1973.11.01: Rebuttal to Letter [About Mayor Tom Bradley] (Red Tide)

Rebuttal to letter

Red Tide, Vol. 3, No. 1 [Issue #11]
November 1973

Rebuttal to Letter [About Mayor Tom Bradley]
[By Michael Letwin]

Dear Susan,

Though we disagree with your criticisms of our positions, we thank you for taking the time to write them to us.

We do not feel that our accusations against [Mayor Tom] Bradley were unjustified, although we realize that we did not explain them as well as we should have.

We were NOT accusing Bradley of being a militant, but rather were trying to point out, as you correctly did, that he is anything but that. Bradley has a long history of being reactionary and defending the injustices of the social-economic system that any militant would be proud to fight.

As far back as 1940, when he was president of the “Negro club” at UCLA, he was defending these injustices. For example on Dec. 6 of that year, two black students, Garland Emery and Martha Gordan[,] appeared before the Student Council and charged that they were being discriminated against by the University for being black. They sought actions from the Council, and so the testimony began. However in the middle of the testimony, an onlooker, Thomas Bradley, rose and launched an attack on the two blacks. He accused them of discrediting their race by “Linking it with Communist elements on campus,” and [added that,] “Negroes at UCLA do not need your subversive support.” (Source: The Bradley Truth Kit).

Even on this type of elementary fight for justice, Bradley defended the system.

In terms of law and order, Bradley served (and we mean served) the ruling circles of LA on the LAPD for 21 years[,] calling it “The finest in the nation.” We see nothing fine about a force which serves as an occupation army in the black and Chicano communities in LA and which has historically been used to break strikes and to defeat the struggles of people in fights for their rights. Such a situation took place in 1965 when the LAPD helped crush the revolt in Watts, where many sections of the black community refused to submit to the despicable housing, low wages, racist and repressive schools and police brutality that still exits today.

The LAPD took part in the attack on the “Chicano Moratorium” in August of 1970[,] where they arrested thousands of demonstrators and murdered (by mistake, of course) Ruben Salazar, a respected member of the Chicano community, and a reporter for the LA Times.

There are many more examples of this type of police repression toward mass demonstrations, not to mention individuals in poor and working class communities. We do not know of any situation where the police have attacked or killed[,] “by mistake” or otherwise[,] a rich head of a corporation, or someone living in Bel Air or Beverly Hills. This happens all the time in black and brown communities of LA. This is why (to put it simply) we call the police servants of the rich. The police keep working people in line so that the profits of the rich stay high.

They are also part of the system that Bradley praises.

Your “solution” of disciplining kids “before they get to high school”is not what we consider a real solution, but rather the kind of “solution” that Bradley would suggest. We have said many times that the causes of school violence are the rotten conditions in the concerned communities, [such as] police victimization, not to mention the schools themselves. The immediate solution must be to organize the gangs into forces that can fight the system [that] has created these problems.

However Bradley opposes this kind of activity also, and he has said so, especially when criticizing the student walkouts against the [Vietnam] War or other more local issues. Bradley was opposed to any “escalation of this kind of activity, ultimately ending in anarchy,” and [says,] “[w]hen a riot occurs, the only way to deal with it is to move in immediately with the police and whatever force may be necessary.” (Bradley Truth Kit).

Who supports Bradley? We don’t have a list, and if anyone does we would like to see it. But we do know for instance that Max Palevsky, a rich LA executive, famous for his support of other “liberal” candidates such as McGovern, supported Bradley with a lot more than words.

We all know from experience (especially after Watergate) the kinds of corporations[,] such as IT&T, etc.[,] that support candidates for office.

Next you mention apathy. The cause of apathy is not a mysterious subject, nor is natural to human behavior[,] as some cynics or apologists for the present society would have us believe. Apathy is the product of powerlessness, something that exists both in school and outside of school.

Apathy in schools exists because students know that they have no way of exercising their will, and that student government has no power to speak of, while the little that it does have is used to sell out the struggles of students for power. Student “suggestions” mean nothing without having the power to enforce them.

In society outside of school, the situation is much the same. The vast majority of working people[,] who in fact make society run, have no power over what they produce, or what happens to the products or who gets the profits, etc. We have no direct or immediate control over the domestic or foreign policy of the government. Apathy will only disappear when people realize that power should belong to the people who produce, not to the small group of rich people who own and control things today.

I have a feeling I could ramble on forever, but in conclusion I should say that in the future we will try to make ourselves clearer, for the fact that you could misunderstand our meaning on so many points indicates that something must be changed.

The Red Tide Staff


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