Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Latin America moves left and forward

by Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero


The Foro de Sao Paulo (FSP), a forum that brings
together most of the Latin American left, had its 18th
meeting in the Venezuelan city of Caracas on July 4-6.
In attendance were representatives of practically all
of the Foro’s member organizations, including El
Salvador’s FMLN, Nicaragua’s Sandinistas, Guatemala’s
URNG (all three of them former guerrilla groups), the
Cuban Communist Party, Ecuador’s Alianza PAIS,
Uruguay’s Frente Amplio, Bolivia’s Movement Toward
Socialism and the Puerto Rico Socialist Front, as well
as leftist and socialist political parties from
countries like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Dominican
Republic, Haiti, Barbados and Argentina.

The host country’s left pulled out all stops in
helping to organize the event. Countless youth
volunteers of the ruling party- president Hugo
Chavez’s PSUV- looked after every detail of logistics
and protocol, and the local communist party, the PCV,
was also out in force. There was also a substantial
number of observers and dignitaries from other parts
of the world, including Russia, China, Vietnam,
Saharaui, Lebanon, Palestine, France, Spain and
Greece. VIP’s included Nobel laureate Rigoberta Menchú
from Guatemala, and writers Ignacio Ramonet and Atilio
Boron, who sat in places of honor near president
Chavez at the closing activity.

Brazil’s delegation, which included the ruling
Workers’ Party (PT) and the Communist Party (PcdoB,
now celebrating its 90 years), had a commanding
presence in Caracas. The PT was indeed the main
driving force behind the FSP’s founding, and the
meeting’s proceedings were presided over by the
extremely capable Brazilian political strategist
Valter Pomar, who is not only the Foro’s executive
secretary but also a member of the PT’s top

Currently one of the world’s leading economies, Brazil
has a gross domestic product dozens of times the size
of any of its neighbors’. The country’s political and
economic shadow looms over all South America. The PT
has won the last three presidential elections- in the
first two of these the winning candidate was former
factory worker and labor organizer Luiz Inacio “Lula”
Da Silva, and the current president is the former
guerrilla and political prisoner Dilma Roussef. It
must be regarded as the most important political
institution of the Latin American left and one of the
single most important political parties in the
hemisphere. Lula fully intended to come to Caracas but
could not do so due to health problems. He did,
however, send a video greeting in which he expressed
support for president Chavez’s reelection bid.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Anglos and Historical Amnesia

by Rodolfo F. Acuña  

       What Americans just don’t get is that most people see history differently than they do.
Truth be told, Mexican Americans are the only ethnic/racial group in the United States who are at this moment being ordered to forget their history. No one has passed a law ordering the English, the Irish, or the Jews to forget their history and culture; it was only demanded of the Germans during the American cultural and political panic after World War I.

I went to Catholic Schools that for all intents and purposes nurtured Irish nationalism. St. Patrick’s was a holiday and we learned the latest score of and prayed for the Fighting Irish football team.

American historical ignorance is a disgrace.  Students have a D.W. Griffith “The Birth of a Nation” vision of slavery and even at the university level most students do not know that the Southwest once belonged to Mexico.

In 1968 I was denied employment in the History Department at San Fernando Valley State because, according to the chair, I could not be objective in teaching Latin American history because my parents were Mexican. He forgot that every U.S. History class was taught by a white American.

“Occupied America” was attacked by academic reviewers at the University of California Santa Barbara because, according to them, I lied when I wrote that the United States invaded Mexico.

The study of history is the search for the truth and you cannot learn the truth unless history is vetted and discussed.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Immigrant Firings

MILWAUKEE — On May 27, about 150 workers from Palermo’s Pizza factory here, representing three-fourths of its production workers, met to sign a petition saying they wanted to unionize. They say they gave the petition to management two days later.
Around the same time, Palermo’s delivered letters to 89 immigrant workers, asking them to provide documentation verifying that they had the right to work in the United States. Ten days later, almost all of them were fired.
Labor organizers assert that Palermo’s, one of the nation’s largest producers of frozen pizza, was trying to snuff out a unionization drive in its infancy. The company says it was merely responding to warnings it had received from federal immigration authorities to fire unauthorized workers or face hefty fines.
Scores of Palermo’s workers have been on strike since June 1 to protest this immigration crackdown, as well as what they say were poor wages and working conditions. Day after day, the strikers picket outside the factory, often in 90-degree heat, chanting, “No justice, no pizza.” Labor unions across the nation have rallied behind them and called for a boycott of Palermo’s products.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Anaheim: 9 things you should know

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Todos a Votar!- Stockton

Grupos Nacionales Latinos y de Derechos Civiles Lanzan la Gira Nacional ¡Todos a Votar! para la Movilización del Voto Latino en California
Los grupos también viajaran a NV, AZ, FL, CO, TX para promover la participación electoral de los votantes Latinos en la elección 2012

STOCKTON, CA – California será el punto de inicio esta semana para la campaña de educación publica para los votantes Latinos, ¡Todos a Votar!, patrocinado por los grupos nacionales Latinos de abogacía, incluyendo el Sindicato de Empleados de Servicio Internacional (SEIU, por sus siglas en inglés). La campaña registrar y movilizara los votantes Latinos al nivel nacional.

Las organizaciones uniendo sus esfuerzos a la gira por todo los Estados Unidos son SEIU, Mi Familia Vota (MFV), League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Consejo Nacional de La Raza (NCLR, por sus siglas en ingles), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Center for Community Change (CCC), Presente.org, Voto Latino, y el Hispanic Federation. Los grupos trabajarán con los activistas en el campo y en línea para registrar votantes Latinos, informarles sobre los temas en juego en esta elección, y aumentar la participación de votantes Latinos.

La campaña Latina de educación pública iniciara el miércoles, 25 de julio a las 5 pm Pacífico (8 pm Este), con un evento a través de Twitter donde usuarios podrán hacer varias preguntas sobre registración y asuntos de derechos para votar. Lideres y jóvenes Latinos les informarán a los usuarios sobre el voto Latino y contestarán preguntas. El hastag es #voto12.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Brown -Salazar push plan opposed by tribes

Brown, Salazar to announce Delta plan Wednesday
by Dan Bacher

Governor Jerry Brown and federal officials will unveil their plan to build twin “peripheral tunnels” to export more Delta water from the Sacramento River to corporate agribusiness and southern California tomorrow – and Delta advocates will launch their campaign against the tunnels with a rally and news conference at the West Steps of the State Capitol on Wednesday, July 25 at 12:30 p.m.

Governor Jerry Brown will be joined by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Assistant Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the National Marine Fisheries Service Eric Schwaab in Sacramento tomorrow to announce a “proposed path forward for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and California’s water future,” according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.

The announcement will take place July 25, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. at the Natural Resources Agency Building, Room 1131, 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. “This event is open to credentialed media only,” the news release states.

Restore the Delta, elected leaders, the Sierra Club, Food & Water Watch, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, Planning and Conservation League, Environmental Water Caucus, Delta Counties Farm Bureau Caucus, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and other groups will point out the expected damage to water, the environment, fish, farming and water ratepayers presented by the proposal.

Tribal Chief slams Brown's plan to destroy the Delta

By Dan Bacher

Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, has issued a urgent call to show opposition to the state-federal plan to build a peripheral canal or tunnels at a rally on the West Steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, July 25 starting at noon.

Governor Jerry Brown is expected on or near July 25 to announce his plans to build two gigantic tunnels to divert Sacramento River south to corporate agribusiness and southern California, killing Central Valley salmon, Delta smelt and other species and destroying the estuary.

"California Indians and Tribes need to come make your voices be heard on July 25 at the Capitol if you need salmon and/or water,” said Sisk. “The old failed plan in back in the saddle and needs to wear an arrow shirt if the life of the California homelands are to survive this harebrained plan.”

“Please join the efforts of Restore the Delta and many others in opposing this! We need to unite about this misinformation of no scientific common sense! This a drastic mistake!” Sisk urged.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ICE Agents continue to defy Presidential policy decision on immigrants

   by Duane Campbell
         On July 5, 2012, the California Senate passed the California Trust Act to set California policy in opposition to Arizona’s anti immigrant SB 1070.  On the same day,  Sacramento police arrested Juana Reyes outside of a South Sacramento  Wall Mart for selling tamales .  She was arrested upon a request from Wall Mart, charged, and later  all charges were dropped.  In the meantime, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was informed and she was “held” by Sacramento County Sheriffs.  The arresting officers told her children they would never see their mother again.  She spent the next two weeks in jail- her U.S. citizen  children ages 7 and 10  were placed  in children’s protective service.
            Such arrest, detention, and orders for deportation was totally unnecessary under the conditions of the California Trust Act (AB1081) which has yet to be signed by Governor Brown.
            Today, some 35 demonstrators, including members of DSA, the ACLU, Occupy Sacramento and others  joined Juana Reyes in a demonstration to insist that her deportation by stopped and that her family be protected.  Assemblymember Tom Ammiano , author of the Trust Act, commented, “ Had the Trust Act ( AB 1081) been in place Juana Reyes  wouldn’t need a lawyer, wouldn’t need a press conference, and would not be facing deportation. Instead, she would still be working hard to provide for her two small children – as hse has for her two decades in the U.S.- she would still be trying to live a law abiding life.”
            Attorney Julia Vera, working with the Northern California ACLU, said that Juana Reyes was released on a $1,500 bond, an amount she could not raise by selling tamales.  Members of her local church raised the funds for her bond.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tucson Freedom Summer, Or 5 Ways to Fight Back Against An Unjust Law - COLORLINES

Tucson Freedom Summer, Or 5 Ways to Fight Back Against An Unjust Law - COLORLINES


Mexico Still Far From Fair Elections

Mexico Still Far From Fair Elections

California Senate passes Trust Act

State Comes Full Circle from Prop 187 Days to Model Smart Immigration Enforcement
Washington, DC – Yesterday, California took a key step in positioning itself as the “anti-Arizona” on immigration enforcement, with the state Senate passing a bill that would restore common sense to the proper role for states with respect to immigration.  In fact, California was the first state to embrace an SB 1070-like measure with the passage of Proposition 187 in 1994.  Fortunately, the state has now come full circle and is breaking new ground by passing what we see as the “anti”-187 and “anti”-SB 1070: the TRUST Act.
The TRUST Act passed the California Senate with a 21-13 vote, moving the bill to the State Assembly, where it is also expected to pass.  As the Los Angeles Times explains, the TRUST Act would “prohibit police and sheriff’s officials from detaining arrestees for possible deportation unless the suspects have previous convictions for a serious or violent felony. The measure is aimed at blunting federal immigration enforcement, in particular the Secure Communities program, under which fingerprints of arrestees are shared with immigration officials who issue hold orders.”  The federal “Secure Communities” program was created to target serious offenders, but has been widely criticized by elected officials, law enforcement and others for sweeping up tens of thousands of immigrants without criminal records and destroying immigrants’ relationship with the police.  That is why the California legislature—and, hopefully, soon the Governor—are taking concrete steps to address this with the TRUST Act.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Texas Republicans seek to criminalize thinking

 Criminalizing Thinking
Dumb, Ignorant, Mean or Greedy
Rodolfo F. Acuña

I am having trouble getting into this essay on the war on critical thinking. I cannot figure out whether it is dumb or ignorant.  My mother would say that the people conducting the war are malditos, mean.  The reality is that the criminalization of rational thought goes beyond being dumb, ignorant or just plain mean.   

Because the consequences are so calculated and far reaching, it is important to break it down so everyone can understand it and where we are headed.

Fascism did not start on February 27, 1933 with the burning of the Reichstag building in Berlin; it did not begin with the building of concentration camps after the fire. It was all planned and a strategy of division, doubt, and fear simply bore fruit at this point.

Hitler summed up his strategy; he sowed the seeds of “mental confusion, contradiction of feelings, indecision, [and] panic.”

Were the German people dumb, ignorant or just plain malditos?  Some were all of the above.

Hitler and his gang set out to stamp out all vestiges of freedom and decency in German society. It is a story goes back to the early 1920’s and was formed after great forethought.