No Blackwater

It was an anti-Blackwater weekend in the San Diego backcountry as hundreds of people gathered in the town of Potrero, Calif., (pop. 850), to protest a proposal by Blackwater USA to build a paramilitary training facility along the U.S.-Mexican border. The two day event featured campground seminars on Immigrant Rights and War Profiteering, wilderness walking tours and wildlife seminars by the Sierra Club, a concert of music and spoken word by local talent and a Sunday rally and march to the gate of the proposed facility.

There’s a political story here that involves not only international and national politics but California, San Diego County, and the politics of the community of Potrero, which is about two miles from the border. Community activist Jan Hedlun is spearheading an unprecedented recall campaign of Potrero Planning Board members who voted to approve Blackwater’s proposed expansion.

It’s becoming apparent that this is as much about the militarizing of the border and the privatization of the Border Patrol as anything else. There’s a lot of work to be done if an effective campaign to stop Blackwater is to be successful but Blackwater’s proposed expansion along the border is galvanizing the opposition amongst center/left forces in San Diego County.

Danny Morales

San Diego CA

‘The Brother’

Sue Webb’s review of “The Brother” calls it a “powerful play” (PWW 9/15-21). I agree that the acting was masterful and the play kept me on the edge of my seat. But in the end, the truth about the frame-up of the Rosenbergs does not come out.

As Webb wrote in the review, “The play centers around Greenglass’ self-serving version of events, depicting Julius Rosenberg as having recruited Greenglass to help pass atomic secrets to the Russians.” And that is what is wrong with the play. The lies that David Greenglass told to save his neck are never refuted.

The Rosenberg case was part of the McCarthy repression and the so-called Cold War. It was the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the working people of the world that caused the deaths of millions in Korea, Vietnam, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Angola, El Salvador and more. The Rosenberg case was used to increase the McCarthy attacks on labor and all progressive organizations.

The Rosenbergs could never have given anybody the atom bomb because they never had it. The science was never secret and the Rosenbergs never had access to the technology. In fact, neither did their machinist brother, David Greenglass. The “diagram” he supplied in the trial is admitted to be a joke in the play.

As one writer said, “It was the time of the toad.” I will add the name of the toad was David Greenglass (at least one of the toads.) So this play is his story. Why expect it to be true? Not if you let Greenglass tell it.

Since the performance was so good, I would like to see the play brought closer to historical truth.

Beatrice Lumpkin

Chicago IL

Gun violence

Though I am a loyal supporter of PWW, the article “22 cities rally against gun violence” (PWW 9/8-1/14) was somewhat disheartening. While our nation and subsequently Philadelphia suffer from a high rate of murder, it is the cultural and material basis for these unfortunate killings that must be targeted for change. If the statistic of 90 guns per 100 people applies to Philly, a city with a population of approximately 1,448,394, it could be implied that there are approximately 1,303,555 guns within the city. Against this figure, 271 murders and 800 shootings, even when combined with previous statistics, show that the majority of gun owners in Philadelphia are actually law-abiding citizens. Besides this, other tools of violence will likely be substituted. Restricting firearm availability is a cheap quick fix to symptoms of a deeper, economically based problem — one that is obviously too hurtful to private profit for the capitalist class to fix.

John Sanchez

Sierra Vista AZ

The author, Ben Sears, responds: The writer raises serious and relevant issues. The availability of guns was only one target of the demonstrations. Many speakers mentioned the urgent need for jobs at decent pay in the first place. Many speakers also made the connection between the resources being squandered on the Iraq war (and the war budget generally) and the continuing lack of “political will” of leaders to fund even basic social programs. At the same time, the arms manufacturers profit wildly by flooding our country with guns. So, while it is the “gun issue” that has moved many relatives of young men, especially African American, cut down in the prime of life to take action, this is certainly seen as more than a single issue struggle.

Daily Worker request

I am very much interested in reading about the Indian revolution movement. I generally collect articles about freedom fighters who gave their lives for their country. One of them whom I praise most was Bhagat Singh, who was hanged by British government on March 23, 1931. I recently heard that the Daily Worker had published an article on that on March 25, 1931. May I request you to send me a copy of this news from that paper, if you still have got the paper with you? And also, if you have any other news published on these freedom fighters before their death, could you please send me a copy of those as well? I shall be very thankful to you.

Kamaljit Singh

Canberra, Australia

Editor’s note: Our past editions are bound and archived at New York University’s Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives. The hard-working archivists are busy cataloging them. You can contact the library at: Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, 10th Floor, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012 or e-mail the library’s director, Dr. Michael Nash, at michael.nash for more information.