People’s World readers join the #Oprah2020 debate
Oprah Winfrey | Charles Sykes / AP

People’s World readers offer their take on a number of recent articles featured in our pages. The comments below have been proofread and edited for length. Join the discussion on the PW website and on Facebook. Your thoughts could be the next to appear in this space.

Re: Oprah for president? How dare she!

Geoffrey Jacques says:

While I’m sure you’ll get lots of push-back for this article, let me thank you for writing it, and for writing through whatever emotions this all elicited. I also want to commend you for citing Eugene Gordon and the Daily Worker for his articles on Recy Taylor. (The left and progressive movements in our country are impoverished to the extent that the archive of the Daily Worker and the Daily World are not digitized and freely available.) Your citation shed a light on Winfrey’s speech. [Editor’s note: Read Daily Worker reporter Eugene Gordon’s first article on Recy Taylor’s case, from our Nov. 19, 1944 issue.]

Those who rail against even entertaining the thought that she might stand as a candidate for president are boxing at shadows. Winfrey has shown us, through her art, something about herself. The critics are paying attention to her riches, and that, to some extent, is appropriate. They also seem to find the fact that she’s a citizen who is not a professional politician disqualifying, a stance that is beyond puzzling. The racism and misogyny that has greeted speculation that she might run for the office is sickening.

Many critics are ignoring her art. It seems that they can’t be bothered to think about it. This is, in and of itself, a damnation of their criticism. To ignore Winfrey’s art (or to cherry-pick through it to find “gotcha” points) is to ignore her soul. The actor who showed us Deborah Lacks, Anna Lee Cooper, Gloria Gaines, Sethe, Sophia, Bigger Thomas’s mother, and, in a TV movie, the voice of Elizabeth Keckley (none of whom, by the way, were billionaires), deserves far more respect than she’s been shown in many forums on this subject. The woman who was producer or executive producer of The Wedding, Beloved, Their Eyes were Watching God, The Great Debaters, Precious, Selma, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, among many other films, deserves to be taken far more seriously as a political being than those “progressives” would have us believe who now think it’s their duty to truth, transparency, justice, and democracy to try to shut her up.


Re: Oprah for president? How dare she!

Henry Lowendorf says:

Stanley Greenberg is the main Democratic Party pollster. He is married to Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, a very liberal Democrat and one of the top leaders of that party in the House. He wrote an article in The American Prospect last summer sharply criticizing the Democratic Party leadership and Hillary Clinton for shoving aside the working class of this country and thus losing an election that few thought she could lose. A Democrat wrote that. It’s worth a read by those who consider themselves Marxist.

Oprah has many fine qualities, as does Barack Obama, as does Hillary Clinton. We know that the latter two supported anti-worker trade policies, oil pipelines, more wars, and more regime changes. We know that both were backed by large sections of Wall Street and reciprocated. When they fail, as when the long-term ruling social democrats of Europe fail, with their policies, eventually enough members of the working class say “No more of the same,” and without a strong left, the right wing takes over.

If what consists of our democracy survives to the next presidential election, it’s possible any credible candidate could beat Trump. If enough voters say “No more of the same,” a Republican won’t win and presumably a Democrat will. But the question we must ask, if we don’t want to swing back and forth between Republican and Democrat (moving inexorably to the right, as we can see has happened for the last half century or so), is how are we going to solve our problems? The question we must ask looking to 2020 is who can we lift up to solve the deepening crisis of capitalism? If we replace Trump and there are no solutions, the next Republican will likely be worse. Now is the time to build coalitions of the great movements, mobilize masses into those coalitions, and move the demands to the left. Our success in such mobilizations will determine the candidates.


Re: #Oprah2020 speculation misses the point

Niles Zee says:

This is a boring take on this issue. Review Black Twitter to see more interesting viewpoints. Points with substance. To me what is interesting about this saga is the left’s reversal from #trustblackwomen and #anyonebuttrump to #neveroprah in just a few weeks. Oprah isn’t running for president. I trust this is not the case from the PW, but the social media circus surrounding President Oprah looks like whites circling the wagons against a powerful Black woman. A bad and boring take.

I’d be more interested in hearing from young Black women what Oprah as a president would make them feel. Or from Black women leaders who have been turned on by the American public or progressives.

Or an analysis of whether Oprah could defeat Trump and why or why not. A white male author speculating on what a powerful Black woman president would do to screw working people over, based on nothing of substance, borders on offensive.


Re: “The Last Jedi”: What we missed while worrying about white male feelings (again)

Gretchen Noelle Ellis says:

Re #18, it wasn’t mentioned in the film, but Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo is canonically pansexual in the recent Young Adult novel Leia: Princess of Alderaan, written by Claudia Gray. Laura Dern and Oscar Isaacs actually talk about it in an interview, so it’s confirmed not just by the actor but in extended canon materials. We need more on-screen rep for sure, especially as most people aren’t aware that Holdo is queer unless they read the books. There are LGBT+ characters in other books and comics as well, including Doctor Aphra, an Asian character who has her own comic, and Sana Starros, a black woman who is a secondary character in several comics and Aphra’s ex, but yeah, I’d like more on-screen rep and more on-screen black female characters (again, there are tons in the books and comics, but we haven’t seen any move to on screen). I was really hoping Sana would show up in the Han Solo movie, as they pulled a few cons together according to the comics, but alas.

Great list, and totally agree! We definitely should have seen more conversation about all of these topics.


Re: Group of young millennials at Tacoma kennel unionize with Teamsters

Deb Wilmer says:

The working conditions of these kennel workers directly impacts the animals in their care. Unionized workers make more money, making it possible to stay in the job and survive (and their experience and longevity benefits the animals), and they have more job security, making it possible for them to speak out when conditions aren’t right. This will have a positive impact on the animals in their care. I love animals even more than I love the working class, so I’m very happy to see this.


Re: The rise and fall of Steve Bannon

Earl Clay says:

Corporatism, or fascism, has long had its strong ties to U.S. governance. In this way, Breitbart, Bannon, Mercer, and company are as fascistic and American as Coca Cola, Standard Oil, Errol Flynn, and William Randolph Hearst. The so-called “alt-right” is not that much of an alternative to Nazism, and the governance of Trump/Bannon is not that much different than the governance of Roosevelt/Dulles. Yes, our darling Roosevelt. For example, Roosevelt knew and let Mooney of GM and William Davis of Davis Oil meet with Hitler—all, of course, under the watchful eyes of the fascistic and notorious J. Edgar Hoover. Such high crimes against the American and German people—and all humanity—occurred both before and after Pearl Harbor.

Thanks to the PW editorial board for promoting the great movement of organized people and individuals for basic change in government on all levels to combat the corporatism and virulent racism today that imperils both the American people, their governance, and the world’s governance for that. We do indeed need a massive, democratic outpouring both at the polls and in the streets in 2018 and beyond to reverse this horrendous historic trend of corporatism or fascism in the world, especially emanating from the United States of America’s Trumpism. Our movement must intensify to restore a democracy to this land, and to the world.


PW Readers
PW Readers

Contributors to “The People Speak” round-up of discussions and debates happening on the People’s World website and on our social media networks.