It’s still union-busting

When a union becomes very strong, the powers that be look for a way to be completely rid of it. The United Packinghouse Workers was very strong in the Chicago stockyards and other packing centers. The big packers announced that they were moving their operations to the country to be closer to the supply. They also mentioned in passing that they wanted to escape the unions. In 1969, the Chicago stockyards closed. It had been there for 100 years.

Now the teachers’ unions have become strong in Chicago and other cities. They have been able to get better pay and other benefits, as well as lower class size. Under a screen of cries of poor public education, charter schools are multiplying. They are supposed to be non-union and teachers will be paid at different rates according to a magic standardized test of students, or perhaps favoritism from supervision.

Oppose charter schools. Support unionization in charter schools.

Pammela Wright
Via e-mail

Guantanamo Bay

Dear Mr. & Mrs. North America:

I know you’ve seen my name, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, recently and in the last several years, where I house people you call “terrorists”. But I would guess there’s little else you really know about me.

First, my real family is the sovereign nation of Cuba. But I was “adopted” by your country in 1903, not that I was looking to be adopted. You see, I was part of the “spoils” coming out of the Spanish-American War of 1898, when you “liberated” Cuba and my cousins, Puerto Rico and the Philippines, from Spain.

But “liberation” was only one side of the coin flipped by the United States, as the Cubans, Puerto Ricans and the Filipinos can attest to. And here is just a sketch of what happened to Cuba and to me, in particular.

The U.S. invoked the Platt Amendment giving your country “the right to intervene” in my homeland of Cuba at any time. The U.S. also has, through the original agreement of 1903 and the Treaty of 1934, a perpetual lease on all 28,000 acres of me, Guantanamo Bay. And here’s the kicker. This “lease” is capable of being voided only by you deciding to leave or by mutual agreement between you and Cuba.

Thus, under the terms of the lease forced upon us, you, the U.S., can continue with the present status for as long as you like. “As long as you like.” Sounds kind of one-sided, don’t you think?

So next time you hear my name, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, you’ll have a fuller understanding of who I am, who I really belong to, and with whom I should and want to be.

Guantanamo Bay

Translated by Lawrence H. Geller of Philadelphia PA.


I hope my letter finds you all bereft of illness, progressively well, and in an optimistic frame of mind. I am a joyous frequent reader of the People’s Weekly World. It brought back memories of the terrible days for 10 years that I lived as a prisoner in the bowels of the beast at San Quentin and religiously read the People’s World.

On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday in 1983 I was paroled from prison. I have done a lot with my life in the last 26 years as a civil rights activist and prison reformer. I hope I am respected and loved by you all now. Keep up the good work. La lutta continua.

Tyrone James
Sacramento CA

Right stuff

So glad you re-ran the little ad featuring a photo of a homeless man accompanied by the very bold statement, “Spread the wealth”? Damn Right! Communist Party USA,” in direct response to the fear-mongering opportunists who would attempt to divide us. Researching CP placards and slogans of the past, I see a direct connection to the statements in earlier times of struggle. This ad is a powerful, perhaps riveting pronouncement of our current voice as well as pride in the party history. So when does this become available as a sticker and poster?

John Pietaro
Beacon NY

Highly recommended reading

“Health Insurance Profits Soar as Industry Mergers Create Near-Monopoly” on the AFL-CIO Now blog is a great article! It brings real clarity to the issue of real health care (not insurance) reform and on the need to expand the public sector in order to get real care to the people.

Here is the direct link:

Bruce Bostick
Columbus OH

Co-op not the same

The following is a letter to MoveOn Political Action members on the fight for real health care reform.

President Obama has spoken forcefully about the need for a public health insurance option that would lower costs and keep the insurance companies honest.

But the Washington Post is reporting that a new health care proposal may be gaining support in the Senate that could defeat his plan.

The proposal would create a series of small, regional “co-op” insurance plans that would be too weak to really compete with private insurers and bring down prices. And these “co-op” plans would mostly be privately run, so they wouldn’t be accountable to voters or Congress. A “co-op” is not an acceptable substitute for a strong public health insurance option.

Can you call your senators today? Tell them: Voters want a strong, national public health insurance option. Please oppose the “co-op” proposal and other half-measures.

Patrick Schmitt
Via e-mail from Political Action


I don’t know how this came to be, but I just noticed that when I did a search of site for “public education,” the list that was returned was in this format:

“People’s Weekly World – Rally: Stop closing schools, education is …Feb 26, 2009 … Their school is one of 16 public schools the Chicago Board of Education has recently decided to close, consolidate or revamp next fall.”

The description of the article starts with the date. I LOVE it!

Deb Wilmer
Tucson AZ

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