My opinion

My parents were both immigrants from the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. They came in the earlier part of the 1900s. They were both from very poor families. Thus for the last three decades I’ve been following the plight of these people as close as is possible, and have often expressed my opinion, joined protests, etc., in their defense.

Most recently I’ve been impressed by those folk who say the punitive attitude displayed by Washington, D.C., is no solution to the border crossing issue, for as one commentator said, “the U.S. may build a 15-foot wall but someone will come up with a 16-foot ladder.” Millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been spent in building these walls, increasing the number of Border Patrols, sensor cameras and tons of military paraphernalia, yet the crossers keep coming in ever bigger numbers.

So the question arises: what can be done? If punishment doesn’t work, what then?

I tend to think that the U.S. government should design a “good neighbor policy,” as the FDR policy was called. As we know now, the whole intent of Roosevelt’s policy was sabotaged by U.S. employers and turned into a bad policy which is now known as the “bracero program.” Suggesting this kind of a change is not as simple as it sounds. For one thing, our government would have to dismantle the border fences so border crossers can cross at ports of entry. Following that the government would need to promise and enforce certain political rights, like the right to citizenship, to organize unions, to unite their families and so on. The point is: can the U.S. be convinced on the basis of citizen pressure to change course? Maybe yes, maybe no, but the effort is worth trying. That’s my opinion.

Lorenzo Torrez
Tucson AZ

Tehran strike attacked

The strike was to begin at 5 a.m. on Jan. 27. Since the Islamic Iranian regime does not tolerate any independent trade unions and protests, it tried in the beginning to stop the strike by jailing a number of unionists leading the Workers Syndicate of United Bus Company of Teheran. But the arrests did not stop the strike. On a more suppressive level, the regime mobilized thousands of its security forces to break down the strike. They attacked houses and arrested a large number of members of the union. At the same time, security forces occupied all bus terminals in Teheran and attacked the drivers and other employees of the company by firing tear gas and beating them violently. Hundreds of people have reportedly been arrested and hundreds of others were wounded. Chasing down of the bus drivers, members of the union, continues.

Security forces arrested the wives of jailed unionists, who were to replace their husbands helping advance the strike forward.

Some 20 other unionists, members of the board of directors of the union, were also expected to be arrested.

Kanoon Zendanian
Association of Iranian Political Prisoners (in Exile)
Via e-mail

Confidentiality

The Justice Department is requesting Google to provide search information and while individuals are not named, and it is supposedly not a privacy issue, they are still requesting information for whatever purpose. Concurrently, Congress has asked the Bush administration to provide information about their response to Katrina, which they have refused on the basis of confidentiality. One assumes that Congress needs this information to improve the response for future catastrophes. It seems to me that the Bush administration has forgotten that the government is of the people, by the people, for the people, as stated by an earlier president of their party.

Carolyn Plummer
New York NY

Morris Zeitlin

I’m Morris Zeitlin’s grandson. I just wanted to send a quick note to let you know that our beloved grandpa — a longtime People’s Weekly World reader and contributor — passed away Jan. 27. Architect, city planner, Marxist scholar and lifelong advocate for peace and justice, Morris Zeitlin was the author of “American Cities: A Working-Class View” (International Publishers). He was 95. He is survived by his wife of over 70 years, Sylvia, his two daughters, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Andy Tepper
Via e-mail

Israel and Palestine: corrections

I’m a member of the YCL (and CP) of Israel. I’ve enjoyed reading online your Jan. 14 article about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I think it’s great that you strive to educate your readers about the struggles of Israeli and Palestinian Communists.

There were, however, several inaccuracies in the article.

The Palestinian People’s Party was founded in 1919, not in 1917, originally by the name of Socialist Workers Party. Later the party was renamed Hebrew Socialist Workers Party. It was not until the mid 1920s that it was finally named the Palestinian Communist Party.

The PCP suffered a split in 1943, with most of the Arab comrades forming the National Liberation League (NLL).

Those Arab comrades who remained in Israel following the 1948 war merged their organization with the (mainly Jewish) PCP to form the Communist Party of Israel.

The NLL comrades who remained in the West Bank (which following the 1948 war was annexed to Jordan) were active for several years under the name of NLL, until renaming themselves the Jordanian Communist Party in the early 1950s. Following the 1967 war, the Communists in the Israeli-occupied West Bank formed the Palestinian Communist Organization of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, renamed the PCP in 1982.

Thus, the movement started by 20 people who met in a wooden shack in 1919 gave birth to the three Communist Parties of Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

Also, “Campus,” a left-wing student coalition led by Hadash in the 1980s and early ’90s, ceased to exist many years ago. Nowadays, however, there are active Hadash clubs in Tel-Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem universities. (In each of these, the CPI organizes a Communist club). Recently Hadash in Tel-Aviv University won 22 percent of the vote in the elections to the TAU student association!

Sorry if my corrections seem petty, but living in Israel, where the history of the CPI is often distorted in the media, made me regard very highly the accurate portrait of the history of the party.

Uri Weltmann
Israel

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