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Letters to the editor

September 17, 2004 | Page 4

SW should quit attacking Cobb
Anything but an alternative
How will we get out of Iraq?

Ripping us off, but funding war

Dear Socialist Worker,
Community college teachers are facing a dire situation here in North Carolina. The average annual salary for a community college teacher is $37,000. That's 46th in the nation.

There is an urgent need for provisions in the state budget to give a salary raise, not only because these teachers are grossly underpaid, but because there is a possibility of many more teachers being forced to take positions in other states when there is a dire need for well-trained educators here.

What is the state's solution? Make the students pay. The state has continuously cried poverty when it comes to providing for people's needs. So instead of looking elsewhere for help, they want to make the students at those community colleges (who can barely afford to attend a college in the first place) pay for the salary increase of their own faculty.

The state's House budget plan calls for a 7 percent tuition hike for all community college students. If it passes, this will be the sixth consecutive tuition hike for students in North Carolina. What is even more disturbing is the alarming rate at which the enrollment in our community colleges has been growing, due to the state's loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs.

This means that many people attending these colleges that will have to pay higher and higher tuition every year are unemployed and need training to find other jobs. Many people place the blame for this situation in our state on the state's economy.

The state of our economy though, is only a result of the sick system that we live under. The priorities of capitalism end up depriving working people and students of their basic needs and their basic right to an education. So while billions of dollars are being spent to "liberate" (that's Bush administration doublespeak for "torture") the people of Iraq, our state is ripping regular people off left and right.
Julie Southerland, Greensboro, N.C.

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SW should quit attacking Cobb

Dear Socialist Worker,
I take serious issue with the way Socialist Worker has been misrepresenting and lying about both the Green Party and David Cobb over the course of the last few months. To begin with, let me state unequivocally that David Cobb is not running a "safe-states" campaign strategy. In fact, the first two states he visited after winning the nomination were Ohio and Pennsylvania, both "swing states."

The small but vocal "ABB" Greens led by Medea Benjamin and a group called "Greens for Impact" do not represent the viewpoints of either the Cobb campaign or a vast majority of Cobb's supporters in the Green Party. Perhaps it was Cobb's willingness during the primaries to discuss the issue of what presidential strategy the Greens should run which has led many publications, both liberal and radical, to falsely assume that Cobb is running a "safe-states" strategy.

Unlike Nader, Cobb made a concerted effort in the months leading up to the convention to reach out to local Green Parties and their candidates at the local level. What he learned there is that most Greens wanted to run an all-out campaign, and so he will be campaigning in every state where the local party and candidates have requested him, including my home state of Wisconsin (also a swing state).

There was good reason that the Green Party decided to reject an endorsement of Ralph Nader. To begin with Nader himself is in bed with the Democrats. He helped John Kerry pick John Edwards as his running mate, has visited Kerry at his campaign office at least once, and upon his announcement of candidacy wrote a letter entitled "Dear Anybody-But-Bush Liberal Democrats" in which he explained how his candidacy was going to help Kerry defeat Bush.

In addition, there have been some very serious questions over the course of the last few years as to Nader's dedication to the Green Party grassroots. Even if he had won our endorsement after refusing to run in the Green primaries for the nomination, it is highly unlikely that he would have geared his campaign towards helping local candidates win office and local parties achieve across-the-slate ballot access.

In short, Nader is not genuinely interested in the future of the party, and Cobb is. Peter Camejo has been very effective at spreading rumors and untruths about the Cobb campaign. At the convention, he accused Cobb of supporting the occupation of Iraq, an entirely untrue and unfounded claim. He has continued the false attacks by claiming, among other things, that Cobb supports Kerry and is running a "safe-states" campaign.

Seeing how Camejo was a Trotskyist leader during the 1970s and has a long history involved with socialist groups such as yourself, it does not surprise me that your publication has continued to repeat the Camejo talking points against Cobb.

I write this letter as an undecided Green, currently debating between Cobb and Nader. The members of the Green Party would greatly appreciate it if your paper would stop repeating claims which are untrue, and try to begin a respectful debate about the future of the left and the Green Party's role in it.

One of the 10 Key Values of the Green Party is Decentralization, and as such the Greens' primary interest is in local politics. We are probably not as outspokenly anti-ABB as the ISO, but if one were to read the press releases and campaign speeches coming out of the Cobb campaign, there is absolutely no question that he stands unapologetically in opposition to both the corporate parties and their presidential candidates.
William Joseph Anderson, From the Internet

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Anything but an alternative

Dear Socialist Worker,
Democratic Party flunkies have been hooting with glee over the disruption they've been able to cause to Ralph Nader's status on the November ballot. The most outrageous example so far is in Arizona, where pressure from the state Democratic Party resulted in over 5,000 signatures being disqualified for Nader's ballot petition--which, by strange coincidence, put Nader just under the qualifying threshold.

Against the deep wallets and lawyer brigades of the Democrats, Nader was, sadly, compelled to back down in court. Lest anyone think the Democrats were concerned with upholding the impartial majesty of the law, let's take a look at some of Bush's ballot problems.

Due to the late date of the Republican convention, Bush was due to become the official nominee after the certification date in some states, including Illinois and Indiana--meaning that he would be off the ballot in those states! Rather than subject Bush to the same laws that they abuse Nader with, Democratic politicians helped pass special laws specifically designed to keep Bush on the ballot!

Whatever happened to "ABB"--"Anybody But Bush"? What the Democrats really mean is ABA: Anything But an Alternative.
Shaun Joseph, Providence, R.I.

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How will we get out of Iraq?

Dear Socialist Worker,
I ran across your article to "Get out of Iraq" (June 11) because it came up as the third entry on an Internet search. While I don't agree with a lot of the opinions, and am a relatively firm Republican, I now agree that we need to get the hell out of there.

My question is this: What should we do to get the government to pull out? George Bush wants to stay for "as long as necessary" and John Kerry wants to stay for four more years at least, I think...or at least that is his latest stance. What or who will get America out of there tomorrow?
Alex, from the Internet

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