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View Diary: Kossacks Must Share the Democratic Party with Factory Workers (285 comments)

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  •  I never worked in a factory (4.00)
    but at one point I did day labor, often unloading trucks.  I've also tended bar, waited tables, been a bouncer, worked in a McDonald's...

    I've also sold door to door (books and cookware), and sold cars in a showroom...

    I've programmed computers, desigend programs as a systems analyst, consulted, managed people, trained people, done phone sales, run a bookstore..

    and now I am a teacher

    ALL WORK deserves respect.  All workers should be treated withy dignity, have basic rights.

    As a member of the NEA (and a former building rep) I am understand the role unions can play (although at times we linke to pretentd that we are a profssional organization and not a union)

    Forgive me Congressman, but I agee with those who think you posit na false dichotomy.  There are many of us who are teachers on this baoad, and most of us are union members.   We may have"white collar" jobs, but those of us in public schools are treated by many politicians -- including many of your compatriots in the House  --  with less respect thatn then average factory worker receives.  

    I do not begrudge better wages and working conditions for factory workers.  Nor do I for those who pick my fruits and vegetables.  I am very much for a rebuilding of the sense of commonality in our polity.  I no more seek divides of white versus blue versus pink collars than I do of Catholic versus Evengalical versus jew= versus agnostic versus Muslim or of white versus black versus mixed or of straight versus gay or married versus single or parents versus childless couples.

    We are all in this mess together.  All Americans suffer when our country is now held in less regard around the world than is the People's Republic of China. And all humans suffer when corporations are allowed to pollute air and water, whentaxing land at only its highest possible value leads to the destruction of the very trees that clean the air for us.  

    Our concern has to be for far more than economic values and determinations.

    Welcome to dailykos.  Recognize that here we do not all agree.  Thus to paint us with a broad brush is mistaken from the first step.  We are used to vigorous debate and disputation.  If you desire that, then we will certainly welcome your participation.  

    But remember:
    We can reach out to those who may seem different than us without having to bash others in the process.  We can find things on which we can work together without having to first denigrate someone else.

    And if we -- as Democrats, many of whom are still proud to described ourselves as liberals -- hope to again be entrusted with the leadership of this nation and its constituent parts, then we had best learn how to urge action without always having to first criticize someone who may in fact be supportive of our goals.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:02:46 PM PDT

    •  I think part of the point (4.00)
      is that while many white collar workers like  yourself are suffering under this administration, programs like CAFTA won't be shipping your job to bangladesh. Talk about bussing.

      Prisoner of hope.

      by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:10:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  don't be so sure (4.00)
        1. tutoring, which is one of the things for which Federal dollars will go under NCLB, is already being outsourced to the Indian subcontinent
        2. you are seeing an icnreasing number of "internet schools" -- some of which are serving for "homeschoolers"
        3. a loarge part of my job could in theory be done over the internet.  I seriously discussed an opportunity with the people at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins where I would right now be teaching AP Government over the internet.  In this case it would have been to kids identified as very gifted in communities either too isolated or too small to provide such a course.   But in theory, if this can be done for them, think in how many cases such instruction, perhaps combined with video conferencing, could be done in this way.  It saves the costs of "plant" (the school buildings), and based on what they offered to pay me, the instructional costs would alsol ahve been significantly lower than what it takes to pay my slalary and benefits for an equivalent number of students in my own classroom.

        Please also note my background  -- I spent enough time (20+ years) in data processing to be very aware of the big lie that was offered to people about getting trained as programmers.  I saw that 15-20 years ago, when companies were bringing Indian programmers into this country, putting them in groups houses, and paying them 1/3 to 1/2 less than their local American counterparts.  Now the internet has enough bandwith that it is no longer necessary to bring them here -- you can send the work there.

        That's a very old thing.  When I worked in a small (2 person) consulting firm in NY, we were in a common office space, and the guy next to me ran a key-punching service -- this would be circa 1969.  He would get the documents in time to ship them down to Haiti on a flight leaving at around 5 PM.   He would have the completed cards for delivery to his customers in the metro area by  10 PM the next day, meaning from a business standpoint it was a two-day turn-around.  I do not remember what the minimum wage was in NY City then, although I remember that colelge graduates tended to start in management training programs at somewhere around 140/week.  He was paying his keypunchers someplace around .25/hour  -- with no benefits.   Even with his overhead and profit (which was substantial), he could deliver finished punch cards at about 1/3 the cost of companies doing work in-house, with at least as great an accuracy rate.  

        Outsourcing and its equivalents are vey much "old news" to me --  and quite frankly, at this point free trade agreements have little to do with it.  So long as the primary motivation is maximizing profits, and so long as current management does not have the wisdom Henry Ford displayed in deciding he would pay his workers enough that they could buy the products they made, the process will continue m(and except for this oen thing I cannot stand Henry Ford, but then I'm Jewish by background and his antisemitism was appalling).  

        OKAY, this comment is long enough.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

        by teacherken on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:35:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps you missed my other comment (4.00)
          but as far as outsourcing being old news, I'm the child of a textile worker and believe me, it's old news to me too, unfortunatly it's old news and now news and never goes away news.

          As far as the point on outsourcing education, I doubt too many people would put up with the foreign accents as primary educators for children, then again, who knows. I think that's pretty far down the road, but if we keep walking, we may just get there eventually. You may just have a point.

          Prisoner of hope.

          by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:45:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Dear Rep. Miller (3.87)
      As grateful as I am to have a Democratic Congressman stop by, I'm going to risk disrespecting you -- and probably risk the anger of some here at dKos -- by saying:

      What a TERRIBLE way to introduce yourself.  Did you hope to get help in your fight for economic justice, or do you want to lecture us on what snobs we are?

      I agree with teacherken, above, when he says this (quite politely, considering):

      Recognize that here we do not all agree.  Thus to paint us with a broad brush is mistaken from the first step.  We are used to vigorous debate and disputation.  If you desire that, then we will certainly welcome your participation.  

      But remember: We can reach out to those who may seem different than us without having to bash others in the process.  We can find things on which we can work together without having to first denigrate someone else.


      I'm not sure what possessed you to come into this community and start telling US our priorities are screwed up, or that we're elitist -- which is what you seem to be saying.  But it's an odd way to enlist our help.

      I did work in a factory when I was younger, and I am pro-union all the way. I'm a MEMBER of a union.  I vote Democratic straight down the line, and give as much money as I can (and I don't have much) to Democratic candidates and the Democratic party, so that you can fight for economic justice.  And I join every battle I can to get Democrats elected to Congress

      So I don't appreciate the implication that I somehow don't care about factory workers.  Why would you come in here and claim that, when you don't seem to know me or anyone else or this site, or our individual backgrounds?

      Do you want our help, or do you want to lecture us?  Please choose.  I'm ready to fight with you, but I don't understand your shitty approach to potential allies.

      Also, it needs to be said: damn it, the people in your state have to START ELECTING DEMOCRATS if they want the kind of economic justice that you describe.  

      What are you and your colleagues doing to make that happen?  I know what we're doing here, and it's quite a lot.
      •  What is he doing to make that happen? (4.00)
        Also, it needs to be said: damn it, the people in your state have to START ELECTING DEMOCRATS if they want the kind of economic justice that you describe.

        Does getting elected count?  

        Prisoner of hope.

        by comeon on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Does getting elected count?" (3.00)
          It's a start.  But don't come in here and tell me I don't want to share the party with factory workers, when his own state is consistently a GOP stronghold.  

          I'm happy to work with him.  In fact, I HAVE been working with him.  

          But I'm not that impressed by a Congressman posting here that I'll eat up a big helping of generic shame.  Screw that.
          •  You may want to (4.00)
            click on his username and read his diaries. He has been around on dkos for a long time and has actively participated in discussions.
            •  I stand corrected (4.00)
              My mistake about this being his introduction.  I apologize.

              Though I must say, saying he's been here "a long time" is a stretch.  Unless I'm missing something from clicking his name, it seems he's been around since the beginning of LAST MONTH. He has two diares and four comments.  So you can understand that a person might miss him, especially when he introduces himself in the beginning of his statement.

              But yeah, I was wrong about that.

              NOT wrong about the substance of what I said, though.  I don't agree with the assumption that dKos is populated by people who don't want to "share the Democratic party" with factory workers.  That's silly, and insulting.

              I participate in local politics here in Minnesota, and we're desperately trying to keep the rightwingers from screwing further with worker's rights and wages.  So solidarity, yes.  Condescension, no.

              Thanks for the correction.
              •  No offense (none)
                But doesn't Minnesota have a republican governor, Norm Coleman, and a republican house? North Carolina has a Democratic trifecta and 6 dems and 7 repubs in the House.

                What's the top income tax braket in Minnesota? It's 8.25% at $200,000 in NC. I'm not trying to say that Minnesota ain't progressive. Lord knows it is. It's a great Democratic state. I'm just saying that although NC voted for Bush, it's not quite that black and white, cut and dry.

                It's much too easy to write off the entire south as "RED STATES".

                Also I'm sorry you took umbrage at Rep. Miller's comments about Dkos. I love Dkos. I read it way too much every single day. I am part of this community. But I still think Rep. Miller has a point. And it's not because the people he's talking about aren't progressive or don't care or whatever. I think a lot of it is just that people talk about what they know and what they feel directly affects them. It's just a natural tendency. And a lot of people on this site are generally not going to half to worry about attending community college at night because their textile factory closed down last week.

                So it's just his point of view. A gentle reminder to widen the gaze for some folks who may not normally take a look at labor issues.

                Once again I'm sorry you took offense at the remark. I consider myself a stalwart kossack and I think it's great that he brought it up. One more voice in the community.

                Now let's go out and whip some republican ass.  
                •  thanks for replying (none)
                  I'm very aware of the insidious rise of the Republicans in Minnesota over the last decade or so.  And wingnut Repubs, too -- not the old-fashioned moderate kind that used to be in MN. politics.  

                  So  that's why I've been fighting them here, tooth and nail.  And in the last election, we was pretty effective.  The statehouse -- which was hostage to the post-911 swing towards Republicans -- evened out, and we're on our way back to a Democratic majority.

                  I'm just saying that although NC voted for Bush, it's not quite that black and white, cut and dry.

                  I don't claim it is.  But I AM saying that we all have to fight our fights where we live, and I'm doing my bit here.  And I don't presume to tell North Carolinian Democrats -- Congressmen or otherwise -- that they must "share the Democratic party".  

                  Hell, I'd be DELIGHTED for more of Rep. Miller's constituents and fellow North Carolinians to share the party with us -- nothing would make me happier!  But it's not me that's stopping them.  And I think he knows that.  I hope so, anyway.

                  It's much too easy to write off the entire south as "RED STATES".

                  You're absolutely right.   Which is why I don't do that.  

                  It's also much too easy to write off people who post on a political website as elitists who know nothing of working people.  That's poor coalition building.  I'm from a blue collar background, and I worked in a factory for a while.  And I'm sure there are many, many other people here who weren't exactly born with a silver spoon in their mouths.  So I guess I just didn't get where the premise of this diary comes from.  

                  But...

                  I've blown off enough steam about this, and I don't want to overstate the case.  We ARE all in this together, and I certainly want to protect workers and get some economic justice in this country.  And yes, to kick some Republican ass.  With you, and Rep. Miller.  

                  I sincerely appreciate your reply.
          •  Do you know anything about your state? (none)
            Anything at all? North Carolina is going blue. The metropolitan areas are already blue.

            His post by the way claimed nothing like you said. It was a call on Democrats to help working people. Working people btw in the common mind means non-degree work. Factory workers, construction workers.. you know.. the majority of americans.

            Yours and teacherkens posts seem pretty much like "SCREW the working class! I got mine! Now whats important is xxxxxx issue!!".

            Well if thats what you mean screw you guys. People with exactly that outlook: the Nafta supporters, the GATT and WTO cheerleaders, the DLCers got us where we are. They lost us both houses of congresss, the supreme court and the presidency. I'm worried about the working class. About the farmer, the mill worker, the carpenter. And if those people along with the poor  arent going to be the Democratic parties main concern you can sit back and watch as the party finishes disappearing.

            When  we were the party of the working class we were the party in power. We've become the party of corporatist quislings and social extremists and we dont even have a voice. We'll take the party back now. We let them destroy it for far too long.

            Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

            by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:40:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you think that THIS is what I mean... (none)
              Yours and teacherkens posts seem pretty much like "SCREW the working class! I got mine! Now whats important is xxxxxx issue!!".

              Then you either didn't read what I said, or you're playing games.  Because you're WAY off.
              •  You were backing up teacherken (none)
                in attacking the Democratic Congressman.

                Also, it needs to be said: damn it, the people in your state have to START ELECTING DEMOCRATS if they want the kind of economic justice that you describe

                Note the Democratic Congressman part. The part where he's a Congressman from the Democratic party devoting his life to serving Democrats and the american people.

                As teacherken said
                We are all in this mess together.  All Americans suffer when our country is now held in less regard around the world than is the People's Republic of China. And all humans suffer when corporations are allowed to pollute air and water, whentaxing land at only its highest possible value leads to the destruction of the very trees that clean the air for us.  

                Our concern has to be for far more than economic values and determinations.


                Translation "Hey im doing fine now and they'll just have to take a backseat again while we deal with issue x,y,z,a,b,c that my class is concerned with".

                I'm glad you and teacherken are doing good. I'm glad you're democrats. I dont appreciate your attacks on one of the FEW democratic politicians who dared bring up the class warfare going on in america.

                Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

                by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:57:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  ridiculous (3.00)
                  "Attacking"?  Grow up.  He's an adult, and he can take some constructive criticism, just as well as dish it out.  I'm sure he's not stewing about it, if he even read it.  You're the one getting your shorts in a knot over it.

                  Translation "Hey im doing fine now and they'll just have to take a backseat again while we deal with issue x,y,z,a,b,c that my class is concerned with".

                  This translation is idiotic and hysterical.  "My class"?  You know NOTHING about my background, or what I've done in politics and social work. But you come out of the gate with self-righteous bullshit like that?  

                  As you so charmingly said above: screw you.  
                  •  Seems to me you're the one (none)
                    who cant take constructive criticism. Stop attacking people who are among the few voices who speak for the only reason i remain a democrat and you wont recieve criticism. Attack people who want to fight for the working class and it can get much, much, much worse.

                    You have a great day now.

                    Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

                    by cdreid on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:22:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  awww.... (none)
                      There you go, fretting about the "attacking" again.  

                      Attacking?  No, speaking my mind.  And I don't need lectures from sanctimonious twits like you as to what I can and can't say to a poster here, Congressman or not.  If you or he can't take the heat, don't post in public forums.  

                      I said I believe in this Congressman's politics, but I told him frankly that his coaltion-building skills were lousy in terms of his netroots approach.  And that's where YOU came in, accusing myself and teacherken of being some kind of DLC sellouts who don't care about working people.

                      Asshole, I AM a working person.  That's why the Congressman's approach was wrongheaded.  I don't protest because I'm a wealthy latte-drinker, but because he seems to arrogantly assume I need a lecture about working people.  And so do you.

                      You think that anyone who doesn't kiss this Congressman's ass for posting here is some kind of anti-working class rich yuppie.  That's bullshit.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in my case.  I'm a grassroots Dem, union member, and labor organizer.

                      Since you presume to lecture me, what are YOUR credentials?
                      •  Is this a problem? (none)
                        There you go, fretting about the "attacking" again.  

                        Attacking?  No, speaking my mind.  And I don't need lectures from sanctimonious twits like you as to what I can and can't say to a poster here, Congressman or not.  If you or he can't take the heat, don't post in public forums.  

                        I said I believe in this Congressman's politics, but I told him frankly that his coaltion-building skills were lousy in terms of his netroots approach.  And that's where YOU came in, accusing myself and teacherken of being some kind of DLC sellouts who don't care about working people.

                        Asshole, I AM a working person.  That's why the Congressman's approach was wrongheaded.  I don't protest because I'm a wealthy latte-drinker, but because he seems to arrogantly assume I need a lecture about working people.  And so do you.

                        You think that anyone who doesn't kiss this Congressman's ass for posting here is some kind of anti-working class rich yuppie.  That's bullshit.  Nothing could be further from the truth, in my case.  I'm a grassroots Dem, union member, and labor organizer.

                        Sorry, ignore this, I wanted to post an example of how the text on this website gets ridiculous with any exteded conversations... I'm showing a friend and this was the first long discussion we found.

                        "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

                        King Lear

                        by Norwell on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 12:06:16 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Hmm (none)
                        You attack the congressman for daring to come out hard for Working Class families. Then you result to namecalling and personal attacks. I forgot i was one of "those people" who are supposed to shut up and do what we're told by our "betters" IE you. I'll try to keep that in mind next time.

                        Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

                        by cdreid on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:24:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  I fail to see how you can say of my comment (none)
              that my attitude is "screw the working class"

              I have done working class jobs, as I make clear

              and some of the problems they confront are problems I ahve either confronted directly in my own work career, ro saw coming down the road

              My objection to his post was that it posited that all / most kossacks thought the same way, and that it represented a divide from the interests of factory workers and the like.  I think that is a very unfair assessment, and I said so.

              Apparently, based on his response to me, Congressman Miller did not misread my comment the same way you did.

              Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

              by teacherken on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:17:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Hey ManfromMiddeltown (none)
            Stop lurking and join in the discussion.  If you're downrating me, I assume you have an opinion?
          •  Heal Thyself (none)
            MN is rapidly turning red.  You guys haven't elected a Democrat as your governor since 1982, the MN State house is GOP, the presidential margins keep narrowing and you're probably going to elect Mark Kennedy as your next US Senator.

            NC has a Dem gov and 6 of the 9 other statewide offices are held by Dems.

            The state house and senate are controlled by Dems.

            If we could get the party to spend a little money in NC we could take 2 more US House seats joining the 6 other Dem reps NC sends to washington, including 2 of the most liberal, pro-worker Reps in Congress: Mel Watt and G. K. Butterfield.

            And the presidential margins are narrowed in our favor in '04.  That's with no significant party money being spent in NC.  How much did we dump in MN?

            All things said, you guys ain't that different  
    •  Actually, I've read this site enought to know... (4.00)
      that there are a variety of views here. Most are very thoughtful. And okay, I do find a few nutty. But that's why I posted here, to be part of that debate. And to provoke the debate that I appear to have provoked.

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