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Views in brief

April 21, 2006 | Page 8

OTHER VIEWS BELOW:
Plans for May 1?
Think twice before striking
A is for antiracist

La lucha seguira

AS HUNDREDS of students converged at Park Street and West Johnson in Madison in support of immigrant rights April 10, thousands of people awaited their arrival at Brittingham Park.

Police coordinated the blocking of traffic as students marched the mile from campus to the park to the beat of their makeshift drums--five-gallon buckets hanging from string around their rebellious necks, covered with stenciled images of famous revolutionaries--chanting "Aqui y alla, la lucha seguira!" (Here and there, the fight will continue!).

All the students' organizational efforts, combined with that of local unions, human-rights groups, churches and the Latino community paid off as thousands, disgusted with the U.S. Congress and their racist policies proceeded the mile down W. Washington Ave. to the Capitol building to express their discontent. Many stared in awe as this gigantic following filled the streets, and clogged up traffic for nearly an hour.

Although five or six skinheads came out to "respect our laws and our orders," they were chanted down and chased away, and hardly affected the high energy levels in the air that was filled with the shouts of those that did not consider any part of those laws their own. The Capitol building was bombarded with thousands of workers, united against oppression, many of whom took the day off of work, excused their children from school and left their mark not only in their presence, but also in their absence.
Lauren Schmidt, Madison, Wis.

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Plans for May 1?

MY COMPLIMENTS on your publication, which I picked up at the local protest rally against HR4437/HR4435 here in Austin, Texas. I found it lacking of the narrowly sectarian "rant voice" of some "red" publications I have read, and it proved the gentle nudge I needed to abandon the Democratic Party.

There was a rumor at the rally of a national walkout among undocumented workers on May 1. If such were the case, then now would be the time to get the word out, and I would want to get to work here locally to that effect. Have you heard of such a plan?
James Heines, Austin, Texas

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Think twice before striking

TO THOSE workers at Delphi who think they are being taken advantage of, I would suggest they think twice before they plunge themselves into a prolonged strike in a battle over wages and benefits.

The financial difficulties at General Motors, and the U.S. auto industry in general, are real. Past labor agreements, made in haste and which did not anticipate future economic challenges facing the industry today, have forced changes on GM which have included massive plant closures, cutbacks in benefits of retirees and white-collar workers, the elimination of entire model lines, and the sale of once-profitable subsidiaries. Foreign competition, rising health benefits and energy costs represent just some of the changes imposed on the industry.

As one who works in an automobile related field, I have seen my own wages and benefits decline, as the cost of everything rises. Still, I do not believe that adding to the industry's challenges by placing unrealistic demands upon companies will advance the interests of American auto workers.

The most likely company reaction will be further downsizing, sending more jobs overseas and more layoffs. Auto industry workers will then face the prospect of working at service-sector jobs for low salaries. Unless or until the industry is able to regroup, and operate profitably, we all face difficult choices.
Eric Stefik, Las Vegas, N.V.

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A is for antiracist

BEN DAVIS is not the first comrade I've heard complain about the anarchist subtext in V for Vendetta, but frankly, I don't get it ("A is for anarchism," April 14).

When a mainstream movie takes a stand against homophobia, anti-Arab racism, government repression and surveillance, and then calls for the revolutionary overthrow of that government, I don't see how socialists do anything but cheer. When a movie takes an uncompromising position of supporting the violence of the oppressed against the much greater violence of the oppressor, how can socialists be anything but overjoyed?

Additionally, V for Vendetta does show regular people taking a stand against their government in response to a "fingerman" killing a neighborhood youth. Far from an elitist view that people are sheep, the movie is clear to identify that people don't buy all the crap their government tells them, even if they are too fearful or lack the confidence to directly defy it.

In the event that people who now join the International Socialist Organization start asking "Where are your masks?" well, I suppose a little patient explaining will be in order. Barring that, I say lay down $10 of capital to see V for Vendetta, and then join the nearest "Day Without an Immigrant" rally on May 1.
Andrew Libson, San Francisco

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