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Letters to the editor

April 9, 2004 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Fighting to stop a race to the bottom
Transgendered need to be included
The model for Haiti's new thugs
Looking for help to take on UPS

Making kids criminals

Dear Socialist Worker,
On February 4, Alamance County, N.C., police officers cashed in on a covert drug sting operation. Forty-nine people were arrested and charged with trafficking illegal drugs (mostly marijuana). These 49 people were all students or of high-school age, and were rounded up by undercover cops who had enrolled in all six Alamance county high schools the previous fall.

What's more, the cops were invited by Superintendent James Merrill. According to Alamance County District Attorney Rob Johnson, "We've made a good solid start on it. So far, things are going on track."

On track for what? Revamping the county's juvenile system? Criminalizing a new generation of poor North Carolinians? If Superintendent Merrill were really concerned about education, he would argue to transfer the money spent on drug sting operations to his crumbling schools.

Instead, 49 high school-aged kids, all but two with clean criminal records, are having to work their way through our sick criminal justice system. Over half have already been sentenced--most of them for selling small amounts of marijuana one time--and won't be allowed back into school until next year.

What are their chances of getting out of economically depressed rural North Carolina now? We have to stand up against the criminalization of our schools and forcefully put forward the slogan "Money for jobs and education! Keep the police out of our schools!"
Brad Ward, Greensboro, N.C.

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Fighting to stop a race to the bottom

Dear Socialist Worker,
Lee Sustar's article "What's to blame for job losses?" (SW, March 26) put the whole issue of "outsourcing" in its proper context. The problem is not "American" jobs going to India--but capitalist attacks on workers the world over, using job transfers as one weapon.

We should oppose any attempt to lower wages or working conditions. We should oppose and try to prevent any transfer of jobs from higher-paid to lower-paid situations--whether from union to nonunion in the U.S., public to private in the U.S., or from the U.S. to countries with lower wages.

But we need to be clear that the reason we oppose job transfers is not because these jobs should belong to Americans. As internationalists, we don't say "jobs for Americans." We say "jobs for all." The only way to successfully oppose capitalist attacks on all workers is to unite.

We need solidarity across national , ethnic and racial lines. We can't have that if we support "Buy American" or "Keep American jobs in the U.S." We need to be clear that we don't oppose "American" jobs going to India, China or Canada.

We oppose the capitalist attempt to drive down wages worldwide by exploiting the lowest waged workers possible. Our solution is to raise wages everywhere, not to keep all "American" jobs in the U.S.

The union movement needs to be more militant in fighting against privatization, outsourcing to nonunion workplaces and speedup of work. It needs to oppose even more vigorously U.S. attempts to impose neoliberalism (deregulation, privatization, tax-cutting, etc.) on other countries. We can only stop the "race to the bottom" by internationalism, not by supporting the nationalist appeals of Bush or Kerry.
Steve Leigh, Seattle

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Transgendered need to be included

Dear Socialist Worker,
I have been following SW's coverage of the same-sex marriage struggle for some time, and have noticed that the transgendered are often left out. Many times, SW's articles will talk about "gay and lesbian" people and "gay and lesbian" liberation.

According to a study done by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force on campus climate, transgendered people are the most likely to be victims of a violent crime, most likely to be harassed and most likely to be discriminated against because of their gender expression.

The inclusion of the transgendered is politically important because some within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) community argue that the issue of same-sex marriage ignores the needs of this marginalized group entirely.To be more inclusive, I would strongly recommend that SW use the common term "LGBT" instead of just "gay and lesbian."
Brian Rainey, Providence, R.I.

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The model for Haiti's new thugs

Dear Socialist Worker,
I was disgusted to read an article published in the February 28 Miami Herald interviewing Guy Philippe, a leader of the Haitian "opposition" who recently forced Jean Bertrand Aristide out of office. Philippe claims that his renewed opposition after being expelled in 2000 for fomenting a coup is because Aristide "became a tyrant".

Yet, in the same interview, he says that the man he most admires is General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet was the brutal dictator of Chile from 1973 to 1990. He was responsible for murdering 30,000 socialists, unionists and Allende supporters in the year after he took power via a U.S.-backed coup against the popularly elected socialist Salvador Allende.

Pinochet also implemented U.S. friendly "reforms" that doubled the poverty rate in Chile from 20 to 41 percent from 1970 to 1990 and led to vast disparities in wealth. Philippe says that this man "made Chile what it was." He is right.

This right-wing thug wants to lead Haiti down the same path as Chile under Pinochet. He is now parading through Haiti, providing "security" to Port-au-Prince and promising to "reconstitute the military." Philippe received his military training from U.S. Special Forces in Ecuador in the early 1990s.

The U.S. for weeks leading up to the coup portrayed the opposition lead by thugs like Philippe as "freedom fighters." This shows it has no interest in supporting "democracy" in Haiti. We must demand that the U.S. leave Haiti now.
Bill Linville, Madison, Wis.

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Looking for help to take on UPS

Dear Socialist Worker,
I am a driver for UPS and through the years I have had multiple injuries on the job. Two of them required surgeries, and now, I am on workers' compensation for the second time with a lower back injury.

The doctors say it's muscle problems, and that I need to make up my mind if I want to keep my job or not. I could be retrained in another field, but would probably make a lot less than I was making at UPS. What I am seeking is for UPS to create a modified job with less physical work, since I have just about beaten my body to hell for them.

UPS's position on this is that if they do it for me they will have to do it for everyone. This statement is false. There are at least three to four workers they have created a job for in my center alone.

I am looking for a lawyer who is not afraid of UPS to push this issue to the fullest before giving up a very good-paying job with full benefits for me and my kids. I am located in Central California. If there is anybody that could assist me please drop me an e-mail at [email protected]
Christopher M. Cotta, From the Internet

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