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Letters to the editor

January 16, 2004 | Page 4

You can't spoil a spoiled system
Slick Rick wins right to stay in U.S.
Socialist Worker is too negative
Who will history say is the terrorist?

Marching for our rights

Dear Socialist Worker,
A four-day march was organized December 4-7 to send a message to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed legislation revoking SB60--a bill that would have given undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain driver's licenses.

The march was organized by a coalition that consisted of immigrant workers, unions, religious organizations and students. What began as a small march in Claremont, Calif., turned into a protest of 500 people in Los Angeles to let the Republicans and Democrats know that immigrants are tired of being mistreated.

Studies show that undocumented immigrants are a vital part of the California economic infrastructure. They contribute far more to this state than they take. Immigrants perform much of society's heavy lifting, such as working on farms, janitorial, mechanical, construction and factory work, which members of the more pampered classes would not contemplate doing. Undocumented workers are paid much less, and are often exploited and taken advantage of for their work.

Yet despite all of their contributions, whether through being a part of the workforce or dying in military service for the United States, they are under constant attack by politicians. Conservative politicians are indirectly and directly trying to blame undocumented immigrants for California's financial crisis.

Times like these are reminiscent of the 1930s Great Depression, when Mexican immigrants were targeted and deported back to Mexico because of the United States' economic failures.

Currently, a bill is being considered that would allow the local police agencies to round up immigrants and deport them, just like the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service). This is the reason why the immigrant community and their supporters are organizing to continue the fight for social justice.

The December 7 rally at the Los Angeles federal building emphasized full and equal rights for undocumented students, workers, and their families. One of the organizers, Jose Calderon, a professor at Pitzer College who emigrated from Mexico at the age of 7, told the crowd, "We are not going to let these politicians blame us for the economic crises of Sacramento and Washington.

"That's why we are fighting for justice and basic human rights for the immigrant. The right wing has argued that giving licenses to undocumented workers is a security risk because of terrorism, but that is not the case when the immigrants are just here to work for a better life and opportunities for their families."

Daniel Brown, Los Angeles

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You can't spoil a spoiled system

Dear Socialist Worker,
In response to Sabra Woolley's letter, ("Voting Kucinich would help the Greens," January 2), I would like to argue that voting Kucinich would actually hurt, not help, the Green Party.

In the 2000 election, when Ralph Nader's campaign was exposing the bankruptcy of the two-party system and challenging all of us to help fight for an alternative, I, like many others, began thinking about politics in a radically new way. "You can't spoil a spoiled system" was the battle cry of the Greens in that year. I think it is as true now as it was then, and that endorsing Kucinich would be a huge step backwards for the Greens to take.

If it is enough for leftists to stay at home and wait for a left Democrat like Kucinich to pry the Democratic party off the coattails of big business, where it has been comfortably attached for the past 170 years, then what is the point of building a third party anyway? If the Greens accept Kucinich's logic, then this becomes a rather tricky question to answer.

Through what great transformation has the "spoiled" system of 2000, with its "two parties of big business," undergone since then to warrant us endorsing the Democrats as a party for our side?

This situation is nothing new. Take the examples of the People's Party, the Progressive Party, the Socialist Party, or the Communist Party, just to name a few. In exchange for a few of their more moderate platform points being adopted, they agreed to endorse the Democrats at the cost of alienating their supporters and abandoning their more radical demands. The Democrats weren't being "taken over" by these movements. Rather, they were making temporary concessions to them in order to co-opt their supporters.

The two-party system is a diabolical contraption which history has proven will not easily topple. Taking it on will be a long-term commitment--but one that can really pay off it we do it right.

I think that Greens who support Kucinich are being fooled by an illusion. The Democrats have been bringing forth "Kuciniches" from their lower echelons every four years since day one, just to keep us fooled about their intentions.

If Kucinich is as great as he says he is, then he's in the wrong party. The party he should be in hasn't been built yet, but we can take the initial steps in constructing it today. The first thing we need to have before we start though, is the ability to look reality in the face and call things for what they really are. Kucinich's "soul-searching" is no substitute.

Christian Wright, Washington, D.C.

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Slick Rick wins right to stay in U.S.

Dear Socialist Worker,
More than a year ago, I wrote to you about rapper Slick Rick's battle against deportation to his native England (SW, September 20, 2002). I'm happy to say that at long last, the threat of deportation was lifted, and he was released from jail in November on a technicality in his case.

His case grabbed news coverage, and famous entertainers spoke out on his behalf, including comedian Chris Rock and actor Will Smith. I think it's unlikely he would have been freed if he wasn't a well-known, wealthy performer, with lawyers who could navigate the complex legal system facing immigrants.

If the government can nearly succeed in deporting icons of hip-hop, there's no telling the havoc they can play on the lives of ordinary immigrants caught up in this nonsense Homeland Security dragnet. We do need to take action against terrorists--and that means abolishing the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly the INS).

No one is illegal!

John Green, Davis, Calif.

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Socialist Worker is too negative

Dear Socialist Worker,
I'm a 23-year-old socialist from Ames, Iowa, and have one small comment. I read socialist Web sites from time to time, but what turns me away is the high amount of universal negativity, which Socialist Worker doesn't seem to be above.

In order to turn people on to socialism I believe we need to provide positive, hopeful reasoning--and not simply say that the capitalists are evil. I also think such an argument goes against the spirit of socialism, which is solidarity.

We won't achieve that goal by cutting people down, only by bringing them together. I fully agree that the exploitation of people--wherever it is found--must be publicized and fought. I just think there's a more productive way of doing it.

Please don't take this as a slam against your work. From what I've seen, Socialist Worker appears to be insightful and useful. It just seems to suffer the same problem other like-minded publications do.

Nicolai, Ames, Iowa

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Who will history say is the terrorist?

Dear Socialist Worker,
Will the real terrorists please stand up?

Had Bush the Lesser been Emperor of Rome, he would have condemned the Israelite national liberation fighters of Judas Macabee as "terrorists." If Bush had been Judas Iscariot, he would have crucified Jesus and his anti-Roman-imperialist band as "terrorists."

The Nazis condemned the French resistance fighters, the Maquis, as "terrorists," as they did Tito's guerrilla army in Yugoslavia and the Jews fighting the Nazis from the forests of Poland. The Wasaw Ghetto Uprising resisters were also condemned by Hitler as "terrorists."

Today, national liberation fighters just about every place in the world are condemned by our government (with not a speck of resistance from the Democratic "opposition") as "terrorists." History and decency will think otherwise.

A. Robert Kaufman, Baltimore

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