I have just received my current [October] issue of The Progressive Populist
and am sorely disappointed and very dismayed that in all the space devoted
to Ralph Nader nor in the rest of the paper there is not one word of his
running mate, Winona LaDuke. I have been a citizen activist since the anti-Vietnam
days and have been continually dismayed by how "progressive" men
nearly always fail to recognize women's contributions.
A woman warrior, LaDuke inspires me to continue fighting the battle of the
corporate takeover of our world. In Beijing, China in a plenary address,
LaDuke asked the question, "What gives corporations like Conoco, Shell,
Exxon, Diashawa, ITT, Rio Tinto Zinc and the World Bank a right which supercedes
or is superior to my human right to live on my land, or that of my family,
my community, my nation, our nations, and us as women? What law gives that
right to them?" She goes on to state that "the right of all peoples
to self-determination cannot be realized while women continue to be marginalized
and prevented from becoming full participants in their respective societies."
As a woman disillusioned with our "democratic" process, I have
placed my vote with the Nader/LaDuke team. I respect Mr. Nader for his tireless
work, but I am most impressed by Ms. LaDuke and her willingness to speak
to the issues of the environmental degradation and the genocide of the Indigenous
peoples of the earth.
As a woman disillusioned with "progressive" men, I cherish the
day when women will indeed be equal.
RR#2 Box 79
Atlantic, Iowa 50022
The Republicans and other fiscal conservatives claim that the reduction
of taxes is one of the most important goals we should be pursuing on both
the local and national scenes. They argue that an across-the-board tax reduction
would be a great benefit for middle and lower income families -- those who
make up the majority of the voting population.
Since the time of Ronald Reagan, I have been amazed at how successful the
Republicans have been in their efforts to con the voting public with this
claim. It is so obvious that an increase in taxes for the wealthy -- a graduated
income tax -- is what is needed, while a decrease in taxes should be aimed
only at those in the lower to middle income groups. Social services for
our communities are paid, in large part, by taxes. Those are not only the
services of social security, medicare, education and the like, but highways,
air traffic control, maintenance of public areas and protection of our environment.
In a fair economic system those who profit most in the economy should pay
more to protect the structure that allowed them to accumulate such profit.
The simple, or simplistic, argument made by those with the wealth is that
what they were able to accumulate was achieved by their own energies, wit
and courage. They should not, they claim, be punished for being so successful.
Which is all nonsense on the one hand and duplicity on the other. These
people are as indebted to the political system and the laws of the structure
as any of us. Under the philosophy of "free-enterprise," in fact,
they are more indebted. Every move they make is supported and guaranteed
by a government that prints their money, runs their stock exchange, ensures
their ownership and provides them with a police force and a military to
protect whatever they have.
It is a pity they do not have enough sense of social responsibility to help
provide for the care of those in the society who are less fortunate than
Norman L. Thomas
1209 North C Street
Indianola, IA 50125
The Populists Are Coming!
On Saturday, Oct. 19 the Progressive Populist Alliance of Central Indiana
held a rally/march. We (I was a participant) met at the Federal Building,
exchanged ideas, and marched to the Statehouse. Bob Pederson, organizer
of the rally, explained its purpose:
Insist that the FBI pursue an investigation into allegationfs of corruption/racketeering
by the Goldsmith Administration.
Call attention to the increasing influrence of special interest money in
Raise the public consciousness as to the need for comprehensive campaign
The group contained very diverse individuals with plenty of spunk and emotion.
The optimism felt by all was due to this diversity. There were students,
salespeople, federal workers, office workers, a college professor, a wastewater
treatment worker, environmentalists (Hoosier Environmental Council). These
people took a lovely Saturday autumn afternoon off to express the concern
of many Hoosiers: We are fed up with this "business as usual"
Pat McGeever is a professor of political science at IUPUI. He is also a
populist. "Our organization, the Progressive Populist Alliance, was
created about a year ago. Our main concern, presently, is to raise the public's
consciousness regarding this important and timely issue. In order to have
trustworthy government we really must have public campaign financing. Such
a system, with stiff criminal penalties for any deviations, would help restore
the public trust."
He explained how state law does not presently allow for a public referendum
on this issue.
If the state legislators wanted to, they could create a law to allow referenda,
similar to California and other states. Prof. McGeever hoped that this allience
could grow into a massive movement, thus pressuring the elected state officials
into changing this clearly undemocratic law.
George Tomanovich is well known in Indianapolis. He was the whistleblower
who won a settlement with the city. George is also a man of integrity, one
who cares about corruption and greed. "If we had true campaign finance
reform, my situation might never have happened. Many times, when the city
puts contracts out on the street for bidding, there are two lists. One is
all the companies that can bid, and the other is a list of who has given.
Bottom line is that to get the actual bid, if you're not on that second
list, you get little or no work. My biggest beef has been that a lot of
the reputable companies who refuse to give just don't get the jobs. And
these are people who I know do quality work. Obivously, if you reform this
system, you open the door to more quality and better pricing. This can only
save the taxpayers money in the long run."
I asked him if he has been threatened during this time, especially with
the information he has brought forth. "I've been given some strong
advice that I shouldn't be so vocal, especially since I went to the FBI.
I've gotten phone calls at home. I've had attorneys and politicians telling
me to 'cool it' and be happy with my settlement. I voted Republican most
of my life, so this is not some partisan thing. It's about fairness and
decency in local government, in all government for that matter!"
Brad Lorton and William Wagner, union officials from the American Federation
of Gov't Employees, were active at the rally. Brad felt that since money
represents power in America, a system that allows the wealthy to sponsor
candidates is feudalistic. "The politicians, the Steve Goldsmiths of
the system, they are just the flunkies doing the bidding for the wealthy
special interests! Until you get the money totally out of politics, to where
you can actually speak about human and social ideas, you will never get
close to having a true democracy. Instead of a democracy of people we now
have a democracy of dollars!"
The rally was really just a first step in a long-awaited reaction to the
selling out of American democracy. When 37 million Americans have no health
insurance, and the elected officials who represent these same people have
the best health care that our money can buy, something is wrong. When the
stock market sets all-time highs, consistently year after year, and salary
values keep getting lower, something is wrong. When we have a government,
regardless of party, that bails out the corrupt S&L's at taxpayer expense,
that increases non-essential defense spending year after year, allows companies
to relocate offshore for cheap labor and tax breaks, something is terribly
wrong. And where are our elected officials, to protect us, the regular John
and Joan Q. Public, from the rich corporate and prive special interests?
Just read Animal Farm to see who brings home the bacon, to see who IS the
PHILIP A. FARRUGGIO
6916 Ralph Ct.
Indianapolis, Ind. 46220-1181
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