Sunday, November 29, 2015

Koch Brothers Extremists Reach Out for Hispanic Votes

Ashley Parker. New York Times.
MIAMI — The crowd that lined up around a megachurch here last week — largely Hispanic and mostly poor — came for the Saturday services, but also for the free flu shots that were being offered in the church, and for the Thanksgiving turkeys being given away just outside.
   But before they received their turkeys, those in line were asked to answer a few questions: Were they more likely to vote for a Republican or a Democrat in the 2016 presidential election? And did they feel that the government should increase or decrease federal spending in order to improve the economy?
Volunteers, holding clipboards and speaking mainly in Spanish, collected the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of everyone who showed up.
The approach — a free Thanksgiving turkey in exchange for some personal information — captures the mission of Libre, a multimillion-dollar effort financed by the conservative billionaire Kochs and devoted to winning over Hispanics, with the message that economic freedom and smaller-government principles will yield opportunity and prosperity.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Be Thankful. Support Farmworkers

This Thanksgiving I want to personally reach out to you to thank you for all you've done to help us in our work to protect the people who put food on our table. It's thanks to the efforts of generous supporters like you that we’ve made progress for the people who work so hard, yet often have so little themselves.

A union contract means so much to farm workers. It gives them security, a voice on the job, better wages, health insurance and more.

Tomato worker Concepcion Lopez is proud of her UFW contract. She tells us, “I’ve seen many changes there since the union has been there. The foreman treat us better, they don’t yell at us, the bathrooms are clean and there is shade. Everything has changed for the better now that the union is there.”

Vegetable worker Eduardo Velazco agrees. He tells us, “I'm very grateful to the UFW because they have been fighting for this law [fair pay for non-productive time for piece rate workers] and for farm worker rights. Since June, Muranaka Farms has been paying $3 for my time of no production and I earn $9 or $12 more every day. With this extra money I can send more money to my mother and save for times when there's less work.”

Dole Berry worker Mari Lopez adds, “For me the medical insurance RFK that we have is something that we very much benefit from because I had a serious surgery and RFK paid all of my bills and all of this happened because we have a contract under the United Farm Workers union, for which I very much value and am content.”

As you shop for food for your Thanksgiving table, we ask you to look for the union products. To find a list of union label products go to And, please consider making a small donation, so we can continue our work to improve the lives of farm workers.

Thank you for being our supporter, Duane. From my family to yours, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.


Arturo S. Rodriguez
United Farm Workers of America

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Maquiladora Workers of Juarez Find Their Voice

By David Bacon
The Nation, web edition, 11/20/15

Rosario Acosta and other mothers march behind the banner of the group they organized:  "Nuestras Hija de Regreso a Casa" - "May Our Daughters Come Home"

CIUDAD JUAREZ, CHIHUAHUA -- After more than a decade of silence, maquiladora workers in Ciudad Juarez have found their voice.  The city, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, is now the center of a growing rebellion of laborers in the border factories.  At the gates to four plants, including a huge 5000-worker Foxconn complex, they have set up encampments, or "plantons," demanding recognition of independent unions, and protesting firings and reprisals.
"We just got so tired of the insults, the bad treatment and low wages, that we woke up," explains Carlos Serrano, a leader of the revolt at Foxconn's Scientific Atlanta facility.  "We don't really know what's going to happen now, and we're facing companies that are very powerful and have a lot of money.  But what's clear is that we are going to continue.  We're not going to stop."
The Juarez protests come just as Congress gets ready to debate a new trade treaty, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which opponents charge will reproduce the same devastation Mexican workers experienced as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  Critics charge NAFTA cemented into place a regime of low wages, labor violations and violence on the border after it took effect in 1994.  Today, economic pressure has become so extreme that Juarez' workers feel they have no choice but to risk their jobs in hope of change.
Ali Lopez, a single mother at the planton outside the ADC CommScope factory, describes grinding poverty. "The only way a single mother can survive here is with help from family or friends," she says.  Lopez has two daughters, one 13 and one 6 years old.  "I can't spend any time with them because I'm always working.  When I leave in the morning, I leave food for the older one to warm up for lunch.  Childcare would cost 200 pesos a week or more, so I can't afford it."
A cold winter has already descended on Ciudad Juarez, close to freezing at night.  Parents worry that children at home alone with a heater for warmth risk fire in highly flammable homes of cardboard or castoff pallets from factories.  "We just have enough money to eat soup and beans," she explains.  "We don't eat meat."  Lopez' wage is 600 pesos a week (about $36).  "No one can live on this.  A fair wage would be 250 pesos a day.  In the U.S. people make in one hour what it takes us all day to earn."

Monday, November 23, 2015

If We Do Not Vote- Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta, who co-founded United Farmworkers with Cesar Chavez and who is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America, spoke during a news conference Tuesday morning Nov. 10, before the Republican candidates debate  in Milwaukee  and said it's "really unfortunate" that GOP leaders are trying to win by attacking innocent people.

Huerta has led movements for organizing  union rights and  social justice  since the founding along with Cesar Chavez, Philip Vera Cruz and others  of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.  She continues through her current work in supporting union democracy,  civic engagement and promoting Latino Voter participation.
Organizing Latino voter education and outreach is an important part of defeating Republicans in 2016.  And, it is working.

Huerta calls Donald Trump the face of the Republican Party, and accuses him of dehumanizing Latinos.  With organized work, GOP positions  on immigration and union rights may sink Republicans in the 2016 elections. 

Huerta says Trump’s  primary opponents are no better.
"When we think about people like Rubio and Ted Cruz, even Jeb Bush, who speaks Spanish, they may have a Spanish last name -- but they do not have a Latino heart because they don`t care about immigrants. They don`t care about our community," Huerta said.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hearings held today on inclusion of Mexican American History

 Hearings were  held today, Nov 19,  at the California Department of Education on the  draft History/Social Science Framework including the substantive changes proposed by the Mexican American Digital History project and our allies.  Additional comments can be made on Nov. 20.  Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) meeting —Also, public comment can be submitted during the 60-day draft HSS Framework public review and comment period (January–February 2016).  If you have additional changes to propose you must submit them during this period. The State Board of Education (SBE) will hold a public hearing at its May 2016 meeting before it takes action on the draft HSS Framework. The IQC and SBE meeting will be held in Sacramento at the California Department of Education (CDE) building.

In addition, public comment can be  submitted to the HSS mailbox at or IQC mailbox at

If you have questions or comments, contact Duane Campbell of the Mexican American Digital History project in Sacramento at

November 20- The Mexican Revolution

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Syrian Refugees - Elizabeth Warren

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