By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
By Raillan Brooks
Peace Of My Mind
Re Nat Hentoff's "Where Is the Peace Movement?" [May 11]: I've lost patience with the whiny garbage of armchair analysts who pine for the '60s. I'll tell you where the peace movement is: organizing every day at the grassroots level, against the illegal war in Yugoslavia and every other manifestation of U.S. militarism.
Here in Chicago, our organization has participated in a dozen teach-ins or public forums against the Kosovo war. At two of them, I was greatly annoyed by three university professors who tried to impress students with their résumés as '60s antiwar protesters. Two now support Clinton's war in Kosovo, and the third hadn't made up his mind yet, but, like Hentoff, he had the mistaken impression that nothing was happening on campus. He was stunned when I told him that this was our 13th war demonstration in less than six weeks.
We've organized three demonstrations in Chicago, including one in which over 500 people protested on NATO's 50th anniversary. Busloads will be going to Washington for the June 5 national demonstration against the war, and we will mobilize thousands from the Midwest to protest President Clinton's June 12 speech at the University of Chicago and Secretary of State Albright's June 18 speech at Northwestern University.
In recent years, there have been grassroots campaigns to close the School of the Americas, ban land mines, and support freedom for East Timor. All have flourished below the radar screen of the mainstream media, and without much support from '60s-era activists now comfortably ensconced in academia. And just as these campaigns will succeed, so will the movement to end our government's two current undeclared, illegal, and immoral wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia. Hentoff quoted the great nonviolent leader A.J. Muste on the need to persevere. I couldn't agree more. Here's another Muste gem: "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."
Illinois Peace Action
Nat Hentoff replies: I am glad to hear the news. But so far, Illinois Peace Action has been joined by only a small number of active antiwar groups around the country. They are increasing, but still left behind are most of the former peace activists of the '60s and the Clintonized Democratic Party. Tom Hayden, in the May 24 Nation, is an exception. I am also glad to hear A.J. Muste is still being cited. However, it is not in the spirit of Muste to use the word "whiny."
An example was the unflattering anecdote about Hillary Clinton's alleged involvement with a bodyguard ["Fresh Meat for Starr"] in last week's issue. The source was L.B. Brown, who is part of the anti-Clinton cottage industry in Arkansas.
There are so many right-wing publications that spread this nonsense. Must the Voice follow their lead?
Jason Vest, in Press Clips [May 11], made many good points in his analysis of the reporting on the two boys who went postal in Littleton. However, before making the statement that actor Yaphet Kotto's "sole qualification to sound off on Littleton appears to be his role as a police lieutenant on Homicide," Vest should have checked it out. Kotto and his family are former residents of the Colorado town.
How nice that in William Mersey's "Cops and Rubbers" [May 11], the only sex worker whose nationality was disclosed was "Maria, a striking Puerto Rican prostitute." That certainly made me, a Puerto Rican American woman, incredibly proud of my heritage.
Why was Lily described as "dark-skinned," April as a "veteran" worker, Suzie given no description at all, and Maria characterized by her nationality? I thought that a "liberated" publication such as the Voice didn't endorse the stigmatization of Hispanics.
Arlene F. Rivera
William Mersey replies: I apologize for my lack of sensitivity. You make a good point, and in the future I will choose my words more carefully.
The killing spree came one week before a Marilyn Manson concert in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which I attended with my two teenage sons and a group of their friends. The rampant speculation in the press as to what "caused" the Columbine massacre was disgusting.
A scapegoat was needed. Manson fit the bill.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
That Atkinson bought into society's readiness to hold Hollywood and Oliver Stone accountable for acts of school violence is troubling. Is the Voice, former vanguard of progressive politics, embracing the retrograde position of Charlton Heston? The only thing Stone is guilty of with Natural Born Killers is a terrible movie.
Michael Atkinson replies: Categorize my politics all you want; I was just asking questions nobody knee-jerking "progressives" in particular seems to be able to answer with authority. Stone's innocence isn't an issue; his movie's social impact is.