Letters from our readers

28 August 2012

On “The unions, the pseudo-left and the South Africa massacre

The pseudo-left organizations are always condemning “violence” on the part of the working class. They never acknowledge the violence that drives workers into a struggle in the first place. How many platinum miners die on the job, perish at an early age, can’t feed their families and have to watch their children suffer? All of that is acceptable in the eyes of the union-oriented, “pacifist,” fake lefts. The violence that accompanies a revolutionary awakening, or even the instincts of self-preservation among the workers, however, is condemned. As the world crisis sharpens, the position of the ISO is more and more exposed as counterrevolutionary.

EG
24 August 2012

On “The US Medicare debate

The operative phrase “premium support” says it all. In essence the private insurance industry can in no way make profit off people over 65 with their current business model. Just as the federal government has reduced upper income taxes and instead sold these same people treasury debt, they will transfer tax revenue to the private insurance sector in order to maintain profit margins. It’s clear as the rate of profit has fallen, the US treasury has been the place to make up all shortfall of Free Enterprise.

GJE
25 August 2012

On “Why Western politicians support Pussy Riot

There’s a two-word summary for the entire record of the Obama administration on human rights: Bradley Manning. In my humble opinion, Pussy Riot provides an ideal point of entry to hammer this point home, relentlessly and with gusto. Every time the administration speaks on human rights, Bradley Manning’s name needs to be invoked.

Great article. I’ve been very careful to denounce the phony outcry while providing principled support to Pussy Riot. Glad to see you guys are doing the same.

Nick
25 August 2012

On “American writer and liberal thinker Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

Gore Vidal was, and remains, someone I admire, and I admire very few.

The article is pretty even-handed, but I feel it attempts to minimize Vidal’s enormous impact amongst his own class, who obviously considered him a traitor, much as Roosevelt was viewed in the 1930s when he proposed the New Deal. Vidal never claimed that he was a socialist. On the contrary, he was clear that his background and upbringing made him an acute observer of the ruling class from the “inside,” as it were. He had far fewer illusions about the reality of empire than had the middle classes, who continued to believe (and still do) in the lies the Democratic Party was spinning about being the “party of the people.”

In addition, he was open about his homosexuality when most homosexuals were in the closet, and to his credit he never allowed himself to become any type of icon for gay identity politics.

Admiration. Hard to get that from me.

Carolyn
27 August 2012

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An interesting obituary by Sandy. Of course, Vidal was a man of his class and did not support oppositional mass movements. But, nonetheless, he is still valuable as someone from a particular social background who did speak out against the system. His feelings about the masses were ones of despair that they had been manipulated by the media more than anything else. I don’t believe he regarded them in a disdainful manner like one UK post-structuralist critic I knew in the 80s (“The masses” expressed in a mode of contempt) who once stated, “The working class doesn’t exist anymore.”

But I’m perplexed about one sentence stating that “Cold War assumptions, of which he may not have been fully aware, began to enter his work.” Does this relate to his fiction of the 50s and, if so, which works? Clarification is needed here. Everything I’ve read so far states his opposition to a Cold War begun to scare Americans and initiate a National Security State. Also, during the 50s, didn’t he write a novel critiquing US interference in Latin America? Remember that Marx did praise Balzac whose politics were reactionary. Vidal may not have openly supported working class movements but he was an oppositional voice, both in his fiction and essays, and such a voice is very rare today.

Tony W
27 August 2012