Progressive Calendar 02.06.10
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 2010 13:26:53 -0800 (PST)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    02.06.10

1. CUAPB            2.06 1:30pm
2. UN of MN         2.06 2pm
3. Northtown vigil  2.06 2pm
4. 9-11 truth films 2.06 3/5/7/8pm  FREE
5. EXCO phonathon   2.06 5pm

6. Stillwater vigil 2.06 1pm
7. RNC              2.07 3:30pm

8. Tom Cleland        - CRA abandons Bicking
9. Alexander Cockburn - Downhill from Greensboro: the Left, 1960-2010

--------1 of 9--------

From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com>
Subject: CUAPB 2.06 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue
South http://www.CUAPB.org

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)


--------2 of 9--------

From: United Nations Association of Minnesota <info [at] unamn.org>
Subject: UN of MN 2.06 2pm

United Nations Association of Minnesota
Annual Meeting - Feb 6, 2010

Dear UNA-MN Supporter,
You are invited to the 2010 UNA-MN Annual Meeting! Please join us for an
afternoon of socializing with other UN supporters, UNA business,
appetizers and an exciting talk on the UN Climate Change Summit in
Copenhagen.

Saturday, February 6, 2010
2:00pm-4:00pm
Weisman Art Museum
$25 per person ($10 for students)

AGENDA
1:15pm Consider arriving early to tour the galleries
2:00pm Social Time:  Hors D'Oeuvres from Kafe 421 & Beverages
2:30pm Annual Meeting and Board Election
3:00pm PROGRAM:  Paul Thompson, Speaker Climate Action Activist, Edina
Energy and Environment Commission and Founder of Cool Planet

    "No Deal in Copenhagen?  The Real Work Continues."

Paul Thompson attended the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen,
Denmark.  He was accredited through ICLEI, Local Government for
Sustainability, which works with cities of all sizes around the world to
measure carbon emissions and use software to help develop action plans to
help set and meet carbon reduction goals.  Paul also volunteers with the
Will Steger Foundation and 350.org, an organization dedicated to educating
the public about the need to embed the number of 350 ppm of CO2 into the
international treaty that was not formed in Copenhagen.

United Nations Association of Minnesota info [at] unamn.org 612.879.7512 Where:
Weisman Art Museum 333 East River Parkway Minneapolis, MN 55455


--------3 of 9--------

From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 2.06 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday
2-3pm


--------4 of 9--------

From: Joan Malerich <joanmdm [at] iphouse.com>
Subject: 9-11 truth films 2.06 3/5/7/8pm  FREE

FREE

BELOW IS THE SCHEDULE FOR THE 9-11 FILM FESTIVAL SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 6:

We cannot forget 9-11, as it was set up to justify the maiming and killing
of millions of innocent people AND the destruction of whole nations in the
"war against terrorism."

9/11 TRUTH FILM FESTIVAL
Saturday, February 6th, 2010
All films are FREE and open to the public

1. Zero                            3:00 pm
Italian made documentary, 2008
Mayday Books
301 Cedar Ave
Minneapolis, MN
612-333-4719
Roberta Benson      612-203-2872

2. 9/11:  Press for Truth        5:00 pm
Family members fight for an investigation, 2006
Walker United Methodist Church
3104 16th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
612-722-6612
Bruce Stahlberg         612-558-5959

3. 9/11 False Flag               5:00 pm
German made documentary, 2008
Mapps Coffeehouse
1810 Riverside Ave
Minneapolis, MN  55454
612-338-6398

4. 9-11 Mysteries           7:00 pm
Demolition:  evidence and analysis
Arise Bookstore
2441 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN
612-871-7110
John Simcox

5. Loose Change:  2nd Edition    7:00 pm
Anomalies in the official story, 2007
Home of Dave Nelson
3621 East Minnehaha Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55406
612-722-6342
Dave Nelson and Dori Ullman

6. Rethinking 9/11:  Why Truth and Reconciliation are Better Strategies
than Global War             7:00 pm
Locally made, thoughtful, academic,  2008
All Nations Indian Church
1515 East 23rd Street (at Bloomington)
Minneapolis, MN
Michael Cavlan  612-327-6902

7. 9/11 Blueprint for Truth     7:00 pm
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 2009
University of St. Thomas                         3M Auditorium/Owen
Science Center #150
SW corner of Cretin Street and
Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN  55105
Michael Andregg       651-962-5907

8. Hijacking Catastrophe:  9/11, Fear, & the Selling of American Empire
2006                                               8:00 pm
Casket Arts Cinema
681 17th Avenue NE  #145
(Enter near NE corner loading dock)
Minneapolis, MN  55418
Roberta  Benson   612-203-2872

Endorsed by:
Minnesotans for 9/11 Truth
We Are Change Minnesota


--------5 of 9--------

From: EXCO <excotc [at] gmail.com>
Subject: EXCO phonathon 2.06 5pm

1st Seasonal EXCO Phone-a-thon!
/Saturday, February 6th, 5-9pm
2620 30th Ave S. Minneapolis/

Want to do your part to help make EXCO classes a success? Come to the 1st
ever EXCO Phone-a-thon this Saturday to remind people that classes are
starting up. EXCO is no bigger than its community so if you like EXCO and
can make it, make it!We are having food so do let us know: Erin
mailto:erin.l.dyke [at] gmail.com, 815-302-2481. See you this Saturday at 2620
30th Ave S, Minneapolis! 


--------6 of 9--------

From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net>
Subject: Stillwater vigil 2.06 1pm

A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2
p.m.  Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song
and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be
positive.  Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers.

If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it.
Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to
<http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/

For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560


--------7 of 9--------

From: info [at] rnc8.org
Subject: RNC 2.07 3:30pm

Results from February 2nd Court Hearing

Yesterday, the RNC 8 and a courtroom full of supporters sat through a
hearing regarding several motions that had been filed in the previous
months. While the proceedings were less than riveting, there were some
surprising results. Even our old friend Bob Fletcher couldn't resist
showing up briefly to watch today's hearing. Biggest news of the day?
The trial date is set for October 25, 2010, so mark your calendars now.

There will also be a number of new motions heard in May, so mark these
dates as well: May 3-6, 13, and 14. During these days, the lawyers for the
8 will argue motions such as ones to suppress evidence seized during the
preemptive raids prior to the and the probable cause
motion<http://rnc8.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/memo-pc-jnt.pdf>as a
part of evidentiary hearings that will include testimony from witnesses.
More information will be available as the dates approach, but court
support will be needed as always.

In addition to scheduling the hearing and trial dates, Judge Teresa Warner
granted the motion to use a jury
questionnaire<http://rnc8.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/mtn-questionnaire126.pdf>.
This questionnaire will hopefully result in a more thorough examination of
the jurors. She also took under advisement other motions regarding
payments to FBI informants, and the discriminatory
motion<http://rnc8.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/luce-memo-ep-and-attachment.pdf>.
The motion re:
IndyTACT<http://rnc8.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/indycomp100129093428.pdf>was
withdrawn and may be refiled at a later date. We hope to receive favorable
rulings on those soon and will let you know when we hear the results.

As the pre-trial work proceeds and the trial date approaches, we need all
the help and support we can get to fight these bogus charges! Now is a
perfect time to get involved. Come to the next RNC 8 Defense Committee
meeting to get plugged in:

Sunday, February 7, 3:30pm Walker Community Church (in the basement) 3104
16th Ave S, Minneapolis


--------8 of 9--------

CRA abandons Bicking
by Tom Cleland <tomcleland [at] comcast.net>
Fri, 5 Feb 2010 18:04:34 -0600

On Wed. Feb. 3 I attended a meeting of the Minneapolis Civilian Review
Authority (CRA), a volunteer board appointed by the Mayor and City Council
to investigate citizen complaints of police misconduct.

The meeting began with a surprise visit from Tim Dolan, who had not
attended a CRA meeting since becoming police chief. He spoke for a few
minutes, and left shortly after. He stated that he does believe in
civilian review, and expressed a willingness to answer CRA questions at a
later date.

This apparently so impressed the board that they failed to get anything in
writing, leaving to chance whether Dolan will keep his word. The CRA
refused to go on record. They rejected a resolution, offered by Dave
Bicking, which would have verified that Dolan follow through.

But the main event of the evening involved a written message from CRA
Chair Don Bellfield to CRA member Dave Bicking, calling for Bicking to
resign if he attended a forum on whether to reappoint Police Chief Dolan.

The following paragraph is from an email I got promoting the Jan. 26
forum:

"DAVE BICKING: Member of the Mpls Civilian Police Review Authority (CRA),
which recently released an 18 page report on the performance of Chief Tim
Dolan in relation to his impact on Civilian Review. The report rates Dolan
as 'far more negative than positive', especially in the area of imposing
discipline on officers."

Bellfield, who was absent from the meeting, contended this was not neutral
enough, even though the promotion nowhere claimed Bicking was speaking on
behalf of the CRA.

So Bicking offered some resolutions which would have clarified that the
CRA was not calling on Bicking to resign, since members have a right to
exercise their freedom of speech as individuals on their own time.

The following CRA members voted to gag Bicking: Justin Terrell, Vernon
Wetterach, Sharlee Benson, and Patrick Kvidera. Abstaining was Pam
Franklin. Voting in favor were Dave Bicking and Austin Zuege. Staffer Lee
Reid spoke about respect as a reason to gag Bicking.

The board did adopt unanimously a resolution to meet so they could clarify
their neutrality policy.

They then opened the meeting for 3-minute statements from the public. It
was a Who's Who of Minnesota's leading progressives, there to defend Dave.
Michelle Gross of Citizens United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB) was
furious. When acting chair Justin Terrell said that her time was up, she
defied him to call the cops, and kept on speaking. Darrell Robinson, also
of CUAPB, and who has been beaten by police, reminded the board that the
city is under siege. Michael Cavlan accused the CRA of complicity with the
Mayor and City Council. Also speaking were Amber Garlan, Jan Nye, David
Weisberg, and myself. Also in attendance were David Shove, Melissa Hill,
and Dori Ullman.

When it was my turn to speak, I said I was at the Jan. 26 meeting, and
that Dave Bicking stated repeatedly that he was there as a private
citizen, and not speaking on behalf of the CRA. I said that as private
citizens we have a right to exercise our freedom of speech. I quoted
Thomas Jefferson, "Information is the currency of democracy," and asked,
"How can we have an informed citizenry if our brightest citizens are
censored from voicing their opinions?" I agreed with others that Dave was
quite an asset to the CRA, and that their work is important. I explained
how, as a political activist, I set out to verify CUAPB claims, and how my
research was documented on my blog. I mentioned Dominic Felder, Tycel
Nelson, the black cops that were demoted under Dolan, and how Dolan gave
the Medal of Valor to the cop who shot Fong Lee.

After the meeting, I asked Michelle Gross what motivated Justin Terrell,
Vernon Wetterach, Sharlee Benson, and Patrick Kvidera. She believes that
they're benchwarmers, looking to pad their resumes, possibly seeking
higher office in the future, and that's why they don't want to rock the
boat. I asked her about CRA duties, and she explained that reviewing
citizen complaints is just the tip of the iceberg. They need to be doing a
lot more in terms of citizen outreach. Well, if they're not doing it, and
Dave can't do it, then where does that leave us? Afterward, Justin Terrell
told me he would continue to support Dave, but he sure didn't go to bat
for him during the meeting.

Below are excerpts from three significant motions Dave Bicking offered at
the meeting, none of which passed.

- MOTION 1 -

The CRA Board directs the Board Chair to invoke Section 172.130(d) of the
CRA ordinance and notify the Executive Committee of the Chief's failure to
comply with the requirements of that section, particularly the failure to
base decisions on the adjudicated facts as determined by the CRA Board.

OUTCOME: This failed 2-5.

- MOTION 2 -

.Be it resolved that: The CRA board clarifies that the Chair was not
speaking on their behalf, and they did not authorize the letter. The CRA
board as a whole clarifies that it does not agree with the content of the
letter. The CRA board authorizes the drafting of a letter clarifying its
position as stated above, with that letter to be sent to all the
recipients of the letter sent by Chair Bellfield.

OUTCOME: This motion was tabled.

- MOTION 3 -

.Be it resolved that the CRA Board does not endorse the content of Chair
Bellfield's email, and that the Board clarifies that the Chair does not
have the power to call for a member's resignation, and that the members'
rights to free speech and free association should not be limited unless
they preclude objective and impartial adjudication of cases, or unless the
member represents his/her personal views as being those of the CRA board
as a whole.

OUTCOME: This failed, 2-4, with 1 abstention, and was the vote to "gag
Bicking" described above. Pam Franklin, the abstaining vote, said later
she lost track and would have voted in favor.


--

At 06:24 PM 2/5/2010, Amber Garlan wrote:
Good Blog Tom, very detailed and informative!  This is the 1st CRA
meeting that I attended, and what I saw was fear.  Fear of Chief
Dolan, fear of the mayor and fear of the city council.

How can the CRA do its job if they have so much fear?  I am so proud and
grateful for the work Dave Bicking does!  He makes me proud to be a Green!
  -Peace, Amber

--

Date: Sat, 06 Feb 2010 09:32:33 -0600
From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] minn.net>

That's the point, Amber.  They never did their job until Dave Bicking came
along doing most of the work and prodding the others, which is why the
police federation, the cops and the city have been after him.  The
significance of that meeting was that the rest of the board had a defining
moment to show which side they were on.  They chose the wrong side.

I wanted to say that I really appreciated your comments.  Your observation
of the fear level of that pathetic board was right on.

Michelle [Gross]

[Another thumping of democracy and police accountability by those
responsible for police accountatility - mayor, chief, CRA board, and
perhaps soon - we will see - the Mpls City Council reappointing Dolan.
This should be fought publicly - the first on the next public CRA meeting
Mar 3 6:30pm Mpls City Hall 333 - stand up for accountability and courage.
-ed]


--------9 of 9--------

Downhill From Greensboro: the Left, 1960-2010
By ALEXANDER COCKBURN
February 5 - 7, 2010
CounterPunch

Half a century ago, a new decade ushered in the rebirth of the American
left and of those forces for radical change grievously wounded by the
savage cold war pogroms of the Fifties. If you want to draw a line to
indicate when history took a great leap forward, it could be February 1,
1960, when four black students from Agricultural and Technical College of
North Carolina, sat down at a segregated lunch counter in Woolworth's
department store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The chairs were for
whites. Blacks had to stand and eat. A day later they returned, with 25
more students. On February 4 four white women joined them from a local
college. By February 7, there were 54 sit-ins throughout the South in 15
cities in 9 states. By July 25 the store, part of a huge national chain,
and plagued by $200,000 in lost business, threw in the towel and
officially desegregated the lunch counter. (Last week here on our site we
had a piece by one of the participants in that sit-in, Cecil Brown, about
the new museum in Greensboro honoring that event, and Obama's letter doing
the same.)

Three months later, the city of Raleigh, NC, 80 miles east of Greensboro,
saw the founding of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC),
seeking to widen the lunch-counter demonstrations into a broad, militant
movement. SNCC's first field director was Bob Moses, who said that he was
drawn by the "sullen, angry and determined look" of the protesters,
qualitatively different from the "defensive, cringing" expression common
to most photos of protesters in the South.

That same spring of 1960 saw the founding conference of Students for a
Democratic Society (SDS) in Ann Arbor Michigan, the organization that
later played a leading role in organizing the college-based component of
the antiwar movement. In May the House UnAmerican Activities Committee was
scheduled to hold red-baiting hearings in San Francisco. Students from the
University of California at Berkeley crossed the Bay to jeer the hearings.
They got blasted off the steps of City Hall by cops with power hoses, but
the ridicule helped demolish the decade-long power of HUAC.

Within four short years the Civil Rights Movement pushed Lyndon Johnson
into signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By 1965 the first big
demonstrations against the war were rolling into Washington. By the
decade's end there had been a convulsion in American life: a new reading
of America's past, an unsparing scrutiny of the ideology of "national
security" and of Empire. The secret, shameful histories of the FBI and CIA
were dragged into the light of day; the role of the universities in
servicing imperial wars exposed; mutinies of soldiers in Vietnam a daily
occurrence; consumer capitalism under daily duress from critics like Ralph
Nader. By 1975 the gay and women's movements were powerful social forces;
president Nixon had been forced to resign. The left seem poised for an
assertive role in American politics for the next quarter century.

Of course a new radical world did not spring fully formed from the void,
on January 1, 1960. Already, in 1958 a black boycott of lunch counters in
Oklahoma City, suggested by the 8-year old daughter of NAACP Youth Council
leader Clara Luper, a local high school teacher, had forced change in that
city. Luper was greatly influenced by Rosa Parks, who famously refused to
surrender her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955,
starting the bus boycott that launched Martin Luther King's public career.

Parks was a trained organizer who, like King, attended sessions at the
Highlander Folk School, founded by Christian Socialists, close to the
Communist Party, one of whom, Don West, began his career as an as a
high-school agitator organizing demonstrations in 1915 outside cinemas
featuring Griffith's Birth of a Nation, a violently racist movie praising
the Ku Klux Klan for protecting whites from black violence after the Civil
War.

So there are political genealogies that must be honored, but this is not
to occlude disasters endured by the left in the 1940s and Fifties -
disasters whose consequences reverberate to this day. The first was the
historic bargain struck by Roosevelt with organized labor from the late
1930s on, by which unions got automatic deduction of members' dues for
their treasuries sanctioned by the federal government, in return for
witch-hunting the Trotskyist and later Communist left out of the labor
movement.

Hugely important was Roosevelt's ouster of the great progressive, Henry
Wallace, from the vice presidential slot in 1944, substituting the
appalling machine-Democrat Harry Truman who stepped into the Oval Office
on Roosevelt's death in 1945, and promptly dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki, then presided over the birth of the cold war and the rise of
a permanently militarized US economy. Wallace headed the Progressive Party
ticket in 1948 in a four way race which, with Truman's victory, inscribed
the unvarying Democratic-Republican either/or on the American political
landscape.

By the end of the 1940s there was no powerful independent left political
formation, an absence which continues to this day. By the mid 1950s the
labor unions, the academies, all government establishments had been purged
in the witch hunts - a bipartisan auto-da-fe whose most diligent red
baiters included not only Senator Joe McCarthy but Robert Kennedy. The
surviving left was mostly in the peace movement, notably the Quakers. A
prime issue was atmospheric nuclear testing, dooming thousands of
Americans to premature deaths from cancer.

In terms of organized politics the explosion of radical energy in the
1960s culminated in the peace candidacy of George McGovern, nominated by
the Democrats in Miami in 1972. The response of the labor unions financing
the party, and of the party bosses, was simply to abandon McGovern and
ensure the victory of Nixon. Since that day the party has remained immune
to radical challenge. Jimmy Carter, the southern Democrat installed in the
White House in 1977, embraced neoliberalism, and easily beat off a
challenge by the left's supposed champion, the late Ted Kennedy. The
antiwar movement which cheered America's defeat in Vietnam mostly sat on
its hands as Carter and his National Security aide Zbigniev Brzezinski
ramped up military spending and led America into "the new cold war",
fought in Afghanistan and Central America.

Demure under the Democrat Carter, the left did organize substantial
resistance to Reagan's wars in Central America in the 1980s. It also
rallied to the radical candidacy of Jesse Jackson,  the first serious
challenge of a black man for the presidency, a Baptist minister and
political organizer who had been in Memphis with Martin Luther King when
the latter was assassinated in 1968. With his "Rainbow coalition" Jackson
ran for the Democratic nomination in 1984 and in 1988, with a platform
that represented an anthology of progressive ideas from the 1960s. He
attracted a large number of supporters, many of them from the white
working class. Each time the Democratic party shrugged him aside and
elected feeble white liberals - Mondale and Dukakis - who plummeted to
defeat by Reagan and George Bush Sr.

The left's rout was consummated in the Nineties by Bill Clinton who
managed to retain fairly solid left support during his two terms, despite
signing two trade treaties devastating to labor, in the form of the North
America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA )and the WTO; despite the lethal
embargo against Iraq and NATO's war on Yugoslavia; despite successful
onslaughts on welfare programs for the poor and on constitutional
freedoms.

Two important reminders about political phenomena peculiar to America: the
first is the financial clout of the "non-profit" foundations, tax-exempt
bodies formed by rich people to dispense their wealth according to
political taste. Jeffrey St Clair and I wrote several pieces about this in
our CounterPunch newsletter in the mid-Nineties. Much of the "progressive
sector" in America owes its financial survival - salaries, office
accommodation etc - to the annual disbursements of these foundations which
cease abruptly at the first manifestation of radical heterodoxy. In the
other words most of the progressive sector is an extrusion of the dominant
corporate world, just are the academies, similarly dependent on corporate
endowments.

The big liberal foundations were perfectly happy with Clinton's brand of
neoliberalism and took swift action to tame any unwelcome radical
tendencies in both the environmental and the women's movements. Clinton's
drive to ratify the "free trade" treaty with Mexico and Canada provoked a
potentially threatening alliance of labor unions and environmental groups.
Eventually the big liberal foundations exerted some muscle, and major
enviro groups came out for the Treaty. It was John Adams of the Natural
Resources Defense Council who crowed, "We broke the back of the
environmental resistance to NAFTA". The major funders of these latter
groups included the Pew Charitable Trusts, a foundation set up in the
1940s by heirs to the Sun Oil company. By the mid-1990s Pew was giving the
environmental movement about $20 million a year. Two other foundations,
both derived from oil companies, gave another $20 million. The Howard
Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, run by Teresa Heinz,
Sen John Heinz's widow (now John Kerry's wife) have played a major role in
funding a neoliberal environmental agenda. Also influential is the
Rockefeller Family Fund, which oversees the Environmental Grantmakers
Association, pivotal in allocating the swag, hence controlling the agenda.
By the end of the Nineties the green movement - aside from small radical,
underfunded grass roots groups - had become a wholly owned subsidiary of
the Democratic Party, hence of corporate America.

For its part, the women's movement steadily devolved into a single issue
affair, focused almost entirely on defending women's right to abortions,
under assault from the right. Women's groups, many of them getting big
money from liberal Hollywood (which devotedly supported Clinton), swerved
away from larger issues of social justice and kept silent as Clinton
destroyed safety nets for poor women. The gay movement, radical in the
1970s and 1980s, steadily retreated into campaigns for gay marriage and
"hate crime laws", the first being a profoundly conservative acquiescence
in state-sanctioned relationships, and the second being an assault on free
speech.

A second important reminder concerns the steady collapse of the organized
Leninist or Trotskyite left which used to provide a training ground for
young people who could learn the rudiments of political economy and
organizational discipline, find suitable mates and play their role in
reproducing the left, red diaper upon red diaper, tomorrow's radicals,
nourished on the Marxist classics. Somewhere in the late Eighties and
early Nineties, coinciding with collapses further East - presumptively but
not substantively a great victory for the Trotskyist or Maoist critiques -
this genetic strain shriveled into insignificance. An adolescent soul not
inoculated by sectarian debate, not enriched by the Eighteenth Brumaire
and study groups of Capital, is open to any infection, such as 9/11
conspiracism and junk-science climate catastrophism substituting for
analysis of political economy at the national or global level.

Thus the Bush years saw near extinction of the left's capacity for
realistic political analysis. Hysteria about the consummate evil of Bush
and Cheney led to a vehement insistence that any Democrat would be
qualitatively better, whether it be Hillary Clinton, carrying all the
neoliberal baggage of the Nineties, or Barack Obama, whose prime money
source was Wall Street. Of course black America - historically the most
radical of all the Democratic Party's constituencies, was almost
unanimously behind Obama and will remain loyal to the end. Having easily
beguiled the left in the important primary campaigns of 2008, essentially
by dint of skin tone and uplift, Obama stepped into the Oval Office
confident that the left would present no danger as he methodically pursues
roughly the same agenda as Bush, catering to the requirements of the
banks, the arms companies and the national security establishment in
Washington, most notably the Israel lobby.

As Obama ramps up troop presence in Afghanistan, there is still no anti
war movement, such as there was in 2002-4 during Bush's attack on Iraq.
The labor unions have been shrinking relentlessly in numbers and clout.
Labor's last major victory was the UPS strike in 1997. Its footsoldiers
and its money are still vital for Democratic candidates - but corporate
America holds the decisive purse-strings, from which a U.S. Supreme Court
decision on January 21 has now removed almost all restraints.

Labor has seen its most cherished goal in recent years vanish down the
plug. This was Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA)amendments to the National
Labor Relations Act (NLRA) that would help boost organizing and bargaining
in the private sector. The latest statistics from the U.S. Department of
Labor show why EFCA is necessary, if not entirely sufficient, for a union
revival. As Steve Early wrote here last week organized labor in private
industry lost 10 per cent of its membership in 2009 mainly in
manufacturing and construction--the worst annual decline in the last
quarter century. Obama was explicit, even in the campaign, in telling
labor leaders that as president he would not press labor law reform.

For the rest of his term Obama can press forward with the neoliberal
agenda that has now flourished through six presidencies. He and the
Democratic Party display insouciance towards the left's anger. Rightly so.
What have they to fear?


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

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