|Progressive Calendar 07.23.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2008 03:17:56 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 07.23.08 1. RNC/KFAI 7.23 11am 2. Journalist 7.23 12noon 3. Vs war-makers 7.23 12noon 4. New Hope demo 7.24 4:30pm 5. Eagan vigil 7.24 4:30pm 6. Northtown vigil 7.24 5pm 7. Aftershock/RNC 7.24 7pm 8. Chile/film 7.24 7:30pm 9. Rock vs RNC 7.24 9pm 10. Michelle Gross - (some) CUAPB E-NEWS 11. Mike Whitney - The Democrats are the real problem 12. James Petras - Inflation and the spectre of world revolution --------1 of 12-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: RNC/KFAI 7.23 11am TRUTH TO TELL Wednesday, July 23 -11:00AM: THE REPUBLICANS ARE COMING! PART III Marshals and Music Marshalling KFAI Radio, 90.3 Minneapolis /106.7 St. Paul / Streamed [at] KFAI.org A CivicMedia/Minnesota production The Republican National Convention (RNC) has been on our local agenda for a couple of years and dozens of groups and agencies have been preparing to accommodate the 115,000-120,000 conventioneers, media hounds, protesters, lawyers/legal observers and police personnel will descend on the Twin Cities and St. Paulıs Xcel Center September 1st for four days of the chaotic crowning of the party's Presidential nominee, confronted by protests and potential clashes of all kinds and a series of counter-convention activities at various locations through the Twin Cities. Itıs a cat-and-mouse game of groups trying to reach the eyes, ears and minds of delegates through a maze of security ³precautions² and screens of up to 3,000 police officers not to mention undercover agents. This is TTTıs third show with ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talking about the plans various groups are designing to make their presence and messages known to conventioneers and the media. GUESTS: SEGMENT 1: PEACE TEAM STEVE COBIAN Walker Church/MN Alliance of Peacemakers ANN LEWIS Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers SEGMENT 2: PEACE ISLAND PICNIC (Thursday, Sept. 4, Harriet Island) COLEEN ROWLEY, fmr FBI Agent and 2nd Cong. Dist. Candidate, now plumping for peace. RICK WIDEN rickrobot of tuesdays robot, creator of ³Peace Sing-a-long² CD Music of Tao Rodriguez Seeger, grandson of Pete Seeger --------2 of 12-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Journalist 7.23 12noon Brown Bag Lunch: Global Citizen Journalist Doug McGill Wednesday, July 23, Noon East Lake Public Library, 2727 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. A former reporter for The New York Times and a London and Hong Kong bureau chief of Bloomberg News, Doug McGill now writes The McGill Report from a home base in Rochester, Minnesota. Doug says, "I'm a journalist in Rochester, Minnesota who is trying to practice my craft in a way that helps me and my fellow citizens understand our place in the wider world." Bring a brown bag lunch. Learn about workplace reporting and global citizen journalism. Free and open to the public. Sponsored by: the Twin Cities Media Alliance. Endorsed by: WAMM's Media Committee. --------3 of 12-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: Vs war-makers 7.23 12noon Press Conference: No Peace for the War-Makers WED, 7/23 @ noon @ Xcel Center (7th and Kellogg), St. Paul Come support the Anti-War Committee as we announce our demonstration plans for Day 4 of the Republican National Convention. --------4 of 12-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: New Hope demo 7.24 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. --------5 of 12-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 7.24 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. --------6 of 12-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 7.24 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] aol.com. --------7 of 12-------- From: arise [at] arisebookstore.org Subject: Aftershock/RNC 7.24 7pm Pattrice Jones, author of "Aftershock: Confronting Trauma in a Violent World, a Guide for Activists and Their Allies," will be reading in Minneapolis on Thursday, July 24. The event is free and open to all and will happen at Arise! Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Avenue S., at 7pm. "Aftershock" is about the real war on terror - the struggle for a world in which nobody lives in fear of atrocities perpetrated by human beings. Every day, people who push against violence and injustice or pull for peace and freedom must face their own fears. Many activists also must struggle with "aftershock," the physical and emotional reverberations of frightening, horrifying, or otherwise traumatizing experiences endured in the course of their activism. With the Republican National Convention coming to the Twin Cities September 1, and activists of all stripes preparing to resist it, this discussion could not come at a better time. If recent convention protests are any indication, police violence against activists could potentially be extreme, and our community must be prepared to provide support in light of the resulting trauma. Fittingly, Jones' "Aftershock" is intended for aftershocked activists and their allies, as well as for people and organizations that practice high-risk activism. It includes practical tips for individuals, organizations and communities, as well as information about how traumatic events affect our bodies and abilities. The Arise! Books and Resources Center has been a volunteer-run, collective hub of the Twin Cities progressive and radical community since 1993. Arise! is located at 2441 Lyndale Avenue S. in Minneapolis and is open 11am-9pm daily. --------8 of 12-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Chile/film 7.24 7:30pm Thursday, 7/24, 7:30 pm, free film "The Judge and the General," about former Pinochet supporter who conducts judicial investigations into regime torture, murder and "disappearances," Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave, Mpls. http://walkerart.org -- From: Ellen Kennedy <ejkennedy [at] MNGIN.ORG> The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, is presenting a series of films titled "Cinema of Urgency," highlighting world issues that are of critical importance. The first film in the series, "The Judge and the General," will be screened on Thursday, July 24, 7:30 pm, at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue. The subject is the criminal case against dictator General Augusto Pinochet, who overthrew democratically-elected president Salvador Allende in 1973. During Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship, thousands of Chileans, including many Jews, were killed, tortured, and went 'missing.' The film's director and editor will be present for a discussion following the film. Tickets are $8, $6 for Walker members; for information call 612-375-7600 or visit www.walkerart.org --------9 of 12-------- From: rnc08 [at] riseup.net Subject: Rock vs RNC 7.24 9pm The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War is hosting a rock/hip hop concert fundraiser. We are raising money to have a big massive march and demonstration against the Republican National Convention. The demonstraction will start at the State Capitol AND march to the Xcel center on Sept. 1. The will be the first day of the Convention. Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave. (West Bank) , Minneapolis, MN Thursday, July 24, 2008 Doors at 9:00pm to 1:00am Price: $6 at door Age: 18+ FYI: 612-379-3584 info [at] marchonrnc.org <info%40marchonrnc.org> Come and enjoy an evening of great music, friends and politics. The Band line up: The Usual Suspects Truthmaze Bad Accident Death Ray Scientific (DRS) Produced by: Substance www.livewithsubstance.org Sponsored by: Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War www.marchonthernc.org --------10 of 12-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: (some) CUAPB E-NEWS Communities United Against Police Brutality EMAIL NEWSLETTER July 21, 2008 CUAPB VP BEATEN AND ARRESTED DURING COPWATCH LAST NIGHT STAND UP! FIGHT BACK! Special Copwatch Action Friday, July 25 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Corner of 1st Avenue and 10th Street, Minneapolis For the past several months, CUAPB has been documenting the use of low level offense ordinances such as lurking, loitering, trespass and public urination ordinances against homeless people near shelters. Darryl Robinson, vice president of CUAPB, heads up the project and has spent many hours outside of Harbor Lights, Mary Jo's Place and other areas capturing bad acts by the MPD on film. In the course of his work, he has been harassed repeatedly by police and recently received a trespassing citation himself. About 10:45 p.m. last night, Minneapolis police attacked Darryl, beating and arresting him for "obstructing the sidewalk." During the attack, they slammed him in the head and face and repeatedly choked him to the point of unconsciousness. While handcuffed, he was thrown face first into the paddy wagon and taken to the Hennepin County jail. Luckily, another copwatcher was out with Darryl and was able to get word to us quickly. A large contingent from CUAPB converged on the jail. Before we arrived, one of the guards attempted to mess with Darryl at the jail but jail staff soon backed off and he was processed out quickly and released to us. Darry's injuries were documented and he was taken straight to the hospital. He sustained head, neck and jaw trauma along with other injuries. Hospital staff initially planned to admit him due to the extent of his injuries but he was eventually allowed to go home from the emergency room early this morning. Now that the city council has given the MPD a blank check, police think they can get rid of their problems by just intimidating, harassing and even beating and falsely charging activists who dare question them. THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND! We need to be right back out at that same corner where police tried to silence the community. Join us on Friday night for a shelter-based copwatch. Bring a camera or a pad of paper and pen to take notes. Let it be known that the community WILL go wherever we need to in order to hold Minneapolis police accountable for their activities. While you are out with us on Friday, you can learn about other opportunities to help us with the important work of documenting police action against homeless people. Plan also to be in court with Darryl on August 4, 2008 at 8:30 a.m. at the Hennepin County Government Center when he contests the false charges placed on him for daring to document police misconduct. -- RALLY AT CITY HALL TO DEMAND PROTECTIONS FOR PROTESTERS Friday, July 25th, 9:00 a.m. City Hall 350 S 5th Street, Minneapolis The Minneapolis City Council recently passed a resolution that strips away our protections from police abuse and brutality when we're exercising our rights to free speech and public assembly. This rotten resolution allows the police to: * Use rubber bullets whenever they feel it's "necessary" * Confiscate or destroy cameras if they can be used for evidence * Conceal their identities * Infiltrate activist groups and target activist leaders * Withhold medical assistance after they attack people IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT? If you say "no!" then join us! They passed this resolution without giving us a public hearing, but we're having one anyway! Rally at City Hall and tell the City Council they can't take away our rights without a fight! Then stay for the city council meeting after. Brought to you by a broad coalition of Twin Cities-based activists. For more information on this issue, contact <mailto:mgresist [at] minn.net>mgresist [at] minn.net or <mailto:recycleme2 [at] gmail.com>recycleme2 [at] gmail.com. -- POLICE AND PROTESTER AT THE RNC: MINNEAPOLIS STRUGGLES WITH PLAN G.R. Anderson, Jr. http://www.minnpost.com/granderson/2008/07/16/2583/police_and_protesters_at_rnc_minneapolis_struggles_with_plan [Editor's note: The assertion in the article that the item passed in 2000 was never a resolution is incorrect. See http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/archives/proceedings/2000/20001122-proceedings.pdf . Further, the resolution that was passed by the PS&RS committee on July 16th and sent forward to the city council is far less clear than the specific wording of the 2000 resolution and allows police to not only use all manner of weaponry against activists but also provides them with a road map for how to eliminate photographic documentation of their bad acts toward protesters. If passed by the city council on Friday, this horrible piece of public policy will give a permanent blank check to police to target and eliminate dissent.] It seems like a distant memory, but eight years ago Minneapolis city leaders and the Minneapolis Police Department were grappling with an influx of young protesters some local and some from far-flung places who were in town to march against the International Society for Animal Genetics conference. The prevailing winds that summer said it was wise to avoid the violence and spectacle of the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle the previous fall. That sentiment didn't carry over onto the streets, however, as protesters and cops alike engaged in some rather sketchy and brutish behavior; even some police officers at the time weren't sure the MPD performed the best policing practices. Undercover officers joined protests and made arrests, some protest groups were arrested and detained with little reason, pepper spray was used liberally. And some activists felt that their cause was undermined by the dreadlocked anarchy set. Goading of the police was all too frequent. Recalling those quaint times, it's hard to remember exactly what all the fuss was about, given all that's happened since the summer of 2000, but in the moment folks were vexed enough that the Minneapolis City Council detailed a number of new policing practices in November 2000 that set out to curb the destruction on both sides of the protest line. A Nov. 22, 2000, document details recommendations from the council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee, including "no restricting access to public space without constitutional, reasonable cause," "no use of pepper spray, tear gas or similar substances except in situations justifying use of force," "no use of plastic bullets" and "no confiscation of videotapes, film and other recording materials." But on June 6 of this year, the committee came up with a new list of recommendations to give direction to the MPD while the Republican Nation Convention is in town come Sept. 1. On June 20, the full council passed a resolution that on its face seems to further limit what the police can do with anticipated protesters, with one exception: Tagged to the end of the resolution, item 24 says: "This Resolution shall supersede the action of the City council on November 22, 2000, adopting a Policy Regarding Police Conduct at Political Demonstrations." This has some activist groups up in arms, like the group Communities United Against Police Brutality, who point to two key omissions in the current resolution: No talk of restricting use of plastic or rubber bullets, and nothing restricting confiscation of video cameras. Council member Cam Gordon (Second Ward) proposed an amendment at the June 20 meeting that sought to restore some of the items from the 2000 directive that were left out of the resolution passed last month. Today at 1 p.m., the public safety committee will discuss Gordon's amendment. "I think were' going to get something done, though not as much as people hope," Gordon said Tuesday. "We'll get something." Original directive unclear To hear Gordon tell it, many of his colleagues on the council thought the 2000 directive was unclear; in fact the proposal never officially became a city resolution or ordinance. "It was messy," Gordon said of the 2000 proposal, adding that it wasn't certain whether the directive carried any authoritative or legal parameters. "There were some good things in it, but it just wasn't very good work." It's a sentiment echoed by council President Barb Johnson, who added the item about the current proposal superseding the old directive. "We needed significant clarifications about how police should act," Johnson said Monday. "We needed to clear up what we have." For months the council and community activists have been struggling with what police should do if large numbers of protestrrs come to Minneapolis during the RNC a big "if" given that most of the action will be in St. Paul. The resolution passed on June 20 was the outgrowth of several council meetings and something called the Free Speech Working Group, which was intended to have activists and city leaders hash out an agreement over presumed protests. And the June 20 resolution does have some points that appear to favor protesters, seeking to curb when the MPD can "disperse" any "participants in a public assembly," suggesting that the MPD make a video of when people are told to disperse, and directing that police "implement a method for enhancing the visibility to the public of the name or badge number of officers policing a planned public assembly." All good ideas, according to Gordon, but with mixed results. "I wasn't necessarily opposed to this superseding the old directive," he said. "But some of it is about taking the wrong protections and sending the wrong message. I think we sent the wrong message." The plastic bullets debate The main part of the wrong message is that the current resolution allows for the MPD to confiscate recording devices, something that Johnson said, on the advice of the city attorney's office, would inhibit routine police work because sometimes cameras are needed to investigate a crime. More importantly, the current resolution allows for the use of plastic or rubber bullets, even though the MPD doesn't use them. Still, Johnson said, Minneapolis police officers do have non-lethal weapons in their arsenal that could be considered as such, and the city attorney advised avoiding using that language in any kind of council directive to the MPD. "I think that was of concern," Johnson said, regarding the city's liability on the issue. "Police do have, and I'm not using the right terms, some form of projectiles in their basket. There should be policies in place, but the council is giving direction to the police here. It can't be overkill." Both Johnson and Gordon are like everyone else in one regard: No one seems to know how many, if any, large groups of protesters will make it to the City of Lakes. But no one wants to take any chances either. Gordon, the council's lone Green Party member, considers himself a peace and justice guy, but even he knows the sentiment on the council is "a tendency to not have things clearly defined." (The council passed the resolution, written by council members Paul Ostrow, Gary Schiff and Ralph Remington, by a 10 to 2 vote. Gordon and Sandra Colvin Roy were the two dissenters.) "We should be ready for the police to be tested, and some protesters stirring things up," Gordon said. "Hopefully we can keep it calm so no one gets hurt." Was the resolution designed to loosen restrictions on the MPD? "I don't know," Gordon said. "It's hard to know where this is coming from. I know the 2000 resolution wasn't popular; Barb wasn't for it, so maybe this is an old dispute." But Gordon believes that some of his eight-point amendment will at least pass out of committee today. "I'm hopeful about some things in the final policy that are there for legitimate public safety concerns," Gordon said. "But I'll compromise rather than sticking in my heels and probably losing." Update from public safety committee meeting Compromise is exactly what Gordon, by all accounts, offered shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday. Whether that's a good thing depends on your point of view. Gordon circulated his proposed amendments to Resolution 2008R-248, "Adopting police policies regarding public assemblies," which passed June 20. "We added a bit of a preamble," Gordon offered, and just three items down from the eight he originally sought as amendments. The preamble puffs up the "command structure" of the MPD, but "wishes to clearly enunciate police policies for such assemblies." Then the three items tacked onto the end read: * That MPD presence at public assemblies will be based on legitimate public safety concerns and not be based upon intent to chill First Amendment rights. * In concurrence with state law, and city ordinance, MPD officers will not use pepper spray, tear gas, or similar substances, or projectiles except in situations where use of force is reasonable. * That MPD officers shall not confiscate, destroy or tamper with cameras or other recording devices being used to document public assembly activities or MPD enforcement actions. This shall not apply to situations in which a) cameras or recording devices are to be used as evidence, or b) MPD officers arrest an individual in possession of cameras of recording devices. The amendments were so toothless that Paul Ostrow, who has largely been sympathetic to the police on all matters RNC, cooed his approval. Ostrow drew an audible snort from the 15 or so protesters assembled who held up photos of one woman who was injured by rubber bullets from a department in another city. "Our police department should be proud of the way they've handled protests," Ostrow said by way of supporting the amendments, apparently forgetting ISAG in 2000 or the incident involving Critical Mass bikers late last summer. The five public safety committee members present for the voice vote all said "aye," and the motion carried. It now goes before the full council July 25. Outside the council chambers, not everyone was a thrilled as Ostrow. "I think it's crap," said Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality. "It specifically doesn't ban rubber bullets. What this means is that they're probably getting federal money and can't wait to try them out." Gross, who considers Gordon an ally on police issues - at least she used to - dismissed Gordon's efforts entirely, saying the only option left on the bullet controversy was to try to get people to come to the full council meeting. "This is something fluffy to throw out to the community," she said. "But [Gordon] has screwed this community. I don't think I've been this mad at Cam. I'm pissed." And in other protest news... News that U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen sided with the city of St. Paul Wednesday in regards to the Republican National Convention protest march didn't sit well, naturally, with some of the poo-bahs of the movement. Meredith Aby of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War was at Minneapolis City Hall Wednesday afternoon the public safety committee pass amendments to an ordinance that could be viewed as anti-protester. The double-whammy had Aby somewhat stirred. "The judge decided not to ... use her authority," Aby said outside the council chambers, adding that Ericksen is a Bush appointee. "She feels like it needs further discussion, but it's been discussed." Aby's group applied in October 2006 for a permit to march on Sept. 1, the first day of the four-day convention. On May 16, the city issued a permit for a march from the Capitol down Cedar Street to the back of the Xcel, site of the convention. Citing proximity to the Xcel, security for the president and vice president and other court precedents, Ericksen ruled that the city had been more than generous with the route granted. Aby and others, however, are angling for what she calls a "public" route that involves Seventh Street and Kellogg Blvd. and brings the marchers to the front of the Xcel. "The route given has several choke points," Aby said, citing part of Cedar and a "triangle" in front of the Dorothy Day Center. "There's no way 50,000 people can cover that. It would take us more than four hours to do that." Time is also an issue for the protesters. The permit allows for the march to go from noon until 4 p.m., but marchers must be clear of an intersection near the arena by 3 p.m. According to Aby, the march probably won't start early, and some protesters will want to linger with one limited view of the Xcel the route affords. "People won't just turn on a dime" and go back, she said. Lest one think that Aby is smelling a Bush conspiracy, she spared no harsh words for St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "Mayor Coleman is doing everything in his power to limit our space," she said, adding that a Democratic mayor is aligning himself with the other side. Aby said the only recourse now is to meet with lawyers (again) and "continue our grassroots effort" to highlight the issue. Even if it's a lost cause, Aby and her cohort clearly intend to go down swinging. "These people have never been to a national demonstration," she concluded. "Or if they have, then they want us to fail." -------11 of 12-------- Reality Check The Democrats are the Real Problem By MIKE WHITNEY CounterPunch July 21, 2008 Obama's candidacy is over; kaput. He's already stated that he has no intention of stopping the war, so he has disqualified himself. That's his prerogative; no one put a gun to his head. His op-ed in Monday's New York Times just removes any lingering doubt about the matter. What Obama proposes is moving the central theater of operation from Iraq to Afghanistan. Big deal. Why is it more acceptable to kill a man who is fighting for his country in Afghanistan than in Iraq? It's not; which is why Obama must be defeated and the equivocating Democratic Party must be jettisoned altogether. The Democrats are a party of blood just like the Republicans, they're just more discreet about it. That's why people who are serious about ending the war have to support candidates outside the two-party charade. The Democrat/Republican duopoly will not deliver the goods; it's as simple as that. The point is to stop the killing, not to provide blind support for smooth-talking politicos who try to mask their real intentions. Obama made his choice, now he can suffer the consequences. Nancy Pelosi is a perfect example of what the Democrats are all about. Just look at the way she brushed aside the people who got her elected. They mean nothing to her. In a matter of months, the "San Francisco liberal" has achieved what former-Speaker of the House Hastert could only dream of; she's driven the Congress' public approval ratings into single digits for the first time in history making her the worst speaker of all time. She rubber-stamped the FISA bill, concealed what she knew about the CIA's global torture programs, and vowed to stop any public effort to hold the administration accountable for its war crimes. (No impeachment) She has betrayed her most ardent supporters and singlehandedly transformed an already-emasculated congress into a purely ceremonial body incapable of doing the people's work. At least Bush never betrayed any of his supporters. Never. Pelosi is worse than Bush, much worse. And yet, liberals still insist that we should vote the Democratic ticket. In your dreams! What leftist or progressive is not totally fed-up with the Democrats cagey "bait-and-switch" hypocrisy? Voting the Democratic ticket is not a sign of "hope"; it's a sign of being a schmuck. The Democrats have done nothing to stop the war and will do nothing to stop the war. The Obama candidacy is merely a way to replace one group of genocidal maniacs with another. Who needs a charismatic, flannel-mouth glamor boy to lead us into battle when a senile fogy with "anger management" issues will do just fine. Voters of conscience should reject that choice altogether. Just as they should reject the "lesser of two evils" theory which does not apply when ordinance is being dumped daily on innocent civilians. It has to stop. Obama is not an antiwar candidate, that is merely a fiction maintained by his public relations team. In fact, he wants to beef up the military with 65,000 additional ground forces and 27,000 more marines. He's also stated that he will add "two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan" and encourage NATO to make "greater contributions - with fewer restrictions". In his op-ed he boasted, "As president, I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win". He also added this ominous warning: "The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as president, I won't. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights". Obama supporters should take their candidate at his word. What he is proposing is a dramatic escalation and expansion of the war into another sovereign country. How is this consistent with the demands of his base or the millions of Americans who believe that Obama represents real change. It's time for a reality check; the Democrats are the real problem not the Republicans. If the path to peace requires crushing the Democratic Party and its blood-thirsty candidates; so be it. The main thing is to stop the killing. If Obama won't do it; we'll find someone who will. Mike Whitney lives in Washington state and can be reached at fergiewhitney [at] msn.com vote third party for president for congress now and forever --------12 of 12------- Inflation and the Spectre of World Revolution by James Petras July 20th, 2008 Dissident Voice Inflation is here big time. - Charles Holliday CEO, Du Pont. June 24, 2008 The sustained rise in the price of oil and commodities has hammered industries - and deepened fears of global inflationary spiral - which has already provoked riots across Asia - as producers pass on higher costs to manufacturers and consumers. - Financial Times, June 25, 2008, page 1 Introduction Inflation and all of its repercussions for wage and salaried workers, fixed income middle classes, as well as manufacturers and transport industries is splashed all over the financial pages of the major newspapers throughout the world. Inflation is the great solvent that dissolves paternalistic ties between employers and workers, landowners and peasants, clientele-patronage regimes and the urban poor and sets in motion violent protests against private property and previously popularly elected regimes. Historical religious, clan, party, ethnic, tribal, caste and other differences are temporarily suspended, as Hindus and Moslems in India, Communists and Christians in the Philippines, peasants and workers in China, industrial workers and public employees in Egypt, blacks and mulattos in Haiti - join together in sustained mass protests against inflation which profoundly and visibly erodes their living standards from week to week, in some cases from one day to another. But the left, the Anglo-American left? Where and what do our most prominent public intellectuals, including those with booking agents charging five-digit lecture fees, have to say about this world-wide revolt? Nary a word is found in left, center-left magazines, web sites and blogs. During their lucrative lectures, they thunder against the immoralities of war and climate change. They hurl imprecations against rulers and exploiters and their immoralities, and the bellicose interests they represent (with special exemption of the ubiquitous Zionist Power configuration). Yet there is hardly a mention of the purveyors of the global cancer which is literally eating away the bread of everyday life of billions of people. They talk of a "peace movement", (which has disappeared); of one or another dissident electoral candidate; and reminisce over youth revolts 50 years ago. But like the intellectuals who sipped their wine while the revolting masses headed for the Bastille, they are at best irrelevant, unblinking spectators to the greatest turmoil of the new millennium. The targeted capitalists and their regimes and the downwardly mobile middle classes and the masses facing destitution are much more aware of the centrality of inflation to their profits, living standards and everyday life and the threats of popular upheavals. The Anglo-American left, in all of its variants, is destined once again to irrelevance in the face of world-historic challenges and opportunities. This contrasts with the intense preoccupation of the capitalist class with inflation. It is the central topic of weekly meeting of central bankers the world over. Empty resolutions are approved at the monthly conferences convoked by international financial institutions. Almost daily there are pronouncements by finance and economic ministers. Yet the complacent indifference of our intellectuals is striking. To awaken from intellectual stupor and political irrelevance in the face of the mass revolt against inflation, it is necessary for the Anglo-American left to come to grips with the scope, depth and significance of accelerating inflation in our times. Inflation is pre-eminently a political phenomenon in every sense of the word: it is a product of public policies which deeply affect markets, supply and demand, consumers, producers and speculators. Inflation is the detonator of mass political action and offers historic opportunities for broad-based "regime transformation" and even revolutions in a way similar to the way the destructive imperial wars have in the past. Like wars, inflation devastates vast sectors of society, puts them all in common deteriorating positions and projects their worst nightmare - a regression into the abyss of mass destitution. The Centrality of Inflation The most threatening challenge to contemporary imperial regimes and their client nations is out of control inflation and a raging rise in food prices. Writers on the Left who write of the end of empire and focus on the financial crises (in the US), or the energy crises (in Europe), or the grievance of mass peasant protests over corruption in China, have overlooked the one grievance which cuts across all regimes of the world (with greater or lesser intensity but everywhere growing more powerful) namely inflation, especially in vital necessities such as food and fuel costs. For Marxists, their narrow focus is on the class struggle at the workplace and related issues of unemployment and deteriorating work conditions as the detonator of mass unrest and organized anti-capitalist action. For environmentalists, the point of mobilization is climate change, peak oil, environment degradation and the resultant deterioration of human existence. For anti-imperialists and related anti-war activists, it is the US, EU and Israeli wars in the Middle East which represent the great moral challenges of our times and the greatest danger to world peace. While these progressive analyses and prognoses are righteous in intent and worthy causes to support, they overlook the fact that they are not the points of greatest conflict between imperial and client regime and the great majority of humanity today. The greatest concern and the issue, which has consistently mobilized hundreds of millions over the past year, is inflation, rising food and fuel prices, declining living standards, hunger and the everyday experience (and reality) that conditions are deteriorating with no end in sight. The point of greatest contention today is not the workplace (or point of production) but in the "market", the place of consumption, where money earned from production purchases less and less of the necessities of life. Inflation: Detonator of the First Sustained World Revolt In Asia, particularly Pakistan, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Nepal, Mongolia and China, hundreds of millions of workers, peasants, artisans and low-paid self employed workers, as well as house-wives and pensioners have engaged in sustained mass protests as they experience a decline in the quality and quantity of food purchases as prices skyrocket. In Africa, hunger stalks the land and major food riots have occurred from Egypt through Sub-Saharan Africa to South Africa. In the Caribbean, Central and South America, food riots have led to the overthrow of regimes, mass protests, road blockages from Argentina, Bolivia, through Colombia, Venezuela and Haiti. Recognizing the revolutionary potential of "hunger politics" induced by inflation, even right-wing, as well as center-left regimes have attempted to limit unrest through (1) food subsidies, (2) raising interest rates and cutting public expenditures to slow down the economy and lessen inflation (Brazil), (3) lowering food exports in order to supply local consumers (Vietnam, India, Indonesia), (4) enacting special laws against hoarders and speculators (Philippines) and (5) repressing mass protest (Haiti, Egypt). None of these short-term, local ameliorative measures have worked: Controls of exports have not lessened imported inflation and wholesalers/retailers have not complied with price controls and engaged in hoarding and black market activity. While agricultural production has increased, the growth of non-food products (ethanol for bio-gas) has grown even faster. The ineffectiveness of these "reforms" reflects the failure of agricultural policies over the past half-century, which have focused on financing large-scale specialty export agricultural crops and urban-service-industrial complexes, while neglecting basic food production by family farmers for local consumption. Countries, as diverse as Cuba, Egypt, China and the Philippines, have divested from agriculture to service (tourism in Cuba), recreational facilities for the wealthy (golf courses), agro-exports (Brazil), real estate (China), technology centers and commercial shopping malls (Philippines and India). In the process they have displaced food producing small farmers, depriving them of credits, price incentives and infrastructure - not to mention confiscating rich agricultural lands from indebted farmers for conversion to golf courses, exclusive subdivisions and shopping malls. The result is the convergence of ongoing protests by dispossessed peasants and farmers, suffering from lack of access to land, irrigation and agricultural credits, and masses of poor urban consumers suffering from inflation of food prices. What is at fault is not merely the prices but the social relations of production. State priorities and the configuration of class power, which control the state and decree economic strategies, reorganized the economy at the expense of local low-cost and available food production. None of the ameliorative measures taken by contemporary regimes have even approached the structural roots of the inflation crisis and the rising cost of food. Inflation and Structural Vulnerability Inflation has had such a devastating effect today - even more than in the past - because of several profound shifts in the occupational and social organization of the economy. Worldwide class-based trade unions have declined in numbers and capacity to safeguard the interests of urban and rural wage labor. With this decline has come the abolition of wage indexes, sliding scales of wages, which allow workers wages to keep up with the rise of prices. Secondly, the vast growth of informal and service sector workers are not organized to raise wages in response to increases in food prices. The growth of pensioners with fixed income has increased their vulnerability to inflationary prices, leading to sharp declines in purchasing power. The growth of contract labor, precarious labor contracts has undermined all possibilities of negotiating labor contracts which allow wage and salary workers to keep up with inflation. Thirdly, the dominant ideology, promoted by all capitalist economists and accepted by many trade union officials, claims that wage increases, and wage indexing induces inflationary pressure. This leads to collusion between "labor and capital" in creating a "lag" between rising prices and wage adjustments, resulting in declining living standards. Fourthly, this pernicious and erroneous doctrine deflects attention from the real causes of inflation - declining capitalist investment in the productive economy, the vast increase of capital flowing in the paper economy, the huge increases in profits and the grotesque salaries, bonuses and payoffs to senior executives, totally unrelated to "performance". As a result there is a decrease in the production and circulation of goods of mass consumption. The growth of a vast parasitical "service sector" with money pursuing fewer actually available goods has led to higher prices. Most of the affluent classes (the upper 20%) can afford the higher prices, in part because they can pass on the added costs to the mass of working class and urban and rural poor. In other words, in the contemporary economy, inflation benefits the wealthy because they pay their workers in deflated currency, while they can take advantage of inflation to further jack up prices and then income. In other words the upper classes have fortified their economic positions to take account of inflation through their power over prices, income and other compensations in a way that wage workers and people on fixed income and other vulnerable sectors cannot. Bankers protect their loans via adjustable interest rates. Monopoly resource owners jack up prices to retain profits. Wholesalers mark up prices to compensate for higher commodity prices. Large-scale retailers squeeze final consumers - the great majority at the bottom of the production and distribution chain. Inflation: The Targets of Revolt The revolts of the mass of vulnerable consumers are directed at retailers, wholesalers and the government, which are held responsible for the higher prices. Governments are charged with deregulating the economy, subsidizing the profiteers, promoting profiteering, complicity with monopolies, imposing wages and salary constraints without commensurate control over prices and basic necessities. Where some subsidies or price controls are decreed they are not consistently implemented or enforced. Worse still, widespread evasion, hoarding and black-marketeering is rife because of official complicity and corruption. According to regime bureaucrats, it is "easier" to control wages than prices - hence the uneven and unjust enforcement. Moreover, capitalist producers frequently dis-invest or withhold products especially necessities from the market as an effective weapon against price controls, forcing scarcity and inducing popular discontent with the incumbent regime. Reformist policies and regimes then are forced to choose between "lifting controls" to increase profits and prices or maintaining controls and facing the wrath of masses confronting empty shelves. Few if any contemporary regimes are willing to make credible threats to intervene in economic sectors or even enterprises, withholding goods or investments. Even less likely are regimes willing to actually mobilize workers, farmers and consumers to take over strategic economic sectors vital to popular consumption. Anti-Inflationary Revolts and Extra-Parliamentary Politics Given the total dominance of unhindered and unregulated "free market" ideology among all the leading political parties and within the executive, legislative and administrative branches of government, there are no institutional political vehicles through which the consumers can act to arrest their declining living standards, their decreasing capacity to meet basic needs and in many regions avoid growing malnutrition and hunger. Because of the all-pervasive and powerful stranglehold of free market capitalism among all national and international decision makers, all the meetings convoked by international organizations to deal with the "food crisis" (narrowly defined as "hunger" induced by scarcity and exorbitant food prices) have repeatedly failed to come up with practical and workable solutions. At best, they simply pledge funds for temporary food aid, subsidies and proposals for technical or market assistance. No meeting challenges the power of corporate agriculture to raise prices, allocate investments to more profitable fuel use rather than food; no crisis managers suggest massive shifts of credits from agro-exporters to family farmers; no effort is made to end price gouging by wholesalers or retailers. In other words, the crisis managers are of the same class as the beneficiaries of high prices and scarce food producers - and therefore they operate within the same market rules, which perpetuate higher profits and declining living standards. Given the failures of official policies and the lack of any institutional solutions of redress, the only outlet for downwardly mobile masses is extra-parliamentary opposition; the sacking of trains, stores and wholesale warehouses; the overthrow or voting out of office of incumbent regimes; the blocking of transport and seizure of government buildings; mass marches and demonstrations facing legislative and executive houses. Incumbent regimes everywhere fear mass repudiation in upcoming elections, even as their "populist" opponents provide no systematic alternative. As yet, the mass consumer protests, even as they draw heavily upon the families of workers, have yet to enlist the organized working class at its point of production. Only on rare occasions have organized workers engaged in "general strikes" against price increases of basic foodstuffs. The process of linking producter and consumer sectors is however not far on the horizon as local joint actions are occurring and calling into question the reliance on unrestricted markets. Bourgeois journalists, some financial editorial writers and a few government advisers are aware of the growing danger of inflation, rising food prices and the profit/wage gap to the capitalist system and are calling for anti-inflationary policies and public regulation. Faced with the deepening financial crisis resulting from the speculative crash and the necessity of large-scale, long-term state intervention and bail-outs, sectors of the capitalist class are also calling for greater state supervision and tighter controls over covert (off the books) institutional swindles. Popular perception of massive state bailouts of banks and proposals for new regulations to save the financial system has reinforced the idea that the state can equally (or with greater justice) interfere to regulate food and fuel prices and to prop up declining living standards. Inflation and the Transition from Protest to Popular Uprisings Inflation and high levels of engagement of the state in saving capitalism has raised mass discontent from a local protest against local price gougers and profiteers to a national political protest against a class-biased state, which ignores deteriorating living standards and concerns itself only with the very rich. Previously apolitical or even conservative workers, peasants and households who experienced incremental and cumulative gains in living standards through long hours and multiple household workers are now seeing their livelihood decline. Their earnings are devalued, their capacity to satisfy basic needs deteriorating. The sensation of "going backwards" or losing control over their everyday lives and of downward mobility is fueling mass collective anger. The treadmill of added work without rewards, respect or recognition is reinforced daily by the added costs to everyday goods. Inflation destabilizes all calculations, not only for the future, but also of everyday life: What to buy or not buy. What to pay or what to pay off. Uncertainly about what is affordable today and unaffordable tomorrow. Uncertainty spreads from the poorest to the "stable workers", from the "fixed income" pensioners to the "secure public employees". Inflation's global spread undermines living standards in Europe and the Americas, Asia and Africa, and with it, discontent erodes party loyalties and confidence in electoral and/or regime legitimacy. Historically nothing undermines public confidence in the currency, the banks, politicians and the existing market ideology as much as daily creeping inflation. The greatest fear of all is the sense that a lifetime of effort will result in the "loss of everything" - home, transport, health, and education - as prices rise faster than income. At some point, rampant inflation leads to absolute regression and with that a rupture with all previous loyalties and commitments. Conclusion Inflation, as it accelerates, in the past and today, is the great solvent of incremental everyday habits and politics: Today it undermines incumbent politicians; tomorrow it can call into question regimes and social orders. In the past, inflationary disorders and desperation brought forth rightist demagogues who specialize in imposing order and stability. It ill behooves the left to once again ignore the destructive effects of inflation, the demands for order and stability and mass consumer discontent. Inflationary fears are as much entrenched as class and property issues. Combating inflation, especially basic price increases is central to any prospect for a social transformation, which claims to benefit the wage and salaried workers, urban or rural dwellers, the poor, minorities, consumers and producers. James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed Books). Petras. forthcoming book, Zionism and US Militarism, is due from Clarity Press, Atlanta, in August 2008. He can be reached at: jpetras [at] binghamton.edu. Read other articles by James, or visit James's website. This article was posted on Sunday, July 20th, 2008 at 5:00 am and is filed under Agriculture, Capitalism, Economy/Economics, Labor, Revolution. Send to a friend. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
- (no other messages in thread)
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.