Letters to the Editor
“USA Today” conducted a poll showing that a majority of Americans reject the use of torture by the United States Government. “Most Americans surveyed also said they believe the abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi detainees by U.S. Army reservists at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison have damaged the USA’s reputation as a protector of civil liberties—and made it more likely that U.S. soldiers captured by America’s enemies will be tortured.” Ruling Class strategists like Alan Dershowitz and Alberto Gonzales formulated convoluted legal arguments to justify before the American people and the entire world that the Geneva Conventions were obsolete in the “War on Terror”.
Without any leadership, U.S. Citizens have rejected these formulations and the prerogatives of the ruling class to openly use torture as a method in warfare and incarceration. There wasn’t a Democrat or Republican that condemned Dershowitz, Gonzales, and the Bush Administration when the U.S. was exposed before international community torturing detainees. The press never rallied Americans to stand up against torture and condemn it as an affront to our Bill of Rights. It is the Bill of Rights that has been absorbed by every American since childhood that makes them resistant to ruling class plots to abrogate civil rights at home and abroad. The re-election of George Bush didn’t reflect a reactionary mood in the American People; it was a catastrophic crisis of leadership and no viable alternative readily visible in the eyes of the voters. Kerry’s platform didn’t differ from Bush except that Kerry was calling for more tros and money to fight the war. Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have exhaustively researched and wrote on the bloody history and foreign policy of this U.S. Ruling Class. This election was a real acid test for their credibility as advocates for civil rights and change.
They betrayed the American People by advocating getting out the vote for Kerry. It is sad to say but Chomsky and Zinn have more faith in the ruling class to reform themselves than they do in the American People to throw off the rusty chains that have been wrapped around them. This “USA Today” poll is a solid indicator that U.S. Citizens have progressive instincts and are resistant at this point and time to the ruling class drive to openly torture and wage wars of imperial conquests without a democratic veneer. As socialists and progressive people we have a long struggle ahead but not a hopeless one.This poll vindicates the existence of Socialist Viewpoint Magazine and the other brave socialist groups that steadfastly kept their faith in the American People rather than betray them to the Democratic Party.
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Socialism for the Twenty-First Century
If we’re going to solve today’s problems we must get over labels and propaganda. The gang that hijacked the Russian Revolution and spread totalitarianism were no more socialists or communists than the Inquisition or fascist priests wereChristian.
The fundamental tenets of socialism are: 1) An economy run for the benefit of all society, not for the profits of a few; and therefore, 2) A political system which can be truly democratic, not one dominated by wealth. Such a system has always been seen as dependent on a high level of technological development. Indeed, the higher the level of technological development, the worse capitalism—production for profit—functions. Consider just a few differences.
The Bush administration is currently asking for an additional $80 billion for its military budget—necessary to defend and expand capitalist interests, especially in oil. The UN estimates that $80 billion a year would provide clean drinking water, adequate food, shelter, primary education and healthcare for every person lacking these basics now. Which solution do you think would be more effective in combating terrorism?
The market economy creates unemployment, expensive medical care, devastation of the environment (including global warming), and can never solve the problems of hunger, disease and housing because the poor are not a market. A socialist economy in the computer age could easily plan for society’s needs, allocate its resources, and develop safe energy alternatives.
True, one percent of the American population would no longer control 95 percent of America’s wealth. But buying out the Rockefellers, DuPonts and other dynasties would be cheaper than continued wars, pollution and untold human misery. In fact, we’ll never abolish racism and other forms of xenophobia as long as corporations profit by cheap labor and resources.
To be sure, we must not allow a tiny elite to rule society. But isn’t that exactly what we do now when we vote for Democrats or Republicans, who represent only Wall Street? Instead of billionaire liars like Bush and Kerry, America needs men and women like Eugene Debs, Mother Jones, Emma Goldman and all the unsung “Joe Hills” who fought for a truly just society!