The following is a selection of recent letters sent to the World Socialist Web Site.
It seems to me that the Republican Party may be doing all of us a huge favor. This week, they have been continuously defining socialism as "spreading the wealth." They do this of course with the intention of scaring their middle-class supporters. What they don't seem to realize, though, is that millions of poor and working people in this country think that "spreading the wealth" is a pretty good idea. A generation of Americans, who really have no idea what socialism is, may be hearing this word for the first time. And rather than having it associated with gulags and police states, it is being associated with redistributing the wealth. That's not a bad thing. Thanks to the Republican Party, "socialism" has become part of the national dialogue. Now it's up to Marxists to explain the revolutionary essence of socialism. I am confident that the redesigned WSWS will be an essential educational and organizational tool towards that end. Forward to redistributing the wealth!
23 October 2008
Rejecting McCain and Obama, I went to early vote yesterday, writing in the SEP candidates. Thanks for a better choice!
23 October 2008
Thank you, Barry, for another great article, continuing to put the speed and magnitude of this moving target into perspective. What started out as workers-sponsored bankers' free-for-all is now turning into a wanton orgy that makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like an afternoon tea party with Mother Theresa.
Another $540 billion to prop up mutual funds—I don't know even what they are. Are they real money or paper, who knows? What the hell, another $540 billion, why not?
Then there are the tax cuts, the tax credits, the tax this and the tax thats. According to articles on the WSWS, Wall Street banks and financial institutions have written off so much in bad debt that they won't have to pay taxes until sometime in the next millennium (in which time, all social infrastructure will have completely collapsed and NY workers will be living in caves), while 66 percent of business pays little or no tax anyway.
All of this when the richest 1 percent of the US population already own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent, and the bottom 40 percent who own a grand total of 0.2 percent of all wealth, are to be lumbered with paying off this debt.
If capitalism is its own gravedigger, then there are more than a few lawmakers and bankers in the US and around the world, digging furiously, shovel in hand.
22 October 2008
I agree that Obama is going to go ahead with interventionism, but I think you may have missed out on one component behind Biden's message to Democratic voters about Obama being "tested." My sense was that, without attempting to say anything specific that could be construed as an attack on the right, Biden was attempting to draw upon the feeling, common among many Democrats, that Obama may be attacked by the right wing in an extreme way. Of course, after Monicagate, the stolen Florida vote of 2000, and the odd circumstances in the Ohio vote of 2004, many Democratic voters are entirely within their rights to suspect that a wave of right-wing attacks on a black Democratic President may be in the future. Biden has no wish to raise this as a real portentous issue, but he knows how to stroke it among his voting base. Most registered Democrats hearing Biden suggesting that Obama was about to be severely tested were, however, more likely thinking not of Pakistan or Iran but of the Republican Party and a host of Limbaughesque radio hosts. Biden avoided saying it that way, but played on the feeling rather skillfully.
22 October 2008
It 's just to let you know that I enjoyed your article about the commodification of artwork. A few days before it appeared on the WSWS, nephews and nieces from Jacques Brel lover's Sylvie Rivet made more than €1 million by putting his memorabilia on auction at Sotheby. The Brel family had tried to block the auction but failed.
Parts of Jacques Brel memorabilia (and how many others great artist memorabilia?!?!) are now dispersed throughout the world in some rich collector's houses and not available to the public. No respect for the great artist in that failed capitalist system!
Thanks that there are still people like Mr. Hughes (and of course the WSWS) to ring the alarm on those things.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
22 October 2008
The theory of evolution has been with us for a long time, and yet it is still presented as a "theory" not a fact in many places, but especially America. Anti-intellectualism has always been a weapon of controlling the masses, and quite successfully so...most people in the US believe creationism over evolution primarily because they simply do not understand the basics of biology. Creationism is a simple, easy-to-digest story. Religion along with other mythologies tends to destroy or cripple a person's "baloney detector" so that any manner of belief can be accepted including capitalist mythologies such as "hard work will make you rich" or even worse, the adulation of the rich and famous as national "heroes." Europe has had a friendlier outlook on socialism for the precise reason that it is more secular in values. The US abhors it for the most part. An atheistic, socialist-orientated politician wouldn't make it to city council let alone president in the US/Canada, at least one openly so. I am encouraged that religion is now, finally being challenged. I am discouraged it has taken so long. I am also discouraged by the rise of other anti-intellectual pursuits though: new age mysticism, alternative medicine, green-washing, and other such nonsense. We must remember that both Hitler and Stalin were anti-intellectuals. In the US, Governor Palin's religious mentality carries with it a very dark side, as religion and politics often do when in collusion. The historical precedents are legion. But I am also very worried that with a worldwide economic downturn, the gains made by evidence-based science will be obscured by a return to comforting fictions, fictions that will benefit the elite's power structure and rule.
Powell River, BC, Canada
17 October 2008
Right on, David, in your reply to the first letter and what you would have Obama say if he was a legitimate reformer or even just a man who could not abide lies. Of course, he didn't say anything like that. It's not in his remit, after all. He bows to the orders of his financial masters, who have bought, paid for, and carefully vetted him to assure his suitability as a candidate for one of the major bourgeois political parties. The only difference between Obama and any other such politician is the color of his skin. And that is being used to deceive the public about his true allegiance. Like one of the "avatars" in the gaming world, he wears a disguise and you have no idea who is really behind the public political camouflage. Unless, of course, you observe his actions. They speak louder than any disguise.
San Francisco, California, USA
23 October 2008