‘Press Box Red’ misses key point

I attended the book signing for “Press Box Red” – even obtained a double autographed copy, one from the author, Irwin Silber, and one from the subject, Lester Rodney. At the lecture/signing someone asked why this event was not held in Harlem.

It was a good question. As one of two African Americans in the audience, I realized that this was not about African Americans really. It was about the color line, which we have been placed on, but it was not about us.

It reminded me of the controversy over “Schindler’s List.” Jews felt that non-Jews were and have been getting credit for the rescue and survival of Jews during WWII; as if Jews were helpless – either physically and/or spiritually – to help themselves and one another; as if there had been no Jewish resistance.

Like the controversy around the lack of mention for Jewish resistance, abolitionism and baseball is presented in the same way. As if those of us of African descent had to wait for non-Africans to come along. There had been African resistance not only from the beginning of the enslavement – hence all the laws and efforts to try to keep us in some place we refused to stay.

So “Press Box Red,” while mentioning the campaigns by the African American press that had been going on since the beginning of the Jim Crow laws, credits the Communist Party (of which I am a member since last May Day) with leading the campaign and suggests that African Americans would have never and could have never achieved any success on their own. But it was African American agitation in the first place that initiated much of the abolitionist movement and the baseball movement over the color line.

‘Jessica Watson-CrosbyNew York City

‘Council no rubber stamp

There is a campaign afoot by U.S. administration officials, and widely reported by the media here, to the effect that the Iraqi Governing Council is “ineffective, very slow in taking decisions, is missing a quorum most of the time,” ad nauseam.

This U.S. administration and media blitz is intended to discredit the council after the occupation authority discovered, to its dismay and horror, that the majority of council members are independent-minded and not a rubber-stamp tool of American imperialism, and after the council challenged several edicts of the American viceroy Paul Bremer.

This discrediting and shifting the blame to the council for imperialism’s failures and bankruptcy in Iraq is meant to reconstitute the council (or any new form of Iraqi governing entity) into a spitting image of the moribund occupation authority. Let us emphasize that freedoms are wrested by struggle. Let us not have any delusions about imperialism’s schemes and intentions for Iraq.

‘HazimDetroit MI

‘Class action vs. Wal-Mart

It’s about time that this anti-union, anti-worker, sweatshop outfit was taken to task! This lawsuit could also have a major impact on our struggle to win UNION rights for owner-drivers in the ports. The plaintiff is alleging that Wal-Mart was in fact a co-employer and thus a co-conspirator along with the contractor who actually hired and provided these immigrant workers. Wal-Mart not only benefited directly and profited from the labor provided by these workers, but they were also under the control of Wal-Mart, while working on Wal-Mart premises – thus Wal-Mart became responsible and liable for the abuses and the violation of state and federal laws. Does this sound similar to what we have been claiming all along in the ports? You bet it does, Brothers and Sisters!!

‘A readervia e-mail

‘Maytag’s far-reaching greed

Re: your article “The High Cost of Free Trade” (PWW, 11/15-21), my company is one of those run over by the “Maytag race to profits on the backs of Americans.” We are a parts distributor who had a relationship with Maytag for over 30 years. We were number nine (of 90) in the country as far as sales go. Then one day they decided to cut their shipping cost so they cast away 60 distributors. This hit us hard. We tried to continue without laying anyone off. After two years of multimillion-dollar losses we had no choice but to lay 26 of our 70 employees off. Unlike Mr. Hake [the CEO of Maytag], I could not just order it done and forget about it, I had to look each one in the eye and tell them we were letting them go even though they had been loyal and hard working employees.

Thanks to Maytag, this has been the worst two years of my company’s life. We have recuperated and have made a profit for the last seven straight months. Now we just received a letter from Electrolux. It seems they want to cut their cost of distribution. Well here we go again. At least this time we are a little better prepared and have expanded into other product lines. This will help insulate our company and our employees from the greedy whims of large companies.

‘Dan EvansPortsmouth VA