Progressive Calendar 11.20.05
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sun, 20 Nov 2005 11:16:22 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     11.20.05

1. AntiWarMN       11.20 1pm
2. MUI             11.20 7pm
3. Transgender day 11.20 5pm

4. Thayer/radio    11.21 7:15am
5. Palestine/film  11.21 6:30pm

6. Iran/women      11.22 12noon
7. Arab lands/film 11.22 6pm
8. Mpls schools    11.22 6pm
9. SD43 election   11.22

10. Your thanks    11.23 8am

11. Eve Ensler        - Open letter
12. CDC Alert         - Gonorrhea Lectim
13. Mokhiber/Weissman - Economic apartheid in America
14. Louis Proyect     - Do workers understand their class interests?
15. ed                - Jesus & George (poem)

--------1 of 15--------

Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 21:36:10 +0000
From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: AntiWarMN 11.20 1pm

The Anti-War Committee would love your help this SUNDAY 11/20 @ 1:00pm @
the UTEC building, room 332. The UTEC building is located in Dinkytown,
1313 5th St. SE. Room 332 is right off the elevator on the 3rd floor.

We will be mailing our annual fundraising appeal and need lots of help to
make it happen. If you can come even for a little while we greatly
appreciate it. There will be folding, stuffing, chatting and SNACKS! This
will be a great opportunity to catch up with your fellow anti-war
activists.

Help out your local AWC and join in the fun! We hope to see you there and
really appreciate your support.


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Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 19:45:26 -0500
From: mn_united_ireland [at] lycos.com
Subject: MUI 11.20 7pm

Minnesotans for a United Ireland
612-871-7110
We will meet Sunday November 20, at 7pm
Arise Booksore 2441 Lyndale Ave S Mpls

Agenda :
1 Holiday cards to Irish prisoners
2 New Study Group-"Blanketman"  O'Rawe paperback caused a big stir about
the Hunger Strikes in 1981
3 Paddy'Day ceili and march


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Date: Sat, 19 Nov 2005 10:22:08 -0800 (PST)
From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Transgender day 11.20 5pm

Sunday, November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance

from http://www.gender.org/remember/day/index.html The Transgender Day of
Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to
anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to
honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the "Remembering Our
Dead" web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since
then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities
across the world.

SERVICE An annual memorial program is held here in the Twin Cities to
honor those who have been killed in the past 12 months.

It will be on Sunday, Nov 20 at 7:30pm (until about 9pm) Spirit of the
Lakes Church, 2930 13th Avenue S in Minneapolis Contact: (612) 670-1978 or
barbsatin [at] aol.com

POTLUCK
The Twin Cities TGGQ (transgender / genderqueer) Coalition will host a
potluck gathering at Spirit of the Lakes for the trans & allied community
prior to the Day of Remembrance Ceremony called "Sharing Our Stories /
Celebrating Our Lives" -- where we all can get together, share food, share
stories, and talk about our lives. It will be a chance to get to know each
other a little more and a chance to talk and feel stronger, together.

Trans and Allied Community Potluck
5-7pm Sunday, November 20th
Spirit of the Lakes, 2930 - 13th Ave S (at E Lake St),
Minneapolis, MN

It's OK to just show up and not bring food/drink. Bring something
(non-alcoholic beverage, dessert, salad, entree, side dish, chips, etc.)
if you are able to. There will be a core of us who will bring a hot or
substantial entree dish, so there will definitely be enough food for all.
If you can, bring along a list of ingredients in the dish for those with
food allergies, and consider bringing something vegetarian or vegan.  We
hope to have a variety of dishes with meat, vegetarian, and vegan, and
will do our best to have everything labelled well.

When the evening service ends around 9 p.m., everyone is welcome to stay
for desserts and coffee/tea (and leftovers from dinner!).

SCENT-FREE SPACE:  Please refrain from wearing scented products such as
perfume and cologne so that everyone can attend safely, including people
with chemical sensitivities.

Spirit of the Lakes is wheelchair accessible, and there is a large parking
lot next to the church (at the corner of 13th and Lake).

Hope to see you there!  If you have questions about the potluck, please
feel free to email me.

-Max Gries member of the TGGQ Coalition <mgries [at] visi.com>


--------4 of 15--------

From: audreythayer <athayer [at] paulbunyan.net>
Subject: Audrey Thayer/radio 11.21 7:15am

On Monday, November 21st at 7:15 am in the morning your very own Audrey
Thayer, Coordinator of the Greater Minnesota Racial Justice with co-worker
Gina Walters will be on KAXE Radio (Grand Rapids, MN) with Scott Hall
discussing the recent homicides in the area and Duluth, discussing the
Greater Mn Racial Justice Project and our court monitoring project.

Tune in and listen on KAXE.  KAXE Radio can be auto streamed on internet
if you should have access to internet.


--------5 of 15--------

From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Palestine/film 11.21 6:30pm

WAMM FREE Third Monday Movie: "Occupied Minds"  Two Journalists: a
Palestinian and an Israeli Journey Together. Discussion follows film.

Monday November 21, 6:30pm, St. Joan of Arc Church, Upper Room, 4537 Third
Avenue South, Minneapolis. Parking is close, free and easy.

The personal odyssey of two journalists - Jamal Dajani, a Palestinian
American, and David Michaelis, an Israeli citizen, who travel to
Jerusalem, where they were both born, "to face the hard realities of our
shared land." Their journey is a road trip across a grim and divided
landscape, but it is leavened by gallows humor and a heartfelt desire to
find solutions. Together, they travel the West Bank to visit a Palestinian
activist in Ramallah, a Jewish settler in Hebron, and a Jenin resistance
fighter in Zakaria al-Zubeida. They also interview an Israeli doctor who
was injured in a suicide bombing and visit the separation wall and film
the humiliation and frustration of Palestinians at the numerous
checkpoints a farmer who lost part of his land-and his livelihood-when the
wall was built through his property, and an Israeli soldier who discusses
the Break the Silence movement. This must-see film is, in the words of the
Palestinian, Dajani, "a narrative not heard in the mass media," and, added
Michaelis, the Israeli, "the story you haven't heard before."


--------6 of 15--------

From: humanrts [at] umn.edu
Subject: Iran/women 11.22 12noon

November 22 - Diane Savage: Personal Observations of an American Woman in
Iran and Syria.  12noon-1pm.

In September 2005, Diane Savage traveled to Iran and Syria as part of a
delegation of U.S. Academics for Peace led by Dr. Jim Jennings, head of
Conscience International and retired professor of archeology. In Iran the
group met with academics from the University of Tehran and with former
President Khatami. In Syria they met with President Bashar Al Assad and
the first lady, and with academics from the University of Damascus. Their
mission was to promote dialogue and diplomacy as an alternative to
isolation, confrontation and ultimately war.  This presentation will
include Diane s sometimes surprising observations on women s human rights
in Iran.

Speaker biography: Since 1976 Diane Savage has been an assistant Anoka
County attorney in the criminal division of the Anoka County Attorney's
Office. She has a JD degree from William Mitchell College of Law, an MA in
French from the University of Iowa, and a BA from Oberlin College in Ohio.
In January 2003 she went to Iraq as part of the same delegation of
Academics for Peace at the invitation of faculty from the University of
Baghdad.

This presentation is a brown bag lunch.  Beverages will be provided.
Please RSVP by November 18th to Mary Hunt at mhunt [at] mnadvocates.org, or 612-
341-3302, ext. 107.
Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, 650 3rd Ave. S., Suite 550,
Minneapolis


--------7 of 15--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Arab lands/films 11.22 6pm

Tuesday, 11/22, 6 pm, double feature films "Mahmoud Darwich: As the Land
is the Language" and "Naji al-Ali: An Artist With a Vision" at series
"Perspectives on the Arab World," Macalester College, Carnegie Hall 06,
1600 Grand, St. Paul (WAMM)


--------8 of 15--------

From: Josh Collins <Josh.Collins [at] mpls.k12.mn.us>
Subject: Mpls schools 11.22 6pm

Superintendent Peebles will hold a town hall meeting at North High School
on Tuesday, Nov 22, from 6-7:30pm.

This is the first town hall meeting of the 2005-2006 school year, designed
to inform and engage families in discussion about issues that affect the
district. Childcare services will be available. Wireless translation
services will be available in Spanish, Somali and Hmong.  Those requiring
translation are encouraged to arrive early.

North High School Auditorium 1500 James Ave. N. 612-668-1700

Josh Collins Director of Media Relations Minneapolis Public Schools 807
N.E. Broadway Street, Room 100 Minneapolis, MN 55413 Phone: 612-668-0228 |
Mobile: 612-490-8410 Fax: 612-668-0235 | E-mail:
Josh.Collins [at] mpls.k12.mn.us


--------9 of 15--------

From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: SD43 lelection 11.22

As things stand today, a constitutional amendment to ban same sex marriage
or its "legal equivalent"(whatever that means?) would pass both houses of
the Minnesota state legislature if put to a vote as enough DFL'ers in the
Senate support the amendment and only one Republican Senator has opposed
it.  The difference is very narrow and appears to come down to as little
as one vote in the Senate.

The DFL leadership in the senate was successful in keeping the amendment
from reaching the floor last session but the bill is expected to make it
to the floor in both chambers this next session,... unless something
changes.

That makes the special elections this fall and early next year vitally
important to our community.

I spoke on the phone today with both Republican endorsed Judy Johnson and
DFL endorsed Terri Bonoff who are the only two candidates running in
Senate District 43.

Judy was very straightforward and said that she supports the amendment as
she believes marriage is between a man and a woman.  She did say that she
believes interesting questions are being raised about the "legal
equivalent" language and how ambigous it is.  She said she has been honest
with gay volunteers on her campaign about her position on this issue but
if it was my primary issue of concern, I would be better off supporting
her opponent.

So I called Terri Bonhoff, as Judy reccomended, and she confirmed she
opposes the amendment without any of Judy's equivocation on the issue.

I urge those of you concerned about the possibility of the antigay
marriage amendment passing our state legislator and being on the ballot
next fall to support with contributions and volunteer time the only
candidate in this campaign who unequivocally opposes this amendment--
Terri Bonoff.

There are no Green or Independence Party candidates who filed for this
race.

It is much easier to elect a candidate or two who opposes the amendment in
special elections this fall than to successfully defeat such an amendment
in a statewide election next fall.

To volunteer or donate to Terri's campaign, please go to her website at...
http://www.terribonoff.org/

To contact Judy Johnson to ask her position on this issue on your own you
can go to her website http://www.voteforjudy.com/

David Strand Marriage Equality MN


--------10 of 15--------

From: humanrts [at] umn.edu
Subject: Your thanks 11.23 8am

November 23 - Reflections on Living Thankfully. 8-10am.

Reflections on living thankfully bring your own writings, music, thoughts
to share. People of Faith Peacemakers at St. Martin s Table.
Location: St. Martin s Table on Riverside near U of M West Bank


--------11 of 15--------

Eve Ensler
Open Letter to the Apathetic, the Brain-Washed, the Prescription Drug-Dazed
and Brain-Dead, the American Patriots and PseudoPatriots

  July 1, 2005
  Dear America,

I am longing to reach you-crossing this river of indifference and
consumption and denial. I am trying to find you, reaching out through the
desperate limitations of words and descriptions, swimming through the
rhetoric of terror and God.

I need you to wake up. The house is on fire and you are still sleeping,
lulled by the intoxication of smoke and mirrors. I need you to wake up and
I know that shaking you, scaring you will only make you cling to your
sleep and sleep more.

How then do I tell you what's going on? How do I tell you about the one
hundred thousand dead Iraqi people that you and I are responsible for
murdering.(1) Each one of them valued their life, longed for their
morning, cherished their first cup of milk or coffee or tea. In what way
shall I deliver what I learned? The substance identical to illegal napalm
that melted tender five year old skin; the cluster bombs that have left
their murderous and disguised offspring, throngs of bomblets set to
explode, scattered on the Iraqi earth; the depleted uranium from the
Bunker Busters we dropped that now lives in lungs and livers and soil. (2)

How do I tell you about the strategic planning of such atrocities in the
boardrooms, the backrooms, the back seats of limos, the organized take
over and looting of Iraq right out from under the terrorized, hungry,
thirsty Iraqi people. (3)

How do I get you to listen to the stories of our soldiers who are trying
to kill themselves now, longing to escape the madness of murdering and
maiming for no reason.  (4)

Please don't go back to sleep. I know how hard it is to hear of the
massive black holes, called prisons we have dug to hold thousands without
charging them, without trials or the torture, the meanness, the cruelty we
are inflicting upon them. (5)

America, those who now control our country have changed and ended law.  I
do not believe you are so calloused or selfish that you do not care. Your
sleep is induced. You are distracted and derailed. The corporations have
concocted and perfected these sleeping potions for years, developing
ingredients to make you despise every bit of yourself, to feel ugly and
fat and stupid and poor and not enough. And so you spend your time and
every bit of the money you do not have buying products that will make you
better, skinnier, lighter, whiter, tighter. And as you consume and
consume, the corporations consume you.  They take your money and your time
and your voice and your instincts and your outrage and your sorrow and
your anger and your grief. They consume your courage and leave fear in its
place.  They devour your conscience and your memory and your compassion.

And how do I speak when they are sure to tie my tongue? When they will say
I do not love my country or support the troops or honor the dead or
believe in their God? How do I break through your sealed wrapping, your
self-obsession, your TVheadphonedDVDcell pod?

America I am getting desperate and I know this will not get me published
or heard. Those who control the information will say I'm extreme, that
I've gone mad. But I have heard the cries of children in the exploding
houses of Fallujah.(6) I have seen the agonized faces of the sleepless
Iraqi women who still clutch the outline of their charred dead babies in
their arms. I have watched as we as a nation grow more isolated, despised
and alone.

America, there is not much time left. The fire is spreading, consuming the
world. We are the arsonsists. We will need each other to find our way out
through the lies and haze. It will take our greatest imagination, courage
and skill to subdue these flames.

Eve Ensler

This letter was written immediately after The World Tribunal on Iraq in
Istanbul - where I served with thirteen others from around the world on a
jury chaired by Arundhati Roy. The Tribunal consisted of three days of
hearings investigating various issues related to the war on Iraq, such as
the legality of the war, the role of the United Nations, war crimes and
the role of the media, as well as the destruction of the cultural sites
and the environment. The session in Istanbul was the culminating session
of commissions of inquiry and hearings held around the world over the past
two years.

Footnotes:

1. Iraq death toll soared 'post war'- 100,000 Iraqis dead (Lancet survey)

2. US admits to use of napalm -
http://www.globalsecurity.org/org/news/2003/030810-napalm-iraq01.htm
 Irregular Weapons Used Against Iraq -
http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/attack/consequences/20
03/0407 irregular.htm
 WHO studies depleted uranium in Iraq -
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/1506151.stm

3. Rumsfeld, Amnesty trade barbs over prisoner abuse -
http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=64

4. Army probes soldier suicides -
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-10-13-army-suicides-usat_x.htm
 Military Families Against the war- http://www.mfso.org

5. Rumsfeld, Amnesty trade barbs over prisoner abuse -
http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=64
 Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by US  Forces-
http://www.worldtribunal.org/main/?b=68

6. This Is Our Guernica-
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1471011,00.html


--------12 of 15--------

CDC Alert

The Centers for Disease Control have issued a warning about a new virulent
strain of STD.  This disease is contracted through dangerous and high-risk
behavior.

The disease is called Gonorrhea Lectim (pronounced "gonna re-elect him.")
Many victims contracted it in 2004, after having been screwed for the past
4 years, in spite of having taken measures to protect themselves from this
especially troublesome disease.

Cognitive sequelae of individuals infected with Gonorrhea Lectim include,
but are not limited to:

    Anti-social personality disorder traits;
    delusions of grandeur with a distinct messianic flavor;
    chronic mangling of the English language;
    extreme cognitive dissonance;
    inability to incorporate new information;
    pronounced xenophobia;
    inability to accept responsibility for actions;
    exceptional cowardice masked by acts of misplaced bravado;
    uncontrolled facial smirking;
    ignorance of geography and history;
    tendencies toward creating evangelical theocracies; and
    a strong propensity for categorical, all-or-nothing behavior.

The disease is sweeping Washington. Naturalists and epidemiologists are
amazed and baffled that this malignant disease originated only a few years
ago from a Texas Bush.


--------13 of 15--------

ECONOMIC APARTHEID IN AMERICA
By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
Focus on the Corporation - Nov 18, 2004
http://lists.essential.org/pipermail/corp-focus/2005/000221.html

Top executives now make more in a day than the average worker makes in a
year.

You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy.
But you cannot have both.
    -- Louis Brandeis

How wealthy the wealthy are does matter. If we allow great wealth to
accumulate in the pockets of a few, then great wealth can set our
political agenda and shape our political culture - and the agenda and the
culture that emerge will not welcome efforts to make American work for all
Americans.
    -- Sam Pizzigati

Plutocracy: 1. The rule or power of wealth or the wealthy; 2. A government
or state in which the wealthy class rules. 3. A class for group ruling, or
exercising power or influence, by virtue of its wealth.
    -- Webster's Unabridged Dictionary

Of the world's 100 largest economies, 47 are nations, and 53 are
corporations.

Seventy-five percent of major corporations hire a consultant to stop
employees from forming a union.

The alarming development and aggressiveness of great capitalists and
corporations, unless checked, will inevitably lead to the pauperization
and hopeless degradation of the toiling masses. It is imperative, if we
desire to enjoy the full blessings of life, that a check be placed upon
unjust accumulations and the power for evil of aggravated wealth.
    -- Constitution of the Knights of Labor, 1869.

The Washington monument is 555 feet tall. Say it signifies the 2003
average compensation for CEOs in the Fortune 500. The average worker
salary would be only 16 inches tall, representing a ratio of 419 to one.
In 1965, the worker's monument was 13 feet six inches tall, representing a
ratio of 41 to 1.

Inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this
generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals
of the generation which established our government.
    -- Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Born on home plate -- Forty-two percent of those listed inherited
sufficient wealth to rank among the Forbes 400.

Examples:

J. Paul Getty Jr. inherited the oil fortune from his father.

David Rockefeller Sr. ($2.5 billion) is the grandson of the Standard Oil
founder John D. Rockefeller.

S.I. and Donald Newhouse ($7 billion each) inherited the nation's largest
private newspaper chain, plus Conde Nast publications, from their father
in 1979.

Samuel Curtis Johnson ($1.5 billion) is the great grandson of the flooring
salesman who founded the floor wax giant S.C. Johnson and Sons.

The United Nations Development Program reported in 1999 that the world's
225 richest people now have a combined wealth of $1 trillion. That's equal
to the combined annual income of the world's 2.5 billion poorest people.

The richest 10 percent of the world's population receives 49.6 percent of
the total world income.

The bottom 60 percent receives 13.9 percent of the world's income.

The wealth of the world's three most well-to-do individuals now exceeds
the combined gross domestic product of the 48 least developed countries.

Half of the world's population of six billion live on less than $2 a day,
while 1.3 billion get by on less than $1 a day.

These are some of things you learn from a new book, just out, titled
Economic Apartheid in America: A Primer on Economic Inequality &
Insecurity by Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel with United for a Fair
Economy (The New Press, 2005).

The book is filled with photos, and charts, and graphs -- that make it a
great home schooling tool, for young and old alike.

It puts things in perspective.

It keeps you on your toes.

Read it.

Then listen to a little Bill O'Reilly.

Then read it some more.

Contrast is good.

Stretch limousines are longer, yet more people are homeless.

Thirty zip codes in America have become fabulously wealthy.

Meanwhile, whole urban and rural communities are languishing in
unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, growing insecurity and fear.

It makes the perfect gift for the holidays.

And you probably won't find it Wal-Mart.

Or Costco, for that matter.

Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
Reporter, <http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com>. Robert Weissman is
editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Multinational Monitor,
<http://www.multinationalmonitor.org>. Mokhiber and Weissman are
co-authors of On the Rampage: Corporate Predators and the Destruction of
Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press).

(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman


--------14 of 15--------

Do Workers Understand Their Class Interests?
by Louis Proyect

(Swans - October 24, 2005)   In the aftermath of George W. Bush's 2004
electoral victory, Thomas Frank became the pundit of the moment. In a New
York Times article dated only 3 days after the election, Frank put forward
the notion that blue-collar voters chose Bush over Kerry because culture
(abortion, gay marriage, etc.) trumped economic issues:

The first thing Democrats must try to grasp as they cast their eyes over
the smoking ruins of the election is the continuing power of the culture
wars. Thirty-six years ago, President Richard Nixon championed a noble
"silent majority" while his vice president, Spiro Agnew, accused liberals
of twisting the news. In nearly every election since, liberalism has been
vilified as a flag-burning, treason-coddling, upper-class affectation.
This year voters claimed to rank "values" as a more important issue than
the economy and even the war in Iraq...

Like many such movements, this long-running conservative revolt is rife
with contradictions. It is an uprising of the common people whose
long-term economic effect has been to shower riches upon the already
wealthy and degrade the lives of the very people who are rising up. It is
a reaction against mass culture that refuses to call into question the
basic institutions of corporate America that make mass culture what it is.
It is a revolution that plans to overthrow the aristocrats by cutting
their taxes.

In some ways, Frank's analysis simply builds upon observations first made
around the phenomenon of "Reagan Democrats." Supposedly the Gipper's macho
style endeared him to lower income voters who traditionally voted
Democrat. Despite their ostensibly pro-working-class economic policies,
the Democrats lost because they were "wimpy." In Reagan's time, the
emphasis was on appearing more "muscular" vis-a-vis the Soviets, while
today it is on "family values" and "the war on terror," but in either case
liberal pundits felt that workers were suckered into voting against their
own class interests. Of course, as Frank points out, it doesn't help when
Democrats - especially after the rise of the Democratic Leadership
Council - appear more like Republicans on questions such as NAFTA, etc.

At the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association on
September 1-4 this year, Princeton professor Larry M. Bartels presented a
paper titled "What's the Matter with What's the Matter with Kansas." (See
http://www.princeton.edu/~bartels/kansas.pdf).

As the title implies, Bartels found Frank's arguments lacking. Drawing
upon a wealth of empirical data, he sought to support a different view of
working-class voting patterns:

. Has the white working class abandoned the Democratic Party? No. White
voters in the bottom third of the income distribution have actually become
more reliably Democratic in presidential elections over the past
half-century, while middle- and upper-income white voters have trended
Republican. Low-income whites have become less Democratic in their
partisan identifications, but at a slower rate than more affluent whites -
and that trend is entirely confined to the South, where Democratic
identification was artificially inflated by the one-party system of the
Jim Crow era.

. Has the white working class become more conservative? No. The average
views of low-income whites have remained virtually unchanged over the past
30 years. (A pro-choice shift on abortion in the 1970s and '80s has been
partially reversed since the early 1990s.) Their positions relative to
more affluent white voters - generally less liberal on social issues and
less conservative on economic issues - have also remained virtually
unchanged.

. Do working class "moral values" trump economics? No. Social issues
(including abortion) are less strongly related to party identification and
presidential votes than economic issues are, and that is even more true
for whites in the bottom third of the income distribution than for more
affluent whites. Moreover, while social issue preferences have become more
strongly related to presidential votes among middle- and high-income
whites, there is no evidence of a corresponding trend among low-income
whites. Bartels agrees with Jeffrey Stonecash, who argues in Class and
Party in American Politics that "less-affluent whites have not moved away
from the Democratic Party and that class divisions have not declined in
American politics." Stonecash and Bartels attribute growing Republican
dominance in its ability to attract middle- and upper-income voters
exclusively. When Bartels finally turns to the empirical data, he is quite
convincing.

Through a series of graphs, he demonstrates that the working class - as he
defines it - retains an allegiance to the Democratic Party:

[F]rom 1976 through 2004 there is a strong and fairly consistent income
gradient evident in the presidential voting behavior of white Americans.
Averaging over the eight presidential elections of this period, whites in
the bottom third of the income distribution cast 51% of their votes for
Democrats, as compared with 44% of middle-income whites and 37% of
upper-income whites. The gap in Democratic support between upper-income
whites and lower-income whites thus increased from 4% in the earlier
period to 14% after 1976.  The 2004 election was, as it happens, quite
consistent with the pattern since 1976: John Kerry received 50% of the
two-party vote among whites in the lower third of the income distribution
and 39% among those in the upper third of the income distribution - a
difference of 11%.

While it is of course some consolation to discover that workers still
retain an element of rationality in their voting decisions, there is
really not that much in Bartels's findings to support the notion that the
reactionary sea-change in American politics can be reversed through
business as usual. To start with, Bartels's definition of class suggests
that once a worker achieves a certain income level, we might very well
expect them to vote for Bourbons like Reagan or the Bushes as a "rational
choice." In keeping with bourgeois social science, Bartels defines class
in terms of income. In his eyes, if you are in the lower third of the
income scale, you are a worker. This implies that if you are a highly paid
auto worker, you might logically be expected to vote Republican. If a
Democratic Party politician cannot appeal to a worker's more fundamental
class interests in terms of their relationship to the means of production,
then of course they will continue to lose support. There was dramatic
evidence of this when Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, who
certainly would not be a part of the working class according to Bartels's
definition. When this attack on the labor movement occurred, the Democrats
were either in full support of the Hollywood reactionary or offered only
token resistance. It was that attack that set the agenda for labor
relations for the next 24 years in fact.

The fundamental assumption in Frank's argument (and Bartels's for that
matter) is that the Democrats can adopt or re-adopt a progressive economic
agenda in the way, for example, that NBC can increase the number of
"reality" shows for the Fall season or the New York Yankees can rely on
its farm teams for new players rather than the free agent market. In
reality the Democrats eschew economic populism because they are a
bourgeois party operating under conditions of increasing global
competition, not because they are psychologically addicted to losing or
some such thing.

The same kind of consensus exists between Republicans and Democrats on
economic issues that existed over how to confront the Soviet Union
following WWII. With the full recovery of Germany and Japan in the 1960s,
the USA was forced to slash away at the welfare state and to attack trade
unions. The pace of the Democrats in this head-long march is somewhat
slower than that of the Republicans but it is driven by the same
imperatives.

As Robert Pollin explained in a Counterpunch article on the weekend of
October 18-19, 2003, the goal of the Clinton administration was to
increase worker insecurity so as to enforce wage austerity. By making
workers accept lower wages and unpaid overtime, American corporations can
sell goods at lower prices than their European competitors. This in turn
forces the European social democrats to impose the same sort of austerity
regime on the trade unions. Key to understanding the bipartisan nature of
this assault is the presence of Alan Greenspan, an Ayn Rand acolyte, in
the post of Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Pollin writes:

Greenspan openly acknowledged his "traumatized worker" explanation for the
dampening of inflationary pressures in his regular semi-annual testimony
to Congress in July 1997. Saluting the economy's performance that year as
"extraordinary" and "exceptional," he remarked that a major factor
contributing to its outstanding achievement was "a heightened sense of job
insecurity and, as a consequence, subdued wages."

During her stint as a Federal Reserve Governor, Janet Yellen, co-author of
The Fabulous Decade, reached similar conclusions as to the sources of
declining inflationary pressures at low unemployment, reporting to Fed's
Open Market Committee on September 24, 1996 that "while the labor market
is tight, job insecurity also seems alive and well. Real wage aspirations
appear modest, and the bargaining power of workers is surprisingly low."
As we have seen, these facts of declining bargaining power for workers did
not deter Prof. Yellen from nevertheless concluding that the overall
economic performance in the 1990s was "fabulous."

With this "hard cop/soft cop" assault on the poor worker, it is no
surprise that many of them in effect choose "none of the above" on
Election Day.

These are the subjects of Thomas E. Patterson's The Vanishing Voters. In
an article on the History News Network, Patterson describes the trend set
forth at greater length in his book:

[T]he period from 1960 to 2000 marks the longest ebb in turnout in US
history. Turnout was nearly 65 percent of the adult population in the 1960
presidential election and stood at only 51 percent in 2000. In 2002,
turnout was 39 percent in the November election and a mere 18 percent in
the congressional primaries.

Fewer voters are not the only sign of the public's waning interest in
political campaigns. In 1960, 60 percent of the nation's television
households had their sets on and tuned to the October presidential
debates. In 2000, fewer than 30 percent were tuned in.

Patterson is quite astute at pointing out why Democrats have borne the
brunt of voter apathy. By forsaking their New Deal legacy, they provide
little motivation for workers to come out on Election Day.

The voting rate among those at the bottom of the income ladder is only
half that of those at the top. During the era of the economic issue,
working-class Americans were at the center of political debate and party
conflict. They now occupy the periphery of a political world in which
money and middle-class concerns are ascendant. In 2000, low-income
respondents were roughly 30 percent more likely than those in the middle-
or top-income groups to say the election's outcome would have little or no
impact on their lives.

Despite the refusal of the Democratic Party to run candidates who embrace
working-class issues, there are still powerful inertial forces on the left
that call for backing whoever they nominate in 2008, including the
wretched Hillary Clinton. The logic will be the same as it was in 2004. If
the Republican candidate is drawn from the same homophobic, labor-hating,
and racist pool as voters have become accustomed to, we will find
hysterical calls once again to keep the White House off his hands.

This time around, as the left puts forward an alternative to the donkey
and the elephant, we should find Bartels's findings useful. Despite his
obvious predilection for the Democratic Party, his research points in a
more radical direction. Despite all the claims about workers not
understanding their class interests, there are still signs that they favor
candidates who have traditionally been associated with the welfare state,
trade unions, racial justice, etc. Our job is to point out that their
votes are being wasted and to create a new party that views such matters
as more than election campaign rhetoric. With continuing attacks on Social
Security, rising energy prices, the growth of religious obscurantism and
an intractable war in Iraq, that should be easier than ever.


--------15 of 15--------

 When they rolled aside
 the rock for Jesus, George Bush
 was underneath it.

 Jesus Christ! they yelled,
 go back and come again! And next
 time don't bring the snake!


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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