The following is a collection of good old fashioned letters to the editor. Since our move online, most "letters" come in the form of comments. But we still receive via post and e-mail letters to the editor, which we will publish as frequently as possible.
Big Brother Inc.
The Intel Corporation recently announced some new gadgets they are working on. First is their "mind reading" software that uses brain scans to determine what people are thinking. Then there is their "dispute finder" technology that will monitor your Internet search habits and phone conversations, to warn you when you have received possibly inaccurate information.
They are of course working on cell phone technology that would use GPS, motion and audio information that would track where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with. And finally they are working on a TV set-top box that would monitor where you go on the Internet, and what you watch on TV.
I am all in favor of technological advancements but we citizens need to limit the power of corporations and governments to track our movements, record our conversations, and monitor what we watch on television. Intel should change its name to Big Brother Inc.
From 1971 - on
I was introduced to the People's World in 1971 by Lee Gregovich. He was the cook at a mountain lodge east of San Diego where I worked in maintenance. Later on I worked in an ornamental iron factory and wrote a rhyme called "Time Clock" that the PW published in 1976. Still later, I became a stringer for PW when I lived and worked in Oakland and I wrote a review of a Willie Nelson movie. One of your readers responded that I should be tied down to a chair and made to listen 24 hours straight to the songs of Woody Guthrie to learn about a real troubadour of the people. I've always loved the People's World and the people I met there, and though I haven't subscribed in a long time-I mourn its passing. But going online is not such a bad thing. I've subscribed to your online contribution.
Media and Mexico
Who governs Mexico? The answer is not as obvious as one might think. A government by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs as conceived by Manuel J. Clothier, put into practice by Vicente Fox in 2001 and continued by current president Felipe Calderón seemed to place Mexico's economics in the hands of the country's wealthiest fifty families. But as the economy bottomed out, investigators began to question: Are they really making the decisions? Or are the drug cartels with their wealth, armaments and corrupting of the justice system calling the shots? Or is it the communications monopolies who actually wield decisive power?
The Mexican public's access to knowledge about what actually is happening is limited. Televisa and TV Azteca, granted monopolies by the Mexican government during Fox's administration (2000-2006), control both news and entertainment and own or franchise nearly 95 percent of the country's radio stations. With a few notable exceptions (namely the daily newspaper La Jornada and the weekly magazine Proceso) the media, dependent upon government advertising, prints and broadcasts only what those in power want to relay.
The importance of this media control was demonstrated in 2006 in the southern state of Oaxaca when a group of women belonging to the Popular Assembly took over local television and radio stations after government repression of a teachers strike. Telecasts and broadcasts not only presented different points of view but unveiled government corruption. Control of the media was so important that the government destroyed the transmitting antennas and with federal military reinforcements imprisoned or drove into exile many of the broadcasters. Federal and state authorities have continued this campaign by destroying regional community radio stations.
Robert Joe Stout
Remembering Dr. Corinne Wood
Just to say thanks to a wonderful person, Corinne Wood.
I was so pleased to see your article in People's World. I will never forget the great kindness Corinne showed me. Furthermore I will always appreciate the faith she had in me academically, despite my station in life in 1971. There I was, a British teenager, working for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Just a volunteer for her mosquito cages yet she invited me to come and live with her in California and study.
I now have an many degrees and have published too !
During those long political discussion held in her Riverside home she would say, "Come on David, you can contribute. I know you can." She was like a mother to me then.
It was an incredible time and the people I met I will never forget: Gus Hall, Jarvis Tyner and even Angela Davis.
My deepest affection.
Short and sweet
I like to read your articles and really I enjoy that it gives me power. It makes me eager to stand up and struggle for freedom and democracy.
I look for you again, HAITI,
land of sun and sweat, of people who dance
and sing smiling, humane and lucid.
I have seen you one day at peace,
while it was still possible
to take subversive risks. I was there when
students were preparing for the struggle,
defending the national sovereignty.
The country's land is fertile and people
worked in agriculture until the Yankees'
sweat shops arrived, and folks had to move
to shanty towns where houses were fragile
and had to cluster together more and more
as poverty was growing.
Then the earthquake happened.
Things go from bad to worse until people
shout "Enough is enough!"
The marines arrived again, and instead
of water, food and medicine, they carried guns
in order to stop the desperate people
from looting markets and food warehouses.
However, there are more people alive than dead;
While they were burying their loved ones
and the few doctors were trying to save others
who were still breathing, the medicine,
beds and hospital equipment were held at the airport
and ships were guarded by the marines
who are worse than the earthquake, than
the run away inmates, than looters.
How sad I feel for the Haitian people!
I wanted to cry again "Yankee go home!"
and support Haitian's struggle for autonomy
and freedom from the sweat shops, charity
and Yankee marines.
Toussaint L'ouverture Is Here
In Haiti After the Quake
Toussaint L'ouverture is alive here,
as the quake struck into the heart of Port-au-Prince,
the thousands of dead now covered
with plastic sheets or bloodied bags
all across this beautiful island,
The Black Liberator is here
at Pétionville, the National penitentiary, among shattered houses
on Delmas road, near the Karibe Hotel where tourists
and Haitian workers all died regardless
of class, all of them destroyed in an outpost
where the cross roads of commerce and insurrection meet...
Toussaint L'ouverture with his slave fighters
at Hotel Villa Créole, where doctors treated
the first wounded at the opened gates,
Toussaint L'ouverture has not abandoned Haiti
even as the gentle hillsides are scraped
bare of its shanty houses, even as they tumble
down into the dark ravines,
Toussaint L'ouverture is among the Haitians,
A great torch of Liberation
among the catastrophe-
schools collapsed with orphaned children,
hospitals gone with the infirmed among the broken
telephone lines and x-ray machines, the National Palace now
white, concrete debris...
Toussaint L'ouverture with his revolutionary troops
march like great ghosts
among the greatness and poverty that is Haiti,
Where there is no calm among the enclave in the hills
Where peacekeepers lay dead near Christopher Hotel,
There and everywhere you can see
Toussaint L'ouverture, his proud black face
etched with grief.
Luis Lázaro Tijerina
Of all the officials flying into Haiti these days, there is one you are not likely to see; although of all people he would be the most welcome by the poor-most of the population.
I refer to Jean Bertrand Aristide, the U.S. ousted president who won the 2000 election with over 90% of the vote.
His absence is not for lack of trying. From his exile in South Africa he has expressed wishes to "be with my people."
With the all expressions of concern emanating from our government towards this earthquake of nature which has devastated Haiti, the Haitian people have long memories of the U.$.- made "quakes" foisted upon them.
U.S. backed coup in 1990 after Aristide won an overwhelming election.
U.S. refusal to release $100 million in aid to Haiti after Aristide was reelected in 2000, thereby denying him sorely needed funds to help the economy and raise the standard of living for the poor.
And then, shamefully, the 2004 flight of America's "other" black hero, then sect. of state Colin Powell, to Port Au Prince to tell President Aristide in effect, "You had better leave Haiti, or they will kill you."
The "they" he was referring to were Haitian thugs led by the criminal Guy Philippe, who had returned from exile in the Dominican Republic hacking and slaughtering people in the countryside. Philippe and his element were the Haitian "contras", not unlike the U.S.- backed contras during the Nicaraguan revolution.
Sadly to conclude, Aristide is still so popular amongst the majority of Haitians that his party was denied participation in the last senatorial elections by the current U.$ backed pro-business government.
So much for American style "democracy."
But it ain't over yet, folks, as history always reminds us.