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February 25, 2005 | Page 4

Looting from us for the war

FIRST, I would like to compliment you on your upfront accounts about issues in our society today. Thanks for your dedication and support for American workers.

I work for the Department of the Navy as a civil servant. The present salary schedule is based upon step increases, which occur every two to three years, depending on time in service. We have just been informed that the system will be changed as early as July 2005 to a performance-based merit raise system.

If I truly believed that I would get a raise based on my performance, this would be great, as I am very competent in my job duties. However, I believe that this is only a way for the uppermost officials to give themselves raises and withhold any pay increases for the rest of us. When the yearly evaluation comes around, I believe we will be told, "There is no money in the budget for raises this year."

I believe the administration is going to loot the funds for a war or some other activity that they feel is more worthy, and give themselves hefty raises. It isn't enough to have to worry about pending outsourcing, now there's this--just another way to reduce the salaries of the workers.

Also, did you hear about how San Diego County supervisors tried to give themselves 25 percent raises? Fortunately, they got caught. Considering that libraries only operate minimal hours and parks and recreation have taken hard hits, it was especially presumptuous that these supervisors attempted to give themselves such hefty raises.

Thanks for listening.
Beth, from the Internet

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U.S. companies are complicit

IT IS so encouraging to read an article recognizing the essence of what is going on in occupied Iraq as an antidote to the liberal drivel which tries to cover up the monstrosity of the war by the excuse of a Mickey Mouse election ("Supporting Iraq's right to resist occupation," January 21).

The point is, though, as socialists, aren't we just a little bit ashamed of ourselves and our inability to agree "among the left" and hence organize cohesively, such that the only hard opposition to U.S. military attacks on poor countries is "armed men and women fighting in the rubble of their homes"? Nationalistic and religious-based opposition, rather than socialist and internationalist?

One task that Socialist Worker could usefully undertake would be to help the spreading of a boycott of U.S. goods which is now growing, and list the big U.S. companies in Britain and elsewhere--many of which trade under a disguised name so as to hide their origins.

Surely, for example, nobody needs to drive Fords or Vauxhalls. Why not produce a top 100 list of companies to boycott? Destroy confidence in the dollar and the profitability of the U.S. system, and, without a drop of blood being shed, the whole ugly system will crash to pieces.

With more wars on the horizon for sure, essays in journals are inadequate as a means of sorting out the problem (fiddling while Rome burns?).
T.G. McAllan, Manchester, United Kingdom

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