Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Work Place Ice Raids

This is the long-sought news we have been waiting to hear with the beginning of the Obama administration and the naming of Gov. Janet Napolitano to the post of Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security - a change of policy and direction on immigration raids. It should not be lost on anyone that the steady pressure on a national level by pro-immigrant political forces - from the church, unions, community, students, and even business - directed towards President Obama and the U.S. Congress has had a positive effect. The pressure should conitnue to roll along until there is established a definitive policy to end the raids, the separation of families, the detention of children, and the mass deportations. We are especially concerned about the prospect of the deportation of 30,000 Haitian migrants who have been denied refugee or temporary protected status and could be removed in the coming weeks or months. We need to raise our voice to defend Haitian brothers and sisters no less vigorously than we do for our Mexican and Central American family members. We demand for the Haitian migrants the same policy applied to the Cuban migrants - and an end to discrimination of our immigration policies. SI SE PUDO!
Check out the new website of the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA IMMIGRATION COALITION (SCIC) comprised of fifty organizations and local coalitions, and counting, which organized the march and rally last Saturday against the ICE raids. The SCIC is also sponsoring a FAMILY UNITY IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE on April 11, 2009 at the Santee Education Complex in Los Angeles. Click on www.immigrationcoalition.org for the details.

Nativo Lopez-Vigil
National President

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 29, 2009; 1:19 PM
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has delayed a series of proposed immigration raids and other enforcement actions at U.S. workplaces in recent weeks, asking agents in her department to apply more scrutiny to the selection and investigation of targets as well as the timing of raids, federal officials said.

A senior department official said the delays signal a pending change in whom agents at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement choose to prosecute -- increasing the focus on businesses and executives instead of ordinary workers.

"ICE is now scrutinizing these cases more thoroughly to ensure that [targets] are being taken down when they should be taken down, and that the employer is being targeted and the surveillance and the investigation is being done how it should be done," said the official, discussing Napolitano's views about sensitive law enforcement matters on the condition of anonymity.

"There will be a change in policy, but in the interim, you've got to scrutinize the cases coming up," the senior DHS official said, noting Napolitano's expectations as a former federal prosecutor and state attorney general.

Another DHS official said Napolitano plans to release protocols this week to ensure more consistent work- site investigations and less "haphazard" decision- making.

Napolitano's moves have led some to question President Obama's commitment to work-site raids, which were a signature of Bush administration efforts to combat illegal immigration. Napolitano has highlighted other priorities, such as combating Mexican drug cartels and catching dangerous criminals who are illegal immigrants.

Napolitano's moves foreshadow the difficult political decisions the Obama administration faces as it decides whether to continue mass arrests of illegal immigrant workers in sweeps of meatpackers, construction firms, defense contractors and other employers.

Critics say workplace and neighborhood sweeps are harsh and indiscriminate, and they accuse the government of racial profiling, violating due process rights and committing other humanitarian abuses.

The raids have enraged Latino community and religious leaders, immigrant advocates and civil liberties groups important to the Democratic base, who have stepped up pressure on Obama to stop them.

At a rally last week in Chicago, Cardinal Francis George, head of the archdiocese of Obama's home city, called on the government "to end immigration raids and the separation of families" and support an overhaul of immigration law. "Reform would be a clear sign this administration is truly about change," George said.

Also last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus made similar calls as the caucus met formally with Obama for the first time.

"Raids that break up families in that way, just kick in the door in the middle of the night, taking [a] father, a parent away, that's just not the American way. It must stop," Pelosi added at a Capitol Hill conference on border issues sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But Obama also faces pressure from conservative lawmakers and many centrist Democrats, who say that workplace enforcement is needed to reduce the supply of jobs that attract illegal immigrants, and that any retreat in defending American jobs in a recession could ignite a populist backlash.

When the White House announced plans last week to move more than 450 federal agents and equipment to the border to counter Mexico's drug cartels, lawmakers warned Napolitano against diverting money from workplace operations.

Rep. Lamar Smith (Tex.), ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said the administration "appears to be using border violence as an excuse" to undercut immigration enforcement in the nation's interior.

"It makes no sense to take funds from one priority (worksite enforcement) to address a new priority (the growth in border violence). This is just robbing Peter to pay Paul," Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee for homeland security, said in an e- mail.

Led by Byrd, Congress this year ordered ICE to spend $127 million on workplace operations, $34 million more than President George W. Bush had requested. Reducing those amounts, even in ICE's overall $5 billion budget, would provoke a fight, senior aides in both parties said.

DHS officials categorically deny any reduction. Instead Napolitano has sought to chart a middle course by ordering a review of which immigrants are targeted for arrest. While a policy is still under development, Napolitano has said she intends to focus more on prosecuting criminal cases of wrongdoing by companies. Analysts say they also think ICE may conduct fewer raids, focusing routine enforcement on civil infractions of worker eligibility verification rules.

Former Bush administration officials said their raids were also targeted against supervisors, but that it took time to build complicated white-collar cases. In the meantime, they said, depriving companies of their workforces and in some cases filing criminal charges against illegal immigrant workers sent a clear message of deterrence to both management and labor.

Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks to reduce immigration, said Obama aides are trying to manage the issue until an economic turnaround permits an attempt to overhaul immigration laws.

"I think their calculus is, how do they keep Hispanic groups happy enough without angering the broader public so much that they sabotage health care and their other priorities?" Krikorian said.

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group, said that to the contrary, groups such as his support Obama's focus on going after bad employers and criminal illegal immigrants first -- or as he put it, prioritizing "drug smugglers, not window washers."

Within ICE, the front-office vetting of cases has led to some doubts. Last week, for example, ICE postponed plans to raid employers at a military-related facility in Chicago for which they had arranged to temporarily detain as many as 100 illegal immigrants, according to one official. A second official said Napolitano thought the investigative work was inadequate.

The raid would have been the second under the Obama administration. After the first, a Feb. 24 sweep of an engine-parts maker in Bellingham, Wash., that led to 28 arrests, Napolitano publicly expressed disappointment that ICE did not inform her beforehand and announced an investigation into agency communication practices.

In response, Leigh H. Winchell, the ICE special agent in charge in Seattle, wrote an e-mail to his staff -- subsequently leaked to conservative bloggers -- saying they had acted correctly. He also copied a statement from House Republicans calling Napolitano's review "beyond backwards."

"You did nothing wrong and you did everything right," Winchell wrote. "I cannot control the politics that take place with these types of situations, but I can remind you that you are great servants of this country and this agency."


Monday, March 30, 2009

Sacramento Cesar Chavez march

More than 700 labor activists and youth marched through downtown Sacramento, California on Sat, March 28, in honor of Cesar Chavez and to demand passage of the Employee Free Choice Act and a fair immigration proposal.
California and 6 other states recognize and celebrate a Cesar Chavez holiday for workers on the anniversary of his death, March 31. The Sacramento event was organized by LACLAA ( Labor Council on Latin American Advancement), with the participation of dozens of additional unions and community groups including the Sacramento Progressive Alliance, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Sacramento Democratic Socialists of America.
After demonstrating for passage of the EFJA at the Federal Building, the marchers continued on to Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento.
See Cesar Chavez: Presente at http://www.choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cesar Chavez Day

Francisco Reveles

“César Chávez decía que la educacíon era nuestro futuro pore so, hoy que se cumple un aniversario más, es importante recordarles que no se dejen vencer: debemos de continuar con su ejemplo de superación y lucha esa superación solo la vamos a obtener a trav´z de la educacion. “
“ Hasta a la fecha el sueño de César Chávez no se cumple, de que todos los jóvenes latinos tengan acceso a majores escuelas y mejores oportunidades, pero es responsabilidad de nosotros continuar con el espíritu de lucha de este líder para hacer que nuestros hijos tengan las mismas oportunidades que el resto de la comunidad.”
Candidato por el puesto de superintendente de escuelas de California.
March 21, 2009. Conferencia de Liderazgo Juvenil Cesar Chavez. Roseville, Ca.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Homeless in Sacramento : David Bacon

SACRAMENTO, CA - 19MARCH09 - On one side of the American River in downtown Sacramento, foundations and media organizations have comfortable offices with views of the water. On the other side, a homeless camp sits beside the railroad tracks next to the huge Blue Diamond almond processing plant. A biking and jogging trail winds past the camp, and over the bridge crossing the river. Runners and bicyclists in spandex and shorts pass by, hardly noticing the hundreds of people living in tents, under makeshift tarps, or simply sleeping on the ground. This community has mushroomed in the last few months as the economic crisis puts people out of homes and jobs, onto the streets, or in this case, into a field.
Salvador Orozco, a Mexican migrant from Michoacan, sleeps on a piece of cardboard under a bush next to the tracks. He came from Los Angeles, where he says police cleared out another camp of people living under tarps. "In some areas they're closing the shelters to single men, because they don't have enough room for families," he says. "More and more people are living in their cars with children, and they're kicking single people off welfare." The homeless are "frente de la batalla" - at the front of the attack Orozco says.

A religious man, he spends much of his day reading the Bible and Christian evangelist magazines. "While I was reading yesterday, the railroad police came and gave me a ticket and said I had to leave. But go where? This all comes from the anger that the world has at people like us.

For more articles and images, see http://dbacon.igc.org

Just out from Beacon Press:
Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US
Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

Nearby the skeletal figure of a woman stands guard over the kitchen at the entrance to another settlement within the homeless camp. Residents of this small community call it Rancho Encasalotengo (a sarcastic comment meaning, "I have it at home.") The skeleton is a figure in Mexican culture popular on the Day of the Dead. This figure is the creation of artist Francisco Bernal, who sleeps in a tent here.

In a large open field next to the river a woman talks on her cellphone. Two friends, Eric Williams and Kieth Keele, live in this part of the homeless camp. So does Robert Burgins, a disabled worker. Burgins says he's been injured several times, but still has just enough unemployment benefits to keep him going for a few weeks longer. It wasn't enough to pay rent, though, which is why he's living in the homeless camp. Over a long life, Burgins worked as a mason, an auto mechanic and a machinist.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stiglitz: Crisis empeorará

Crisis empeorará pese al plan de rescate de Obama: Nobel de Economía
"Es un paquete mucho mejor que el propuesto por Bush, pero no es suficiente", dijo Joseph Stiglitz.
Publicado: 11/03/2009 12:12
Sao Paulo, Brasil. El paquete estadunidense de rescate económico del presidente Barack Obama de más de 700 mil millones de dólares es "mucho mejor que la respuesta de 2008", pero "no es suficiente y la crisis será peor", anticipó este miércoles el premio Nobel de Economía, Joseph Stiglitz.
"Debemos ver las cosas en perspectiva. (El presidente George W.) Bush estaba paralizado y las cosas empeoraban cada día sin que hiciera nada. Hoy tenemos un paquete mucho mejor que la respuesta de 2008. Pero no es suficiente y la crisis será peor", dijo Stiglitz en entrevista al diario O Estado de Sao Paulo.
Recordó que "muchos países emergentes se han convertido en víctimas inocentes de la crisis. La ironía es que mientras el gobierno estadunidense daba lecciones sobre reglas e instituciones en los países emergentes, sus políticas eran un fracaso total".
"A causa de eso, la crisis es hoy severa en todo el mundo y países como Brasil van a sufrir de verdad", señaló Stiglitz al diario, que lo consultó sobre la caída de 3.6 por ciento de la economía brasileña en el cuarto trimestre del año pasado, la más fuerte desde igual período de 1996, y divulgada el martes.
Alertó además que pese a que "hay un acuerdo global de no recurrir al proteccionismo" muchos paquetes de auxilio "tienen medidas proteccionistas en su base y quien más sufrirá serán los países en desarrollo".
"La realidad es que la Organización Mundial de Comercio es una decepción" porque incluso la conclusión de la Ronda Doha, que negocia la liberación del comercio mundial, "no traería ganancias sustanciales para los países emergentes", manifestó el Premio Nobel.
Por eso, añadió, "los países ricos deben abrir sus mercados unilateralmente para los más pobres del mundo" que "no tienen dinero para relanzar las actividades económicas".
"Muchos emergentes necesitarán ayuda para superar la crisis", y el FMI (Fondo Monetario Internacional) deberá auxiliarlos "sin condiciones", sin exigir "elevar intereses y cortar gastos (públicos)", lo cual "llevó a la recesión", expresó Stiglitz.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Left wins in El Salvador

Mauricio Funes's election win means the rights of the country's indigenous people will at last be recognised and defended

Richard Gott
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 March 2009

El Salvador is the most tragic and oppressed country in the Americas, yet today it wakes up to a new dawn of hope and anticipation, with the election victory of Mauricio Funes, the candidate of a historic leftwing party, the Farabundo Martm National Liberation Front (FMLN). Funes himself is a journalist, a former television presenter and a moderate social democrat, but his party is the heir to the principal radical tradition in the country established over the past 80 years, years of extreme conservatism punctuated by periods of excruciating violence unleashed on the population by the most reactionary landed oligarchy in the Americas. The 500-year struggle in Latin America between indigenous peoples and white settlers from Europe is finally being won, and El Salvador will now take its place beside Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador as a country where the rights of the continent's indigenous peoples are recognised and defended.

The party of Funes takes its name from Agustmn Farabundo Martm, a member of that first generation of communist leaders in Central America in the 1920s that included Augusto Cisar Sandino of Nicaragua, the inspiration of the Sandinistas. Farabundo Martm took part in the famous peasant uprising of 1932, sparked off by the global economic crisis that led to a collapse of the coffee price, the country's principal export earner. The crisis was crushed by the US-backed military dictator of the time, General Maximilian Martmnez, in what was called "La Matanza", or "slaughtering", in which 30,000 mostly indigenous people were killed.

Farabundo Martm was captured and shot, but his name was taken up by the guerrilla movement that emerged in the 1970s, to carry on the struggle against the successive military governments that dominated the country in the 20th century. That struggle, waged throughout the 1980s, was even more viciously crushed than "La Matanza" of the 1930s, and led to the deaths of more than 70,000 people. The war in El Salvador was one of the best-reported stories of its time in the international media, which highlighted the huge financial support provided by the Reagan government to the local military.

A particular feature of the war was the repression ordered by the army of the Catholic church, with the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero in March 1980 and of four American churchwomen in December that year, and of six Jesuit teachers in November 1989. The war was finally brought to an end with a UN-brokered peace process in 1991, but although the FMLN was then able to participate in politics, the country has remained dominated by the ultra rightwing Arena party that had once fuelled the paramilitary militias and death squads of the 1980s. Until today. The Arena candidate, Rodrigo Avila, himself a former police chief, gracefully conceded on Sunday night that he had lost the election. As in the 1930s, El Salvador is feeling the effects of the global economic crisis, and the neoliberal model inflicted on Central America over recent decades is already being rejected in Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. El Salvador is just the latest country to follow this trend.

Much was made during the election campaign of the possible leftist influence of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, but the FMLN made considerable efforts to emphasise the national dimension of their ambitions. In an interview last year, Funes explained his modest aims:

We do not need to be close to Chavez, close to Lula or close to Bush in order for our institutions and democracy to work. What we need is to build a model of public management that responds to the needs of Salvadorans and that will resolve Salvadoran problems. We respect the process being followed in Venezuela, as well as we respect and closely watch the new society which Lula is building, and the one that the new President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay has promised to build. Those processes are a response to other circumstances. What we hope to build are relationships based on co-operation and solidarity with the people represented by each one of these countries. However, we are not going to follow the same recipe or model that might have worked in other countries, but has nothing to do with our reality.

The election campaign brought back many memories of the country's troubled and divided history, but today's FMLN is very different from the Marxist guerrilla movement that once sought to bring the Cuban revolutionary style to Central America. Yet another victory for the Latin America left is certainly a challenge for the new government in the United States. President Lula met President Obama in Washington on Saturday and suggested that he should create a relationship of "trust not interference", with Latin America. "What I said to President Obama, and I hope he will make it happen, is that there would be closer ties with Venezuela, closer ties with Cuba, closer ties with Bolivia," Lula told reporters. In April, when Obama travels to Trinidad for a meeting with Latin American presidents, he will have to explain where his new administration will stand.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lula: The Future of Human Beings is What Matters

Lula: The Future of Human Beings is What Matters

By Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva
President of Brazil.

Financial Times
March 9, 2009


For me, capitalism has never been an abstract concept.
It is a real, concrete part of everyday life. When I
was a boy, my family left the rural misery of Brazil's
north-east and set off for Sao Paulo. My mother, an
extraordinary woman of great courage, uprooted herself
and her children and moved to the industrial centre of
Brazil in search of a better life. My childhood was no
different from that of many boys from poor families:
informal jobs; very little formal education. My only
diploma was as a machine lathe operator, from a course
at the National Service for Industry.

I began to experience the reality of factory life,
which awoke in me my vocation as a union leader. I
became a member of the Metalworkers'

Union of Sao Bernardo, in the outskirts of Sao Paulo. I
became the union's president and, as such, led the
strikes of 1978-1980 that changed the face of the
Brazilian labour movement and played a big role in
returning democracy to the country, then under military

The impact of the union movement on Brazilian society
led us to create the Workers' party, which brought
together urban and rural workers, intellectuals and
militants from civil society. Brazilian capitalism, at
that time, was not only a matter of low salaries,
insalubrious working conditions and repression of the
union movement. It was also expressed in economic
policy and in the whole set of the government's public
policies, as well as in the restrictions it placed on
civil liberties. Together with millions of other
workers, I discovered it was not enough merely to
demand better salaries and working conditions. It was
fundamental that we should fight for citizenship and
for a profound reorganisation of economic and social

I fought and lost four elections before being elected
president of the republic in 2002. In opposition, I
came to know my country intimately. In discussions with
intellectuals I thrashed out the alternatives for our
society, living out on the periphery of the world a
drama of stagnation and profound social inequality. But
my greatest understanding of Brazil came from direct
contact with its people through the 'caravans of
citizenship' that took me across tens of thousands of

When I arrived in the presidency, I found myself faced
not only by serious structural problems but, above all,
by an inheritance of ingrained inequalities. Most of
our governors, even those that enacted reforms in the
past, had governed for the few. They concerned
themselves with a Brazil in which only a third of the
population mattered.

The situation I inherited was one not only of material
difficulties but also of deep-rooted prejudices that
threatened to paralyse our government and lead us into
stagnation. We could not grow, it was said, without
threatening economic stability - much less grow and
distribute wealth. We would have to choose between the
internal market and the external. Either we accepted
the unforgiving imperatives of the globalised economy
or we would be condemned to fatal isolation.

Over the past six years, we have destroyed those myths.
We have grown and enjoyed economic stability. Our
growth has been accompanied by the inclusion of tens
of millions of Brazilian people in the consumer market.
We have distributed wealth to more than 40m who lived
below the poverty line. We have ensured that the
national minimum wage has risen always above the rate
of inflation. We have democratised access to credit. We
have created more than 10m jobs. We have pushed forward
with land reform. The expansion of our domestic market
has not happened at the expense of exports - they have
tripled in six years. We have attracted enormous
volumes of foreign investment with no loss of

All this has enabled us to accumulate $207bn in foreign
reserves and thereby protect ourselves from the worst
effects of a financial crisis that, born at the centre
of capitalism, threatens the entire structure of the
global economy.

Nobody dares to predict today what will be the future
of capitalism.

As the governor of a great economy described as
'emerging', what I can say is what sort of society I
hope will emerge from this crisis. It will reward
production and not speculation. The function of the
financial sector will be to stimulate productive
activity - and it will be the object of rigorous
controls, both national and international, by means of
serious and representative organisations. International
trade will be free of the protectionism that shows
dangerous signs of intensifying. The reformed
multilateral organisations will operate programmes to
support poor and emerging economies with the aim of
reducing the imbalances that scar the world today.
There will be a new and democratic system of global
governance. New energy policies, reform of systems of
production and of patterns of consumption will ensure
the survival of a planet threatened today by global

But, above all, I hope for a world free of the economic
dogmas that invaded the thinking of many and were
presented as absolute truths. Anti-cyclical policies
must not be adopted only when a crisis is under way.
Applied in advance - as they have been in Brazil - they
can be the guarantors of a more just and democratic

As I said at the outset, I do not give much importance
to abstract concepts.

I am not worried about the name to be given to the
economic and social order that will come after the
crisis, so long as its central concern is with human


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

N. Ireland, thousands oppose the killings

Thousands in Northern Ireland attend peace vigils after horrific murders
By Noel McAdam
Wednesday, 11 March 2009

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Getting tough now will only play into the hands of killers

After the deaths of three security force members in three days, trade union members and others were gathering in Belfast, Londonderry, Lisburn, Newry, Downpatrick and other centres to show their anger and disgust.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Who are you calling a socialist?

Who You Calling Socialist?

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, March 4, 2009; A15

"We are all socialists now," proclaims Newsweek. We are creating "socialist republics" in the United States, says Mike Huckabee, adding, on reflection, that "Lenin and Stalin would love this stuff." We are witnessing the Obama-era phenomenon of "European socialism transplanted to Washington," says Newt Gingrich.

Well! Even as we all turn red, I've still encountered just two avowed democratic socialists in my daily rounds through the nation's capital: Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders . . . and the guy I see in the mirror when I shave. Bernie is quite capable of speaking for himself, so what follows is a report on the state of actual existing socialism from the other half of the D.C. Senators and Columnists Soviet.

First, as we survey the political landscape, what's striking is the absence of advocates of socialism, at least as the term was understood by those who carried that banner during the capitalist crisis of the 1930s. Then, socialists and communists both spoke of nationalizing all major industries and abolishing private markets and the wage system. Today, it's impossible to find a left-leaning party anywhere that has such demands or entertains such fantasies. (Not even Hugo Chávez -- more an authoritarian populist than any kind of socialist -- says such things.)

Within the confines of socialist history, this means that the perspective of Eduard Bernstein -- the fin de siecle German socialist who argued that the immediate struggle to humanize capitalism through the instruments of democratic government was everything, and that the goal of supplanting capitalism altogether was meaningless -- has definitively prevailed. Within the confines of American history, this means that when New York's garment unions left the Socialist Party to endorse Franklin Roosevelt in 1936, they were charting the paradigmatic course for American socialists: into the Democratic Party to support not the abolition of capitalism but its regulation and democratization, and the creation of some areas of public life where the market does not rule.

But in the United States, conservatives have never bashed socialism because its specter was actually stalking America. Rather, they've wielded the cudgel against such progressive reforms as free universal education, the minimum wage or tighter financial regulations. Their signal success is to have kept the United States free from the taint of universal health care. The result: We have the world's highest health-care costs, borne by businesses and employees that cannot afford them; nearly 50 million Americans have no coverage; infant mortality rates are higher than those in 41 nations -- but at least (phew!) we don't have socialized medicine.

Give conservatives credit for their consistency: They attacked Roosevelt as a socialist as they are now attacking Obama, when in fact Obama, like Roosevelt before him, is engaged not in creating socialism but in rebooting a crashed capitalist system. The spending in Obama's stimulus plan isn't a socialist takeover. It's the only way to inject money into a system in which private-sector investment, consumption and exports -- the other three possible engines of growth -- are locked down. Investing more tax dollars in education and research and development is a way to use public funds to create a more competitive private sector. Keeping our banks from speculating madly with our money is a way to keep banking alive.

If Obama realizes his agenda, what emerges will be a more social, sustainable, competitive capitalism. His more intellectually honest and sentient conservative critics don't accuse him of Leninism but of making our form of capitalism more like Europe's. In fact, over the past quarter-century, Europe's capitalism became less regulated and more like ours, one reason Europe is tanking along with everyone else.

Take it from a democratic socialist: Laissez-faire American capitalism is about to be supplanted not by socialism but by a more regulated, viable capitalism. And the reason isn't that the woods are full of secret socialists who are only now outing themselves.

Judging by the failures of the great Wall Street investment houses and the worldwide crisis of commercial banks; the collapse of East Asian, German and American exports; the death rattle of the U.S. auto industry; the plunge of stock markets everywhere; the sickening rise in global joblessness; and the growing shakiness of governments in fledgling democracies that opened themselves to the world market -- judging by all these, a more social capitalism is on the horizon because the deregulated capitalism of the past 30 years has blown itself up, taking much of the known world with it.

So, for conservatives searching for the culprits behind this transformation of capitalism: Despite our best efforts, it wasn't Bernie and it wasn't me. It was your own damn system.



Monday, March 02, 2009

The Brain drain costs Mexico millions each year

El subsecretario de Educación Superior, Rodolfo Tuirán, dijo que 20 mil mexicanos calificados abandonan anualmente el país.

Karina Avilés y Notimex
Publicado: 02/03/2009 15:12

México, DF. El éxodo de talentos mexicanos al exterior -el cual asciende a 575 mil- ha costado al país más de 100 mil millones de pesos, que significan una cuarta parte del presupuesto que se destina a la Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP), admitió el subsecretario de Educación Superior, Rodolfo Tuirán.

Al iniciar el seminario internacional “Fuga de cerebros, movilidad académica y redes científicas", el subsecretario añadió que las cifras van en ascenso, ya que 20 mil mexicanos calificados abandonan el país anualmente.

Tuirán detalló que de esos 575 mil mexicanos, en Estados Unidos viven 552 mil con estudios de licenciatura, maestría o doctorado, mientras que en la Unión Europea son 23 mil los connacionales en esa situación.

El subsecretario describió que la mitad de los estudiantes que salen al extranjero a estudiar maestrías o doctorados se queda en esos países debido a las ofertas laborales que reciben.

De acuerdo con la Encuesta Continua de Población, existen 811 mil mexicanos residentes en Estados Unidos que cursaron algún ciclo universitario, el cual no concluyeron, además de que existen 278 mil connacionales con título equivalente a profesional asociado o técnico superior universitario, comentó el subsecretario de la SEP.

Según Tuirán Gutiérrez, un estudiante en México representa una erogación anual de 45 mil pesos en una institución de estudios superiores, a lo cual "se debe agregar el costo que representa la primaria, la secundaria y la preparatoria".

Se trata de personas que fueron formadas en el país y que les costaron a todos los mexicanos, sobre todo porque muchos de ellos son egresados de escuelas públicas, por lo que "no sólo representa una sangría de capital humano sino también de inversiones generadas para formar a esos estudiantes", aseveró.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

El Olvido


Los trabajadores agrícolas en el abandono

Farmington, (Condado San Joaquia) Calif. "Es una chinga la poda de la uva, es por contrato (destajo) y si no mueves las manos no ganas ni para comer y luego no nos arriman ni agua cerca, tenemos que esperarnos hasta salir estos largos surcos" dijo a Semilla un trabajador podador quien rehuso decir su nombre por temor a que lo despidieran del trabajo. "Hay muchos que quieren trabajar y tenemos que aguantarnos en hacer denuncias, que podemos hacer" añadio. Estas son historias muy comúnes que se escucha en los campos de este inmenso valle agrícolas el más grande y rico del país en agricultura, o como se cree, del mundo entero. Pero en estas viñas y en estos mismos surcos donde el trabajador hace sus comentarios, sucedio un caso que fue noticia nacional e internacional en el 2008. La joven María Isabel Vázquez Jiménez de 17 años de desmayo por las altas temperaturas y por no tener agua cerca para beber mientras trabajaba nueve horas diarias en este mismo lugar cayo entre las viñas en mayo del 2008., además, estaba embarazada sin saberlo. La muerte de esta joven indígena originaria de Oaxaca se dio a conocer por todos lados por diferentes medios de comunicación. Antes de que su cuerpo fuera enviado a su natal Oaxaca, el gobernador de California Arnold Schwaarzenegger así como autoridades del consulado de México en Sacramento y otros, se presentaron a darle las condolencias a familiares. Impulsados por la gran públicidad del caso, la agencia de Protección Laboral conocida por sus siglas en ingles como la Cal-OSHA comenzó a inspeccionar los campos de los valles agrícolas y multar a quienes no cumplian con las normas de seguridad laboral. Los contratistas Merced Farm Labor que emplearon a la difunta, fueron acusados de no prover suficiente agua motivo que causo la muerte de María Isabel y les revocaron la licencia como contratistas además de multarlos por $262.000 dólares.

Además, los inspectores de esta agencia estatal multaron a 1,122 empresas o patrones agrícolas por no obedecer leyes laborales durante 2008, representando lo doble del año 2007.

Las multas asendieron la cantidad de $1.8 millones de dólares, aunque en las apelaciones las multas se reducen considerablemente a favor de los patrones agrícolas. Han pasado siete meses y los campos estan olvidados por los inspectores laborales al igual quienes trabajan en el mismo sitio donde fallecío la joven trabajadora agrícolas.

"Nadie se nos para para ver como nos tratan ni como estamos aquí" comento el podador "Yo solamente quiero que el agua este más cerca y no en la orilla porque andamos en joda y lo bueno que no hace todavia calor" comentaba mientras las tijeras no paraban de cortar las ramas secas a la viña. La Cal-OSHA dice que este año continuaran visitando los campos y distribuyendo información.

Al parecer, este año los trabajadores se siente más vulderables y sienten temor de reportar injusticias laborales por la demanda que hay por trabajos agrícolas debido a la situación económica. Por lo tanto, no se ven inspectores en las campos, y los trabajadores vuelven al olvido.