Below we reprint a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site .
From a Russian reader:
I’d like to express my complete support for your efforts. Reading WSWS has provided me, a Russian student with still little experience in life, a new outlook which has proved to be more consistent than that provided by school, university and mass-media altogether. Before 1998, I felt little sympathy towards socialism. Both the newspapers and TV were extremely reactionary, denying the entire Soviet past and trying to prove that under Yeltsin Russia became better. Only when I went deeper into the history, especially the Cold War period, it became quite clear that a superpower couldn’t emerge as the result of constant errors and crimes (though they did exist). It meant that the media were lying.
The August 1998 crisis in Russia proved my perceptions, and since then I started looking for a better explanation of the things. It found very little response among my peers, who were diverted away from the social problems by the television and computer games. Most of us were placed high above that disastrous social situation in Russia, as our school was the best in the district and many had parents with enough money. So they thought that they might exist apart from the working class (this word became a disgruntled phrase long before the collapse of Stalinism) forever. As for adults, they didn’t have any coherent vision of the world.
Perestroika resulted in the old lie replaced by the new one, and even the most intelligent people presented some combination of these two.
This is the reason why I started reading the WSWS. I was also impressed by Vadim Rogovin’s book The World Revolution and the World War, an honest and therefore successful attempt to explain the nature of Stalinism. After reading it, I acquired a better understanding of the Russian society and relations between its people.
On the Middle East crisis:
Dear Patrick Martin,
I want to congratulate you for an excellent, but most of all, objective article [“Powell ends Mideast trip: a US cover for Israeli war crimes”]. This is not about taking sides, this is about human decency. As you very well pointed out, little coverage has been done by the US media and this is regrettable because people need to know the facts and they can draw their own conclusions.
The US media needs transparency and your article offers just that. After all, that is the center core and spine of journalism, transparency. It is very encouraging to see that there still are journalists out there that care more about human rights than political agendas.
Again, congratulations for an article well written.
18 April 2002* * *
I have just read your piece on anti-Semitism and anti-Arab sentiments in France. This is the most coherent and intelligent article I have so far read on this topic.
26 April 2002* * *
We, in the Arab World, would appreciate if you could consider introducing Arabic to the other languages on your web site. Your site is visited by many Arabs and has rich information about the Middle East.
25 April 2002
From an Ontario public sector striker:
I was thrilled to find your analysis of the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union (OPSEU) strike on the WSWS. I am an OPSEU striker, who is definitely getting her eyes opened by this current action. Being new to Canada, I am not well versed in Ontario’s labour movement, but went into this strike extremely gung-ho, only to be rudely awakened by the realisation that the union had its own very complex agenda, and that it had very little to do with my welfare.
The feeling on the picket lines in downtown Toronto is angry frustration at the union’s restraint in the face of Tory contempt. Few of us are being told anything meaningful by the union, rather the opposite is true—the union has done everything in its power to keep us in the dark. The last time I was patronised like this was by the employer. In addition, dissenting voices are quashed with no real attempt at any dialogue between union staff and members. This is my observation and experience, of course, and an extremely limited, subjective, view but, nonetheless, it is valid.
I have been doing my own research as nobody is giving me any answers regarding strategy and tactics being employed by the union and what their real agenda is regarding this strike. It is clear that under current legislation crown employees cannot use strikes as leverage. So why did the union take us out? And why did our leadership take us out before a new premier was elected? Before there was anyone to take responsibility for making a decision? And why is the media department doing nothing to publicise our strike? And why are there double the number of essential service workers in my office then there were in 1996, with less workers overall and all this negotiated by the union?
It was great reading your analysis and I would be honoured if you could give me some of your thoughts on the OPSEU strike—any information/analysis would be gratefully accepted.
26 April 2002
From a South African reader:
Thank you for the article on the latest travesty of justice in South Africa; namely, the acquittal of Wouter Basson, otherwise known as “Dr Death”. Although I am angered by the outcome of the case, I am not surprised. The trial judge, Willie Hartzenberg, is, as you pointed out in your article, the brother of Ferdi Hartzenberg, the erstwhile leader of the racist Conservative Party, and now a life-prisoner for his role in the murder of Chris Hani. Three months into the case, the prosecution asked Hartzenberg to recuse himself—his bias in favour of Basson was already abundantly clear at that time. Throughout the trial, Hartzenberg decided to believe Basson’s version of the truth, rather than that of the 153 witnesses called to the stand. The trial produced over 30,000 pages of evidence. Judge Hartzenberg took two days to review this material before acquitting Basson. On the day that judgement was handed down, fellow criminals and thugs such as former defense minister Magnus Malan were in the courtroom to congratulate him. As Basson heard the verdict, he turned and gave the cameras a knowing wink.
This trial had the potential of opening up and exposing not only Apartheid’s murderous plans, but also how countries such as the USA, the former Soviet Union and Britain actively collaborated with South African agents in the formulation of these plans. A guilty verdict would be political dynamite and would have paved the way for the prosecution of individuals such as Magnus Malan and P.W. Botha. Basson’s acquittal has exposed the fraud of “truth and reconciliation”.
23 April 2002
On “75,000 march in Washington and US against Israeli aggression”:
Voices of reason speaking from the desert at last. It is encouraging to see that citizens within the US have not forgotten how to use their voices. It is also more than hopeful to see that young people today have the courage to stand against the social status quo and speak their minds. Perhaps the drought of social inequity is going to come to an end. Perhaps voices will begin to be heard once again in the US, that stand for social change against injustice. Perhaps the common classes will again come together and put a stop to the class genocide that is currently being perpetrated against the middle class the world over.
22 April 2002* * *
Right on—100 percent. Would like to see this and the like broadly publicised and in Washington’s face. Speak truth to power.
22 April 2002
On “Britain: Media and big business denounce increase in public health spending”
Another well written and balanced piece on the true state of affairs and the impact of government policies on society and social welfare.
21 April 2002
On US militarism:
Dear Mr. Vann:
Your site is the best for the news and analysis we should have had in the so-called free press.
Has anyone spotted this: The Bay of Pigs coup was staged on 17/4/61, almost 41 years to the day of the recent coup in Venezuela
Coincidence, well maybe not. A few months ago Carmona and the coup plotters met with the very sinister Otto Reich, an ex-Cuban and now assistant secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He was appointed by Bush in spite of opposition by Congress. Bush used a trick called a “recess appointment.” Anyway, this character is the Dr. Goebells of the right wing. I suspect he suggested “on or near” April 17 as a date for the coup as an historical gesture. But someone should have reminded Otto that the Bays of Pigs was a failed coup.
The recent coup is a disgrace coming amidst the trumpeted noises of “freedom and democracy” from that hoodlum Bush. This from a country which has done its best to undermine “freedom and democracy” from Chile, to Guatemala, to just about every Latin American country. Recently the CIA admitted its part in the Pinochet coup.
There are suspicious moves going on in Miami. In February, $1 million was given to the University of Miami as preparation for the restoration of “freedom and democracy “ in Cuba ... code for coup plotting? Are Bush and Uncle Otto planning to attack Cuba?
21 April 2002* * *
Just read one of your articles about the United States’ creeping incursion into the Philippines. US citizens are fed mindless drivel about the “war on terrorism.” It was good to see something objective for a change. Well done ... don’t let up.
21 April 2002