New Internationalist

Letters

Issue 119

Click here to subscribe to the print edition. [image, unknown] new internationalist 119[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown] January 1983[image, unknown] Click here to search the mega index.

[image, unknown] LETTERS

[image, unknown] TRADE UNIONS [image, unknown]

Cartoon by R. K. Laxman. The enemies of liberty
Your magazine always did have a leftist bias. In your last issue on Global Trade Unions the closed shop is recommended as part of the New Internationalist guide to the equipment every trade unionist should have. Thus finally your colours are nailed to the mast as the enemies of liberty.

That selfsame issue recommends an increase in Third World trade union militancy. That is a fine way to further the interests of the unemployed millions. For many of them have at last acquired the opportunity to compete with privileged Westerners for jobs.

The N.I. has lost its way. It has become a forum for sterile leftist hacks.

Peter Acton,
Orkney, Scotland.

[image, unknown]

[image, unknown] CHILD SPONSORSHIP[image, unknown]

Too little to be divisive
My church is involved in the sponsorship of a boy at Starehe, Nairobi, through Save the Children Fund, an organisation for which I have the highest regard.

Your article gives many generalisations and extreme views which in my experience are very misleading. There are something like 1,300 boys at Starehe, 70 per cent of whom are sponsored, so there can be little that is divisive in their daily experience. At £65 per year (less than £1.30 per week) I fail to see how such a limited sum could help single out a person to the extent of being divisive. Correspondence to our particular boy is no more than three times a year. Our gifts are, purposely, modest a few post cards of London and a second-hand Lego set to share with his house companions.

If at the end of our commitment to our sponsored boy he is able to return to his native village and family, equipped to lift them from the poor conditions to which they are subjected (he returns to his family each school holiday) then I feel our help, albeit small. may be worthwhile and in keeping with the teaching of Christ 'inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, ye did it unto me'.

Alma Tracey
Kent, UK

[image, unknown]

[image, unknown] BIAS[image, unknown]

Quibbling with virtuosity
While I am flattered to be mentioned in the New Internationalist and receive accolades from Phillip Knightley for my superb command of language gymnastics in his article, 'The Language of Mendacity' (in the NI on Bias), I am afraid the honour is totally unearned and quite undeserved.

Mr Knightley either does not know how to read; or he reads very selectively; or he has not read the material firsthand, with the result that he has completely missed the main point of my article and has drawn conclusions that are diametrically opposed to the ones I tried to make. But then Mr Knightley is a master in the language of mendacity, and who am I, an obscure academician, to quibble with his virtuosity.

Nothing is more deplorable and a greater disservice to the readers than sloppy research and shoddy reporting and your magazine can take credit on both these counts. As for Mr Knightley, I hope he is enough of a professional journalist to acknowledge his mistake.

Prof S. Prakash Serhi,
The University of Texas at Dallas,
Texas, USA

Phillip Knightley replies:
The strategies aimed at changing public perception of business performance certainly exist and are used, so the thrust of my accusations remains valid. If I implied that Prof. Sethi approved of them, then I am sorry. All he did was to describe them and to suggest a framework in which they could be studied, analysed and compared.

[image, unknown]

N. I. M. C. P.
Are you aware, since it is unacknowledged. of the male bias in your September issue on Bias and the Social Order? Out of the 35 written and 33 pictorial contributions only 6 were provided by identified women, of which 3 were 'Letters to the Editor' and 3 were short secondary pieces.

Admittedly a few women were depicted in the illustrations two prostitutes, one dowager, two servants, one subsidiary teacher, two back-room pupils, one books editor and one unidentified smiling native from the Dominican Republic.

Shaw's manly maxim and the heavily framed male figures on the centre pages seemed to sum up with depressing prominence the lack of interest in the contribution of women to the social order.

Sarah Hobson,
Peterborough,
England

[image, unknown]

Telling tales
Your correspondent who states that the Inland Revenue relies almost entirely on 'information received' about tax cheating may be right, but they are seriously' in error if he assumes that the social welfare department does not receive information in the same form. After working for several years in a rundown neighbourhood, I am aware that there is just as much envy, spite and malicious reporting amongst benefit recipients as amongst taxpayers. The difference is that the poor have more reason.

Basil Kift
Perth, Scotland

[image, unknown]

Pott shots
Your correspondent, Mr Pott on the bias issue of the NI, is at least honest in declaring his own bias by signing himself 'Major' (a title otherwise irrelevant outside of military circles). His comments about the slur on our lads in the Falklands and the deterrence value of nuclear weapons are, therefore, entirely predictable.

He follows the familiar and illogical argument that 'the horror of nuclear weapons has deterred aggression in Europe for longer than ever before...'

I was under the impression that Hungary and Czechoslovakia were in Europe and it seems more than likely that the possessors of nuclear deterrents were too afraid to interfere in the acts of aggression against these two countries largely because of the dangers those weapons posed.

Or was Mr Pott's statement intended to refer only to Britain and America? In which case he is on no firmer ground, for how is it possible to show that we would have been invaded if we had no nuclear weapons? There are people who think that is so: it suits their particular point of view. But it is no more than an opinion based on shaky evidence and arrived at by those whose outlook on life is coloured by a concept of perpetually balancing one evil against another. A member of the military establishment might be forgiven for thinking this way, after all, their business is killing and when those who ought to know better make a mess of things the military are called upon to clean it up.

E. 0. James,
Bristol, England

[image, unknown]

Fragile co-operatives
It is sad to read in the New Internationalist of the demise of the sugar workers co-operatives in Jamaica. The actual growing of sugar cane in Jamaica has not been profitable for years. The multinational corporations control the profitable links in the chain from planting to supermarkets.

However, some of the farms taken over by the co-operatives could have been profitable growing sugar cane, and others could have become profitable if diversification into other crop and livestock enterprises had been allowed to be developed. But the rush into the establishment of worker co-operatives, supported by the Catholic Social Action Centre. meant that most of them were unviable. This is another example of the failures of co-operatives when they' are established for 'social action' purposes, without a firm economic base.

G. E. Rea,
Semarang,
Indonesia.

[image, unknown]

Changing public attitudes
While Anuradha Vittachi, in her review of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' is astute to point out the paradox in Harper Lee using stereotypes to preach against stereotyping I believe she is ignoring what is involved in the slow process of promoting social change.

'To Kill a Mocking Bird', particularly in the movie, was a strong statement against the 1960 realities of racism in the southern United States. In retrospect, it is easy to identify in the story what we now call paternalism (or whatever else one wants to label it). Similarly it is easy to be critical of the depiction of the servile slave in 'Uncle Tom's Cabin', a book which was influential in exposing the evils of slavery.

What we cannot ignore with this type of literature is the significant impact it has on the citizen of the time who through unawareness of, and lack of exposure to social ills, is rarely stimulated to take a stand or to take collective action.

The majority of people are not moved by stories of radical heroes.

Indeed Harper Lee does have the Ghandian gift of publicity. She had her finger on the public pulse and knew precisely how to reach it. We do not know how many of the million of conservative citizens who read Lee's book or saw the movie, were influenced to participate in the collective action of the 1960s against racism.

Your continued badgering of the establishment and your subtle cynicism of its attempts to be 'moral' will serve only to alienate potential converts to the viewpoints you have.

We cannot let our ideals blind us to approaches that work.

Joyce Timpson.
SIOUX Lookout.
Ontario, Canada.

[image, unknown]

Man nor beast
In Andrew Foster's letter NI 117, he asks: 'Why is it more acceptable to exploit animals for man's own benefit . . . etc'. Either he is unfamiliar with the teachings of the Christian Church 'the beasts of the earth and the birds of the air shall be mans to use, or he is just guilty of anthropomorphism. To liken the exploitation of Third World peoples to this is immoral.

Kevin Burke.
Rodendale,
Lancashire, England

[image, unknown]

Glutton for punishment
I am writing to inform you that the issue of the New Internationalist do not come at satisfactory times. As a ten year old reader I would like you to print it more regularly; once a week perhaps.

Rebecca Hall,
Oxford, England.

[image, unknown]

[image, unknown]


Previous page.
Choose another issue of NI.
Go to the contents page.
Go to the NI home page.
Next page.


This first appeared in our award-winning magazine - to read more, subscribe from just £7

Comments on Letters

Leave your comment