NOTE:
You've come to an old part of SW Online. We're still moving this and other older stories into our new format. In the meanwhile, click here to go to the current home page.








Letters to the editor

August 15, 2003 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Why Kucinich is no answer
Narragansett Nation targeted by police
SW got it wrong on sexism

Vatican approval of anti-gay bigotry

Dear Socialist Worker,

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) must have cried a tear of joy. Bigotry has officially been given a stamp of approval by the Catholic Church and by the Bush administration.

The last week of July saw the most recent attempt of the Catholic Church to get back on its feet and shift the blame away from themselves in the most recent wave of claims of sexual abuse. The answer for the Vatican? A worldwide assault directed at the gay community at the political level. Pope John Paul II, who has been seemingly alarmed by the recent growing acceptance of same-sex marriages in both Europe and North America, has been speaking out against legislative proposals for months now.

Apparently, it's been resonating well with an already anti-gay administration here in the United States. Bush announced his most recent attack on the gay community, not surprisingly coinciding with the Pope's call against gay marriage. On July 30, Bush self-righteously said that government lawyers are developing new legislation that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Bush declared that a society should respect all individuals; apparently his view of respect means his own arrogant intolerance.

You don't have to be gay or bisexual in order to be outraged by this injustice by the Bush administration, with the full support of the Catholic Church. This infringement on the rights of individuals to express their sexual preference is deplorable. This "defense of marriage" is nothing more than an excuse for homophobia.

Ben Larrivee, Boston

Back to the top

Why Kucinich is no answer

Dear Socialist Worker,

In their desperation to get rid of Bush, many antiwar activists are turning to the Democrats.

Dennis Kucinich, a self-proclaimed "peace candidate" for the Democratic presidential nomination, came to Seattle on July 19. The audience of more than 500 came largely from Sound Non-Violent Opponents of War, a Seattle pacifist antiwar group. They warmly applauded his calls for "peace, prosperity and optimism" and to "make nonviolence a principle."

But Kucinich's concrete proposals didn't match his rhetoric. He is only asking for a 15 percent cut in the military budget--putting it back to where it was when Clinton left office. He is still for the U.S. being the strongest military power.

In spite of his criticism of corporate-dominated politics, when asked, he refused to say that he would endorse Ralph Nader if another Democrat won the nomination--even a Democrat that disagrees completely with his nominal progressive positions. On other occasions, he has said explicitly that he is trying to bring third party supporters back into the Democratic Party, a party that is as dominated by corporations as the Republicans--and a party that has given Bush no significant opposition since September 11 and before.

Kucinich has little chance of being nominated. His likely role is to bring antiwar activists and other progressives back into the pro-war, pro-corporate Democratic party fold. Even if he does win, he doesn't represent any clear opposition to U.S. domination of the world--he just wants it to be done cheaper, with a more multilateral and "humane" face.

If we want to oppose U.S. intervention abroad, we'll have to do it in opposition to all the Democrats--including Kucinich.

Steve Leigh, Seattle

Back to the top

Narragansett Nation targeted by police

Dear Socialist Worker,

As many as 1,000 people attended a tribal unity gathering in solidarity with the Narragansett Indian nation July 17 to protest a police raid of their tax-free smoke shop. The state of Rhode Island justified their actions by saying that the tribe was operating its shop illegally by selling cigarettes tax-free. However, business on their tribal lands is exempt from state taxes.

State police made their way through the woods behind the newly opened smoke shop on its second day of business. According to Moonanum James, of the United American Indians of New England, "Eight citizens of the sovereign Narragansett Nation were arrested, and many others were brutally beaten, including a pregnant woman." Police then confiscated all money and goods from the smoke shop, which is now closed for the time being.

Republican Gov. Don Carcieri had the gall to blame the racist police brutality on the Narragansetts!

The Narragansett nation is in dire need of economic development--since federal aid has been cut by $1.5 million, and the state of Rhode Island has opposed their attempts to build a casino on their land. The tribal council delayed the opening of their smoke shop, but could wait no longer to generate revenue for the tribe.

Adam Helfgott and John Osmand, Providence, R.I.

Back to the top

SW got it wrong on sexism

Dear Socialist Worker,

I take issue with Elizabeth Lalasz's definition of "sexism" ("It's called sexism," SW, August 1). Merely portraying women as sexy is not "sexism." Nor is treating women as sexual beings. It only becomes sexism when one sees women only in the role of their sexuality (i.e., one-dimensional).

Since it is probably safe to assume that not all women think alike, it is Ms. Lalasz who is objectifying women--by portraying them all to be of like-mind.

Furthermore, it is mere speculation that sexual images of women lead to more gender discrimination. Finally, taking steps to ban such shows stifles free speech and takes energy away from the real issues in the woman's movement.

David Bliven, Oceanside, N.Y.

Home page | Current storylist | Back to the top