Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Immigrant Communities Brace for Trump

By David Bacon
The American Prospect, November 22, 2016

Immigrants and others protest in front of Oakland City Hall the evening after Election Day.

Donald Trump promised to deport two million "criminal illegal immigrants" in his first 100 days in office. Immigrants and their allies are already organizing, protesting, and defending "sanctuary cities."

The state of Nebraska went red on Election Day, voting for Donald Trump and the Republican ticket, but working-class Omaha, Nebraska's largest city, went blue, voting for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Clinton won urban Omaha-Douglas County-by 3,000 votes, but lost the city's electoral vote. In 2010, redistricting had joined Omaha to the wealthier suburbs of Sarpy County, delivering Trump a 12,000-vote advantage this year. Incumbent Democratic House member Brad Ashford lost his seat to Republican Don Bacon on November 8 for the same reason.

Nevertheless, all 18 precincts of Ward 4 voted against Trump by a two-to-one margin, thanks to years of patient organizing by the immigrant Mexican community of South Omaha. African American North Omaha voted solidly against Trump as well. The Omaha results highlight both the achievements of years of organizing in U.S. immigrant communities, as well as the vulnerability of those same communities under a Trump administration.

"We have built institutions in which immigrants are winning power in the middle of a corporate culture," says Sergio Sosa, director of Nebraska's Heartland Workers Center. He describes a 20-year history of community and workplace organizing. "We resisted immigration raids in meatpacking plants under the Clinton and Bush administrations, and mounted marches and demonstrations for immigration reform. For eight years, we've fought deportations under President Obama, while building a precinct-by-precinct power base."

Reaching beyond Omaha, the center helped Latinos organize in Schuyler, one of many small Midwestern towns where immigrants now make up the bulk of the workforce in local meatpacking plants. In many of these towns, Latinos are a majority of the population. In this recent election, Schuyler voted its first Latino, Mynor Hernandez, onto the school board. There he will help implement the town's new policy of multilingual education for its racially diverse children.

"The reality, though, is that people in Schuyler are very scared of what a Trump victory will mean for them, as are people in South Omaha," Sosa warns. "This is one of the big contradictions here-that we've achieved some degree of power on a local level while the danger from the national election results has increased dramatically."

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, Trump gained notoriety for referring to Mexican immigrants as "criminals" and "rapists." He also won infamy for promising to build an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall" across the 2,000-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border.

His policy proposals, however, are far more dangerous than his insults. During the election he pledged in his "100-day action plan to Make America Great Again" to "begin removing the more than two million criminal illegal immigrants from the country" on his first day in office.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Trump: The Privatization of Public Education

It is hard to find anyone more passionate about the idea of steering public dollars away from traditional public schools than Betsy DeVos, Donald J. Trump’s pick as the cabinet secretary overseeing the nation’s education system.

For nearly 30 years, as a philanthropist, activist and Republican fund-raiser, she has pushed to give families taxpayer money in the form of vouchers to attend private and parochial schools, pressed to expand publicly funded but privately run charter schools, and tried to strip teacher unions of their influence.

A daughter of privilege, she also married into it; her husband, Dick, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of Michigan a decade ago, is heir to the Amway fortune. Like many education philanthropists, she argues that children’s ZIP codes should not confine them to failing schools.

But Ms. DeVos’s efforts to expand educational opportunity in her home state of Michigan and across the country have focused little on existing public schools, and almost entirely on establishing newer, more entrepreneurial models to compete with traditional schools for students and money. Her donations and advocacy go almost entirely toward groups seeking to move students and money away from what Mr. Trump calls “failing government schools.”

Conservative school choice activists hailed her on Wednesday as a fellow disrupter, and as someone who would block what they see as federal intrusion on local schools.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Crossing The Line - Immigrants

by Laura Carlson
The weather is undecided. One day is winter and the next day, spring. Today, fortunately, it is springtime in New York City and we carry our coats, caps and scarves on our arm as we cross the Brooklyn Bridge on foot.
The group of migrants has decided to walk across the city’s characteristic bridge to call for “fewer walls, more bridges.” Among them are mothers and children who had not seen each other in more than 20 years, and grandparents who had never met their grandchildren who grew up in this huge city far away from the villages their parents were born in.
They’re part of a group of 21 families brought back together by the Popular Assembly of Migrant Families, a binational organization of migrants and their families in Mexico and New York. The grassroots organization obtained visas and support so the parents could visit their children for the first time.
There’s a mixture of joy and concern in the air. To finally embrace their relatives – a dream that seemed impossible for years – filled them with happiness. They come from indigenous and farm towns in Guerrero’s Costa Chica, the mountains of Puebla, the small state of Tlaxcala. A man tenderly takes the arm of his small mother as they walk the streets of New York chatting in Mixteco. For the visitors, the cityscape is impressive, but even more so the gaze of the son-turned-father who left home decades ago and became a man here.
On the other hand, Mexican migrants living in New York know they are under siege. Donald Trump’s campaign has made them the target of the frustration and anger of a large part of the population that feels someone has stolen the “American dream.” In a country built on racism to justify the dispossession of indigenous peoples, slavery and continued exploitation of migrants, it was surprisingly easy for Trump to channel discontent into xenophobia.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Latinos and the Fracturing Democratic Party Coalition

Protesters greet Hillary Clinton at East Los Angeles College, May 2016.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections saw old alliances and loyalties shattered by the fall of the Democratic Party and the rise of con man Donald Trump into so many pieces that they, like Humpty Dumpty, can never be put together again. Politics as we know them are beyond repair.

Although Latinos formed a vital piece of this makeup, the non-Latino American public made little effort to learn anything about them. The political pundits reduced them to numbers and stereotypes. Absent were Mexican American newscasters or political players; to the media, every brown-skinned person was an immigrant. Latinos — Hispanics in polite society — looked and thought alike.

The lack of intelligent an analysis failed to counter the fake news Trump and his supporters spread via social media and the networks. Truth be told, Latin American nationalities share colonial history but that is far as it often goes. They are racially and culturally different. Not all Latinos, for example, enjoy or eat spicy foods, and they do not all live in the same places.

Immigration Summit at Sac State Today

Keep the Dream Alive
Keeping the Dream Alive Summit featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker and media publisher Jose Antonio Vargas as the keynote speaker. Vargas is the founder of Define American, a media and culture nonprofit that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America; and the founder .

Jose Antonio Vargas left the Philippines for Northern California at 12 and has spent 23 years fighting to become a legal resident. He hasn’t succeeded, despite sharing in a Pulitzer Prize at The Washington Post in 2008.
Now he says he is fighting for thousands of “Dreamers” – young undocumented immigrants brought here as children who finished high school and legally obtained their work permits but could face deportation by the Trump administration, which has called for the removal of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
On Monday, Vargas – founder of Define American, a nonprofit media and culture organization built around immigration and citizenship, and editor of #EmergingUS – will be the keynote speaker at the Keeping The Dream Alive Summit from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Sacramento State’s University Union Ballroom.
The summit is sponsored by the school’s Dreamer Resource Center and Full Circle Project to help the campus’s estimated 700 undocumented students, plus those whose parents are undocumented, said program coordinator Norma Mendoza.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

DSA Position on the Election Results

Statement from DSA’s National Political Committee
November 13, 2016

How Trump Won: Seizing the Anti-Establishment Ground through Racial and Economic Nationalism
On November 8, voters in the United States narrowly elected an openly racist, misogynist and nativist candidate for president. Donald Trump succeeded in defining himself as an anti-establishment candidate who will end dynastic rule in Washington, D.C., by elites who care little for “forgotten Americans.” The grain of truth in this rhetoric masked an ideological appeal to a “white identity” that Republicans have long cultivated — in this instance, focusing on fear of immigrants, Muslims and people of color. The facts go against the liberal media’s narrative that “poor white people” were the primary force behind Trump’s rise. We must understand “Trumpism” as a cross-class white nativist alliance; the median family income of the 62 percent of white voters who supported Trump was higher than that of Hillary Clinton voters and wealthier than Bernie Sanders’ primary base.
Governing elites have long used racism to divide working people. The Left must understand the centrality of racism to capitalism and speak directly to how racism has hurt the interests of the white working class. The far Right in Europe and the United States has succeeded in speaking to the anger of people long abandoned by the bipartisan conservative and center-left consensus in favor of unbridled corporate globalization. Trump’s victory should show once and for all the dire consequences of leaving the Left’s response to economic insecurity in the hands of corporate-aligned centrists like the Clintons.
Read the entire statement here:  

The Bourgeois' Dilemma

Rodolfo F. Acuña
The other day a colleague called it to my attention that I was wearing New Balance so in some way I was breaking a boycott. I pointed out that they were the only shoes I had. In retrospect I was becoming so gringo. I have never been for the indiscriminate application of boycotts. In 2010, the early stages of Arizona assault on immigrants and then on Mexican American Studies I questioned the call for a boycott of Arizona. I felt that it isolated Tucson and prevented friends for going there to show their support by visiting the Wall and standing in solidarity. Not all boycotts were like the Farm Worker Boycott.
Getting back to the New Balance Boycott, I will certainly not buy that brand again just like I won’t buy at Walmart. However, I believe it would be stupid for me to throw away a pair of shoes that I wear for health reasons. Having diabetes, shoes are a big deal! You’d know if you had it. New Balance is one of the few brands that have triple width shoes. In my estimation if would be a bit more strategic to pass out buttons emphasizing not to buy New Balance. While I respect the sentiments of Debra Messing and Swae Lee, they are not my teachers.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado Slams Donald Trump At Clinton Rally ...

The Mexican American Vote

PHOENIX — In an office suite not far from the airport, Irma Maldonado, 18, expertly role-played what she’d be doing on the city’s streets in half an hour: knocking on the doors of residents and exhorting them to vote. But not everything was a game. Before a group of young canvassers headed out for the day, a team leader at the community organizing group LUCHAmentioned that someone had earlier pulled a gun on two members of the team.

“Everything was OK,” the organizer said, but Maldonado and the 15 or so other teens and 20-somethings were given safety whistles before hitting the streets.

Maldonado has a personal stake in America’s immigration debate, which has been making headlines throughout the election, particularly because of Donald Trump’s description of Mexicans as rapists and his desire to have Mexico pay for a border wall.

“Before going into high school — it was the summer of 2012 — my mother decided to self-deport to Mexico” with her two youngest children, Maldonado said. Maldonado, who was born and grew up in New Mexico, had a hard time adjusting to life in Nayarit, Mexico, a small state on the Pacific coast north of Puerto Vallarta, especially given that she hadn’t known her family’s status. “I think it was right when we had to move when I actually realized that my mom wasn’t actually legal here in the United States, when I was 14 years old,” she said. Her father, who has a green card, continues to work in New Mexico; Maldonado now is a first-year nursing student and lives with her 23-year-old sister in Arizona. Her mother and brother remain in Mexico.

Mexican-Americans such as Maldonado may help determine the political future of Arizona — and the nation — in a landmark election year. In an August survey, respondents were asked if Trump and Clinton made their respective parties more welcoming or more hostile to Latinos. Nine percent of Mexican-Americans said Trump made the GOP more welcoming; 74 percent said he made it more hostile. By contrast, 59 percent said Clinton made the Democratic party more welcoming; 9 percent said more hostile. An October poll by Latino Decisions found that 17 percent of Latino voters nationwide said they support Trump or are leaning toward him; 70 percent supported Clinton.