Letters to the Editor

(June 18, 2007)


[If you want your letters to be published, you must include your first and last names and your city and state of residence. Also, please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject on which you are commenting.]

Enjoy our letters? Keep them coming and, please, support our work.

Politely differing from an ideological perspective: Eli Beckerman's The Greening Of The Peace Movement

Dear Mr. Beckerman,

You write in your article, "The Greening of the Peace Movement," that

"Both the Republicans and the Democrats, however, are wholly committed to that unsustainable religion of continued economic growth called Capitalism. Even Socialism is wedded to the same basic premise that is presently ravaging our planet -- unabated industrial growth."

Not so, as regards the second sentence. Please refer to the following socialist Web site -- www.wsws.org.

As for the Green Party being more a part of the problem than the solution, see the following -- http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/jun2007/shee-j02.shtml

Getting back to your statement: "Socialism is wedded to the same basic premise that is presently ravaging our planet -- unabated industrial growth." That's a rather remarkable statement. I'm curious how you arrived at such a conclusion.

Regards to you and Mr. d'Aymery,

Tony Ficociello
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA - June 14, 2007

Eli Beckerman responds:

Dear Tony,

I did not find anything at WSWS that contradicts my statement. If you point me to something specific I will read it. Perhaps I was too strong -- and should have said "even socialism *appears* to be wedded..." as I know there are strains of ecosocialism out there -- but I do not hear about these anywhere. I do not think ecosocialism and Green philosophy are contradictory.

As for Greens being part of the problem... I read the piece you pointed me to, and found much of it interesting and valid. But I am personally tired of left groups investing so much of their time critiquing other left groups that aren't as sharp (or correct). It seems odd to draw such a strong conclusion about the Green Party from a press statement. Indeed, the Green Party's very existence as an electoral party IS bound up with a rejection of the two-party system. But more importantly, its existence is an attempt to build an alternative from the ground up. Building that other world, not simply critiquing the one we've got.

I sadly admit that the Green Party is not presently succeeding...


Ethnicity: Dimitri Oram's Attacking The ICTY And The ICJ

To the Editor:

I have noticed that Mr. Oram has been using the religious term Muslim to describe the members of a distinct ethnic, national group called the Bosniaks (or Bosnians, as some say).

By using the religious term instead of the ethnic term, you deny us our ethnicity, our history, our country, our territory and our nationhood. Through the course of history the Bosniaks have been a distinct community, a distinct nation, peacefully coexisting with other ethnic or national groups in the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nobody gave us the nationhood and in many European languages there is a word, the Bosniak, to describe us and it has been around for many, many years. So that word, the Bosniak, is not a recent invention, as some say. Besides we have always called ourselves the Bosniaks, never "the Muslims"; and with all respect, I think we know better.

Your publication is well respected and very objective. To use term "the Muslims" for the ethnic group, there is not a historical justification and makes no sense unless you are in the propaganda business. To put it simply, there is no Muslimania, there is Bosnia, which is made up of several ethnic and religious groups.

Please understand that using this term is reductive, and doesn't represent our people truly. Because you never use the term Christian Orthodox for the Serbs or Catholics for the Croats, when you refer to the other Bosnian ethnic groups. Some consistency in your media would be welcome and truly appreciated.

This distinction is very important to us. Give us that much, please.

Thanks for your consideration.


Mesha M. Dzinovic
New York City, New York, USA - June 4, 2007

P.S. Definition (Wikipedia):
An ethnic group or ethnicity is a population of human beings whose members identify with each other, usually on the basis of a presumed common genealogy or ancestry (Smith 1987). Recognition by others as a distinct ethnic group is often a contributing factor to developing this bond of identification. Ethnic groups are also often united by common cultural, behavioral, linguistic, ritualistic, or religious traits.

An ethnic group may overlap or even coincide with a nation.
Ethnic groups are also often united by common cultural, behavioral, linguistic, ritualistic, or religious traits (like in case of the Bosniaks of Bosnia and Herzegovina).

Dimitri Oram responds:

The Muslims of Bosnia were declared an ethnic group by the Yugoslav government (communist party) in the late 1960s and that is what I have in mind when I use the term Muslim. I find the term Bosniak or Bosnian to be misleading since it implies that the Muslims of Bosnia (but not the Serbs, Croats, or others) are the only people rightfully living in Bosnia.

If Mr. Dzinovic wants to look further into why I disagree with the media's coverage of the Bosnian war I suggest the sources and links cited in the footnotes to my piece and also the Swans archives on Yugoslavia.


Independence and Partition: Dimitri Oram's Attacking The ICTY And The ICJ

Dear Editor:

I'm pleased that things have returned to sanity with excellent articles on Yugoslavia. I was getting quite worried with articles and letters on the less-than-peace loving Dalai Lama and even the awful American foreign policy and Yeltsin-supporting Rostropovich.

There is an anti-Russian panic taking place in the British media today with newspaper headlines "Russia Threatens Western Europe" after what appears to be a very moderate stand by Putin over Kosovo and missile bases.

But a word of warning: the US and the EU elites will never agree to the Serb areas of B-H joining Serbia because it will mean they appear to have acted badly in the past and the U.S. always promised its Islamic Fundamentalist clients all of B-H on theological grounds held by the Islamic fundamentalists. The elementary mistake of trying to partition B-H and Yugoslavia should never have been made as it was seen as the signal by US and EU elites to impose their plans.

The support for the partition of Kosovo should be treated with extreme caution for similar reasons.

The ICJ is extremely limited in its rejection of Western propaganda and the British judge did everything possible to support it.

Richard Roper
Sheffield, U.K. - June 4, 2007


Kosovo or Kosova? Aleksandar Jokic's The Real Solution For Kosovo

To the Editor:

The suggestion that partitioning Kosova provides any real solution or is feasible is just fantasy.

This article substitutes nationalist nostalgia for reasoned and practical analysis.

Despite all the public pronouncements and posturing by Kostunica and other leading politicians, it is clear that the mood of Serbians (except for the hardline Radicals and DSS members) is shifting to a recognition that Kosova is not going to be a part of Greater Serbia in the future; they don't like it, but they recognise it is going to happen.

Every day's delay in implementation of the UN plan damages both Serbia and Kosova, which both need to establish their futures as independent, multi-ethnic nations, co-operating with their neighbours for the benefit of all.

Howard Knight
Sheffield, South Yorkshire, U.K. - June 4, 2007


Antiwar Politics: Gilles d'Aymery's Welcome Back To Reality, Cindy

To the Editor:

I could not agree more. But here is the back story that nobody is talking about. Specially not Veterans For Peace, VVAW, or the rest...

Having been a grassroots supporter of Cindy Sheehan, and the members of IVAW since 2004, I've watched the Democratic Party ops of CODE PINK and members of the board of directors of Veterans For Peace use their influence on her and IVAW to gain stage time and donations for their efforts while undermining these noble people at the same time behind their backs. As a member of Veterans For Peace, I drove Cindy Sheehan to Crawford, Texas, on August 6, 2005, on the Impeachment Tour Bus (with no help from Veterans For Peace national office).

I shared her story in a video I produced of that day and posted it to a Web site I created called VFProadtrips.org.
(See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-lb6G6qKHo),

I also know first hand how the so-called leadership of these organizations undermine their members' individual efforts. The first time was August 5, 2005, when the president of Veterans For Peace, David Cline, attempted to stop the bus from taking Cindy Sheehan to Crawford. By stating that if we went with her and asked other members of the Veterans For Peace convention to go, it would ruin the convention. It was the last day of the convention that only had the board meeting on the agenda. I told him that there would be no better time than now to take action as opposed to talking to each other. Hell, when would we have 400 members this close to Bush's ranch while he was on a five-week vacation with a war going on? Something smelled fishy that first day.

After a month in Crawford, Texas, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. We drove the Impeachment Tour Bus in as close as we could and began giving aid and documenting what we found on the Michael Moore Web site (http://www.michaelmoore.com/mustread/covington.php) -- we raised over $500,000 on the Web site (www.VFProadtrips.org) to help the people of the gulf coast and the volunteers we gathered over the next two months. Unfortunately, the Veterans For Peace board of directors took over the control of the money from the impeachment tour bus and began to use it without reporting where it was being used. They eventually funded a group of other Veterans For Peace members to provide training for residents to clean the mold from their homes. However, these members wanted to be paid $5,000 per month for their effort. And they wanted to charge the survivors of the hurricane for this training. When I became aware of this I told the national office that this would ruin their reputation and bring the organization down for defrauding the intent of the donations, which was to support survivors and volunteers. Never was it mentioned anywhere that Veterans For Peace would use these donations to pay salaries. Nevertheless, the board went ahead with this idea. They told me I could no longer represent Veterans For Peace in New Orleans and that I needed to close down my Web site; then they began a year-long effort to discredit me and eventually have me tossed out of the organization without due process. So I left the organization and started New Orleans Voices For Peace. (www.neworleansvfp.org)

I have remained here in New Orleans working with active members of Plenty International as well as Veterans For Peace and IVAW who still volunteer to help. The members who were granted at least $50,000 to do the mold training used all the money and never provided any services. What is more incredible is the fact that the Veterans For Peace board of directors never accounted for the $500,000, even though the board minutes state that the staff was to post the books on the Internet over a year ago.

This August will mark two years since this sad story started and there will be another Veterans For Peace board meeting in St. Louis August 14-19 where I hope that members will demand answers to some very important questions. I can't, as I'm persona non grata. I know that there are many members who support my efforts to find answers to where the money went, as it is important that they clean out the board of directors and save the organization from become just another tool of the sick political system that board members and paid staff aspire to be a part of at the cost of their most active members and good people like Cindy Sheehan.

Gordon Soderberg
Founder of New Orleans Voices For Peace
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA - June 6, 2007


Ron Paul to the Libertarian Rescue: Gilles d'Aymery's Welcome Back To Reality, Cindy

To the Editor:

Like many "hippies on the right," those of us who saw the Grateful Dead's Shakedown Street, as laissez-faire capitalism, not socialism, joined and supported the Libertarian Party in the seventies when Playboy ran NORML ads, and there was still "hope" for a "Free America." The roots of the Libertarian Party have always been, "It's my body and I have the right to do what I want with it," besides, "It's my money and I have the right to do what I want with it." The eighties met the Libertarian Party's NORML meetings with paranoia, "One of us is a NARC," and that pretty much was the end of "Playboy," NORML and the Libertarian Party, but not the individualism, opposed to collectivism, that divides the hippies on the right and left. As individuals, we went our own ways, and many found ourselves backing "Greener pastures," where we were like weeds among the grass roots. When the Green Party nominated Ralph Nader in 1996, many of us took Nader's advice, "Registering No Party or Independent," and clip boards in hand, we petitioned for Nader's ballot access. We helped grow the Green Party, which has never given us credit, but chastised us for not joining their party, and dumped Nader in 04, for the same reason. It was divine justice when Nader earned under half a million votes despite being on 37 state ballots, not including California's, and David Cobb, received only one hundred fifty thousand votes nationwide. Today, the Libertarian Party has a shinning star, Texas congressman Ron Paul. Many Libertarians are joining the GOP in hopes to get Ron Paul the GOP nomination. Others, like myself, will remain No Party and hope that Ron Paul will not get the GOP nomination, but will accept the Libertarian Party's nomination, which will put him on as many state ballots as "whoever" the Greens prop up. Today, Greens are shunning Ron Paul at least, and attacking him for his personal view on abortion with their best. When it comes to Ron Paul their view does not incorporate our antiwar stand, but it's all about abortion and capitalism, as if growing medical marijuana for profit is not capitalism and illegal immigrants forcing young women to make more babies is pro-abortion. I know I'm not alone pointing out to Alexander Cockburn, of Counterpunch.org, that the lack of Ron Paul articles has turned the muckraker into a toothless bore with the same spew as Opednews. The media has accused us of being spammers, or some collective somewhere. We're not. We're all individuals who still believe, "This is my beautiful body and I have the right to do what I want with it, and this is my hard earned money and I have the right to do what I want with it." The Green Party is not attracting new voters with its "antiwar" stand. It appears to be the party of "useful idiots" who can't think for themselves. Or as the heads in the Grateful Dead parking lot referred to liars, cheats and thieves, "Ungrateful lives." "Ship of Fools," comes to mind. I hope Swans can give Ron Paul some print. Otherwise, you only prove to be what you claim to be opposed, "useful idiots to the duopoly."

Jeanette Doney
Fort Bragg, California, USA - June 4, 2007


Please consider helping us financially. Thank you.


We appreciate and welcome your comments. Please, enter in the subject line of your e-mail "letter to the editor," and specify the article or the subject you are commenting on at the beginning of your e-mail. Also, ***PLEASE,*** sign your e-mail with your name ***AND*** add your city, state, country, address, and phone number. If we publish your opinion we will only include your name, city, state, and country. Send your comments to the Editor. (Letters may be shortened and edited.)
Previous || Letters to the Editor || Next

Published June 18, 2007
[Copyright]-[Archives]-[Resources]-[Main Page]
Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915