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Views in brief

April 1, 2005 | Page 4

OTHER LETTERS BELOW:
Stop Tookie's execution
World Bank is the real problem
Don't trust election result

No candidate for us in LA

THE RACE for Los Angeles mayor is shaping the landscape of multi-ethnic political alliances in the second biggest city in the nation.

The city is mired in a constant climate of police brutality and corruption, and it is in this context that the Democratic candidates continue to campaign for more police funding. The mayoral runoff is creating a rift between the different voting blocs in the city. Black voters comprise about 15 percent of the city's voters, but the issue at hand for them and the Latino community is whether any of these candidates represent progressive change for working-class communities of color.

The incumbent mayor has relied on the support of the Black community to help him win office, but has largely ignored their concerns.

Antonio Villaraigosa, on the other hand, is being portrayed in the media as a progressive candidate of color. However, his veneer of progressiveness is an attempt to promote himself and the Democratic Party. His record shows a steady climb as a career politician with an opportunist streak, within the emerging Latino political structure.

He is asking for 1,300 more police--in the wake of the Devin Brown murder by the LAPD and the Ramparts corruption scandal. He voiced support for the sheriff's right to deport undocumented immigrants for petty crimes.

Villaraigosa also actively opposed and distorted Proposition 66--which would have reformed the state's "three strikes" law--and helped to campaign for John Kerry in Los Angeles. His law-and-order stance has given him rapport with the affluent communities of the city.

Villaraigosa represents a trap for anybody seeking positive change in education, police justice and employment opportunities. People should come together with the recognition that the real Villaraigosa will disappoint many with illusions in him.
Fernando Ramirez, Los Angeles

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Stop Tookie's execution

ON MARCH 9, journalist Barbara Becnel gave a presentation at Canada College in California, entitled, "What's Wrong with the Death Penalty? The Stan 'Tookie' Williams Case." The multiracial crowd packed the main theater, which held 500 seats. The audience included at least two busloads of students from local high schools.

Canada College is a small community college with about 3,000 students. Most days, students leave campus at Noon--but when Becnel spoke, the majority of the crowd stayed throughout a long question-and-answer session and 24 students even bought copies of Stan's book and waited around to have it signed.

Stan "Tookie" Williams is currently on death row. Tookie is a former "Crips" youth gang leader, but has since been nominated for five Nobel Peace and Literature Prizes for children's books he wrote against gang violence. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled to uphold Tookie's death sentence. This ruling means that he may be executed this summer, despite the work he has done to keep kids off drugs and out of gangs.

Tookie's trial was a joke. He faced an all-white jury and a prosecutor who compared him to a "caged Bengal Tiger" and his neighborhood in LA the "jungle." This overt racism shows there is no justice for Tookie.

The positive reaction to Stan's case at Canada College should give us a sense of the potential to build a multiracial, working-class organization against the death penalty. If such a turnout could happen at Canada, we should see the sky as the limit. It makes us believe that we can both prevent Stan's execution and win a moratorium on the death penalty in the near future.
Sarah Levine and Elizabeth Terzakis, San Francisco

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World Bank is the real problem

LIBERALS HAVE worked themselves into a furor over Bush's brazen appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to the top post of the World Bank.

This move may seem a slap in the face to the world community, but it would be far more productive to have a discussion about the terrible cruelty perpetrated on developing nations by the World Bank. Regardless of who leads this greedy institution, it will continue to dominate and exploit the economies of impoverished nations, increase poverty and contribute to the 6 million deaths due to starvation and preventable disease each year.

Stopping this annual holocaust will require more than putting a nice guy in charge of the financial iron fist of U.S. empire. Our planet has the productive capacity to ensure that every human's basic needs are met, but to achieve that goal we must overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a socialist society--one that is run democratically by workers and puts people before profit.
Nicholas Hart, Seattle

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Don't trust election result

I AM somewhat puzzled at a couple of the stories in SW in reference to the recent election results. I unfortunately get the distinct feeling that this paper cannot quite bring itself to admit what to some of us is blindingly obvious: the elections are rigged.

I see it time and time again, election after election--the "surprise" results that were the reverse of all expectations--including, perhaps especially, the Gallup polls, to which politicians in the face of a negative one can often be heard to remark that "the only poll that counts is the election." Why? Because that is one outcome over which they can exercise unfettered control.

It is not as though there isn't sufficient evidence that they are rigged. When Jimmy Carter won his first governorship, it was as a result of a successful legal challenge against his opponent who had rigged the election.

I sometimes wonder if populations aren't so seduced by the idea of democracy that they imagine they have it, even when the undeniable evidence that they don't is staring them in the face. Most people, in any other circumstance, would call this a state of denial, so why is it when it comes to elections they are so blindsided?

I, too, read with interest the pompous rebuttal by the sycophantic right-wing press of the allegations of foul play, but every one was long on unsubstantiated rejection and short on supportive evidence, which, as we well know, is the trademark of the right. On the other hand, there were reams and reams of irrefutable hard evidence to prove the foul play, as well great gobs of "happy coincidences" of such matters as the makers of the voting machines being in the hands of vested interests in the eventual winner.

One study I read using "uncorrected" exit poll data (correction used here as a euphemism for falsifying to agree with the desired result) used statistical analysis to prove that the event of a Bush victory was as close as a statistician would be prepared to say is impossible.

How ironic that at the same time the right was denying these obviously correct analyses of the U.S. election, they were using the very same arguments against the self-declared winner of the Ukraine election, because he wasn't a U.S. puppet. How ridiculous that they prevailed in both cases! They had it both ways.

Until ordinary people stop waiting for the fairy godmother to save them and admit that the system of democracy practiced in Western cultures is fatally flawed--thus bringing pressure to bear on the tiny minority of true beneficiaries of this system to come clean and hand control back to the majority where it belongs--I see no end to the rapacious greed of the minority, to the continued detriment of the unsuspecting majority.
Gavin, from the Internet

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