Anything but Inactive

Your May 1997 edition contains a letter from Ben Coates concerning the Alliance for Democracy in Indianapolis. His letter highlights our lack of action. Our local group began in January 1996. Since our group began we have demonstrated several times against building a New Arena for the Indianapolis Pacers out of tax dollars. We have been on TV, radio, had letters published in local newspapers concerning our protests on using tax dollars for the Mega-Millionaire owners of the Pacers, and we have gathered petitions and sent them to the City County Council. The Alliance for Democracy is the only organized resistance to this tax dollar grab by the owners of the Pacers and their political puppets.

We have also demonstrated in front of the Indiana State House for Campaign Finance Reforms. I spoke personally on Campaign Finance Reform at two different meetings of the Legislators.

We cannot create a large activist organization overnight. Our Alliance Group has its own Web Page. We have been anything but silent or inactive.

(317) 875-9616
3104 Westleigh
Indianapolis, IN 46268

Indiana Alliance is Active

As Coordinator for the Central Indiana Alliance For Democracy, I've been amused at all the publicity we have received in the pages of the Progressive Populist. It's good to hear from Phil Farruggio again even if it is via Iowa! I hadn't heard a peep from him since December and I was beginning to worry. (Nice photo, Phil. I hadn't realized how much you favor Tony Curtis!)

Phil's little story is one thing, but the letter in your May issue from a Mr. Ben Coates deserves some comment. The most significant point is that no one in our group has ever heard of Ben Coates. Even with my sleuthing background (I have read the entire Hardy Boy canon), I can't figure this one out! My wife suggested that he may be "a copy-cat disparager."

All this attention has moved us to make a partial list of our group's accomplishments. In the past 12 months we have:

We are all proud of what we've done here in a short time, and very proud to be part of this remarkable national movement!

In conclusion I would like to ask Phil (who attended two Alliance meetings) and Ben (whoever he may be) -- What good does it do to circle the wagons and then fire towards the center? These unseemly, in-print sniping sessions may boost one' s ego, but they drain energy that could be better spent advancing the cause of democracy. The forces of unrestrained corporate greed must rejoice every time they see us blazing away at each other, and that is a shame!


JACK MILLER, Coordinator
Alliance For Democracy
Indianapolis & Central Indiana
PO Box 34133
Clermont, IN 46234

Phil Farrugio replies:

Dear Jack,

I'm glad you enjoyed my piece on Naptown and the non-existent populist alliance.

Interesting how when I was urging letter writing campaigns to the legislature, etc., regarding the Maine Clean Elections [Act], you were silent. Interesting when on Dec. 3, you sat silent as Ullman and Vaughn and the other clown sabotaged our plans. Interesting how yourself and Pat have done nothing but use rhetoric regarding publicly financed campaigns. Since December! No action!

As far as lauding your alliance and their fight against a new arena in Naptown: I agree wholeheartedly. However, the damn Capitol Building and State Legislature is right downtown, Jack! Has your group ever protested vehemently, as populists, against the scams created by this "one party" here in Indiana? Where were the demonstrations demanding all money out of campaigns, i.e. Maine? Where are your priorities, Jack? How can you call yourselves populists with such tunnel vision? Fighting a new arena is all well and good. Fighting for the right and access of citizens to run for elected offices, locally, is better.

Now you tell the Progressive Populist your opinions about letters commending my writing? Shame on you. Do yourself a favor, Jack: Stick to cartoons. They're pretty good. Much better than your activism. You're in the right place, Naptown.

Jack, perhaps the fault lies in the "titles and labels". Perhaps Pat should push the "Prof" aside and be a citizen. Perhaps you should push the labels of "Amnesty International" and "blah, blah, blah alliance: etc. and be like me, a citizen, independent and seeking change. The labels and titles can choke you, Jack.

Finally, my brief experience here in the "heartland" can be summed up by this incident. I was pulled over last December by a sheriff's deputy. He claimed I turned at a red light. I felt I didn't, already having been in the intersection. When I politely told him so, he paused and answered, "I wasn't going to pull you over, but when I saw your New York plates, that did it!" A relative of yours, Jack? Or an alliance member?

Molly Miscue?

I was completely appalled to read Molly Ivins' dismissal of the world's environmental problems in her "Wasting Perfectly Good Anger" piece, for which she invented the fanciful and oxymoronic term "international biosphere". Usually Ms. Ivins shows commendable forethought and judgement in her columns, but to lump global environmental problems in with "black helicopter" conspiracies does a disservice to her reputation and abilities as a writer and a thinking person. I respectfully ask Ms. Ivins to do a little bit of reading on the subject before making such an ignorant generalization in the future.

We must build some consensus and a coalition around the issues that matter, and thus have some influence in the political wasteland that we all find ourselves. It would behoove all activists and writers to stretch the boundaries of their knowledge base a bit further and see the inextricable connections between environmental and social problems.

Maybe we should worry less about the "liberal" press and more about people writing for populist rags.



First Nations Health Project, Inc.
7435 SW 31st Ave.
Portland, OR 97219

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