The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Issue no. 665 — October 8 - 22, 2001

Editorial:
Should we sacrifice so they can profit?
No!

Oct 8, 2001

Accept layoffs without a whimper; let our conditions of work degrade still further; pay more for our health care. This is supposed to be our patriotic duty.

Politician after politician rushed down to the site of the bombing – in order to be photographed shaking hands with a rescue worker while telling us we must all sacrifice. (It apparently didn’t bother them that they were interfering with the rescue effort, tying up police to protect them, firemen to guide them, and rescue workers who didn’t dare move anything for fear of causing something to fall on the head of another self-serving politician.)

Company after company issued hypocritical press releases talking about the pain of those who were killed and injured, the self-sacrificing bravery of the firemen. But they didn’t hesitate to do what was best for them after September 11 – including pulling money out of the stock market, sending it into a downspin. Morgan Stanley, the investment company, which lost 700 employees in the collapse of the World Trade Center, began speculating on the fall of the stock market the day it reopened. It made a tidy profit off this tragedy – the capitalist fashion of honoring their dead.

These are the same people who tell us we must sacrifice because September 11 changed everything.

No, September 11 simply gave all these companies the excuse to impose what they had already started doing. Before September 11, they had already announced over a million job cuts.

What is changed – or so the companies hope – is that they now can do it without us putting up any resistance. After all, it wouldn’t be patriotic for us to resist the cutbacks.

To be sure we get the message, they pass out flags, put up signs, give us lapel pins – all in red, white and blue. Those flags are supposed to make us forget this very real division in the “American people”: On the one side are the super-patriotic bosses, whose main aim is to wring more profits out of us to overcome the problems they caused in their own economy, using September 11 to hide what they are doing; on the other side, are all of us who work, who did not create the problems the economy is going through, but are being asked to sacrifice in the name of “national unity.”

There is no reason that any worker should lose a job today. September 11 didn’t change the need we all have for housing, food, transportation, clothing, education, medical care, not to mention occasional amusement and relaxation. And our needs can be met only by other people who continue to work. Just as we are needed on our jobs to fulfill the needs of other people.

We should not make a single sacrifice. If sacrifices need to be made, then let the bosses who are making the millions and billions and who created the problems, both before and after September 11, make the sacrifices.

The unions today, even as reduced as they have become, could lead a fight against all job cuts, no matter where. They are big enough, organized enough to do it. But to do it, they cannot accept the phony talk about sacrifices for the “common good,” any more than we can.

We have to start from the question of what we need. We need jobs. We need decent pay and benefits. Those should be our priorities. If we all had them, the economy would be zipping along.

Pages 2-3

Stock market collapse, 401(k) plans and pension funds

Oct 8, 2001

Many workers with 401(k) plans have seen tremendous losses in the value of the stock in their accounts. Stock prices were dropping well before the September 11 attack, and have continued to drop since.

Workers without 401(k) plans but who are covered by pension plans have also been caught by the collapsing stock market. These pension plans were considered fully funded a year ago – meaning they had at least enough money to meet all the future pensions of those now working. This was a fiction. The companies had not added more money into the plans. They had just watched the prices of the stock they held balloon up unrealistically. Now with the balloon punctured, many pension plans are suddenly under funded.

The stock brokerage companies and the financial “experts” tell us that stocks are a good investment because they rise in the long run. It’s “classical” economics, they tell us.

In the first place, even if this is true over a long period of time, workers can’t pick their date of retirement in the long run. They retire when they become eligible to retire. This could very well be during a period when the stock market is down. Workers who rely only on the stock market for their retirement in such a period would be in a trap. By the time stock prices rose again, they could be dead.

In any case, what happened in the last few years wasn’t the long range behavior of the stock market, but a classic bubble. The market frenzy particularly involved high tech and Internet stocks, which reached fantastic and ridiculous levels for companies now out of business. But the bubble carried almost all stocks up due to speculation. Now the bubble has burst, in the classic manner of all pierced bubbles, and the price of stocks has come plummeting down.

There is clearly sufficient wealth in this country to provide a secure pension for the all retirement years of every worker who put in a lifetime of labor contributing to the wealth of society. But a retirement built on 401(k) plans and pension plans invested in the stock market is not a guarantee for a secure retirement.

If we work to keep society running during our productive years, then society owes us a living in our later years. It’s that simple.

Contract negotiations

Oct 8, 2001

As predicted, the state is crying broke during contract negotiations. Rumors from the talks are that the state is offering a one% raise per year for the next three years, big increases in insurance deductibles and co-pays, along with other attacks on our contract.

The state says it has no money and must cut back. But that didn’t stop them from awarding BIG raises to Engler, the legislators, and the judges. Big raises, meaning up to 38%! How could anyone forget that. Besides, Engler has always been proud of Michigan’s billion dollar rainy day fund. Well, it’s time to bring out the umbrella, because it’s raining!

28,000 Minnesota striking state employees “smack down” Jesse Ventura’s demands for takeaways

Oct 8, 2001

On October 1, the two big unions representing nearly 28,000 state employees in Minnesota, AFSCME (the Association of Federal State, County and Municipal Employees) and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees, went on strike in one of the largest strikes of state employees in this country in many years. They were immediately condemned by business leaders, editorial writers and politicians. Said Governor Jesse Ventura, who had been elected to office as a supposed political independent, “This strike comes at a most unfortunate time. Our citizens are still hurting from the devastating attack on September 11. We are coping with the possibility of a long and difficult war, and we are facing the prospect of an economy that is on the brink of recession.”

Of course, the unions did delay the strike for two weeks, since it had originally been slated to begin almost immediately after September 11. But Ventura and other state officials did not use that extra time to avert a strike by making a decent contract offer to the unions. Instead, the government officials stuck to their earlier demands that employees accept a few tiny wage increases, which would more than be offset by much higher co-pays in health insurance and prescription drug outlays. Under the new terms of the government contract offer, an average employee, making about $30,000 per year, would have to lay out almost $4,000 in out-of- pocket medical costs.

Such demands by state and city governments are nothing new. As Murray Cody, a union official, told the New York Times, “We sacrificed back in 1993, when we took a zero% raise. We were told back then to sacrifice to help the state out, and they promised that when times got better, they’d take care of us. But they never came through on that.”

The same government officials who never did come through when the state ran big surpluses, are now whipping up patriotism as an excuse to continue attacking workers’ living standards.

The demands for takeaways will not end until more people do what the workers in Minnesota are doing right now: showing that they are ready to fight.

U.S. airlines:
Extorting money from tragedy

Oct 8, 2001

The airline companies were among the first to wrap themselves in the flag, declaring they needed help after the horrors of September 11 to get back to normal. Before the week had even ended, they called on their pals in Congress for a big bailout from the taxpayers.

They said they had no other choice – and to prove it, they announced big job cuts. United Airlines, for example, announced plans to lay off 20,000 – even after it received 400 million dollars in “relief” from those generous law-makers in Washington.

But what else was United Airlines doing at the exact same moment their business was supposedly in a painful decline? It was making payments to General Dynamics to buy corporate jets and to French manufacturer Dassault for luxury jets. Both are essential to Avolar, a new corporation that United set up this year as a subsidiary. Avolar will operate private jets for and sell them to corporate execs.

So United Airlines – which supposedly lost 600 million dollars this year BEFORE the September tragedy – has found a way to start a new corporation, promising hundreds of millions of dollars to other corporations. On the one hand, they are supposedly broke, and on the other hand, they can finance new investment.

The tragedy has given U.S. corporations yet another way to take money from all of us. When these bosses come waving flags, weeping crocodile tears about the tragedy, we have every reason to be outraged. What they want are concessions and job cuts.

Pages 4-5

Someone is expecting a bright future:
the arms merchants

Oct 8, 2001

There is no recession in the armaments industry; in fact, arms sales were up eight% in 2000, rising to 37 billion dollars.

While the United States and Russia are at the top in arms sales, other countries also contribute their bit to this market in armaments. France comes in third, followed by the other big powers – Germany, Great Britain, China and Italy.

The three major arms manufacturers in the world – the U.S., Russia and France – provide almost 80% of the sales for armaments. By itself, the U.S. sold over half of all weapons in the world marketplace: 18.6 billion dollars. Its sales increased 30% between 1999 and 2000.

Among the principal clients for the armaments furnished by the great powers are the monarchies of the Middle East, like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. While continuing to improve their up-to-date airforces, they also purchase armored cars to keep internal order. The United Arab Emirates expense for arms in 2000 was 8.4 billion dollars. Other clients for weapons are the African dictatorships like Algeria, which spent 580 million dollars, Angola, (253 million dollars), and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which spent 108 million dollars. All three countries have been ravaged by terrible civil wars which have oppressed and massacred their populations for years. Nothing stops the arms industry – merchants of death – from going after profit.

Most of them are respectable companies, listed on the stock exchange. These companies equip the richest dictators with ultra-sophisticated arms, selling conventional war material to the poorest governments. Always ready to sell engines of destruction, they sometimes recruit arms traffickers to transport arms into areas where war is taking place and get around the embargos which affect certain countries at war.

These companies don’t hesitate to equip the belligerents with new arms, sometimes free, in order to test how well they work on the battlefield. Just as in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, when arms merchants inundated both sides with war materials, they today do the same thing in the bloody conflicts ripping Africa apart.

In fact, they prolong and maintain wars for the economic profit of arms merchants and the political gain of imperialism.

The policy of the United States:
A long tradition of state terrorism

Oct 8, 2001

The United States has long had recourse to a terrorist policy, whether it be in the course of World War II, in the wars it led in Asia or in its interventions in its private hunting ground of Latin America.

Toward the end of World War II, U.S. leaders and their British allies feared that the defeat of Germany and Japan would unleash mass popular movements among peoples in many areas of the world – similar to what happened at the end of the first world war. They continued their military operations which were designed to crush the enemy armies, but they added to them terrorist bombing, in the full meaning of the term, that is to say, with the object of terrorizing and of dispersing the urban population and of totally breaking its morale. The aim of these attacks was to prevent all organization and revolt, including even revolt against the Nazis and the Japanese dictatorship. Such movements might not have stopped at driving out the Nazis or the Japanese imperial army – but might have pushed to change society as a whole.

Starting in 1943, the great urban areas in northwest Germany were submitted to massive aerial raids. In Hamburg, for example, at the end of July 1943, bombing raids carried out in one week killed 50,000 people and left 800,000 without shelter. In May 1944, Berlin suffered the same fate. The most dramatic was the bombing of Dresden, on February 13-14, 1945. This city had no military objective – not even much industry – and for this reason it was a center where refugees came together, thinking it a safe haven. It was completely razed by three waves of 1,500 planes each, spaced some hours apart, killing 135,000 people. It was the civilian population that was aimed at, not military or industrial installations.

In the Pacific war, air squadrons weren't within reach of the Japanese cities until the end of 1944. But the cities were then submitted to the same conscious terrorism. In Tokyo in particular, on March 9, 1945 between midnight and 3 AM, bombing killed 200,000 people. This was slightly less than the 250,000 victims of the atomic bomb of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and more than the 120,000 of Nagasaki three days later. The use of atomic weapons, dropped by a single plane, represented a sort of perfection in terror, but it was only the continuation of the conventional terrorist raids carried out over two years by Allied planes.

Some years after the end of the World War, U.S. imperialism was engaged in the so-called "cold" war, having as its professed objective containing the expansionist aims attributed to the Soviet Union. That led U.S. imperialism to mount two wars, first against Korea, and then against Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos. The human losses in Korea approached three million people, both civilian and military.

The destruction carried out by bombs, shells, defoliants and napalm at the time of the Viet Nam war, both in the North and in the South, remains in the memory of those who lived through this period, including the young Americans of that time who paid a heavy price in this war. As for the Vietnamese, there were almost a million and a half people who died in the course of the conflict: the vast majority were civilians, women, children and men. They were the ones who suffered the destruction of forests and crops, and they are the ones who still continue to die today as a result of their exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant, and who continue to be blown apart by mines which are heavily scattered around the country.

Even after the turn toward U.S. disengagement, the bombing of cities and dikes in North Viet Nam continued, and was particularly violent at the end of 1971 and the end of 1972. Through these open terrorist actions, carried out on civilians, the U.S. hoped to win what it could not win on the battlefield.

The terrorist interventions of the U.S. government in Latin America have no doubt been less murderous, but more numerous and cynical. From Guatemala in June 1954 to Grenada in October 1983, or in Panama in December 1989, each time it was the civilian population that the U.S. aimed at. In Panama, for example, the U.S. supposedly wanted to arrest and extradite Noriega, an old favorite of the United States, who was accused of drug sales. But the attack was made with bombs dropped on the working class and poor neighborhoods of Panama City, which killed perhaps 7,000 people, before the landing of 28,000 soldiers. Noriega himself had taken refuge in the Vatican embassy!

And let's not forget all the repression and coups carried out or aided by the U.S. government, in Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, Honduras, Turkey, Iran or elsewhere, each of which ended with horrifying numbers of civilians killed by the new U.S.-backed government, trying to impose itself on a population which didn’t want it.

Nor should we forget wars encouraged, supported and in part paid for by the U.S. government – like the Iran-Iraq war which left a million dead.. Finally, there is the Gulf War, whose casualties – mostly children – now total over one million killed.

U.S. imperialism has a long history of carrying out terrorism against civilian populations. Bush makes it clear, by his declarations, that the U.S., the most powerful state in the world, isn’t about to stop killing civilians in pursuit of its aim to control the world.

No choice but to make war on another people?
NOT TRUE!

Oct 8, 2001

No choice – that’s what the media and the politicians tell us we have: no choice but to enlist in Bush’s “new war” on terrorism – which is nothing but the old kind of war that the U.S. regularly wages, a war against innocent civilians.

No choice – or so they tell us – but for the CIA to set up new operatives with their money and their weapons, just like they set up Osama bin Laden in the past.

No choice – or so they tell us – but to send money and arms to new Afghani warlords, who are no different than the Taliban which today runs Afghanistan. The U.S. calls the current bunch of warlords it supports “the Opposition” – it wasn’t so long ago that the U.S. was calling the Taliban “the Opposition.” And just like the Taliban did in coming to power in Afghanistan, this new “Opposition” has shown itself ready to use the worst kind of terrorist attacks on the people of Afghanistan.

The choice which we once again are supposed to make – this choice can only mean that we give our approval, our support and the bodies of our young people to carry out murderous attacks on the people of Afghanistan, a people already living in destitution, hunger and the kinds of diseases that such a situation produces.

Supposedly, we must make this choice or otherwise we will be subjected to more terrorist attacks like the one of September 11.

That’s simply wrong. It was choices like these, made in the past, which led to what happened on September 11.

A people should not believe that they can remain free from violence when the government which speaks in their name pours down violence on other people.

For almost a century, U.S. policies, along with those of Britain and France, have played havoc with the lives of people in the Middle East. The U.S., Britain and France have propped up the most reactionary regimes in the region, used the most disgusting human material – in order to help multibillion-dollar oil companies drain wealth out of the region. The Taliban and Osama bin Laden are only the most recent examples.

With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the military forces of Britain, France and the U.S. were used to set up countries arbitrarily throughout the Middle East. These states, which were nothing but servants of the big powers, divided ethnic groups in half. Their people were kept in subjection to repressive military regimes. The establishment of Israel – that is, the driving of the Palestinians off their land by terrorism – cemented things: the Middle East would henceforth be a bloody arena. Vast numbers of Palestinians, driven off their land more than half a century ago, still remain in refugee camps – held hostage to the aims of the big powers. Wars were carried out or fomented throughout the region by one or another of the big powers, with the U.S. playing the chief role.

The peoples of the Middle East know us through the policy the U.S. government carries out against them – in our name.

Abject poverty and the desperation it creates may be the breeding grounds of terrorism in the Middle East. But the murderous policies of the U.S. are what have brought that terrorism to this side of the ocean. The people on those airplanes and in those buildings did not devise that policy. But they were the ones who paid its price – and paid horribly.

If we want an end to terrorism, we will oppose the policies of the U.S. government which spawned it. As we now have discovered, there are no oceans big enough to protect us from the consequences of what this government sets in motion.

A people who oppress another people cannot be free themselves.

Pages 6-7

Bush responds to “the cries of those who have been laid off”
– but not very much

Oct 8, 2001

President Bush announced, with great fanfare, that unemployment benefits would be extended for 13 weeks and that three billion dollars would be given as “national emergency grants” to state governments to help cover the cost of growing unemployment.

His statement got a lot of play on TV and in the press – you would almost have thought he had offered something. In reality, Bush is proposing to only slightly change the point at which extended unemployment compensation benefits automatically kick in. Under current rules all states provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits until unemployment reaches a high level in the state. Then the federal government automatically finances a 13-week extension of the benefits. Bush is simply proposing to change this formula sightly to kick in the extended benefits if unemployment has gone up in any state more than 30% since September 11 – and perhaps if the president finds that a state is in a state of emergency.

But, as the New York Times admits, it is unlikely that any state will register a 30% increase in unemployment any time soon. Moreover, by setting September 11 as the beginning point, he eliminated the sharp increase in unemployment which has occurred since last October – an almost 30% increase!

As it is, only about one out of every three laid off workers qualifies for unemployment benefits to begin with. Years ago, about one half of all workers qualified. But eligibility has been whittled down year after year for many years now. And there is nothing in the proposal to change the restrictions so that more unemployed workers could qualify.

There is nothing in the proposal which would improve the level of payments. The level of unemployment benefits varies widely from state to state, but is not high enough to allow unemployed workers and their families to survive even in the states where benefits are the highest. These payments have been whittled away by inflation over the past 20 years.

Compare the 3-billion-dollar price tag of this pitiful proposal to Bush’s “economic stimulus” package which is estimated to cost at least 75 billion. Under the guise of “stimulating the economy,” Bush proposes to hand over billions to corporations and wealthy individuals – with a couple hundred dollars more in a tax cut for everyone, in order to cover up what he is doing.

This really shows what the government’s priorities are; and what a total servant of the rich George Bush really is... whether in time of peace or war.

Dodge Truck cafeteria workers win contract

Oct 8, 2001

After one month on strike, UFCW Local 1064 workers got their first contract on October 3. They work for Crank’s Catering, which runs the cafeterias at Chrysler’s Dodge Truck plant in Warren, Michigan.

The strike started when Jeff Crank, the owner, fired his negotiator who had agreed on a tentative contract. Then Crank himself refused to sign.

The biggest issue for the strikers was simply, “Equal pay for equal work.”

Now, Jeff Crank has signed that contract.

Right from the start, the strikers asked Dodge Truck workers to boycott the cafeterias in support.

Workers responded. They boycotted the cafeteria and the vending machines owned by Crank’s. They brought their lunches from home or called for take-out. Strikers leafleted with phone numbers of area businesses offering take-out and delivery.

Crank’s had a history of getting a lot of catering contracts in UAW buildings and offices. A strikers’ leaflet stated: “It’s amazing that so many unions would use this caterer. No employer should be allowed to get away with treating anyone this way.”

While the leadership of UAW Local 140 at the plant took a neutral stance during the strike, ordinary truck workers showed that the true power of unions is when the different rank and file can pull together to defend their common interests.

By being brave enough to risk everything in a strike, the cafeteria workers gained a lot. Their new contract specifies equal pay for equal work. It has healthcare for all eligible employees. It provides more uniforms, and holiday pay.

But they gained other things equally important. Confidence in themselves, first of all. They learned how to depend on themselves and each other. And, they discovered that workers’ unity goes beyond a single company or single union.

The unity developed between cafeteria and truck workers strengthens them both, for whatever their bosses try next.

Prostituting for the landlords:
John Hopkins Hospital

Oct 8, 2001

Two Baltimore families are suing Johns Hopkins Hospital for allowing their children to be used as guinea pigs in an experiment over lead paint.

It has been known for 50 years that children who ingest or inhale even tiny amounts of lead from flaking paint, can experience serious brain damage resulting in learning disabilities, hearing loss, violent behavior and mental retardation. In the 1950's, a Hopkins pediatrician – concerned that a significantpercentage of children living in slums surrounding Hopkins Hospital, suffered from lead poisoning – pioneered in this disease. His research found that children were being exposed to the toxin commonly found in old paint at levels six times higher than industrial workers. It became obvious that houses contaminated with lead paint were at the source of the problem. This doctor remarked, “As long as we have old houses, we're going to see the problem.”

Yet in 1993-94 the same Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the world's most renowned hospitals, gave its approval to conduct an experiment, allowing 100 families with young children in normal health and without elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream, to live in contaminated homes with varying degrees of lead abatement. They intended to measure at what point a child would get lead poisoning. Their purpose was to find a way to deal with lead without going to the trouble of removing it.

The researchers kept the families ignorant about the effect of exposure to lead dust on their children. In other words, doctors and scientists, knowing full-well how dangerous the contaminated homes were, agreed to do the experiment.

Who benefitted from the experiment? Certainly not the children. One family suing wasn't told about the "hot spots" of lead dust in their home until close to a year after it was discovered. By that time, their 9-month-old baby's lead level had become highly elevated. Currently the child is in elementary school, with significant learning disabilities... And this is just one example.

The only benefitting group are slumlords and landlords who don't want to spend the money to thoroughly clean up their houses. The laws in Maryland calling on landlords to fix up their properties are full of loopholes: Landlords are not required to fix up all their property; the government promises big subsidies to landlords; and enforcement is a joke. Proof: Lead poisoning, effecting an estimated 8,000 children in Baltimore, continues to be an epidemic.

The researchers didn't act like doctors – experts who supposedly care about the health of children. Rather, they acted like prostitutes for the big-money real estate interests.

Mine disaster shows bosses’ priorities

Oct 8, 2001

Thirteen miners were killed in Alabama on September 23, the worst mining disaster since 1984. This mine in Brookwood, Alabama, is the deepest coal mine in North America, employing 400 people out of a town of 1500. An explosion on Sunday trapped six people, although three managed to escape. When ten miners went in to rescue the others, a second explosion apparently killed them.

This mine, known for its dangerous methane gas which can explode, is operated by a subsidiary of Walters Industries, a two billion dollar a year mining conglomerate. In 1993, this same mine had seen another explosion which seriously burned four workers. The company had to close the mine due to dangerous areas of heat in 1995. Last year, the Brookwood mine had five incidents in which roofs collapsed or rocks fell on workers there.

Their own statistics prove how dangerous Brookwood’s mine is: this particular mine reported 9.97 accidents with serious, non-fatal injuries per 200,000 hours worked last year. This rate is even higher than the national rate of 8.3 accidents for this type of mine – itself a rate much higher than accident rates in most other industries.

These 13 miners were murdered because of the conscious actions of other people – the owners of the mine. These bosses may not have decided to murder anyone, but they consciously decided to skimp on safety in ways that could only lead to accidents and deaths. The miners are just as dead as if the bosses had set out to kill them.

If there were any justice in this supposedly “just society,” the bosses of the Brookwood mine would be indicted for murder.

Reactionary views everywhere

Oct 8, 2001

On the Thursday night following the September 11 attacks, with fires still hampering rescuers at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Jerry Falwell, Christian minister and founder of the Moral Majority, spoke on the TV show of Pat Robertson, conservative religious broadcaster.

What was his message of Christian comfort to a stunned nation? Falwell blamed the attack on federal judges and "the pagans, the abortionists, and the feminists, the gays and the lesbians and the American Civil Liberties Union .... All of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' " Later, he added, "God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve,” to which Robertson replied, "Jerry, that's my feeling."

Of course, Falwell was denounced afterward, including by the man he and Robertson had helped elect, George Bush; Falwell gave an apology in which he claimed to be "misunderstood."

But what no one can misunderstand is that network after network carried his pronouncements – even introducing him as someone to give guidance and consolation in troubled times.

What is this other than the worst kind of religious fanaticism – ready to promise eternal damnation in the fires of hell for the BILLIONS of people across this earth who don't share their religious point of view.

And it is not only on the subject of terrorists that the fundamentalists are ready to impose their views on everyone. These fundamentalists want our children to pray their prayers in all schools. They want us to forget science when it conflicts with religion. Like the fundamentalist Taliban – which they denounce – they think women should stay home, raise children and obey their husbands. Abortions should be illegal, according to them, and people who assist women to get abortions should be subject to attack, even including murder. And we should execute more people.

These views are not just told to those attending Falwell's or Robertson's churches on Sundays. These views show up in what is said by some politicians, first and foremost Bush. That good Christian president of ours is proposing we kill as many Afghan people as necessary to get bin Laden “dead or alive.”

So when the Christian right in this country denounces the Taliban for its reactionary views, they certainly aren’t doing it because of a basic disagreement with reactionary views. Only with whose views will predominate – not only over each other – but over whole populations.

This time period has seen a growth in the numbers of those who call themselves fundamentalists in every country. And, as usual, political leaders in every country are willing to make use of such sentiments to enforce their rule – and first of all, in the USA.

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