Potential allies

Re: “The ‘middle class’ and the working class” (PWW 4/23-29), it is true that there is no class between the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class) and the working class. As Pat Barile’s article correctly says, the concept of a “middle class” was deliberately designed to weaken the class consciousness of workers.

However, it should be noted that, between the bourgeoisie (the big capitalists) and the working class, there is what Marxists call a petty bourgeoisie (small business people who have others working for them).

Their interests are very often quite different from the interests of monopoly capitalists, and they should not be lumped together with them. Small business people are potential allies in the fight against monopoly capital.

Kevin Lindemann

Winfield IL

U.S. war crimes

While I find your coverage of the war in Iraq interesting, even brave, I think your energy would perhaps be better directed towards a “real costs” assessment of the war. The fact is war is a crime, period. In “post-9/11” America, patriotism will keep most Americans willfully blind to coverage of “war crimes.” However, money talks, even when B.S. walks. This war is bankrupting the U.S. and will continue to do so for many years, just to ensure “cheap” oil supplies. Only when Americans realize how much this war is hurting their wallets will they care enough to do anything about it. I suggest that you would have more success focusing on monetary costs rather than humanitarian costs. Americans just don’t care about people on the other side of the globe whom they will never meet.

Brent Hopkins

Via e-mail

Schools, not war

The following resolution was passed unanimously by the Thomas J. Waters Local School Council on April 18:

Whereas, the Chicago Public Schools has threatened to lay off 800 teachers next year because of a budget deficit;

Whereas 80 percent of the school districts in Illinois are experiencing chronic budget deficits;

Whereas, current funding per pupil on a state level is still $1,000 less than the minimum needed to guarantee two-thirds of students pass the state’s standardized tests;

Whereas, the state and city budget deficits and federal cuts are also deeply affecting the Chicago Transit Authority, LI-HEAP and home energy assistance, health care for millions and veterans benefits;

Whereas, states and cities across the country are experiencing serious deficits, cuts and layoffs in public education and public services generally;

Whereas, the Bush administration policies of funding the Iraq war, militarization and giving tax cuts to the wealthy are bankrupting cities and states across the country;

Whereas, the Iraq war has cost Illinois $87 billion in funding which could have paid for an additional 151,000 teachers or 11 million children in Head Start for a year;

Be it resolved that the Waters School Local School Council calls for a reorientation of federal spending priorities from militarism and war and for funding the urgent people’s needs and those of our communities, and

Be it further resolved that we call upon our elected officials to speak out against these Bush policies and support funding schools and services instead of war and militarism.

John Bachtell

Local school council member

Chicago IL

Vets deserve better

I just read Martin Frazier’s excellent article on health care racism (PWW 4/02-4/08). I was especially struck by the photo of Vernon Baker, the only living African American Medal of Honor winner from World War II. I was shocked to learn that he had to rely on friends and family to raise money to help cover his health care costs. I am disgusted that Baker’s medical care wasn’t fully covered by the VA.

Heroes who fought fascism abroad and racism at home deserve far better. Perhaps if the $16,000 hadn’t been used to send Tom DeLay on a trip to the Bahamas or Disney World, veterans might get better treatment. As it stands the Republicans have cut VA benefits to pay for their tax cuts for the rich. This is both corrupt and immoral.

Joel Wendland

Via e-mail

About the filibuster

The Senate is poised to toss aside an old safeguard, one in place as long as the institution itself, solely to ensure the appointment of conservative justices. Democrats have used the filibuster in the past to oppose judicial appointments through the mechanism of prolonging debate. They might well use it to oppose such presidential nominees as Janice Rodgers Brown, who has questioned the Clean Air Act, the minimum wage, and the 40-hour workweek.

The filibuster has preserved for two centuries the most democratic aspect of our system — the opportunity for the Senate to debate a point so long as a significant portion disagrees with the majority. To abandon it now, for so shortsighted a goal as to appoint reactionary judges, would be foolish.

Elizabeth B. Hovey

New York NY

Fascist danger

Thanks for your editorial against the “nuclear option” (banning the filibuster). In terms of basic democratic rights, this is the scariest move yet from these Washington gangsters. The ultra-right Family Research Council’s website boasted of “Justice Sunday” (April 24), where Senate leader Bill Frist spoke via telecast on the need to use this option against Democrats, saying they’re a “party against people of faith.”

Why such a wild claim? Because Senate Democrats blocked 5 percent of Bush’s 2004 judicial nominees. By comparison, Republicans blocked one-third of Clinton’s nominees, with special contempt for African Americans.

All faces on the “Justice Sunday” ad are older white males, and everyone on the website is white except one Latina who is “pregnant” and “scared”! And they claim they’re not racists?

Add to this the development of new hate groups like the Minutemen Militia. Our Fox “News” affiliate allowed hate spokespeople to express their views unchallenged.

Free advertisements for hate, with no opposing perspectives! We don’t currently live under fascism, but we would be amiss not to recognize that fascist elements, while representing the views of a small section of our population, are too close for comfort to political power in America.

Brad Janzen

Norman OK