Letters to the Editor
volume 37
issue 3
June 2016


Union leader and socialist jailed

Heriberto Magariño is an indigenous school teacher and leader of almost 14,000 educators on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the state of Oaxaca. He is a socialist and for years a leader of the Mexican Partido Obrero Socialista.

Police arrested him on May 10 and slapped him with ten false federal charges, the most serious are robbery and murder.

The truth is Heriberto was arrested for his union organizing against the government’s vicious national reform of the country’s educational system. With Heriberto’s jailing, the federal government, in collusion with Oaxaca’s governor, hope to intimidate and derail the teachers’ May 15 launching of an indefinite work stoppage to reverse the reforms.

State repression in Mexico is not limited to teachers. In Michoacán there are over 350 jailed self-defense forces led by Dr. Mireles who took on organized crime in their communities. In Guerrero the community police Gonzalo Molina and Arturo Campos are imprisoned for defending their communities. In Puebla there are more than 156 political prisoners including environmental activists and an organizer of street peddlers.

Heriberto Magariño has taught for over 30 years, beginning in classrooms away from his home in places rife with drug traffickers. He often taught in his native tongue — Zapotec.

Magariño is an honorable man and a political prisoner imprisoned by the dishonorable government facing worldwide questioning around its investigation of the disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa students.

Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Ortiz, Mexico City


Not voting Democrat

Thank you for the “Marxist exploration: Bernie Sanders, political revolution, and socialism” article [Vol. 37, No. 2].

As this year’s presidential race continues heading towards November’s election, my coworkers, fellow union members, and (former) Occupy Wall Street cohorts anxiously hope for a ‘Bernie-like’ candidate to enter the White House.

So, when I say I won’t be voting for Sanders, I hear gasps. I also get push-back from progressive unionists arguing that classic socialists not supporting Sanders are out-of-touch.

I respectfully disagree with these coworkers and fellow activists, while acknowledging that the U.S. is long-overdue for fundamental social change. Which is why many people support Sanders, even where his social-democratic, “kinder” capitalist, “race hesitant” politics won’t deliver, even if he got the Democrat Convention nomination over Clinton.

Moisés Montoya, San Francisco


BYU blames victim

Brigham Young University, owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), punishes the victims of rape. When a female student reports her assault to the Title IX office (established to prohibit sex discrimination), that student is then reported to the Honor Code.

The BYU Honor Code was established in 1949 to ensure that no student drinks alcohol or coffee, participates in gambling, premarital sex, gay sex, or drug use. When a student reports a rape, the HC starts an investigation to see if she was to blame, for wearing a sleeveless dress or drinking a beer or any other egregious behavior.

When Madi Barney was raped while at BYU, she waited four days before reporting it to the police, hoping she could avoid the school finding out. But the police turned over the report to the HC office. So Barney then had a new worry in addition to the rape itself. Would she now be suspended from class? Expelled from the university?

Barney started a petition to ask BYU to amend the Honor Code to grant amnesty for any HC violations to victims of sexual assault. The petition has garnered over 110,000 signatures. But so far, BYU has not made any changes to its policy.

Johnny Townsend, Seattle


Latest attack

Washington state’s Initiative 1515, with its misnamed “just want privacy” campaign, is a vicious assault on transgender rights.

Put forward by the ultra-conservative Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW), the backers of I-1515 want to manufacture anti-trans hysteria. FPIW wants to reverse a state Human Rights Commission ruling that protects the rights of transgender people to use the bathroom they choose.

I-1515 will encourage watchdog behavior and endanger the rights and lives of transgender adults and children in the workplace and school.

This initiative needs 247,000 signatures to get on the ballot. If you see people collecting signatures, just say no! Refuse to sign — vocally! Give others the courage to stand up to transphobic bigotry.

Dee May, Seattle

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.

To listen to this and other articles from this issue, click here.