A Look Back and a Tribute to Labor

Today we look back at posts on public banking, a Supreme Court challenge to the Energy Transition Act, a Saturday post with three tremendous articles on climate change, and leading with a reminder about Tuesday’s mtg.

In brief,

Sorry this is out late today, but we took the weekend to go to Taos, stay in a remote Organic Gogi Berry Farm and then go hear Sting tonight. And surprise, surprise, in remote Taos on a Gogi Berry Farm, internet connectivity is spotty. We return tomorrow. I didn’t do a Sunday’s at the Movies because with limited time to devote to it, I had a devil of a time finding good YouTube video about the role of labor in social justice in America….the desired theme for Labor Day. It was amazing how many folks emailed to find out what happened.

That leads to a request. If there is anyone out there who would like to serve as a kind of curator to identify good video to use on Sundays, that would be tremendous. Just email me at paul@retakeourDemocracy.org. It would both improve what we offer and save me a bit of time.

Today’s post serves as a tribute to labor with a series of stirring tributes provided at the end of this post. You will find the Labor Tribute below the meeting reminder and the links to last week’s posts. In particular, I hope more of you go to the Reading for the Weekend post. I may have mislabeled it a bit as being all about facing extinction which is not exactly a comforting thought. In truth, the post included some very important and largely optimistic views on the climate crisis and how we just might be able to do something about it. Check out how I re-described the post below.

Critical Retake Our Democracy Presentation and Panel

On Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos, Santa Fe, a presentation, panel discussion and audience dialogue: Retaking the NM State Senate.

If you don’t think this is important, consider this small sampling of good bills that passed the House and then were killed in the NM state Senate.

  • Permanent fund funding for early childhood
  • Decriminalization of abortion
  • Legalization of recreational marijuana
  • Community Solar and Local Choice Energy
  • Two bills to advance planning for an economic and energy transition
  • Any and all efforts to regulate, tax or penalize the gas and oil industry

Tuesday’s meeting will begin with an incredibly eye-opening 45 minute presentation by Eric Shimamoto, an ABQ activist who has done some remarkable research about the way the NM state Senate and indeed, the entire legislative process is controlled by eight DINO Senators who routinely vote with the GOP. He then draws parallels between NM’s situation and how NY had been held hostage by the same exact dynamic with another eight NY DINOs controlling that state’s legislative process. It is a mind blowing presentation and it includes a description of how NY addressed their problem. NY Working Families Party led primary challenges in 2019 in the eight NY state Senate districts with DINOs. With wins in six, NY WFP completely changed the legislative environment in NY and a flood of great bills, some stalled for 20 years, were passed in the 2019 legislative session.

We will follow Eric’s presentation with a panel discussion of the implications of what was done in NY and how NM can learn from it. The panel includes Eric Griego, Director of NM Working Families Party; Jeremy Sment, as ABQ activist with powerful data on the eight NM Senate districts represented by DINOs. Sharla Parsons, chair of the NM Democratic Party Platform Committee and of the Adelante Caucus and Javier Benavidez, an ABQ Interfaith activist may also join the panel. The Panel discussion will be interactive with the audience, as together we seek to better understand how to target resources in pressuring NM DINO Senators in the 2020 legislative session and challenging them in the June primary to follow. Please plan to join us.

An RSVP, even if you think we know you’ll be coming, would certainly help us with set-up. email RetakeResponse@gmail.com to RSVP.

A Look Back

Last week, NEE petitioned the Supreme Court, challenging the Energy Transition Act. We reported on this on Tuesday and then again on Thursday. For the benefit of our readers, I have pulled the added commentary on the lawsuit from the Thursday post and inserted it in the Tuesday post. So the first post below includes all the content we provided last week and the post on public banking goes straight into the public banking content.

New Energy Economy Challenges Energy Transition Act in Supreme Court

Bill sponsors were warned by PRC staff, the Attorney General, New Energy Economy, Retake, indigenous groups and others that the bill was unconstitutional, with the AG stating in its written comments in the bills Financial Impact Report that it “allows the utility to self-regulate.” The NEE suit is not challenging all of the ETA, just the language that prevents the PRC from reviewing what PNM seeks to have securitized. Call me crazy, but I want someone to regulate PNM. Now the Supreme Court decides.

Click here to read the full post.

Public Banking Coming to NM, Huge NM Surplus Projected & More on New Energy Economy’s Supreme Court Suit

NM public bank plans advancing. Killed in Sen. Finance last year, it will be re-introduced in 2020. Truthout describes how a public bank works & why NM needs it. Also, almost $1B surplus to NM budget & Trump to eliminate methane regs.

Click here to read the full post.

Weekend Reading: A Focus on Our Climate Future

Three articles offer thoughts on the challenge of understanding where we stand in the climate crisis timeline, plus potential international strategies that could actually work. Plus a poem & a climate crisis quiz that will surprise you.

Not as many as usual read this post which is a real shame as it includes three really compelling articles.

For those of you who have not read much from the Extinction Rebellion, perhaps out of fear, the first article in this post offers a comforting perspective on the Rebellion’s insistence that we’ve missed the deadline and should be thinking in terms of adaptation and inevitable social collapse. The article suggests that many of the Rebellion’s projections are not predicated firmly on science, but more on assumptions that science is under estimating the advance of climate catastrophe.

There is also an article on the pros and cons of using carbon pricing as a mechanism for encouraging the transition to renewable energy and an article and a great story on how the Amazon fire and the Bolsonaro regime’s horrific resistance to addressing climate change may offer a possible solution to the international inertia to actually changing behaviors.

Click here to read the full post.

A Tribute to Labor

There was a day when labor unions were a far stronger negotiating force for workers across the country. They also played a much bigger role in the political arena. Their power has been steadily eroded by neoliberal policies that place corporate profit at the center of all discussions. The Republican Party and to a lesser degree the Democratic Party have favored their corporate benefactors over labor and neoliberal think tanks have subtly altered the perception of unions as being impediments to growth rather than protectors of worker rights.

But today it is important to honor Labor by taking a moment to reflect on a few things for which we should thank those courageous labor leaders who have fought valiantly on our behalf:

  • the minimum wage
  • a 40-hour week
  • sick leave
  • pregnancy leave
  • worker safety protections
  • vacation pay
  • overtime
  • healthcare coverage
  • farm worker organizing

Our unions will continue to play an important role in fighting to protect against unfair treaties and corporate practices that export jobs and to fight for increases in minimum wage and worker protections in the face of increasing automation.

As a Labor Day testimony, below you will find a series of quotes reflecting the esteem with which labor and the role of the union have played in our history.

“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” —Abraham Lincoln

“The American people have this to learn: that where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither person nor property is safe.” —Frederick Douglass

“Ten thousand times has the labor movement stumbled and fallen and bruised itself, and risen again; been seized by the throat and choked and clubbed into insensibility; enjoined by courts, assaulted by thugs, charged by the militia, shot down by regulars, traduced by the press, frowned upon by public opinion, deceived by politicians, threatened by priests, repudiated by renegades, preyed upon by grafters, infested by spies, deserted by cowards, betrayed by traitors, bled by leeches, and sold out by leaders, but notwithstanding all this, and all these, it is today the most vital and potential power this planet has ever known, and its historic mission of emancipating the workers of the world from the thralldom of the ages is as certain of ultimate realization as is the setting of the sun.” —Eugene Victor Debs, labor leader and socialist

“When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run/there can be no greater power anywhere beneath the sun/yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one/but the union makes us strong,” —Ralph Chaplin, Industrial Workers of the World organizer and author of “Solidarity Forever,” the international anthem of the labor movement, which was inspired by a 1912-13 West Virginia coal miners’ strike

“What does labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.” —Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor

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