Progressive Calendar 04.03.07
From: David Shove (
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2007 03:39:45 -0700 (PDT)
            P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    04.03.07

1. Nader/impeach     4.03 11am
2. Spike Lee NO film 4.03 6:30pm

3. Vs Ramstad/Iraq   4.04 12noon
4. Pakistan/Afghan   4.04 3:30pm
5. Vs Ramstad/Iraq   4.04 7pm

6. Cole/internet     4.05 4pm
7. NWN4P-NewHope     4.05 4:30pm
8. Eagan peace vigil 4.05 4:30pm
9. Northtown vigil   4.05 5pm
10. Health/MNLeg rpt 4.05 6:30pm
11. EFC's food forum 4.05 6:30pm
12. Energy dialogue  4.05 7pm
13. Bucky Fuller     4.05 7pm
14. MacTacoLand/play 4.05 8pm

15. Stephen Fleischman - Winners and losers; a dog-eat-dog system
16. Sherwood Ross      - Pentagon v vets re medical care/disability pay
17. Amy Belanger       - Reflections on the Nader-Camejo campaign (2004)
18. Gabriel Ash        - Venezuela: the times they are a-changin'

--------1 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: Nader/impeach 4.03 11am

Tue.April 3, 11am on "Catalyst:politics & Culture" on KFAI RADIO
90.3fm Mpls 106.7fm St. Paul (and any day now the website will be back
up! at

Tune in to hear Mikel Rudolf of Impeach for Peace and Michael Cavlan, Mn
Green Pary candidate for U.S. Senate, talk about the grassroots movement
to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheny. Why is it important to push for
what Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has "taken off the
table"? What is the basis for impeaching Bush? what are the implications
of NOT doing so? This is part one of a conversation that will be aired
through April.

Also: hear some great archival speeches from RALPH NADER! to get you tuned
in to the new documentary film AN UNREASONABLE MAN - screening from now
until Thursday, April 5th ONLY at Lagoon Cinema in uptown Minneapolis. The
distribution company will be deciding what other cities get a chance to
see this film BASED on how well it does here - and the smear campagin by
democrats against Nader, makes this film a reality-check NOT to miss!

KFAI's Spring 2007 Pledge Drive is April 14-28. Tune in to the Catalyst
Pledge Drive editoins on Tuesdays April 17 and 24 and consider pledging
for community radio! (612)375-9030 is the pledge Drive number. Lydia
Howell, host of "Catalyst"

--------2 of 18--------

From: patty <pattypax [at]>
Subject: Spike Lee film 4.03 6:30pm

HI, The Salon tomorrow night will be showing the HBO Spike Lee Film,
When the Levees Broke.

Pax Salons ( ) 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.

--------3 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Vs Ramstad/Iraq 4.04 12noon

Wednesday, 4/4, noon to 1 pm, Congressman Jim Ramstad hosts Town Hall
meeting to talk about Iraq, Southdale Library, 7001 York, Edina.
Rabbas [at]

--------4 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Pakistan/Afghan 4.04 3:30pm

Wednesday, 4/4, 3:30 to 5:30 pm, U of Michigan Middle East prof Juan Cole
speaks on "Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations and the Taliban Resurgence," room
125, Nolte Center for Continuing Education, 315 Pillsbury Dr SE, Mpls.

--------5 of 18--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Vs Ramstad/Iraq 4.04 7pm

Wednesday, 4/4, 7 to 8 pm, Congressman Jim Ramstad hosts Town Hall meeting
to talk about Iraq, Wayzata City Hall, 600 Rice, Wayzata.
Rabbas [at] (Come early and bring signs to protest in front of 
meeting places.)

--------6 of 18--------

From: Kelly O'Brien <obrie136 [at]>
Subject: Cole/internet 4.05 4pm

Juan Cole, commentator, blogger and University of Michigan Middle
East/South Asian history professor
Thursday, April 5, 4:00 p.m.
speaking on "The Internet, the Public Intellectual, and the 'War on

Institute for Advanced Study, 125 Nolte Center, 315 Pillsbury Drive SE,
University of Minnesota east bank
Free and open to the public
FFI: Institute for Advanced Study, 612-626-5054

Juan Cole, 'blogger, commentator, and professor of Middle East and South
Asian history at University of Michigan, will speak at the University of
Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study on Thursday, April 5 at 4:00 p.m.

His talk, "The Internet, the Public Intellectual, and the 'War on
Terror,'" will address the role of intellectuals at a time when internet
use intersects with U.S. government security concerns. The internethas
opened up new ways for intellectuals tointeract withthe general public,
allowing them to sidestep the gatekeepers that had often marginalized
university and college teachers. At the same time, the U.S. faces new
asymmetrical warfare - whileU.S. government policies have been
increasingly reckless abroad and corrupt at home. Does this conjuncture of
national danger with new possibilities forcivic dialogue place
anyspecialresponsibilities on intellectuals to become public? What are
the perils and promises of renegotiating the relationship between
academics and the political sphere?

Juan Cole is well known as a commentator on Middle East issues, especially
Iraq, Iran and Israel, for media outlets including Washington Post, Le
Monde Diplomatique, The Guardian, Lehrer News Hour, Nightline, the Today
Show, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, Al Jazeera, and CNN Headline News. He
is also an award-winning 'blogger, sharing his thoughts on the situations
in the Middle East in his highly-ranked "Informed Comment" weblog at

--------7 of 18--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: NWN4P-NewHope 4.05 4:30pm

Beginning with April 5th, NWN4P will hold weekly demonstrations on
Thursday, 4:30-6 PM, at the corner of Winnetka and 42nd Avenue N. in New
Hope.  You may park near Walgreens or the lot by McDonald's. For more
information, Carole nwn4p [at]

The Saturday demonstrations in Minnetonka will contiue to be at 11-noon,
near Highways 101 and 7, in front of Target in Minnetonka.

--------8 of 18--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <skograce [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 4.05 4:30pm

CANDLELIGHT PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest
corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs
and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends
south of the river speaking out against war.

--------9 of 18--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 4.05 5pm

NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy
10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine.

Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View,
New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park,
Fridley, and Coon Rapids.  We'll have extra signs.

For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or
email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at]

--------10 of 18--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: Health/MN Leg rpt 4.05 6:30pm

A Green Party of StPaul forum

Kip Sullivan reports on
MN 2007 health care legislation.
Thursday April 5
Merriam Park Library (corner of Marshall & Fairview in St Paul)

Kip Sullivan is a locally-based nationally-recognized/published writer
and speaker on health care funding.

He will discuss legislation introduced in the 2007 session of the state
legislature that was supported by single-payer advocates in Minnesota.

These bills include legislation to:
 create a single-payer universal coverage system,
 remove HMOs from MinnesotaCare and other state health insurance
 develop a health insurance purchasing pool that bypasses insurance
 cover all children.

He will explain what a single-payer system is and why single-payer
advocates see the legislation to remove HMOs from state programs as an
important step toward single-payer.

He will discuss his conclusion that the legislation to cover all children
(the Children's Health Security Act) will create a serious obstacle to the
single-payer campaign if it is enacted in its current form.

This is the first of several forums on health care MN 2007 to be sponsored
by the Green Party of StPaul/4CD.

Contact: David Shove 651-636-5672 shove001 [at]

--------11 of 18--------

From: tom [at]
Subject: EFC's food forum 4.05 6:30pm

The Eastside Food Co-op continues its Food Forums series on THIS Thursday,
April 5th with organic farmer Greg Reynolds.

Eastside Food Co-op's Food Forum Series
Greg Reynolds from Riverbend Farm
NE Library, 2200 Central Ave NE, Mpls (located on the #10 bus line)
April 5th, 6:30-8:00 PM
We all eat, no?

Greg will share with us what goes in and what does NOT go into organic
farming and what life is like on his farm. Come ask questions and find out
what is happening on the field end of our field to fork connections.

Greg Reynolds has been growing produce at Riverbend Farm in Delano, MN
since 1992 and has been certified organic since 1994. You may have
purchased some of Greg's organic radishes, arugula, eggplant,
potatoes, or spinach at Eastside Food Co-op or dined on his produce in
some of the finer restaurants in the Twin Cities like The Modern Café,
The Craftsman, Restaurant Alma, The Birchwood, Lucia's, Café Brenda
or The May Day Cafe.

We will have light refreshments, stimulating information and a future of
good local food to help sustain and enjoy. Come with questions (there are
no stupid ones), an open, inquisitive mind and bring a friend.

Please feel free to spread the word by forwarding this on to anyone that
may be interested, wants to learn about local food from sustainable family
farms, the challenges involved and anybody you know that eats.

Questions? Call the East Side Food Co-op - 612-788-0950.

We hope you can make it and remember . . . Just because it's
educational doesn't mean it can't be fun!

Tom Taylor Eastside Food co-op

--------12 of 18--------

From: Elizabeth Dickinson <eadickinson [at]>
Subject: Energy dialogue 4.05 7pm

You are invited to join an Energy Dialogue with Becca Brown, Program
Manager at Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), a nonprofit group based in
Washington DC, with chapters in Minnesota and many other states.

CGS is starting a new Energy Initiative and is seeking feedback from Twin
Cities community leaders working on energy, environment, security, and
development issues.

The CGS Energy Initiative aims to get the US to work in partnership with
other nations to develop energy solutions that are good for the
environment, development, and security. This means, for example:
 o transitioning from fossil fuel dependence towards sustainable energy
 o ensuring that poor countries have access to clean and safe energy
without exacerbating global warming or local ecosystem damage
 o ambitious domestic action on climate change

Ms. Brown and local CGS chapter leaders will facilitate a dialogue on
shaping national-level strategy and messaging to change how people think
and talk about energy. Our dialogue will explore how to build political
will among the public and policy makers in order to realize a positive
energy future.

Why should you participate in this Energy Dialogue?
 1.  You will network with other local groups and people working on
energy, environment, development & security issues.
 2.  You will be a part of developing a national campaign.
 3.  You will get to meet and connect with national staff of Citizens for
Global Solutions.
 4.  You might even get some great ideas for your own work.

About Citizens for Global Solutions: CGS is a national, non- partisan
membership organization that works to foster positive US engagement in the
world. CGS envisions a future in which nations work together to abolish
war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve the problems facing
humanity that no one nation can solve alone.

If you will participate in the Energy Dialogue, please RSVP to Lisa
Ledwidge, CGS-Minnesota, so we are sure to have enough snacks and seats:
lisa.l [at] or 612-722-9700.

--------13 of 18--------

From: Curt McNamara <mcnam025 [at]>
Subject: Bucky Fuller 4.05 7pm

Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Ave. S. Thursday, April 5 7 p.m. Free!

The World of Buckminster Fuller The LA Free Press called this film "the
definitive, synthesized lecture by one of the great teachers and minds of
our time, transcribed in sight and sound." Includes footage of the
Dymaxion Car, Dymaxion House and Expo 67 dome. (1974, 85 min.)

This screening will be held in the College Center and will be followed by
a panel discussion with working sustainable-design professionals and
faculty members.

--------14 of 18--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at]>
Subject: MacTaco Land/play  4.05 8pm

Presenting the World Premiere of MacTaco Land
at The Loading Dock Theatre

Teatro del Pueblo's world premiere of MacTaco Land is coming! This is a
very exciting production for us, as we prepare to present company
generated material for the first time in over ten years. MacTaco Land
deals with the struggles of two Latino brothers in a small Minnesotan town
who must determine the fate of their family diner amid the pressures of
globalization after their father's death. Loosely inspired by the book
"Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser.

MacTaco Land
Performing April 5-22, 2007

PREVIEW: April 5 & 6 at 8pm, BOTH Pay-What-You- Can*!
April 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 at 8pm
April 8, 15, & 22 at 7pm
April 15 & 22 at 2pm

Tickets: $18 General, $14 Students/ Seniors/Fringe
5 chances to Pay-What-You-Can*! April 5, 6, 8, 12, & 19
$8 recommended donation, no reservations for Pay- What-You-Can

For reservations call our box office line at 651-225 -8106 or email
teatrom [at]; For more information visit us at

Usher and see the show for FREE! Volunteers still needed!
The Loading Dock Theater 509 Sibley St, St. Paul, MN 55104

email: teatrom [at]
phone: 651-224-8806

--------15 of 18--------

Winners and Losers
A Dog-Eat-Dog System
April 2, 2007

There are winners and losers, an old, bearded, 19th Century economist told
us once. That's the way the system works.

Capitalists have been chewing each other up since the Industrial
Revolution, said Karl Marx, world famous analyst of "the system", and the
battle of mergers and acquisitions still goes on. Dog eat dog. There are
always a few good men left at the table; but winners grow increasingly
fewer and richer. There are now 946 billionaires in the world, according
to Forbes, and 371 of them are in the United States with Bill Gates and
Warren Buffett topping the list with $56 billion and $52 billion
respectively. So, we wind up with a few winners, a lot of losers, and a
plethora of monopolies and oligopolies.

You can see it everywhere in our economy, today. In the main stream media,
five or six oligopolies control just about everything we read, see, hear
and think. Multi-national corporations own most of the means of
production, distribution and retail trade. The concentration of capital
displaced the handworker and the crafts-worker. Hitching the computer to
the assembly line, called cybernation, has further exploded production.
Independent producers have been eliminated by cybernetic competition. Mom
and Pop operations have gotten lost in the shuffle.

Capitalism reverses the law of gravity, with money flowing up instead of
down. As the rich become richer, the poor have children. With the
explosion in technology, productivity of labor is going through the roof.
But the purchasing power of the laborer is falling through the floor. We
can't keep that up for long. When workers can't afford to buy the things
they make and their jobs are siphoned out of the country "with a giant
sucking sound" as one former sage put it, the economy goes flatter than a
bad souffle. The last time it happened we had a sudden deflation and a
persistent depression we could barely crawl out of even with the stimulus
of World War II.

Our economic system is under stress, again. We can't seem to keep it
afloat without massive production of military hardware. That could be one
reason George Bush tries to keep us in a state of perpetual war. Our
military budget has reached $532 billion for 2007; with another half
trillion for the cost of the Afghanistan and Iraq War. (Not to mention the
human costs.) Why? It isn't producing better schools or improving
infrastructure or providing social services for the people who need it in
this country. The Bush Administration claims to be exporting democracy
while killing it here.

The Rovian brainchild, the "war on terror", was devised to keep us
shadow-boxing with fear. Even though that concept is finally running out
of steam, there is no "loyal opposition" in this country to drive a stake
through its heart. (Where is a vampiric Democratic Party, now that we
really need one?)

Let's get back to basics. Why is Marxist economics never, or almost never,
mentioned or discussed in the mainstream media? Absolut Verboten! You
won't be brainwashed into becoming an ideologue if you examine it, but you
might get an idea or two that makes sense to you.

One of the reasons for our backwardness may be explained by the failure of
our labor movement (when we had one) to become politicized. The closest we
came was the emergence of John L. Lewis and the organization of the CIO
(Congress of Industrial Organizations) and the sit-down strikes of 1936
and 1937. Still, the orientation of the labor movement was stuck in
economic issues, (hours, wages, benefits) and they left the politics to
the Democratic Party where they thought they had a front row seat under
the big tent. Too bad. Seats are easy to lose, as the workers of America
found out.

We never had a real political Labor Party in this country, fighting for
the rights of labor, minorities and the common people, as there are in
many of the other industrialized democracies in the world. Several
attempts were made in earlier days; the Farmer Labor Party and the
Progressive Party in the time of Robert La Follette and Gene Debs. But
they never got off the ground. The country was too new. It was too full of
rugged individualists and a few robber barons.

Still, Capitalism had its day. It promoted the greatest economic
development in human history; the upper, middle and skilled working class
enjoyed most of its benefits, still a minority of the population. It left
masses of people out in the cold.

So where is the class struggle? Don't look, it's there. We're not talking
about social classes now. Just for the hell of it, let's call them the
proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Oh, so you don't think they exist? Well,
now ...

Are you a member of the proletariat and earn your livelihood by selling
your labor power and being paid a wage or salary for your labor time? Or
are you a member of the bourgeoisie and get your income, not from your
labor, but from the labor appropriated from the workers who created the
wealth in the form of surplus value? The income of capitalists, in the
form of profits, is based on their exploitation of the workers. And that's
a fact.

Not all class struggle is violent or necessarily radical. The strike is
the classic form of class struggle by workers in a union. It may also be
expressed on a larger scale by support of political causes and the fight
for a Labor Party. Some form of Socialist government may be its ultimate

On the employers' side, union-busting and lobbying for anti-union laws are
their main forms of carrying on the class struggle. Not all class struggle
is a threat to capitalism or even to the authority of an individual

You want a revolution? Well, you're going to have to first let Capitalism
dig its own grave. A little understood thesis of Marx is that Socialist
revolution doesn't come from the outside. It only happens when the system
in power can no longer fulfill the needs of the masses. It's in the
process of digging the hole now.

We may not have too long to wait.

Stephen Fleischman, television writer-director-producer, spent thirty
years in Network News at CBS and ABC, starting in 1953. In 1959, he
participated in the formation of the renowned Murrow-Friendly "CBS
Reports" series. In 1983, Fleischman won the prestigious Columbia
University-DuPont Television Journalism Award. In 2004, he wrote his
memoir. See:, E-mail: stevefl [at]

Time to admit that capitalism sucks - war, poverty, anti-democracy, pain
and suffering; degradation of humanity and human potential. Time to
admit that the capitalist parties (you know which they are) suck, and move
on. Contemporary capitalism has the anti-Midas touch - everything it
touches soon turns to death and destruction, all for the power and glory
of a tiny group of undeserving billionaire families.
This is the same group that has has tried to brainwash us into not
thinking or speaking thoughts like the above. The cats don't want the mice
to wise up.

--------16 of 18--------

Worse Than Spitting on Them?
How the Pentagon Cheats Iraq Vets Out of Medical Care and Disability Pay
April 2, 2007

Over the past six years, some 22,500 soldiers have been discharged on
grounds of "personality disorder" - a condition that can be alleged to
have existed prior to their tour of duty - thus absolving the Pentagon
of its obligation to provide their medical care and pay their benefits.

A six-month investigation by reporter Joshua Kors for the April 9th "The
Nation" magazine learned of "multiple cases" in which "soldiers wounded in
Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then
prevented from collecting benefits."

According to Kors, "The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many
in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their
families, veterans' rights groups, even military officials required to
process these dismissals." They say the military is purposely
misdiagnosing soldiers "to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and
medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses."

With an average disability payment of about $8,900 a year and a medical
cost of about $5,000 per year over a 40-year period per soldier,
separating 22,500 of them would save the Pentagon $8-billion in disability
pay and $4.5-billion in medical care over their lifetimes, the article

Specialist Jon Town, of Findlay, Ohio, was separated on a "personality
disorder" diagnosis even though in October, 2004, a 107-millimeter rocket
struck two feet over his head as he stood in the doorway of his
battalion's headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq. Town's ears were leaking blood
from the blast and rocket shrapnel was removed from his neck. The blast
caused substantial deafness, and he suffers from memory failure and
depression as well. Inexplicably, doctors at Fort Carson, Colo., diagnosed
Town with "personality disorder", depriving him of disability and medical
benefits. Russell Terry, founder of the Iraq War Veterans Organization
pointed out that each soldier is screened psychologically when they join
the military and asks, "if all these soldiers really did have a severe
pre-existing condition, how did they get into the military in the first

In the last six years, according to "The Nation," the Army alone has
diagnosed and discharged more than 5,600 soldiers because of personality
disorder, and their numbers continue to rise. Between January and November
of last year, 1,086 soldiers were discharged on such grounds. One military
official who was not identified told Kors, "It's like, suddenly everybody
(on my base) has a personality disorder. They're saving a buck. And
they're saving the VA money too. It's all about money."

In the case of veteran Town, he was told to give back the bulk of his
$15,000 enlistment bonus and left Ft. Carson owing the government more
than $3,000. According to the magazine, Fort Carson psychologist Mark
Wexler assured Town he would receive disability benefits, VA medical care,
and would get to keep his bonus. When he found out he was being discharged
empty-handed, Town said, "It was a total shock. I felt like I'd been
betrayed by the Army." When asked if doctors at Fort Carson were assuring
patients set for a 5-13 pre-existing condition discharge they would
receive benefits, Colonel Steven Knorr, Wexler's boss, replied, "I don't
believe they're doing that."

Other veterans contacted by Kors, however, said military doctors tried to
force the diagnosis upon them and turned a blind eye to physical ailments
and post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Army Specialist William
Wooldridge said he struck and killed a young girl who was pushed in front
of his ammunition truck in Iraq and has heard voices and suffered
hallucinations ever since. He was discharged with "personality disorder"
but 18 months later a review board in Memphis voided that 5-13 dismissal,
stating his PTSD was so severe he was, in fact, "totally disabled."

Another veteran, Chris Mosier, of Des Moines, Iowa, put a note on the
front door of his home saying the Iraqis were after him and then shot
himself. His mother, Linda, said her son's problems began in Iraq when a
truck in front of his was blown up by a roadside bomb and the men inside
were burned alive. "He was there at the end to pick up the hands and
arms," Ms. Mosier said. "They take a normal kid, he comes back messed up,
then nobody was there for him when he came back. They discharged him so
they didn't' have to treat him," she added.

Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, a
Washington, D.C.-based soldiers' rights group, pointed out military
doctors have been facing an overflow of wounded soldiers and a shortage of
rooms, supplies and time to treat them. "By calling PTSD a personality
disorder, they usher one soldier out quickly, freeing up space for the
three or four who are waiting," he said.

A lawyer for Trial Defense Services, an Army unit to guide soldiers
through their 5-13 discharge and who was not identified by name, told
reporter Kors: "Right now, the Army is eating its own. What I want to see
is these soldiers getting the right diagnosis, so they can get the right
help, not be thrown to the wolves right away. That is what they're doing."

As for veteran Town - whose case was brought by Robinson to the attention
of Deputy Surgeon General Gale Pollock and others - he says he is doing
his best to keep his head in check and that his nightmares have
diminished. "I have my good days and my bad days," he said. "It all
depends on whether I wake up in Findlay or Iraq."

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based columnist. For comments or to arrange for
speaking engagements contact him at sherwoodr1 [at]

--------17 of 18--------

To: Nader-Camejo 2004 Field Volunteers
From: Amy Belanger
Re: Post-campaign media messages
Date: November 4, 2004  [NOTE DATE]


If the right lessons are going to be learned from our campaign battles and
the outcome of the 2004 election, it is important that we take our
analysis to the media at the local and state level in addition to the
national level. That is where you come in. Please review the following
talking points, drawn from Ralph Nader's statements and other campaign
analysis. These are provided as tools to use in writing letters to the
editor, op-eds, and blog entries, as well as in media interviews and radio
call-in programs. Please share your thoughts on how to strengthen our
analysis and communication of that analysis to the public.


The Nader campaign fought the good fight and WON.

It's not over - the campaign was only another step along the road to

Campaign achievements

We won by standing up for justice when even the progressives who fought
alongside us in the past took off and adjourned. Justice must never go on

We won by holding onto our courage in the face of fear-mongering, social
pressure, political intimidation, harassment, threats and even bribes.

We won for the American people by standing up against the war in Iraq, for
a living wage, for universal health care, for clean, renewable energy, and
against corporate domination of our government and our lives.

We won by refusing to be silenced, shamed and shut down by the two major
parties and frightened progressives who were not willing to defend free
speech and democracy for short term political goals.

We won by building the independent movement to resist the corporate party
stranglehold on our democracy.

We won by speaking so directly to the will of the American people that the
Democrats showed their true anti-democratic colors, their political
bigotry, by forcing the Nader-Camejo ticket off ballots to manipulate the

We won by heightening voter interest and awareness - we were a dynamic
factor in the faster pace of voter registration.

We won by challenging ballot access laws and demonstrating their
unfairness in courts, thereby making it easier for future third party and
independent candidates.

We won because, in spite of Democratic Party dirty tricks, lies,
intimidation and harassment to keep us off ballots and to malign our
candidate. We stayed in the race. We got votes. We are here and we are not
going away.

We gave voters a real choice of candidates.

We stood up to the duopoly and its war of attrition aimed at keeping us
out of the presidential race and depriving citizens of choice at the
ballot box. We will continue to fight in courts of law and the
Presidential debates. and courts of public opinion to reclaim the
electoral process for the people.

We drew attention to issues that the major party candidates tried to
ignore - living wage, health care for all, getting out of Iraq, getting
corporate influence out of government policy, decreasing dependence on
fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy, and, of course, public
funding of public elections and other electoral reform.

We brought ordinary Americans who have been taken for granted by the two
major parties into the campaign by visiting 800 cities and towns and
highlighting/supporting the concerns of local residents.

We ran a national presidential campaign without taking a single dollar
from corporate donors or PACs.

We gave voice to the "silenced majority" who are disgusted with the
Republicrats, tired of business as usual in Washington, and want to be

On the Election Outcome

The re-election of George Bush would not have occurred had the Democrats
stood up for the necessities of the American people.  Tens of millions of
Americans have been left out of the political process because their needs
are being ignored.  Many of these people did not even bother to vote
because they feel unrepresented.

As the votes are analyzed we will find that large percentages of union
members, low-income earners, seniors and women - once Democrats - will
have voted for George W. Bush.  These people voted against their interests
because the Democrats did not put their interests firmly and authentically
on the table.

The Democrats lost their voting base by abandoning them to corporate
interests, promoting war, and courting the 3% of swing voters who needed
to hear a more conservative message.

The Democrats have to look in the mirror now - after losing two
presidential elections that should have been easy to win. How hard was it
with a $1.2 billion war chest to beat an unpopular president waging an
unpopular war with a bad economic record?

What now?

November 2 is not the end, it is another step in the road to justice.

Progressives let justice take a vacation this election - now take the gag
out of your mouth and stand back up for the interests of the people.

The independent challenge to the two-party system that is choking politics
in the United States will continue and grow. If the parties want to avoid
losing support in elections, they should start representing the interests
of the people before the profits of Big Business, and stop spending
millions of dollars to suppress democracy.

"It is now urgent for the peace movement to be re-awakened.  They have
been sidelined in this election by their silent support for a candidate
who now supports the war.  The U.S. is on the verge of a major offensive
in Fallujah that will result in mass civilian deaths and, very likely,
lead us into a civil war behind the puppet government up against the
widening resistance to U.S. occupation.  There is no time to delay in
order to protest the direction of the Iraq occupation.  The time to act
was yesterday," said Nader.

We are seeking a major paradigm shift - really creating a government "of,
by and for the people." That is a challenge to powerful national and
international corporate interests.  A paradigm shifts always begin in
single digits and people always say change is impossible.

The only way to recover from the days to fear is to act immediately and
strongly to end the illegal war and occupation of Iraq. Not only is the
Iraq war an illegal one, costing American and Iraqi lives, but it is
damaging our relations with other nations and draining the resources
needed to for the necessities of the American people - necessities like
infrastructure, libraries, schools, health care for all, a living wage,
energy efficiency, tax relief for working people.

On our broken electoral system

The chokehold of the political duopoly needs to be broken. This campaign
brought out the ballot access barriers that confront all third party and
independent candidates as well as the potential for anti-democratic
activities as a result of the complex web of ballot laws.

The debates this year, with their 32 pages of rules, showed how the
Commission on Presidential Debates is an extension of the two parties that
is designed to not allow voters to hear diverse views. It is time to
challenge the political duopoly at every level and to do consistently.

All advocates of democracy should now stand up for the rights of the
Libertarian Party and other candidates whose presence in the race drew
voters whose second choice was Bush.

Every third party started as a single-digit vote-getter. Single-digit
votes don't mean we are wrong.  As Ghandi said - "Even a majority of one
can be right." Look at all the landslide mistakes of the electorate, e.g.
Nixon, Reagan won by landslides.

The Nader campaign has taken all of the heat for the other third parties;
spared them the battles of 2004.

Each vote we received represents many more that would have been cast for
Nader if he had been a candidate in every state, and the votes of those
who admitted they believed in Nader's platform and professed to want to
vote for him but were intimidated by peer pressure and confused by the
psychological onslaught perpetrated by the Democrats and Republicans.

The 2004 Spoilers

Kerry spoiled it for the legacy of the Democratic party and its
traditional constituency by trying to out-Bush Bush on imperialism,
military aggression, abridgements of civil rights, entrenchment of
corporate power, disregard for working people, etc.

Bush has spoiled democracy with a propaganda coup: first whipping up the
population into a state of perpetual terror, then relentlessly hammering
on ancillary issues - gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion - that
have little impact on most voter's lives, in a calculated attempt to
deflect attention from domestic and foreign policies that are eroding the
quality of life and justice for just about everybody.  He has spoiled the
opportunity for many Americans to function as intelligent, thoughtful,
participants in democracy.

                   On Ralph Nader's Role in this Election

Ralph Nader's work began long before he ran for President, has continued
outside the electoral process even during this campaign, will continue
long after this election, and cannot be summed up in a vote count. Yet, it
speaks volumes that the Nader-Camejo ticket was placed on 32 ballots and
has won so many votes with a fraction of the other two parties' budgets,
while being forced off ballots in 16 states and attacked by Democratic
publicists, and in a climate of intense fear among his progressive base -
fear that casting a vote for the candidate they believed in would take a
vote from Kerry and end up electing Bush. These ballot access achievements
and votes stand as testimony to the strength of Ralph Nader's vision and
our ability to build a movement for a truly just, democratic society.

--------18 of 18--------

Venezuela: The Times They Are A-Changin'
by Gabriel Ash
April 2, 2007

Venezuela is changing. Fast. No other word captures the speed and
magnitude of change as well as that weighty word - revolution. This is
indeed the word used by many of the Venezuelans I had the privilege of
meeting and interviewing during ten days in March. Venezuela is undergoing
a 'Bolivarian' revolution. But what does 'Bolivarianism' entail? To be
honest, Zhou Enlai's quip about the results of the French Revolution -
that it is "too early to tell" - is doubly applicable to Venezuela.
Radically different constituencies, political visions and potential
futures are today co-existing more or less harmoniously within the
dramatic process of change. This is perhaps inevitable. But some of the
wide ranging ambiguity about the future direction of Bolivarianism has to
do with Chavez's crucial strategic choice in favor of peaceful social
change. Contrary to the image often portrayed in the foreign media, Chavez
has gone overboard in seeking to include as many as possible in the
Bolivarian state. He has time and again extended an olive branch to his

For example, immediately after the failed coup against him, his first act
was to guarantee the constitutional rights of the coup leaders, none of
whom have been harmed. Likewise, he has consistently avoided using
military and police forces under his command to repress the opposition,
and had been exceedingly cautious towards foreign companies and investors.
Some of his strongest supporters therefore consider Chavez excessively
soft. The ideological message of Bolivarianism is straddling this society
- deeply divided by class - with a strong Venezuelan and
pan-Latinoamerican nationalism. The ambiguity is patently visible in the
street iconography of Caracas, which combines the faces of the
aristocratic liberal Simon Bolivar and the radical communist Che Guevara,
both sharing the landscape with huge billboards of fashionable young women
advertising beer.

Yet if the future is foggy, the present is dramatically clear. Under
pressure from Venezuela's poor, on whose support Chavez's political
survival depends, the government moved decidedly leftwards over the course
of the last few years. This leftward move consists in two processes:
democratization and redistribution.

First, redistribution. Having wrestled control of the national oil company
from the old oligarchy, Chavez redirected a portion of Venezuela's
significant oil revenues to new social projects, called missions, each
targeting a specific social privation. The bulk of the resources were
earmarked for non-cash benefits such as education and health. But
government policies have also helped more people to move out of the
informal economy and take formal jobs, affecting a significant rise in
cash wages for the poorest workers. An international chorus of snickers
erupts whenever these social spending programs are mentioned. Most
completely miss the point. Is there corruption? Inefficiency? Probably.
But by relying on the army, the national oil company, and ad hoc communal
organizing rather than on the traditional state bureaucracy, the social
missions manage a level of efficiency that is quite stunning.

As a small example, take the latest mission, 'energy revolution,'
announced in November 2006. Its first project was to change all the light
bulbs in Venezuela (52 million of them) to energy efficient ones by the
end of 2007. The goal is to reduce the consumption of oil in electricity
generation by about 25 million barrels a year, and cut a typical family's
monthly expenses by $4.6 (a non-trivial sum in the poor neighborhoods).
The distribution of free bulbs is carried out by different means: youth
organizations, community councils, and reserve units. By mid February
2007, over 30 million bulbs have been distributed, 10% faster than
planned. The white glow that rises at night from both the poor
neighborhoods and the houses of the better-off confirms the statistics.

More complex missions, such as mission Robinson and Riba, which provide
adult primary and secondary education with Cuban help, have been no less
spectacular. "Proofs" that these missions are bogus are a dime a dozen in
the Western media. Yet in Venezuela, even fierce Chavez's critics I spoke
with conceded that the missions were having a strongly positive effect on
the life of the poor. The change is fast and visible. In a peasant
community's primary school in western Venezuela I saw the preparation for
an internet room for both the pupils and the larger community. In the
nearby high school - a school that only a few years ago did not exist -
students who divided their time between the classroom and their families'
coffee fields talked of going to university.

Another common criticism is that the missions are not sustainable because
they depend on oil prices remaining high. No doubt a drop in oil prices
would force the government to cut spending (leaving aside the unresolved
question as to whether high oil prices are themselves sustainable or not.)
However, the thousands of people who learned to read during the oil boom
would remain literate even if oil prices dropped. Nor would such a drop
deprive the beneficiaries of an oil-financed cataract removal surgery of
their vision. A more enlightened view would note that access to such basic
services as dental and eye care is valuable in itself. But even if one
were to look at Venezuela from the most narrow-minded economist
perspective, one that only values economic growth, it would be impossible
to find an oil-producing country that uses its oil bonanza in a better
way. Improving health, education, housing and infrastructure contributes
more to prosperity and economic growth than the preferred choice of
conventional wisdom - hoarding a large portfolio of U.S. bonds.

The proof is in the pudding. Caracas is booming. Fancy consumer malls are
mushrooming, trendy shops and restaurants ring the cash register. In one
mall, strongly anti-Chavez store managers expressed gloom and resignation
about the government's economic policies while conceding that business was
excellent. But in a restaurant off the airport highway, the owner, a man
of humble background, took us with pride through the private orchard from
whose fruits he serves fresh juice to his customers, and explained the
situation thus: "Chavez is good for people who want to work..they dislike
Chavez because the government now collects taxes from businesses." The
opposition to Chavez is surely more than just about reinvigorated tax
collection; a recent (and perhaps not fully trustworthy) survey shows a
loss of income over 20% at the high end of the extremely skewed income
pyramid. But there is little doubt that the boost to the income of poor
households (80% of the population) is driving Venezuela's impressive
economic expansion (9.4% in 2006) and also trickling up significantly to
the better-off, especially those in the fast expanding retail sector - the
delivery period for a new imported car, including luxury models, can be
longer than six months.

The democratization focus of the Bolivarian revolution involves structural
changes to both politics and economics. Politically, those measures that
help the foreign media paint Chavez as an autocrat are precisely those
perceived in Venezuela as means of political decentralization and
democratization - the rule by decree, the formation of a unified party,
and the direct executive control of funds. To understand the paradox it is
necessary to grasp the historical context: the political parties, the
parliament and the governmental bureaucracy have been, and still are,
bastions of corruption and clientelism, providing the main interface
between political power and economic wealth. It is quite possible in
theory that the creation of alternative political mechanisms under
Chavez's personal rule will lead to a new centralization of autocratic
power. But mitigating that danger is the new sense of political
entitlement of commoners, a deep cognizance of their own rights, and
foremost the right to organize and take control over decisions that affect
their lives.

Encountering the strength of this democratic consciousness, fostered by
education, public awareness campaigns, Chavez's speeches, and the
recurrence of popular mobilizations, is one of the most intense
experiences one has as a visitor to Venezuela today. While Chavez is the
undisputable hero of this popular awakening, the latter is anything but a
docile body of followers. On the contrary. Visiting a community center in
Barquisimeto, we saw a local TV and radio station run by locals. The
organizers were supposed to be trained by a professional government
manager. Relations with the official boss however soured quickly and the
community expelled the imposed manager, locking her out of the building.
It took a month of struggle, but the new locally chosen administration was
eventually recognized as legitimate. He would be a strange autocrat who
encouraged small communities to run their own TV and radio station, free
of government control. But this is exactly what the current government's
policy is. Finally, the most important political development following the
last elections is the plan to constitutionally empower local councils (of
200-400 households each) to take control of budgetary priorities and local
services. This institutionalization of participatory democracy would
irreversibly transform Venezuelan politics.

The linchpin of the change is economic structure is the fast growth in
co-operatives - worker managed businesses with a variety of internal
democratic structures. The co-operative movement in Venezuela predates
Chavez. However, with government support, this form of economic
organization changed from a radical but marginal element to a significant
component of the economy. Already in 2004 4.6% of jobs in Venezuela
depended on co-operatives. By extrapolation, the over 100,000
co-operatives operating today in Venezuela probably account for 15% of

Government help consists in technical support, managerial training, loans
on preferential terms and often the rent-free provision of facilities.
There are co-operatives everywhere, from street vendors to textile
manufacturing, from organic agriculture and up to the hotel we stayed in,
which used to belong to the ministry of tourism and became a co-operative
in 2001. The hotel's kitchen workers explained that most decisions were
taken by general consultation but an executive committee elected for three
year terms was in charge of salaries.

Building successful cooperatives in Venezuela is not easier - indeed is
probably more difficult - than starting a viable business anywhere. There
is bureaucracy, corruption, competition, personal frictions, lack of
capital, lack of know-how, etc. Time will tell how many of these
co-operatives survive. It is too early to declare that Venezuela has found
a cure to the endemic poverty of the urban slums that weighs so heavily on
the Third World. But the Venezuelan experiment is not only real, serious
and popular, but also quite uniquely so in the world. One thing the many
co-operative members we met had in common was that they were all glowing
with pride about their work.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that co-operatives are not the only form
of entrepreneurship blossoming in Venezuela. The government is pushing
banks to make more small business loans to the poor, and a general sense
of optimism is both palpable and reflected in surveys. We visited the home
of a woman who had recently turned the front of her slum house into a
general shop and ran into a young man who was planning to start a tourist
business in the mountains. How unwelcome multinationals like Verizon are
in Venezuela is an open question, but there is clearly a new feeling of
opportunity for regular people to work and to improve their lives.

There is a lot to be fearful about in Venezuela - the high level of crime,
the dead weight of entrenched corruption, the unresolved tension between
consumerist and socialist values, the danger inherent in Chavez's outsized
shadow, and not the least the certain intensification of U.S.
destabilization efforts. But outside the small pockets of privilege and
affluent ressentiment, the Venezuela I saw is not in the grip of fear. On
the contrary, it is in the grip of hope, pride and an infectious sense of
self-confidence and ownership.

Gabriel Ash is an activist and writer who writes because the pen is
sometimes mightier than the sword and sometimes not. He welcomes comments
at: g.a.evildoer [at]  Copyright 2000-2007. Sanders Research
Associates. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission from


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