The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Letters to the Editor


Protest Against Coke Gains Strength on Campus
To the Editor:

The Student Labor Action Coalition is pleased to see that the Mac Weekly and Social Responsibility Committee (SRC) have chosen to support banning Coca-Cola from our campus. We sincerely hope that President Rosenberg and the college administration also choose to take such a principled stand for human rights, environmental protection, and workers’ rights.

The Macalester community and workers and peasants around the world should expect nothing less. Despite the progress of the campaign, it has come to our attention that a small number of individuals believe that the decision on Coke was “hasty” or ill-informed. As activists who have been working to bring Coke’s abuses to light for over two years, we would disagree. The gravity of Coke’s offenses has always warranted immediate action. The evidence of labor, environmental, and human rights abuses is simply incontrovertible. The SRC does have major publicity problems (SLAC contacted the SRC ahead of time to get on the agenda, received no response, and was not told the location of the meeting.) However, the SRC’s final decision does send the message that students’ voices will be heard. We have renewed hope in the democratic process on campus.

For those who doubt the validity of Colombian, Indonesian, and Turkish workers’, as well as Indian peasants’ claims against Coke, we can only urge you to review the evidence with an unbiased eye. In addition, we invite the entire community to listen to three Colombian workers who will be visiting our campus on April 11th to share their experiences with Coca-Cola’s Colombian subsidiary and its goons.

We praise those in the Macalester community who are willing to curb their consumer habits to save the lives and livelihoods of the most oppressed and exploited. We praise those who are willing to give credence to the cries of the poorest of the poor, even as one of the world’s largest multinational corporations systematically attempts to silence them. We invite the entire community to move forward with us in the next few weeks to make sure justice is done. Indeed, we will not stop campaigning on behalf of those who are silenced and marginalized until they themselves tell us that their demands have been satisfied.

The Student Labor-Action Coalition

Deaf and Blind Spoof-Not So Funny.

To the Editor:

I was puzzled by David Jonas’ article/editorial/column/ screed/spoof “Helen Keller: American Hero or Filthy Communist?” Was this supposed to be funny? I’m not laughing. Given how many careers and lives were destroyed by McCarthyism on college campuses (see Ellen Schrecker, MANY ARE THE CRIMES: MCCARTHYISM IN AMERICA, Princeton University Press, 1998), Mr. Jonas’ accusations should hardly be considered amusing. He might have consulted Macalester alumna (class of 1988) Kim Nielsen’s book (THE RADICAL LIVES OF HELEN KELLER) and her collection of Keller’s writings (both NYU Press, 2004 and 2005, respectively) if he was really interested in understanding the rich complexity of Keller’s life. And did he think it funny to place his imagined source, Elijah Roebucks, at Washington University in East St. Louis (an overwhelmingly African American community) when it is actually located in St. Louis, Missouri? I am hardly an advocate of censorship, of any sort, but, really, I must ask, is such bad material really deserving of the newsprint and ink spent on it? The next time some oppressed conservative wants to run to David Horowitz and Michelle Bachman and tell them that radicals and liberals have created an atmosphere of “political correctness” that stifles discourse at Macalester College, make sure to include a clipping of Mr. Jonas’ column.

Peter Rachleff

Professor of History

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