Capitalism, socialism, democracy

Michael Moore’s film on capitalism shows how very limited democracy is under capitalism. It is the very opposite of democracy when 1 percent of the people own as much wealth as the bottom 95 percent. The few who are very rich make the decisions that control the lives of the rest of us.

Under capitalism, Moore reminds us, we leave our democratic rights outside the door when we go into work. Two small plants in the film are exceptions. Both workplaces are cooperatives and are democratically operated. Company decisions are made by majority vote at a meeting of all twenty employees. Each employee has one vote.

How do we get to the place where democratic operation of the economy is the rule, rather than the exception? Moore’s answer is “More Democracy!” Some, including this viewer were disappointed with his answer. We wanted his answer to be, “We need socialism.”

But I went home and thought some more. Moore is right as far as he goes. To get rid of capitalism, labor’s voice must become much stronger. To begin with, workers need the right to join unions. Isn’t the fight for the Free Choice Act a fight for more democracy?

Moore wants “democracy in the work place.” To me, that means the workplace must be publicly owned and controlled by the workers. On a national scale, that’s socialism.

Beatrice Lumpkin

Chicago IL

Free Peltier

I sent the following letter to my senators and representative in Washington, using the Progressive Secretary service:

Leonard Peltier, age 65, has been imprisoned for 32 years. He has suffered a stroke, is partially blind, and has diabetes and high blood pressure.

Leonard Peltier’s next parole hearing is in 2024. Considering his condition and the fact that he has served more than 30 years, the compassionate course of action is to release him.

Please encourage President Obama to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier on humanitarian grounds.

I encourage readers of the People’s World to send similar letters as soon as possible.

For more information on the Leonard Peltier case, visit:

To enroll in Progressive Secretary go to:

Barbara Russum

Chicago IL

Canadian friends

For a good while, I had discussion with a co-worker who told me that when he was younger he worked in British Columbia fruit-picking. He told me that he knew that there were some communists in USA since he saw The Militant. I asked him: do you know the People’s World? No, was the answer.

Today, I brought him the People’s World and People’s Voice. He read both and said: “This People’s World is a good paper. It is not propaganda. You have a fair approach of the reality, especially about Afghanistan. I like it!”

Conclusion: PW has a new friend in Canada.

Paquet Daniel

Via e-mail

Even if my knowledge of the English language is limited (I am a French-Canadian), every issue of PW that I receive I read from the first line to the last. While I do not agree with each and everything you publish I must confess that always the reading of your fine paper is of great interest and very instructive. Over the years, I have read several papers published by the left in your country, but I must say that yours is in a class by itself. However, I do not have access to e-mail, so would you add my name to the list of those who will receive the weekly newsletter. Wishing you and your team the very best. Vôtre pour le socialisme/Yours for socialism

S Rivard

Montréal, Canada

Prison letters

I would like your readers to know about my case. I am innocent and I have been in prison 20 years, 4 1/2 months based solely on a coerced confession. There was a story about my case [and the case of Corey Batchelor] in the Chicago Sun-Times, Sept, 24, 2009.

I would appreciate receiving letters.

Kevin Baily

Galesburg IL

(To write a letter, include #B09334, P.O. Box 1700, 61401.)

Thoughts on war

Your Sept 5-11 paper had a front page article titled “As Afghanistan war grows deadlier, support declines.”

I am intrigued how easy it is for a government like the U.S. government to start a “war,” which then includes the luxury of having a ‘war zone.” And then be free to let the “war’ morph into anything they desire it to. The “war” now includes the freedom to “capture or kill” any one of fifty suspected Afghan drug traffickers that are on the “joint integrated prioritized target list.” This list which includes insurgent leaders, gives the U.S. military the freedom to kill anyone on the list at any time.

How can such a realm known as “war” exist? It appears “war” is whatever those with unstoppable force want it to be. What other expansive qualities will the “Afghan war” display – will this “capture or kill list” have women on it, women who support the insurgents with food and clothing?

A “war zone” where someone is free to do “war” and kill, cannot exist because no one can start a “war.” It is impossible for something like “war” to exit – this reality that can morph and expand into whatever those with the violent power want it to. “War” which is not armed conflict, and never has been armed conflict … “war” is the freedom to kill, and this cannot exist and create a “war zone” based only on the inability to stop it.

Frank Erickson

Minneapolis MN

Re: ‘This Is It’ review

Wow, this documentary (“This Is It” Michael Jackson’s final performance by Marguerite Wright) was so necessary and I’m glad the public was granted the opportunity to view the last days that the king of pop lived. Michael Jackson was an amazing performer and human being and he will be missed. I enjoyed your critique on this film. Reading this allows me to feel the love you have for M.J.!

Leah Powell