WORKERS OF COLOR
Bosses divide and conquer
Thank you for highlighting the issue of corporations pitting workers against each other [“Southern California bosses pit Latinx and Black Workers against each other,” Vol. 43, No. 6].
In the case of Black workers at Ryder Integrated Logistics and Cardinal Health, it was fortunate that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brought cases against the corporations. Unfortunately, these lawsuits take years to settle and are stressful for workers.
It is preferable for unions to organize the workers so that there is solidarity between workers and strength in demanding good working conditions.
Let’s hope the organizing of Starbucks and Amazon workers acts as a catalyst for workers in other industries, including those at Ryder and Cardinal Health, to form unions of their own!
Bethany Leal, Los Angeles, California
Women lead uprising
Thank you for the article “Iranian women ignite mass revolt,” [Vol. 43, No. 6]. Mahsa Amini’s real given name is Jina, but Kurdish names are banned by the Iranian regime.
What most people don’t know, journalists included, is that the slogan of the protesters — Jin, Jiyan, Azadi in Kurdish (Women! Life! Freedom!) — was also the battle cry of the YPJ and YPG fighters in Rojava, Syria, and the Kurdish Workers Party. It is attributable to Abdullah Öcalan, longtime Kurdish radical leader, imprisoned in Turkey since 1999.
Professor John Tully, Tasmania, Australia
Negative effects linger
Here in Canada, the Conservative Party held its leadership election at the same time as the death of Elizabeth II. Most of the speakers ended their speeches with the phrase “God save the King,” a toadying tribute that left many of us spectators nauseated [“The British monarchy has got to go,” Vol. 43, No. 6].
And now in December, democratically elected members of the National Assembly of Quebec are being denied entry to the Quebec Legislative Chamber because of their refusal to swear allegiance to Charles, thus leaving them unable to fulfill the duties for which they were elected by the people.
The continued negative effects of the British monarchy are alive and well in Canada and the people’s democracy is again stymied by sycophantic right-wing politicians and the colonial state apparatus.
Mark Davies, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Crypto and capitalism
Concerning “A Marxist look at cryptocurrency,” Vol. 43, No. 6: I especially appreciated this article for its explanation of how and why even with the “best” democratic intentions a technological tweak like crypto will fail because of the inherent problems baked into capitalism.
Many threw their lot in with crypto and watched as the scheme unfolded before their eyes.
I wonder what this says about the average person who invested in this scheme and why they felt this was the better alternative.
Can this energy be channeled in different ways?
Paul W., Seattle, Washington
Crypto and mathematics
I was especially glad to see a critical analysis of cryptocurrency! As an applied mathematician, I have met too many people in my field who get excited about blockchain as a means for them to find ways to solve “interesting problems” and get rewarded for doing it through cryptocurrency mining, whereby new currency is added to the system.
Fortunately, many of us are coming to understand the environmental costs of our computational work, and efforts are focused on developing methods to optimize the balance between time and energy use costs of computation, which should include careful determination of which problems are worth solving.
We need a system change so that good scientists and mathematicians can be paid to do work that is valuable to society rather than aiding capitalists’ plundering and hoarding all of earth’s resources in new ways and old for themselves!
Susan Massey, Phoenix, Arizona
Crypto, a predatory and cruel con job
As a man in my early 20s, I really appreciated the article on cryptocurrency.
My demographic is a prime target for all sorts of pseudointellectual nonsense designed by grifters to sell us on the notion that their idea or product is the one thing that can give us some control over our lives. Capitalism is alienating, and there’s no shortage of smooth talkers who are willing to exploit the desperation that alienation produces. To me, no grift is more predatory, ubiquitous, or insulting than cryptocurrency.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees through the pandering. So many depressed young men in America are desperate to feel like they’re holding the reins, and the sad truth is that their hesitance to accept alternative ideologies is what pushes them to accept harmful ideas like crypto. I have seen enough of my peers fall prey to cruel manipulation, and my heart aches for them when they inevitably realize that their money is gone.
Declan Goldenbogen, Seattle, Washington
Potentially good news
In mid-December Judge Lucretia Clemons of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas threw out her Oct. 26, 2022, tentative ruling against Mumia Abu-Jamal and ruled that both defense and prosecution have 60 days to examine all the evidence (not just the six boxes of hidden evidence) in Mumia’s long and torturous case (since 1981!). She announced that she will issue her ruling in 90 days.
Now, the supporters of Mumia must mobilize a massive international movement and fight with all we’ve got for his freedom!
Carole S., San Francisco, California
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