|Progressive Calendar 09.13.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 19:30:13 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 09.13.07 1. Venezuela in MN 9.14 9:30am/11am/5:30pm 2. Venezuela/rights 9.14 4:30pm 3. Palestine 9.14 4:30pm 4. Rachel Corrie 9.14 7:30pm 5. Baghdad/poet 9.14 7:30pm 6. Tour de Sprawl 9.14/15 7. China Market 9.15 10am 8. UofM strike 9.15 10am 9. NWN4P Minnetonka 9.15 11am 10. Natural home 9.15 12noon 11. Anti-war march 9.15 1pm 12. Nature benefit 9.15 7pm Duluth 13. Uworker benefit 9.15 7pm 14. War/IQ/CTV 9.15 9pm 15. Justice walk 9.16 11:30am 16. StillwaterVigil 9.16 1pm 17. Big pharma 9.16 3pm 18. Amnesty Intl 9.16 3pm 19. Michael Cavlan - Green Party: what is it? 20. Ted Rall - The war party: Dems lie to prolong Iraq 21. B Ehrenreich - College students, welcome to a lifetime of debt! 22. Ron Jacobs - A talk with an anti-imperialist organizer 23. EB Patton - US withdraws completely from Middle East 24. ed - Dem party Dragnet (haiku) --------1 of x-------- From: Tim Jordan <jord0199 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Venezuela in MN 9.14 9:30am/11am/5:30pm Venezuelan Delegation in Minnesota on September 14, 2007 The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela cordially invites community and grassroots organizations, students, and the labor movement to participate in a series of events in the Twin Cities next Friday, September 14, 2007. The Honorable Ambassador of Venezuela to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, will be visiting Minneapolis-St. Paul as part of a tour of the Midwest, along with the Consul for Venezuela in Chicago, Martín Sánchez, Omar Sierra, and Marcos García, labor attache at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. All the following events are free and open to the public: 9:30 am to 11:00 am Meeting with the Venezuelan delegation to discuss questions of integration, exchange, and international solidarity, presented by Ambassador Alvarez. Representatives of community and grassroots organizations, cooperatives, etc. are invited to join this important discussion. Lugar Playwrights' Center, <http://www.pwcenter.org/> http://www.pwcenter.org/ 2301 East Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55406-1099 Contact: 612.408.7375 11:00 am to 12:30 pm Meeting with Martin Sanchez (Venezuelan Consul in Chicago) and Marcos Garcia (Labor Attache for the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC) to discuss the labor movement in Venezuela and what U.S. and Venezuelan workers can learn from each other. United Labor Center 312 Central Ave. SE (Corner of Univ. and Central Fifth Floor) Contact: <mailto:jp [at] handsoffvenezuela.org> jp [at] handsoffvenezuela.org or 651-373-7609 Reception from 5:30 to 6:00 pm Recepción. Presentation and discussion from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Conference with Ambassador Alvarez on "Socialism of the XXI Century". Where is Venezuela going? Come learn about the proposed changes to the Venezuelan Constitution and the proposals for participatory, and communal democracy. Macalester College, Weyerhauser Board Room, Weyerhauser Building(Corner of Grand & Macalester St. Contact: SorielxxI [at] aol.com or 651-696-6772 and 612 -232-1786 tim jordan jord0199 [at] umn.edu --------2 of x-------- From: kathryn ansley <kathryn.2001 [at] gmail.com> Subject: Venezuela 9.14 4:30pm This Friday the 14th 4:30 -5:30 pm at the Peace Chapel in the Grace University Lutheran Church on the east bank of the U of MN campus, near the medical school, the Consulate from Venezuela and I will be drinking good coffee and eating sweet foods. Discussion will be informal, centered around health & human rights in the global context. It'd be a great time to strategize about various projects, learn more about what is going on in the South. This is an open invitation to all folks interested-- translators, public health, nursing students, medical students, community members, etc. Network for social change, global health, & community based universal health care. Rebecca Medical Student & 2006/2007 Fulbright Scholar in Venezuela -My Bike Takes Me Places That School Never Could Rebecca Trotzky-Sirr MS3 U of MN 612 817 3822" --------3 of x-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine 9.14 4:30pm Friday, 9/14, 4:30 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end the occupation of Palestine, Snelling & Summit Aves, St Paul. Karen, 651-283-3495. --------4 of x-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Rachel Corrie 9.14 7:30pm "Rachel Corrie: a Life for Others" Dramatic Reading Friday, September 14, 7:30 p.m. Macalester Plymouth United Church, 1658 Lincoln Avenue, St. Paul. At the age of 23, Rachel Corrie was working with a nonviolent peace group in Gaza, trying to prevent a Palestinian home from being destroyed, when her life was snuffed out by an Israeli bulldozer in March of 2003. Professional actors read from her journals and e-mail exchanges with her family and friends. Discussion led by Karen Redleaf and Florence Steichen to follow. Donations accepted. Presented by: The War Plays Project. FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642. --------5 of x-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Baghdad/poet 9.14 7:30pm Friday, 9/14, 7:30 pm, poet Ann Iverson reads from her new book "Definite Space" including the emotional journey of her stepson's 2 tours in Baghdad, Gliddens Learning Center, room 100 E, Hamiline U, St Paul. www.hamline.edu/events/calendar/ --------6 of x-------- From: Joshua Houdek <joshua.houdek [at] sierraclub.org> Subject: Tour de Sprawl 9.14/15 Last chance to pre-register for the 12th Annual Tour de Sprawl (aka Tour de Dakota County) is Friday (9/14). The Tour begins at 9:30am on Saturday, (9/15) at Lebanon Hills Park in Eagan. 24 miles of relaxed bicycle riding, highlighting growth and development issues. Great local/organic food, vehicle support, solar powered live jazz and guest speakers. Pre-registration is $15. Kids/students are FREE but registration is required - please help us plan for you. Ride the Tour de Dakota County Saturday, September 15 www.northstar.sierraclub.org/tour-de-sprawl 612-659-9124 --------7 of x-------- From: Doris Marquit <marqu001 [at] umn.edu> Subject: China Market 9.15 10am Women's International League for Peace & Freedom presents: "Coffee With": Saturday, Sept. 15, 2007, 10 am to noon Van Cleve Community Ctr., 901 15th Ave. SE, Mpls FREE - EVERYONE WELCOME FFI: 651-458-7090; www.wilpfmn.org The Quest for Social Justice in China's Socialist Market Economy Speaker: Erwin Marquit, professor emeritus, U of M, leader of study tours to China and Vietnam China's mixed market economy has led to social problems such as pollution, hazardous working conditions, loss of free health care and education, and a growing income gap between rich and poor. However, besides cutting the number of people living below the poverty level, it has also raised the average standard of living, life expectancy, and educational levels. Drawing on recent extended visits to China, the speaker will address the question of whether the current Chinese policies of economic development will enhance or obstruct its quest for social justice. --------8 of x-------- From: Dave Bicking <dave [at] colorstudy.com> Subject: UofM strike 9.15 10am Every Saturday, 10am - 12pm Community / Labor Strike Support Committee meets every Saturday at Strike Headquarters - University Baptist Church, 1219 University Ave SE, Minneapolis. All supporters welcome. --------9 of x-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Minnetonka 9.15 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available. --------10 of x-------- From: AmiVoeltz DoItGreen <mngreenguide [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Natural home 9.15 12noon SEPT./OCT. Green Spending & Investing Expand your local spending power, support community banks and learn about green investing from a panel of financial advisors. Create either a basic financial cash flow or a green investment portfolio. Sat, Sept 15th 12-2pm Natural Built Home 4020 Minnehaha Ave, Mpls --------11 of x-------- From: Wyn Douglas <wyn_douglas [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Anti-war march 9.15 1pm ANTI-WAR MARCH IN ST. PAUL On September 15 a coalition of organizations will sponsor an anti-war protest in the Twin Cities area. This protest will coincide with a September 15 national anti-war protest in Washington D.C. initiated by the national ANSWER Coalition and a week of nationally coordinated peace actions (Sept. 14-21) initiated by the national Declaration of Peace campaign. September 15 is the deadline for the Bush Administration and the Pentagon to report to Congress on the "surge" of U.S. forces sent to Iraq earlier this year. Also, in September, Congress will be considering new funding for the war in Iraq. SATURDAY SEPT. 15, 2007 1PM GATHER 1:30 PM MARCH Cathedral of St. Paul 239 Selby Avenue in St. Paul, MN A march from the Cathedral will proceed past the Xcel Energy Center to the State Capitol for a closing rally. Fall Actions Against the War, Initiated by IPAC (Iraq Peace Action Committee). For more info: Women Against Military Madness 612-827-5364, Veterans for Peace 612-821-9141, Twin Cities Peace Campaign/Focus on Iraq 612-522-1861, Military Families Speak Out: mfso- minnesota [at] mn.rr.com, Anti-War Committee 612-379-3899. -- From: David Strand <mncivil [at] yahoo.com> Take a Chartered Bus to the Anti-Iraq War Rally Saturday, September 15 Noon - Bus leaves from Target at Highways 101 and 7 1pm - March from Cathedral of St. Paul to State Capitol 1:30pm - Rally at the State Capitol Cost - $5 Round Trip - For Reservations, Contact Warren Blechert <blechert [at] mchsi.com> 952-454-2233 Let's stand up and be counted! Let's join in with peace, anti-war, student, faith-based and other organizations to march to end the war now! This could be the biggest demonstration Minnesota has seen since Vietnam. It coincides with the national anti-war protest in Washington D.C. The Lake Country Progressives are making it easy to be a part of this by arranging bus transportation to the Cathedral. When the rally is over, we will be picked up at the State Capitol and delivered back to our cars in Minnetonka about 4:15 p.m. (Because the organizers are hoping for 15,000 people, it would be hard to find a place to park, if we all drove individually). Please make your reservations soon. Encourage family and friends to come to the rally, and bring signs if you wish. March with fellow progressives to let George Bush know that Minnesota wants the U.S. Military out of Iraq now! --------12 of x-------- From: Debbie <ddo [at] mchsi.com> Subject: Nature benefit 9.15 7pm Duluth Hartley Nature Center Fourth Annual Eat Sweets, Bid on Treats! Benefit Auction Saturday, September 15th 7-10:00 p.m. Hartley Nature Center 3001 Woodland Ave. Duluth, MN This special evening will feature Gourmet Desserts, Fine Wines and Ale's and live music with Sara Thomsen. Auction items include: Trip to Orlando, FL, Wilderness Experiences and Getaways, Nature Theme Baskets, Outdoor Gear Packages, Art, gift certificates, books and much more. Auction proceeds help fund Hartley's educational program and park stewardship efforts. 100% of ticket sales goes towards Hartley's School Scholarship Fund. Cost: $35.00 per person. Order tickets by phone or mail. Call Hartley at 218-724-6735 for more information. --------13 of x-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: U worker benefit 9.15 7pm Benefit to Support U of M Workers SAT, 9/15 @ 7pm @ CWA Hall, 3521 E. Lake St. Mpls AFSCME Clerical, Technical, & Healthcare workers at the U of M will strike on 9/5. They need our support. Please join us for an evening of solidarity to support the AFSCME U of M strikers. Come hear updates from the striking unions & statements of support from other unions. Collection will benefit AFSCME U of M Workers Support Fund. Sponsored by the Labor & Community Strike Support Committee, Uworkers.org, 612.234.8774 --------14 of x-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: War/IQ/CTV 9.15 9pm Revered Minneapolis Television Network (MTN 17) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and Tuesdays at 8am. Households with basic cable can watch! 9/15 9pm and 9/18 8am "Intellectuals in a Time of War". Interview of University of Minnesota professor Richard Martinez. Hosted by Eric Angell. --------15 of x-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Justice walk 9.16 11:30am Headwaters Foundation Walk for Justice Sunday, September 16, 11:30 a.m. Boom Island Park, 8th Avenue and Sibley Street Northeast, Minneapolis. Free parking is available at the corners of 8th Avenue and Sibley Street and 8th Avenue and Ramsey Street. It's not too late to register and walk for justice! Join WAMM supporters before the walk at 11:30 a.m. for pre-walk festivities. Registration starts at 11:30 and a short presentation is at noon. Sign up to walk with WAMM or to pledge a walker at <www.walkforjustice.org>, call WAMM 612-827-5364, or email <es1968 [at] yahoo.com>. --------16 of x-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 9.16 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------17 of x-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Big pharma/f/talk 9.16 3pm Ideas to Mobilize People Against Corporate Tyranny (IMPACT) facilitates a discussion of the documentary film: "Big Bucks, Big Pharma" Sun, September 16, 3 pm Mayday Bookstore, 301 Cedar Ave U of M West Bank, Mpls Big Bucks, Big Pharma (45 min, 2006) pulls back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for capital gain. Focusing on the industry's marketing practices, media scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in which direct-to-consumer advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of prescription medication. Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges us to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a for-profit industry for our health and well-being. Dr. Joel Albers, Pharm.D., Health Care Economics Researcher, Clinical Pharmacist and activist with Universal Health Care Action Network - MN will help facilitate the post-screening discussion. The event is FREE; however, we ask that you consider giving a donation to, or patronizing, our host: Mayday Bookstore ** IMPACT (Ideas to Mobilize People Against Corporate Tyranny) is a grassroots group of concerned citizens whose purpose is to raise awareness about the impact of corporations on our society, promote sustainable lifestyles, and mobilize ourselves and our communities to take cooperative action. We believe another world is possible: a world where people and the earth are more valued than profits! FFI: http://wmom.typepad.com/impact/ --------18 of x-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 9.16 3pm GROUP 37 SEPTEMBER MEETING REMINDER: SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16TH - 3 TO 5 P.M. Join us for our regular meeting on Sunday, September 16th, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. We will share actions on human rights cases around the world and get updates on the work of our sub-groups. All are welcome at the meeting, and refreshments will be provided. Location: Center for Victims of Torture, 717 E. River Rd. SE, Minneapolis (corner of E. River Rd. and Oak St.). Park on street or in the small lot behind the center (the Center is a house set back on a large lawn). --------19 of x-------- From: Michael Cavlan greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Green Party: what is it? Greens and Fellow Allies: This is a copy of an article that was just sent out. I have been active with a national group called We Democrats for some time. They are a small d democratic type of group. There is a national newsletter put out by them that has a circulation of 60,000. When their Editor, a woman called Norla found out that we Greens do not accept corporate or PAC money, she became very interested in us. She asked me to write an article 300-500 words long on about us greens and specifically on our priciple of not accepting corporate money. I was very busy so I asked for help from our Party. I recieved that help from one of the membership in whom I have a great deal of respect for who did most of the below story. The individual has chosen to remain anonymous and not have their name associated with the article and I respect that wish but still remain extermely grateful of the individual. So anyway, here is the article that is now been sent out to a national newsletter of 60,000 people. We Greens should be extremely proud of ourselves. Feel free to pass on as you see fit. If interested in reading the rest of the newsletter, then google We! and/or we democrats and that should get it up. I Remain Yours, Michael Cavlan The U.S. Green Party movement started in 1984 from a conference held in St. Paul, Minnesota. As a set of principles it adopted the four pillars of the worldwide Green movement: Grassroots Democracy, Social and Economic Justice, Ecological Wisdom, and Nonviolence. To these it added six more: Decentralization, Community-based Economics, Gender Equity, Respect for Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Sustainability. As these principles imply, the Green movement calls for a whole new kind of politics - a politics based on people, not on money. Greens walk their talk. They accept no contributions from corporations, foundations, or political action committees. They are decentralized. State-based Green parties have formed a national association, but each state adopts its own constitution and platform, all resting on the key values listed above. They advocate electoral reforms, including instant runoff voting, proportional representation, and public financing of campaigns. They advocate reform of corporate laws that give property equal rights with people. Greens are friends of small business, local economies, human and workers' rights, and keeping growth within sustainable limits. They look to the future and insist that decisions about our economy, our technologies, our consumption, and our resources be based on long-term community goals that respect the needs of generations yet to come. While not strict pacifists, Greens reject war as an instrument of national policy in a world of global interdependence and a threatened environment. Members of Green parties are encouraged not only to vote Green, but to live a Green lifestyle as far as possible. One of the guiding principles of the Greens is Grassroots Democracy. Inherent in that is that the Green Party, as an institution and Green Party candidates can not and will not accept any money from corporate or PAC interests. Greens believe that this money is corrupting our entire democracy. This at the root of so many of the problems we face in our society today; from the Iraq war and occupation, to the impending crisis of global warming and climate change. Likewise Greens hold that this corruption of our democracy by corporate and other wealthy interests is behind these problems and our governments reaction or lack of action to them. This principle, a refusal to accept money from the monied interests that own our democracy, media and so much of society is what makes Greens so different. The Green Party takes its positions and promotes its agenda specifically because it is not beholden to any corporate or any other wealthy monied interest. Supporting those who take these positions, with more than just rhetoric but with actions and deeds may just be the last true hope we have, here in the United States to have an actual representative democracy. Or people can continue to support the corporate monied corruption and the system that, rhetoric aside, keeps it in place. As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results. Michael Cavlan Green Party candidate US Senate 2006 Minnesota --------20 of x-------- The War Party: Democrats Lie to Prolong Iraq; Reporters Go Along by Ted Rall Published on Thursday, September 13, 2007 by Ted Rall.com Americans don't know how their government works. Democrats, in control of Congress, are taking advantage of our ignorance to continue the Iraq War. Which brings up two questions: Why won't the "antiwar" Democrats act to stop the carnage? And why aren't reporters calling them on it? "Democrats," writes Charles Babington in an Associated Press item that appeared in hundreds of newspapers, "control both chambers [of Congress] but lack the numbers to override President Bush's vetoes of bids to mandate troop withdrawals from Iraq". It's a half-truth at best: the Democrats' narrow majority is less than the two-thirds majority they'd need to override a presidential veto. Here's the full truth: it doesn't matter. In June Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's Extra! Magazine wrote: "If the Democrat-controlled Congress wanted to force the Bush administration to accept a bill with a withdrawal timeline, it didn't have to pass the bill over Bush's veto - it just had to make clear that no Iraq War spending bill without a timeline would be forthcoming.. Democratic leaders know that. And here's how I know they know: days after taking control of Congress, on January 30, they invited five constitutional law experts to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee to ask them how they could end the war. Four out of five of the experts swore that the Democrats could stop the Iraq War just.like.that. "Today we've heard convincing testimony and analysis that Congress has the power to stop the war if it wants to," said Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). Yet eight months later, there's still no end in sight. The Dems won the 2006 elections with promises to end the war. Weeks after taking over Congress, however, Republicans spooked them with one of the most ludicrous talking points of all time. Cutting off the money, they said, would abandon U.S. soldiers at the front, their ammo dwindling as Al Qaeda insurgents swarmed over them. (Actually, the fact that I have to write this speaks to the American rights intellectual dishonesty - the troops would go to the airport. They would board airplanes. They would fly home.) Democrats worry that they'll be portrayed as weak on defense if they act unilaterally to pull out of Iraq. Irony of ironies, they're wussing out to avoid looking wimpy. Forcing Republicans to vote with them to end the war, they calculate, would give them political cover. Extra! continued: "Democrats may not have wanted to pay the supposed political costs of [cutting off funding], but news coverage should have made clear that this was a choice, not something forced on them by the lack of a veto-proof majority". Rather than set the record straight, the media continues to spread the Democrats-can't-stop-the-Republican-war meme this week: Michael Duffy, Time magazine: "If Democrats had more votes - particularly in the House - they might be able to force Bush to change course. But Bush will fight any resolution fencing him in with a veto that, as things stand now, the Democrats cannot override. But the President's critics will continue to try, hoping to attract moderate Republicans who are fearful of losing their seats next year". Occasionally Time invites me to its Christmas party. If I score an invite this year, my present for their fact-checkers will be a copy of the Constitution. Marcella Bombardieri, The Boston Globe: "In the Senate, Democrats have only a 51 to 49 majority, far from the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster and the 67 needed to override a presidential veto. All efforts to force a troop withdrawal have failed, and the party will have to count on substantial Republican defections to make any further progress this fall". I'll be checking the Globe for a retraction. Brian Knowlton, The New York Times: Knowlton dutifully quoted Democratic Senator Joe Biden's claim that there were "political limits on his party, even with the Congressional majority it has held since the November midterm elections" "This is the president's war," [Biden] said. "Unless we get 67 votes to override his veto, there's nothing we can do to stop this war.." Not only did the Times fail to call Biden on his brazen lie, it gave him the last word. You'd think the Democrats would want to end the Iraq War before their likely retaking of the White House, but that's because you're a human being, not a politician. Politicians are happy to dispatch hundreds of young American men and women to certain death (along with thousands of Iraqis), if the bloodshed squeezes out an extra half percentage point at the polls. Reid and Pelosi prefer to run against a disastrous ongoing Republican war than point to a fragile Democratic-brokered peace. Why are so many respected journalists parroting the Democratic party line? I suspect that corporate media culture, rather than Judith Miller-style malfeasance, is largely to blame. Ink-stained newsrooms have been replaced by bullpen offices indistinguishable from those of banks or insurance companies. Reporters used to come from the working classes. They distrusted politicians and businessmen, and politicians and businessmen loathed them. Today's journalists are products of cookie-cutter journalism schools. Because graduate schools rarely offer scholarships, few come from the lower or middle classes. They look like businessmen. When they meet a politician, they see a possible friend. They wear suits and ties. And when a U.S. senator like Joe Biden feeds them a line of crap, they gobble it up. Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?," an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy challenge. 2007 Ted Rall --------21 of x-------- College Students, Welcome to a Lifetime of Debt! by Barbara Ehrenreich September 13, 2007 Welcome to Fleece U., where our mission is to take feckless teenagers such as yourselves and turn them into full-fledged citizens of our economy, meaning, of course, debtors. Many life-changing things will happen to you in the next four years. You will make lasting friends, including perhaps the love of your life. You will drink more than you ever thought possible and bitterly regret it in the morning. You will lose your virginity, if you happen to have brought it with you. Our stellar faculty ardently hopes that along the way you will be amazed by calculus and charmed by the tipsy conversation between Alcibiades and that wily old radical, Socrates. There is also a general expectation that you that you will come out of here with some hazy notion of spelling and grammar. But never forget that your real purpose here is to shake off the pointless freedom of youth and assume the burden of debt. To this end, we have just raised our tuition in an attempt to keep up with such top-of-the-line institutions as George Washington University (now weighing in at $39,210 a year, or $50,000 with room and board). You will find us also charging a plethora of additional fees - a "student activities fee," a "technology fee," and an "incidentals fee." In addition, we will be experimenting this year with a "snow removal fee," a "lecture hall seat-use fee," and the installation of pay toilets in the dorms. It would be short-sighted to resent these fees, since they provide valuable experience in bill-reading, and will come in handy when you confront your own personal monthly utility statements. At present we do not charge any additional tuition for this training in bill- reading, though we are considering adding a special "fee fee" in the future. Another thing that will help ease you into the status of debtor is the price of your textbooks - about $120 to $180 for a new, graffiti- free copy. True, this seems high when you could buy a hardcover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for $20 or less, but the aim is to teach you that a book is something to treasure (and, again, we charge no extra fee for this lesson.) On average, you will graduate with a respectable-sized debt of $20,000, which will enable you to establish your all-important "credit history." If we have succeeded in our educational mission, you will be a first-rate debtor, capable of making minimum monthly payments much of the time. As fresh offers of credit cards and home equity loans pour in, you will beam with pride at your achievement. Please note carefully that Fleece U degree cannot guarantee you a future income that will allow you to pay off your debts. Many of our most promising graduates are now, three or four years later, working for $8-12 an hour serving up latts, counseling disturbed youth or creating business computer networks. They are set for a lifetime of debt, and we are proud that they first began to accrue it right here, on our lovely mock Oxfordian campus. We don't have to remind you not to stigmatize debt as a condition associated with poverty. In 2006, for the first time, the average household's debt exceeded its income. By becoming a debtor, you will have entered the American mainstream! We have confidence that you will go on to mature effortlessly from college debt to car loan to mortgage to medical debts occasioned by the ever-growing gaps in coverage. You will see the value of all this debt when the day comes, as it inevitably will, when you wake up and ask yourself, "Who am I and what am I doing here?" You will be tempted to take long walks, read the Upanishads, or try out for a new career as a trophy spouse. In a crisis like this, you could easily spend thousands of dollars on life coaching and motivational DVDs. But you won't have to, because you'll have debt to keep you going. You will get up, shower, and toil faithfully in your cubicle year after year until, in the fullness of time, your family acquires the debt for your interment (at which point we trust you will have remembered Fleece U in your will.) So think of debt as the great motivator. Think of it as our gift to you. Because for at least the next academic year, we are not even thinking of charging for it. --------22 of x-------- Questions That Might Determine History: A Conversation With an Anti-Imperialist Organizer by Ron Jacobs September 13, 2007 In recent days, the US public has been satiated with a variety of press reports about numerous "new" plans aimed at addressing the US occupation and war in Iraq. Some of these plans are rumored to include recommendations for an eventual withdrawal of all US forces from that country while some urge the Pentagon and Washington to stay the course. One, written by an entity that calls itself the US Institute for Peace, suggests a fifty percent reduction in forces in three years with a complete withdrawal in five. Now, I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like peace. It sounds like five more years of war and occupation. The White House, its generals and ambassador to the Green Zone, meanwhile, are reported to want no changes at all in the current strategy. The Democratic leadership seems to fall somewhere in between these two. They say they want to introduce withdrawal legislation but don't want to include any deadlines for this withdrawal to occur. Instead, they want to provide the military and the White House with some guidelines as to when they think the withdrawal should be completed. In other words, they are once again drawing up legislation that has no teeth and is essentially meaningless. All of these reports and strategies share one basic assumption: that the US has a right to decide Iraq's future. Furthermore, this assumption is accompanied by the belief that Iraq's future should be one that benefits the goals and interests of US capital. In other words, the bloodshed and other hardships caused by the US occupation and the tensions it has unleashed do not really matter to the US warmongers. Nor do the deaths and injuries suffered by US soldiers and their families. Unfortunately for all of the aforementioned parties, the US antiwar movement has done little in the past year to change this. Indeed, some of its members and movers share this assumption, although not to the same degree as those US leaders and legislators that are actually funding and prolonging the war. How else would one explain the recent statements by Phyllis Bennis and others castigating the Iraqi resistance and, by default, the Iraqis right to resist the occupation? Since the war began in 2003 (actually, for a long time before that, but for the sake of maintaining focus), there has been an element in the antiwar movement that understands the fundamentally imperialist nature of the US war and occupation. In response, this element has organized its opposition to the debacle in anti-imperialist terms. The anti-imperialists' politics range from libertarian to anarchist with most of them considering themselves leftists. I have had a running conversation with Ashley Smith - one of those organizers with the International Socialist Organization - since well before March 2003. Recently, we decided to exchange thoughts regarding the need for a re-energized antiwar movement whose fundamental understanding is that the war in Iraq (and Afghanistan) is imperialist and that opposition to that war should be anti-imperialist. What follows is a transcript of this recent discussion. It doesn't provide answers as much as it provokes thought. After all, only the movement and the people it inspires can create the answers. It is those answers that become history. Ron Jacobs: First, let's define our terms - to me imperialism is the process whereby capitalist nations expand into other countries via economic aid, diplomacy and war in search of raw materials and resources, cheaper labor and new markets. This expansion is necessary because of the essential nature of capitalism: In order to survive, it must make a profit. In order to make a profit, it must minimize costs, produce ever more goods, and create markets to sell those goods. So, when a country can not provide all of the resources and labor required by a capitalist enterprise (or collection of enterprises) and the markets of that country are saturated with goods, the enterprises move overseas. When necessary, they enlist the government (which is made up of men and women who believe in the holiness of profit as well) to help them make that move. Hence, so-called free trade deals and wars. This is from a recent article by Max Elbaum: During the 1960s, left-led emancipatory movements held great initiative across the globe and the Black freedom movement surged at home, making radical perspectives a huge pole of attraction for anyone beginning to question the Vietnam War or other U.S. actions. So as the anti-Vietnam War movement expanded, there was a big pull on very large sections of people toward anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and left perspectives. The situation is much different today. What do you think of Elbaum's statement? Also, is the situation much different today? If so, how? I think it is quite different, but also believe that this is precisely why an anti-imperialist understanding is so important. Ashley Smith: I'm glad that you began identifying the nature of the problem we confront, that is, capitalist imperialism. For most people opposed to the war on Iraq, the problem is the Bush Administration or this or that wing of corporate America, say the oil companies. This administration or the oil industry has corrupted what is essentially, whatever its pock marks, a fine system. The aim of the movement therefore should be to pressure the government, isolate a regressive wing of corporate America, elect a liberal Democrat, and then implement a sane foreign policy through the existing government. Imperialism is therefore a problem of policy, not the of the system itself. In 2004, this led the mainstream anti-war movement to entirely subordinate grassroots struggle to the project of electing John Kerry, who was an ardent supporter of the Iraq War and merely claimed that he would more effectively run the war. The anti-war movement thus collapsed. Understanding the actual roots and nature of imperialism is therefore pivotal for building an effective movement that can end this occupation and develop a radical movement for overthrowing imperialism. The Marxist tradition has argued that imperialism, and imperialist wars like the US one in Iraq, are inseparable from capitalism itself. Imperialism is thus a systemic problem not a policy of this or that elected government. It does not change with elections. Nor is it the result of particular branches of industry. Essentially Marxists have argued that capitalism by its very nature was an expansive system; it creates both integrated national economies and a competitive and hierarchical world system. The capitalist drive for profit compels corporations to gobble up their competition creating giant monopolies that dominate national economies. They concentrate and centralize the entire national economy. These monopolies tend fuse with their home state, dictate its domestic policies to their advantage, and use it to prosecute their interests in the world system. At the same time, these monopolies break out of their national economies to create a world market, internationalizing the economy, creating an intertwined world system of exploitation of labor and resources. Instead of producing peaceful development, however, the most developed capitalist nation states compete for spoils of the world system. At various points in the history of capitalism, they have struggled over colonies, spheres of influence, trade deals, political treaties, resources, and cheap labor. Inevitably they build massive militaries to enforce their aims. Eventually economic competition for division of the world between great powers triggers inter-imperial wars like the twentieth centuries world wars. In pursuing these imperialist aims, the great powers oppress less developed countries through colonialism, invasions and occupations, maintaining military bases, and many sundry other mechanisms from structural adjustment programs of the IMF to discriminatory political treaties. Capitalism has thus produced imperialism. Of course, massive movements can so disrupt the system as to end particular imperial wars, but to end imperialism itself, capitalism must be overthrown. It cannot be reformed out of existence. That is pivotal for understanding the nature of the US occupation of Iraq and what kind of movement, strategies, and tactics will be necessary to end it. In reality, the Iraq War was not cooked up in the devilish mind of Cheney or Bush for their oil friends. In reality, the US ruling class as a whole supported the war as a means of overcoming their failure to contain Iran and Iraq. They aimed to use the cover of 9/11 to reorganize the Middle East through a series of regime changes beginning with Iraq and ending most importantly with Iran. They did so not to secure supplies for US consumption, but to prevent US competitors like Europe, Russia, China, and lesser threats to US dominance like Venezuela from developing independent access to the region's strategic oil reserves, especially those in Iran and Iraq. If they did so, they could build a rival axis to US imperialism. The US was aim was thoroughly about not only control of Iraq and the Middle East, but also dominance over potential imperial rivals. The US has thus far more at stake in Iraq than it had in Vietnam and will take an ever more powerful movement to drive it out of Iraq and the region. During the Vietnam War, which was a brainchild of Cold War Democrats Kennedy and Johnson, it took a mass domestic anti-war movement, a rebellion of US troops in Vietnam, and a heroic resistance by the Vietnamese people to defeat the US. Congress never lifted a finger. We should learn that lesson well and organize an independent mass movement of mass protests and sit-ins, help build a new Vet and GI resistance through Iraq Veterans against the War, and also support the legitimate resistance of the Iraqi people against occupation. Only the combination of all those forces has the social power to drive the US out of Iraq. And while we have the majority of the US population coming our way, it will take a good deal of time to organize that kind of movement and solidarity. Pivotal amidst that process is building a new American left with a clear understanding of imperialism and how to resist its wars. RJ: With all of that understood, how does one go about organizing such a movement, especially in light of the ongoing attempts by the Democrats to confuse what exactly it means to be against the war? While the IVAW and other vet's groups certainly play an important role, they are not enough. Indeed, some folks are hesitant to endorse them because they were in the war and might have been involved in killing people, while others might consider them whiners because "after all, they signed up". I personally believe that the most important role the vets can play is in helping to organize their active duty brothers and sisters into opposing the war from within. At the same time (having been involved in the antiwar movement against the US war in Vietnam,) I understand the moral suasion the vets can hold on the popular imagination. Indeed, this is part of the reason everybody wants a piece of the vets and why antiwar vets are so hated by the pro-war forces. Anyhow, back to the Democrats. The New York Times had a piece on the Democratic candidates' true Iraq/Afghan war stances and none of the three major candidates' plans include anything even approaching an immediate and unconditional withdrawal. This isn't a surprise to us, but you gotta wonder how many antiwar citizens think that Edwards, Obama or Clinton are going to end the war. Just like the 2006 Congressional elections, the Democrats are lying about their true intentions, yet you can bet that there will be some of their supporters at every antiwar rally between now and the 2008 elections. This is our biggest task: get the movement past these liars. [Amen. The biggest. The Dems serve the elite by throwing dust in our eyes. -ed] AS: The Democrats are really a challenge for social movements and the Left. Just a glance at the main funders of the party reveals the problem; they get the bulk of their money from corporate America. As a result, however much they appeal to the movements of workers and the oppressed, they are tied to a class that does not share our interests and as a result betray their promises to us. Nowhere is that more clear than the war in Iraq. Save for a handful of exceptions, they voted for the war; they refuse to cut the funding; they oppose immediate withdrawal; and won't even impeach the war criminals in the White House. Some of them are actually more hawkish on Iran than Bush is! They have more in common with the Republican's imperial and corporate agenda than differences. That's why we have to stress that social movements must remain independent of both corporate parties, not compromise our demands like immediate withdrawal, and rely on our own social power to compel them to follow us, conform to our agenda. Only then can we force their hand and end this occupation and challenge imperialism itself. While most people in the anti-war movement are going to vote for the Democrats, a big layer realize that Hilary Clinton, who looks like the odds on favorite, is not for immediate withdrawal. So with that layer I think we have to say, regardless of who you vote for, it is our struggle that will determine whether or not the war comes to an end. Once you grasp that change does not come through the Democrats nor really even through the ballot box, but through social movements like the civil rights movement that compelled reluctant Democrats like Kennedy and Johnson to grant voting rights, then it becomes obvious that we must develop a anti-war strategy that looks to our social power to end the occupation. The key historical precedent we have to turn to is how we, not the Democrats, ended the Vietnam War. We ended it through the dynamic interaction between a truly mass domestic anti-war movement, a rebellion among the US troops and Veterans documented in David Cortright's brilliant book Soldiers in Revolt, and the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people. That's exactly what we must build today. We must build a grassroots and sustained anti-war movement expressed through demonstrations, sit-ins, teach-ins, and many other tactics to turn majority anti-war sentiment into the social power to shut down campuses, paralyze cities in mass protests, and even organize strikes at workplaces against the war. Even more importantly we have to build such resistance inside the troops; if they refuse to fight the war is over. That's why any moralistic posture toward soldier's is foolish. Most of these soldiers didn't really volunteer; they are subject to a poverty draft. They are young workers who are looking for money, job training, and education so that they can have better lives. And, as has been amply documented, the military has often hoodwinked them with recruiter's lies and aims to use them as cannon fodder for imperial actions that are not in their interests. A growing majority of the US troops don't want to be in Iraq, an emergent minority has drawn anti-war conclusions, and its leading edge has built Iraq Veterans Against the War. We must support this effort as part of our movement to end the war, because IVAW has the potential to turn the ranks of the US military against the war. At the same time we argue for such a dynamic movement, independent of the two corporate parties, we have to build a new American Left that can eventually provide an alternative at the ballot box, but even more importantly in grass roots struggle that does represent the interests of immense majority of workers and oppressed inside this country and internationally. Otherwise, the movements will be hamstrung by the dominant politics of the two corporate parties. As Engels said a long time ago, the struggle is economic, political and ideological. We therefore must build a new left that fights on all these fronts - fights in the day to day grassroots battles over basic demands; aims to build an electoral challenge; and provide as anti-capitalist, dare I say socialist, worldview to combat the corporate propaganda and provide an alternative based on solidarity from below. We have to fight them on all fronts as part of an overall strategy to challenge and transform the system. RJ: Once again, the stuff about Democrats is well understood by all but the most hardened party loyalists and those people are probably not going to be convinced that the Democratic Party is part of the problem, not the solution. However, that leaves pretty much everyone else. Amongst that everybody else, there are a variety of perspectives ranging from the very cynical to the not as cynical to the somewhat hopeful. The latter will probably vote Democratic just because they believe that it has to be better under them. How does one wrestle with that hope and conviction? People in this country seem very far from even grasping the idea that there is something besides the GOP, the Democrats, and giving up. I know many of my friends consider trying to change anything is a big waste of time. I can only answer them by saying that one never knows until one tries, but their response is that the historical evidence is against such a possibility. Part of me thinks that this cynicism stems from the overwhelming presence of capitalist ideology in our daily lives, but knowing that doesn't change a thing. In fact, it only feeds the conviction that the only thing leftists can really do is prevent the absolute worst from happening - whatever that is. Given that most antiwar voters are going to [alas -ed] vote Democratic (which means that they will end up voting for a candidate that supports the war since the antiwar candidates will be pushed to the sidelines by the party leadership), how does one prepare for the certain disappointment to come if the Democrats win and nothing changes - the war goes on and perhaps expands? What I mean is how does one turn the almost certain disappointment away from cynicism and towards a truly popular grassroots antiwar movement? So, we end with questions similar to those we started with, which suggests, like I said before, that it is up to the movement that is organized against the war to provide the answers - answers which will determine the history of this moment, and the future. --------23 of x-------- US Withdraws Completely from Middle East by E.B. Patton September 13th, 2007 WASHINGTON (AEP) - A new group calling itself WAR (Workers for a Revolution) issued a report today with their suggestions for how the U.S. labor movement might revitalize itself. Their report quotes the 1978 book Poor People's Movements, where authors Richard Cloward and Frances Piven say: "Factory workers had their greatest influence, and were able to extract their most substantial concessions from government, during the Great Depression, in the years before they were organized into unions. Their power during the depression was not rooted in organization, but in disruption". With this in mind, WAR's report says that, "Given the current weak state of labor, perhaps one of the keys to re-igniting it lies in a strategy of what might be termed 'organized disruption'. If business needs smooth running and no disruptions, and if such smoothness in their operations gives them little to no reason to address any of our concerns, then perhaps the right way forward for us lies, at least in part, on a strategy of organizing ourselves in ways that would allow us to disrupt the normal operations of our workplaces at will.. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney issued a scathing denunciation of the report. "That's the biggest crock of shit I've ever heard in my life. Those ungrateful bastards are forgetting everything we've done for them. Just look at all the things we've won for them! We've won -. we-ve won - dammit, we've won a lot!" House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said, "This is fascism, plain and simple. These workers want us to take the union off Old Glory and replace it with a swastika." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, "These workers are evil. They hobnob with the devil. They all have 666's tattooed on the backs of their heads. If you go into their homes, you'll find altars where they sacrifice babies. I've even got video footage of one of them kicking his dog." Democratic president candidate and Illinois senator Barack Obama said, "Ending slavery was the right thing to do. But freeing blacks only to turn around and make slaves out of the rich isn't progress." The workers tried to indicate they were not looking to make slaves out of anyone, but rather to create a society where no one was a slave of anyone else. "An honest look at the US capitalist economy would, we think, call it by its rightful name: wage slavery." Speaking via telephone from her home in Hampstead, England, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, "Rubbish. These workers don't know anything at all about economics. When it comes to market-based capitalism, there is no alternative." The workers noted that, "We don't have all the answers, but one idea that seems promising to us is Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel's Participatory Economics. We particularly like Albert & Hahnel's understanding and acknowledgement of the fact that any economy that leaves our bosses lording over us and making all the decisions themselves isn't one that truly liberates us." Responding to the report, a coalition of doctors, lawyers, managers, engineers, accountants, architects, and university professors calling themselves Intellectuals for a Bright Future said, "Small minds, small ideas. No other comment is required." Still, the US government isn't taking any chances. Upon release of the report, the entire US military apparatus in Iraq and Afghanistan was immediately withdrawn and returned stateside. The approximately 160,000 US soldiers and 130,000 mercenaries, or contractors, immediately attacked WAR's Washington office -w a small efficiency apartment with no air conditioning and a constantly-running toilet. While the US military was unable to achieve its objectives in the Middle East, they did succeed in stopping the toilet. E. B. Patton is a reporter for the Cincinnati-based AEP, and can be reached via e-mail at: ebpatton [at] yahoo.com. Read other articles by E.B.. This article was posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007 at 5:00 am and is filed under Capitalism, Labor, Fiction, Revolution and Satire. --------24 of x-------- just the facts m'am Dem party Dragnet: Doom de doom doom! Doom de doom doom DOOM! 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