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Letters in brief

July 2, 2004 | Page 4

Turning Georgia into a police state
Military employees let loose at Bush

Conn. says good riddance to a union-buster

Dear Socialist Worker,
Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, a Republican, announced his resignation last week after a State Supreme Court decision was handed down that would have required him to testify before a committee investigating possible impeachment. Rowland was facing federal corruption charges surrounding his acceptance of gifts from friends, state contractors and state employees.

While Rowland renovated his summer home and enjoyed thousands of dollars of Cuban cigars and fancy champagne on the taxpayer dollar, Connecticut's residents paid the price. Rowland presides over the richest state in the country, but it includes four of the poorest cities. During his tenure, he's only exacerbated that divide by slashing programs for the poor and enacting tax cuts for the rich.

An avid George W. Bush campaigner, Rowland has leveled vicious attacks on unions, including threatening to "reopen" state workers' contracts to exact more cuts last year and even illegally using state funds to hire strikebreakers during a strike by employees of private nursing homes.

Perhaps nothing better exemplified Rowland's utter contempt for those in need than his visit to New Haven in 2002, when a tent city had been constructed on the public green due to the closure of a homeless shelter. Rowland deemed it an "eyesore" and ordered city officials to close it down.

We say good riddance to Rowland, not only because of his blatant corruption but also for his consistent attack on ordinary people in the interests of the rich and powerful--by both legal and illegal means.

Robin Hodges and Leela Yellesetty, New Haven, Conn.

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Turning Georgia into a police state

Dear Socialist Worker,
Imagine 40 police cruisers, four Federal Protective Service vans, 22 police officers mounted on horses, 20 on motorcycles, two on bicycles, 12 U.S. Army foot soldiers, two military Humvees, about 20 riot cops and a helicopter. Now imagine them protecting a Starbucks franchise from a group of 30 anti-globalization activists with bandanas and drums, marching on the sidewalks.

Welcome to Savannah, Ga., during the 2004 Group of Eight (G8) Summit. The thought that this much security can be deployed and used against protesters under the guise of fighting terrorism is a truly scary one.

I drove down to coastal Georgia with some friends to protest corporate globalization, the war in Iraq, the war on terror, Bush's proposed Greater Middle East Initiative, and all of the other human and environmental abuses that G8 sets in motion. This year's summit took place on Sea Island, an upper-class island off the southern coast of Georgia.

Security was organized by the Secret Service and included roughly 20,000 military, federal and state law enforcement officers to protect the eight world leaders against terrorism. During the police and military occupation of Brunswick and Savannah, public schools were closed and local businesses suffered. But in the end, it was all for the "public good." You never can be too safe when dealing with the security of our homeland, right?

Only a few hundred other protesters joined me and my friends in Georgia, instead of the 70,000 that some news reports predicted just weeks ago. Why such a low turnout? A variety of reasons. As one of the organizers in Brunswick explained, "The city refused to give us a permit. We just got this space last weekend."

Protesters in Savannah blame the small turnout on threats of arrest. The police presence created an atmosphere of submission that discouraged dissent. People decided not to attend the protests because they didn't want to have to deal with the sheer numbers of "anti-terrorist" forces that they would encounter. They didn't want to have to deal with being in a police state.

Later this summer, Boston and New York City, too, will be occupied by the police in attempt to "curb terrorism" at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. The sheer numbers of anti-terrorist/anti-activist forces that massed in coastal Georgia during the G8 Summit shows that now the president has the power to cry "Terrorist!" and turn a city into a police state.

Micah Lee, From the Internet

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Military employees let loose at Bush

Dear Socialist Worker,
Recently, in a bar in Great Falls, Mont., I got into a conversation with a veteran of the U.S. Navy and three military construction workers stationed nearby at Malmstrom Air Force Base. When the topic of the war came up, they all said immediately that it was about oil and profit.

Only one seemed to think it was even remotely possible that weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq, and when he added that Bush was a liar anyway, everyone sitting at our table burst out with enthusiastic agreement.

The fact that John Kerry's Web site says he wants to deploy 40,000 more troops was news to these soldiers, however, and they did seem to retain some faith in the idea of voting against Bush. "It's all about electing the right liar," one of them explained.

Tom Barton, editor of GI Special, has said that among Marines returning from combat, such disgust with the war would hardly even be newsworthy, but that among Air Force personnel in a place so far away from Iraq, it hints that antiwar sentiment in the armed forces is reaching new heights.

Alan Wallis, New York City

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