Mar 10 2011
This is going to be short. I have a clear and succinct point to make.
Wisconsin unions can now either give it all they’ve got, or they’re done for.
Right now, after Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Senate Republicans have pushed through this step in the decades-long corporate assault on labor, the unions really have their backs against a wall. Membership has declined, manufacturing has gone oversees, the national Democratic Party has abandoned them, and the cancer of the corporation has metastasized over not just government, but society. If the unions don’t rediscover their past, if they don’t turn around their more recent history of capitulation and infighting, they’ll die soon enough anyway. It’s their choice: militancy or death.
Feb 24 2011
Before I start, just so you know, the Green Party is airing their first weekly podcast tonight at 10 PM EST, focused all around Wisconsin and WI Greens. More info here – as usual, you can chat and interact and stuff like that.
Interestingly, Madison, Wisconsin is actually one of the better cities in the nation to be a Green in. They’ve got 8 elected officials there and one of their strongest state representative candidates in the nation ran and got over 30 percent of the vote there in 2010. His name is Ben Manski and he’s now taking a leading role, with his organization Liberty Tree and a new one called Wisconsin WAVE, in the resistance to this new trend of hardcore union-busting.
The Green Party of Wisconsin and the Green Party of the US have also put out press releases (available here and here, respectively) on the matter, but Ben’s debate on CNBC today with a Republican state legislator shows really some of the best the Greens have to offer and some of what’s really missing from the Democratic Party. Enjoy. (The debate starts a bit before 6:30)
Jan 24 2011
Hugh Giordano – 2010 Green candidate for state representative in Philadelphia who got 23 percent of the vote in the city, union organizer, and Green Party of Philadelphia City Committee member – is sending the following two-part open letter to every union in the city of Philadelphia:
STOP Supporting the Democrats and Republicans!
LET’S RUN OUR UNION REPRESENATIVES FOR CITY COUNCIL AT LARGE AND CITY COMMISIONER IN 2011 AS GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES!
Dear Union Brothers and Sisters,
My name is Hugh Giordano, and I am fellow union representative for the UFCW, Local 152. Many of you know me or have heard about me in my run for State Representative where I produced the highest percentage of vote of any third party candidate in a three-way race – beating the Republican in Philadelphia!
I produced this great victory because I stood for the issues, used basic union organizing skills, took NO corporate money, and had union support. Just imagine what I could have accomplished if I had all the unions behind me, the man power, and financial backing; I could have done so much more to defeat the CEO/corporate Democrat.
Although I did not win that election, I opened the doors for us, as a united labor front, to do great things for the future. We have a duty to do what is right and to fight back against the status quo. That is why we are labor leaders and chose this activist life. I use the word ‘activist’ because that is what we are supposed to be, NOT businessmen and businesswomen.
Before I get into the meat of this letter, I want to make a few quick statements that I will always say and continue to support. We, as labor leaders, have a duty to the movement, our unions, and the members to do what is right, not what is safe! We are not pawns of the Democrats and Republicans, and we owe them nothing. The two parties have not done anything for our unions and the movement. Most people in elected positions in City Council have never even been a union member! If you are a union leader and are afraid to support another party besides the Democrats because of retaliation – I suggest you retire and find another job! Sorry that I have to be blunt, but it’s the truth!
Jan 15 2011
Jan 12 2011
So often, those in the tea party equate progressives and Democrats with socialists, communists, Nazis, and whatever other word fits their particular hatred. Meanwhile, in the Democratic Party, progressives can’t seem to go a day without reminding themselves why it’s a great thing to live in fear of the latest loon on the right.
Despite great rhetorical and, yes, political differences between the tea party and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, the view presented in Adam Levine’s recent piece in CounterPunch, “Shared Delusions,” is absolutely correct. Both groups have allowed themselves to be entirely deluded by the ruling class, enabling the corporatization of America.
What makes this possible are the many disempowered voters who are impervious to reason and indifferent to facts; people who fervently believe, for example, that the way to stick it to the Wall Street schemers and gamblers who do them harm is to funnel wealth their way, immiserating themselves…
…Obama apologists have a long way to go too, but their folly is of a different kind. They are like abused spouses who hold on to the belief that their abuser is a “good man” (read “progressive”) despite everything.
Dec 31 2010
Reprinted in full, with permission, from Ballot Access News, the newsletter of the highly respected and trustworthy ballot access expert Richard Winger.
Government-printed ballots in the United States were first created in 1888, and almost from the start, opponents of new and minor political parties started manipulating the ballot access laws to keep certain parties off the ballot. The first such instance was in Nevada, when the 1893 legislature increased the petition requirement for new parties and independent candidates to 10% of the last vote cast, in a vain attempt to keep the Peoples (Populist) Party off the ballot.
But in over a century of struggle to avoid monopolization of the general election ballot to just the two major parties, there has never been a pressure group that worked in favor of restrictive ballot access laws, until very recently. Leaders of the former New Alliance Party, who have renamed themselves several times, now call themselves IndependentVoting.org. They hold themselves out as the leaders of independent voters, but they have become a pressure group working to limit choices on the general election ballot to just Democrats and Republicans.
Dec 27 2010
In the past few weeks a series of reforms have been passed which some are saying justify President Obama’s, the Democratic Party’s, and American liberals’ extreme moderation and corporatism (or, in some cases, a mere subservience to, if not an outright embrace of, this horribly corrupt form of capitalism).
However, I would advise you to consider these words which Malcolm X uttered in another terribly corrupt and unequal world which, as the US continues its decline as an empire and omnipotent economic presence, even many liberals and radicals are starting to get nostalgic for:
You don’t stick a knife into a man’s back nine inches, pull it out six inches, and call it progress.
That is, if you ignore the context in which these mild reforms are taking place, you are ignoring the fundamental problems which need to be solved. This is particularly apparent in the case of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Dec 08 2010
In an open letter to the leaders of the Philadelphia labor movement, the young and energetic organizer for UFCW Local 152 Hugh Giordano has challenged the city’s unions to have the courage to support the Green Party. Giordano ran an exceptionally strong campaign as a Green for state legislature this year, raising almost $30,000 from unions and individuals and capturing over 18 percent of the vote in a three way race. Now he would like to spread the same movement for honest politics, workers’ rights, and a clean environment (among other things) to the rest of Philadelphia, beyond his single district.
As the members of the party, which I am aiding in every way I can, build the organization for the 2011 local elections, Giordano has seized the opportunity make the area’s union leadership reconsider the popular path of supporting corporate Democrats. In his words, “Why are we, the strong men and women of the labor movement, bowing down to the corporate bosses and politicians…Union brothers and sisters, when any one of us becomes ‘fearful’ or ‘controlled’ by a political party – it’s time to step down and pass the torch on.”
The full letter is printed, with Hugh Giordano’s permission, below the fold.
Dec 07 2010
This man has spirit, and that’s required for real, positive change! Reverend Billy Talen is the leader of the Church of Life After Shopping and has been, for months or years now, protesting in bank lobbies to get them to stop funding mountain top removal. He posted this on facebook:
This peaceful bank seizure was that rare successful thing: nonviolent direct action in 2010 that worked. PNC’s financing of MTR was our whole point, and the Choir sang songs with the Earth Quakers and the folks from RAN. Four of us were taken to prison, and I learned a great deal about activism and life from George Lakey, my cellmate. A month later PNC pulled out of MTR, and we are jubilant! Appalachia-a-lujah!
Think about that before you take the easy route of decrying that “the system is beyond change!” and “I’m powerless!”
Dec 05 2010
Originally posted at Polizeros.com
Bloggers like Bob Morris of Polizeros have pointed out that even some who are typically rebellious in their rhetoric are condemning Julian Assange (while there are people like Jonah Goldberg and Chuck Schumer calling for his head), so I think it’s worth pointing out how historically important Assange (and Wikileaks, of course) could be. With the caveat that we have all yet to see the effects of what Wikileaks is doing, he has the potential to play two essential and complementary roles: radical anti-authoritarian and someone who makes it safe for others to voice similar opinions.
Nov 20 2010
So, this is probably my last diary here. Nothing too much to say…So long, and thanks for all the tips?
Anyway, a lot of people are lost politically in these parts. I have one piece of advice, one thing that gives me hope even in these dark days, one thing that keeps me going perhaps more than anything else: Howard Zinn’s wisdom. Please, please, please do yourself a favor and read Howard Zinn extensively if you haven’t already. The keys, I believe, to what politics is really all about (HINT: it’s not elections) are in his writings.
So…enjoy…you can start with these if you want to…
Oct 31 2010
As we all know, there was a rally in Washington, DC on Saturday. It’s gotten tons of attention in the media and had some high profile guests, like The Roots, Jeff Tweedy, the Mythbusters and, of course, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
Its aim is…well, nothing. Just to get together on the national mall, have some laughs, and get the Viacom-sponsored duo some attention. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But my previous enthusiasm for the rally and for the brave master satirists hosting it has been tempered lately. It seems not to be any kind of beneficial political activity, but, as Irregular Times put it, a promotion of “inactivism.”