Tuesday, December 31, 2013

They Call Us Illegal, But What They're Doing is Even More Illegal

Fast Food Workers Face the Silent Raids
By David Bacon


OAKLAND, CA  (11/23/13) -- Since the Golden Arches rose above the first southern California drive-ins, workers have labored in their shadows for the lowest legal wage a boss can pay.  Other fast food chains have mushroomed since, copying the same ideas.  Pay workers the least possible.  Keep them guessing from week to week how many hours they'll get.  If anyone gets upset, there are always many more people on the street, ready to step behind the counter, clean up the dirty tables, or stand at the grill in the heat and smoke.

Is it a surprise that many people in those jobs came to this country to feed their hungry children, or give a future to those they left behind?  People will put up with a lot when they're hungry enough.  They'll take ibuprofen to get through the shift, or line up for food at the local food pantry at the end of the month, because their paychecks won't stretch that far.  All to keep that job.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Right to Stay Home: How U.S. Policy Drives Mexican Migration

 A review. by Duane Campbell
The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration by David Bacon  is a well written, well informed book that explains political and economic currents shaping the US immigration experience.
The U.S. public is  engaged  in a sustained and divisive debate over immigration. Unfortunately, at the same  time ,  most U.S. do not recognize that U.S. economic policy,  particularly NAFTA created many of  the conditions that produce the very immigration of some 8 million people  that many on the Right and the Tea Party   so oppose.
The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 accelerated a neo-liberal form of economic growth in Mexico that drove poor farmers, particularly in the indigenous south to lose their farms and their livelihood.  In  response  young men, and increasingly the young women,  made the dangerous trek to the U.S. in search of work and an income to feed their families and keep their families from losing their  farms.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chicano Studies y Los Pochos

Los Pochos y Los Vendidos
 “Viví en el monstruo y le conozco las entrañas”
Rodolfo F. Acuña  Dec. 2013.

When I sat down to conceptualize Chicana/o Studies, I was forced to distinguish it from Mexican Studies. If I had not done so, I would have never gotten it through the committees. I also had to differentiate CHS from race studies as well as Latin American Studies. I was fortunate that I had taught U.S. history and government, and specialized in U.S. History for my Masters. My PhD was in Latin American studies so that was icing on the cake.

Academe was caught flatfooted in responding to the challenge of ethnic studies, and it has never really got a handle on them. Many perceive them as race studies, so the inclination is to lump Chicana/o Studies into their flawed model.

I believed that if Chicana/o Studies was to grow; it had to find its own identity. Very early the main thrust of our program was pedagogical. We were there to teach more than a subject; it involved teaching students identity and skills. The truth be told, years of marginalization had damaged Chicanas/os.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eliseo Medina on Organizing for Immigration Reform

DSA Honorary Chair, Labor Leader, Eliseo Medina on...: DSA Honorary Chair, Labor Leader, Eliseo Medina on Fasting for Immigration Reform

Latino Arts not funded

MEDIA ADVISORY                                                          
December 12, 2013
Latino Arts Network of California Releases Study
Documenting Sacramento's History of
Favoritism in Arts Funding

Decades of selective distribution and failed investments demands new  
funding policies that include equity to art organizations of color

(Sacramento, CA)  The Latino Arts Network of California, a statewide service organization dedicated to the promotion of California Latino arts organizations, artists and communities, will release a report addressing the City of Sacramento's history of funding policies for arts organizations. The report details arbitrary funding steered toward Eurocentric art organizations to the determent and exclusion of the growing diversity of art patrons in the region.   

WHAT:      Press Conference to Announce Study Findings and Recommendations

When:        TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2013

WHO:        Tomas Benitez, Chairman, Latino Arts Network of California  
                     and supporters of more funding for art organizations of color.

                    1200 K St
                    Sacramento, CA 95814
                    (Corner of 12th and K Streets)

TIME:       10:00 AM

"The findings in our report should be a wake-up call to other municipalities who are ignoring the huge demographic changes taking place in our state," said Tomas Benitez, Chairman of the Latino Arts Network. "Our hope is that this study, which took place over eight months, will encourage greater equity in the distribution of tax payer money and wiser investments in the arts. Sacramento deserves better."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

DSA Honorary Chair, Labor Leader, Eliseo Medina on...

DSA Honorary Chair, Labor Leader, Eliseo Medina on...: DSA Honorary Chair, Labor Leader, Eliseo Medina on Fasting for Immigration Reform

DSA Honorary Chair, Labor Leader, Eliseo Medina on Fasting for Immigration Reform

Friday, December 13, 2013

La Pastorela de Sacramento - You are invited !

We invite you to join us!

Adaptation by Manual Pickett and Tomas Benitez with Marie Acosta
Directed by Manuel Pickett and Marie Acosta
Original costumes by Rory Castillo

DATE:                    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15TH, 2013
TIME:                    1PM – 2PM
PRICE:                   FREE TO THE PUBLIC

Friday, December 06, 2013

We celebrate the life and work of Nelson Mandela

by Bill Fletcher,

I expected to hear the news.  I did not know when it would arrive.   I did not believe that he had much longer to live.  So, when, this afternoon, i heard that Nelson Mandela, at the age of 95, had passed away, i was nevertheless surprised at my reaction.  Actually there were two reactions.
The first reaction was that of the loss of an elderly relative.  I know that sounds melodramatic but i feel that i grew up with Nelson Mandela.  From my earliest days as a young radical i heard the name “Nelson Mandela”.  I learned about the African National Congress, the Pan Africanist Congress, and later the other forces that contributed to the South African Freedom struggle.  His picture was in my home in the form of a poster.  He was present in my life.  And, at the age of 95, one could not be surprised in hearing of his passing.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Nelson Mandela, RIP

by Stuart Acoff
One of humanity’s greatest figures has passed on. One of the greatest freedom fighters of all time has passed on. One of the greatest human beings of the entire history of our species has passed on.
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in the Robben Island prison in South Africa for his leadership in the struggle to free all the people of South Africa and to bring democracy to South Africa.
I first heard of Nelson Mandela in the mid-80′s when the movement to support the freedom struggle against apartheid came to Atlanta, Ga. Rev. James Orange, Rep. Tyrone Brooks, and Dr. Joseph Lowery introduced me to that struggle, and we joined the movement pushing for the State of Georgia to divest our pension funds from South Africa.
Ambassador Andrew Young had a very close relationship with Mandela and his party, the African National Congress (ANC). Young and Dr. Lowery helped lead the American support work for the freedom struggle in South Africa. I remember getting up in the middle of an April night in 1994 to watch freedom become real in South Africa.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Eliseo Medina's Fast for Immigration Reform

The Obama's Visit Eliseo Medina, Fast for Families  The Obama's Visit Eliseo Medina, Fast for Families
The Obama's Visit Eliseo Medina, Fast for Families
The Obama's Visit Eliseo Medina, Fast for Families
In my September 30 tribute to Eliseo Medina’s legacy when he retired from SEIU, I said he “is retiring from his job, though not from immigrant rights activism.” This has become clear as Medina and other activists have held a Fast for Families on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The President, Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett all visited Medina and the other fasters on November 29, bringing needed national attention to House inaction on immigration reform.
Ed. note.  Eliseo Medina is a Honorary Chair of DSA.  They ended their fast on December 3.  Others have taken up the fast.
 I discuss the strategic use of fasts by both Cesar Chavez and Eliseo Medina in my book on the farmworker movement and its legacy, and the 67-year old Medina’s current fast harkens back to Chavez’ Arizona fast that spawned the Si Se Puede UFW rallying call.
Medina knows the fast will not sway Speaker Boehner, but recognizes the action can transform public consciousness about the urgency of immigration reform. And for a media that has given much more coverage to technological delays caused by a deficient website as to Boehner’s intentionally delaying a vote on immigration reform, such transformation is vital.
When I heard that Eliseo Medina was planning a fast along with other immigrant rights activists, my first thought was his age. Fasting at 67 can be life threatening, and many believe Cesar Chavez’s life was cut short by damage caused by his late in life fasts.
My second thought was more pragmatic: should Medina be risking his life for a fast that was unlikely to win a House vote on the Senate immigration reform bill? But I think recent events have showed the wisdom of Medina’s decision.
The sad fact is that the traditional national media has failed to pressure House Republicans to hold a vote on immigration reform. As noted above, it has been far more focused on spinning a false narrative about health care reform.
Consider: immigration reform is a matter of life and death for millions facing deportation at any time. A delayed health care website puts nobody’s life, or even health, at risk.
There is a parallel between the media’s troubling coverage of the two issues: the eight to twelve million impacted by immigration reform are primarily Latinos, while the little told story of the five million Americans denied health care not temporarily by a website but permanently by a Republican Governor are disproportionately African-Americans.
Activists Did Everything Right
I have found that regardless of how uphill the battle, many always blame the activists pushing for change for it not being achieved. Mistakes are identified, wrong steps are highlighted, and history is written to absolve the political system of failing to implement social justice.
Had the immigrant rights movement just folded up its tent and conceded defeat in 2014, activists would be blamed them for the outcome. The movement would be accused of a) focusing too much on the Senate, b) putting too much faith in Obama, c) not doing sufficient groundwork with Boehner, or d) all or some of the above.
That’s one reason the Fast for Families is so important: it reminds us that activists did not fail, a political system that failed to secure immigration reform did.
I argue in my new book, The Activist’s Handbook, Second Edition, that the immigrant rights movement was too willing to sacrifice its agenda for Obama’s in 2009. But by the fasts and other actions the movement has laid the groundwork for a cautious President to take the unilateral action necessary to protect millions from deportation while House Republicans fiddle.
And the movement has also prepared millions to protest directly against the President should he fail to take such action.

Randy Shaw is Editor of Beyond Chron,  where this post  originally appeared.  His book on the farmworkers movement, which highlights Eliseo Medina’s accomplishments, is Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century

Monday, December 02, 2013

California Holocaust

Some celebrate the 300 anniversary of Serra’s birth. 
by  George Monbiot
Nowhere is the Church’s denial better exemplified than in its drive to canonise the Franciscan missionary Junípero Serra, whose 300th anniversary falls on Sunday. Serra’s cult epitomises the Catholic problem with history – as well as the lies that underpin the founding myths of the United States.
You can find his statue on Capitol Hill, his face on postage stamps, his name plastered across schools and streets and trails all over California. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II, after a nun was apparently cured of lupus, and now awaits a second miracle to become a saint(9). So what’s the problem? Oh, just that he founded the system of labour camps that expedited California’s cultural genocide.