Letters to the editor
volume 37
issue 5
October 2016


Complex coal issue handled well

I was delighted when I opened the recent mailing from Freedom Socialist and came across Lois Danks’ article [“A big win for Indian treaty rights: Lummi tribe stops North America’s largest proposed coal port,” Vol. 37, No. 4].

While I am not Lummi (I am Aleut), I spent the last two years of my studies as a student here at NWIC focusing on the coal port. Your article was great! It’s a very complex issue and you hit on its many facets! Well done!

Thank you for highlighting this victory that was not just for the Lummi community, but for tribal sovereignty as well. Their tenacity benefits so many communities.

Hyshqe! And have a great day.

Julia Orloff, Bellingham, Wash.


An example worth following

U.S. workers can look to recent South African elections for a way forward post-November.

The ruling African National Congress lost more votes than in any race since winning office in post-apartheid 1994. ANC neoliberal policies have left youth facing 50 percent unemployment and a dire wealth gap met with protests and strikes by the oppressed. The metal workers’ union, NUMSA, has broken with the ANC and have pledged to form a socialist working class party by 2019.

The only way we’ll end racism, sexism, xenophobia, and poverty is by permanently dispensing with capitalism.

U.S. labor should emulate NUMSA and dump the Democrats. Thanks for your coverage of these issues.

Toni Mendicino, San Francisco


Black Lives Matter

I was thoroughly surprised, grateful and empowered by your editorial, ”Warning Message from Dallas” [Aug-Sept 2016].

I vigilantly read the usual socialist, Marxist periodical publications to see what exactly would be the line taken by various parties. Not only was the Freedom Socialist the first to comment (in print I assume) which is in itself a sign of political maturity, the FS offers its readers the most correct handling of a people who are fed up with a system that has so thoroughly devalued the skin they live in.

The actions of Dallas and Baton Rouge are manifestation not simply of a ‘message,’ but of a question: How long can an oppressed people be expected to hold firm to the principle of peace while being slaughtered by so-called peace officers? And how long may the guardians of bourgeois legality and property remain aloof from justice, brought by the hand of those upon which injustice was visited so frequently? Black Lives Matter, because we say they do.

Kasim Gerd, Jessup, Md.

Pay for Texas inmates

I’m writing to request that my subscription be continued. As I am still confined and have not been released.

Also, I would like to make known that there is currently an effort being employed to attempt to secure pay for those Texas prisoners who have work assignments in various areas of the prison. This effort is for those whom are not participating in the PIE program, as those prisoners get paid.

Even further, there is an effort for a “mandatory out” under the Texas TTP statute. In the near future I will secure a copy of the letters being used for advancing this agenda.

Willie Milton, Huntsville, Texas


Neighborhood networks

We need more reports on organizing in neighbourhoods, “grass roots actions” that go beyond our protests, exposures and picket lines. Such news is easily shored on the Internet leading to quick cross fertilization of ideas for action. Potential activists can then see some continuity of thought and activity.

We also need to read some alternatives to consumerist culture: food, clothing, education co-ops and programmes. It’s largely kept out of mainstream media, especially when effective.

It’s hard to get our neighbours involved in things but not impossible. People are motivated by what affects them emotionally, how it fits with their lived experiences and what they know works in their area. That knowledge and experience is a resource that cannot be ignored.

One technique is using short term alliances with different groupings for very specific projects. The alternative can be stagnation.

Martin S. Gilbert, Ulverston, Cumbria, United Kingdom


Support needed

When I was incarcerated, Prison Radio was a lifeline for me. Prison Radio is the reason I was able to share my voice, my experience, and remain connected with you all.

You may not know this, but a large portion of what Prison Radio does is fight the prison administrations, phone companies, Fraternal Order of Police, and legislatures who deliberately block prisoners from calling in to record their commentaries.

That’s why, when Prison Radio correspondent Jaan Laaman was repeatedly barred from calling and emailing the studio, Prison Radio set out to challenge the restrictions. Meanwhile, I read his essay on prison censorship that he wasn’t able to deliver himself.

Please consider supporting our ongoing efforts to fight prison censorship.

Prisons and phone companies are intent at making it impossible for people in prison to connect with their families, lawyers, media, and support committees. We are here to fight them — and win.

Will you help us secure a lifeline for prisoners to connect with the outside world?

Please consider making a gift to help us fight prison censorship at every turn, and keep funds on our correspondents’ commissary so they can call in to broadcast their voices 24/7.

Lynne Stewart, New York

Editor’s note: The above was excerpted from an open letter. To donate, visit www.prisonradio.org or mail a check to: Prison Radio/Redwood Justice Fund, P.O. Box 411074, San Francisco, CA 94141.

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@mindspring.com.

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