Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fiscal Cliff is a fiscal scam

Reject the Fiscal Cliff, Tax the Rich, Invest in Infrastructure and Services

 DSA rejects the “fiscal cliff” hysteria of the corporate establishment and the pressure for a “Grand Bargain” that would cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow, the government should not impose austerity measures that reduce essential programs that benefit the middle and working classes and that further shred the safety net for the most vulnerable. Rather, government policy should prioritize investments in job creation, public education and healthcare reform, while raising essential revenues by taxing the large corporations and wealthiest citizens who can afford to pay.

Those who will suffer.  Photo. D. Bacon

Immediately after the election, Wall Street-backed foundations such as Third Way and the Concord Coalition organized a “Campaign to Fix the Debt” to spin the election results as a mandate for a “bi-partisan” focus on reducing the deficit as the highest national priority. For decades the billionaire Pete Peterson has funded groups that claim that the universal entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare are bankrupting the nation and that their future growth must thus be drastically trimmed.  These neoliberals scored an initial success in 2011 when the Simpson-Bowles Congressional Commission put to a vote a long-term “budget compromise” that would have instituted three times as much in budget cuts than in tax increases.

   If your tax bill goes up $2,200 a year, or you're one of the millions who would stop receiving unemployment benefits, the cause of your economic pain is not some a natural disaster, or a major structural flaw in the economy. The cause is Republican fear of being beaten in a primary by people like Sarah Palin, Sharon Angel or Richard Mourdock - funded by far Right Wing oligarchs like Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. It's that simple.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fight for $15, cuz we can't survive on $8.25!

Downtown Chicago retail and restaurant workers are organizing to fight for a living wage of $15 per hour through their new union, the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago (WOCC). On December 22, 2012 WOCC led a march through Chicago’s upscale Magnificent Mile shopping district to press their cause. It ended with a sit-in and 24 arrests next to the Michigan Ave Macy’s.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Stop Deporting Parents

Stop Deporting Parents - Record Number of Deportations in Last Two Years of Parents of U.S. Citizens Nearly 205K Deportations of Parents of U.S. Citizens in Just Over Two Years

by Seth Freed Wessler

The federal government conducted more than 200,000
deportations of parents who said their children are U.S.
citizens in a timespan of just over two years, according to
new data obtained by The figures represent the
longest view to date of the scale of parental deportation.

Between July 1, 2010, and Sept. 31, 2012, nearly 23 percent of
all deportations - or, 204,810 deportations - were issued for
parents with citizen children, according to federal data
unearthed through a Freedom of Information Act request.

December 17, 2012 ,  ColorLines

Choosing Democracy: First Nations - Hunger Strike for justice

Choosing Democracy: First Nations - Hunger Strike for justice: Chief Theresa Spence on 14th day of hunger strike - Craig Brown, staff writer The 'Idle N...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chicano/Mexican American Digital History project

A new, revised Mexican American Digital History has been created on line.  Our goal is to create an on-line history collection of Chicano / Mexican American/Latino history in the Sacramento region. You can find the project at
  We encourage participation and contributions by others based upon the model established by the Farmworker Movement documentation project.  See example.
The project has begun to assemble and to create a digital history of  Chicano and Mexican American history and activism in the Sacramento region 1940 to the present. We will collect, write, and post this history so that it is not lost nor discarded.  We will make this history available to teachers to balance the lack of Chicano history in the public schools and universities.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Choosing Democracy: School to Prison Pipeline

Choosing Democracy: School to Prison Pipeline: Susan Feriss, The so-called “school to prison pipeline” — which has been the subject of several Center for Public Integri...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Latino Leaders on immigration

Latino Groups Warn Congress to Fix Immigration, or Else

WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest Latino organizations warned Congress on Wednesday that they will keep a report card during the immigration debate next year, with plans to mobilize their voters against lawmakers who do not support a comprehensive immigration bill.
At a news conference here, seven Latino groups and one labor union were showing their muscle, after the record turnout of Hispanic voters in the November elections played a pivotal role in President Obama’s re-election victory.
Janet Murguía, the president of N.C.L.R., also known as the National Council of La Raza, said the Eliseo Medina.    This  election had been a “game-changer” that conclusively “made the political case for a bipartisan solution” on immigration.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

by Marta Evry 

In a sign that progressive push-back against Los Angeles Mayor Villariagosa's membership in the right-wing "Fix The Debt" lobbying group isn't abating, activists from and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee delivered over 21,000 signatures to LA City Hall this afternoon demanding Villariagosa resign from the group's steering committee.
"They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," said Richard Eskow, a blogger for the Campaign for America's Future.
"The primary agenda for these folks is to lower taxes for millionaires, billionaires and corporations," he said.
In a scathing Huffington Post article about the Campaign To Fix the Debt's agenda, Eskow was even more blunt, "Let's be clear: This crowd doesn't really care about deficits. It never has. It's an anti-tax group which pursues its goals by fighting to downsize government programs and "reform" the Internal Revenue code. Its natural allies are the Republican Party, the nation's mega-corporations, and billionaires."
Besides and the PCCC, the Calfornia-based Courage Campaign has also called on Villaraigosa to resign from the group.
"The so-called 'Campaign to Fix the Debt' is nothing more than a front group to protect tax cuts for the wealthy while balancing the budget on the backs of the poor and elderly," said founder Rick Jacobs.  "The fact that Mayor Villaragosa, or any other Democrat that claims to want to protect Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, would join this effort is nothing short of shameful....Mayor Villaragosa should resign immediately."
From Calitics. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Penn State Students for a Democratic Society and Young Democratic Socialist  is a collective of the student left committed to challenging systems of oppression on our campus and in our community by means of direct action and participatory democracy.

We are contacting you today to address a photo that has surfaced in our community recently. The photo features sisters of the Chi Omega Nu Gamma chapter. These Penn State students are wearing sombreros and fake black moustaches, donning multi-colored serapes, and holding maracas. Additionally, the students are seen holding two signs: one reads “Will mow lawn for weed and beer” and the other, “I don’t cut grass I smoke it.” This display is absolutely racist and it perpetuates stereotypes about Mexicans, Latinos and Hispanics that are untrue.

We believe that sororities are an example of the student community and at all times should be committed to social responsibility. Our university must be presented in the most positive light. As with previous issues of controversy, SDS and YDS believes the Penn State administration has done a poor job of properly addressing the situation. When our university is already in a vulnerable position after the Sandusky child rape scandal that broke last Fall, it is even more reprehensible that a respected sorority on campus would allow it’s sisters to display such an irrefutable display of racism. The photo in question has been circulated widely on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr where it received over 700 notes within less than 24 hours.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Chicano Movement from 1960's to Today

Chicana/o history

Over 100,000 Texans sign petition to secede from U.S.

A petition seeking Texas' secession from the United States that's been signed by tens of thousands of residents is gaining attention.
While the Texas petition does not explicitly name the re-election of President Obama as the reason to secede, it claimed the nation continues to suffer because of the "federal government's neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending."
As of Tuesday afternoon the Texas secession petition had more than 81,000 signatures, which would require a response from the White House.
Mark Jones, Rice University's Political Science Department Chair, said he does not think Texas will ever secede from the Union.
"It's fun for parlor conversations to talk about what if Texas became its own country, but it's not going to happen," said Jones. "It would create a lot of chaos and problems for Texas, because we're so intertwined with the rest of the nation from commerce, trade, rules and regulations. It would have a negative impact on the Texas economy."
Editors note;
Please do so.  Que les vayan bien!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

BMED Graduate - Principal Turns School Around


This is the third in an occasional series on principals who are turning around local schools.
Maria Lewis spends much of her day on bent knee. The 44-year-old principal bends down to give direction to bigger kids and to soothe the smallest. But mostly she bends down to listen.
It's clear that kids come first on the T.L. Whitehead Elementary campus in Woodland.
"Every child can learn," Lewis said. "They may be lacking some skills. So what? Let's try to build on prior knowledge."
She must be right. The school's Academic Performance Index has grown from 704 to 793 in the two years since she took the reins of the school. On a scale of 200 to 1,000, the statewide benchmark is 800 for each school.
The increase was enough to make Whitehead Elementary the only traditional school in the four-county region to come out of program improvement this year, a designation Title 1 schools receive if state officials don't think they are improving their scores quickly enough.
"We are really proud" of Whitehead Elementary, Debra Calvin, an associate superintendent at Woodland Unified, told The Bee in October. "It's an incredibly difficult thing to do to pull a school out of Program Improvement."
Mrs. Lewis is a graduate of the Sac State BMED program. Like hundreds of other graduates she has done a great job.  The program has now been terminated.  For details see, The Chicano / Mexican American Digital History project.
read the entire piece on Mrs. Lewis at the Bee.

Monday, November 26, 2012

No to the "fiscal cliff" hysteria

The  Sacramento Bee editorial board  starts in the right direction today  by calling for smaller steps to  avoid the “fiscal cliff”.  Then, strangely, you list small steps that only call for compromise   as advocated  by the Republican- austerity side.  While unemployment remains high and economic growth slow, we do not need more austerity.  For small steps, President Obama suggested that we extend the Bush era tax reductions for the bottom 98 % .  This is a proposal that almost everyone agrees with- or at least say they agree with.  Then, we can disagree with over the 2 %. and work toward  a compromise.  We should also immediately  reauthorize the funding for extended unemployment benefits to prevent  1.5 million workers and their dependents losing  their benefits.
Putting the most vulnerable people at risk is the wrong response to the fiscal situation. 
So- yes.  Slow down.   Don’t panic. 
 More at
Duane Campbell

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teaching Chicano/Latino history in California Schools

The Democracy and Education Institute has again submitted a proposal for support of efforts to update the California History Social Science Framework so that California students would study Chicano/Latino history as a part of their k-12 education.
Explanation of why new legislation is needed.

African American history and Women’s History ( White women) has been included since 1986.
In 1976 the California legislature had 5 Hispanic members.  They were able to pass legislation to establish bilingual education.  In 2012 the California legislature has 26 Latino members. To date they have not been interested in getting Chicano/Latino history taught in the schools.  
Duane Campbell

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How the Left Can Become a True Political Force

November 13, 2012   
The 2012 elections may prove to have been a watershed in several different respects.  Despite the efforts by the political Right to suppress the Democratic electorate, something very strange happened:  voters, angered by the attacks on their rights, turned out in even greater force in favor of Democratic candidates.  The deeper phenomenon is that the changing demographics of the USA also became more evident—45% of Obama voters were people of color, and young voters turned out in large numbers in key counties.
Unfortunately for the political Left, these events unfolded with the Left having limited visibility and a limited impact—except indirectly through certain mass organizations—on the outcome.
The setting
On one level it is easy to understand why many Republicans found it difficult to believe that Mitt Romney did not win the election.  First, the US remains in the grip of an economic crisis with an official unemployment rate of 7.9%.  In some communities, the unemployment is closer to 20%.  While the Obama administration had taken certain steps to address the economic crisis, the steps have been insufficient in light of the global nature of the crisis.  The steps were also limited by the political orientation of the Obama administration, i.e., corporate liberal, and the general support by many in the administration for neo-liberal economics.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Puerto Rico Referendum - Divided

Puerto Rico Referendum Approves U.S. Statehood for 
1st Time, But Results Show Divided Views
Amy Goodman
Guest: Juan Gonzalez
Democracy Now!
November 8, 2012

For the first time in Puerto Rico's history, a majority
of the island's voters have supported a non-binding
referendum to become a full U.S. state. The measure will
require approval from the U.S. Congress, but President
Obama has said he will respect the vote. Obama made the
same promise last year when he visited the island,
becoming the first sitting U.S. president in half a
century to do so. If Puerto Rico becomes the 51st state,
its residents will have the right to vote in all U.S.
elections, but will also have to start to pay federal
taxes. We speak to Juan González, Democracy Now! co-host
and New York Daily News columnist.

AMY GOODMAN: Democracy Now! co-host Juan González is
home, recuperating from back surgery. Juan, I wanted to
ask you about Puerto Rico. For the first time in Puerto
Rico's history, a majority of the island's voters
supported a non-binding referendum to become a full U.S.
state, the measure requiring approval from the U.S.
Congress, but President Obama has said he will respect
the vote. He made the same promise last year when he
visited the island, become the first sitting U.S.
president in half a century to do so.

Arizona slow to count votes

Races in Arizona Still Hang in the Balance 

PHOENIX — Three days after the election, the outcome of several races remained a mystery in Arizona as officials struggle to count a record number of early and provisional ballots, many of them cast by voters who believed they had registered but whose names were not on the voter rolls at the polling place.
On Thursday, Secretary of State Ken Bennett revealed the magnitude of the situation: 631,274 votes remained uncounted, he said, more than in any presidential election in memory and enough to anger voting- and immigrant-rights advocates, who have called on the Justice Department to investigate. (By Friday, there were 524,633 uncounted ballots. There are 3.1 million registered voters in the state.)
The advocates, who have been staging nearly continuous protests outside the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, where most of the votes are being tallied, have raised accusations of disenfranchisement, saying the same Latino voters they worked so diligently to register may have been disproportionately affected. Based on accounts they have been collecting since before the polls closed, among the 115,000 voters who cast provisional ballots in Maricopa County on Tuesday were many first-time minority voters who signed up to get their ballots by mail, but never did.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Accountability - Why History Matters

Rodolfo F. Acuña

What is so frustrating about politics is that there is so little accountability. We can continually screw up as my students would say and are not held accountable. Because we as a society are ahistorical, we are unable to sort out the lies that our leaders tell us or correct our own errors. Millions of dollars are spent to distort reality making elections a sham.

Let’s take a minute and review this thesis in light of California Propositions 30 and 32. Proponents made every effort to sway voters through emotional appeals rarely putting their arguments in a historical context.  Up to the last day I had people calling me and asking me for advice.

The truth be told, neither side was honest about the propositions, and very few people know the historical context for Props 30 and 32. Their geneses begin before most Americans were born, reaching back to the post World War II era when American corporations tried to regain the political and economic hegemony they had lost during the Great Depression. The nation’s plutocracy wanted to continue tapping into the national treasury while returning to the laissez faire of the 1920s. In order to accomplish this goal, the economic royalists as President Franklin Roosevelt used to call them had to neuter labor, which they did with the passage of Taft Hartley Act of 1948 and a purging of militants from labor.

This war was about power and the transference of wealth. Organized labor, however, continued to be a thorn in the side of the plutocracy that resented the high taxes necessary to educate Americans. During the 1960s, a war broke out over the funding of public education, which has lasted to the present and has led to the transference of the cost of social production from the plutocracy to working and middle classes.  

The economic royalists in recent times have had major victories. They seized  control of the state of Arizona by neutralizing labor, and it has tried to do the same in Wisconsin and Ohio. The big prize is California where teacher and public sector unions are still a factor. This is where Prop 32 comes in.

Proposition 30 is 32’s cousin. It is a sibling of Prop 13 (1978). It was 13 that underfunded K-12 and higher education in California and dismantled a premier educational system, making our schools competitive with Mississippi and Arizona.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Who were the winners ? Latinos, labor, women, African Americans, and more

Tuesday's Real Winners and Losers

The names at the top of the ballot yesterday were Obama and Romney, but the real winners and losers are the constituents and causes who did battle on the ground and on the airwaves, and whose lives and livelihoods will be influenced by what happens over the next four years and beyond.

The winners include:

The Labor Movement: Unions mobilized their members and money in key swing states on behalf of liberal Democrats, including Obama and Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, and many others. In California, labor helped bring out more than 40,000 volunteers and scored two major victories in California -- the defeat of the deceptive anti-union corporate power grab, Proposition 32, and the win for progressive tax ballot measure, Proposition 30. Although unions now represent only 12 percent of American workers, they still remain the most powerful and effective force for liberal issues and Democratic candidates. Union members and their family members turned out in high numbers and voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. Union loyalists also knocked on doors and staffed phone-banks on behalf of candidates and causes that support working families. Thanks to unions and their allies among community groups and faith-based organizations, the lowest-paid workers in Albuquerque, San Jose, and Long Beach will receive pay increases after voters approved ballot proposals Tuesday that will raise the minimum wage for workers in each city. Citywide minimum wage increases were passed in Albuquerque and San Jose, while Long Beach voters approved an ordinance establishing a higher minimum wage for hotel workers in the city.

Women: Women voters favored Obama over Romney by a 55 percent to 43 percent margin, according to preliminary exit polls. Liberal and progressive women candidates made an incredibly strong showing in the swing Senate and House races, notably Warren in Massachusetts and Baldwin in Wisconsin. Other women Dems -- Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Mazie Hirono in Hawaii -- replaced males who decided to retire. All Democratic incumbent female senators up for re-election this year won, including Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Dianne Feinstein of California and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Currently, 17 women -- a record -- serve in the Senate. Even with two them retiring (Republicans Olympia Snowe of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas), the overall number will increase when the new Senate takes office in January. Another milestone: In New Hampshire, women now hold every key office: Senators Kelly Ayotte (a Republican) and Jeanne Shaheen (Democrat), newly-elected Gov. Maggie Hassan (a Dem), and Dems Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster, who wrested New Hampshire's two House seats from incumbent Republicans. Obama's victory guarantees that Romney won't have an opportunity to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would have overturned Roe v. Wade. So, congrats to Emily's List, Planned Parenthood, and (again) the labor movement for helping make this happen.

Gays and Lesbians: Voters in Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington approved ballot measures supporting same-sex marriage. Cong. Tammy Baldwin -- who beat former Gov. Tommy Thompson yesterday -- will be the first open lesbian in the Senate. The era in which conservatives can use anti-gay ballot measures and rhetoric as "wedge" issues to mobilize conservative voters is almost over. Voters under 40 are now overwhelmingly in favor of gay rights and many voters over 40 are shifting their views and their voting behavior. Preliminary exit polls reveal that nearly six-in-ten Latino voters (59 percent) said their state should legally recognize same-sex marriage. All this is a remarkable change in public opinion and voting behavior in less than a decade -- a real tribute to the gay rights movement and to the American people.

Latinos: Strong support from Latino votes helped Obama win in key swing states. About 69 percent of Latinos voted for Obama, roughly the same margin as voted for him four years ago. (This helped compensate for the decline in support for Obama among white men from 41 percent in 2008 to 36 percent this year). Obama made a big effort to win the estimated 24 million eligible Hispanic voters. Immigrant rights and Latino political groups worked hard for Obama's election. In Nevada, for example, the Culinary Workers union and Latino groups joined forces to target Latino voters for Obama, who won that key swing state. Even in states that Obama lost, particularly in the South, the growing Latino vote will make a difference in the future. In Texas, for example, Obama won just 40 percent of the total votes but won 57 percent of Latinos, the fastest-growing demographic group in the state. All this makes it likely that comprehensive immigration reform and passage of the federal DREAM Act will gain momentum, and that even some Republicans in Congress might feel sufficient pressure to support these initiatives.

Election victories in California

Great victories in California.  Thank you for your work. 
We defeated the billionaires efforts to  crush organized labor and to continue the anti tax radicalism.
We defeated the anti labor proposition 32.
We passed Prop. 30, to fund schools, universities and social services.  This is a floor under austerity.   It raises taxes on the rich to pay for services.  It does raise sales tax by ¼ of  percent – but 90% of the tax increases are on the rich . A tax of 1-3 % on those who make over $250,000 per year.
My own Congressional district is so close that it can not be called yet. 

Winnemem Wintu Tribe: Speak out against the raising of Shasta Dam

By Dan Bacher

The Bureau of Reclamation announced on October 26 that "stakeholders" may submit written comments until Friday, December 28 on the Bureau's "draft feasibility" report on raising Shasta Dam and enlarging its reservoir, a plan vigorously opposed by the Winnemem Wintu Tribe and other Tribes, fishermen and environmentalists.

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, urged everybody concerned about the salmon, the Delta and the rights of indigenous people to send in a comment opposing the raising of Shasta Dam before the December 28 deadline.

Corporate agribusiness interests are backing the raising of the Dam, in tandem with Governor Jerry Brown's Bay-Delta Conservation Plan to build the peripheral tunnels, in order to export more northern California water to irrigate drainage-impaired land of the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. The construction of the tunnels would hasten the extinction of Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt and other fish species.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Republican Voter suppression in Florida - again

First the  major media accustomed  itself  to Romney/Ryan’s persistent and deliberate lying.  This has become normal and seldom even commented upon. This morning they are accepting Florida voter suppression ( focused in districts of  Latinos and African Americans) as not a big story.
If this election ends up in the Supreme Court like the election of 2000, voter suppression will be the cause.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Delays in Florida voting concentrated in Latino areas

MIAMI – In a state where legal action often goes hand in hand with presidential elections, the Florida Democratic Party filed a federal lawsuit early Sunday to force the state government to extend early voting hours in South Florida.
The lawsuit was filed after a stream of complaints from voters who sometimes waited nearly seven hours to vote or who did not vote at all because they could not wait for so long to do so.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, local election supervisors in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties, where lines sometimes snaked out the door and around buildings, said they would allow voters to request and cast absentee ballots on Sunday. Voters in three other Florida counties will also be able to pick up and drop off absentee ballots. State election law permits election offices to receive absentee ballots through Tuesday as long as they are cast in person.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yes on 30 ; No on 32

Rodolfo F. Acuña

I had a heated discussion with a friend this weekend on California Propositions 30 and 32, the draconian measures that will impact Latino and working people nationally. It surprised me that he was going to vote just the opposite of how most progressives are voting. I thought that “Yes on 30” and “No on 32” were no brainers and that he would agree.

My friend has always prided himself in being ideologically consistent and voting for the interests of the community. This consistency among progressives is fairly broad and, although we may disagree on priorities, there are certain core values common to individuals who claim to be progressive.

This is especially true of those of us in the social sciences where your writings define your consistency. It is also true in the field of law where it is possible to plot the behavior of justices. For example, you can determine the political preferences of the justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. It would have really been out of character, for example, for Justice Ruth Ginsburg to have voted for Citizens’ United (2010) or in the future vote to repeal Roe v. Wade (1973).

Labor asks for a No vote on Prop. 32.

By Duane Campbell
Many in labor believe that California Proposition 32 would be a near fatal blow to the California labor movement.
On the grounds that "special interests have too much power over government,"  conservative attorneys  wrote   California Proposition 32 to   ban direct contributions to California candidates by corporations and labor unions. It prohibits the collection of "political funds" from corporate employees and union members via payroll deduction, even if the employee or member voluntarily approves. Political funds include money spent for or against a candidate or ballot measure or for a party or political action committee, or PAC.
The proposition prohibits corporations and unions from using payroll deductions for political purposes, but of course corporations don’t use payroll deductions; they use their profits.  So, corporate donations would not be banned. Only unions would be affected by this ban.  It is a political bait and switch.  The proposition pretends to ban political contributions from both corporations and labor, and then they exempted the corporations.
If Proposition 32 passes, unions would lose much of their ability to organize and to fight back in politics. Learn more at

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Immigrants and Unions Work together to oust Joe Arpaio.

Jenny Brown  Labor Notes
October 19, 2012

Latino workers in the Phoenix area are fighting back
against the bullying sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe
Arpaio. They've registered over 34,000 new voters for
the November election.

The "Adiós Arpaio" campaign is part of a strategy by the
hotel union UNITE HERE to turn around Arizona's anti-
worker policies, in a right-to-work state where Latino
workers have only recently begun to flex their political
muscles. Maricopa County contains 60 percent of
Arizona's population

Organizers say they feel a seismic shift in the
political landscape. "I've never been part of something
historic before," said Lucia Vergara Aguirre, president
of UNITE HERE Local 631. The union has been growing,
representing workers at the Phoenix airport complex and
at several downtown hotels, and has other organizing
drives underway.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chicana/o Studies

 Mass Education
By  Rodolfo F. Acuña

Ed. note; all that is said below also applies directly to the elimination of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at Sac State in Spring 2012. 
A lot more thought has to be paid to the question, “why Chicana/o Studies?”  CHS are not the whim; they are not a fad. They are part of the historical reasons for the struggle of the Mexican American community to obtain equal protection.  If we forget these reasons, CHS will be minimized -- reduced to whims and fads, obfuscating why institutions of higher learning continue to exclude Latinos.

The failure to ask “why” perpetuates the myth that higher education is dedicated to a search for the Truth and open equally to all Americans. The truth be told, Chicana/o Studies is only tolerated because it is politically expedient. CHS are tolerated in many institutions because they placate Mexican American students.   

It follows a pattern: the administration concedes students one Chicana/o studies class in history – and call it Chicana/o Studies. If the academy feels generous, it gives the students an office, which they share with a faculty member. Often instructors are not specialists in Chicana/o Studies, and they are often not Mexican American – any name that ends in a vowel suffices.

Campuses have not taken CHS seriously; the academe is intellectually lazy, and has not questioned why the disparate departments have failed to integrate this important fund of knowledge.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mexico's Labor Law Reform ?

A plan to gut labor protections has spurred unrest in Mexico's streets.
By David Bacon

Economics students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico march from the Plaza of Three Cultures to the Zocalo to protest a proposed labor law reform and to mark the anniversary of the October 2, 1968 massacre.
        MEXICO CITY-As the Mexican Senate tried to convene last week, unionists, youth protesters from the #YoSoy132 movement and social activists of every stripe blocked the chamber's doors, trying to prevent legislators from meeting to consider the reforma laboral. On October 2, tens of thousands marched from the Tlatelolco (Plaza of Three Cultures), where hundreds of students were shot down by Mexican Army troops on the same date in 1968, to the Zocalo at the city center. Reverberating chants signaled an equally massive rejection of this deeply unpopular proposal.
   The Mexican Senate has begun its 30-day consideration of a proposed reform of the country's labor laws. Its provisions will have a profound effect on Mexico's workers, changing the way they are hired, their rights at work, and their wages. Benedicto Martinez Orozco, co-president of one of the country's most democratic unions, the Authentic Labor Front (FAT), calls it "a monstrous law."

Monday, October 08, 2012

President Obama creates monument to Cesar Chavez

Barack Obama dedicates National Historic Site to César Chávez

The historic visit today of Barack Obama to La Paz and the dedication of the Cesar Chavez monument as a national historic site is important.  It is covered in many news stories, including here:  
Unfortunately the writer Amanda Paulson  is poorly informed on the role of Chavez and the UFW on immigration.  She repeats the right wing view that Chavez was anti immigrant.  Nothing could be further from the truth.
Both CNN and USA Today cover the dedication today.
Among the more contested issues raised by Paulson  and by Barnacke  in Trampling Out the Vintage, is the  view of the UFW’s relationships with undocumented workers in  1975  period, the so called “Wet Line.   This is the same argument being  made today by various  anti immigrant militia groups , Tea Party advocates and  posted on Wikipedia . I tried for a couple of weeks to correct the Wikipedia source but others regularly changed it back.   The post cites sources, but the sources only acknowledge a conflict, they do not support the assertion of anti immigrant behavior.
I prefer Bert Corona’s.   Bert was a leading voice on immigration  issues and organized undocumented workers in the  organization Hemandad Mexicana.  He was also a friend of mine, and we worked together on immigration issues.  Although critical of the UFW policy, Bert  never took the highly destructive view that the militia advocates promote today.  There were disputes over issues, and errors were  made but remember the context, which Bert for one did.   The UFW was losing the strike  as strikers  were replaced by  with undocumented workers crossing a border and a picket line to work in struck fields. These undocumented workers, who knew little or nothing about the UFW or the long, violent, bitter and costly strike  they were breaking, were nonetheless  breaking a strike on  a  movement for justice and equality.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Chavez re-elected in Venezuela

Chavez Re-Election Continues Trend of Left Governments
Re-elected in South America
Economic Growth, Expansion of Welfare State Likely to
Continue for Many Years
Center for Economic and Policy Research
For Immediate Release: October 7, 2012

Washington, D.C.- Hugo Chávez' re-election to another 6-
year term shows that Venezuela, like the rest of South
America, prefers governments of the left that have
improved living standards and greatly reduced poverty
and inequality, said Mark Weisbrot [
], Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy
Research (CEPR) in Washington, D.C.

"Chávez is often portrayed as though he were from Mars,
but really the similarities between what he has done and
what his neighboring left governments have done are much
greater than the differences," said Weisbrot.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Establish a César E. Chávez National Monument

October 1, 2012

President Obama to Establish César E. Chávez National Monument
On October 8th, 2012, President Obama will travel to Keene, California to announce the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument. Years in the making, the monument – which will be designated under the Antiquities Act – will be established on the property known as Nuestra Señora Reina de la Paz (Our Lady Queen of Peace), or La Paz.  The La Paz property is recognized worldwide for its historic link to civil rights icon César Estrada Chávez and the farm worker movement. The site served as the national headquarters of the United Farm Workers (UFW) as well as the home and workplace of César Chávez and his family from the early 1970’s until Chávez’ death in 1993, and includes his grave site which will also be part of the monument.
“César Chávez gave a voice to poor and disenfranchised workers everywhere,” said President Obama. “La Paz was at the center of some of the most significant civil rights moments in our nation’s history, and by designating it a national monument, Chávez’ legacy will be preserved and shared to inspire generations to come.”

From this rural headquarters in the Tehachapi Mountains of Kern County, California, Chávez played a central role in achieving basic worker protections for hundreds of thousands of farmworkers across the country, from provisions ensuring drinking water was provided to workers in the fields, to steps that helped limit workers’ exposure to dangerous pesticides, to helping to establish basic minimum wages and health care access for farm workers.

The National Chávez Center, in consultation with the United Farm Workers of America, the César Chávez Foundation and members of César Chávez’s family, offered to donate certain properties at La Paz to the federal government for the purpose of establishing a national monument commemorating César E. Chávez and the farmworker movement. This designation will represent the culmination of a process that has been underway for several years.