|Progressive Calendar 10.21.09||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 00:34:08 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.21.09 1. AlliantACTION 10.21 7am 2, StP ranked voting 10.21 11am 3. Org Rtable/lobby 10.21 12noon 4. IRV vs plurality 10.21 6pm 5. Harcus DVD/Capri 10.21 6:30pm 6. Mayor forum??? 10.21 6:30pm ??? 7. Eagan peace vigil 10.22 4:30pm 8. Northtown vigil 10.22 5pm 9. Vs cop brutality 10.22 5pm 10. Education/NAACP 10.22 6pm 11. Intl snacks/eat 10.22 7pm 12. AWC new members 10.22 7pm 13. Rainforest film 10.22 7pm 14. Mark Brenner - Pensions: the next casualty of Wall Street 15. Robyn Blumner - Americans, their smiley-face facade, and reality 16. Kevin Zeese - Can Dems avoid a populist health care rebellion? 17. Petras/Veltmeyer - Imperial globalization & social movements in LatAm 18. ed - More hope than you can shake a stick at --------1 of 18-------- From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at] circlevision.org> Subject: AlliantACTION 10.21 7am Join us Wednesday morning, 7-8 am Now in our 14th year of consecutive Wednesday morning vigils outside Alliant Techsystems, 7480 Flying Cloud Drive Eden Prairie. We ask Who Profit$? Who Dies? directions and lots of info: alliantACTION.org --------2 of 18-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: StP ranked voting 10.21 11am KFAI - 90.3FM-Minneapolis/106.7FM Saint Paul WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21 - 11:00AM CITY ELECTIONS 2009: ST. PAUL'S TURN AT RANKED CHOICE VOTING Like Minneapolis in 2006, enough Saint Paul residents signed petitions to place a Charter amendment on the General Election ballot asking voters to approve a new Instant Runoff Voting (Ranked Choice Voting) system for city elections. Unlike Minneapolis, St. Paul's City Council, armed with a City Attorney's opinion allowing it to deny access to the ballot until the question of the system's constitutionality was settled, initially refused to follow the will of the signatories while they waited for the outcome of a court case challenging the Minneapolis system. The district court, finally affirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, upheld the system's constitutionality - and the St. Paul Council was then forced by law to place the question on this year's General Election ballot. In MInneapolis, the City Council supports the idea; in St. Paul, a majority of its councilmembers does not. Meanwhile, for the first time in its history, Minneapolis had no need for a primary election this year; across the river while St. Paul's September primary drew less than 5% of eligible voters, a turnout figure cited by RCV/IRV supporters as one of the reasons to conflate city elections into one general election and allow all candidates to compete on a single ballot. TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN will query advocates on both sides of St. Paul's campaign to determine if St. Paul voters should or should not go the way of Minneapolis and approve its Ranked Choice Voting system. GUESTS: KATHY LANTRY - President, St. Paul's City Council JEANNE MASSEY - Executive Director, FairVote Minnesota - parent of Better Ballot St. Paul CHUCK REPKE - Co-chair, No Bad Ballots Committee - a Saint Paul group opposing IRV. RACHEL SMITH - Program Director, Excellence in Election Administration, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs AND YOU! CALL 612-341-0980 and Talk to Us! Can't get us on the radio? *Stream us LIVE and LATER at KFAI.org [RCV might mean that the DFL might not win all 7 seats all the time. This upsets and angers top DFLers, who see StPaul as made by god and nature and reason etc for DFL incumbents and party hacks. As they see it, if you want someone from some other party to be in your city government, MOVE. Given this attitude, it is time citizens kicked some of them out and made the rest of them humble and justly afraid of the voters. RCV will help in this process. -ed] --------3 of 18-------- From: Joan Vanhala <joan [at] metrostability.org> Subject: Org Roundtable/lobby 10.21 12noon Alliance for Metropolitan Stability Organizer Roundtable: Lobbying for Policy Decisions with Community Accountability Whether at the city council, county or state legislature, lobbying for public policy often becomes an essential component of an organizing campaign. Many lasting wins on campaigns are based in policy change - but how do the worlds of lobbying and grassroots organizing interact? What are the strengths and challenges of combining the two approaches? Organizer Roundtable: Lobbying for Policy Decisions with Community Accountability Noon - 1:30 pm Wednesday, October 21 Alliance for Metropolitan Stability, Minneapolis Experienced in lobbying for public policy that is rooted in a community campaign, our presenters will discuss their strategies for advocating for public policy change. Come join in a lively discussion with other advocates and organizers. Presenters: Jeff Bauer, Family & Children's Service director of public policy and civic engagement Michelle Rosier, Sierra Club Central Region senior regional organizing manager Rosa Tock, Minnesota Chicano Latino Affairs Council interim director This event is free, but registration is required. Light snacks will be provided. Joan Vanhala Coalition Organizer Alliance for Metropolitan Stability 2525 E Franklin Avenue, Suite 200 Minneapolis, MN 55406 612-332-4471 joan [at] metrostability.org --------4 of 18-------- From: Diane J. Peterson <birch7 [at] comcast.net> Subject: IRV vs plurality 10.21 6pm St. Paul Charter Amendment Would Change the Way We Vote An item on the November 3 St. Paul Election ballot will ask voters whether they would prefer to change from the current election system, where the voter selects a single candidate, to one where candidates would be ranked in order of preference. The League of Women Voters St. Paul has scheduled a public forum to present the pros and cons of this proposal. The forum is free and open to the public. Instant Runoff Voting vs. Plurality Voting Wednesday, October 21 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Hamline University School of Law, 1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104 Speakers: * Jaclyn Schroeder, LWVMN, Moderator * Rachel Smith, Program Director, Excellence in Election Administration, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs * Ellen Brown, Coordinator, St. Paul Better Ballot Campaign * Chuck Repke, Co-Chair, No Bad Ballots Campaign [anti-IRV DFL boss] Parking is available in any of the Hamline University lots after 4:00 p.m. without a permit, except in reserved spaces. The wording on the ballot is as follows: "Shall Chapter 7 of the City Charter be amended to require that the method for electing the Mayor and City Council members be by Single Transferable Voting, sometimes known as Ranked Choice Voting or Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), which is a method without a separate Primary election by which voters rank candidates for an office in order of preference on a single ballot: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and so on; and votes are then counted in rounds until one candidate emerges with a majority of votes cast; and with ballot format and rules for counting votes adopted by ordinance?" The League of Women Voters of St. Paul is a non-partisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please contact Bobbi Megard at <rmegard [at] visi.com> or (651) 646-3827. For more information on the League of Women Voters of St. Paul, please visit: www.lwvsp.org. --------5 of 18-------- From: Marcus Harcus City Council Committee <marcus [at] marcusharcus.org> Subject: Harcus DVD/Capri 10.21 6:30pm Please join me for the premier screening of my promotional campaign DVD on Wednesday October 21st, 2009 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Capri Theatre in North Minneapolis - 2027 W Broadway Ave, 55411. The DVD will be distributed to campaign supporters as a tool to mobilize additional support from their networks. I'll also make a campaign presentation, facilitate Q & A, socialize and provide musical entertainment - DJ sound selections and/or live musician(s) tba. Election Day is November 3rd, very soon - it's less than a month away! I need your support either financially, and/or through volunteering. 612.600.0155 marcus [at] marcusharcus.org P.O. Box 11751 Mpls, MN 55411 Join this campaign for Northside Change: www.marcusharcus.org --------6 of 18-------- Date: Wed, 14 Oct 2009 09:26:45 -0400 (EDT) From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Mayor forum??? 10.21 6:30pm ??? October 21: League of Women Voters Minneapolis Mayoral Candidate Forum. Downtown Library. 6:30 - 8:00 PM at the Minneapolis Downtown Library. source: Your E-Consortium Note for October 14 Minnesota Women's Consortium | 550 Rice Street | Saint Paul | MN | 55103 [Will there be a mayor forum? There should be. There are 11 candidates, and at least several serious challengers. The Mn Women's Consortium on Oct 14 listed it. The LWV web today does not list it. The LWV is doing forums in many of the wards. It would be a real service to do it for the city re the mayor's race. Well, in the past, the LWV has let itself be pressured by major party candidates - eg, if one major party candidate says he won't come if third party candidates are there, LWV has sometimes either caved or called it off, leading some people to rename it the League of DFL Women Voters. RT is playing a "Rose Garden" strategy - no debates, pretend there is no real race, pretend there is no election, and expect that the uninformed voters will vote for good old RT. Has the LWV caved to RT? A good way to prove not is to have a forum, WHETHER RT COMES OR NOT. Call the LWV and ask why not. Don't be satisfied with a "well you know" kind of answer. Why support the LWV if it won't demand open forums at every level they deal with??? -ed] --------7 of 18-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.22 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. --------8 of 18-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 10.22 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. --------9 of 18-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: Vs cop brutality 10.22 5pm PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY Thursday, October 22, 5:00 p.m. Rally at Loring Park (exact location to be announced) March to homeless shelters and other areas strongly impacted by police brutality We're in a time when more people are becoming homeless daily through the crooked collusion of banksters and politicians. Yet, homeless people are more under the boot of police repression than ever. Why are law enforcement agencies brutally enforcing private contracts such as foreclosures and evictions? Why are homeless people facing harassment, false charges and worse on a daily basis? Why were seven people brutalized and arrested for standing with Rosemary Williams and fighting her eviction? It's not a crime to be poor and it's not a crime to stand with poor people. Join us for a rally and march to demand an end to attacks on homeless and low income people, people of color and all others who face police state repression. Stand up! Fight back! [Cop brutality = ruling class brutality. Cop brutality wouldn't last one second beyond ruling class direction to stop. The ruling class loves brutality to the peasants (us) and the cops know it and revel in it. When cops put us down, they must imagine their betters are smiling and saying Smack him one for me! And they are. Cf the RNC here, and Pittsburg G20 recently. -ed] --------10 of 18-------- From: Sarah Younus <sarah.younus [at] gmail.com> Subject: Education/NAACP 10.22 6pm PUBLIC HEARING on EDUCATION Pierre Bottineau Library 55 Broadway St NE Minneapolis, 55413 Thursday 10/22/2009 6PM to 7:30PM Panel Discussion w/ Minneapolis NAACP Where did the $8.6 million of SES dollars go? Where did the Compensatory Education Dollars go? Where did the Title I Behavior dollars go? And where did the Referendum Dollars go? Sponsored by the African American Community Alliance. Contact Sarah Younus at sarah.younus [at] gmail.com for more information. --------11 of 18-------- From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at] visi.com> From: Beth Nelson <schre002 [at] UMN.EDU> Subject: Intl snacks/eat 10.22 7pm U of M Bell Museum kicks off Thursday evening Hungry Planet programs with International Snack Food Tasting Oct. 22 Contacts: Nina Shepherd, Bell Museum, (612) 624-7389, sheph001 [at] umn.edu Patty Mattern, University News Service, (612) 624-2801, mattern [at] umn.edu >From potato chips to Pocky, culturally significant snack foods from around the world will be featured at the opening reception of the new exhibit "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 at the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis. The International Snack Food Tasting event marks the start of 29 weeks of Thursday evening programming on the topic of food. Thursday events will explore a range of food-related topics, from lectures on the anthropology of table manners and exhibit walkabouts on food and culture to tastings of local produce and films like "Julie and Julia." Thursday evening programming is free with museum admission. The "Hungry Planet" exhibit is a colorful examination of the issues of food in the 21st century -- what people around the world eat, how much it costs and where it comes from. Based on the bestselling book by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Alusio, Hungry Planet focuses on 10 cultures, many with ties to Minnesota, and lets visitors "shop" for global produce from world markets and track that food as it travels from field to fork. The exhibit features special sections on the rise of fast food culture, the evolution and history of food plants, current and ancient agricultural methods and the practice of raising and eating meat. Thursday evening programming is free with museum admission. For a complete listing of Thursday night events, visit www.bellmuseum.org The Bell Museum is part of the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. More than a half a million Minnesotans are reached each year by programs operated by the Bell Museum, which is Minnesota's official natural history museum. --------12 of 18-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: AWC new members 10.22 7pm New Members Meeting Thursday, October 22nd @ 7pm @ Anti War Committee Office, 1313 5th St. SE, Mpls, room 112c Come help organize against the war on Afghanistan. Come to an Anti-War Committee meeting designed for new people! --------13 of 18-------- From: Carrie Anne Johnson <greenwarriorbunny [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Rainforest film 10.22 7pm Thursday Oct. 22: Film screening: Green: 7-9pm. U of MN campus Green, an award-winning documentary. Directed by Patrick Rouxel Green tells a moving story about the corporate conversion of rainforests in Indonesia for palm oil, tropical wood and paper through the eyes of one of the industry's victims - a dying orangutan. As you may already know, almost 90% of orangutan habitat has already disappeared. If current trends of deforestation continue, the orangutan could be extinct in the near future. Both of RAN's Forest campaigns are focusing on issues shown in this film - deforestation, pulp and paper and oil palm plantations. Q&A to follow the film, Refreshments Provided Co-sponsored by Rainforest Action Network- Twin Cities, Green Biz, & EcoWatch Please come see this important film with other local organizers and concerned citizens to learn more about how to get involved with Rainforest Action Network in the Twin Cities to stop Cargill from destroying rainforests to grow palm oil. Confirmed University of Minnesota location will be posted at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=153648082567. Please RSVP if you are on facebook. More links are on this site as well! --------14 of 18-------- Uncomfortable Arithmetic Pensions: the Next Casualty of Wall Street By MARK BRENNER October 20, 2009 CounterPunch Nobody wants to admit it, but the next casualty of the Wall Street meltdown will probably be your golden years. For years corporations have been trying to choke the life out of traditional pensions, working hard to get out from under the risk - and the costof - providing for their retirees. Between last year's credit crunch and changes to federal pension laws, they may get their wish. Nearly $4 trillion worth of retirement savings were wiped out in the first weeks of the 2008 financial freefall. Half of the drop was concentrated in traditional pension plans, also known as defined-benefit plans. While most workers in these plans haven't had their monthly benefits cut, unlike the 46 million people riding the stock market with 401(k) defined-contribution plans, the storm clouds are gathering. Labor needs a strategy to protect what we've won. But holding our ground requires moving from defense to offense. If the pension crisis is going to be solved for union members, it has to be solved for everyone. UNCOMFORTABLE ARITHMETIC Even before the financial crisis, traditional pensions were a vanishing breed. Thirty years ago more than a third of the private sector workforce had traditional pensions. Last year that number was down to 16 percent. Driving the decline were employers looking to get off cheap, eliminating pensions entirely when they could get away with it, and when they couldn't, shifting to 401(k)s. These programs were legalized in 1978 and were originally designed to supplement traditional pensions. Now they're choking them out like kudzu. Corporations got a great deal, paying about half what they used to towards their workers' retirement by the '90s. Even more importantas - anyone who has opened their 401(k) statement recently can attest - the move shifted risk off companies and onto us. Traditional pensions were a collective solution to a collective problem. Young and old contributing together smoothed out insecurity for all. Now it's just you and the stock market - with far less in your pocket. Even before the crash, studies showed that 401(k)s leave workers with 10 to 33 percent of what traditional pensions provide. Given the 30-year squeeze on wages, most people haven't saved much either, which explains why more than half of all 401(k) participants have less than $75,000 when they retire. WHAT'S IN STORE? Even for those with superior defined-benefit plans, the last 20 years have been rocky. Companies spent much of the 1990s gaming the system, siphoning off pension funds to pad the bottom line. At the start of this year the nation's defined-benefit pension plans had only about 75 percent of what they owed participants. Companies may need to contribute as much as $100 billion to cover these gaps. Although Congress waived compliance with new pension rules this year (see page 9), the law will eventually take effect, and will force employers to cover these pension gaps. Rather than clean up their act, more and more employers are looking for the exit. By April of this year nearly a third of America's largest companies had frozen their pension plans. Many others are invoking the nuclear option, declaring bankruptcy as a way to unload their pension plans on the taxpayers. Unfortunately, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), established in 1975 to backstop private sector pensions, is already reeling from a decade of high-profile and expensive pension defaults at companies like United Airlines and steelmaker LTV. Nine of the 10 largest pension defaults in history occurred since 2000, leaving the PBGC with a deficit of $11 billion at the end of 2008. That gap could swell to more than $100 billion over the next few years, amounting to a backdoor bailout for big corporations, and a bitter pill for abandoned retirees. Workers at Republic Steel saw first hand how it works when they had their pensions cut by $1,000 a month in 2002 by the PBGC and then cut again in 2004. Five workers from the Lorain, Ohio, plant committed suicide after the first time their pension was diminished. In the second round of cuts, retirees like Bruce Bostick, former grievance chair for USW Local 1104, saw their retirements fall from $1,047 a month to $125. The situation for public sector workers isn't much better. Although 80 percent of public employees have traditional pensions, those benefits are now in the cross-hairs of conservative and liberal politicians. Two-thirds of public sector pension plans are underfundedto - the tune of $430 billion - and state and local budget crises are pitting taxpayers against public employees from California to Maine. ANCHORING RETIREMENT For nearly 20 years the various financial bubbles - from the dot-com frenzy of the 1990s to the recent housing market run-up - papered over the urgent need to address the faltering retirement system. Wall Street's collapse last year revealed how the current patchwork of retirement plans is failing almost everyone. As with health benefits, union workers with stable pensions increasingly find themselves on an island of security in a sea of uncertainty. But the water is rising rapidly. As the debate over the auto bailout and state budget crises revealed, defending your own decent pension is tough work when half the workers in the country don't have any retirement at all. The PBGC - which has been swimming in red ink since 2002 - is currently set up to pay less than half of what people were promised. If the funding gaps widen, it could fall to pennies on the dollar. There will be calls to bail the PBGC out - which needs to happen - 1.2 million people now depend on it. A sensible demand is to make it function more like the FDIC, by guaranteeing 100 percent of pension benefits up to a reasonable threshold. But reform can't stop there. If it does, workers are on the same path as before the economic collapse, with a temporary reprieve. Employers will still seek to drive union workers down to non-union standards and dump more risk onto individuals. We need to return to the original vision of Social Security: a program that (like in Western European nations) can actually pay for most of your old-age living expenses. Mark Brenner writes for Labor Notes, where this article originally appeared. [Skyler J Morgenfeller needs your pension to add a longer third yacht to his collection. We're sure you understand and wish Skyler well. He is much too busy to correspond with you; just send the money. His men know where you live. -ed] --------15 of 18-------- Americans, Their Smiley-Face Facade, and Reality by Robyn Blumner The Salt Lake Tribune Common Dreams Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Whenever I think of the smiley-face icon, I think of Wal-Mart because of its once-ubiquitous ad campaign. And when I think of Wal-Mart, I think of crappy wages and insecure employees who probably live paycheck to paycheck. That metaphor - the happy face fronting a world of worry - is the subject of a new book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America, by social commentator Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich's bout with breast cancer and the cloying "pink ribbon culture" that surrounds this dreaded disease (she was urged to see her cancer as a "gift") made her explore our cultural obsession with being happy. The book's point is that realism is being elbowed out of the way by all the life coaches, self-help books and prosperity gospel preachers like Joel Osteen who tell us that a positive outlook will lead to success, riches and the fulfillment of all of life's desires. These heaping helpings of sunny optimism are subtly diverting us from grappling with serious social and economic issues in ways that can truly bring about change. The Secret became a runaway best-seller by telling readers that they could have anything they wanted just by imagining it. The book was obviously unadulterated bunk, but it sold madly as people grasped at any chance to better their lives. One has to wonder if such magical thinking would have been so popular if people felt they had temporal power to change the conditions of their work and prospects. The reason that so many Americans have jobs that don't pay enough is not that they didn't channel enough positive energy into getting a better salary, but that wages have been stagnant for 30 years. And the reason that wages have barely budged is that America's wealthiest households just kept slicing themselves a larger piece of the income pie. Between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent of American households saw their share of all pretax income nearly double, while the bottom 80 percent had their share fall by 7 percent. Ehrenreich quotes The New York Times, saying, "It's as if every household in the bottom 80 percent is writing a check for $7,000 every year and sending it to the top 1 percent." Every working stiff in the bottom 80 percent should be outraged and politically motivated to force change. But if everyone is convinced of the convenient nostrum that our own attitude controls how much we are paid, then workers won't band together to demand a larger share of our national prosperity. This positive-thinking message is a kind of opiate that has been particularly effective on the white-collar corporate workforce. Ehrenreich documents how corporations hire motivational speakers to convince laid-off workers that their job loss is "an opportunity for self-transformation." Somehow, she says, white-collar workers have accepted positive thinking as a "belief system" that says a person can be "infinitely powerful, if only they could master their own minds." On the surface, prosperity gospels and positive-thinking companies appear harmless with their treacly "Successories products" of posters and coffee mugs, but they have subversively helped make each of us an island. They have convinced Americans that each individual has control and power over the conditions of their life, when that is largely not the case. Access to decent health care at a reasonable price is not a matter of individual effort. Neither is securing decent wages, pensions, safe working conditions or job security. Workers demanded those rights through collective action in the 20th century, and we are losing them now by taking an "every man for himself" approach to work. The ultimate irony is that even with the booming positive-thinking industry, Americans are not among the happiest people. International surveys put us behind places such as Denmark and Switzerland, where the social safety net is stronger. It seems that happy thoughts don't alter the reality of American life, with all its attendant risks to middle-class living standards. Behind the smiley-face facade, we are privately worried, and we have reason to be. 2009 Salt Lake Tribune --------16 of 18-------- Can the Democrats Avoid a Populist Health Care Rebellion? by Kevin Zeese October 20th, 2009 Dissident Voice The insurance industry is the major problem in health care and Americans know it, but the Democrats are on the verge of forcing Americans to buy insurance while failing to solve America's health care crisis. It is a prescription for electoral, economic and health care disaster. The leadership of the Democratic Party is on the verge of passing health insurance reform. The centerpiece of the "reform" is requiring Americans to buy overpriced insurance from private corporations. But, it is evident that many in the Democratic voting base see the insurance industry as the problem - not the solution - and are getting angry about a new law that will force people to buy from corporations they don't trust. Just a few weeks ago the Mobilization for Health Care for All was announced. The Mobilization focuses on the denial of doctor-recommended care by the insurance industry. Sit-ins were planned at health insurance companies with demands that insurance corporations stop the denials. The Mobilization sought 100 people willing to sit-in at insurance corporations and risk arrest as people sat in at lunch counters two generations ago. The response has been explosive, nearly 800 have signed up to risk arrest and thousands have signed up to join the protests. In the last 20 days 78 people have been arrested protesting the real death panels - the private insurance industry - who according to a California study deny doctor recommended care 20% of the time. The Mobilization hoped to have "patients not profits sit-ins" in three cities last week, and instead it had them in nine cities. On the next Mobilization day, October 28th, there is likely to be twice as many cities protesting the insurance industry - just as Congress considers forcing Americans to buy insurance. This may be developing into the largest campaign of non-violent civil resistance since the Civil Rights era. Many of the protesters supported Obama and were active in Democratic campaigns. Does the Democratic Party think that people willing to risk arrest against the corruption of the insurance industry will support Democratic candidates with time, money and votes who force them to buy insurance from these corporations? These are protests the Democratic Party should not ignore. At the Washington, DC mobilization one woman, Linda from Annapolis, spoke to president Obama, said she had helped him get elected in part because he promised real change in health care. She still wants him to come through but reminded him - "we elected you, we can un-elect you". Linda reflects the view of many Democratic Party activists who are angry at the pro-insurance bill being pushed by Congressional leaders. As people come to understand the reform bill, which began as health "care" reform but devolved into health "insurance" reform, the anger will grow - not just from the right, but from the Democratic voting base who voted for the hope of real reform, not more of the corporate-dominated Washington, DC non-solutions to problems Americans face every day. Indeed, Americans of all stripes will be angry. At the Washington, DC mobilization police allowed the sit-in to occur, despite it being illegal, and refused to arrest the participants. We later found out that the police had to make wage concessions to keep their health care. And, when I was arrested protesting the Senate Finance Committee hearing dominated by the insurance industry, one officer told me about his mother who had lost her job, was too young for Medicare and could not afford COBRA payments. The abuse of insurance affects all Americans and they will not be happy being forced to feed corporate gluttonous greed. Why will Americans hate this "reform?" First, this unnecessarily complex plan will not achieve any of the goals originally set. It will not cover all Americans, indeed tens of millions will be left without insurance ten years after it is enacted. And, it will not control costs as the insurance industry has said that their already too expensive premiums will increase by 111% in the next decade under "reform". Second, few Americans will benefit from the plan. In fact, the greatest beneficiary will be the insurance industry and other health care profiteers. Every ten million people forced to buy insurance by the government will give the industry $100 billion in new revenue - at current insurance rates. With 50 million uninsured that is potentially hundreds of billions in new revenue. In other words, the corporations that are the root of the problem will get rich off of the income of working Americans. This at a time when American salaries are stagnating, debts are high, costs are going up and there is constant fear of unemployment and bankruptcy. Further, those who have insurance but do not like their insurance plans will not be given any choice under the "reform". They will be stuck with their current, overpriced insurance with rising premiums, co-pays and out of pocket expenses. This is a recipe for populist rebellion, but it does not stop there. The plan does not create affordable health care. Families earning $90,000 will find themselves paying 20% of their income on health insurance. And, the subsidies for poor and working Americans will be insufficient. The leading source of increased poverty is America's working poor. How can these working families afford to buy insurance - even if they are forced to by the government - when they cannot even put food on the table? Americans will ask - why are struggling workers being forced to pay the $10 million salaries of insurance executives? By the time most of this plan takes effect in 2013, the year after the next presidential election, insurance premiums will have increased by 20% to 25%. During the election year, Americans will be looking toward 2013 and seeing increased insurance costs and realizing they will be forced to buy overpriced insurance at the threat of increased taxes. Because of the lack of cost controls and the increased insurance requirements, e.g., like requiring acceptance of people with pre-existing conditions and putting no limits on lifetime benefits, the insurance industry will be increasing rates even more quickly. The failure of "reform" will become evident before it takes effect. The increased costs of health insurance will affect all businesses small and large. In a "recovery" that is already not producing jobs, these costs will ensure a jobless recovery. The failure to create jobs will be a rallying cry against the Obama economic and health care plans. Democrats should be concerned because Americans traditionally vote based on their wallet more than any other issue. In fact, bottom line business people and others who can do the math, realize that the U.S. spends double per person than dozens of better rated health care systems in Europe and Asia. If the U.S. merely adopted any of these plans (almost all variations on single payer) we would save $4,000 per person EVERY YEAR. That is a savings of $1.2 trillion every year - a huge recurring stimulus with savings flowing to businesses and others who pay some or all of their health insurance. Quickly thereafter goods made domestically would be competitive again, companies would have faith in a better future and hire employees again, and America would break the stranglehold of corporate-government. None of this will happen under the Democratic "reform" because the waste, fraud and abuse of the insurance industry will continue. During the next four years the Republicans will use the Democratic "reform" as a political punching bag. The plans to cut Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars based on increased efficiency will frighten senior citizens. The bureaucracy being put in place by the "reform" will be evident to all. The complexity of the law will include federal rules on what employer-based insurance plans are "qualified". All Americans will see new income tax forms for the individual mandate and to determine income eligibility for insurance subsidies. The new federal insurance bureaucracy will be ridiculed by the Republicans. Labor unions will see good health insurance coverage they fought years to get for their members disappearing as taxes on their plans go into effect. These high taxes are likely to cause employers to cut back on the derisively labeled "Cadillac" plans, which are really the kinds of health coverage all Americans should have. The result: more people will be uninsured by employers and forced to buy health insurance on their own, or more working Americans will find themselves joining the large pool of tens of millions of Americans who are underinsured. Reform will make the problems worse for these Americans. The problem of insurance companies denying care recommended by a doctor is likely to get worse under "reform". A recent study in California found that insurance company denials can occur in up to 40% of cases with some insurance companies. Congress could fix the problem by giving consumers the power to sue insurance companies for denial of care. But, despite lobbying by consumer advocates, they refused to do so. The industry has few ways to control costs so experts predict that there will be increases in denial of care. "There are going to be a lot of denials," said insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewski, a former health insurance executive, told the Los Angeles Times. Denial of care is the issue the Mobilization for Health Care is protesting. During the four years it takes to put the "reform" into place, more than 100,000 Americans will die each year from preventable illness. That is the current rate of annual preventable deaths, something the U.S. leads all developed nations in, and it will not slow when Obama signs the pro-insurance reform bill. Will the Congress close its eyes and watch 400,000 Americans die during Obama's first term? Or, will it do the obvious and open up Medicare to all during this period of transition? The Democrats paymasters in the insurance industry will urge them to quietly let Americans die so people do not experience that Medicare, America's single payer system, works. And, those who were shut out of the process of developing real health care reform - the majority of Americans who favor a single payer, improved "Medicare for All," national health system - will keep organizing. The Mobilization for Health Care for All, will be one of example of many. Those shut out will fight back and keep pointing out how simple and efficient the reform could have been. How the Democrats could have reduced bureaucracy instead of increased it, helped the economy rather than hurt it and made sure every dollar went to health care rather than 31% of spending going to insurance industry profits and the bureaucracy the insurance industry creates. The already popular single payer system, which Obama himself used to support, will become even more popular. The control of the Democratic Party by big business interests will become evermore evident and "reform" will be understood as a multi-hundred billon dollar corporate giveaway. The Democrats, like generals so often do, are fighting the last war. The Clinton experience taught them that failure to pass health care reform cost them elections. The Obama administration experience will teach them that passing legislation that is only good for the insurance industry will cost them elections and could cost Obama a second term. A bad bill will be worse than no bill, will be the new lesson. Americans voted for Obama who said in 2005 that the country would get single payer when the Democrats won back the House, Senate and Presidency. They even prefer the Obama of the presidential campaign who promised health care for all and opposed insurance mandates. They want the Obama they supported to return and put their interests ahead of insurance company profits. Simply expanding and improving Medicare so it covers all Americans is the only way to avert this populist revolt. Will the Democratic leadership recognize this and change course or will they steer themselves into a disaster in order to satisfy their big donors in the insurance industry? There is a single payer bill, HR 676, in the House that will be voted on when Rep. Weiner introduces it on the House Floor. Let's hope for the sake of all Americans that the Democratic Party leadership wakes up and puts the necessities of the American people before the profits of their donors. They still have time. Kevin Zeese is the executive director of the Campaign for Fresh Air & Clean Politics whose projects include VotersForPeace.US, ProsperityAgenda.US, GlobalClimateSecurity.org and TrueVote.US. He is also a member of the board of Velvet Revolution. Read other articles by Kevin, or visit Kevin's website. [My prediction: The Dems will do their usual worst. Vast numbers of people will be their most outraged ever. Angry demos in front of insurance companies, and nation-wide general strikes. A good time for a party to replace the Dems. -ed] --------17 of 18-------- Imperial Globalization and Social Movements in Latin America by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer October 16th, 2009 Dissident Voice The unimpeded growth of Euro-American capitalism following the collapse of Soviet and European communism, the conversion of China and Indochina to state capitalism, and the rise of US backed, free-market military dictatorships in Latin America give new impetus to Western empire building, labeled "globalization". The process of globalization was the result of "external" and "internal" conditions and class coalitions embedded in the social structure of both the imperial and "recipient" or targeted countries. The expansion of capital was neither a linear process or continual expansion (accumulation) nor of sustained collaboration by the targeted countries. Crises in the imperial centers and regime transformations in collaborator regimes affected the flow of capital, trade, rules and regulations. One of the unintended consequences of the ascendancy of global ruling classes was the rise of large scale and tumultuous social movements, especially in Latin America, which challenged the rulers, ideology and institutions sustaining the global empire. The relations between imperial globalization and social movements are complex, changing and subject to reversals or advances. This study, with its focus on Latin America, addresses several hypotheses exploring the relation of globalization and social movement over a thirty-five year period: from the onset of the free market doctrine which is the motor force of globalization (1975) to the present 2010. This time frame provides us with a sufficient period to observe the long term operations of global capital and the historical trajectories of social movements. By including Latin America as a whole, we incorporate an entire continent and lessen the possibility of idiosyncratic developments specific to a single country. Our inquiry is guided by a specific set of hypothesis that will be tested through a historical analysis of global economic tendencies and the trajectory of social movements. We will proceed by providing a brief overview of the dynamics of globalization and the growth of social movements in Latin America and then proceed to specify our key hypothesis regarding the relationships between globalization and social movements. Globalization: Class, State and Economy The onset of a new and dynamic phase of imperial capital expansion, which we will call globalization, owes a great deal to the favorable political outcome of the capital - labor struggle on a world scale. The defeat and retreat of the working class in the West, particularly in the US and England, and the self-destruction of the Communist regimes of the East laid the groundwork for an aggressive global crusade against leftwing regimes and movements in the Third World, especially in Latin America. The "rollback" of the working class movements was particularly vicious and successful in Latin America, where the major part of the continent experienced the onset of military dictatorship, which dismantled the national constraints on capitalist flows and trade tariffs. Within this new global framework of imperial empire builders and authoritarian collaborator regimes, several factors enhanced global economic expansion. 1. Technological innovations, especially information technologies accelerated the flows of capital and commodities. 2. Large scale accumulation of capital in the imperial states, a relative decline in rates of profits and the growing role of finance capital spurred the drive for overseas investments, speculation and buyouts of privatized firms. 3. Intensified competition between the US-EU-Asia drove MNC to seek advantages by securing banks, resources; market shares within Latin America. 4. The rise of pro-western rightist dictatorships provided exceptionally favorable socio-economic conditions for buyouts and acquisitions of local enterprises and resources, extraordinary returns on financial speculation and minimum opposition from repressed trade unions and nationalist and leftist parties. As a consequence of these structural changes, free-market doctrines and neo-liberal policies were put in practice resulting in bilateral free trade agreements (NAFTA), and deregulation of the economies. The growth of speculative activity took root and prospered, at the same time that social safety nets were dismantled. After over two decades of highly polarized development and mediocre growth the neo-liberal economies stagnated and went into crises: commodity prices fell, the financial bubbles burst, large scale banking swindles impoverished middle class depositors, investors were defrauded, leading to a virtual economic collapse and mass unemployment. By the beginning years of the new millennium, Latin America faced a systemic crisis in which neo-liberal regimes were overthrown, social movements were in ascent and economic bankruptcies were multiplying. Center-left parties and coalitions were elected and moved to implement ameliorative measures which lessened the impact of the crises. Stimulus packages were passed to revive the economies. The vertical rise of agro-mineral prices in world market facilitated economic recovery which lasted till the onset of the world recession of 2008. Social Movements Growing out of the polarized growth, intensified exploitation of labor and displacement of peasants and farm workers, endemic to free market policies, social unrest spread in rural areas, especially among the landless rural workers, peasants and Indian communities. A new generation of militant leaders emerged, with a capacity to link local grievances to national and international structural policies. By the early 1990s mass movements took hold and launched a series of mass campaigns and mobilizations which spread to the cities and engaged the growing mass of unemployed urban workers, public sector employees and impoverished downwardly mobile middle class business people and professionals. The crises precipitated large scale uprisings led by the new social movements, demanding systemic changes but settling for the election of center-left regimes. The first decade of the 21st century witnesses the ebb and flow of movement activity eventually settling into varying niches in the new order presided over by the center-left regimes. Key Hypothesis The expansion of "globalization" or the imperial centered development model was accompanied by the growth of mass social movements. This raises the fundamental question of the relationship between the two processes. We set out several hypotheses to explore the relationship. 1. The greater the deregulations of the economy leads to the acceleration of globalization and spurs the growth of the social movements. 2. The crises and breakdown of deregulated globalization leads to a greater role and radicalism of the social movements up to and including social upheavals overthrowing incumbent regimes. 3. The stronger the regulatory regime controlling the globalizing process the lesser the impact of the crises, the more moderate the activities of the social movements and the less likely a popular rebellion. 4. The weaker the social safety net in time of crises the bigger the social movements and the more radical their demands. Conversely, the stronger the social safety net in time of crises the slower the growth of the social movements and the more reformist their demands. 5. Depressed world commodity prices are more likely to engender radical social movements than periods of buoyant prices. By combining our four principle variables into a single hypothesis on the relation of globalization and social movements, we come up with the following two propositions. The optimal conditions for radical mass social movements occur when an economy is highly deregulated, in times of financial crises and productive recession, when commodity prices are depressed in the context of a weak social safety net. Conversely, radical mass social movements are less likely to emerge under a highly regulated economy with a strong social safety net when world commodity prices are rising and the economy is buoyant. Testing the Hypothesis: Latin America 1980-2010 Between 1980-1990, Latin America experienced a period of moderate growth and stable world prices for its commodities. This was a period of major dismantling of state regulations of the economy and weakening of the social safety net. Yet there were not major social uprisings nor mass social movements, except in Chile between 1985-1986, which ended with a US backed political pact between the Pinochet dictatorships and the Socialist-Christian Democratic parties and their subsequent ascent to government in 1990. During the first half of the 1990's world commodity prices declined to historic lows, the social safety net continued to deteriorate; capitalist profits soared in an orgy of privatizations and foreign takeovers, while overall growth stagnated. Social movements grew, mass mobilization, extended from the countryside to the cities but few popular rebellions occurred. The period between the late 1990.s to the early 2000.s (roughly 1999-2003) experienced a major socio-economic and political crisis, including economic and financial crises in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. After over twenty years of free market policies accompanying the globalization process, the social safety net was in tatters. Commodity prices remained low and financial deregulation deepened the vulnerability of the economies to the US recession. Between 2000-2005, neo-liberal regimes were overthrown or replaced in Argentina (3 regimes in 2 weeks) 2001-2002, Bolivia (2003, 2005) Ecuador (2000, 2005), Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Venezuela (coup regime 2002 lasted 48 hours). Social movements grew precipitously throughout the region and their demands radicalized, including fundamental structural changes. The Brazilian Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) led massive land occupation movements throughout the country. Worker, peasant, Indian uprisings in Bolivia ousted two incumbent electoral regimes. In Ecuador, Indian-urban movements in coalitions overthrew an incumbent neo-liberal regime in 2000 and a broad-based urban citizens movement ousted a corrupt neo-liberal regime in 2005. In Argentina, a popular rebellion led by unemployed workers impoverished middle class neighborhood organizations ousted neo-liberal presidents and dominated politics throughout 2001-2003. In Venezuela a mass popular mobilization with military allies ousted the US backed business-military junta of April 2002 and restored President Chavez to power. The period between 2003-2008 witnessed a sharp rise in commodity prices to record levels; the ascent of center-left regimes was accompanied by capital controls and the partial restoration of the social safety net, rapid economic recovery and relatively high growth. Social movements receded, their demands focused on immediate reforms, mobilizations were more infrequent and some of their key leaders were co-opted. The period between 2008-2010 witnessed a sharp decline of growth, reflecting the impact of the world recession and the decline of commodity prices. While most countries entered a recession, the financial system did not experience a collapse comparable to the earlier period (2000-2002), in part because of the capital controls in place since the earlier part of the decade. While unemployment grew and poverty levels increased, the improved social net ameliorated the impact of the recession. The social movements increased their activity and experienced mild growth but with few if any direct challenges to state power, at least during the first two years of an ongoing crises. Conclusion Our historical survey demonstrates that single factors such as implantation of neo-liberal changes and deepening globalization in and of themselves do not lead to the growth of massive, radical social movements: witness the period of 1980-1990. Nor do low commodity prices a weak social safety net and declining state revenues provoke popular uprisings and radical mass social movements. Likewise an economic crisis, such as the recession of 2008-2010 has not led to a resurgence of mass radical social movements and popular rebellions. Only when a combination of internal factors, such as a weak social safety net and a deregulated economy and an external crisis such as a global recession and declining world commodity prices do we have optional conditions for the growth of dynamic mass radical social movements. Writers who focus or start from a "world system" or other "globalist" perspectives - in attempting to address the rise of social movements as a function of the "operations" of the market fail to take account of the internal political and social struggles and the resultant state social polices as determining factors. We should note that social movement rebellions do not suddenly occur because all of the contingencies are in place. The social upheavals at the end of the nineties and early half years of the new millennium had a decade of gestation: organizing, accumulating social forces, creating alliances with institutional dissidents - like radical church people - and developing leaders and cadres. Economic crises, at best, were "trigger" events which severely discredited the ruling class, undermined the dominant "globalization" ideology, and allowed the movements to make a qualitative leap from protest to political rebellion and regime change. Finally though, it is not central to this paper, we should note that while social movements at their height were able to oust incumbent neo-liberal regimes, they were not able to take political power and revolutionize society: to their upheavals allowed center-left politicians to come to power. Ironically, once in power they passed sufficient social economic reforms to fend off the re-radicalization of the movements when the world economic crises struck again at the end of the first decade of this century. James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. Henry Veltmeyer is Professor of International Development Studies at Universidad Autnoma de Zacatecas, Mexico and St. Mary's University, Canada. --------18 of 18-------- hopiate hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope hope take two and call me in the morning --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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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