|Progressive Calendar 05.28.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|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] msn.com> 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] aol.com 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] aol.com. --------3 of 15-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Cargill teach-in 5.28 8pm Cargill teach-in, dinner, and brainstorm Thursday May 28th, Walker Church 8:00pm 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. http://ran.org/campaigns/rainforest_agribusiness/ --------4 of 15-------- From: ACLU of Minnesota <education [at] aclu-mn.org> 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 Scriptures. 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: http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=PmgYvNVq0fTBSt9zNIm5ZA.. 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 http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=D2nFE4WwDllQ2ez_ui_KKg.. or contact Jana Kooren at jkooren [at] aclu-mn.org or 651-645-4097 x123 if you have any questions. ACLU of MN www.aclu-mn.org --------5 of 15-------- From: Carol Carey <ccarey [at] historicsaintpaul.org> 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] umn.edu> 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] gmail.com> 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, Mpls 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] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 5.30 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------9 of 15-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> 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 tenant. 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] aol.com 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 others. 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 justice? 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] aol.com --------12 of 15-------- Rx and the Single Payer By Bill Moyers Campaign for America's Future May 22, 2009 http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009052122/rx-and-single-payer portside 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 program." 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 economy." 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 voluntarily." 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 www.pbs.org/moyers. Research provided by editorial producer Rebecca Wharton.] --------13 of 15-------- Owed an Apology Mike Alewitz 5.23.9 Alewitz [at] comcast.net 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. Pretenders. 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] comcast.net "I am not blaming those who are resolved to rule, only those who show an even greater readiness to submit." ~Thucydides --------14 of 15-------- May 26, 2009 Marinaleda Journal NYTimes A Job and No Mortgage for All in a Spanish Town By VICTORIA BURNETT 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 man." 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 cooperative. "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 $25,000. 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 created?" 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] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8
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