Friday, September 27, 2013

Jose Montoya, artist, poet, teacher, activist, friend, ally,

 Jose Montoya, artist and activist, died Wed. Sept. 25, 2013 in Sacramento, California. Jose was a teacher, a poet,  and a community activist important to the Chicano movement as it developed in the 1960s and 70’s.  He was a poet Laureate of Sacramento and a co founder of  the Royal Chicano Air force- an artist collective who helped to define Chicano art and commit their art to political involvements.
The son of farmworker champion Cesar Chavez, Paul F. Chavez, and United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez said in a joint statement, “We will always cherish Jose for how he inspired us as well as so many others through his art. But we will also remember him for the countless times when he walked picket lines, helped organize UFW events and fed the farmworkers during every major strike, boycott and political campaign. He was truly a servant of the farmworker movement and we will always be in his debt.”
Montoya influenced thousands of students and teachers during his 27 years as a professor of art at California State University Sacramento, as well his earlier years as a teacher in Wheatland.  He was a sought after speaker on issues related to using art  in teaching.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

House Republicans plan to kill immigration reform

House Republicans plan to kill immigration reform
Sept.27, 2013.

 In August, as Congressional leaders turned their attention to Syria, cutting food stamps, and provoking a   budget crises, efforts to pass immigration reform  by progressive pro immigration  groups intensified.  In California, labor and its allies targeted Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield with demonstrations by thousands of farm workers, faith communities, and immigrant rights groups, including a 285-mile pilgrimage  of protest to the Bakersfield office of  McCarthy,  the  majority whip for the Republican Party  in the House. (see photo)  McCarthy is not usually counted among the extreme Tea Party Congresspersons.  The Bakersfield area district has a 35 percent Latino population and 22.8 percent of the voters in the 2010 election were Latino.
While most Republicans remain with the Tea Party’s anti-immigrant position to only pass legislation to enhance border security and  intensify enforcement, bringing  even more mass prosecutions and deportations,  two  California Republican Congressmen from districts with a high density of Latinos ( Jeff Denham and David Valado)  have called for some features of reform  including a path toward citizenship, but oppose the  provisions of Senate bill.   Community groups are focusing on changing the votes of  Republican holdouts in districts around the nation.  However on September 20, Texas Republicans John Carter and Sam Johnson  resigned from the house bi-partisan effort known as the Gang of Seven.  Their action probably ends the possibility of House compromise or a bi-partisan bill from the House.  In response two progressive Democrats from the group of 7, Grijalva  (Arizona) and Becerra (Ca.)  intend to introduce a bill similar to  the Senate Bill S 744, stripped of its Republican amendment to add  $ 26 billion of additional border enforcement.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A New Bracero Program Will Hurt Farmworkers

David Bacon
Most media coverage of immigration today accepts as fact claims by growers that they can't get enough workers to harvest crops. Agribusiness wants a new guest worker program, and complaints of a labor shortage are their justification for it. But a little investigation of the actual unemployment rate in farmworker communities leads to a different picture.

There are always local variations in crops, and the number of workers  needed to pick them. But the labor shortage picture is largely a  fiction. I've spent over a decade traveling through California valleys and I have yet to see fruit rotting because of a lack of  labor to pick it. I have seen some pretty miserable conditions for workers, though.

As the nation debates changes in our immigration laws, we need a  reality check. There is no question that the demographics of farm labor are changing. Today many more workers migrate from small towns in southern Mexico and even Central America than ever before. In the  grape rows and citrus trees, you're as likely to hear Mixtec or  Purepecha or Triqui - indigenous languages that predate Columbus - as  you are to hear Spanish.

Monday, September 16, 2013

March on Washington- Report Back.

Commemorating the 50-Year
Anniversary of the March on Washington
Join the Talking Drums News 
Report–Back Session featuring local activists
Telling Their Story”

Marion Woods, Community Activist, Former Director, SAEOC/SETA, and Former Director Calif. Dept. Social Services

Nailah Pope-Hardenmember of Avondale Glen Elders Neighborhood Association (AGENA)
and Capital Region Organizing Project (CROP)

Kevin Carter, Urban Outreach Social Justice Activist

Sunday, September 29, 2013 from 2-5:00pm
5625 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento, California 95824
 Sacramento, CA 95824
Please RSVP by 9/25/2013 to Faye   

Friday, September 13, 2013

Drivers License bill passes - after decades.

Raises to the  state minimum wage also pass. 
Last night the California legislature passed the bill that has been blocked in the legislature for over a decade.

 At approximately 9:35 P.M., today - September 12th - the California Assembly passed AB60 by a vote margin of 55 to 18, one day after Assemblyman Luis Alejo had pulled his legislation to make it a two-year bill.  "Justice delayed is justice denied," responded Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo when he heard of Alejo's decision.  Cedillo is the original author of the driver's license legislation, AB60, in 1998 when he arrived at the state assembly. 

Alejo's decision was based on pressure both he and Assembly Speaker John Perez received from labor unions, in particular SEIU in the person of Eliseo Medina, International Vice President, and the California Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, who essentially ordered them to not proceed with the legislation.  It was never made clear what their real objections were only to say that they mentioned the issue of the distinguishing feature that the proposed license would bear, a DP instead of DL preceding the serial number that appears on the document.  However, it was rumored that the unions were seeking to extract some other favor or benefit from the governor and sought to hold the bill as leverage.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Socialism and Immigrants' rights in the Age of Obama

Democratic Socialists of America

Join Tom Hayden, Catherine Tactaquin, David Bacon  and John Nichols at the DSA National Convention~

Come Out Swinging: Socialism in the Age of Obama

October 25-27 in Oakland, California

Our mission is to build a democratic socialist movement because as Frederick Douglass observed “power concedes nothing without a demand.” We are a political, educational, and activist organization, not a party. Through campus and community-based chapters, we use a variety of tactics from legislative to direct action to fight for reforms that empower working people.
Our vision is of an economy and society run democratically to allow us all a dignified, healthy, and creative life – not to make profits for the 1%.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

We still need comprehensive immigration reform

By David Bacon,Rosalinda Guillen and Mark Day.
As the Senate passes S. 744, its comprehensive immigration reform bill, it’s important to remember that workers and immigrants have never
made significant progress in gaining civil and human rights in the U.S. without a fight. The same is true today.
No political party or Gang of Eight can bestow upon undocumented immigrants rights that can only be won through an organized social movement.  President Barack Obama would not have issued an executive order to defer the deportations of undocumented students had not these courageous youths fought those deportations, staged protests, and proposed their own immigration reform – the Dream Act.
The Senate’s proposed bill, however, does not reflect the reality in which most immigrants live, starting with the reasons why people come to the U.S. to begin with.
This bill will not stop the flow of undocumented immigrants, its stated purpose, because it does not address the root causes of migration. The North American Free Trade Agreement alone displaced millions of Mexican workers and farmers, forcing them to leave their country.  When it went into effect, 4.6 million Mexicans lived in the U.S.  Today 13 million people do – 11% of Mexico’s population.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Immigrant Rights Groups call upon AFL-CIO to take a stronger position on immigration reform

Immigrant rights' groups to hold immigration reform convention to oppose Senate Bill S744. Community groups, workers and union members call on AFL-CIO to take a stronger position.

LOS ANGELES, CA | Immigrant rights groups, teachers, students and Unions' members will hold a press conference to call on the AFL-CIO to take a stronger position on immigration reform during their convention in Los Angeles this weekend. Groups will further ask that the House of Labor demand of President Obama a fair and humane immigration reform during the President's speech .at their convention on Monday.

"The proposed 'immigration reform' (S.744) is really a disguised homeland security State bill, a drastic national defense (militarization) revamp, and a neoliberal labor reform with broad implications for all workers, irrespective of national origin or documentation," said Gabriel Elliott, Organizer of Todo Poder al Pueblo Collective. "This bill has been tailor-made for Wall Street, for the corporations and war contractors. Our goal is simply to uphold a standard of justice that serves the interests of working families and communities."

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