NOTE:
You've come to an old part of SW Online. We're still moving this and other older stories into our new format. In the meanwhile, click here to go to the current home page.








Letters to the editor

October 15, 2004 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Nader made a rotten decision
Praying for discrimination
Nader defies the duopoly
John Kerry is a lesser evil

Two parties, one goal

Dear Socialist Worker,
It was clear that John Kerry won the first presidential debate with George Bush hands down. However, it was equally clear that the political agenda of each candidate was very similar.

Kerry is trying hard to seem and be as pro-imperialist as Bush. He called for 40,000 more troops in the military. He repeated "I'll hunt the terrorists down wherever they are and kill them." He called for a more effective war on terrorism at home and abroad and never touched on the negative effects this has on civil liberties, especially of Arabs, Muslims and immigrants in general in the U.S. The only dividing issue was over the tactics and strategy in achieving the same goal--continued U.S. corporate and military domination.

From the debate, if we limit ourselves to Bush and Kerry, the choice is clear: Do you want to vote for a bumbling, not very impressive, halting, semi-articulate militarist/imperialist/pro-business candidate? Or do you want to vote for a much sharper, more articulate, more competent, perhaps more effective militarist/imperialist/pro-business candidate?

More competence in seeking a negative goal is still the pursuit of a negative goal. This debate made it more clear than ever that we need an alternative to both big business parties. This year, the Nader-Camejo campaign is the best way to start that process!
Steve Leigh, Seattle

Back to the top

Nader made a rotten decision

Dear Socialist Worker,
SW points out that Ralph Nader should be severely criticized for his decision to accept the Independence Party's (IP) ballot line in New York state ("Debating how to dominate the globe," October 8). The IP is a right-wing, quasi-populist party that actually tells people of color and working-class people to vote for Republicans.

I believe that SW was too kind in its statements about the wasted energy of people who petitioned so that Nader could appear on the Peace and Justice ballot line in New York state. Let's be honest: a few hundred activists put their time and organizing capacity on the line so that Nader would not have to make a compromising decision, like accepting the ballot line of the IP (Even if we had not secured enough signatures for Nader to appear on the Peace and Justice ballot line, it would still be unacceptable for Nader to accept the IP ballot line).

Now, Nader has taken the IP line, even when he could have rejected the right-wing alliance that he has now forged with the IP. This is a slap in the face to the overwhelmingly progressive and working-class support that the Nader campaign has. It signifies that Nader is willing take advantage of our grassroots support for his campaign.

SW is correct that the reason for Nader accepting the IP ballot lines is that there is not a big enough base to pressure him from below, as there perhaps was in 2000. Nevertheless, I believe limiting criticism and pressure of the campaign to SW is not enough.

The ISO, and all progressives who support Nader, should bring up the significance of the IP ballot line in local Nader meetings, and there should be a write-in campaign to Nader headquarters expressing our outrage. Progressives must put pressure on the Nader campaign, from below, in order to, at the very least, embarrass Nader for his horrendous decision.

This campaign is bigger than Nader the individual. It is about building and convincing working-class and oppressed people to fight for and build a political alternative to a society that is rigged against them. The ISO and all progressives involved in the campaign should not let Nader subvert the political importance of the Nader-Camejo campaign in 2004.
Nick B., New York City

Back to the top

Praying for discrimination

Dear Socialist Worker,
Unfortunately, for the large homosexual minority of our population, prayer in Congress in Oklahoma is not a mere act of "solemnization." Anyone expecting to find zealous debates and clues as to legislative intent will more likely find religious sermons.
Here are some actual quotes from a lengthy sermon delivered by Baptist Brother Tim Emmons to the Oklahoma House of Representatives on the morning in which the House passed a vicious discriminatory proposal intending to place an antigay marriage amendment into our state constitution.

"[I] want you to know there's a tug-of-war going on for your soul and for my soul in this world and in this society," Emmons said. "And it is not a tug-of-war between Democrats and Republicans. It is not a tug-of-war between politicians, it's a tug-of-war between Jesus Christ and Satan... House of Representatives, do you know the Shepherd of the Twenty-Third Psalm? If I can leave you with this word, it would be this: Never, never, never, never, never, never turn your back on God as you do your work. God bless you."

Apparently, the Oklahoma House, party affiliation aside, is united against "Satan." Denying gays the right to contract with the state for basic rights discourages monogamy and stability, and serves to systematically deny all non-traditional relationships.

On November 2, Oklahomans will be given the opportunity to sanction the aforementioned "divinely inspired" legislation of our "representatives" in voting on the innocently posed State Question 711. In so doing, we will announce to the nation whether we endorse the stigma of living under a constitution which restricts equality by refusing to recognize the fundamental right to choose one's life partner.
Patrick Holman, Oklahoma City

Back to the top

Nader defies the duopoly

Dear Socialist Worker,
I wonder what your readers are thinking now of Ralph Nader's harsh words for the Democrats. Nader is able to stir all voters to act. Witness his rise in the more conservative parties and his continued support from the left.

The presidential debate we saw is simply a façade put up by the major corporations to fool the public into believing that there is really a "difference between the two candidates." The fact is both Kerry and Bush support continuing the war debacle and the occupation in Iraq. Kerry would escalate bombing Iraqi cities, where citizens are putting up a fight against U.S. forces, and neither Bush nor Kerry has stated that they would immediately withdraw from Iraq.

When Jonathan Cole, Provost Dean of Faculties and former Provost at Columbia University, publicly laments that students and faculty are not as active as they were in 1968--when they stood up together in opposition against Grayson Kirk, the president of Columbia University at the time, over building a sports facility that utilized two separate entrances, one for residents of Harlem and one for university members--then isn't it about time for the masses of underemployed educated and the disenfranchised, unemployed and undereducated to fight to get Nader into future debates?

It appears nothing will change in this country to end the occupation of Washington by the unified corporations of America until we act together. We are really only standing by witnessing them trying to nail the doors to debate shut.
Bill LePage, New York City

Back to the top

John Kerry is a lesser evil

Dear Socialist Worker,
I understand the enthusiasm for Ralph Nader, but I disagree on supporting his candidacy for president. Let's face reality here. Nader isn't going to win. What he will accomplish is to take some votes away from John Kerry, who I see as a lesser evil.

The focus of the left should be to evict George W. Bush from the White House. Realistically, in order to do that, the left should focus on electing John Kerry. A Kerry administration would be significantly better than a second Bush term. The time is now to think not so much in terms of blanket ideology, but practical politics.

To get rid of the right-wing excesses of the Republicans means getting the Republicans out of office. A vote for Nader is, in effect, a vote for Bush. Forget about Nader. Let's get a Democrat back into the White House, and then pressure that person to make America a better place for working people.
Bruce Burleson, from the Internet

Home page | Current storylist | Back to the top