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Web Letter

Barbara Ehrenreich states that "whoever is elected President this year, there won't be any real change in a progressive direction without a mass social movement to bring it about--either by holding the President accountable or by holding his or her feet to the fire."

Sounds like she's never heard Dennis Kucinich speak. While it's true that a groundswell from the people would go far in helping focus our government on the issues we deem important, a Kucinich presidency would reduce the need for such action. Since his policies include holding (former) President and Vice President's feet to the fire--as well as addressing the needs of our citizenry-- maybe folks like Ehrenreich need to take a serious look at his candidacy.

And before you pull out the trite "I agree with Kucinch but I'm not voting for him because he can't win" defense, remember... if everyone who agreed with him had the courage to vote for him, he'd win.

Ellen Brown

San Diego, CA

Jan 18 2008 - 8:19pm

Web Letter

I don't think anyone can challenge Martin Luther King Jr. as the major figure in the civil rights movement. Having spent my early childhood in the segregated South, I can appreciate his great courage in leading a nonviolent movement that he knew would spark a violent reaction. It would be that violent reaction that would shock a nation and prepare the way for the civil rights legislation.

However, the struggle began with Truman desegregating the armed forces by executive order. In 1956, There was an Air Force NCO on my base in England broken in rank for being prejudiced. Earl Warren, who came from a long line of progressive Republican Governors who built the infrastructure of California in a fashion similar to FDR, was also part of the process. He was Governor when my family moved to California. He ran in the Republican Primary against Eisenhower, and was compensated for his loss by becoming the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Brown vs. the Board of Education and the struggle to desegregate the public school were the results. Eisenhower would send in the Army to aid the process in Little Rock.

Certainly, Johnson had his faults, but he modeled the Great Society on the New Deal. While his foreign policy was inept, he was a master of the legislative process. Together with the Republican leader in the Senate Everett Dirkson, they pushed the civil rights acts through Congress. Dirkson also wrote "open Housing Legislation.

While Johnson's Administration was clouded by Vietnam, his domestic program should not be diminished. Yes Virginia, there were once decent Republicans too.

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Jan 16 2008 - 6:42pm

Web Letter

A mass movement in the US, driven from the bottom, is highly unlikely in view of the legal & police apparatus set up under W&Co, not to mention the hostility of corporate-owned media, particularly the TV networks (News Corp, Viacom, Disney, GE). In the '60s, the three networks were independent. Precisely because of the semi-successes of mass movements (civil rights, antiwar), the networks were bought up with FCC approval. The only mass movements the US will ever see under this regime will be top-down-driven, as in any other authoritarian country.

R. Weber

Geneva, Switzerland

Jan 15 2008 - 4:03pm

Web Letter

It is genuinely refreshing to see that not all women, and in particular not all women who refer to themselves as "feminist," have been taken in by the shallow appeal of Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy.

Gloria Steinem's recent op-ed in the NYT was shocking. She attempted to convey a sense that "women," as a class--in particular, the upper-class white liberal sisterhood she has long been a member of--are somehow oppressed in comparison to black America and black men in particular. Steinem was so clouded and so driven to see a woman candidate succeed, no matter what, that she failed to note the near one-in-four incarceration rate that black men face before the age of 25, growing up in the withering heat of poverty as they so frequently do. I felt that Steinem's op-ed encompassed quite easily, in just a few words, how badly divorced from some realities upper-class white ideological feminism has become.

Conversely, Ehrenreich began to sum up Hillary's shortcomings as a candidate and leader quite effectively. What we all need right now is more clear-headed assessments of our candidates and "leaders" and fewer idelogical or even propagandistic essays in favor of the seriously flawed candidates and careerists available to us in our seriously flawed political system. Tell Ehrenreich to keep up the good work.

Seymour Friendly

Seattle, WA

Jan 15 2008 - 3:54pm

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