Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dolores Huerta Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta Receives Presidential Medal
 President Obama presented  Dolores Huerta with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Cesar Chavez once described Dolores Huerta as “completely fearless, both mentally and physically.”
Over six decades, Dolores Huerta put the nonviolent fight for civil and labor rights ahead of her personal interests, and sometimes before her personal safety. Like all the farm worker strikers and boycotters, she accepted a life of voluntary poverty for many decades. Her dynamic and inspiring leadership through the most difficult and turbulent times in the farm worker movement’s history established her not only as a leader of farm workers but as a role model for women and men across this nation and beyond.
Dolores is an Honorary Chair of Democratic Socialists of America. 


Sunday, May 27, 2012

The termination of the Bilingual Education Department at CSU-Sacarmento

 The long march through the institutions has ended for the Bilingual /Multicultural faculty and students at CSU Sacramento.  On Sat, May 19, the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department at CSU-Sacramento graduated its final class.  A movement that began in the  Mexican American Education Project of 1969-1974 came to a close.  See history here:
 I retired in 2008 and had little role to play in the decision to abandon this  civil rights project.  In the 15 year history of the department we graduated thousands of new bilingual teachers and educational leaders who, under the prior hegemonic system, would have been sorted out.  These graduates have gone into teaching and schools and influenced thousands of students.   Under the new system, they will again often be discarded. The drop out rate for Chicano students in California  remains near 50%. We know how to reverse this, but politicians and institutions are unwilling to dedicated the resources to this end. 
The students are still there.  The students of California still need bilingual and multicultural teachers.   Students who are descendents of Mexican and Chicano families now make up almost 48% of public school students.
There were budget cuts, but a united faculty could have retained the department if they so chose.  Instead, a new generation of faculty chose to abandon this institutional base that had been created by their predecessors.
"An injury to one is an injury to all."
This post dedicated to the memory of Hugo Chacon and Dr. Tom Carter. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Glen Ford: Corporate Assault on Public Education

In the space of less than 20 years, the public school privatization movement has emerged from the narrow, right wing fringes to dominate both major political parties. From vouchers to school choice to charter schools, the issue has divided even Black Americans, who were once public education's most fervent supporters. Glen Ford explains how this came about by wealthy individuals buying black politicians and promoting their careers, particularly Corey Booker.
Glen Ford is a veteran of more than 40 years in broadcast, print and Internet journalism. A former Washington Bureau Chief and White House, Capitol Hill, and State Department correspondent, he is currently Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report (, a weekly magazine of news, commentary and analysis from the Black Left. Along with co-host Nellie Hester Bailey, Ford hosts and produces the weekly, one-hour Black Agenda Radio program on the Progressive Radio Network.
Sponsored by LifeLines and Peace and Justice Task Force of All Souls Church. Event May 9, 2012 Camera, sound Joe Friendly

On Immigrant Day, California Offers Signs of Hope | California Progress Report

On Immigrant Day, California Offers Signs of Hope | California Progress Report

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Every Worker an Organizer

Every Worker is an Organizer
Photographs by David Bacon
This exhibit in the California State Capitol is organized by Assembly Member Luis Alejo and his staff, and is part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the United Farm Workers of America.
California State Capitol
Hallway next to the Governor's Office
May 20-26, 2012
Sacramento, California
Open to the public

      Farm labor is a key element historically in the photographic documentation of social reality in the US, and in particular the documentation of social protest.  Dorothea Lange, Hansel Meith, Otto Hegel, and the generation of the 1930s and 1940s left a body of work showing the extreme exploitation of farm workers, and documenting the early farm labor organizing efforts, part of the great labor upsurge of those decades.
    The iconography of social documentary photography was shaped by images like Lange's mother and children in Nipomo, or those of the Pixley cotton strikers packed onto the back of a truck under their banner "Disarm the rich farmer or arm the workers for self-defense!" or the growers with their rifles waiting in ambush.
  The first two decades of the growth of the United Farm Workers was undoubtedly one of the most-photographed social protests of the civil rights era.  It too had its icons -- the line of marchers on their way from Delano to Sacramento, silhoutted against the sky, or Cesar Chavez weakened by his fast, at the side of Robert Kennedy.

Monday, May 14, 2012

California Immigration bills by Assemblymember V. Manuel Perez

AB 1544 Agriculture Jobs & Industry Stabilization Act of 2012 – creates a guest worker program, administered by the Employment Development Department, whereby current undocumented workers in the agriculture and service sectors, and their immediate family members, would be authorized to remain in California as legal residents provided they meet specified criteria. The program would be paid for with fees charged to those participating. The bill requires an analysis to be done in year three of the program to determine whether it had resulted in any displacement of employable U.S. citizens in the specified industries.
AB 1545 Bi-National Economic Development & Infrastructure Bank – establishes a state equivalent of the North American Development Bank to facilitate and finance economic and infrastructure projects in the California and Mexico border region. Improving the goods movement infrastructure and economy of California-Mexico border region, based on expediting legitimate commerce, will result in immediate and long-term benefits to the people of California. Economic stability in the border region also serves as a practical approach for minimizing and discouraging the unauthorized flow of individuals into California. This bill creates a tool to support the investment of private and federal dollars in projects that facilitate trade and economic growth and does not use state General Funds.
AB 1546 California High Skilled Worker Retention & Family Act of 2012 – authorizes the Employment Development Department to develop a state program that allows high skilled workers that meet specified criteria to be sponsored by businesses to work legally in California under the status of resident immigrant. The bill recognizes the economic importance of maintaining access to high skilled workers and creates a California version of the federal law related to sponsored immigrant workers. The program would be administered by EDD and would be paid for with fees from the sponsoring business.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Delusions with the Democratic Party in Arizona

An Illusion Becomes a Delusion
Maybe I am Missing Something

The delusion takes over in ordinary life to the point that we develop a false consciousness.  During 911, for example, many Americans were convinced that we never violated the sovereignty of another state, although history is replete with examples to the contrary.

Thus, our delusions obfuscate reality. We don’t know that Donald Duck is not real.

I guess illusions are great if you want to control children by fixating them on the television tube.  But when the illusions become delusions and create false consciousness we have a problem.

This is how I felt about my last article dealing with the Arizona Democratic Party, criticizing its neglect by not building a core and its failure to protect the rights and interests of Latinos within that state. A small sector of readers reacted as if I were criticizing Holy Mother the Church. 

Their defense of the Democratic Party was delusional. I am accustomed to the excuse, “Well I vote Democrat because it is better of two evils.” I can buy that, but to say that the Party is looking out for the interests of Mexicans in Arizona is a bit much.

The email that bothered me most was from Luis Heredia, a longtime Democratic Party operative. Heredia worked for Raul Grijalava more than a dozen years ago. Since then he has tied his kite to the official Party bureaucracy.  His brother is the head of the Arizona Mi Familia Vota.

Monday, May 07, 2012

U.S. should return native lands- The U.N.,

US should return stolen land to Indian tribes, says United Nations
A Native American at his home on Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, which has some of the US's poorest living conditions. Photograph: Jennifer Brown/Star Ledger/Corbis
United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combatting continuing and systemic racial discrimination.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes.
Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and "numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination".
"It's a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level," he said.
Anaya said racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education.
"For example, with the treatment of children in schools both by their peers and by teachers as well as the educational system itself; the way native Americans and indigenous peoples are reflected in the school curriculum and teaching," he said.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Democratic Party politicians fail Latinos

All Politics is Local
Democratic Party’s Abandonment of the Core
Rodolfo F. Acuña

The fitness exercise pilates, from my limited understanding of the exercise method, works on the principle of developing “a strong core or center (tones abdominals while strengthening the back), and improving coordination and balance.” The principle fascinates me because it can be applied to almost any endeavor.
For example, when San Jose State Chicano professors approached me in 1969 with a plan to start a Mexican American Studies program at the Master of Arts level, I responded that I did not believe that a MAS graduate program could grow without a solid undergraduate degree. My thinking was that “a strong core or center” had to be developed to allow for the coordination and balance of a large program.

The core’s abdominal muscles are the masses of students. The only programs that are subsidized in the higher education are those blessed by the institution.  Logical persuasion would not develop a discipline or method to educate neglected sectors of society. You needed bodies to build the core. 

I have applied this principle to politics. Unless you have bundles of money such as the case of Republicans and you can buy elections, Mexican Americans and Latinos are not going to bring about changes in the political arena. A strong core is essential for coordination and balance to leverage this outcome.

The building of the political core does not depend as much on individual political activism as it does on the core, which is not built by electing Latino elected officials. You can have progressive representatives such as Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva but his power although concentrated at the core can easily be isolated by the system.

In many ways Grijalva is an aberration, elected in an island of Mexican American and white liberal constituents. Even so he has problems raising political capital and he has organized successful re-election campaigns despite the Democratic National Committee whose main purpose is keeping control of the White House.

Latinos disaffected with government

Much has been written about the growth of the Latino population and its voting power. But truth be told, Latinos are growing increasingly disaffected with government and most are cynical about its fairness.
Rodolfo Acuña. 
See "Moral Authority and the U.S. Supreme Court," in post below. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

UFW 50th. Anniversary Convention

 Highlights of UFW 50th Anniversary Convention. United Farm Workers Union.  
Saturday, May 19,2012.  Rabobank Convention Center. Keene, California.
A three-hour program (1-4 p.m.) honoring the UFW pioneers, with special segments on the 1962 founding convention, 1965-1970 grape strikers and boycotters, 1966 peregrinos who marched from Delano to Sacramento, the Filipino American grape strikers and the farm worker ministry. Among the speakers will be Dolores Huerta, Chris Hartmire and Luis Valdez, whose Teatro Campesino will perform old union songs and actos throughout the program.

• Other speakers include California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton and Maria Elena Durazo, former farm worker and head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
Note:  Dolores Huerta, retired UFW Vice President, will receive the Presidential Medal Freedom this week.

Sunday, May 20, Rabobank Convention Center. Keene, California
Mass at 7:45 a.m. with Bishop Richard Garcia from the Monterey Diocese presiding, honoring the rive UFW martyrs.