Letters from our readers

18 August 2007

The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.

On “US federal officials cover up deadly conditions in Utah mine

It’s happening again. Why aren’t any of our “watchdog” news agencies investigating or asking any questions about the safety at this mine by investigating the mine owners’ history and congressional testimony last year regarding MSHA and the Sago mine tragedy? What will it take for this country to help these hard-working people? How many more need to die? Do they even have life insurance or medical insurance provided by their employer? Thank you and God bless.

MD

17 August 2007

On “US military launches offensive against ‘Iranian-backed’ militia in Iraq

The irony here is that the US will end up backing Al Qaeda-aligned militants against “Iranian-backed” militias. What happened to the “war on terror”?

EG

16 August 2007

On “Australia: unsafe conditions cause another death on Sydney’s construction sites

I have just come across this story that mentions my 16-year-old son Matthew. It has been three years since his death, and we have argued non-stop with the government to implement changes to workplace safety and to introduce the crime of industrial manslaughter. After dealing with corrupt Tasmanian politicians over the last three years, it is our opinion that industrial manslaughter will never be introduced in our state, as profits are more important than human life.

In court, the company told the magistrate that they employ a certain amount of Tasmanians; it also stated that it would be cheaper to take their company back to the mainland, should the fine be too high. The magistrate fined that company on one of the two charges the sum of A$25,000, and didn’t bother to even acknowledge the other charge at all. Outraged by this fine, my family took out and won an appeal raising the original fine of A$25,000 to A$70,000. The company left the state a year and a half later. Coincidence?

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) responsible for Matthew’s case left out 95 percent of the evidence, allowing the company and the contractor to walk away scot-free. We have mountains of documentation to show that our government is corrupt and supports industry and not the employees in industry. This includes corruption at the DPP, and government cover-ups for the DPP’s lack of interest in workplace deaths.

GH and KH

Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

14 August 2007

On “Sri Lanka: JVP student leader physically threatens ISSE campus team

I am sickened by the level of backwardness and brutality that appears to be entrenched in the political outlook and activities of this fraudulent band of proto-fascists. To think that they once proudly displayed banners of Lenin and Marx!

One of my cousins is part of the “anti-raggers” opposition formed by Peradeniya students who banded together years ago, after becoming tired of suffering the harassment, intimidation, violence and mayhem orchestrated by JVP members. She used to tell me about how JVP thugs would deliberately disrupt the rehearsals of Shakespeare plays conducted by the campus theatre group, throwing eggs and other objects at students and denouncing “the influence of agents of foreign culture.”

The JVP proclaims itself to be the People’s Liberation Front, but there is plenty of evidence—an extensive track record, in fact—to indicate that it stands for neither liberation nor “the people.” It is simply a front.

Carry on the good fight, comrades.

NA

Sydney, Australia

9 August 2007

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The recent article where you mention how the JVP student leader at the University of Peradeniya threatened and chased away a group of independent students is typical of how the JVP has dominated the campuses—through thuggery. Not only the students, but also the university administrators, including the Vice Chancellor, are scared of them. These administrators allow them to carry on regardless of their behavior.

This student leader Chinthaka ceased to be a student in the science department several years ago, yet the Vice Chancellor has not taken any action to suspend him and merely turns a blind eye to the JVP’s activities. They also indirectly receive the blessings of the present government of Mahinda Rajapakse. Human rights organizations have a moral obligation to address this type of blatant violation of human rights instead of going around to jails and safeguarding the human rights of criminals. Daily they are dead silent on this issue.

OA

9 August 2007

On “Delphi’s exit from Spain to be followed by other relocations

This is happening all over Europe. I work at the Liverpool plant, and we have seen our business go to Hungary—products that we designed and that were accepted on price by various customers. The focus was on the USA, and now it is Europe. Businesses will all go to China once these other countries start to get a better standard of living. Then the USA will be moaning about its balance of trade, and we will see the same thing that happened when Japanese imports started attacking the American home market.

WO

United Kingdom

9 August 2007

On “The new and unimproved Hairspray

I was surprised to see the WSWS give such an uncritical view of John Waters’ works. Waters, in my opinion, in no way offers any sort of radical critique, however broadly defined. Instead his work—like so much of modern art—becomes an incubator for some of the worst trends in capitalist society. It’s difficult, for instance, to see the Jerry Springer Show and the current crop of reality shows, with their cruel and voyeuristic undertones, as anything but continuators of paths first blazed by Waters.

I am from Baltimore, and in Waters’ films you see his dripping contempt for white working class people in the city, their mannerisms, accents and dress, much like middle-class British now have a go at the “chavs.” (Blacks, despite being a majority here, barely figure in his films.) It’s no accident either; Waters and many of his earlier colleagues, like Divine, came from the toniest neighborhoods here and reflect the disdain such people feel towards their “inferiors,” even as they temporarily slummed among them.

FD

14 August 2007

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Having rather liked the original, I refused to see this remake. There was no way, I knew, John Travolta could ever hold a candle to Divine’s performance, for one thing. For another thing, I could see by the trailers that it had been smoothed out, shined up for a broader audience.

Thank you for your review. It has confirmed my suspicions and removed any lingering temptation to pay $8 to see it. When I see a John Waters film, I want to be a little offended. However, I would be very much offended to be pandered to in the way this film seems to do.

CMS

Portland, Oregon, USA

14 August 2007

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