Views in brief

July 26, 2018

A clear view on Kratom

IN RESPONSE to “Why is the FDA banning Kratom?”: I just wanted to say that I loved this article and how it took a critical look at the real reason they want to ban Kratom.

It’s clear to any Kratom user that the substance has no dangerous effects (when used on its own) beyond that of, say, caffeine. I love how you went into the Food and Drug Administration’s interests in pleasing Big Pharma and its efforts in the war on drugs, and how you looked at the ideology of drug policy in America!
Laura, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

The view from inside Socialism

IN RESPONSE to “Seeing ahead from the high points of Socialism”: Socialism 2018 was my seventh Socialism conference. I was prepared for an exciting four days. At the same time, my wife Linda and I were shepherding two veteran comrades through their first experience of Socialism.

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When we arrived Thursday morning, the registration line was already 40 long. One of our friends, Cliff, remarked, “This will take an hour, why don’t we go to breakfast first?” Cliff was thinking back to a recent Left Forum in New York City. We decided to stick it out, and within 15 minutes, all four of us were wearing nametags.

That kind of professionalism — professionalism with a comradely touch — was evident throughout the weekend. I noticed that almost all the presenters spoke from the podiums provided. This is a sign that they are proud of what they have to say, and that they had respect for their audience, especially the smaller comrades and those seated in back.

Non-sectarianism was another aspect of Socialism 2018 that our friends picked up on. I told my friend Cliff that his book, A People’s History of Science, would be in the Haymarket book room. He was skeptical, assuming that only Haymarket books would be on display. Of course, he couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only was his book present, but it was sold out by Sunday.

It was old home week when we ran into another comrade for the past half century attending his first Socialism conference. He summed up his feeling about the four days in one word: “Inspiring.”
Guy Miller, Chicago

Correcting the record on Whittier Street

IN RESPONSE to “Whittier Street staff win the union”: I am the director of the Infectious Disease and Special Populations (IDSP) Department and I want to specifically respond to the portion of the article where Dr. Sherar Andalcio stated, “We were denied proper training to take care of, for example, HIV-positive or Hepatitis C patients.”

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This is not true, and anyone can come and verify this by looking at training calendar and room bookings to see that no department has conducted more training in this health center for all levels of staff like the IDSP Department. We have two infectious disease specialists from Boston Medical Center who come to Whittier Street Health Center to treat our HIV-positive and Hepatitis C-positive clients.

Other physicians and nurse practitioners are provided ongoing training and support on a regular basis. We have provided many HIV, Hepatitis C and PrEP trainings to all the providers and support staff in our clinic for so many years. This is verifiable information, as collaborators from Gilead Sciences can testify to this.

Agencies like Primary Care Development Corporation and the New England AIDS Education and Training Center (NEAETC) have also provided training to staff at WSHC over the years.

Whittier also has a strong support staff capacity and can boast of having one of the best community outreach staff members in Boston. We have high-risk medical case managers, high-risk nurses, medical case managers and peer support staffs as well. We also have a lot of support staff from the community that are called “Whittier ambassadors.”

All these support staff members make sure that providers have the necessary assistance in doing their work by focusing on some of the psychosocial issues that are affecting our clients.
Cyril Ubiem, Ph.D., director of Infectious Disease and Special Populations, Whittier Street Health Center, Roxbury, Massachusetts

On the Whittier Street win

IN RESPONSE to “Whittier Street staff win the union”: As a CNA and a proud member of the Industrial Workers of the World, IU 610, I wanted to express congratulations, love and solidarity to the Whittier Street health care workers on their victory.

Organization is necessary for victory, and so is direct democracy. Use the victory you’ve been given as a springboard. Never, ever, ever lose your vigilance. Good work, and solidarity forever!
Adam Mattila, New London, Connecticut

Embracing identity politics?

FOR 58 years, I have believed in socialism. A new economic order is a must! However, I don’t understand why so-called socialists these days are allowing themselves to be influenced by identity politics to divide the people.

Whenever I hear anything related to identity politics, I cannot help but think about the consequence of Bacon’s Rebellion, which was raced-based slavery. The global capitalists, including Democrats and Republicans, are all alike, and they are fooling some of the people.

In the cause of socialism, if anything, we should always be united, and never divided. Power to the people!
D.E. Black, from the Internet