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August 11, 2006 | Page 16

No justice in Texas
Taliban not a step forward

A new steps for immigrant rights activists

JOE ALLEN'S article provides a useful framework for urgent discussions in the new (immigrant) civil rights movement ("The civil rights movement after Montgomery," July 28).

The Montgomery Bus Boycott was a watershed event whose significance transcended the specifics of the struggle. It showed a generation that the sentiment existed for militant mass movements, opening the door for the 1960s. But it took three years of damaging backlash before those movements began.

Similarly, last spring's gigantic immigrant rights movement, culminating on May 1, polarized the country. The Minutemen and allied forces have since gone on the offensive, but no clear next steps on the immigrant workers' side have yet taken shape.

There is no need to wait three years. Socialists and other small forces cannot summon millions back into the streets at will, but we can now begin to build out of the May 1st generation.

In most cities nationwide, thousands of people (at least) participated in protest, strike, or boycott action in the spring. Even small organizations can find dozens of people looking for next steps.

Activists should think about viable grassroots campaigns on this scale. We can organize to set up day labor centers, for municipal laws to protect the undocumented, to protect immigrant workers from firings or deportations, against anti-immigrant crackdowns or vigilante activity, or a hundred other locally specific things.

Now is the time for the left to raise its expectations, to experiment, be bold, and not to fear mistakes. Given the collective memory of May 1, local victories are possible and on the agenda. Taking this next step means taking the new civil rights movement forward, and preparing ourselves to organize on the scale of May 1 again in the future.
Avery Wear, San Diego

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No justice in Texas

MY SON'S daughter died at seven weeks old, on August 17, 2004. Since he was the last one to hold her when she stopped breathing, authorities filed capital murder charges on him.

Bond was set at $250,000. Since we are a low-income family, there is no way we can bond him out of jail, where he has been since she died.

My son had a previous charge on him of assault of a public servant, so because of this, hospital doctors and police automatically assumed he did this to his daughter, and they did not do any testing for anything else that could have caused this.

I have six doctors' reports all stating that her injuries stemmed from the birth process, and also a picture of her when she was born showing a bruise on her face from delivery, the same side the injuries were on.

Our doctors' reports were sent to District Attorney Randall Simms more than three months ago. His excuse for not reading them was that "he is too busy and doesn't understand the medical lingo." So therefore, my son sits in jail, waiting until something is done.

I know there is nothing you can do, but I just wanted you to know how the judicial system works in the state of Texas.

How many people are innocent because of the lack of knowledge of authorities? How many innocent people will be sent to prison for life or get the death penalty for being falsely convicted because of the lack of knowledge? There are thousands of articles on this. Why won't doctors and police and prosecuting attorneys read up on this?

It is so unfair. In this state, you are guilty until proven innocent, and God knows how long it will take for the proof to come out, if that person is in jail waiting. It could be years--years of a life wasted waiting.
Donna Shaw, from the Internet

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Taliban not a step forward

IN RESPONSE to Andy Libson ("Afghans' right to resist," July 28), anti-imperialists unequivocally oppose the United States "eagle putting its talons on any other land," to quote Mark Twain.

Yet we see that not every opponent of the U.S. is by extension an ally of oppressed people (think of the Soviet Union, for instance, or Osama bin Laden). Anti-imperialists also unequivocally support the right of all people to choose their own leadership in the struggle against imperialism, no matter how we may disagree with that leadership.

Lebanon's Hezbollah is an excellent example of a resistance group whose right to resist we enthusiastically support notwithstanding their reactionary social philosophies. Why? Because Hezbollah's popular support is an expression of the popular will for self-determination against the U.S./Israel.

The Taliban in Afghanistan fails this criteria. Despite fearing and hating the United States, most Afghans still don't support the Taliban's fundamentalism, intimidation tactics or drug trafficking.

The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan have said when the U.S. smashed the Taliban they replaced "one fundamentalist regime with another--as brutal and misogynist as the Taliban."

The Taliban's victory today would be a setback for the U.S. empire without being a step forward for the world's people--just like Stalin's occupation of Eastern Europe was bad for U.S. empire and worse for Eastern Europeans. Until and unless the men and women of Afghanistan embrace the Taliban as a nationalist response to the U.S., then these has-been gangsters deserve only our derision.
John Green, Hayward, Calif.

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