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...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Are you fed up? Can we do better?

Are you fed up?

Is there a better way of doing things?

We are in one heck of a mess...

Never-ending wars...

Nearing climate catastrophe...

Every working class family is caught up in a Cost-of-Living Crisis...

Anyone who doesn't believe there is a “Cost-of-Living Crisis” obviously hasn't gone grocery shopping, filled up their car with gas or paid an insurance premium, rent or an electric or utility bill recently or looked at the interest charged on their credit cards.

Poverty amid such great known wealth with soaring prices for goods and services resulting from monopoly price-fixing coupled with inflation fueled by militarism and wars and attacks on our public institutions...

Racism and discrimination...

The problems are endless.

Are you fed up?

Are you thinking: There must be a better way?

Do you feel like Wall Street has spun a powerful web in which you are trapped with no possibility of escape as these Wall Street parasites suck the life out of you?

What holds this deadly Wall Street spun web together? The ingredients forming the powerful glue holding this web together consist of racism, corruption and anti-communism--- each on their own dangerous poisons causing pernicious societal diseases.

Human society needs these Wall Street parasites about as much as dogs need ticks and fleas.

As capitalism collapses around us--- and on top of us like an old, weathered barn on a foreclosed abandoned homestead--- the human misery is never-ending just like the very costly dirty imperialist wars which now come with tremendous death and destruction one right on top of another even though most of us want peace.

The corporate bribed and corrupted politicians use the Minimum Wage as a lever of government to keep wages down as a means to enforce poverty. By keeping wages down they are doing a favor in return for the bribes they receive from business--- large businesses and small businesses. Businesses, large and small, reap huge super-profits from these low poverty wages.

Let's be clear about this: Any wage that doesn't enable a working class family to purchase the goods and services required for a decent life is a poverty wage. Working people have a right to expect a decent life and standard-of-living in return for their labor.

These politicians always claim a small “increase in the Minimum Wage is better than nothing” as they substantially increase their own pay while ignoring, and doing nothing about, rising prices in the grocery store, the robbery at the gas pumps, the rip-off of steadily increasing electric and heating bills, college tuition out of sight, increased rents and bus fares, unaffordable health/home/automobile insurance costs.

Any government which can control wages through enforcing a poverty Minimum Wage could just as easily control prices at affordable levels. The corporate bribed politicians choose not to control prices of goods and services claiming they are for allowing the “free market” to determine all costs except labor costs. Very conveniently, these politicians always claim their “hands are tied” when it comes to legislating for the common good.

How come these politicians can keep wages down but they can't roll-back and control the prices of any goods or services, the basic necessities of life, we have to purchase in order to live? Can you live on a part-time job paying $9.50 an hour?

It is the epitome of hypocrisy--- not to mention sickening--- for a billionaire Minnesota Governor like Mark Dayton to tout $9.50 an hour as a wage that will lift working class families out of poverty when his wealth has been derived almost exclusively from paying workers poverty wages.

Politicians like Obama and Dayton talk about, “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” yet unemployment continues with no end in sight. Where are the jobs these politicians talk about?

The climate crisis continues; putting us on a collision course with Mother Nature. Again, like with wages, these politicians legislate ever bigger carbon footprints not to mention that the industry with the largest carbon footprint in the entire world is the U.S military-industrial complex.

We working people and the environment suffer as Wall Street profits. It just isn't right.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out something is wrong. It doesn't have to be this way.

Minnesota's two socialist governors, Floyd B. Olson and Elmer A. Benson, sought to bring people together to pull for reforms as they simultaneously sought to build the socialist Cooperative Commonwealth here in Minnesota--- this was a good idea back then in the 1930's... and its an even better idea now.

In one of his last interviews before he died, Elmer Benson said his worst political mistake was to support the merger of the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party with the corrupt and racist Democratic Party thinking the influx of socialist thinking would create a Democratic Party that would become a huge people's party. Things didn't turn out this way and working class socialist thinking was driven out of the Democratic Party.

Benson advocated re-establishing a working class based progressive socialist party for peace, social and economic justice and he advocated re-establishing the “People's Lobby” which he founded to overcome the interests of big-business in Minnesota politics.

As Benson noted: Working people have been abandoned by the Democratic Party, millionaire labor “leaders” and these foundation-funded outfits who hide their Wall Street agendas behind cleverly conceived schemes concocted to hoodwink us into thinking capitalism is alright, it just needs to be tweaked with reforms. As Benson said, “This is pure bullshit; the capitalist system is the source of our problems.”

Well, guess what?

These self-serving, selfish and corrupt politicians bribed by Wall Street won't even provide us with the kind of real reform that would raise the Minimum Wage to a real living wage in line with the actual cost-of-living factors.

How the heck can we expect these over-paid politicians and millionaire union “leaders” who have no concept of the “Cost-of-Living Crisis” working class families are experiencing to address this problem?

Then there are the well-heeled, muddle-headed, upper-middle class “intellectuals” sitting in the ivory towers of the universities where they are shielded from the problems of everyday living working class families are experiencing. They speak for this or that “think tank” serving as media “pundits” to explain our problems to us. All they do is create more confusion, instead of providing clarity. Their intent is to undermine common sense and clear thinking.

We live in the richest country in the world where labor has created all the wealth which Wall Street hordes.

Working people who horde a few canned goods are diagnosed as being mentally ill; but greedy Wall Street “investors” can horde the entire wealth of the Nation and they are running the show.

Much of the wealth labor has created is being squandered on war after war; the rest is controlled by Wall Street which refuses to relinquish its hold. This wealth is required to finance real reforms needed to improve our lives, our quality of life and our standard-of-living.

Instead of investing in reforms which would create jobs, Wall Street invests this money in low-wage areas of the world which destroys our jobs.

We witnessed how this works.

The St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant once employing over two-thousand lays in rubble; a new Ranger assembly plant was built in Thailand. The Trans-Pacific Partnership will enable Ford to import these Ranger pick-up trucks back into the United States. Quite the racket. Wall Street profits; workers suffer.

When workers in Thailand kick about the poverty wages paid by Ford the U.S. Marines will be sent in.

There is never enough money for needed reforms; the wealth Wall Street doesn't horde goes for wars protecting Wall Street's interests, investments and profits. For Wall Street, nothing is more profitable than wars.

We need to challenge Wall Street for political and economic power if we are ever going to straighten out this mess we are in. As Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson noted: Wall Street is our enemy.

Anyone who thinks Wall Street and its politicians can be appealed to for justice is living in La-La Land.

Justice, whether for jobs at living wages or real health care reform, requires a united struggle.

We need to fight to defend our livelihoods and our rights.

The working class needs genuine grassroots and rank-and-file think tanks and action centers in every neighborhood and every place of employment geared to solving our problems through reforms and socialist revolution...

What can't be won at the bargaining table we should be looking to win through legislation.

Let's not kid ourselves... it takes a fight to win.

We need a new kind of politics based on the thinking of the old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party---

Let's talk about the politics and economics of livelihood for a change.

Working class families have to scrape and scrounge just to get by; it shouldn't be this way. This has a name: Cost-of-Living Crisis. You won't find any Democrats or Republicans talking about this crisis.

Politicians pretend the causes of poverty are complex. Why is it so difficult to figure out that workers without jobs are going to be poor?

Why is it so difficult to figure out that workers paid poverty wages are going to be poor?

Why is it so difficult to figure out that workers employed in part-time jobs paying poverty wages are going to be poor?

There is a better way.

We don't have to live this way.

We don't have to take this crap from Wall Street and their crooked and corrupt politicians.

Like Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson said, “The mines, mills, factories, banking, the forestry and energy industries should be brought under public ownership.” This was the intent of establishing the socialist Cooperative Commonwealth here in Minnesota. A good idea then; a better idea now.

Many of the solutions are very simple; just plain old common sense:

- Pay people real living wages. Raise the Minimum Wage to a real living wage tied to all cost-of-living factors.

- Make the president and Congress responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment--- this isn't too much to expect from politicians who talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

- Provide everyone with a Basic Income Guarantee.

- Put an end to this undemocratic “At-Will Employment” so workers have a voice at work and in the communities where they live without the fear of employer retaliation.

- Put an end to militarism and these dirty wars; use the wealth of our Nation created by labor to create a national public health care system and a national public child care system which would create millions of new jobs at real living wages providing people with the services they need and to which they are entitled.

Instead of 800 U.S. Military bases spread out across the globe protecting Wall Street's investments, assets and profits we need community and neighborhood health care and child care centers in every community and neighborhood.

This isn't a radical idea. These universal social programs would be publicly funded, publicly administered with the services publicly delivered--- just like public education.

Join with us.

Add your voice in support of common sense solutions to our problems.

Minnesotans for a Better Way

If you are fed up, join with us in seeking real solutions to our problems... there is a better way; we all know it.

What we need are citizen activists popping up like dandelions after a warm spring rain.

We need to be thinking in terms of people and Mother Nature before Wall Street profits.

The two-party system is part of Wall Street's web; part of the web spun to keep us trapped--- the two-party trap. Both the Democrats and Republicans serve Wall Street's greedy profit-driven interests.

We would like to convene a state-wide conference of Minnesotans for a Better Way...

To help cover the costs of pulling together this conference, stick one dollar (more if you can afford it) in an envelope and send it to:

Minnesotans for a Better Way
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

For further information, call:
651-587-5541

Gather a few friends around your kitchen table... invite a speaker... get involved as a citizen activist.

Canadian workers have their own political party; the socialist New Democratic Party which is pretty much like our old socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party which was led by Minnesota governors Floyd B. Olson and Elmer A. Benson. Even though Canadians working through their New Democratic Party are on the verge of taking national political power away from Bay Street, their counterpart to Wall Street, we aren't hearing much about this from our so-called “free” media.

For years, the New Democratic Party has been the party in power in Manitoba, our neighbor to the north and working class families are the better off for it.

Like each little individual raindrop we don't amount to much trying to stand up alone to the evil powers that be; but, together, united, we are like Old Man River, the Mighty Mississippi--- we can't be stopped... we will just keep rolling along.

Our first project will be to work up a plan to develop support for a comprehensive legislative initiative for peace, jobs and workers' rights:

A 21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity.”

A couple closing comments and observations:

Barack Obama's presidency has caused a great deal of confusion with some people still holding out hope that he will prevail in doing good. Had Obama had any decency about him he would have ended these wars, halted the executions by drones and put an immediate stop to home foreclosures and evictions.

And here in Minnesota, this billionaire governor who promised a Minimum Wage that would be a real living wage while declaring no one who works for a living should have to live in poverty would have made good on his campaign promise--- no one can live on $9.50 an hour; it is one more poverty wage... and it won't go into effect until 2016 when any “gain” will have been more than eaten up by price increases and inflation.

Most people have already noted that each succeeding president and the rest of the politicians are worse than the other. This is because their mandate which comes from Wall Street, instead of “we, the people,” places them in positions of trying to save a capitalist system in a serious state of decay which has reached its highest and most moribund stage of imperialism in which huge Wall Street monopolies order the politicians to provide the “technicians,” government bureaucrats, who are placed in positions of authority to run the government as they see fit, irrespective of any human misery they cause--- “collateral damage,” who are trying to save capitalism from complete collapse.

One of the major problems we are experiencing is too many people have bought into the idea that there is no class struggle any longer which has led people to conclude the Democratic Party and the Democrats and their “partners,” the foundation funded outfits and millionaire labor “leaders” who buy into this idea that other countries are our enemies instead of business, multinational corporations and the Wall Street backed political parties.

It is true there are some working class activists, progressives and honest liberals still active in the Democratic Party we must not beak our connections off with but these people are becoming fewer and further between as so many people in this country now recognize the two-party system is a trap established by Wall Street.

This problem was recently brought into full view at a rally on Minnesota's Iron Range where Minnesota's billionaire Democratic Governor was the featured speaker “defining” the problems confronting the taconite industry and members of the United Steelworkers in particular.

Here is what Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said in his widely publicized speech widely viewed as the opening of his re-election campaign...

The story of the Iron Range is one of standing strong against exploitation and oppression, and too often of a government that will not stand with them,” Dayton said to a cheering crowd of 1,500 iron miners. “Today’s enemies are not the companies, but the countries that dump their steel in the U.S. market, depress the prices and take away your jobs.”

Regional leaders of the United Steelworkers and leaders of the Democratic Party helped Dayton write this speech and it has been confirmed that USW President Leo Girard had his hand in this speech.

Does any thinking person really believe that foreign countries should be viewed as our enemies for “dumping steel” in this country when all these “foreign” companies are more often than not owned in whole or in part by Wall Street investors and the parasites on Canada's Bay Street along with those parasitic vultures hiding behind the monikers as investors and even “philanthropists?”

In fact, Dayton and his family have huge financial holdings in these “foreign” steel companies and his major funding has come from none other than the Rockefeller family which has huge holdings in foreign mining and steel manufacturing all over the world who are directly profiting from this “dumping” and it is the U.S. construction companies who are happy to be able to purchase this “foreign” steel from which they make super-profits--- often selling this steel to our government at sharply inflated rates for bridge work, pipe projects, etc.

And consider this:

If these countries are engaged in “criminal” activity as the USW and these Democrats are claiming, how should we be characterizing the brutal exploitation of workers be used to rape Mother Nature in the process of mining, milling and manufacturing this steel in the first place--- are we not talking about what is the very nature of U.S. Imperialism?

Don't we need an anti-imperialist movement in solidarity with the workers and people's of these other countries whom Minnesota's Governor, the Democratic Party hacks and millionaire labor “leaders” want us to view as our enemies as they let the Daytons and Rockefellers--- Wall Street and Bay Street--- off the hook?

Is there any truth to Dayton's words that these companies like U.S. Steel and Cliff's Natural Resources (Cleveland Cliff) no longer are oppressing and exploiting workers on the Iron Range? How soon we forget that these companies were prepared to bring in an army of scabs just a few short years ago to work the mines and process the taconite had the USW gone on strike for what workers were legitimately entitled to rather than having had concessions shoved down their throats by these same Democrats and millionaire labor “leaders” working hand-in-hand with these Wall Street companies.

And never mentioned by Dayton or these millionaire labor “leaders” is the fact that these mining companies on Minnesota's Iron Range have swindled thousands of workers in the mining industry out of their pensions. It is not China, Brazil or any other country which has swindled these miners out of their pensions it is the very companies on the Iron Range who Dayton now makes the outrageous claim these companies no longer exploit or oppress.

One can not help but wonder what kind of speech Minnesota's socialist governors, Floyd Olson and Elmer Benson, would have delivered at such a rally on Minnesota's Iron Range from which Communist U.S. Congressman John Bernard from Eveleth, Minnesota and the Iron Range organizer for the socialist Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's speech, in spite of his claim to being a big “liberal,” was just one more neo-liberal imperialist speech from one more Wall Street profiteer.

Do we simply ignore all of this because to talk about these facts will give the Republicans a lift up as the Democratic Party hacks claim?

Working people need to analyze what is going on in this country and around the world from a working class anti-imperialist perspective lest the sons and daughters of the working class continue to serve as fodder in these dirty imperialist wars and our Nation's wealth continues to be squandered on militarism and war after war.

It is also noteworthy to mention that over 40% of all the ore mined and processed and manufactured into steel and then fabricated has gone into militarism and wars--- this has left one hell of a carbon footprint contributing to global warming.

Nor did Governor Dayton talk about the need to reduce the work week with forty hours pay, shorten retirement and extend vacations in this taconite industry on Minnesota's Iron Range so that more jobs could be created in this very economically depressed region now being called Appalachia North.

Nor was the need to reorder the priorities of this country away from war and military spending to meet human needs broached in Governor Dayton's speech. Why not? This would create thousands of good paying decent jobs on the Iron Range.

And how is it that Governor Dayton didn't mention the need to organize the big-box industries on the Iron Range--- Wal-mart, Menard's, Target, McDonald's, Burger King? Are not these companies employing thousands of Iron Rangers at part-time jobs paying poverty wages “exploiting” and “oppressing” workers on the Iron Range?

And why no mention of Minnesota remaining an “At-Will Employment State in spite of Governor Dayton presiding over a Democratic super-majority state government?

Dayton did not so much as mention his role in putting over 40,000 Minnesotans to work in loud, noisy, smoke-filled casinos at poverty wages in places of employment where workers have no voice and no rights--- workers without rights at work have no rights in the communities where they live, either. Apparently this Democratic governor loathes speaking about U.S. democracy and the state of democracy here in Minnesota where employers are allowed to lock out workers and bring in scabs.

Again, no one is suggesting we sever ties with working class activists, progressives and real liberals still active in the Democratic Party but remaining silent in the face of this kind of Wall Street imperialist chauvinism and jingoism of blaming other countries for the problems working people here are experiencing when these Wall Street corporations are our common enemy because they exploit and oppress here and abroad is definitely not acceptable.

Governor Dayton's speech on the Iron Range is a far cry from the speeches workers used to hear at Mesaba Cooperative Park where fiery anti-imperialist speeches advocating for building Minnesota's socialist Cooperative Commonwealth were once delivered.
We can do better.

We must do better.

I think of these things often as I visit the graves of my Grandpa and Grandma and the other working class activists buried in that little cemetery in Gilbert, Minnesota who understood that these Wall Street mining companies are our enemies--- our forever enemies.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton didn't deliver the class struggle kind of speech required for an Iron Range audience where socialists and Communists still out-number Republicans--- who will say what needs to be said?

Of course, we need to consider that the speech Mark Dayton delivered comes from a billionaire whose fortune is derived from poverty wages and who has the unmitigated gall to suggest working class families should be forced to survive on the miserly $9.50 an hour Minimum Wage being delivered incrementally on an installment plan as working class families are forced to endure a Cost-of-Living Crisis he and the Democrats refuse to address as they launch into one more campaign using the rhetoric of "jobs, jobs, jobs"--- more poverty wage jobs from which these companies who no longer exploit and oppress will reap super-profits. 

Alan L. Maki

A proud “Red” Finn