|Progressive Calendar 10.31.08||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 12:16:29 -0700 (PDT)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 10.31.08 1. Rwanda 10.31 4pm 2. Palestine 10.31 4:15pm 3. Critical Mass 10.31 5pm 4. Nader here 10.31 7pm 5. Moyers/change? 10.31 9pm 6. Health candidate 11.01 8:15am 7. Peace walk 11.01 9am Cambridge MN 8. Oaxaca rebels 11.01 10am 9. Open gym 11.01 10am 10. Work justice 11.01 10am 11. Jerusalem/film 11.01 10am 12. Homeless vets 11.01 10am 13. New RNC film 11.01 10:40am 14. NWN4P Mtka 11.01 11am 15. Northtown vigil 11.01 2pm 16. Roediger/race 11.01 4pm 17. Info as weapon 11.01 4pm 18. CopState/dance 11.01 9pm 19. Sen John Marty - Gift ban needed to end medical conflicts of interest 20. PC Roberts - World tires of rule by dollar 21. Glen Ford - Turn the tide of ethnic cleansing in America's cities 22. ed - Democracy is in reach (poem) --------1 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Subject: Rwanda 10.31 4pm Friday, 10/31, 4 to 5 pm, Shaun Irlam gives free talk on "Rwanda after Genocide: Into the Dark Chambers," Lind Hall, Room 207A, 207 Church St SE, U of M, Mpls. http://igs.cla.umn.edu/events/ or 612-626-1528. [Help me Rwanda] --------2 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Palestine 10.31 4:15pm 10/31, 4:15 to 5:30 pm, vigil to end US military/political support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, corner Summit and Snelling, St Paul. --------3 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Critical Mass 10.31 5pm Friday, 10/31, meet at 5, leave at 5:30, critical mass bike ride, with or without a costume, Loring Park, Mpls. --------4 of 22-------- From: PRO826 [at] aol.com Subject: Nader here 10.31 7pm No tricks, all treat - come hear Nader speak, on Halloween at the U of M Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader will be speaking at the U of M on Halloween night, October 31st COSTUMES ENCOURAGED! Dress up as your favorite (or least favorite) politician and come hear a real one speak! University of MN, Willey Hall, Room 175 225 19th Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55455 October 31st, 7pm Tired of the bailout of corporate crooks? Tired of not hearing about the real issues we hold dear? Tired of the same unsustainable path - economically, environmentally, democratically? Tired of our democracy being highjacked by the corporations? Looking for a viable option on November 4th to cast your vote for a true patriot who is for "We the People"? Have you "Declared Your Independence" from the corporate, ruling elite system? Reached your breaking point yet? Suggested contribution: $10/$5 students For further information: Nader/Gonzalez '08 Minneapolis office, 612-338-1494 Following the speaking engagement, Nader will hold a fundraiser at the Nader/Gonzalez '08 Minneapolis office, 715 Hennepin Ave, Downtown Minneapolis at 8:30pm. Right on the bus lines and close to the Hiawatha Light Rail. $100 donation (no corporate or PAC money allowed) RSVP to Rob at _rob [at] votenader.org_ (mailto:rob [at] votenader.org) or 202-471-5833 Posted by Danene Provencher, MN State Coordinator, Nader/Gonzalez '08, _Danene [at] votenader.org_ (mailto:Danene [at] votenader.org) --------5 of 22-------- From: t r u t h o u t <messenger [at] truthout.org> Subject: Moyers/change? 10.31 9pm Bill Moyers Journal | Promises of Change http://www.truthout.org/102908U Friday on Bill Moyers Journal: "With just days left before Americans cast their votes, both candidates are still pledging 'change' if elected, but can the stranglehold of money on politics be broken? Bill Moyers sits down with Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, and Bob Edgar, president and CEO of Common Cause, to discuss how Beltway business as usual may stand in the way of real change in Washington." --------6 of 22-------- From: Joel Clemmer <joel [at] joelclemmer.org> Subject: Health candidate 11.01 8:15am Friends of the Minnesota Health Plan, WE NEED YOU! We have no greater friend in the legislature than Representative Shelley Madore. Shelley was elected in '06 from a conservative district in Apple Valley by a thin margin. Her support of single-payer health reform is being held against her by her opponents in the current election. Losing Shelley from the legislature would be a tragedy on many levels and WE MUST PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING. Please join us for a few hours on Saturday, November 1, for a ride to Apple Valley, a short meeting with Shelley and door-knocking in her district. You will get guidance on the pitch for the door knocks and you will team with another campaign volunteer. My experience with the process has been 99% pleasant. The details: Saturday, November 1 8:15 AM - meet in Strommen Building parking lot 2469 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN 55114 8:30 AM (prompt) - depart in car pools for Apple Valley 9AM - Coffee Conversation - Caribou Coffee, Apple Valley (Cedar/147th Street) (Just show up and have some coffee with Shelley at public coffee shop) 10AM - Lit Drop with Shelley and her crew Meet at the Apple Valley Cub Foods Parking Lot - Right Hand Side Lot Near Street Let's make sure we get an important friend of single-payer back in the House! WE NEED YOU! Thanks Joel Clemmer joel [at] joelclemmer.org 651-690-4296 ps: see http://mnhealthplan.org for details on the Mn Health Plan --------7 of 22-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 11.01 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------8 of 22-------- From: biego001 [at] umn.edu Subject: Oaxaca rebels 11.01 10am Teaching Rebellion: Stories from the Grassroots Mobilization in Oaxaca is a new book that compiles testimonies of Oaxacan organizers who participated in the social uprising of 2006. Coffee Hour aims to foster dialogue among activists from Oaxaca and the U.S around organizing strategies and movement building utilizing the experience of Oaxacan organizers, who brought together labor, indigenous, women's, youth and neighborhood organizations to build a powerful movement for democracy and accountability. Gustavo Vilchis, a native of neighboring state Guerrero arrived in Oaxaca as an independent photographer, seeking to cover the people's resistance and provide coverage alternative to that offered by the commercial media. He has collaborated extensively with the Liga Mexicana de Derechos Humanos (Mexican League of Human Rights). Many of his photographs and his testimony are featured un the book. Melissa Mundt coordinated for CASA (Colectivos de Apoyo, Solidaridad y Accion) de la Paz from 2004-2006 and laid the groundwork for CASA Chapulin. Previously, she lived in Veracruz and Oaxaca working with indigenous communities on sustainable development issues. She now works for the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project providing legal services to detained immigrants in Arizona please join us in the Romero Rm, lower level at the Mosaic of the Americas bldg., 3019 Minnehaha Ave (near the Lake St. lightrail station), at 10am cf., www.americas.org --------9 of 22-------- From: Andy Driscoll <andy [at] driscollgroup.com> Subject: Open gym 11.01 10am Saturday W7th Community Center open gym plans Saturday Open Gym Returns Nov 1st to West 7th Community Center Beginning last winter, in an effort to promote better health care and fitness in the neighborhood, the West 7th Community Center partnered with United Family Practice Health Clinic on West 7th to host ShapeUp Saturdays at the community center. Again this winter, the centers gym and exercise/game room will be open each Saturday from 10 am to noon, starting Saturday November 1st and running through April 25th, 2009 (except for the Saturday between Christmas and New Years). Come on in from the cold and stay healthy: * join a pick up basketball game * use our exercise equipment * walk the gym perimeter (23 times around is a mile!) * try your hand at ping-pong or foosball * meet your neighbors * The program is free and open to all area residents, though all minor children MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian. West 7th Community Center 265 Oneida Street St. Paul, MN 55102 651-298-5493 Ext. 221 office 612-709-7889 mobile www.west7th.org <http://www.west7th.org> [Any help for fat heads? Missing backbones?] --------10 of 22-------- From: Erin Parrish <erin [at] mnwomen.org> Subject: Work justice 11.01 10am November 1: Workplace Justice. Support/Networking Meeting. 10 AM - Noon at the Minnesota Women's Building, 550 Rice Street, St. Paul. More information: 952-996-9291. --------11 of 22-------- From: "wamm [at] mtn.org" <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Jerusalem/film 11.01 10am Documentary: "Jerusalem: East Side Story" Saturday, November 1, 9:30 a.m. (Refreshments), 10:00 a.m. to Noon (Program and Discussion) Southdale Library, 7001 York Avenue South, Edina. In 1948 the western part of Jerusalem fell under Israeli control; in 1967 the eastern part fell under Israeli occupation. Since then, Israel has pursued a policy of Judaizing the city, aiming to achieve "Jewish demographic superiority." Part of this policy is to drive Palestinian Muslims and Christians out of the city, denying their presence, history, and ties to the land. This documentary takes you on a journey exposing Israel's policy to gain supremacy and hegemony over the city and its inhabitants. The film includes interviews with Palestinian and Israeli leaders, human rights activists and political analysts. Sponsored by: Middle East Peace Now (MEPN). Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call Florence Steichen, 651-696-1642. --------12 of 22-------- From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com> Subject: Homeless vets 11.01 10am Saturday, 11/1, 10 to 11:30 am, meeting Homeless Veterans for Peace, Peacehouse, 510 E Franklin, Mpls. Bob Heberle 612-789-9020. --------13 of 22-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: New RNC film/free 11.01 10:40am TERRORIZING DISSENT: New Documentary Exposes Cop Conduct at RNC '08 A group of independent media activists including Glass Bead Collective and Twin Cities Indymedia just released a new film, "Terrorizing Dissent: Election Cut," an exposť of events at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. CUAPB is proud to have been a part of this very important project. Featuring first-person accounts and footage from more than forty cameras on the streets, "Terrorizing Dissent" focuses on the story of how police and government officials acted in concert to suppress dissent. People charged with "conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism" speak out against the government's campaign to manipulate media coverage and label civil disobedience and community organizing as terrorism. "Terrorizing Dissent" shows the results of the $50 million dollars the Department of Homeland Security gave to local authorities for security -- a large chunk of which went to weaponize the police -- and the $10 million insurance policy contract between the RNC Host Committee and the City of St. Paul, which shattered Minnesota's civil compact between protesters and police. Free screenings of the film will be offered in all over the Twin Cities as well as cities all over the country, starting this weekend. Be among the first to see this amazing, powerful film. A special 'Early Bird Premiere' will be held this Saturday, November 1st, 10:40 AM at Riverview Theater (3800 42nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN). Doors open at 10:15 AM. Don't miss your chance to see this exciting film on the big screen! Other free showings around the twin cities: Sunday, November 2nd: * Book House (in Dinkytown, 429 SE 14th Ave., Minneapolis, MN) at 4:30 pm. * Arise! Bookstore (2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN) at 7 pm. * Black Dog Cafe (308 Prince St., St. Paul, MN) at 7 pm. Monday, November 3rd: * Arise! Bookstore (2441 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN) at 7 pm. Sunday, November 9th: * 2 PM - Maplewood Community Library - 3025 Southlawn Drive - Maplewood, MN The list continues to grow. For other showings, see http://www.terrorizingdissent.org Cut from hundreds of hours of donated footage, "Terrorizing Dissent: Election Cut" has been released for free on the Internet in HD, FLV and Quicktime formats, under the Creative Commons/CopyLeft license, and its producers encourage everyone to share this important film. A burnable DVD image will be released soon. Visit http://www.terrorizingdissent.org to view the trailer, watch the full-length production, and sign up for updates on the project. Local information about the film can be found at http://twincities.indymedia.org. For an amazing archive of documents related to the RNC go to http://rnc08report.org/. --------14 of 22-------- From: Carole Rydberg <carydberg [at] comcast.net> Subject: NWN4P Mtka 11.01 11am NWN4P-Minnetonka demonstration- Every Saturday, 11 AM to noon, at Hwy. 7 and 101. Park in the Target Greatland lot; meet near the fountain. We will walk along the public sidewalk. Signs available. --------15 of 22-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 11.01 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------16 of 22-------- From: Joe Hill <maydaybookstore [at] gmail.com> Subject: Roediger/race 11.01 4pm Author talk and book signing: Obama's success not a sign U.S. has overcome race issue, historian says Author talk & book signing Saturday, November 1 4:00 PM Mayday Bookstore 301 Cedar Ave. South Minneapolis David Roediger, author of the new book How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon, will speak and sign books in Minneapolis on Saturday, November 1, 2008. The program will begin at 4 pm at Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Ave. South on the West Bank in Minneapolis. Far from being the 'post-racial' society advocated by Obama, racial identity continues to shape American political debates - from the border with Mexico to the podium in Philadelphia. The program will be an opportunity to explore the history of racism and what the election campaign of Barrack Obama may mean for social justice in the U.S. Roediger is a Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of, among other books, The Wages of Whiteness and Working Towards Whiteness. In his revolutionary Wages of Whiteness, David Roediger had explained the formation of white working-class racism. Turning here to the twentieth-century, he now asks why the idea of race continues to structure American society. How Race Survived U.S. History reconstructs the origins of race in America, showing that the idea of race was deliberately introduced in response to social divisions amongst 17th-century settlers. The doctrine of racial supremacy survived the declaration of independence, the growth of capitalism, mass immigration, and modern liberalism. A non-racial concept of capitalism and the labor market was actively undermined by the practice of race management in the workplace. Roediger's research reveals the intricate and constructed means by which race is indelibly connected to class, property, gender, violence, and sex. With an analysis of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Roediger looks at which policies and actions would be required for the construction of a truly post-racial world. Title: How Race Survived U.S. History: From the American Revolution to the Present Author: David Roediger Publisher: Verso, distributed by W.W. Norton Edition: Hardback $26.95 ISBN-13: 978 1-84467 275 2 Publication date: October 30, 2008 For more information 612 333-4719 --------17 of 22-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: Info as weapon 11.01 4pm Information as Weapon: Using the MN Data Practices Act to Advance Your Work Saturday, November 1, 4:00 pm Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis Ever wondered how to get access to government info? Activists with CUAPB who have made great use of the Minnesota Data Practices Act will present information on how to make data requests from the government that will really get their attention, how to follow up on your requests, and what to do if you don't get the data you request. --------18 of 22-------- From: Meredith Aby <awcmere [at] gmail.com> Subject: CopState/dance 11.01 9pm *Halloween Dance Party Extravaganza against Fear* SAT, 11/1 @ 9pm @ 10k (basement of Dupre) Macalester College, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul 2,4,6,8 Dance against the Po-lice State. All Ages. Fund-raiser for the RNC8, Project to Stop the War Industry (PSWI), Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), and Coldsnap Legal Collective. Games, Music, Candy, and Drinks will be provided. Donations on a sliding scale, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. No racist, homophobic, sexist, or otherwise offensive costumes allowed. Sponsored by Students for a Democratic Society and the Industrial Workers of the World --------19 of 22-------- From: Senator John Marty <jmarty [at] apple-pie.org> Subject: To the Point: "Gift Ban" Needed for Medical Conflicts of Interest Apple Pie Alliance <http://www.apple-pie.org> To the Point! "Gift Ban" Needed to end Medical Conflicts of Interest by Senator John Marty October 29, 2008 Drug companies aggressively market their products. Since the FDA first allowed direct-to-consumer drug advertising a decade ago, this advertising has grown to about $100 million per year in Minnesota alone - that's $100 million of our health care dollars being used to persuade us that we need certain high-priced drugs. Yet drug companies spend even more to persuade doctors to prescribe their products. Drug marketing to U.S. doctors amounts to $7 Billion per year, much of that spent on meals, gifts, honoraria for speaking, and generous compensation for consulting. Manufacturers of medical devices such as stents or pacemakers also spend lavishly on gifts and favors for doctors. In 2006 a team of medical researchers led by Dr. Troyen Brennan from Harvard wrote an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), stating that physicians' responsibility to put the interests of their patients first, is challenged by financial conflicts of interest, as is the doctors' scientific integrity. They said one major conflict is the relationship between medical device or drug manufacturers and doctors, and that this is a threat to the trust patients have in their doctors. Breaking this conflict of interest is essential not only for cost control, but also for patient safety. The pain-killer Vioxx, was heavily marketed to physicians by drug company representatives who down-played reports about risk for heart problems. As a result of the aggressive promotion of the drug, doctors prescribed Vioxx to large numbers of patients until it was pulled from the market for safety reasons. Critics are not accusing doctors of trying to do wrong, it's the reality that gifts have a powerful impact on our minds. That's Psychology 101. Several years ago, Minnesota was the first state to pass a "gift ban" for drug manufacturers, but the law has loopholes. Fortunately, there is renewed interest in addressing this issue, much of it coming from doctors and medical students troubled by the situation. This summer, Massachusetts passed legislation regulating drug company gift giving. To its credit, the University of Minnesota Medical School is in the process of adopting a code affecting all medical school faculty and students. St. Mary's Duluth Clinic Health System has implemented a ban on all gifts including trinkets from drug manufacturers. Last month, the Wisconsin Medical Society adopted a policy banning all gifts from drug manufacturers to doctors. Doctors who prescribe drugs and use medical devices need to work with the manufacturers to provide advice and feedback; this can lead to more effective medical products and treatments. However, these relationships need to be transparent and avoid excessive compensation. An investigative report in the Star Tribune last summer revealed that one physician received $344,375 in 2006 from one device manufacturer - that's on top of the physician's regular income! None of this was disclosed to patients or to other physicians who attended talks presented by that doctor. A New York Times article about Minnesota's gift ban described how drug manufacturers reward doctors who write many prescriptions for their drugs, paying them as much as $5000 to speak at their seminars, with some doctors receiving over $100,000 in a year for speaking. This generosity makes a difference. The pharmaceutical industry spends the $7 billion per year on marketing to doctors because they know it pays off. The JAMA article reported on research showing that the rate of prescriptions increases substantially after a doctor meets with a drug company representative, attends a seminar sponsored by the manufacturer, or receives free samples. Disclosure of such financial arrangements is a must, but it is not enough. The authors of the JAMA article described as a "myth" the idea that disclosure of financial conflicts is sufficient to protect the interest of patients. Most drug company relationships with doctors involve far less money than the ones mentioned above, but even small gifts have an impact. The article in JAMA also said it is not true that small gifts have little or no influence on behavior. The doctors wrote that "social science research demonstrates that the impulse to reciprocate for even small gifts is a powerful influence on people's behavior. Individuals receiving gifts are often unable to remain objective." Last spring, I introduced legislation to close loopholes in Minnesota's law banning gifts from drug companies. The proposal would ban all gifts, not just those over $50. My legislation would include medical device manufacturers under the gift ban, prohibit excessive compensation to doctors for consulting services, and require doctors to disclose to their patients any financial arrangements that they have with drug and medical device companies. Passage of this legislation will eliminate the conflict of interest. That is good not only for the consumer's pocketbook; it also ensures that the care they get is based on their doctor's unbiased judgment. --------20 of 22-------- America's "Economic Egotism" World Tires of Rule by Dollar By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS CounterPunch October 30, 2008 What explains the paradox of the dollar's sharp rise in value against other currencies (except the Japanese yen) despite disproportionate US exposure to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression? The answer does not lie in improved fundamentals for the US economy or better prospects for the dollar to retain its reserve currency role. The rise in the dollar's exchange value is due to two factors. One factor is the traditional flight to the reserve currency that results from panic. People are simply doing what they have always done. Pam Martens predicted correctly that panic demand for US Treasury bills would boost the US dollar. The other factor is the unwinding of the carry trade. The carry trade originated in extremely low Japanese interest rates. Investors and speculators borrowed Japanese yen at an interest rate of one-half of one percent, converted the yen to other currencies, and purchased debt instruments from other countries that pay much higher interest rates. In effect, they were getting practically free funds from Japan to lend to others paying higher interest. The financial crisis has reversed this process. The toxic American derivatives were marketed worldwide by Wall Street. They have endangered the balance sheets and solvency of financial institutions throughout the world, including national governments, such as Iceland and Hungary. Banks and governments that invested in the troubled American financial instruments found their own debt instruments in jeopardy. Those who used yen loans to purchase, for example, debt instruments from European banks or Icelandic bonds, faced potentially catastrophic losses. Investors and speculators sold their higher-yielding financial instruments in a scramble for dollars and yen in order to pay off their Japanese loans. This drove up the values of the yen and the US dollar, the reserve currency that can be used to repay debts, and drove down the values of other currencies. The dollar's rise is temporary, and its prospects are bleak. The US trade deficit will lessen due to less consumer spending during recession, but it will remain the largest in the world and one that the US cannot close by exporting more. The way the US trade deficit is financed is by foreigners acquiring more dollar assets, with which their portfolios are already heavily weighted. The US government's budget deficit is large and growing, adding hundreds of billions of dollars more to an already large national debt. As investors flee equities into US government bills, the market for US Treasuries will temporarily depend less on foreign governments. Nevertheless, the burden on foreigners and on world savings of having to finance American consumption, the US government's wars and military budget, and the US financial bailout is increasingly resented. This resentment, combined with the harm done to America's reputation by the financial crisis, has led to numerous calls for a new financial order in which the US plays a substantially lesser role. "Overcoming the financial crisis" are code words for the rest of the world's intent to overthrow US financial hegemony. Brazil, Russia, India and China have formed a new group (BRIC) to coordinate their interests at the November financial summit in Washington, D.C. On October 28, RIA Novosti reported that Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin suggested to China that the two countries use their own currencies in their bilateral trade, thus avoiding the use of the dollar. China's prime Minister Wen Jiabao replied that strengthening bilateral relations is strategic. Europe has also served notice that it intends to exert a new leadership role. Four members of the Group of Seven industrial nations, France, Britain, Germany and Italy, used the financial crisis to call for sweeping reforms of the world financial system. Jose Manual Barroso, president of the European Commission, said that a new world financial system is possible only "if Europe has a leadership role". Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said that the "economic egoism" of America's "unipolar vision of the world" is a "dead-end policy". China's massive foreign exchange reserves and its strong position in manufacturing have given China the leadership role in Asia. The deputy prime minister of Thailand recently designated the Chinese yuan as "the rightful and anointed convertible currency of the world". Normally, the Chinese are very circumspect in what they say, but on October 24 Reuters reported that the People's Daily, the official government newspaper, in a front-page commentary accused the US of plundering "global wealth by exploiting the dollar's dominance". To correct this unacceptable situation, the commentary called for Asian and European countries to "banish the US dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies". And this step, said the commentary, is merely a starting step in overthrowing dollar dominance. The Chinese are expressing other thoughts that would get the attention of a less deluded and arrogant American government. Zhou Jiangong, editor of the online publication, Chinastates.com, recently asked: "Why should China help the US to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the US can expand without limit?" Zhou Jiangong's solution to American excesses is for China to take over Wall Street. China has the money to do it, and the prudent Chinese would do a better job than the crowd of thieves who have destroyed America's financial reputation while exploiting the world in pursuit of multi-million dollar bonuses. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts [at] yahoo.com --------21 of 22-------- Now is the Chance Turning the Tide of Ethnic Cleansing in America's Cities By GLEN FORD CounterPunch October 30, 2008 The demise or ill health of U.S. investment banks has deprived finance capital of its headquarters sector, the evil geniuses who hatch long range schemes for ethnic cleansing of the nation's cities. Now, more than ever, progressives must become city planners, and in the process of devising these plans forge unity among the various contesting communities that comprise the city. Community empowerment begins with community planning. The void left by finance capital's catastrophe demands that the Left - most particularly, the Black, urban left - make sense of the chaos and stench left by wounded and dying corporate elephants. The breathtaking statistics on paper wealth suddenly extinguished and once mighty bastions of capital laid low, do not begin to describe the economic meltdown's effect on finance capital's ability to rule the rest of us. It is not merely that giants such as Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and others have been swept into the historical dustbin, as if by a righteous, wrathful storm. The demise of investment banking as a central tool of capitalist planning means the rich have at least temporarily lost the ability to remake the cities as they see fit. While some gentrification projects are on hold, due to the death or ill health of the investment bankers at the heart of most "Black removal" schemes, tenant and community forces must seize the time to devise their own plans for rational ways of living in post-meltdown urban America. Progressives must become city planners, and in the process of devising these plans forge unity among the various contesting communities that comprise the city. Corporations have always dominated the mechanisms of urban planning, not just through bribery and subversion of all potential opposition, but because capital always has a plan. It is the giant investment banking firms that provided the generalship, the strategic and tactical headquarters, for most of the grand schemes to purge the Harlems of America of non-white working class populations. Before residents and community organizations have any inkling they are about to be exiled from their neighborhoods, corporate planners have already researched every aspect of the targeted area, rationalized the new corporate project's impact on conditions (and profits) elsewhere in the city and region, drawn up enabling zoning and other laws and regulations to legalize the theft, and enlisted local non-white allies to run political interference. The investment bankers, the generals of finance capitalism, had their Waterloo in September, victims of fundamental contradictions made more explosively lethal by greedy genius. At the moment, the "system" has no command center - the strategic function of investment bankers, now dead, dying, or on "capital injection" support. Disoriented, capital's various sectors behave like chickens with their heads cut off - because that is almost literally what has happened. If there is any juncture in history for progressives to formulate their own "development" plans, it is now, while the beast lies crippled and incoherent. In New York's Harlem, epicenter of the national corporate vision to remake the cities without their existing populations - the New Orleans exodus without the flood - finance capital's darker political vassals are experiencing their own crisis. Sugar daddies like Lehman Brothers and Wachovia Bank were great sources of bribes, and gave critical support to dependent social service and cultural outfits, as sweeteners for their toxic scheme to reap billions from the methodical expulsion of black and brown residents. While working class folks should be savoring a reprieve from exile - dancing at the Wall Street wakes! - the bankers' black and brown political dependents mourn the tragic loss of "their" fat cats. It is a pitiful sight, like house servants tearfully burying the "good" master who only sold off the field slaves. The crash - of which we have seen only the beginning - is more than an opportunity for progressives and popular forces to seize the initiative in planning the nuts and bolts of a new dispensation. The void left by finance capital's catastrophe demands that the Left - most particularly, the black, urban left - make sense of the chaos left by wounded and dying corporate elephants. The banker-bought ghetto politicians and poseurs are now at their weakest, cut off from their sources of funds and ghetto fabulousness. With the corporate trickle-down dried up, these masterless samurai lose their reasons for existence. Progressive organizers are obligated to step into the vacuum while the bamboozlers are still reeling and scratching, to provide explanations (analysis) of what has occurred and introduce the process of democratic, informed, inclusive community planning - the indispensable first step toward community empowerment. The discipline of city planning forces various organizers from diverse ethnic backgrounds to find rational solutions to common problems. Personalities and prejudices diminish as obstacles when people are compelled to tackle the complex, material problems of making neighborhoods and cities work for the folks who live there. During a discussion of the "Wall Street Bust and the End of the NYC Real Estate Boom" at the City University of New York (CUNY) Social Forum earlier this month, a young Chinese American organizer recounted how she and her colleagues debated how to resist corporate efforts to gentrify Chinatown. "Some said, 'We need to unite as Asians...I don't care about the Latinos or the Blacks,'" said the activist. Her organization chose "the alternative, to unite as working people to fight this racism." Unity around principle is always easier when the practical tasks at hand demand common action. The systemic demise of the investment banking mechanism of urban gentrification requires the various affected communities to engage their constituents in a common project of community planning - to show what alternative development looks like, and how people can be tangibly served. If this cannot be accomplished now, when the corporations are in confusion and disarray, then it can never be done. But of course, it can and will happen, because the moment demands it. People cannot forever tolerate living under constant threat of removal. Corporate gentrification requires the deployment of what Harlem Tenants Council executive director Nellie Hester Bailey calls "weapons of mass displacement" in the form of zoning laws and abuse of eminent domain. Organizers must counter such corporate weapons with inclusive community planning that excites and involves the people so that they combine as an even more powerful weapon: communities in defense of themselves and each other. But there's gotta be a plan. Glen Ford is BAR's executive editor. He can be contacted at Glen.Ford [at] BlackAgendaReport.com where this piece also appears. --------22 of 22-------- Democracy is stuck up big businesses' butt. Reach in and get it. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- - 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 To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 vote third party for president for congress now and forever
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