|Progressive Calendar 12.11.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 05:04:22 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.11.07 1. MAP lunch/RNC 12.11 11:30pm 2. Women's rights 12.11 12noon 3. Labor/Rachleff/CTV 12.11 5pm 4. Women/labor/film 12.11 6:30pm 5. Ford Plant public? 12.11 6:30pm 6. Pray for peace 12.11 6:30pm 7. 3CD:Iraq/vote 12.11 7pm 8. Stadiums suck 12.11 7pm 9. Vets/witchhunt vote 12.12 11am 10. The baby biz 12.12 11:30am 11. Happy NOW 12.12 5:30pm 12. AWC volunteer 12.12 5:30pm 13. CAA/animals/eat 12.12 6:30pm 14. Green Party 12.12 6pm 15. Vets for peace 12.12 7pm Redwing MN 16. AI StP 12.12 7:30pm 17. Muslim feminist art 12.13 12noon 18. Peace demo 12.13 4:30pm Rochester MN 19. Women's rights film 12.13 7pm 20. Karen Redleaf - Open letter to MAP annual meeting guests 21. Ron Jacobs - The conspiracy continues: the Dems and war funding 22. Joann Wypijewski - Is there a left here left? What can it do? --------1 of 22-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: MAP lunch/RNC 12.11 11:30pm Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers' (MAP) Annual Meeting and Luncheon Tuesday, December 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland at Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington, will speak on "Community Relations and the Republican National Convention." Everyone is welcome. $15.00 will be collected at the door for a "sit-down" luncheon. FFI and to Register: Email <martrobe44 [at] aol.com>. [See below 20.Karen Redleaf - Open letter to MAP annual meeting guests] --------2 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Women's rights 12.11 12noon December 11: Women's Programs, MN Advocates for Human Rights & Briggs & Morgan present Women's Human Rights Speaker Series: Women, Truth & Transition with Professor Fionnuala Ni Aolain. Noon-1 PM. Briggs & Morgan, Minnesota Room, 2200 IDS Center, 80 S. 8th Street, Mpls. Free & open to the public (registration required). RSVP to Tina at 612/977-8126 by December 7. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP. --------3 of 22-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Labor/Rachleff/CTV 12.11 5pm Most excellent St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN 15) viewers: "Our World In Depth" cablecasts in St. Paul on Tuesday evenings at 5pm and midnight and Wednesday mornings at 10am. All households with basic cable can watch! 12/11 5pm and midnight and 12/12 10am "Labor's Past, Labor's Present, Labor's Future" Interview of Peter Rachleff, labor historian and professor at Macalester College. Hosted by Karen Redleaf. (a repeat) --------4 of 22-------- From: wsac [at] umn.edu Subject: Women/labor/film 12.11 6:30pm Women and Labor Film Series: Made in Thailand & Made in India Tuesday December 11th , 6.30 pm-8.00 pm in WSAC: Coffman Room 202 Made In Thailand. A film by Eve-Laure Moros and Linzy Emery In Thailand, women make up 90 percent of the labor force responsible for garments and toys for export by multinational corporations. This powerful, revealing documentary about women factory workers and their struggle to organize unions exposes the human cost behind the production of everyday items that reach our shores. Today they are highly effective leaders in the grass-roots movement mobilizing workers in their recently industrialized country. Made in India. A film by Patricia Plattner This powerful documentary is a portrait of SEWA, the now-famous women's organization in India that holds to the simple yet radical belief that poor women need organizing, not welfare. Following the lives of six women involved in the organization, including Ela R. Bhat, its visionary founder, Plattner's documentary is an important look at the power of grassroots global feminism. Facilitated discussion will follow with Marion Traub-Werner, graduate student in Geography with a focus on global work issues. This event is free. Bring your friends!!! Free Food!!! Contact wsac [at] umn.edu or call 612 625 1611 for questions! WSAC, Coffman Union, Suite 202 300 Washington Av SE, Minneapolis MN 55455 -- The mission of the Women's Student Activist Collective is to empower women and transpeople to make positive changes in society through the elimination of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, classism, and all interrelated forms of inequality. wsac [at] umn.edu, www.tc.umn.edu/~wsac, 612.625.1611 300 Washington Ave. SE, Suite 202 --------5 of 22-------- From: patty <pattypax [at] earthlink.net> Subject: Ford Plant public? 12.11 6:30pm HI, This coming Tuesday Michael Wood will discuss with us the possibility of the Ford Plant being owned by us, the public. What is Public Ownership and How This Can Apply to the St Paul Ford Plant. Should be a tantalizing discussion. Pax Salons ( http://justcomm.org/pax-salon ) are held (unless otherwise noted in advance): Tuesdays, 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Mad Hatter's Tea House, 943 W 7th, St Paul, MN Salons are free but donations encouraged for program and treats. Call 651-227-3228 or 651-227-2511 for information. --------6 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Pray for peace 12.11 6:30pm December 11: Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet & Consociates Justice Commission. 11th Day Prayer for Peace featuring Erika Swichtenberg, Cellist, Composer & Pianist. 6:30-7:15 PM at Presentation of Our Lady Chapel, St. Paul. --------7 of 22-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: 3CD:Iraq/vote 12.11 7pm Third Congressional District Candidate Forum on Iraq and Related Issues Tuesday, December 11, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Hennepin County Ridgedale Library, 12601 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka. Robert H. Rohlf Room Polls report that some 70% of the US population wants the U.S. out of Iraq soon. Some of the first issues our new representative in Congress will face are action on the war and related military concerns. All declared candidates for the Third District U.S. House of Representatives seat have been invited to participate in a conversation with the peace community in a nonpartisan environment. The format of the event will be conversation, the beginning of what is hoped to become an on-going dialogue between the peace community and our elected representative. The discussion will center on Iraq but will include the broader issues of U.S. military aggression. Journalist Eric Black moderates.Sponsored by: Third District Peace Campaign, Iraq Vets Against the War, Vets for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out. --------8 of 22-------- From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net> Subject: Stadiums suck 12.11 7pm Taxpayers For an Anoka County Stadium Referendum Tuesday December 11 at 7pm The remaining months we will meet the Second Tuesday of every month. Centennial High School Red Building - Room 104 4704 North Road Circle Pines, MN The red building is on the east end of the high school complex, and is set back furthest from North Road. Enter on the East side of the building. The largest parking lots are near this building. The most recent news is that leading State legislators and the Governor have said the stadium will not be a priority for the 2008 Session but: In an Associated press article last week Wilf said "We look forward to advancing the stadium issue during the 2008 legislative session." Mr. Wilf has not given up on your money and neither should you! The only question left is: when will our representatives stop entertaining these giveaway welfare schemes to the richest men they can find at the expense of our future. Please join us for another episode in the series: "WHO WILL PAY FOR ZYGI'S STADIUM?" This could just as well mean a metro wide sales tax, including the 30 year mortgage at a total of 1.5 billion dollars. Can someone calculate how many new bridges that could buy? [Zygi - just another capitalist freeloader. -ed] WE WILL HAVE LAWN SIGNS AVAILABLE AT THE MEETING. Agenda Items Include: * Website * Lawn Signs for sale! * What is happening in the 2008 Legislative Session? * How do we join our friends to the south metro to stop this, the newest welfare scheme? * Also coming to a location not so near you: The Stadium Commission has decided to hold meetings to engage some of the public. I say "some of the public" because conspicuous because by their absence are any meetings anywhere in Anoka County. Who wants to go and ask why Anoka County is once again left out of public input to the process. For more on the Stadium commission meetings and what has happened so far, come to our meeting. Now would be a good time to think about what you will write to your representatives to tell them we do not need to waste more money on stadium giveaways to Billionaires. Please continue to tell them we want a vote as required by state law for any tax increase to pay for a stadium. Write letters to your local paper too. If you have done these things already please do it again. Any Questions, comments contact me at rrholch [at] attg.net --------9 of 22-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Vets/witchhunt vote 12.12 11am Wednesday, DEC. 12 at 11AM KFAI 90.3FM Minneapolis/106.7 St. Paul - Streaming [at] KFAI.org A Production of CIVIC/MEDIA/MINNESOTA COMING HOME: How Wars Destroy the Warriors When the gear comes off and discipline and alertness wane, veterans have to live with what their humanity had to stuff while killing. Record suicides, marriage break-ups, homelessness and addiction are plaguing returning warriors. TTT's Andy Driscoll and Lynnell Mickelsen talk with local veterans and officials assigned to their health and re-entry to discuss how ³supporting the troops² doesnıt always extend to their lives after combat. JOIN THE DISCUSSION. CALL 612-341-0980 during the show. GUESTS: MAJ. CYNTHIA RASMUSSEN, RN MSN CANP Army Combat Stress Officer/Sexual Assault Response Coordinator AUNDREY SANCHEZ DVA-Legion Office for the State of Minnesota Dept. of Veterans Affairs GUY GAMBILL Veteran, Gulf War I, and Advocacy Coordinator Council on Crime and Justice SSGT. CHERISHA SANDERS Medic from Iraq and Afghanistan Wars PLUS STEALTH FASCISM? House Members Vote to Criminalize Dissent! (HR 1955) The US House has voted 400+ to few to create a new 50s-style witch-hunting National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism. How did such a radical measure pass with the support of our DFL representatives? Weıll ask them if theyıll answer. GUESTS: PETER ERLINDER Constitutional Law Expert/Law Professor, Wm. Mitchell INVITED: US REP. KEITH ELLISON US REP. BETTY McCOLLUM [When is either party going to vote for things most of us want, and against things most of us don't want? Or is that asking too much in a so-called democracy? And when are we going to get angry enough about it to DO something decisive? -ed] --------10 of 22-------- From: Consortium on Law & Values JDP Program <lawvalue [at] umn.edu> Subject: The baby biz 12.12 11:30am The University of Minnesota's Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences and the Joint Degree Program in Law, Health & the Life Sciences are pleased to sponsor the 2007-08 Lecture Series on Emerging Debates on Oversight and Policy in Biomedicine & the Life Sciences. Please join us December 12, 2007 for the second lecture in this series. "Building a Better Baby Business: What's Wrong with the Market for Assisted Reproduction and How to Make it Better" by Professor Debora Spar, PhD (Harvard Business School) Wednesday, December 12, 2007 11:30am - 1:00pm Theater, Coffman Memorial Union Commentators: Professor Michele Goodwin, JD, and Professor Christopher DeJonge, PhD Debora Spar Professor Spar will discuss how, in the United States alone, assisted reproduction generates annual revenues of over $4 billion. Would-be parents have a tremendous array of options, including advanced techniques for in vitro fertilization (IVF), use of spermbanks, and access to egg donors. They can aim for one child or several, blond hair or brown, a boy or a girl. In the process, they can expect to pay handsomely, anywhere from $13,000 (the average price for a single cycle of IVF) to $250,000 (the cost of repeated, failed, cycles with high-end donor eggs and advanced techniques). She will describe the current status of the assisted reproduction business and outline some of the major problems it poses --of equity, of contracting, and of child and maternal welfare. She will also discuss avenues for appropriate public policy. This event is free and open to the public. This lecture is intended for students, faculty, researchers, scientists, policymakers, and community members. Application for 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) for attorneys has been submitted. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Registration is available online, by phone at 612-626-5624, or by email at lawvalue [at] umn.edu . To access a map for Coffman Memorial Union and nearby parking, visit http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/maps/CMU/index.html. [All the guys I know who engaged in assisted reproduction did it for free, and many ended up married, paying child support, or in jail. -) -ed] --------11 of 22-------- From: Trisha Hasbargen <thasbargen [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Happy NOW 12.12 5:30pm UPTOWN NOW Grrrl Power Happy Hour Join the Uptown chapter of National Organization for Women for its monthly happy hour- an opportunity to network and get to know other like-minded people in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Join us for some boisterous conversation and a little trouble-making! We'll save you a spot! This event is open to members and non-members alike- bring a friend! 5:30-7:00: Wednesday, December 12, Wednesday, January 9, Wednesday, February 13 Aura in Calhoun Square in Uptown, www.thriftyhipster.com/minneapolis/uptown/101_blu For more information: Go to www.myspace.com/uptownnow or email nowuptown [at] yahoo.com. --------12 of 22-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC volunteer 12.12 5:30pm Volunteer with the Anti-War Committee WED, 12/12 @ 5:30 @ our office 1313 5th St. SE, Mpls, #213 Come help us fold and send our end of the season mailing to our supporters. Many hands make light work! Fold and stamp while having engaging political conversations! --------13 of 22-------- From: mcdou040 [at] umn.edu Subject: CAA/animals/eat 12.12 6:30pm Join Compassionate Action for Animals for a dine-out this Wednesday (December 12th), at 6:30 p.m. at the Holy Land Deli. This popular veg-friendly restaurant offers a wide variety of traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare such as falafel, grape leaves, hummus and baba ganouj, and much more! Come take a mid-week break, meet new CAA supporters, and enjoy great food. Don't miss this opportunity! Holy Land Deli is located at 2513 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis http://tinyurl.com/3dmu6b Please RSVP with Becca at mcdou040 [at] umn.edu or 763-221-0770. --------14 of 22-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Green Party 12.12 6pm Deep Organizing with the Green Party of MN Dec 12 - 6-7pm Become a stronger more confident Green Party organizer This is an ongoing-every second Wednesday of the Month -- Thinking of running as a Green Party Candidate in 2008? Dec 12 7-8pm Let's talk about what steps are needed and how to prepare for the upcoming elections. Ongoing-every second Wednesday of the Month Location : Green Party of MN office, 2395 University Ave W. #224, St. Paul 55114 (University and Raymond. Enter on the Raymond side, next to the Womens Press.) and our communities. Call to confirm : Ken Pentel (612) 387-0601 kenpentel [at] yahoo.com --------15 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Vets for peace 12.12 7pm Redwing MN Wednesday, 12/12, 7 to 8:30 pm, Red Wing Vets for Peace meeting at home of Charles Nicolosi, Red Wing. tuvecino [at] redwing.org --------16 of 22-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: AI StP 12.12 7:30pm AIUSA Group 640 (Saint Paul) meets Wednesday, December 12th, at 7:30 p.m. Mad Hatter Teahouse, 943 West 7th Street, Saint Paul. --------17 of 22-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Muslim feminist art 12.13 12noon FEMINISTS IN FAITH DIALOGUE Thursday, December 13, 2007 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm Luann Dummer Center for Women O'Shaughnessy Educational Center 103 FATIMAH IN AMERICA Hend Al-Mansour, Muslim feminist artist will give a presentation on her art and her latest work-in-progress. Please join us for this monthly inter-faith dialogue. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Bring your lunch, we will provide coffee and dessert. Any questions, call Pat at the Women's Center 962-6119 between 9 am and 1:00 pm, Monday-Friday. --------18 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Peace demo 12.13 4:30pm Rochester MN Thursday, 12/13, 4:30 pm, Southeastern MN Area Peacemakers sponsors peace demonstration, Broadway & 2nd St SW, Rochester, followed by 7 pm meeting at Govt Center, room AB. http://www.semnap.org --------19 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Women's rights film 12.13 7pm December 13: Women's Human Rights Programs, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights Women's Human Rights Film Series. Features "Killer's Paradise " 7 PM. Riverview Branch Library, 1 East George Street, St. Paul. Free & open to the public. --------20 of 22-------- Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2007 08:57:10 -0800 (PST) From: karen redleaf <vegan14ever [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Open letter to MAP annual meeting guests Dear Guests of the MAP Annual Meeting, Some of us writing today are long time activists for social justice. We have struggled side by side with many of you to end war and oppressive violence. This is why we are so concerned about the choice of St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington as keynote speaker for this meeting. We recognize that as guests you did not chose the speaker, and we do not wish to judge you. We want only to encourage you to think about the Republican National Convention, the role the police will play and where you stand. You will be pushed to "take sides" and we want you to make an informed decision. As protectors of state power, even the best intentioned police will be on the wrong side of the barricades at the Republican National Convention. Ask yourself why. Are the police "upholding the law" by arresting "lawbreakers", or are they defending those guilty of mass murder and crimes against humanity and nature from being called to account by the people? Why aren't the police meeting with the people right now to figure out how we will defend our cities from this invasion of dangerous criminals in suits? The criminal behavior and complicity of RNC attendees will be off the police radar. Instead they will focus on "good" protesters and "bad" protesters. Even if we share all the same goals, the police put wedges between us by focusing entirely on the tactics we utilize to advance our common goals. If we accept the premise that there is such a thing as a "bad" protester, we have already lost. The myth of the so-called "bad" protester will serve as the justification for all the violence perpetrated by the police during the RNC. And make no mistake; the police will be perpetrating violence during the RNC. Believing in "bad" protesters normalizes police violence. It allows people to believe that protesters get the treatment they deserve, and this belief allows the police to use violence even more indiscriminately. Believing in "bad" protesters creates an environment in which police violence does not have to be justified. Police violence - like all state sponsored violence, including war - is presumed to be legitimate. It is disturbing that "nonviolent" activists are so ready to accept police violence. Holding such beliefs about the "legitimate" use of violence by agents of state power is a mark of privilege. Those on the receiving end of U.S. violence around the world recognize the indiscriminate nature of that violence. As it is around the world, so it is here. But the "war at home" affects different communities differently. The wealthy and white can pretend there is no war if they choose to. That's privilege. Ask the poor and people of color about the police. Ask how they feel about police violence. Of course you would have to leave the talk to ask them, because you won't find them in the audience with you. Ask yourself why. Ask yourself if inviting a police chief to speak at a major peace event reveals something about why people from poor communities and communities of color are not more involved in the anti-war movement - even though these communities are deeply impacted by war. Ask yourself who you are lining up against when you line up behind the police. Is it possible you are alienating those you would seek as allies? The barricades are up. Whose side are you on? (Karen Redleaf is a former MAP delegate and current member of the RNC Welcoming Committee. She writes this on behalf of Communities United Against Police Brutality, the RNC Welcoming Committee and concerned residents of the Twin Cities.) (comments appreciated at: http://wmom.typepad.com) --------21 of 22-------- The Conspiracy Continues: The Democrats and War Funding by Ron Jacobs DissidentVoice December 10th, 2007 Okay. I'm going to state the obvious here. After all, somebody needs to say it. In fact, everybody who sees it needs to say it. Are you ready? Then here goes. The men and women calling themselves Democrats and sitting in Congress are the biggest bunch of liars this country has ever seen. Given today's political situation, what with Bush and Cheney running the White House, that's a pretty big claim to make. Unfortunately for those who believed those men and women might actually stop the war in Iraq and begin getting the US military out of there, this is the only conclusion one can make. I mean, take a look. There are more troops in Iraq now than there were when the Democrats won (yeh, won) both houses of Congress a little over a year ago. If my calculations are correct, more than $100 billion have been spent to keep those troops there, keep them in supplies both lethal and otherwise, and to top it off, more troops have died since those elected "representatives" took their places than in any other year of this loathsome war and occupation. Add to this list of calamities the untold numbers of Iraqis killed, wounded and uprooted from their homes. No matter how you look at it, there is no way this can be called ending the war. In fact, not only could it be called enabling this debacle to continue, the more truthful description would be to call what the Democrats have done is conspire to commit murder. Their partners in the conspiracy - the White House, the Pentagon and their GOP supporters - have been true to their word. They promised that they would stay in Iraq until their goals were reached, no matter how many lives it took. Even without an elected majority in Congress, this element of the conspiracy has received every bit of money, every single GI and marine, and almost every bit of positive media spin they have asked for. This could not have occurred without the collusion of the Democrats. As I write this, another alleged attempt by Congressional Democrats to begin bringing home a sizable minority of troops from Iraq seems to be going the way of every other previous attempt. That is, to the dustbin of history. The reasons given this time by the Democrats are as pathetic as those provided previously. You know the litany: they don't have the votes, the GOP is threatening a filibuster if the troop withdrawal limits are attached to the bill, they don't want to harm the troops in the field, and so on. Now I don't know about you, but isn't leaving the troops in the war zone more dangerous than bringing them home? Furthermore, if the Republicans can filibuster a spending bill to prevent the inclusion of elements in the bill that they don't like, can't the majority Democrats also filibuster that same bill to make sure those same elements are included? I mean, we're not talking about halting funding for the war and occupation and bringing the troops home starting tomorrow here, even though that is what we should be talking about. No, we're talking about a bill that essentially suggests to Mr. Bush that he take $50 billion more for the war and start thinking about bringing some of the troops home as soon as possible with the idea that a good number of them are no longer in Iraq by December 2008. That's not a hell of a lot to ask for. Yet, the Democrats are backing off from this lily-livered legislation and planning on giving the White House another $50 billion with no strings attached, not even the silly string of the aforementioned withdrawal suggestion. To top it off, the Democrats are telling the press that it's the Republican's fault that they refuse to stand their ground. "We've tried maybe a dozen times" to bring troops home, said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "And when we do try and we don't succeed, we still provide funding for the troops". In other words, they still provide monies for the war. If the Boston Red Sox had this attitude, they would never have made it to the World Series in 2004 and 2007. But then again, baseball teams don't conspire with their competition to get to the championship, they play them harder than they are being played because they truly want to win. If the Democrats truly wanted to end the war, they would stand up to the challenges of the war supporters across the aisle and in the White House. Instead, they hedge their bets, blame their opponents for their failures, and vote for more war. All of which makes it harder for those of us who truly oppose the war and occupation to vote for any of them. Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew:A History of the Weather Underground. His most recent novel Short Order Frame Up is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625 [at] charter.net. Read other articles by Ron. This article was posted on Monday, December 10th, 2007 at 5:00 am and is filed under Activism, Anti-War, Democrats, Imperialism, Iraq, Military/Militarism. Send to a friend. --------22 of 22-------- What Can It Do? Is There a Left Here Left? By JOANN WYPIJEWSKI CounterPunch December 10, 2007 "Given the growing opposition to the Iraq war and rising inequality, why hasn't the Left done better at organizing around these key issues, and what needs to be improved in order to do so? Making people aware of how bad things are is clearly necessary, but it is not sufficient for building something new. The real question of course is: Now what? And in particular: How to strategically build power for the long-term." The preceding paragraph was from a somewhat irritable note from a member of the audience at a meeting on October 15, hosted by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The meeting featured myself and Alexander Cockburn, addressing the theme, "Is there a Left left?" 'Why hasn't the Left done better at organizing around these key issues?' The question presupposes there is a coherent force in the country that can be called by that name, "the Left". I don't think there is, in the sense of any potent organized force, let alone mass movement or even mini-movement that is challenging the fundamental terms of the system and is equal to the moment. And this - the disequilibrium of movement to moment - I think, is the cause for so much despondency (secret and not-so-secret) among American leftists, who certainly are alive even if some identifiable political and ideological home with a clear project, "The Left", is not. There are many reasons for this, many of them obvious ones, like the long-term effect of the imploding of the Soviet Union; the long-term effect of a reigning ideology in the West that 'there is no alternative'; the demobilizing effect of Clintonism on vast sectors of progressive America, disorganization; disarray of the black community as a result of repression / criminalization, deindustrialization and split-level economic conditions (economic catastrophe for part of the community, McMansions for another part); the continuing long slide of organized labor; a generalized sense of insecurity (economic and personal) that lends itself more to caution than to daring, and so on. I don't think there is any magic formula, any set of approaches, to 'fix' this, and it would have been presumptuous or dishonest or both to say there was. Why, for instance, is the antiwar movement basically nowhere on campuses? I don't know, and the people on campuses I've spoken to don't have good answers either, but it's up to them to answer that. They were disappointed when the war wasn't stopped before it started after the Feb. 15, 2003, worldwide demonstrations. They were disappointed when it wasn't stopped after that, and after a few more marches. They were disappointed and demoralized when Bush was re-elected. They can never get more than 15 people for a meeting and 5 are pushing a sectarian agenda, 5 want to talk only about Palestine and 5 can't get past identity politics. This last, admittedly, I've only heard from Columbia students, but the point is the institutionalized leadership of UFPJ and ANSWER isn't being challenged by a younger generation pushing itself to the lead. And that institutionalized leadership is exhausted. Friends who work for UFPJ every day as volunteers say privately, "It's hopeless." Work goes on, the demos get planned, people do their vigils. The only force with any juice, it seems to me, are the military families, the counter-recruiters, the antiwar vets. I don't believe some tactical adjustment will change this - ditching "Support the Troops", ditching big demonstrations, embracing the Moratorium idea of doing one small thing every day on the same month in the same place, ditching UFPJ, ditching any engagement at all with electoral politics, throwing all effort into electoral politics, waving the flag of the Mahdi Army or whatever faction one wants to choose of the Iraqi resistance. All of those tactics have been proposed by various people. We can discuss till we're blue in the face the various merits or demerits of such ideas, but I think it's foolhardy to think any one or combination of them is going to invigorate the antiwar movement into an edgy potent force. The antiwar movement is in a weird position: it's job is not to sway public opinion, since a majority of Americans agree with it; but nothing changes, so people are demoralized. They're not illogical in their demoralization. And there is neither the wild courage nor the organization to throw a spanner in the works, to disrupt the war machine - not from labor (though some unionists on the West Coast and internationally are trying to see what they might put together toward this end), not from the campuses, and only so far among the soldiers. The latter are the most promising, but are nowhere close to the situation of mass mutiny of drafted armies past. At this point it looks as if the war will end when the Iraqis punish the US beyond endurance or the generals mutiny or both, but I don't think we should have illusions that that will be a glorious day for the Left. I don't think either mere cheerleading - we need the will! we need the courage! another world IS possible! - is much of a solution to anything. There are world historical forces afoot here, and one of the jobs of anyone who considers herself on the left is to try to understand them. I don't think the Left in the heady days of empire really thought too much about the privileges and distortions being children of the empire conferred on it, except to say, in some quarters, We don't want any part of it! But opting out only goes so far, and is delusional even if understandable. Now that the empire is exhausted at the top - and we could disagree about that, but I think the signs are more indicative of fundamental weakness than of strength even if the US can still kill everyone in the world many times over and still 'afford' billions of dollars a day doing that in one way or another - radicals are feeling what it means to be part of the general decline. How do we deal with it? That's not an idle question, or one that has an obvious answer. There was a certain amount of chauvinism attached to the American Left in the sixties, a sense of being at the center of the political universe even if people did make their trips to Hanoi or Ghana or Paris. And part of that was even justified, because America at the time could be said to be "swinging", to quote Andy Kopkind from 1967. It's not swinging now, but at the same time it's awfully narrow to have to think of 'the Left' as something that's bounded by national borders. And if we look beyond our borders, there is clearly a Left, in the sense of powerful movements or currents challenging the fundamental terms of the world economic system. So if one asks, Is there a Left left? the answer is clearly yes, but not necessarily within our borders. So then how do we engage with that? What does solidarity and internationalism, as opposed to rad-tourism, demand today? What can we learn from those who have set out a task of developing "socialism for the 21st century" or autonomy and freedom from the neoliberal chokehold? And how can we support those efforts, while not abandoning organizing at home that might not rattle the world, at least not this minute, but is still necessary if one has any sense of politics as being a long march? In Bolivia you have massed organizations of peasants, workers, farmers, indigenous people in Bolivia toppling two governments, facing bullets and suffering casualties to do so, asserting in the most powerful way claims against the force of privatization, deregulation, immiseration, etc. In Mexico You have the Zapatistas arising from seemingly nowhere on the eve of NAFTA's implementation saying No, everything is not finished; it is still possible to put up a fundamental fight - and changing Mexican politics. These are not movements that can just be 'imitated'. Nor are they - either in Bolivia or Mexico or Ecuador or Venezuela or Argentina or Cuba or Brazil - movements that are perfectly realized, without contradictions, without setbacks, weaknesses, disappointments ahead. Most of all they are not to be romanticized. But Latin America is, I believe, where the center of political energy has shifted. It is where what Eqbal Ahmad called "the logic of daring" is at work. And it is the original homeland of millions of people now in this country whose movements and organizing here may be uneven, may not conform strictly to some notion of the Left but do bear attention and support from the rest of us. Certainly in the realm of labor, organizing by immigrants is where most of the action is. I think one can with justice say that the immigrant rights marches of May 1, 2006, were the closest thing to a general strike that the US has seen in a long time, to take the most obvious example. Now that movement is fractured too, and has its contradictions, and has come under severe repression. That there has been no wider Left in the US to defend immigrants, to articulate the rights of people not only to move across borders (mobility of labor) but also to stay in their homelands and survive - and to link the international experience with the domestic experience of dispossession on any number of fronts (the most glaring being Katrina) - indicates that there is a task at hand considerably more robust than blogging in the fight for a world fit to live in. There are people and groups chipping away at a piece of this here and there, but I'm certain they don't think it will be realized off a breezy checklist of 'things to do'.There's a pretty major hurdle, and that, as I see it, is how to counter the dominant reality of our lives, which is that capitalism is increasingly organizing society for alienation. When you talk to old labor strategists they often make the point that labor organizing follows corporate organizing, and the way a job organizes crews or teams or distribution systems or whatever helps point a direction for how labor can most effectively organize. (Because those crews or whatever already work together, trust each other, rely on each other, are sometimes intimate socially.) So on one level we could say capitalism organizes production globally, so labor needs to organize globally, though that presents a tougher set of problems from the organization of one workplace; plus not all work is globalized. But if you think about capitalism as a system that implicates us beyond a particular job, then its global organization is something that affects us all, because it is a worldwide system of lowered living standards, increasing insecurity, deregulation, evisceration of the social contract/social safety net, privatization and dispossession. So one question that arises is, How do societies, at a minimum, put capitalism back on a leash? Because it's unleashed now and that fact makes almost every action for a more just or equitable society impossible. So that's a major question. What the strategy is for doing that, in real terms, with real people on the ground, I don't know. But that curls back to the other problem mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. If you think about how disconnected people are - from their co-workers (the rise of consultancies, independent contract work, telecommuting, call centers, temp work, personal service work), from their neighbors, this is a pretty profound problem. And you can extend that out, to alienation within a workplace via two-tier union contracts, temporary vs permanent employees, domestic vs native-born employees; within a community, witness the crazy obsession with homosexuals in the black community, the crazy persistent racism in the white community, the crazy bugaboo of undocumented immigrants across many communities, including those of documented immigrants. A lot of this is not new, obviously, but the disorganization of so much of society feels new (and I'm talking over the past maybe 15 years). Sometimes I think that at a minimum we ought to be encouraging people to join - anything. The PTA, the Kiwanis Club, the local pathetic chapter of the NAACP, the local tenants group, the freelancers union, the local Democratic club or libertarian club, whatever, just to start remembering how to think together. And even if it prompted people to see what they don't want to be part of, maybe it would encourage them to create something that they do. This sounds pretty lame, I know. But the situation is pretty lame, or so it seems. The whole reason the church has been so effective in politics, I think, is because it's one of the last stands in society where people aren't alienated: they meet every week, share a set of ideas and values, engage in something that is practical and enchanted at the same time. And what does the left have? Virtual communities, virtual organizing, virtual communication. I don't think it's all that helpful. You can get a hundred thousand people to a demo, or to sign a letter or call their Congress people or donate to some candidate or cause (send money for an ad in the NYTimes!), but they're pretty much alone. So, it seems to me the first step has to involve a reorganization of society, people getting together. I work with a housing group in New York. We do a lot of great work, organizing in private and public housing. But it's a lot harder than it was in the 70s. The neighborhood has changed, people are less solidaristic, the economic structure of buildings makes them less solidaristic, since obviously the last rent controlled tenant and next to last rent stabilized tenant have nothing in common with the high-flying market-rate tenants, and in public housing there's so much pressure and so much bad blood and people are so tired just trying to live. And our organization gets so tired just trying to survive, get the grants, etc. So it's like rolling the rock up the hill. I have a little hope that the public housing work could gather more steam. There's a summit of groups doing this kind of work around the country coming up in January, hoping to figure out how everyone's disjointed work could be strengthened and combined, and trying, maybe, to think about it all in larger terms re public resources, public good, some reinvigorated social contract. Baby steps. --end-- [Couch Potatoes on the Titanic I think a big part of the problem is the millions increasingly unhappy with the Dem Party, but afraid to leave it. The rulers know this and count on it; they can do anything they want (war, torture, theft etc) as long as millions will follow the Dems to war and torture, etc. And so long as they do, we will continue the slide toward a third world fascist police state. Government will always get as bad as whatever people will put up with; right now anything goes and we put up with all of it. It won't take long for those at the top to make use of this. Maybe the dollar and the empire will fall before then; we can hope. It would be heartening to see us take our future into our own hands. -ed] --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney impeach bush & cheney
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