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Web Letter

Tom Hayden is right to urge people to continue to back Obama, but, on the crucial issue of greatly expanding and reforming aid to Africa and other regions, we will have to work very hard to keep him to his promises if he wins. In his recent CBS interview on Face the Nation, he said that as a result of the financial crisis he would consider delaying his promised increase in aid to expand access to primary school in poor countries. This makes no sense. The cost of his aid proposals is microscopic compared to that of the bailout, and delaying the aid increase would provide very little savings. When you look closely at the budget, it is obvious that the US can easily afford to help poor countries while also addressing urgent social needs at home.

David Bryden

Washington, DC

Oct 2 2008 - 9:22am

Web Letter

"It's been my experience that the American left should be deeply involved when the united African-American community is on the rise, when unprecedented numbers of young people are mobilizing, when the poor, the working class and the middle-class are on the receiving end of the shock doctrine." No, Mr. Hayden, the responsibility of the left is to tell the truth to the working class and the rest of the oppressed. One might be allied with or support someone, but that doesn't mean you shut up about your differences with them. I'm personally of the anti-Obama left because Obama is fundamentally a centrist, bourgeois politician. At this point, his utter inability to attract more than the barest minimum of white working-class voters has as much to do with his unwillingness to take populist stands on economic issues as with the continuing racism of some whites.

I remember white members of UFCW Local P-9 who toured the country during the great Hormel strike more than twenty years ago who admitted that they had never had much contact with black people and until recently had used the N-word to refer to them. They were now proud to be touring the country speaking to large numbers of people of color, and more than a few were voting for Jesse Jackson in the 1984 Democratic primaries. Jackson connected with these people in a way that Obama has either been incapable of or, more likely, unwilling to do. Jackson might have been a mere reformer, but at least he knew that his base was among the poor and working class; Obama's is on Wall Street, the upper middle class and the "America Should Rule the World, but not like Bush" crowd.

Charles K. Alexander II

Albany, NY

Oct 1 2008 - 10:38am

Web Letter

I am sick to death of this left/right crap. What we need is analysis! I do not always agree with Dreyfuss, but he does analysis.He does a better job with facts than Hayden does! I voted for Clinton twice because he was the lesser of two evils, and got "free trade," along with a wreaked economy. Bush was a bigger idiot and made it worse, but Clinton gave Wall Street a controlling interest in the Democratic Party. His legacy is a Democratic leadership that worries more about winning elections, than governing the country. I am going to vote for Nader, but it is not because I "hate" Obama. I voted for Jesse Jackson and Tom Bradley. I did not vote for them because they were black but because I agreed with them on the issues. Judge Thomas is black, but I would not vote for him. I am not comparing Obama to Thomas, but I am saying you have to look at what the candidate has to say on the issues. I have looked at what the candidates have said, and I believe Nader is the best choice for President. By the way, while I spent a number of years in the military, I never hated you or Jane Fonda. I met her father once settling an insurance claim, and I liked him! I wish that I had seen your Chicago trial. It sounded like good theater.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Sep 30 2008 - 1:39pm

Web Letter

I agree with almost all the points made in Tom Hayden's commentary, but agree with Dreyfuss on one: the inconsistency of Obama's attitude toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Threats to attack Pakistan are absurd and are inconsistent with Obama's general emphasis on diplomacy. Likewise, shifting troops from Iraq to Afghanistan will keep money tied up in the Pentagon that is badly needed for domestic initiatives. Obama's mindlessly hawkish proposal is also guaranteed to further alienate Afghan civilians who have already lost kin to NATO bombing raid. They deserve reconstruction aid instead of more military terror, and Obama should realize this. In addition, he'll get nowhere by trying to out-hawk McCain.

I have enormous respect for Tom Hayden's courage, integrity to his progressive principles and willingness for decades to speak and behave employing truth to power. I recognize the crucial nature of this election and will certainly vote for Obama (unless Ohio fails to send my absentee ballot)--with plans to do the picketing starting next January.

Mim Jackson

Kent, OH

Sep 30 2008 - 12:10pm

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