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November 10, 2006 | Page 8

Vote for Leedham
The myth of "humanitarian" invasion

Standing up for choice

RECENTLY, THE University of Vermont's student newspaper, the Cynic, ran a paid advertising insert sponsored by the anti-abortion group, the Human Life Alliance. This 12-page glossy piece of lies and propaganda attacked women's rights and people of color, as well as abortion rights.

The response of the student body, faculty and staff of the university was one of outrage and disgust. Women felt attacked and ashamed, and as if their bodies, rights and voices did not matter. But also out of this anger came the underlying question: Why are women's rights and abortion rights under such militant attack from the right wing?

In order to answer this important question and organize a public, activist response to the Cynic's unacceptable decision to run such a gross ad, the students of the International Socialist Organization on campus, along with support from the Feminist Club and the Women and Gender Studies Department, held a meeting entitled "We Won't Go Back, Stand Up For Abortion Rights!"

The growth of the right was discussed, and how the lack of an independent, grassroots pro-abortion, pro-women movement has given the right the go-ahead to think it is acceptable to take away a woman's right to control her own body.

This analysis was well-received, and we are focusing on not only how we can respond to this specific incident through a speak-out, but also what we can do to fight against sexism, women's oppression and attacks on abortion rights in a more general and radical way. Abortion rights are under attack, and the UVM community is going to stand up and fight back!
Mary Howland, Burlington, Vt.

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Vote for Leedham

JOE ALLEN'S article, while informative, falls short in articulating how this go-around for Leedham is not just important for rank-and-file Teamsters--the stakes are high for the entire U.S. labor movement ("What's at stake for the Teamster election," October 20).

Hoffa and his pals in the Change to Win (CTW) coalition have done little to revitalize the go-along-get-screwed labor movement. In addition, CTW has largely been the conservative labor voice in the immigrant rights movement, a movement that has provided an opportunity for labor that we've not seen since the 1997 Teamster's strike at UPS--that is, to change the dynamic of class struggle.

The top-down strategy, employed by Hoffa and CTW strongman Andy Stern is contrasted by Leedham's leadership and vision of building a new labor movement that seeks to provide confidence and the tools needed to rebuild the labor movement from below, grounded in democratic unionism and worker's power. Furthermore, while the AFL-CIO is adding to the Democrats' coffers this election season, Leedham favors using our dues for organizing and pressuring politicians, not throwing cash at them.

A Leedham victory later this month in the country's second-largest union would be a huge step forward in the discussion and debate about the future of our labor movement. Teamsters have the opportunity to play a historic role in this election, not just for our own union but for workers all across the country.

If you've lost or misplaced your ballot, or made a mistake on your ballot, call: 888-426-2006 to get a new ballot. Vote the Tom Leedham "Strong Contacts, Good Pensions" slate.
Jim York, IBT Local 25, Boston

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The myth of "humanitarian" invasion

I THOUGHT clarification on what Nathan Kleinman wrote ("It's time to save Darfur," October 13) was needed. The goal as activists that we must keep in mind is that if we are trying to "save Darfur" for the refugees, outside intervention isn't an option here.

While Kleinman admits that both the U.S. and UN have economic interests in Sudan, he falls into the argument that more aid will mean nothing "in the absence of security." This "security" amounts to setting Darfur up for what can amount to another of the failed "humanitarian" invasions, like that of the "famine relief" mission to Somalia, where 10,000 Somalians were killed; or the failed NATO war (led in the name of refugees) in Kosovo, where the number of refugees went from 45,000 to 800,000.

Any "security" or "humanitarian" intervention that will increase military presence in Darfur gives the U.S. an even stronger position there.

To look more at what a U.S. intervention really has in store for the people and refugees of Darfur, one only has to look at the fact that pro-Israeli groups, who justify the killings in Southern Lebanon and support the onslaught against Palestinians, and right-wing war hawks have used this "humanitarian intervention" as an opportunity to push their agenda in order to solidify the U.S. as the only imperial power.

The fact is neither Franklin Roosevelt nor Bill Clinton nor President Bush has attempted to save the lives of millions of people unless it provided a step forward for U.S. global hegemony. To "save Darfur" means no "humanitarian" intervention and immediate economic aid.
Alvaro Lopez, New York City

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