Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, Maine, United States

I'm back to work for the Global Network. Will continue to help Lisa Savage for US Senate campaign on my free time. Trying to self-isolate as much as possible. Best wishes and good luck to you all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dems deep dive into Wall Street's arms.....


It's platform crunching time for the national 'Democratic Party'.  Early indications are that you should not expect too much from them.

One big disappointment, reported by Truthout is:

The DNC Platform Committee rejected the Medicare for All amendment introduced by longtime single-payer advocate Michael Lighty by a vote of 36-125 during a virtual meeting Monday. The committee also voted down separate attempts to include support for expanding Medicare to children, dropping the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 55, and legalizing marijuana.

The Huffpost reported on the marijuana vote:

  • Democratic National Committee delegates voted 105-60 against including marijuana legalization in the party platform on Monday. The draft version of the platform supports decriminalizing marijuana use and legalizing medical marijuana, adding that it should be left up to the states “to make their own decisions about recreational use.” 

In the case of Medicare4All it is obvious that the insurance industry said an emphatic NO to that one.  When it came to medical marijuana and legalization it was Big Pharma and the alcohol industries that likely blocked that proposal.

I expect that when it comes to foreign policy we'll see platform planks that further demonize the Chinese and the Russians, demand more sanctions, oppose any military base closings or troop withdrawals from Afghanistan or Germany and calls for more expensive high-tech weapons.  We know that the military industrial complex funds and controls both Republicans and Democrats.

In Maine's US Senate race the corporate $$$ is flowing into our state.  The leader in the funding game is Democrat Sara Gideon (former Speaker of the House in the state legislature) who has raised more than $24 million.  Incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins has raised about $17 million.  Much of their money comes from corporate sources (PACs or executives).

While claiming that she would not take corporate PAC (Political Action Committee) money, Gideon has a long track record of receiving corporate money for her leadership PAC while Maine House Speaker.

Required reporting to the state for the 'GIDEON LEADERSHIP PAC' reveals she took donations from many corporations, including Merck, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Eli Lilly, AT&T and American Express, among others. Energy companies, such as natural gas suppliers (fracking), pharmaceutical corporations and telecom companies also gave to Gideon's PAC. Gideon’s leadership PAC took in nearly $300,000.

Like most political leadership in the current two-party system, Gideon used her corporate PAC to reward Maine House Democrats under her control who voted as she instructed.  That means she frequently enforced the will of the corporations that donated to her PAC.

During our 2018 statewide grassroots campaign to oppose the tax break for General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works I did a 34-day hunger strike.  I went to the BIW shipyard most days to speak with workers and also spent lots of time in the hallway between the Maine House and Senate chambers holding signs and handing out flyers along with others in our campaign.

We repeatedly asked for a meeting with Speaker Gideon but she refused to talk with us.  One of our supporters is also from Freeport, where Gideon lives, and knows her but was unable to get her to agree to meet.

Gideon was not interested in talking with us because she was essentially under the control of General Dynamics and other corporate forces in Maine and nationally.  She knew she planned to run for the Senate in 2020 and clearly wanted to show that she would be a faithful water carrier for their interests.  Her $24 million raised so far, for November's Ranked Choice Voting US Senate election in Maine, indicates that her sponsors are pleased.

In the end our campaign was successful in cutting $15 million off the original $60 million that GD/BIW requested.


So while much of Gideon's current campaign is about accusing Sen. Susan Collins of taking corporate PAC money - it is a disingenuous claim.  In this race both of the two major party candidates have long ago dirtied their hands by taking corporate dollars - either directly or indirectly.

This is how it works in America.  We see the evidence once again as the Democrats vote overwhelmingly to reject common sense platform proposals like Medicare4All.

In fact, Sara Gideon does not support Medicare4All, instead she supports 'access to affordable and quality health care' which translates to: 'Everyone should be allowed to have health coverage from insurance companies, no matter their age, medical condition, or pre-existing conditions.'  The corporate line.

But it is especially sickening when any politician, like Sara Gideon, claims the moral high ground but has a long history of playing in the mud.

Bruce

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