|Progressive Calendar 10.21.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 01:43:24 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.21.10 1. Ken Pentel/KFAI 10.21 9am 2. Farheen Hakeem/KFAI 10.21 9:30am 3. Eagan peace vigil 10.21 4:30pm 4. Northtown vigil 10.21 5pm 5. 4CD candidates 10.21 6pm 6. Pentel/Hamline 10.21 6:30pm 7. Stop FBI 10.21 7pm 8. Iraq/middle class 10.21 7pm 9. Catholic/gay marry 10.21 7pm 10. Amnesty Intl 10.21 7:15pm 11. Palestine vigil 10.22 4:15pm 12. Merriam potluck 10.22 6:30pm 13. Coleen Rowley 10.22 7:30pm 14. Peace walk 10.23 9am Cambridge MN 15. Health advocacy 10.23 9:30am StPeter MN 16. Wool/books/bakery 10.23 10am 17. Bioneers 10.23-24 18. Protest Obama/FBI 10.23 11:30am 19. CUAPB 10.23 1:30pm 20. Northtown vigil 10.23 2pm 21. StopFBI-MN - 62 MN legislators sign letter condemning FBI raids! 22. Grace Kelly - The many ways of Sheriff Bob Fletcher's mis-management 23. Philippe Marlire - France erupts; Sarkozy under siege 24. Tariq Ali - A tale of two nations: red hot France; tepid Britain 25. Charles Sullivan - America's false consciousness 26. Joel Hirschhorn - How voting perpetuates evil --------1 of 26-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Ken Pentel/KFAI 10.21 9am Thur.Oct. 21, 9am: KFAI Radio 90.3 fm Mpls/106.7 fm St.Paul ONLINE:Live-streaming & archived for 2 weeks each program's page at http://www.kfai.org 9 AM:CATALYST:politics & culture, hosted by Lydia Howell, with special guest co-host Dustin Hinz interviewing KEN PENTEL running for Minnesota Governor on the ECOLOGY DEMOCRACY PARTY. Pentel digs deep into the structural problems of the electoral system and economy that are destroying our environment and increasing inequality as wealth is conentrating in fewer hands. --------2 of 26-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Farheen Hakeem/KFAI 10.21 9:30am 9:30 AM NORHTERN SUN NEWS, hosted by Don Olson. 90.3 fm Mpls/106.7 fm St.Paul Hear from FARHEEN HAKIM, running for MInnesota Governor on the GREEN PARTY. Hakim previously ran for Minneapolis mayor and has a long history of peace and justice activism. She's been a voice for youth, civil liberties and confronting anti-Muslim discimination. Also hear from ANNIE YOUNG, also of the GREEN PARTY,who is running for re-election on the Hennepin Park and Rec Board. --------3 of 26-------- From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com> Subject: Eagan peace vigil 10.21 4:30pm PEACE VIGIL EVERY THURSDAY from 4:30-5:30pm on the Northwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Yankee Doodle Road in Eagan. We have signs and candles. Say "NO to war!" The weekly vigil is sponsored by: Friends south of the river speaking out against war. --------4 of 26-------- From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 10.21 5pm NORTHTOWN Peace Vigil every Thursday 5-6pm, at the intersection of Co. Hwy 10 and University Ave NE (SE corner across from Denny's), in Blaine. Communities situated near the Northtown Mall include: Blaine, Mounds View, New Brighton, Roseville, Shoreview, Arden Hills, Spring Lake Park, Fridley, and Coon Rapids. We'll have extra signs. For more information people can contact Evangelos Kalambokidis by phone or email: (763)574-9615, ekalamboki [at] aol.com. --------5 of 26-------- To: birch7 [at] comcast.net Subject: 4CD candidates 10.21 6pm Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice St., St. Paul, MN 55103 651-789-0118 4th Congressional District Candidate Forum Steve Carlson Teresa Collett Betty McCollum [As usual, minor party candidates are excluded. Let them know you don't like that. Give McCollum a piece of your mind. Vote instead for Amber Garlan, Green. -ed] Thursday October 21, 2010 6:00-7:30 p.m. Wilder Center Auditorium 451 Lexington Parkway N. near University Ave Free and open to the public --------6 of 26-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Pentel/Hamline 10.21 6:30pm Thursday, October 21st 6:30pm- Hamline University, sponsored by the Native American Student Association, Sorin Hall, A&B room, Englewood & Hewitt streets --------7 of 26-------- From: kimd <kimdefranco [at] yahoo.com> Subject: Stop FBI 10.21 7pm Solidarity Meeting to defend anti-war activists and to resist the FBI harassment and repression We still won't be Silenced! Thanks to Everyone one who are coming to the meetings and getting involved to stop the FBI harassment and repression. Defend the right to dissent! Defend international solidarity with peoples' movements around the world. Last Thursday Oct 14's meeting was canceled. HOWEVER This Thursday Oct 21's meeting is on - 7 PM @ WALKER CHURCH (3104 16th Ave S) Next meeting after that: Thursday, November 4th @ 7 PM @ WALKER CHURCH --------8 of 26-------- From: Joe Schwartzberg <schwa004 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Iraq/middle class 10.21 7pm THIRD THURSDAY GLOBAL ISSUES FORUM Free and open to the public Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, 511 Groveland Avenue, Minneapolis (at Lyndale and Hennepin). Park in church lot. Thursday, October 21, 7:00-9:00 p.m. "THE UNRETURNED," IRAQ'S DISPLACED MIDDLE CLASS Iraq's on-going middle-class refugee disaster is a crucial, but seldom acknowledged, reason why peace in Iraq remains so elusive. Forty percent of Iraq's professional class is now among the 4.7 million refugees displaced in neighboring countries. This is an unmitigated disaster, a shattered nation that desperately needs its native professional class to rebuild. Filmed in Syria and Jordan, and shot in the verité style, The Unreturned lets the displaced Iraqis speak for themselves. It vividly portrays the lives of five such individuals from different ethnicities and religions and chronicles the ways by which they cope with adversity. Discussion will follow the showing of this 70-minute film. Come early so as not to miss anything. Presenter: NATHAN FISHER. Fisher has an MA in documentary filmmaking from the New School University in New York. His films situate individual experience within a context of broader social forces. Critically acclaimed, The Unreturned was voted the "best" of the 2010 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival and was described in City Pages as "artful and unflinching, - a feat of remarkable cinematic agility." Prior to making that work, Fisher produced and co- edited Gimme Delta, a 2008 documentary on suburban development and urban sprawl in the San Francisco Bay area. He was recently awarded a Jerome Foundation grant for emerging artists. Respondent: SAMI RASOULI. An Iraqi-american businessman, Rasouli returned to Iraq after the US invasion and works there with the Muslim Peacemakers team. His contacts are very broad and he is up to date on developments in his native country. Sponsor Organizations: Minnesota Chapter, Citizens for Global Solutions; Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers; United Nations Association of Minnesota; Social Concerns Committee, Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church --------9 of 26-------- From: Amber Garlan <agarlan [at] hammclinic.org> Subject: Catholic/gay marraige 10.21 7pm On Thursday 10/21/10 from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening Daniel Maguire will talk on "Why you can be Catholic and support gay marriage". St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove St., Minneapolis, MN 55403. --------10 of 26-------- From: Gabe Ormsby <gabeo [at] bitstream.net> Subject: Amnesty Intl 10.21 7:15pm AIUSA Group 315 (Wayzata/Western suburbs) meets on Thursday, October 21st, at 7:15 p.m. at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Wayzata (near the intersection of Rt. 101 and Minnetonka Blvd). --------11 of 26-------- From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net> Subject: Palestine vigil 10.22 4:15pm The weekly vigil for the liberation of Palestine continues at the intersection of Snelling and Summit Aves in St. Paul. The Friday demo starts at 4:15 and ends around 5:30. There are usually extra signs available. --------12 of 26-------- From: "Krista Menzel (Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace)" <web [at] MPPeace.org> Subject: Merriam potluck 10.22 6:30pm 2010 Merriam Park Neighbors for Peace Potlucks We hold a monthly potluck at a member's home or go out to dinner together - usually on a Friday at 6:30 p.m. Friday, October 22, 2010 Please e-mail info [at] mppeace.org or call Anne at (651) 647-0580 or Krista at (651) 641-7592 for more information. http://www.mppeace.org/events/ --------13 of 26-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Coleen Rowley 10.22 7:30pm Coleen Rowley: "Civil Rights and Effective Investigations" Friday, October 22, 7:30 p.m. Twin Cities Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Avenue, St. Paul. Coleen Rowley exposed the FBI's mishandling of information related to the 9/11 attacks and was named one of Time Magazine's Persons of the Year in 2002. Coleen is a staunch member of Minnesota's peace community. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call Don, 612-724-3061. --------14 of 26-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 10.23 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------15 of 26-------- From: Bonnie Watkins <bonnie [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Health advocacy 10.23 9:30am StPeterMN October 23: Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition and the Campaign for the MN Health Plan Organizing and Advocacy Training on the Minnesota Health Plan. Full day education and advocacy held from 9:30 AM - 3 PM. Morning education session only held from 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM at Saint Peter Senior Center, 600 S Fifth St., Suite 219. St., Saint Peter. Pre-registration required. Suggested donation: $25 full day; $10 students; $15 morning only. --------16 of 26-------- From: "Susan Hensel Design,LLC" <Susan_Hensel_Design_LLC [at] mail.vresp.com> Subject: Wool/books/bakery 10.23 10am Coming Soon! As if the Wool Market Isn't Enough! South Minneapolis Wild Wool Market Returns! Saturday,October 23, 10-4 - http://cts.vresp.com/c/?SusanHenselDesignLLC/5df1383543/36cd7da22b/d8f8d02bb1 , The wool market returns with lots of fibery goodness. Come to 3441 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, to see some of your favorite fiber people in action! You will find materials for spinning, felting & knitting; tapestry; weaving demonstrations and completed weavings; spinning demos; recycled fibers and MORE! Barbara Koppang Susan Hensel Pauline Mitchell Chiaki O'Brien Pam Angier Stephanie Moss Kat Corrigan The annual Corcoran Book Sale event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 23 from 9:00 to 4:00 featuring books of all kinds priced from $0.50 to $2.50, as well as baked goods. Proceeds from the sale benefit CNOs work. The book sale is in the Corcoran Office, at the corner of Cedar Ave. and 35th St., just 3 doors south of Susan Hensel Gallery! What could be better? Wool + Books + Baked Goods + Coffee! [Belly dance? -ed] --------17 of 26-------- From: lydiahowell [at] comcast.net Subject: Bioneers 10.23-24 Â OCT.23-24 NORTHOLAND BIONEERS @ MACALASTER COLLEGE, ST.PAUL http://www.nbconference.org Northland Sustainable Solutions presents: 5th annual Northland Bioneers Conference October 23-24, 2010 Macalester College, St. Paul, MN Join us for this inspiring weekend, now a Twin Cities tradition! Keynote lectures and panels given by local and regional experts Workshops on relocalizing our food, solar and wind energy, many other topics Neighborhood networking, facilitated by the Alliance for Sustainability Exhibits by local businesses and non-profit groups Keynotes by: Dr. Massoud Amin, Director of Technology at the U of MN, Expert on the need for a "smart" electrical grid in the U. S. Dr. Roopali Phadke, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Policy and Politics at Macalester, whose research is on water issues and environmental awareness around the world Timothy DenHerder-Thomas, 2009 graduate of Macalester, recipient of the Mario Savio award, founder of the national student group Summer of Solutions Bill and Rebecca Wilson, Midwest Permaculture GO TO WEBSITE FOR COMPLETE SCHEDULE http://www.nbconference.org --------18 of 26-------- From: Meredith Aby <riot369 [at] gmail.com> Subject: Protest Obama/FBI 10.23 11:30am Obama: Stop the Attacks on the Anti-War Movement! Saturday, October 23rd @ U of M Northrop Auditorium, 84 Church St SE, Minneapolis 11:30 - Meet in front of Coffman Union to pick up "Stop FBI" outreach supplies 12:00 - AWC rally starts in front of Northrop Auditorium, Gates open for Obama event at 1:00 pm. President Obama is coming to MN. While he's here lets take our message to him directly and demand that he call off the grand jury and stop repressing the anti-war movement! We'll be posting more details soon! Initiated by the Anti-War Committee. For more info go to antiwarcommittee.org or mnstopfbi.wordpress.com --------19 of 26-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 10.23 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) --------20 of 26-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 10.23 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------21 of 26-------- Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2010 18:58:18 -0700 From: deblkon [at] yahoo.com Subject: [StopFBI-MN] 62 legislators sign on to letter/resolution condemning FBI raids! To: stopfbi-mn [at] googlegroups.com Rep Clark and Sen Berglin introduced a resolution at the Special Session on Monday to show support for the anti-war activists targeted by the FBI and to disavow the FBI practices threatening civil liberties. They also circulated a letter addressed to the MN Congresspeople, Senators Klobuchar and Franken and President Obama which contained the resolution. 62 Senators and Representatives (about 1/3 of the legislature) signed on to this letter. We were also told that more would have signed on had there been more time to ciruculate it (the Special Session lasted less than 3 hours). [Applause - ed] --------22 of 26-------- Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 15:15:03 +1300 (NZDT) From: "Grace Kelly (nicknamed Kelly)" <thegracekelly [at] q.com> To: stpaul-issues [at] forums.e-democracy.org Subject: [SPIF] The Many Ways of Sheriff Bob Fletcher Mis-Management In Bob Fletcher's time as Ramsey County Sheriff, he has gone over $5 million over budget. He sued for the right to go over budget. Contrast this overspending with all the other law enforcement agencies, like the St Paul police force, that managed to stay in budget. However the budget is just a symptom of Sheriff Fletcher's mis-management. My 15 years of experience as corporate project manager told me that if the money is mismanaged, then I should look further. On videos, I have retired and reserve deputies talking about how the focus of the Sheriff's department has become more towards getting Bob Fletcher re-elected and less towards providing public safety. Instead of offering promotions and positions based on seniority and merit, promotions and positions are based on being "Friends of Bob". A "Friend of Bob" volunteered or donated to Bob Fletchers campaign, did favors for Bob or just did what Bob asked. Sometimes some of those requests for were for actions that should not have been done. I am using the term, "Friends of Bob", because that is what the system is called inside the department. Just like the Metro Gang Strike Force where Bob Fletcher had a key leadership role, there is severely missing or sloppy paperwork. Written evaluations are never done. Manual and processes are not reviewed and revised. The rules of process and procedures are not followed, even threatening the safety of lives. For example, proper procedures like checking people in the jail regularly would prevent deaths. Sheriff Fletcher's jail has had deaths from medical reasons and from suicide. On video, Retired Ramsey County Deputy Cynthia Bell describes how training was be limited because extra funds would run out in September. Funds were spent on creating special programs or units like the "Cold Case" unit that was created to investigate one of Chief Finney's old cases. Sheriff Fletcher was running against Chief Finney at the time. Assignments to the new units were based on being "Friends of Bob". Evie Pedersen, a retired Ramsey County deputy, also describes the political patronage system of Sheriff Fletcher. Evie volunteered on a Ramsey County Sheriff Fletcher campaign and therefore received better job assignments. Specifically she received an choice "Asian Gang" special unit assignment. Later, Evie testifies that when she did not do and would not agree with everything that Bob Fletcher wanted, that she was constantly moved about. When Bob Fletcher took over the Sheriff's department, the seniority system was discarded, and assignments were based on Bob Fletcher's favor. These are the examples of what Retired Ramsey County Deputy Evie Pedersen observed: * In a quickly planned trip, Evie observed Sheriff Bob Fletcher and 4 deputies jump in a van to check out how gang force units operate in California. * Despite shortages of equipment, an 18 person van was purchased to transport Asian youth around, for social purposes, not law enforcement purposes. This van was only used for Asian youth and no other minorities. There is a rumor that a second van was purchased, after she left the department. * In one of Evie's positions, she prepared sex offender notifications that she never observed being distributed. * People were paid from different budgets that are not necessarily the assignments that they were working on. * Evie describes how she used a computer for years of work that had been seized in a search warrant and not returned. * Evie describes how outsiders had been picked from outside the Sheriff's department and given top positions, sometimes with newly created titles. * Evie recommends that an audit be done in Sheriff' Fletcher's department. An anonymous source described to me how Bob Fletcher once even created a new job position just for a demotion. This means that people's time and skills are not being effectively or efficiently used. I once observed over 10 Ramsey county deputies who waited around for a whole morning just to provide a visual presence for Bob Fletcher when he testified before a state committee meeting. Speakers are scheduled ahead of time so all the deputies could do was stand or sit around. Reserve Deputy James Hereaux also describes Sheriff Fletcher's punitive management style on video. Not only are deputies expected to work on campaigns, they are expected to put up campaign signs illegally. Collaborating evidence is found Bob Fletcher's financial statements. According to my rough counts, in the last Bob Fletcher finance report, there are 58 donors (31%) that list the Ramsey County Sheriff's office address. Another 58 donors (31%) list "Best Effort" which I think means they made failed to get paperwork which is also supports the claims of a management style that does not go through proper procedure and paperwork. Those "Best Effort" donors could all also be from Ramsey County. So only 73 donors (38%) are known to be from diverse sources. Collaborating evidence is also from this portion of a letter published in Highland Villager, October 13 - 26, 2010, by Ron Petrusson from Summit Hill: "I'm a recently retired commander in the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office. I served under Bob Fletcher for his 16-year-tenure. I was a Fletcher supporter in his first and even his second term. However, as time went on, it became apparent that FLetcher cared much less for public safety and the citizens of Ramsey County than he did for his own agenda and continued re-election. Fletcher has appointed more than 30 friends, relatives, and political workers outside of the normal civil service hiring channels. He lost a $750,000 lawsuit for transferring and in essence demoting a lieutenant and sergeant who had opposed him in the previous election. There have been no measurements of performance in place. Fletcher's political appointees, however, are brought in a high rank and pay levels. Wasteful spending has been the hallmark of Fletcher's tenure. Although Fletcher denies overspending his budget, the fact is that he has overspent a minimum of $5 million in his combined annual budgets. Additionally, taxpayer funds have been used to directly enhance Bob Fletcher's campaign efforts. For example, when Bill Finney ran for sheriff, Fletcher opened and outreach center in the African-American community:Costs fro building rental, staffing and equipment for this center ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the same time, Fletcher created a previously nonexistent Cold Case Unit to reopen the Barbara Winn homicide case in which Finney's friend Aaron Foster was a suspect. The Cold Case Unit has not existed since that investigation. Under Fletcher, the Sheriff's Office has never had a strategic plan. The Sheriff's policy and procedure manual has not been updated in 16 years." Ramsey county pays an incredible number of civil rights lawsuits because Bob Fletcher's mismanagement like a $750,000 lawsuit from an employee who campaigned against him. There is even a current pending civil lawsuit that Chris Tayson has against Sheriff Bob Fletcher and his department. Internal affairs is widely used as leverage as well as punishment assignments, sometimes to have people take the blame for something that they are not to blame for. Then the Sheriff can claim the one-bad-apple defense when in truth Sheriff Fletcher's mismanagement is the cause. If there is civil lawsuit, it is usually settled out of court with a gag order. Notice how Sheriff Fletcher wins in all possible outcomes and Ramsey county does not get to even find out about our poor law enforcement service. Even with the gag orders that prevent people from talking about what happened, you would think that the sheer numbers and amounts of civil lawsuits would tell the story. The people who believe in the second amendment civil rights of gun carrying have had extraordinary courage in telling about the Fletchers mis-management. Fletcher has the highest denials in the state, over 10%. Not only are the denials high but a person, Michelle Rae Wilson, was approved, who should not have been approved. She later committed murder. Through this event, it was discovered that Sheriff Fletcher's department was very sloppy in matching names to do the paperwork checking, so the reports of two different people were credited to only one person. Collaborating evidence of Bob Fletcher's effect on other law enforcement groups from former Chief John Harrington, available on video: "I have had cases where civilian staff with no law enforcement staff at all were in my briefings and we had to toss them out." And then there is the ultimate proof of mismanagement when two top level employees of Sheriff Fletcher's department are now convicted felons: "Two former employees of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department were sentenced Friday to nearly three years in prison after a federal jury found them guilty of conspiracy and theft of government funds." (Fox News) The strongest testimonial is 130 major endorsements that Fletcher's opponent, Matt Bostrom, is receiving from all over Ramsey county, from both parties and from diverse issue related groups because they have all had interactions with the current Sheriff's department. You might now be wondering, why there is so much evidence in one letter and why I saved it to write all at once. I am doing this to protect the people who speak out. I talked to many people who who have experience inside the Sheriff's office. Most would only speak off the record, however people who go into law enforcement usually want to be heroes. And there are a few heroes who are going on the record. Many anonymous sources support what is being said on the record and no one gave me contradictory evidence. Let's make something clear, people who speak out against Fletcher are taking on the strong risk of Sheriff Fletcher's vindictiveness, so speaking out is a strong act of courage. These people speaking out are heroes! Grace Kelly nicknamed Kelly Still Speaking Out in Merriam Park Complete article with links and videos here: http://tinyurl.com/3xbdubl --------23 of 26-------- France Erupts Sarkozy Under Siege By PHILIPPE MARLIRE October 20, 2010 CounterPunch When he entered the Elyse palace in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy dreamed of a glorious destiny. Enthusiastic commentators predicted that his casual populism would revamp the Bonapartist right, and that his Gallic brand of neoliberal policies would sell the "American dream" to a mistrustful population. Things have not gone according to plan. Sarkozy wanted to be the French JFK; today he looks more like Louis XVI awaiting trial in 1793. He may escape the guillotine, but his presidency is now under siege. The French are deeply unhappy with the way they have been governed, but their main grievance is about pension reform, which is seen as a cynical ploy to make ordinary people work more for inferior entitlements, while bailed-out bankers and the rich get tax rebates and continue to enjoy the high life. Over the past month, six national demonstrations have gathered together an estimated average of 3.5 million per action day. The latest, on Tuesday, was again a big success. The movement is popular: 69% of the nation back the strikes and demonstrations; 73% want the government to withdraw the reform. And high school pupils have now joined the fray. Over 1,000 high schools are on strike as the youngsters take to the streets to protest against mass unemployment and the raising of the retirement age. The government has patronisingly labelled them as "manipulated kids", but these comments have backfired and served only to galvanise the young, who have hardened their resistance and taken further interest in the reform. When interviewed by the media, pupils come across as articulate and knowledgable. Parents worry about their children's future, so they will not stop them from striking. In France, strikes and demonstrations are seen as a civilised and effective way to enact one's citizenship. Students are expected to join marches from an early age, receiving by the same token a "political education". France's youth have always scared governments because of their radical potential. Student demonstrations of late have been invariably popular because people know that the young have been badly hit by unemployment over the past 30 years. University students are preparing to strike as well. Sarkozy, like Louis XVI in 1789, does not seem to have grasped how volatile the situation has become. He should know better. Since May 1968, all governments have been forced on the ropes every time youngsters have entered a social movement. This time it could prove crucial in helping to reach a tipping point; a stage in the conflict where the balance of power switches from the government toward those opposing the pension reform. Last week, Sarkozy had to send in riot police to reopen fuel depots blocked by strikes in several places. Yet several hundred filling stations had to shut because they had run out of supplies. Lorry and train drivers are also starting strike actions. How can the current situation be interpreted? Undoubtedly, the rebellion seems durable and runs deeper than the question of pensions. The reform has triggered a web of collective actions that are now spreading fast. Discontent is fuelled by low incomes and unemployment, but also by the impact of the crisis on people's daily life, the arrogance of the Sarkozy presidency, corruption cases and police brutality. There is a sense of moral outrage at the imposition of a neoliberal medicine to cure an illness caused by the same neoliberal policies. The French are not hostile to reforms: they just demand those that redistribute wealth and allocate resources to those who need it the most. Any comparison with May '68, however, may be hasty. Then, France was experiencing a period of economic prosperity. Today, events occur in the context of a deep economic depression. This is why the political situation is potentially explosive. Radicalised workers and youngsters are forcing the unions to up their game. The normally toothless Socialist party has pledged to return the retirement age to 60, should it come back to power in 2012. One can envisage two possible scenarios. Opposition to the reform hardens, in which case Sarkozy may have to water it down or even withdraw it. This would mark the first major popular victory in Europe against the post-2008 neoliberal order. Alternatively, Sarkozy stays put and imposes a deeply unpopular reform, in which case the political price to pay for the incumbent president would be very high, should he decide to run again in 2012. Philippe Marlire is professor of French and European politics at University College, London (UK). He can be reached at p.marliere [at] ucl.ac.uk. --------24 of 26-------- A Tale of Two Nations Red Hot France; Tepid Britain By TARIQ ALI October 20, 2010 CounterPunch France is grinding to a standstill as millions of workers and students erupt in the streets at the government's prposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. Across the Channel, the new Tory Chancellor has announced savage cuts in public expenditures that will slice away more than a million jobs, drive workers out of south east England and doom the country to years of austerity (unequally imposed, bien sur.) Yet the response has been muted. [Sounds like spineless wimpy on-our-knees America -ed] A few years ago, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy told an interviewer that he knew the French better than most. Today, he confided, they were admiring the good looks of his wife; tomorrow they would cut his throat. It hasn't quite come to that just yet, but the French - students and workers, men and women, citizens all - are out on the streets again. A rise in the pension age? Impossible. The barricades are up, oil supplies running out, trains and planes on a skeleton schedule and the protests are still escalating. More than three million people a week ago. Hundreds of thousands out this week, a million yesterday, and more expected this weekend. And what a joyous sight: school students marching in defense of old people's rights. Were there a Michelin Great Protest guide, France would still be top with three stars, with Greece a close second with two stars. What a contrast with the miserable, measly actions being planned by the lily-livered English trade unions. There is growing anger and bitterness here too, but it is being recuperated by a petrified bureaucracy. A ritual protest has been planned, largely to demonstrate that they are doing something. But is this something better than nothing? Perhaps. I'm not totally sure. But even these mild attempts to rally support against the austerity measures are too much for dear leader Ed Miliband. He won't be seen at them. He has renegued on a promise - made when he was seeking union support for his leadership bid) to show up at a union rally. The rot of Blairism goes deep in the Labour party. A crushing defeat last year might have produced something a bit better than the shower that constitutes the front bench. Ed Balls, the bulldog, might have gone for the jugular but he has been neutered. Instead, the new front bench is desperate to prove that it could easily be part of the coalition and not just on Afghanistan. There is growing bitterness and growing anger in England, too, but not much else so far. It could change. The French epidemic could spread, but nothing will happen from above. Young and old fought against Thatcher and lost. Her New Labor successors made sure that the defeats she inflicted were institutionalized. This is a country without an official opposition. An extra-parliamentary upheaval is not simply necessary to combat the cuts, but also to enhance democracy that at the moment is designed to further corporate interests and little more. Bailouts for bankers and the rich, an obscene level of defense expenditure to fight Washington's wars, and cuts for the less well off and the poor. A topsy-turvy world produces its own priorities. They need to be contested. These islands have a radical past, after all, that is not being taught in the history modules on offer. Given the inability of the official parliament to meet real needs why not the convocation of regional and national assemblies with a social charter that can be fought for and defended just as Shelley advised just under two centuries ago, shortly after the massacre of workers at Peterloo. Ye who suffer woes untold Or to feel or to behold Your lost country bought and sold With a price of blood and gold. [. . .] Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you. Ye are many, they are few. Tariq Ali's latest book "The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad" is published by Verso this month. --------25 of 26-------- America's False Consciousness by Charles Sullivan October 20th, 2010 Dissident Voice An essay authored by Patrick Martin, and published at the World Socialist Web Site on October 13, 2010, revealed some interesting findings regarding the approval ratings of Democratic and Republican members of Congress. Martin's piece was titled "Demagogy and Duplicity: The Democrats in the 2010 Elections:. He cites data from a Zogby International Poll of independent voters which found that "only 13% gave a favorable rating to congressional Democrats and only 5% to Congressional Republicans". Considering that the U.S. is the most conservative developed nation on earth, these are astonishing revelations. Poll after poll indicates that voters have lost faith in the Democratic and Republican Parties, whose respective approval ratings have fallen to historical lows. The Zogby findings indicate a repudiation of right-wing politics by those who are not wed to either of the major political parties. No one associates liberalism with the Republicans; however, it is equally clear that the Democrats do not have a functioning left-wing either. The electoral choices are between right-wing candidates in the Democrat and Republican parties, despite the offerings of political parties and organizations operating outside of the mainstream. As a result, all of the contests are between pro-corporate candidates who occupy the extreme right of the political spectrum. The only message that reaches the public ear is that of the ruling class. Thus the continuity of results is assured. The paradox is that while independent working class people have overwhelmingly rejected right-wing policies, the country nevertheless continues to lurch further to the right. This happens when voters mistake politicians like Obama for a liberal or a Socialist. Conservative and liberal working class people should be philosophically and ethically opposed to any political party that undermines their social and economic interests. Almost inexplicably, conservatives continue to identify themselves with Republicans and liberals with Democrats. Traditional conservatives and traditional liberals, while still in existence, are politically extinct. Neither conservatives nor liberals are organized into a viable political force. They are fighting one another while the super-rich are looting the public treasure and privatizing the public domain. Traditional conservatives and traditional liberals were replaced by neoconservatives and neoliberals, which are entirely different animals. We behave as if the terms "conservative" and "liberal" and the parties they were traditionally associated with continue to exist and function the way they did in the past. Liberalism no longer finds articulation in the Democratic Party. Cynthia McKinney may have been the last truly liberal Democrat. McKinney, like the liberal wing of the party itself, was abandoned when the party sold out its liberal base to pursue corporate bribes in order to compete with the Republicans. As a result, the left continues to ineffectually grope for political expression. The trouble is that the people do not comprehend who or what the real enemy is. Let me clarify it for them: The enemy is the ruling class, its social, financial, and political institutions, and the capitalist system that spawned them. Its enemy is the corporate state and the commercial media in its various forms of expression. It is irrational, if not delusional, for working class people to support candidates and policies to which they are philosophically opposed. And yet that is what they are doing. As recent polls make clear, neither conservatives nor progressives want to have their social security benefits cut. They do not want to see their retirement benefits reduced, or their Medicare and Medicaid payments slashed. The unemployed do not want their unemployment checks cut or eliminated, as some Republican members of Congress advocate. Workers do not want the retirement age raised. They do not want to see college tuition priced out of reach to all but the wealthy. The working class consists of liberals and conservatives. It encompasses the devoted followers of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. However, Beck, Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and all of the other right-wing crackpots support such policies, as do most Democrats, including President Obama. Why would any working class person, Democrat or Republican, support any of these charlatans? Why would they support a social and economic system that exploits and subjugates them? Clearly they do not understand that system or the alternatives that are available to it. The answer is that Americans are too indoctrinated to see clearly. The majority exists in a media-induced state of false consciousness. To them, up is down and down is up. Brown is white and white is brown. The people are confused and disoriented. They are misled and lied to. They are looking for quick and easy fixes to complex problems that were long in the making. For the reasons outlined above, voting cannot cure what ails America. The game is fixed. The appearance of choice is an illusion, an utter hoax. Political and media demagogues portray liberals (progressives & Socialists), which continue to be miscast as democrats, as the enemy of the working class. Working people do not comprehend that the benefits they are fighting to preserve were the result of progressive policies, many of them stemming from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Conservatives, neoconservatives, and neoliberals have always opposed these policies and have fought to end them since the day of their inception. Let us not forget that FDR was accused by one of his adversaries of being "a traitor to his class". It would be a mistake, however, to confuse FDR for a genuine progressive. Certainly he was no socialist. It was his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, a Democratic Socialist, not FDR, who was the principal architect of The New Deal. It should be noted, too, that The New Deal excluded most blacks. It was essentially affirmative action for whites. Spooked by the social unrest engendered by The Great Depression, FDR, an avowed capitalist, perceived these policies as the only way to save capitalism from the socialist threat of his time. Roosevelt was correct in his assessment. It would have been better for the nation in the long run if FDR did not enact The New Deal. If he had not, it is likely that massive social upheaval would have ensued, and Socialism may well have supplanted capitalism as the dominant paradigm. Before any of my readers point out the failure of Soviet Socialism, particularly under the murderous Stalin regime, let me state that this was not Socialism as Marx, Engels, and Trotsky envisioned it; it was state capitalism. Similarly, if President Obama did not bail out America's financial institutions with public funds, global capitalism would have collapsed. Predicated upon greed and exploitation, these institutions should have been allowed to fail, bringing down the global capitalist economy. If Adam Smith's much ballyhooed, "invisible hand of the market" actually existed, the world today would look very different than it did a few short years ago. We might actually be in recovery. Now we are waiting for the next onslaught. History demonstrates that free (deregulated) markets, the Holy Grail of Milton Friedman's capitalism, do not actually exist. They never have. Free market capitalism is an ideological myth that is reified in our culture. Markets are always manipulated by elites for the sole benefit of elites. Otherwise the global economy would have fallen like a row of dominoes two years ago. What we witnessed was Socialism (public funds) propping up capitalism (privately owned financial institutions). All of the benefit, to the tune of $13.8 trillion, went to the financial institutions and to the elite. Working people were rewarded with government-imposed austerity. This has occurred not only in the U.S. but elsewhere in the world. The international financial aristocracy is laying the foundation for global governance. The public domain is being privatized. The poor are no longer part of the social and political discourse. As a result of these policies, there is social turmoil in every capitalist nation on earth, except the U.S. Compared to the rest of the world, Americans are comatose, which is the result of so many people being informed by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other wealthy demagogues working the airwaves on behalf of the ruling class. Most Americans are informed by ideology, not by facts. This is what Friedrich Nietzsche meant by conviction. Reality pales before the shadow of belief and false hope. Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" comes to mind. Fantasy becomes the norm. Capitalism would not long endure in the presence of collective true consciousness. It exists by deceit. Charles Sullivan is a naturalist and free-lance writer residing in the hinterlands of geopolitical West Virginia. --------26 of 26-------- How Voting Perpetuates Evil by Joel S. Hirschhorn October 20th, 2010 Dissident Voice For many years Americans have justified voting for candidates they were not especially thrilled with by convincing themselves that the lesser evil deserved to win office. The fraction of people totally committed to one of the two major parties is small. Most Americans see themselves as independents, liberals, conservatives, progressives or libertarians, but not as loyal Democrats or Republicans. Most Americans are fed up with both major parties, not just incumbents. But this year.s mid-term elections will once again result in only Democratic or Republican candidates winning. Other than staying home and not voting, nearly all voters will employ the lesser-evil justification. Just one problem: That lesser-evil strategy has resulted in the dismal state of the nation that angers most Americans. The only logical conclusion is that lesser-evil voting perpetuates all the cancerous evil plaguing the political system. This should not surprise anyone. Regardless of party affiliation, major party candidates convincingly lie to voters and the tons of money poured into politics create a mass propaganda machine from both parties that deceives voters. Lesser-evil voting sometimes works in favor of Democrats and sometimes favors Republicans. Negative advertising creates fear of some candidates and media pundits and celebrities use their considerable power to give voters reasons to vote for or against candidates. The thirst for true reforms of government persists, as evidenced by the Tea Party movement and even the election of President Obama. It is the force that moves the pendulum from one party to the other. When will Americans wake up and realize that lesser evil still means evil? Least bad still means bad. Least corrupt still means corrupt. Least dishonest still means dishonest. Least stupid still means stupid. But many people despairingly see no other option if they want to fulfill their civic responsibility and participate in elections. That is because the two major parties have given Americans no real options. They like the lesser-evil system that sustains the two-party plutocracy. Only voters in Nevada can choose the "none of the above" option. The rest of us can stay home or vote for third party candidates that stand no real chance of winning. What to do? Stop deluding yourself that any Democrat or Republican in Congress or the White House will actually do absolutely everything, even if it means not winning reelection, to reform the corrupt, dysfunctional, wasteful government system being controlled by wealthy people and corporate interests, and devastating ordinary Americans. Your lesser-evil vote perpetuates evil. Do you want to live with that? Accept the ugly reality that voting within the electoral system is no longer capable of reforming and fixing our government. Is that it? Is there nothing else to do in our constitutional republic? Actually, there is something else. The Founders put an alternative path to reform in the Constitution. In their wisdom they foresaw the possibility that the electoral system might fail we the people. Very few Americans know about this option in Article V, which itself speaks volumes about the decay of our educational and political systems. State convention delegates could propose reform constitutional amendments that would never be proposed by Congress, and they would still have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Instead of feeling frustrated with lesser-evil voting take the time to learn about the Article V convention option and why Congress has refused to honor the hundreds of state applications for one. Friends of the Article V Convention, a national nonpartisan group, makes those applications available on its website, something that Congress never did, as well as many other resources. Political powers on the left and right have worked hard to prevent the Article V convention option from ever being used. That should tell you that what they fear we the people need now more than ever before. The main thing to fear is the status quo political system that your lesser-evil votes sustain. Only vote for someone who you deeply believe without reservations is the absolute best person to have in office. That may mean not voting for every office on the ballot. Joel S. Hirschhorn has a new book, Delusional Democracy: Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government, which supports constitutional conventions and other peaceful ways to restore American democracy. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ - 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 for governor now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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