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...

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The "People's Summit" forgot a few things.

How is it Bernie and his supporters don't understand one of the prices (and a huge one) we pay for these dirty imperialist Wall Street wars is not having a National Public Health Care System?

Furthermore, what kind of "socialists" advocate leaving private for-profit health care intact as "Medicare for All" would do instead of advocating for the real solution: a National Public Health Care System?

And, what kind of "socialists" fail to understand that the present Medicare system has been so attacked with all of its "co-pays" it is no longer "affordable" for most working class people?

The left, now under vicious attack, is going to pay a very heavy price by failing to mobilize the American people around real solutions to our problems. This is what we should be looking at:

Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”

We are fed up with politicians campaigning on promises of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and then failing to make themselves legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.

We are fed up with our tax dollars being squandered on militarism and wars instead of being used to create jobs by solving the problems of the people and defending our living environment… its time to beat swords into plowshares. Put people to work solving the problems of the people.

A National Public Health Care System would create over twelve-million new jobs paying real living wages providing people with free health care--- general medical, eyes, ears, dental, family planning and mental health--- through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers; this is a better use of our tax-dollars than wasting our human and financial resources on a far flung empire of over 800 U.S. military bases around the world. Or, it could be financed the same way Social Security is financed. Or paid for with a tax on Wall Street transactions. Or financed with a combination of these methods. Public funding. Public administration. Public delivery… nothing controversial; just like public education.

A National Public Child Care System would create over three-million new jobs providing working class families with free child care.

We need to restore the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (C.E.T.A.), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

“At Will Employment” legislation in states across the country needs to be rescinded and repealed to expand democracy in the workplace and provide workers with the right to freely participate in the communities where they live.

All attacks on immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, need to end.

Planned Parenthood needs to be defended and programs expanded.

We insist Congress and the president enact full employment legislation which makes them legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment; assure everyone who wants a job employment at real living wages in line with the actual cost-of-living.

Full employment would provide stability for Social Security; everyone paying in; everyone getting something out. A Basic Income for All must be guaranteed. Pensions must be honored and protected. The Wall Street swindle of pension funds must end; restore the Glass-Steagall Act.

Turn Habitat for Humanity into a massive public works project to create jobs and assure everyone has a decent home.

Free education through university; cancel student debt. End military recruitment in the high schools.

Unemployment and lack of a National Public Health Care System is the price we pay for militarism and wars. We are entitled to a Peace Dividend……... Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood.

I wonder if the upcoming gathering of anti-war activists will do any better than the "People's Summit" which ignored the need for a massive united People's Front?

Friday, June 16, 2017

The left is under attack... because Wall Street fears our potential.

The left is under attack... the Wall Street ruling class wants to prevent us from filling the political vacuum left by most people in this country now rejecting the Democrats and Republicans.


We need a massive people's front in this country to defend democracy the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, fight corruption in politics and to bring forward good governance... Trump must be imprisoned and impeached for the way he has undermined the Constitution and his entire Cabinet of corporate Wall Street thieves and brown-nosers must be driven out of government.


We need to bring people together around a left agenda which includes a defense of democracy and a working class alternative to that of the Wall Street Republicans and Democrats.


Campaign for a “21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity”


We are fed up with politicians campaigning on promises of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” and then failing to make themselves legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment.


We are fed up with our tax dollars being squandered on militarism and wars instead of being used to create jobs by solving the problems of the people and defending our living environment… its time to beat swords into plowshares. Put people to work solving the problems of the people.


A National Public Health Care System would create over twelve-million new jobs paying real living wages providing people with free health care--- general medical, eyes, ears, dental, family planning and mental health--- through a network of neighborhood and community health care centers; this is a better use of our tax-dollars than wasting our human and financial resources on a far flung empire of over 800 U.S. military bases around the world. Or, it could be financed the same way Social Security is financed. Or paid for with a tax on Wall Street transactions. Or financed with a combination of these methods. Public funding. Public administration. Public delivery… nothing controversial; just like public education.


A National Public Child Care System would create over three-million new jobs providing working class families with free child care.


We need to restore the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (C.E.T.A.), Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).


“At Will Employment” legislation in states across the country needs to be rescinded and repealed to expand democracy in the workplace and provide workers with the right to freely participate in the communities where they live.


All attacks on immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, need to end.


Planned Parenthood needs to be defended and programs expanded.


We insist Congress and the president enact full employment legislation which makes them legislatively responsible for attaining and maintaining full employment; assure everyone who wants a job employment at real living wages in line with the actual cost-of-living.


Full employment would provide stability for Social Security; everyone paying in; everyone getting something out. A Basic Income for All must be guaranteed. Pensions must be honored and protected.


The Wall Street swindle of pension funds must end; restore the Glass-Steagall Act.


Turn Habitat for Humanity into a massive public works project to create jobs and assure everyone has a decent home.


Free education through university; cancel student debt. End military recruitment in the high schools.
Unemployment and lack of a National Public Health Care System is the price we pay for militarism and wars. We are entitled to a Peace Dividend……...


Let’s talk about the politics and economics of livelihood and the socialist alternative to capitalism as the way to save people and the planet.


We need to bring together liberals, progressives and leftists if we are going to defeat Wall Street's attempt to use Trump to reorganize society along more totalitarian lines akin to fascism.


We need to be working in a way which contributes to building a new working class based people's party that is both anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist, for peace, social and economic justice with the stated aim of challenging our common Wall Street enemies for political and economic power which will put us on the road to socialism... the only alternative to this rotten capitalist system.


We have a lot of work to do.


TOGETHER we can do this.


Let's get to work.

Why aren't unions pushing for a public banking system?

The AFL-CIO owns one-million six-hundred thousand shares of Well Fargo stock (valued at around $54.00)--- around $100 million dollars.


The AFL-CIO owns millions of shares in stock in other banks, too.


Why isn't the AFL-CIO pushing for a national public bank which would be a much better investment for working class families?

The "Financial Choice Act."

While the media has been bombarding us with all kinds of bullshit, the U.S. House passed the the Republican "Financial Choice Act": https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/10


This is an attack on the majority of the American people... especially an attack on worker's pensions.


Now the Senate has to go along... what will we do?


I find it strange no one has anything to say about this even though this legislation places every single union pension fund pension fund, all pension funds of any kind and individual pension funds in jeopardy.


And, it allows Wall Street "financial advisers" under the guise of providing financial advice to steal every single small investor blind.


And there are no comments about this?



This is about giving Wall Street parasites the right to rob working people they have already exploited.


This is a step towards privatizing Social Security.


Already, workers who have been forced into taking "buyouts" in return for "voluntarily" giving up their jobs have been swindled out of their money by these Wall Street "financial advisers."


Working people don't understand the complexities of the capitalist free market when it comes to the machinations of stock exchanges, "investing"... and the "Financial Choice Act" will enable the parasitical Wall Street vultures to unethically pick the pockets of working people without fear of prosecution--- legalized robbery and theft.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

President Trump's first full Cabinet meeting...

The most esteemed group of brown-nosers and kiss-asses the Wall Street exploiters and warmongers can put together:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ARgUIpM6f0&feature=share

This is a must watch and share.

Hardboiled Activist: The Work and Politics of Dashiell Hammett by Kenneth Fuller... this is an extract from the British newspaper, Morning Star

Dear All,

Today's Morning Star contains an extract from the preface of my forthcoming Hardboiled Activist: The Work and Politics of Dashiell Hammett, which will be published on June 22.

The section headed "Who was Dashiell Hammett" was written by the Star.

Cheers,

Ken.

 

JUN
2017
Monday 12TH
posted by Morning Star in Arts
In this extract from his new biography on the great crime fiction writer Dashiell Hammett, KEN FULLER charts a life of artistic highs and personal lows

DASHIELL HAMMETT is sometimes portrayed as a “Marxist writer,” usually by observers who are themselves not Marxists. The truth is that he was a Marxist and a writer — although not at the same time. Thus, Hammett’s work and politics are almost, but not quite, separate subjects.
 
What is often misidentified as an already developed Marxist outlook in some of the stories and the novels — particularly Red Harvest — is in fact nothing more than a deepening alienation from the corrupt society in which he lived. This alienation led Hammett, an avowed atheist, into nihilism and despair, such that by the early 1930s he was flirting with suicide.
 
His darkening outlook had, along with his precarious medical condition, long led him into a life of reckless excess, drinking, gambling and womanising as if there were no tomorrow.
 
By the mid-1930s, he had completed all the stories and novels he would ever write. It was not merely that he had exhausted his material but because the corrupt society that had so revolted him was now in addition suffering the effects of the Great Depression.
 
And what could his usual protagonist, a lone private eye, possibly achieve in the face of such overwhelming odds? His fiction had nowhere to go, the world was meaningless, man powerless.
 
Ironically, it was the Depression that produced the factors giving rise to a new optimism in Hammett — not the mass unemployment and wage-cutting of employers but the resurgent US labour movement which combated them, nor the development of fascism in Europe, mimicked by the most reactionary circles in the US and elsewhere, but the upsurge of broad anti-fascist movements at home and abroad.
And then, in Hollywood of all places, he was introduced to Marxism, which drew these factors together and gave him a completely new way of looking at the world. Suddenly, life was no longer meaningless and Hammett threw himself into political activity. He would remain a Marxist for the rest of his life.
 
Along with a brief biographical sketch, there is a consideration of Hammett’s published work, including his magazine stories, his five novels and published screen stories.
 
The aims of the book are straightforward — to demonstrate, in considering Hammett’s published work, that it contains few, if any, traces of Marxism, to track his political development in the 1930s, providing an explanation of why he would have been attracted to what many, including some of his biographers and critics, would characterise as “Stalinism” and then show his continuing commitment throughout the 1940s and 1950s.
 
Finally it investigates why, despite the foregoing, he still failed to write. Along the way, there are occasional remarks regarding Hammett’s literary merits but, as I am not a literary critic, these are of secondary importance. There is, however, a separate chapter on Hammett’s contribution to some of the plays of Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a relationship spanning 30 years.
I attempt to unravel Hammett’s political trajectory and this necessitates a discussion of Hellman’s unreliable recollections on this subject.
 
At one stage I was ready to conclude, such was Hammett’s dissolute lifestyle, that while he was obviously committed to the international communist movement, he probably never became a formal member of the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA).
 
This view was strengthened by the suspicion that any communist party would have had second thoughts before admitting such a person into its ranks and by the fact that there seemed to be absolutely no concrete evidence that he had joined.
 
And then, in one of the most recent of his biographies, a small detail — probably of importance to no-one but me: he once showed his party membership card to his daughter Jo and this has been convincingly confirmed by Josephine Hammett Marshall, now 90, via her own daughter Julie Rivett. So, yes, Hammett did join the party.
 
Too often, those who write about Hammett either gloss over his political beliefs or attack them. Of course, such writers have every right to challenge political positions with which they disagree. But if this is all they do, they end up telling us more about themselves than they do about their subject and in a biography this rather defeats the object.
 
Another tactic, as if to “excuse” Hammett for his adoption of positions which the biographer or commentator finds unacceptable, is to imply that he must have been drunk at the time or that he was an innocent abroad, “duped” into following each and every CPUSA or Soviet policy turn. Quite simply, this was not Hammett. 

I examine a number of positions for which he is attacked, placing them in context, correcting factual errors, and explaining them as they appeared to others at the time, and as they would have appeared to Hammett.
 
The book traces Hammett’s political activity in the postwar years, through his court appearance and prison term to his death in January 1961 and concludes by investigating the various reasons why Hammett was unable or unwilling to complete any fiction project after the mid-1930s, advancing possibilities not previously considered.
 
It becomes perfectly obvious that Hammett’s politics were as hardboiled as his fiction, hence the book’s title. I realise that in adopting this approach I run the risk of being dismissed as a “Stalinist” but I tend to agree with EH Carr in this regard. 
“Of course,” the esteemed historian of the Soviet revolution wrote in New Left Review in 1978, “I know that anyone who speaks of the achievements of the revolution will at once be branded as a Stalinist. But I am not prepared to submit to this kind of moral blackmail.”
 
 
 
Who was Dashiell Hammett?

“THE DEAN of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction” is how the New York Times described Dashiell Hammett following his death at the age of 66 in 1961.
 
The US author, regarded as one of the greatest crime fiction novelists, was also an accomplished short-story writer and screenwriter; although he never scripted any of the films based on his novels, one at least — The Maltese Falcon — is considered a Hollywood classic.
 
Hammett quit school aged 13 and after a series of jobs worked as an operative for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. With a break for army service, this lasted until 1922, when tuberculosis forced him to resign.
 
He then drew on his experiences as a Pinkerton operative for many of his stories for The Black Mask magazine and the authenticity and realism of his writing — much of it based in San Francisco, where he lived in the 1920s — soon drew recognition.
Despite his marriage to Josephine Dolan and the birth of two daughters, Hammett began a relationship with Lillian Hellman in late 1930 which lasted, in one form or another, until his death in 1961.
 
He wrote his final novel in 1934 and his failure to write much after this date is explored in Hardboiled Activist. 
Hammett was a left-wing activist throughout much of his life. A committed anti-fascist in the 1930s, he joined the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) in 1937.
After serving in WWII, Hammett returned to political activism. Elected President of the Civil Rights Congress (CRC) in 1946, he was one of the trustees of a bail fund created by the congress “to be used at the discretion of three trustees to gain the release of defendants arrested for political reasons.”
 
A year later, the CRC was identified as a communist front group and placed on the list of “subversive” organisations.
 
After three leading members of the CPUSA skipped bail, Hammett refused to identify bail fund donors and served a six-month prison sentence for contempt of court.
During the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, Hammett was summoned to appear before Joseph McCarthy’s Senate subcommittee, where he refused to co-operate.
 
He was blacklisted with others as a result of McCarthyism and spent his remaining years in poverty, in part due to the demands of the tax authorities. 
Hammett, a chronic drunkard, quit drinking in 1948 but it had taken a toll on his health. He remained a heavy smoker and in January 1961 died of lung cancer. Despite the efforts of J Edgar Hoover, as a veteran of two world wars Hammett was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
 
Hardboiled Activist: The Work and Politics of Dashiell Hammett is published by Praxis Press, price £19.99. It’s available to Morning Star readers in Britain and Ireland at the price of £15, including p&p, from Unity Books, 72 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 7DA. Cheques made payable to Praxis Press. Overseas and trade enquiries should be sent to praxispress@me.com


Note: I pre-ordered this book from Barnes and Noble; it is scheduled to be released around the end of June. I am trying to put together a discussion of this book with the author, Ken Fuller, through a video conference call. If you are interested in participating let me know: e-mail: red_finn@live.com or call me: 651-587-5541.