The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.60/No.44           December 9, 1996 

Sexual harassment is not trivial
The idea of a little boy being suspended for sexual harassment seems ridiculous. In fact, it makes sexual harassment seem trivial when taken to the extent of children's horseplay, but it's not. Karen Ray wrote an article called, "Kids kissing is not sexual harassment." I strongly agree with Karen Ray's views that sexual harassment has been trivialized and not taken seriously in places where it should be.

In the article, Ray gave an example of the Mitsubishi case where sexual harassment wasn't taken seriously. Many of the women there were fondled on the job and there were drawings of women engaged in sexual activities on the cars on the assembly line. When the women filed sexual harassment charges the company said it that it would cost them $10 million dollars and cost their jobs. This proposed a threatening situation for the women at Mitsubishi, because they had to decide whether they wanted their jobs or to put up with sexual harassment on the job.

In my opinion, women should never have to feel threatened or have to put up with sexual harassment on the job. The women at Mitsubishi should have filed the lawsuit because not only would the lawsuit be a victory for them against sexual harassment, but for every woman, too. The women working at Mitsubishi should not have worried about losing their jobs because Mitsubishi could not have fired all those women. If Mitsubishi did fire all their women employees that filed the lawsuit, not only would the company lose $10 million but they would lose their labor, which would be difficult to replace quickly.

Andrea Baumgardner

Sunnyvale, California Garment workers in Estonia
Kreenholm Holding, a garment plant in Narva, Estonia, sacked about 7,000 workers and laid off another 1,500 to make the company more efficient. The workers, mostly women, have to put in 32 eight-hours shifts each month to be able to earn 2,000 Estonian Kronor a month (2,000 Estonian Kronor = $US 200). This is far below the average wage in Estonia. The unions demand is for a 17.6 percent wage increase. The inflation is about 20 percent this year in Estonia.

Boras Wavferier, a Swedish company, owns 82 percent of the garment factory while the Estonian government owns 18 percent.

The Swedish main daily, Dagens Nyheter, reported here November 19 that Julia Dimitrejeva, a union official, went on a hunger strike November 18 to postpone a warning strike by the workers. The struggle at Kreenholm is supported by the Estonian National Union in Tallin and the mineworkers in east Estonia

Lars Erlandsson

Stockholm, Sweden `School of the Assassins'
Some 250 people demonstrated November 16 in front of the School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia to demand the school be closed. The school has been dubbed both the School of the Assassins and the "Escuela de Golpes," or "School of Coups" because so many of its graduates have been implicated in murders, "disappearances," tortures, and coups in Central and South American countries.

The demonstration, organized by SOA Watch, took place on the seventh anniversary of the massacre of eight people at the Jesuit Community at the University of Central America in San Salvador. Nineteen of the 26 officers cited for this massacre were graduates of the SOA.

The U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) was established in Panama in 1946 to promote stability in the region. It was kicked out of Panama in 1984 under terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Today it is located at Fort Benning, Georgia. It trains 700-2000 soldiers from Latin America and the Caribbean each year. Just recently the Pentagon revealed that foreign military officers were taught to torture and murder to achieve their political objectives. They released the training manuals used at the school and distributed throughout Latin America that instructed officers on the use of torture, murder and blackmail.

The largest contingent after the religious groups were the Veterans for Peace. Jerry Williamson, a member of Veterans for Peace said, "This demonstration today is the largest yet and is because of the ongoing fight to get out the truth. The school is an important institution for American foreign policy in Latin America and what we need is widespread public protests to raise awareness of the need to close it down."

Abby Tilsner

Atlanta, Georgia A different point of view
What a difference from the main stream newspapers and magazines. Thanks for a different point of view!


Fresno, California

The letters column is an open forum for all viewpoints on subjects of general interest to our readers. Please keep your letters brief. Where necessary they will be abridged. Please indicate if you prefer that your initials be used rather than your full name.  
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home