|Progressive Calendar 12.14.07||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 15:42:57 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 12.14.07 1. YAWR spaghetti dinner 12.14 6pm 2. La Natividad/play 12.14 6:30pm 3. Democracy/class rule 12.14 7pm 4. Leonard Peltier 12.14 7:30pm 5. Moyers/media/TV 12.14 9pm 6. Queer women's night 12.14 9pm 7. Dave Lindorff - Slash military spending by 75 percent 8. Sherry Wolf - Freedom to starve: why the left should reject Ron Paul --------1 of 8-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: YAWR Spaghetti dinner 12.14 6pm YAWR Spaghetti Dinner Friday, December 14, 6:00 p.m. Walker Community United Methodist Church, 3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Come to a spaghetti dinner cooked by the fine chefs of Youth Against War and Racism (YAWR) and listen to featured short speeches and entertainment by YAWR activists. Suggested donation: $10.00 to $100.00. Sponsored by: YAWR; endorsed by WAMM. FFI and to RSVP: Email <against.war [at] gmail.com>. --------2 of 8-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: La Natividad/play 12.14 6:30pm DEC.14-22;LA NATIVIDAD/ HOB: "LA NATIVIDAD" IS A MOVING EXPERIENCE This holiday season, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) takes The Nativity Story to the streets! Audiences will be part of the play as they move with the performers for a real journey in this bilingual production of the story of the Holy Child being born in our midst -- here in Midtown Minneapolis. Last year, the three performances sold out quickly, so another weekend of shows has been added. "La Natividad" opens *Friday, December 14 and runs through Saturday, December 22; six shows only*. This remarkable holiday presentation brings community and performers together in a heart-warming experience that combines puppetry, street theatre and a traditional Latino "La Posada" procession. Told with HOBT's signature visual beauty and soulful live music, "La Natividad" is an utterly unique, unforgettable community celebration. In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre 1500 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis 612.721.2535 www.hobt.org Performance dates Friday, December 14 - 6:30pm Saturday, December 15 - 6:30pm Sunday, December 16 - 6:30pm Thursday, December 20 - 6:30pm Friday, December 21 - 6:30pm Saturday, December 22 - 6:30pm Tickets* $21/adult $16/child under 12 and groups of 10+ Only $10/person for groups and individuals who live in the Powderhorn, Central, Phillips or Corcoran neighborhoods Performed in English and Spanish. Approximately 2 hours long including fiesta. HOBT Box Office 612.721.2535 or online at **www.hobt.org* <http://www.hobt.org/> Audiences should be mobile and dressed appropriately for the outdoors; the procession is 2.5 blocks long. Please notify HOBT of any special needs at least one week in advance. --------3 of 8-------- From: Jeff Miller <jtmiller [at] minn.net> Subject: Democracy/class rule 12.14 7pm Democracy or Class Rule: Who really owns and governs America today, and how "We the People" can unite to take back our country. Friday, Dec. 14, 7:00 pm. MayDay Bookstore, 301 Cedar, West Bank Presented by Campaign for A Working Democracy: 952-938-1935 --------4 of 8-------- From: ry [at] riseup.net Subject: Leonard Peltier 12.14 7:30pm Toy Drive and Feast for Leonard Peltier Friday, December 14, 2007 7:30pm - 10:30pm Seward Cafe 2129 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN Live Music!!! Including: Kyle Johnson (acoustic) Art Lipatan (acoustic) And More TBA Please bring a new toy or gift, or warm winter clothes (sizes S-XXL) (or) suggested donation of $5-15 About the Leonard Peltier Holiday Gift Drive: The Lakota People have four values to live by: bravery, wisdom, generosity, and fortitude. Generosity (Wacantognaka) is essential to a Lakota. It is better to give a lot than to have a lot. The best way to honor people is through giveaways (otuhan) where the givers share much of what they have with others, sometimes giving away everything in their possession. Leonard Peltier offers all his supporters an opportunity to give something back and honor the Lakota people. He respectfully requests your help making these holidays a little brighter and this winter a little warmer for the children at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Respectfully, Leonard Peltier Defense Committee www.leonardpeltier.net --------5 of 8-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/media/TV 12.14 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Keith Olbermann http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/121207U.shtml This Friday, Bill Moyers Journal "continues its reporting on media consolidation and gets insight from MSNBC's popular and provocative Keith Olbermann." --------6 of 8-------- From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com> Subject: Queer women's night 12.14 9pm T W I L I G H T for women who want to meet women Every 2nd Friday of the month Twilight: Queer Women's Night This month at the Kitty Cat Klub in Dinkytown, 315 14th Ave. SE Doors open at 9pm $7 Cover 21 and over For more info email info [at] twilightgirl. or call the Kitty Cat Klub at 612-331-9800 ---------7 of 8-------- Imagine a Campaign that Called for Slashing Military Spending by 75 Percent The First Cut is the Deepest By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch December 14, 2007 While the Democratic and Republican candidates for president blather on about non-issues like who will be meaner to immigrants, who will use the most water on torture victims, who wanted to be president at the youngest age, who's the best Christian and other such nonsense, and while Congress and the president dance their meaningless dance of pretend conflict, let's for a moment ponder something more momentous. What if the US just packed up and left Iraq and Afghanistan, and brought the troops all home, shut down the 750-odd overseas bases we operate around the globe, and slashed our military budget by 75 percent? That would be an instant savings of roughly $365 billion per year. Now, the first thing we need to do is address the criticism that such an action would be abandoning the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, whose countries we have been systematically destroying for the last four to six years. Okay. I agree we have an obligation here. So let's allocate say $50 billion in annual aid to those two countries, to be funneled through international aid organizations, from the U.N. to CARE and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. That still leaves $315 billion in funds to play with. We also have to address those who will ask fearfully if we aren't opening ourselves to attack from our many enemies abroad. But hold on a minute. If we cut the US military budget down to a paltry $115 billion a year, that would still leave us with by far the largest military budget in the entire world. The next biggest spender on its military is China, at $62.5 billion, followed by Russia, at $62 billion. That is to say, our military budget, if slashed by three quarters, would still be about equal to Russia's and China's military budgets combined. And that only tells part of the story. Most of China's army is a repressive police force, required to keep order in what is a widely despised dictatorship, and would never be available for foreign adventures. (That's why China, with a million or more soldiers, hasn't ever invaded Taiwan, with a population of just 23 million. The army China could spare for an invasion would probably be no larger than the one little Taiwan could field to defend itself.) The same can be said for Russia, which is eternally in danger of splitting apart into myriad smaller states, and has to be held together by threat of force. Figuring that neither China nor Russia is likely to attack us anyway, given that one needs us to buy all the junk they make, and the other needs us to buy their oil, maybe we should look at those "axis of evil" states and their ilk, that might think we're easy pickin's if we were to slash our military spending. Well, maybe not. It turns out if you add up all the military budgets of America's other "major" enemies - those so-called "rogue" states like Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria - and throw in a few extra possible hostiles for good measure like Myanmar, Somalia and, oh, what the heck, Grenada (you never know when that troublesome little island might have another revolution!), it comes to a grand total of $15 billion spent on military stuff. That's less than one-seventh of what we'd still be spending. And of course we wouldn't be alone. Our allies - Britain, Germany, France, Japan, Israel, Holland, Canada, Italy, Australia, South Korea and Spain for example, though there are surely more who would come to our aid in a crisis - collectively spend another $258 billion on their militaries (and yet even today we have our military based in many of those countries. Go figure!). So we would hardly be at anybody's mercy. We could even take a few billion of that $115 military budget and shift it productively from our huge and useless strategic nuclear program (you know, the one that just lost six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles for 36 hours, and flew them across the country, unprotected and unnoticed) over to operations like border patrol, satellite monitoring, and the Coast Guard, where it might actually help protect us, instead of just funding futuristic weapons that will never be used for anything but helping generals justify their stars by having units to command. So here we would be with still, by a factor of two, the largest and most advanced military in the world, but at peace and with $315 billion a year suddenly freed up and at our disposal. What might we do with all that money? Well, for starters, if we accept for argument's sake that the Social Security System is running at a deficit and will eventually be defunded (which, by the way, I do not for a minute believe), actuaries say that injecting about $130 billion a year into the fund (the equivalent of increasing everyone's SSI payroll tax by 2 percent) would solve the alleged problem indefinitely, allowing all current and future Americans to count on an inflation-adjusted secure retirement forever. So let's do that. Then there's education. Currently, the federal government spends about $58 billion a year on education. That gives us classroom sizes in our cities of 30-35 kids (40 here in Philadelphia). That's not education - that's child abuse (and teacher abuse). So what say we boost that amount by 50 percent - a much better educational reform than a lot of stupid "No Child Left Behind" testing regimens. Then there's healthcare, on which the government spends a paltry $52 billion, leaving us with declining life expectancies and infant mortality rates, particularly among our poorest citizens, that are a scandal. Let's boost that spending by 50 percent, too. Geez! We still have another $130 billion left! The federal government right now only spends some $40 billion a year on science, energy and the environment. That includes nuclear power and waste containment, and the entire NASA budget. Given the global climate change disaster we're facing, we should probably double that, with the added $40 billion going all to environmental research, don't you think? Now we're left with $90 billion. Well, it turns out that's about what the government spends on "social programs." You know, like welfare - the thing that we were supposedly ending? Truth is, of course, that over the last decade, the number of poor people and hungry people in the US has been rising, not falling, so maybe we should rethink that "ending welfare as we know it" mantra, and start thinking about improving the lives of those at the bottom of the ladder. That extra $90 billion, by doubling social programs - especially if it was spent on housing and job creation - would go a long way towards making America a better place for all. It would also reduce crime significantly, meaning we'd have a whole lot of money freed up that currently goes to police and prisons, so we could spent that money on other good stuff too. So who's going to make this eminently sensible proposal? I'm frankly sick to death of hearing about how "tough" our next president is going to be. Our current president has shown just what being tough is good for: nothing. The country is less safe, we've got 80,000 returned soldiers suffering from life-long injuries, we've made enemies out of friends all over the world, and this country's been going down the tube, with joblessness rising, the economy teetering and the once mighty dollar headed for Third World currency status. Until I hear political candidates start talking about slashing military spending - and I mean on the order of 75 percent, none of this nickel-and-dime stuff, and about funding the things that really need funding - I'm not even listening to these moronic campaigns. Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His n book of CounterPunch columns titled "This Can't be Happening!" is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff's newest book is "The Case for Impeachment", co-authored by Barbara Olshansky. He can be reached at: dlindorff [at] mindspring.com --------8 of 8-------- The Freedom to Starve Why the Left Should Reject Ron Paul By SHERRY WOLF CounterPunch December 12, 2007 "POLITICS, LIKE nature, abhors a vacuum," goes the revamped aphorism. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul's surprising stature among a small but vocal layer of antiwar activists and leftist bloggers appears to bear this out. At the October 27, 2007, antiwar protests in dozens of cities noticeable contingents of supporters carried his campaign placards and circulated sign-up sheets. The Web site antiwar.com features a weekly Ron Paul column. Some even dream of a Left-Right gadfly alliance for the 2008 ticket. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, liberal maverick and Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich told supporters in late November he was thinking of making Ron Paul his running mate if he were to get the nomination. No doubt, the hawkish and calculating Hillary Rodham Clinton and flaccid murmurings of Barack Obama, in addition to the uninspiring state of the antiwar movement that backed a prowar candidate in 2004, help fuel the desperation many activists feel. But leftists must unequivocally reject the reactionary libertarianism of this longtime Texas congressman and 1988 Libertarian Party presidential candidate. Ron Paul's own campaign Web site reads like the objectivist rantings of Ayn Rand, one of his theoretical mentors. As with the Atlas Shrugged author's other acolytes, neocon guru Milton Friedman and former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan, Paul argues, "Liberty means free-market capitalism." He opposes "big government" and in the isolationist fashion of the nation's Pat Buchanans, he decries intervention in foreign nation's affairs and believes membership in the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty. Naturally, it is not Ron Paul's paeans to the free market that some progressives find so appealing, but his unwavering opposition to the war in Iraq and consistent voting record against all funding for the war. His straightforward speaking style, refusal to accept the financial perks of office, and his repeated calls for repealing the Patriot Act distinguish him from the snakeoil salesmen who populate Congress. Paul is no power-hungry, poll-tested shyster. Even the liberalish chat show hosts Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar on "The View" gave a friendly reception to Paul's folksy presentation, despite his paleoconservative views on abortion, which he - a practicing obstetrician - argues is murder. Though Paul is unlikely to triumph in the primaries, it is worth taking stock not only of his actual positions, but more importantly the libertarian underpinnings that have wooed so many self-described leftists and progressives. Because at its core, the fetishism of individualism that underlies libertarianism leads to the denial of rights to the very people most radicals aim to champion - workers, immigrants, Blacks, women, gays, and any group that lacks the economic power to impose their individual rights on others. Ron Paul's positions A cursory look at Paul's positions, beyond his opposition to the war and the Patriot Act, would make any leftist cringe. Put simply, he is a racist. Not the cross-burning, hood-wearing kind to be sure, but the flat Earth society brand that imagines a colorblind world where 500 years of colonial history and slavery are dismissed out of hand and institutional racism and policies under capitalism are imagined away. As his campaign Web site reads: "The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims. Liberty means free-market capitalism, which rewards individual achievement and competence - not skin color, gender, or ethnicity." Paul was more blunt writing in his independent political newsletter distributed to thousands of supporters in 1992. Citing statistics from a study that year produced by the National Center on Incarceration and Alternatives, Paul concluded: "Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal." Reporting on gang crime in Los Angeles, Paul commented: "If you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be." His six-point immigration plan appears to have been cribbed from the gun-toting vigilante Minutemen at the border. "A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked," reads his site. And he advocates cutting off all social services to undocumented immigrants, including hospitals, schools, clinics, and even roads (how would that work?). "The public correctly perceives that neither political party has the courage to do what is necessary to prevent further erosion of both our border security and our national identity," he wrote in a 2005 article. "Unfortunately, the federal government seems more intent upon guarding the borders of other nations than our own." The article argues that, "Our current welfare system also encourages illegal immigration by discouraging American citizens from taking low-wage jobs." The solution: end welfare so that everyone will be forced to work at slave wages. In order that immigrants not culturally dilute the nation, he proposes that "All federal government business should be conducted in English." Though he rants about his commitment to the Constitution, he introduced an amendment altering the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to anyone born in the United States, saying in a 2006 article: "Birthright citizenship, originating in the 14th amendment, has become a serious cultural and economic dilemma for our nation. We must end the perverse incentives that encourage immigrants to come here illegally, including the anchor baby incentive." Here we come up against the limits of libertarianism - Paul wants a strong state to secure the borders, but he wants all social welfare expenditures eliminated for those within them. Paul is quite vocal these days about his rank opposition to abortion - "life begins at conception," he argues. He promotes a "states' rights" position on abortion - that decades old hobgoblin of civil rights opponents. And he has long opposed sexual harassment legislation, writing in his 1988 book Freedom Under Siege (available online), "Why don't they quit once the so-called harassment starts?" In keeping with his small government worldview, he goes on to argue against the government's right "to tell an airline it must hire unattractive women if it does not want to." In that same book, written as the AIDS crisis was laying waste to the American gay male population prompting the rise of activist groups demanding research and drugs, Paul attacked AIDS sufferers as "victims of their own lifestyle." And in a statement that gives a glimpse of the ruling-class tyranny of individualism he asserts that AIDS victims demanding rushed drug trials were impinging on "the rights of insurance company owners." Paul wants to abolish the Department of Education and, in his words, "end the federal education monopoly" by eliminating all taxes that go toward public education and "giving educational control back to parents." Which parents would those be? Only those with the leisure time, educational training, and temperament commensurate with home schooling! Whatever real problems the U.S. education system suffers from - and there are many - eliminating 99 percent literacy rates that generations of public education has achieved and tossing the children of working parents out of the schools is not an appealing or viable option. Paul also opposes equal pay for equal work, a minimum wage, and, naturally, trade unions. In 2007, he voted against restricting employers' rights to interfere in union drives and against raising the federal minimum wage to $7.25. In 2001, he voted for zero-funding for OSHA's Ergonomics Rules, instead of the $4.5 billion. At least he's consistent. Libertarians like Paul are for removing any legislative barriers that may restrict business owners' profits, but are openly hostile to alleviating economic restrictions that oppress most workers. Only a boss could embrace this perverse concept of "freedom." Individualism versus collectivism There is a scene in Monty Python's satire Life of Brian where Brian, not wanting to be the messiah, calls out to the crowd: "You are all individuals." The crowd responds in unison: "We are all individuals." Libertarians, using pseudo-iconoclastic logic, transform this comical send-up of religious conformity into their own secular dogma in which we are all just atomized beings. "Only an individual has rights," not groups such as workers, Blacks, gays, women, and minorities, Ron Paul argues. True, we are all individuals, but we didn't just bump into one another. Human beings by nature are social beings who live in a collective, a society. Under capitalism, society is broken down into classes in which some individuals - bosses, for example - wield considerably more power than others - workers. To advocate for society to be organized on the basis of strict individualism, as libertarians do, is to argue that everyone has the right to do whatever he or she wants. Sounds nice in the abstract, perhaps. But what happens when the desires of one individual infringe on the desires of another? Libertarians like Paul don't shy away from the logical ramifications of their argument. "The dictatorial power of a majority" he argues ought to be replaced by the unencumbered power of individuals - in other words, the dictatorial power of a minority. So if the chairman of Dow Chemical wants to flush his company's toxic effluence into rivers and streams, so be it. If General Motors wants to pay its employees starvation wages, that's their right too. Right-wing libertarians often appear to not want to grapple with meddlesome things like economic and social power. As the bourgeois radical Abraham Lincoln observed of secessionist slaveowners, "The perfect liberty they seek is the liberty of making slaves of other people." Too much government? Unwavering hostility to government and its collection of taxes is another hallmark of libertarianism. Given the odious practices of governments under capitalism, their repugnant financial priorities, and bilking of the lower classes through taxation it's hardly surprising that libertarians get a hearing. But the conclusion that the problem is "big government" strips the content from the form. Can any working-class perspective seriously assert that we have too much government involvement in providing health care? Too much oversight of the environment, food production, and workplace safety? Would anyone seriously consider hopping a flight without the certainty of national, in fact international, air traffic control? Of course not. The problem doesn't lie with some abstract construct, "government," the problem is that the actual class dynamics of governments under capitalism amount to taxing workers and the poor in lieu of the rich and powerful corporations and spending those resources on wars, environmental devastation, and the enrichment of a tiny swath of society at the expense of the rest of us. Ron Paul argues, "Government by majority rule has replaced strict protection of the individual from government abuse. Right of property ownership has been replaced with the forced redistribution of wealth and property" Few folks likely to be reading this publication will agree that we actually live in a society where wealth and property are expropriated from the rich and given to workers and the poor. Even the corporate media admit that there has been a wholesale redistribution of wealth in the opposite direction. But Paul exposes here the class nature of libertarianism - it is the provincial political outlook of the middle-class business owner obsessed with guarding his lot. As online anti-libertarian writer Ernest Partridge puts it in "Liberty for some": "Complaints against "big government" and "over-regulation," though often justified, also issue from the privileged who are frustrated at finding that their quest for still greater privileges at the expense of their community are curtailed by a government which, ideally, represents that community. Pure food and drug laws curtail profits and mandate tests as they protect the general public." In fact, the libertarians' opposition to the government, or the state if you will, is less out of hostility to what the state actually does than who is running it. Perhaps this explains Paul's own clear contradiction when it comes to abortion, since his opposition to government intervention stops at a woman's uterus. But freedom for socialists has always been about more than the right to choose masters. Likewise, Paul appears to be for "small government" except when it comes to using its power to restrict immigration. His personal right to not have any undocumented immigrants in the U.S. seems to trump the right of free movement of individuals, but not capital, across borders. Right-wing libertarians, quite simply, oppose the state only insofar as it infringes the right of property owners. Left-Right alliance? Some antiwar activists and leftists desperate to revitalize a flagging antiwar movement make appeals to the Left to form a Left-Right bloc with Ron Paul supporters. Even environmental activist and left-wing author Joshua Frank, who writes insightful and often scathing attacks on liberal Democrats' capitulations to reactionary policies, recently penned an article citing - though not endorsing - Paul's campaign in calling for leftist antiwar activists to reach out to form a sort of Left-Right antiwar alliance. He argues, "Whether we're beer swilling rednecks from Knoxville or mushroom eatin' hippies from Eugene, we need to come together," ("Embracing a new antiwar movement"). Supporters of Ron Paul who show up to protests should have their reactionary conclusions challenged, not embraced. Those of his supporters who are wholly ignorant of his broader politics beyond the war, should be educated about them. And those who advocate his noxious politics, should be attacked for their racism, immigrant bashing, and hostility to the values a genuine Left champions. The sort of Left-Right alliance Frank advocates is not only opportunistic, but is also a repellent to creating the multiracial working-class movement that is sorely needed of we are to end this war. What Arabs, Blacks, Latinos - and antiracist whites, for that matter - would ever join a movement that accommodates to this know-nothing brand of politics? Discontent with the status quo and the drumbeat of electoralism is driving many activists and progressives to seek out political alternatives. But libertarianism is no radical political solution to inequality, violence, and misery. When the likes of Paul shout: "We need freedom to choose!" we need to ask, "Yes, but freedom for whom?" Because the freedom to starve to death is the most dubious freedom of all. Sherry Wolf is on the editorial board of the International Socialist Review. She can be reached at sherry [at] internationalsocialist.org. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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