Saturday, December 26, 2009

Murders of resistance activists in Honduras

By Joseph Shansky
Upside Down World
December 23, 2009

   "As a revolutionary I will be today, tomorrow
   and forever on the front lines of my people,
   all the while knowing that I may lose my life."
   - Walter Trochez, 25, murdered in Tegucigalpa
   on December 13.

The bodies of slain activists are piling up in
Honduras. While it's being kept quiet in most Honduran
and international media, the rage is building among a
dedicated network of friends spreading the word quickly
with the tragic announcement of each companero/a.

Now that the world heard from mainstream news outlets
such as the New York Times of a "clean and fair"
election on Nov. 29 (orchestrated by the US-supported
junta currently in power), the violence has increased
even faster than feared.

The specific targets of these killings have been those
perceived as the biggest threats to the coup
establishment. The bravest, and thus the most
vulnerable: Members of the Popular Resistance against
the coup. Their friends and family. People who provide
the Resistance with food and shelter. Teachers,
students, and ordinary citizens who simply recognize
the fallacy of an un-elected regime taking over their
country. All associated with the Resistance have faced
constant and growing repercussions for their courage in
protesting the coup. With the international community
given the green light by the US that democratic order
has returned via elections, it's open season for
violent forces in Honduras working to tear apart the
political unity of the Resistance Front against the

The killings are happening almost faster than they can
be recorded.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fraud in Honduran elections

Election report.  In Spanish.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gutierrez introduces a new immigration bill

Congressman Luis Gutierrez Introduces Immigration Bill

Below is a summary of the immigration reform legislation introduced by Congressman Luis Gutierrez and many other members of the U.S. Congress. We would qualify this legislative initiative as a very good beginning of the immigration debate about the character of immigration reform that is good for immigrants and good for America.We find much more to support in this legislation than to recommend for improvements and call on all immigrant communities to review it closely, draw your own conclusions, and make your voices heard. The debate now begins. We certainly will do our part to make the information available to our constituents, organize informational forums and hearings, make our recommendations and suggestions known to the legislators, and mobilize our community in favor of the best possible deal that we can get under the dire circumstances that we currently face in the country.
We applaud Congressman Luis Gutierrez for his perseverance, his colleagues of the various congressional caucuses, and the many organizations, churches, and unions that played a role in bringing to light this legislation. Now the really tough fight begins to seeing it through to the U.S. Senate - secure a comparable companion bill - and corraling enough votes for its approval in 2010 with the signature of the president.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Brazil's differences with Washington are Positive

Mark Weisbrat 
Over the last decade an epoch-making political change has taken place in the Western Hemisphere: Latin America, a region that was once considered the United States' "back yard," is now more independent of Washington than Europe is.

But while Latin America has changed, U.S. foreign policy has not - even now, with the election of President Obama. Hence the region, including Brazil, finds itself increasingly at odds with Washington. The military coup in Honduras is just one recent and glaring example.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Socialist Morales wins re-election in Bolivia

With Victory, Morales and Social Movements Confront New
Challenges in Bolivia

By Tanya Kerssen
Bolivian president Evo Morales and his political party,
the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS), won a resounding
victory in the presidential elections this past Sunday,
December 6. The nearest challengers, Manfred Reyes
Villa and his running mate Leopoldo Fernandez--whose
current address is a La Paz prison, where he stands
accused of ordering the murder of pro-government
peasants --represent an old political and economic order
that has used sedition and violence in an effort to
obstruct and destabilize the Morales government.

The old order and the new are locked in a struggle for
the future of Bolivia. "The social movements are
critical for presidents to be able to create a new
alternative," declared Bolivian Foreign Minister David
Choquehuanca in the tropical city of Cochabamba in
October at a summit of leftist Latin American
presidents, including Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and
Ecuador's Rafael Correa. At the parallel Social
Movements Summit comprised of 700 delegates from 40
countries, Isaac Avalos, leader of the Bolivian
Peasants Federation promised to help "bury the
opposition" in the election.

Read the entire article here:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Justice for Nativo Lopez

Justice for Nativo Lopez and Overhill Farms Workers
"An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fact Sheet
INTRODUCTION. Nativo Lopez is known nationally for his organizing and support of immigrants, workers, and students. As president of the Mexican American Political Association and national director of the Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana, Nativo is a vocal advocate for the rights of undocumented immigrants who face persecution because of their status: be it at their workplace, school, or communities. Most recently he founded a new independent union, the General Brotherhood of Workers International Union, and has been working closely with terminated employees from the company Overhill Farms and assisting in their fight against unjust firings. Overhill Farms is the largest food processing and manufacturing company in California with between 800 and 1,000 employees, based in the city of Vernon, and supplies packaged food product to companies such as Jenny Craig, Panda Express, El Pollo Loco, American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Safeway, and many other super-market chain stores.
· Nativo faces eight felony charges by the Los Angeles District Attorney, Steve Cooley, that include: fraudulent voter registration, fraudulent document filing, perjury, and fraudulent voting. On July 8th, 2009, Nativo declared himself "NOT GUILTY" to a judge during his arraignment. These charges are based on allegations that he used a business address (of his organization) to register to vote and vote in an election, while allegedly residing at a different location. The period in question was January 2006 to March 2008. He voted on one single occasion, and never in multiple jurisdictions. The California Secretary of State investigated the case for one-and-a-half years, while the department could have decided to take administrative action, instead turned it over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney for prosecution.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Uruguay Elects leftist, former guerrilla

Written by Darío Montero
Monday, 30 November 2009

  Left-wing candidate José Mujica was elected
president of Uruguay with nearly 52 percent of the vote
Sunday, seven to eight percentage points ahead of his
rival, the right-wing Luis Alberto Lacalle, according
to projections by pollsters.

Mujica, a former senator and agriculture minister, will
take over from socialist President Tabaré Vázquez on
Mar. 1, to head the second administration of the
leftist Broad Front coalition.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Eduardo Galeano on elections in Uruguay and Honduras

Whitewashing Elections in Honduras

by Lisa Sullivan
School of The Americas Watch.
And now, the second bath of whitewash was even more
challenging, especially since the first whitewash
proved to be kind of thin and exposed the words from
below. Thus, it didn't really convince many. As a
matter of fact, it didn't convince anyone except the
United States government (or woops, maybe they actually
helped to stir the first batch), Now, the challenge of
November 29th whitewash was to transform the civilian
coup into a shining electoral display of freedom,
fairness and grand participation so that all the world
would say, "wow, that Honduran coup is gone. Now
Honduras has a real and wonderful democracy, End of

Except that it's probably the beginning of a story. One
that we thought had been left to rest in Latin America
years and years ago. One of fear and repression and
deaths and disappearances. We know the litany all too
well, and we remember the names of its thousands of
victims each November. This year we had to add too many
new names from Honduras. And, if our government chooses
to recognize these elections, this massive whitewash, I
fear that many more names will be read from the stage
in front of Ft. Benning next year. And perhaps not just
from Honduras.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trumka: Free Elections not possible in Honduras

The Obama Administration fails the test of democracy.

Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras
Posted By James Parks On November 16, 2009 (2:26 pm) In Legislation & Politics

The continued repression of trade unionists by the regime set up in Honduras after a June 28 coup makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a Nov. 13 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trumka points out that delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention in September passed a resolution calling on the U.S. government to suspend military aid to Honduras until President Manuel Zelaya, the democratically elected leader, is returned to office and human and trade union rights have been restored.

Click here to read the convention resolution on Honduras and here to read Trumka's letter.

With an illegitimate government in power, scheduled elections later this month cannot be fair, free and open, Trumka says.

The New York Times
November 26, 2009

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The United States risks souring
relations with much of Latin America if it recognizes a
presidential election in Honduras on Sunday, the
foreign policy adviser to President Luiz Inácio Lula da
Silva of Brazil said in an interview on Wednesday.

The de facto leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti,
has said he hopes the election will end a political
crisis that began when soldiers placed President Manuel
Zelaya on an airplane and sent him into exile on June

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mexico's Government attacks unions

The U.S. and the Mexican economy are closely linked – and this integration has been advanced by the NAFTA/ North American Free Trade Agreement of 1994.   ( See, The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost our Future- and What it Will take to Get it Back. 2006.  Jeff Faux.)

The  2008- 2009 banking  crisis in the U.S. has produced a severe  economic crisis in Mexico.  The Mexican economy has contracted by % 6.8  this year,  and unemployment there is not likely to recover soon.

In the midst of this crisis, the government of Mexico has accelerated  the  same  neo liberal economic policies which caused the crisis by attacking a major union and shutting down a public owned electric company in preparation for privatization.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

National work stoppage in Mexico

National Work Stoppage in Mexico Demands Reversal on Power Co. Takeover
By Dan  La Boltz
Labor Notes NOVEMBER 13, 2009
Tens of thousands of Mexican workers joined a national work stoppage to reverse the liquidation of the independent Electrical Workers union, but despite large and militant protests, its seems unlikely the government will be moved.
Benedicto Martínez, one of the three co-presidents of the independent Authentic Labor Front (FAT), told Labor Notes that the demonstrations in Mexico City were large and enthusiastic. “I believe that if workers resist and if the movement continues to grow things can change," he said, adding a call for continued coalition-building and international solidarity, "perhaps in the form of demonstrations at consulates in other countries.”
Yet, despite the size and militancy of the protests, and the union’s view that the national work stoppage was a success, there seems little likelihood that the government will be moved.

The takeover of the power company last month was accompanied by the firing of about 45,000 workers and the dissolution of the Mexican Electrical Workers (SME) union, an independent union that had been a leader in the fight against the government’s corporate-oriented agenda.
While members of the union were themselves unable to strike this week, having been physically forced out of their workplaces by the police, they did march, demonstrate, and join protests, and other workers struck and protested on their behalf.
Striking workers blocked highways in several states, surrounded and closed down government buildings in Mexico City, tied up the capital’s streets, and then marched by the tens of thousands to the zócalo, the national plaza, for a protest rally. The government mobilized 10,000 police to respond to the protest and in Queretaro there were violent confrontations between police and strikers.
Calderón claimed that there had been attempts to shut down power in Mexico City and the surrounding states, but the union attributed power failures to the incompetence of those now running the plants.
Even as the strike took place, several cabinet secretaries repeated the government’s position that the company closing, the firing of the workers, and the elimination of the union are permanent.
Speaking at the rally in the zócalo, Martín Esparza, head of the Electrical Workers, called upon Secretary of Labor Javier Lozano to “pick up his severance pay and get out.” That, in effect, is what Lozano himself has been telling the fired Electrical Workers.
So far, according to media reports, more than half of the fired workers have received their severance pay, suggesting that they have given up the struggle to get back their jobs. A leader of the Electrical Workers says that far fewer, about 10,000, have accepted their severance. The union, nevertheless, continues to mobilize members and to fight both in the courts and on the streets to reverse the government’s decision.
Read the entire post at

Tribes criticize Schwarzenegger and Water Plans

National Congress of American Indians Demands Protection of Rights Under MLPA 
by Dan Bacher

The National Congress of American Indians, at their annual session from October 11-16 in Palm Springs, passed a strongly worded resolution blasting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) process for failing to recognize the subsistence, ceremonial and cultural rights of California Indian Tribes. 

"While the tribes support the State’s goal of developing marine protection, they are concerned that the State’s MLPA process does not address their sovereign standing or interests," according to the resolution. "To date there have been no government to government consultations by the State with any tribe in California in the MLPA implementation process, nor is there a mention of the sovereign status of the tribes in the MLPA Master Plan or legislation." 

The resolution emphasizes that the tribes rely upon fishing and gathering seaweed to feed themselves and their families, and "the continuance of these practices are essential to maintain our identities as tribal people."

"The NCAI does hereby support the demand of the tribes of Northern California that the State of California enter into government to government consultations with these tribes; and that the State of California ensure the protection of tribal subsistence, ceremonial and cultural rights in the implementation of the state of Marine Life Protection Act," the resolution concludes. 

More recently, the MLPA was criticized in the historic California Tribal Water Summit held in Sacramento November 4-5. Participants concurred that "in the Marine Life Protection Act, the California Department of Fish and Game has made an explicit policy decision to NOT consult with tribes." 

The Schwarzenegger administration and previous administrations have shown absolutely no respect for the rights of California Indian Tribes to sustainably harvest seaweed, mussels and abalone as they have done for centuries in the intertidal zone. The current lack of recognition of tribal rights in the MLPA occurs in the context of cultural genocide against the indigenous people of California that started during the Spanish colonization of California, expanded throughout the state during the Gold Rush and continues to this day. 

This marine protected area (MPA) plans developed on the Central Coast, North Central Coast and Southern California Coast regions were rammed through by the Schwarzenegger administration in spite of complaints by representatives of California Indian Tribes, including the Essalen Tribe of the Monterey Bay region and the Kashia Pomo Tribe in Sonoma County, that the state of California had not formally consulted with them on the MLPA process. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Honduras: Free elections not possible

Trumka: Free Elections Not Possible Now in Honduras
by James Parks, Nov 16, 2009

The continued repression of trade unionists by the regime set up in Honduras after a June 28 coup makes it impossible to hold free and fair elections, says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a Nov. 13 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Trumka points out that delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention in September passed a resolution calling on the U.S. government to suspend military aid to Honduras until President Manuel Zelaya, the democratically elected leader, is returned to office and human and trade union rights have been restored.

Click here to read the convention resolution on Honduras and here to read Trumka’s letter.

With an illegitimate government in power, scheduled elections later this month cannot be fair, free and open, Trumka says.

The violent and coercive repression of political opposition to the de facto coup regime, including trade unionists, has continued. At least 12 trade unionists have died in the violence since June 28. National and international human rights organizations report ongoing human rights violations committed by state security forces, including killings, severe beatings, sexual violence, the imprisonment and torture of activists, as well as the arrest and detention of President Zelaya’s supporters.

Trumka calls on Clinton and the U.S. government to oppose national elections in Honduras unless Zelaya is reinstated and to implement the recommendations in the AFL-CIO resolution.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mexico's Union Busting by the Government

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 11  -- Traffic on the main streets of Mexico City was halted on Wednesday by striking electricity workers who were protesting the closure of state-run power firm Central Light and Power.
    Six groups of protestors were marching towards the city's central square, known as the Zocalo. One group of protestors clashed with police, who fired tear gas and arrested two protesters.
    Traffic on highways linking Mexico City to five major cities nearby -- Queretaro, Cuernavaca, Puebla, Pachuca and Toluca – was also halted or slowed down.
    Central Light and Power, which supplied electricity to Mexico City and neighboring central states, was liquidated last month by the central government, which said the move was prompted by the company's huge loss. It has been taken over by another state-run power company, the Federal Electricity Commission.

Obama/Clinton Failure on Honduras

U.S. State Department Sells Out Honduran Democracy for Senate Confirmations

• Policy change to recognize elections without reinstatement of Zelaya torpedoes peace agreement, mollifies Republicans and alienates Latin America

• President Zelaya pronounces Tegucigalpa-San Jose Accord a “dead letter”

• Anti-coup organizations call for elections boycott on Nov. 29

In one of the lowest points in U.S. diplomatic history, the State Department announced a turnabout in its Honduran policy and stated it will recognize the results of Nov. 29 elections even if held under the military coup.

The new strategy to promote elections without first assuring a return to constitutional order torpedoes the accord that the State Department itself brokered and was signed by President Manuel Zelaya and coup leader Roberto Micheletti on Oct. 29.

On Nov. 4, just days after Secretary of State Clinton anounced a major breakthrough in resolving the Honduran political crisis, Asst. Secretary of State Thomas Shannon stated in an interview with CNN that “the formation of the National Unity Government is apart from the reinstatement of President Zelaya” and that the Honduran Congress will decide when and if Zelaya is reinstated. His surprise declaration scuttled the point of reinstatement in the agreement, leaving the matter up in the air while confirming that the U.S. government will recognize elections anyway.

U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, Lewis Anselem and Ambassador to Honduras Hugo Llorens confirmed this new position. At the OAS meeting, Anselem, whose disparaging remarks toward Latin American countries have alienated many southern diplomats, criticized the other nations’ refusal to recognize elections staged by a coup regime, “I’ve heard many in this room say that they will not recognize the elections in Honduras… I’m not trying to be a wiseguy, but what does that mean? What does that mean in the real world, not in the world of magical realism?”

Llorens also portrayed the new policy as pragmatism, stating on Nov. 8, “The elections will be part of the reality and will return Honduras to the path of democracy.”

The repeated use of "reality" as the justification for the policy change shows an attempt on the part of the State Department to unilaterally impose a definition of Honduran reality—contrary to its own previous definition and that of the international community. This unilateral diplomacy harks back to Bush foreign policies that many Americans and Latin Americans believed had been thrown out with the incoming Obama administration

The Diplomacy of Deceit
As analysts piece together the events of the past few days that took us from breakthrough to breakdown in international efforts to restore rule of law in Honduras, the real story emerges.

As former ambassador Robert White writes today, Tom Shannon met with Republican Senator Jim DeMint on Oct. 20 and DeMint urged him to recognize the Honduran elections without the reinstatement of Zelaya. DeMint offered to release his holds on Shannon's nomination to the ambassadorship of Brazil and the nomination of Arturo Valenzuela to fill Shannon's shoes as Asst. Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

DeMint, who traveled to Honduras to meet with the coup regime last month, had blocked these two key State Department nominations ostensibly in protest of the administration’s policies to reinstate Zelaya.

White reports that there is every indication that Shannon had already formulated this critical change in policy to abandon the demand for reinstatement when he flew down to Tegucigalpa on Oct. 28, and that coup leader Roberto Micheletti knew this. That left only President Zelaya and the rest of the world in the dark as to the real goal of the negotiations.

What will surely go down in the books as one of the worst diplomatic agreements ever, was hammered out by the State Department team—Shannon, joined by Obama advisor Dan Restrepo and the man who has now been sent in to try to clean up the mess, Craig Kelly. It was signed by the two parties on Oct. 29.

The agreement includes a commitment to form a Government of National Reconciliation by Nov. 5. It calls for the Honduran Congress to vote on returning presidential powers with no deadline whatsoever. It includes a non-binding opinion from the Supreme Court, again with no deadline.

In retrospect the trap is clear. The agreement left open the absurd but possible solution of having the coup form the unity government without a legitimate president, with non-compliance made to seem the fault of Zelaya if he refused to participate. So why did Zelaya sign?

Many of us believed at that point that the State Department was negotiating in good faith to reinstate the president and that the Congressional vote was merely a face-saving measure for the coup. Zelaya had laid out a position in negotiations that it should be the Congress, and not the Court, that made the decision to revoke the destitution decree. In the context of unspoken agreements with members of the Honduran Congress and the U.S. State Department, the understanding was that the need to hold recognized elections and the threat of more sanctions had finally broken the intransigence of the coup and paved the way for a return to constitutional rule.

Lest there be any doubt about the deal, DeMint released a press statement bragging “Senator secures commitment for U.S. to back Nov. 29 elections even if Zelaya is not reinstated.”

The statement reads, “I am happy to report the Obama Administration has finally reversed its misguided Honduran policy and will fully recognize the November 29th elections... Secretary Clinton and Assistant Secretary Shannon have assured me that the U.S. will recognize the outcome of the Honduran elections regardless of whether Manuel Zelaya is reinstated. I take our administration at their word that they will now side with the Honduran people and end their focus on the disgraced Zelaya.”

He goes on to lay out his scenario for the anachronism of the first elections staged by a military coup in the 21st century.

“Now, thanks to the Obama Administration’s welcome reversal, the new government sworn into office next January can expect the full support of the United States and I hope the entire international community. I trust Secretary Clinton and Mr. Shannon to keep their word, but this is the beginning of the process, not the end. I will eagerly watch the elections, and continue closely monitoring our administration’s future actions with respect to Honduras and Latin America.”

The Washington script played out. On Nov. 9, the Senate confirmed Valenzuela. DeMint lifted his hold on Shannon's confirmation, although another Republican stepped up to protest, this time over Cuba policy. With Shannon's confirmation still blocked, it seems the Republicans repaid the diplomat in his own coin.

DeMint's crowing is understandable. The recent machinations mean that a rightwing coup could remain in power to preside over elections in which only pro-coup candidates are likely to participate. It means a setback—not defeat—of the popular movement to hold a constitutional assembly and push forward with policies to relieve the suffering of the poor and build greater equality.

But DeMint cannot take full credit for the reversal. The Clinton State Department had been signalling a reversal on the commitment to restore Zelaya for months. Statements became more and more ambivalent, sometimes saying it supported Zelaya's return and others calling only for a "return to constitutional order" without mentioning Zelaya even when pressed. This past week was the first time that it marked a clear "no-Zelaya" strategy option.

In Whites's words, "As Shannon well knew, this change of policy would give away the principal leverage the U.S. could bring to bear to persuade the de facto government to permit the prompt return of President Zelaya." By going back on the commitment to withhold recognition of elections held under a coup regime, the U.S. government has given coup leaders and the armed forces a green light to remain in power until a new president is sworn in on Jan. 27.

That president, if indeed the crisis doesn't explode into even greater proportions before then, will likely not be recognized by most of the countries in the hemisphere or a huge percentage of the Honduran population. Governance in these conditions will be impossible. Unless Zelaya is restored immediately, the groundwork has been laid for a prolonged and severe period of violence and unrest in Central America.

Move Producces Anger and Distrust in Latin America
The Honduran Congress has set no date for voting on reinstatement of President Zelaya and indicated he will not be reinstated before the elecitons.

Recall that Zelaya’s reinstatement was the key point of the San José Accords that the State Department organized under the auspices of Costa Rican president Oscar Arias, and the center of resolutions in the United Nations and the Organization of American States, both supported by the U.S. government.

The UN declaration resolves, “To reaffirm that President José Manuel Zelaya Rosales is the constitutional President of Honduras and to demand the immediate, safe, and unconditional return of the President to his constitutional functions.”

The July 1 resolution of the OAS, “Demands the immediate and unconditional restoration of the legitimate and Constitutional Government of the President of the Republic, Mr. José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, and of the legally established authority in Honduras;” Honduras was suspended from the OAS as a result of the failure to reinstate President Zelaya, amid ongoing diplomatic efforts to achieve that end.

The new U.S. position has raised the ire of other Latin American countries. At a meeting of the OAS Nov. 10, many expressed a commitment not to recognize coup-held electons. Secretary General Jose Insulza stated that the organization would not send elections observers to Honduras.

The Rio Group, which includes the U.S.’s most powerful allies in the region, Mexico and Brazil, issued an unequivocal statement Nov. 6 calling for the immediate reinstatement of Zelaya. It was signed on to by the meeting of Latin American and Caribbean foreing ministers held simultaneously in Montego Bay.

The 24 Latin American nations stated, “The immediate reinstatement of president Jose Manuel Zelaya in the office to which he was elected by the Honduran people constitutes an indispensable prerequisite to re-establish constitutional order, rule of law and democracy in Honduras, as well as for the normalization of relations between the Republic of Honduras and the Rio Group and for it to be possible to recognize the results of elections scheduled to take place on Nov. 29.”

Craig Kelly, one of the architects of the diplomacy of deceit revealed in the Oct. 29 agreement, has now been dispatched to patch things up. He did not receive a warm welcome from President Zelaya and unless he carries a mandate for repentence in his briefcase, he will have very little room to maneuver.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The economic crisis, the budget, and our schools

DSA Talk: The Economic Crisis:
Economic Crisis, The Budget, Our Schools, and Your Students. This session will focus on the causes and consequences of the Great Recession, and its impact on education. Speaker will focus on explaining the crisis, available resources, and strategies for resistance.
Duane Campbell, DSA (Democratic Socialists of America)
12:30 P.M. The Redwood Room. Nov.14. 2009. 

Sac State hosts

Multicultural Education Conference 

Social justice educator Brian D. Schultz is the keynote speaker for the 16th annual Multicultural Education Conference, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, in Sacramento State’s University Union.
Titled, “Social Justice Through Civic Engagement and Action,” the free conference is sponsored by Sacramento State’s Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department (BMED) and co-sponsored by the Serna Center and Project Citizen. The conference provides an opportunity for university faculty and local educators to promote multicultural education in K-12 public schools in the Sacramento region

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dia de los muertos

Cruces en El Muro
Activistas de El Paso colocaron el Sabado cruces en la malla que divide la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos para honrar la memoria de los migrantes que han muerto en su intento por ingresar al pais.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Agreement in Honduras II?

Never underestimate the capabilities of the slightest American muscle-flexing. 
Joseph Shansky.  Upside Down World.

After deliberately failing to use its massive economic and diplomatic influence in the tiny Central American country, the US has reportedly given the international community reason to breathe a sigh of relief in what Hillary Clinton is calling an “historic agreement”. According to the US, the Honduran governmental power struggle has been resolved, and an agreement for President Manuel Zelaya to be reinstated has been reached. 

All thanks to a breezy State Department intervention that could have come four months, twenty-six lives, hundreds of disappearances, and thousands of random detentions earlier for Honduran citizens. Instead they let it play out like an internal civil disagreement while watching from above until the time was politically opportune to step in. 

In other words, the two children who were bickering in what Henry Kissinger famously dubbed “our backyard” have been rightfully scolded, and forced by Uncle Sam to make nice. 

But the details of what is now being called the Guaymuras Accords are messy. They involve a series of conditions and fine print designed to continue the regime’s now-familiar tactic of delaying real progress through semantics and by creating more legal headaches. At the same time, any pressure on the US to fight for a constructive return of Zelaya’s presidential powers is now gone. 

See entire post at

Agreement in Honduras?


TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Lawmakers will wait until Tuesday to consider a U.S.-brokered agreement that could return deposed President Manuel Zelaya to power, despite diplomats' pleas to not delay an end to the country's 4-month-old political crisis.
Monday is a holiday in Honduras, and many legislators are busy campaigning for Nov. 29 elections that will also elect a successor to Zelaya.
Nonetheless, Zelaya said Saturday that he hopes he will be back in office by Thursday, the deadline for the two sides to establish a power-sharing government.
"By Thursday, the government of national unity should be installed," he said in a meeting broadcast by Radio Globo. "By that day, point No. 5 has to be resolved," he added, referring to the clause of the agreement that covers his return to office.

Multicultural Education Conference

Social justice educator Brian D. Schultz is the keynote speaker for the 16th annual Multicultural Education Conference, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, in Sacramento State’s University Union.

Titled, “Social Justice Through Civic Engagement and Action,” the free conference is sponsored by Sacramento State’s Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department (BMED) and co-sponsored by the Serna Center and Project Citizen. The conference provides an opportunity for university faculty and local educators to promote multicultural education in K-12 public schools in the Sacramento region
Schultz is the author of Spectacular Things Happen Along the Way: Lessons from an Urban Classroom. A panel discussion by candidates for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction will follow Shultz’ talk.  Blog host Duane Campbell will present a workshop on the Economic Crisis and Cuts in School Budgets.  

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Several lefts in Latin America

The problems with neoliberalism encouraged the turn to
the left among voters in Latin American countries, and
the record of populist and pragmatist leftwingers alike
has been impressive. Poverty and inequality have fallen
in nearly all left-led countries, according to a recent
UN report, with Venezuela narrowing the gap most, by
increasing the wealth of the poorest by 36 per cent.
Chile and Brazil's GDP has grown by 5 per cent annually
over the last couple of years, Argentina's by 7 per
cent; even desperately poor Bolivia has seen more than
4 per cent growth under Morales. Critics attribute
Venezuela's pace-setting 8 per cent yearly increase to
high oil prices, which makes one wonder why petroleum-
exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia and Mexico
grew at only 3 per cent. The answer is that Chávez's
massive spending on public works, education,
healthcare, housing, co-operatives and small businesses
has worked as a scattershot stimulus package. Much of
this expenditure may be wasteful, chaotic or corrupt,
but the country's unemployment rate has fallen from
nearly 20 per cent in 2004 to 9 per cent, the fastest
drop in Latin America. As Keynes himself pointed out,
the waste involved in public works projects is
infinitely less of a vice than the waste of intractable
unemployment. `Two pyramids', he said, are `twice as
good as one'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nightmare of a Dream Student

TUCSON, Ariz. -- I’ll refer to her as Leticia X.

She is undocumented, but has been in this country since the age of
three and is a top student at her high school. Yet, unless the law
changes soon, she will be unable to continue with her studies. She
tells my students at the University of Arizona that it is wrong that
she will not be able to attend college next year: “I consider myself a
U.S. citizen. It’s the only country I’ve ever known.”

Her symbolic mother is Leticia A -- a student who set the legal
precedent in 1982 in Plyler v. Doe in Texas, permitting undocumented
students to be able to attend public K-12 schools, without having to
pay exorbitant out-of-state tuition.

Today, Leticia X struggles to change this policy to include K-16
students. If out-of-state fees are exorbitant for out of state K-12
students, the rates are stratospheric for out-of-state college
students, generally costing tens of thousands of dollars yearly.

Leticia X is part of a nationwide movement – nearly a decade old – to
pass legislation that would permit students such as her, to be able to
attend college at in-state rates. It’s called the DREAM Act. A
majority of members of Congress support it, but since 2001, they’ve
never been able to garner the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to
bring it to a full vote (cloture). It even has a controversial
provision that was injected into it that would permit students to also
qualify for U.S. residency by first going into the military for two
years. A terrible compromise, but even that has not worked.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mexico's Union Bust Reveals Flaws in NAFTA

Mexico's Union Bust Reveals Flaws in NAFTA
Laura Carlsen
Foreign Policy In Focus
October 22, 2009

Fernando Lopez woke up on a Sunday morning out of a job.
For the electrical worker, the feeling was terrifying.

"From one day to the next, they left us with no job -
nothing," Lopez said, as he marched alongside some
200,000 fellow workers and their supporters in downtown
Mexico City on October 15.

On the night of Saturday, October 10, thousands of
soldiers and federal police moved into position in the
darkness. After cutting fences and forcing out the
workers, they occupied over 50 installations of the
state-owned utility company, Central Light and Power
(Luz y Fuerza), awaiting the administrative blow that
would follow. At midnight, President Felipe Calderon
issued an executive decree to liquidate the company and
its union, the Mexican Electrical Workers Union
(Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas - SME), one of the
strongest and most vocal independent unions in the

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mexican Electrical Workers Union fights for its Life

Mexican Electrical Workers Union Fights for Its Life

by Dan La Botz
October 19, 2009

The Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), made up of
approximately 43,000 active and 22,000 retired workers
in Mexico City and surrounding states, is fighting for
its life.  The union's struggle has rallied allies in
the labor movement and on the left in Mexico and
solidarity from throughout the country and around the
world, but, if it is to survive, the union and its
supporters have to take stronger actions than they have
so far, and time is not on their side.

On the night of October 10, President Calderón ordered
federal police to seize the power plants, while he
simultaneously liquidated the state-owned Light and
Power Company, fired the entire workforce, and thus did
away with the legal existence of the union.  The
Mexican president's attack on the Electrical Workers
Union might be compared to Ronald Regan's firing of
more than 11,500 members of the Professional Air
Traffic Controllers (PATCO) in 1981 or to Margaret
Thatcher's smashing of the National Union of
Minerworkers (NUM) in 1984 in which over 11,000 miners
were arrested and the union defeated.

Changing the Balance of Force

Calderón's move to destroy this union represents an
important turning point in modern Mexican labor
history, a decisive step to break the back of the
unions once and for all.  Following up on his three-
year war on the Mexican Miners and Metal Workers Union
(SNTMM), Calderón has now decided to take on the
leading union in Mexico City.  But, even more
important, it is, as one Mexican political leader
noted, it is an act intended "to change the balance of
forces," so that they favor the government.

   After its electoral defeat and out of fear of
   social protest which the [economic] crisis is
   provoking, the government wants to give a
   demonstration of its power which everybody will
   understand: the left, the social movements, the PRI
   [Institutional Revolutionary Party], the unions,
   the Congress, the businessmen and the media.  The
   logic is the same that was used in the [Salinas
   government's] attack on La Quina [head of the
   Mexican Petroleum Workers Union] in 1989: if you
   can do it the strongest, then you can do it to the
   weakest.  If the most combative union can be
   defeated, then so can any other force.1

Read the entire piece:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mexican Labor strikes back

Over 300,000 Mexican workers and their supporters march in Mexico City  to repudiate the attack  by President Calderon on the Electrical Workers Union.

para ver video, presione ---> "aqui"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Governor of Puerto Rico assaults unions

More than 200,000 people are expected to march in a mass rally tomorrow in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a one-day work stoppage to protest Gov. Luis Fortuño’s plan to trim the budget deficit on the backs of workers.
Using recently passed legislation known as Public Law 7, the governor plans to lay off as many as 30,000 public employees and deny collective bargaining to the remainder of the island’s public employees. The U.S. Commonwealth, where unemployment is already at 15 percent, is set to receive $6 billion in federal economic recovery funds, more than enough to cover a projected $3.2 billion budget deficit.

Fortuño, a former Republican delegate to the U.S. Congress, is using the island’s deep budget deficit as a pretext to busting the union and privatizing public services, the Puerto Rican union movement says.

Latinos absent from discussion of re-writing California Constitution

That California government is in a financial crisis is not news – but it is in  crisis.  And, that only 13% of Californians think that the legislature – both Republican and Democrats are doing a good job, indicates a that an opportunity exists to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Or, as Rahm Emanuel says, “don’t allow a good crisis to go to waste.”
At an interesting conference, “Getting to Reform: Avenues to Constitutional Change in California,” on October 14, at the Sacramento Convention Center,  Prof. Kimberly Nalder, an associate professor of Government  at Sacramento State said California voters are like a person  who contracts with a personal trainer to lose weight, then says, “but I don’t want to do any exercise and I don’t want to go on a diet.”  and then blames the trainer for not producing results.  The conference was sponsored by the Center for California Studies at CSU-Sacramento and others.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lou Dobbs is the problem

You and more than 50,000 others have joined the call for CNN to dump Lou Dobbs! Now it's time to take the next step.

In just one week, CNN will launch its “Latino in America” series, which tells the stories of Latinos from across the country. There’s just one thing missing: Lou Dobbs. That’s right. Four hours about the Latino experience in America, and not a word about the man who spends every weeknight telling lies about immigrants and spreading fear and hatred toward Latinos.

Together with award-winning filmmaker Arturo Perez, we're calling out CNN's hypocrisy with a powerful new video: “CNN: Lou Dobbs or Latinos in America?” Please help us grow the campaign by watching the video and sharing it far and wide.

The campaign against Lou Dobbs, which you have helped fuel, is clearly getting to him. He’s railed against us on his radio show,1 and rumors are now swirling that he’s looking for other jobs at more conservative networks2. Now is the time to keep the pressure on. Please watch the video, and then share it with your friends and family. We’ve set up a special page to make it easy:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Report on the Economic Crisis Forum -Sacramento

The Economic Crisis, The Budget &

The University

Forum discussion of the economic crisis and the cutbacks at the university.  Oct.13,2009.  Sacramento State University.
The annual Progressive Forum was well attended by over 120 students, faculty, and community members, as a part of   CFA’s week of action against the budget cuts, furloughs and lay offs.

Speaking representing  DSA in the forum  Dr. Duane Campbell argued political actions taken and not taken in the next 12 months may well determine the structure of our economy, our health care system, and our unions for the next two decades.  He urged participants to see the new film, Capitalism: a Love Story by Michael Moore.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Xaripu Community

The Xaripu Community Across Borders; Labor, Migration, Community and Family.
Manuel Barajas.  University of Notre Dame Press.  2009.

Barajas provides one of  the first cross-national comparative study  to examine an indigenous Mexican community ‘s experience with immigration and transnational economic exploitation.   He describes an extended case study of the Xaripu community in Michoacán and in Stockton, California.

The farm worker population is constantly changing.  Older Mexican farm  workers have been replaced by younger Zapotec, Mixtec, and other indigenous immigrants such as those from Xaripu . The current generation of workers know little of the gains of the1970’s; the UFW holds few contracts, workers  wages have again fallen, and the conditions in the fields are only scantly improved.  Anyone seeking to understand farm labor must understand the diversity of experiences within the migrant communities.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Republican Congresswoman recognizes Golpistas in Honduras

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) recognizes the government of the coup in Honduras.

National Museum for the American Indian

Monday, October 05, 2009

Puerto Rico Independence

Puerto Rico Independence Solidarity Movement
In the face of massive attacks by the 'golpista' Governor of Puerto Rico
and the political party in power (Partido Nuevo Progresista-PNP) on the people of Puerto Rico...
1.  Massive firing of public employees
(approximately 5,000 on first wave...and close to 17,000 last friday on the second wave)
2.  Massive repression by police of protestors
3.  Calling out the National Guard
4.  Massive privatization of public jobs and institutions
5.  Money give aways to private developers and foreign capitalists
6.  Destruction of public housing
7.  Destruction and eviction of poor neighborhoods and people
(Cano Martin Pena, Gladiolas, Villa del Sol to name only a few)
8.  destruction of public schools, arts and culture
9.  Workers Union busting
10.  Environmental degradation (Vieques)
We call on people and social movements in the United States to support the present struggle of the people of Puerto Rico for self determination and justice.
We call of US people and social movements to get informed on the events in Puerto Rico
We call on US people and social movements to re-build the solidarity movement with the struggle of Puerto Rico!
We call on US people and social movements to support the National Strike called for October 15, 2009!!!
join PRISM and support a sovereign Puerto Rico and justice for the people of Puerto Rico and put an end to the 'colonial status' of Puerto Rico (Remember Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States)

Friday, October 02, 2009

To Count and be Counted: Latinos and the 2010 Census

Speech by: Nativo Vigil Lopez, National President,

Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) -, culpable, culpable, guilty, guilty, guilty - 85 times guilty. This is what I observed in a recent trip to Tucson, Arizona, the current epicenter of anti- immigrant laws, policies, and practices - the laboratory as we call it - when I attended the federal court hearing of the day of the recent batch of immigrant detainees who allegedly attempted to enter the U.S. without inspection. This is a daily occurrence, an average of 85 individuals, who are legally processed through the government's program called "streamline," which results in their incarceration and eventual removal to their country of origin. Annually the number comes to 25,000 such summary hearings and removals. On that particular day all of the detainees were of Mexican origin, but one, and ten were women. All were clearly of indigenous stock, rural workers; one-fourth only spoke their native language, not fluent even in Spanish. They were held in a private detention facility, a nice name for a prison, which has a contract with the government that brings down $13 million monthly to its owner.