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Letters to the editor

October 1, 2004 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Will Kerry fight racism?
The resistance to occupation
What's behind Sudan's crisis?
Nader won't build the Greens

Solidarity with dockworkers

Dear Socialist Worker,
Twenty Dutch union leaders, protesting attacks against dockworkers in the Netherlands, were arrested September 16 for blocking the entrance to the office of an employers' organization. A strike at the nation's ports looks very likely on September 20.

Dockworkers in other European countries have been asked to support the strike by refusing to handle cargo diverted from Dutch ports. This struggle is part of a European fightback against attacks on union rights, working conditions, job security and pensions by employers, with government support.

There was a militant strike by Spanish dockworkers in the port of San Fernando on September 15, demanding steady employment, and against attempts to re-privatize the local shipyard. Elsewhere, New Zealand dockworkers are preparing for a seven-day strike if current negotiations over the issue of casualization are not settled to the union's satisfaction. This follows a four-day strike by 260 dockworkers in Auckland that began September 8.

Kees Marges of the International Transport Federation, an international organization of transport workers and dockworkers, said, "Although the action is local, the problem of casualization is global. If the strike needs to continue, other affiliated port worker unions should step up their support by organizing support actions."

For the last several years, employers have launched an international offensive against dockworkers--who in many cases are in the strongest unions in their respective countries--in the hopes that if they can break or weaken these economically strategic unions, they can defeat the entire workers' movement. Just as the attack is international, workers must fight back on an international basis, in the spirit of that old labor slogan: "An injury to one is an injury to all."
Ken Morgan, San Francisco

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Will Kerry fight racism?

Dear Socialist Worker,
The other day on TV, I saw Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry address the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). He claimed that when he first decided to run, they were the first group he came to because "the Black vote will be critical in this election."

He then had the gall to bring up the disenfranchisement of Black voters in Florida in the 2000 election, pledging that he would ensure that "every vote counts and every vote is counted." Kerry must have a short memory.

Perhaps he forgot the scene so poignantly shown in Fahrenheit 9/11 when members of the CBC begged members of the Senate--disgracefully, there are no Black senators--to support an investigation into the massive disenfranchisement that took place. Kerry, along with every single other Democratic senator, shamefully refused to stand up against racism when it counted.

Members of the CBC should have booed Kerry off the stage for this comment. Instead, they will line up in support of "Anybody But Bush," even when it means standing up against the rights of African Americans.

We deserve a presidential candidate that takes a principled stance against racism. John Kerry is not that candidate.
Leela Yellesetty, New Haven, Conn.

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The resistance to occupation

Dear Socialist Worker,
Evil. Terrorist. Brutal. Ruthless. These are all terms used by the U.S. and UK administrations to describe the actions of Iraqi rebels. This is a clear case of political propaganda to justify an illegal military occupation and demonize the opposition.

These words can equally be applied to U.S./UK military actions. How else would you describe "shock and awe" in Baghdad at the opening of the invasion of Iraq, or the bombing and shelling of Najaf, Falluja or any other city, town or village that has demonstrated opposition to this oppressive military occupation?

Are beheadings, car bombings or suicide attacks any more evil, terrorist, brutal or ruthless in their nature than aerial bombings (including cluster bombs), missile attacks and shellings? Whatever the method, the consequences are pretty much the same--death, suffering and untold distress and misery.

Wherever there is occupation, there will be resistance.
Dave Edwards, Doncaster, England

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What's behind Sudan's crisis?

Dear Socialist Worker,
The crisis in Darfur, as well as the crisis in Sudan in general, is far more complicated than the ready-made labels of "ethnic" and "religious" wars ("What's behind the horror in Sudan," September 17). The struggle for power and wealth in Sudan has its roots in the deeper struggle between different powers that want to dominate: between millions of people, in the North, South, East and West of Sudan, who have been marginalized by the introduction of colonialism in these societies--and finally crushed by World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies--and by the successive corrupt military regimes that were, of course, backed by Washington and the West.

The Islamic fundamentalist coup that brought about the current government of Sudan was a natural result of the economic and political chaos in Sudan since its independence (as with almost all Third World countries). Sudan was crushed by a crippled economy, natural disasters (drought and desertification) and by failing political leadership.

Going back to your article, as with all Western media, it depicted the war in Darfur in ethnic terms--as a war between "Arabs" and "Muslims" on one side, and "Africans" and "indigenous" people on the other. All Sudan regions (including Darfur) have suffered from continuous economic hardships, and to make it worse, the IMF and the World bank have prescribed measures that added nothing but more suffering to the Sudanese, while the different central governments worried more about keeping power than improving living conditions for its citizens.

This picture is all over Sudan, not only the West or the South. Marginalization of almost all Sudanese sectors, and the increasing role of privatization of the economy and the abandonment of the successive governments to their role in the development of the Sudanese economy as a whole, have rendered many of these regions uninhabitable.

The last point I would like to mention is that some of the insurgents who are now fighting in Darfur against the government of Sudan, and appealing to the West by playing the "ethnic cleansing" card, were once very important pillars of the regime in Khartoum. The likes of Dr. Ali Al-Haj, who was one of the big names in the National Islamic Front (NIF), the de facto ruling party in Sudan, and once the minister of health, is one of those who are trying to play this card.

The so-called "African" tribes, who are also Muslims, have had their share in the current government of Sudan, and their hands are still stained with the blood of many Sudanese from the North, South, East and West who fought against an oppressive regime with their bare hands, and to whom nobody has rendered any support. I hope your next article will treat the Sudanese crisis (and civil wars are but one manifestation of it) with more depth and vision and give the reader more than the ready-made articles flooding the corporate world's media.
Nada Abdelmoneim, From the Internet

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Nader won't build the Greens

Dear Socialist Worker,
Socialist Worker's pro-Nader article ("Why you should support Nader-Camejo," September 24) completely missed the mark. Ralph Nader is an egomaniac who only cares about Ralph Nader. Why else would he accept the Reform Party endorsement?

Nader never cared about the Green Party; he never cared about building up the Green Party. David Cobb cares about the Green Party, and his number one concern is to build a vibrant Green Party in the future. There's your third-party alternative!

It isn't going to happen overnight, and supporting a celebrity egomaniac isn't going to help matters. Mr. Cobb has a firm grasp on the situation, and he is dedicated to breaking the two-party monopoly. He isn't as flashy or as well known as Nader, but he is the best bet for building a third-party alternative.
Lukas, From the Internet

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