Letters to the editor, October 2020

Free Mumia mural, Oakland, California. PHOTO: Endless Canvas
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Hearing on new evidence in Mumia’s case closed to public

Political prisoner and radical journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal was unjustly convicted of killing a cop in 1982. Supporters hoped that the two new boxes of evidence showing illegal actions by the prosecutor’s office would lead to Abu-Jamal’s conviction being tossed out.

However, in April the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stepped in and stopped Mumia’s case cold, according to Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio. Now there are secret proceedings occurring. None of this is good for justice or Abu-Jamal. Keep current on his case at prisonradio.org.

Free Mumia and all political prisoners now!



Crucial profit motive

Thank you for the lively review of “Mrs. America — How the ERA was lost” [Vol. 41, No. 4]. And for the analysis that it was the refusal of Democratic Party-dependent liberal feminist leaders to fight the right-wing anti-feminist onslaught led by Phyllis Schlafly that blocked the ERA and moved the Republican Party to the far right.

Though a majority of women supported the Equal Rights Amendment, state legislators knew that the health insurance industry, chambers of commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and other corporations opposed it. Phyllis Schlafly and her lady homemakers provided cover for legislators who wanted to vote against the ERA.

The profit motive is the bullet aimed at women’s rights and liberation.

Adrienne Weller, Seattle, Wash.



Put safety first

I was raised in Sunnyside, Washington, and lived there until I graduated from high school. Then I moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. Eventually I came to Los Angeles to attend UCLA.

Education was my road out of a life of field work. I grew up working the fields with my mother and siblings. I know what it is to do back-breaking work from morning to night, live in labor camps with no running water or indoor bathrooms, earn low wages and have no work benefits nor safety standards.

For decades, pesticides and chemicals sickened and killed farmworkers; now Covid-19 is mercilessly killing mushroom workers of color in the Yakima Valley and farmworkers and meat packers throughout the United States.

Big agribusiness’ goal is to secure the cheapest labor possible and make enormous profits. These profit-driven employers do not care about the lives of those who produce, process and harvest the food that ends up on our dinner tables.

This is why governors Gavin Newsom of the state of California and Jay Inslee of the state of Washington and other governors must immediately intervene to mandate that employers insure the highest work standards for these essential workers to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

This includes fair wages, free healthcare, sick and hazard pay, sanitary handwashing stations, social distancing at work as well as in sleeping quarters and transportation to and from work, and investigation of non-compliance. Let us honor these essential workers by making sure their lives matter.

Yolanda Alaniz, Los Angeles, Calif.



Dated info

The film’s major flaw is that it was using information and footage from at least eight years ago [“Planet of the Humans takes on green capitalism,” Vol. 41, No. 2]. A lot has happened since then in the green environmental industry.

Critiquing capitalism in the 21st Century requires us to be up to date on its technological advances. Hence, the electric cars shown and discussed in the film are as obsolete as an Edsel or Studebaker when compared to Teslas. Solar and wind power of the early 2000s cannot compare to the efficiency and cost savings of solar and wind technology of today.

I cringed watching this because it was so dated. It was like watching a documentary critiquing the limitations of the Motorola Razor flip phone and its Nokia equivalent. Trying to show capitalists as snake oil salesmen with slide rules might have worked in the ’60s and early ’70s, but not in a world where we are about to make another quantum leap in artificial intelligence and networking all humans from birth to death.

Gibbs’ and Moore’s intentions were righteous, but their use of dated tech and knowledge rendered this documentary not a good informational and organizing tool.

Sam Anderson via email



On women’s oppression

In 1896, the great Russian-born anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman (1869–1940) wrote an article for The Alarm, criticizing “the corrupt, diseased system,” in which the workingman, “whose labour barely brings him enough to keep the wolf of starvation from the door, marries only to have a wife and house-keeper, who must slave from morning till night.”

For Goldman, the only way to cease “the evils of matrimony” and to make women “self-supporting and independent” was to replace the system with “one which is based upon perfect equity — a system which guarantees every member, man, woman or child, the full fruits of their labour and a perfectly equal right to enjoy the gifts of nature and to attain the highest knowledge.”

Goldman also defended the liberty to end a relationship at any time without going through a complicated process of divorce. One hundred twenty-four years after the publication of Goldman’s article, there is still a lot of feminist fight needed for the right of all women around the world to relate (and separate) in total liberty and equality.

Thomas Tews, Germany


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 FSnews@socialism.com.

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