Views in brief
Support Occupy New Paltz
IN RESPONSE to "A Green Party mayor cracks down": I am one of the four who was arrested when Occupy New Paltz was evicted. I wanted to thank you for spreading the word on this. This article was very well-written, and really got to the heart of the matter.
Our next court date is April 18 at New Paltz Village/Town Court at 25 Plattekill Ave., at 6 p.m. We are asking folks to join us in occupying the court. We are also raising money to pay our attorney from the National Lawyers Guild. If anyone is able to give, even just few dollars, it would be greatly appreciated.
The four of us feel that this is not just our court case, but that of Occupy New Paltz and of the Occupy movement. Every favorable court ruling helps everyone who is occupying the courts right now. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all who support the movement.
Amanda Sisenstein, New Paltz, N.Y.
Debt that will last forever
IN RESPONSE to "Graduating into never-ending debt": I am a clinical social worker. I have worked within the social services sector since 1992, to help the stigmatized and less fortunate among workers.
As such, I have never earned the pay that other peers my age have earned. I even needed to go through bankruptcy because child care costs gouged my family income to the tune of $13,000 to $20,000 per year. After putting two kids through day care, because there are no public day care programs, our financial situation was in ruins.
My daughter is 12 now. In five or six years, she will presumably be attending college. There are no funds for her college education, as they were consumed up front during her time in day care as a younger child. This dilemma is prevalent. It is a crisis of stagnant wages, and it is an all-out attack on the working class, who live paycheck to paycheck in this wage-slave economic environment.
Despite these problems, the Sallie Mae corporation demanded their money, effectively forcing us into forbearance. This helped us to not pay a certain number of months, but it also increased the monthly payments. The Sallie Mae corporation has no mechanism to renegotiate the loan to make monthly payments more manageable over a longer period of time.
This is what I call the great bourgeois deception. I could have entered a trade. I could have generated more personal income. I could have had no student loans with this scenario. And yet, I am punished for achieving an advanced degree and earning a pittance for helping the unfortunate.
Certainly, a libertarian would say that I have a choice to get a new job. However, this would demand new education to gain different skill sets--increasing my student loan debt. The imperialist ruling class wages class war upon the workers in every manner imaginable. Student loans are just one of those ways.
Thomas Lane, Rockaway, N.J.
Unions give up on taxing the rich
THANKS FOR the article ("Giving up on the millionaire's tax"). What can be done with a union or association that cannot stand up to the challenge in the class struggle for the benefit of their workers, and in this case, their recipients, the public?
At the national level, how can teachers accept Barak Obama and give backing to his campaign when he undermines public education and its funding in favor of charter schools and blames teachers for societal problems in learning?
I could not finish reading the article because the first half tells the too-often repeated history. Continue. Tell readers that there are candidates outside of the Republicrat war parties.
Michael Severson, from the Internet
Don't funnel Occupy into electoralism
AS AN active member of Occupy Portland and the Occupy Wall Street movement, I would hate to see us turn toward elections as the path to power. Our ability to disrupt business-as-usual is much more important to winning power for the 99 percent.
Martin Luther King Jr. did not focus the civil rights movement on electing Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ was not elected as a civil rights president, but the power of masses of people in the streets, occupying lunch counters and boycotting buses, forced LBJ to become a civil rights president.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was not elected advocating for labor unions, Social Security or a massive government jobs program. The factory occupations; the general strikes in San Francisco, Minneapolis and Toledo; the food riots and the widespread eviction resistance all forced FDR to act on behalf of the Depression-ridden working class.
Even Republican Richard Nixon championed affirmative action, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration because of pressure from below.
Elections have a role, especially as an educational vehicle for popularizing our message. But let us not pretend that anything less than massive mobilizations of millions of Americans in the streets, in the neighborhoods, in our schools and in our workplaces will bring the change we need.
Jamie Partridge, Portland
First published at the Portland Tribune.