Progressive Calendar 02.09.08
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 23:33:31 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    02.09.08

1. Israel/harass    2.09 9:30am
2. NWN4P-Minnetonka 2.09 11am
3. NewHope vigil    2.09 1pm
4. Northtown vigil  2.09 2pm
5. Water/song       2.09 3pm
6. Czech/Sibrinky   2.09 6:30pm
7. Salvador fiesta  2.09 7pm
8. RNC/anti-war     2.09/10

9. Atheists/AM950   2.10 9am
10. Gus Hall club   2.10 10:30am
11. Single-payer/AM 2.10 3pm
12. Sicko/film      2.10 5pm
13. Vets for peace  2.10 6pm
14. Indian/KFAI     2.10 7pm

15. Chris Driscoll - Could Nader be the come-back kid of 2008?

--------1 of 15--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Israel/harass 2.09 9:30am

"The Easiest Targets - The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women
and Children"
Saturday, February 9, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments), 10:00 a.m. to Noon
(Program and Discussion) Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer, 5440 Penn
Avenue South, Minneapolis (note location).

A short film with the stories of humiliation and harassment by Israeli
border guards and airport security guards. Discussion includes the
following questions: Which Middle East Peace Now (MEPN) forums were most
memorable and which were most informative? What are your current concerns
regarding the Middle East? What topic or presenters would you like in the
next year? This discussion sets aside a little time for participants to
engage each other and share ideas and concerns and will help MEPN evaluate
their programming and plan future educational events. Sponsored by: Middle
East Peace Now (MEPN). FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642 or email
<steichenfm [at] usfamily.net>.


--------2 of 15--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NWN4P-Minnetonka 2.09 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.


--------3 of 15--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net>
Subject: NewHope vigil 2.09 1pm

Saturday, 1-2PM - Weekly NWN4P vigil for peace in New Hope at the corner
of 42nd (Co. Rd. 9) and Winnetka Ave. N.  We usually park in the
Walgreen's lot or near McDonald's. You may  use one of our signs or
bring your own. All welcome. Carole-763-546-5368.


--------4 of 15--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 2.09 2pm

People of the peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av.),
every Saturday 2:00 -- 3:00 PM. If "We the People" want to stop warfare
and militarism, then we should not yield to the deceptive siren songs
coming from the electoral contest of the two-headed party of the
establishment.


--------5 of 15--------

From: John Sherman <jsherman [at] visi.com>
Subject: Water/song 2.09 3pm

The Global Harmony Community Chorus ( all volunteer, non-denominational,
not government funded) will be performing a concert titled Agua para el
Mundo, water for the world.  The concert will raise funds to provide clean
water to a central American community. It will also educate on the problem
of clean water in today's world. No tickets are required. A free will
offering will be received to benefit Water partners International.

The music is glorious centered around the the theme of water and/or music
from Central America.  There will be not just one but two world premieres.

There are three performances; two on Saturday at 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm
respectively.  One on Sunday at 3:00 pm.

The concert will be held at:
North Como Presbyterian Church
located at 965 Larpenteur Avenue West in Roseville east of Lexington
Parkway on the north side of Larpenteur at Victoria.
Children welcome


--------6 of 15--------

From: Andrew Hine <amhine2 [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Czech/Sibrinky 2.09 6:30pm

Saturday, February 9:  Sokol's annual ibinky (ship-shink-y) Czech spring
harvest Mardi Gras-style party
6:30  11 p.m. This event has been held continuously at the hall since 1908!
Live music by the Dale Pexa band, featuring Czech beer and eats.  Very much
like a wedding reception without the marriage and very family-friendly.
CSPS Hall, 383 Michigan Street at W 7th.

[Hey, Czech it out. -ed]


--------7 of 15--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Salvador fiesta 2.09 7pm

Dear Friends and Others Interested in Popular Education and El Salvador:

The public is invited to a fiesta to conclude a week of Popular Education
with the visiting Salvadoran trainers "Equipo Maiz," on Saturday, February
9, at Bethany Lutheran Church, 2511 E. Franklin Ave beginning at 7:00 pm.

Please join us to meet our guests from El Salvador and hear a brief report
to the community on the week's events. There will be music, food,
refreshments, good conversation, and dancing.

Rebecca Cramer, for the St. Paul-Ciudad Romero Sister City Project


--------8 of 15--------

From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: RNC/anti-war 2.09/10

Organizers' Conference for the Anti-War March on the Republican National
Convention (RNC)

February 9 and 10 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The Coalition
to March on the RNC and Stop the War invites activists and organizers
from all progressive movements to join a national conference to help
organize the September 1 march to coincide with the Republican
National Convention to be held in St. Paul. Already, many key forces
in the anti-war, immigrant rights and other movements for justice and
equality have signed on to the call for protest. The February
conference will allow organizations to have input on the
demonstration's planning, lay the basis for all work together on the
practical preparations for September 1, and help to coordinate the
publicity for this historical event. There is a commitment to unite
all who can be united to march on the RNC with a clear message: "U.S.
Out of Iraq Now! Money for human needs, not for war! Demand peace,
justice and equality!"

FFI: Call 612-234-8774, email <info [at] protestrnc.org>, or visit
<protestrnc.org>. Housing Needed. Host activists from around the country
during the Organizers' Conference in February and/or the March on the RNC
in September. FFI: Call Sarah Martin, 612-379-4716 or Erica Bouza,
612-929-0802 or email <scsrn [at] yahoo.com> or ericabouza [at] aol.com>.


--------9 of 15--------

From: August Berkshire <augustberkshire [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Atheists/AM950 2.10 9am

"Atheists Talk" radio program Sunday mornings

Minnesota Atheists has a new radio program: "Atheists Talk."  It is
broadcast live on Air America Minnesota, KTNF AM 950, Sundays, 9:00-10:00
a.m.  It can also be streamed live at AirAmericaMinnesota.com/listen.  It
is also archived as a podcast at MinnesotaAtheists.org.

The show is not just for atheists but for all progressive thinkers who
oppose the Religious Right and support Separation of State and Church.
You can call the show while it is airing on the studio line:
952-946-6209.

Upcoming programs:
Feb. 10 - Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, discusses
their upcoming national conference in Minneapolis.


--------10 of 15--------

From: Michael Wood <mwood42092 [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Gus Hall club 2.10 10:30am

We will be holding a special Gus Hall Action Club meeting, Sunday,
February 10, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. at Mayday Bookstore, 301 Cedar Ave.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Black History Month means fight back. The Gus Hall Action Club, a
Marxist-Leninist Communist club recognized for demanding nationalization
and public ownership of the St. Paul Ford Plant and dam, will be holding a
special meeting of interest to all working-class folks.  We will be
opening our monthly meeting with a Marxist discussion which will lay bare
how, in the words of Karl Marx, "Labor cannot emancipate itself in the
white skin where in the black it is branded." (Karl Marx, "Capital," 1867)

We shall be discussing the important Marxist-Leninist article, "Racism:
The Nation's Most Dangerous Pollutant," by Gus Hall, the great former
leader of the Communist Party USA. Class analysis permeates the essay.
Hall makes no bones about about racism being "a most effective instrument
of monopoly capital for extracting superprofits."

Hall's essay stands militantly in defense of working-class unity against
state-monopoly capitalism. Hall does not let white Communists and workers
off the hook as he discusses the role of white chauvanism. Gus Hall points
out that: "White chauvanism is the main obstacle on the path to
working-class unity, and therefore an obstacle to working class
victories...White chauvanism is the ideological pollutant that makes it
possible for capitalism to sustain and continue the special oppression and
exploitation of 25 million Black Americans. It is a most effective
instrument of monopoly capital for extracting superprofits."

Communists--Marxist-Leninists--fight racism in all of its forms. We agree
with Lenin's comment made in 1913: "Shame on America for the plight of the
(African-Americans)!!" (Lenin, "Russians and Negroes," 1913)

Gus Hall advocated a Marxist-Leninist fighting approach to ending racism.
Hall never put up his hands and said that racism and superexploitation was
a "done deal." He said that struggle, not rhetoric, was required.  He said
that the fight for working-class unity and against racism must be
concrete. In another essay, Hall pointed out that there is a racist
character to industrial plant closings. "Plant closings and abandonment of
entire industries or sections of industries," Hall said, "devastates
working-class lives and communities. But the structural crisis also has a
racist wrecking ball. These are the industries where Black workers have
won some breakthroughs in hiring. Because of racism, Black workers who
become unemployed remain unemployed longer, or become permanently
unemployed." (Gus Hall, "Fighting Racism, " 1985, International
Publishers)

Black History Month means fight back. And Black History Month can gaining
meaning in the fight to save the St. Paul Ford Plant--with it's racially
integrated workforce--and guarantee job security for generations of Black
workers. Public ownership and nationalization of the plant is the
anti-racist answer for workers at the St. Paul Ford Plant.

We will study Gus Hall's essay and learn that: "workers must be made to
see the relationship between class exploitation and the special system of
superexploitation based on racism." (Gus Hall, "Racism: The Nation's Most
Dangerous Pollutant")

We warmly hope that you will join us for our Marxist-Leninist discussion
at the beginning of our club meeting on Sunday morning, February 10, 2008
at 10:30 a.m. at Mayday Bookstore.

Check out our blog: http://gushallactionclub.blogspot.com


--------11 of 15--------

From: Don Pylkkanen <don [at] coact.org>
Subject: Single payer/AM 2.10 3pm

How people can help enact single-payer universal health care through
citizen action will be presented by community organizers for the Minnesota
Health Act on Air America's Of the People, AM 950, this Sunday afternoon,
February 10, 3 PM.

Representatives of the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition, Greater
Minnesota Health Care Coalition, and Minnesota COACT will explain the
citizen movement for the Minnesota Health Act to create a single-payer
plan for all Minnesotans, which does not deny care and which provides
choice of providers.

The broadcast is fourth in a series on the Health Act, co-authored by 57
legislators, which has no high premiums, co-pays, and deductibles,
contains costs, and stays with you regardless of employment, health
status, or retirement.

"The single-payer plan can't be bought with money like private health
insurance plans," organizers said. "Instead, it will take citizen action
to get it." The organizers will give an update on citizen activities for
the Health Act, including the legislators' tour happening now, what more
needs be done to get it passed, and how these activities are in keeping
with Minnesota's great history and tradition of citizen action.

Subsequent series broadcasts will continue on the successive Sundays of
February 17 and February 24.  Stay tuned and tell friends to listen in.

Host James Mayer will get in as much phone time with callers as possible.
Call 952-946-6205.

You can also stream the program, as long as you can put in a MN zip code,
by going to HYPERLINK "http://www.airamericaminnesota.com/listen";
http://www.airamericaminnesota.com/listen


--------12 of 15--------

From: Joel Albers <joel [at] uhcan-mn.org>
Subject: Sicko/film 2.10 5pm

Dear Health Care Activists,
As mentioned at last week's UHCAN-MN meeting, Arise Bookstore contacted us
recently about how our organizations can network. Jude Ortiz, from Arise,
and myself came up with showing the Sicko film at Arise Bookstore on
Sunday Feb. 10th, preceded by health screenings and followed by discussion
for actions.

Feb 10th Sicko Documentary, Health Screenings, F/U Discussion at
Arise Bookstore
Co-sponsored by Arise Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Mpls,
612-871-7110. and Universal Health Care Action Network - MN
(612-384-0973).
5PM Sicko Film


--------13 of 15--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Vets for peace 2.10 6pm

Sunday, 2/10, 6 to 8:30 pm (and the 2nd Sunday of each month), Veterans
for Peace chapter 27 meeting, St Stephens School basement, 2130 Clinton
Ave S, Mpls.  John at 952-448-2664.


--------14 of 15--------

From: Chris Spotted Eagle <chris [at] spottedeagle.org>
Subject: Indian/KFAI 2.10 7pm

KFAI¹s Indian Uprising for February 10, 2008 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CDT #252

Big dreams: Single with kids, student mothers beat the odds.  "I always
wanted to go to college," said Ona Knoxsah. "At first I didn't know what
for. And then I had my kids and I found out. I wanted to provide them with
a good life. They are really my drive.

"I wanted to show them it can be done. And I didn't want to not do it just
because I have kids." Knoxsah, 26, has a 7-year-old son, Nathaniel, and a
4-year-old daughter, Nidaanis ("Her name means 'my daughter' in Ojibwe").

Like many single mothers in college, Knoxsah was the first in her
immediate family to go past high school. In fact, she is the only one of
four siblings who is a high school graduate. After Knoxsah's son was born,
her own mother encouraged her to go to work rather than college. "I grew
up living below the poverty line," she said. "Four kids in a one-bedroom
apartment."

In many ways, Knoxsah is a typical single mother attending college. Most
come from poor families, and many are the first in their family to pursue
a college degree. They are disproportionately women of color. ­ by Michele
St. Martin for MN Women's Press. More:
http://womenspress.com/main.aspSearch=1&ArticleID=2947&SectionID=1&SubSectio
nID=&S=1

Guests are:

Ona Knoxsah (Prairie Band of Pottawatomie), senior student, American
Indian Studies, University of Minnesota

Miguel Vargas (Lampazos de Naranja, Nuevo Leon of Mexico), Community
Outreach Coordinator, Department of American Indian Studies, University of
Minnesota. http://amin.umn.edu/

Susan Warfield, MSW, LICSW (Social Worker), Program Director, Student
Parent Higher Education Low-Income People (HELP) Center, University of
Minnesota-Twin Cities. www.sphc.umn.edu

* * * *
Indian Uprising a one-hour Public & Cultural Affairs relevant to Native
Indigenous people, broadcast each Sunday at 7:00 p.m. CDT over KFAI 90.3 FM
Minneapolis and 106.7 FM St. Paul.  Producer and host is volunteer Chris
Spotted Eagle. To receive or stop getting announcements:
radio [at] spottedeagle.org

For internet listening, visit www.kfai.org, click Play under ON AIR NOW or
for listening later via their archives, click PROGRAMS & SCHEDULE > Indian
Uprising > STREAM.  Programs are saved for two weeks.


--------15 of 15--------

Could Nader be the Come-Back Kid of 2008?
Down But Not Out
By CHRIS DRISCOLL
CounterPunch
February 8 / 10, 2008

As a life-long activist in the labor, peace and social-justice movements,
I've watched with amazement, wonder, and exhilaration as the American
people gave us the most surprising primary races in decades; and that was
just the first month! We have eight months to go and undoubtedly many
surprises yet to come. The race among major party candidates has provided
more highs and lows than a calliope on rocket fuel. However, we've already
entered a new phase of the election cycle: the Republicans are putting
aside their differences in order to unify around a strongly pro-war
position. The Democrats have coalesced on a neck-and-neck race between two
"triangulating" Iraq war funders whose differences are more about race,
gender and style than substance. And the progressive left has, as usual,
fallen into lockstep behind one or another corporate-owned Democrat like
some enabling abused spouse. Honest progressives will admit that neither
Sen. Hillary Clinton nor Sen. Barack Obama offer us - at this point - a
seriously better chance of ending the war on Iraq and turning our
attention - and tax dollars - toward desperate domestic needs than Sen.
John McCain does.

Sen. Obama on his official campaign website says he will "immediately
begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat
brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq
within 16 months." The last I heard, removing "combat brigades" could
leave as many as 80,000 American troops in Iraq, not to mention the
thousands of American mercenaries from companies like CACI, Titan and
Blackwater, and a flood of American commercial vultures who have been just
as destructive to that war-torn country as the troops and mercenaries have
been.

Sen. Clinton's deceitful plan to continue the war and keep U.S. forces in
Iraq in perpetuity is not any better than Obama's. Neither Sens. Clinton
nor Obama have agreed even to pledge to get the U.S. military out of Iraq
by the end of their first term in 2013! And history is brutally clear on
one important point: while Democrats in the last century have often
promised to studiously avoid war while campaigning for president, they
have never followed through once in office. President Lyndon B. Johnson,
for a typical example, campaigned by casting Barry Goldwater as the guy
who would turn Vietnam into an all-out war zone, but it was Johnson
himself who did that as president. And this "talk peace, wage war"
strategy goes way back with the Democratic presidential candidates:
Woodrow Wilson in his 1916 campaign for re-election stumped on the
slogans, "he kept us out of war," and "peace with honor." Yet by April
1917, the United States had entered the war that even Wilson himself later
admitted was a fight between international commercial interests over who
was to control lucrative international markets.

Are the Democratic Party leaders of today any different; any better; any
more courageous and committed to creating a world without war, even if
corporate profits suffer as a result? Most Americans know at some gut
level that for Democratic Party politicians commercial concerns always
trump moral concerns or the concerns of the hard-working people. We've
seen it far too often to deny it, even when we wish it were not so. Both
Sens. Clinton and Obama are following a campaign model in regard to the
War on Iraq that is most reminiscent of President Richard M. Nixon when in
his 1968 campaign he promised to get us out of the Vietnam War in 6
months. That was even quicker than Obama's 18 month promise. But after
Nixon was elected, there were "complications," just as we can expect there
will be "complications" for Sens. Clinton or Obama. When you know in
advance that these "complications" will develop unless we are successful
at building a powerful and large enough anti-war juggernaut, you can
understand why some prefer the brutal honesty of a Sen. John McCain, who
is at least truthful about his intentions.

>From the perspective of the labor, peace and social justice movements, we
are now left with little-to-no maneuvering room within the Democratic
Party, the party progressive movements traditionally have looked to since
the 1930s for allies and alliances. With the withdrawal of Dennis
Kucinich, Bill Richardson and John Edwards, there is little chance that
the pro-people, anti-war position will have any leverage at the Democratic
Party nominating convention, not inside the convention hall in any case.
The demonstrations outside the hall will probably remind us of the 1968
Democratic Convention in Chicago.

Corporate America has already won the election. With Sens. Clinton, Obama
and McCain, their interests are hedged three ways while the rest of us
lose on all counts. The presidential campaign will be at the center of the
public discourse from now till November 4. We are left with only one
reasonable alternative if we hope to force our issues into this year's
national public debate: support the independent peace and justice
candidate with the biggest megaphone, Ralph Nader!

Alone, Nader still has huge name recognition and a large and faithful
following. If he is joined by the larger social movements, and by the
working families so threatened by the acts of a Democratic Congress and
Republican president, he could turn that solid base into a powerful
campaign for the people insuring that the people's concerns are addressed.
At best, that could be turned into a three way race that would for the
first time in a century give the progressive left a much needed face lift,
opening up the prospect of building a mass, independent political force to
the left of the Democrats.

Ask yourself, why do Democratic Party politicians take you for granted?
Why do they count on your votes but ignore your needs? Why do they talk
like they care about you but act like they care a lot more about your
boss? Could it be that you are so utterly dependable to them that they
simply have no need to do any more than pretend to address your interests?
They make you the same promises election year after election year, yet the
rich keep getting richer, the poor, poorer, and the peace, labor, woman's,
minorities', environmental, and other people's agendas keep getting the
short shrift.

Now, I know that among some right-leaning Progressive Democrats, just the
mention of Ralph Nader will elicit fits of rage followed by volleys of
hate speech more violent than even the worst Nazi or KKK invectives. Talk
show host Ed Schultz calls these people "hate merchants," and it's hard to
argue with him.

But in my experience over the last 8 years as a Nader supporter intimately
involved in the labor, peace and social-justice movements, I've found that
for every hate merchant there are dozens of honest progressives who know
full well how important Ralph Nader has been to our movements and what a
great potential he offers as an effective incentive for a Democratic Party
presidential candidate to be more accommodating and attentive than they
have been in the past.

Among the honest majority, all acknowledge that Ralph Nader has been the
single most effective and important social reformer in the last half
century. In nations across the world when reformers look for models, they
look to Ralph Nader, who is almost as well known abroad as here in
America. Honesty compels us to admit that we have no greater asset to run
as a center-left counterbalance to the corporate-dominated Democratic and
Republican candidates, even now, after a concerted and well financed,
8-year corporate-Democrat smear campaign against him. I know of no other
person in American history who, after doing so much for our people, has
withstood such a sustained campaign of malicious character assassination.

But a single viewing of the documentary, "An Unreasonable Man," reminds us
that Nader is a political pugilist who's been through the worst corporate
America and its two parties can throw at him, and he's still standing!
What's even more amazing, he's still ready and willing to serve our cause,
to serve the American people, as he has been unfailingly for more than 40
years. Americans who have been fooled by the triangulators usually fail to
understand that when you stand up to the warmongers and corporate
criminals, you will always elicit a violent reaction. A test of political
maturity and determination so crucial to our success is how well we are
able to inoculate ourselves from the slings and arrows of these political
opponents. Is it any wonder that the people who most fervently support the
Democratic Party war funders are also the most likely to turn to hate
speech against our most effective social reformer?

I expect the hate merchants to throw their best punches at Nader and
anyone else who dares to suggest the emperor has no clothes. That's no
surprise. What's been more surprising in the last 8 years is the number of
otherwise honest progressives who have chosen to avoid objecting to the
Democratic Party's ad hominem crusade against America's preeminent civic
reformer. The damage they have inflicted on Nader's reputation harms us
all. Their every success is a blow to the entire effort for political
reform, peace and prosperity. In warfare an enemy strikes at your
leadership, and wise armies protect their generals knowing as much.

But it's not too late. We have the ability to turn this situation around
if we choose to, and by turning it around for Ralph Nader, I believe we
can redeem our own fortunes as well. To start that process, we need to
shine a light on the corporate-Democrats' subterranean hate campaigns,
aimed at selected leading reformers, but designed to damage our movements.
The honest progressives, laborites, populists, Greens, civil libertarians,
radicals and reformers of this country have the power to stand up and say,
once and for all, "Ralph Nader is not the problem, untrustworthy
Democratic and Republican politicians are." In fact, Ralph Nader
represents everything positive about our movements for social change and
has for decades acted as a leader, a catalyst and an organizer for those
movements.

Often when you hear the axiom, "the left is like a circular firing squad,"
it turns out to be a false analogy. The so-called "leftists" we supposedly
fire upon are revealed to be fakers, not the genuine article. Like wolves
in sheep's clothing, they talk the people's talk, but walk the corporate
walk. Listen to Sens. Clinton or Obama on any given day, and then compare
that to their votes in Congress. Their votes to fund Bush's war on Iraq
are well publicized, and contrast critically with what they say about the
war. But you would find the same incongruity between what they say and how
they vote on just about any economic, labor, peace or social justice
issue. And the contrast with Ralph Nader's 4-decade record of public
service is instructive.

Only the most dishonest person would claim that Ralph Nader is not a
genuine reformer on behalf of the people. We truly become a "circular
firing squad" when we allow others to fire on him without coming to his
defense, which is the best way we can come to our own defense. We are no
better than those who stand aside and watch a violent crime against a
helpless individual if we don't speak out against it. And when we stand by
and watch the innocent mugged and raped in our communities, our
communities suffer by becoming the victims of spreading crime.

One thing that decades of experience in the labor movement has taught me
is that "solidarity" with your co-workers, co-thinkers and co-activists is
useless if it is only a hollow phrase. For it to be successful, solidarity
must be an act of courage, not just a rallying cry. It must represent a
willingness to band together and defend the weakest or the strongest among
you when they are attacked. The current weakened state of the labor
movement undoubtedly has something to do with the fact that "solidarity"
frequently appears in the speeches of labor leaders, but seldom as a
strategy or tactic in our day to day labor rights struggles. Given Ralph
Nader's record of promoting successful pro-labor legislation and
movements, the way the leadership of organized labor has joined in the
corporate smear campaign against him is doubly unconscionable, although it
is not universal among them. There have been some exceptional labor
leaders who stuck by Nader in the true sense of the term "solidarity."

I believe in the power of the "come back." Maybe I read too many novels,
but in the case of Ralph Nader, I look as objectively as I am able to at
the numbers, the positives and negatives, and I continue to conclude that
a Nader 08 presidential campaign offers a better chance for the
progressive left to make a serious "come back" than any other opportunity
we have available to us today. If the honest progressives stand up to the
triangulators and war funders, the fake friends of labor, women and
oppressed minorities, and say, "hey, we can do better - we have to do
better," we will have what it takes to run a powerful, insurgent, Nader
reform campaign for president, and together we can accomplish what seems
impossible. If we allow ourselves to be browbeaten by the fraudulent peace
candidates, the triangulators, the corporate-controlled politicians and
the hate merchants, we might as well give it all up and acknowledge that
the faceless corporate powers have won, our republic is as dead as the
Roman Republic on the day Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, and we'd
better start practicing our goose step.

We've arrived at the leading edge of a historic watershed, a unique period
in which the American people are obviously alarmed over the coming
economic crisis; outraged over the mortgage debacle that was engineered by
the Federal Reserve, Congress and the last two presidents; angered by an
unrestrained corporate crime wave that has wiped out the pensions of
millions and put millions more out of work; dismayed by the deregulation
and privatization that has sold our nation off to the highest bidder; and,
feed up with a costly corporate-inspired war that has siphoned off the
funds needed to avert domestic catastrophe. We are equally weary of the
bumbling destructive Bush administration and the backboneless Democratic
Congress that enables the bumbling Bush. We've not seen such incompetence
in the White House and Congress since the 1920s! And we are ready to
change course and seek out real solutions.

The polls showing historic low ratings for the president and Congress are
key indicators that the American people are approaching a breaking point.
As a people, we have declared our independence in ever greater numbers and
expressed our discontent with the direction in which the president and the
Congress have taken us. Nearly half of us (48 percent in a 2006 CNN poll)
have expressed support for a mass third party. In a more recent NBC
News/Wall Street Journal poll taken from Dec. 14-17, 2007, 76 percent
characterized the American two-party system as having either "real
problems" in need of repair or as "seriously broken." A Fox News poll in
July 2007 found that " more than twice as many voters think it would be
good for the country if an independent candidate were to win the White
House in 2008 than think it would be bad (45 percent good, 19 percent
bad). In addition, there is rare partisan agreement on the issue as 42
percent of Democrats and 44 percent of Republicans think electing an
independent candidate would be good for the country, as do 56 percent of
self-described independents." The Fox poll also found that 67 percent
would consider voting for an independent, "including more than 6 in 10
Democrats and Republicans."

Americans are still unsure of how to fit into our new role as a nation in
rebellion. Those who last lived through such a time as adults are now in
their late 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. It will take time for us to grow sea
legs, to relearn the lessons of our forefathers and foremothers about how
to reform corrupt government and recreate the balance we once had between
the rights of the people and the rights of commercial business. But I am
convinced that enough of us are ready to make history this year with a
Ralph Nader campaign, enough of us at least to offer a successful
incentive to the major party candidates to be better and act better, and
that's why I've urged Ralph Nader to run. And you can be ready as well, as
long as you first learn to defend one another from the "divide and
conquer" strategy of America's corrupt corporate elite. If you are able to
recognize that the Democratic Party slander campaign against Ralph Nader
is part and parcel with other corporate strategies, like their union
busting strategy or their subtle use of racism, sexism and classism to
divide us from one another, then you'll be ready too. As a first step,
please visit http://www.naderexplore08.org.

Chris Driscoll, a science, environmental and technology trade journalist,
was the 2006 Populist Party nominee for Governor of Maryland. He also
serves as the state chairman of the Populist Party of Maryland.


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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
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