Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From Tijuana: Ex-Dreamer Calls for Immigration Reform

Monday, August 27, 2012

From School to the Fields

The Story of Javier Mondar-Flores Lopez
By David Bacon
New America Media  8/27/12

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mexico's Movement for Peace and Justice - Caravan

The CIP Americas Program--along with some 100 partner organizations of migrants, churches, unions, students, NGOs and community members in the cities along the route--is helping to organize caravan events and give voice to the victims of the drug war. We will be accompanying the caravan on part of its long journey through the country and providing daily blogsarticles and interviews as events unfold.
A handful of U.S. companies that produce weapons and defense and intelligence equipment are raking in taxpayer dollars in government contracts for the drug war, while in Mexico more than 70,000 people have died since the war was launched in December 2006.
Today the face of the U.S. government in Mexico is the face of war. This face is reflected in the vast expansion of joint security operations and direct intervention in Mexico´s counter-narcotics planning and operations. Instead of schools and hospitals, our tax dollars support military helicopters and espionage systems.
The relationship between the two nations has degenerated into a seemingly endless war on drugs. The war is commanded from the north, where enforcing prohibition is considered more important than human lives, and fought in the south, where the long arm of enforcement has left 70,000 dead in the past six years.
Despite tragically negative results, the U.S. government has dismissed calls from citizens in both countries to end the war on drugs and the misguided Merida Initiativethat supports it. Instead, we continue on a path that throws U.S. youth behind the bars of lucrative private prisons and feeds defense companies by perpetuating violent conflict in Mexico.
Family members of the thousands murdered, disappeared, attacked and displaced in Mexico’s drug war and their supporters will present a very different, human, face of binational relations. They will meet with families in the United States that have suffered senseless incarceration and violence as a result of criminalizing drugs, rather than supporting communities and individuals to manage the health and social threats posed by consumption and addiction.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chicago Workers Collaborative

Listen to the podcast.

Chicago Workers Collaborative. – The Right to Have a Job.
Expanding Latino Workers Centers and supporting African American workers.
Episode 18 -- The Chicago Workers Collaborative
Recorded 08.11.2012: Bill Barclay interviews Leone Jose Bicchieri, Executive Director of the Chicago Workers Collaborative, about activism, organizing, and the work of the Chicago Workers Collaborative. MP3 (30.6 MB) or Ogg Vorbis (27.7 MB).

For past episodes, go to:

Also see http://www.chicagoworkerscollaborative.org

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ace Tomato workers deserve a contract - sign the petition

United Farm Workers
Workers at Ace Tomato are tired of waiting. They are tired of dirty bathrooms, the lack of fresh water and decades of low pay. You might ask, why don't they vote for a union? They did—back in 1989! But, more than two decades later they still are waiting for their contract.
The UFW fought for and passed a law in California requiring employers to negotiate in good faith or face mandatory mediation. The way this works is a mediator speaks to both sides and neutrally sifts through both sides' documents and recommendations and at the end submits a report of terms to the Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) which is essentially a contract. After several months of discussion, the mediator submitted his report to the ALRB on June 28. The company objected, but on July 25 the ALRB ruled against the company and ordered Ace Tomato to implement the final mediator's report as the contract. Instead Ace decided to follow their normal delaying tactics and ignored the Board order. Now the ALRB is saying, while the contract should be in effect, the Board has no basis at this time to seek enforcement.
The UFW is planning on following up through every avenue possible.  But in the meantime we ask you to join us in helping the workers keep up the pressure. The first way you can help is sign a petition workers will deliver to the company on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Great Day for Activism- and for America

by Randy Shaw

Beyond Chron- August 16,2012


For the estimated 1.2 million young undocumented immigrants
who began signing up for President Obama's "Deferred Action
for Childhood Arrivals" legalization program, August 15, 2012
will forever signify the power of grassroots activism. Those
eligible under the program will be able to legally work and
live in the United States but will not gain permanent
legalization status or a path to citizenship. Obama
implemented his "most ambitious immigration initiative" in
response to both growing Latino political power and the
courageous and inspiring grassroots pressure from young DREAM
ACTivists. It is these young people, not the fake,
billionaire-backed Tea Party Republicans, who represent the
true power of grassroots activism to create meaningful change.

When we look at the progressive movements that have made real
gains since President Obama's election in 2008, only two stand
out: marriage equality and immigrant rights. Both have a way
to go, and the lack of comprehensive immigration reform
coupled with increased deportations has left many disappointed
with progress in this area.

But the ability of DREAM ACTivists to win tangible gains for
over one million young immigrants remains an historic
achievement. And they accomplished this almost entirely with
the type of true grassroots activism that many previously
doubted could still make a difference.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Why we will be voting for Obama

The 2012 Elections Have Little To Do With Obama's Record … Which Is Why We Are Voting For Him  August 9, 2012  |  
Let’s cut to the chase. The November 2012 elections will be unlike anything that any of us can remember.  It is not just that this will be a close election.  It is also not just that the direction of Congress hangs in the balance.   Rather, this will be one of the most polarized and critical elections in recent history.  
Unfortunately what too few leftists and progressives have been prepared to accept is that the polarization is to a great extent centered on a revenge-seeking white supremacy; on race and the racial implications of the moves to the right in the US political system. It is also focused on a re-subjugation of women, harsh burdens on youth and the elderly, increased war dangers, and reaction all along the line for labor and the working class. No one on the left with any good sense should remain indifferent or stand idly by in the critical need to defeat Republicans this year.
U.S. Presidential elections are not what progressives want them to be
A large segment  of what we will call the ‘progressive forces’ in US politics approach US elections generally, and Presidential elections in particular, as if: (1) we have more power on the ground than we actually possess, and (2) the elections are about expressing our political outrage at the system. Both get us off on the wrong foot.
The US electoral system is among the most undemocratic on the planet.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Trampling out the story of Cesar Chavez

Trampling out the story of Cesar Chavez and the UFW.
by Duane E. Campbell
            In California in 2012 the k-12 school population is 48.72 %  Hispanic, the great majority of whom are Mexican Americans, the California Dept. of Education estimates the state drop out rate for Hispanics at 32 % having changed little for over a decade, where farm workers and their families generally have lower wages and fewer work benefits than they did in 1974, where only two Mexican Americans appear in the state approved text books, Frank Bardacke thinks that the important issue for labor historians is to de construct the “Cesar Chavez myth” – really?  
            Frank Bardacke’s Trampling Out the Vintage: Cesar Chavez and the Two Souls of the United Farm Workers. (2011, Verso). is the view of a well- informed observer  who  worked in the lettuce fields near Salinas for six seasons,  then spent  another 25 years  teaching English to  farm workers  in the Watsonville, Cal.  area.
Trampling Out the Vintage, provides several insights not previously developed in well informed books on the UFW  including  important  differences between grape workers and  workers in row crops such as lettuce; the length of time workers were in the UFW,  the more settled family nature of grape workers, the strength of each  type of ranch committees,  the leadership of ranch crews  ( and thus the potential differences in creating democratic accountability), and the differing histories of worker militancy in  different  crops.  The author correctly argues that each of these led to somewhat different organizing environment in building the  union. He also details problems of administrative mismanagement in the hiring halls in the grape areas and alleged  mismanagement of organizing within the union sponsored health care insurance and clinic systems .

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Failure of National Latino/Mexican American Organizations

Rodolfo F. Acuña

With all of the hype around Latinos these days, how could Arizona have happened? I thought we had power. One-third of Arizona is Latino and its neighbor California is the land of milk and honey – the favorite destination of politicos of all colors. Over fifty percent of Los Angeles is Latino; its mayor is Mexican American as is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas.

Arizona’s war on Mexican Americans does not make sense, especially in the light of the growth of the Latino population that now numbers 50 million. This nightmare seems out of place.  Alabama maybe, but Arizona?

It is time that we try to find answers and admit our weaknesses. The most obvious flaw is that Arizona has exposed a weakness in Latino and Mexican American organizational infrastructure.

A partial answer as to why Latinos are so ineffective is that the Latino population is having growing pains. It has grown dramatically in the past fifty years, going from a regional to a national phenomenon. This transformation has out stripped the capacity of traditional organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens and the American GI Forum to  deal with this change.   

Presently there are only two organizations that could be called national and they came about in 1968 with the founding of the Southwest Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund.