Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Faces of Foreclosure

Faces of Foreclosure: Foreclosure Worsens Health
By Suzanne Manneh, New America Media
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. Pretti Hilton sighs as she recalls the countless times she's mailed and faxed paperwork to her bank to modify her home loan.
For three years, 48-year-old Hilton has been struggling to modify the loan on her two-bedroom home with Bank of America. She says she has sent them her financial documents at least 30 times, and while her determination to save her home is palpable, so is her stress level.
"My stress level is ridiculous now," said Hilton, who currently takes three different medications a day for hypertension, which she says she never had before.

"When you call [the home retention department] you get a recording that says, 'you qualify [for modification] if you have experienced loss of income, divorce, or death in the family,'" she said. "And I've experienced it all over the past two years, yet I'm told that I still don't qualify."

Columbia "Free Trade" is a bad deal

Triple Crisis bloggers on the Obama Administration's trade deals

The Obama Administration’s latest free trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, were the subject of several Triple Crisis posts this month. Matías Vernengo criticizes the Colombian agreement in his post, “The Colombia FTA: Only Corporations Win.” Guest blogger Sarah Anderson from the Institute for Policy Studies explains that FTAs under Obama restrict the use of capital controls and other crisis prevention tools in her post, “How Obama is to the Right of Reagan on Trade.” And Timothy Wise and Kevin Gallagher point out that President Obama is breaking the promises made by candidate Obama in their joint post, “The false promise of Obama’s trade deals,” based on their recent LATN policy brief, “U.S. Trade Policy: Still Waiting for a ‘21st Century Trade Agreement.’”

In his recent post, GDAE’s Timothy A Wise explains how the Obama Administration’s work on free trade agreements represents a step backwards:

U.S. Trade Policy: Moving backwards in the 21st century

Three years into the Obama Administration, progressives have no shortage of complaints about the president’s economic policies, which seem very much at odds with Candidate Obama’s soaring rhetoric. Economic policies have been centrist at best. Unfortunately, the President’s trade policies may be further to the right than that. He is now counting primarily on Republican votes to push three Bush-era trade agreements, with Korea, Colombia, and Panama. And his trade negotiators are in Chicago wrapping up a negotiating session on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), which he promised would be his signature “21st century trade agreement,” unencumbered by Bush-era provisions.

Defend ethnic studies in Arizona

Estimadas/os Colegas: Our fight to save ethnic studies (a misnomer: only the Mexican American Studies curriculum is under attack) continues. The last day of testimony in Tucson Unified School District’s appeal of the Tea Party State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal’s ruling that teaching Mexican American history is illegal, i.e., violates HB 2281, will take place in mid-October. And rulings on the motions filed in federal court by the 11 teachers and two (2) students who are suing the state over HB 2281 are still pending.
This weekend I attended a fundraiser for the Save Ethnic Studies (SES) organization, the support group for the teachers and students who are suing the state. The large turnout and the enthusiasm of those present was a microcosm of the widespread and diverse overall support that the 11 MAS teachers, the students, and the SES movement enjoy.
That support includes teachers-professors, MAS students and alumni, parents, civil-rights-community-political activists, a Who’s Who of elected officials, including Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (who published a great Op-Ed piece on the issue), and many, many others of all races and ethnicities.
The support goes beyond Arizona. Among others, the writings of the following have brought the issue to a national audience: Mexican American Studies icon Rudy Acuña, who is also targeted by HB 2281. Journalists Roberto Rodriguez and Jeff Biggers. David Abie Morales, aka "The Three Sonorans,” the foremost authority on the dynamics of the MAS issue.
The fundraiser and the discussions there highlighted the fact that SES is a defining issue for our community, which got me to ruminating.
In terms of the attitude of the Tea Party-Republicans who are in control of Arizona government toward people of Mexican descent, Arizonatoday is for our community what Mississippi was for African Americans in the 1960s.
These people hate us. They hate who we are. They hate our history. They hate that we even exist. They hate us so much they have codified their hate into law by passing abominations such as SB 1070 and HB 2281.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Venezuela hands out computers to school children

By Jim Wyss | McClatchy Newspapers
MARACAIBO, Venezuela — As Hender Reverol heads to third grade this year, he will have Venezuela's newest educational tool tucked beneath his arm: a government-issued laptop.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has vowed to give every elementary school student - more than 5 million of them - a free personal computer. If the government meets that target, Venezuela would join Uruguay as the only countries in the world to fully embrace the goals of the so-called one laptop per child program.
Since inaugurating the initiative in 2009, Venezuela has issued more than 750,000 of the rugged, blue-and-white laptops called Canaimas. During the current school year the government expects to deliver at least 900,000 more machines and plans to deploy 3 million by 2012 - putting it at the vanguard of a worldwide educational movement.
"The Canaimas will keep coming," Chavez told a group of cheering students last month. "There will not be a single child without a Canaima."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Voter Registration


Quiero personalmente informarte sobre nuestro nuevo sitio en español de inscripción de votantes, http://www.InscríbeteHoy.com.

El sitio tiene un propósito: que sea fácil y rápido que aquellos elegibles para votar, en cualquiera de los 50 estados, se puedan inscribir.

El sitio simplifica todos los requisitos estatales y ofrece instrucciones específicas. Solo llenas la información, y el sitio de Internet producirá un formulario de inscripción con instrucciones claras sobre cómo y dónde someterlo.

Crecer el electorado es esencial para este movimiento porque entre más personas participen en nuestro proceso político, mejor nos va como nación. Para hacerlo nos tenemos que asegurar que la gente tenga acceso a los mejores recursos e información. Entre más personas logremos inscribir, mejor nos irá en noviembre del 2012.

Por favor échale un vistazo al sitio y compártelo con tus amigos que hablan Español:




Katherine Archuleta
Directora nacional de política
Obama For America

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Manning Marable 1950- 2011

    Manning Marable, a founding Vice-Chair of DSA, passed away Friday, April 1, 2011, from complications of pneumonia. He had suffered from the degenerative disease sarcoidosis for 25 years, and last year had undergone a double lung transplant.

 The death of our comrade Manning is a great loss for the broad left in our country.
    Manning played a major role in the  merger of our predecessor organizations, NAM and DSOC, into DSA. He was both a Vice Chair and a member of the National Executive Committee (later the NPC). For the first years of DSA he brought together a significant group of activists of color around his publication "Third World Socialist", the publication of the DSA Anti-Racism, African-American, and Latino commissions. He put a lot of hard work into getting the various commissions off the ground, and hosted two DSA-related conferences of over 100 activists and academics of color in the mid-1980s.

 For various personal and political reasons, including some frustration that DSA's anti-racist work did not grow significantly stronger over time, Manning shifted some of his political activism to the Committees of Correspondence. Even so, he remained a warm and good friend of DSA; and an especially strong friend of the Youth Section (now YDS), speaking often at its summer and winter conferences. 

Manning accomplished a tremendous amount in his 60 years, both politically and intellectually, and was that rare academic who never stopped being an active, political person. His work remains a major part of our heritage.
    In the 1990,s Manning Marable was one of the five leading African-American activist to host a series of national discussions on organizing a movement of the Black Left. Out of the discussions emerged the National Black Radical Congress (BRC), founded on June 19, 1998.  Manning played a critical role in the formation and implementation of the Black Radical Congress (BRC), providing vision and leadership throughout the process.

Quinault Indian Nation. Sept. 24.

We look forward to seeing you this Saturday!
Youth, families, community leaders, and elected officials celebrate this cultural renewal event in Kent.
Ocean-going Canoe Welcoming
from the Quinault Indian Nation

This Saturday, September 24th
Anytime between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Join us for a bit or stay a while.

O’Dell Center
24833 180th Ave. S.E., Kent, WA. 98042

Celebrate a renaissance 
of all cultures
Share the work of Quinault carver Guy Capoeman.
Plenty to eat from the grill plus organic baked potatoes and fry bread!
Honor Guy’s work with students from the Institute for Community Leadership.
Help paint the eagle design on the canoe!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Haiti support from Sacramento

Sac State student gives funds, aid to Haiti

Courtney Owen | Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:00 am
Brandon Marshall’s original stay in Haiti was to be six days. He stayed 32 more.
The Peace and Conflict International Club raised more than $1,000 for Haiti. Marshall, treasurer of Peace and Conflict International, went to Haiti June 21 and came back July 27. Paul Burke, a sociology professor at Sacramento State, also went to Haiti, though his stay was for 10 days.
Sac State students contributed money to the fundraisers for Haiti by purchasing bracelets. The task of fundraising proved to be difficult in the beginning.
“It was really hard at first because people would walk by and be like, ‘Oh, I don’t have any money,’” Marshall said.
Once the club made posters with pictures, the students were no longer donating blindly. The posters made it easier for people once they realized where their money was going, so they started donating more.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Arizona boycott continues

Press Release
La Huelga del Pueblo!
Los Comités de Defensa del Barrio
"Hay conciencia: Somos Pueblo Unido - y va ver consecuencias."
September 11, 2011
In violation of the dignity and spirit of solidarity with the most affected members of our collective community, an announcement was recently made by the National Council of La Raza and business interests loyal to the economic elites of the state of Arizona, both Anglo and Hispanic, that the boycott of Arizona would be canceled by their organization and affiliates.
Two points of contention that immediately arise form this public statement:
1) There was no absolutely no process of consultation with the most affected communities who have suffered the harshest impact from the assault of the AZ SB1070 pogrom of persecution.
2) The reasons given by NCLR for calling off the boycott are not valid by any measure of community impact of the original reasons for the call to boycott of Arizona, and that NCLR would claim to take credit for the success of boycott actions is a blatant misrepresentation of the history of La Huelga del Pueblo and the Boycott of Arizona.
Therefore, at the weekly meeting of the Council of Representatives of the Comités de Defensa del Barrio, with instructions to the Boycott Commission of the CDB on Sunday September 11, 2011 the clarification is made to each and all once again:
!Ya Basta!
To those who would attempt to dismantle the Call to Justice by attempting to co-opt, corrupt and denigrate and divide the movement to achieve Social Justice and Human Rights in Arizona for all, !!El PUEBLO ESTA EN HUELGA!!
The Boycott of Arizona Continues
until AZ SB1070 is repealed.
Contact: Salvador Reza 602 446-9928
Date: September 11, 2011
Phoenix, Aztlan - (Donde vive el espíritu de la verdad)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Latin America's left at the crossroads - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Latin America's left at the crossroads - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Boycott of Arizona is not over

Boycott Against Arizona Is Not Over, Say Grassroots Groups

By Valeria Fernández
The decision by the Hispanic advocacy group National Council of La Raza to call off a year-long boycott of Arizona for its passage of one of the nation’s toughest anti-immigrant pieces of legislation is being met with opposition by grassroots organizations determined to keep up the pressure.
“This is a decision they took without consulting all the people affected,” said Salvador Reza, organizer of PUENTE, a pro-immigrant rights movement. “SB 1070 still affects us and it is disrespectful not to consult with the community.”
SB 1070, passed by state lawmakers last year and approved by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, sought to criminalize undocumented immigrants by making it a crime to remain in the state without proper papers. A federal judge blocked that and other key provisions of the bill, however, in response to a legal challenge from the Obama administration.
Activists like Reza argue that despite the injunction, local-police are still enforcing aspects of the law and that the overall effect has been to create a hostile climate towards undocumented immigrants in the state.
Some SB 1070 Opponents Urged Decision

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arizona boycott ?

On Friday the National Council de la Raza, a significantly corporate funded organization, on Friday announced that it was no longer asking for a boycott of Arizona.
Now is a time to hear from other organizations.

The Washington-based group  Natiional Council de La Raza, says it and two associated groups will ask other organizations to suspend their Arizona boycotts.
La Raza says the boycott spurred political results in Arizona. That included an increase in Latino voters and defeat of a measure that would have changed how U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants are granted citizenship.

 Right wing activists in Arizona  are playing their  usual role:  Race-bait and attack immigrants and the poor to justify cutting taxes for the rich and the corporations. Push laws that disenfranchise young voters. Block legislation so that people come to expect nothing from their government except grief. Demand arrests of the undocumented and  new fences at the border. Shift the economic crisis to the states to   crack down on health services for women who can't otherwise afford care and to families who can’t afford to feed their own children.  Blame teachers and unions for  failures in education caused by childhood poverty. Ignore  the foreclosure crisis and the jobs crisis.
It is long past time for the various progressive  forces in the U.S. , each of which is being crushed by casino capitalism, to work together to defend democracy. This requires unions, teachers, academics, Democratic Party activists and others to recognize that what they have in common is the need for a powerful united front to defend against the right wing, nut case,  onslaughts. 

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ”– César Chávez, UFW

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mexico's Indignados

By David Bacon
TruthOut Photoessay, 9/10/11

        MEXICO CITY - Last week Mexican President Felipe Calderon gave the fifth state of the nation speech since his (many say fraudulent) election in 2006.  He didn't have an easy time finding a positive spin for the escalating toll exacted by his war on drug gangs -- 50,000 dead, mostly innocent civilians, in the last five years.  Making his job even more difficult, just days earlier the war's bloody cost was highlighted when 52 people, mostly working women and retirees on their lunch hour, were burned to death in a fire set by the Zetas in a Monterrey casino.  Since then Mexican newspapers have exposed a web of corruption linking businessmen, narcos and politicians from Calderon's own party in the enormous proliferation of gambling houses over the last several years. 

Tombstones memorialize victims of repression and violence.

        Mexican casinos don't attract the wealthy, who congregate instead in Mexico City's rich neighborhoods, filled with glittering restaurants and shiny Hummers, patrolled by bodyguards to prevent the frequent kidnappings.  Casinos are the refuge of Mexico's working poor, who hope a miracle of luck will pull them from the abyss of falling incomes and disappearing jobs.
That truth didn't make it into Calderon's improbably rosy assessment.  But it did bring over fifty thousand Mexicans into the capital's main square, the zocalo, where they publicly ridiculed the gulf between his speech and their reality.  Humberto Montes de Oca, international secretary of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), denounced Calderon for "trying to justify what he's done to the country.  The people gathered here," he declared, "are the ones who've suffered under him.  We know the way things really are.  You can see the consequences of this terrible government in our lack of security and public safety, and our economy.  The truth is that he's destroying our country."

Humberto Montes de Oca

        The SME has been occupying over half the huge square at the city's heart since May, and they've been at war with Calderon since the government fired the union's 44,000 members in October of 2009.  The national company that employed them, the Power and Light Company, provided electrical service for central Mexico, where a majority of the population live.  Calderon dissolved it by executive fiat, and brought in soldiers and police to expel the workers from the generating stations. 

A fired electrical worker

        Successive governments have sought to privatize the electrical grid, although such a move is barred by the Mexican constitution.  The union repeatedly mobilized the opposition of hundreds of thousands of city residents and prevented it, at least until that October.  Once the company was dissolved, the government declared the union non-existent (a decision later overturned by the courts, but ignored by Calderon).  Over the last two years, this fight over the privatization of electricity, and the smashing of one of Mexico's oldest and most democratic unions, has become a symbol of the administration's war on unions.
See the excellent photos at the web site given.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Thousands of Farmworkers march on Sacramento

  By Duane Campbell,                                     Over 3000  UFW farm workers and their supporters marched on the California Capitol in Sacramento on Sept. 4 insisting on Fair Treatment for Farm workers Now.   The march began August 23 in Madera. The march was organized by the United Farm Workers to reach Sacramento on Labor Day weekend.  Marchers  are pushing for the enactment of the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers Act and the right to be paid overtime after eight hours. 
    As the farm workers reached the capitol an apparent agreement was reached among legislators  to pass improvements of the existing Agricultural Labor Relations Act.  Gov. Jerry Brown and pro farm worker legislators  have struck a deal to give state regulators new powers that could help agriculture workers unionize.
The new  measures, introduced in the Legislature on Friday, would allow the state's Agriculture Labor Relations Board to certify a union if it finds that a grower has acted illegally to affect the outcome of a labor election. Currently the ALRB makes 5-10 decisions per year and few of the decisions  result in elections. The legislation would also accelerate the mediation process for workers in disputes with their employers.
   The Governor would not agree to the Fair Treatment for Farm Workers legislation already passed by the legislature  which would have permitted card check verification to hold a union election.  Governor Brown  and Republicans argue that the ALRB, passed in 1976, needs more time to be developed before changing a fundamental issue such as elections.
Clearly the current  law is not working as it was intended.  Few organizing attempts can get to an election due in significant part to the  aggressive  campaigns and hostile election climate created by corporate growers.  And, for the few that have elections, election victories seldom  lead to union contracts.