Monday, June 28, 2010

Honduran coup- one year later

One Year Later: Honduras Resistance Strong Despite US-Supported Coup

by Bill Quigley and Laura Raymond
One year ago, on June 28, 2009, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was awakened by gunfire. A coup was carried out by US-trained military officers, including graduates of the infamous US Army School of the Americas (WHINSEC) in Georgia. President Zelaya was illegally taken to Costa Rica.
Democracy in Honduras ended as a de facto government of the rich and powerful seized control. A sham election backed by the US confirmed the leadership of the coup powers. The US and powerful lobbyists continue to roam the hemisphere trying to convince other Latin American countries to normalize relations with the coup government.
The media has ignored the revival of US hard power in the Americas and the widespread resistance which challenges it.
A pro-democracy movement, the Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (FNRP) formed in the coup’s aftermath. Despite horrendous repression, it has organized the anger and passion of a multitude of mass-based popular movements -- landless workers, farmers, women, LGBTQ folks, unions, youth and others -- and spread a palpable energy of possibility and hope throughout the country.
These forces of democracy have been subjected to police killings, arbitrary detentions, beatings, rape and other sexual abuse of women and girls, torture and harassment of journalists, judges and activists. Prominent LGBTQ activists, labor organizers, campesinos and youth working with the resistance have been assassinated. Leaders have been driven into exile.

Manufacturing a Border Crisis

by Kent Paterson

Unlike Mexican border states where drug-fueled violence has been on the upswing, violent crime rates in U.S. states bordering Mexico have been decreasing for the last several years. El Paso and San Diego are rated among the safest cities in the United States. Since 9-11, no terrorist has been detected crossing from Mexico. Even detentions of border-crossers are way down, up to 90 percent in the New Mexico corridor alone, according to media reports.
“If you look at the facts, the border is more secure than ever,” headlined a recent op-ed by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. So what would be the Obama administration’s next border initiative? Call out the National Guard and toss another $500 million at “border security.”
To the casual observer, the policy might seem curious to say the least, especially at a time when border states are laying off public workers or slashing their wages, cutting back on social services, closing down parks, and raising college tuitions. But in a key election year, U.S./Mexico border politics are increasingly driven by a toxic combination of whipped-up hysteria, old-fashioned xenophobia and outright political opportunism, according to leading border community activists and analysts.
“There is no crisis here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite,” said Andrea Guerrero of the American Civil Liberties Union’s San Diego office. “There are no increases in crime or immigration flows that would warrant the build up of troops on the border.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Resistance in Arizona

Ipalnemoani: That For What We Live For
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

As we prepare to get arrested as a result of the passage of a new anti-ethnic studies law in Arizona, several attorneys explain to about 30-40 of us in Tucson’s state building the consequences of getting arrested. As such, the numbers are winnowed down to 15 due to legal reasons, parental authority, age, etc. Many of those making these decisions are middle and high school and college students.

All of us who remain on the 2nd floor have thoughts racing through our minds. As I think about why I will get arrested, all I can think of is the Nahuatl concept of Ipalnemoani: That for what we live for – or the Maya concept of Hunab Ku.

We can summons all the linguists and all the great philosophers of the world, but in the end, their translations will not suffice. It is meaning that I am looking for, not words. This is about who we are and about what makes us human. At this time, it boils down to one question: What in life is worth getting arrested for?

For those of us here, the right to our own narrative – the right to memory – is one of them.

The decision to get arrested is a collective one. These youngsters are courageous and determined to defend that which is theirs: a department (Ethnic/Mexican American Studies) that affirms who they are as full human beings – as peoples with a thousands-of-years culture, history and philosophy on this very continent.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Arizona's New Laws;

Arizona's New Laws: An Attempt to Secure Cheap Labor?

by: Paul Ortiz, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

María Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, encourages people to organize: "When we build a movement of the working poor, we will have the power to end poverty." (Photo: L.A. Union AFL-CIO)
Why are there 40 million poor people in America? When you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I'm simply saying that more and more, we've got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life's market place. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring….
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., message to Southern Christian Leadership Council (1967).
In the debate surrounding Arizona's laws targeting immigrants and ethnic studies, we've heard very little mention of capitalism and its place in American politics. Senate Bill 1070 is an insurance policy for capitalism, a way to ensure that the cheap labor that serves the foundation of the new economy remains cheap forever. House Bill 2281 is part of a package deal. The erasure of ethnic studies courses that show how poor people have changed history - when they have organized - will allow the invention of a historical narrative as one sided as the old myths of the European Conquest. These bills are a gift from a steadily shrinking, white, ruling class to its own posterity and to any white workers and ethnic minorities willing to accept second-class citizenship in order to avoid something far worse. Unless we mobilize to defeat these measures, worse things are on the horizon. Our history proves it.
SB 1070 makes racial profiling the de facto law of the state, but police in Arizona or anywhere else for that matter do not need a law to continue feeding working-class people to the expanding prison industrial complex.(1) We need to listen carefully to Governor Brewer's rationale for this bill. She consulted closely with major business owners before signing the new law. "The bottom line is that when I go about meeting with businesses that come into Arizona," Brewer stated, "they want to know that we have a safe and secure environment into which to move their businesses here….They want to know that their employees are going to have a quality of life that they've had in the places where they're moving from to move here."(2)

Tea Party Politics in Arizona

Good Readings. Tea Party Jacobins.
and, Tea Party in Arizona. in Harpers.
July 2010.  Tea Party in Arizona, For the Future of G.O.P. Governance, look to Arizona. by Ken Silverstein.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Arizona - Manifest Destiny

From Manifest Destiny to Manifest Insanity
By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez

As a result of several recent draconian laws, Arizona’s image has taken a drubbing internationally. And yet, Arizona is but the spear. In reality, its politics are not that dramatically different from other states and not that different from Washington. That more than a dozen states are waiting in the wings with copycat legislation and that the Obama administration continues to view migration through a law enforcement and military prism is plenty proof.

Those politics, fueled by hateful and cowardly politicians and the hate-radio universe, are undeniably anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant. Yet in truth, they actually are anti-Indigenous. In effect, the politics that we are seeing are undeniably but an extension of Manifest Destiny. Its modern expression is a Manifest Insanity – an attempt to maintain the myth of America – conceived of as a promise of a pristine, God-given home – reserved for English-speaking White Anglo Saxon Protestants, this amid the “browning” of the nation.

These Arizona laws are part of a spasmodic reaction to this demographic shift, an attempt to maintain a political and cultural dominance over [brown] peoples seen as less than human and as defeated peoples. These laws seek to maintain this narrative of conquest. This is why the loss of lives of some 5,000 Mexicans and Central Americans – primarily Indigenous peoples ––in the Arizona/Sonora desert in the past dozen years, mean little in this clash.  The same is true in regards to the recent killings of two Mexicans by U.S. agents along the U.S./Mexico border.

For those who are attempting to uphold this dominance, this browning represents a time reversal – a cultural and political reversal of the so-called triumph of Western Civilization. This is what Arizona represents; a civilizational clash and a clash of narratives over the myth of America itself. Nothing less.

Rodolfo Acuña, author of Occupied America, came to Arizona last week, offering a stark reminder about this clash. His book – along withPaulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed – has been at the center of the anti-ethnic studies firestorm and law – HB 2281 – signed last month by Gov. Jan Brewer (She had signed SB 1070 – the racial profiling law – the previous month). The controversy surrounding his book has been fueled by an extreme Eurocentric ignorance. For several years, State Superintendent, Tom Horne, has been pushing an “Americanization” agenda, insisting that Arizona students be exposed only to "Greco-Roman" knowledge. Knowledge centered elsewhere is generally considered subversive and un-American, including Mesoamerican or Maize knowledge – knowledge that is Indigenous to this continent It is this knowledge that is at the philosophical heart of Mexican American or Raza Studies. Arizona is not alone in this insanity; Texas Education officials recently banned the inclusion of labor leader Dolores Huerta in Texas school curriculums.

Major research universities not interested in faculty diversity

Scholar Says Research Universities Not Serious About
Faculty Diversity

by Arelis Hernandez June 10, 2010 
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education

WASHINGTON - To Dr. M. Cookie Newsom, director for
diversity education and assessment at the University of
North Carolina, Chapel Hill
, there's no delicate way of
describing the lack of commitment she believes many top
research universities demonstrate as they allegedly
seek to diversify their faculties.

"The dismal truth is academe doesn't really want a
racially-diverse faculty," Newsom said during a faculty
diversity presentation at the American Association of
University Professors
' (AAUP) annual national
conference in Washington, D.C. "It's totally a myth."

Newsom said she based her conclusion on research and
statistics she collected showing that, while peer
research institutions
 have documented plans to retain
and advance minority faculty, the outcomes detail
nothing more than lip service.

"If you are an African-American, American Indian or
Latina/o with a Ph.D., your odds of ever receiving
tenure at a Research I (school) are between slim and
none," she said. "Of course, there are always

Using an unscientific sample of nine Research I
institutions, Newsom aggregated data about the sample
schools' minority faculty hiring, finding consistent
and, in her opinion, mortifying patterns. In those
surveyed schools, the proportion of faculty of color is
woefully smaller than the proportion of minority
populations in the states where the schools are

"There are an insufficient number of people of color at
the heads of classrooms where students of color are
increasingly the majority," she said.

Between 2001 and 2007, Black professors consistently
represented just 3 percent or less of tenured or
tenure-track faculty year after year at Harvard
, Ohio State University, University of
Florida, University of California at Los Angeles and
Berkeley, University of Illinois, University of Texas,
Stanford University and the University of North
, according to National Center for Education
Statistics data
 cited by Newsom.

Even among Asian American faculty, who have seen their
numbers increase at majority White institutions, most
are hired into science and health disciplines, where
they often see limited advancement opportunities,
Newsom said. Latino faculty prospects for advancement
are even slimmer, she added.

Overall, faculty of color consist of only 16 percent of
all full-time professors in the U.S., according to

After working at a progressive college in Ohio, Newsom
said she moved south to UNC to accept a position in the
school's diversity and multicultural affairs office.
Tasked with conducting an assessment and designing a
diversity plan, Newsom oversaw strategies that required
administrative and academic units to outline diversity
efforts and submit progress reports annually.

But after three years in her position, Newsom's initial
excitement was extinguished by the absence of progress
and the reverberation of excuses from deans and
committees for why so few underrepresented minorities
were hired and retained in the faculty ranks.

The usual defenses Newsom said she's heard from
decision-makers are: 1) There are not enough qualified
candidates of color; 2) There is no need to interview
them because they are in high demand from other
institutions; and 3) They are too expensive.

Underlying the excuses is an insidious presumption of
inferiority, Newsom said, recalling an instance at UNC
where a Black female faculty candidate was disqualified
because she didn't "fit well" and because she "spoke
too loudly." Much of the diversity research literature,
she said, has not focused on examining the inner
workings of the tenure process in committees where most
of the biases emerge.

"It's racial discrimination," she said
unapologetically. "We know what's wrong, there is
inherent bias in committees and negative perceptions
based on race."

Apart from institutional racism, Newsom reiterated what
scholars have found are barriers for junior faculty,
including overburdening service work, undervalued
qualifications, and the lack of mentorship and support
from senior faculty.

In a subsequent session on faculty diversity, George
Mason University's Dr. L. Earle Reybold
, who has
published on ethics in higher education, said she has
interviewed several faculty of color on their
experiences. She concluded that, to break the impulse
to re-create themselves, White professors need to
participate and engage faculty of color and avoid
passive indifference.

"If you're White, you have to ask yourself if you've
ever been to a conference on minority issues, attended
the presentation of a colleague of color, or supported
the work of faculty of color," she said. "That's what
we need to be doing."

The AAUP is one of the largest faculty organizations in
the U.S., and its annual conference provides a
significant forum for scholars, such as Newsom and
Reybold, reporting on faculty trends and developments.

In his opening remarks at the conference, AAUP
president Cary Nelson said the current budget crisis
offers the ideal opportunity for faculty to forge
community against the onslaught of forthcoming

"We have to try to stand together. We have to try to
protect our most vulnerable colleagues," Nelson said
about non-tenured faculty. "Otherwise we're just going
to go down." 


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Puerto Rican student strike

A  showdown is looming in the student strike that has
paralyzed all 11 campuses of the University of Puerto
 for more than six weeks.

Late Tuesday, protest leaders rejected a 4 p.m.
deadline from university President José Ramón de la
Torre to cease their campus occupations and end the
strike, which has kept 65,000 students out of classes
since April 21.

De la Torre and Puerto Rico's Gov. Luis Fortuño warned
the rebellious students they will seek court orders to
have them arrested and removed.

The strike, one of the longest and biggest in modern
U.S. history, has garnered considerable support from
both the university's faculty and the Puerto Rican

Yet the mainland press ignores it.

Many island residents admire the way the students have
resisted massive government cutbacks to one of their
most revered institutions. This Great Recession, after
all, has been a far bigger disaster for Puerto Rico
than for rest of the nation.

Even before the Wall Street financial collapse, 45% of
the island's population was living below the poverty

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Apoyo a Cananea

Se cierne la represión sobre Cananea

A las organizaciones sindicales, sociales y políticas,
A los organismos de derechos humanos,
A los medios de comunicación nacionales y extranjeros,
Al pueblo mexicano,

De nueva cuenta el Estado Mexicano vuelca todo su aparato represivo, policiaco, militar y paramilitar contra los trabajadores, en esta ocasión contra nuestros hermanos mineros de Cananea.

Durante la tarde del 6 de junio de presente año, por el lado de la sierra, entraron grupos paramilitares de choque del Grupo Industrial Minera México del oligarca Germán Feliciano Larrea, además de esquiroles encabezados por Elías "El Sope" Morales, han arremetido en contra de nuestros heroicos compañeros mineros, que sostienen una larga huelga que lleva ya casi tres años de haberse estallado, en medio de una atroz ofensiva del Estado.

Al mismo tiempo que se desarrolla esta agresión de los paramilitares al servicio de Larrea, fuertes contingentes de la Policía Federal y del Ejercito se trasladaron hacia la Mina con el objeto de tomarla, de reprimir a los huelguistas y así terminar con ese "escollo" para la oligarquía minera de nuestro país.

A la altura de las 1:30 horas de hoy, han sido ya tomados tanto la mina como el local sindical, por parte de las fuerzas conjuntas del Estado, teniendo como primer saldo un compañero herido de bala y varios más por intoxicación, producto de gas lacrimógenos y gas pimienta, siendo perseguidos los compañeros huelguistas, por todo el pueblo de Cananea. Hacemos responsables de esta bestial agresión a Felipe Calderón Hinojosa y Javier Lozano Alarcón y de los que le suceda a nuestros camaradas mineros y sus familias. 

Friday, June 04, 2010

Kamala Harris for Attorney General

California is on the verge of making history — and you can help make it happen. San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris is running for California Attorney General, and if she wins, she would be the first ever Black woman to serve in that role.
But we’re not supporting her because she’s Black — we’re supporting her because she’s visionary.1 Harris is working not only to get violent criminals off the streets, but also to find ways to keep vulnerable youth out of prison and on the path toward a productive future. And, as she’s done in the past, she’ll use rehabilitation programs to reduce the number of repeat offenders clogging up California’s courts and prisons.2
Kamala Harris is the kind of leader we need to help change our broken criminal justice system. Tuesday’s race is likely to be close. Harris’ main opponent, Chris Kelly, is a former business executive who is pouring millions of his own fortune into attack ads that distort Harris’ record.3
We hope you’ll take a few moments to learn more about Kamala Harris, vote for her on Tuesday, and ask your friends and family to do the same.

 You can learn more about Harris and find out how you can help her campaign, here: