|Progressive Calendar 03.07.06||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 05:19:44 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 03.07.06 caucus edition 1. Dave Berger for State Auditor, GP 2. Jay Pond for US House CD5(Hennepin) 3. Caucus/web/resolutions 4. Single-payer health resolution 5. Stadium resolution 6. Clean indoor air resolution 7. Coldwater spring resolution 8. ed - Caucus party guide in 2 easy questions 9. Green Left Weekly - Venezuela: creating socialism in this century 10. Fischer-Hoffman - Venezuelan women lead social change 11. ed - The worst of early re/pre --------1 of 11-------- Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 00:14:03 -0600 From: "Berger, Dave" <dberger [at] inverhills.mnscu.edu> Subject: Dave Berger for State Auditor, GP Dave Berger has announced that he will be seeking Green Party endorsement for Minnesota State Auditor. Berger was the endorsed Green Party candidate for State Auditor in 2002. That year he garnered nearly 4 percent of the vote which was the highest percentage received by a state-wide Green Party candidate during that election cycle. Berger is an instructor of sociology at Inver Hills Community College. Information on Berger's campaign can be found at www.daveberger.org and www.berger4auditor.org When asked why he was running for this office, Berger stated, "Like most people who run for office, I feel I would do a good job in the position I am running for. In addition, I am fighting for the right for the Green Party to exist as an option in this state. We need a good showing in a state-wide race if we are to remain a viable political choice in the future in Minnesota." --------2 of 11-------- ed Jay Pond for US House CD5 Hennepin At a recent Green Party meeting, Jay Pond announced his candidacy for US House CD5(Hennepin). The incumbent is many-term DFLer Martin Sabo. Sabo is being challenged inside the DFL by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, who replied to a question from Jay Pond, that, of course, he would "honor the endorsement" - meaning, if he does not win endorsement against incumbent Sabo, he will not run against him, and perhaps endorse him publicly (as the DFL is likely to demand as a condition for N-P being considered at all). If all goes as the DFL hacks would like (and probably have long planned), Sabo will be endorsed, and N-P will ask his supporters to support Sabo. A sad but all-too predictable end. (Remember when Kucinich endorsed Kerry?) To me this shows that 1) N-P has let himself be used, 2) "honoring the DFL endorsement" is a poison pill for any anti-war reformer, and 3) a lot of anti-war activists have wasted good time they could have spent on issues, or working for candidates in an independent (eg Green) party. Fortunately, rather than to be bait-and-swtiched to Sabo, progressive anti-war supporters now have Jay Pond (GP) to work for. More from him soon. --------3 of 11-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Caucus/web/resolutions FIRST, to find your precinct caucus location, go to www.mngreens.org or 612-487-9700 (Greens) www.dflcaucuses.org or 651-293-1200 (Democrats) www.mnip.org or 651-487-9700 (Independents) www.gop-mn.org or 651-222-0022 (Republicans) Tuesday, 3/7, 7 pm, RESOLUTIONS for the precinct caucuses. Many worthy organizations have prepared model resolutions which you might introduce at your precinct. For one on immigration, go to www.americas.org. For Peace First!, go to www.peaceintheprecincts.org. For universal health care, check out www.uhcan-mn.org. Against torture, click on http://ga3.org/ct/_1AaO061dztQ/ For Department of Peace, modify the Berkeley resolution from www.thepeacealliance.org/resolutions/berkeley.htm (You get the idea.) Get it written out on your party's official forms (see party websites above). --------4 of 11-------- From: joel michael albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org> Subject: Single-payer health resolution Single-payer Health Care Resolution Precinct Caucuses 2006: Whereas the U.S. (and MN) has the most expensive health care system in the world in terms of absolute costs, per capita costs, and percentage of gross domestic product, Whereas despite being first in spending the World Health Organization has ranked the U.S. 37th among all nations in terms of meeting the needs of its people, Whereas 45 million Americans (and MNs), including 8 million children, are uninsured with tens of millions more inadequately insured, Whereas racial, income, and ethnic disparities in access to care threaten communities across the country, particularly communities of color, Whereas dollars that could be spent on health care are being used for administrative costs instead of patient needs, Whereas any health care reform must ensure that health care providers and practitioners are able to provide patients with the quality care they need: Now, therefore, be it resolved that our caucus, _______________________, endorses implementation of a universal single-payer health care system for the United States and Minnesota. ref: Minnesota Universal Health Care Action Network. Universal Single-payer definition: Publicly financed (replaces private premiums with public taxes), publicly administered (by one government payer), social insurance (everybody in, nobody out) health care system that's Privately practiced (not socialized medicine). --------5 of 11-------- From: Dann Dobson <dddobson1 [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Stadium resolution WHEREAS, the owners of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings propose to use public tax dollars to build separate new sports stadiums costing hundreds of millions of dollars; and WHEREAS, the owners of the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings want to use sales tax increases as the funding source for their new stadiums; and WHEREAS, Minnesota statute 297A.99 Local Sales Tax Subdivision 3A requires approval by voters of local sales tax increases; and WHEREAS statewide surveys have consistently shown that a vast majority of Minnesota citizens support the requirement of a referendum for local sales tax increases; NOW THEREFORE be it resolved that if any professional stadium or ballpark is to be funded by a local sales tax increase, such sales tax increase shall require a voter referendum as required by Minnesota state law. -- Dann Dobson No Stadium Tax Coalition Summit Hill - Saint Paul dddobson1 [at] yahoo.com --------6 of 11-------- From: Jeanne Weigum <jw [at] ansrmn.org> To: SPIF <stpaul-issues [at] forums.e-democracy.org> Subject: Clean indoor air resolution A Resolution encouraging the _________Party of Minnesota's Platform to include support for a comprehensive state law protecting all workers from secondhand smoke. WHEREAS, secondhand smoke kills at least 38,000 Americans die every year from cardiovascular disease and lung cancer; and WHEREAS, work sites and public places are locations where both members of the community and employees of those establishments are exposed to secondhand smoke, and WHERE AS, Minnesota law protects most workers from secondhand smoke, and WHERE AS, restaurant and bar workers are among the most exposed, most vulnerable, least likely to have health insurance and least protected from secondhand smoke in the workplace, and WHERE AS, only one third of the states population is protected from secondhand smoke in bars and restaurants by local ordinances, BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the _____ party supports Minnesota's Freedom to Breathe Act ensuring that all work places, including bars and restaurants, become smoke free and include this support as an Action Agenda Item in the ____on going platform. --------7 of 11-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Coldwater spring resolution Coldwater Spring Resolution Minnesota Political Caucus Tuesday, March 7, 2006 Whereas historic Coldwater Spring is the last spring of size in Minneapolis, flowing at 100,000-gallons per day, (1) and Whereas Coldwater Spring is on the National Register of Historic Places, is where the soldiers lived who built Fort Snelling, and is called the Birthplace of Minnesota, and Whereas the Mendota Dakota Community formally requested a "conservation easement" for the entire 27-acre Coldwater campus "in perpetuity" to protect land considered "forever sacred" and "forever neutral" by Dakota, Ojibwa and other Native peoples, (2) and Whereas legislation and resolutions to protect the flow of water to Coldwater have been passed by the Minnesota Legislature, the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and the American Indian Movement, (3) Therefore be it resolved that the 27-acre Coldwater campus located between Minnehaha Regional Park and Fort Snelling State Park be returned to open green space, and be preserved and protected for the future. (4) (Please see notes on reverse.) NOTES: Coldwater Spring Resolution (1) "Last spring of size": The Great Medicine Spring in Theodore Wirth Park was permanently dewatered in the late 1980s (along with nearby Glenwood Spring) by MnDOT construction of I-394 west out of Minneapolis. Coldwater's flow comes out of limestone bedrock. The Frederick Miller Spring (off 212, by Lion's Tap in Eden Prairie) comes out of a pipe beside Spring Road. (2) Request made on August 28, 2000, to the National Park Service by Linda Brown, Administrative Assistant for the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community. In court-ordered testimony on March 19, 1999, Ojibwa spiritual elder Eddie Benton Benais from north central Wisconsin said: "My grandfather told how he and his family, he as a small boy traveled by foot, by horse, by canoe, to this great place to where there would be these great religious, spiritual events. And that they always camped between the falls and the sacred water place (Coldwater Spring)..We know that the falls which came to be known as Minnehaha Falls, was a sacred place, was a neutral place.and that the people (Dakota, Ojibwa, Sauk, Fox) all having used and recognizing and mutually agreeing that that is forever a neutral place and forever a sacred place." (3) The Coldwater protection bill was signed into law by Gov. Jesse Ventura, May 15, 2001. MnDOT proposed legislation to repeal the protection on February 7, 2002, at the beginning of the next legislative session. A series of resolutions to maintain Coldwater protections soon passed. The City of Minneapolis resolution passed February 15, 2002. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board resolution passed March 3, 2002. The American Indian Movement resolution passed February 17, 2002. (4) Coldwater has been federal land since the 1805 Dakota-Pike treaty. Until 1920 Coldwater furnished water to Fort Snelling-and then became parkland. Between 1959 and 1996 the Coldwater campus was used by the U.S. Bureau of Mines as a Cold War metallurgy and mining research facility. Since 1996 the office buildings have been abandoned and are degraded with asbestos and mold. Some of the 4 warehouses and garages are used by various agencies. The National Park Service agreed to sell the Coldwater campus for $6-million to the airport for parking and storage space. The deal fell through after 9/11. Congressman Martin Sabo secured a $750,000 appropriation in 2003 to determine the "disposition" of this Mississippi bluff-top parcel. The fate of the spring and surrounding land should be announced by the end of 2006. At the time of European settlement, 1820, the area was a prairie-edge, burr oak savanna. Currently eagles, hawks, owls, foxes, deer, coyotes, rabbits and a symphony of birds and insects live around the spring. FFI: Friends of Coldwater www.friendsofcoldwater.org --------8 of 11-------- ed Caucus party guide in 2 easy questions 1) Do you have a heart (yes, no) If NO, caucus Republican. If YES, 2) is your heart Green? (yes, no) If YES, caucus Green If NO, caucus DFL If no answer, caucus Independent ---------9 of 11-------- Venezuela: Creating Socialism in this Century Green Left Weekly - February 22, 2006 http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2006/657/657p12.htm Long-time Venezuelan activist and deputy to the Latin American Parliament Carolus Wimmer will be touring Australia in late February-early March, hosted by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. Green Left Weekly's Jim McIlroy and Coral Wynter interviewed Wimmer in Caracas about the challenges facing Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution. Wimmer has been a member of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) since 1971 and is the party's international relations secretary. He is the founding director of the journal Debate Abierto (Open Debate) and produces several radio programs on Venezuela's state-run National Radio. Green Left Weekly: What is your opinion of the present stage of the revolutionary process in Venezuela? Carolus Wimmer: The process has gone forward in very many important areas in the last few years. We have to remember that it is a political struggle. We still have a capitalist system - we don't have the illusion that we are yet living in the "socialism of the 21st century". That's the future. But President Hugo Chavez has demonstrated that he wants to change important parts of the system, and this may be the first step in a transition to a post-capitalist system. There is a deep, ongoing understanding that we must get rid of the capitalist system. To do that, we must be successful in implementing the social programs. There are five areas for revolutionary change: political, economic, social, territorial and international. In the political sphere, we have gone forward with the new constitution. It is very democratic, especially in regards to the rights of working people, rather than the upper class. We have had seven different elections, including the half-term recall referendum in 2004 - a remarkable demonstration of a new, more democratic system. Now, we have the struggle for participatory democracy. The aim is to give the people more rights and direct participation in the decision-making process. It's not enough just to ask for the people's opinion, and then still do whatever those in power want. At present, too many people in political positions are still thinking in the old way. This struggle for participatory democracy is now centred in the local municipal councils, where there is a real discussion and participation by the people. In future, we have to advance in the way candidates are selected. It's too centralised at present. The PCV now has eight members in the National Assembly (AN), including the second vice-president. But this is due to the close relationship between Chavez and the PCV. Previously, we were mostly excluded from the parliament. In the government coalition, the Movement for a Fifth Republic [MVR, Chavez's party] represents 90% of the voters - because it represents a vote for Chavez. Other parties included are Podemos, the PPT [Fatherland for All] and the PCV. The PCV has the most votes of these three, and for that reason is represented in the National Assembly, the Latin American Parliament and the Andean Parliament. There is now a special situation, because the opposition parties are not in parliament [after they boycotted the December AN elections]. It could be that they will not participate in the presidential elections, either. They have no chance, but will not admit it. They will probably go with abstention, and say: "We have 50-60% against Chavez!" We hope not, but it is possible they will boycott the election. GLW: Why was the voter turnout relatively low in the AN elections? CW: There are a number of different reasons. Many of the people support Chavez, but not the political parties. The PCV started two years ago to work with the organised popular movement. Last year, we said to the MVR that the popular organisations need to be represented at the round table of discussion and decision-making, but there is a typical vision of a strong ruling party that rules alone. This opinion is different to that of Chavez and most of the main leaders, however. The PCV ran in the elections for mayors and the AN, not with the parties, but in alliance with the social movements. It was important that we had a list of candidates including PCV members and members of the social movements. We had great success. We jumped from 50,000 to 150,000 votes. It changed the vision of our party. The PCV is an old, historic party, with a strong public image relating to our martyrs and our political prisoners, but a bit old-fashioned. This marks a new stage; these elections have allowed us to grow stronger. GLW: What is the chance of building a new party, or alliance, to unite the MVR and the other political parties and create a new leadership? CW: The future will show if this can happen. There is widespread agreement that we need it, but at the moment we do not propose a new party - we're not yet ready. A party needs a program, a more or less united ideological vision and a more or less agreed idea of a structure. And a lack of egoism. There are some important historical leaders, like the director of the newspaper Diario Vea, who have been arguing for a new party. But, in my opinion, any decision of the leaders to establish a new party without the involvement of the members will not be accepted unless it is fully discussed from the bottom to the top. On the other hand, there are great ideological differences. The MVR, for example, is a movement around Chavez, but it is not Chavez. He stands outside the party. There are even some right-wing people, originally from Democratic Action [AD] and COPEI, who are now in the MVR. Some members are just looking for jobs in the strongest government party. And if you are looking for a program of the MVR, you won't find it. It is very difficult to agree among the parties at present. We are looking for an alliance. It is important that we sit around the table to make common decisions, but right now there is no table. Widespread political discussion is essential. Also, it is not enough to make an alliance only for elections. Our objective is not just to have eight parliamentarians. GLW: What is the current state of the right-wing political opposition? CW: After the defeat of the coup in 2002, there was a great debate among the opposition as to who was to blame. This is a welcome change, as it has usually been the left who have been divided after defeats! The opposition forces have great ideological differences, and have nothing to offer their supporters. "Chavez must go!", they say. But, after him, what? There are different leaders, and it has been impossible to agree on a united opposition candidate for president. In 1998, the US forced them to present a united candidate, Salas Romer, but the right-wing parties would not accept him. Very few members of AD would accept the candidate from Primero Justicia, Julio Borges, for example. He is white, separated from the people, and is anti-women. GLW: Where does the middle class in Venezuela stand today? CW: Frustrated at home. They lost a lot of money through their small commercial businesses [during the oil boycott and bosses' lock-out of December 2002-February 2003 that aimed to destabilise the Chavez government]. They were forced to close for three months, vainly hoping that Chavez would disappear. Many of the leaders of the opposition are now in Miami. They are seen as "traitors". They cannot mobilise anybody. Carlos Ortega [the former head of the pro-boss "union" CTV and a leader of the 2002 failed coup] is now in prison, and does not receive any solidarity or support from anybody. Very few people in the middle class have changed their position. Politically, they will not agree with Chavez. But they will not go on a second adventure with the opposition. They are very divided and leaderless. The lack of organised opposition is a problem for Chavismo also. There are things that don't work in the system and there is still much corruption. At the big rally [on February 4, protesting US aggression against Venezuela] and on Alo Presidente [Chavez's weekly television show, on February 5], Chavez spoke about the corruption, the bureaucracy, and faults. GLW: What is the role of the social missions and the social movements, in putting mass pressure on the bureaucracy? CW: The major transition will begin in 2007. Before that there is great danger. If Chavez wins the December 2006 presidential election, the main discussion of socialism will begin then. It is a very difficult subject. Nobody knows what socialism is and previously people commonly thought of it as a bad thing. Chavez is not prepared to discuss it in detail at this stage. The US will try to use the issue of "socialism" to attack Chavez prior to the election. Venezuela faces a real danger from the US in this period. Next year, assuming Chavez wins the presidential election, the subject of socialism will be widely discussed. To build socialism in Venezuela is very difficult; it must be seen within the context of the economy of all of Latin America. Another danger in the lead-up to December is that [the employers' organisation] Fedecameras is trying to accommodate to this theme, saying, "Let's participate, let's build a better 'national socialism' to better exploit the workers". In this discussion of socialism, we need to stress the transformation of the state. The missions [which are providing health care, education, food and other basic needs to the poor majority] mean that the existing state apparatus is not working. For example, you have a huge ministry of education, with a minister who says he is a Chavista, with 100,000 employees, who are not going to work beyond 5pm. We can't just say to the people that we will have a five-year plan, and then we will show you the first results. Chavez needs to show results immediately. The existing ministries of education and housing don't show results. [The health mission] Barrio Adentro is the real ministry of health. The solution is class struggle. For us in the PCV, soon there must be a great explosion between the capitalists and their bureaucracy and the working class. At the moment, it is undercover. You don't have official representatives of the capitalist class operating. They are all working outside the country in the counter-revolution. This struggle will come, and we can't say for sure who will win. The US is also playing a key role in this battle. GLW: The US is currently bogged down in Iraq. What is it doing to confront Venezuela and the rising Latin American revolution in its own backyard? CW: Undoubtedly, the US has made many mistakes, but it is trying to control the whole world and can't do it. The US has shown that it is not able to construct, but it has the clear capacity to destroy. Chavez says it will be a 100-year war, but Venezuela knows that the major fight may come very soon. Chavez spoke of needing more arms, of the need for 1 million reservists to be ready. We hope it will not come soon, but the US cannot accept the Venezuelan revolution continuing for another seven years [another presidential term]. A great problem for us is Brazil. If Lula loses the presidential election in November - and the US will do everything to make sure he loses - it will be very hard for us. Latin America without Brazil is not the same. Although there have been many criticisms of Lula, if Lula loses, the difficulties for Venezuela would be very great. There are also many problems in Argentina. But without Lula and [Argentinian President Nestor] Kirchner, Venezuela would face severe pressures. We think that the experience of the April 2002 coup indicates that the Bush administration was not united in its approach to Venezuela. The State Department had one approach and the Pentagon another. A military solution is advocated by those interested primarily in the oil industry. Direct military intervention means exploitation of Venezuelan oil for the US. In his January 31 State of the Union address, President Bush said he will invest in new energy solutions, accepting that the US cannot resolve the energy crisis. The idea that he can take Iraqi oil for the US has failed completely. It would take some years for the US to build a political opposition in Venezuela. We don't believe they can do it. The other position is advocated by the CIA - assassination. The problem is that the US is not acting alone. There is Mossad, for example - the Israelis have interests here. There is also Colombia, the oil interests, the narco-traffickers. All would like to murder Chavez. It is a very dangerous situation. At the moment, a political solution is very far away for the US - it will not prevent Chavez from winning the Venezuelan elections. On the other hand, no-one knows what will happen if Chavez is eliminated. Maybe a revolution. At the moment, there are more opportunities for the revolution than two years ago. The social missions continue to grow stronger. But there are many challenges. There is the problem of corruption. And Chavez has promised many things that cannot yet be delivered, such as the resolution of the housing crisis. But, on the other hand, there is also the possibility that Latin America will change completely in our favour in the near future. GLW: Tell us about the relations between Cuba and Venezuela. CW: The relationship between Cuba and Venezuela is essential to the Venezuelan revolution and the close friendship between Chavez and [Cuban President] Fidel Castro is very important to this process. Many administrative problems can be solved at the highest level. To construct socialism we need the experience of the past. The missions were initiated by the Cubans, because Venezuelan professionals did not understand their importance. Through this international solidarity, the Cuban people are also creating a different future for themselves with Venezuelan help. Venezuelan oil helps Cuba, as do other products. We are engaged in bilateral assistance and we are working together to help other Latin American countries. Both Cuba and Venezuela are involved in Mision Milagro [Mission Miracle for operations on eyesight] in Bolivia. The literacy campaign will be transferred to other Latin American countries, with Cuban knowledge and Venezuelan personnel and finances. GLW: What is the importance of international solidarity for Venezuela? CW: In the end, the fight will be in our own countries. We must understand the aim of Che Guevara to create "Two, three, many Vietnams!" With the power of the US, and its massive destructive capacity, it's impossible to build socialism in one country. To give a concrete example, the 2002 coup was closely related to Iraq. The US thought it could rapidly control Venezuela, and then move on Iraq. People will struggle historically, but the outcomes will depend on the political detail. On the reverse side of the equation, the fact that the Iraq situation is so difficult for the US has benefited Venezuela. The most important thing for international solidarity is that there is a struggle in your own countries against neoliberalism and globalisation so that your own governments are preoccupied with these struggles. The role of the international media is important. For example, we don't find out what is happening in Australia through the normal media outlets. We get a false image of the fight inside these countries. We need newspapers like Green Left Weekly to get a true picture. The brigades are important to international solidarity. It would be good to bring a group of doctors and other professional people to see the reality of Venezuela. In this digital world, the important thing is direct human communication. For the left, it is very important to discuss the new examples here in Venezuela. Maybe you can't export the idea of the missions, or maybe you can. For us in the world left, it is important to discuss the Bolivarian revolution and the idea of socialism in this century. In Latin America, after the historic defeats, we thought it was impossible to do anything against the dominant capitalist system. But now we can see it is possible. Promotion of solidarity is very important, with the exchange of visits, and direct personal communication and theoretical discussion. This is how we can advance international solidarity from both sides. [Perhaps, given the importance of Latin America for a humane future, we should be happy the US has its hands tied in Iraq. Unfortunately, before we get rid of them, the ruling class will kill a lot of people. It's what they do best. -ed] --------10 of 11-------- Venezuela Leads the Way: Welfare Mothers and Grassroots Women Are the Workers for Social Change! by Cory Fischer-Hoffman MR Zine (Monthly Review online supplement) - February 15, 2006 http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/cfh150206.html There is screaming, hugging, chanting, and many shhhs; the group takes a momentary pause in their celebration to hear the news. A delegation of 70 women from all over the world, including, India, Uganda, Guyana, the UK, and the US, stand together in the community of La Padera, Venezuela, awaiting the details. Juanita Romero, also known as Madre, explains that President Hugo Chávez has just given the news that we have all been waiting for: the implementation of Article 88 of Venezuela's Bolivarian Constitution. This diverse group, which makes up the Global Women's Strike, has been visiting the grassroots projects that are the foundation of the Bolivarian Revolution. After three exhausting days of visiting medical clinics, land committees, food program houses, and educational missions, the Global Women's Strike has been strongly impressed that it is the grassroots women who are building this process. "Women are the ones that are leading the projects. They are always there and they are always the majority," says Nicola Marcos from Guyana. The Global Women's Strike was formed to win economic and social recognition for unwaged caring work. Since the addition of Article 88 in the Bolivarian Constitution (1999), the Global Women's Strike has built many relationships with grassroots communities in Venezuela. Article 88 declares: "The State guarantees equality and equity between men and women in the exercise of their right to work. The State recognizes work in the home as an economic activity that creates added values and produces social welfare and wealth. Housewives are entitled to Social Security." The Global Women's Strike has consistently commended the inclusion of Article 88 in the Bolivarian Constitution. While participating in numerous Venezuelan Solidarity groups, and criticizing the United State's attempts to destabilize the process, the Global Women's Strike has been also pushing for the implementation of Article 88. Due to the persistence of Nora Castańeda of the Women's Development Bank, and the grassroots women of Venezuela, Article 88 will be realized. Coinciding with the Global Women's Strike highly publicized delegation, Chávez announced that this unprecedented right would be implemented On February 2nd, in a speech delivered in the Teresa Careńo theater in Caracas, Hugo Chávez proclaimed that, on the first of May, International Worker's Day, 100,000 Venezuelan female heads of households would receive 380,000 Venezuelan Bolivares per month ($185). This is about eighty percent of the Venezuelan minimum wage. In the following six months, another 100,000 women will begin to receive payments in recognition of their work. "Caring for others is accomplished by a dazzling array of skills in an endless variety of circumstances. As well as cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundering, planting, tending, harvesting for others, women comfort and guide, nurse and teach, arrange and advise, discipline and encourage, fight for and pacify. Taxing and exhausting under any circumstances, this service work, this emotional housework, is done both outside and inside the home." says Selma James, international coordinator of the Global Women's Strike. It is not only the work in the home, but it is also the caring work in the community that serves as the base of the Bolivarian Revolution. In the community of Los Teques, like so many others, this vital work is overwhelmingly led by women. President Hugo Chávez has claimed that he will "eliminate poverty by giving power to the poor"; in Los Teques, a city that is both rich and poor, urban and rural, the poor are not waiting to be given the power -- they are taking it. In a poor barrio where many of the community members have squatted their land, the nurses and doctors of the San Juan Evangelista Health Clinic describe the free preventative, curative, and rehabilitative health care that they provide to the community. The Clinic is part of the Barrio Adentro Healthcare Mission, where Venezuelan and Cuban doctors live in the communities in which they serve and provide free healthcare to some of the poorest in Venezuela. San Juan Evangelista Health Clinic serves 400 families and works in close collaboration with the health committee, one of the many community committees that have formed to assure that government programs and missions reach the grassroots and that the community members play a role in shaping them. The Health committee includes nurses and doctors who work in the clinic in addition to community members, mostly women, who do the unwaged community work. One of the nurses from the San Juan Evangelista Health Clinic shared, "I am in the health committee, the land committee, and I am the spokesperson for my community; people trust me. I do all of this work as social work, without receiving any wage." Sharon Lungo, an activist from Los Angeles who participated in the Global Women's Strike's delegation noted, how in Venezuela, the focus is on building and "addressing the injustices by building the alternatives." At the bottom of a steep hill, Sylvia Gonzales Rodriguez met the 70 women from the Strike with a big smile. She is in charge of the "food house" which feeds 150 people in the community: mostly people who are unemployed, have drug addictions, are pregnant and nursing women. She works with four other women preparing hot food from scratch with the staples she receives from the state subsidized food program called MERCAL. "There are other food programs that are not involved in the revolutionary project, which give food to children. We ensure that the whole family eats, not just the children," says Sylvia. This food kitchen is an integral part of all of the other Missions. If there are children or parents who receive food and have never learned how to read and write, they are integrated into the Educational Missions. If there are unemployed people who lack certain skills, they are integrated into Vuelvan Caras, the mission that provides job training to establish cooperatives. "This is the basis of the [Bolivarian] process, that you learn by doing." Sylvia added. In addition to mothering three children and running the "food house," Sylvia is a midwife; she receives no wages for her work, which is so essential to taking care of her family and community. In every project it was consistent: women were working to maintain the Revolution. We asked many of the women how they sustained themselves. Some women were married and shared in the low wages of their husbands; others worked in the informal economy, selling food or doing domestic work. Most of the women were forced to obtain some waged work so that they could support their unwaged caring work. We had walked along train tracks that were two centuries old, until we arrived in the small barrio of La Pradera. Standing in front of another shiny new Barrio Adentro Clinic, an ecstatic Venezuelan woman shared with the group that Chávez had just announced that female heads of households would begin to receive a payment in recognition of their work, beginning on May 1st. Everyone began to cheer shouts of Victory; the implementation of Article 88 would set a precedent for which the Global Women's Strike and the women of Venezuela have been struggling for decades. A number of women in the community mentioned that they would be eligible for this payment, and one woman enthusiastically joked, "Now I will work with more love!" How Is Article 88 Different from Welfare in the United States? Welfare in the United States has not been designed to acknowledge and award the labor of mothering. It is based on the premise that work can only be done outside of the house and that women must enter the workforce in order to contribute to society. The US Welfare system, in fact, does not award women who work in the home with social security but rather gives mothers a small amount of cash assistance, while they are forced to search for paid work. The basic idea is that children who are born poor are innocent and deserve some basic support, but once they grow up and become mothers (or fathers) themselves, they have no "excuses" for being poor. Women who have worked in the Welfare Rights movement have protested the oppressive cycle that forces women to place their children into under-funded childcare and themselves into low-wage work; instead, they demand that the care that they provide for their children and communities be acknowledged, valued, and remunerated. Before Welfare Reform, AFDC (Assistance to Families with Dependent Children) provided some safety net for families in poverty, but, in many cases, it was not enough to live on. Then, in 1996, Welfare Reform passed under then President Bill Clinton, the son of a single mother who pledged to "change Welfare as we know it." Mothers lost their entitlement to benefits, with states administering welfare, slashing budgets, enforcing degrading and exploitative "work programs," inflicting strict sanctions, and in some cases establishing a lifetime time limit for receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). Mothers who have still access to benefits struggle harder to live on the insufficient cash assistance programs. Our lesson from Venezuela is that the very same women who are fighting for better schools, for health care and for community control of resources are the ones who become, out of their commitment to justice, to their families, and to their communities, the most important builders of the basis of a caring economy. Nora Castańeda, president of the Women's Development Bank in Venezuela, says, "The economy must be at the service of human beings, not human beings at the service of the economy. We are building an economy based on cooperation and mutual support, a caring economy. And since 70% of those who live in conditions of poverty in the world are women, economic changes must start with women." C.C. Campbell-Rock, a native of New Orleans, who was forced to leave her home on August 28, 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina, participated in the Strike Delegation to share about the efforts of the Hurricane Evacuee Council of the Bay Area (HECBA). When asked what lessons her time in Venezuela has brought her, she replied, "It appears that the Venezuelan grassroots are really getting their 40 acres and a mule, and we are still waiting, after 400 years." An exhausted Juanita Romero, who chairs the land committee and who has been arranging all of the logistics of this huge delegation, reminds us: "If we organize, nothing is impossible." Cory Fischer-Hoffman currently lives in Caracas, Venezuela, and she participated in the Global Women's Strike Delegation in February, 2006. She is a member of the Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition in Olympia, Washington. toplab [at] toplab.org http://www.toplab.org [Capitalism represents the settled interest of the ruling class. The only thing it wants from us is work, work that makes it richer. Our major interest in life is to be unceasing work, work more important than family love fulfilment sex friendship community art humanity. Sex and family are important in generating new supplies of workers, but it should stop there, while we all run off to work work work. We are seen as slaves were seen - of no intrinsic value, just tools or beasts to be manipulated used and discarded. Thus women in America are rewarded financially for work outside the home (where the rich can steal their cut), but not at all for service inside the home (no money for the rich in that, so to hell with it). Every natural human bond is to be cut, so the rich can replace each with their outstreched money-demanding hands. We are dehumanized, impoverished, depressed, squeezed, pushed down, blinded and deafened, by the millions, so the few can live as arrogant pigs. Life for us is as drab as the ruling class can make it. If we want a better life, we have to find out how they have done this to us, and put an end to it. -ed] --------11 of 11-------- The worst of early re/pre. So many places do "the best of". Justice would dictate equal time for "the worst of". The second-rate (or worse) stuff that someone brainstormed but didn't flush down the toilet. The clear signs that so-and-so really has a pretty mediocre brain/imagination/insight, and for god knows what reason just got lucky with a few best-of quality products. So here are the bits of film from off the cutting room floor, that show the editor is human all too human, just some guy with a little bit of luck now and then. Sigh. Preaction Response before the event Preal What real stuff is made of Prebell Rise up before they hurt you Prebuke Censure before the deed Precant Disavow before avowing Precapitualte Say it again, then say it Precent A bit before recent Preciprocal Get them before the equal and opposite reaction Precline Lean forward Precollect Remember the future Precruit Avoiding the military Pred Where red comes from Pred Cross Puts you in the hospital before you get sick Pred herring Diverts attention from the red herring Pred light Step on it Predact Cross out your words before you write them Pre-do Do it over, then do it Prefutation I don't like it, therefore it's false Pregattas Boat races before there were boats Pregret Sorrow before sin Prejuvinate Fix what ain't broke Premunerate Pay now, fly later Prenounce Give it up before you get it Preprisal Preemptive punishment ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments
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