Write on: letters to the editor

August 6, 1998

Luis Posada Carriles

It was interesting to notice two recent references in Green Left to a Luis Posada Carriles in connection with a hotel bombing in Havana. Carriles' career may be of interest to readers.

Carriles was self-exiled from Cuba after Castro came to power in January 1959. In 1960, along with Felix Rodriguez and Frank Sturgis, he was trained as a killer and drug trafficker, supervised by Howard Hunt and run by CIA operative Theodore Shackley.

Rodriguez was the CIA man who gave the order to the Bolivian Rangers to execute the captured Che Guevara in October 1967. Sturgis was one of the Watergate burglars while Hunt supervised the break-in from the Howard Johnson Hotel across the road.

Other sources are certain that both Hunt and Sturgis were two of the three "tramps" "arrested" in Dealey Plaza about an hour after Kennedy was assassinated. Hunt lost an expensive court case some years later when he failed to prove he was not one of the tramps.

Carriles, meanwhile, began work for DISIP, the Venezuelan intelligence service. In 1976, along with Orlando Bosch, Carriles was accused of blowing up a Cuban airliner en route to Havana from Barbados. All 73 people on board were killed, including the Cuban fencing team.

Carriles was held in a Venezuelan jail for nine years before escaping. Using the name Ramon Medina, he teamed up with Rodriguez in El Salvador. At Ilopango air base in El Salvador, Carriles ran the supply operations for the Contras fighting to topple the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. Now, aided by his good buddies at Langley, it seems that Carriles has taken a new career move into hotel bombing.

Ken Cotterill
Mareeba Qld

ISO platform for Labor

The International Socialist Organisation organised a rally in Northcote against racism on July 24. The first speaker was Ken Saunders, the Australian Democrats' candidate in the upcoming Northcote by-election.

Then, after a few speakers from migrant communities, Martin Ferguson, the local ALP federal member, spoke. The ISO refused to allow me, as the Democratic Socialist candidate, a chance to speak until near the end of the rally, when there were very few people still there.

Who does the ISO feel closer to? Ken Saunders is a prominent member of Victoria's Aboriginal community, but he is also running for a party which voted for the federal Coalition's draconian Workplace Relations Act and continues to support a GST. Maybe the ISO could have done what the Democratic Socialists did and explain that, while we respect Saunders' role in the Koori community, we think he has made a mistake in running for the anti-worker Democrats.

The ISO then allowed Martin Ferguson to steal the show. How does the ISO justify organising a platform for the ALP, which now includes Cheryl Kernot, who was responsible for getting the Workplace Relations Act through parliament?

One explanation is that the ISO's "no platform for Hanson" is a bankrupt position. Having failed to "close down" One Nation, it has no choice but to advocate a vote for Labor and organise platforms for them.

The ISO's refusal to stand in elections leads it to become a cheer squad for the ALP. It does not understand that the ALP, as well as the Coalition, is responsible for the rise of One Nation. Unless we build a mobilised mass opposition that can challenge the major parties, including electorally, we will leave the way open for One Nation, which appears to be the only alternative.

Maurice Sibelle
Democratic Socialist candidate
Northcote Vic


I agree with much of what Francesca Davis has to say in "Migrants should be welcome here" (GLW #326).

I am appalled at the harshness of Pauline Hanson's immigration policy which, if implemented, would reverse the pattern of bipartisan immigration policy since World War II.

Does she propose to send the East Timorese refugees back to Indonesia, even though most of them have been here for longer than 10 years? Does she intend to send back the Chinese who were granted refugee status after the Tiananmen Square massacre?

Her policy of insisting that migrants do not significantly alter the ethnic and cultural make up of Australia would, if implemented, have denied a great many immigrants a place who have made a worthwhile contribution to Australia's culture and development.

It will also be seen as a return to the White Australia policy designed to keep out Asians, which was abandoned 30 years ago, and will adversely affect our relations with our neighbours, the tourist trade and the number of overseas students coming here.

Australia should continue to receive immigrants at a modest level, while at the same time striving to reduce the environmental damage caused by bad farming and urban practices so as to allow a larger population to be sustained in the future.

Jim Coates
Farrer ACT

Chile 1973

Chris Beale (Write on, #326) seems to view my statement that "capitalists will not give up their wealth willingly, even if the majority say they must" in my review of Chile, Obstinate Memory (GLW #325), through parliamentarist-coloured glasses. Nowhere did I say that Unidad Popular, the alliance between the Communist Party, Socialist Party and Radical Party (amongst others), had achieved a majority within parliament.

But did not the majority of people support the nationalisation of copper mines? Did not the majority of workers support a 35% general pay rise? Did not the majority of peasants support the land reform which the Allende government undertook? Yes, because there was a deep radicalisation occurring in Chile at the time, perhaps greater than the radicalisation in the 1930s.

The above measures certainly did not benefit the Chilean capitalists, along with the US transnationals, and made them extremely concerned that they could lose much more of their wealth. And they were doing something about it. As I also stated in the review, "they will use violence against democratic governments, time and time again".

In Chile, in June 1973, the coup failed. Surely the tasks from then, if not earlier, was to arm the workers and the peasants, disarm the undemocratic police and armed forces, and develop the cordones industriales, the embryonic forms of workers' power.

Instead Allende continued along his "peaceful road to socialism". He and tens of thousands of Chilean workers paid the ultimate price with their lives.

James Vassilopoulos
Auburn NSW


Hitler wrote: "It matters little if our opponents mock us or insult us, if they represent us as clowns or criminals; the essential thing is that they talk of us, preoccupy themselves with us."

It seems that Green Left has been enormously preoccupied with Ms Hanson ever since she surfaced. Her face appears regularly on the cover, and she has set the agenda for the paper's discussion on racism, the unions and the economy.

Unfortunately this obsession with her outfit ends up letting the other parties off the hook. They end up looking quite responsible and fair-minded compared with the witch, as she is often presented, and her motley crew.

The fact is that a quarter of the voters of Queensland voted for One Nation, and the party will get a lot of support in the federal election. To simply dismiss all these people as rednecks is too easy. Some of them are. But Hanson also seems to speak for people who feel totally pissed off with the major parties and politicians in general, and with economic rationalism and the horrors of globalisation.

Of course Hanson's policies have to be countered. But to make her the big bogey-person doesn't help the radical cause. It may simply make her all the more attractive to the disgruntled and powerless.

Brendan Doyle


The recent release of secret British government files led to a spate of news headlines about "bizarre plans to assassinate Hitler". While painting a colourful picture of the espionage world, the "war time plot to kill a nazi" certainly didn't generate any bad publicity for so-called "intelligence organisations" today.

The media failed to mention that the contents of three files documenting British secret service involvement in Ireland were conveniently "lost" (read: were not fit for the Sunday papers). Short of being described as an "ominous omission" in one English newspaper, it seems that most journalists were content with the Hitler beat up.

Final score: 10 points for media hype, nil for Ireland's bloody history.

Arun Pradhan
East Brunswick Vic

Slave labour

The federal education minister should be sent back to school.

Dr Kemp recently deemed his soon-to-be expanded youth work-for-the-dole program a "resounding success" because it embodies the notion that "those getting support should put something back into the community".

However the people who are taking far more from society than they are contributing are those on excessive salaries and in receipt or unearned property income. Where is Dr Kemp's plan to corral these massive community rorters into forced labour?

Neither does Kemp grasp that it is unjust to pay people on the basis of their contribution anyway because some have far more natural capacity to produce than others. Also, we are all entitled to something for nothing as our share of natural resources and the labour of those now dead.

What work-for-the-dole does is abolish job-search allowance for those it conscripts. One could spend five non-working days seeking a real job and receive nothing in return. The same applies under the Common Youth Allowance.

Justice, though, requires that those looking for work be paid at the same rate as those in work.

This leads me to wonder: Why do conservative politicians so hate the young and disadvantaged? Is it simply because so many of them are old and privileged?

Brent Howard
Rydalmere NSW


The vigorous demonstrations against Hanson's One Nation party by young people and members of Resistance are not only necessary but should be encouraged. Think back on history.

Prior to Hitler coming to power, the German Communist Party vigorously demonstrated against the racist, anti-Semitic policy of the Hitlerites.

Conservative forces countered with: "let's have a bit of peace and quiet round here; let's talk things through".

The Communist Party did eventually succumb to this propaganda and what was the result? Hitler, aided and abetted by big business, Krupps-Thyssen and other entrenched forces in the government bureaucracy, came to power. Millions were killed. Concentration camps bulged with victims and the smell of the gas chambers drifted over populated towns.

So let us support the young and not so young who can see the danger.

Jean Hale
Balmain NSW

Davids dispute

The attitude of Davids Ltd management towards the striking workers [in Sydney's west] is like the "Master and the Slave". Management is forcing the following demands: Increased working hours, terminate the jobs of those workers who do not meet the requirements set and, based on a Time and Motion Study, pay reduced or the same wage for those workers who perform higher degree duties.

No working-class Marxist today needs to be taught that it is in the interest of the individual capitalist, as well as of the capitalist class generally, to reduce wages. The produce of the workers' labour, after deducting all expenses, is divided into two shares: the workers' wages and the capitalists' profits. The share called profits can not increase without the share called wages decreasing.

How then can the capitalist reduce wages when the rate of wages is governed by a distinct and well defined economic law? Wage rates can be lowered in a particular trade by increasing the intensity of work per hour (when time and motion studies are used) without increasing the pay.

Unions are organisations of the working class: they see to it that workers sell their labour power under the best working conditions and wages.

However, the key role is the people's struggle — a mass movement linking the industrial workers' strength with the people's frustration against the source of injustices, the capitalist system and its instruments (the media, parliament, racism, etc.).

Struggle until Socialism.

Vic Savoulian
Mt Druitt NSW

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