Global AIDS crisis

I work massaging clients with AIDS and HIV under the Ryan White CARE Act. Every year we worry about funding. In Illinois we are lucky because our state Legislature passed extra funding for medicine but in some states clients with AIDS are on waiting lists to get medicine. Your article on AIDS (PWW 6/18-24) points out the global crisis, which is even being felt in this country. Great article. I am going to pass it on.

Also, you had very good coverage on the GM cutbacks. I’ll pass it on to my cousins in Michigan who work for GM in management jobs.

Eva Gornik

Chicago IL

More on meat

I hope Teddy Wood was kidding in his celebration of meat eating (Letters, PWW 6/18-24). Human beings have eaten a largely non-meat diet throughout most of history and their brains have remained the same in size, although their modes of production and cultures have changed. Heavy meat diets have been associated throughout history with ruling classes and in modern times, industrialized capitalist/imperialist countries.

The slaughter of animals for human consumption distorts the planet’s ecology, and greatly intensifies world hunger as grain-producing lands are turned into pasture for the meat industry. The results have been more hunger in places like Central America, which provides cheap beef for the U.S. fast food industry and an overpriced and unhealthy diet for large numbers of working-class people in the U.S. and other industrially developed countries.

For large numbers of people, myself included, there are moral and ethical reasons to oppose the slaughter of animals for food. In a communist society, people hopefully would reject meat consumption as wasteful and destructive to themselves and the species with whom they share the planet.

Norman Markowitz

New Brunswick NJ

Concealing class

The word “privilege” applied to the plight of white workers is ridiculous (“More about ‘white privilege’ concepts,” PWW 6/18-24). It masks their exploitation and blurs the common class interests of all workers and oppressed peoples. Super-exploitation of the racially and nationally oppressed better expresses the essence of the problem. Fighting against the super-exploitation of some helps the fight against the exploitation of all. Racism and national oppression are major social factors because they help increase the rate of exploitation and oppression for all races and nationalities.

Taking the profit out of racism and national oppression would make it easier to dismantle institutional racism. Although, under socialism, a protracted struggle against the concepts and social practices of racism and national chauvinism will have to be waged.

The term “self interest” of any sector of the working class is unfortunate. Class interests of all the sectors are the same. In some situations, “white privilege,” or “middle class,” “consumer society,” “service economy” may have limited use, but in the end they block the development of class consciousness.

Rosalio Muñoz

Los Angeles CA

No retreat

Tillow, Godwin and Kenny in their May 14 PWW opinion page article assert that CPUSA chair Sam Webb’s position is “a retreat from the theoretical foundations of communist activism,” that a “vanguard party is not merely a doorstop for more popular bourgeois parties.” The support that Communists gave to the anti-imperialist forces within the Democratic Party, such as the Kucinich campaign for the presidential nomination, refutes the charge.

Marx was not retreating into petty bourgeois reformism when he wrote, “As the proletariat in the period of struggle leading to the overthrow of the old society still acts on the basis of the old society and hence still moves within the political forms which more or less correspond to it, it has at that stage not yet arrived at its final organization, and hence to achieve its liberation has recourse to methods that will be discarded once that liberation has been attained.”

The CPUSA is using a variety of political forms available to us now to reach the U.S. people at a wavelength to which they are presently tuned.

Erwin Marquit

Minneapolis MN

Attack on Soviet Union is wrong

As a member of the CPUSA for 20 years I am finding it very difficult to accept attacks on Stalin and the former Soviet Union, which seems to be so popular now during the Communist Party’s preconvention discussion. The Soviets were under immense external forces, which were — from the very beginning — out to destroy any attempt at socialism. Not to mention internal forces, which were out to sabotage all collective efforts in creating a socialist economy. If we write off the heroic attempt of the Soviets and struggles to build socialism as misguided and fraudulent we may as well agree with all those that have opposed socialism. In my opinion this is surrendering Communist ideological foundations as well.

Kelly McConnell

Los Angeles CA

Western Sahara exchange

I read with interest Martin Frazier’s article on Western Sahara (PWW 6/18-24). I respect his viewpoint and right to express it. However, I want to ask you a question: To which country did Western Sahara belong before it was invaded by Spain in 1884? The history of this land did not start with the Spanish invasion. It has been populated for more than 5,000 years. In 1042, it became a part of the Moroccan empire.

The situation in Western Sahara is sad and dramatic, but above all, it is very complex. It requires a basic knowledge of the tormented history of this region. Every analysis that starts only with the Spanish occupation will suffer from myopia.

Mohamed el Baroudi


Martin Frazier replies:

I appreciate your point of a historical context that predates Spanish colonialism. However, my point of beginning is self-determination of the Saharawi people, which in no way assumes the Spanish occupation was the beginning of Saharawi history.

One of the legacies of colonialism in Africa is the artificial carving out of nations and peoples throughout the continent. This is why the principle of self-determination of all African peoples is the only guarantee for a peaceful future on the continent. These principles and the respect for international law as prescribed by the United Nation and the African Union is the prism in which I understand the Western Saharan/Moroccan conflict and its resolution.