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Letters to the editor
July 12, 2002 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW
"Somos uno! We are one!"
Bush's hypocrisy at the G-8 summit
A pledge for our side to take

LA's health care nightmare

Dear Socialist Worker,

The health care situation in Los Angeles is frightening, with only more devastation in sight. There are around 3 million people without health insurance in Los Angeles County, insurance costs are rising between 20 and 25 percent and emergency rooms are often so crowded that ambulances are sometimes held up to five hours before the patient they are transporting is admitted. To make matters worse, Los Angeles County faces a projected $688 million budget deficit for 2005.

One solution that is being proposed is cutting the number of public hospital beds in half--converting three of the six county hospitals into clinics and eliminating 8,000 jobs. This is considered the most optimistic proposal. One man that I was speaking with who lives in South Central Los Angeles put it quite clearly: "People are going to die."

But while people in South Central are talking about how hospital closings are going to effect them, show-business celebrities are doing just fine. Dick Clark, for example, recently purchased a $15 million Malibu home.

Are there so few resources in Los Angeles County that we have to let people die? Does Dick Clark add more value to society than the millions of people that are served by county health care?

There is one proposal that we are unlikely to see from the system: Tax the rich.

Dasha Haas, Los Angeles

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"Somos uno! We are one!"

Dear Socialist Worker,

I wanted to let your readers know about a historic event organized by antiwar activists here in San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico. On Friday, June 21, we held a concert called "Somos Uno (We Are One)--Stand in Unity Against War!" on the border between the United States and Mexico at two oceanfront parks that are separated by a 10-foot high steel-mesh fence.

Several hundred people attended on both sides of the border to hear a dozen bands and several activists speak out against Bush's war and domestic agenda. Border-related issues, such as the proposal to build a third tier of fence and recent harassment of trolley passengers by the Border Patrol, were especially prominent.

Bands alternated performing 30-minute sets back and forth as the crowd, shouting, "Somos Uno!" moved to enjoy each act.

The concert wasn't a huge event, but it was a success because it reunited a good number of seasoned activists and drew in new organizers. Furthermore, the spectators were excited to be at an event that challenged the logic of the border and Bush's war. Many were open to radical politics, and SW's sister newspaper Obrero Socialista now gets a small, but important, hearing among Tijuana activists.

Having a concert like this at a time when activism is at a low point was a little bit risky, but, because of its style, it appealed to lots of people. Hopefully, some of the attendees will become consistent activists.

"Somos Uno" opened a lot of doors for us down here, and we hope that SW readers will be able to gain some inspiration from it.

Chuck Stemke, San Diego

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Bush's hypocrisy at the G-8 summit

Dear Socialist Worker,

At the recent G-8 summit in Canada, George Bush laid out his "vision" for a Middle East peace process and lectured the Palestinians, saying: "The status quo is simply unacceptable, and it should be unacceptable to them. They live in a--you know, they've been pawns in the game of peace, they have no hope, their economy is in shambles, they live in squalor. Their leadership has let them down."

Does the Idiot Son know he's also talking about the U.S.? We are all pawns in Bush's game of peace--which, in "Bush-speak," means endless war--in which the U.S. has stated its willingness to "strike first" for "peace."

Thousands of workers at WorldCom and Enron whose companies are "in shambles" "have no hope" of recovering their retirement plans. Millions of Americans "live in squalor" in the richest country in the world.

For once, I agree with that idiot. The status quo is simply unacceptable--and that's why we have to build struggles against Bush, the corporations and the government that protects them.

Pham Binh, New York City

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A pledge for our side to take

Dear Socialist Worker,

I recently published this pledge of allegiance in the student paper at the University of Texas. I have been receiving a great deal of hate mail over it, but I stand by it:

"I pledge allegiance to all the ordinary people in this country and around the world, to laid-off Enron and WorldCom workers, the maquiladora workers and sweatshop workers from New York to Indonesia, who labor not under God but under the heel of multinational corporations; I pledge allegiance to the people of Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, and to their struggles to survive and resist slavery to corporate greed, brutal wars against their families and the economic and environmental ruin wrought by global capitalism; I pledge allegiance to building a better world where human needs are met with real liberty, equality and justice for all."

Dana Cloud, Austin, Texas

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