Progressive Calendar 07.02.08
From: David Shove (
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2008 02:42:36 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   07.02.08

1. IRV on ballot  7.02 11am
2. Fight for IRV  7.02 3:30pm
3. Peace bridge   7.02 5pm
4. Green blog     7.02 6:30pm
5. Peacemaker     7.02 7pm Duluth MN

6. New Hope demo  7.03 4:30pm
7. Eagan vigil    7.03 4:30pm
8. Ntown vigil    7.03 5pm

9. Ffunch         7.04 POSTPONED to 7.11
10. Palestine     7.04 4:15pm
11. War Inc/film  7.04

12. Michael Cavlan  - Getting Michael Cavlan on the ballot
13. Dave Lindorff   - Blood money Democrats/another spineless vote for war
14. Gilles d'Aymery - Want to waste your vote?
15. Gaither Stewart - Strutting fascism and swaggering militarism
16. ed              - Cheap natural gas  (poem)

--------1 of 16--------

From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at]>
Subject: IRV on ballot 7.02 11am

For those interested in a discussion of the legal and political issues
confronting the Council, tune in Wednesday:

of a Constitutional Dilemma
KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at] A
CivicMedia/Minnesota production

The St. Paul City Council finds itself in a pickle with proponents of
Instant Runoff Voting ≠ better known as the Better Ballot Campaign ≠
having filed the necessary 5,000-plus signatures to present the prospect
of installing a system of Ranked Choice Voting for general elections (and
eliminating the city primary) before St. Paul voters in November - only to
be faced with their own City Attorney's opinion that the entire idea may
be unconstitutional based on a 1915 Supreme Court ruling striking down a
similar voting scheme.

Minneapolis has already passed it but is in court over IRV¬'s 2009

What will/can/should the Council do? Heed the City Attorney¬'s opinion
that it should not go on the ballot on Constitutional grounds? Or ignore
him and heed the will of the voters who signed the petition to place the
city charter amendment before the people this November? Either way, it is
sure to go to a courtroom.

TTT¬'s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with as many of the
principals in this political and legal debate as are willing to appear.
And make fun of those who don't. Seriously, it's a real dilemma IRV
supporters nevertheless insist is a legal slam dunk. Should be a
fascinating discussion with Better Ballot Campaign supporters and city
officials - like former St Paul Councilmember, now lawyer, representing
the group, former Senator, both lawyers, and campaign leader,.

 JAY BENANAV, Better Ballot Campaign attorney and former St. Paul City
 JOHN HOTTINGER, attorney and former State Senate Majority Leader
 ELLEN BROWN, organizational consultant and St. Paul Better Ballot
Campaign leader
 INVITED:  Council President KATHY LANTRY, St. Paul City Attorney JOHN
 AND YOU: CALL IN and comment/ask a question. 612-341-0980.

--------2 of 16--------

From: Better Ballot Campaign <stpaul [at]>
Subject: Fight for IRV 7.02 3:30pm

1. Attend the St. Paul City Council Meeting - JULY 2 AT 3:30 PM
2.  Contact your Councilmember - IMMEDIATELY
3. Write LTE's

This Alert is primarily for our Saint Paul supporters, but we wanted to be
sure and send to all and keep you updated on the latest for the Saint Paul

The Saint Paul City Council plans to vote this Wednesday, July 2, to block
citizens from voting on IRV this November.  After collecting over 7,000
signatures of support, the petition has been certified to put IRV on the
November ballot and we demand the Council honor our right for a citizen

1. Attend the City Council meeting

Former councilmember and IRV supporter, Jay Benanav, will speak on
our behalf. Lets fill the seats with IRV support!
15 Kellogg Blvd. [3], Council Chambers, Third Floor City Hall
This Wednesday, July 2. The meeting starts 3:30PM, and the Council
plans to vote on this before 4PM.

2. Contact your councilmember [4] to insist that they put IRV on the ballot
this November as required by law.
Melvin Carter [5], Ward 1:    266-8610
Dave Thune [6], Ward 2:    266-8620
Pat Harris [7], Ward 3:    266-8630
Russ Stark [8], Ward 4:    266-8640
Lee Helgen [9], Ward 5: 266-8650
Dan Bostrom [10], Ward 6:    266-8660
Kathy Lantry [11], Ward 7:    266-8670

Key talking points

1) Uphold the rights of the St. Paul voters to petition their elected
leaders for access to the ballot.

Five council members - Melvin Carter, Pat Harris, Russ Stark, Lee Helgen
and Kathy Lantry - all said they would not block IRV on the ballot if the
petition drive was successful. Russ Stark and Melvin Carter supported IRV
during their campaigns in 2007.

Tell them not to go back on their word!

2) The City Attorney describes his opinion as his "best guess" and IRV is
"morelikely than not" unconstitutional. He clearly does not make the case
that IRV is "clearly" unconstitional. IRV has been upheld as
constitutional in other states and has not been proven unconstitutional in
Minnesota. The council does not have the legal authority to refuse placing
IRV on the ballot based on "best guess" claims against the
constitutionality of IRV.

3) President Lantry is quoted in the paper as saying cost of
implementation as a key reason she opposes IRV. This is another misleading
argment against IRV. The cost of implementing IRV next year will NOT be
$1.5 million and will NOT require new machines. The IRV election will be
for only one race - the mayors race. First choices can be tallied with
existing machines and the runoff - if required - can be counted by hand.
The process is simple and very inexpensive.

4) Allow time for testimony at the meeting!  More than 7,000 people signed
a petition to put IRV on the ballot and we insist on the opportunity to
speak to a resolution you will consider to denythe will of the voters.

5) Tell them why you are supporting IRV for Saint Paul:
* No more 5% turnout primaries
* More voter participation and choice on the ballot
* Ensures majority winners in one election -simpler, cheaper

3. Write LTEs in response to articles and Op-eds:

Pioneer Press Op-ed: Petition was Sound, Council's Obligation is Clear:
Let the People Vote [12]

Star Tribune Editorial: Don't Block Vote on IRV in Saint Paul [13]
Pioneer Press Op-ed: Council Must Let the People Vote [14]
Daily Planet: IRV: Deard or alive?  [15]
Use the same talking points as above.

Questions? Contact Dakotah Rae at dakotah [at] [16]
To make a contribution to support the St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign,
visit: [17]
Or mail a check to: Better Ballot Campaign 1523 Laurel Avenue St Paul, MN

--------3 of 16--------

From: WAMM Calendar
Subject: Peace bridge 7.02 5pm

Peace Bridge Vigil: Peace is Patriotic

Wednesday, July 2, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge,
Spanning the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Last year July 4 fell on a Wednesday and more than 150 people came to the
bridge vigil to honor the fact that Peace is Patriotic. It is long past
time to celebrate those who work for a world at peace where all children
are afforded the basic necessities of life--clean air and water, good
health care, sufficient food and a secure environment. FFI: Call WAMM,

--------4 of 16--------

From: Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva <lisa [at]>
Subject: Going green blog 7.02 6:30pm

The Twin Cities Daily Planet is launching the Going Green blog, and we'd
like to hear your stories about living more environmentally. Together we
can document what's working, what's not working, what's frustrating, and
what's downright funny about going green.

Going Green Workshop
July 2nd. 6:30 -8:00 p.m.
Rondo Community Outreach Library
(corner of Dale and University in St. Paul)
Learn how to write about your environmentally friendly practices.
Meet other St. Paulites making the moves to live a greener life.
Set up a blog, or learn what a blog is (if that word scares you!)
Register by email at lisa [at]

--------5 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Peacemaker 7.02 7pm Duluth MN

Wednesday, 7/2, 7 pm, Christian Peacemaker Team member Michele Naar-Obed
speaks on "Duluth to Kurdistan and Back Again," exploring the possibility
of an Iraqi sister city for Duluth, Peace Church United Church of Christ
(basement entrance), 111 N 11th Ave E, Duluth.  728-0629.

--------6 of 16--------

From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at]>
Subject: New Hope demo 7.03 4:30pm

NWN4P-New Hope demonstration every Thursday 4:30 to 6 PM at the corner
of Winnetka and 42nd.  You may park near Walgreens or in the larger lot
near McDonalds; we will be on all four corners.  Bring your own or use
our signs.

--------7 of 16--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.03 4:30pm

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

--------8 of 16--------

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 7.03 5pm

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

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

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

--------9 of 16--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at]>
Subject: FFUNCH 7.11 11:30am POSTPONED

POSTPONED from 7.04 to 7.11

--------10 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: Palestine 7.04 4:15pm

Friday, 7/4, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support
of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St

--------11 of 16--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at]>
Subject: War Inc/film 7.04

7/4 to 7/10, satirical film "War, Inc." about a country occupied by a
private U.S. corporation run by a former U.S. vice president and a plot to
kill a Middle Eastern oil minister (sound familiar?), Lagoon Theater, 1320
Lagoon Ave, Uptown Mpls.

--------12 of 16--------

Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 11:40:47 -0500 (GMT-05:00)
From: greenpartymike <ollamhfaery [at]>
Subject: Getting Michael Cavlan On The Ballot


I am contacting you because we are now in the process of gathering
signatures to get Michael Cavlan on the ballot for the US Senate race.

Why should you help? What is the point? What is our strategy, you may ask?
One of the main goals of our campaign is to gather enough support, so that
they corporate powers that be cannot keep us out of the debates. Once in
the debates, progressives will be given a voice that has been so long
denied by the corporate media. I can guarantee you that once in the
debates, our job will be to inform the public.  To speak out on all those
issues we hold dear to our hearts. From stopping the war funding, halting
the possible attacks on Iran being planned, Single Payer Healthcare,
regaining our Civil Liberties, Accountability and Impeachment, the dangers
of not getting serious about Global Warming and much, much more.

Progressives have known that one of the biggest obstacles we face in
getting our vision out has been a media so corrupted by corporate
influence, that it will refuse to inform the people of Minnesota on the
dangers we face in our society today. Likewise the media has refused to
allow our solutions, our vision to be explained to the public. That is the
goal of this campaign. Expose the media for what they are and at the same
time putting our collective vision forward. That has always been the
primary mission of our campaign. That is how we will take our nation and
democracy back from those who have stolen it from us. This is how we can
begin to create the kind of society we all cherish and desire. This is
just the first step.

However, none of this is possible until we are officially on the ballot.

We will have teams going out and gathering the needed signatures but we
also are calling friends and allies who may not want to go out to the
public. We understand that but you can still help.

2000 signatures are needed to get on the Ballot. We have figured out that
if 150 people gathered just 20 signatures, that alone will get 3000
signatures for Ballot Access. This can be done easily. To do so we need
150 people to step up to the plate. Will you be one of them?

We need your help and we need it now. We have from today July 1st till
July 15th to gather the signatures needed. We know we can do it but your
help will guarantee it.

Please contact me as soon as possible, find those 20 people who will sign
the ballot.

I Remain Yours
In Love and Solidarity
Michael Cavlan RN
Candidate US Senate

--------13 of 16--------

Another Spineless Vote for War
Blood Money Democrats
July 1, 2008

Laid-off American workers will be getting temporary extended benefits as
the nation sinks into recession, thanks to Congressional Democrats, who
cleverly tacked a funding provision onto a bill giving the president all
the money he asked for (and then some) to fund the Iraq and Afghanistan
wars on out through next June. Veterans of the Iraq War will also be
getting tuition benefits equal to the full cost of in-state public college
tuition plus $1000 a year for books and supplies.

When workers pick up those unemployment checks from their state Department
of Labor offices, though, they should see them as dripping blood. Those
checks have been bought with the blood of American men and women in
uniform who have been sent over and over into harm's way in those two
countries in misbegotten and criminal adventures that have nothing to do
with defending America and everything to do with boosting the profits of
oil companies and defense contractors, and with getting Bush re-elected
and Republicans elected.

Iraq Vets, too, should not overlook the blood on their VA education
benefits checks, because their tuition will be paid by the blood of
active-duty comrades still left stranded in battle zones overseas.

It didn't have to be like this.

For generations, Congress has voted supplemental funding for unemployment
benefits to be extended during economic downturns - not always willingly,
but always eventually, following enough pressure from workers and the
labor movement.

For generations, too, Congress has voted for education benefits for

This being an election year, passage of a freestanding supplemental
benefits bill for unemployment insurance and a restoration of decent
education benefits for Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans would have been a
sure thing. Even Republicans facing the prospect of re-election campaigns
would have signed on to both measures by Labor Day and the votes would
have been their to override any Bush veto. Neither measure - both
important in themselves and badly needed - had to be tied to a war-funding

But Democrats in the House and Senate leadership weren't really thinking
about the plight of the unemployed or the needs of returning veterans in
this case. They were, rather, thinking of a way of putting some
"progressive" window-dressing on a war-funding bill that they wanted to
pass without having to take responsibility for it. Their objective was to
push the whole issue of funding the wars out past Election Day, in hopes
of not having to discuss it in the coming campaign.

Funding Bush's and Cheney's war in Iraq especially has, after all, become
a more and more unpopular and difficult affair for Democrats. In this last
go-round, fully 141 House Democrats voted against further funding of the
war - nearly the same number as voted for it (149).  At first, back in
mid-May, the measure didn't even pass, because Republicans cleverly joined
with the anti-war Democrats in blocking the measure, forcing Democratic
leaders to scramble to round up the votes to pass a bill the second time

Americans clearly don't want the war to continue, and Democrats don't want
to have to face the voters, as every member of the House and a third of
the Senate have to do this November, being labeled as war backers. That's
why they come up with these pathetic excuses like, "I'm opposed to the war
but we have to support the troops".

Any sentient being in the country by now knows that most of the
long-suffering and abused troops, as polls have shown, think that the best
way to support them is to bring them home immediately. A Zogby poll of
active-duty troops in Iraq taken in 2006 found that 72% wanted the US out
within a year, while one in four wanted all US troops out immediately.
Only one in five supported staying "as long as necessary". (With many of
those troops on yet another rotation, in some cases their fifth, those
numbers are probably even more in favor of immediate withdrawal today.)
Military experts have also written about how all the troops in Iraq could
be pulled out safely in as little as two weeks' time. All the Pentagon
would need to do is start running a constant convoy of trucks south to
Kuwait, carrying troops and weapons systems. They could leave the
porta-potties, the McDonalds stands, the bowling alleys, the gyms and the
barracks to the Iraqis and then blow up whatever they didn't want falling
into the wrong hands. It would be easy and fast. There's no need for
Obama's proposed 16-month staged withdrawal, which would just mean more
unnecessary deaths and killings.

Democrats in Congress know all this, but congenitally spineless and devoid
of principle, they're afraid if they don't fund the war they could be
accused by Republicans of being "soft" on defense - as though the Iraq War
had anything at all to do with protecting America.

And so they have come up with this shameless ruse of attaching a
$95-billion domestic spending package, including unemployment funding
measure and a veterans' education benefits measure, to a $162-billion
atrocity - a measure that assures more death and destruction in Iraq and
Afghanistan, and more dead and maimed American military personnel. They're
pretending that they "pulled one over" on Bush by forcing him to sign an
unemployment extension bill and a veterans' bill, when they know
Republicans would have forced him to sign those anyway, later in the

The real joke is on the American people, and on those very workers and
veterans who will be receiving the unemployment checks and tuition
reimbursements funded as a result of this duplicitous tactic.

The $162 billion that Congress has voted for the continuation of the two
pointless and disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, together with the
money already allocated for the so-called "War on Terror," is all
borrowed, and is a major contributor to the collapse of the dollar and to
the resulting soaring of the price of oil, electricity and imported goods.
It is thus a major contributor to the credit crisis and the collapse in
the housing market that has pushed the nation into what may be the worst
economic collapse since the Great Depression.

Furthermore, the blood-money unemployment and tuition checks bought
through his gutless subterfuge by House and Senate Democrats will be
pissed away in no time on higher gas prices spent by workers on desperate
job searches, or on long commutes to distant jobs or commutes if they are
lucky enough to find them. It will be pissed away too for veteran/students
on their commutes to college, and on higher heating bills for their
families at home.

Equally important, the $160 billion wasted in Iraq, along with the half
trillion dollars being wasted every year on military spending for a
military colossus that encircles the globe for no good purpose other than
intimidation of other nations, assures that those Democrats who control
Congress can do nothing of consequence to shore up retirement funds, to
develop a national health program, to improve our dismal school system, to
repair our crumbling infrastructure, or to develop alternative,
non-polluting energy sources that could combat global warming.

The Democratic Congress has shown itself to be worse than useless. It is
part of the problem. That includes Sen. Barack Obama, who like Sen.
Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, signed onto this contemptible
funding bill.

DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest
book is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin.s Press, 2006 and now
available in paperback edition). His work is available at

--------14 of 16--------

Want To Waste Your Vote?
by Gilles d'Aymery

(Swans - June 30, 2008)  "Elections matter," asserted Al Gore as he was
endorsing Barack Obama a week or so ago in Michigan. They especially
matter when you lose them as in 1988, or they are stolen from you as in
2000 Florida and you do not fight for the ultimate prize - and you cannot
even win your home state of Tennessee (not a great record, Al, to be
charitable...) - or when the 2004 election was decided in Ohio through
voting machine shenanigans controlled by a pal of Mr. Bush. But when you
go to the poll and exercise your fundamental right and civic duty to cast
your vote for the best candidate, you do take into consideration the
issues that are important to you. At least you ought to.

And on the issues, no one is better qualified than Ralph Nader - not John
McCain, not Barack Obama, not Bob Barr, and not the plethora of
lesser-known candidates. Nader is the only public figure who has been
issues-oriented for decades and consistently right on them. He's always
fought the good fight, for the people, for the greater good of the
country, for the Constitution. However, and putting aside the campaign of
vilification against his good name, there are ample reasons why you would
choose to not vote for the Nader-Gonzalez ticket next November. Here are a
series of issues that will help you to cast your vote for another
candidate. It's not an exhaustive list, but it does cover a wide range
both domestically and internationally.

If, in regard to a comprehensive energy policy, you support the
continuation of big subsidies to the oil industry and the subsidies for
ethanol production based on corn, as well the $0.54 per gallon tariff
imposed on Brazilian sugar cane based ethanol (which, incidentally is
almost 8 times more efficient than corn based ethanol and has no incidence
on the prices of feed stock and foodstuff); if you favor the construction
of more nuclear plants at taxpayers' expense ignoring the cost and the
danger; and if you give only lip service to alternative energies such as
solar and wind power; if you think that a carbon pollution tax is a bad

If you think that global warming is a figment of one's imagination and Al
Gore's support of corporate-sponsored, profit-motivated solutions to a
non-existing problem will do the trick...

If you have changed your mind on NAFTA and now support its continuation,
disregarding the ravaging consequences on the Mexican economy and the
directly-related immigration conundrum, all the while favoring the further
militarization of our southern border, the building of more walls, and
addressing the immigration issue in terms of national security rather than
in terms of economics and human rights...

If you are satisfied with our for-profit non-universal health care system
and oppose a non-for-profit single payer system, all the while paying much
more per capita than any other country in the Western world, yet getting
poorer results than most of those countries, and having close to 50
million people uninsured and another 40 million poorly insured...

If you have become an opponent of public financing of electoral campaigns
after having favored it...

If you are satisfied with our voting system, which through plurality
voting assures the dominance of the duopoly, and oppose majority vote with
run-off elections, allowing you to get apoplectic about the so-called

If you favor the death penalty and the three-strikes law, and further
privatizing our penitentiary system...

If the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution has become meaningless to you
and you favor the increase of governmental authority to eavesdrop on your
private communications and give retroactive immunity to the big telecoms
that have allegedly broken the laws of the land (if they hadn't why the
need for immunity?)...

If you oppose a minimum $10 per hour living wage for workers in these days
of rising energy and food prices...

If you cannot fathom the concept of a maximum wage...

If you believe that unions are a thing of the past and, accordingly, do
not want to repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law...

If you think that we need not redirect the resources of our nation
dramatically toward fixing our decaying infrastructure and our crumbling
education system...

If you do not see the need to crack down on corporate crime and rip-offs,
and take no issue with corporate personhood...

If you believe that highly-paid corporate lobbyists do not hold sway over
the government...

If you consider that same-sex marriage is not a human and civil right...

If you believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution has nothing
to do with states' militia, but is a recipe for individuals' right to bear
arms as the Supreme Court just adjudicated...

If you deem it unnecessary to re-regulate investment and commercial banks
by reinstating some kind of a Glass-Steagall Banking Act (enacted in

If you think that a securities speculation tax on Wall Street profiteers
and a higher margin call on speculators need not be implemented...

If you are adamantly opposed to extending unemployment benefits to twelve
months in order to help the out-of-luck class and the general economy...

If you want to increase the bloated and wasteful military budget and bring
over 90,000 more troops to the line of death...

If you want to keep occupying Iraq and Afghanistan for years and decades
to come; are willing to bomb "targets" in Pakistan or any other countries
you deem a "potential" enemy...

If you are willing to militarily attack Iran on the bogus claim that the
mullahs are developing a nuclear bomb; that you want your "leader" to do
everything in his power - everything - to stop Iran from acquiring a
nuclear bomb that the country is not developing; that nothing is left off
the table, meaning a nuclear strike against Iran is an action you'd

If you want to see East Jerusalem be an integrated part of an undivided
capital of Israel forever, in total contravention of International Law and
human decency... If you want to keep promoting the Israeli strategy to
further colonize the West Bank all the way to the Jordan River, steal
Palestinian lands, keep developing Apartheid-like policies, and lead to
the expulsion of the Palestinian population, all the while arming that
little Sparta to the brink at taxpayers' expense... And if you have no
second thoughts about witnessing your favorite candidate of either party
perform a perfunctory genuflexion in front of an august AIPAC assembly...

If you want to keep blockading Cuba and put in place more "robust"
policies to destabilize or overthrow democratically-elected governments in
Latin America if those governments are not in lockstep with US corporate

If these are the "changes you can believe in"...

...Then, by all means, please do not vote for the Nader-Gonzalez ticket,
because what you believe is the antinomy of the programmatic platform of
these two candidates. You are supporters of, and ought to support Barack
Obama, whose platform closely reflects your belief system and frame of

On June 18, 2008, Luke Russert gave a touching tribute to his father at
the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. The young
22-year-old talked with great poise and love for his father. Toward the
end of his tribute he said something that the corporate media did not want
us to hear:

Imagine a Meet The Press Special Edition, live from St. Peter's Gate.

Maybe Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr will be on for a full hour,

Perhaps JFK and Barry Goldwater will give their two cents about the 2008

[Then Luke paused and quite deliberately added (my emphasis).]

And, we can even have Teddy Roosevelt for the full hour talking about the
need for a Third Party.  That last sentence was conveniently cut from the
main media orgy of celebrating obituaries, but that young man, a
well-educated child of privilege, was breaking the mold. He knew that the
issues are not being addressed by the duopoly, that the status quo is set
in full force, and that we desperately need a third-party contender.
Perhaps the young Russert was expressing publicly a sentiment that his
father shared but could not utter due to his position within the corridors
of power (remember that Ralph Nader announced he was running again on Meet
The Press with Tim Russert).

Issues count, indeed, and elections do matter. That's why we advocate
voting for Ralph Nader. We do not want votes to be wasted.

About the Author
Gilles d'Aymery on Swans (with bio). He is Swans' publisher and co-editor.

--------15 of 16--------

Strutting Fascism and swaggering militarism
By Gaither Stewart
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jul 1, 2008, 00:22

"We work for the moral and traditional values which Socialists neglect and
despise. . . ." -Benito Mussolini

ROME - It's their strutting. That detestable image of the strutting that
links them, the strutting and prancing Fascists and their swaggering and
parading military cousins, up front for their conveniently concealed
corporatist controllers.

A strutting and swaggering couple they are, Fascism and the entrenched
class of war. Their distorted visions of gallantry and nation come so
naturally to both. The spick and span generals, employers of mercenaries
and killers, chin in, chest out, and their majors and their colonels
(especially the generals in the offices and the majors in the tents),
thick chests covered with ribbons and medals and rows of multicolored
decorations - awarded for killing. And the political Fascists! Defiant
chins thrust forward, hard fists clinched, swaggering and prancing and
strutting across the stages of piazzas, nations and continents in support
of the killing.

For God's sakes let's don't waste time on the propaganda of "supporting
our troops over there!" Or defense of America's values! Or the future of
our children! Or the war on terrorism! Let's don't waste words on that. As
if in their strutting and blustering they had a monopoly on care for our
sons! Let the generals and the industrial-military complex and our new
administration (hopefully) support our boys "over there" in the only way
that really counts - by bringing them home.

But here let's zero in on strutting Fascism in its dreams of glory and on
its corporate partners and their dreams of a New World Order. Let's call a
spade a spade. I have in mind the word Fascism that we progressive writers
often use as an epithet. Or sprinkled here and there in our labels of
proto-Fascist, crypto-Fascist, neo-Fascist and today, in Italy,
post-Fascist. An old word whose essence, whose very quintessence, has
remained largely the same while the word itself has acquired such negative
connotations that Fascists themselves deny their heritage, as recently the
neo-Mayor of Rome, the neo-Fascist Gianni Alemanno, who in an interview
with the English press denied he was ever a Fascist, recalling the
disciple Peter denying he ever knew his master, Jesus.

Since their emergence in Italy, Fascists have liked to claim that they,
too, are of the Left. Specious claim. Bizarre conclusion. We have to keep
in mind that that is a Fascist claim. It has little to do with social or
political or even theoretical reality. That Fascism like Socialism was a
mass movement by no means makes it Left. Historical Fascism in Italy and
Nazism in Germany set out as mass movements because they were in political
competition with leftist movements. As such Nazi-Fascism was obligated to
appeal to the masses, to the collective, to that extent becoming social.
In that sense Fascism began as a mass collectivist movement, but only up
to the historical point when it mutated into the Corporatism that
Mussolini claimed as its true name.

Once in power, Fascism then shows its true face: it allies with and
mutates into Corporatism, becomes elitist and regiments the masses. In
power it is no longer a collectivist movement. That Power of any shade or
color often goes wrong is a truism. But that does not mean that all mass
movements-systems-ideologies are the same. The fact is that Fascism and
Nazism arose chiefly in opposition to Communism. Fascism in practice will
always be of the Right, Socialism-Communism of the Left.

After the fall of Soviet Communism two decades ago, some European
intellectuals and political scientists proclaimed the end of ideologies,
that the terms Left and Right no longer made sense and were old-fashioned,
that they were actually the same. This is dangerous speculation and a lie.
The words for the two political poles were in vogue from the French
Revolution up until the onset of the American counter-revolution not many
years ago when American conservatives declared them politically incorrect.
Though the Democratic and Republican parties in the United States contain
qualities of both Left and Right, a little of this, a little of that -
with the result that both parties are the same - no political movement
with a genuine ideology is or can be both Left and Right, a negative which
in turn confirms the validity of the dichotomy.

Until the French Revolution society was divided vertically, with Power at
the top, which filtered down through the hierarchy to the voiceless
peasant-slave. The great social division has always been between property
holders - today's capitalists - and the landless - today's working
class, or simply between the rich and the poor. The Revolution instituted
a more democratic horizontal Left-Right division, intended to limit and
control Power. Reaction is Power's nostalgia for return to the old system,
which is what happens in Fascism-Corporatism: return to a vertical
society. Just as the property holders and the landless, today's
capitalists-corporations on one hand and workers on the other, so also
Left and Right, are and always will be by definition in opposition.

Right, or in this case Fascism, believes in the superiority of its
cultural heritage and the past of nation, people, race and traditions, in
defense of which it relies on militarism. An extreme right-winger rejects
equality, wants as little change as possible, is skeptical about political
systems and international rules and is committed to a society of hierarchy
and meritocracy.

The Left, reformist or revolutionary, stands for emancipation from the
past and for change. Yet it is nonsense that advocacy of change
automatically places one on the Left. In the case of Italy, Fascism's
brief exploitation of the Futurist movement in the arts in order to
execute its revolution did not make it Left. Fascism, too, wanted to
remake society, but by glorifying and worshipping the past. In fact, a
kind of Sicilianism - change everything so that nothing changes.

Though some attitudes, positions and values are interchangeable, there is
a limit. War obviously belongs to the Right. War is a typically Fascist
manifestation emerging from its worship of militarism and expansionism.
War is no minor political slipup, as American Democrats should know by
now. Historically, war is all determinant. War has already destroyed the
foundations of the American republic and undermined American democracy
itself. The position on war of America's Democratic Party today is a Right
position, as is its position on social justice. Right positions inevitably
cause increased social injustice, social clash and war. Likewise the
pro-war position of European Social Democracy at the outbreak of World War
I led directly to its political decline, the birth of Fascism-Nazism, to
the predominance on the Left of the Bolsheviks, and indirectly to the
birth of Socialism in one country and Stalinism.

Norberto Bobbio (1909-2004), a major Italian political philosopher,
determined that the major distinction between Left and Right is the
relationship of each with equality. Though not every social-political view
can be classified as Right or Left, as a rule Left tends toward everything
that strives for equality among men; Right tends toward inequality. In
practice the more one rejects equality, the more Right one is. Or, more
forcefully, Right favors forms of the hierarchies dividing men. The
distinction on the question of equality is clear, uncompromising and on
target. It's one or the other - Left or Right. They are not
interchangeable. Despite Fascism's claims that it, too, is "Socialist" and
despite Hitler's appropriation of the word in National Socialism, and
despite Left's frequent electoral claims that it, too, is middle of the
road, both ideologies, if they are genuine, are one or the other. Neither
Left nor Right can be middle of the road.

Some political philosophers in Europe and the USA describe the basic
divisions between the Left and Right with the comfortable categories of
Progressive and Conservative. In my opinion those common words are not
satisfactory. Right can be progressive on certain limited themes, while
the broad Left to achieve and maintain political power becomes
conservative as seen in the Left of America's Democratic Party or in much
of contemporary European Socialism. To repeat, both Nazism and Stalinism
used the word Socialist freely and in the end created parodies of
socialist states.

Today, Left considers the Center a disguised Right; the Right believes the
Center is a cover for the Left. In the political confusion of contemporary
Italy, both the neo-Fascist Right and the Socialist Left have moved
gradually toward Center positions. The Center, or the Third Way, is often
a cover for one or the other positions. That Third Way is often labeled a
"conservative revolution," as if social ambivalence could prevail over
genuine Left or genuine Right. In the long run, the Center also is
obligated to assume positions reflecting either Left or Right.

So it is one or the other, Left or Right. Even though one does not
eliminate the other, one or the other predominates in a given society in a
given moment. Times change but the basic dichotomy remains.

The most blatant example of ignoring the Left-Right political reality is
the USA, the world's most powerful country controlled by a one-party
system, which in effect ignores the words Left and Right. America's
Republican and Democratic parties stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the Right,
bolstered by religious extremists, secret militias and the flag-waving
false patriots. Though the Democratic and Republican parties in the United
States contain a little of this, a little of that - with the result that
both parties are practically the same - no political movement with a
genuine ideology is and can be both Left and Right. Some positions and
values can be exchanged and integrated in diverse systems, but there is a

No one genuinely on the Left (in the Democratic Party, Liberals or Social
Democrats) can defend Anglo-American conservatism or the
liberalism-conservatism-Corporatism-Militarism-Fascism alliance. One
forgets that there are limits as to what politics can accomplish. The open
spaces the US political system leaves vacant have been occupied by the
all-powerful, elitist, anti-human, militant and militaristic
industrial-military complex of the modern corporatist state. In sum, the
combination creates the authoritarian system. It is that extra-political
vacuum (where there should be a Left!) which creates space for the
populism and demagoguery of Fascism. America's two interdependent parties
have exchanged political and social values like merchandise. The result is
that the one-party system based on the great euphemism of democracy - now
a facade, fake and mendacious - stands as the banner and standard of the
great American Counter-Revolution.

                        Historical Fascism

If one behaves like a swaggering Fascist, speaks like a super
nationalistic Fascist, acts like a Fascist bully, he must be a Fascist. We
feel a certain solace in just pronouncing the epithet, "fucking Fascists!"

Yet the word Fascism has not always been politically derogatory. Not by a
long shot. Within a decade early last century, the word Fascism came to be
applied to a cluster of similar nationalist-militaristic movements in
Europe, the most important of which were the original Fascism in Italy and
Nazism in Germany, or National Socialism. In a wave of revolutionary
nationalism, Fascism first emerged in an Italy ravaged by World War I. The
swaggering strutting nationalistic movement of Mussolinian Fascism had no
precise forerunners from the 19th century, as did Socialism and Communism,
but it was soon admired and imitated by like-minded movements across
Europe and in the USA.

William Dudley Pelly's Nazi-supported Silver Shirts organized in the 1930s
in the town of Asheville, NC, where I grew up was the most influential,
most violent, most anti-Semitic of native American Fascist organizations,
with allegedly some 2 million members and with whom today's Right still
has ideological bonds. America's Fascists favored Nazi Germany and Fascist
Italy in WWII. Religion and intense hatred of minorities bond Christian
Identity and right-wing extremists with the former Silver Shirt movement.
TV evangelists of the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have
followed the same format - hate of Communism, Jews, gays, abortion,
welfare, unions - in favor of the corporate-clerical state.

With the rise of the power of corporations came also the rise of the
modern military-police profession cast in a new role. As did former
monarchs, modern corporations and their stockholders need the
military-police control mechanism in order to ascertain that the populace
never rises up in protest. Their marriage is the heart of Fascism. Fascism
in practice is thus the protective shield for Corporatism. For every
Corporate-Fascist state inevitably erects a police state to regulate and
finally enslave its people. The most striking historical examples were
Italy and Germany last century. Today, it is the USA and its proxy puppet
governments around the world.

The term Fascism derives from the Italian fascio, or Latin fasces, in
reference to the bundle of rods that symbolized the authority of the
Republic of ancient Rome. The term was used occasionally in the late 19th
century for new radical movements combining strong nationalism, aggressive
activism and violence and "authoritarianism," another term coined by early
Italian Fascists, signs of which have reappeared today in contemporary
Berlusconian Italy.

Revolutionary Italian nationalists after WWI used the word fascio for the
movement that in 1921 became the Fascist Party. Wearing a black shirt, the
color of Fascism, Benito Mussolini recruited a fascio di combattimento, or
combat group. Mussolini did not found Italian Fascism but he insinuated
himself into its leadership and became its supreme leader, Il Duce. His
combat fasces and the drums of authoritarianism created an atmosphere in
which Fascist dictatorship was wildly perceived as the only salvation of
strife-ridden Italy, a strategy eerily echoed today in Berlusconian Italy.
Mussolini became modern Europe's first Fascist leader, Italy's prime
minister and dictator from 1922 to 1943.

In the widespread post-World War I disenchantment and in Europe,
Mussolini's revolutionary spirit and his Fascist model were contagious and
spread over Europe and to the USA. Based on a corporatist and totalitarian
vision of the state, Fascism then, as today, has considered itself a third
way between capitalism and Socialism-Communism.

Benito Mussolini offered this authoritative definition of Fascism:
"Fascism is a great mobilization of material and moral forces. What does
it propose? We say the following without false modesty: To govern the
nation. With what program? With a program necessary to guarantee the moral
and material grandeur of the Italian people. Let's speak clearly: It's of
no import if our concrete program is somewhat convergent with that of the
Socialists as far as the technical, administrative and political
reorganization of our country is concerned. We work for the moral and
traditional values which Socialists neglect and despise. . . ."

Corporatism was so much the heart of Italian Fascism that Mussolini
insisted that Fascism should in fact be called Corporatism because it is a
merger of the nationalist-military state and corporate power. His words
struck a chord in the hearts of European and American capitalists in the
1930s and '40s, just as they still do today. For if one bothers to look,
the traits of Fascism are highly visible in Corporatism. What are
corporations anyway? Corporations are legally named persons, fictitious
persons that have gained more rights than individual human beings.

By nature corporations are thirsty for power. They are insatiable. Growth
and more power are their mottos. As corporations acquire more power, they
and their lobbies come to control also the puppet government and thus the
real people of flesh and blood whose rights cannot but deteriorate. The
goals of corporations, their raison d'etre and the twin pillars of their
existence, are growth and greater and greater profits. In the capitalist
state the "government of the people" becomes a fiction and morphs into
corporate rule. In that sense US liberalism has considerable overlap with
Fascism. The word Corporatism fits well the social-political setup in the
USA and most of Europe today and, in that sense, is an heir of Fascism.

Mussolini, I believe, would feel quite comfortable in the NATO-European
Union-USA-European arena today. The merger of the military-industrial
complex and the political world in the USA is the most contemporary
example of the concept of Corporatism-Fascism. In their penetrating,
pervasive and increasingly authoritarian interventions in socio-economic
life, today's governments in America and Europe are in fact examples of
Fascism in action. Moreover, it should be noted here that while Fascism in
its Mussolinian origins was nationalist, today it is global. Globalization
is no less than Mussolini's Fascism-Corporatism in action on a world

It's no wonder that from its inception Fascism violently opposed Socialism
and Communism. Anti-Communism and anti-Socialism have been the US
corporate-political policy since the rise of workers' movements in the
middle of the 19th century. The original Fascism itself was born in part
as a reaction to the Russian Revolution, in part in opposition to the rise
of the ideal of liberal democracy. From the start Fascism everywhere
combined ideological aspects of the extreme Right such as nationalism,
militarism, expansionism and meritocracy (the latter is much in vogue
today in Berlusconian Italy) and idealist elements borrowed from workers'
movements such as the primacy of labor, social and unionist revolution.
The very word Nazi derived from the name of Hitler's National Socialist
Party, reflecting its emergence from and support by the petty bourgeoisie.
And still today, Italian neo-Fascists describe their movement as social
and named their post-Mussolinian political party, the Italian Social

Antonio Gramsci, the political thinker, philosopher and co-founder of the
Italian Communist Party, in an article, "Little Fascists" (Piccoli
fascisti), in Ordine Nuovo, January 2, 1921, linked the Fascism of his
time to the petty bourgeoisie, at the time called the shopkeepers. class,
perhaps closest to the American liberal upper middle classes today.

"In this its last political incarnation which is 'fascism,' the petty
bourgeoisie has revealed its real nature as a servant of capitalism and
landed property. But it has also shown that it is fundamentally incapable
of playing any historic role: the people of monkeys fill the news, does
not create history, leaves traces in the newspapers, does not offer
materials for books. The petty bourgeoisie, after having ruined
Parliament, is now ruining the bourgeois state: it substitutes private
violence for the authority of law. . . ."

In one of Gramsci's famous quotes Fascism was described as an attempt to
resolve production and trade issues with "machines guns and revolver

"Productive forces have been ruined and wasted in the imperialistic war:
twenty million men in the flower of youth and energy have been killed; the
thousands of links that united world markets have been violently
destroyed; the relations between countryside and city, between
metropolises and colonies, have been turned upside down; the streams of
emigration that periodically re-established unbalance between an excess of
population and the potentiality of the means of production in single
nations have been profoundly upset and no longer function normally. . . .
Yet there exists a small layer of population in all countries - the petty
and middle bourgeoisie - that believes it can resolve these gigantic
problems with machine guns and revolver shots, and this small layer fuels
fascism, supplies manpower to fascism".

The roots of Fascism are European, linked to the birth of mass society
after WWI, especially in those nations in transformation, which were
conditioned by political and economic weakness as were Italy and Germany
defeated in the Great War. Labeled by Thomas Mann the "moral sickness of
Europe" of the epoch, Fascism found particularly fertile ground in Italy
and Germany. Fascism is not based on any one class. It draws support from
all. It is the result of wayward moral conscience and drunken decadence
produced by the horrors of war and it affected most countries that
participated in the conflict - that is much of the world.

Yet, as Gramsci noted, the petty bourgeoisie provided Fascism's most
ardent supporters. This relationship of Fascism-middle class is essential,
central, in order to grasp the nature of Fascism at all latitudes. It was
the common denominator between Italy and Germany. This relationship
distinguishes Fascism from similar regimes and movements elsewhere which
though often called Fascist are only marginally so. This relationship also
explains the mass support Italian Fascism and German Nazism acquired, the
reputation as mass movements, for regimes that in power could only develop
based on a police state, terror and a monopoly of mass propaganda.

                     Fascism as Corporatism

There is some truth to the claim that liberalism created Fascism. The
Italian petty bourgeoisie created Mussolinian Fascism and still today,
2008, the same petty bourgeoisie in Rome's borgate, the vast poorer and
workers' districts, are the backbone of Italy's neo-Fascism and
Berlusconian populism. In Mussolini's time, the wealthy upper classes
abetted and encouraged Fascism's emergence, confident that it could
control it. To a certain extent and for a certain time it did. Until
Fascism in power showed its true face and controlled the controllers. Yet
Mussolini insisted on the name of Corporatism instead of Fascism. Today,
capitalism is both partner and controller of American Corporate Fascism as
were capitalists in Europe and the USA in the 1920s and '30s.

Even a superficial analysis of the state created by the Corporate
Fascism-middle class symbiosis of three-quarters of a century ago shows
clear analogies with the American form of Corporatism today. Though not
yet widely identified as such, Fascism is already in place in power in
this great and powerful Corporatist state. American Corporatism has
created the bases of its police state as Corporatism did in Fascist Italy
and Nazi Germany. The state relies on terrorism to create the threat from
external enemies created by the state itself. Hitler's burning of the
Reichstag in Berlin for which Communists were blamed was Nazi Germany's
Twin Towers. The American corporatist state uses establishment media and
acquiescent intellectuals for its mass propaganda a la Goebbels to
maintain the false consciousness and the Americanism image. The
subservient media and compliant intellectuals serve to create the myths of
the elusive American dream and the mythical American way of life of
comfort and ease - in sum, Americanism - and to assure the consent of
the masses in the interests of wealth, power, and privilege.

Fascism is thus a product of capitalist society, an anti-proletarian
reaction to protect the social relations reigning in capitalist
production. Fascism is the falange Italy's Prime Minister Silvio
Berlusconi speaks of today to break workers movements in the interests of
capital. Mussolinian Fascism, and German Nazism organized the nation
spiritually by intense radical demagogic propaganda, military build-up,
the creation of a mass social base and centralized government. In a
similar fashion, the Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan governments of
the 1980s marked the revival of the process of Corporatism, the crushing
of any illusions of a welfare state in the USA and the weakening of the
foundations of social democracy in Great Britain.

Once firmly in power Fascism always carries out a palace revolution in
order to further regiment the masses while leaving capital free to dispose
of plus value as it desires. In this sense, the corporate state crushes
class struggle and guarantees the monopoly organization of capital. During
the acme of his power in the early 1930s, Mussolini repeatedly claimed
that within a few years all of Europe would be Fascist. Though I am little
inclined to dwell on affinities between Mussolini and Lenin, still, in the
20th century the great ideological movements were in competition for the
souls of the masses. Mussolini believed firmly in the fascistization of
the world as Lenin did in world Socialist revolution. In that respect
Fascism was counter-revolutionary and reactionary despite its claims that
it was social and revolutionary.

One question remains: the difference between Fascism and Nazism. Can one
distinguish between them qualitatively, recognizing however the same
essence in each? Or are they perhaps different movements also in essence?
Mussolini believed they were different. Subsequent history has also
differentiated between them. The Polish Pope John Paul II said at the end
of his life that Nazism was the supreme evil of the century. Though
history in general tends to consider Fascism a variation of other
authoritarian regimes, one might add, closest to the USA today, I prefer
to leave them together, wrapped in each other's arms, one comforting the

In contrast to Socialism, both Fascism and Nazism were from the start
extremely nationalistic, attempts to perpetuate the heredity of a people,
a nation, a race. Socialism-Communism, despite its failures to live up to
that promise, was internationalist by nature; in the long run Soviet
Communism became nationalistic, even though that mutation came to be
blamed on the capitalist encirclement. That encirclement was real, not a
scarecrow as is terrorism and security today. It really happened. Fascism
on the other hand goes far beyond traditional nationalism. It perceives of
the nation not as the hereditary container of values but also as a future
of power. For Fascism, history is not perceived as loyalty to values but
as history's continuing recreation over and over again, which requires for
its fulfillment the crushing of anything standing in its way. Hitler
himself recognized Italian Fascism as the first movement that fought
against Marxism and Communism, in his view, from a non-reactionary point
of view.

In the USA the choice of individualism and the privation of a solid and
stable workers movement capable of political power in the name of social
justice are dissonant with social development and social justice. In
Europe the diverse histories of workers movements had close relationships
and inter-connections with the rise of the nation states. Therefore, the
flagrant divergence of the model of the federal state projected by the USA
from that of Europe. Therefore, the pernicious halo around the now
fictitious American dream and Americanism, which provide the permanent
foundations for an enduring Corporatist-Fascist state.

Based in Rome, Gaither Stewart, journalist and writer, well known for his
dispatches and essays from Europe, is Cyrano's Journal's Senior Editor &
Special European Correspondent.

Copyright  1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

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   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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