Letters from our readers


On “May Day 2009

Thank you for the historical overview of May Day. You will, no doubt, receive a few notes from people mentioning the non-labor (i.e., pagan) origins of May Day—surely another mark of confusion. Indeed, the boards of Indymedia and other such “leftish” gathering places are soppy with talk of Maypoles and whatnotterry.

Your essay paints the important picture—succinctly, and pointedly.

Christie MS
Oregon, USA
1 May 2009

On “The credit card crisis and the false promise of the Obama administration


I think there is another inherent problem with the actions of the credit card industry. The “good” borrowers increasingly are dissuaded from using credit cards at all, leaving largely just the “bad” borrowers who increasingly are unable to pay their debts.

Florida, USA
1 May 2009

On “Chrysler declares bankruptcy

This article is really excellent—a summing up of the entire period of betrayals that has culminated in the Chrysler bankruptcy. The cynicism and fraud of the Obama administration is also made plain as the article explains the true nature of phrases like “saving jobs” and “quick bankruptcy.”

James B
1 May 2009

On “Tamil Nadu parties posture over plight of Sri Lankan Tamils


Very informative analysis. The Sri Lankan tragedy taking place for over two and half decades is due to the cruel games played by the reactionary LTTE as well as by the ruling elite of not only Sri Lanka but also the other interested countries. The parallel you have drawn with the formation of Bangladesh is educative. It is ironical that the setbacks faced and the shameful atrocities committed by the Indian peacekeeping forces are not known to many Indians. What was publicized was the idolization of a few Indian Army soldiers and officers who died while saving others.

Prabhakar J
Hyderabad, India
2 May 2009

On “Obama administration seeks extraordinary military powers in Pakistan


What is the difference between Obama, and Bush? Bush was/is stupid, and a fascist. But why is Obama following his failed policies, where are all those campaign promises for transparency? He states he is closing Gitmo, but is opening other secret hellholes? Now he wants to control Pakistan when he cannot keep his promises, only more lies to cover up the first lies?

Paul W
Florida, USA
3 May 2009

On “Media sensationalism, corporate power and the swine flu outbreak


Although I agree with much in this wide-ranging analysis of the swine flu hysteria, there is a deeper cause of the current outbreak, and that is the exploitative capitalist system itself. For example, there are no reports of the hog factory near La Gloria being examined for compliance with health, environmental regulations, workplace conditions for workers and the animals, much less in other Smithfield piggeries. In fact, there seems to be little doubt that Mexico was chosen for the location of the plant, precisely because of lax local regulations.

There is nothing new about this behaviour, rather natural: “Capital goes everywhere, nestles everywhere seeking lowest costs in labour and resources”; it was true in Marx’s time, it’s equally true today, it is in Capital’s DNA, so as long as the drive for private profit trumps human need and the environment, such cases will occur inevitably.

The other point is that incidents such as H1N1 flu outbreak give bourgeois politicians a chance to pose as defenders of “national interest,” as a carer of public health, whilst increasing repression and control of the society over which they rule. Even now, the police and military have the power to quarantine whole communities, with draconian fines and prison terms for those who don’t comply. All for their own good, of course!

This is not just in the US or Mexico, but there are current reports from Egypt, where there are no cases of H1N1 flu, where the government is seizing people’s pigs, in an obvious attempt to intimidate the poorest and most vulnerable section of the population. Large numbers of police and military are using armoured vehicles to enforce the seizures, with some protesters shot dead and many more arrested. Still, for the capitalists and the ruling classes, every disaster is an opportunity to advance their agenda

4 May 2009