Progressive Calendar 03.10.11
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:34:28 -0800 (PST)
              P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   03.10.11

1. Eagan peace vigil 3.10 4:30pm
2. Northtown vigil   3.10 5pm
3. Skeptics drink    3.10 5pm
4. Terror v Cuba     3.10 7:30pm
5. Majora Carter     3.10 7:30pm

6. Palestine vigil   3.11 4:15pm
7. Foodshare         3.11 4:30pm

8. State Journal - 'General Strike!' 1000s storm, reoccupy Wisc capitol
10. John Nichols - Lawless legislators approve anti-worker agenda
11. Paul Street  - "We have to do it ourselves"

--------1 of 11--------

From: Greg and Sue Skog <family4peace [at] msn.com>
Subject: Eagan peace vigil 3.10 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.


--------2 of 11--------

From: EKalamboki [at] aol.com
Subject: Northtown vigil 3.10 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.


--------3 of 11--------

From: Minnesota Atheists <web [at] mnatheists.org>
Subject: Skeptics drink 3.10 5pm

Thursday, March 10, 5:00pm [27]Minneapolis Skeptics - Drinking Skeptically
Be-Wiched Deli, 800 Washington Ave. North, Minneapolis, MN 55401
  Links:
    27. http://www.meetup.com/Minneapolis-Skeptics/calendar/15325075

[I drink, therefore I am.
 Several leading members of the Mpls skeptics appear to have suspended
their judgment as to whether there really will be a meeting on 3.10. What
if it isn't there - then they'll just disturb their hard-won tranquillity
in the face of unjustified assertions. And some of them are not really
sure they went to the last one - they don't remember it (or anything else
during that afternoon) so maybe they had a _really_ good time.
 Remember - nothing ventured, nothing lost. And, the more you question,
the harder it is for the bastards to do you in. -ed]


--------4 of 11--------

From: Greg Klave <GregKlave [at] msn.com>
Subject: Terror v Cuba 3.10 7:30pm

U.S. Public Film Premier!  Don't Miss It!
A new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Saul Landau:
Will The Real Terrorist Please Stand Up?

A film about Terrorism! But this film is about terrorism from a
perspective apart from the US Government and main stream media. It the the
story of fifty years of violent US attacks on Cuba from the point of view
of people in real life historical drama and through rare archival footage.
>From the late 1950s in Cuba's eastern mountains, the film tracks the
revolution's collision course with US policy up to the present. Discussion
following film with Gary Prevost, Latin American Studies at St. John's &
St. Benedict's University at Pracna on Main next to theatre. Thursday
March 10 7:30pm St Anthony Main Theater

115 Main Street SE, Minneapolis-Free Parking at ramp on 2nd Ave SE & 2nd
St. SE


--------5 of 11----------

From: Institute on the Environment <schmitz [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Majora Carter 3.10 7:30pm

Join us this Thursday as Majora Carter kicks off Momentum 2011!
MOMENTUM 2011 | Ted Mann Concert Hall | Minneapolis | 7:30 p.m.
http://environment.umn.edu/momentum/eventseries/

The Institute on the Environment's new event series is bringing top
environmental visionaries to the Twin Cities for three nights filled with
engaging ideas and entertainment. Presenters will open your eyes and
enrich your mind as they move the conversation forward from global
problems to game-changing solutions. Encompassing science, arts, social
entrepreneurship and more, Momentum 2011 will inspire new ways of looking
at the world and our place in it.

Buy Tickets http://environment.umn.edu/momentum/eventseries/tickets

Majora Carter MARCH 10: YOU DON'T HAVE TO MOVE OUT OF YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD TO
LIVE IN A BETTER ONE Majora Carter simultaneously takes on public health,
poverty and climate change adaptation as one of the nation's pioneers of
environment-centered urban renewal and green-collar job training and
placement. (Featured performance by Ananya Dance Theatre)


--------6 of 11--------

From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at] riseup.net>
Subject: Palestine vigil 3.11 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.


--------7 of 11--------

From: Jhpalmerjp [at] aol.com
Subject: Foodshare 3.11 4:30pm

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to join Hallie Q. Brown
Community Center and Minnesota FoodShare for the March Campaign Kickoff,
Friday, March 11th from 4:30-6:30pm at Hallie Q. Brown Community Center.
During the month of March, Food shelves across the state participate in
the March Campaign, where Minnesota FoodShare matches all dollars and
pounds of food raised.  For more information, and a little "Impossible"
fun please visit our webpage at _www.hallieqbrown.org_
(http://www.hallieqbrown.org)  .

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center
270 N. Kent Street
Saint Paul, MN  55102


--------8 of 11--------

'General Strike!' Thousands Storm, Reoccupy Wisconsin Capitol in Response
to Legislative Votes
"We're not leaving. Not this time."
by the State Journal staff
Published on Thursday, March 10, 2011 by The Wisconsin State Journal

Thousands of protesters rushed to the state Capitol on Wednesday night as
word spread of the hastily called votes that sent Gov. Scott Walker's
controversial bill limiting collective bargaining rights for public
workers speeding through the Legislature.

Moments later, police ceded control of the State Street doors and allowed
the crowd to surge inside. The area outside the Assembly, which is
scheduled to take the bill up at 11 a.m. Thursday, was jammed with
protesters who chanted, "We're not leaving. Not this time."

Some said they planned to spend the night in the Capitol. Last week, a
Dane County Circuit Court judge ordered dozens of protesters who had been
occupying the Capitol for more than two weeks to leave.

It's not clear why police abandoned efforts to limit access to the Capitol
Wednesday night, but Department of Administration spokesman Tim Donovan
said "windows have been broken" to get in. He said he could not
immediately provide specifics.

Protesters jammed three floors of the Capitol and packed the bridges that
connect the four wings of the Capitol, prompting alarm by police and
others that those parts of the building might collapse.

Some union leaders interviewed Wednesday night at the Madison Labor Temple
indicated that strikes - which are illegal in Wisconsin for
public-employee unions - are possible.

"Senate Republicans have exercised the nuclear option to ram through their
bill attacking Wisconsin's working families in the dark of night," said
Phil Neuenfeldt, president of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. "Tonight's
events have demonstrated they will do or say anything to pass their
extreme agenda that attacks Wisconsin's working families."

The budget-repair bill had been stalled in the Senate since the body's 14
Democrats fled Wisconsin Feb. 17 in a desperate gambit to slow or stop
passage of the measure, which affects about 175,000 public employees.

Representatives of the union that represents blue-collar, technical and
safety officers at UW-Madison said the possibility of a general strike has
been discussed. "Anything is possible," said Local 171 steward Carl Aniel.

Aniel said only locals can call a strike, and it would be up to each one
to do so individually.

"It's clear that Walker is not interested in any sort of negotiations.
He's leaving the working class no other options," Aniel said.

Anne Habel, a steward with AFSCME Local 171, said Wednesday's action will
further inflame the unions, which have staged daily protests since Walker
introduced his budget repair bill in mid-February. "Every time something
happens, people become more militant," Habel said."

Ted Lewis, a union representative for Rock Valley Education Professionals,
led protesters in a cheer referring to the effort to recall the governor,
in office for just two tumultuous months.

"Scott, you don't remember me," Lewis chanted, "but I can recall you."

State Journal reporters Sandy Cullen, Steven Verburg, Ron Seely, Dan
Simmons, Devin Rose, Patricia Simms and Dee J. Hall contributed to this
report.

 2011 The Wisconsin State Journal.


--------10 of 11--------

Lawless Legislators Approve Wisconsin Governor's Anti-Worker Agenda
by John Nichols
Published on Thursday, March 10, 2011 by The Nation "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

Wisconsin State Representative Mark Pocan, the former co-chair of the
legislature's powerful Joint Finance Committee, says he is starting to
feel as if he lives in a "third world junta".

Wisconsin State Senator Bob Jauch, a senior Democrat, says that what he is
witnessing feels like "a coup".

Marty Beil, the head of the AFSCME Council 24, the state's largest public
employee union, said Wisconsin had been turned into "a banana republic".

And thousands of Wisconsinites, men and women, adults and their children,
public employees and private-sector workers, have poured into the state
Capitol in Madison, shouting: "Shame! Shame! Shame!"

There were 7,000 people outside the Capitol at some points during night,
and thousands inside.

At the close of one of the most remarkable days in American political
history, a state once regarded as among the most enlightened and
progressive in the nation finds itself ruled by rouge Republican
operatives whose disregard for rules - and the popular will - is so
extreme that the longest serving legislator in the nation, Wisconsin State
Senator Fred Risser, a Madison Democrat, says: "They have not just bent
the law. They have broken it".

Risser is right. After weeks of intense debate inside and outside the
Capitol, and at a point when most Wisconsinites thought a compromise was
in the offering, Republican legislative leaders suddenly announced that
they would pass the most draconian components of Governor Scott Walker's
budget repair bill - including a move to strip public employees of their
collective bargaining rights.

They could not do so passing the bill as Walker proposed it. Because
Walker's measure was a budget bill, that would have required a quorum and
no quorum could be achieved because of the absence of 14 Democratic
senators - who fled to Illinois in order to establish a negotiating
position to change the bill.

So the Republican stripped out the supposedly "non-economic" components of
the bill, including the assault on collective bargaining, and passed them
in a form that did not require the quorum.

They did so without hearings, without debate and without following the
state's open meetings laws.

They did so in less than two hours, without even notifying key Democrats.

They did so over the objections of Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, a
Kenosha Democrat, who repeatedly explained to members of the legislative
Conference Committee that moved the bill to passage: "Mr. Chairman, this
is a violation of law".

Barca's point was well taken.

But the Republicans did not listen, or care. They literally walked out of
the meeting as they spoke.

Minutes later, the Senate passed the bill by an 18-1 margin. No Democrats
were present and only state Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, voted
"no".

It was a disgraceful spectacle, and it is all but certain to be repeated
Thursday in the state Assembly - even as Barca and his Democratic
colleagues prepared for one final fight for workers rights and the rule of
law.

When that vote will actually occur remains to be seen, as there were
reports at dawn that dozens, perhaps hundreds, of citizens were occupying
the Assembly chamber.

A rally scheduled for 9 CST Thursday is expected to bring new crowds to
the Capitol Square. And there is no question that they will be angry at
what has transpired.

As the Senate voted Wednesday night, cries of "Shame! Shame! Shame!" were
audible from outside the chamber.

The people, by the hundreds, and then the thousands, had raced to the
Capitol to let their representatives know what all the polls have
confirmed: this legislation is opposed by the overwhelming majority of
Wisconsinites. Its supporters - billionaire campaign contributors and
Washington-based think tanks - may have won a round Wednesday night.

But it was a surprise attack rather than an honest win.

And it will inspire an appropriate response: Protests now, and the recall
and removal of Republican senators in short order.

Some of the Republicans may think that "cooler heads will prevail". They
are wrong. The cool heads, the calm and rational Wisconsinites, will be
busy in coming days: collecting signatures of recall petitions.

 2011 The Nation
 John Nichols is Washington correspondent for The Nation and associate
editor of The Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin. A co-founder of the
media reform organization Free Press, Nichols is co-author with Robert W.
McChesney of The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media
Revolution that Will Begin the World Again and Tragedy & Farce: How the
American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy. Nichols
is also author of Dick: The Man Who is President and The Genius of
Impeachment: The Founders' Cure for Royalism.


--------11 of 11--------

"We Have to Do It Ourselves"
Reflections on Wisconsin Obama, Latin America, and the Struggle for
Democracy
by Paul Street
March 9th, 2011

We can't look for saviors on high to get us out of this mess. We have to
do it ourselves.
- Anthony Arnove and Tariq Ali, October 20, 2006

"Obama Sits Out State Fights"

One of the neat things about the recent progressive labor rebellion within
and beyond Madison, WI is the extent to which it has broken with the false
promise of change coming from the top down - from the last corporate
imperial politician to be installed in the White House by the unelected
dictatorship of money. The Tea Party right has insisted that their great,
supposedly socialist nemesis Barack Obama - the corporate-friendly savior
of Wall Street - intervened decisively on workers' side in, and even
sparked - the recent and ongoing state-level uprisings. The charge is
absurd. As Wall Street Journal reporter, Jonathan Weisman, noted last
February in an article titled "Obama Sits Out State Fights," Obama stepped
back from the state-level battles after initially seeming to support labor
in Wisconsin. Top Democratic officials told Weisman that this was because
Obama was "eager to occupy the political center" to help him try to forge
a bipartisan deal on the nation's long-term finances that could strengthen
his position heading into the 2012 election".

"Sitting out" does not do full justice to Obama's conservatism in relation
to the public worker struggle. Earlier this month, national New York Times
correspondent, Jackie Calmes, reported that the White House actually
intervened against the national Democratic Party's initial efforts to
support the Wisconsin labor protests, which administration officials saw
as contrary to their happy and neoliberal message. "When West Wing
officials discovered that the Democratic National Committee had mobilized
Mr. Obama's national network to support the protests," Calmes wrote, "they
angrily reined in the staff at the party headquarters. Administration
officials said they saw the events beyond Washington as distractions from
the optimistic 'win the future' message that Mr. Obama introduced in his
State of the Union address".

So Obama responded to the rank-and-file labor rebellion in the American
heartland in much the same way as he responded to the right-wing coup in
Honduras in June of 2009 and to the rise of the Egyptian revolution in
January and February 2011: with initial statements of seeming support for
popular-democratic forces followed by conservative equivocation and
caution meant to identify himself with democratic change without severing
his accommodation to dominant hierarchies and elites.1

Nobody should be surprised by this. The deeply conservative Obama's2
failure to align himself strongly with the public workers and their fight
within and beyond Madison was consistent with his centrist campaign pledge
to be a "post-partisan leader" ready to take on his own party's union
base. It matched: his support (over the opposition of teachers' unions) of
charter schools and "performance-based" teacher pay; his recent advance of
corporate neoliberal free trade deals opposed by labor; his recent public
strengthening of ties with business leaders; his refusal to move in any
meaningful way on campaign promises to reform the nation's
management-friendly labor laws, and his federal workers salary freeze (a
move that angered public sector union members).3

Before the progressive labor rebellion broke out, Obama had already gone
far down the path of joining business and the right in advancing the
"Republican narrative" (Robert Reich) that American prosperity was being
undone by overpaid public workers and excessive government regulation, not
by the real culprits on Wall Street, who recklessly crashed the global
economy in 2008.4

Claiming (falsely) that the American people had spoken in the Republican
Tea Party electoral triumph of November 2010, Obama made a number of moves
calculated to win the more heartfelt allegiance of top business players.
He continued his pattern of disregarding and irritating his liberal and
progressive "base" by agreeing to sustain George W. Bush's deficit-fueling
tax cuts for the rich beyond their original sunset date of 2010.5
Accepting the false business and Republican Tea Party claim that
"overpaid" public sector workers are a leading force behind rising
government deficits and economic stagnation, Obama ordered a two-year
freeze on federal worker salaries and benefits.6 He published an Op-Ed in
the plutocratic editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal - an essay that
praised "free market capitalism" as "the greatest force for prosperity the
world has ever known" - and said that government often places
"unreasonable burdens on business" that have a "chilling effect on growth
and jobs". The tone of his editorial suggested that it wasn't neoliberal
deregulation that sparked the financial collapse of 2008, but all those
nasty little government rules and guidelines that stifle innovation and
growth.7

Obama signed an executive order calling for a government-wide review of
regulations to remove or revise those that supposedly inhibited business.
He signed a corporate-neoliberal, NAFTA-like trade deal with South Korea
under the cover of night in early December of 2010.8 He appointed JPMorgan
Chase's William Daley - a leading agent of the corporate-globalist North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under Bill Clinton - as his chief of
staff. He put Goldman Sachs'. Gene Sperling (another legendary neoliberal)
at the head of the National Economic Council. He tapped General Electric
CEO Jeffrey Immelt to head his new "President's Council on Jobs and
Competitiveness". The new council's title referred to specifically
American jobs and competitiveness - something that made Immelt's
appointment more than a little darkly ironic: with fewer than half its
workers employed in the United States and less than half its profits
coming from U.S. activities, New York Times columnist and Princeton
economist Paul Krugman noted, "G.E.'s fortunes have very little to do with
U.S. prosperity".9

Consistent with these rightward moves, Obama's late January 2011 State of
the Union Address (SOTUA) claimed that American business was plagued by
the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Obama opened the door to
lowering that rate, stating that he hoped to slash it "without adding to
our deficit". He offered no bold, large-scale economic stimulus,
antipoverty or public works programs to address the mass unemployment and
economic destitution still stalking the land two years into his
presidency.

Whether out of political necessity, ideological preference or both, Obama
appeared to have pinned his hopes for an expanded economic recovery (vital
for his chances of re-election) on appeasing the right and the business
class.

It's About Who's Sitting In, Not Who's Sitting in the White House

The real energy in the Wisconsin public worker rebellion and its
state-level offshoots has come from the bottom up. It has arisen from the
grassroots, not from the top down. As Wisconsin State Democratic Senate
Leader Mark Miller rightly noted when the Wall Street Journal queried him
on Obama's role: "Really the people of our state, and the people of our
country, have been able to find their voice in this battle. The voices of
the people [not Obama] are the voices the governor needs to listen to".10
Unlike the Obama-obsessed Tea Partiers, the union and pro-labor crowds in
and around the Capitol Rotunda seem uninterested in the question of who's
perched atop the national media-politics extravaganza. With tens of
thousands of them circling the Capitol and thousands occupying the
structure itself, it seemed as if they were channeling the wisdom of the
late great radical American historian Howard Zinn in 2009: "There's hardly
anything more important that people can learn," Zinn wrote that year,
"than the fact that the really critical thing isn't who is sitting in the
White House, but who is sitting in - in the streets, in the cafeterias, in
the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is
occupying offices and demonstrating". It is becoming clearer and clearer
to many, after the first year of Obama's presidency," Zinn added, "that it
is going to require independent action from below to achieve real
change".11

I am reminded of something that Anthony Arnove and Tariq Ali wrote
together in Socialistworker in the fall of 2006, as many American
progressives were already fueling their delusions about the cold,
calculating, and corporate Chicago politician Barack Obama being some sort
of progressive messiah. "We can't look for saviors on high to get us out
of this mess," Arnove and Ali Tariq wrote: "We have to do it ourselves".12

Latin American Lessons

The lesson is well understood in other parts of the world. It's nice to
see North American progressives and activists show some new awareness of
something their South American counterparts have long understood: it isn't
about politicians and elected officials at the end of the day; it's about
the people joining together in solidaristic social movements to discipline
and educate the politicians and policy makers from the bottom up.

For example, mid-February of 2011 brought a nationwide general strike
during a popular rebellion against food price hikes in Bolivia. All of
Bolivia's major cities - La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and Oruro - were
paralyzed three Fridays ago, as "workers marched in city centers and
blockaded roads and highways to demand that the government increase wages
and take measures to combat rising prices and food shortages..". As the
World Socialist Web Site reported, "Long lines of workers marched through
Cochabamba in a steady downpour, while thousands of factory workers,
teachers, and health care workers, other public employees and students
took over the center of the capital of La Paz , punctuating their chanting
of demands with explosions of dynamite".13

So what if Bolivia's president Evo Morales is left-leaning and
indigenous? The nation's popular forces expect him to respect the power of
their social movements and their determination to resist the drastically
increased cost of food and fuel imposed by capitalist elites.

When my wife Janet Razbadouski and I spent two weeks visiting our son in
Ecuador exactly one year ago, we were very struck by the fact that
indigenous and labor activists there were far from content to merely have
helped elect a left-of-center president (Rafael Correa). They continued to
hold significant popular demonstrations and otherwise exercise grassroots
pressure in defense of cultural rights, livable ecology and popular
control of water (and other) resources. Like their counterparts in Bolivia
and elsewhere in Latin America, the social movements in Ecuador do not
simply take orders from party leaders of the official Left.14 They see
candidates and elections as only one aspect of a deeper, many-sided
popular struggle and understand the necessity for organization and action
beneath and beyond political campaigns and the machinations of political
elites.

The Austerity Party is Bipartisan

That's something more and more North Americans need to appreciate and to
both of the dominant business parties in the U.S. It's one thing for
existing labor institutions and leaders (themselves heavily integrated
into the nation's reigning state-capitalist order) to rally popular masses
in defensive response to the worst policy outrages of the most reactionary
politicians in the rightmost wing of America's corporate-ruled
"one-and-a-half party system". It is another thing to wield and expand
popular pro-actively and against the richly bipartisan neoliberal business
agenda and to capture and act meaningfully on the legitimate popular anger
that the Tea Party and the broader right has at times been able to exploit
and misdirect.

The political observer, Chris Green, raised a good question in a private
communication with Street on February 22, 2011. "Is this progressive
movement going to operate," Green asked me, "within traditional
limitations, especially those imposed by the union leadership? That is,
are they only going to protest Republican governors and not pro-cut
Democrat governors in places like New York, California and Illinois ?
This will be the challenge, not to get co-opted by the Democrats". Indeed,
the austerity party is not limited to the Republicans. The left
commentator, Doug Henwood, offers sage advice at the end of a generally
quite favorable and optimistic take on the eruption of labor protest in
Wisconsin:

The Republicans have majorities in both houses of the Wisconsin
legislature, and are likely to get what they want. It's clear that he's
using a budget crisis to break the unions and to remove them as a
political force in the state. As in most states, the unions are major
supporters of Democrats - who keep writing checks and getting out the vote
despite the fact that Dems actually do little for them once they're in
office. (In fact, Walker's Dem opponent did his share of union-bashing
during the campaign.). It may be that had Walker not gone for such a
maximalist agenda, this sort of protest might not have happened. Other
governors may take note and opt instead for the death by a thousand cuts
instead of one giant machete chop. But of course, it's not just
Republicans. Democratic governors like Jerry Brown and Andrew Cuomo also
have it out for public sector workers, since, as everyone knows, you just
can't tax the fatcats these days. And you do have to wonder how aggressive
unions in California and New York will be in protesting Democratic
governors.15

Henwood could have added comments about the corporate-friendly,
center-right agenda of the national Democratic Party and the Obama
administration. A progressive resurgence that confronts Democratic Party
corporatism and militarism as well as the Republican variants of the same
diseases will have to take place on the national as well as the state
level if we are going to make meaningful popular-democratic progress
against the unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire
that continue to rule America beneath and beyond the staggered,
candidate-centered big-money, big-media electoral extravaganzas that
continue to define "politics" in the United States.

On that note, I am happy to record one promising development at the
national level - the emergence of the national group "US Uncut," which
carried out 50 protests outside Bank of America headquarters and branches
on Saturday, February 26, 2011. Inspired by the British anti-austerity
group UK Uncut,16 this new organization targets corporate tax evasion and
points out the unjust absurdity of government claiming to address fiscal
deficits by slashing social programs and attacking public workers while
failing to collect billions of dollars in unpaid taxes due from corporate
giants like ExxonMobil, GE, and Bank of America, each of which paid no
federal income taxes in 2010. As the Government Accountability Office
reported in 2008, a fourth of the nation's largest corporations pay no
federal income tax. B of A, the beneficiary of $45 billion in federal
bailout funds, hides its would-be tax dollars into no less than 115
offshore tax havens.

Meanwhile, policy makers refer to budget deficits as justification for pay
freezes for public workers and cuts to key social safety nets. As Carl
Gibson, a US Uncut founder, noted in a press release prior to the February
26 protests: "Because of overseas tax havens and other tax loopholes, US
corporations are making profits in America but barely paying taxes here.
If we close those loopholes, we wouldn't have to be cutting back on
firefighters, library hours and student loans". This basic observation
helps takes the ground out from under the corporate- and Republican
coordinated Tea Party campaign to balance federal as well as state and
local budgets on the backs of the poor, working people, and organized
labor.17 By the hopeful account of the liberal commentator, Jonathan Hari,
in the Nation in early February 2011, US Uncut holds the promise of
becoming the beginning of "A Progressive Tea Party":

Imagine a parallel universe where the Great Crash of 2008 was followed by
a Tea Party of a very different kind. Enraged citizens gather in every
city, week after week - to demand the government finally regulate the
behavior of corporations and the superrich, and force them to start paying
taxes. The protesters shut down the shops and offices of the companies
that have most aggressively ripped off the country. The swelling movement
is made up of everyone from teenagers to pensioners. They surround
branches of the banks that caused this crash and force them to close, with
banners saying, YOU CAUSED THIS CRISIS. NOW YOU PAY.

"Instead of the fake populism of the Tea Party, there is a movement based
on real populism. It shows that there is an alternative to making the poor
and the middle class pay for a crisis caused by the rich. It shifts the
national conversation. Instead of letting the government cut our services
and increase our taxes, the people demand that it cut the endless and
lavish aid for the rich and make them pay the massive sums they dodge in
taxes.

This may sound like a fantasy - but it has all happened. The name of this
parallel universe is Britain. As recently as this past fall, people here
were asking the same questions liberal Americans have been glumly
contemplating: Why is everyone being so passive? Why are we letting
ourselves be ripped off? Why are people staying in their homes watching
their flat-screens while our politicians strip away services so they can
fatten the superrich even more?18

In the three weeks following the Nation's publication of Hari's essay,
hundreds of thousands of Midwestern workers and citizens had determined to
leave their homes and televisions behind to make history from the bottom
up.

1.For details and sources, see Paul Street. .Cold-Blooded Calibration:
Reflections on Egypt , Honduras , and the Art of Imperial Re-branding,.
ZNet (February 11, 2011). [.]

2.Larissa MacFarquhar, .The Conciliator: Where is Barack Obama Coming
From?. The New Yorker (May 7, 2007); Paul Street, .Statehouse Days: the
Myth of Obama.s .True Progressive. Past,. ZNet (July 20, 2008); Paul
Street, .Obama Isn.t Spineless, He.s Conservative,. ZNet (December 11,
2010). [.]

3.Jonathan Weisman,. Obama Sits Out State Fights,. Wall Street Journal,
February 24, 2011, A4. [.]

4.Robert Reich, .Obama.s Republican Narrative of Our Economic Woes,.
Berkeley Blog, December 2, 2010. [.]
5.Nick Wing, .Rep. Gary Ackerman: Tax Cut Deal Is GOP.s .Wet Dream Act,..
Huffington Post (December 9, 2010); D. Herszenhorn and S.G. Stolberg,
.Obama Defends Tax Deal, But His Party Stays Hostile,. New York Times,
December 8, 2010, A1; Paul Krugman, .Obama.s Hostage Deal,. New York
Times, December 9, 2010. [.]

6.Paul Krugman, .Freezing Out Hope,. New York Times, December 2, 2010;
Peter S. Goodman, .Obama.s Bogus Explanation For Troubles: Too Much
Regulation,. Huffington Post (January 18, 2011). [.]

7.Barack Obama, .Toward a 21st-Centuryr Regulatory System,. Wall Street
Journal, January 18, 2011; Goodman, .Obama.s Bogus Explanation.. [.]

8.Jane Hamsher, .Sherrod Brown: Obama.s NAFTA-Style Korea Trade Deal A
.Dangerous Mistake,. . Firedog Lake, December 4, 2010. [.]

9.Paul Krugman, .The Competition Myth,. New York Times, January 24, 2011;
Paul Street, .State (of) Capitalist Absurdity: Reflections Before and
After Obama.s State of the Union Address,. ZNet (January 28, 2011);
Patrick Martin, .Obama Outlines right-Wing, Pro-Corporate Agenda in State
of the Union Speech,. World Socialist Web Site, January 26, 2011); Glen
Ford, .Obama.s Comfort Zone: King of Collaboration,. Black Agenda Report,
January 12, 2011. Some Obama fans applauded Immelt.s appointment because,
they said, he represents a company that actually produces goods rather
than just being a parasitic manipulator of paper, financial wealth. But
this praise was ridiculous, since, as Krugman noted, G.E, actually
.derives more revenue from its financial operations than it does from
manufacturing.. [.]

10.Miller quoted in Weisman, .Obama Sits Out.. [.]

11..The Legacy of Howard Zinn,. Socialist Worker, November 2, 2010. [.]

12.Tariq Ali and Anthony Arnove, .The Challenge to the Empire,. Socialist
Worker Online, October 20, 2006. [.]

13.Bill Van Auken, .Bolivia .s Morales Faces General Strike Over Food
Prices,. World Socialist Web Site (February 22, 2011). [.]

14.See Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects ( Chicago: Haymarket, 2010),
213-14, for instructive reflections on Latin American versus dominant
Western understandings of democracy. [.]

15.Doug Henwood, .Wisconsin Erupts,. Left Business Observer, February 16,
2011. [.]

16.Johann Hari, .How to Build a Progressive Tea Party,. The Nation
(February 3, 2011). [.]

17.Alissa Bohlig, .US Uncut.s Anti-Austerity Protest Hits Bank of
America,. Truthout, February 28, 2011; Art Levine. .US Uncut Spreads
Spirit of Madison,. In These Times (February 24, 2011). [.]

18.Hari,.How to Build a Progressive Tea Party.. There would be rich
historical irony in inspiration for .a progressive Tea Party. coming from
England, the onetime colonial power that provoked the original Tea Party,
whose popular legacy the hard right ilk of Charles and David Koch and Dick
Armey have crassly appropriated in service to the authoritarian agenda of
concentrated wealth. On the genuinely popular and progressive nature (in
its time) of the original Boston Tea Party, see the remarkable study by
the wonderful New Left American colonial and revolutionary historian
Alfred Young: The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American
Revolution (Boston: Beacon Press, 1999). [.]

Paul Street (paulstreet99 [at] yahoo.com) is a veteran radical historian and
independent author, activist, researcher, and journalist in Iowa City, IA.
He is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since
9/11 (Paradigm 2005); Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in the
Post-Civil Rights Era (Routledge 2005): and Racial Oppression in the
Global Metropolis (Rowman&Littlefied 2007). Street's new book Barack Obama
and the Future of American Politics can now be ordered.

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   - David Shove             shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu
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