Letters From the September 4/11, 2023, Issue

Letters From the September 4/11, 2023, Issue

Letters From the September 4/11, 2023, Issue

The right to be heard… It’s going to get hotter… Don’t cross the picket line (web only)… 


The Right to Be Heard

Re “The Right to Live,” by Sara Luterman [June 12/19]: I am very glad that The Nation is covering the disability rights movement’s long-standing opposition to “medical aid in dying,” especially its position that systemic pressures often negate an autonomous choice to die. However, I worry that centering the assisted-suicide debate on autonomy alone may cause some people to forget that much of the right-to-die movement’s rhetoric is hate speech, and that Canada’s “MAiD” program can be framed as a hate crime. Pro-assisted-suicide rhetoric and policies target disabled people as a group. It’s demoralizing to suggest that if someone needs help using the restroom, that person should think about killing herself. It’s even more hateful to help someone die by suicide because she is disabled. Legalizing assisted suicide for people with disabilities is a form of systemic violence against our community, and it would still be even if all of the people who died by assisted suicide were wealthy and had all of the supports that they could possibly need.
Meghan Schrader
Education Enrichment Assistant
Texas Center for Disability Studies
University of Texas at Austin
austin, tex.

It’s Going to Get Hotter

Wen Stephenson’s editorial “How to Blow Up a Climate Fantasy” [April 17/24] laid out what we all know: We are not likely to meet the IPCC’s 1.5˚C temperature goal. I came to this conclusion eight years ago, when 2-year-old Alan Kurdi washed up on a Mediterranean shore. Then, the drought in Syria—made worse by global warming—exacerbated the Syrian civil war and refugee exodus. It was evident that we needed to cease burning fossil fuels immediately, but it was equally apparent that we would not reach zero-carbon emissions anytime soon. As a result, many children will continue to die. To shed my depression over this, my goal now is not to expect governments to meet the goals set by scientists, but instead to deepen my commitment to climate activism. Through all of our climate challenges, even the election of Donald Trump, climate activists remained steadfast, and our ranks have grown. And now we have the Inflation Reduction Act, the most progressive climate legislation yet. If we utilize the IRA to the max, some kids someday, somewhere, may have a chance at meaningful lives.
Greyson Morrow
wakefield, mich.

Stephenson reminds us that the IPCC observed back in 2018 that far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society would be necessary to not exceed the warming limit of 1.5˚C. However, his editorial failed to recognize both the biggest obstacle—the military-industrial-fossil-fuel complex and its war-generating agenda—and that cooperation between the US and China is imperative to climate security. China, in particular, can lead the way forward, both with its peace plan for the Ukraine war and with its Belt and Road Initiative in the Middle East. As a Science editorial observed a year ago, “To solve climate, first achieve peace.”
David Schwartzman
Professor Emeritus
Department of Biology
Howard University
washington, d.c.

Don’t Cross the Picket Line

Re “A Political Battle Within Political Science: Which Side Is the APSA On?” by Peter Dreier [online, August 2]: We are dismayed by the decision of the American Political Science Association (APSA) to go ahead with its annual meeting in Los Angeles on August 31, some of which will be held at the Marriott Hotel, as it demonstrates indifference to the hotel workers’ strike that started there on July 2. Despite the request of UNITE HERE, the union representing the workers, to cancel, postpone, or move the meeting or shift it to an online format, APSA made a decision that does more than ask its members to commit the dishonorable act of crossing a picket line; it disregards the hotel workers, who are only asking for a livable wage, access to affordable health care, and workplace protections.

As an organization that had to reschedule and revamp its annual conference that 1,450 people were registered to attend in July at a hotel whose workers are also represented by UNITE HERE, the BUILD Initiative understands the inconveniences—both financial and administrative—that arise from having to pivot on a dime and change plans that have been months in the making. But APSA has failed to recognize the inconvenience of the workers who clean their hotel rooms and cook for and serve them, many of whom are women of color and immigrant women who work two or three jobs to make ends meet and are forced to live many miles away from the hotels in which they work due to LA’s high housing costs.

Going on strike is a last resort. We urge the American Political Science Association to not turn the same blind eye to the hotel workers to whom, to this point, the hotel negotiators have. Support the hotel workers’ demands and reconsider your decision.

Susan Hibbard
Executive Director
BUILD Initiative

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