‘Freedom’ to destroy?

“1984” here we come again! Welcome to the library of the future: the library with no past. Also, check out the new “Department of Double Standards.”

This from the Ananova news web site: “Russian libraries throw out communist ‘propaganda’. … Almost three quarters-of-a-million books on communism are being thrown out of libraries in Russia. Twenty libraries in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad have sent 700,000 books on communist ideology to recycling plants. Elena Alesandronets, head of the Kaliningrad Library System, told the Rosbalt news agency only a few of the books, which she described as largely ‘Marxist and Leninist propaganda,’ in their stocks would be kept. She said: ‘No one’s had any interest in them since the Soviet Union collapsed. They were just gathering dust and we needed space for more modern literature.’”

Mark C. RosenzweigNew York City

On market socialism

I was recently reading an paper about the current state of health care in China by Brian A. Wong and Satyananda J. Gabriel (“The Influence of Economic Liberalization on Urban Health care Access”) and I was rather angered to learn that the once free and universal system of health care has been wholly privatized and replaced by a fee-for-service system. With the gap between rich and poor growing wider every day, the poor in China are left with nothing to do and the state of private health insurance is still very inadequate. When debating the merits and demerits of the market and the plan in a socialist economy we have to remember what the purpose of production in a socialist economy is, and that purpose is to serve the common good, i.e., free and universal access to health care, full employment the right to adequate shelter, etc., and not to produce cheap sneakers for the international market so you can make money so you can produce more cheap sneakers for the international market.

Matt HelmeOld Bridge NJ

Robeson stamp took struggle

I’ve just read in the 10/18-24 People’s Weekly World that one of the greatest figures ever to emerge from this tortured land is to be honored in a postage stamp. This is truly astonishing, because the U.S. government hated, feared, hounded and persecuted Paul Robeson and almost erased his name from the distorted official version of history. And now a postage stamp will commemorate him. How come? Not because the authorities have seen Judgment Day looming up on the horizon. Like all the other hard-won rights for ordinary folk, it took hard work and perseverance. In fact, it took years of struggle and over 200,000 signatures. Perhaps some contradictions are to be welcomed. Let’s all celebrate the indomitably courageous life of a truly great human being. Amandla!

Ken CarstensAlbany ME

Helpful dialogue

I am writing to express my thanks for the wonderful articles on socialist economics you have been printing lately. I think it is important to not just highlight the struggle of the working class, but to also educate the readers of the content of our ideology.

Ben Wheelervia e-mail

Stop privatizing schools

The people of St. Louis are attempting to stop the privatizing of their public school system. Its school system elected four new members recently, and we were told that they cannot be recalled.

At one time in the history of this country it was against the law to teach people of African decent to read and write: “free” or slave. Today we have been told that it’s against the law to recall the newly-elected members of the St. Louis public school system (“the Gang of Four”).

We didn’t accept the dictate of our racial history then, and shouldn’t accept the undemocratic mandate of it today. Any duly elected official is subject to the will of the people, and if they do not perform in the interest of this public trust they should be removed, and where appropriate, recalled.

And to deny us this right of recall will deny us the right to charter a course of justice and democracy. It will deny that the people are the ultimate power, and that the people have the right to struggle, unimpeded for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Bob WilliamsSt. Louis MO