No alternative but to fight

Recently a story has been making the rounds about a fawning, pro-Hitler article from a 1930s British home and garden magazine. It’s shocking to realize that upper-class folks back then were not at all opposed to fascism, in fact they thought “that chap Hitler had some good ideas.” I remember when reading two Isabel Allende novels (House of the Spirits and Of Love and Shadows) that I was struck by how she conveyed the way fascism took hold in Chile at the time of the Pinochet’s coup in 1973.

In her novels, characters who were comfortably well-off did not want to be bothered hearing about what was happening to “those people” who were trade unionists or activists, how they were being tortured and murdered. I think that in the U.S. now if you were to confront members of the powers-that-be about their pro-fascist ways they would say, “What’s your point?” We can’t wait for the ruling class to be “converted” to more humane thought and action. They will never concede without a fight. Organizing for peace and justice at work, on the campus, and in the neighborhood has never been more important.

Barbara RussumChicago IL

Block grants shortchanging recipients

I’m writing because I enjoy your paper and because I doubt whether you ever received a letter on this subject.

The subject is “community block grants.” The food stamp program is distributed under block grants. I suspect from my own experiences with this program that states are being unfair and dispersing these grants at their own discretion.

Viva la revolucion!

John KarczewskiJersey City NJ

Another view on farm subsidies

Just a minute. In the article about the WTO in Cancun (PWW, 9/20-26), Marilyn Bechtel talks about “deeper cuts in wealthy nations’ subsidies to agribusiness.” It’s fine if the subsidies are cut out to agribusiness, but the subsidies also go to family farmers.

The National Farmers Union statement about this says, “To suggest we pull domestic supports out from under American producers without a proven plan to offset them is economic suicide for family agriculture producers and rural communities. The National Farmers Union has advocated reducing the need for domestic supports by establishing trade policies that allow farmers to receive a fair return from the marketplace.”

The problem is that agribusiness is getting too much of the subsidies, but they aren’t getting all of it.

I think we oppose income cuts for American family farmers as we do for American workers.

Pammela WrightVia e-mail

Anti-WTO protesters march in Sacramento

The Sacramento Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture, the core group that rallied against the Department of Agriculture’s international ministerial meeting in June, marched on Sept. 13 in solidarity with the protests against the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancun, Mexico.

Thirty people, including punkers, trade unionists, and grandmothers among others, chanting “This is what democracy looks like” and carrying anti-WTO signs, marched across historic Old Sacramento and into the Downtown Plaza shopping mall, where chants and signs are not allowed.

Many of the marchers wore or carried bandanas, defying an anti-free speech city ordinance passed a few days before the June 23 anti-ministerial march that outlaws possession of a mask or bandana at a demonstration or parade.

Saturday shoppers looked on as the demonstrators chanted, “Just say no to the WTO” and passed out leaflets.

Going back to the parking garage to get my car, I met up with two young men with punk haircuts and jewelry. “Were you in the protest in the mall?” they asked, seeing my “No WTO” button. They continued, “Keep up the good work. We’ll be at the antiwar demonstration in San Francisco next month.”

Gail RyallSacramento CA

Oil profits and war

Who profits when the price of oil goes up? If a White House run by oil interests goes to war and occupies a country with huge oil reserves, and the price of oil goes up, did they realize their goals?

Richard CurtisVia e-mail