From the November-December 2017 issue of News & Letters
PUERTO RICO: TRUMP’S KATRINA
Puerto Rico should be considered Trump’s Katrina/New Orleans. You didn’t hear him whining about costs for recovery for Houston or Florida, but his snide comment about how the recovery for Puerto Rico would “break the bank” had all sorts of connotations that one could glean, mainly racially oriented. After all, the majority of folks in that country are brown.
I have an utter disregard for armchair patriots—people who never served yet want to be the greatest flag-wavers around and have so much negative to say towards those expressing freedoms that people in the military take an oath to defend regardless of what one might think of the particular conflict. I am glad to see Bush come out as he did.
Black River, Wisc.
LGBTQ IN AUSTRALIA
I was happy to learn that on Oct. 11, as part of Victorian Seniors Festival, a group of Lesbian elders in Australia held a mass handholding demonstration on a trolley car travelling from Melbourne to St. Kilda. The event commemorated the 1976 arrest of a Lesbian couple charged with “obscene behavior” just for holding hands on a tram. The group invited listeners, especially younger Lesbians, to hear and record their personal experiences with oppression and what they did to resist. The event is part of the “Hold Hands on a Tram Project” launched by the LGBTQI organization Alice’s Garage, which aims to collect stories focusing on how Lesbians’ experience of homophobia is compounded by sexism, making lesbophobia socially invisible.
TRANS IN TEXAS
I’m in a Texas Prison. I don’t get much mail from family. I’m writing you because I would like you to send me a free subscription. I have struggled here in this Texas prison. I have been raped five times and nothing has been done about it. When I’m released I will be letting the media and society know what I have gone through. I’m hopeful that I can start a lawsuit against this Texas prison. I’ve been asking to be placed in “safekeeping” and been denied four times. The Texas prison system doesn’t care about us Transgenders. We are the victims of rapes, extortion, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and other threats of violence because of who we are. There’s no safe place for us. I am looking for anything that is a resource guide for survivors of sexual abuse behind bars. I’m scared for my life. I like reading things about legal actions and survivor options.
In a Texas hellhole
What was clearly missing in the Women’s Convention in Detroit was a revolutionary perspective (see “Convention Shows Women Persist,” p. 2). The issues raised will never be eradicated without a radical change in the U.S. political system.
Black woman activist
I learned a lot of important things about the sex industry from Adele’s review of Pimp State by Kat Banyard (July-Aug. N&L). The review transformed me into being opposed to legalizing the sex industry, unless it is done by strictly following the Nordic Model. Otherwise women will surely suffer, and pimps, strip club owners, traffickers and brothel owners will be the ones who profit. Thank you, Adele.
RACISM IN CANADA
Thank you to rally organizers and participants in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, who solidarized with anti-racists and anti-white-supremacists in the U.S. after protests in August at Charlottesville, Virginia. Haligonians want the statue of Cornwallis removed. Soon after Cornwallis founded Halifax, he ordered the killing of Canada’s Mi’kmaq First Nations People. It is emboldening and hope-giving when there is any, even small, international solidarity shown for a more human world.
DETROIT AND ‘DETROIT’
The review of the film Detroit in the Sept.-Oct. N&L is too one-sided. It is a flawed film but significant and needs to be widely viewed. The violence and intensity of the racism shown ring true. The purpose is to bring that violence to public attention, at a time when that memory has been largely suppressed, and make it part of public discussion. People in the San Francisco Bay Area could take heed. Detroit was once a world center of technology, just as “Silicon Valley” is today. The direct appropriation of consumer goods was not simply destructive, but a call for justice. The film fails to show the huge numbers of whites who were also involved in shopping-without-money, which is a huge gap. Detroit is far better than the film Detropia, which, though well-meaning, leaves viewers with a pre-set conclusion that Detroit fell apart because people there failed to “innovate,” as if workers were to blame.
The destruction of Detroit included not just corporate scheming, but corrupt and dysfunctional city and state governments since the mid-1950s. There are a lot of great things going on in the movement for freedom in Southeast Michigan, and the film Detroit tells a crucial part of the story and is a voice for freedom, whatever its faults. We have to look at the whole picture if we are to have the possibility of reaching new beginnings and truly uprooting the terrible social relations that led to the 1967 Rebellion and the present situation, and creating a new society on truly human grounds.
LABOR AND ROBOTS
With the advent of enhanced robotics in the workplace, labor is no longer an appendage to the machine; rather, its role is totally eliminated. Capitalist technology will eventually achieve such precision that a living human worker is no longer needed for at least some part of production. A bus driver told me that at his workplace an experimental self-driving bus was parked in the garage shortly before a new bus drivers’ contract was to be negotiated. This certainly has a psychological effect on the union members. There is definitely more need for union members in all aspects of work: in light of accelerated automation, the fight against the hubris of the capitalists will be even harder. The most advantageous machine for any particular production line can be invented, but without the living labor to work to create surplus value, and to consume the capitalists’ output, the capitalist is only hung out to dry.
Demonstrations continue to erupt throughout Haiti, braving the terror of the Haitian National Police and affiliated paramilitary forces. The demonstrators object to Jovenel Moïse and his illegitimate government as no different than the old Duvalier dictatorships. They demand the resignation of Moïse and similarly corrupt members of parliament.
Since the media either blocks or distorts news from Haiti, we ask that you, our supporters, become a people’s media for Haiti and help us report the news.
Haiti Action Committee
WHY READ N&L?
I really appreciate you guys. I like receiving this publication because it includes so many things that we normally wouldn’t hear about on the news. What these protests are truly about and what they stand for. There are articles that fill us in on different events all over the world. It’s not confined to just a couple of cities or states. I would not want to lose touch with N&L so if at all possible I will greatly respect and appreciate the continuation of this paper.
Let me just tell you how much I simply adore your newspaper. It always provides a revolutionary ray of hope into my heart, especially these days when Trump is in the White House and the alt-right is on the march!
For “Where Ayotzinapa Movement Can Lead” (Sept.-Oct. N&L): Bertha Nava is the mother of Julio César Ramírez Nava, not of Julio César Mondragón. Both were killed on Sept. 26 in Iguala. The mother of Julio César Mondragón is called Afrodita Mondragón Fontes. Thanks for the article on Ayotzinapa.
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