Print edition needed
I must respectfully disagree with the letter of Michael Dollard (PWW 2/7-13) calling for the People’s Weekly World to abandon a print edition in favor of an expanded online edition. The PWW is a newspaper rich in tradition dating back to its 1924 founding as The Daily Worker.
The print edition must be accessible to the poor who may not have a computer at home. The print edition must be available for distribution to workers in an effort to get out the message to them.
Mainstream media ignore progressive issues, so much more the reason for the print edition of the PWW. When speaking with friends or co-workers one can pull out the print edition and show an article or issue not covered by corporate media. That’s why it is imperative the print edition of the PWW must continue.
The PWW staff should be applauded for their hard work. They are carrying out a fine tradition and it is appreciated.
No compromise on war crimes
John Case’s People Before Profits column on the proposed bailout (“Obama’s stimulus plan must be passed now,” PWW 1/31-2/6) contained a major error. While it was a good piece, calling for passage of the bailout, the last paragraph was a real problem. After calling for passage of the bailout, then speaking of Obama’s attempts to reach out to Republicans on this issue (all good points), he states that a compromise on this issue may require Obama to agree to give up any future possible prosecution of Bush or his appointees in regard to torture, lies in taking the nation to illegal wars, etc. There is absolutely no factual basis for this statement. We need to assure that speculation is not allowed to appear, in place of factual reporting.
Although John Case’s “People Before Profits” had many excellent points, I strongly disagree with the last section dealing with compromise with the Republicans and the crimes of the last administration. Firstly, to suggest now that compromise might be necessary is very premature and runs the risk of a repeat of the Clinton shift to the right. As we learned after the article was written, no sense of compromise or bipartisanship convinced one Republican in the House to vote yes on the stimulus plan. Any estimate of the need for compromise at any particular moment should only be made after an objective reading of the people who comprise the largest lobby responsible for the victory of democracy. There should be no compromise for crimes that have endangered our democracy and the world.
If the crimes of the Bush administration are not brought to trial, then we will certainly repeat them. Keith Olbermann was correct to say that prosecuting the criminals is not looking back but indeed looking forward. Also, one cannot separate the state of the economy or its recovery from these crimes. It was the atmosphere of the last eight years that allowed a situation that worsened and perhaps hastened the slide into a depression. With the economies of the world so intertwined, recovery will also depend on our international credibility. How will we be regarded if we do not conduct our version of the Nuremberg Trials?
The administration and Congress will have to make the time to quickly restore a sense of justice and security.
David S. Bell
John Case replies: I expected this criticism, which may well be justified. But I think speed is of the essence in the recovery. The very real possibility that the initial stimulus may not get the job done means that some compromise with the Republicans must take place. A governing majority capable of repeated, bold, experimental actions must be sustained. I am inclined to cut Obama some slack on his political judgment, which has so far, in the main, been justified.
A doctrinaire response to politics or culture can send a critic wide of the mark. Your reviewer of the film “Cadillac Records” (PWW 1/31-2/6) provides an example. First, James Thompson describes the African American blues singers’ relationships with record producer Leonard Chess as “subservient.” In including Howlin’ Wolf in the group, he ignores the fact that Wolf is shown as independent and self-reliant. He is a contrast to Muddy Waters, and shows that Waters and others who blew their earnings were not simply mindless victims but agents of their careers and fates.
Second, why does the reviewer describe producer Leonard Chess as an “Anglo boss,” when Chess’s Jewishness is part of the film’s treatment of Chess?
Lastly, in noting Willie Dixon’s successful suit against Led Zeppelin for using Dixon’s music without attribution, the reviewer states that this incident was an instance of the “theft of Black music” that other white performers such as “Elvis Presley, the Beach Boys and the Rolling Stones” committed. This “politically correct” accusation betrays a deafness to music’s dynamic, democratic traditions. All adaptations, imitations and “covers” of other musical traditions are not theft. There was and is no basis for accusing Presley, the Beach Boys or the Stones of theft. Was Ray Charles a thief when he sang country western music? Are Black jazz musicians thieves when they create their own versions of Tin Pan Alley tunes?
In writing criticism, one helps readers best by responding to what is actually in a work, rather than projecting upon a work one’s own prejudices and fantasies.
Ann Arbor MI
No to sacrifice, yes to solutions
The economic crisis can be solved in favor of “Main Street” only if the people who live on “Main Street” make it happen. There is no other way. Relying on our government to “do the right thing” will not work; it will take the organized struggle of the people to realize any benefit.
Sacrifice? There is no need to “sacrifice.” That notion must be confronted head on. Main Street has been sacrificing for more than 30 years on the downward economic spiral while the folks who caused the crisis were bagging the upward concentration of wealth. There’s plenty of money and resources. If we want to see real change that will benefit Main Street, then Main Street must first demand: a drastic cut in the military budget and militarism while shifting that spending to domestic programs. Secondly, along with enacting strong regulation of the financial sector, we need nationalization of the banks and other large industries such as the automobile industry. Thirdly, we need to enact single-payer national health care for all, getting everyone covered, saving billions and creating jobs. The key to any economic recovery that is going to help Main Street in the long run is how well the people are organized and how effective we are in getting these key demands acted upon by our government.
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