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Letters to the editor

September 24, 2004 | Page 12

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Don't support dirty tricks
Ethical treatment of humans?
They can't have the Man in Black
Martha tries to remake image

Nader alone isn't enough

Dear Socialist Worker,
I'm interested in the articles SW writes, and I agree that capitalism is the problem in our society, but I can't seem to understand how Nader fits the mold for a real change.

I understand the need to utilize existing tools, such as Nader and his reformist ideas, to introduce more people to revolutionary ideas, but I don't understand why SW would give a reformist candidate complete support. There should be agreement with the reformists' ideas as well as critique of why Nader and his ideas are not enough.
Ramsey, from the Internet

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Don't support dirty tricks

Dear Socialist Worker,
Your article on the Vermont Green Party ("Vermont Greens support Nader," September 17) glorifies the attempts of the Vermont and Utah state Green Parties to remove the democratically decided presidential and vice presidential candidates, David Cobb and Pat LaMarche, from the ballot.

What you don't mention is that the move to remove Cobb from the ballot in Utah was made by a minority of six, including the official state liaison to the secretary of state. They were rebuked and removed from leadership by a wide majority at an emergency convention of the state party, but it was too late to undo the damage as the deadline to get Cobb on the ballot had passed during the internal wrangling.

Considering that Nader is arguing that he has the right to appear on the Reform Party ballot in Florida and Michigan due to the party's national endorsement--despite the opposition of the local Reform state leaders to his candidacy and his own problems with Democratic Party operatives using underhanded moves to keep his name off the ballot--the hypocrisy in his and your support to keeping Cobb-LarMarche off the ballot through dirty tricks is breathtaking.
Alex Hogan, D.C. Statehood Green Party, Washington, D.C.

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Ethical treatment of humans?

Dear Socialist Worker,
On July 21, Pilgrim's Pride, a poultry supplier for Kentucky Fried Chicken, fired 11 employees--three managers and eight hourly workers--after an undercover investigator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) videotaped them abusing chickens at a plant in Moorefield, W.Va. PETA is demanding that West Virginia authorities bring criminal charges against the employees.

Under that state's animal cruelty laws, the employees could face prison sentences of one to three years and up to $5,000 in fines. Michael McGraw, a spokesperson for PETA, said, "In cases where workers are paid so little--and they really do have terrible jobs--they tend to take out their frustration on the animals. Modern technology can really be more humane."

So this justifies sending them to prison? If PETA is so concerned about suffering, is it going to take care of the families of these workers while they're in prison? For that matter, is PETA going to send out undercover investigators to see how human beings are treated in plants and factories? Are they going to send investigators to the tomato fields in Immokalee, Fla., where people are subjected to the most brutal working conditions?

Pilgrim's Pride President and CEO O.B. Goolsby said in a statement that employees who handle live birds must sign documents saying they understand the company's "zero-tolerance" policy for cruelty towards animals. I wonder, do the executives at Pilgrim's have to sign documents saying they understand the company's "zero tolerance" policy for cruelty towards employees?

Perhaps instead of PETA, we need an organization called PETP--People for the Ethical Treatment of People. The problem is that we have a system based on profit. As long as that is the case, there is going to be cruelty and suffering. Worrying exclusively about the rights of chickens is for the birds.
Evan Kornfeld, Los Angeles

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They can't have the Man in Black

Dear Socialist Worker,
One part of the recent Republican National Convention in New York City had me so angry I was ready to spit nails. Among the multitude of swanky multi-million-dollar parties thrown by corporations for the purpose of buying favors from politicians was one that was particularly loathsome.

The American Gas Association--a network of 154 utility multinationals--hosted an exclusive "celebration" of deceased singer Johnny Cash for the Republican delegation from Tennessee at snooty Sotheby's auction house. Are the Republicans so ignorant and arrogant that they think they can get away with trying to claim Cash as one of their own?

The "Man in Black" who sang for the poor and oppressed, advocated for prisoners' rights and spoke out against the Vietnam War might have a thing or two to say today about the Bush gang "celebrating" him today. After all, this is a man who sang about wearing: "Black for the poor and the beaten down/Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town/I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime/But is there because he's a victim of the times."

Thankfully, the "Man-in-Black Bloc" and the "Guitar and Pompadour Bloc" got together to give the Republicans who slithered over to Sotheby's a proper Johnny Cash welcome. As they said on their Web site, "We think that Johnny wouldn't be too keen on this, given the beating the current administration has been giving to our nation's poor.

"Actually, he might have been downright pissed that the Republicans have linked his name to theirs." Johnny Cash was on our side. Don't let the Republicans tell you otherwise.
Nicole Colson, Chicago

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Martha tries to remake image

Dear Socialist Worker,
Martha Stewart, the corporate criminal who has been convicted on SEC violations and sentenced to a whopping five months in prison has the nerve to compare her "oppression" with that of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela. In the ABC News interview, Stewart said, "I'm a really good camper. I can sleep on the ground. There are many, many good people who have gone to prison. Look at Nelson Mandela."

Nelson Mandela and Martha Stewart should never be used in the same sentence. Mandela spent years in prison for his political activism against the racist apartheid in South Africa. His group, the African National Congress, was labeled a terrorist organization under the "gone but not forgiven" Reagan administration in the 1980's.

Stewart on the other hand faces a "hard" five months of prison. What a joke. People in California can get 25-to-life for stealing a piece of gum under the "three strikes" law, and she complains she gets five months in prison for stealing thousands if not millions of dollars in illegal stock exchanges?

This proves that the criminal injustice system is unjust. It also proves what side the media is on. When the conviction came down, Fox News, CNN and other apologists came on saying it was unexpected and too harsh of a punishment.

They also allowed Stewart to plug her products as she was pleading her innocence to her fans. We cannot allow corporate criminals to compare themselves to people like Mandela or any other populist they might think is in fashion.
Matias Marin, Riverside, Calif.

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