socialist by jolinmilioncherie


									                                       Workers of the World, Unite!
                             The MICHIGAN

 Vol. 2, No. 4 • July 2004
         No.                                   50¢ ($1 Solidarity)

        Fight privatization!
         Water is a right!
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                             1
            The MICHIGAN

    socialist                                           commentary
                  Editor MARTIN SCHREADER              Class struggle in the paint
     SPMI Chairperson MATT ERARD                       OK, I ADMIT IT. I was one of those people
       SPMI Secretary MIKE TREACY                      who thought the Detroit Pistons should
The Michigan Socialist is the voice of the Social-
                                                       have won, but did not think they could.
                                                           I fell for the propaganda.
ist Party of Michigan (SPMI), affiliate of the
Socialist Party USA. Party address: P.O. Box               As much as I wanted the fellas to go to                     SCHREADER
3285, Kalamazoo, MI 49009-3285; e-mail:                work and send the Lakers back to La-La; WWW: http://news.mi-         Land on the redeye flight west, I didn’t think   drama. It was the media-contrived “Ameri-                                        it was going to happen.                          can Dream” on hardwood.
    All submissions to the Michigan Socialist can          I was glad to be proven wrong.                  And then there was Detroit.
be sent by mail or e-mail. Articles sent in hard-          But, having had moments during the              The Pistons were everything the Lakers
copy format should have 1-inch margins all the         NBA Finals to sit and think about what I         were not. The Lakers were superstars in their
way around, and be printed in a basic, legible
                                                       was seeing — think about exactly how thor-       own right; the Pistons were relative un-
typeface (e.g., Times New Roman or Helvetica).
Articles sent electronically, either by e-mail or      oughly I was being proven wrong — I              knowns.
on diskette, should be in plain text (.txt), Rich      thought long and hard about that word I             The Lakers played that kind of “super-
Text (.rtf) or MS Word (.doc) format, although         used above: propaganda.                          star” basketball that Michael Jordan, Allen
any format will be accepted. Submissions sent              The propaganda machine had been in           Iverson and, yes, Shaquille O’Neal made the
by e-mail can be addressed to editor@mi-               full force throughout most of the 2003-04        trend of the 1990s.                                        NBA season.                                         The Pistons, on the other hand, played
    Signed articles, columns and letters do not            For most sports commentators, this year’s    like a team — a close-knit, we-all-need-
necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Socialist     finals amounted to “the Lakers and them”         each-other kind of team.
Party of Michigan, which are expressed in edi-
                                                       — the “them” being whoever was to be un-            This clash of styles reflected the outlooks
torial statements, or the Socialist Party USA.
The Editor of the Michigan Socialist reserves the      lucky enough to face Los Angeles and get         that each team had of themselves.
right to edit all articles for typography and spell-   spanked in the series.
ing without consultation. On all other matters             The Lakers were the darlings of the NBA      THE LAKERS WERE “Showtime” — in-
of editing, the Editor will attempt to collaborate     — the biggest superstar team since the days      dividualist stars seeking fame and glory for
with authors as much as possible.                      when Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and          themselves first (even though, at times, the
                                                       Dennis Rodman made teams fear coming             fame was not exactly what they wanted, as
Socialist Party USA:                                   into the Windy City.                             in the current rape trial of Bryant).
Outline of Principles                                      The Los Angeles lineup looked like some
                                                       future NBA Hall of Fame induction cere-
                                                                                                           The Pistons, on the other hand, saw
                                                                                                        themselves in the shadow of industrial De-
THE SOCIALIST PARTY strives to establish a             mony: Shaquille O’Neal; Kobe Bryant; Karl        troit.
radical democracy that places people’s lives under
                                                       Malone; Luke Walton (son of NBA Hall of             “Let’s go to work,” was the slogan; the
their own control: where working people own and
control the means of production and distribution,
                                                       Famer Bill Walton); Phil Jackson (former         factory steam whistle was their call to arms.
through democratically-controlled committees and       coach of the NBA champion Chicago                   The Lakers identified with their enter-
assemblies; where full employment is realized for      Bulls); etc.                                     tainment patrons and “middle class” fame-
everyone who wants to work; where workers have             The Lakers had punished their oppo-          seekers. The Pistons were united with their
the right to form unions freely, and to strike and     nents throughout the regular season and          working brothers and sisters.
engage in other forms of job actions; and where the    playoffs, and were expected to do the same          Could the differences have been any
production of society is used for the benefit of all   to whomever they faced in the Finals.            clearer?
humanity, not for the private profit of a few. We          So, what happened?                              If not, the media certainly did its best to
believe socialism and democracy are one and
                                                           It may sound funny, but I think it ended     point them out ... and show how the Lak-
    The Socialist Party fights for progressive
                                                       up being a class question.                       ers’ individualism would wash over the Pis-
changes compatible with a socialist future. We             You read that right.                         tons.
support union and electoral actions — independent          What we saw during the NBA Finals was,          The Pistons were “uppity” in the eyes of
of the capitalist-controlled two-party system — to     in my opinion, the closest to class struggle     the media.
present socialist alternatives. We strive for          on a basketball court that many of us have          They were “brash;” they played “ugly”
democratic revolutions — radical and fundamental       ever seen.                                       basketball; they were “out of their league.”
changes in the structure and nature of economic,           Los Angeles was the embodiment of               But after the Pistons beat the Lakers in
political and social relations — to abolish the        “middle class” superstardom. Not only were       Game One at L.A.’s Staples Center, you
power now exercised by the few who control the
                                                       the guys in the paint as famous off the court    could already begin to see the media get
economy and the government.
    The Socialist Party is a democratic, multi-
                                                       as they were on it, but so were many of those    unnerved.
tendency organization, with structure and practices    who regularly attended Lakers games.                Game Two may have given them some
visible and accessible to all members.                     It was Hollywood — fame, fortune and                                continued on page 15
2                                                                                                                   The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST
 lead article
Fight capitalist privatization!
Water is a human right!
By MATT ERARD                                     continuance of the Israeli occupation of the
                                                  West Bank, where Israel gets roughly one-
The Michigan Socialist
                                                  third of its water supply.
IN THE PAST few years we have witnessed               As a result, Palestinians in the West Bank
an increase in the privatization and com-         are forbidden from digging deep wells, pre-
modification of water at an exceptional           venting Palestinian farmers from using more
pace.                                             water per day for farming than Israeli city
    For decades, water privatization has been     dwellers are allotted for drinking.
a hallmark of structural adjustment pro-              Likewise, privatization and control of the
grams (SAPs) imposed on poor countries by         Tigris River will also likely be one of the
the International Monetary Fund and World         final results of the U.S. invasion of Iraq as
Bank, as a condition for loans.                   the Mount Hermon watershed and Litani
    It was this routine policy that forced the    River was for the Israeli invasion of Leba-
citizens of Cochabamba, Bolivia, to shut-         non.
down their city for a week in early 2000 and          For the United States, the control of cit-
endure brutally violent retaliation from their    izens’ access to water is not only an end for
government after IMF-imposed privatiza-           invasions, but also a tactic for when they
tion policies cut off access to water for many    begin.
and caused water rates to double across the           From the U.S. invasion of North Korea
board.                                            to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the systematic
    In South Africa, the only country in the      singling out of water treatment facilities,
world in which the citizens’ right to water       sewage systems and dykes as “soft targets”
is in the constitution, over 10 million citi-     for bombing has become a standard operat-
zens have had their water shut off since the      ing procedure for the U.S. military.
                                                                                                   Above: A Vietnamese farmer pours water over
imposition of the World Bank’s “cost recov-           Clearly the commoditization of water
                                                                                                   his head to cool off. Below: Women carry
ery program,” in which the availability of        and the use of water depravation as a weap-
                                                                                                   water in Kenya. Both sub-Saharan Africa and
water is contingent upon the water compa-         on of war is nothing new for the United
                                                                                                   Southeast Asia are becoming targets of wa-
ny’s ability to cover its cost plus profit.       States ruling class or any of its internation-
                                                                                                   ter privatization schemes orchestrated by the
    One result has been over 100,000 peo-         al fronts.
                                                                                                   IMF and World Bank.
ple in South Africa’s province of Kwazulu-            What has expanded in recent years is the
Natal becoming infected with cholera after        centrality of water as a focus for these ends.
water sanitation services were shut-off be-
cause of non-payment.                             WITHIN THE BORDERS of the United
    Last March, police opened fire on the         States, this augmented focus has hit Michi-
Gauteng Anti-Privatization Forum (APF)            gan the hardest.
in Johannesburg, South Africa.                       The number of homes in Detroit and
    Fifty-two members of APF were arrest-         Highland Park that have had their water
ed, including six children, for violating the     shut off due to non-payment is now over
Gatherings Act, an apartheid-era law grant-       100,000, resulting from a crackdown by
ing police broad powers to obstruct and ban       Detroit Water and Sewage Department
protest activity.                                 chief, and former Thames Water and Unit-
    Similar conditions have existed in the        ed Water Companies executive, Victor
Middle East for decades, where water, for         Mercado.
the most part, is far more valuable than oil         Meanwhile, city corporations that ac-
as a commodity.                                   count for three-fourths of the overdue mon-
    As first revealed in detail in Mechiro shel   ey face no threat of shut-offs.
Ihud, a comprehensive book of Israeli cabi-          The Nestlé Corporation, through its sub-
net records between 1967 and 1977, water          sidiary Ice Mountain, continues to pump
remains one of the pivotal reasons for the        200 million gallons of Michigan’s water per
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                     3
                                                                                                  trol of water both at home and abroad, there
                                                                                                  are two vital questions to ask:
                                                                                                      First, why is there an increased focus on
                                                                                                  the commoditization of water? Second, why
                                                                                                  is Michigan presently the primary target
                                                                                                  within the United States?
                                                                                                      There is no question that tightened SAPs
                                                                                                  from the IMF and World Bank are a signif-
                                                                                                  icant factor.
                                                                                                      Even without the backbone of military
                                                                                                  force, these programs allow the United
                                                                                                  States and other great-power capitalist
                                                                                                  countries that compose the Group of Eight
                                                                                                  (G8) to mandate privatization policies of
                                                                                                  all kinds throughout the world even within
                                                                                                  countries whose governments attempt to
                                                                                                  resist them.
                                                                                                      Among all of the public resources and
                                                                                                  institutions affected by privatization poli-
                                                                                                  cies, however, there are important reasons
Members of the Highland Park Human Rights Coalition protest outside of a stage-managed
                                                                                                  that water exceeds the others as a current
“Day of Dialogue” organized by Governor Jennifer Granholm.
                                                                                                  central focus.
year to bottle and sell back to Michigan cit-    firm, Rothchild-Wright Group LLC, an un-             Along with increased population growth
izens and others around the Midwest for          cannily secretive company that provides no       and climate change, capitalism’s environ-
profit, without paying a cent for the water      information on its history or background         mental policies, lack of cooperative eco-
it takes.                                        even to its potential clients.                   nomic planning, and continuous need for
    Last November, Judge Lawrence Root               The contract would allow the company         short term gain has resulted in water becom-
ordered Nestlé to halt operations at its         to keep the vast majority of the profits from    ing an increasingly scarce resource at epi-
Mecosta County bottling plant after a suit       the water system and require the city to pay     demic heights.
was brought against them by Michigan Cit-        back all of the company’s investment with-           Currently over 1.1 billion of the world’s
izens for Water Conservation.                    in a specified period of time or be foreclosed   people lack access to clean water and 2.4
    Before the December deadline to end          upon by the company.                             billion lack access to proper sanitation.
operations, however, Nestlé was granted an           Citizens of Highland Park packed the             According to the 2003 United Nations
emergency stay by the Michigan Court of          City Council meeting on May 24, along            World Water Development Report, the glo-
Appeals under pressure from Governor Jen-        with members of the Highland Park Human          bal water crisis will reach unprecedented
nifer Granholm.                                  Rights Coalition and the Socialist Party of      levels and a dramatically increased per cap-
    While attorney general, Granholm re-         Michigan, to demand that the council vote        ita scarcity in the years ahead.
ferred to Nestlé’s theft as “export and diver-   no on the proposed contract.                         As the scarcity of clean drinking water
sion” of Michigan Water, and campaigned              Joseph M. Wright, representing the com-      increases, so does its value as a commodity.
on removing Ice Mountain.                        pany, dodged every question that came from       The profit system is following its very na-
    Since her election as governor, howev-       city councilors and citizens, urged the coun-    ture by taking the necessary steps to reap
er, she has remained even cozier with the        cil to ignore the “streetcorner revolutionar-    the fruits of the epidemic it caused.
company than former Republican Gover-            ies” from the Socialist Party and vote in fa-        Another reason for the central focus on
nor John Engler.                                 vor of the proposal.                             water is a human being’s dependency on it
    After warnings that the economic crisis          By a vote of 4-1, the City Council voted     for survival.
in Highland Park, in which 38.3 percent of       down the proposed contract resulting in              Water privatization and commoditiza-
the population are below the poverty line,       cheers and applause from the citizens both       tion is a way that the ruling class can con-
could likely cause a second Benton Harbor        inside and outside the courtroom where the       stantly remind the working people that its
if something wasn’t done, Granholm again         meeting was held.                                survival and the satisfaction of its most ba-
chose the option most beneficial the capi-           Wright held a brief press conference out-    sic physiological needs are dependent on its
talist class without any regard for the long-    side the building after the decision was made    productive output for capitalist profit-mak-
term interest of the city’s working people.      where he declared that his company “will         ing.
    Granholm, through the city’s state-ap-       not take ‘no’ for an answer,” and will con-          For workers to deviate from doing so can
pointed Emergency Financial Manager Ra-          tinue to explore other options to take con-      cause any of them to interchangeably be-
mona Henderson-Pearson, proposed a plan          trol of the city water department.               come part of the unneeded “surplus popu-
to the Highland Park city council to priva-                                                       lation,” whose fundamental rights to life and
tize the Highland Park Water Department          WITH THE EVENTS we have witnessed                subsistence are only privileges.
under the control of private management          in recent years pertaining to the private con-                           continued on page 13
4                                                                                                            The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST

Revolution or
             Venezuela’s Bolivarian Republic at the crossroads
Editor, the Michigan Socialist

THE MOST RECENT events in the South
American country of Venezuela have
brought its ongoing democratic revolution
to a critical stage.
    This democratic movement, called the
“Bolivarian Revolution,” swept into power
in December 1998 with the election of Hugo
Chavez Frias as president.
    The Bolivarians went right to work.
Within a year of being elected, the Bolivari-
an movement called a national referendum
to adopt a new, democratic constitution,
which passed overwhelmingly.
    Chavez won re-election under the new
constitution in 2000.
    A year later, in December 2001, he pro-
posed close to 50 new laws meant to codify
the aims of the democratic revolution, in-
cluding regulations on land reform, railroad
construction and the oil industry.
    The combination of a new constitution
and the reforms proposed by Chavez out-
raged the Venezuelan capitalists and their
imperialist paymasters — particularly the
U.S. Even though the state apparatus was
still quite capitalist in character, the capi-
talists had lost control of its administration.
    The capitalists vowed to regain control
... by any means necessary.
    In April 2002, the capitalists conspired
with the military and police forces to pro-
voke a coup d’état.
    In response, the Bolivarians called a mas-
                                                  Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian
sive march in the capital, Caracas, as well
                                                  Revolution rally in Caracas.
as organized loyal soldiers to retake the pres-
idential palace and return Chavez to office.      in the official labor union federation, the      This time, the workers of Venezuela took
    Eight months later, the capitalists tried     bosses organized a massive lockout of work-   matters into their own hands.
again to force the ouster of Chavez.              ers and sought to get the military to once       Workers in the oil industry broke
    Working this time with their lieutenants      again depose Chavez.                          through the capitalists’ lines and occupied
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                 5
the refineries.
    The union movement split, with militant
pro-Bolivarian workers organizing their own
union federation and leaving the old pro-
capitalist union bureaucracy to their own
    Millions of workers took to the streets to
stop the coup plotters from succeeding.
    The second attempt to crush the Boli-
varian revolution collapsed and Chavez was
still president.

THROUGHOUT 2003, the capitalists
have attempted to reorganize and take an-
other crack at forcing Chavez out and re-
versing the Bolivarian Revolution.
    Their current tactic has been taking ad-
vantage of a provision in the new constitu-
tion that allows for the recall of the presi-
    The two main capitalist parties, AD
(“Democratic Action”) and Copei (“Chris-
                                                 Making the links: Bolivarian supporter uses the example of the war crimes committed by the
tian Socialists”), have poured millions of
                                                 U.S. at Abu Gh’raib prison in Iraq to demonstrate what will happen to Venezuelans if the pro-
dollars into funding a petitioning drive to
                                                 U.S. capitalist opposition succeeds.
gather the signatures necessary for a refer-
endum.                                           capitalist candidates — George W. Bush and      society.
    As of this writing, the National Elector-    John F. Kerry — have decidedly thrown their         But the Bolivarian leadership, limited by
al Council (an independent body estab-           support behind the Venezuelan capitalists,      their left-populist political viewpoint, hesi-
lished by the new constitution) has declared     and have even went so far as to threaten        tated in both instances, allowing the capi-
that the capitalist opposition has just bare-    “regime change” if Chavez does not give in.     talists to regroup and reorganize.
ly achieved the necessary number of signa-          Both Bush and Kerry have called Chavez           At the same time, the rank and file of
tures.                                           a “dictator” (or, wishing to be more equivo-    the Bolivarian movement has been push-
    This means that there will be a national     cal, have said he was “becoming a dictator”).   ing to move the revolution forward.
referendum in August to decide whether to           This is rich coming from a pair of bil-          However, it appears that Chavez and a
recall Chavez.                                   lionaire capitalist plutocrats, one of whom     significant section of the democratic move-
    The petitioning drive has severely polar-    was illegally installed in the White House      ment are beginning to see that the only way
ized the Venezuelan people, mainly along         by family friends sitting on the Supreme        to deepen and extend the Bolivarian Revo-
class lines.                                     Court of the United States.                     lution is to go beyond capitalism.
    The workers and poor peasants of Vene-          Both Bush and Kerry would hope to ever           Recently, Chavez declared that the rev-
zuela are solidly supporting Chavez and the      receive the proportionate level of mass sup-    olution was now in its “anti-imperialist”
Bolivarians.                                     port Chavez has — over 60 percent of the        stage, and he and his Bolivarian movement
    The capitalists and their “middle class”     near 80 percent of the population who vot-      have taken steps to that effect.
appendages, along with the labor aristocra-      ed in the last election.                            Last month, Chavez called for a general
cy, are backing the old parties and the re-                                                      arming of the people and the organization
call.                                            THIS COMING AUGUST, the people of               of “workers’ and people’s militia” to defend
    Even though the capitalists are in a mi-     Venezuela will once again have to affirm        the resources of the country from sabotage
nority in Venezuela, they have a powerful        their support for the Bolivarian Revolution     and plunder by the capitalists.
ally that could tip the scales in their favor:   by going to the polls and voting against the        As well, he has been purging large sec-
American capitalism.                             recall of Chavez.                               tions of the state apparatus, removing cer-
    Ever since Chavez came to power, the            Should this happen, then it should be        tain “disloyal” military brass and police
U.S. government has done everything it can       taken as a mandate by the Bolivarians to        chiefs from their posts.
short of full-scale invasion to aid the over-    take the decisive steps forward.                    This purging process has also included
throw of the Bolivarian Revolution.                 After the defeat of the coups of April and   removing hesitating and ineffective ele-
    Washington has provided money, equip-        December 2002, the capitalists were severe-     ments from his own movement’s leadership.
ment, logistical support and even the occa-      ly weakened and discredited.                        However, he has not touched the main
sional mercenary unit to help crush the dem-        In both cases, the situation was ripe for    levers of power that the capitalists hold over
ocratic movement.                                taking the Revolution to the next level and     the Bolivarians — the banking institutions
    In this election year, both of the main      advancing toward a democratic socialist                                 continued on page 13
6                                                                                                            The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST

The Gipper
the reaper
                   The life and crimes
                    of Ronald Reagan
By BEN BURGIS                                    World Court for war crimes for mining the        to the likes of Abraham Lincoln, and his
The Michigan Socialist
                                                 harbors of that nation.                          nominal “opposition candidate” John Ker-
                                                     All in all, he ordered or had a hand in      ry suspended all campaigning for five days
ON JUNE 5, a very old man finally passed         the killings of thousands of soldiers and ci-    in mourning for, in his words, the “great
on, not violently and not in pain, but from      vilians around the world.                        man.”
the inevitable onset of age and disease, af-         A life-long, notorious and unrepentant          In his official statement on the matter,
ter having spent his last years in the lap of    bribe-taker who accepted all manner of ex-       Kerry gushed that Americans from “sea to
luxury receiving the best medical care avail-    pensive personal favors from those with a        shining sea” should “bow their heads in grat-
able to any one.                                 stake in his political decisions, he bankrupt-   itude” that the “great man” left an “indeli-
    The man in question was not the sort of      ed his country buying worthless and redun-       ble mark on the nation.”
good, kindly old man who had made no en-         dant weapons systems and paid for it all by
emies who many might be expected to              cutting social services to the most desper-      TO BE SURE, he did leave an “indelible
grieve for even in circumstances so fortu-       ately poor residents of his society.             mark.”
nate.                                                The man in question, of course, was             One of Reagan’s many lasting contribu-
    Quite the opposite.                          Ronald Reagan, and since he died a torrent       tions was the first in a series of “free trade”
    A former head of state, he had overseen      of grief for him and tribute to his many great   agreements of the sort that have weakened
a particularly violent turn in the policies of   deeds has dominated the radio and televi-        labor, health, safety and environmental
the most powerful empire in the history of       sion airwaves and filled the pages of main-      standards, and resulted in massive job loss.
the world.                                       stream newspapers.                                  Doubtless laid-off industrial workers
    A pathological liar, he broke the law to         The New York Times memorialized him          working non-union, service industry jobs as
sell weapons to sworn enemies and conceal        as the very personification of “old-time val-    a result of the “Gipper’s” advances in this
the act from his public and from the high-       ues.”                                            area will echo Kerry’s sentiments, not to
est elected body in the land.                        Here in Michigan, Governor Jennifer          mention the thousands of air traffic control-
    He used the funds from those sales to        Granholm heaped praise on Reagan’s “op-          lers he fired (in what the New York Times
subsidize the actions of vicious terrorism       timistic vision” and “ability to inspire the     memorialized as a “bold move”) for daring
against a diplomatically non-aligned, dem-       people to great things.”                         to go out on strike.
ocratically elected government that dis-             President Bush praised him in terms that        Mention must also be made of his ad-
pleased him, and was condemned by the            might sound mildly exaggerated if applied        ministration’s ruthless prosecution of his
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                      7
“war on drugs,” a “war” that of course has       that filled several whole pages of the New
yet to lead to any decrease in actual use of     York Times failed to touch on that point, just
banned narcotics but that led to an explo-       as most of the testimonials of grief and trib-
sion in the rates of imprisonment in the         ute filling the corporate-owned mass media
1980s, mostly of the very poor and dispro-       to overflowing have chosen to leave out or
portionately of Blacks and Chicanos, and         brush past Reagan’s own most notorious act
mostly for non-violent crimes.                   of grieving for the martyred dead.
   Many inmates of notoriously humane                When President of the United States, on
and comfortable correctional facilities serv-    an official visit to Germany, Reagan chose
ing life sentences for “conspiracy to deliver    for reasons best known to himself (while
cocaine” may doubtless be bowing their           declining to visit the sites of any death
heads in gratitude for the indelible mark        camps) to lay a wreath of flowers at the cem-
even at this very moment.                        etery of 49 Waffen SS stormtroopers at Bit-
   Similarly with refugees from Latin Amer-      burg, taking the opportunity to point out
ican countries who came to the United            that Hitler’s most ideologically zealous in-
States to escape the “anti-communist” death      ner core of killers “were victims too.”
squads sponsored by the U.S. government              Perhaps the man who ordered the deaths
when Reagan was at its head.                     of thousands in order to battle the perni-
   Certainly, the family members of the 241      cious influence of “godless Communism” felt
                                                                                                   Joined at the hip: In a rare photo, Reagan is
U.S. Marines who Reagan sent to their            a sense of kinship with the men interred
                                                                                                   seen here with a young George W. Bush.
deaths as part of his bloody colonialist ef-     there, who had, after all, dedicated them-
forts to (as he put it in the 1980 election)     selves to the same goal, inspired by similar-     ruling-class figures are liable to be, with the
“make America stand tall again” will be          ly rousing nationalistic appeals to make the      empire’s “prestige,” Reagan would be an al-
bowing their heads as well.                      fatherland “stand tall again.”                    most uniquely embarrassing presidential fig-
   Certainly, the widows and orphans of the          Physically, he will be buried in the Unit-    urehead.
terrorist atrocities of September 11, 2001,      ed States, but spiritually he rests at Bitburg.       For one thing, he was an almost patho-
should be bowing their heads in gratitude                                                          logical liar, practiced in the skills of decep-
at the “indelible mark” left on their own        THE QUESTION THAT begs asking is why              tion from an early age.
lives by the policies of the man who over-       the New York Times no less than Fox News,             Before he was ever an actor, he was a
saw massive covert operations in Afghani-        Granholm and Kerry no less than Michi-            sportscaster known for his remarkably cap-
stan in the 1980s, arming and training Osa-      gan GOP head Betsy DeVos and Bush, feel           tivating blow-by-blow accounts of baseball
ma bin Laden and his cohorts for the pur-        such a profound sense of kinship with “the        games.
poses of waging “holy war” against the           great man” who laid that wreath.                      The little redheaded boy who managed
USSR.                                               Superficially, this seems odd. It would        to catch the ball in the stands, the roar of
   For some strange reason, the obituary         seem that for any one concerned as such           the crowd. Audiences loved it.
                                                                                                       The thing about it was, of course, that
                                                                                                   Reagan never attended the games he was
                                                                                                   reporting on, but stayed far away in the ra-
                                                                                                   dio station the whole time, having the de-
                                                                                                   velopments telegraphed to him and mak-
                                                                                                   ing up most of the details.
                                                                                                       Once, when the wire went dead, he nar-
                                                                                                   rated what would have been the longest se-
                                                                                                   ries of foul balls in history until it came back
                                                                                                   up. This is not a personal smear from his
                                                                                                   detractors, but a favorite story of Reagan
                                                                                                   himself, which he told and retold for its sen-
                                                                                                   timental value.
                                                                                                       While these came in handy when he se-
                                                                                                   cretly sold arms to Iran to subsidize terrorist
                                                                                                   operations against the democratically elect-
                                                Remembering the real Reagan: Protester in Los
                                                                                                   ed government of Nicaragua, he was con-
                                                Angeles (left) holds a cross inscribed with the
                                                                                                   stantly lying when he had little to gain from
                                                name of someone killed by rightwing death
                                                                                                   it, more or less out of habit or desire to ap-
                                                squads in El Salvador financed by the U.S. gov-
                                                                                                   peal to whomever he was talking.
                                                ernment. Michael Hasenfus (above) was a CIA
                                                                                                       In a 1983 meeting with Israeli Prime
                                                agent who ran drugs for the Nicaraguan contras
                                                                                                   Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Reagan (who had
                                                fighting the leftist Sandinista government.

8                                                                                                              The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST
spent the war in Hollywood doing training
movies for the Army) claimed to have been
present at the liberation of the death camps
at the end of WWII.
    And, let’s not forget, this was the tower-
ing intellect that thought that ketchup
should be considered a “vegetable” for
school lunch purposes.
    Reagan was, above all, the representa-
tive of a major turn in the policies of the
ruling class of corporate owners.

STARTING IN THE 1930s, they had felt
the need to make important concessions to
those at the bottom of society.
    The great symbol of this policy was Fran-
klin D. Roosevelt, just as Reagan was the
great symbol of its reversal.
    Roosevelt is often portrayed (both by lib-
eral Democrats who admire him and by
Reaganites who see him as naïve) as a man
motivated by humanitarian compassion for
the suffering of the poor and downtrodden.
    In point of fact, Roosevelt himself was
always quite open and public about his real       Knowing the score: British cartoonist
motivations.                                      Art Bell, of the UK Guardian, pens his
    When he first achieved the presidency                own special sendoff to Reagan
in 1932, his backers were very, very worried           (above). At a museum in Havana,
by the shift in consciousness from below               Cuba, Reagan is enshrined in the
resulting from the massive poverty, misery       “Cretins’ Corner,” alongside Fulgencio
and unemployment that accompanied the            Batista, the Cuban dictator overthrown
economic crash.                                   by Castro’s revolutionary guerrillas in
    In an interview with the New York Graph-                                1959 (right).
ic during that campaign, Roosevelt recited
a conversation with “an old friend who runs
a great western railroad. ‘Fred,’ I asked him,
‘what are the people talking about out there?
‘Frank,’ he replied, ‘I’m sorry to say the men
out here are talking revolution.’”
    Driven by that understanding, the capi-
talist class as a whole, however much some
of its individual members may have grum-
bled about it and resented FDR, much the
same way that people resent the dentist even
as they schedule appointments, was willing
to make important concessions from above
to avoid having to have their fortunes ex-       were stationed at the entrances to the tun-     tive agenda of Roosevelt, as the latter es-
propriated entirely from below.                  nels leading up to the plants.                  tablished a social safety net against the worst
    This was, after all, the same period that       The fears that Fred confessed to Frank       ravages of poverty and opened the purse
saw some of the fiercest episodes of class       were hardly delusions.                          strings to public works programs to provide
struggle in American history, like the great        In this context, “short-term demands”        work and income to otherwise angry and
Flint sit-down strike of 1936, where facto-      were quite literally lifted from the campaign   restless unemployed workers.
ries were temporarily seized by those who        platform of Socialist Party presidential can-       Of course, for Thomas, these were steps
worked them, it took pitched battles to get      didate Norman Thomas and incorporated           in the direction of the qualitative transfor-
food to the strikers inside and armed guards     (in a watered-down form) into the legisla-      mation of American society, not sops to help

Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                     9
co-opt resistance to the status quo.
    While later in life he capitulated to im-
portant parts of Roosevelt’s politics, at the
time he understood this.
    When a friend remarked that at least
Roosevelt was carrying out his platform,
Thomas replied bitterly that it was being
“carried out on a stretcher.”
    Even after the immediate danger Fred
and Frank had conferred about had largely
passed, the bipartisan consensus for decades
was that, to one extent or another, it would
be wise to keep everyone happy by main-
taining important aspects of the Roosevel-
tian “welfare state.”
    Indeed, when conservative ideologue
Barry Goldwater managed to win the Re-
publican nomination in 1964 on a platform
of prematurely Reaganite opposition to all
of this, the Republican establishment largely
abandoned him.

THE SOCIAL TURMOIL of the 1960s, as
the inner cities exploded in long-suppressed
rage against racism, poverty and oppression,
social change movements grew seemingly
out of thin air and resistance to the draft
and internal resistance by GIs played a crit-
                                                ... By the friends they keep: Reagan with former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos (top),
ical role in ending the U.S. intervention in
                                                who starved the people of his country in order to feed his wife’s shoe fetish; Reagan with
Vietnam, all at least temporarily cemented
                                                former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (middle), who did everything she could to
this consensus.
                                                break the trade unions; Reagan’s Undersecretary of State, Donald Rumsfeld, with Reagan’s
    By the time the Reagan presidency rolled
                                                friend, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (bottom), who acquired all of his weapons of
around, however, all of this had long since
                                                mass destruction from his American pals.
    The militant unions of the 1930s and        “sickly inhibitions against the use of mili-      THE CAPITALIST MEDIA mourns
been turned into neutered, bureaucratized       tary force” accrued in the Vietnam era.           Ronald Reagan because he is the hero of
shadows of their former selves that could           In this dramatically changed context,         the segment of society that owns the me-
be counted on to mount no serious resis-        Reagan was the man of the hour.                   dia.
tance to the reversal of earlier concessions        With whatever charm and charisma he               He made their empire “stand tall again,”
and the export of American jobs to areas of     had developed in his career as a second-rate      with mountains of corpses abroad and vast
the “Third World,” free from inconvenienc-      actor, he was fit to be something like a          reserves of poverty and misery at home to
es like elections, unions and the minimum       spokesman for an ideology of renewed zeal         show for it.
wage.                                           in the Cold War “struggle of good against             His administration’s economic and mili-
    The radical movements of the 1960s and      evil,” and a pseudo-individualistic “anti-        tary policies setting the bipartisan agenda
early-1970s had largely been destroyed by a     government” stance that justified redistri-       the has been followed by the representatives
combination of cooptation into the Demo-        bution of wealth from the bottom up.              of both corporate-funded parties for the last
cratic Party, concessions such as the end of        With his expertise at lying and his sooth-    twenty four years.
the military draft, and outright government     ing, grandfatherly persona, he was the ideal          One can put it like this: Reagan is not so
repression such as the FBI’s notorious          front man for attacks on the economic in-         much dead as undead, like a vampire who walks
COINTELPRO program and the assassina-           terests of most of the population and for         at night after ceasing to draw breath.
tions of prominent Black Panthers.              crimes against humanity abroad, such as his           His body may be dead, but his policies
    The left was mostly weakened, disorient-    brutal “preemptive” invasion of the tiny and      continue to terrorize the world.
ed and incapable of causing any problems        defenseless nation of Grenada for the crime           The greatest political imperative at this
that the establishment couldn’t handle.         of (horror upon horrors) building an airport.     point history is to build a democratic so-
    There was little reason to maintain large       After all, one can’t rule out the possibil-   cialist alternative to the bipartisan Reagan-
scale concessions to those at the bottom,       ity that the Soviet Union could have used         ite consensus, capable of collectively orga-
and the Empire’s effectiveness was still ham-   that airport to launch air strikes against the    nizing his victims to drive a stake through
pered by what Norman Podhoretz calls the        United States!                                    the old bastard’s heart. 5
10                                                                                                            The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST
Federal court overturns
‘partial-birth abortion’ ban
The Michigan Socialist

ON JUNE 1, a federal judge in San Fran-
cisco, Calif., ruled that the Partial-Birth
Abortion Ban Act of 2003 was unconstitu-
tional on the grounds that it violated a wom-
an’s right to choose.
    In her mammoth 117-page ruling, U.S.
District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton stat-
ed that the Act had three central “flaws”
that mandated declaring it unconstitution-
    The Act was signed into law amid great
fanfare after both houses of Congress over-
whelmingly approved it, since it was a key
part of the anti-woman agenda of the Bush
regime and its Christian-fundamentalist
    The first “flaw” was that the Act placed
an undue burden on a woman’s right to
                                                 Hangin’ with the boys: Bush signs the “Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003” with all of its main
choose any time up to the point when a fe-
                                                 movers and supporters.
tus can survive outside of the womb with
the aid of technology (about 24 weeks; al-       ble harm to the mother.                          2003 was raw meat for the religious right.
most six months).                                    The “dumbed down” definitions in the             It was meant to help line up these forces
    The second and third “flaws” relate to       Act, according to Hamilton, could be used        — many of whom have strong ties to the
the wording of the Act.                          to ban the more common “Dialation and            Ku Klux Klan and neo-fascist organizations
    The language of the Act was vague and        Evacuation” and Induction procedures, thus       — in anticipation of the upcoming presi-
could be interpreted to ban other similar        making 95 percent of the second-trimester        dential election.
means for terminating a pregnancy; as well,      abortions illegal.                                   It is not beyond the imagination to be-
there was no provision in the Act for ex-            Without a doubt, this was precisely the      lieve that this Act was passed only because
ceptions to the ban in cases where the life      plan of the Act’s authors and sponsors in        it would be challenged in court in 2004, thus
and health of the mother are at stake.           Congress and the White House.                    making it a “wedge issue” in the upcoming
    Judge Hamilton sharply criticized the fact       Ever since the Roe v. Wade decision in       contest between George W. Bush and John
that basic medical understanding, in terms       1973, anti-choice forces have sought to          F. Kerry.
of the language and definitions provided in      overturn a woman’s right to abortion ser-            That is, it was a calculated move on the
the legislation, was obviously lacking from      vices.                                           part of the neoconservatives in Congress
the Act — which left a lot of it up to “inter-       However, Roe’s importance was not in its     and the White House to divert media and
pretation.”                                      legalizing of access to abortion services per    public attention away from the deteriorat-
    This was no accident.                        se, but rather it was that it gave poor and      ing situation in Iraq and the sinking econo-
    For years, the far-right Christian funda-    working-class women the same rights that         my, and focus on the capitalists’ “culture
mentalists have sought to redefine the med-      wealthy women of the capitalist could pur-       war” against working people.
ical procedure known as “Dialation and Ex-       chase by going to Europe.                            After hearing of Judge Hamilton’s ruling,
traction” (D&X) as “partial-birth abortion,”         This fact more than anything else has        the Bush regime issued a statement that
even though the vast majority of these pro-      made Roe a target of the anti-choice and         talked a lot about being “committed to
cedures are done in instances where carry-       fundamentalist forces.                           building a culture of life in America.”
ing the fetus to term would cause irrepara-          The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of            Such words are hollow and hypocritical
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                    11
coming from a government that has been                              At those times in history when Social-                                            endoscopies or laser eye surgery.
killing innocent civilians from Iraq to Hai-                    ists opposed the abortion procedure, it was                                              Thus, for the anti-choice forces, it is more
ti, and from an individual (Bush) who has a                     on purely medical grounds; that is, at those                                          important than ever to confuse, confound
documented history of mocking those whom                        times our predecessors felt that the medical                                          and convolute medical terminology in or-
he placed on death row in Texas and were                        procedure was too dangerous, and counter-                                             der to fit their far-right agenda.
pleading for their lives.                                       posed comprehensive access to birth con-                                                 For us Socialists, this fact makes it more
    The right of women to obtain an abor-                       trol and other forms of contraception as a                                            important than ever to pierce the bubble of
tion is central to the right of women to con-                   safer alternative.                                                                    ignorance that the capitalists wish to im-
trol their own bodies and destinies — rights                        Today, with advances in medical tech-                                             pose on society from above by fighting to
that Socialists have fought to protect and                      nology, the abortion procedure is no more                                             expand democracy through education and
extend since the founding of our movement.                      dangerous than most minor surgeries like                                              action. 5

                                     GRANHOLM’S INDEX
      A breakdown, by the numbers, about the new cigarette tax in Michigan

     Amount in cents per pack that the cigarette tax will
                      rise on July 1, 2004, in Michigan :                                                     75

         Percentage of Michigan population that smoke :                                                       43.4

      Percentage of Michigan smokers that fall into the
                general category of “working people” :                                                        70.2

        Members of the Michigan State Legislature who
             can be categorized as “working people” :                                                         0

       Number of advisors to the Governor who can be
                     categorized as “working people” :                                                        0

      Amount, in dollars, given by the State of Michigan
        every year to capitalists and their corporations :                                                    14 billion

      Amount, in dollars, of the budget shortfall for the
                     2003-04 State of Michigan budget :                                                       970 million

          This Fourth of July, let us remember that the battle cry of the First American Revolution was

                                                                                This message brought to you by the staff of the Michigan Socialist.
               Yes, yes, we know smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit, and not one member of the Socialist Party of Michigan who smokes
                                would EVER recommend someone take it up. Nevertheless, smokers are people too, and they have rights.
                         Statistics based on the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance Study for 2003 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Significant at the .01 level.)

12                                                                                                                                                                          The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST
                                                   state for corporations to test how much they       pumping permit, indicates that these com-
                                                   can get away with in water privatization           panies are waiting until the door opens fur-
                                                   schemes and austerity measures.                    ther on different fronts within the state, such
continued from page 16                                Corporations have thus realized that            as the attempted proposal in Highland Park,
    To increase such a state of desperation        pooling their assets toward maneuvering the        before taking action through these agree-
among working people is to cause workers’          policies of Michigan’s state government and        ments.
demands to wane and the tolerability of            local governments, particularly within                 Working people in Michigan need only
abuse to grow.                                     Michigan’s poorest and most desperate ar-          look to the conditions faced by other work-
    It is this same reason that cutting off ci-    eas, is the next major step toward the com-        ers overseas to see the devastation created
vilian access to water is so often used as an      modification of water in the developed             by water privatization and control of water
imperialist weapon of war. In both cases, the      world.                                             from without.
end result for the ruling class is the stability      Once a sufficient level of progress has             Michigan workers in the cities of Detroit
and expansion of profit and oppression.            been made in cracking open the door to             and Highland Park have already experi-
                                                   public resources, a point which we have al-        enced the results firsthand through the im-
ALTHOUGH THE ISSUES of water priva-                ready reached, corporations can then rely          posed policies of city governments working
tization and shutoffs in Michigan do not all       on international agreements such as the            in cooperation with multinational corpora-
necessarily relate to Great Lakes water di-        World Trade Organization and NAFTA                 tions.
rectly, it is the presence of the Great Lakes      which effectively mandate increases in the             Michigan workers must fight in solidari-
that has caused Michigan to become the ini-        privatization of public resources once             ty with workers around the world against
tial prime focus of these policies within the      they’ve begun.                                     such regressive policies in order to keep the
developed world.                                      The fact that water bottling companies          advances achieved by workers of the past.
    Michigan’s surrounding lakes compose           have not yet attempted to unleash NAFTA                The fight for free access to public water
the largest body of fresh water on the plan-       and WTO complaints against the State of            is a fight for workers’ rights, human rights
et, making Michigan the perfect premiere           Michigan over Ice Mountain’s exclusive             and the fundamental right to live. 5

                                                   116 of the constitution, and expropriate the       these workers’ assemblies can also serve as
                                                   private property of those capitalists provok-      the basis for a new municipal and state pow-
                                                   ing violence, placing it under public own-         er — the democratic socialist republic in
continued from page 16                             ership.                                            birth.
and the petroleum industry — and has not               As well, it would be justified to extend           Finally, it will be necessary to codify this
taken on the bulk of the armed state appa-         the decree on expropriation and place all          revolutionary transformation from below.
ratus, including local police allied with the      the banking institutions in Venezuela un-              The most efficient means of doing this is
capitalist opposition.                             der public ownership, since the capitalists        through the convening of the National
    If the referendum fails, and Chavez re-        have used their control of the banks as a          Constituent Assembly to codify the power
mains in power, there is little doubt that the     means to strangle the economy and people.          of the revolutionary assemblies in the Boli-
capitalists will cry “fraud” and appeal to the         But public ownership, as a means to de-        varian constitution.
Great Power imperialists (most notably the         prive the capitalists of a chief source of their       If Chavez survives the recall, he should
U.S.) to back them in a “regime change.”           power, is only a partial step.                     use the occasion of his victory speech as a
    The capitalists will have to appeal to the         In order for such nationalization to be a      call for open revolutionary transformation
imperialists because they will be far too weak     genuinely progressive act, control of these        and call the National Constituent Assem-
at that stage to take any decisive action on       newly seized means of production needs to          bly into session immediately.
their own.                                         be placed in the hands of the workers them-            At this stage, there is no room for hesi-
    Should such a situation begin to devel-        selves.                                            tation or compromise. The capitalists are
op, it is necessary for the Bolivarians to seize       The embryonic workers’ control prac-           looking to drown the Bolivarian democrat-
the initiative and take the first decisive steps   ticed by the oil workers in December 2002          ic revolution in blood.
toward the overthrow of Venezuelan capi-           provides a guide for implementing it across            The only way out — the only way for-
talism.                                            the entire economy.                                ward — is for the Bolivarians to recognize
                                                       The local Bolivarian circles in factories      that it will take the overthrow of the capi-
THERE IS LITTLE doubt that the capital-            and workplaces can be the launching point          talist order to succeed.
ists will stage a series of provocations across    for democratic assemblies of working peo-              They have already begun that process.
Venezuela to provide an excuse for imperi-         ple throughout the country.                        We can only encourage them and double
alist intervention.                                    Aided by the workers’ and people’s mili-       our efforts here in the U.S. to stop any im-
    The Bolivarians, through the workers’          tias, these new workplace assemblies could         perialist interference. 5
and people’s militias, could keep these in-        begin reorganizing and reorienting the econ-
dividual provocations in check.                    omy of Venezuela to meet the needs of the            An abridged version of this article will
    However, this is not enough.                   people.                                             appear in the upcoming inaugural issue
    At this stage, it would be entirely justi-         In those states and cities where capital-        of the relaunched Appeal to Reason.
fied for Chavez to invoke Articles 115 and         ist politicians and their state confront them,      On the Internet:
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                         13
Ballot access                                            Can you say ‘double standard?’
continued from page 16                                                         The State of Michigan can!
challenge their status quo, they are expect-
ed to do the impossible.                                      To run for State House...                        To run for U.S. Congress...
                                                             As a Republican            As an independent       As a Republican       As an independent
TO BEGIN WITH, the number of signa-                           or Democrat:               or “Third Party”:       or Democrat:          or “Third Party”:
tures required to secure ballot access, ac-
cording to state election law, is equivalent                 Minimum: 200                Minimum: 600          Minimum: 1,000         Minimum: 3,000
to 1 percent of the number of people who                     Maximum: 400               Maximum: 1,200         Maximum: 2,000         Maximum: 6,000
voted for the winning gubernatorial candi-                     signatures required for ballot access             signatures required for ballot access
date in the last election: 31,776.
   This number, while seeming to be rela-                          Source:,1607,7-127-1633_8721_11839-64205--,00.html
tively small, is in fact the single greatest
impediment to winning ballot access.                   and obtain ballot access, and that agreeing           to place a candidate on the ballot; Illinois,
   In an election year, partisan tensions run          with that right is not the same as voting for         which has almost twice as many people as
high.                                                  us (or pledging to vote for us).                      Michigan, asks for 25,000.
   This is especially true this year, with the             What was most amazing to SPMI peti-                  Many states, like Colorado and Louisi-
Democratic Party’s propaganda machine                  tioners was that many people were not aware           ana, only ask that you pay a filing fee to place
steadily chanting the mantra of “Anybody               of the restrictive ballot-access laws.                a candidate on the ballot.
But Bush.”                                                 “I thought all you had to do was tell them           Vermont, Mississippi and Florida only
   In this kind of environment, it is espe-            you want to run,” was a statement common-             ask that you have an organized state party.
cially difficult to gather petition signatures.        ly heard.                                                Michigan’s restrictive ballot-access laws
   SPMI petitioners ran into situations                    But unfamiliarity and partisanship were           place it near the bottom of the democratic
where activists from both the Democratic               not the only factors.                                 pile.
and Republican parties not only refused to                 According to ballot-access experts, in-
sign, which is their right, but also actively          cluding Richard Winger’s Ballot Access                AND THEN THERE are the double stan-
discouraged others from signing.                       News, Michigan has one of the most restric-           dards written into Michigan’s electoral law.
   This was especially true of members of              tive election laws in the country.                        These “standards” favor Republican and
the Michigan Democrats, who saw us as                      For example, the State of New York,               Democratic candidates, while actively dis-
some kind of challenge to their “ABB” phi-             which has twice the population of Michi-              couraging independents and “third party”
losophy.                                               gan, only requires about 15,000 signatures            nominees.
   Some “Democrats” they are!                          to place an independent presidential can-                 For example, if you want to run for U.S.
   Many times, Party petitioners had to                didate, and has no special procedure for              Congress in Michigan as a Republican or
spend long amounts of time explaining to               placing a party on the ballot.                        Democrat (which may also mean winning a
people that all parties have the right to seek             New Jersey only requires 800 signatures           party primary, but that is not always as hard
                                                                                                             as it seems), you need to collect a minimum
                                     I, the undersigned, desiring to bring about by democratic               of 1,000 signatures.
  Join the                             means a new society based upon democratic socialism,                      On the other hand, if you are an inde-
                                                                                                             pendent seeking to win a Congressional
  Socialist                            hereby apply for membership in the Socialist Party USA,
                                                                and subscribe to its principles.             seat, you have to collect at least 3,000 sig-
  Party USA                                                                                                  natures.
                                                                                                                 The same is true for a lower office, like
                                    Name: _____________________________________________
  Annual Income         Dues                                                                                 state representative; a Republican or Dem-
                                    Address: ___________________________________________                     ocrat only has to collect 200 signatures, but
  ❏ Striker/prisoner FREE                                                                                    an independent has to collect 600.
  ❏ Student          $10            __________________________________________________                           (But, if they don’t want to bother with
  ❏ Under $20,000 $25                                                                                        that, they can simply pay the state $100 and
                                    City: ______________________ State: ______ Zip: _________
  ❏ $20,000-35,000 $60                                                                                       be placed on the ballot.)
  ❏ $35,001-50,000 $125             Phone (optional): (_______)____________________________                      To put it simply, an independent candi-
                                                                                                             date — without the aid of a massive state
  ❏ $50,001 and up $250             E-Mail (optional): ____________________________________                  party, access to large amounts of money and
     Waiver for poverty available                                                                            little or no media presence — is expected
                                    Interests (optional): ___________________________________
                                                                                                             to collect three times the number of signa-
             Send check or money order to P.O. Box 3285, Kalamazoo, Mich. 49009-3285.                        tures as a Republican or Democrat.
             Or go online to and sign up.                                 Adding insult to injury is the fact that,
                                                                             CLIP HERE AND SEND
                                                                                                  ✁          in many areas of the state, Republican and
14                                                                                                                       The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST
Democratic candidates run unopposed for                                                            and supporting Lisa Weltman’s bid for the
their desired office. All it may take is a sin-                                                    Green Party nomination for U.S. Congress
gle vote (sometimes only a write-in vote!)                                                         in the 14th District, and the municipal elec-
for them to secure their candidacy.               continued from page 16                           tions in 2005.
   In other words, a Republican or Demo-          party made it more important to seek a lo-           The DSP intends to run a slate of candi-
crat only needs the passive support of 1,001      cal charter for the DSP.                         dates in Detroit for Mayor, City Council and
people to be placed on the November bal-              At its June meeting, the DSP also elect-     City Clerk next year.
lot as a Congressional candidate, while an        ed a Local Executive, consisting of a Chair-         Local elections in Detroit are non-parti-
independent has to have three times that          person, Secretary, Treasurer and Organizer.      san, and are often an arena for the various
level of support.                                     “I think it’s great,” said Martin Schread-   factions in the Michigan Democrats to win
   Is there anyone out there willing to call      er, who was elected Chairperson of the DSP.      control of one of the party’s largest political
this a fair and impartial process?                    “Our Party definitely needs to reach out     machines.
   This double standard is an open affront        more to working people in cities like De-            The DSP meets at 2 p.m. on the first
to basic democratic standards.                    troit, and the chartering of our Local allows    Saturday of every month, at Java In The
   It sends the message that the two main         us to show why that is so important.”            Park, on Detroit’s northwest side. Meetings
parties — and their moneyed puppeteers —              The chartering of the DSP marks the first    are open to the public, and readers are in-
wished to send: the system is theirs, and         time since the re-founding of the Socialist      vited to attend.
theirs alone.                                     Party in 1973 that there was a local for the         For more information or directions to the
                                                  City.                                            meeting, call the DSP at (313) 535-4234 or
THIS NOVEMBER, there will be Social-                  The new DSP also discussed areas of work     visit their website at http://detroit.mi-
ists appearing on the ballot in Michigan, but     over the next period, including endorsing 5
as candidates of the Green Party.

    The GPMI has been gracious enough to                                                           the South Oakland Chapter of the NAACP.
allow SPMI members to run on their ticket                                                              The areas in which Williams did best
as open Socialists, because they rightly un-                                                       were the most working class, areas the SPMI
derstand that it is especially difficult to get   continued from page 16                           needs to and will continue to focus on in
“third parties” on the ballot in this state.      website and discussing the issues with the       the future.
    (The next issue of the Michigan Socialist     workers and students of the school.                  The SPMI is continuing its work on the
will list the SPMI candidates running on the         He had wide support from the Socialist        fall campaign, running candidates in sever-
Green ticket.)                                    Party of Michigan, who posted information        al state-wide offices. 5
    However, this is not the end of the story.    on all their websites.
    Many SPMI members have already                   The SPMI, along with Socialist vice-                       On the Internet...
pledged to work toward obtaining ballot           presidential candidate, Mary-Alice Herbert,            Election results for OCC Board:
access for the elections in 2006, and have        had a presence at the debate sponsored by     
already begun the early preparations for this

effort on their own.                                                                               [was] exposed by an assembly of workers.”
    At the same time, the question of mount-                                                           I couldn’t have said it better myself.
ing a legal challenge to Michigan electoral                                                            What I can say, though, is that the Pis-
law has been raised, with some SPMI mem-          continued from page 2                            tons brought to Detroit a small taste of what
bers talking to constitutional lawyers about      heart, but that was promptly cut out as the      the working people of the City have want-
what it would take to make such a case.           teams headed east.                               ed for years: victory.
    While working people will not be al-             By the fifth and final game of the series,        In spite of the propaganda blitz, the Hol-
lowed to vote a full Socialist ticket this        the media was already beginning to point         lywood glitz and yuppie fits, the Pistons —
November, many will still have a chance to        fingers.                                         the team of “ugly ... outcast ... workers” —
vote for red Greens in many places.                  The L.A. Times sports writers blamed          out-ran, out-shot and out-organized their
    Next year, there will be municipal elec-      “Shaq and Kobe” interchangeably, while the       opponents to win what they sought.
tions across the state.                           L.A. Daily News just blamed Bryant.                  It was, to be blunt, class struggle on the
    Members of the Detroit Socialist Party,          The national media howled from one            hardwood. It was class struggle in the paint,
for example, have already begun organizing        coast to the other. They blamed the refer-       and the collective action of the “assembly
to present a democratic socialist alternative     ees, the fans and the weather.                   of workers” made mince meat out of the
to City voters in November 2005.                     When Pistons fans rallied outside the         united front of the individualist “stars.”
    Based on the relative success our com-        hotel where the Lakers were staying during           Kinda reminds me of something.... A
rade, Carl Williams, had in the elections for     the Finals, they really blamed the fans.         foreshadowing, perhaps, of what is to come.
Oakland Community College Board of                   But when the Lakers got stomped 100-              Someday, the media will once again
Trustees (see article), we can expect that        87 in the final game, there was no one left      splash the lead, “their facade [was] exposed
similar success in 2005 will provide an ex-       to blame.                                        by an assembly of workers.” But, this time,
cellent launching point for placing the              The Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James      it won’t be in the Sports section.
SPMI on the ballot in 2006. 5                     probably said it best: “their facade of stars        Let’s go to work. 5
Vol. 2, No. 4 • JULY 2004                                                                                                                     15
                  The MICHIGAN

           socialist                                                     MICHIGAN NEWS

Ballot-access two-step
                                          How democracy is denied in Michigan
By MARTIN SCHREADER                             the opportunity to spend a lot of time study-
                                                ing the ballot-access laws of the state.         How hard is it to get on the ballot in Michi-
Editor, the Michigan Socialist                                                                   gan? Hard, but not quite as hard as in Okla-
                                                   What we found in the State of Michi-
WHEN WE IN the Socialist Party of Mich-         gan’s electoral law was a structure that sys-    homa, where you have to collect 150,000
igan decided to petition for ballot access,     tematically excludes and discriminates           signatures. What do 150,000 signatures
we knew it was going to be an uphill battle.    against smaller “third parties,” especially      look like? See for yourselves.
    As a relatively small organization, with    those that seek to offer a choice for work-
young members not very experienced in           ing people.
doing the systematic work necessary for such       Two important elements stand out in
a task, we understood that the odds against     this: first, the unnecessarily large and com-
us actually obtaining the tens of thousands     plicated statutes for gathering and compil-
of signatures were long.                        ing signatures; and, second, the obvious and
    Thus, when the SPMI at its June meet-       blatant double standard the state has writ-
ing voted to end the petition drive for 2004,   ten into those statutes.
it was little more than the recognition that,      It is clear from reading Michigan’s elec-
as a young organization, we need to build       tion law that it was written by the two main
ourselves more in order to be successful in     parties in the state — the Republicans and
the future.                                     Democrats — for the two main parties, and
    But this is not the end of the story.       for no one else.
    As part of our preparatory work for peti-      As far the two main parties are con-
tioning, SPMI members — especially those        cerned, only they have the right to hold of-
members most directly involved in the or-       fice in Michigan. And if anyone wants to
ganizing of the petition campaign — had                                 continued on page 14

Detroit Socialist                               Socialist receives over
Party chartered                                 11,000 votes for OCC Board
                                                By JOE DeNEEN                                   percent.
The Michigan Socialist
                                                                                                    By comparison, the top vote-getter re-
                                                The Michigan Socialist
AT ITS MONTHLY meeting on June 5, the                                                           ceived 17 percent.
Detroit Socialist Party voted to constitute     ON MONDAY, June 14, school board elec-              This is a great showing for the first 2004
itself as a chartered local of the Socialist    tions took place across the state of Michi-     SP candidate in Michigan!
Party USA and Socialist Party of Michigan.      gan and Carl L. Williams, Socialist Party           Looking at the votes broken down by dis-
    On June 27, the State Executive Com-        member and Oakland Community College            trict, Williams came in second place in Troy
mittee voted to approve the charter appli-      student, was on the ballot for OCC Board        (Warren Consolidated District), and third
cation.                                         of Trustees.                                    place in Northville, Oak Park, Oxford and
    The DSP was initially established in July       Williams received 11,675 votes, coming      Southfield.
2003 as an organizing committee, a subor-       in a strong sixth place (out of nine candi-         In Southfield, Williams was a solid 344
dinate working group of the SPMI.               dates).                                         votes ahead of the fourth place finisher.
    However, as the tasks of the DSP expand-        This is a remarkable showing consider-          He came in fourth in a handful of dis-
ed, the need for developing as a local com-     ing that the top four vote-getters were the     tricts as well.
mittee grew.                                    three incumbents and two candidates with            While this was a non-partisan election,
    As well, the transformation of the SPMI     both wide name-recognition and previous         Williams made no secret of his affiliation
from a statewide local to a chartered state     office experience.                              with the Socialist Party, posting links on his
                        continued on page 15        Williams’ 11,675 votes translate to 10.1                            continued on page 15
16                                                                                                          The MICHIGAN SOCIALIST

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