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Views in brief

June 3, 2005 | Page 4

OTHER VIEWS BELOW:
Thanks for telling my side
Is Sadr a real alternative?

Media silence on racist thugs

AS ONE of the approximately 300 antiracists who mobilized to prevent the neo-Nazi "White Revolution" from disrupting the May 8 Holocaust memorial service in Boston, I write to thank you for Sriram Ananthanarayanan's outstanding report ("Boston boots the Nazis," May 13).

SW's headline stands in stark contrast to the absolutely mystifying report in Boston's leading corporate newspaper, the Boston Globe: "Demonstrations mar commemoration." The Globe's all-but-illiterate lead belied the corporate media's pretense of objectivity by implying a moral equivalency between racist hate-mongers and Holocaust deniers, on the one hand, and activists committed to building solidarity across the divisions created by the ruling class, on the other.

Ironically, while we took to the streets to tell the racist scum they are not welcome in our commonwealth, Gov. Mitt Romney piously told reporters he wished the White Revolution thugs would "go back where they came from and bury themselves under the rocks that they crawled out from." That such were the sentiments of the chief executive officer of the state must be news to Billy Roper, "chairman" of the fascist swine, who (according to Levenson and Allen) "praised the police for protecting his members."

At the end of the day, the failure of the neo-Nazis to disrupt the memorial was due neither to the governor's self-serving rhetoric nor to the massive police presence protecting them.

Rather, it was due to the counter-demonstration by members of what Levenson and Allen dismissively described as "communist, anarchist and antiwar groups." We turned out at short notice to say that "Never Again" requires the willingness to confront the fascists every time they dare to appear in public. As Ananthanarayanan rightly insists, "fascism grows precisely where it goes unopposed."

In addition to exposing the vile politics of the "White Revolution," then, the anti-fascist mobilization also exposed the hypocrisy of the state's political establishment and, it would appear, of the Boston Globe.

Against such a background, Ananthanarayanan's report underscores the vitally important role Socialist Worker plays in grassroots efforts to rebuild a left political alternative in this country. Thanks again for SW's work in highlighting the struggles for social justice that the corporate media self-servingly ignores or distorts.
Mark Clinton, Northampton, Mass.

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Thanks for telling my side

I WOULD like to thank Socialist Worker, and John Osmand in particular, for telling my story ("Bigotry at Blue Cross," May 6). It's been a rather lonely vigil, and John's interest and encouragement have meant so much to me.

I've also been gratified by the support I have received from many of my former co-workers, even those who only dared whisper their approval sotto voce.

From the beginning, I've felt that this story wasn't just about me. Diversity is a foreign concept at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island. In my 17 years there, I never even heard anyone in authority mention the word, much less implement a policy to achieve it. As I look back at my time at that "institution," I can't help but wonder at my own naiveté.

From the outset I hoped to, at least, raise awareness so that others would be forewarned at what they might expect from that establishment.
Joe Giarusso, Providence, R.I.

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Is Sadr a real alternative?

CHUCK STEMKE writes in support of Iraqi Shiite leader Moktada al-Sadr that "though he is high on the clerical hierachy, he sees the need to build national unity, and therefore opposes institutionalizing religious law" ("Alternative to the occupation," April 29). Some recent actions of Sadr's followers would seem to contradict this analysis.

On March 15, Sadr supporters attacked a group of students from Basra University while on a picnic. Apparently, what bought on the attack was that the outing consisted of male and female students, and crossed ethnic and religious lines. A young woman, who appears to have been singled out for being a Christian, was physically attacked, and when a male friend attempted to defend her, he was shot dead by Sadr's supporters.

The students carried out a six-day strike in protest against these attacks. The Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq issued a statement condemning the attacks and supporting the students' strike. Because of widespread public support of the students, a representative of the Mahdi Army, which supports Sadr, was forced to issue a public apology for the attacks in a leading Basra newspaper.

The Worker-Communist Party of Iraq (WCPI), opponents both of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and the armed resistance to that occupation, claims that it learned--by way of a supporter in the Basra organization of Sadr's organization--there was a plan to "kidnap and murder" leading WCPI cadre in Basra. If this is true, it would indicate that those in favor of an Islamic republic would most likely carry out a campaign to eliminate the Iraqi left, as was done in Iran by the Islamic regime in that country.

While supporting forces in Iraq who actively oppose the U.S. occupation of their country, we should also condemn attacks against leftists and other advocates of secularism by conservative forces in Iraq.
Ken Morgan, Madison, Wis.

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