.
Conference themes: The conference welcomes proposals for presentations that advance our understanding of any of the following themes.

The mosaic of class, race, and gender. To explore how class shapes racial, gender, and ethnic experience and how different racial, gender, and ethnic experiences within various classes shape the meaning of class. 
Class dimensions of poverty. To explore why and how poverty is something that happens to the working class, not some marginal "other" at the bottom of society..  

Class, power, and social structure. To explore the social content of working, middle, and capitalist classes in terms of various aspects of power; to explore ways in which class and structures of power interact, at the workplace and in the broader society.

Class and community. To explore ways in which class operates outside the workplace in the communities where people of various classes live.

Class in a global economy. To explore how class identity and class dynamics are influenced by globalization, including experience of cross-border organizing, capitalist class dynamics, international labor standards.
Middle class? Working class? What's the difference and why does it matter? To explore the claim that the U.S. is a middle class society and contrast it with the notion that the working class is the majority; to explore the relationships between the middle class and the working class, and between the middle class and the capitalist class.

Class, public policy, and electoral politics. To explore how class affects public policy, with special attention to health care, the criminal justice system, labor law, poverty, tax and other economic policy, housing, and education; to explore the place of electoral politics in the arrangement of class forces on policy matters.

Class and culture: To explore ways in which culture transmits and transforms class dynamics.
Pedagogy of class. To explore techniques and materials useful for teaching about class, at K-12 levels, in college and university courses, and in labor studies and adult education courses.

How to submit proposals for How Class Works – 2014 Conference

Proposals for presentations must include the following information: a) title; b) which of the eight conference themes will be addressed; c) a maximum 250 word summary of the main points, methodology, and slice of experience that will be summed up; d) relevant personal information indicating institutional affiliation (if any) and what training or experience the presenter brings to the proposal; e) presenter's name, address, telephone, fax, and e-mail address. A person may present in at most two conference sessions. To allow time for discussion, sessions will be limited to three twenty-minute or four fifteen-minute principal presentations. Sessions will not include official discussants.  Proposals for poster sessions are welcome.  Presentations may be assigned to a poster session.

Proposals for sessions are welcome. A single session proposal must include proposal information for all presentations expected to be part of it, as detailed above, with some indication of willingness to participate from each proposed session member.

Submit proposals as an e-mail attachment to 
michael.zweig@stonybrook.edu or as hard copy by mail to the How Class Works  - 2014 Conference, Center for Study of Working Class Life, Department of Economics, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384.

Timetable:  Proposals must be received by December 11, 2013. After review by the program committee, notifications will be mailed on January 17, 2014. The conference will be at SUNY Stony Brook June 5-7, 2014.  Conference registration and housing reservations will be possible after March 3, 2014. Details and updates will be posted at http://www.stonybrook.edu/workingclass.

Conference coordinator:
Michael Zweig
Director, Center for Study of Working Class Life
Department of Economics
State University of New York 
Stony Brook, NY 11794-4384