Please note I have a new phone number...

512-517-2708

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...

http://peaceandsocialjustice.blogspot.com/2013/03/a-progressive-program-for-real-change.html


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...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Talk I delivered in Thief River Falls on Saturday, January 18.

Thank you for inviting me to Thief River Falls.

Last Saturday I was speaking at a fantastic event in Duluth. The Uniting Progressives Forum. Between 125 and 140 people participated with a diverse group of speakers. Hopefully videos of the event will be available soon.

We have a more racially diverse group of people here today--- Native American, Hmong, Hispanic and white. When progressives gather this is the way it should be.

This is an expanded version of the talk I gave at the Uniting Progressives Forum in Duluth on Saturday, January 11, 2014... I presented the keynote: Connecting the dots.

It is important that we come to an agreement on how the dots are connected and the relationship of the issues we are discussing. These dots--- war, poverty wages, racism, unemployment, failure to enforce Affirmative Action, those of you sitting here who are people of color, you know without the enforcement of Affirmative Action you will be unlikely to get a good job with decent pay where you are more likely to be treated as a human being, you understand this even if Governor Dayton does not--- these dots are connected along with many other issues that we know exist: from health care reform to the Trans-Pacific Partnership to homelessness with peace and poverty always central to our discussions.

The reason we need to “connect the dots” as they should be is so we can reach a “meeting of the minds” when it comes to bringing people together for united action in quest of real solutions to our many and varied problems.

Liberals, progressives and leftists haven't been doing very well under Republican or Democratic administrations here in Minnesota.

Obama has turned out to be nothing more than one more Wall Street warmonger... no progressive prize; no progressive proclivities.

More to the point: the working class, our class, has been taking a terrible beating from those in power, Wall Street--- the employers you are working for are ripping you off, let's call it what it is: exploitation. Many of you are the victims of the worst kinds of racist discrimination.

Exploited at work; ripped off in this great "free marketplace." Just go to the grocery store you get ripped off, you get robbed at the gas pump, how much are you paying to heat your homes this winter and how much has your electric bill gone up? House payments and rents; home insurance. Car payments and car insurance. College tuitions out of sight. Compare your wages to your "cost-of-living."

I am leaving with you copies of our Letter to Governor Dayton on the need for the Minimum Wage to be a real living wage. I hope you will sign and ask your friends to sign.

We should never be satisfied with “baby steps” and “incremental reforms.” We shouldn't tolerate talk from politicians that tossing a bone to us here and there is “better than nothing.” We are living in the wealthiest country in the world; there is no reason to put up with racism, poverty or the destruction of our living environment.

How do you live compared to John McCarthy who heads up the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association or the Walton family of Wal-mart? How do you live compared to your bosses? You do the work; they reap the profits you get the poverty.

We should never accept “bait and switch” politics from the DFL or any other party or politicians. But, this is what we get. Politicians promise one thing; they deliver just the opposite once elected... Mark Dayton is the epitome of “bait and switch” politics... no different than Obama.

The DFL Platform declares:

We Support:

Preservation of biodiversity and wilderness

Does anyone believe this is the way the DFL legislates?

There is the “bait” to get our votes; there is the “switch” to satisfy the corporate lobbyists who finance their campaigns and bribe them between campaigns to get what they want.

The DFL platform calls for non-poverty living wages.

It's the same “bait and switch” they engage in when it comes to everything. Let's call it what it is.

Dayton talked a good line to get elected. This "liberal" was all for "living wages." He was against poverty. He was going to enforce Affirmative Action. He was going to reform health care.

What do we get from Dayton?

We get shit from Dayton. Worse yet, he is shitting on us.

No money for people's needs; but tax-payers can foot the bill for a new Viking's Stadium.

Politicians led by Dayton have a blitz against the people to shove a billion-dollar Viking football stadium down our throats subsidizing another crooked, corrupt and racist billionaire.

Where is the blitz against poverty?

Any reforms required to slove our problems can easily be paid for with peace dividends and taxing the rich.

Minnesota State Legislators claim these dirty wars are national issues they can do nothing about. However, through resolutions they can lobby to end these wars and redirect spending--- if they so choose. They choose not to do this.

On its face, the wolf issue would appear to be unconnected to the minimum wage, health care reform, full employment, and the mining issues--- peat mining, sulfide mining and the practices of the forestry industry.

But, wolves are being threatened more from loss of habitat than from trapping or hunting. In fact, the reason the DNR wants the wolves trapped and hunted is because they are allowing their habitat to be destroyed at an alarming pace. Thousands of acres of pristine Minnesota wilderness vanish before our very eyes--- trashed by mining companies. To focus on the aspect of trapping and hunting wolves plays right into the hands of the mining and forestry industries which are destroying the wolf habitat and killing off the timber wolves more rapidly than hunters or trappers ever could. The DNR wants to eliminate these wolves for one simple reason--- once their habitat is destroyed they will become a problem for people--- between peat mining and sulfide mining we are talking about the destruction of thousands upon thousands of acres of wolf habitat and habitat for many other plant and animal species not to mention the contamination of our primary freshwater aquifers.

When I showed photos that I took of four moose and wolf tracks in the Big Bog at the peat mining site in the Pine Island State Forest to then DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam, his response was, “and your point in showing me these photos?” I told him, “This is their home.” Merriam laughed and said, “They will just have to find new homes.” When I asked him about the future of our freshwater aquifer, Merriam said, “There is plenty of water here.” This is the mentality of these people we are dealing with. While they don't dare say such things about people; I am sure this is just what they are thinking about the unemployed... let them go find another home... in another state.

Gene Merriam was a Democrat State Legislator appointed to head up the DNR by Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Loss of wolf habitat is the direct result of this "jobs, jobs, jobs" crap we keep hearing from politicians and corporations when what they are really talking about is their hidden agenda of "profits, profits, profits" derived from the continued destruction of the environment in order to keep the military-industrial complex humming along--- after all, the bill Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan is co-sponsoring along with his Republican “colleagues” is all about "critical resources required for national security," read: militarism and wars. Sulfide mining will create jobs, claims Nolan. Jim Oberstar said the same thing about sulfide mining and peat mining. A big part of the Democrats' agenda is keeping the Military Industrial Complex supplied.

Without holding forth “jobs, jobs, jobs” there would be no support from Minnesotans for peat mining or sulfide mining.

Think about it; how far would these corporations and their bribed politicians get for these hideous projects if they didn't have “jobs, jobs, jobs” to hide their dirty deeds behind?

Raising the Minimum Wage to a real living wage combined with full employment (employment at jobs providing what society needs) would be the best things that could happen to protecting our environment; peace would allow resources to be directed to human needs creating millions of new jobs--- and providing health care and child care are far less environmentally damaging than wars.

Some 40% of all ferrous and non-ferrous mining is directly related to militarism, wars and rebuilding in the aftermath of wars. For forestry, the percentage is even higher.

Talk about global warming; no other industry on the face of this earth leaves behind such a huge carbon footprint as Wall Street's highly profitable Military-Industrial Complex.

Wars bolster corporate profits. Wars kill our jobs just like they kill people.

The result is short-term jobs for a few while so many remain unemployed and forced to work for poverty wages; short-term maximum profits with most of those employed relegated to a life of poverty, often generations of families forced to endure poverty like on the Indian Reservations---

The example: the iron ore industry shed over 80,000 jobs over 100 years creating Appalachia North out of the Iron Range. Profits, Poverty, Pits, Pollution equals loss of wolf habitat combined with a less than adequate human condition. When wolves suffer; people suffer and vice-a-versa... not to mention that the polluted environment creates innumerable--- and very expensive--- health problems for humans from which these hideous health insurance and pharmaceutical industries have been enabled to reap humongous profits under Obamacare. 

This is the way we need to connect the dots.

As Red Lake Nation Chair Roger Jourdain pointed out, including being quoted along these lines in the scientific study, “The Patterned Peatlands of Minnesota,”--- 

“You destroy our freshwater aquifers and you destroy my people and our Indian Nation--- our human rights, our culture, our livelihoods...”

Roger Jourdain successfully led the fight and fought off peat mining in the Big Bog for over thirty years by articulating things in this way--- until the DFL and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association decided he had to go, and like with Elmer Benson, John Bernard and Rudy Perpich, they stabbed Jourdain in the back, too, by buying off his most trusted and loyal friends.

Today, when it comes to employment, Native Americans are discriminated against in both the public and private sectors leaving Native American workers as a huge pool of cheap labor--- forced to seek employment in the heinous and racist Indian Gaming Industry where corrupt tribal councils front for a bunch of extremely wealthy white mobsters who own the slot machines and all the profitable business ventures associated with the Indian Gaming Industry.

The recent lawsuit filed, and won, by the White Earth Nation against one of this country's most notorious and violent mobsters is evidence and proof of this relationship. White Earth sued its business partner in the Shooting Star Casino--- mobster Angelo Medure. Minnesota Democrats took millions of dollars in bribes from Medure knowing he was nothing but a viciously violent and corrupt mobster.

When these corrupt tribal politicians claim they aren't in bed with the mob, the facts are right there in this court case.

The Indian Gaming Industry now far surpasses the former major employer of Native Americans--- the U.S. Military.

Racism and racist discrimination remains a major factor in Minnesota when we discuss wolves, the environment, unemployment, poverty, jobs, health care, housing. This pernicious racism is woven through the very fabric of life here in Minnesota. Like these dirty wars, racism kills.

How many Native Americans do you see working in the mines, the forestry industry? At Wal-mart or Target? One of the “Letters to the Editor” you will find that I have cited relates to Native American employment in the public sector--- you will find this disgraceful and shameful with nothing being done by Minnesota Democrats to change this hideous and horrendous racist discrimination in employment situation that was detailed so thoroughly by Greg Paquin before his untimely death.

Let's look at what the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party has in mind when it talks about “creating jobs.” The biggest job creation program of the DFL in its history has been the Indian Gaming Industry.

The 44,000 jobs created to date are all poverty wage jobs forcing 44,000 Minnesotans to work in these loud, noisy, smoke-filled unhealthy casinos at poverty wages.

These 44,000 Minnesotans have NO rights under state or federal labor laws--- there is no other nation on the face of this earth where employers are allowed to force workers to work under these most atrocious conditions. For Native American Indians, where else do they seek employment?Racist discrimination is a barrier to employment. Only the enforcement of Affirmative Action will ever change this. If anyone else has a better plan let them step forward and present their ideas.

Just imagine working for a boss--- pun intended--- like Angelo Medure and you have no rights at work.

Workers without rights in their workplace have no rights in the communities where they live. Only a completely mixed up, muddle-headed upper middle class intellectual like some of the professors in these universities and worthless DFL party hacks can not understand this.

Imagine going out publicly campaigning for the Minimum Wage to become a real living wage with a boss like Angelo Medure looking over his shoulder to see what you are doing after work. How long would you keep your job?

Imagine speaking out against smoking in your workplace with Angelo Medure and his Native Mob enforcers watching you.

I can guarantee you that any of the 44,000 casino workers in Minnesota would love to get jobs in any mine. Leave workers employed under such conditions and you will never stop any mining operation no matter how environmentally hideous. Do you blame any casino worker employed under such draconian conditions for wanting the opportunity to work in an operation like PolyMet?

Provide these 44,000 Minnesotans working in these casinos with real living wage jobs in a healthy working environment in the casinos where they are working and you gain allies in the struggles against these heinous mining projects.

We are talking about a multi-trillion dollar industry with these casinos--- shouldn't casino workers be making as much as any steel worker or those workers employed in paper mills?

Shouldn't casino workers be protected under state and federal labor laws like all other workers?

Shouldn't casino workers be protected from having to work in smoke-filled work places?

Native American Indians have had their lands and resources stolen out from under them through the little known “Doctrine of Discovery” enshrined into U.S. law through the most racist and still standing U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Johnson versus M'Intosh.

Democrats talk about “good jobs.” The talk sounds good. The jobs that result are not what they are cracked up to be. If you don't believe me talk to a casino worker, Wal-mart associate or Target Store employee.

Because of the efforts of our Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council you won't hear one single Democrat boasting of these 44,000 jobs they created in this Indian Gaming Industry.

But, isn't any job a good job provided its a full-time job, the pay is a real living wage with safe and healthy working conditions, decent benefits like vacations, paid sick days and where your rights are protected by state and federal labor laws?

We need to ask: Why isn't every job a good job?

The DFL has created thousands of poverty wage jobs in smoke-filled casinos, Wal-marts, Menard's, Targets for thousands of unemployed workers in the taconite industry and poverty wage jobs in peat mining which is clearing the land in anticipation of mineral mining.

Turn these jobs into real living wage jobs and we win allies, rather than adversaries, for the protection of our living environment.

The loss of 80,000 jobs in the taconite industry relates back to the need for shorter work weeks, longer vacations, earlier retirement and full employment and so on while a National Public Health Care System creates long-term employment for millions. The wolves lose their homes with people pushed into poverty and homelessness as this scheme of things continues as the government builds up a huge repressive machine to stop people from speaking these kinds of views and opinions offering a progressive alternative to Wall Street's agenda.

The wolf hunt in Minnesota comes at a time when the corporate bribed politicians need to create a lack of respect for nature and everything that is healthy, pristine and decent--- you have to kill the wolf because what the Timber Wolf stands for is a healthy respect for Mother Nature. You have to kill the wolf otherwise the wolf leaves his pristine wilderness habitat to prey upon livestock.

There are only two sources of wealth--- labor and Mother Nature.

We tolerate the exploitation of labor just like the rape Mother Nature is tolerated in the name of “jobs, jobs, jobs” when in reality it is all about “profits, profits, profits.”

This is the way corporations achieve maximum profits. As a result of corporations trying to protect their way of doing things they are willing to invest huge sums of money to bribe politicians to do what they want done. The corporations pay for their campaigns in election years and between these election years the Wall Street lobbyists turn around and bribe these politicians with five times more than they spend to elect them.

Is it coincidental these politicians promoting wolf hunts won't fund real health care reform, support full employment legislation, and are so slow in opposing citizens united as they push sulfide and peat mining?

Why a massive blitz for a new Viking Stadium and sulfide mining but these same politicians can't muster the same kind of political strength to eradicate poverty which only requires real living wage jobs and full employment?

Think about this... the way to eradicating poverty is to pay people real living wages based on all cost of living factors and providing everyone who wants a job with a job. Is this too much to expect from government that will spare no effort to fund war after war?

Hence we end up with a whole slew of worthless, self-serving, opportunist politicians like Rick Nolan and the rest of the DFL supported by labor leaders paid off to not explain the entire big picture, and a gaggle of foundation-funded outfits bribed into silence by the "philanthropists" who are the very same people who profit from this scheme of things.

These “philanthropists” do not want us to connect the dots.

These “philanthropists” funding the foundations which fund so many of these organizations pretending to be working for us want us divided. This is why all of these foundation-funded outfits claim that their issue is the most important issue as they fight one another for funding.

They have played those against peat mining against people working against sulfide mining. And you won't find any of these foundation-funded outfits calling for the Minimum Wage being a real living wage--- reciprocal solidarity for these foundation-funded outfits is out of the question. Life has proven this.

The Sierra Club will condemn the dirty air from the mining industry... but, have you ever heard of anyone from the Sierra Club condemn smoking in the casinos? No.

In fact, these foundation-funded outfits supported the Freedom to Breath legislation with the Indian Gaming Industry and casino workers excluded from its protection. Again, we were told we mustn't be concerned casino workers were left out because the legislation was only the "start." We hear this same goddamn bullshit when it comes to the Minimum Wage... "don't worry, $9.00 is just the beginning..." Ya, sure; you betcha.

The struggle for a real living--- non-poverty--- Minimum Wage becomes central to all of our concerns--- we have to learn to “strike while the iron is hot.”

We have such an issue before us with the Minimum Wage debate now spreading across our state. And we need to discuss this in great detail because people living in poverty will always be influenced by the talk of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” I don't know of one single person living in poverty who wouldn't be happy to get a job working in a copper mine.

Full employment is key to everything we are discussing here today.

Politicians who talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs” should be made responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

We need a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity.”

Put people to work in a National Public Health Care System... this creates 15 million jobs providing the American people with free health care. No other needed program can create so many jobs yet we have politicians talking about “jobs, jobs, jobs” and health care reform and they can't put all of this together--- that providing real health care reform creates jobs?

Or, are they being bribed by Wall Street lobbyists not to put jobs and health care together?

They want people to believe that a National Public Health Care System is controversial--- something the American people will never support because it sounds like socialism. Anything that sounds like socialism is supposed to scare and frighten us.

Minnesotans weren't afraid to elect socialist Floyd B. Olson Governor.

Minnesotans weren't afraid to elect Elmer Benson governor.

Minnesotans weren't afraid to send Communist John Bernard to Congress.

The fact is, a National Public Health Care System would work just like our system of public education.

Publicly funded.

Publicly administered.

Publicly delivered.

What is so controversial about this? It works; and it works very well when compared to the for-profit models.

How is it that these corporate bribed politicians can think up schemes like sulfide mining, peat mining, wolf hunts and “promise zones” but can't come up with plans for a National Public Health Care System?

A National Public Child Care System would create another 5 million jobs.

Re-establish the WPA, CCC and CETA and we create millions of more jobs.

There is not one single reason why anyone in this country should not have a decent, living wage job.

We need a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity." We need to defend and expand the New Deal programs not tolerate Republicans or Democrats attacking these programs.

Instead of proven methods creating jobs with a social purpose, what do we get from Obama and the Democrats? “Promise Zones.” A rehash of the Republican “Enterprise Zones.” Republicans now call these failed "Enterprise Zones" “Prosperity Zones.”

Also, there should be an understanding that we aren't just about people highlighting the issues they are working on but to become part of a network where we all agree to collaborate and work together in reciprocal solidarity over the long haul with the objective of bringing more people into this circle of activism as we struggle against Wall Street for political and economic power.

We are not asking anyone to forget their issues while we work to properly bring forward the living Minimum Wage issue but to explain to their organizations' members how these issues are connected and interrelated so we are working together.

It is when people understand this reciprocal solidarity that we will finally begin to win.

If we make a good stand on the Minimum Wage issue we will be in a much stronger position when it comes to all other issues of concern.

What we want to achieve is a "meeting of the minds" so we can work together with greater unity. People need to be convinced that by working in this way there is a greater chance of winning on each of these issues.

Down the road here in Thief River Falls is Floyd B. Olson Memorial Park. Olson was our state's first socialist governor elected on the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party ticket. The Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party working through a network called the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Association provided Minnesotans with a massive anti-monopoly coalition which later included the creation of what Elmer Benson called, “The People's Lobby.”

By the way... there has never been a more popular politician or governor in Minnesota than socialist Floyd Olson.

Today, more than ever, we need to develop and rebuild such working class political formations.

This is the only way we are going to be able to successfully take on these huge corporations... and eventually bring these corporations under public ownership... this is the solution we socialists seek and we shouldn't be afraid to say so--- especially given the havoc and misery these corporations have brought upon us.

I would like to thank you for inviting me to address you here in Thief River Falls. A group this size of 40 or so people can do a lot in a community of this size.

I hope we can have a discussion about all of this for a couple hours. Let's put our heads together to try to figure out what we are going to do to solve some of these problems.

Here in Thief River Falls you have four incredibly large poverty wage paying employers--- Digi-Key, Arctic Cat Industries, Wal-mart and this dirty, filthy, polluting turkey processing operation that stinks like hell... they call it Northern Pride.

And then there are these hideous casinos where workers are treated by these mobster managements as if they are nothing but dog shit on their shiny, expensive shoes--- Warroad, Thief River Falls, Mahnomen.

In Roseau there is Polaris; in Warroad we have Marvin Windows and Doors... a sweatshop operation from a worker's viewpoint; from Obama's point-of-view the epitome of a worker-friendly employer.

It really is all about class. Working class. Capitalist class. Us versus Them.

Our movements need to reflect this class struggle. The wealthy few who enrich themselves with our labor would like us to forget that at one time the socialist majority on the Thief River Falls City Council flew the Red Flag over City Hall.

In closing, let me just make this one point.

I know some of you don't like the idea of attacking these Democrats like I do. But, consider this: these Democrats have a super-majority. They place a new Stadium for the Vikings before raising this pathetic, miserly, poverty Minimum Wage to a real living wage. They place destroying our environment before protecting it. They engage in war after war thinking nothing of killing people and destroying our standard of living in the process... these wars are making us poor. These are Democrats doing all of these dirty things hurting us and our living environment. I am not going to hold back out fear of hurting their feelings or ruining their chances of re-election. On the issue of the Minimum Wage alone they have proven themselves to be a worthless bunch. These Democrats play us for fools. And the time has come to simply say, “Enough; we have had it with you.”

Let's put our heads together and figure out what we can do to improve our lives and our livelihoods because these bastards in St. Paul and Washington aren't going to do a goddamn thing for us... we gave these Dumb Donkeys the super-majority they asked for and what have we received in return? A kick in the ass.

The World Peace Council has connected the dots in stating:

"... we must build a broad anti-imperialist front for peace. Especially during the deep economic crisis of the system, we need to highlight the relation of Capitalism, its crisis and the tendency to wars and aggressions. We must connect our peace agenda with all struggles – for decent jobs and wages, for social rights, for public health, against commercialization of culture and education, for a safe and secure environment..."