Progressive Calendar 07.23.08
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

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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
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