Takes issue with headline

The headline “Class struggle is a fact, not a theory” (PWW 9/2-8) reflects a misunderstanding of the word “theory.” This misunderstanding has serious consequences. A theory is a principle that explains certain phenomena, such as the wave theory of light or Marx’s labor theory of value. A theory is not the opposite of a fact, but rather an explanation of facts.

Current dictionaries offer — far down the list of possible definitions — one usage of the word “theory” that we hear today from those who oppose rational and scientific thought, such as those who deny the theory of evolution. This usage suggests that a “theory” is an unfounded or unproven assumption or speculation. In this way, the religious Right argues that Darwin had a mere “theory,” and that “creationism” should be taught as valid.

Marxists should not perpetuate this false opposition. Class struggle is a valid theoretical explanation for what’s going on in the world, as Scott Marshall argues. (His article, by the way, does not use the word “theory” — the problem is only with the headline.)

Doris Marquit
Minneapolis MN

Equality for lesbians, gays

I read with great interest and excitement the Communist Party’s call to action in the Sept. 2-8 issue of PWW. It is a very strong platform that can unify voters of many different backgrounds to help defeat the Bush/Republican agenda on Nov. 7.

I was a little surprised to see that in the top 10 reasons to change Congress, number 4 describes HR 676 as an expansion of Medicaid, when in fact it would expand Medicare to provide much-needed universal health care.

More troublesome, however, was the fact that the struggle for equality for our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender comrades, allies, family members, neighbors, co-workers, and union brothers and sisters did not make the top 10.

In a period when Bush and the Republicans use homophobia and transphobia to split voters and the working-class movement, and to provoke hatred of a group of people because of who they are, unity on this issue and its decisive importance has never been more apparent.

Divisions on this issue has helped to keep Bush and the Republicans in power, and the failure to address it and to prioritize the call for full equality and to fight on the issues that face LGBT persons is a serious misstep.

Let’s struggle together to correct this error.

Joel Wendland
Ypsilanti MI

CPUSA Political Action Chair Joelle Fishman responds: Issues of unity, of which lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender rights is one, are key to wresting control of Congress from the right wing and also key to building the movement for equality beyond this stage of struggle against the far-right wing.

As indicated in the text, however, the top 10 is not a program. Rather, it is a list of key existing bills that have been introduced to Congress but hijacked by the Republican leadership, which has refused to allow them to be put on the agenda for debate or action. It is an argument that changing control of Congress on Nov. 7 will open the door to win these bills, as well as many additional victories through mass pressure.

The use of Medicaid instead of Medicare was a mistake that was not caught in time.

Wrong on ‘Big Box’ ordinance

Your recent article “Don’t steal the big box ordinance” (PWW 9/9-15) was misleading. You think that because retailers in other locales haven’t left upon the initiation of similar ordinances that Big Retail is bluffing in Chicago. True enough, I doubt that any of them currently in Chicago would leave in the ordinance were instituted.

Attracting new investment, however, is a different thing altogether. Corporations simply will not come in with new stores if their financial calculations show that they won’t make a suitable return on their investment. Though most of these corporations make sizable charitable contributions, as a rule, they don’t do so by building projects that have unsuitable return on investment.

The threat by Big Retail to stay away was real. Because of Mayor Daley’s veto, Chicago will gain both jobs and a local source for quality low priced merchandise. Sure, the starting wages are low. But some of those hired on at $7 will prove themselves worth much more, and will advance into high paying management jobs. Still others will prove themselves worth not even $7, much less $13, and will be let go. Capitalism works quite well when it is allowed to do so.

S.G. Hauser
Via e-mail

Editor’s note: Readers, tell us what you think about S.G. Hauser’s letter. Send responses for publication to pww@pww.org.

What’s LMHC?

I’ve read some of your articles with interest, but it would help if I knew what these qualifications, licenses or degrees stood for: LMHC, LMFT, NCC? Thanks so much.

Jim Maki
Via e-mail

Editor’s note: Good question. You probably are referring to the health columns by Brenda Crawford-Clark, who has those initials after her name. According to Psychology Today, LMFT stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. A person who is a LMFT has a graduate academic degree (a 2- to 3-year master’s degree or a 3- to 5-year doctoral degree), clinical work experience and has passed a state-certified licensing exam. LMHC stands for Licensed Mental Health Counselor. In order to get that qualification you have to have a graduate academic degree, clinical work experience and have passed a state-certified licensing examination. NCC is Nationally Certified Counselor, the certification issued by the National Board of Certified Counselors, an independent organization. We should list these in the author’s ID.