Coffeehouse Marxism | Letters | Chicago Reader

Coffeehouse Marxism 

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To the editors:

I must write in response to your article about Bill Martin and the Shining Path [January 22]. I personally know pathetically little about this group, but I must object to many of Mr. Martin's points:

(1) To imply that the Khmer Rouge were "quasi-Maoist" Boy Scouts who got overly excited is a great injustice to the millions who perished under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. (Perhaps Joseph Stalin just had a bad day.)

(2) To imply that the covert and illegal war the U.S. waged in Cambodia during the Vietnam conflict "destroyed the agriculture in that country" is ludicrous. If all the Agent Orange and napalm the U.S. dropped on Vietnam didn't destroy their agriculture, how did a small-scale, covert operation ruin Cambodia and justify the Khmer Rouge's rape of the country? (That's not to say Vietnam wasn't ravaged in many other ways by the conflict with the U.S.)

I feel the situation in Peru (as well as Somalia, Angola, and Iraq, among others) deserves attention and close scrutiny by the world. The activities of both political sides deserve to be carefully weighed. However, Mr. Martin hardly seems to be the best source of unbiased information on world events. Mr. Martin would be better off auditioning for a part in Slacker than espousing his beliefs in print. Though his tale of arrest in Peru was interesting, I've got better tales of political arrest and torture from right here in America.

The Reader disappointed me by giving such credence to an obvious pseudopolitical, neo-coffeehouse Marxist. Mr. Martin should stick to roaming in bookstores and chain-smoking Gitanes. The Reader could have done a much better job informing its audience about an obvious atrocity in the making.

Benjamin T. Rayner

N. Kenmore

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