LETTERS: November 17

Celebrating revolution

The 90th anniversary of the Great October Revolution was celebrated Nov. 7 across Russia and (left) in Moscow with a march and rally of 25,000 people. The crowd listened as speakers commemorated the achievements of socialism, the disastrous consequences of the restoration of capitalism in Russia and urged a big get-out-the-vote effort for the Communist Party of the Russian Federation in national elections on Dec. 2.

John Bachtell
from Moscow

Truth about CAFTA

The Central America Free Trade Agreement won in a razor-close 51-48 percent margin in Costa Rica. Huge opposition was demonstrated despite an intensive campaign led by their president and a deceptive radio and TV advertising campaign in favor of the pact. It is becoming clear that these free trade pacts are in no way related to U.S. altruism to help poor people in partner countries.

These trade agreements impose damaging policies: privatization of public programs, loss of land for “campesinos” (farmers). The U.S. could flood Costa Rica and other Central American countries with subsidized agricultural products and collapse their agricultural sectors as NAFTA did in Mexico.

Many fear that CAFTA would also force the Costa Rican health care system to stop using generic drugs and force them to import costly name brand American medications.

CAFTA, like the U.S.’s jewel, NAFTA, is not a pact among equals. Greater and greater concessions squeezed out of smaller South and Central American nations have given unfettered access for U.S. capital.

These agreements force changes in smaller nations’ legal systems, especially laws protecting workers and the right to organize. In turn, the pacts have caused a sharp decrease in the standard of living, wages and safety for the workers in these smaller nations — and always an increase in U.S. corporate profits.

Vivianak Weinstein
Colorado Springs CO

Rates were spelled out

As Ronald Reagan Republican I try to read your newspaper whenever I go to the library. You are still fascinated by communism in spite of the fact that the only communist state, the USSR, collapsed in ruins.

I was interested in the left-wing response to the vast mortgage failure. I still can’t see how the people in Wall Street didn’t see what was coming. The crash was visible eight months before it occurred.

You feel that the banks should pick up the tab for all the poor souls that got hurt. It is true that the change in mortgage repayment rates after two years was used to take money from those who could not afford it, but the rates were clearly spelled out in the mortgage papers.

Stuart Hoenig
Tucson AZ

Texas sets records

PWW readers may not know that during the first week of November a Texan set a new record for climbing into a bathtub with the largest-ever number of venomous rattlesnakes. Jake Bibby of Dublin, Texas, had Guinness officials watch him lie in the tub for 45 minutes with 87 snakes. His previous record was only 75. That was on page 3 of the Nov. 6 Dallas paper.

The state desperately needed something to be proud of after the announcement on page 1, the previous day, that Texas leads the nation in the number of unwanted teen pregnancies. “Abstinence only” is finally being reconsidered, by a few officials, as the only sex education allowed. It has been destroying the lives of our young women since Bush was governor.

Jim Lane
Dallas TX

Deaths in prisons

I’m writing to you about your article, “Study of deaths in police custody” (PWW 10/20-26). I’m glad to see it, although it doesn’t include prisons.

I’m a prisoner at Attica since May 2007, and there’ve been three deaths that I know of since then.

Prisoners don’t file grievances against these abuses because the system that’s supposed to protect us doesn’t. Filing a grievance 9 out of 10 times results in retaliation by the offending correction officer (CO). This isn’t supposed to happen. Gov. Spitzer’s supposed to change this but it’s a snail’s pace!

Most troubles start off with the mentalities of the CO who are only supposed to use force as a last resort (the exact opposite happens!). Most prisoners, myself included, are here to do our time and get back to families in one piece. How’s this possible when we’re subjected to more violence? This system is not good rehab.

There has to be a change, or else the 1971 riots will come back and the cycle all over again will continue to escalate. I was born in 1971, a couple towns over.

I hope to read more on this subject. Keep up the good news, keeping citizens aware! Power to the people!

A reader
Attica NY

Thanksgiving week — No PWW

Next week there will be no print edition of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo for the Thanksgiving holiday. Check www.pww.org for news updates and analysis. We wish our readers and families a safe and fulfilling holiday weekend.

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