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Letters to the editor

May 7, 2004 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Anti-Arab racism on the increase
Nader is headed in the wrong direction
UFCW is ready for a possible strike
SW should reject anti-voting agenda

What about the lives of Iraqi women?

Dear Socialist Worker,
I was disgusted to see that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a war criminal, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), a gung-ho supporter of Bush's war policies, were keynote speakers at the "March for Women's Lives" pro-choice rally in Washington on April 25.

Richard Nixon, the butcher of Vietnam, apparently was sympathetic to the plight of American Indians, but I wouldn't have invited him to an American Indian Movement rally.
Paul D'Amato, Chicago

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Anti-Arab racism on the increase

Dear Socialist Worker,
Libertarian radio talk show host Jay Severin recently said, "Let's kill all Muslims," on his afternoon program on WTKK-FM. The station's general manager, Matt Mills, told the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamic civil rights group, that in a discussion Severin claimed Muslims want to take over America, even if it takes centuries.

"I've got an idea," Severin commented, "let's kill all Muslims." Mills wrote in an e-mail, "I have spoken to Jay Severin, and he knows we take this seriously and do not condone offensive remarks toward any religious groups, and he will be apologizing on his show Monday afternoon. He did not intend to offend anyone."

Mills acknowledged that if Severin had said the same thing about African-Americans, he would no longer be on the air. This is the result of Arab and Muslim scapegoating that happened after September 11 in the name of the "war on terror."

Anti-Muslim hate has also been increasing in the U.S. since the brutality involved in the "pacification" of Falluja in Iraq and Sharon's hit-list assassinations of Palestinians. Several incidents took place recently in Texas, such as a shooting at a Denton mosque, threats against the Islamic Center of El Paso, arson attacks on Muslim businesses in San Antonio, and racist graffiti scrawled on the interior of a Lubbock mosque.

The U.S. has made the world a more dangerous place--not only in the Middle East, but also in the U.S., especially for Arabs and Muslims.
May Vermouth, Boston

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Nader is headed in the wrong direction

Dear Socialist Worker,
Peter Lamphere's letter (SW, April 16) argues that the left should endorse Ralph Nader, because no matter how Nader spins it, "his candidacy is a referendum on the question of 'Anybody but Bush.'" Whether this is the case or not is unclear.

Lamphere implies that the left can shift the direction of Nader's campaign, as it did in 2000. However, there are a few differences this time around. Nader has gone around the Green Party and begun to organize on his own, targeting right-wingers, while hoping to get the Green Party's stamp of approval anyway.

Nader's independent run will free him from the left-wing base of the Green Party and the global justice movement. Without this left anchor, Nader appears willing to make explicitly right-wing arguments to win "disaffected conservatives." Nader's open letter to conservatives criticizes free trade agreements for challenging "national sovereignty" and criticizes corporate media as "subverting family values, parental discipline and wholesome childhoods."

Accommodating right-wingers necessarily strips his campaign of its left-wing content and emphasis, calling into question the idea that Nader's campaign is a referendum on lesser evilism.

The nature of a candidate's campaign within the context of the current political environment should also be considered when deciding whether the campaign should be supported or not. Lamphere de-emphasizes the importance of Nader's positions on marriage equality and the occupation of Iraq, as if his stand and emphasis placed on these central issues for the left were of little concern to the nature of his campaign!

As the resistance against the occupation grows, the question of calling for "all foreign troops out of Iraq now" will be the biggest obstacle to building an anti-imperialist movement that can force the U.S. out of Iraq. Nader's Web site calls for "replacing U.S. forces with a UN [United Nations] peacekeeping force" in Iraq.

Socialists must be clear that a UN occupation is merely a fig leaf for U.S. imperialism. How can we be arguing this position with fellow activists while campaigning for someone who calls for a UN occupation?

A campaign that panders to reactionary protectionists and does not centrally take up important issues facing the left should not be endorsed by the International Socialist Organization.
Bill Linville, Madison, Wis.

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UFCW is ready for a possible strike

Dear Socialist Worker,
I disagree with Darrin Hoop's assessment that "union officials have done little to prepare for a possible strike." ("Grocery showdown in Seattle?" SW, April 23). I am a member of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 44 and have been following closely my union's preparations for a strike.

We raised our dues by $10 a month for a strike fund two months ago that will be available for a year as other UFCW locals negotiate with the employers. The union has also been working with other unions, such as the Teamsters, the Boeing machinists, and longshoremen to build solidarity for a strike.

The UFCW is also working with Jobs with Justice to insure that people hear what the employers want to do to workers. Add to these things that two weeks ago my local started to organize picket captains, and it appears that the UFCW is ready for a dispute.

That is not to say that I have not disagreed with the union leadership: they seem willing to allow a two-tier wage and benefit system, and should have raised dues back when the California strike started.
Andrew Heyman, Everett, Wash.

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SW should reject anti-voting agenda

Dear Socialist Worker,
After reading Socialist Worker for some time, I have come to notice a severe distrust of using electoral methods to accomplish liberal and leftist goals. Though I will be the first to admit that the Democrats are not a particularly progressive party, your newspaper has lambasted Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich while refusing to lend even a token of support to either one.

One subsection of an article even was labeled "The dead end of electoralism." I fully support and acknowledge the need for grassroots organizing and protesting as a way to put pressure on government officials, but it seems that the publishers at SW have a severe mistrust of the need for the working class to vote.

One active member of the International Socialist Organization, with whom I am friends, openly professes his refusal to vote in elections. It is understandable to be mistrustful of our corporate-run political campaigns. But I find it wrong, un-leftist, and even corporatist that SW does not actively encourage its readers to go out and vote.

Voting is the most fundamental exercise of working-class solidarity. It will necessarily be the basis of any type of socialist society that could come into being.

Without getting into debates about whether a socialist revolution is feasible and will result in a just and democratic society, one must be left to wonder how we will know when that revolution has been completed and the working class should be able to trust itself to vote once again. I think that time is now, and SW needs to get over its anti-voting agenda.
Bill Anderson, From the Internet

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