Progressive Calendar 06.24.09
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 15:04:04 -0700 (PDT)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   06.24.09

1. Vs airport         6.24 5pm
2. Iran/US media      6.24 7pm

3. Eagan peace vigil  6.25 4:30pm
4. Northtown vigil    6.25 5pm
5. Iran Rev/1979-2009 6.25 7pm

6. Susan Martinson - Coldwater alert: immediate action requested
7. StarTrib        - Bid to burn more trash near ballpark turned down"
8. Jill Richardson - Why American policy SUCKS
9. ed              - People starving?  (poem)

--------1 of x--------

From: Ron Holch <rrholch [at] attg.net>
Subject: Vs airport 6.24 5pm

General Meeting Notice
Concerned Citizens of the North Metro
HAS BEEN CANCELED

Please come instead on the same day, June 24, to the Blaine City Hall at
5:00 p.m. for MAC's public informational meeting on the ^÷Long Term
Comprehensive Plan (LTCP) for the AC/B airport AC/B airport.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU ATTEND.
This is where the MAC will allow citizen input for future Airport planning
We will meet down stairs and go into the room together at around 5:30pm
THE THREAT OF AIRPORT EXPANSION IS STILL VERY REAL!!!

Our MONTHLY general information meetings will resume in July
Wednesday July 29, at   6:00 PM
Northtown Branch Anoka County Libraries
711 County Road 10 NE, Blaine
763-717-3267
On the North side of County Hwy 10 across from the Northtown
Shopping Center

WE NOW HAVE A WEBSITE CHECK IT OUT AT THE LINK BELOW
www.ccnm6.com

Also below is the press release from MAC about Key Air's withdrawl of its
request for the 6000' runway expansion.

Key Air Withdraws Request for Longer Runway at Anoka County-Blaine Airport
~Withdrawal Means Runway Extension Won't Be Considered in Planning
Process~

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL - Fixed-base operator Key Air notified the
Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) today it is withdrawing its March
19 request for a runway extension at Anoka County-Blaine Airport.

Key Air had requested that MAC consider expanding Runway 9-27 to 6,000
feet from the current 5,000 and increase its double-wheel load bearing
capacity to 95,000 pounds, up from the current 60,000.  The MAC had asked
Key Air to provide additional information to determine whether or not a
study of the matter was justified as part of the airport's long term
comprehensive planning process.

In withdrawing its request, Key Air indicated that, given the current
business climate, this was probably not the time to invest in expansion of
the runway beyond its current 5,000 feet.

"Absent a request from an airport tenant, we are aware of no operational
need that would warrant consideration of a longer runway at Anoka
County-Blaine Airport at this time," said Denny Probst, the MAC's deputy
executive director for Planning and Environment.  "We believe sufficient
facilities are in place to safely accommodate current operations, so we
will not consider a runway extension as part of the long-term planning
process."

Through a unique partnership with Anoka County and the city of Blaine, the
MAC has made a number of significant improvements to the airport in recent
years, including extending Runway 9-27 to its current 5,000 feet,
lengthening the adjoining taxiway, installing an instrument landing
system, and developing the building area now occupied by Key Air's new
terminal and hangar facilities.

The Metropolitan Council classifies Anoka County-Blaine as a minor-use
airport, a category Minnesota law limits to runway lengths of no more than
5,000 feet. # # #

Patrick Hogan Public Affairs & Marketing Director Metropolitan Airports
Commission Phone: 612-726-5335


--------2 of x--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org>
Subject: Iran/US media 6.24 7pm

Women Against Military Madness presents:
Coverage of the Election in Iran and the Role Played by Western Media &
Governments

Why the disproportionate coverage of the Iranian election in the Western
media? Does the Iranian election really make a difference to U.S.
citizens?

Wednesday, June 24 @ 7:00 P.M.
Mayday Bookstore 301 Cedar & Third Avenue Minneapolis (West Bank,
downstairs, below Midwest Mountaineering)

A talk by Iranian-American NASRIN JEWELL, PHD.
Nasrin Jewell is Professor of Economics at St. Catherine University in St.
Paul, MN.  Her current research area is redefining and re- evaluating
work, specifically applied to women in Iran.  She has authored and
collaborated on a number of articles on the role of women in Economic
Development, the Global Economy and the New World Order, and Women and
Work.  She has been a Fulbright scholar to Caracas, Venezuela, and was a
Midwestern Universities Consortium scholar in Madrid, Spain.  Professor
Jewell is a member of the Board of Directors of Critique: Critical Middle
Eastern Studies. Sponsored by Women Against Military Madness. More info:
612-827-5364 or www.worldwidewamm.org


--------3 of x--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 6.25 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.


--------4 of x--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 6.25 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.


--------5 of x--------

From: Socialist Appeal <new [at] socialistappeal.org>
Subject: Iran Rev/1979-2009 6.25 7pm

The Iranian Revolution - 1979 / 2009

Dramatic events are unfolding in Iran. U.S. media portrays the country as
full of crazy, anti-American, nuclear-armed fundamentalist terrorist
fanatics. The reality is that the Iranian working class has marvelous
militant and revolutionary traditions, and these traditions are being
rediscovered as the Iranian masses say "enough is enough" of the mullah's
regime of repression and exploitation.

John Peterson, National Secretary of the Workers International League and
Chief Editor of Socialist Appeal magazine, will be presenting a Marxist
analysis of the recent upsurge in Iran in its historical context.  Come
join a discussion on the true nature of the 1979 Revolution, and learn
more about what is really happening in Iran today.

Thursday, June 25, 2009
7:00pm
Mayday Books (301 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis' West Bank in the basement
below Midwest Mountaineering)

Click here for a video of what is going on in Iran:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OznZcNb7ZVM&feature=related

Sponsored by the Workers International League and the Iranian Workers
Solidarity Network.

Call 651-373-7609 or write wil [at] socialistappeal.org for more information.


--------6 of x--------

To: Susan Martinson <seasnun [at] gmail.com>
Subject: Coldwater Alert: Immediate Action Requested

COLDWATER  ALERT
(Photo, more info & direct email links to Congress people at
www.FriendsofColdwater.org <http://www.friendsofcoldwater.org/>.)

Funds to return the Coldwater Spring area to "open green space" were
dropped from the federal stimulus package. The National Park Service
budgeted $3.5-million to remove the old Bureau of Mines buildings and to
prepare the 27-acre Mississippi blufftop property for replanting as an oak
savanna urban wilderness.

There is no opposition to this plan. The project was scheduled to begin
next winter, after the ground freezes. The new Coldwater Park was supposed
to open in September 2010.

Two of the 11 abandoned, graffitied buildings have been discovered by
intravenous drug users. Some people argue that erosion is a bigger problem
than the junkies.

The old Bureau of Mines campus at Coldwater has been shovel-ready since
1995. More money has been spent on security than building removal will
cost. Hennepin sheriff's deputies currently patrol Coldwater in trade for
bomb squad and canine training space^◊activities inconsistent with a
sacred site.

Coldwater is:
 The last natural spring in Hennepin County, at least 10,000-years-old,
still flowing at about 90-thousand gallons per day.
 A traditional sacred site for Dakota, Anishinabe, Ho Chunk, Iowa, Sauk
and Fox peoples.
 The Birthplace of Minnesota, where the soldiers lived who built Fort
Snelling and a civilian community developed to service the Fort. Dred
Scott was stationed at the Fort between 1836-40 and based his case for
freedom from slavery in part on his residency in the free then-Wisconsin
Territory.
 A winter jobs program for construction workers.

Please phone our U.S. Congress members to ask that the $3.5-million
Coldwater project funds be reinstated.
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (who is on the Appropriations Committee)
651-224-9191
Congressman Keith Ellison 612-522-1212
Senator Amy Klobuchar 612-727-5220
(Photo, more info & direct email links to Congress people at
www.FriendsofColdwater.org <http://www.friendsofcoldwater.org/>.)

"What happens to the water happens to the people."


--------7 of x--------

From: Alan Muller <amuller [at] dca.net>
From: http://www.startribune.com/local/48815442.html
Subject: "Bid to burn more trash near ballpark turned down"

Bid to burn more trash near ballpark turned down
http://www.startribune.com/local/48815442.html

The Minneapolis Planning Commission, citing health effects, rejected
Hennepin County's bid to allow more garbage to be burned daily.

By <http://www.startribune.com/bios/10644486.html>STEVE BRANDT, Star Tribune
Last update: June 22, 2009 - 10:49 PM

Hennepin County's bid to burn more garbage next to the new Minnesota Twins
stadium crumpled Monday in the face of skepticism from Minneapolis
planning commissioners over the potential health effects.

The county had sought approval of a 21 percent increase in the daily
average tonnage of garbage burned at the downtown facility. But on Monday
evening, the Planning Commission voted 6-2 to deny an amendment to the
facility's zoning permit that would have allowed the burning of more than
1,200 tons of trash daily.

A majority of commissioners said they're not convinced that increasing the
plant's burning of trash is consistent with a required finding that such
an action isn't detrimental to public health.

But the debate may not be over. The commission's decision can be appealed
to the City Council within 10 days, and it runs counter to the advice of
the city attorney's office. The county and incinerator operator Covanta
Energy referred a reporter to each other on the question of an appeal.

Carl Michaud, the county's environmental services director, said he needed
to "go back and talk to a few folks" before commenting on an appeal. He
disputed the assertion of planning commissioners that there was
insufficient analysis of the plant's environmental effects.

"We're well within our authority to say no," Commissioner Carla Bates
argued before the vote. Commissioners cited the admission of Covanta's
environmental director, Jeffrey Hahn, that burning more trash will result
in a small amount of additional plant emissions, but he said that
pollutants will remain far below limits set by the state. Hahn said the
plant has already added some equipment and would add more to reduce
nitrogen oxide emissions that are closest to the current limit.

An opinion by the city attorney's office warned that "anecdotal testimony
that more throughput equates to more pollution which equates to bad health
effects is not a sufficient basis to deny." But commissioners also found
that burning more trash runs counter to city sustainability and growth
policies.

The burner was constructed in the 1980s with a state limit that it could
burn an average of 1,000 tons of trash per day incorporated into its city
zoning permit. The state cap was increased to the plant's
1,212-ton-per-day design capacity in 2000. One of the legislators
involved, Sen. Linda Higgins, DFL-Minneapolis, said that the intent was to
make use of unused capacity, and that the plant burns cleaner than in its
early days.

But the North Loop Neighborhood Association, which reviewed the proposal,
said it would favor a 10 percent increase in the plant's processing only
if there was no increase in pollutants released. The plant generates
enough electricity to power the equivalent of 25,000 homes and also
supplies steam for downtown heat.

The county and Covanta relied heavily on a finding in ballpark
environmental studies that the incinerator's health effects are below
levels at which concern for ballpark users would be triggered under
federal standards. But opponents argued that health effects on a broader
area of emission dispersion need to be measured and considered.

The Minneapolis City Council hasn't weighed in on incinerator capacity
issues for more than 20 years.

Steve Brandt - 612-673-4438


--------8 of x--------

Why American Policy SUCKS
By Jill Richardson

June 23, 2009 "La Vida Locavore" -- Out of curiosity I decided to see who
was spending the most on lobbying in America. And Oh My Goodness - NO
WONDER our policy sucks. No wonder it's nearly impossible to pass health
care reform that provides all Americans with affordable care, a global
warming bill that doesn't suck, and the Employee Free Choice Act. No
wonder we're in these two stupid wars. I know everyone's aware of the
problems lobbying poses to our country, but good lord, if people saw the
sheer magnitude of it (and the comparatively paltry amounts spent in the
people's interest) they would be outraged. So here goes. Here's the list
of the top 100 (ranked by amount spent on lobbying in Q109). Enjoy.

I pulled up all of the reports for first quarter 2009 but over 20,000
items came up (and the report only shows the first 3000). OK, try again -
all reports for over $1 million for first quarter 2009. This time a little
over 100 came up (including AIG, who spent $1,250,000 on lobbying during
that period).

So here's how to read this list: These are the amounts spent by the
corporations listed. However, many (if not most) of these corporations
ALSO contract out to private lobbying firms, so the amounts you see here
MIGHT not be the total amount they spent on lobbying in Q109. For example,
Monsanto spent $2,094,000 for its in house lobbying but then contracted
out to Arent Fox LLP; Lesher, Russell & Barron, Inc.  ($60,000); Ogilvy
Government Relations ($60,000); Parven Pomper Strategies ($40,000); Sidley
Austin LLP; TCH Group, LLC ($50,000); The Nickles Group, LLC ($63,000);
The Washington Tax Group, LLC ($40,000);  and Troutman Sanders Public
Affairs Group ($30,000) - for a total of $2,437,000 in first quarter 2009.

Health Care, Health Insurance, & Pharma
3. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America: $6,910,000
6. Pfizer, Inc: $6,140,000
12. American Medical Association: $4,240,000
18. American Hospital Association: $3,580,000
19. Eli Lilly and Company: $3,440,000
37. America's Health Insurance Plans, Inc: $2,030,000
39. CVS Caremark Inc: $2,005,000
47. Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association: $1,800,000
49. GlaxoSmithKline: $1,780,000
63. Merck & Co: $1,500,000
65. United Health Group, Inc: $1,500,000
69. Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc: $1,460,000
76. Novartis: $1,347,134
87. Abbott Laboratories: $1,260,000
89. Astrazeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP: $1,250,000
92. Medtronic, Inc: $1,238,000

Oil
2. Exxon Mobil: $9,320,000
4. Chevron U.S.A. Inc: $6,800,000
7. Conoco Phillips: $5,980,935
16. BP America, Inc: $3,610,000
20. Marathon Oil Corporation: $3,380,000
45. American Petroleum Institute: $1,810,000

Defense
5. Lockheed Martin Corporation: $6,380,000
11. General Electric Company: $4,540,000
28. Northrop Grumman Corporation: $2,570,000
30. Boeing Company: $2,410,00
51. Honeywell International: $1,760,000
73. Raytheon Company: $1,360,000

Telecoms
10. AT&T Services, Inc: $5,134,873
14. Verizon (excluding Verizon Wireless): $3,760,000
21. National Cable and Telecommunications Association: $3,370,000
23. Comcast Corporation: $2,760,000
68. Motorola, Inc: $1,470,000

Automotive
22. General Motors: $2,800,000
27. United Services Automobile Association: $2,590,244
52. Ford Motor Company: $1,750,000
84. Toyota Motor North America: $1,290,000
86. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: $1,264,400

Financial
32. Financial Services Roundtable: $2,260,000
33. Prudential Financial, Inc: $2,180,000
41. American Bankers Association: $1,890,000
61. Visa, Inc: $1,540,000
74. Investment Company Institute: $1,359,917
75. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association: $1,350,000
82. J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.: $1,310,000
90. Citigroup Management Corp: $1,250,000
90. Credit Union National Association: $1,250,000

Biotech
36. Monsanto: $2,094,000
40. Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO): $1,920,000
44. Bayer Corporation: $1,843,672

Railroads
24. Association of American Railroads: $2,759,545
54. Union Pacific Corporation: $1,717,108
71. BNSF Railway: $1,400,000

Life Insurance
42. American Council of Life Insurers: $1,867,075
44. New York Life Insurance Company: $1,840,000
64. State Farm Insurance: $1,500,000
93. The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company: $1,237,000

Other
1. Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A.: $9,996,000
8. National Association of Realtors: $5,727,000
9. U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform: $5,480,000
13. AARP: $4,090,000
15. Southern Company: $3,650,000
17. Altria Client Services Inc: $3,580,000
25. Amgen, Inc: $2,750,000
26. National Association of Broadcasters: $2,600,000
29. Edison Electric Institute: $2,550,000
31. Fedex Corporation: $2,370,000
34. Textron, Inc.: $2,140,000
35. General Dynamics Corp: $2,101,945
38. International Business Machines (IBM): $2,030,000
43. United Technologies Corporation: $1,860,000
46. Recording Industry Association of America: $1,810,000
48. CTIA-The Wireless Association: $1,790,000
50. Time Warner Inc. $1,780,000
53. The Dow Chemical Company: $1,735,000
55. American Electric Power Company: $1,716,913
56. Microsoft Corporation: $1,650,000
57. Qualcomm, Incorporated: $1,620,000
58. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc: $1,600,000
59. L-3 Communications: $1,580,000
60. Exelon Business Services, LLC: $1,540,000
62. Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc: $1,530,000
66. Norfolk Southern Corporation: $1,485,026
67. Koch Companies Public Sector LLC: $1,480,000
70. American Airlines: $1,450,000
72. Oracle Corporation: $1,390,000
77. Air Transport Association of America, Inc.: $1,340,000
78. Disney Worldwide Services, Inc.: $1,330,000
79. Sepracor, Inc: $1,324,157
80. National Association of Home Builders: $1,320,000
81. UPS: $1,316,426
83. Siemens Corporation: $1,300,000
85. Duke Energy Corporation: $1,282,770
94. Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., Inc: $1,230,000
95. Business Roundtable: $1,220,000
96. Wellpoint, Inc: $1,220,000
97. American Wind Energy Association: $1,212,504
98. F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: $1,206,427
99. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: $1,200,000
99. CBS Corporation: $1,200,000


--------x of x--------







From shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu Wed Jun 24 16:41:55 2009
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 09:41:40 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: People Power Pushed the New Dealby Sarah Anderson

Published on Monday, June 22, 2009 by YES! Magazine
People Power Pushed the New Deal
by Sarah Anderson
cd

During the Great Depression, my grandfather ran a butter creamery in rural
Minnesota. Growing up, I heard how a group of farmers stormed in one day
and threatened to burn the place down if he didn't stop production. I had
no idea who those farmers were or why they had done that - it was just a
colorful story.

Now I know that they were with the Farmers' Holiday Association, a protest
movement that flourished in the Midwest in 1932 and 1933. They were best
known for organizing "penny auctions," where hundreds of farmers would
show up at a foreclosure sale, intimidate potential bidders, buy the farm
themselves for a pittance, and return it to the original owner.

The action in my grandfather's creamery was part of a withholding strike.
By choking off delivery and processing of food, the Farmers' Holiday
Association aimed to boost pressure for legislation to ensure that farmers
would make a reasonable profit for their goods. Prices were so low that
farmers were dumping milk and burning corn for fuel or leaving it in the
field.

The Farmers' Holiday Association never got the legislation it wanted, but
its direct actions lit a fire under politicians. Several governors and
then Congress passed moratoriums on farm foreclosures. President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, telling advisors that he feared an "agrarian
revolution," rushed through reforms that helped millions of farmers stay
on their land. These new policies regulated how much land was planted or
kept in reserve. Although it was eventually replaced by the massive
subsidies that today favor large agribusiness and encourage
overproduction, Roosevelt's original program supported some of the most
prosperous and stable decades for U.S. farmers.

This is just one example of how strong grassroots organizing during the
last severe U.S. economic crisis was key in pushing some of that era's
most important progressive reforms. Social Security is another such case.

The Depression had been particularly tough on the elderly, millions of
whom lost their pensions in the stock crash and had few options for
employment. Roosevelt, however, felt the nation was not ready for a costly
and logistically challenging pension program.

Then a retired California doctor named Francis E. Townsend wrote to the
editor of his local paper, proposing a pension system that would also
stimulate the economy by offering $200 per month to every citizen over 60,
on the condition that they spend the entire amount within 30 days. The
idea spread like wildfire. Thousands of Townsend Clubs around the country
wrote millions of letters to the President and Congress demanding the
pension system Townsend suggested.

Roosevelt, reportedly concerned that Townsend might join with populist
Louisiana Senator Huey Long to challenge him in the 1936 election,
eventually changed his position. Although he rejected the details of the
Townsend Plan, Roosevelt pushed through legislation in 1935 that created
Social Security, still one of the country's most important anti-poverty
programs.

Seventy-five years later, these stories offer important lessons for a
country again mired in economic crisis. Neither the Farmers' Holiday
Association nor the Townsend Clubs got exactly what they wanted. But their
bold demands and action moved the policy debate much further than it would
have gone had these social movements not existed.

Like President Barack Obama, Roosevelt was an extremely popular leader,
particularly among the disadvantaged who saw him as their champion. But it
wasn't enough to have a generally good guy in the White House. Likewise
today, our chances of achieving real change have more to do with the power
of social movements than with the occupant of the Oval Office. Obama has
opened some doors of opportunity, but to go beyond economic recovery to a
more just and sustainable economy, we'll need to follow in the footsteps
of Depression-era activists and organize around bold ideas.

Sarah Anderson wrote this article as part of The New Economy, the Summer
2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah directs the Global Economy Project at
the Institute for Policy Studies.




From shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu Wed Jun 24 16:43:39 2009
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 09:41:40 -0500 (CDT)
From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
To: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: People Power Pushed the New Dealby Sarah Anderson

Published on Monday, June 22, 2009 by YES! Magazine
People Power Pushed the New Deal
by Sarah Anderson
cd

During the Great Depression, my grandfather ran a butter creamery in rural
Minnesota. Growing up, I heard how a group of farmers stormed in one day
and threatened to burn the place down if he didn't stop production. I had
no idea who those farmers were or why they had done that - it was just a
colorful story.

Now I know that they were with the Farmers' Holiday Association, a protest
movement that flourished in the Midwest in 1932 and 1933. They were best
known for organizing "penny auctions," where hundreds of farmers would
show up at a foreclosure sale, intimidate potential bidders, buy the farm
themselves for a pittance, and return it to the original owner.

The action in my grandfather's creamery was part of a withholding strike.
By choking off delivery and processing of food, the Farmers' Holiday
Association aimed to boost pressure for legislation to ensure that farmers
would make a reasonable profit for their goods. Prices were so low that
farmers were dumping milk and burning corn for fuel or leaving it in the
field.

The Farmers' Holiday Association never got the legislation it wanted, but
its direct actions lit a fire under politicians. Several governors and
then Congress passed moratoriums on farm foreclosures. President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, telling advisors that he feared an "agrarian
revolution," rushed through reforms that helped millions of farmers stay
on their land. These new policies regulated how much land was planted or
kept in reserve. Although it was eventually replaced by the massive
subsidies that today favor large agribusiness and encourage
overproduction, Roosevelt's original program supported some of the most
prosperous and stable decades for U.S. farmers.

This is just one example of how strong grassroots organizing during the
last severe U.S. economic crisis was key in pushing some of that era's
most important progressive reforms. Social Security is another such case.

The Depression had been particularly tough on the elderly, millions of
whom lost their pensions in the stock crash and had few options for
employment. Roosevelt, however, felt the nation was not ready for a costly
and logistically challenging pension program.

Then a retired California doctor named Francis E. Townsend wrote to the
editor of his local paper, proposing a pension system that would also
stimulate the economy by offering $200 per month to every citizen over 60,
on the condition that they spend the entire amount within 30 days. The
idea spread like wildfire. Thousands of Townsend Clubs around the country
wrote millions of letters to the President and Congress demanding the
pension system Townsend suggested.

Roosevelt, reportedly concerned that Townsend might join with populist
Louisiana Senator Huey Long to challenge him in the 1936 election,
eventually changed his position. Although he rejected the details of the
Townsend Plan, Roosevelt pushed through legislation in 1935 that created
Social Security, still one of the country's most important anti-poverty
programs.

Seventy-five years later, these stories offer important lessons for a
country again mired in economic crisis. Neither the Farmers' Holiday
Association nor the Townsend Clubs got exactly what they wanted. But their
bold demands and action moved the policy debate much further than it would
have gone had these social movements not existed.

Like President Barack Obama, Roosevelt was an extremely popular leader,
particularly among the disadvantaged who saw him as their champion. But it
wasn't enough to have a generally good guy in the White House. Likewise
today, our chances of achieving real change have more to do with the power
of social movements than with the occupant of the Oval Office. Obama has
opened some doors of opportunity, but to go beyond economic recovery to a
more just and sustainable economy, we'll need to follow in the footsteps
of Depression-era activists and organize around bold ideas.

Sarah Anderson wrote this article as part of The New Economy, the Summer
2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Sarah directs the Global Economy Project at
the Institute for Policy Studies.


--------9 of x--------

 People starving? Really?
 say the rich. Please tell someone
 who cares. La-de-da!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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