Progressive Calendar 05.28.09
From: David Shove (
Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 05:10:07 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.28.09

1. Eagan peace vigil 5.28 4:30pm
2. Northtown vigil   5.28 5pm
3. Cargill teach-in  5.28 8pm
4. Kushner/play      5.28 6pm

5. Preserve StPaul   5.29 12noon

6. Peace walk        5.30 9am Cambridge MN
7. AWC/Pride         5.30 1pm
8. Northtown vigil   5.30 2pm
9. Bicking/eat/film  5.30 6pm

10. Madeleine Baran  - Fight against foreclosure and eviction
11. Ev Kalambokidis  - Let there be more Peace Vigils in the Twin Cities
12. Bill Moyers      - Rx and the single payer
13. Mike Alewitz     - Owed an apology
14. Victoria Burnett - A job and no mortgage for all in a Spanish town
15. ed               - Our holy duty  (poem)

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

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at]>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 5.28 4:30pm

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.

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

From: EKalamboki [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.28 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]

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

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Cargill teach-in 5.28 8pm

Cargill teach-in, dinner, and brainstorm Thursday May 28th, Walker Church

Did you know Cargill, the largest privately held company in the US, is
located only a few miles from here in Wayzata, MN?

Over the years Cargill, has been responsible for a number of environmental
and human rights violations from the destruction of Brazilian rainforests
for soybean fields to the egregious practice of using child slaves in
their West African cocoa plantations. Now, Cargill turns their focus to
highly lucrative palm oil. Much of this oil is sourced from Indonesian
palm plantations which are rapidly displacing indigenous people and
destroying some of the last habitat for orangutans.

Join Levana Saxon of the Rainforest Action Network This Thursday as she
talks with us about the deforestation, displacement, and climate change
our neighbor Cargill is responsible for. Our hope is that over dinner, we
will not only discuss what awful things they are doing, but what clever
actions people who live near Cargill can take to really make an impact.

Join us!
Thursday May 28 8pm-10pm
Dinner 8pm
Discussion 8:30

Walker Community Church 3104 16th Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55407

If you need childcare for this event, please call Nathanael 612-280-2992
ahead of time.

Cargill controls a dozen soy and palm oil plantations in Indonesia and
Malaysia. The agribusiness giant, headquartered in Wayzata, is the
fourth-largest exporter of palm oil from Malaysia and holds 14,000 acres
of plantations - all on newly cleared land - throughout Indonesia and
Papua New Guinea. With demand for biofuels on the rise in recent years,
production of these oils has expanded at a rate of 2.5 million acres per
year in the tropical forests of Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

Cargill needs to stop converting the world's remaining rainforests into
factory farms and to stop the grave human rights abuses associated with
their operations.

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

From: ACLU of Minnesota <education [at]>
Subject: Kushner/play 5.28 6pm

On Thursday, May 28, join the ACLU of Minnesota at the Guthrie Theater for
award-winning playwright Tony Kushner's world debut of An Intelligent
Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the

The ACLU's new national president Susan Herman will make brief remarks at
the pre-show cocktail hour.

Thursday, May 28
Guthrie Theater
818 South 2nd St., Minneapolis, MN
6:00 p.m. - drinks & hors d'oeuvres
7:30 p.m. - show time
Driving directions:

Your $40 discount ticket includes a pre-show drink and hors d'oeuvres at
the Target Lab and your seat for the show. To reserve your tickets please
call the Guthrie Theater at 612-377-2224 and use the discount code A:ACLU.

Offer not valid online, with other offers or on previously purchased tickets.

About the play:
Commissioned by the Guthrie, the new Kushner play will be directed by
Michael Grief, director of Rent and Grey Gardens. All the Guthrie has said
about the play is that it "will have a family dynamic, and will be dealing
directly with gay issues." Guthrie Director Joe Dowling declares Kunsher
to be "one of the most important voices in American theater today." Tony
Kushner has won a Pulitzer, an Emmy and two Tony awards for his work.

About Susan Herman:
Susan Herman was elected President of the ACLU in 2008, replacing Nadine
Strossen. Herman is a Centennial Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School
and has served on the ACLU's National Board for 20 years, on the Executive
Committee for the last 16 and acted as the Board's General Counsel for the
last ten years.

For more information go to or contact Jana
Kooren at jkooren [at] or 651-645-4097 x123 if you have any

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

From: Carol Carey <ccarey [at]>
Subject: Preserve StPaul 5.29 12noon

Please join us for our next Preservation Talks brown bag lunch discussion
that will explore the potential for using Conservation Districts as a tool
to preserve the character and vitality of Saint Paul neighborhoods.

Friday, May 29, 2009
12 noon - 1:15 pm
Room 317 Landmark Center
75 West 5th Street
Saint Paul, MN

Historic Saint Paul is a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve,
protect and enhance the historic character of Saint Paul neighborhoods.

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

From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 5.30 9am Cambridge MN

every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM
Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street

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

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: AWC/Pride 5.30 1pm

VOLUNTEER DAY: Get ready for GLBT Pride!
Saturday, May 30 @ 1PM, Rm 112C - Univ. Technology Center, 1313 5th St. SE,

Make buttons, tshirts and signs for the AWC to use at Pride.  Bring your
own shirt if you'd like to print "Out Now" on it for Pride and the other
364 days a year you're against US occupation!  Feel to bring friends and
your artistic skills.

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

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.30 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

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

From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Bicking/eat/film 5.30 6pm

See "The Garden"
Academy Award Nominated Film (2009)
The people of L.A. fight to save the nation's largest community garden
from greedy developers and the City Council members who serve them!

Dinner & A Movie
To Benefit the Campaign of
Dave Bicking
Minneapolis City Council, Ward 9, Green Party

Lydia Howell provides her famous homemade international buffet! Creol
Chicken w/Veggies, Vegetable Curry, Rice, Salad, Breads, Pineapple
Upsidedown Cake (Vegan), Cheesecake
Vegetarian and Vegan options

Join a discussion with Dave about urban gardens, local sustainability
and food production, resistance to greedy developers, and other issues

What do people do when they are told there is nothing more they can
do? (from the film THE GARDEN)

10 -- more if you can
May 30, 2009
6:00 p.m.
at Mayday Books 301 Cedar Avenue South on the West Bank under the Hub
Bicycle Co-op 612-824-1247

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

Taking it to court in Minneapolis:
Fight against foreclosure and eviction
By Madeleine Baran
TC Daily Planet
May 26, 2009

The fight against foreclosures heated up at the Hennepin County Government
Center Tuesday, May 26, as two Minneapolis women used unique arguments to
fight back against their lenders.

Rosemary Williams and Tecora Parks, who separately appeared in court
today, are just two of at least six homeowners in the Twin Cities who have
publicly vowed to remain in their foreclosed homes. Local activist groups,
including the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign and the
Minnesota Coalition for a People's Bailout, have been working with these
homeowners to organize a statewide movement against foreclosures.

Neighbors of Williams, a south Minneapolis woman who refused to leave her
home after it went into foreclosure, filed suit against GMAC Mortgage in
District Court. The plaintiffs, including the Central Area Neighborhood
Development Organization and 17 neighbors, argue that leaving her home
vacant would create a public nuisance.

At the same time, GMAC, Williams' lender, filed suit to evict Williams
from her home, which was sold to the lender at a sheriff's sale in March.

Over forty supporters packed the small courtroom. Initially, a sheriff
informed the activists that anyone unable to find an empty seat would have
to leave. After protests from Williams' supporters, the court relented and
allowed the activists to sit in the jury seats. "They're going to have to
start getting bigger courtrooms!" one supporter observed.

Jordan Kushner, the attorney for Williams and her neighbors, argued that
the rising number of vacant foreclosed homes causes neighborhoods to
deteriorate as the properties fall into disrepair and become havens for
criminal activity. Kushner acknowledged that public nuisance statutes are
not typically used to fight foreclosures. "These are complicated and novel
issues," he said.

Attorneys for GMAC stated that the lender wants to sell the building and
therefore needs to evict Williams. The judge rescheduled the trial due to
scheduling conflicts. A motion hearing to decide whether to consolidate
the two cases will be held June 16. The jury trial will begin June 22.

After the hearing, Williams expressed satisfaction with the delays, as it
will allow her more time to remain in her home and attempt to negotiate
with her lenders. Williams then turned to several GMAC attorneys and
asked, "Do you know why GMAC is not willing to refinance?" The lawyers
declined to comment.

An hour later, Leslie Parks, Tecora Parks' daughter, took mortgage lender
IndyMac Federal Bank to Housing Court for changing the locks on her
mother's foreclosed South Minneapolis home, where Leslie Parks lives as a

Leslie Parks said that when she returned from work last week to find that
the building's locks had been changed, she immediately worried that
someone had burglarized her home and was inside. "Fear just raged through
my body right then and there," she said. "I just kind of lost it." She
then went to her mother's house, where she contacted local activists who
helped arrange for a locksmith to open the newly installed lock box.

"She had to basically break into her own house," Carla Magnuson, Leslie
Parks' attorney stated.

Although a foreclosure notice had been served on the property, the lender
changed the locks prior to the sheriff's sale. Under Minnesota statute,
IndyMac needed to prove that the home was vacant in order to change the
locks before the sale. The statute also requires that the lender provide
new keys to the homeowner.

IndyMac's attorney, Larry Zielke, argued that activists are "trying to
make a political statement" by bringing the case to court. He said that
the lender would have been willing to provide new keys to Tecora Parks,
but acknowledged that IndyMac did not leave any written notice or contact
information at the house at the time of the lock change.

An inspector hired by the lender said that he went to the home four times
in the past five months to determine whether the building was occupied.
John Stewart, the inspector, said that the home did not appear vacant the
first three times, but that the final time he noticed that the lawn had
not been mowed, the electric meters were not active, and there were no
cars parked in the driveway. Stewart then notified IndyMac that the
building was vacant.

But Stewart acknowledged that he could never be 100 percent sure that a
building is vacant, adding, "I usually get kind of upset when I find an
empty house."

Leslie Parks' attorneys argued that the lender should have known that the
home was occupied. Even the judge, when examining photos of the home taken
by the inspector, remarked that the yard appears to be in good condition.

"You guys moved pretty quick on this," Judge Zimmerman said, addressing
Zielke. "I'm a little surprised." The judge ruled in favor of Leslie Parks
and ordered the lender to pay a $500 penalty and $500 in attorneys' fees.

Immediately following the hearing, Tecora Parks broke down in tears and
hugged her daughter and supporters. "I just have to thank the Lord right
now," she said. Tecora Parks' home will be sold at a sheriff's sale this
Friday. However, activists said that they plan to protest in an attempt to
cause enough public outrage to stop the sale.

Madeleine Baran is a freelance journalist specializing in labor and
poverty issues. Her articles have appeared in The New York Daily News,
Dollars & Sense, Clamor, The New Standard, and other publications.

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

Let there be more Peace Vigils in the Twin Cities
by Ev Kalambokidis

Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 17:47:04 EDT
From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Time of the People is Here: In the Street Corners and Neighborhoods

Dear Friends of Peace and Justice,

We are a small peace vigil group and for almost three years, one hour each
week, we had been vigiling with our signs for peace at the four way high
traffic junction of Highway 10 and University Avenue, off the North
Eastern Side of the Northtown Center. We identified ourselves as the
Northtown Peace Group. Unfortunately, because of the presidential
elections we had to suspend the function of our group as people were
trapped in the electoral processes with high "Hopes" for "New Directions".

Letting down our vigilance for peace was a grave mistake. The important
point we missed was that "we the people" are the paramount political force
in a democracy and we must never let down our just demands for peace and
justice. With such thoughts some of us, recently had a couple of meetings
and resumed our peace vigil.

We did a ten minute count of the vehicles passing through the four way
junction and then we extrapolated the results to a full hour. We were
impressed. Approximately 3000 vehicles and, with an average of 2 1/2
persons per vehicle, approx. 7,500 people in one hour !! To our surprise,
the response to our slogans now is as positive and strong as it was before
the elections.  People respond by honking for peace, and approving
gestures to our slogans such as: "Health Care not Warfare", "Help the
Troops. Bring them Home", "Say NO to the Merchants of War", "Money for
Human Needs, Not for War" etc.  Occasionally, friendly visitors parked
their car and came to shake hands. Sometimes they brought us ice cream in
the heat of the summer and hot chocolate in below zero temperatures.

Beyond any doubt each small vigil of 3-6 people is a real, dynamic cell of
people's movement for peace and justice by interacting with hundreds and
thousands or ordinary citizens, who find expression of their desires and
needs in the slogans of the vigil. We have identified another 14-16 peace
vigils in the Twin Cities and suburbs, who, we are sure, are having the
same experiences as we do. The slogans on our posters tend to converge and
echo the needs and demands of the great majority of the people. If these
needs and demands are aggressively pursued we can open up truly new
directions so desperately needed today if humankind is going to survive.

Standing at a corner one hour a week and advocating the needed changes is
the most productive, the least expensive and down right revolutionary
action ordinary citizens can undertake. They flash their focused slogans
to other ordinary citizens, and establish commonality of interests and
sentiments of solidarity. They cultivate progressive thought and spark the
need for dialogue and organization of similar action. They can also play a
great role in a door-to-door dissemination of information about the
actions of large popular movements initiated by labor, unemployed,
students, nurses and doctors, environmentalists, war veterans and many

In our group, for instance, in addition to our standard function of
holding antiwar and other related posters, we are thinking of joining the
nurses and doctors in their revolutionary struggle for a single payer
health care system by knocking at doors and distributing information in
neighborhoods of the northern suburbs.  We all know by now that the
corporate media cannot play such a role. They are faithful propagandists
of the system, disguised as journalists. Then if we don't do it ourselves,
who will?

The present economic crisis is bound to get deeper for the ordinary
people. Whatever little will be provided through the stimulus program will
be taken back several times over in the course of time through an ongoing
exploitation at the point of production and a variety of sales tax
increases, new special excise taxes and fees and the grand daddy of modern
financial exploitation: the predatory interests collected by the banks
running the credit card business. The same banks, who were given billions
from the people's treasury, "because they were too big to fail ", are
squeezing the consumer with their credit card operations in ways that
would gain the envy of the Mafia. They are worthy of their titles as
banksters and modern slave masters.  They have thrived since the
dismantling of the usury laws and the absence of any mandatory interest
caps. Both political parties have supported this policy.

The recent bill approved by Congress and signed by Obama is a farce. The
right of the banks to raise the interest on credit card loans is
preserved, but the banks must notify the credit card holder 45 days ahead
of time and provide an explanation. Did those who wrote the bill seriously
think that the banks would have a hard time writing an explanation for
raising the interest rates, or that they would be deterred from doing so
by the need to provide a 45 day advance notice ? And even these
"restrictions" are going to be effective in about nine months from now.
Until then the old rules apply and the banks have already embarked on an
interest raising wild rush.

So what do we do to contribute to the total struggle towards peace and

With this communication the Northtown Peace Vigil Group submits to you the
following simple proposal:

1. Consider steps and programs that will lead to increase of the number of
Peace Vigils in the Twin Cities and other cities. Shall we say a goal of
100 in the first year? It is possible and can be easily achieved. Imagine
the impact of 100 dynamic cells interacting with thousands every week.

2. We should concentrate on the issues that are supported by the great
majority, but avoided, or given lip service by the political establishment
and their corporate media.

3. The Peace Vigil cells gradually may assume also the role of door to
door distribution of information about the key issues, and/or about larger
programs or mobilizations organized by the various social movements.

We hope you will discuss this proposal with your members and join us to
assess the existing possibilities and come up with a program of action.
Please send us your thoughts by the 20th of June, so we can make needed
preparations and secure appropriate meeting place.  Thank you.

In Solidarity for Peace and Justice
For the NORTHTOWN PEACE GROUP Ev Kalambokidis Veteran For Peace
(763) 574 - 9615, vanka485 [at]

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

Rx and the Single Payer
By Bill Moyers
Campaign for America's Future
May 22, 2009

In 2003, a young Illinois state senator named Barack Obama told a local
AFL-CIO meeting, "I am a proponent of a single-payer universal health care

Single payer. Universal. That's health coverage, like Medicare, but for
everyone who wants it. Single payer eliminates insurance companies as
pricey middlemen. The government pays care providers directly. It's a
system that polls consistently have shown the American people favoring by
as much as two-to-one.

There was only one thing standing in the way, Obama said six years ago:
"All of you know we might not get there immediately because first we have
to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate and we have
to take back the House."

Fast forward six years. President Obama has everything he said was needed
- Democrats in control of the executive branch and both chambers of
Congress. So what's happened to single payer?

A woman at his town hall meeting in New Mexico last week asked him exactly
that. "If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the
idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense,"
the President replied. "That's the kind of system that you have in most
industrialized countries around the world.

"The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have
historically a tradition of employer- based health care. And although
there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their health care,
the truth is, is that the vast majority of people currently get health
care from their employers and you've got this system that's already in
place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into health care reform
where suddenly we're trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the

So the banks were too big to fail and now, apparently, health care is too
big to fix, at least the way a majority of people indicate they would like
it to be fixed, with a single payer option. President Obama favors a
public health plan competing with the medical cartel that he hopes will
create a real market that would bring down costs. But single payer has
vanished from his radar.

Nor is single payer getting much coverage in the mainstream media. Barely
a mention was given to the hundreds of doctors, nurses and other health
care professionals who came to Washington last week to protest the absence
of official debate over single payer.

Is it the proverbial tree falling in the forest, making a noise that
journalists can't or won't hear? Could the indifference of the press be
because both the President of the United States and Congress have been
avoiding single payer like, well, like the plague? As we see so often,
government officials set the agenda by what they do and don't talk about.

Instead, President Obama is looking for consensus, seeking peace among all
the parties involved. Except for single payer advocates. At that big White
House powwow in Washington last week, the President asked representatives
of the health care business to reason together with him. "What's brought
us all together today is a recognition that we can't continue down the
same dangerous road we've been traveling for so many years," he said, "
that costs are out of control; and that reform is not a luxury that can be
postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait."

They came, listened, made nice for the photo op. and while they failed to
participate in a hearty chorus of "Kumbaya," they did promise to cut
health care costs voluntarily over the next ten years. The press ate it up
- and Mr. Obama was a happy man.

Meanwhile, some of us looking on - those of us who've been around a long
time - were scratching our heads. Hadn't we heard this before?

Way, way back in the 1970's Americans were riled up over the rising costs
of health care. As a presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter started talking
about the government clamping down. When he got to the White House, drug
makers, insurance companies, hospitals and doctors - the very people who
only a decade earlier had done everything they could to strangle Medicare
in the cradle - seemed uncharacteristically humble and cooperative. "You
don't have to make us cut costs," they promised. "We'll do it

So Uncle Sam backed down, and you guessed it. Pretty soon medical costs
were soaring higher than ever.

By the early `90s, the public was once again hurting in the pocketbook.
Feeling our pain, Bill and Hillary Clinton tried again, coming up with a
plan only slightly more complicated than the schematics for an F-18
fighter jet.

This time the health industry acted more like Tony Soprano than Mother
Teresa. It bludgeoned the Clinton reforms with one of the most expensive
and deceitful public relations and advertising campaigns ever conceived -
paid for, of course, from the industry's swollen profits.

As the drug and insurance companies, hospitals and doctors dumped the
mangled carcass of reform into the Potomac, securely encased in concrete,
once again they said don't worry; they would cut costs voluntarily.

If you believed that, we've got a toll-free bridge to the Mayo Clinic we'd
like to sell you.

So anyone with any memory left could be excused for raising their eyebrows
at the health care industry's latest promises. As if on cue, hardly had
their pledge of volunteerism rung out across the land than Jay Gellert,
chief executive of Health Net Inc. and chair of the lobbying group
America's Health Insurance Plans, assured his pals not to worry abut the
voluntary reductions. "We believe that we can do it without undermining
the viability of companies," he said, "and in effect enhancing the payment
to physicians and hospitals." In other words, their so-called voluntary
"reforms" will in no way interfere with maximizing profits.

Also last week, John Lechleiter, the chief executive of drug giant Eli
Lilly, blasted universal health care in a speech before the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce: "I do not believe that policymakers have yet arrived at a
full and complete diagnosis of what's wrong and what's right with U.S.
health care," he declared. "And I am very concerned that some of the
proposed policies-the treatments, to continue my metaphor-will have
unintended side-effects that make our situation worse."

So why bother with the charm offensive on Pennsylvania Avenue? Could it
be, as some critics suggest, a Trojan horse, getting the health industry a
place at the table so they can leap up at the right moment and again knife
to death any real reform?

Wheelers and dealers from the health sector aren't waiting for that
moment. According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics,
they've spent more than $134 million on lobbying in the first quarter of
2009 alone. And some already are shelling out big bucks for a publicity
blitz and ads attacking any health care reform that threatens to reduce
the profits from sickness and disease.

The Washington Post's health care reform blog reported Tuesday that Blue
Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has hired an outside PR firm to put
together a video campaign assaulting Obama's public plan. And this month
alone, the group Conservatives for Patients' Rights is spending more than
a million dollars for attack ads. They've hired a public relations firm
called CRC - Creative Response Concepts. You remember them - the same
high-minded folks who brought you the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the
gang who savaged John Kerry's service record in Vietnam.

The ads feature the chairman of Conservatives for Patients' Rights, Rick
Scott. Who's he? As a former deputy inspector general from the Department
of Health and Human Services told The New York Times, "He hopes people
don't Google his name."

Scott's not a doctor; he just acts like one on TV. He's an entrepreneur
who took two hospitals in Texas and built them into the largest health
care chain in the world, Columbia/HCA. In 1997, he was fired by the board
of directors after Columbia/HCA was caught in a scheme that ripped off the
Feds and state governments for hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus
Medicare and Medicaid payments, the largest such fraud in history. The
company had to cough up $1.7 billion dollars to get out of the mess.

Rick Scott got off, you should excuse the expression, scot-free. Better
than, in fact. According to published reports, he waltzed away with a $10
million severance deal and $300 million worth of stock. So much for
voluntarily lowering overhead.

With medical costs rising six percent per year, that's who's offering
himself as a spokesman for the health care industry. Speaking up for
single payer is Geri Jenkins, a president of the California Nurses
Association and National Nurses Organizing Committee - a registered nurse
with literal hands-on experience.

"We're there around the clock," she told our colleague Jessica Wang. "So
we feel a real sense of obligation to advocate for the best interests of
our patients and the public. Now, you can talk about policy but when
you're staring at a human face it's a whole different story."

[Michael Winship co-wrote this article. Bill Moyers is managing editor and
Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill
Moyers Journal, which airs Friday night on PBS. Check local airtimes or
comment at The Moyers Blog at

Research provided by editorial producer Rebecca Wharton.]

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

Owed an Apology
Mike Alewitz
Alewitz [at]

It's been over 100 days. I am now prepared to accept the apologies of
those who worked to put Obama in the White House.

Remember your effusive praise, how you touted him as being different
than Bush? You accused people of being a sectarian, and out of touch
with reality, if they refused to vote for him. You said he was leading a
progressive movement - the beginning of a bright new era of politics.

You owe an apology to me and everyone else that spoke the truth about
Obama. We said he would continue the Bush policies. We told you so.

More importantly, you need to express remorse to the millions of working
people in this country and around the world that you helped convince to
vote for him. Unlike you, they have nothing to apologize for. They made
a mistake, but they did it for the right reasons - they hated what Bush
stood for and wanted to express their solidarity as a class - they voted
to reject war and racism.

They did not understand that the elections are a charade - but you did.

So let me make it clear who I am addressing this to: the union
officials, peace activists, staff people for progressive organizations
and others who have argued and fought against independent political
action - all the longtime activists that have supported one lying,
miserable Democratic politician after another as the lesser of two evils
- Obama, Kerry, Clinton, Carter, Johnson, ad nausea.

I've now been listening to your equivocations and apologies for over 40
years. You cannot see beyond your own little milieu of self-absorbed
radicals. You have learned nothing.

Let's review what your man Obama has accomplished in his first hundred
days: revived the military tribunals; refused to address himself to the
don't ask don't tell policy; decided to keep prisoners in Guantánamo;
maintained troops in Iraq; refused to release the pictures of torture;
supported the Israeli devastation of Gaza; maintained the US embargo of
Cuba; named Cheney's chief interrogator to head up the war in Afghanistan;
refused to bring criminal action against widespread torture; expanded the
war in Afghanistan to bomb civilians in Pakistan;  given hundreds of
billions of dollars to his Wall Street backers; given billions of dollars
to the auto industry as a reward for massive layoffs; support for doctor's
refusing a women's right to abortion.

And as a special bonus: preventive detention.

You groveled at the feet of the democrats, begging for the Employee Free
Choice Act, (a wimpy substitute for organizing for working-class power)
- he's not even going to give you that. He's not giving you a damn thing.
Not even the jobs you coveted.

I've probably forgotten some of the rotten things he's done, but this is
just the first hundred days. Obama has years to promote the Bush program,
which is and always has been, the program of the ruling class - regardless
of who sits in the White House. Like we told you, time and again.

Obama has proven himself the faithful servant of imperialism. He was
selected to derail the antiwar movement and stifle social unrest emerging
from the economic crisis. And you wagged your little poodle tails and
helped him herd workers off the streets and into the voting booth. You
helped mislead millions of anti-war people into supporting a militarist
president. You covered up for him. You apologized for him.  You fawned
over him and gushed over his election victory.

Obama is being loyal to the class he represents - the employers. Obama
didn't betray his class - you betrayed yours. Now you should stand up and
take responsibility for your actions.

If you still support Obama, you are supporting the ruling class against
your fellow workers. You cannot be a progressive for Obama. You can either
be a progressive, or you can be for Obama.

Please don't take this personally. Some of you are friends. These comments
are not directed at the many well-meaning people who got suckered in. They
will learn from the experience and move on.

I'm talking about the pie-cards that have been hustling votes for the
Democrats for years. I'm particularly talking about the most wretched,
gutless, class collaborationist union bureaucracy that has ever existed.
What a cesspool. At a time of growing economic crisis, when millions of
workers would be willing to go into action and fight, you are hustling
votes for the bosses and waging war with each other over dues money.

I'm not just referring to the millionaire pork-choppers like Stern,
Gettlefinger, Wilhelm, etc - I'm including all the thousands of cogs in
the bloated bureaucratic machinery that justify, apologize for, or remain
silent about this dues money feeding frenzy. I don't care whether you're a
hardened business unionist that's been sucking our blood for decades or a
pretentious young nitwit that hires out to lead the poor workers - you
should all be ashamed of yourselves.

Your behavior is a dishonor to the proud history of the militant working
class of this country - to the women and men of the Knights of Labor, the
IWW, the CIO, the anti-war GIs, the millions of undocumented workers that
took to the streets in fearless action on Mayday just three years ago.

Any union staff person with an ounce of self-respect should get up from
their desk right now and in a loud voice proclaim that you will no longer
be a part of this travesty. Tell them that you are no longer willing to
participate in raiding operations and jurisdictional squabbles. Tell them
you are unwilling to impose contracts that sell out the next generations
of workers. Tell them that you are no longer going to crawl to the bosses
offering concessions. Tell them you will not apologize for Obama and you
will never, never, ever again support the candidates of the employers.

Then announce that you are going out to look for a job so you can help
organize your class. If you do that, we would all be proud of you.

OK - so why my sudden outburst? After all, none of this is new. I guess
the quantitative just became the qualitative. There was the straw that
broke the camel's back, the spark that led to this undisciplined
outpouring and my years of self-control going down the tubes. This is what
did it:

Basking in the glow of the ruling class electoral victory, some of you
have begun to strut around, coming out as socialists. What's more, having
rediscovered socialism, you are redefining it. We are being re-imagined.
Lucky us.

This is much like the European discovery of America. In both cases, there
were indigenous people that had little in common with the recent arrivals.
Many of us have been socialists all along and I can say without
qualification: you are not one of us. If you support Obama you are not any
kind of revolutionary - you can hardly be considered a reformer.

You are not socialists; you are what I will call social-lites. Posers.

The rapidity with which your leader has revealed his real agenda has put
you in an awkward position. Having helped deliver the working class vote
to the bosses, you will now try to pose as the socialist opposition to
Obama. You'll put on a Marxist patina to hide your rotten deeds. Being
shrewd careerists, you'll start back peddling, distancing yourself from
Obama's atrocities. (Until you're right back doing it again in the next
elections.) [Exactly - just like every time - they hope in three years we
forget what miserable shills they are. -ed]

But we know what you are: frightened functionaries living off our labor.
You didn't believe us about Obama and you won't believe me about this, but
I'll tell it plain: The workers that you have robbed and kept fettered in
the face of the bosses offensive are going to rise up and roll right over
you. When workers understand the depth of your duplicity, you are going to
be booted so far that you will never be able to crawl back into your
padded chairs. [May it be soon! -ed]

Lest these words seem harsh, there is always room to change - it's never
too late. Big fights are coming. As the illusions in Obama disappear,
there will be new upsurges in the anti-war movement, for immigrant
rights and economic justice. We could use your help.

Break with Obama, apologize, promise not to do it again, and we will
embrace you as comrades.

Otherwise, just get the fuck out of our way.
- Mike Alewitz/ 5.23.9 Alewitz [at]

"I am not blaming those who are resolved to rule, only
those who show an even greater readiness to submit."

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

May 26, 2009
Marinaleda Journal
A Job and No Mortgage for All in a Spanish Town

MARINALEDA, Spain - The people of this small Andalusian town have never
been shy about their political convictions. Since they occupied the estate
of a local aristocrat in the 1980s, they and their fiery mayor, Juan
Manuel Sánchez Gordillo, have been synonymous in Spain with a dogged
struggle for the rural poor.

Now that Spain's real estate bust is fueling rampant unemployment, this
Communist enclave, surrounded by sloping olive groves, is thumbing its
nose at its countrymen's capitalist folly. Attracted by its municipal
housing program and bustling farming cooperative, people from neighboring
villages and beyond have come here seeking jobs or homes, villagers and
officials say.

Mr. Sánchez, a bearded 53-year-old who this month celebrated three decades
as mayor of the town of 2,700, says the economic crisis proves the wisdom
of his socialist vision. "They all thought that the market was God, who
made everything work with his invisible hand," Mr. Sánchez said on a
recent morning, seated in his office below a portrait of Che Guevara.
"Before, it was a mortal sin to talk about the government having a role in
the economy. Now, we see we have to put the economy at the service of

While the rest of Spain gorged on cheap credit to buy overpriced houses,
the people of Marinaleda were building their own, mortgage-free, under a
municipal program, he said. If a resident loses his job, the cooperative
hires him, he said, so nobody wants for work - a bold claim in a region
with 21 percent unemployment.

Vanessa Romero, who moved here with her family from Barcelona in January
after she and her husband lost their jobs, said she was drawn by the
prospect of work and facilities like the nursery school, which costs about
$17 a month. The couple make about $1,500 a month each working for the

"If a town like this, with half the resources of other towns, or less, can
provide work for people, why can't other places do the same?" said Ms.
Romero, whose parents were born in the town.

Critics say Mr. Sánchez's claims are exaggerated and that he has succeeded
in dividing up misery rather than creating wealth. By promoting
low-productivity farm jobs, he has kept voters dependent on him for work
and handouts, they say.

"This village has stagnated," said Hipólito Aires, a Socialist town
council member and gas station attendant. He said the political atmosphere
in Marinaleda was stifling and that the mayor ostracized his opponents - a
sentiment echoed by several residents who would speak only anonymously.

"Sánchez Gordillo criticized the local lords, but now he acts like them,"
Mr. Aires said. "The biggest landowner in Marinaleda today is the mayor."
He was alluding to the mayor's presumed power over the town and its
3,000-acre farm, though Mr. Sánchez, who does not own a car, says he owns
no property other than his home.

Marinaleda became a center of leftist activism after Mr. Sánchez first won
the mayoral election in April 1979 as a representative of the United
Workers' Collective, a Communist farm workers' organization that promotes
government through popular assemblies and believes that Andalusia should
be independent from Spain. Over the years, the residents have occupied
farms, picketed government offices and held hunger strikes to demand work
and land.

Their most prominent campaign culminated in 1991 with the regional
government expropriating the 3,000-acre estate from the Duke of Infantado
and leasing it to the town. The resulting cooperative, about seven miles
north of Marinaleda, grows labor-intensive crops like artichokes, hot
peppers, broccoli and broad beans, as well as wheat. These days, Mr.
Sánchez's populism permeates life in this self-anointed "utopia for
peace," which has no municipal police (a savings of $350,000 a year,
officials say).

Political murals and revolutionary slogans adorn the town's whitewashed
walls and streets are named after Latin American leftists. Every few
weeks, the town hall declares a Red Sunday over a bullhorn and volunteers
clean the streets or do odd jobs.

For one hour on television each Saturday, the mayor holds forth on
politics or recites his own poetry, his trademark Palestinian scarf draped
round his neck. He has rallied the residents around a plethora of causes,
from resisting genetically modified crops to supporting the Sahrawi
people's struggle for self-determination in Western Sahara. Comparing
himself with another, though far more famous, bearded Communist, Mr.
Sánchez said that he had been jailed seven times and that he had survived
two assassination attempts, one from a fascist agitator and the other from
an enraged police officer.

"His problem is, he is a permanent revolutionary," said Mr. Aires, adding
that "half the people at his rallies don't even know where Palestine is."
Many, though, admire his zeal.

"I wish our mayor would do something like this for us," said Francisco
Pradas from the nearby town of Écija, who was picking beans at the
cooperative farm on a recent morning. The farm manager, José Martin, said
demand for jobs from other villages had increased since the crisis.

Back in town is the other jewel in Marinaleda's Communist crown: a colony
of neat, three-bedroom houses, built on municipal land with materials from
the regional government. Prospective owners donate about 450 days of their
work to the construction. The rub: to prevent people from profiting,
residents cannot sell their houses.

Even so, demand from residents of nearby towns rose so much over the past
few years that the town had to limit the program to long-term residents.
About 350 houses have been built so far and the town plans to add 250 in
the next two years.

Analysts and political opponents dismiss Mr. Sánchez' populist bluster,
noting that while he portrays Marinaleda as a Communist oasis, it depends
heavily on money from the regional and central governments it decries. The
materials for each house, for example, cost the regional government about

Salvador Becera, an expert in anthropology at the Center for Andalusian
Studies in Seville, said Mr. Sánchez had brought social equity to an
uneducated, economically oppressed community. But his vision was
anachronistic, he said, and the future of Andalusia lay not in the fields,
but in industry and services.

"Right now, they can puff out their chests because the economy is in
crisis," Mr. Becera said. "But what if they had the chance to get rich?
Then who would stay in this little paradise that Sánchez Gordillo has

Mr. Sánchez, though, is unshaken.

"We have an election every four years," he said simply. "If people elect
me with an absolute majority each time, I must be doing something right."

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

 Our Holy Duty

 Buy for the rich, buy
 buy buy buy buy
 Buy for the rich, buy
 Buy until you die.

 Cry for the rich, cry
 cry cry cry cry
 Cry for the rich, cry
 Cry until you die.

 Lie for the rich, lie
 lie lie lie lie
 Lie for the rich, lie
 Lie until you die.

 Kill for the rich, kill
 kill kill kill kill
 Kill for the rich, kill
 Kill until you die.

 Die for the rich, die
 die die die die
 Die for the rich, die
 Die until you die.


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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