Letters

Letters to the Editor, Week of April 6, 2022

April 6, 2022 at 5:55 a.m.


To the Editor,

Regarding the guest column by Larry Stap entitled “Farmworkers are hurt the most by dishonest attacks”: The writer resents the idea of workers having any autonomy or say over the terms of their employment. What Mr. Stap wants is, I'll admit, better than chattel slavery, but not good enough. He yearns to go back to the pre-union era when children worked in sweatshops seven days a week, and when meatpackers’ fingers disappeared into the sausage vat.

The hardworking immigrant laborers keeping our farms going do not have a beneficent parent-figure employer who wishes only their well-being. Rather, the workers are being exploited by their immigrant circumstances to perform work at low pay that virtually no local non-Latino resident would accept. When the workers get too uppity, the farm owner knows that a quick call to ICE restores quiet and obedience. In Mr. Stap’s view, any attempt — such as the Familias Unidas union — by workers to protect themselves, or to have some control over their terms of employment, is illegitimate and suspect. 

When I start seeing Anglo locals doing the fieldwork, instead of immigrants, then I’ll believe that it’s desirable, safe and adequately paid employment. But I’m not seeing that. 

Abe Jacobson

Bellingham


Editor,

In general, I like your paper. I’m glad the community has a local news source, and by and large the articles you’ve run have been informed, thoughtful and have been relatively unbiased. With that in mind, I’m writing because I believe running Larry Stap’s column “Farmworkers are hurt the most by dishonest attacks” was an irresponsible decision on the editorial staff’s part.

Stap’s column reads as an anti-union slam piece, a piece which has little to do with the very real complaints of the Tulip workers. Per Ralph Schwartz’s Cascadia Daily article, “employees seek a guarantee of eight hours minimum of work per day, sick leave, raises on performance bonuses and training for supervisors ‘to treat workers with respect’” as well as the “[elimination of] workers’ exposure to harmful chemicals during pesticide applications.” Stap had little to say about these demands, focusing entirely on a berry farm in Sumas instead. 

Second, Stap falsely claims that Familias Unidas por la Justicia “find a few out of hundreds who will believe” when, as Schwartz reported in the CD article, “A video of the vote count…showed 93 workers in favor of forming a union — ‘an overwhelming majority’ of Washington Bulb employees.” Depicting FUJ in this light isn’t just factually inaccurate — it also disparages their reputation, and serves only to de-legitimize labor organization. 

Furthermore, Stap alleges that the reasoning behind these strikes is that “[labor organizers] believe by cutting off the supply of much-needed workers, they will leave farms with no other choice to find workers but to sign contracts with their organizations. Then, Guillen and her team can extract a percentage of the worker’s paychecks.” This statement is disingenuous, it is a textbook attack on character and is an allegation that any editor doing their due diligence would refuse to run. 

Kyle Venooker

Bellingham


Editor,

I wonder why, in its effort to cut carbon emissions, Washington plans to halt the sale of gas-powered cars by 2030, rather than by 2025? 

The article indicates that with the way things are going, and with existing plans for the future, the desired cutting of emissions by 50% by 2030 won’t take place; it might be 25% instead. 

From what I understand, there’s scientific consensus that unless we cut emissions by at least a certain percentage by a certain year fairly soon we will run out of opportunity to minimize full global environmental catastrophe caused by warming.

Perhaps Cascadia Daily News can provide reporting on the story behind stories such as this, which to me is:

What’s taking so long for us to stop destroying the life systems on which we and all our relations depend? 

That’s not something with which dilly-dallying makes sense at all. 

We haven’t been doing our parts well for a very long time. 

We actually have had quite a while to address this issue from the time scientists (and plenty of other people with common sense) first began to speak out about it around the world: the absolute necessity for cutting/eliminating emissions, which are linked directly to warming.  

Why do we work along such abysmally slow timelines to activate progress that’s absolutely necessary? 

Maybe the raising of public consciousness around such strange processes of political reality via outstanding investigative reporting on the story behind this story of the perpetual delay of really necessary action might reduce some of the perpetual delay.  

Maybe there are very good reasons for having the timeline call for 2030 rather than 2025. I’d like to understand why 2030 rather than 2025. Thanks in advance for helping me to understand, if you can. 

Roger Sussman 

Fairhaven


Editor,

The dictionary definition of TOLERANCE is: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”

A recent survey by Generation Lab/Axios polling found that 5% of Republicans wouldn't be friends with someone from the opposite party, compared to 37% of Democrats. It also found that 71% of Democrats would not go on a date with someone with opposing views, compared to 31% of Republicans. Further, 30% of Democrats and 7% of Republicans would not work for someone who voted differently from them.

On Facebook, I pointed out the fact that the progressives of the 1920s and 30s were pro-communist, pro-fascist and pro-Nazi. I got in many so-called “debates” with Leftists where they refused to answer simple questions (while I answered ALL of theirs) and they quickly resorted to calling me a “Nazi,” a “racist” (for choosing to judge people as individuals rather than as groups) and various other ad hominem attacks. As Cicero said 2,000 years ago, “When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.”

Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini once said “Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.” In his 1932 essay “The Doctrine of Fascism” he attacks “individualism” and “classical liberalism” (both of which modern conservatives and libertarians are attempting to conserve).

The fascists dressed in black went out in the street and attacked people they disagreed with (because they hated free speech) and wanted the “State” (rather than the individual) to be the center of all power in society. This is similar to the ideas of groups like Antifa (which is actually fascist rather than anti-fascist) and Black Lives Matter (which took the side of the government oppressors in Cuba rather than the oppressed Cuban people).

These oppressive attitudes are found much more on the political Left today than on the moderate Right. Perhaps this is because “socialism” always involves giving up freedom and individualism at some point.

As Alexis de Tocqueville said in 1848, “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Allen Peterson

Bellingham

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