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Letters

Must Love Dogmas

Dear Editors,

Your liberal fangs are showing.

I just got around to reading “The Intellectual Situation” in Issue 13, and I was appalled by the lack of criticism of one of Occupy Wall Street’s great failings: its nationalism.

Count me as one of the arrestees on the Brooklyn Bridge last October. Also count me as a self-described revolutionary communist (i.e. Leninist-Trotskyist) who absolutely detests the currents of nationalism that I’ve found to run through nearly every OWS demonstration I’ve been to. There are American flags, appeals to patriotism, loud pronouncements on why we should love “our” country — all in spite of the fact that it is US capitalism that is wrecking the world.

While the instincts driving many of Occupy’s supporters may be laudable, the fact is that it is not a progressive movement when the permeating idea is that capitalism can and should be reformed to be more amenable to the middle and working classes. It is still much further from true progressivism when appeals to some patriotic ideal are thrown around without much thought to the immense destruction throughout the world that nationalism has only ever provoked.

Dear Editors, Your liberal fangs are showing.

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I still read the whole article, albeit with a disgust that is normally only motivated by lesser articles in, say, the New York Times and Harper’s. I hope that in the future you will at least resume lip service to Trotsky, and thereby provide at least a superficially more insightful analysis of which political movements work, which don’t, and why.

— Patrick Tolle

Raze the Prisons

Dear Editors,

We are happy to see the increased attention to mass incarceration in recent months. Articles like “Raise the Crime Rate” and the success of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow show that abolition might not be such an esoteric position. The premise of abolition and a critical position toward mass incarceration, however, should be clarified.

Glazek’s article has the unfortunate effect of making Angela Davis sound like the only abolitionist around. While she has been central in the formation of organizations like Critical Resistance, abolitionism is made up of a broad coalition of people and has been invigorated by the work of activist–scholars like Ruth Wilson Gilmore. While we assume that the work of abolitionist scholars has informed Glazek’s article, not recognizing them could give the impression that contemporary abolitionism is so fringe as to be irrelevant.

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