Stop cuts to HIV/AIDS care

I work as a massage therapist for clients with AIDS and HIV at the CORE Center, which is an outpatient clinic that is part of Cook County Hospital. I am paid through Heartland Alliance which was awarded the federal Ryan White grant through the Chicago Department of Public Health, which chooses how the funds are allocated. They chose to cut our funds completely based on federal cuts.

We serve hundreds of clients at the CORE Center, our biggest site, as well as other sites on the North and South side of the city. The services include massage, acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Please call your congressman to ask him or her to restore the funding.

Eva Strobeck
Chicago IL
Eva Strobeck is treasurer of Rogers Park Community Action Network.

Set the record straight

This is in response to Tim Wheeler’s piece titled “The dubious history of a slogan” (PWW 5/26-6/1). His article is loaded with factual distortions.

First, he claims that he and I met in my Bethesda apartment so that I could “appeal” for the Daily World’s uncritical support for the April 24, 1971, march demanding the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam. However, I was living in Cleveland in 1971 and did not move to Bethesda until 1975. The only time I ever met with Wheeler was in 1981, seven years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Second, I was never the National Peace Action Coalition’s (NPAC’s) executive director, as Wheeler states. I was one of NPAC’s five national coordinators.

Third, NPAC never said that Out Now was the “only acceptable slogan.” What we said was that it should be the united front demand for the April 24 demonstration and that is exactly what was agreed to, with the understanding that the People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice (PCPJ) was free to carry banners and raise demands of its own to “set the date” for a U.S. withdrawal.

Fourth, NPAC never rejected calls for relating the war’s impact at home to soaring racism, poverty and cutbacks in social programs. Our difference with PCPJ was over what the unifying demands of demonstrations should be. We opposed a long laundry list which we felt detracted from the central focus needed to end the war and which could include demands that people who wanted an end to the war might not agree with.

It is true that NPAC never endorsed proposals introduced in Congress calling for an end to the U.S. war against the Vietnamese people at some future date. Why? Because we contended that the U.S. had no right to be in Vietnam in the first place, so how could anyone justify the U.S. continuing its war of aggression for a single day? Our position was anchored on the right of the Vietnamese to settle their affairs themselves.

Today’s antiwar movement has picked up where the Vietnam movement left off, with all the major demonstrations since the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq demanding immediate withdrawal. It has become crystal clear to activists over the past few days, if it wasn’t before, that we cannot depend on Congress to end the war but rather must build the mass movement in the streets demanding that the troops be brought home now.

Compromising and diluting the movement’s immediate withdrawal demand only undermines the principled struggle that must be waged. Congress will act when it’s forced to do so, and the most effective way to make this happen is when overwhelming numbers of people are united in the streets demanding “Out Now!”

Jerry Gordon
Cleveland OH

Author Tim Wheeler responds

Jerry Gordon is right that I had the wrong date for my meeting with him. But he actually confirms many of my points in his letter. He claims that the National Peace Action Coalition rejected calls for adding the struggle against racism to the demands of the April 24, 1971, anti-Vietnam-war demonstration on grounds it would become a “laundry list” and would “detract” from the demand “Out Now.”

Gordon admits that NPAC never supported any of the antiwar legislation pending in Congress on grounds that the “U.S. had no right to be in Vietnam in the first place.” But People’s Coalition for Peace and Justice supported this legislation partly because the liberation forces in Vietnam appreciated the struggle in the U.S. Congress to “set the date” for U.S. troop withdrawal. Gordon is mistaken if he thinks the peace movement has given up on Congress because the lawmakers approved the supplemental spending bill on Iraq on May 24. On the contrary, the peace movement is stepping up the demand that Congress stops waffling and enact binding legislation to end the war and bring the troops home! Again, simply chanting “Out Now” is not going to help shift the balance of forces in Congress to win passage of that legislation by a veto-proof margin. “Set the date” is far more likely to win over these center forces. :

Forget the meat

I wanted to give a comradely thanks to Rick Nagin and the PWW for the informative review of “The China Study” (PWW 5/5-11). We must be conscientious about the products we consume as well as the businesses our hard-earned dollars support. Animal agribusiness is super-exploitative and destructive to workers, animals and the planet. If for some reason vegetarianism is out of the question, people should at least limit their consumption of animal products and purchase free range, cruelty-free meat, milk and eggs when possible. This is an important step in protecting our health as well as a way to cut off funds from an extremely reactionary and villainous section of the bourgeoisie. Down with cowboy capitalism, up with people’s health!

John Sanchez
Sierra Vista AZ

Pete’s a prize

Thank you for printing the wonderful article on the effort to get a Nobel Peace Prize for Pete Seeger in the May 12-16 issue. Readers need to know that in order to sign the petition they should go to on a computer.

Eliot Kenin
Emeryville CA