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Letters to the editor

December 12, 2003 | Page 13

Why the U.S. backs revolt in Georgia
We need national health care

Keep recruiters off campus

Dear Socialist Worker,
Myself and about seven other students at Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) have formed a chapter of the Campus Antiwar Network this quarter. We are organizing a speakout on campus as part of an international student day of protest--with our two main demands being to end the occupation and to get military recruiters off our campus. In addition to launching a petition for students and staff to sign, we'll be marching to the administration office at the end of the protest to present a letter demanding that the military be banned from campus.

Several times this quarter, we have set up antiwar tables right next to Navy recruiters in an effort to let them know we don't want them on campus. SCCC used to post the times and dates of when the recruiters would be on campus, but since we began tabling, they no longer publicly announce when the recruiters will be coming.

We consider the fact the military can't now openly say when they're coming to campus to be a small victory for us. We also challenged the Navy recruiter to a debate on "Should students support the occupation and/or should they join the military?" We've yet to get their response.

While it hasn't been easy, and we have lots of work still to do, I feel like our experience shows that even in these tough times a small group of determined activists can make a big difference on a campus--or anywhere else, for that matter.

Darrin Hoop, Seattle

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Why the U.S. backs revolt in Georgia

Dear Socialist Worker,
Elizabeth Schulte's report on last month's revolution in Georgia ("Mass protests topple U.S. ally," SW, December 5) fails to mention one important dimension of what happened. According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, ousted President Eduard Shevardnadze had recently signed a secret agreement with Russia's Gazprom energy company, giving it a monopoly on gas imports to Georgia. He also gave control of the electricity grid to another Russian firm, rejecting the bid of a U.S.-backed company.

Shevardnadze had been regarded as a Western ally for years. An envoy from the Bush administration warned him that "Georgia should not do anything that undercuts the powerful promise of an East-West energy corridor," which would allow oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region to be piped through Georgia to Western Europe.

When the energy deals with Moscow went ahead, Shevardnadze's fate was sealed. If Shevardnadze had played ball with Washington, Georgia's rigged November 2 election would have been ignored. Instead, U.S.-backed organizations exposed the election fraud and funneled money and resources to opposition groups.

The Bush administration may yet come to regret the popular movement it helped to unleash in Georgia, but Britain's Guardian newspaper was not far off the mark in calling Shevardnadze's downfall "a U.S.-engineered coup."

Phil Gasper, Berkeley, Calif.

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We need national health care

Dear Socialist Worker,
A recent study by the health care consulting firm the Lewin Group projected that Maryland Citizen's Health Initiative plan to increase coverage to the uninsured in Maryland's would not cause job losses. Evidence from Canada indicates that having a health care system that provides for all and not for the profit of the insurance and drug industries has contributed to an increase in manufacturing jobs there, especially in the auto industry.

U.S. auto companies continue to relocate north of the border, taking advantage of Canada's national health insurance system that makes health care costs much lower than in the U.S. The problem here, of course, are the private insurance and drug companies who have unimaginably high stakes in the for-profit health care system.

And they've demonstrated that they're ready to do whatever it takes to preserve their privileges. One startling fact: there are now more highly paid lobbyists for the drug companies than there are members of Congress.

Michael Melick, Baltimore

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