Thursday, April 16, 2015

Working together to change the history books

 Scholars, teachers, allies, activists have joined  in our campaign to improve the history textbooks in California by including the histories of  Mexican American/ Chicano people.  More than 52% of California students are descendants of Latino and Mexican people. Why can't they be found in the textbooks.
You are invited to participate. We need each of  you and your friends to write a letter.  Here is a guide. Here is how to write a letter and to send it.

This Spring we have a unique opportunity to change the history books in California  K-12 to include Chicano/Mexican American history- but we must act before May 1. This is the time to get that letter written and e mailed  asking that Mexican American history be included in the re write of the History/Social Science Framework for California Schools.
Mexican American/ Chicano history is currently substantially absent from public school textbooks and curriculum in California- and it has been since 1986.  Latino student political non participation and alienation from school is significantly caused by Latino absence from the K-12 textbooks and curriculum.
Now is a good time to get this done (a guide to writing such a letter is here )
This effort  is not the same as the AB 101 campaign for Ethnic Studies where many have signed an on line petition.
Our  project  to change the  History Framework is described here. 

Tell the committee;  I strongly urge you to revise the current draft of the History Framework to include a more adequate recording of the history of California and the nation by including the significant contributions of Mexicans and Mexican Americans to this history.  You really  don’t have an accurate history without extending more information on this topic.  Latinos comprise nearly 39% of the state population, and descendants of Mexican Americans and Latinos now constitute over 52% of the students in the k-12 schools.

I have read the draft framework  and I propose the following additions:

On  page 351, Line 2014, amend this to include additional material on the 1960’s,
such as,

Sample letters are below.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Forum : Working Class Under Siege

Working Class Under Siege:
Organized labor and students fight for a brighter future.
Forum:  April 16, 2015.   3 PM.
Speakers, video, dialogue.  Join us.
Fabrizio Sasso; Executive Director of Sacramento Central Labor Council.
Kevin Wehr, President, California Faculty Association. ( Mass incarceration )Paul Burke, Sociology DSA, Ian Lee DSA, the Fight for $15, Citizens to Trade Campaign TPP,  Zobeida Menez, Victoria Ordorica Yanez, SQE, Andee Suderland. DSA Student Debt Campaign
Leisa Falkner DSA- exploitation of adjunct faculty.
 3 PM. Hinde Auditorium, CSU –Sacramento

Thursday, April 09, 2015

American Exceptionalism v Teaching History of Minorities

Ed. Below, the writer makes a good argument about history.  This is the background from which readers should insist that California revise its history texts to include Mexican American history.  See the prior post on how to support this effort.

by Jimmy Franco

American Exceptionalism Versus a True History of Minorities

The 2016 presidential election is now approaching and many candidates on the political right which include most Republicans are increasingly being asked a key question by nationalistic supporters that supposedly determines whether they are true Americans and patriots. That question is whether they believe in the doctrine of “American exceptionalism” and if they answer in the affirmative, which most do, then they have passed the test that allows them to enter the make-believe world of US historical romanticism and amnesia. The promoters of this metaphysical doctrine of American exceptionalism tend to be ultra-nationalists amd neoconservatives. They are adherents of a narrow method of
Manifest Destiny and empire building were supposedly guided by divine providence.
Manifest Destiny and empire building were supposedly guided by divine providence.
historical selectivity and strongly believe that the US has a very special and superior place in world history when compared to the supposed lesser achievements of other countries and peoples. To add weight to this ideological position god is often injected as an ally into this mystical American doctrine and exceptional force. An example of this national chauvinist belief is the opening paragraph of the 2012 Republican platform which described the US as having “a unique place and role in human history”. This could be dismissed as simply being a harmless and romanticized perception of the world, yet, this type of narrow ideological thinking is being disseminated within our society and when carried out in practice it negatively affects the way people think and behave. Such an ideological view and practice is often used in many of our current political discussions that pertain to racial, educational and economic inequality in addition to the US role of being the world’s policeman. Also, this subjective and mythical viewpoint promotes the undemocratic concept of a superior American People and distorts US History and our country’s past by either sugar-coating or denying certain aspects of it. Many negative historical events have left a deep historical imprint upon out present society and cannot be conveniently ignored nor covered over. This one-sided and nationalistic view of US History and our present society can be characterized by an old proverb which states that to make reality fit their narrow beliefs some people will ” cut the foot to fit the shoe”. 

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sacramento Candidate Eric Guerra - Worked His Way Up !

Endorsed by Progressive Alliance, Calif. Nurses, Los Rios Federation of Teachers. 

Election.  April 7, 2015. 

Marcos Breton. Sacramento Bee
Sitting in a Sacramento diner on Friday morning while preparing to go door to door in his campaign to win a City Council seat, Eric Guerra shook his head while considering his life of achievement over poverty.
“Sometimes even I can’t believe that I am here,” said Guerra, 36, a policy analyst at the state Capitol who is running to fill the Tahoe Park/Elmhurst/College Greens council seat recently vacated by Kevin McCarty. Absentee ballots go out March 9, and election day is April 7.
One of the most interesting candidates to seek political office in the state capital in some time, Guerra has gone from farmworker kid, to college student living out of his car, to student body president at Sacramento State, to an advanced degree, a sought-after job, a home, family and a community where he is a budding leader.
“From where I was to middle class in less than a generation, “ Guerra said. “Where else can you do that?”
Guerra could become the first Latino elected to the Sacramento City Council in nearly 20 years, but that designation sells him short.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Failed Drug War in Mexico and the U.S.

Can You Say "Blowback" in Spanish?
Portside Date: 
March 30, 2015
Rebecca Gordon
They behead people by the hundreds. They heap headless, handless bodies along roadsides as warnings to those who would resist their power. They have penetrated the local, state, and national governments and control entire sections of the country. They provide employment and services to an impoverished public, which distrusts their actual government with its bitter record of corruption, repression, and torture. They seduce young people from several countries, including the United States, into their murderous activities.
Is this a description of the heinous practices of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria? It could be, but as a matter of fact it’s not. These particular thugs exist a lot closer to home. They are part of the multi-billion-dollar industry known as the drug cartels of Mexico. Like the Islamic State, the cartels' power has increased as the result of disastrous policies born in the U.S.A.
There are other parallels between IS and groups like Mexico's Zetas and its Sinaloa cartel. Just as the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya fertilized the field for IS, another U.S. war, the so-called War on Drugs, opened new horizons for the drug cartels. Just as Washington has worked hand-in-hand with and also behind the backs of corrupt rulers in Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, so it has done with the Mexican government. Both kinds of war have resulted in blowback -- violent consequences felt in our own cities, whether at the finish line of the Boston Marathon or in communities of color across the country.
In Mexico, the U.S. military is directly involved in the War on Drugs. In this country, that "war" has provided the pretext for the militarization of local police forces and increased routine surveillance of ordinary people going about their ordinary lives.
And just as both the national security state and the right wing have used the specter of IS to create an atmosphere of panic and hysteria in this country, so both have used the drug cartels' grotesque theater of violence to justify their demonization of immigrants from Latin America and the massive militarization of America’s borderlands.
The War in Mexico
If there was an official beginning to Mexico's war on drugs, it would have to be considered the election of Felipe Calderón as the country’s president in 2006. The candidate of the right-wing Partido Acción Nacional, the National Action Party (PAN), Calderón was only the second Mexican president in 70 years who did not come from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). His predecessor, Vicente Fox, had been the first.