Readers’ Views, Jan.-Feb. 2014, Part 2

March 9, 2014


Recently I attended a talk near Berkeley, Calif., by a retired professor about the effect of environmental damage on political instability in the Middle East. He spoke disparagingly of Arab countries, but was full of praise for Israeli technology and “adaptive science.” He stated that autocracy was the best way to confront problems, including overpopulation. At this point, a woman in the audience challenged him, pointing out that if women had full control of their lives, the runaway birthrate would end. Some people in the room applauded, most smiled with approval, and Mr. Speaker was visibly taken off guard.

On energy sources he said that more research needed to be done on hydraulic fracturing. I asked if I had heard him correctly, that he supported fracking? He hastily said no, but continued, saying “all possibilities need to be explored.” Afterward, most of the audience expressed disappointment with him, especially the women, and were glad he had been challenged.




Did you read Melville’s description of the death of a whale? They’re going to be gone due to sonar, pollution, the garbage gyre, and radiation leaks into their home. When I fear the loss of any cetacean species, every time I think, “We hardly knew ye.” We’re killing off our mental cousins. It is so beyond stewardship of the earth to kill a whale.

Thinking mammal



After delivering humanitarian aid to Fukushima Daiichi and getting cancer or other diseases, over 70 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan are suing the Japanese for. Couldn’t the U.S. Navy afford a Geiger counter? It’s beyond imagination that they didn’t have the wherewithal to assess the situation these young people were getting into. That the Japanese government and nuclear industry are both bad actors is another thing that cannot have been a mystery to the Navy.




A recent news story said five of the world’s ten richest people came from two families, the Kochs and the Waltons. What’s even more interesting is to consider what both those family fortunes have in common: Communism! The Walton fortune derives from Wal-Mart, with its dependence on Chinese labor to keep production costs down and profits up. They import more Chinese products than do big countries like Russia or Germany. The Koch brothers’ family fortune, on the other hand, derives from their father’s building of Stalin’s Russian oil industry in the 1930s. You might say it’s ironic, but I’d call it state-capitalism in action.




It is a measure of the depth of the ruling class’s collective guilt and remorse over their Vietnam War disaster, that whenever the memory of President Kennedy is invoked, almost invariably the first question asked is, “What would Kennedy have done in Vietnam if he had not been assassinated?” Given the Cold War politics of the time, Kennedy, a Democrat, would have had to have proved that he was “tough on communism.”

The U.S. achieved a towering stature during World War II, yet behaved like Nazis in Vietnam, losing its stature as a “beacon” to the “free world.” Our country has never truly come to grips with the legacy of that war and it is still haunting us today. We should emulate Germany and their efforts to come to terms with their legacy of Nazism.

Retired Postal Worker

Battle Creek, Mich.


A young man with whom I rode to a prison support action in Corcoran, was thrilled with the essay on “Communization theory and its discontents truncate Marx’s dialectic” (July-Aug. 2013 N&L). He said they are translating communization theory in Santa Cruz, where it’s the latest “ultra-left” theory, but he agreed that it subsumes the particular subject. He raised Althusser’s Structuralism as a way to reveal the particularity behind each subject. I discussed Althusser’s objection to Chapter One of Capital and how Raya Dunayevskaya singled out that chapter as crucial to “the dialectic structure of Capital” when Stalin ordered it not to be taught. The dialectic of Capital is open to all the new passions and forces; far from subsuming the concrete, it is how the concrete subject—the human being fighting for freedom—moves. Marxist-Humanism not only supports all forces fighting for freedom, but also the single dialectic structure of the multidimensional struggle to be whole.

Ron Kelch

Oakland, Calif.


I’ve been confined in an isolation unit in California for more than 40 years. Your dynamic publication keeps me duly informed on the national and international issues that surround the world. Thank you for the good job and please continue my donor subscription.


Pelican Bay, Calif.


N&L is excellent and informative! Information and views expressed not found in mainstream media. I share your publication with the seven others here with me in solitary confinement. I am one of the hunger strikers at Pelican Bay State Prison who did the whole 59 days and a member of the class action. Your coverage of our struggle and prisoner issues is appreciated.


Pelican Bay, Calif.


I like reading about what is happening all over the world. Having been in this place for over two decades, I know what it is like to be oppressed, held down and treated like you are nothing, like you’re unimportant, like your opinion means nothing. So I relate to a lot of what these people are going through. Thank you very much for this donation for my sub.


Angleton, Texas


I’m a white man incarcerated in California. For over 30 years I’ve been in the Security Housing Unit, solitary confinement, the “Hole.” Name changes over the years, only the circumstances get worse. The “system” doesn’t discriminate once you are in here. Only recently eyes are being opened to the greed and corruption of the prison system here and across the country. Thank you for distributing the news of our progress as it happens.


Pelican Bay, Calif.


Thank you for the subscription to News & Letters. The articles and reports on current events and world politics are very enlightening and educational. Furthermore, everyone around me who I share your newsletter with, appreciates the coverage you’ve done on our Hunger Strike and struggle behind these walls.

It’d be greatly appreciated if you can keep me on your subscription list for future issues. Lastly, if possible, maybe someone on the prisoner fund list could send me a copy of the pamphlet on the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers.


Pelican Bay, Calif.


TO OUR READERS: Can you donate $5, the price of a subscription, for a prisoner who cannot pay for one? It will be shared with many others. A donation of $8 pays for a subscription plus the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers pamphlet to be sent to a prisoner

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