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Letters to the editor

February 14, 2003 | Page 4

Money for books, not for U.S. bombs
Mandela blasts Bush's war
I have no sympathy for drivers of SUVs

What the real state of the union looks like

Dear Socialist Worker,

Two days after Dubya gave his State of the Union address, student antiwar activists at Wake Forest University drafted and presented their own version of the State of the Union.

Bush's speech, warmly received by Republicans and Democrats alike, called for "tax relief," an end to "frivolous lawsuits" and a "renewed commitment to fighting evil." Student activists at Wake Forest pointed out that Bush's "tax relief" will mean nothing but tax breaks for America's wealthy and even more misery for America's poor. Bush's proposed plan would give, on average, $24,000 to America's wealthiest 1 percent annually--and that's just from eliminating the dividend tax.

We also pointed out that Bush's gripes about "frivolous lawsuits" were nothing but a smokescreen. Health care's real problems come from poor state and federal funding, not from patients or "overzealous" lawyers. Bush's tax cuts will only deepen the crisis in the health care industry.

Bush also used the State of the Union address to hype his horrific war on Iraq. He even had the nerve to suggest that the "civilized" world had the duty to bring democracy to Iraq. What a racist! We used our State of the Union address to point out that, to Bush and his cronies, Iraqi lives aren't worth saving. What the Washington hawks have in store for Iraq is death and destruction, not democracy.

We ended our address by pointing out that by giving tax breaks to the rich and prosecuting a war in Iraq, Bush is asking America's poor to finance a war against Iraq's poor, all while America's wealthy elite sit back and make a buck.

It is vital that we organize a strong grassroots, student-based movement against the war in Iraq, and that we expose the Washington warmongers for the hypocrites they are!

Doug Kennedy, Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Money for books, not for U.S. bombs

Dear Socialist Worker,

Since the October 26 antiwar protests, my high school, Woodrow Wilson, had been organizing a student demonstration for the week of January 18. We were planning to rally outside our school for the entirety of the school day. We were hoping for maybe 20 students.

We did better than that. On January 14, almost 120 students were outside to protest in the cold weather against an unjust war. Days before the protest, key organizers were called into the principal's office in an attempt to shut down the protest. But we did not flinch, and the protest was carried out as planned.

This was not a regular antiwar protest, though; our demands were linked to the war budget and cuts in the schools and to an attack on our civil liberties. We included such demands as no money for war from social programs, and the repeal of the No Child Left Behind act. We carried signs reading "Money for books, not for bombs" and marched around the school, chanting, "Hell no, we won't go. We won't fight for Texaco."

We were facing arrest and suspension, but with the support of our teachers (led by an ISO member), we received a meek 20-minute detention--a clear victory for us. That weekend we turned out more than 100 students for the January 18 protest and several more for the January 19 demonstration.

Our demonstration is a clear representation of ordinary people linking their struggle to a greater one and even challenging the systems that be.

Mat Hanson, Washington, D.C.

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Mandela blasts Bush's war

Dear Socialist Worker,

Nelson Mandela, a leading symbol for oppressed people all over the world, is criticizing Bush's war. He said recently that the only country responsible for violence and destruction in the world today is the United States.

Similar things were once said by Rev. Martin Luther King about the U.S. war in Vietnam. "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government," said King.

Our government didn't support Martin Luther King, and they supported the racist government in South Africa.

Today, we are going to war against a sovereign nation in the name of liberating its people from a brutal dictator--when we ourselves support a lot of other brutal dictators who oppress their own people.

It's time for people to wake up and realize that George W. Bush wants to make money for himself and the oil buddies in his administration. They want poor people to die for their bloody war.

Hasan, New York City

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I have no sympathy for drivers of SUVs

Dear Socialist Worker,

Contrary to Socialist Worker ("Are SUVs the reason for Bush's Iraq war?" January 31), I have no problem shaming sport utility vehicle owners as part of building the antiwar movement.

SUV owners are not passive victims of the automobile and oil industries, and SUVs are not "working-class" vehicles by and large. They are status machines for the upper-income and ruling classes, who are hardly lacking in transportation options.

Is the U.S. preparing to assault Iraq only to provide cheap fuel for wasteful SUV drivers in the U.S.? Of course not. Clearly there are many economic and strategic interests in play.

However, if hostility to pampered SUV-drivers attracts layers of activists to the antiwar cause, then great by me. Environmentally conscious SUV opponents (like the nonsmokers before them who took on the tobacco industry) are a large and growing constituency who should be welcomed into the movement for peace and social justice.

Paul Dorn, San Francisco

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