Marx and the U.S. Constitution

“…a nationwide survey recently commissioned by Columbia Law School found that almost two-thirds of all Americans think Karl Marx’s… ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,’ was or may have been written by the founding fathers and was included in the Constitution.”

This appeared in the Wall Street Journal June 11 in a piece written by Bruce Cole, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, lamenting that “Americans do not know their history…” This article was excerpted from the “Urgency of Memory,” an address delivered at the conference “Art in an Age of Uncertainty,” organized by New York University.

Whatever weaknesses Americans may have of their knowledge of history, this shows that things have reached a point in the development of the productive forces, and in the class and democratic struggles of our people, that most Americans expect “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” to be the constitutionally guaranteed norm.

Juan Lopez
District Organizer, Communist Party of Northern California
Oakland CA

Special education under attack

The President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education issued a report called “A New Era: Revitalizing Special Education for Children and their Families.” The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force (CCD) recently issued a statement on it, saying they are “very troubled” by the report’s recommendations. The CCD is a coalition of national consumer, advocacy, provider and professional organizations, so if they are very troubled that means BIG trouble.

There are lots of people, especially in this administration, who would like to do away with special education. There is a lot of misunderstanding about special education and the crucial role it can play in the life of a special needs child. Because of that, those who oppose special education and want to get rid of it make headway with their arguments. Special education costs more and the Federal government has not yet lived up to its promise to fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act at 40 percent; it still gives school districts only 15 percent. You can “thank” the GOP for being stingy with this money for the children.

I would urge your readers, especially any parents, teachers or students, to become familiar with the issues concerning special education.

Hector KingSan Diego CA

Citizen spies

All over the internet the stories are flying about the government’s efforts to recruit 1 million citizen “spies.” Unfortunately, all the stories have some reference to either the Soviet Union, China, or East Germany and supposed citizen informants in those socialist societies. What about what the FBI did right here during the Cold War and the COINTELPRO days? Or what Nazi Germany did? Why all of a sudden is this attack on civil liberties coming with an anti-communist edge? Is it a way to blunt people’s thinking about an alternative society, now with the confidence in capitalism being shaken? It’s a disturbing program to be sure, yet considering The Washington Times is going after it using the anti-communist edge, that campaign should give one pause.

Gail de YoungBuffalo NY

Far-sighted quote

I just read this quote from President Abraham Lincoln, dated Nov. 21, 1864. Your readers may like it:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching. It unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces, as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes.

“I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the financial institutions at the rear; the latter is my greatest foe. Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed.”

A readerChicago IL