Venezuela and U.S. labor

Having seen the brilliant video “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” a couple of months ago, I was delighted to see the recent Mark Almberg interview with Venezuelan trade unionist Pedro Eusse (PWW, 10/4-10) in which Eusse voices his concern at the AFL-CIO channeling U.S. government funds into the right-wing trade union center that supported the coup attempt against President Chavez.

The PWW properly praises the AFL-CIO – a lot – for its many good deeds. The paper should also slam it for this shabby imperialist behavior masquerading as “solidarity.” “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” Planning ought to begin now among progressive U.S. trade unionists for a resolution at the next AFL-CIO convention for a policy of rejecting U.S. government money for AFL-CIO international programs.

Thomas KennyNew York NY

Editor’s note: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is slated to be shown in San Francisco; Chicago; San Rafael, Calif.; New York City; and Los Angeles in the course of the next month. Check your local listings for exact times and places.

U.S. owes reparations to Iraq

A letter in a recent issue of the PWW indicated that no money of the $87 billion ought to be used in the reconstruction of Iraq. In fact, this seems to be a widely held demand in the peace movement.

I view this demand as a mistake. After nearly 13 years of war and sanctions, the U.S. definitely owes the Iraqi people something. We don’t owe them years of military occupation, however. Security and reconstruction ought to be in the hands of the UN, but the U.S. needs to kick in billions for rebuilding a country it almost single-handedly destroyed.

Joel Wendlandvia e-mail

Nonpartisan elections in NYC?

On Aug. 25, our city’s Charter Revision Commission agreed to Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal for nonpartisan elections. Immediately after this action, almost all of our city’s council members stood on the steps of City Hall, denouncing this proposal. Party bosses like Tom Manton denounced it, too However, I believe that this proposal needs a chance. The established politicians claim that it would confuse voters and discourage minority candidates from running.

In a nonpartisan election, independent-minded third party candidates would be able to receive more votes. The Democratic Party claims that without party labels, people wouldn’t be able to tell what issues a candidate stands for. In my opinion, both parties are the same on most issues, especially in this city. The Democrats hold 47 out of 51 City Council seats, which looks more like a one-party council.

Not only would nonpartisan elections decrease the power of political bosses, but also it would allow voters to vote for the person, not the party. Our founding father George Washington denounced the formation of political parties, and removing them from the ballot would bring us closer to his dream “of a more perfect Union.”

S. KadinskyForest Hills NY

Bringing back the bad guys

According to recent reports our government has been recruiting former agents of the Taliban (in Afghanistan) and the mukhabarat (former secret police in Iraq) to help control their respective countries. This should work well. After all the CIA helped organize both in the first place, and both did so much good.

Richard Curtisvia e-mail

Bush Iraq policy a failure

Thank you for Sue Webb’s opinion column on our administration’s $87 billion request (PWW, 9/20-26). While I agree with supporting the troops, I have a problem with this administration and the mainstream media (TV and print) not addressing the fact our president has not justified his reason for not relinquishing control of the country. From what I have gathered from reading my local paper and listening to the “news,” wink wink, I found that the UN and other countries are ready to present a resolution for more funding and military power if the U.S. is willing to relinquish more control. Dana Milbank and Colum Lynch of the Washington Post reported that L. Paul Bremer told Congress on 9/24 “that the United States is opposed to giving up control over the $20 billion in reconstruction funds for Iraq that the administration is seeking.”

Can you tell me why there is no one of importance crying failure? I see the media and our administration downplaying “Halliburtongate.”

Jarvis MarlowLas Vegas NV