Zinn on Activism, Income

I had a great day with a local part-timers union. We were supposed to do some Hana-Mi Cherry Blossom viewing but the weather was terrible so we ended up under a bridge for barbecued meats and vegetables, bear, greentea and Shochu distilled spirits. The main Labor Adviser and core guy was there, the labor lawyer, the nice ladies that were forced from their local tourist shop by ‘power harassment’.. For the people that don’t drink we did some Ice Breakers and games from the Project Adventure(Karl Rohnke) series. Ice Breakers are great to have your repertoire you get people out of their little clique and laughing and enjoying each other. I was just looking for the Democracy Now Segment where the bailout or new budget was said to 48,000 dollars for every American. Couldn’t find it. I was going to try and relate it to Basic Income – even as just a concept that would be convenient to have to explain what figures mean. Jon Stewart just had a Daily Show section about Republican Senators saying Obama’s budgest was the ‘road to hell’ and asked how showing 15 trillion as a figure on a chart would help people. Dean Baker has a video economic seminar about the importance of making figures understandable. What if you said 15 trillion could pay every resident a thousand dollars a month for ___ number of  months? That’s understandable. I can still hear Amy Goodman saying something about either a bailout package or the budget being 48,000 dollars per American or citizen or something….

Anyway I also want to put together my own Znet Classics series. I was cleaning and found some old (1999 and 2001) articles that I actually printed out. You had dial up connections and no evernote.com back then, but still what would possess you to print something out. KInda nice now though to rediscover these pages in a closet. It reminded me of thedailyshow side bar ‘remember when we cared about..’ which I assume is about tacky celebrity stuff or something. But with Znet articles it’s like prescient – we care about the same stuff just more so.  Holly Sklar (2005) was writing For CEOs, a Minimum Wage in the Millions back in 2001. I couldn’t find the article I printed out from  ZMag/articles/skar.htm but this common dreams has her 2000 Baltimor Sun article. There are others, Naomi Klein, Juliet Schor, Edward Herman on Elliott D. Sclar’s The Economics of Privatization but  I’ll need time to digest them again, hopefully find them online again too.

Howard Zinn is great. After a day out with uinon people (and the sweet karate kids having their picnic under the same bridge, I got a bunch of clover flowers) and fellow foreigners this paragraph struck home.

And I’ll leave you with just one more thought, that if you do that, if you join some group, if you join whatever the group is, a group that’s working on, you know, gender equality or racism or immigrant rights or the environment or the war, whatever group you join or whatever little action you take, you know, it will make you feel better. It will make you feel better. And I’m not saying we should do all these things just to make ourselves feel better, but it’s good to know that life becomes more interesting and rewarding when you become involved with other people in some great social cause. Thank you.

Here’s some of Howard ZInn’s On Rewarding People for Talents and  Hard Work.  "I remember Fiorello Laguardia standing up in congress in the Twenties, arguing against a tax bill that would benefit the secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon, and asking if Mellon worked harder thatn the Housewife in East Harlem bringing up three kids on a meager income." "We are as you point outt, a long way from Achieving an egalitarian society, but we can certainly move in that Direction by a truly progressive income tax, by a government-assured minimum Level of income, health care, education, housing for every family…." It was the Nov 25, 1999 sustainer commentary. I asked the Diet member candidate today if he had heard of Basic Income? I’m pretty sure he had no idea but I gave him some hints and metioned another politician’s(famous maverick writer’s) name. It looke like the gears in his head started turning. You don’t expect much from politicians though. Still you gotta try.

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