Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

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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...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where is the "victory" for working people in Seattle... or Michigan or Minnesota with these so-called "Minimum Wage increases?"

Where is the "victory" here?

Is this something we want for every city, every state and federally?

The New York Times ignores the fact that the Leech Lake Indian Reservation has the highest PRESENT minimum wage in the United States of $10.25 an hour which is better than what workers in Seattle have at present.

This shows how Socialist Alternative and Sawant have played straight into the hands of the Democrats because they failed to fight for a Minimum Wage tied directly to actual cost-of-living factors.

By the time $15.00 kicks in, this will be one more sub-poverty wage for working people.

This is no "victory" in any way, shape or form--- at best, this is one big sick joke played on the working class by a phony "left" group and millionaire labor "leaders" who, for the most part, are overseeing concession contract after concession contract and many of these union "contracts" don't even provide workers with wages of $15.00 an hour.

There is no way that this can be portrayed as a way out of poverty for working people.

there has been no "victory" as a result of any kind of "struggle" here.

More aptly it should be called a very deceptive fiasco the working class has been saddled with from which it will be very difficult to extract itself.

Anyone who thinks $15.00 will amount to anything close to a living--- non-poverty--- wage by the time this takes effect is living in a fairy-tale world of the make believe.

Socialist Alternative has allowed itself to be used by not only the Democrats but the employers who will reap fantastic profits for years to come.

In fact, Michigan Republican Rick Snyder with his Republican super-majority and the Democrats with their super-majority have delivered better Minimum Wage "increases" which will provide workers with more purchasing power than this $15.00 fiasco ever will.

Those who fail to link wages to cost-of-living betray the working class every single time.

The working class is experiencing a "Cost-of-Living Crisis" that no one--- no economist, no labor "leader, no politician of any political persuasion--- can refute; the proof is in every shopping experience at the local grocery store, every time gas is pumped, every time an electric, heating or phone bill is paid, in home mortgages and rents, health insurance bill, college tuition paid.

Only muddle-headed, well-heeled middle-class intellectuals will be savoring this $15.00 Minimum Wage legislation as a "victory."

Inflation, never mind monopoly price-fixing, fueled by militarism and wars, alone, will more than eat up any "gain" made by the time this has been incrementally implemented. 

When it comes to wages there is only one thing workers are concerned about and this is what goods and services they can purchase with their actual take-home pay. This, combined with universal government programs and benefits received, are the only thing that matters when it comes to discussing "standard-of-living" which so many of these phony labor "leaders," politicians and economists are just as loathe to discuss as "cost-of-living" and this "Cost-of-Living Crisis" every single working class family--- bar none--- is living through and experiencing making life for working people so goddamn miserable--- something well-heeled middle-class intellectuals have no comprehension of because these people buy whatever they want, whenever they want with only some mild complaining which to them is part of the show they have to put on to keep up with the Jones... these are the people who will continue to support both the Democrats and Republicans--- these were the real "Reagan Democrats."

Working people need a new political party and it sure as hell isn't Socialist Alternative.

We need to be looking for building a new working class based progressive people's party for peace that will bring forward some kind of "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which understands how militarism and wars are fueling inflation and together with monopoly price-fixing and this massive working class creation of wealth workers are not even sharing in is creating this "Cost-of-Living Crisis" which results in a "Crisis of Everyday Living" for so many millions of working class families being shoved into poverty on a mass scale with the millions already mired deep in poverty getting buried in poverty with racism and discrimination against working class women resulting in the most cruel and anti-human aspects of poverty.

All of this is called, by Marxists, state monopoly capitalism in the era of imperialism--- imperialism, the highest stage of this moribund capitalism which has grown barbaric and cannibalistic, rotten and corrupt to the very core with immoral and unethical politics and government being the way of life with Wall Street lobbyists pulling the strings of the Democrats and Republicans and phony leftists willing to call this $15.00 in Seattle a "victory." 

We shall have to wait to see just what kind of "struggle" this Socialist Alternative will be asking us to join the next time around... You can bet it will be another dead-end alley into which the corporations will end up clobbering the workers. This always has been, and will continue to be, the way of the Trotskyites.

Let us be very clear:

A struggle for a living Minimum Wage is only a victory when workers can purchase more goods and services than they could before the increase.

The Minimum Wage increase the Leech Lake Tribal Council enacted in the here and the now of $10.25 was a real victory--- not so in Seattle, Michigan or Minnesota.

The Leech Lake Nation's Minimum Wage increase, as pathetically miserly as it is in comparison to the enormous profits generated by gaming, resulted in very real increased purchasing power for working class families. Can the same be said for Seattle's, Michigan's or Minnesota's Minimum Wage "increases" which will be incremental and the increased purchasing power lost? 
Alan L. Maki

Seattle Approves $15 Minimum Wage, Setting a New Standard for Big Cities
NYTimes.com -  - June 2, 2014
Mayor Ed Murray of Seattle, right, after the City Council approved a minimum wage that is more than double the federal
minimum. The $15 rate is the highest among the nation’s big cities. - Credit Ted S. Warren / Associated Press
SEATTLE - The City Council here went where no big-city lawmakers have gone before on Monday, raising the local minimum wage to $15 an hour, more than double the federal minimum, and pushing Seattle to the forefront of urban efforts to address income inequality.
The unanimous vote of the nine-member Council, after months of discussion by a committee of business and labor leaders convened by Mayor Ed Murray, will give low-wage workers here — in incremental stages, with different tracks for different sizes of business — the highest big-city minimum in the nation.
“Even before the Great Recession a lot of us have started to have doubt and concern about the basic economic promise that underpins economic life in the United States,” said Sally J. Clark, a Council member. “Today Seattle answers that challenge,” she added. “We go into uncharted, unevaluated territory.”
But some business owners who have questioned the proposal say that the city’s booming economy is creating an illusion of permanence. The fat times and the ability to pay higher wages, they warn, will not go on forever.
“We’re living in this bubble of Amazon, but that’s not going to go on,” said Tom Douglas, a prominent restaurateur in Seattle, referring to the local boom in jobs and economic growth from hiring at Amazon, the online retailer, which has its headquarters here. Mr. Douglas said the new law will inevitably result in costs being passed on to consumers. “There’s going to be some terrific price inflation,” he said.
The measure has the support of Mr. Murray, who ran last year on a pledge to raise the wage to $15 and made it one of his first priorities in office.
Cheers and jeers repeatedly erupted in the City Hall meeting room, which was packed with supporters of the plan, who often interrupted speakers in the 90-minute debate before the vote with chants.
“We did it — workers did this,” said Kshama Sawant, a socialist who campaigned for a $15 minimum wage when she was elected to the Council last year. Ms. Sawant sought to accelerate the carrying out of the measure and to strip out a lower youth wage training rate, but the council rejected her proposals.
The vote, economists and labor experts said, accentuates the patchwork in wages around the country, with places like Seattle — and other cities considering sharply higher minimum pay, including San Diego, Chicago and San Francisco — having economic outlooks increasingly distinct from those in other parts of the nation. Through much of the South, especially, the federal minimum of $7.25 holds fast.
Eight states plus the District of Columbia have already increased their minimum wages this year, the most to have done so in a single year since 2006, and at least eight other states and municipalities could put minimum wage ballot measures before voters by November. But it is the scale of ambition that is catching the attention of economists, labor leaders and business owners.
“In past rounds of minimum wage increases, proposals sought chiefly to restore the value of the minimum wage lost to inflation over the decades,” said Paul Sonn, the general counsel and program director at the National Employment Law Project, a New York-based group that supports raising the minimum wage. The increases in places like Seattle, Mr. Sonn said, go beyond playing catch-up. “The $15 proposals make real gains,” he said.
Economists who study the minimum wage are not sure of the effect of having sharply different levels — in some places, it is twice that of others. Though records are a bit uncertain, people who track minimum wage law say the range of mandated minimums, lowest to highest, is the largest it has been since a national minimum was established by Congress in 1938.
“Nobody has studied a doubling of the minimum wage — that’s outside our experience,” said Dale Belman, a professor of labor and industrial relations at Michigan State University and co-author of a coming book about the minimum wage.
Individual workers and business owners in and around Seattle are unsure of the implications. Washington State already has the highest state minimum wage in the nation, $9.32, but more than 24% of Seattle residents earn hourly wages of $15 or less, according to the city, and approximately 13.6% of Seattle residents live below the federal poverty level.
Under the plan approved on Monday, the hourly wage will rise to $15 by 2017 for employers with more than 500 workers that do not provide health insurance, and by 2018 for those large employers who do. The minimum will be phased in through 2021 for smaller employers.
In its early years, the law allows employers to include tips as part of a workers’ compensation in reaching the minimum, but that provision is phased out over time.
“The short-term side of it says it’s attractive,” said Mickey Adame, a bartender who works in Bellevue, Washington’s fifth-largest city, which is just outside Seattle, and the new $15 wage boundary. “But I think people in Seattle aren’t going to tip as much, knowing the servers are getting paid $15,” added Mr. Adame, who lives in Seattle and is trying to start a music record label called Sounder Music, for which his tip jar, he said, is crucial. “If I had to pick an answer, I would say I think I’ll make more in Bellevue.”
Ms. Sawant, in her comments to the Council and the crowd, did not take the tone of someone who was savoring a victory. The fight for workers’ rights and economic fairness, she said, is not over.
“We have fought to the last day, the last hour, against all the loopholes demanded by business,” she said. “The attempts of business to undermine $15 will continue,” she said, as would the battle to “turn the tide against corporate politics.”
She added: “$15 in Seattle is just a beginning. We have an entire world to win.”

Alan L. Maki
Director of Organizing,
Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council
58891 County Road 13
Warroad, Minnesota 56763

Cell: 651-587-5541