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Letters to the editor

March 7, 2003 | Page 4

Get organized against the war
Boeing cut corners for profit

Marching in Israel against Bush's war

Dear Socialist Worker,

The worldwide demonstrations against the war on February 15 were the most inspiring show of solidarity I have seen. I was disappointed to not be able to be at the massive rally in New York City, but I did go to a march in Tel Aviv, Israel, where a couple thousand Jews and Arabs rallied against the war.

Many of the chants and slogans--like "Bush, Blair and Sharon: Number one axis of evil" and "The struggle for Palestine, the struggle for Iraq are one struggle"--reflected the connection between the oppression of Palestinians with the war on Iraq. And many protesters recognized that a war on Iraq will only give more cover for Ariel Sharon to further his barbaric war against Palestinians.

Other slogans like "Blix to Israel now!" highlighted the double standard of uncritical U.S. support for Israel, the most lethal country in the Middle East, while gearing up to slaughter Iraqis in order to disarm a country with no evidence of "weapons of mass destruction."

A large contingent of Palestinians that live within Israel was lively and militant. And while most Israelis at the rally still held some illusions in Zionism and/or a two-state solution, it was good to see that at least a minority of Israelis were grappling with these questions and taking an antiwar and anti-occupation stand.

Hadas Their, New York City

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Get organized against the war

Dear Socialist Worker,

On February 15, I marched down Hollywood Boulevard in an antiwar protest against the U.S.-led war on Iraq. There were tens of thousands of protesters with me, holding banners and signs. Most every ethnic group in Los Angeles was represented that I could see. Among the marchers, there was a strong sense of unity and peace, which I believe derived from having come together to stand up for our consciences.

At the end of the march, there was a soundstage, where roughly 15-20 speakers took the mike. Muslim community leaders told stories of escalated racism, deportations and interrogations by authorities. They said that mosques are monitored as if they are terrorist shelters.

One Los Angeles union leader said labor stands "shoulder to shoulder with the antiwar effort." Actor Martin Sheen gave a fiery speech about how the truth must be recovered from the mire of propaganda and hate so that we can live in its light. Other speakers included political commentators, student groups, Filipino antiwar groups, doctors, teachers, ministers and rabbis.

While I marched, I took some photos and jotted down the most memorable writings on signs. Some read: "Practice preemptive protest," "Bush is a weapon of mass destruction," "Fight poverty, not war," "Smart presidents, not smart bombs," "No blood for oil," "Draft the Bush twins," "Regime change begins at home," "Drop Bush not bombs," "My country goes to war and all I got is this lousy duct tape," "Trabajo, si! Guerra, No!" "Money for schools, not war" and "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing an idiot."

The overwhelming message was, don't get mad or depressed--get organized!

Karen Leavitt, Los Angeles

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Boeing cut corners for profit

Dear Socialist Worker,

New details coming out about the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia paint what is now a familiar picture for most workers: corporate cutbacks and arrogance throwing safety to the wind.

In a shocking report by the Miami Herald, four Boeing engineers say that a corporate "consolidation"--layoffs--cost the company dozens of its experienced engineers. Management even put pressure on the remaining, inexperienced safety team to play down negative results from its own analysis program! Boeing makes millions in profits from its government contracts--all the more reason for bosses to cover up problems.

This is in addition to a spate of leaked internal NASA e-mails that confirm NASA's own scientists were drawing alarming conclusions about Columbia's safety. These scientists were also ignored by the management bureaucrats. The result was the explosion of Columbia during landing, killing seven astronauts and spewing debris--some of it highly toxic--across the southern U.S.

What is badly needed are strong unions that can fight mass layoffs and defend workers who blow the whistle on their employers. It's not just a matter of protecting union members' standard of living, but protecting all of society from the bosses' boundless greed.

Shaun Joseph, Providence, R.I.

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