Views in brief

November 25, 2008

What should be in an auto bailout

THANKS FOR putting up this article ("A bailout for the auto industry?"). I work at Twin Cities Assembly and have been trying to stay on top of this crisis in auto as it has developed to be able to explain to my coworkers what's happening.

A lot of articles from the mainstream media quote the report from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), without explaining what the heck the CAR is. It's good to know that they have ties to GM, and therefore have a reason to overstate (somewhat) the potential impact of GM's collapse on the U.S. economy as a way to extract more money out of the government.

I'm working on drafting a leaflet with some coworkers about this bailout, which actually makes a lot of the points you make in this article: we should have no faith in the companies to maintain jobs/wages/benefits; they caused this problem; the UAW should demand the right to decide how this money gets spent, along with other elected representatives from local communities; use the factories and other resources to create a green manufacturing infrastructure; etc.

Keep up the good work.
Brett Hoven, Minneapolis

Not an isolated movement

ON A breezy afternoon on November 9, approximately 500 spirited protestors marched some four miles from Lincoln Park in East Los Angeles, to Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Cathedral in downtown, in defense of same-sex marriage and against California's Proposition 8.

Organized by east side lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community activists, the marchers proudly waved rainbow banners and held up a large array of mostly homemade posters denouncing Prop 8, which defines marriage as being between one man and one woman.

With chants shouted over bullhorns, marchers responded to the small number of counter-protesters in loud choruses of "Sí, se puede--yes we can" and "Gay marriage is a civil right!" Filing up to the cathedral entrance, marchers chanted "Shame on you" at the leadership of the Catholic Church, which helped finance Prop 8.

The crowd was feeling energized by the tens of thousands who had marched in previous days in other parts of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. Marchers were especially inspired by the bold defiance of those protesting in Salt Lake City, Utah--the home of the Mormon Church, whose members contributed an estimated $22 million to the campaign in favor of Prop 8.

It is clear to each and every one of us that we are by no means an isolated movement. The newfound leadership formed from the ranks of the participants will, in the next few days, convene a meeting with LGBT community activists to develop a plan to build the fight for the right to same-sex marriage and all civil rights. Sí se puede!
Alvaro Maldonado, Los Angeles

Teamsters at Oak Harbor Freight

IN SEATTLE, Washington the members of Teamsters Local 174 at Oak Harbor Freight Lines have been on strike since September 23.

There understandably has been no coverage in the mainstream media, apart from when the strike first started. There should be coverage on it, as it is an Unfair Labor Practice strike--the company has been refusing to bargain at all with the union.

Visit for information about how to support the strike.
Patrick Switzer, Seattle

Pushing Obama to deliver

THE VICTORY of Barack Obama comes on the heels of victories of decades of the civil rights movement. In an unprecedented storm of victory, our country has elected its first African American president.

The right criticizes him for wanting to raise everyone's taxes. The right, as usual, is full of it. Obama's tax increase plan involves only people making more than $250,000 a year. Now how many Socialist Worker readers does that effect? (Not this reader.)

As a substance abuse clinician, I am relieved at McCain's defeat because McCain has a record of opposition to certain treatments for opioid dependency, particularly methadone. If he had won, it would have been a disaster for addicted people nationwide.

Socialist Worker is correct in marking Obama's victory as historic. But let's also be careful not to paint this guy up as another Bill Clinton; let's give the guy a chance. And Socialist Worker is correct: activists need to keep his feet to the fire in order that his campaign promises--better health care, pulling troops out of Iraq, etc.--are kept.

I think it is possible to convince Obama to enact a sort of "new" New Deal, as well as to repeat the policies of Franklin Roosevelt that worked. Let's make sure he gets people jobs. Obviously, the shortest distance to that point is rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure as well as creating a renewable-energy industry.

It's a whole new ball game out there, folks. Bush is--finally--on his way out, and Obama is stepping into some difficult shoes. Activists now need to press for the reforms he has promised and more.
Bruce Burleson, Brockton, Mass.