Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Several lefts in Latin America

The problems with neoliberalism encouraged the turn to
the left among voters in Latin American countries, and
the record of populist and pragmatist leftwingers alike
has been impressive. Poverty and inequality have fallen
in nearly all left-led countries, according to a recent
UN report, with Venezuela narrowing the gap most, by
increasing the wealth of the poorest by 36 per cent.
Chile and Brazil's GDP has grown by 5 per cent annually
over the last couple of years, Argentina's by 7 per
cent; even desperately poor Bolivia has seen more than
4 per cent growth under Morales. Critics attribute
Venezuela's pace-setting 8 per cent yearly increase to
high oil prices, which makes one wonder why petroleum-
exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia and Mexico
grew at only 3 per cent. The answer is that Chávez's
massive spending on public works, education,
healthcare, housing, co-operatives and small businesses
has worked as a scattershot stimulus package. Much of
this expenditure may be wasteful, chaotic or corrupt,
but the country's unemployment rate has fallen from
nearly 20 per cent in 2004 to 9 per cent, the fastest
drop in Latin America. As Keynes himself pointed out,
the waste involved in public works projects is
infinitely less of a vice than the waste of intractable
unemployment. `Two pyramids', he said, are `twice as
good as one'.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nightmare of a Dream Student

TUCSON, Ariz. -- I’ll refer to her as Leticia X.

She is undocumented, but has been in this country since the age of
three and is a top student at her high school. Yet, unless the law
changes soon, she will be unable to continue with her studies. She
tells my students at the University of Arizona that it is wrong that
she will not be able to attend college next year: “I consider myself a
U.S. citizen. It’s the only country I’ve ever known.”

Her symbolic mother is Leticia A -- a student who set the legal
precedent in 1982 in Plyler v. Doe in Texas, permitting undocumented
students to be able to attend public K-12 schools, without having to
pay exorbitant out-of-state tuition.

Today, Leticia X struggles to change this policy to include K-16
students. If out-of-state fees are exorbitant for out of state K-12
students, the rates are stratospheric for out-of-state college
students, generally costing tens of thousands of dollars yearly.

Leticia X is part of a nationwide movement – nearly a decade old – to
pass legislation that would permit students such as her, to be able to
attend college at in-state rates. It’s called the DREAM Act. A
majority of members of Congress support it, but since 2001, they’ve
never been able to garner the 60 votes necessary in the Senate to
bring it to a full vote (cloture). It even has a controversial
provision that was injected into it that would permit students to also
qualify for U.S. residency by first going into the military for two
years. A terrible compromise, but even that has not worked.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mexico's Union Bust Reveals Flaws in NAFTA

Mexico's Union Bust Reveals Flaws in NAFTA
Laura Carlsen
Foreign Policy In Focus
October 22, 2009

Fernando Lopez woke up on a Sunday morning out of a job.
For the electrical worker, the feeling was terrifying.

"From one day to the next, they left us with no job -
nothing," Lopez said, as he marched alongside some
200,000 fellow workers and their supporters in downtown
Mexico City on October 15.

On the night of Saturday, October 10, thousands of
soldiers and federal police moved into position in the
darkness. After cutting fences and forcing out the
workers, they occupied over 50 installations of the
state-owned utility company, Central Light and Power
(Luz y Fuerza), awaiting the administrative blow that
would follow. At midnight, President Felipe Calderon
issued an executive decree to liquidate the company and
its union, the Mexican Electrical Workers Union
(Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas - SME), one of the
strongest and most vocal independent unions in the

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mexican Electrical Workers Union fights for its Life

Mexican Electrical Workers Union Fights for Its Life

by Dan La Botz
October 19, 2009

The Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME), made up of
approximately 43,000 active and 22,000 retired workers
in Mexico City and surrounding states, is fighting for
its life.  The union's struggle has rallied allies in
the labor movement and on the left in Mexico and
solidarity from throughout the country and around the
world, but, if it is to survive, the union and its
supporters have to take stronger actions than they have
so far, and time is not on their side.

On the night of October 10, President Calderón ordered
federal police to seize the power plants, while he
simultaneously liquidated the state-owned Light and
Power Company, fired the entire workforce, and thus did
away with the legal existence of the union.  The
Mexican president's attack on the Electrical Workers
Union might be compared to Ronald Regan's firing of
more than 11,500 members of the Professional Air
Traffic Controllers (PATCO) in 1981 or to Margaret
Thatcher's smashing of the National Union of
Minerworkers (NUM) in 1984 in which over 11,000 miners
were arrested and the union defeated.

Changing the Balance of Force

Calderón's move to destroy this union represents an
important turning point in modern Mexican labor
history, a decisive step to break the back of the
unions once and for all.  Following up on his three-
year war on the Mexican Miners and Metal Workers Union
(SNTMM), Calderón has now decided to take on the
leading union in Mexico City.  But, even more
important, it is, as one Mexican political leader
noted, it is an act intended "to change the balance of
forces," so that they favor the government.

   After its electoral defeat and out of fear of
   social protest which the [economic] crisis is
   provoking, the government wants to give a
   demonstration of its power which everybody will
   understand: the left, the social movements, the PRI
   [Institutional Revolutionary Party], the unions,
   the Congress, the businessmen and the media.  The
   logic is the same that was used in the [Salinas
   government's] attack on La Quina [head of the
   Mexican Petroleum Workers Union] in 1989: if you
   can do it the strongest, then you can do it to the
   weakest.  If the most combative union can be
   defeated, then so can any other force.1

Read the entire piece:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mexican Labor strikes back

Over 300,000 Mexican workers and their supporters march in Mexico City  to repudiate the attack  by President Calderon on the Electrical Workers Union.

para ver video, presione ---> "aqui"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Governor of Puerto Rico assaults unions

More than 200,000 people are expected to march in a mass rally tomorrow in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as part of a one-day work stoppage to protest Gov. Luis Fortuño’s plan to trim the budget deficit on the backs of workers.
Using recently passed legislation known as Public Law 7, the governor plans to lay off as many as 30,000 public employees and deny collective bargaining to the remainder of the island’s public employees. The U.S. Commonwealth, where unemployment is already at 15 percent, is set to receive $6 billion in federal economic recovery funds, more than enough to cover a projected $3.2 billion budget deficit.

Fortuño, a former Republican delegate to the U.S. Congress, is using the island’s deep budget deficit as a pretext to busting the union and privatizing public services, the Puerto Rican union movement says.

Latinos absent from discussion of re-writing California Constitution

That California government is in a financial crisis is not news – but it is in  crisis.  And, that only 13% of Californians think that the legislature – both Republican and Democrats are doing a good job, indicates a that an opportunity exists to throw the baby out with the bath water.  Or, as Rahm Emanuel says, “don’t allow a good crisis to go to waste.”
At an interesting conference, “Getting to Reform: Avenues to Constitutional Change in California,” on October 14, at the Sacramento Convention Center,  Prof. Kimberly Nalder, an associate professor of Government  at Sacramento State said California voters are like a person  who contracts with a personal trainer to lose weight, then says, “but I don’t want to do any exercise and I don’t want to go on a diet.”  and then blames the trainer for not producing results.  The conference was sponsored by the Center for California Studies at CSU-Sacramento and others.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lou Dobbs is the problem

You and more than 50,000 others have joined the call for CNN to dump Lou Dobbs! Now it's time to take the next step.

In just one week, CNN will launch its “Latino in America” series, which tells the stories of Latinos from across the country. There’s just one thing missing: Lou Dobbs. That’s right. Four hours about the Latino experience in America, and not a word about the man who spends every weeknight telling lies about immigrants and spreading fear and hatred toward Latinos.

Together with award-winning filmmaker Arturo Perez, we're calling out CNN's hypocrisy with a powerful new video: “CNN: Lou Dobbs or Latinos in America?” Please help us grow the campaign by watching the video and sharing it far and wide.

The campaign against Lou Dobbs, which you have helped fuel, is clearly getting to him. He’s railed against us on his radio show,1 and rumors are now swirling that he’s looking for other jobs at more conservative networks2. Now is the time to keep the pressure on. Please watch the video, and then share it with your friends and family. We’ve set up a special page to make it easy:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Report on the Economic Crisis Forum -Sacramento

The Economic Crisis, The Budget &

The University

Forum discussion of the economic crisis and the cutbacks at the university.  Oct.13,2009.  Sacramento State University.
The annual Progressive Forum was well attended by over 120 students, faculty, and community members, as a part of   CFA’s week of action against the budget cuts, furloughs and lay offs.

Speaking representing  DSA in the forum  Dr. Duane Campbell argued political actions taken and not taken in the next 12 months may well determine the structure of our economy, our health care system, and our unions for the next two decades.  He urged participants to see the new film, Capitalism: a Love Story by Michael Moore.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Xaripu Community

The Xaripu Community Across Borders; Labor, Migration, Community and Family.
Manuel Barajas.  University of Notre Dame Press.  2009.

Barajas provides one of  the first cross-national comparative study  to examine an indigenous Mexican community ‘s experience with immigration and transnational economic exploitation.   He describes an extended case study of the Xaripu community in Michoacán and in Stockton, California.

The farm worker population is constantly changing.  Older Mexican farm  workers have been replaced by younger Zapotec, Mixtec, and other indigenous immigrants such as those from Xaripu . The current generation of workers know little of the gains of the1970’s; the UFW holds few contracts, workers  wages have again fallen, and the conditions in the fields are only scantly improved.  Anyone seeking to understand farm labor must understand the diversity of experiences within the migrant communities.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Republican Congresswoman recognizes Golpistas in Honduras

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Florida) recognizes the government of the coup in Honduras.

National Museum for the American Indian

Monday, October 05, 2009

Puerto Rico Independence

Puerto Rico Independence Solidarity Movement
In the face of massive attacks by the 'golpista' Governor of Puerto Rico
and the political party in power (Partido Nuevo Progresista-PNP) on the people of Puerto Rico...
1.  Massive firing of public employees
(approximately 5,000 on first wave...and close to 17,000 last friday on the second wave)
2.  Massive repression by police of protestors
3.  Calling out the National Guard
4.  Massive privatization of public jobs and institutions
5.  Money give aways to private developers and foreign capitalists
6.  Destruction of public housing
7.  Destruction and eviction of poor neighborhoods and people
(Cano Martin Pena, Gladiolas, Villa del Sol to name only a few)
8.  destruction of public schools, arts and culture
9.  Workers Union busting
10.  Environmental degradation (Vieques)
We call on people and social movements in the United States to support the present struggle of the people of Puerto Rico for self determination and justice.
We call of US people and social movements to get informed on the events in Puerto Rico
We call on US people and social movements to re-build the solidarity movement with the struggle of Puerto Rico!
We call on US people and social movements to support the National Strike called for October 15, 2009!!!
join PRISM and support a sovereign Puerto Rico and justice for the people of Puerto Rico and put an end to the 'colonial status' of Puerto Rico (Remember Puerto Rico is a colony of the United States)

Friday, October 02, 2009

To Count and be Counted: Latinos and the 2010 Census

Speech by: Nativo Vigil Lopez, National President,

Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) -, culpable, culpable, guilty, guilty, guilty - 85 times guilty. This is what I observed in a recent trip to Tucson, Arizona, the current epicenter of anti- immigrant laws, policies, and practices - the laboratory as we call it - when I attended the federal court hearing of the day of the recent batch of immigrant detainees who allegedly attempted to enter the U.S. without inspection. This is a daily occurrence, an average of 85 individuals, who are legally processed through the government's program called "streamline," which results in their incarceration and eventual removal to their country of origin. Annually the number comes to 25,000 such summary hearings and removals. On that particular day all of the detainees were of Mexican origin, but one, and ten were women. All were clearly of indigenous stock, rural workers; one-fourth only spoke their native language, not fluent even in Spanish. They were held in a private detention facility, a nice name for a prison, which has a contract with the government that brings down $13 million monthly to its owner.