Saturday, November 17, 2012

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- His Rock And Roll Ruby Moment

From The Pen Of Joshua Lawrence Breslin- His Rock And Roll Ruby Moment



Rock and Roll Ruby Lyrics-Johnny Cash


Well I took my ruby jumpin on a dance in the town


She took her high heels off and let her stockings down


She put a quarter in the jukebox to get a little beat


Everybody started dancin` on the rhythm of her feet


She’s my rock and roll ruby


rock and roll ruby

       B7                                    E

When ruby starts a rocking it satisfies my soul 


Well ruby started rocking bout one O`clock

And when she started rocking she just couldn’t stop

She rocked on the tables and she rocked on the floor

When everybody yelling ruby rock some more




It was round about 4 and I thought she would stop

She looked at me and then she looked at the clock

She said wait a minute daddy now don’t you get soul all I wanna do I rock a little bit more




One night my ruby left me all alone

I tried to contact her on the telephone

I finally found her bout 12 O`clock

She said leave me alone daddy cause your ruby wants to rock




He remembered the first time he saw her, spotted her really, when he entered

Johnny Jake’s Bar, Johnny Jake’s up in Olde Saco, Maine, the old time textile town then having seen better days , that late 1956 night, that night he learned about hunger, hell, maybe desire was a better word but he didn’t want to get caught up with words not once he got a look at her. All he had  wanted that night, that cold Friday night, was a few drinks with his corner boys (corner boys whom he had known from hunger high school day at Olde Saco High when they all hung out in front of Mama’s Pizza Parlor over off Atlantic Avenue near the Acre just like his father, and his father before him, had done, waiting, waiting for something, some fresh breeze in that no air town, in that no air state, and, although he wasn’t complaining, no way, this no air red scare cold war country), listen to this mad max daddy rockabilly music that was getting so much play on the local rock station, WMEX, and was drawing big crowds into Jimmy Jack’s on the weekends, and go home after a hard week’s work at the mills.             


He remembered that guys, and maybe a few girls too, were calling out to her, calling out rock, Ruby, rock in honor of  the new wave Sun Records rockabilly hit by Warren Smith, Rock and Roll Ruby, that had everybody, every guy, in a lather about their dream Ruby, and maybe every girl dreaming her Ruby dream too. It wasn’t until later, much later, that he found out her name was actually Iris, Iris Genet then living in Biddeford (but really almost fresh from French-Canadian homeland up near the Gaspe heading south to catch some of fresh breeze). But that was later, much later, and until that time Ruby fit her just fine. Yah, just fine.


It wasn’t like Ruby was some great beauty, although she had that wholesome prettiness that almost all French-Canadians girls of interest had whether from the Gaspe or from greater Olde Saco. Naturally she was slender; some would say thin and get no argument, with the genetic small breasts and long legs of F-C girls of interest, topped off by blue eyes and brownish blonde hair. She was wearing capri pants that night and a form- fitting white blouse. But all of this was so much hot air because what Ruby had, had in spades, had in diamond s, had in hearts, had in clubs, had in any part of the deck was, well, energy, sexual energy, enough sexual energy to float battleships if there was some way to transport the one to the other. And all of that energy was on display on the dance floor of Jimmy Jake’s that night as she danced to Good Rockin’ Tonight, the song the rockabilly cover band, the Rockin’ Ramrods was playing as he came in, spotted her, and learned what hunger, was all about.  


Funny there was nothing choreographed about her moves, not at all, her play was based on, one, that slender (okay, thin) athletic body moving in about six direction at once in almost perfect harmony with the beat coming from the band, and two, that she was doing it all by herself, solo, alone, on the floor, on a couple of tables and in a flash  on top of Johnny Jake’s beaten up, beaten down, whiskey/beer/rum- stained brown mahogany bar. And guys and girls were egging her on although he distinctly saw some cat-like daggers in the eyes of some of the girls when their guys got, well, a little too carried away. And thus he took up Ruby dreams.


And just Ruby dreams because that night he sensed, and maybe correctly, that, one, every guy, every warm-blooded guy, in the place probably wanted to take a run at her too and from what he saw did (even some of those cat-like dagger eyed girl attached guys) and, two, he noticed that while she was on everybody’s mind never once did she dance with a guy, fast or slow, and while the drinks piled up in front of her spot at the bar (rum and coke seemed to be her drink) no walking daddy was around that spot and no guy got a chance to sit near her for more than a quick minute, and then was dismissed. No this Ruby dream was not going to be conquered, if conquered at all, in any one evening and so that night he had his corner boy drinks, left with them, and  spend a restless toss and turn night.   


He went back to Johnny Jake’s the next few, maybe four Friday nights in a row, sometimes with his corner  boys, sometime solo depending  of his feel for the night (and the amount of tossing and turning that he had done that week), his lucky rabbit’s foot Frenchman luck feel for the night. No soap, Ruby, dancing with the saints of rock and roll or something, making more moves as she turned into a whirling dervish, looking foxier by the week, drinks piled up in front of her spot, no walking daddy around, no guys spending more than a few minutes at her station, dancing on the tables, and that hard-bitten bar counter, now mainly with her shoes off and in a dress rather than capris to fire guy dreams even more. And with the inevitable calls of rock, Ruby, roll (although the dated girls were noticeably more silent and their dates, probably having been rebuffed a little too often for eyeing Ruby just a little too often, had noticeably less lust in their eyes, Ruby lust anyway).


He figured, one, sweet Ruby was a “lessie,” some hellhole bitch just out to rile the plebes, cause riffs among the heteros and move on, two, she was some kind of hooker who was just letting off steam after a hard week at the pillows (although Johnny Jake, Johnny Jake in person as the manager of the place, was very, very careful about letting whores, obvious whores anyway, work his room) and, three, she was just some tease, some damn F-C tease just like the F-C (and Irish girls) from Olde Saco with a novena book in one hand and eat your heart out boys in the other.                 


Then on Wednesday night, an off day in the blues department, he dropped in to Johnny Jake’s for a couple of shots, whisky shots (hold the water chaser came with it on the first order  which told Tim the friendly bartender he was in for some serious drinking), and sat at the bar. Then Ruby came out of the Ladies’ Room all Ruby-like, dress, blouse, no shoes on, and sat down at her “spot” a few stools from his. She worked on a rum and coke for a few minutes then went to the jukebox  and dropped some change in the machine, change that sounded like quarters , made a bunch of selections, and soon Sonny Burgess’ Red-Headed Woman was blaring over the speakers and Ruby was working the table tops (mainly empty that night). He decided this was his time, he was ready to move, but something, maybe something in the determinedly provocative  way she danced, something in her abandon like nobody  else was in the room(and if there was it was of no import), and sometime  in her face that spoke of sorrows, maybe not deep sorrows but sorrows, held him back. He finished his drink and left.         


That Friday night he and his corner boys showed up once again at Johnny Jake’s, and he expectantly looked for his Ruby. She was not there. He asked Tim why she wasn’t. Tim filled him in. His Ruby had flown the coop, or rather gone back to the Gaspe, because her man, her bad- ass man, Jeanbon Bleu, had just been released from prison. He said to himself, jesus, was that who she was hooked up with. Jeanbon was well-known to every hard-ass (and soft-ass) corner boy from the Gaspe to Nashua for half the armed robberies and crazy madness in Canada. He thanked his Wednesday night lucky stars he stayed put. He had had his rock and roll Ruby moment. No, his rock and roll Iris moment.        

Well, this is certainly an informative email update from Britain! In future announcements we should try to include reference to planned Nov. events in Britain and other countries that we haven't mentioned so far.

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GSC UPDATE 10 (5 November 2012)
~ please forward to friends and comrades ~

1. Wednesday 14 November - European TUC Day of Action Against Austerity – General Strikes will take place in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Malta, with other action taken by trade unions in Italy, Belgium, France and Germany. In the UK , there are solidarity protests in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Glasgow (see

2. Join the solidarity protest In London on Wednesday 14 November, at 5pm, outside the European Commission, 32 Smith Square, Westminster, London SW1P 3EU (tubes: St James Park or Westminster), followed by a photo-shoot with Big Ben backdrop, and indoor Rally at the nearby Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 {north end of} Marsham Street, London, SW1P 3DW - organised by the Coalition of Resistance, supported by UNITE and a number of unions, Greece Solidarity Campaign, London Against the Troika. Invite your friends and share on Facebook<>.

3. Come to the next Organising Meeting of the Greece Solidarity Campaign, as ever on third Wed of month, 6.30 - 7.30 on Wed 21 November, at the Lucas Arms (upstairs room), 245 Grays Inn Road on corner of Cromer Street (5 minutes walk from Kings Cross).

4. The third austerity measures package – commonly called “The Third Memorandumâ€� - of 13.5 billion euro, was brought to Greek Parliament with the signatures of all government ministers on Monday afternoon (5th October). The relevant committee of the Parliament will discuss the bill on Tuesday 6th as of 11 a.m.. The bill will be discussed at the plenary of the Parliament on Wednesday 7th, while the voting will take place the same day, traditionally at midnight. An additional vote will take place on Sunday (after midnight) on the Budget 2013. The bill contains 150 measures: savage new spending cuts and euphemistically called ‘structural reforms’ that will turn upside down the life of every Greek with incredible reductions in wages and pensions, sharp cuts in health care and social welfare benefits, cuts in allowances, overturning any labour rights, utilities’ price increases, and also opening of closed professions, only to mention a few. (For fuller details see 15 below.)
5. Will the Government fall?: As Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Samaras prepares to see if Parliament will back his 13.5 billion euro spending cut and tax hike plan for 2013-14, his party remains in second place in new polls. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is in first place. PASOK and the Democratic Left are coalition partners in Samaras’ government and paying a big price for backing more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions that they vowed to resist before the June 17 elections – broken promises for which voters look like punishing them. With their support falling, they are re-thinking their support for the Samaras austerity plan that is set to be voted on Nov. 7, the second day of a 48-hour general strike called by unions to protest against the measures. However, To Vima (newspaper see 15 below) thinks the Government will get the measures through with 3 or 4 more votes than the 151 MPs it needs.

6. Greece this week - a resistance report from comrade Vangelis: “From 5th November, underground workers, power workers, transport workers all out on rolling strikes, joined by taxi and mini-cab drivers. From Tuesday 6-7th November, there will be no buses and no trolleybuses with air traffic control on strike as well as all ships in Greek ports. Journalists already on strike - now joined by ERT news journos. Official journalist union strike on Monday. Plus all security guards in hospitals, health centres and mental institutions on strike. On Tuesday they will be joined by ambulance workers. From 7th November pharmacists on strike nationwide. All cancer drugs for chemotherapy not being sent to Greece. Bank workers on strike for 48hours from Tuesday. Rolling 48 hour strikes for Genop-Dei state electricity workers starting Monday night. State prosecutors on strike until 18th November. All unions belonging to the KKE- Building workers, electricians, artists, hotels, agriculture, telecoms, pensioners etc. will have a demonstration starting at Omonia from 10.30am on Tuesday 6th November. POE-OTA rolling 48hour strikes when General strike starts on Tuesday 6th November. Increasing calls for indefinite strike action. Two positive signs: Syriza last week supported a KKE resolution in parliament to reject the memorandum; Syriza and KKE now march together on demonstrations. There is a keen desire for unity on the left from the rank and file.�

7. In Greek Opinion Polls: SYRIZA, the radical left coalition, led by anti-bailout Alexis Tsipras, stands at 25.5% of would-be voters in a survey in the satirical magazine To Pontiki (The Mouse). New Democracy (Tories) have 22 percent, followed by a disturbing 11.5% for the fascist Golden Dawn. The plummeting PASOK ‘socialists’ tied for fourth at 6.5 percent with the Independent Greeks. The Communists were at 5 percent, with the Democratic Left at 4 percent, only one percent above the threshold needed to win seats in Parliament if the government falls and new elections are held. This means the three government parties (ND, PASOK and DL) appear to hold the combined allegiance of less than a third of the electorate.

8. The case brought (with exceptional speed) against Costas Vaxivanis, editor of Hot Doc magazine, has been dropped. Vaxivanis had published the names of some 2,000 Greeks holding accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC. He successfully argued that publishing the raw data from this so-called ‘Lagarde List’ was in the public interest because it appeared that well-connected people were being protected by authorities. “Greece is run by a closed oligarchy of businessmen, politicians and controlled media groups. My publication of the list marked a confrontation, an extreme confrontation,� he told a press conference. The UK NUJ was one of the international bodies to bring pressure to bear in support of Vaxivanis.
9. Golden Dawn <> – For a flavour of the threat posed by the fascist Golden Dawn party and their influence over sections of the police but also on some of the organised anti-fascist opposition, see (Economics Editor of Newsnight) Paul Mason’s piece at; Maria Margaronis’s piece in the Guardian ; and a short video at

10. Greeks Threaten Albanian Classmate with Golden Dawn thugs- “An<> Albanian girl who had achieved the highest grades at a Greek school in Farsala, earning the right to carry the Greek flag in the national (Ochi Day) parade, declined to do so after it was reported her classmates didn’t want her to have the honour because she wasn’t Greek, and said they would threaten her and the school’s principal with the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn.<> The student council informed Principal Kostas Panos that she should be denied the honour she had won. He checked with the Head of Secondary Education of Larissa and asked for directions and was told to let her carry the flag.<> But the girl refused because, as she said, she ‘respects the flag, the principal, her professors and classmates and not because she is afraid.’ Similar incidents have happened before in Greek schools where immigrants earn the highest grade over Greek students who don’t want them to be celebrated for their achievement.<>� (Daniel Kanella 30 October 2012)

11. Manolis Glezos, Syriza MP and Chair of NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE PURSUIT OF GERMANY'S DEBTS TO GREECE. says: Please go to and sign our petition which asks the German Government to honour its obligations towards Greece, which have been outstanding for decades, by repaying the forced occupation-time loan and the war reparations for the material damages inflicted and the crimes and the looting that were perpetrated by the German war machine in WW2.

12. The Lord Mayor's Banquet vs. The Pigs Banquet (12th November): The action will take place at the Guildhall ( from 5 pm, on Monday 12th November. The guests are expected to arrive at 6 pm.

13. Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities – ‘The Southern Crisis and Resistances’, Thursday 22nd November 7.15pm - 9pm Room B01, Clore Management Centre. All welcome – no registration – just turn up. Academics from om Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain will discuss the economic, political and humanitarian crisis austerity has created in South Europe. But PIGS can fly. The widespread protests of 2011 have started again in Spain, Portugal and Italy while in Greece the new austerity has brought the government close to collapse. Is austerity or resistance the future of Europe? Speakers; Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck); Andrea Fumagalli (UNI PV); Maria Margaronis (journalist for The Nation & The Guardian); Juan Carlos Monedro (Universidad Complutense de Madrid); Boaventura de Sousa Santos (Coimbra University and Birkbeck Leverhulme Fellow).

14. This Swedish documentary (containing an interview with Greek KKE MP, Liana Kanelli) provides a good introduction to the current crisis in Greece and what life is like for the average citizen in a country with 100,000 folded businesses, mass unemployment, soup kitchens, 2,500 school closures, 30 axed university programmes, ‘with Indian wages and taxes higher than Sweden’ -

15. Details of the ‘third memorandum’ being discussed in the Greek Parliament, according to To Vima (newspaper), include:

*Restructure of public sector 719 million euro

*Municipalities 210 million euro

*Wages, bonuses and allowances cuts 1.497 billion euro

*Pensions, increase of retirement age 5,475 billion euro

*Cuts in social welfare 307 billion euro

* Health care sector 1.113 billion euro

*Defence spending (closure of military camps, cancellation of new armament deals etc) 406 million euro

*Education (universities & technical colleges mergers, reducing funding in sports and culture 133 million euro

*Cuts in state-run enterprises 495 million euro

*New taxation system (cancellation of tax free amount, tax hikes in tobacco products, tax hike in the interests rates from bank deposits from 10% to 15% etc) 3.89 billion euro.

Cuts, Cuts, Cuts

230 pages that will leave millions of households with a minimum income enough just to cover basic needs. According to leaked<> information <> main changes will be:

* Cuts in main and supplementary pensions 5% for 1,000-1,500 euro, 10% for 1,5001-2,000 euro and 15% for pensions in more than 2,000 euro.
* Increase of retirement age from 65 to 67.
* Social welfare benefits (EKAS) for low-pensioners only for those over 65 years old.
* Cuts for special payrolls 2% for wages up to 1,000 euro and up to 35% for more than 4,000 euro monthly salary. Retrospective as of 1. August 2012.
* Up to 40% salary cuts for employees of state-run enterprises and municipalities.
* Abolition of Christmas/Eastern & Vacation bonuses to wages of civil servants and pensioners.
* Cuts in several allowances of civil servants.
* Increase of working hours from 36.5 hours per week to 40 hours per week for civil servants.
* Decreases in overtime payments
* Reductions in pensions for disabled people
* Reductions in jobless allowances, i.e. seasonal workers
* Reduction in social welfare spending
* Hiring scheme 1:5 until 2015

Cuts in health sector will leave thousands if not millions without sufficient health care. The bill foresees among others: Reducing health services for uninsured (25% of Greeks are without job, while uninsured labour blooms), reducing medicine from official lists, reducing spending for health care cost (medical services and drugs). In addition a new taxation system will raise taxes for low and medium incomes and reduce taxes for the rich.

Parliament Voting: Despite junior coalition government partner Democratic Left insisting in not voting in favour of the labour rights ‘reforms, and some defiant MPs from partner PASOK and PM Samaras’ New Democracy, the bill which requires a simple majority (i.e. 151 votes) to be accepted, is expected to pass with 154-155 votes.

The spending cuts and structural reforms are a precondition for Greece to receive the bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euro. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said recently that the country has money until November 16th. The billions that will come with the bailout tranche will be spent for the recapitalization of the banks and by the state to pay outstanding debts to suppliers.

Under time pressure Greek government is pushing for the bill to pass through the Parliament and thus before the Eurogroup meeting on November 12th, where the eurozone finance ministers were allegedly to give the green light for the disbursement of the 31.5 billion euro.�

Unions representing 3 million members are affiliated to the Greece Solidarity Campaign.<>
Join or affiliate your organisation to the Greece Solidarity Campaign: you can run off an information leaflet using the membership form at
Apologies for cross and duplicate posting<>

αλληλεγγÏ�η και φιλία - solidarity and friendship – Paul Mackney – Co-Chair, r, Greece Solidarity Campaign<><

Go to group website
Remove me from the group mailing list<>

Publix protest in Ft. Myers, FL portent of things to come in next week's Thanksgiving Week of Supermarket Action!

This past weekend, dozens of farmworkers from Immokalee and their local Southwest Florida allies joined forces for a spirited protest outside of a brand new Publix store in north Ft. Myers, crashing the grand opening party with a clear, compelling message of economic justice. From the local FOX affiliate, WFTX-TV, report on the protest:
"FORT MYERS, Fla. - Protestors were not welcome on Publixs' property but their message was clear.
'We are farm workers and we have families,' said Silvia Perez. 'We deserve to be paid a fair amount and also for our rights to be respected.'

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is asking the new North Fort Myers supermarket along with the entire $25 billion dollar chain to join the group's Campaign for Fair Food...

'I'd like Publix to sign the farmworkers agreement and the code of ethics,' said Sister Carol Beevers, the director of the Mother of God House of Prayer.

They want the tomatoes sold here to come from farms paying higher wages and with safer working conditions.

'So that if abuses or hazardous working conditions exist, they can be addressed,' said Chris McBride, from St. Columbkill Church..." read more
Visit the CIW website for more on upcoming Thanksgiving actions!

You are subscribed to the CIW Mailing List as:
Click here to unsubscribe.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers • PO Box 603, Immokalee, FL 34143 • (239) 657-8311 •

Interview with Socialist Alternative Candidate Kshama Sawant

by Andrew Sernatinger

November 3, 2012

Audio of this interview can be heard here.

Andrew Sernatinger: I’m speaking today with Kshama Sawant, a socialist running for a seat in the Washington State House of Representatives against Democrat Frank Chopp, presently the House Speaker. Kshama is a lecturer in economics at Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College, and is a member of Socialist Alternative. Kshama, thanks for speaking with me today.

Kshama Sawant: Thank you for having me.

AS: I wanted to do this interview because there are so few left electoral campaigns in the US, and when they happen I think they’re worth our attention and some examination. If it’s alright with you, I’d like to start at the beginning. Why did you decide to run for the Washington State Legislature, and what politically motivates this campaign?

KS: I think at the outset I should say that as a socialist and an activist in Socialist Alternative, we have a slightly different approach to elections or any other campaign for that matter. I don’t unilaterally decide that I want to run for office, rather the decision is about whether to run an election campaign as socialists or not, and then the people who are in the organization democratically decide who should be the candidate. I think that’s important to mention in itself because it demonstrates what vision we have for a future society: where genuine democracy, meaning genuine rights to make decisions that affect peoples’ lives, is at the center.

And as far as why we decided to run this campaign, I think our observation about political events in recent events is the answer. We live in very changed times since the last year. We’ve seen the Arab Spring, the Egyptian and Tunisian Revolutions, the Wisconsin uprising of the public sector, and the Occupy Movement. And in the United States the Occupy Movement really was a watershed event and it broke the silence on some things that people had been thinking about but had not been able to express. Meaning the deep economic inequality, the outrage at how the rapacious and greedy banks who caused the financial collapse were the ones getting bailed out while there were massive budget cuts to education and social services, enormous levels of foreclosures of ordinary people who had lost their jobs. So there is a lot of latent anger in American society and Occupy really crystallized that and brought it to the surface.

Our campaign is inspired by our involvement in Occupy, and we thought that the time was right for the Left to run candidates. In fact, I would say that many more candidates on the left should have run in this election year. I hope that in the coming years there will be a confluence of bigger movements of young people and older people and disabled and workers along with grassroots campaigns.

AS: Why did you decide to run for State office? Is there any reason in particular or it just happened to be something that was available?

KS: Primarily it was based upon where we could run a strong campaign, but it’s also a very interesting phenomenon that’s happening here. We’re running against Frank Chopp, who is the Speaker of the House and the most powerful legislator in Olympia [the capitol of Washington]. He has been in the Legislature for seventeen years and the speaker for ten years. Our campaign is raising critical points, not only about him but also of the entire Democratic Party. Statewide what we’re seeing is brutal attacks against funding for education and healthcare and other social programs, including disability.

It’s an interesting state because the Democratic Party has been in the majority for years, in both the House and Senate. They also have had the Governor’s Mansion for years. What we’ve seen is not what you might expect with liberal or progressive policies, but actually Washington State happens to have the most regressive tax system in the entire nation. The state also happens to be the home of major multinational corporations like Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and so on, which pay historically low taxes on their profits.

We thought this was an especially striking situation where we have a phenomenally wealthy state where basic needs of people are not being satisfied. We hear this rhetoric over and over from the Democrats that, “we’re trying to save education and healthcare but we can’t because we need to balance the budget and this is the only thing we can cut.” But that is a blatant lie because they could be raising taxes on corporations and the super wealthy. One fact I’ll quickly mention is that the Seattle metropolitan area has the tenth largest concentration of super-wealthy people, households who have at least $30 million.

Our campaign is calling for full funding of free, good quality education, single-payer healthcare and high-quality public transit. We know that all this can be funded if we had political representation in Olympia that could boldly and courageously argue for taxing corporations and the super wealthy.

AS: To clarify, you’re running as the Socialist Alternative candidate in Washington. Is Socialist Alternative a party in Washington or how does that work?

KS: We are primarily an activist organization, but for the purposes of this campaign we are running as a party. I am running as the Socialist Alternative candidate and that’s what shows up on the ballot.

AS: You made reference earlier to the Occupy movement. How does your campaign relate to Occupy, and does what remains of Occupy see your campaign favorably and support your initiatives?

KS: Our campaign relates to Occupy in the sense that we are running this campaign in an era after Occupy has happened. There is a political space now where people are sick and tired of being silenced and accepting the status quo. That changed political atmosphere and consciousness is very much an outcome of this year of movements, which Occupy has been a part of. That has very much to do with why this campaign has been so successful already.

I would say that for a first campaign running on a shoe-string budget, running openly as socialists this has already been a trail-blazing campaign. We were written in by a community campaign into this position against Frank Chopp. We won 10% of the votes against Frank Chopp where we were not on the ballot but people wrote us in. I think that is a very strong indicator of how the political mood has shifted since Occupy. It gives an indication of the times to come.

AS: You were talking earlier about running on a shoe-string budget. The numbers your website give suggest you have about a tenth of the budget of your opponent, where you have roughly $16,000. How have you been able to organize your campaign to be so successful to get into the primary and then to where you are now?

KS: Right, I think that it really is a testament not only to the commitment and energy that our campaign team and all our volunteers have brought in, which I have to say is incredibly humbling and amazing, but its also reflecting the hunger that people are feeling for alternatives. I have myself tabled, been out on the street handing out leaflets and talking to people in the district and outside the district about our campaign. Overwhelmingly people have been supportive of the campaign precisely because they have had enough. They’re tired of not having options.

You can see that not only in our state race, and there’s no Republican running in our race. But nationally, if you see the enthusiasm that progressive voters had for Obama in 2008 versus what they have now, it’s a night and day difference. In 2008, women, youth, people of color went out in historic numbers to vote for Obama, but now a lot more people are probably going to stay home. Jill Stein’s campaign has gained some visibility. It shows that while people might end up voting for Democrats, its not the same as it was four years ago. Most people are just holding their nose and voting Democrat because they at least want to vote for the lesser evil. But in reality what they would like is a real alternative, a real campaign which in a genuine way represents the interest of ordinary people.

A very important aspect of why our campaign is striking a chord with people in the district and nationally is that we are very clear about where we stand. We’re not taking any corporate donations; we do not want to be beholden to corporations. We have no interest in making lucrative careers for ourselves. We want this campaign to serve as a rallying point for bigger movements, for bigger electoral campaigns next year. We’re talking about running a slate of candidates on the left for Seattle city council, and maybe even the Mayoral race if possible.

I think that actually not having corporate funding is helping us make a connection with people, because most people are angry that the control that corporations have on the political agenda. Its extremely refreshing for people to see a campaign that is gaining some ground that is being very principled about that.

AS: You were saying earlier that you’re running as an explicitly pro-worker candidate. How has organized labor and other parts of the left responded to your campaign?

KS: That’s a very interesting question because it contains some of the heart of what needs to change in the United States in order to have movements of the working class succeed. As far as endorsements are concerned, we’ve been endorsed by a local of the Communication Workers of America, Wash-Tech, and we are endorsed by a group of workers called the Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity.

But the reality is that even though many rank and file workers may be angry about the situation and want a change, the bigger reality of the labor movement in the past thirty years is that the labor leadership is tied at the hip to the Democratic Party. Labor unions bring out tens of thousands of foot soldiers for the Democratic Party to campaign for them; they give them hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unquestioningly. Unchallengingly. Uncritically.

That is precisely why labor is getting battered. All the gains that ordinary people have made, that the working class has made has all happened because people went out in the streets and put pressure on the Democratic Party. You didn’t get that by giving the Democratic Party money and not asking them any questions.

AS: Earlier you said that your campaign is premised off of the idea that there is both an opening and a need for left, pro-worker candidates in this political moment. How do you respond to those like Bruce Ramsay, the Seattle Times columnist who wrote, “If the Democrats had tried to push through a hard left agenda, they probably would have quickly lost their majority.”

KS: Bruce Ramsay is probably a more right-wing libertarian, but whether he intended to or not he actually has presented a very insightful point. The reality is that there are some well-meaning people in the Democratic Party who truly want to carry out a progressive agenda, but this is what happens: if you belong to a party whose elite is in bed with corporations, then you cannot actually carry out an agenda that is in favor of ordinary people or the working class.

What the Democratic Party does, and this is classic of their role, is they play lip service to the working class but then their policymaking is primarily, or sometimes almost entirely, skewed in favor of big business. So its true, if Frank Chopp were to wake up tomorrow and call a press conference to say, “I’m going to fight for single payer healthcare. I’m going to fight for fully funded public education because I know it can be done, and I’m going to tax Boeing and Microsoft,” what would happen is that he would become a hero for ordinary people but he would be punished by his corporate masters. As long as he’s serving his corporate masters, he’s not going to be able to do that.

AS: One of the interesting things about this campaign is that it’s just between a Democrat, Frank Chopp, and yourself as the socialist candidate, which eliminates charges that you could “spoil” the election and hand it to the Republicans. What are our thoughts on the significance of this and what do you think are the broader implications of the race?

KS: I think that not having a Republican in the race makes it easier for people who are worried about the so-called “spoilers”. But to be honest, if a Republican was running in the race we wouldn’t let that stop us. This whole logic of lesser-evilism leads us nowhere. The logic is that sometimes the Democrats may appear a little bit to the left of Republicans, but you know conservative economics and capitalists always talk about “incentives”. Think about the incentive structure for the Democrats: if you’re going to vote for them no matter what they do, then they have no incentive to shape up and do something for you, which is where the pressure from mass movements comes in.

When a campaign like ours runs, whether a Republican is running or not, it provides us an opportunity to clarify that circular logic. Yes, there is no Republican in our race so if you’re a progressive you should freely vote for us. But, also realize the politics of fear is not the answer and its never going to be the answer.

AS: Do you feel like in your campaign specifically that the absence of a Republican has made people more attracted to your campaign who otherwise might be afraid of the “spoiler” issue?

KS: It’s hard to say because the district is a very progressive district and both the Democrats running in this district, Jamie Peterson and Frank Chopp, are both well to the right of many of the views of this district. This is a district that loves its public transit, very pro-progressive policies on homelessness and education. The district includes two of the biggest state institutions, Seattle Central Community College and the University of Washington-Seattle, both of which have seen ridiculous amounts of tuitions increases and loss of funding.

So it would be difficult for me to predict, but I would say that even if a Republican were running, just looking at the statistics from past races Republicans don’t usually get much of a foothold in this district. I would venture to say that even if a Republican were running we’d still be striking quite a chord.

AS: At the end of September you actually did get to have a direct debate with your opponent, Frank Chopp. I thought it was a little bit unusual that a major party candidate agreed to the debate. Can you talk about how that went and what you thought the outcome was?

KS: We did have debate; it was organized by the Socialist Alternative student club at Seattle University. They invited both me and Frank Chopp to the debate. Interestingly, Mr. Chopp assumed at first that it was going to be a tame forum: there wouldn’t be a real debate and both candidates would just state their campaigns and having a very nicey-nice dialog.

When he was sent the program for the debate he was livid and he actually called one of the student members and chewed her out. We didn’t hide the fact that we’re Socialist Alternative, so it seems inconceivable that we would invite you and not have you debate our candidate. But he did come and I thought he did pretty well. I thought the debate was a really excellent opportunity for us to have a serious discussion of the political discussion between the Democrats and our campaign. (It’s on YouTube for anyone to watch.)

Something that I wasn’t anticipating was that he has never actually had any response for why such massive cuts have been necessary for ordinary people. It’s really illuminating to have an actual challenge to that kind of framework. We can say, “No, we reject that choice. It’s a false choice. What we really need is full funding and cutting most of the funding and leaving the crumbs for us is not what I’d call saving [services].”

In every subsequent debate he talks less like a canned politician and is trying to sound more like an activist. Simply having a genuine working class representation in opposition is forcing him to alter the language he’s presenting because he can see that people are rallying around our message. I think people should recognize that itself as a victory for this campaign. Understand that this is what puts pressure on Democrats. Not voting for Dems unchallengingly every four years, but challenging them because then they’re forced to do something about it. If we keep up this pressure, we can win actually material gains for the working class. We can win an increasing minimum wage, we could win single payer healthcare.

AS: Most people don’t realize that Washington State has among the most regressive tax structures in the country. Washington has no income tax and politicians often claim that they need to maintain a tangle of tax exemptions to keep the multinational corporations the states houses—earlier you mentioned Boeing and Amazon and the like. How has your campaign addressed this?

KS: Just to give you some background, in 2010 in the midterm elections there was a ballot measure, “1098” that was going to be a tax on high incomes. It failed. If you look at what happened in the run-up to the 2010 elections, when 1098 was first introduced it had two-thirds supporting it. What happened in the run-up to the general elections was that the right wing went on an all-out assault on the bill. They did an unbelievable media blitz.

It was directed to ordinary, working class people and they said, “if you vote for this measure, then in another couple of years the taxes will come to you and not just on the wealthy.” If you look at the facts, this was completely untrue, but do you know why most people ended up voting against 1098?

One reason was that the Democrats never counted that assault from the right wing. The Democrats are more powerful than the Republicans in this state, and they could have done their own media blitz. They could have knocked on doors. They could have been shouting from the rooftops that that was a lie and that 1098 would be good for the people. They didn’t do anything for it! I don’t remember seeing a single Democratic legislator when we were pounding the pavement for 1098.

The second reason people voted against it is that virtually every time the Democrats have passed a revenue increase, it has been regressive. They tax things like soda, candy, gasoline and cigarettes, which affect the poorest people the most. So it was not a stretch of the imagination for people to believe that if they passed this, eventually the taxes would come on their shoulders.

If you really want to fight for a progressive tax, then you have to take on corporate interests in a real way, not in a lip service way.

AS: How can people support your campaign if they want to?

KS: The first thing I would urge everyone to do is go to our website. We would really appreciate financial contributions and other kinds of contributions: we need people with creative skills and ideas about how we can effectively use the last two weeks. We also want people to send us their views. If they really like our campaigns, we want to hear from them. Just get in touch with us and we’ll write back to you. If you want to know more about socialism I really invite you to have discussions with us. A

t this point I’d really stress that we need financial contributions. We have a shoe-string budget and we’re making it go as far as it can go, but we have to face the fact that we need resources to print leaflets, to have yard signs, to allow people to take time off work so that they can work on our campaign.

AS: Is there anything else you’d like to say before we go?

KS: I hope that people draw a lot of inspiration and energy from how this campaign has gone. Most important of all, people should have conversations with others and spark that whole discussion and debate about what needs to happen. What we need very urgently in America is not just a huge movement, but many huge movements. The only solution to this is a revolt. You realize the latent power of the working class, we are the 99% they are the 1%. There are so many more of us and the only thing holding us back is our fear.

AS: Thanks so much for speaking with me, Kshama.

KS: Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew Sernatinger is an independent journalist based in Madison, Wisconsin. This article was first published in New Politics.

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"How large is the universe and how small is Amerikka in it?"
CIndy Sheehan

From Hubble.
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
November 11, 2012

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

On, Thursday November 8th,
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
hosted a Community Call-in Show
featuring two friends of peace, justice, and TRUE CHANGE:
Debra Sweet: World Can't Wait
What was their analyses of Tuesday's Presidential
election and where do we, as people of Peace and Justice
go from there?

CINDY SHEEHAN'S SOAPBOX will be on a very short and very temporary HIATUS while I finish my latest book:
I Left My Marbles in San Francisco:
The Scandal of Federal Electoral Politics

The new book is about my run for Congress in 2008, how the Robber Class have elections "sewn up" here in the Two-Party Dictatorship and an analysis of the 2012 elections and my run for Vice President with the Peace and Freedom Party.

The Soapbox will return at the frist of the year with our SMART/ARTICULATE/AMAZING guests and topical subjects AND I am starting a new project and will co-host a weekly radio show tentatively named, "The S-Word" with my friend and fellow radical, revolutionary, Diane Gee--who has her own show also. The "S" stands for Socialism and we will be hoping to bring a better understanding of the ideology to our listeners and this country which sorely misunderstands Socialism.



Cindy Sheehan
Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler



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