Progressive Calendar 10.03.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2010 03:01:30 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   10.03.10

1. Children/poverty   10.04 9am
2. $ redistribution   10.04 10:45am
3. Peace walk         10.04 6pm RiverFalls WI
4. Call Eric Holder   10.04

5. Biden/his time     10.05 9am
6. Amnesty Intl       10.05 7pm
7. TroubledWaters     10.05 8pm

8. Alliant vigil      10.06 7am
9. New solar cells    10.06 12noon
10. Merriam/peace     10.06 6pm
11. Boggling blogging 10.06 6:30pm
12. Asphalt plant     10.06 6:30pm

13. Polly Mann        - An enemy of the state?
14. Mendez/Napolitano - It's time to stop dreaming and marching

--------1 of 14--------

From: TruthToTell <andydriscoll [at]>
Subject: Children/poverty 10.04 9am

TruthToTell Mon Oct 4 @9AM: 10-10-10: March for Children's Agenda - KFAI
FM 90.3/106.7/Online

They're calling it the Minnesota March for Children. It's on October 10,
thus the moniker, 10-10-10. The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) says it will
rally 10,000 Minnesotans at the State Capitol that day - a major effort to
tell state senators and representatives that children must be the prime
concern of all policy decisions made at the legislature in the 2011
Session. The day coincides with Children's Sabbath, an effort to pull in
congregations from around the state as well.

According to Jim Koppel of the CDF, between 2008 and 2009, nearly 34,000
more children were living in poverty in Minnesota, according to the
American Community Survey. This continues an alarming trend in Minnesota
that has seen a 56% increase (60,000 more children) in children living in
poverty since 2000. - Repeat: 56% and 60,000 MORE children in poverty - in
Minnesota! Poverty is defined as an annual income of below $21,947 for a
four-person family.

It's as clear as the recession and poverty itself, not to mention the
stagnant and deficit-laden budgets of schools, healthcare programs,
corrections and human services, environmental concerns, public safety -
name it - that children are affected directly by each and every issue we
deal with at every level of living and public policy. The fact that
children are at the forefront of those affected by these issues, just
because they don't vote - yet - does not mean they should not be our first
priority in addressing those issue arenas.

The Minnesota March on 10-10-10 is designed to highlight these areas -
but we will talk about specific initiatives on Monday as we gather guests
and march movers in our studios to talk about what they should be. The
march itself will feature Garrison Keillor as keynoter and CDF National
Founder, Marion Wright Edelman in a call to action.

Join TTT's ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN as we examine more
children's issues in this Week Two of KFAI's Fall Membership Drive.

 REP. SANDRA PETERSON (DFL-45A [NEW HOPE]) - Member, Early Childhood
Finance and Policy Division
 DARRELL YOUNG - CDF Young Advocates Leadership Trainee
 NICOLE HERNANDEZ - Youth Programs Director, Children's Defense Fund
 KARA ARZAMENDIA - Research Director, Children's Defense Fund
 MATT STEELEÂ - Youth Policy Analyst, Youth Community Connections

--------2 of 14--------

From: Erin Parrish <erin [at]>
Subject: $ redistribution 10.04 10:45am

October 4: Minneapolis Branch American Association of University Women.
9:30 AM: Applause for the Arts. 10:45 AM: Joe the Plumber, Remember Him?
Historical Reflections on the (Re)Distribution of Wealth. 11:45 AM:
Announcements. Noon: Luncheon. 1:15 PM: Take Charge of Your Health.

--------3 of 14--------

From: Nancy Holden <d.n.holden [at]>
Subject: Peace walk 10.04 6pm RiverFalls WI

River Falls Peace and Justice Walkers. We meet every Monday from 6-7 pm on
the UWRF campus at Cascade Ave. and 2nd Street, immediately across from
"Journey" House. We walk through the downtown of River Falls. Contact:
d.n.holden [at] Douglas H Holden 1004 Morgan Road River Falls,
Wisconsin 54022

--------4 of 14--------

From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at]>
Subject: Call Holder 10.04

Protests against the intimidation and harassment have taken place or are
planned for 39 cities across the country. From Minneapolis and Chicago, to
Los Angeles, Atlanta, Kalamazoo, MI and Dallas, Texas. The response has
been tremendous an continues to grow.

We are calling for further actions to take place in the coming week as the
first Grand Jury Subpoenas call for activists to appear on October 5.

Monday October 4 : Call Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General: 202-353-1555
Demand :
End repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
Return all materials seized in the raid!
Stop the Grand Jury Subpoenas of activists!

Tuesday October 5: Act in solidarity with activists called before the
Grand Jury
Take action at local federal buildings and FBI offices! Organize
demonstrations in your community!
Sign the Petition Now:
Funds for legal defense will be needed. We will announce where they can be
sent in the next few days.

Reach out to your organization or community group and send a statement of
solidarity. Steff Yorek, a long-time antiwar activist and one of the
activists whose homes was searched said, "The assistance and support we
have already received has been tremendously encouraging, with your help we
can stop this outrageous fishing expedition and attack on progressive

Committee To Stop FBI Repression:
Email: stopfbi [at]

--------5 of 14--------

From: Melissa <smileyrevolt [at]>
Subject: Biden/his time 10.05 9am

another visit by a big name democrat - this time at Macalester College -
Tues, Oct. 5 - 9 a.m.

From: kari sprung <ksprung [at]>

Biden's Minn. Stop: Macalester Rally, Donor LunchNext week's visit by Vice
President Joe Biden will start with a Tuesday morning Macalester College
rally for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mark Dayton. Biden is also
appearing at a fundraising luncheon for Dayton, although the location
hasn't been announced.Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also plans to be
in Minnesota next week and intends to raise money for Republican nominee
Tom Emmer.

--------6 of 14--------

From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.05 7pm

Saint Cloud Area Amnesty International meets on Tuesday, October 5th, from
7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the St. Cloud Public Library, 1300 W. St. Germain,
Saint Cloud. For more information contact Jerry Dirks, 320-251-6491 or
jerry.dirks [at]

--------7 of 14--------

From: C Luger <cluger85 [at]>
Subject: TroubledWaters 10.05 8pm

tpt 2 has scheduled the film for tues. at 8 pm

Minnesota] censorship at U coordinated by big Ag???

U of M decision on "Troubled Waters" questioned by commission, other
By Molly Priesmeyer, TC Daily Planet
September 17, 2010

The University of Minnesota looks to be getting itself into deeper hot
water. After pulling the film "Troubled Waters" weeks before its premiere
for "scientific review," the department of University Relations sent out a
statement late yesterday asserting that University officials were
reviewing the film to see if it "meets the specifications of the
legislative appropriation to the University." The documentary was funded
in large part by the Legislative Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources
(LCCMR) through the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust

However, Michael Banker, communications manager for LCCMR, said that,
while the University has the authority for determining whether the film
meets University standards, "the authority to determine whether the
project meets the language of the appropriation and LCCMR-approved work
program is the responsibility of LCCMR and the legislature."

The LCCMR is responsible for overseeing $349,000 in appropriations funds
for, according to the appropriation language, an "educational documentary
television series on the waters of Minnesota designed to promote watershed
understanding and citizen action in protecting, restoring, and conserving
water resources."

Karen Himle, the VP of University Relations, yanked the film from TPT more
than a week ago. Banker said he can't explain why because the University
has yet to give LCCMR any specifics.

The LCCMR appropriation guidelines and work program are detailed below:

Appropriation: The Bell Museum will develop and create the first 1-hour
episode of a public television educational documentary series on the
waters of Minnesota. The series is designed to use storytelling and visual
media to promote citizen understanding and action in protecting,
restoring, and conserving Minnesota's water resources. The first episode
of the series, Waters of Minnesota, will focus on the Upper Mississippi
River watershed, which extends across approximately 70% of the state.

The Work Program description states that: The first episode of Waters of
Minnesota will focus on the Upper Mississippi River. Stories about the
upper Mississippi River watershed , a system which extends over
approximately 70 % of the Minnesota landscape, will reveal much about
Minnesota's lakes, wetlands, and rivers.  This one-hour documentary will
tell stories that: 1) provide an overview and basic understanding of the
State's hydrology; 2) look at the Mississippi River both as a natural
system and as an engineered system; and 3) explore how the River links us
ecologically and economically at a global scale.

"I made a request to Karen Himle on September 16th to provide us with
documentations of concerns so we can consider them within our own review,"
Banker said. "I was informed that the documentation did not exist at the

The film was completed last year, underwent scientific review, according
to the filmmakers, and was viewed by numerous people within the University
this spring. Yet, in a statement issued yesterday, the University said
concerns were raised among University officials and staff after recent
viewings: "As a result of input received from these viewers, Bell Museum
Director Susan Weller has requested a small group of qualified faculty
review the film and advise her on whether the documentary as edited meets
the specifications of the legislative appropriation to the University, and
is factually accurate, objective and balanced in its presentation."
[UPDATE: On Friday, Dean Al Levine of the U's School of Agriculture told
MPR that the documentary is "unbalanced" and "vilifies agriculture."]

Banker said that, so far, Himle is the only one to talk with LCCMR about
her concerns, and none of them are rooted in specifics. "To the best of my
knowledge, it appears that the concerns and requests to halt the film rose
from the Office of University Relations," he said. "So far, Karen Himle is
the only one who has been in communication with LCCMR about concerns."

Himle did not contact LCCMR with concerns about the film, or to tell them
that its premiere had been canceled. "I contacted Himle after first
learning on Wednesday that the film had been pulled last week," Banker

As we reported yesterday, Karen Himle is married to John Himle, a
principal at Himle Horner, a firm representing big ag organizations. John
Himle sent an email to the Twin Cities Daily Planet yesterday stating
that, "For the record, neither Himle Horner Inc., nor I, nor anyone
connected to our firm has had any involvement in this issue whatsoever.
None. Zero."

Still, the question is whether Karen Himle's connection to Himle Horner
and the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council, a proponent of ethanol and
industrial agriculture, poses a serious conflict of interest for the
University. Dan Wolter, the director of News Service in the Office of
University Relations, has yet to respond to questions raised by TC Daily
Planet about issues of conflict of interest.

LCCMR is still waiting to hear the University's specific issues with the

"We still don't know what specific concerns the University has," Banker
said. "But because the University raised concerns, we are in the process
of extensively reviewing the film to see if it meets the appropriation
language. However, we are still waiting to hear what their specific
concerns are so we can better make that determination."

Other funders, including the McKnight Foundation and the Mississippi River
Fund told the Star Tribune that they were troubled by the decision and
waiting for an explanation from the University of Minnesota.

Copyright: 2010 Molly Priesmeyer
Molly Priesmeyer
Molly Priesmeyer (mollypriesmeyer [at] is a freelance writer
and editor, living in Minneapolis.

--------8 of 14--------

From: AlliantACTION <alliantaction [at]>
Subject: Alliant vigil 10.06 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:

--------9 of 14--------

From: Institute on the Environment <sjszurek [at]>
Subject: New solar cells 10.06 12noon

The Institute on the Environment's spring 2010 Frontiers lecture series is
now underway. Join us each Wednesday for a presentation and Q&A session,
followed by a casual get-together in the IonE Commons. The lectures also
air live on the Web.

10/6 - Eight-Track Tapes, Compact Discs and Solar Cells Speaker: Eray
Aydil, Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
At least a dozen existing technologies produce solar cells with overall
power conversion efficiencies ranging from 5% to 40%. Given that these
technologies are available, the question arises as to whether society
should invest in research to develop even more new technologies, or just
work to improve existing ones. Aydil will make the case that we should
continue research on new types of solar cells, basing his argument on the
decision in the 1970s to develop new recording technologies beyond the
eight-track tape - a decision that led to compact discs and eventually to
digital formats.  Even though new technologies are uncertain, Aydil will
argue, they are worth pursuing on the chance they may lead to even more
efficient solar cells at much lower cost, revolutionizing renewable

Lectures take place Wednesdays, noon to 1 p.m, in IonE Seminar Room 380,
VoTech Bldg., St. Paul campus. All lectures are free, no registration
required, and also air live on the Web.
Institute on the Environment | 325 VoTech Building, 1954 Buford Ave. | St.
Paul | MN | 55108

See the Frontiers page
( for more
details, including links to the live broadcast and archived presentations.

--------10 of 14--------

From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at]>
Subject: Merriam/peace 10.06 6pm

2010 Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace Meetings
First Wednesday of each month
6:00-7:45 p.m. (Note time change due to reduced library hours)
Merriam Park Library - Basement Meeting Room A or B
1831 Marshall Avenue (at Fairview Avenue), St. Paul, MN
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

--------11 of 14--------

From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Boggling blogging 10.06 6:30pm

Excited about WAMM's New Blog? Become a More Effective Blogger.
What's Your Story? Citizen Journalism 101: Wednesdays, October 6, 6:30 to
8:00 p.m. Rondo Public Library, 461 North Dale, St. Paul.

In this series, participants will develop ideas about what they see going
on in their communities and turning it into meaningful content. We'll
cover how to best use a blog, using pictures to tell your story and
fundamental best practices for telling your story online. TC Daily Planet
editor Mary Turck will facilitate this series. Come to one or more
session, as your schedule permits. Free will donations accepted.

--------12 of 14--------

From: Megan Dushin <mdushin [at]>
Subject: Asphalt plant 10.06 6:30pm

Roseville Mayor & Council Candidate Forum with emphasis on the proposed
asphalt plant

Roseville residents are invited to attend a Mayor & City Council
Candidates forum hosted by Neighbors Against the Asphalt Plant (NAAP).

It is scheduled at 6:30 - 8:30 pm on October 6 at the Community Room of
the Roseville Public Library.  The focus of the program will be the
Bituminous Asphalt plant proposed at the intersection of Terminal Road and
Walnut Street in Roseville, its potential impact on quality of life in
Roseville and implications such a proposal has for our civic governance.

The three candidates vying for two City Council seats have confirmed
participation: Tam McGehee, Bob Venters, and Bob Willmus, as have the
mayoral candidates, Dan Roe and Dan Kelzer.  All agree that discussing
this issue is important to several Roseville neighborhoods.

Roseville residents and NAAP members Sara Barsel and Gary Grefenberg will
moderate the program.  There will be plenty of time for questions from the
floor, as well as 20 minutes for attendees to speak with candidates on a
one-to-one basis.  Candidates' written answers to advance questions will
also be available for review.

Neighbors Against the Asphalt Plant (NAAP) is a non-partisan group of
Roseville residents and business/property owners who have recently
organized to stop the building of the asphalt plant.  The proposed
Bituminous Roadways site is within 1,000 feet of many homes and
businesses, raising alarm over the potentially damaging impact of toxins,
odor, noise and increased traffic. NAAP is co-chaired by John Bachhuber,
2223 Marion Rd, and Dick Klick, 2099 Fairways Lane.  Visit the NAAP web
site at for more

[You'd think that not allowing a stinky noisy property-value-lowering
asphalt plant would be a no-brainer. But the majority of the Roseville
City Council has for years not seen a rich person/big developer
walk(slither?) by without wanting to engage in xxx and yyy and zzz with
them, uttering cries of ecstacy (Ohh do me!) all the while. So Roseville
area residents live in permanant fear of catastrophically stupid
"decisions" that hurt most residents and the future. When the council
majority go too far (eg their Twin Lakes bad action) they have to be
countered by expensive (over $10K) lawsuits. The mayor (one of the
council) was reelected with the interfering clout of tens of thousands of
dollars from the (non-Roseville) St Paul Chamber of Commerce; his
decisions reflect their pro-rich biases. So it's a continuing fight in
Roseville just for ordinary common sense; let up for a few years and the
city will be destroyed. -ed]

--------13 of 14--------

An Enemy of the State?
Polly Mann

[From: bill_sorem [at]
Subject: Fwd: [New post]

Polly is 90 years old, co-founder of Women Against Military Madness and a
dear friend. When I dropped he off after a WAMM event last Sunday she told
the man at the desk of her apartment building, "If the FBI comes calling
for me, tell them I'm busy." She's been in most of my Grannies on the Mall

Begin forwarded message:

From: *WAMM Today <no-reply [at]>
Date: *October 1, 2010 11:13:33 PM CDT
To: *bill_sorem [at]
Subject: **[New post]*


The first time I realized that the government might so consider me was
1968 at the Democratic Convention in Chicago.  It was a lovely
not-too-warm summer day, and I was sitting in the bleachers in a
amphitheater with two Roman Catholic priests I had walked into Grant Park
with.  As I recall - that was, after all, some 42 years ago - among the
speakers at the rally were peace activist Dave Dellinger and authors
Norman Mailer and Jean Genet.  Someone had brought a pig upon the stage,
comparing it to the Chicago police.  Near the stage was a flag pole I had
not noticed until my eyes were drawn to a short, skinny somewhat
disheveled man in a white undershirt who was holding a rope attached to a
solid red flag he was attaching to the pole.  Suddenly, almost out of
nowhere, a bevy of Chicago police appeared, hitting people with their
billy clubs as they charged through the crowd.  People were running down
the bleachers, hopping from level to level as the police began to
indiscriminately hit people trying to leave the area.  The priest next to
me nudged me and silently pointed to a building about ten stories high.
On the roof were several soldiers with their rifles trained on the crowd.
I was astonished!  What was this? Up to that time, I had never ever had a
gun turned on me.  As the priests began scrambling down the bouncing
wooden bleachers, I followed them down and managed to arrive unscathed at
my hotel.

There were many many other occurrences at that convention that were
unsettling.  However, the most disturbing was the realization that my
actions, driven by a desire for a peaceful world and in protest against U.S.
policies that I deemed criminally wrong, made me an enemy of the nation.  It
was another step in that educational journey from high school civics
classes, where I somehow got the idea that the United States was the most
perfect country in the history of the world, concerned not only about
justice and equality for its own citizens but for all the inhabitants of the
world.  Oh yes, I knew the indigenous people had been treated unfairly and
the slavery. (After all, I grew in the south of magnolia trees and mint
juleps and sheer unadulterated racism.). But these were only unimportant
blips in the historical landscape. On that journey I learned how false much
of my learning had been.  I had to discard it for newly perceived truths,
which have carried me to the present. As of this moment, I see a country
which, to me, resembles nothing so much as the Roman Empire in its last

Since the Chicago convention, that realization remains strong within me that
some government officials would consider that the nonviolent actions I take
in protest against what I perceive to be criminal government policy makes me
an enemy of that empire.

One such occasion when I was pitted against the military was during a
strike of workers at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota, as they sought
better working conditions and pay.  Several people from the Twin Cities
joined the Hormel workers on their picket line.  The Governor of
Minnesota, DFL Rudy Perpich, called out the Minnesota National Guard, and
somewhere in my files is a picture of several friends and me carrying
signs of support for the strikers in front of the guard unit, composed of
oh-so-very vulnerable looking young men. It was the middle of winter and
the temperature was hitting the bottom of the thermometer. In heavy boots,
wearing several layers of clothes, with thick woolen head scarves covering
all but our eyes, we resembled nothing so much as Siberians of old
crossing the steppes.

It's interesting - this business of being an enemy of the state - to
observe the variety of people who could so likewise be labeled:  for
example, quite a few nuns, especially, those who have done jail time.
Some have "walked across the line" at Fort Benning, Georgia, the location
of an infamous U.S. military facility where the police and military from
Latin America are trained in the use of the very latest military
equipment, techniques and strategies, including the use of torture.  A
protest is held there each fall, attended by thousands of people,
including students from major universities and colleges, religious
leaders, academics and just plain folks.  The protest is held at the site
of what is now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
Cooperation but was previously known as the School of the Americans.
Graduates were notorious for their violations of human rights, such as
massacres and torture in their native lands.  At the protest demonstrators
are informed they cannot walk onto the site of the Institute and those who
do are arrested and released with a warning not to repeat their action.
Those who do return to repeat the trespass are charged and usually given
time in a federal penitentiary, and their numbers continue to grow. There
are many other religious figures who have chosen to challenge policies of
the state and have spent time in jail.  Probably the most well-known are
the Catholic priests known mostly as the Berrigan brothers.

In the late 60s, I challenged the government's construction of missile
silos.  It seems so patently simple that if you behave fairly and justly to
others, they will respond to you in like manner.  A country is, after all,
composed of people with the same instincts, weaknesses and strengths as our
own.   A missile silo is hardly indicative of good feelings towards other
nations. One such silo was being built in North Dakota when I was working at
a state college in southern Minnesota.  I drove a group of students to the
silo, and we demonstrated with hundreds of others on the muddy site.  Later
we went to a small café for breakfast, and the servers refused to wait on

This summary has convinced me that I am an enemy of this state.  I don't
like the state in which I live.  The state I'd like to be a member of
would limit all congressional seats and the presidency to one term with no
pension; provide campaign funding for the presidential and legislative
races; set penalties for any individual or agency interfering in the
internal affairs of other countries; make certain that its policies having
to do with other countries do not conflict with what is best for that
country; forbid the manufacture of nuclear weapons, drones,
bacteriological or chemical weapons, forbid the use of state national
guard troops overseas; institute a 100 percent tax on all annual incomes
of over $500,000; initiate a health care system available all from cradle
to grave; eliminate tuition in state-owned colleges and universities; pay
reparations to the descendants of the indigenous people of the United
States and the descendants of slaves; and reduce the military budget by 50
percent. And that's just for starters. If the F.B.I. or other security
agencies would like to contact me, I'm in the Minneapolis telephone book.

-Polly Mann, co-founder, Women Against Military Madness

--------14 of 14--------

It's Time to Stop Dreaming and Marching
Marching Off a Cliff on October 2?
October 1 - 3 , 2010

The "One Nation" march that has been called for October 2 is (a) the
continuation of a stale tactic (b) an incomplete and insufficient agenda
that provides cover for the Democratic Party, (c) led by "grasstop"
activists and institutional leadership as a substitute for a real movement
and (d) a waste of much-needed resources that could otherwise go towards
local organizing needs. We need to be creative and more daring in our
tactics, and existing leadership needs to get out of the way of their own

                Continuation of a Stale Tactic

Malcolm never put lipstick on a pig. Malcolm thought outside the box. If
he were alive NOW, he would be telling us that we should no longer be
marching. We should no longer be protesting. We should no longer be
dreaming. We should no longer be encouraging democratic illusions.
- Grace Lee Boggs, "If Not Now, When?"

Calls for marches on Washington have become a reflexive impulse for social
justice leaders, painfully palliative and little more. They are called
without any real analysis of power - just the thinking that having people
present is going to somehow push Democrats to regain their senses. This is
faulty logic, because showing up once for a weekend rally is not a
substitute to the pervasive corporate money that drives electoral
campaigns, voting records and other influences on power. It seems that
leaders of many organizations involved in One Nation either came of age in
the 60s and learned little else, or are stuck in the mystique of that
time. It is important to question if the tactic of the march helps us
reach our desired outcome.

There are many things that marches, within the context of a campaign or
appropriate political climate, can help accomplish. Marches have the
potential to energize people, particularly if part of an exciting vision.
Marches can help create solidarity, especially in moments of tension.
Marches can also be used to show the mobilizing ability of organizations,
when the participation of the protesters can be equated with a commitment
to other actions. How, in the absence of clear, concrete stated goals, as
well as dialogues and political education with those participating, do the
leaders envision they will get people to do anything except perhaps
remember to vote in November? Do the leaders believe that with such a lack
of vision, and a short time frame to mobilize, they will be able to amass
a number of people impressive enough to help win back "the change we voted

The march seems to have been made solely to accommodate the groups, rather
than affect sources of power: the March on Washington in 1963 (which One
Nation is modeled on) was on a Wednesday, a time when the capital was
actually functioning. The planned October 2nd march is now planned, as
most capital rallies, to conveniently to take place on a Saturday, when
Congress will largely be absent. Rally attendees will quietly enter D.C.
Friday night/Saturday morning, have their rally in a few hours on Saturday
afternoon, and be well out of the way by Saturday night so that Congress
can continue business as usual the following Monday. Having rallies that
interrupt nothing and take place as any other quaint weekend event is not
a real challenge to power or "business as usual" (this critique could
equally apply to other recent marches in Washington D.C.). If the point of
the march is to impress upon those in political power the capacity of the
organized left to mobilize its constituents, planning an action when
Congress is absent seems to be somewhat self-defeating. Of course the
members of Congress will be able to watch parts of the rally on T.V. But
even if the rally would be covered on television (which will likely be
sparse) the real impact of such a march is much greater when Congress
members are surrounded by thousands in the crowd.

There is no reason to believe that a march is the most effective, or even
effective at all, use of our time and resources. What we have is a half
baked idea of the change we want to effect, targeting Democrats (who will
likely be out of town on Saturday, campaigning in their home states for
mid-term elections) for change in the form of more jobs, less
discrimination, and other abstract goals.

We must be clear on what we are willing to do, and on what we need to do.
Such alternatives must be reflected upon in light of a thorough analysis
of power (and conducted through intentional and militant non-violence).
But it seems that this power analysis is lacking, and we're simply called
to make the same motions, over and over. As a contemporary hip-hop artist
has proclaimed, "There's a misconception / That a movement in any
direction is progression".

Modern marches have lost their dynamic element, for they do not capture
the popular zeitgeist or the collective imagination of the people who
compose them. They are no more expressions of a people - not tools for
leverage in this transformation - but have simply become decorative
events. Marches on Washington are as seasonal and routine as the
Democratic Party turning its back on its base once in office.

  One Nation's agenda is insufficient because it is meant to buoy the
                           Democratic Party

The agenda of One Nation has always been secondary to the desire to
reinforce support for President Obama and urge him and others to move
their agenda. The underlying belief of the largest organizations
mobilizing for October 2nd is that Obama is just like Roosevelt, and that
people need to "make him do it". This is a poor, myopic reading of
history, and demonstrates the poverty of leadership of these huge
organizations. Multiple platforms for the One Nation (referred to as
"policy principles") have circulated with many revisions, possibly owing
to changes and amendments made as new groups are brought in. But the end
result is muddled at best, and intentionally non-confrontational at worst.
There is nothing in the current policy principles for One Nation that
challenges any aspect of the Obama administration, with the exception of
the call for the government to stop its record-setting deportations of
undocumented folks.

The mission statement is written like a Democratic talking point; it is
classic Obama, language which seeks to evoke a noble sentiment, to name a
universal truth, to outline a grand narrative but that plainly feels
institutional rather than counter-hegemonic; seemingly more preoccupied
with looking like a broad coalition than using language to actually build

The emphasis has been on the date, rather than the agenda. The hurried
timing of the One Nation march has explicitly been to mobilize membership
to "Get out the Vote" (GOTV) for the Democrats. This is an extremely
dangerous sign for the integrity of the event. It is no secret who the
attendees of this rally will be voting for, and combined with the refusal
to challenge the current administration (including the absence of any
reference to the ongoing wars), it is clear that this will largely be a
stunt to get the same Democrats re-elected who, ironically, have
repeatedly voted against the best interests of their constituents.

The worst concession to the Democratic agenda, and most unforgivable, is
the intentional exclusion of the mention of war from any part of One
Nation's policy principles. To their embarrassment, large peace
organizations, including United for Peace and Justice, resolved to join in
mobilizing for October 2nd even though their repeated request for
inclusion of the issue of war was shot down. They have even gone so far as
to create a separate, distinct website ("The Peace Table") that looks
almost identical to the primary One Nation website, although there is no
acknowledgement of this website or the peace contingent in either the One
Nation website or policy principles. Even as organizers in the peace
contingent rally membership to get to D.C., there have been expressions of
frustration and anger that an anti-war message has been rejected by the
decision-makers of the march, on the basis that such a message would
conflict with the President's position on Afghanistan.

Even the one relatively clear demand for the Democratic Party to commit to
job creation has been defanged. At the beginning of September the
organizers stated as a goal of the march was "redirecting money from wars
to jobs". Now all language about war, peace, and its impact on the economy
is completely missing. It is representative of the collective insanity our
nation is suffering that during an era in which our military spending has
reached an all time high, concerns regarding our national debt have
dominated the economic discourse, and unemployment and underemployment are
at levels not seen since the great depression. How can we attempt to push
for job creation but not address the military Keynesianism that has
contributed to the dismal state of our economy?

That no part was included of the agenda of various organizations in the
peace movement is not necessarily a bad sign: the peace movement has been
at a critical lull lately, and it is unclear exactly what constituency it
will bring. However, the issue of the wars and occupations and its
continuing, devastating effect on every part of the U.S. budget and every
household cannot be ignored in any meaningful discussion regarding the
budget, health or future of the country. That the decision-making members
of the march (Ben Jealous, George Gresham, and others) excluded the very
issue that will dominate more than 58% of all U.S. discretionary spending
in the coming year demonstrates both their fawning towards the Obama
administration and their lack of a real analysis of what plagues the very
constituencies they intend to rally.

The denial and exclusion of the message of the anti-war/peace contingent -
while at the same time asking the peace movement to bring out its
membership - demonstrate not just the lack of integrity of the organizers,
but re-emphasizes the complicity with the current administration and
Democrat Party. This extends beyond the anti-war/peace issue - earlier
versions of the One Nation policy principles included a call for the
Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), one of the compelling reasons labor got
behind the Obama campaign for president. We need not think hard to guess
why that key request has been withdrawn.

Finally, this has been billed as the "first step" towards combining the
labor, civil rights, and peace movements into something more cohesive and
continuing, after October 2nd. But there is no sign, no language, nothing
that indicates any commitment to doing anything after the march. The focus
of "pushing Obama" demonstrates a serious failure of understanding this
administration. The implicit focus of supporting the Democratic Party,
rather than addressing the ills of the membership of labor, civil rights
groups, and peace groups, compromises the moral integrity of those who
have pieced together its policy principles. That the Democratic Party
rarely acts upon, or even articulates, the concerns of most or any of the
constituencies headed to Washington demonstrates that the leadership of
the One Nation organizations are holding onto a past conception that no
longer, and perhaps never, was true: that the Democratic Party is one for
the working people of the country.

        Leadership lacks imagination and political courage

Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is
all memory. Reform has no gratitude, no prudence, no husbandry.
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We need big ideas and concrete victories. Our vision for change cannot
amount to a re-enactment of the Clinton years, brought about by the
tactics of the Johnson era. Such a vision is not going to energize nor
inspire others to join our ranks. There are a plethora of inspiring ideas
which have been put forth by left intellectuals, what is missing is a
dedication on the part of organizers and some of the larger progressive
institutions to own, adapt, and realize/actualize those ideas.

Leadership should be pushing us to challenge power, not concede to it. The
principles and agenda which govern this coalition should not look like the
scraps left over after the political class has feasted on working and
middle class Americans, it should not read as if the values for which we
stand have already been compromised before the plans have been introduced
to the legislature. It should be a robust plan which forces the Democratic
Party to make concessions, to offer serious counterproposals, and make
some of its members take a definitive stance of either supporting us or
big business.

We need to directly challenge the assumptions of neoliberalism (even if we
do not use that terminology) in a way that introduces, if not reproduces,
the seeds of the alternative structure and power relations we would like
to see. For instance, we should not be entertaining discussions concerning
the immediate implementation of a jobs plan for a million people. This
would be a temporary amelioration, and only put off until later problems
we need to face. Instead, we should be fighting for nothing less than a
full employment economy. Strategically, asking for everything and possibly
settling for a little less is the first rule of negotiation - rather than
the One Nation strategy of undercutting our own demands before getting to
the bargaining table. But ultimately and most importantly, we should make
such strong demands because that is what we need.

Because our idea of society and the state is fundamentally different from
that of the regressive folks who challenge us, we place people over
profits, and we must articulate that clearly and loudly no matter whose
feathers this ruffles. Robert Pollin and many other intellectuals have
already created the basic models, and done much of the intellectual grunt
work and justification and explanation of the economic benefits of such a
plan. It is now on to organizers to push these ideas forward.

We should not be fighting for a more affordable higher education system
that will only be accessible to upper/middle class Americans. We need to
pronounce education a right and call for Free Higher Education. It is
important that our proposals consciously call for a reworking of our
national priorities, and what clearer way than redirecting just a tiny bit
of our monies from war and being able to fund education for all. This
means more than just a talking point or a slogan at a rally. We need to
reframe the discourse in America and that entails not only talking about
our different conception of rights and the role of the state, but actually
working towards that.

Furthermore, the tools at our disposal to create this change have changed
dramatically in the last forty years. We are not properly using social
media and other tools to help our organizing. In many cases we are
ignoring it, or imbuing the technology (like Facebook) with magical
qualities. This is due to an age gap and failure to comprehend or
communicate our intentions clearly. E-activism cannot replace the role of
face-to-face relationship building and organizer interactions with
membership, but it can aid our work and dramatically change how we apply
pressure. Technology has given us the "flash mob" and multiple forms of
electronic civil disobedience, and many other innovations to aid our

We need to stop playing games. If any of our actions (including our
marches) are going to really effect change, they need to stop feeling like
a dress rehearsal or a pageant. Changing our society means confronting
power, both the arguments used and the individuals who employ them. The
leadership of this coalition must honestly assess its own taste for
struggle and not only wonder if people are ready for it.

A famous depiction of Saul Alinsky and the Industrial Areas Foundation
(IAF) teaching "teacher-organizers" illustrated this dilemma:

"The organizer's concern for his personal security deters the conflict
that brings about change. In other words, if you are worried about your
economic well-being, or your social well-being, or your political
well-being, you will probably not stimulate conflict and there will
probably not be any change.

Talk about tactics, communication, etc. is worthless, if you're hung up on
the security issues. Alinsky maintains that people cannot learn tactics
and strategies they will never use. They know they will never use
conflicts tactics if they're worried about their jobs or their social
position or political position.

Organizers - teacher organizers - tend to blame teachers for being too
worried about their own security. Alinsky alleges that this security
question that organizers ask of teachers, the organizers should ask
themselves. Too often, according to Alinsky, we blame the teachers when
the first security problem is our own. That security problem is not only a
job security problem,

but all of those insecurities, such as professionalism, that many of us
have. In the same way, Alinsky says that the staff must define their own
self interest.

Organizers are not clear on their own mission, if they are hung up on
their own security problems. Consequently, the needs of the organization
will not be served."

    - J. Michael Arisman, Alinsky for Teacher Organizers

We need new leadership, and certainly some younger leadership. We need new
tactics, new strategies, new ways to reach a broader audience. We need to
bring in folks with a sharper analysis and more consistent politics and
principles. We need to move folks from the bottom of the ranks upwards,
folks who are not "hung up on their own security problems" and certainly
not dominated by a political party. In short, we need new blood that is
willing to take risks.

Real leadership would funnel the anger and desire for positive change by
membership towards more meaningful tactics and material change. It would
recognize its responsibility and service to its members and not the
Democratic Party. It would invest its resources in local organizing and
take risks as it attempts to challenge power, and it would put forth a
national vision that would actually challenge some of the basic
assumptions of our society. It would include regional or national
coordination in our own communities, and wouldn't rely on this tired
tactic of running to Washington D.C. to solve our problems.

                       A Waste of our Resources

It's fair to say that much of the late summer and fall has been spent on
hastily mobilizing folks across the country, in many different groups and
organizations, to get them to Washington D.C. While this has served as a
jobs stimulus for organizers, it has put much on hold and delayed doing
the work we should be doing instead.

Furthermore, the cost (meaning, for example, the $25 contributions of
working class constituents to non-profits and the dues of union members)
will be in the millions. If you consider all the money spent on buses,
organizer salaries, fundraisers, and more - for a single day, one cannot
avoid shaking one's head at the waste of these dearly-needed dollars in
such an economically depressed time.

We should be using this money to hire folks locally; to organize locally;
to locally plan and plot how we're going to rebuild our communities -
person by person, brick by brick - in a way that is sustainable and holds
true the dignity of our brothers and sisters. The economic crisis has
decimated the infrastructure of the very progressive movements that are so
desperately needed at this moment. Instead of another field trip to D.C.,
we should be investing in the change agents within our own communities.
And we should listen to Grace Lee Boggs:

Instead in every community and city we should be discussing how to make
the "Radical Revolution of Values" not only against Racism but against
Materialism and Militarism that Dr. King called for in his 1967
anti-Vietnam war speech.

King's call for this "Radical Revolution" came only four years after his
1963 "I have a Dream" speech. But in those few years, youth in Watts,
California and other cities had risen in Rebellion. In Chicago King and
anti-racist marchers had experienced the raw ugliness of Northern racism.
The genocidal war in Vietnam had exposed our country as the world's worst
purveyor of violence and on the wrong side of the world revolution...
That is why in 1967 King decided that the time had come to warn the
American people that unless we make a Radical Revolution in Values, we
face spiritual death.

In 2010, 42 years later, we are experiencing massive physical and
spiritual death.

Why are we STILL marching and dreaming?

Why are we not making a "radical revolution in values"?
   - Grace Lee Boggs, "If Not Now, When?"


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