Freedom Socialist Letters to the Editor — Feb 2016

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Orlando Barrantes

The FSP comrades have obtained a very valuable statement of support for our Costa Rican comrade Orlando Barrantes. International workingclass solidarity is on the move.

Cuauhtémoc Ruíz Ortiz, Mexico City

Editor’s note: Ruíz Ortiz works with FSP and other international groups in the Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment as does the author of the letter below. This note is a response to a letter sent from the Washington State Labor Council supporting Orlando Barrantes, a union and community leader who is being persecuted for his actions. Read more by searching for Barrantes in the FS archives.

Deep respect for Heidi Durham

My family members and compañeros in our socialist organization NUPORI (Nucleo por un Partido Revolucionario Internacionalista), want to convey our deepest respect for Comrade Heidi and heartfelt condolences to her family.

We also want to send the same message to the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women — two organizations which understood the importance of building revolutionary leaders when they recruited Heidi and, then, guided her in her fight for the rights of women and the disabled; which included a foray into the complicated electoral arena, where Heidi did a wonderful job as a socialist candidate for Seattle City Council.

Comrade Heidi stands as a symbol of bravery and struggle. This is how we will remember her.

Hugo Cedeño, Dominican Republic


For the support

I just want to say “Thank You” for all the support you gave me when I was desperately fighting for my freedom.

Without help from people like you, I probably would’ve given up, or gone to prison.

I am fine and at home on the Colville Reservation taking care of one of my great-grandchildren for the time being. Many good thoughts going your way. I pray all of you are doing well.

Yvonne L. Swan (formerly Wanrow), Inchelium, Wash.

Editor’s note: in 1972 Swan was charged with murder for defending her child from a molester. FSP and RW were active in her defense, which won a landmark decision. Visit the FS archives and search for “Yvonne Wanrow.”


Missed opportunity

In an article meant to describe a polarized society [The Great Divide, Vol. 36, No. 6] the author dismissively refers to Bernie Sanders as an “establishment socialist,” and “theoretically” independent, but does not dissect or even take a glance at his dangerous stealth role in the electoral charade.

No opportunity to do this ought to be missed.

Bruce Dixon of Black Agenda Report aptly calls Sanders a “sheepdog,” that is, one who gathers into the fold disillusioned progressive voters to be herded behind the candidate of Wall Street and war.

Uncritically calling Bernie Sanders a “socialist” leaves him an unchallenged agent of the corporate elite — either conscious or unwitting.

Bob Schwartz, Chicago


Race and sex discrimination

At the heart of the Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association case is a long-standing, systemic, institutionalized backlash against Black women in particular — women who fought against slavery and for public education [Unions must join forces to defeat anti-labor lawsuit before US Supreme Court, Vol. 36, No. 6].

Friedrichs is a teacher aligned with right-wing profiteers determined to return to the “good old days” when the labor of women and people of color was free.

Under the guise of fighting for workers’ freedom of speech, these anti-unionists are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to legitimize stealing wages and benefits from those who teach the young, care for the sick and elderly, deliver the mail and staff libraries and government offices. To get their way, they must break organized labor.

Right on to Washington state’s AFSCME Council 28, AFSCME 3299 Hastings College, and San Francisco Labor Council for initiating a drive to defeat Friedrichs! The call for massive marches on the Supreme Court in defense of public sector workers and the services they provide will mobilize many who are sick of discrimination, attacks on their valuable work, and the war on their unions.

Mary Ann Curtis, Retired AFSCME Chapter 36, Los Angeles

The FS welcomes your feedback and opinions. Letters may be edited for length. Please write to 5018 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98118, or email

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