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...

Friday, January 31, 2014

Some random thoughts on a Friday morning.

There have been serious fractures among what we call the “progressive movement.”

These fractures--- and, quite frankly, some very huge chasms--- are the result of a myriad of problems; and, while we should attempt to isolate and articulate all of these problems for the sake of unity if we are going to make any headway as far as peace, racial and economic equality and improving the lives, livelihoods and standard of living of working people as well as defending and protecting our living environment--- Mother Earth... realizing that the environment in our workplaces should be as safe and healthy as the world we want to live in.

As goes the working class, so goes the fate of the American people as a whole. Only the most muddle-headed and selfish among us doesn't understand this.

In my opinion, for whatever it is worth, I think the main reason we as progressives are stuck in the cracks and crevices of these fractures preventing maximum unity of what has historically been the one and only coalition that has won real reforms is that of liberals, progressives and leftists coming together for clear and well-defined purposes with a clear vision of goals and objectives.

Not just idle talk using properly framed progressive policy directives but with very real and specific solutions to people's problems and the problems confronting our society as a whole.

We obviously have very real enemies.

Wall Street and big-business, the multi-national and transnational corporations are our primary enemies. Their lobbyists, working out of sight behind closed doors in a way we can not see until we put their activities under close examination bribe politicians in ways we can not see but in the most vile and evil ways it is hard to imagine, let alone understand.

But not all of our problems when it comes to forging maximum unity of this historic progressive coalition can be laid at the feet of these parasitical, crooked and corrupt Wall Street corporations although the foundations these “philanthropists” fund which in turn are financing numerous organizations--- many of which hire progressives in order to control them and use them to divide our movements which should be united most definitely are a big part of the problem.

We have an entire group of people posing as progressives who have figured out that they can make good livings selling themselves and their services to these foundation-funded outfits.

These foundation-funded prostitutes and whores have figured out just how far they can push progressive thinking to the point where their services become valuable assets in keeping the grassroots and rank-and-file movements from becoming effective.

Many of these foundation-funded prostitutes and whores are former activists from the 1960's and 1970's who acquired legitimacy by participating in, and even having led entire movements.

These people come from the labor, civil rights and environmental movements. They are now willing to sell their bodies, souls and their ideas to the highest bidders in this foundation-funded industry based on selling out movements.

This has left the rest of us unorganized and ineffective... instead of being able to deliver knock-out punches with a closed fist to our Wall Street enemies we are merely slapping them with an open hand.
There is a reason the clenched fist has become the symbol of militant working class resistance, struggle and working class people's power.

How can we begin to repair the fractures and build bridges across these chasms preventing maximum all-people's unity which brings our progressive movements together?

We need organized forums bringing us together to formulate tactics, strategy and demands that are specific to the required solutions to our problems.

All too often our movements are victims to organizations that always want to be first--- first to get the permits for demonstrations so they can manipulate and control who participates, who can speak and what is said. Often these groups will make promises to do something and while others are holding up their end of the agreement they don't hold up their end because they want to be able to point fingers claiming they are right.

This is no way to build unity.

Crooked and corrupt union leaders along with these foundation-funded whores have learned to step forward with just enough money and resources to make it appear that without their money struggles can not be won. There are always strings attached to this money--- if you don't attach yourself to the strings and agree to be their puppet the strings are cut... and by the time the strings are cut the opportunity to build movements is lost.

We need to learn to “strike when the iron is hot” if we are going to forge powerful progressive movements capable of winning real change and reforms as we seek a socialist alternative to this rotten capitalist system that is crumbling and falling apart before our very eyes--- with such dire consequences: wars, racism, poverty, destruction of our most basic and needed public services from our public schools to the U.S. Postal Service to Social Security. We are denied funds for creating new social programs and public institutions desperately needed--- from child care to health care.

We now see in this struggle for making the Minimum Wage a real living wage how all of this unfolds and how the employers, the Wall Street crowd, has been able to worm and muscle their way into this movement in a way that serves to divide.

Everyone is entitled to a real living wage based on the actual cost of living not poverty wage figures pulled from a hat by self-serving politicians who we know have been bribed by the employers--- our enemies.

Make no mistake, these employers are our enemies. They are not some kind of benevolent job creators Obama, the Democrats and Republicans make them out to be.

These employers are motivated by one thing, and one thing only: PROFITS.

Profits they derive from our our labor.

This is the richest country in the world. Working people, collectively, have created this wealth.

If there are employers--- big or small--- who can not afford to pay their employees real living wages, then let them open their books and prove it.
If it is found they can not afford to pay their employees real living wages then all these corporations with huge profits will have to be taxed to whatever levels necessary to provide a Basic Guaranteed Income to the employees working for their fellow employers.

Shouldn't we expect big-business to bailout their small-business friends instead of forcing working class families to suffer in poverty?

If private industry can't handle the cost of basic, fundamental human justice on its own, government has to step in and make these decisions for them. This is the reason why there is a Minimum Wage in the first place. Employers are too narrowly focused on profits and that focus will never change. We will hear the same song-and-dance from the employers forever about how raising the Minimum Wage to a real living wage will kill small business. But, what is preventing very profitable big-business from paying employees real living wages?

How many big-businesses voluntarily pay their employees real living wages based on actual cost-of-living factors? Obama has tried to foster the illusion that this happens... what planet he lives on is questionable. What he is smoking that he doesn't want his daughters to smoke might be the problem. But, most likely, Obama is just mouthing the words his Wall Street backers like to hear.

We are facing the exact same players in this living wage struggle that we faced with the single-payer universal health care struggle.

Only in the living wage struggle these same people who said they were for single-payer and then betrayed us and stuck us with Obamacare are now saying they are for living wages as they put placards calling for a poverty $9.50 Minimum Wage in the hands of people in marches commemorating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Who are these betrayers?

They are the Democrats, they are the millionaire labor “leaders,” they are the overpaid pundits, they are the foundation whores.

On top of this; we, as progressives, have never reached a consensus on what constitutes a living wage.

We have never discussed wages in relation to “cost-of-living.”

Someone has shouted, “$15.00 or fight.” Some of the crowd follows. Some don't.

Have those who shouted “$15.00 or fight” substantiated with any facts this is a living wage in relation to cost of living? Have they fully explained the nature of the “inflation” they want to index and tie this $15.00 to?

These are honest and very legitimate questions.

Right now, in my opinion, if we want to win this struggle to increase the Minimum Wage to a real living wage, we need to be insisting that everyone tossing figures into the ring needs to explain how those figures jibe with actual “cost-of-living” and what inflation really is from the perspective of working class spending. And make no mistake, when we examine the eight categories and 200 sub-categories tracked as the Consumer Price Index, there is a distinct difference between how most working people spend their income and in how the well-heeled upper middle class and the 1% spend their incomes.

If working-class families are forced to buy hamburger instead of steak because they can't afford the steak inflation and price increases mean two different things.

If you have enough money so you can dine on $12.00 a pound steak that used to be $4.00 a pound this price increase really doesn't mean anything to you.

If you are a working-class family forced to live on hamburger helper then the price of hamburger going from $2.00 a pound to $4.00 a pound means something else.

Does it make any difference to you if you pay $1.35 a gallon for propane to heat your home or if you pay $2.35 cents a gallon? If it makes a difference to you, chances are you are working class.

Does it make any difference to you if the price of gas for your car is $2.50 a gallon or $4.00 a gallon? If it makes a difference to you, you are most likely working class?

Does it make any difference to you whether your child has to pay $30,000.00 a year to go to college or if your child was to get a free education--- pre-school through university? If it makes a difference to you, most likely you are not the billionaire living in the Governor's Mansion.

When a billionaire governor walks around talking about a “living wage” and then has the unmitigated gall to try to legislate a poverty wage of $9.50 or $8.00 an hour and then tries to make us feel good that he is going to index this poverty wage to HIS inflation we working people should all be bitter and very angry. We should fight for what is right, not cower.

What should be our response to a shit-ass like Minnesota Democratic State Senator Tom Bakk who boasts that he is a labor leader and then tries to shove an $8.00 Minimum Wage down our throats because we should feel sorry for the small businesses?

What should be our response to a guy like Minnesota Democratic State Representative Ryan Winkler who Chairs the Minnesota Select Committee on Living Wage Jobs when he stands before “the people” in a hearing held out in the boonies that no one can find and tells the few in attendance, “A living wage is $24.00 to $28.00 an hour that's why I'm behind behind the Governor's $9.50,” even though he knows Governor Dayton has entered into a secret deal with the Chamber of Commerce on a “compromised” Minimum Wage of just under $8.00 ?

Unless we insist on knowing where these numbers are coming from and their relation to the actual “cost-of-living” and the real inflation rate for working class families, we are going to be saddled with a Minimum Wage that remains a poverty wage.

As progressives, we need some kind of forum or roundtable discussion with everyone welcome to participate.

I would further point out that the very concept of a Minimum Wage was first advanced by Karl Marx. And the demand for a living Minimum Wage was advanced by socialists and Communists--- supported by liberals and progressives.

And it was none other than American revolutionary Tom Paine who first advanced the need for a Basic Income Guarantee.

Perhaps President Obama is going to ask the big Wall Street corporations if they are going to chip into a fund providing a Basic Income Guarantee so big-business can help its small-business partners over the hurdle of having to pay real living wages?

I have a final question for Representative Winkler and Governor Dayton:

Why are you paying so many state employees poverty wages?

I have a question for Eliot Seide who heads up the largest union representing State, County and Municipal employees:

Why are you poking your nose into the Minimum Wage issue trying to shove one more poverty wage of $9.50 down our throats when the paper union you preside over like an old Finnish feudal lord can't even negotiate living wages for all of your dues paying members?

The basis for uniting progressives around fighting for a real living Minimum Wage, seems to me, to revolve around coming to an agreement that there is this relationship between wages and cost-of-living.

Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

These are just my personal thoughts on these issues.

If you agree, okay.

If you disagree, okay.

I hope I have at least provided some legitimate reasons for further discussion.

Yours in the struggle,

Alan L. Maki