Over the course of three nights last week Americans had a chance to see and hear the Republicans in Convention assembled. What was their message? Simply put it was to strengthen the 1% at the expense of the 99%. The Republicans find it perfectly appropriate for those who are not in need to make demands of those who are struggling. In the warped world of Mitt Romney and the GOP it is the working class that must surrender all of the gains it has achieved since the New Deal in order to provide the tools the 1% requires to rescue us from the current crisis. Our response to this theater of the absurd is clear. There can be no room for the 'undecided' in this election. Apathy is not an option. The defeat of the extreme right is a life and death matter. No less than food for the hungry, full access to health care for women, and the peace of the world is at stake.
Rally for the 1%
Labor and representatives of a broad-based people's coalition took to the streets in Tampa to object to the GOP's 1% solution to the economic crisis. Republicans meanwhile hid from the citizens of Tampa in air-conditioned comfort to listen to speaker after speaker bemoan the decline of America, which, in their view, is now broke because the poor people have all the money.
The selection of fellow one-percenter Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate certainly comes as no surprise. Mitt and Paul share a similar background of a life of ease that has been spent putting as much distance as their fortunes will allow between themselves and physical labor. Ryan stated in an interview that his post-college plans consisted of becoming a 'ski bum', an enterprise he thought might last two years or longer. The only thing that foiled those plans were his mothers objections, which eventually led him to accept a taxpayer paid position on the staff of then Wisconsin US Senator Robert Kasten. Kasten himself was a politician of dubious quality. He failed to gain his own Party's nomination for Governor despite having the Party's endorsement. He was later swept into office during the Reagan Revolution of 1980 and was shortly thereafter picked up driving drunk the wrong way down a one way street in our nation's capital. It was at Kasten's elbow that Ryan learned about public service. Ryan also expanded his mind delving into the literature of pseudo-intellectual fiction writer Ayn Rand, who clearly stated in a radio interview that she considered altruism, "an evil." It seems Ryan and Romney were made for each other and with them in the White House the Republican war on workers will have a tireless tag team.
Mitt Romney's campaign managers apparently know a good thing when they hear it and don't mind bending the law to get it. Romney's tacticians have been using the song 'Panic Switch' to fire up the otherwise bored attendees at Romney rallies. There is only one problem; they never got permission to use it from the artists who created and own it. The band has since made their feelings about Mitt known in no uncertain terms.
Back to the Stone Age
Republican spin doctors have frequently attempted to dismiss the notion that GOP policies constitute a "war on women." All their pooh-poohing of the alarm bells that are sounded by the peoples forces however is lost when their own nominees speak their mind. The Republicans hope to capture the US Senate this year and one of their key targeted races is in Missouri. Who did the GOP chose to carry their standard in that race? None other than tea-party Congressman Todd Akin. Where does he stand on issues that affect women? He made it clear when he stated that women have nothing to fear from his stand against women's access to reproductive care, which he would deny even if a woman were the victim of rape or incest. Not a problem according to Todd because a woman's body "has ways" to prevent pregnancy during what he calls a "legitimate rape." This is perhaps the most outrageous statement made in the 21st Century regarding women's health since ultra-right winger and political meddler Foster Freiss suggested women could prevent unwanted pregnancy by holding an aspirin "between the knees."
Take Action - Register to Vote!
In response to the outrageous challenges to voting rights that disproportionately affect people of color, women, youth and seniors, many efforts are underway to make sure that everyone knows their rights and has all the proper requirements to vote. On September 25, National Voter Registration Day, field work, technology and media efforts will all be focused on reaching tens of thousands of new voters.
- The Leadership Conference Education Fund has created an excellent voting rights advocacy map that tells each voter the elections laws and voter information in their state
- The Election Protection website has hotline numbers to call and up to date information on the status of challenges to voting rights, state by state
- The US Student Association (USSA) has prepared a student vote tool kit (PDF) to assist with campus organizing to get out the youth vote
Handouts to share in your community
This pamphlet by People's World Ohio Bureau Chief Rick Nagin can be used as a voter education and mobilization tool in the labor and people's movements around the country. The pamphlet seeks to provide union and other progressive activists with basic information about the U.S. economy, the 2008 meltdown, the grave danger of right-wing extremism and the crucial, turning point nature of the November elections. It is a great tool for union leaders and stewards, political coordinators, grassroots activists or personal use. To order visit peoplesworld.org.
Reports from National Committee Meetings
It's up to us by Joelle Fishman, chair Political Action Commission
For more information