Progressive Calendar 11.07.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2006 09:56:14 -0800 (PST)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R     11.07.06
                                VOTE
1. Vote/info           11.07
2. IRV/YES ChAmend 161 11.07
3. Green Party         11.07 8am/12noon
4. Colombia/SPNN       11.07 5pm
5. CO status           11.07 5:30pm
6. Election salon      11.07 6:30pm
7. Mortenson party     11.07 7pm?
8. Refuseniks          11.07 7:30pm
9. GP election party   11.07 8pm

10. Mn Daily excludes minor parties: more developments & comments
11. Alexander Cockburn - GOP should lose, Dems don't deserve to win
12. Jesse Hagopian     - Aaron Dixon: Black Panthers to the Green Party
13. ed                 - The last thing we want (poem)

--------1 of 13--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vote/info 11.07

Tuesday, 11/7, 7 am to 8 pm, GENERAL ELECTIONS; VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PEACE
CANDIDATE.  For polling places, go to: http://pollfinder.sos.state.mn.us/

---
From: wamm <wamm [at] mtn.org>
VOTE!!  To the End of the Ballot: Including Judges
Voting to the End of the Ballot: Casting Informed Votes in Judicial Races
Visit
<<http://ewomenwin [at] 
mnwpc.org/press/newsletter.cfm?NewsletterID=212>http://ewomenwin [at] 
mnwpc.org/press/newsletter.cfm?NewsletterID=212>.


--------2 of 13--------

From: tom [at] organicconsumers.org
Subject: IRV/YES ChAmend 161 11.07

Tuesday, November 7th there will be a charter amendment put forward to
voters in MPLS that I believe is more important than any other choice on
the ballot that day.

The citizans of MPLS have a chance to change the way we count our votes.
It is called Instant Runoff Voting or IRV.

I am sending this out because, much to my surprise, just a few days ago I
spoke with several folks in NE MPLS and NONE of them knew anything about
Charter Amendment 161.

IRV will remove "the spoiler" factor that is so often used against Third
Party candidates because it will allow a voter to rank the candidates in
the order of the voter's preference.  It also makes sure that who ever is
eleced recieves a MAJORITY ot the votes, 50% plus 1, not a plurity, which
is what Governor Pawlenty was elected with.

You can visit the local website for the amendment and learn more about IRV
by visiting www.betterballotcampaign.org

This seems like suce a no-brainer to me but was shocked to meet so many
folks that know nothing about it so Please DO spread the word and vote YES
on Charter Amendment 161 November 7th.

feel free to give me a call if you have any questions about IRV, Tom
Taylor 612-788-4252

--
From: Darrell Gerber <darrellgerber [at] earthlink.net>
From: Jeanne Massey

NEWS AND HOT TOPICS

1) Star Tribune Commentary gives boost to IRV campaign
Former Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser urges voters to Vote YES for Instant
Runoff Voting - Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 23rd.
"Don Fraser: Citizens, 'instant runoff' is a better way to vote"
http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/node/467

2) New endorsements
Field, Regina, Northrop Neighborhood Association and Armatage Neighborhood
Association have joined 10 other neighborhood associations in endorsing
Instant Runoff Voting for the City of Minneapolis. See full list of
endorsements at http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/BBC/endorsers.

3) IRV Flash Video
Better Ballot Campaign has a new flash video about the Minneapolis Instant
Runoff Voting campaign available here:
http://www.betterballotcampaign.org/BBC/video
It's an entertaining take on The Dating Game TV show that is also an easy
way to educate voters about why they should vote YES for Instant Runoff
Voting on November 7. Check it out, and forward to your friends and
neighbors.


--------3 of 13---------

From: Krisrose02 [at] aol.com
Subject: Green Party 11.07 8am/12noon

Go vote, then come help us Get out the Vote.

Greens will be out together reminding voters to get to the polls and Vote
Green. If you have the day, or part of the day open to helping us please
meet us at one of the following locations to help Get Out the Vote! Stop
in to pick up lit, and signs, and to join others in phone banking, lit
dropping, and visibility activities.

8am-12noon
Green Party of Minnesota  Office
621 West Lake Street Suite 205 (corner of Lake and  Lyndale)
Minneapolis, MN 55408

12noon-6pm
Kelly Inn - Prentiss Room
161 Saint Anthony Ave
Saint Paul, MN  55103-2362


-------4 of 13--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Colombia/SPNN 11.07 5pm

St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) viewers:

"Our World In Depth" airs at 5 pm and midnight each Tuesday and 10 am each
Wednesday on SPNN Channel 15.

11/07 and 11/08 "Plan Colombia: A War on the People" Interviews with
Anti-War Committee and Colombia Action Network members Katrina Plotz and
Erika Zurawski. Hosted by Eric Angell.

"Our World In Depth" features analysis of public affairs with
consideration of and participation from Twin Cities area activists.  The
show is (mostly) local and not corporately influenced! For information
about future programming of "Our World In Depth", please send an e-mail to
eric-angell [at] riseup.net.


--------5 of 13--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: CO status 11.07 5:30pm

Tuesday, 11/7, 5:30 to 8 pm, Vets for Peace classes to prepare families for
conscientious objector status, basement of St Stephens school building, 2123
Clinton Ave S, Mpls.  $10/family.  RSVP Kim at 612-721-6908.


-------6 fo 13--------

From: Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] earthlink.net>
Subject: Election salon 11.07 6:30pm

Tuesday's salon will be to to talk about the election and to watch some of
the returns on tv.  Then people can go on down to Black Dog or The Kelly
Inn to continue the watch.

Last week we did discuss the state constitutional amendment ballot
question on Transportation.  Before voting yes or no please read up on it.
There is a little discussion of pro and con on page VG9 of the Voter's
Guide that came w/Wednesday's paper.  Some think it would be best to leave
it up to the legislature to decide this and not have a constitutional
amendment.  So, you decide.

Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon )
are held (unless otherwise noted in advance):
Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Mad Hatter's Tea House,
943 W 7th, St Paul, MN

Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats.
Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information.


--------7 of 13--------

From: Andy Hamerlinck <iamandy [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Mortenson party 11.07 7pm?

Cahoots on Selby/Snelling is graciously hosting Jesse Mortenson's election
party tomorrow night. They'll be providing a tv, their space, and free
wi-fi. We ask that you please not bring any of your own beverages and say
thanks by ordering some coffee, tea, soda, or any of the other great food
and beverages there. We will have some snack food for everyone that comes
(provided by Jesse's mom).

Andy Hamerlinck
Treasurer, Jesse Mortenson for 64A


--------8 of 13--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Refuseniks 11.07 7:30pm

Tuesday, 11/7, 7:30 pm film "Refuseniks" about Israelis refusing military
service in occupation of Palestine, followed by discussion with labor
historian Peter Rachleff and others, Jack Pine Collective, 2815 E Lake St,
Mpls.  info [at] thejackpine.org


--------9 of 13-------

From: Krisrose02 [at] aol.com
Subject: GP election party 11.07 8pm

GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES GATHER FOR ELECTION DAY 2006

St. Paul** Green Party Candidates for Federal, State, and local office,
and Green Party supporters and volunteers, will gather at the Kelly Inn in
St.  Paul on election night, November 7, 2006 from 8:00 pm - 12:00 am to
celebrate and watch the returns come in.

The candidates will be available to meet and speak with the press.

The Green Party is founded on the values of Grassroots Democracy,
Non-Violence, Social and Economic Justice, and Ecological Wisdom.

Ken Pentel for Governor, Danene Provencher for Lieutenant Governor:
 _www.kenpentel.org_ (http://www.kenpentel.org)
Papa John Kolstad for  MN Attorney General : _www.papajohnkolstad.org_
 (http://www.papajohnkolstad.org)
Dave Berger  for State Auditor: _www.daveberger.org_
 (http://www.daveberger.org)
Michael Cavlan for US  Senate: _www.cavlan.org_ (http://www.cavlan.org)
Jay Pond for US  House 5th Congressional District: _www.jaypond.org_
 (http://www.jaypond.org)
Julie Risser for MN Senate:  _www.voterisser4senate.com_
 (http://www.voterisser4senate.com)
Jesse  Mortenson for MN House, Dist. 64A: _www.jessemortenson.com_
 (http://www.jessemortenson.com)
Farheen  Hakeem for Hennepin County Commissioner: _www.farheenhakeem.org_
 (http://www.farheenhakeem.org)

For more information on the Green Party candidates,  see:
 _www.mngreens.org/candidates_ (_http://www.mngreens.org/candidates_
(http://www.mngreens.org/candidates) )

For more information on the Green Party, see: _www.mngreens.org_
 (_http://www.mngreens.org_ (http://www.mngreens.org) )

Green Party of Minnesota Contact: Rhoda Gilman, Green Party of Minnesota
Politics Chair, (651) 224-6383


--------10 of 13--------

Mn Daily excludes minor parties - further developments & comments

--a--

Timothy R. Franzen Readers' Representative The Minnesota Daily wrote:
John,
I'm sorry, but I should have been more specific about our deadlines for
Monday's paper. Fran hadn't received anything from you by the time she
was starting to lay out the opinions page for Monday. So she didn't get
your opinion piece in-time. The deadlines for Monday's paper are much
earlier than any other day of the week, which I should've made clear.
However, In addition to my column explaining what happened, I am
publishing a letter to the editor from Cam Gordon that lists candidates'
information from the Green Party. I believe that this is sufficient.
Good luck in the election on Tuesday. Take care,

Tim Franzen Readers' Representative The Minnesota Daily Tel: 612-435-1989
tfranzen [at] mndaily.com


--b--

Date: Sun, 05 Nov 2006 17:40:52 -0600
From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com>
To: Timothy R. Franzen <tfranzen [at] mndaily.com>
Subject: Re: column Submission/ More disception

Sunday,  November 5, 2006

To Tim Franzen/MN Daily  (and Opinion Editor Fzerr)

My deep concern for the incompetence of the Daily and staff has just been
greatly increased.  I have worked on this piece for many hours, and
confered with others to get it down to the right length.  I have postponed
other work and returned from out of town early to complete this per your
instructions.  I did this after having several conversations with you and
Editor Anna Weggel.

If you can't get me in Monday's Daily because of misinformation you
provided me, then print it in Tuesday's paper.  I strongly disagree with
your statement that your article and Cam's are enough.  Cam is not running
for Office and has not been excluded from anything.  I have.

I don't know what you are planning to say, but I expect it will be a
self-serving marshmellow.

Therefore, I am submitting my piece here and now for inclusion in the
Tuesday edition.  It is frightening to experience the arrogance and
incompetence of the staff of the Daily.  The Daily has much power and
influence.  With power comes responsibility.  I see neither responsibility
nor professionalism from the Daily regarding your lapse of journalistic
ethics.  If you think there is nothing that we can do about your conduct,
then you are making another mistake.  $450,000 of student money will be up
for review and challenge.

I have cut and pasted my Opinion piece below the ******.

Papa John Kolstad  612/722-6649  &   612/321-2007 (h)

*********
MN Daily  Opionion Piece

November 3, 2006

The Voter's Guide printed by the MN Daily November 1 is a highly
disturbing document involving discrimination, bias and prior censorship.
One would hope a University newspaper would insist on providing students a
complete overview of choices in the coming election.  However, the Daily
has deliberately excluded an entire segment of the candidates legally on
the ballot in Minnesota, in essence cutting them off from consideration by
thoughtful University voters.

The Daily included only the "major parties", meaning the DFL, GOP and
Independence Party.  They specifically excluded all Green Party candidates
and other candidates.  The Daily Editor, Anna Weggel, told me they have a
First Amendment right to do this, but, assuming she is correct, this does
not address the ethical and political questions that arise. The Daily
failed in their fundamental responsibility -- to inform their readers.
This exclusion of legitimate candidates from your Voter's Guide
demonstrates contempt for your readers and a total disregard for the
concept of free and open elections.

State law sets the requirements for how a candidate must qualify to be on
the ballot.  For the Daily to choose only some of these qualified
candidates and not others is selective and presumptuous. It is unethical
because your readers will be lead to believe that these are their choices.
It is dishonest because you do not reveal that the list of candidates is
incomplete. This also constitutes interference with this election, which
is beyond unethical and is un-American.

The irony is that students are being crushed by dramatic tuition increases
and the people included in the Guide, the DFL and GOP, are those
responsible.  The Greens, who were excluded, have strongly advocated
reduction of student tuition

The Daily has a great deal of automony, which is good.  However, the Daily
owes its existence to the publicly supported University.  Though the Daily
generates much of its own revenue, it is not a free-standing business and
it does get over $450,000 from student fees every year -- so the Daily
should live up to at least some minimum standard of journalistic ethics
and conduct.

The Editor has made it is clear that this exclusion was a conscious
decision and therefore the Daily deliberately harmed candidates legally
and legitimately on the ballot, as well as voters expecting a
comprehensive listing of ballot candidates.

I asked the Editor of the Daily to rectify their error and print the names
of the candidates excluded with an explanation of the oversight. The
Editor refused.  I do wonder if the arrogance, biased and unethical
actions of the Daily editor and staff are a reflection of the failure of
the School of Journalism, the Daily Advisors, the University in general or
if the Daily has been taken over by renegade, antidemocratic students.

The very reason for the First Amendment is to provide a safe avenue for
political reporting, that the electorate always be informed. The Daily has
abandoned that sacred responsibility.

I am a proud graduate of the U of M - '66 and have always respected the MN
Daily.  At one time I thought the Daily was the best daily newspaper in
town. As an Alumni and Green Party Candidate for Attorney General I am
shocked by the flagrant disregard for fairness and balance by the Daily
that are the hallmark of journalistic ethics.  This week's outrageous
blunder and the response of the Daily management demands that a serious
review of the Daily's ethics, standards, procedures and professionalism be
undertaken immediately by the proper authority.  Students need to ask
whether they want their student fees to contribute to half truths.  If
students want to be badly informed, they can watch Fox News for free.

Sincerely,
Papa John Kolstad  University of Minnesota  '66
President, Mill City Music
Candidate for Minnesota Attorney General -


--c--

Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 17:42:27 -0600
From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com>
Subject: RE:  Daily Reader Rep Makes things worse.

Below is the response of the Readers Rep.  It is interesting that other
than Cam the DAily has not printed what the actual objections were. Again,
the Staff of the Daily are lying.  The Greens have been consistent that
everyone on the ballot be included.  He states that the Greens only wanted
the Greens on the ballot.  This insipid fool continues to defend their
outrageous breech of fundamental journalism.

I had several discussion with each of these people.  Consistently I stated
that the voters guide should contain all who are legally on the ballot.
Can this Franzen really be such a fool as to not be able to distinguished
what inclusion means?  If this is a sample of our future then we are in
worse condition than even I had feared.

John Kolstad

******
[by Tim Franzen]
Intending to inform the voters, the Daily's staff has received some
very harsh and unwarranted criticism.

In the first Daily of the month, the policy desk in the newsroom
published an election guide.

People have been flooding Jim Hammerand, the policy desk editor, and
Anna Weggel, the editor in chief, with angry e-mails and phone calls.
Most of these have been in regards to the exclusion of the Green Party.

Some people are outraged at the "undemocratic behavior" the Daily
exhibited by excluding a former major party from its discussion of
candidates.

The rhetoric is compelling. Third-party candidates often represent a
vote of change to the entrenched political parties.

They operate without millions of dollars and outside of the media
spotlight thrust upon Democrats and Republicans.

All they want is some attention, and if candidates are on the ballot,
the voters should know something about all of them.

The election guide was published with the intent to inform voters to the
best of the staff's ability about the candidates' real positions on issues.

But the Daily is a completely student-run newspaper. It lacks the staff
and the resources necessary to cover every political candidate in a
meaningful way.

The Daily's staff had a choice: Inform the public about all the
political candidates superficially or exclude some parties in order to
cover some of the candidates better.

It was quantity vs. quality, and the editors chose quality. The editors
decided to cover only major political parties and exclude all minor
parties.

The major political parties in Minnesota are currently the Republican
Party, the DFL Party and the Independence Party. Majority status is
given to parties that fulfill certain obligations, one of which is that
the party must have received at least 5 percent of the vote in the
previous election.

Minor parties include the Green Party, the Constitution Party, the Quit
Raising Taxes Party, the American Party and more.

To include the Green Party and exclude any other party with candidates
would not be fair.

It would elevate the Green Party above the other minority parties for no
legitimate reason.

Some have pointed out that the two major Twin Cities newspapers both
included many third-party candidates in their election guides. But these
critics should know we simply can't compare to the resources of the
major metropolitan newspapers.

The Star Tribune was able to publish a 60-page voters' guide and the
Daily published a 10-pager. While the full-time Star Tribune staff was
putting together its voters' guide, many of our part-time reporters were
sitting in classes.

The Daily staff recognized its limitations. So the newsroom here tried
to deliver something you couldn't get in the other papers.

The Daily's election guide featured interviews with candidates.
Reporters actually spoke with the people, asked targeted questions and
received real answers.

The Star Tribune published 100-word essays submitted by the candidates.
In this way, the Daily's election guide was far superior to the other
papers' election guides. What the guide lacked in breadth, it made up
for in its depth.

While it is unfortunate that the Daily could not cover every political
party, the Daily acted in a completely fair way. Democracy was served
with the Daily's election guide, not tarnished.

I encourage everyone to visit www.politics1.com/mn.htm and get some
information on the third-party candidates that the Daily was unable to
feature.

Tim Franzen is the Reader's Representative.


--d--

Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 18:53:58 -0600
From: John Kolstad <jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com>

I was pleased to hear from Frances Zerr, who does the opinion pieces
for the MN Daily, who told me that my piece expressing horror with the
Daily's Voter Guide would be printed Tuesday, November 7, 2006. A little
late, but better than on the 8th.
JK

Date: Sun, 5 Nov 2006 17:59:53 -0600
From: "Frances A. Zerr" <fzerr [at] mndaily.com>

Thanks for your submission. It will run on Tuesday. Let me know if you
come across any changes to be made, I'll be sending it through production
tomorrow around 330.


--e--

From: John Kolstad <mailto:jkolstad [at] millcitymusic.com>
[comment]
This has been a painful and frightening experience.  Any one who believes
that we still have fair and open elections in America is living in an
illusion.  I don't know who has done it and specifically for whose
benefit, but some how, every media outlet and every debate spontaneously
created the exact very same criterion for any inclusion.  This criterion
had absolutely nothing to do with the candidates creditials, experience,
ability, strength or weakness of issues or qualifications for the office
sought.  No, it was ridgidly based on the results of an election 4 years
ago.  This election is being managed, controlled and manipulated.  I
understand the Major commercial newspapers and the Very Corporate MPR ( we
call it Major Party Radio) have to please their corporate clients and
stock holders, but how do you explain The MN Daily, funded by student
money?

--end of Kolstad et al--


--f--

Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 17:38:33 -0600
From: "Nancy Catlin" <emmett001 [at] centurytel.net>

Sent to Jhammer at Minn Daily:

Sir:

I am shocked at the lack of professional journalism in The Daily's
"Election Guide 2006". To deliberately exclude any candidates from a
listing that is purported to the public as complete is not only idiotic,
it is downright criminal, a warped sense of logic and total lack of
fairness and honesty.

In my mind the U of M's school of journalism always stood for the public's
right to know. My very first class in Journalism started off (and
continued throughout the course) with the statement that good journalism
means to fully inform the public and that the constitutional right to a
free press obligates that 'free press' to do so.  I can remember (in eons
past - I'm revealing my age, aren't I???) when The Daily waded hip -deep
into controversial issues regardless of whose toes were trod on.

I am deeply stunned at the growing deterioration of our democracy and our
democratic rights, and I am grievously saddened that our media is aiding
that deterioration.

Sincerely Yours, Nancy Catlin

--
I noticed an editorial comment regarding all the complaints they've
received regarding the green party. Their boilerplate comment was
something to the effect that if they acknowledged the Green Party, they'd
have to acknowledge 3 or 4 other "minority" parties......

I was tempted to reply to that by telling then they need to change their
perspective: - Since the 'Two Major Parties' have swamped the entire news
media, everybody except possibly for someone living under a viaduct
already knows all about what they stand for, and therefore any commentary
about them is redundant and a voter's guide could have been better to
concentrate on the lesser-known party issues that Media has completely
closed out. That way the public can learn what the major parties want to
squash.....


--g--

Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 14:58:56 -0600
From: audrey thayer <athayer [at] paulbunyan.net>

My response to the Minnesota Daily:

I am appalled that the Minnesota Daily Election Guide did not include
minor party races....how ignorant of your paper.

The truth of democracy is to know all the individuals that you have to
vote for....these candidates are running and on the ballot.

Last election cycle, the Green Party of Minnesota was considered a major
party - they were listed.  This time around this party is still a very
strong party with no recognition or comment of the candidates.

The same goes for other third parties.  Please let us educate truly
educate our students, future decision makers and list all the parties -
their mission, their candidates...

Educational institutions are just that.....to educate and inform!

audrey thayer po box 133 bemidji, mn 56619 (218) 55606239


--------11 of 12--------

The GOP Should Lose, the Democrats Don't Deserve to Win
The Message of Campaign 2006
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
CounterPunch
November 6, 2006

Is the half-hidden message of the 2006 campaign season that in the
presidential showdown in 2008 we'll have Senator John McCain running as
both a Republican and a Democrat? It would certainly sweep away any
remaining doubts that there is any difference between the two major
political parties. And maybe it would open up some space for outside
challengers, assuming all vociferous opponents have not by that time been
arrested and stuck behind barbed wire in an internment camp in the western
deserts.

And what candidate would be more appropriate as the next
commander-in-chief than the mad ex-POW who now serves as Arizona's senior
senator? McCain, don't forget, was under consideration by his senatorial
colleague, Democrat John Kerry, as his vice presidential pick in 2004
before he picked John Edwards, whose prime distinction is that he is
married to Elizabeth Edwards, the only Democrat I've seen in recent times
to display any of the qualities one might hope for in a Democratic
presidential nominee.

McCain is obviously aware of his impending responsibilities as the fusion
candidate. As the US congress prepared its craven assent to President
Bush's destruction of Habeas Corpus with the Military Commissions Act, he
was one of three Republican senators who raised a bleat of protest. True,
as is always the case with McCain, it was a very brief bleat, but as
against the complaisance of Democrats such as Joe Biden (who chortled
happily that Democrats would be happy to "sit on the sidelines" as the
Constitution thumped into the trash bin) this counts as a lion's roar.

Even the word "bleat" is a fierce overstatement of the noise raised by any
U.S. senator, including McCain, as Bush finally junked legal restrictions
on the role of the U.S. military in domestic law enforcement, a deed
consummated with his signature on the same day, October 17, that he signed
the Commissions Act which permits warrantless incarceration and torture of
suspected terrorists.

Speaking of what is now Public Law 109-364, Senator Pat Leahy whispered
into the Congressional Record on September 29 that he had "grave
reservations about certain provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense
Authorization Bill Conference Report". The language of these provisions,
Leahy said, "subverts solid, longstanding posse comitatus statutes that
limit the military's involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it
easier for the President to declare martial law."

At least when the Military Commissions Act was striding through Congress,
the press did demurely note the fact, albeit without alarm sirens that
Habeas Corpus is headed towards a display case in the Smithsonian. The
only story I've seen on the significance of Public Law 109-364 came from
Frank Morales, on Uruknet, describing its license for the President to
"declare a 'public emergency' and station troops anywhere in America,
taking control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of
the governor or local authorities, in order to 'suppress public
disorder.'"

Does McCain's latest statement on Iraq--a call for 20,000 fresh U.S.
troops to be sent there--square with the Democrats' position on the war?
The answer to this is of course that the Democrats don't have a position
on the war beyond the de facto one of trying to make sure no peacenik
candidates slipped past the guard post supervised by Rahm Emanuel, chair
of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

As is the case with the American people overall, the majority of ordinary
Democrats want US forces leave to quit Iraq in the immediate or relatively
near future. This was not the posture of Democratic candidates approved by
Emanuel, particularly in tight races. Most of them have talked about
withdrawal as a matter of many months. The Democratic leadership would
sign onto a McCain beef-up plan in minutes, flailing away at Bush for the
next two years for losing the war. For the left position we'll probably
have to wait for the commission headed by James Baker or a mutiny by the
generals, aware--just as they told Rep John Murtha this time last
year--that the war is a bust and it's time to quit Iraq.

Campaign 2006 has shown us clearly enough that about the outer limit of
popular sanction is the ability to lodge a formal protest on Election Day.
Such protest can only have actual consequences in the very few remaining
congressional districts not gerrymandered into permanent incumbency or
rotted out with vote fraud. Mostly the voters seem to have felt that both
parties are pretty awful, but as the outfit that's been running the
country without opposition for six years the Republicans deserve to get a
kick in the pants.

The fact that this protest is purely formal is attested by the adamant
refusal of the Democrats to offer anything by way of a substantive
alternative, beyond saying Bush is an incompetent fellow. Indeed, the
substantive effect of Campaign 2006 has been to state in terms plain
enough for a simpleton to understand, that resistance is futile, since
both Republicans and Democrats agree that the Bill of Rights is a dead
letter and that wars must go on, and jobs to disappear, despite
overwhelming popular disagreement with such policies.

Pick a topic--the war, the economy, a two million-plus prison population,
the environment, the condition of organized labor, the Bill of Rights--and
can you recall any Democrat this fall having said anything suggesting that
in the event Democrats recapture either the House or the Senate or both
anything of consequence might occur?

The week before polling day the New York Times had a story about the
Business Lobby's plans to sweep away all irksome laws and regulations
passed in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Did anyone cry,
"that's just the kind of corporate villainy we need the Democrats to guard
us from!" Of course not. It would be as unrealistic as to hope that a
Congress controlled in both chambers by Democrats would simply vote to
deny Bush the money for the war in Iraq.

As things stand in organized politics today a purely formal protest is the
most we can hope for, and the significance of this fall's campaign is that
no one has pretended otherwise.

[Nevertheless, we will continue to have faith in the Dems. Not that there
are any facts or deeds or platforms to back up that faith. But that's just
what faith is - belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the
contrary. Faith is a comfort in hard times; it doesn't have to be true, it
just has to be comforting. And comfort is what we want and pray for and
bend over backwards to get. Because facing today's facts is scary. We
don't like scary, so we do the comfort thing by revving up faith in the
Dems. It is a cheesecloth comfort - all too easy to see through to the
monsters on the other side - but with closely defocused vision we can make
ourselves feel sort of not too terrible at least half the time. Of course
it makes us sitting ducks, but nothing is free. -ed]


--------12 of 13--------

An Interview with Aaron Dixon
>From the Black Panthers to the Green Party
By JESSE HAGOPIAN
CounterPunch
November 6, 2006

Aaron Dixon is the Green Party candidate for the US senate seat in
Washington state. He is challenging Democratic Party incumbent Maria
Cantwell.

YOU'VE NEVER run for any political office before. What made you decide to
run for the Senate?

WHAT MADE me decide that this was a good time to run for office was my
experience traveling in Latin America, and meeting with and talking to a
lot of people from Argentina, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil--and seeing the
democratic changes that have taken place in those countries where
grassroots leaders have been elected to office.

In effect, the poor are now in power in places like Bolivia and Venezuela.
It's the same way in Brazil and Argentina. Also, Spain elected a socialist
president, and the Palestinian territories elected Hamas, which is a big
departure.

There is a movement going on around the world, where the grassroots are
electing representatives from the ranks of the people. I have seen the
expression of some of those movements at the World Social Forums, both in
Brazil and Venezuela.

I marched with 300,000 people in Brazil, demanding an end to neoliberalism
and so-called "free trade." I experienced the power of people--many of
whom were inspired by the Black Panther Party that I helped to build years
ago--at the World Social Forum in Venezuela this past year.

It's time for that movement to take place in this country again. As a
matter of fact, it's already begun. There are a number of other campaigns
across the country that are the results of grassroots organizing efforts.
The timing was perfect for the Green Party to ask me to run, because I
knew it was time for us to start to build a movement right here in
Washington state.

WHY ARE you running against the Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell, and
as a Green?

MY RUNNING against Maria Cantwell is an opportunity to draw attention to
the war in Iraq, NAFTA, CAFTA and the rest of the right-wing agenda pushed
by the Bush administration that Maria Cantwell has supported. She has gone
back on many of the things she promised to deliver to voters. My running
was an opportunity to bring a lot of those issues to the forefront.

Just as important, I wanted to help people understand that there is really
very little difference between Republicans and Democrats.

If you look at history, the Democratic Party started most major wars that
we have been in. So we will never escape war and poverty with this same
two-party system. We need a multi-party system--that's why I am running as
a Green.

MARIA CANTWELL says that she wants to make 2006 a year of transition,
where the U.S. begins to redeploy troops and hand over security to the
Iraqis. What do you think of her position?

BUSH HAS said that he doesn't want to keep the troops in Iraq forever as
well, but that isn't an antiwar position.

Everything Maria says, Bush has already said it. She says that the U.S.
can leave when Iraqi forces can maintain security, but the truth is they
will never be able to maintain security as long as the target of U.S.
troops remains in Iraq. There is already a civil war in Iraq--a U.S.
general recently admitted that.

What is really amazing about Cantwell's position is that for months during
the campaign, she said she had "no regrets" about voting to authorize the
war on Iraq. It wasn't until a couple of months ago, when her Republican
challenger, Mike McGavick, came out to her left and stated that he
wouldn't have authorized the war in Iraq, that Cantwell changed her
position.

She has now gone back on her original decision to authorize the war, but
just two weeks ago, she voted for another $70 billion to be spent on the
war. So we can see her position is still for the war.

HOW DID you develop your political understanding of the world?

A LOT of it had to do with my family and the upbringing my parents gave
me. I grew up with my great-great-grandmother in the house. She had been a
slave. I grew up on stories of slavery at home, and you could be sure that
I wasn't going to ever let us go back to those days.

WASN'T YOUR father a radical?

YES, HE was. But it was a process. He became a radical through his
experiences in the military.

He had joined his high school ROTC, and he went off to fight in the Second
World War. At one point, his company was stationed at a military base in
Mississippi. There came a time when he and the other Black soldiers were
supposed to be able to go on furlough, but the commanding officer ordered
the Black soldiers to stay on the base and clean the white soldier's
latrines. My father wasn't going to take this, and he led a rebellion of
the troops to demand justice.

Another time, my father and the Black soldiers were marching around the
bivouac in Mississippi, some 10 or 15 miles, and they came upon a farm and
asked the white farmer if they could cross the field. He told them that,
"No niggers are allowed near my property," and he chased them off with his
shotgun.

My father was supposedly fighting for democracy against Hitler's fascism,
and he and his Black platoon were called niggers right at home. Black
soldiers in Mississippi at that time had to literally fight for their
lives in their own country. My father wasn't going to stand for it, and he
and the soldiers went back to that farmer's barn with torches that night.

After my father got out of the military, he joined the Communist Party and
Paul Robeson's Youth Brigade. These were the stories I grew up on, and
they gave me an understanding of some of the fundamental problems with
this country.

Besides my upbringing, you have to look at the conditions that existed
when I was growing up--being exposed to the civil rights movement and the
assassination of political leaders. This all played a part in shaping my
political consciousness.

YOU FOUNDED the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party. What made you
decide to be a Panther?

MY BROTHER and the younger people we ran with were looking for a way to
organize against racism and the other issues we felt needed to be
addressed.

At first, we thought a Black Student Union (BSU) would satisfy that, and
it didn't. We did have some successes. We were able to pressure the
University of Washington to implement a Black Studies Department, but many
people in that organization were more into academics and not as much into
action.

So then we started a Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee chapter.
But that didn't end up satisfying us either. Remember, Martin Luther King
was assassinated in 1968, and we felt it was a time when we had to do
more.

So soon after that, we had an opportunity to go down to Oakland for a BSU
conference. But I cut out of the conference and went to go see the Black
Panther Party give a memorial service for Little Bobby Hutton, who had
just been murdered by the police.

I saw Bobby Seale deliver the most dynamic speech I have ever heard. He
had just come from the funeral where he had to bury his comrade. He was
very emotional about what happened, and that was the first time I heard
anyone speak so directly. This was first time I experienced the brashness
of the Black Panthers--and I liked it.

We recognized immediately that this was what we wanted to be a part of. We
understood that was what this country needed: an organization like the BPP
that was putting theory into practice--that was out in the community doing
some very important work.

WHAT WAS some of that work?

WE HAD the Free Breakfast Program, the free medical clinics, free legal
aid, food banks and more. In fact, the campaign headquarters that we have
now was the site of our free medical clinic back in 1972.

All of the programs that we started--we had some 60 different
programs--showed that the people had the ability to control their own
destiny. They had the ability to address their own issues by uniting and
working together. That is the legacy the Black Panther Party left to the
world--the people have the power to make the changes to improve their
lives.

THE ELECTION is just days away as we speak. What would you say you've
accomplished with this campaign?

WHETHER WE win or lose on November 7, this campaign has accomplished a
lot.

We have given voice to people all over the state who are fed up with the
current two-party system that maintains illegal wars, which are sucking
out our resources that should be used to strengthen our communities. We
brought that message to over a dozen towns across Washington in our "Out
of war and into our communities" tour.

We got thousands of people talking about where our money would be better
spent. Here in Seattle, for example, they are proposing to close 10
schools in neighborhoods that are predominantly people of color--and the
parents have had to file a lawsuit.

Whether we win or lose the election, we have raised issues that would not
even have entered the mainstream debate--immediate withdrawal of troops
from Iraq, a national health care program for all Americans, a living
wage, rebuilding New Orleans.

We exposed the contradictions in the electoral process that claims to be
democratic, but is really corrupted by obscene wealth. This point was made
for thousands of people last week when they arrested me for trying to
participate in the televised Senate debate. It's hard to even call it a
debate when they expressly stated that only millionaires could
participate.

Most importantly, we've brought together poor and working-class whites
with Latinos, African Americans and Asians to oppose this war and the cost
it is having on our communities domestically. This campaign is just the
beginning of a new fight for justice.

Jesse Hagopian is the campaign manager for Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate.
Jesse can be reached at: jesse [at] dixon4senate.com.

For additional information on the Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate campaign, or
for details Aaron Dixon's "Out of War...and Into Our Communities" tour
visit our website.


--------

 The last thing we want
 is to piss *them* off. They smile
 when we're on our knees.


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