Holiday wishes

Let the warmth
Hold and hug us
Let the glow grow us
Let the blood stop letting
Let Justice Rain and Reign
Down, up and all over us
Let the sword and gun
Melt into housing supports
Let a million soldiers build them
Let the enemies of misunderstanding
Let the earth heal now
Let laughter contage us
Let reconcile breathe
Let the star and sun,
darkness and light guide us
Let the worker eat
Let the death machine die
Let justice be done

Curly Cohen
Chicago IL

New Jersey’s important step

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed into law the abolition of the death penalty. That makes New Jersey the first state in more then four decades to reject capital punishment. Corzine said eliminating it “best captures our states highest values and reflects our best efforts to search for true justice.”

A feeling echoed by the executive director of Amnesty International USA, who said that studies on the death penalty show it’s “a colossal public policy failure that wastes tax dollars and diverts it away from valuable social crime prevention measures.”

The bill, which the New Jersey Assembly and Senate approved, replaces the death sentence with life in prison without parole. Corzine also commuted the sentences of eight prisoners on death row to life without parole.

Some of the victims’ families have expressed disappointment in the state’s actions. One would be hard indeed to expect anything less from a grieving relative. Still, these families fail to see that the death penalty is not justice, but injustice. It degrades us socially and does nothing it espouses to do.

It also lends itself as a tool of the capitalist system. The majority of those sentenced to death are from working-class backgrounds and/or minorities. Complete abolition of the death sentence in the United States is necessary.

New Jersey has joined the 13 other U.S. states and 134 countries that have abolished the death sentence. “New Jersey is evolving,” Corzine said. It’s an evolution that, I hope, continues throughout the nation and the world to end this barbarism.
This is a struggle we should all take up as not only a social class, but as human beings.

Darius Engel
Via e-mail

Torture in Chicago

I have been locked up inside Illinois prisons for 26 years. I have been incarcerated since age 16. Why? I did not commit a crime.

For over three decades as many as 200 African American and Latino men were beaten and tortured — some in their genitals and some raped with a device in their rectums — by Chicago Police detectives at Area 2 and the violent crime unit — this to repeat to Cook County prosecutors the confessions told to them by these white detectives.

Detectives, judges, prosecutors and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley denied these claims even existed. Most of these men had spent decades behind prison walls and some are still there.

Does it really surprise U.S. citizens that the CIA destroyed interrogations on video of some terrorism suspects? It shouldn’t. This country has railroaded some kids as young as 13 years old to prisons on flawed evidence. Torture is nothing new; police in this country are accused weekly of committing it toward U.S. citizens. The U.S. Justice Department ignores it in most cases. President Bush and the CIA can destroy interrogation video of terrorism suspects. It’s only common sense this government permits torture upon suspects or it would jail Jon Burge and Daniel McWeeny and free their victims from Illinois prisons now. To find out more about my injustice you can log on to .

Mark A. Clements
Pontiac Correctional Center IL

New Orleans housing fight

I am writing to encourage you to do what you can to support the struggle to stop the demolitions of public housing in New Orleans. This week, the City Council will vote on whether or not it will support thousands of working-class and Black residents of New Orleans to be able to return home.

I moved to New Orleans two months ago to work in a public health clinic. I was outraged to learn that the city is currently estimated to have between 12,000-16,000 homeless people. I was further motivated to act when I learned that developers are scheduled to begin demolishing four major public housing complexes, a total of 4,605 low-income housing units. This would result in thousands and thousands of low-income families, unable to return home to New Orleans and/or homeless.

Residents of public housing have been organizing to reopen public housing for the past two years, and are currently working really hard to hold off the wrecking balls and bulldozers. Their voices must be heard.

Organizing for New Orleans is about supporting public housing on a national level. Please act. One way is to contact your elected officials to demand that the federal government stop these demolitions.

Sarah Harden
New Orleans LA

Serious error

The letter from James Jordan (PWW 12/15-21) contains a serious error of fact. Mr. Jordan claims that at the Annapolis meeting on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, “No representatives from Hamas or the PLO were invited.” In fact, the Palestinian delegation was led by Mahmoud Abbas, who not only was elected Palestinian president, but who also and separately serves as chairman of the PLO. The Palestinian delegation formally and technically represented the PLO, which is the body officially authorized by numerous national and international documents and decisions, to represent the Palestinian people in negotiations with Israel.

Hussein Ibish
Washington DC
Hussein Ibish is a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine.

Be back in January

This is the last People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo print issue of the year. We will be back in print with the Jan. 12 issue. We will be posting new articles over the holidays on our web site, Check out all the Online eXtra stories there. Click on Online eXtra for the full listing.

We want to hear from you!
By mail:
People’s Weekly World
3339 S. Halsted St.
Chicago IL 60608


Letters should be limited to 200 words. We reserve the right to edit stories and letters. Only signed letters with the return address of the sender will be considered for publication, but the name of the sender will be withheld on request.