Don’t leave, Citgo

When Citgo headquarters in Houston, Texas, announced that they would not be delivering gasoline in many parts of the United States, two kinds of North Texans were dismayed.

One group consisted of progressive activists who had been buying Citgo because they knew it was the state-owned oil company of the leading progressive government in Latin America, Venezuela. The other group liked Citgo’s low prices. With $80/barrel oil on the horizon and the lowest cost quality gasoline leaving, it’s pandemonium at the pump!

Citgo announced that they just didn’t have enough gasoline to make all of their commitments and would have to cut back somewhere. Texas journalists have speculated that Bush’s home state might have been targeted by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s “oil diplomacy.” The progressive government there has made a number of arrangements whereby the most desperately poor nations and people get good deals on Venezuelan petroleum products; consequently it is no surprise that Citgo can’t make all of its former obligations.

Whether it’s a random disaster or deliberately aimed at Bush’s home state, North Texans will suffer the loss of Citgo.

Jim Lane
Dallas TX

New heat record set

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has announced that average temperatures for the first half of 2006 were the highest ever recorded in the USA. NOAA scientists say that temperatures for January through June were 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the 20th century. Previously, NOAA said that 2005 was the hottest year on record, so we’re not doing so well when it comes to battling global warming.

Sara Goudrarzi writes in LiveScience.com that Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri set the records for the highest heat. No state had cooler-than-average temperatures, although that’s part of global warming too, so that may happen in the future.

Gail Sheehan
Boulder CO

Shout it from the rooftops

I wish to express my thanks to Carolyn Trowbridge for her excellent analysis of the current struggle for women’s rights (PWW 7/22-28). I wanted to highlight and underline every sentence! How important it is that we impart a sense of urgency, especially on our young men and women, for as Ms. Trowbridge accurately points out, the gains fought so hard for are slipping away.

Ms. Trowbridge’s article is a clarion call to every one of us to fight the extreme-right at the polls in November. We must do all that we can to support pro-women candidates, but we do not have the luxury of assuming one political party will always support us in these efforts. There are at least 31 anti-abortion Democrats in Congress today. More anti-choice Democrats are currently running strong races at all levels of government; the senatorial race in Pennsylvania between the Republican Santorum and the Democrat Bob Casey Jr. is a prime example.

My hope is that everyone involved in the workers’ struggles will research their local candidates, support those who prove unflinching in their resolve to protect women’s rights, and vote in November. Because, and make no mistake about it, the election results will have long-lasting and far-reaching consequences for all.

Lisa Casey Perry
Via e-mail

Where’s the condemnation?

The PWW July 8-14 issue headlines a statement by the National Board of the Communist Party USA stating: “CPUSA condemns Israeli assault on Gaza.” Where is the CPUSA resolution, or your news story, condemning the June 25 attack on Israel by Hamas militants who tunneled under the Gaza-Israel border in order to kill and capture, escaping with one Israeli soldier? Where is the condemnation of the Hamas leadership who refused and continues to refuse to heed the call of Palestinian leaders, such as President Abbas and others, to release the captured soldier? Where is the condemnation of Hamas for demanding the release of hundreds of prisoners in exchange for information about the captured prisoner (not his release as your editorial in July 1-7 issue erroneously stated). This Hamas demand for prisoner release was made before any invasion by Israel of Gaza and while some Arab leaders were trying to broker a settlement. The concluding paragraph of the CP National Board statement that “We condemn all terrorist acts, all attacks on civilians, Palestinian or Israeli,” is contradicted by your continued failure to specifically condemn, or even report, terrorist acts against civilians when committed by Palestinians. Shame on you.

Irwin Gostin
Las Vegas NV

Time for worker co-ops in U.S.

In reading Shelby Richardson’s article “An American worker in Venezuela” (PWW 6/24-30), Mr. Richardson laments the job loss and theft of pension plans, health care and other benefits U.S. workers face. In complicity with bankruptcy courts, such employers as auto’s “Big Three,” but many others file for bankruptcy and are so granted as a ruse to despoil their workers, often despite handsome profits.

The connection to Venezuela’s workers is right on target. In Bolivarian Venezuela, under co-management, workers have the option to take over failed or unproductive industries to then run them cooperatively. So why not do the same here in the USA?

I suggest that if a plant or other workplace is closed down as unprofitable or as bankrupt, its workers take over it and operate as cooperative with full compensation to owner (else it would be “communism”) for the fair market value of a business that is unprofitable or bankrupt. Else the tax-declared value of the past years preceding the bankruptcy.

There y’all have it!

The ex-owner will get real cash payment, in proper due time, for a bankrupt industry. So then all are happy and everybody rides into the sunset. So, how about it UAW?

Ana Lucia Gelabert
Gatesville TX