Letters to MotherJones.com

Protesting Prosperity?
Re: “Testing Protest in New York”
01/24/02

I confess to a complete inability to understand or relate in any way to these protestors of world trade or economic conferences.

My first reaction on hearing about these people — and there is a whole nurses’ union in my city who are proud active protestors with this movement — is that none of them could have been around in the l930s when there was no world trade. There was no food or money or jobs, either.

How can you solve the plight of the poor by making everybody poor? Are anarchy and freedom synonymous?

Rudolph Guliani must be giving a shudder — but on the other hand, he might have some good advice to give.

Gary Rowland

I’m all for street protests, but they MUST be non-violent, no matter what the provocation. Try to organize large-scale demos of people who have signed a non-violence pledge, AND have the principal organizations agree on a demo policing force to keep away the crazies — something like the “service d’ordre” the French trade unions organize under similar circumstances.

Arthur Mitzman

As a New Yorker born and raised, I think every last protester who plans on coming into the city this week should be wary. Not only do the majority of these people not understand what it is like to live in a city under siege, but there is not a New Yorker in this city who will hesitate to quell any disturbance that may interfere with the hard-earned peace we have achieved since Sept. 11.

The NYPD is only a fraction of their worry. I am a 26-year-old who loves my city like the majority of people who live here and if some self-righteous band of punks thinks that they are going to start destroying public and private property in broad daylight or otherwise, just to be heard, they will be gravely mistaken.

Christian Monteleone

I visited the “Anti-Capitalist Convergence” Web site. This is a dangerous movement that completely undermines and sabotages any organized efforts toward non-violent public protest. Fringe groups like this are just as extreme — and dangerous — as the organizations they are protesting, for they resort to the same means to accomplish their goals: violence and force.

Specifically, they perpetuate a nation-wide perception that anyone who opposes the war in Afghanistan is an anti-American terrorist. By doing this, they overshadow the millions of non-violent people whose voices aren’t heard. These groups ultimately provide the media at large with sound bites and graphic images that support the “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric of the current administration.

Ultimately, this is just the kind of re-activism the Bush adminisration thrives on. I urge you not to support these kinds of destructive messages by offering them free publicity. Analyze their strategies with the same critical analysis that you would apply to their right-wing counterparts. Just because a group calls itslef “left wing” doesn’t mean they are any less dangerous than their right-wing counterparts. Extremists on both sides need one another — they need someone to react to.

Darin Smyth, Ph.D

I think nonviolence is definitely the way to go in New York. The people there, and especially the police and fire departments, have dealt with extremely difficult situations related to Sept. 11. As a country and global allies, we need to be sensitive to that. But, having said that, the events of Sept. 11 cannot hold us back from fighting for what we believe in. Peaceful protests should be welcomed — they can still be quite powerful.

Janel London

 

What Is Bush Hiding?
Re: “Restricted Access”
01/31/02

This seems to be part of a carefully organized plan to control or withhold the release of records that the public has a right to see.

The Bush administration is rife with this type of control of information. Things that may reflect poorly on Bush, his administration, or his family will eventually come out.

Unfortunately, when it does it will be easily deflected as part of the past, especially with Bush’s high approval ratings. Anti-Bush news in the press will be shrugged off as partisan cheap shots on a popular leader. In a way, bad Bush press will be like closing the barn door after the horses have gone. He’s already our appointed president so even an compelling Bush scandal is too little, too late.

Dave Woodford

My question is: What is he trying to hide? From the current scandal, it seems he’s likely masking his deals with energy companies in Texas. They hid his military records. They tried to hide his police record. This guy is dirty through and through. Does anybody see what is going on?

Darrell Carlson
Roswell, GA

The records and documents of former Governor George W. Bush belong to the people of the state of Texas and are totally out of place in a presidential library. Does this mean that we in the state of Florida can look forward to the same behavior once Jeb is out of office?

Barrie Higgins
Saint Augustine, FL