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Letters to the editor

December 3, 2004 | Page 8

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
No, Kerry really did win
Ralph Nader fights for D.C.
The media's one-sided view
We need to organize now

Dead end of the Democrats

Dear Socialist Worker,
I'd like to thank SW for being one of the few publications that didn't blame George W. Bush's re-election on "stupid" Americans, a backlash against gay marriage or a hopelessly conservative electorate.

The fact is, John Kerry lost the election the moment he decided to challenge Bush on the basis of who could be a bigger warmonger or a nastier anti-gay bigot.

Kerry never stood up and made real arguments against the war and occupation or in favor of gay marriage--arguments that could have energized the over 40 percent of Americans who didn't vote or changed the minds of many in the "heartland" who voted for Bush.

Consciousness is not static; it changes in response to the political climate, what arguments people hear and events in the world around us. Yet to hear many in the mainstream media spin it (as well as much of the leadership of the Democratic Party), whether you are for or against gay marriage is akin to asking if your eyes are blue or brown.

The election results makes one wonder what would have happened if a force outside the Democratic Party--the antiwar movement, the pro-gay marriage movement or even the Ralph Nader campaign--had been strong enough to raise these issues in a principled way. Not only would the long-term goals of stopping the war, winning civil rights for gays and lesbians, and building a left-wing alternative to the Democrats been immeasurably strengthened, but even the short-term goal that so many of the ABB left proclaimed as inviolate--the unseating of Bush--would most likely have been realized as well.

Instead, the antiwar and gay marriage movements were put on the backburner--or, to be honest, taken off the stove altogether--in order to not "embarrass" Kerry over his pro-war and anti-gay marriage stances.

The final piece of the ABB puzzle was put in place with the relentless hounding of the Nader campaign by the Democratic Party, the union bureaucracy and the ABB left. What we were left with was a Kerry campaign fundamentally incapable of raising the issues of importance to most Americans or of presenting a credible alternative to four more years of Bush.

In 2008, when the Democratic Party is preaching Anybody But (Jeb?) Bush and rallying around another John Kerry, let us all remember the lessons of Election 2004 and not allow ourselves to be taken on this dead-end ride yet again.
Michael Smith, Berkeley, Calif.

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No, Kerry really did win

Dear Socialist Worker,
You claim that George Bush received 3.5 million votes more than John Kerry ("Yes, Kerry really lost," November 19). That statement and the remainder of your article demonstrates that you have little understanding of the challenge to George Bush's "election."

Had you investigated fully, you would know the true underpinnings of that challenge, and the serious investigation and analysis that is currently underway.

Rest assured, however, that your uninformed position is shared by many, largely due to the lockdown of this matter by the major media. John Kerry's organization is also responsible because, apparently, the media will do nothing until they enter the fray.

Blackboxvoting.org is comprised of members collecting voting data from every county in every state and then applying scientific analysis to the data. The emerging result is already clear--throughout the nation, Bush was deemed to have received large numbers of votes which was patently ludicrous in view of the actual number of votes cast or total registered voters, etc.
J. Nelson, from the Internet

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Ralph Nader fights for D.C.

Dear Socialist Worker,
The cabal of major league baseball owners has recently revealed the name, logo and colors for Washington D.C.'s new baseball team--all selected without input from District residents and presented as a fait accompli. The owners, Mayor Anthony Williams and politicians of both parties (national and local) hope the people of D.C. will view the half-billion-dollar stadium giveaway exactly the same way--all wrapped up and not needing their voice or approval.

But one local resident with national recognition is throwing his reputation and expertise behind the fight against this boondoggle: Ralph Nader.

Not satisfied to fade away like Kerry--or to engage in the blame game like Kerry's elite liberal supporters--Nader is rolling up his sleeves for another fight against feeding corporate greed at the expense of working people.

Nader blasted Major League Baseball and Mayor Williams for their sweetheart deal as soon as it was announced in October, during the homestretch of the presidential campaign. He recently told Washington City Paper: "I ended my campaign at a run-down library [in Ward 7], and the stadium was in mind when I chose that. I wanted to contrast the condition of the clinics, libraries and the schools in the District with this project. The enormity of this subordination of life's necessities to billion-dollar sports-and-entertainment complexes can't be exaggerated. If parents dealt with their family budgets the way [Williams] is dealing with this city's budget, they'd be committed for neglect and [have] their children taken from them."

Unlike other national figures, Nader isn't telling the working people of the District that battling the stadium giveaway is a noble-but-doomed struggle. He's won just such an "impossible" battle before against a similar deal in Connecticut to relocate the New England Patriots, and later formed the League of Fans to aid the fight against publicly funded stadiums for wealthy professional sports owners.

"The deal the District has proposed for baseball is the sweetest deal ever proposed for any stadium, even sweeter than the Hartford deal," he said. "Mayor Williams gave away the store. But it can't hold up. Polls show two-thirds of the people of the city are opposed to this deal. How can it go through? There's so many things that could bring this down.

"The way we're going to beat this deal, the same way we beat all these deals, is we put that $500 million for the stadium up against all the needs of one ward after another, and after a while, it won't pass the smell test. Schools and libraries are crumbling in this city. Clinics are closing. And they're going to spend $500 million to build a goddamn stadium? You watch: One law firm could bring this down."

A candidate representing the ruling class would consider local battles against publicly funded stadiums not worth their valuable time. But Ralph Nader was and is a candidate who seeks to represent the working people of this country.

He knows how important full (or even more) funding of social services is to the majority of citizens living on the razor's edge, and he is equally outraged that such crucial projects as public hospitals, schools and addressing homelessness are placed below making rich team owners even richer by governments.

I'm glad to have him on our side in this fight!
Renee Collins, Takoma Park, Md.

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The media's one-sided view

Dear Socialist Worker,
Thank you for Anthony Arnove's article on the Orwellian use of language by the media ("A guide to the U.S. media's doublespeak," November 19).

The phenomenon goes even deeper, for it applies to apparently more neutral words like "violence." For the media, violence is always engaged in by the "bad guys," whether the Iraqi resistance fighters or Palestinians rising up against the occupation of their land.
James Hollander, From the Internet

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We need to organize now

Dear Socialist Worker,
Joe Allen states in his review of Thomas Frank's book What's the Matter with Kansas, "[I]t's too bad [Frank's book] resuscitates some of the silliest stereotypes of working class people" ("The deranged state of U.S. politics," October 22).

Then, in the same issue, we learn from Lee Sustar that the October 17 Million Worker March was attended by only 5,000 people, because "union leaders were prepared to endorse the march, but not to back it with resources" ("Organizing for labor rights and social justice").

Is this one reason why these "silly stereotypes" are formed in the first place? The workers' movement just can't seem to get organized. How can so many people get their fundamental interests so wrong?

I agree with Joe Allen's desire to form a "class-based political party," but not in the future. It must start organizing right now!
Stephen Gallagher, Fremont, Calif.

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