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  • Published
    August 29, 2019

    Support the workers

    Labor Day was first celebrated in Rockland in the 1890s. The labor movement had been spreading across the country for decades, but the Labor Day holiday itself began with a series of municipal ordinances in 1885. The U.S. Department of Labor’s history page will tell you that the holiday was first recognized on a municipal level, and then on a state level here and there before being adopted nationwide in 1894. …

  • Published
    August 15, 2019

    We owe more than we own

    Did I read that right? Unwilling to reverse LePage’s tax cuts for wealthy people, Gov. Janet Mills would like us to borrow another $249 million for road repair and other routine expenses. Want to clean up our state parks? OK, let’s sell revenue bonds and stick our grandchildren with the bill. And hope they won’t need better schools or some other “unforeseen” but completely foreseeable public service. Many Third …

  • Published
    August 1, 2019

    Learning from history: democratic socialism in Maine

    Debates about the future of democratic socialism have a long history in the Midcoast. By the late 19th century, Knox County had become “the nursery of reform movements in Maine,” according to labor historian Charles Scrontras. In 1891, Norman Wallace Lermond, a former railway clerk and farmer in Warren, founded the state’s Populist Party to prevent “the fruits of the toil of millions” from being “boldly stolen to …

  • Published
    July 18, 2019

    CMP is eating our lunch

    When I first read that Central Maine Power was asking for a rate hike again this year, I almost laughed. After all, it bungled the rollout of its new billing system the weekend before a major October 2017 storm and then took 10 days to fully restore power. The outages and problems with the new billing system caused a flood of calls to the customer service department, but the company made no effort to improve its …

  • Published
    June 20, 2019

    Opioids and the failure of capitalism

    Most of us know that Maine is going through an opioid crisis. Last year, 335 Mainers died of opioid-related causes. In 2017, one in seven newborn babies born suffered from exposure to drugs. As these children get older, their problems multiply. Special education costs in Rockland now run 35 percent above the state average due to opioids. Maine languishes in the upper tier of worst-afflicted states – exactly what …

  • Published
    May 23, 2019

    Power in people's hands

    A few weeks ago, State Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, hosted a talk in Rockport on his proposal to replace both CMP and Emera Maine with a consumer-owned utility. During his talk, he reviewed the failings of for-profit utilities. There is a simple reason for these failings. Investor-owned utilities always prioritize the good of their shareholders over the good of their customers. In 2016, Maine Public Radio …

  • Published
    May 9, 2019

    Scientist and socialist: Norman Wallace Lermond, 1861-1944

    Midcoast Maine has had no shortage of interesting and colorful characters over the years, like Norman Wallace Lermond (1861-1944), of Thomaston. Lermond founded the Knox Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Knox Arboretum on his property, where the St. George and Oyster rivers join. He also was the Maine Socialist Party’s candidate for governor in 1900. A talented naturalist, Lermond was respected for his deep …

  • Published
    April 25, 2019

    Moving without fear to a carbon-free future

    Global warming is frightening. There’s no way around that. What there’s no reason to fear is the transition off fossil fuels and onto renewable electricity and electric vehicles that is vital to keeping global warming within livable limits. On the contrary, that transition is something to welcome. It offers a pathway to an economically fairer, community-friendlier future. New energy can help us take back our …

  • Published
    April 11, 2019

    For deep democracy, an economy of healing, and a livable future

    The Green New Deal has reentered the public imagination, thanks in large part to the public actions of young organizers who understand the appetite for a transformative set of programs to address structural problems that for too long have been dismissed by the ruling class and political elite. The Green New Deal harkens back to a time of rapid mobilization of public investment and collective demand for socioeconom…

  • Published
    April 4, 2019

    Democratic Socialism: Old Midcoast ideas are new again

    This just in: If the federal minimum wage had kept pace with Wall Street bonuses since 1985, the minimum wage would now be $33.51 per hour. This is just another example of the rampant income inequality that’s destroying American society. Our life expectancy is shorter, our wages are stagnant, our infrastructure is crumbling (as anyone who has driven through Rockland knows), our oceans are warming at an alarming …

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