Sunni-Shiite Class Struggle
“Against Intervention in Iraq,” your lead editorial for July 7/14, is correct, but it misses a decisive point. It echoes most media by referring to the struggle between Sunnis and Shiites as “sectarian.” Sectarianism may be the form the wars take, but in substance they are a classic long-simmering class struggle that has predictably erupted into revolution, engulfing the entire Middle East. Behind all the infinitely complex alliances are the disenfranchised Shiite masses rising up against the Sunni ruling classes, which have co-opted the wealth (read: oil) in collusion with Western capital.
Analyze the struggle along class lines and the alliances, shorn of their sectarian masks, make sense. Shiite Iran has had its “revolution”—however derailed it was from a progressive outcome—and supports the Shiites; in Saudi Arabia, where there’s been no revolution, the Sunni monarchy supports the Sunnis. So we have a progressive versus reactionary conflict—not just a sectarian one. Blood will flow, but that’s a tragedy imposed by an ineluctable juncture of history—and why outside interference is futile.
Grabbing the Populist Moment
It is very encouraging to read in your forum “Progressive Strategies in a Populist Moment” [July 7/14] about the many grassroots organizing activities now occurring, particularly around low wages. Missing, however, is the pursuit of policies that would generate better jobs and dramatically reduce inequalities. Without major changes in economic policies, the United States will continue as a low-wage economy for many, with good jobs for only a few.
new york city
The essays in your forum advocate doing whatever each particular author was doing. We need to develop united strategies and a common agenda. This does not mean abandoning principle; it means ceding some control in the common interest. Better would be a round table on how we can all join to build a real movement.
How depressing! I’ve heard it all before: organize, educate, promote a moral vision, strengthen unions, demonstrate, get out the vote, etc. We’ve been trying to do those things for decades. No one struck at the root cause of society’s dysfunction: capitalism.
new york city
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what message are we supposed to get from the images of the women in your forum? The sketches of the men make them look dignified, even dashing, while the women look like odd shrews with jagged teeth and contorted faces. I’m not being ultra-PC. In a world where women are all too often portrayed as sex kittens or she-devils, the image matters. As the magazine that holds the standard for projecting a progressive vision, The Nation must put your visuals where your values are.