Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight

Hundreds of white supremacists marched with torches in an American city Friday night. They arrived the next day brandishing weapons and armor. One white supremacist allegedly murdered an anti-racist protester in the street with his car and injured several others. This is what really happened when you peel back all the rhetoric flying in the aftermath, and after you tune out the first reprehensible response from the President of the United States, and his subsequent update to it that was two days late and a dollar short.
Vice News, to the outlet's immense credit, was on the ground to document the events in Charlottesville this weekend. Reporter Elle Reeve even embedded, for a time, with white supremacist leader Chris Cantwell. What she found speaks for itself, but keep an eye out for the little things. Like, say, how many guns these white supremacists have.

DACA at 5 Years

Five years ago, we won DACA by taking direct action— we marched, we organized, we came out of the shadows. We made it impossible for the American public and politicians to ignore our voices. Since then, DACA has provided temporary protection for hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth. It was a major victory for the immigrant rights movement— a victory that is now under threat.
We know that DACA was never enough. It is conditional and discretionary protection for only a small part of the immigrant community. Because it is not permanent protection, 800,000 undocumented youth are at risk of losing their protection. 
Now more than ever, our community is under attack by white nationalists and a Republican administration that is sympathetic to violent, racist, and xenophobic actions that demand our detention and deportation. 
That's why we need to fight for permanent protection for all of us. We won’t back down until all 11 million undocumented workers, parents, and children have permanent protection from deportation and the dignity and respect we deserve for the labor we give to this country. 
Check out our guides to learn how to organize a creative, disruptive actionor a high risk, high sacrifice action in your local community. 
See you in the streets,

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Promotion of Racial Violence and White Supremacy

One dead after car plows into anti-racist demonstration
photo by   Ryan M. Kelly/ the Daily Progress

No, Mr. Trump, It’s Not About Bigotry On All Sides: It’s About White Supremacists

 Bill Fletcher
August 12, 2017

I sat here listening to Trump’s remarks in connection with the violence carried out by neofascists in Charlottesville this afternoon, violence which has resulted in the death of at least one anti-fascist.  He condemned bigotry on what he called all sides.
Once again Trump obscures reality.  He either ignores the violence and terrorism carried out against traditionally oppressed groups, e.g., attacks on mosques, or he uses evasive language in order to avoid pointing the finger at the real perpetrators of racist violence.
Some will act as if this is a sign of incompetence on the part of Trump.  While Trump clearly lacks competence in so many aspects of his life and presidency–as we are witnessing in the sabre-rattling with North Korea–Trump’s attitude towards race is not about incompetence.  This represents a long-standing feature of who he is and the politics that he represents.  This is someone who spearheaded the Birther attack on President Obama’s legitimacy, raising unsubstantiated suggestions regarding Obama’s citizenship.  This is someone who led the charge against the Central Park 5.  This is someone who has been quite comfortable aligning himself with right-wing populists and neofascists.
We should not expect anything better or clearer from Trump.  What we must do is rip the cover off of every effort that he undertakes to obscure white supremacist and xenophobic violence and hatred.  Progressives should stop using the term “alt-Right” and recognize that what we are witnessing are neofascist movements, movements that are interested in provoking violence and are, in many cases well-armed.
Trump is prepared to remain silent about such movements.  Many liberals are hoping that the neofascists will simply go home and shut up.  What we must understand is that they will not go home and shut up.  They must be defeated.  They cannot be tolerated.  They are a cancer in the system of democracy.  They seek not to create a more conservative system but to radically eliminate democracy and with it many populations that they believe to be antithetical to the openly white republic that they believe that the USA must return to being.
They shall not pass!

Bill Fletcher
Activist and writer Bill Fletcher, Jr. served as a senior staff person in the AFL-CIO and as former president of TransAfrica Forum. He is an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com.

Reposted from Portside and

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Activists to Aid Immigrants

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

March in Austin, Texas for Immigrants' Rights

Hi Friends,
In Texas and across the country, people are coming together for a unity rally in Austin, Texas on September 2nd.  Will your organization join the effort?  
Texas is the new ground zero in the fight for immigrant rights and for Latino equality.  The politics of racism, scapegoating, and xenophobia are emboldened, and the risk of it spreading to other states is real.  The governor has already signed legislation mandating racial profiling, threatened legal action to end legal protections for Dreamers, and endorsed the repugnant strategy that seeks to make life unbearable for Latinos so that they “self-deport” from the state.
In the face of these attacks, the response from our sisters and brothers in Texas has been inspiring.  Immigrant and civil rights leaders are organizing in unprecedented ways, and together, sending a clear message that communities will defy this extremist agenda.
In support of our members, partners, and those fighting from the bottom-up, we launched #BastaTexas - a website, a frame, and a hub to lift up and connect bold, creative, and effective efforts to resist and overcome the attacks on immigrants and people of color.
On September 2, we are joining efforts to plan a unity march, rally, and concert in Austin.  
Will you endorse the September 2nd action and help us build a movement to turn the tide in Texas? 
Endorse the event here.  And share the FB event.
 - NDLON team

PS.  And if you’re ready to travel to key cities in Texas to help organize for the coming weeks, let us know, and join the Freedom Summer volunteers! 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

DOLORES Official Theatrical Trailer

Coming to theaters in Sept. 

Live DACA sit in in Austin, Texas

Watch LIVE as DACAmented immigrants risk arrest and deportation to fight for permanent protection, dignity, and respect for all 11 million immigrants.

18 DACAmented youth and allies are currently blocking the main access road to the capitol building in Austin, Texas in the first undocumented-led civil disobedience of the Trump Era. This bold action is sending a message to this country: we’re fighting for permanent protection for all of us. Watch us take historic and unprecedented action under Trump here.

Watch the action live here!

We are standing undivided in the face of national policies meant to divide our community into who is deserving and undeserving of permanent protection. We’re refusing to allow anti-immigrant policies to go into effect without a fight.

We’re doing this for the 11 million. For the 11 million who sustain this workforce. For the 11 million who are the pillars of our communities. For the 11 million who are our parents, our friends, and our neighbors. For the 11 million who deserve permanent protection, dignity, and respect because this country depends on us.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Historic State Fair Exhibit Recognizes Farmworkers

by David Bacon
Capital & Main, 7/25/17

Cutting the ribbon at the farmworker exhibition (left to right): Assemblymember Blanca Rubio, United Farm Workers President Arturo Rodriguez, State Sen. Ben Hueso, Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty and Freddie Rodriguez, Cesar Chavez Foundation President Paul F. Chavez, Assemblymember Anna Caballero, State Fair CEO Rick Pickering (partially obscured), Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guera, State Sen. Ed Hernandez (partially obscured), State Treasurer John Chiang and Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna.

For over 160 years the California State Fair/Cal Expo has been run by growers to showcase the wonders and wealth of the state's agriculture. And for over 160 years the fair did this without mentioning the people whose labor makes agriculture possible: farmworkers.

This year that changed. Rick Pickering, chief executive officer of the California Exposition & State Fair, and Tom Martinez, the fair's chief deputy general manager, asked the United Farm Workers to help put together an exhibit to remedy this historical omission. As a result, for the first time the fair, which runs through July 30, has an exhibition that not only pays tribute to field laborers, but also acknowledges the long history of their struggle to organize unions.

Growers are not happy, and fair organizers got some pushback. But at the ceremony inaugurating the exhibition, State Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), the head of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, explained why they no longer have veto power. "We wouldn't be here without the work of farmworkers," he said. "The legislature now includes members who worked in the fields themselves, or have family who did, who know what it's like to work in 100 degree heat, to suffer the hardest conditions and work the longest hours. We want our families to work in better conditions and earn more money."

Some of the farmworkers who came as guests of the fair were veterans of that long struggle. Efren Fraide worked at one of the state's largest vegetable growers, D'Arrigo Brothers Produce, when the original union election was held in 1975. However, it was only after the legislature passed the mandatory mediation law, forcing growers to sign contracts once workers voted for a union, that the first union agreement went into force at the company in 2007, covering 1,500 people.

D'Arrigo workers maintained their union committee through all the years between 1975 and 2007, organizing strikes and work stoppages to raise conditions and wages. "I'm very proud to see that we're included here," Fraide said, gesturing toward the photographs on the walls in the cavernous exhibition hall. "It shows who we are and what we went through. Si se puede!"

As the workers were introduced by UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, they stood up from their seats to applause. Rodriguez noted that some farmworkers, like those working at Monterey Mushrooms' sheds near Morgan Hill and Watsonville, now make a living wage of between $38,000 and $42,000 in year-round jobs with benefits. "This exhibition recognizes that farm labor is important work, and that it can be a decent job if it includes labor and environmental standards. It can come with job security, and can be professional work," he emphasized.

"What's been lacking is an acknowledgment of the people who do the work," charged Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, son of the capital city's late mayor, Joe Serna, and nephew of former UFW organizer Ruben Serna. "This exhibition documents their political activism. We wouldn't be here if it were not for the farmworkers movement."

In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte
Photographs and text by David Bacon
University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte

302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
paperback, $34.95

order the book on the UC Press website:
use source code 16M4197 at checkout
receive a 30% discount

En Mexico se puede pedir el libro en el sitio de COLEF:


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Assault on Mexican American Collective Memory

Dr. Rodolfo F. Acuña, like the late Dr. Howard Zinn, is an important and a prolific historian in academia and beyond.  He has long been an ally in important struggles. More specifically, he’s an indispensable historian of the marginalized, the maligned and the ignored by the oppressive U.S. state. With his 1972 book publication of the classic Occupied America—among many other books, essays and social commentaries—Acuña has become one of the premier historians of the Chicana/o people. In this topical and timely book, Acuña produces another exceptional, well-written and well-cited book. In his life-long efforts to recover/preserve the Chicana/o collective memory, in this must-read book, he thoroughly documents and analyzes current and past unjust attacks against Chicana/os and Mexican immigrants by racist politicians, government officials and public figures in states like Arizona, Texas and California. In doing so, Acuña also sheds light on the heroic resistance and social activism by the attacked—i.e., millennials, students, teachers, activists, immigrants, community members, etc.—to defend their/our basic human rights, dignity and self-respect in their/our ancestral lands.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Trump Proposes new "Guestworker" Program

Farm workers and their families are being threatened once again. The threat escalated this week with Trump’s GOP pushing a guestworker program that would make farm workers indentured servants to be imported in and out of the USA to feed us. This is a solution that will not work -- as according to a Department of Labor Report, at least half of all farm workers in the US are undocumented and many have been here for more than 15 years and have children who are citizens.

Our nation’s food supply relies on the hardworking men and women who labor to put food on our tables, so the solution must include an earned path to legalization for these people and their families who are essential members of our society.  

Wednesday, the House Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on agricultural guestworker programs. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Chair of the Judiciary Committee, said he will introduce a bill to repeal and replace the current H-2A guestworker program. His bill would eliminate major labor protections on wages, housing and government oversight in addition to not offering a path to legal permanent residency and eventual earned citizenship for farm workers already laboring here. And Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee without warning, tried to sneak provisions into an unrelated appropriations bill that would require the U.S. government to approve employers’ applications for permission to hire agricultural guest workers for jobs that are year-round. H-2A visas could be issued without regard to whether the jobs are temporary or seasonal. These moves could also worsen wages and conditions for documented and US citizen farm workers.  

The solution is the Agricultural Worker Program Act -- known as the "Blue Card” which was introduced last month in the Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein and has 8 cosponsors and into the house by Congressman Luis Gutierrez and has 54 co-sponsors.  

The "Blue Card" offers experienced farm workers presently toiling in the fields the chance to legally remain working in agriculture in the United States, and is a much more workable solution than importing substantial numbers of additional guest workers from outside the country. The Blue Card takes care of a real need in the farm worker community. It will protect farm workers from deportation and put them on a pathway to legalization and citizenship -- if they show consistent employment in US agriculture and meet other criteria.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Sanctuary : A U.S. Tradition

Sanctuary: In a Great American and International Tradition

Dan La Botz

I was asked at a recent meeting of the NYC DSA Immigration Justice Working Group to say a few words to put our work in historical context and then asked me to write up my brief talk, because it might be useful to others. – DL

Our sanctuary work is in a great national and global tradition of humanitarianism and it is consistent with our social internationalist principles. Our work, while fighting for the reform of the immigration system, has as its goal the abolition of the capitalist system that causes involuntary mass migration. And while using existing law to defend immigrants and fighting for better laws, we stand opposed to the concept of the national state, which will never respect and defend immigrants as equals in our society.

We are at present working with the New Sanctuary Coalition in New York City. New Sanctuary’s method is—while never telling anyone to do anything illegal—to organize immigrant communities, the documented and the undocumented, to protect each other. In each community a place of worship is identified (a church, temple or mosque) as the local safe place. While places of worship have no special legal protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reluctant to raid such places because it will outrage the community and lead to bad publicity. Other places such as local business are also asked to become sanctuaries in an emergency and to refuse to open their doors except if there is a judge-signed warrant.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Stop Texas Style Immigration Crackdown: Make California a Sanctuary State

Dolores Huerta
In the seven decades I’ve been fighting for social justice and human rights, I’ve never seen a year as scary as 2017.

The Trump administration is pushing a xenophobic agenda to deport millions of people and racially profile millions more. White supremacists are marching in public, committing heinous acts, and trying to influence public policy.

With bigots and extremists sinking to new lows across the country, all of us who believe in equality and inclusion need to reach higher than ever before.

I’m counting on California to lead the way.


Case in point: A Texas Republican legislator recently said he called immigration agents on community members protesting the state’s draconian anti-immigrant law. What’s more, he reportedly threatened to shoot a fellow legislator.

It’s no accident these threats came in the context of Texas’s odious SB 4, which embodies President Donald Trump’s most extreme ideas. That law will enlist local police in the feds’ deportation force and unleash a wave of racial profiling and arrests targeting black and brown people.

As communities across the nation stand up against racism, California needs to create the strongest possible counterweight to Texas and Trump’s hate. Gov. Jerry Brown and our Legislature must pass Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act.

This proposal by Senate President Kevin de León will make sure our local and state resources aren’t used to help the Trump administration deport millions of people.

We know firsthand that when law enforcement acts as deportation agents, that further weakens the community’s trust and confidence. And families get broken apart.

Many Californians have rallied, marched and lobbied for the California Values Act, which would limit sharing personal information with Trump’s deportation force. Also called the “sanctuary state” bill, SB 54 would help make our schools, hospitals, courthouses and libraries safe spaces for everyone in our community.

This bill stands for the simple principle that authorities should treat everyone fairly, regardless of birthplace, background or appearance. To prevent abuses, SB 54 also makes sure law enforcement won’t detain anyone for deportation without a warrant signed by a judge.

That sounds like common sense to me.

Sadly, the California State Sheriff’s Association is going out of its way to oppose the California Values Act, even though amendments have been made to address safety considerations and Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck has endorsed the bill.

Honestly, I worry some of our sheriffs are more aligned with Trump and Texas Republicans than with our values in California.

Take Sheriff Donny Youngblood of Kern County, where the Dolores Huerta Foundation and the United Farm Workers are based. He worked to declare our county a “non-sanctuary” and previously stated he felt the county would fit much better in Arizona.

Just a few months ago, Sheriff Youngblood and six other sheriffs met with none other than Jeff Sessions, Trump’s extremist attorney general, before he had even been confirmed. The California State Sheriff’s Association endorsed Session’s nomination.

We should all be concerned about the implications of the sheriffs’ entanglement with Sessions’ extremist agenda.

Back in the 1980s, my friend Coretta Scott King wrote: “Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.” He also has documented connections to nativist, anti-immigrant groups.

And Sessions, along with Trump and the California State Sheriffs Association, doesn’t hesitate to scapegoat, criminalize and demonize immigrants whenever it’s convenient.

We simply cannot allow this kind of extremism to poison the conversation in California and derail our progress.

We must take a clear stand for our deepest values: All people are created equal and deserve due process.

Anything less is giving in to Trumpism.


Reposted from the Sacramento Bee

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article161083894.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, July 14, 2017

Gutiérrez: This is Our Call to Action to Defend DACA, TPS and Fight Depo...

Yesterday, July 12,  Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly met with Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
We asked him about veterans who are being deported. We asked him why American citizens were increasingly having their families broken up by deportation. We asked about the 800,000 young people who signed up for DACA and the hundreds of thousands of long-term residents of the U.S. who have Temporary Protected Status or TPS.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Trump Admin. Will Not Defend DACA in Court

KELLY WON'T COMMIT TO DACA DEFENSE: "An Obama-era deportation relief program may soon face a legal challenge - and the Trump administration won't commit to defending it, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Hispanic lawmakers at a closed-door meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill," POLITICO's Ted Hesson reports.
"Twenty Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus pressed Kelly for assurances that he would help preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants deportation relief and access to work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age," he writes. "Kelly told the lawmakers that although he personally supports DACA, he can't guarantee that the administration would defend it in court. He also said that he'd consulted attorneys who told him the program wouldn't survive a legal challenge." 
A Texas-led coalition of 10 attorneys general has threatened to sue the Trump administration to eliminate DACA, which was created by President Barack Obama in 2012. Should the coalition follow through, a failure by the administration to defend DACA in court might mean its end. But on Wednesday, the attorneys general of California and Massachusetts said their states they would counter any litigation to end the program. "We are prepared to do everything in our power" to protect the estimated 800,00 undocumented minors identified under the program to date, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who was joined by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on a conference call with reporters. "Everything is on the table, in terms of the advocacy and the effort we need to engage in." More on Kelly's meeting here.
From Politico's Morning Report 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Choosing Democracy: Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of the ...

Choosing Democracy: Trump, Right-Wing Populism, and the Future of the ...: Bill Fletcher

Republicans Plan to Fund Border Wall

BORDER BATTLE BREWING: "House Republicans are ready to provide a down payment on President Donald Trump's border wall with Mexico, reigniting a fight that could lead to a government shutdown this fall," report POLITICO's Rachel Bade and Seung Min Kim. "In a nod to Trump's signature campaign promise, the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a bill to fund homeland security Tuesday that matches the administration's request for $1.6 billion for the next fiscal year." 
When the Trump administration pushed for wall funding in April, Democrats stood unified in opposition, and the same trend appears to be emerging this time around. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi painted the latest proposal as an undue burden for taxpayers (Trump said just last week that Mexico would "absolutely" pay for the wall, a pledge that apparently didn't convince House appropriators). Pelosi called it "immoral, ineffective and expensive," a categorization that doesn't seem to leave much sunlight for dealmaking.
From Politico's Morning Report

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

In the Fields of the North

Book Review By Paul Von Blum
Truthdig, Posted on Jun 30, 2017

"In the Fields of the North/ En los Campos del Norte"
A book by David Bacon

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. . . They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

-Donald Trump, June 16, 2015

We live in a despicable era of racism and xenophobia, fueled by the anti-immigrant fervor of the Trump regime and abetted by right-wing media forces. Mexican immigrants have borne the brunt of much of this public animus, including countless verbal assaults and some egregious examples of physical violence. Few perpetrators of this hostility recognize the long historical origins of their nativist outpourings. Even fewer realize the deep humanity and the powerful suffering of the Latino farmworkers who have come north to the United States to escape grinding poverty and hunger and try to eke out marginal livings for themselves and their families.

A new bilingual book by David Bacon offers both a dramatic antidote to the deplorable reality of racism and a majestic life-affirming view of these hidden women, men and children. "In the Fields of the North" is a landmark fusion of journalism and documentary photography. Bacon is an accomplished writer and photographer, with a long record of union organizing for the United Farm Workers, the United Electrical Workers, the International Ladies Garment Workers Union and others. He has effectively documented the impact of globalization, the degrading conditions of workplaces for many immigrants, the human consequences of migration, the political struggles for workers' and human rights, and many related topics in his books and commentary.

But above all, Bacon is a documentary photographer of extraordinary power, insight and skill. In his introductory comments to the book, he is modest-too modest-about contributing to the long history of socially conscious photography: "I hope my work contributes to this tradition today." I have had the privilege and pleasure of teaching and writing for many years about some of the giant American figures of this tradition, including Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Ben Shahn, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, Roy DeCarava and Gordon Parks.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Politics in a Time of Crisis - Podemos

Reading Politics in a Time of Crisis – A view from the Left.
By Duane Campbell

As we know, the economic crisis of 2008-2012 disrupted the U.S. economy.  The crisis was much worse in some of the peripheral countries of Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Italy among others), and even more destructive in under-developed regions of African and Asia. 
Spanish political leader Pablo Iglesias Turrión has written Politics in a Time of CrisisPodemos and the Future of European Democracy, published in an English translation by Verso Books. Iglesias provides a critical summary of the crisis that began in the U.S., and spread to much of the world causing political upheavals and leaving misery, starvation, and massive migration in its wake. 

We can learn much from reading Iglesias about this crisis in Spain and  other countries and economies, including how the crisis led  several social democratic political parties in Spain, Greece, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe to collaborate with right-wing movements to impose austerity on the people.  This collaboration led to the collapse of  many social democratic political parties, the rise of  authoritarian right-wing parties,  and now the rise of a new left.  A similar process led to the collapse of social democratic parties in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.  Currently in Mexico the formerly left-wing Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD) is working with the right-wing National Action (PAN) party while a new left –the National Regeneration Movement (“MORENA”) may well win this summer’s presidential elections.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Should Organizations Boycott Texas? SB 4.

To Boycott or not to Boycott Texas that is the Question?

By WCVI President Antonio Gonzalez
Twitter: @agonzalez1217

Texas' SB4 the "show me your papers" bill was signed into law on May 7 by Republican Gov. Abbott. On Sept 1, 2017 SB4 will take effect outlawing local "Sanctuary Cities" policies embraced by places like Dallas and Travis Counties. SB4 obligates local cities to spend local funds to cooperate with certain federal immigration enforcement policies; it also obligates local police to operate de-facto as immigration agents on the streets virtually guaranteeing the likelihood of racial profiling of some part of the 10 million US citizen Latinos who call Texas home.
The fight against SB4 mobilized Latino community and immigrant activists, local governments and the mostly Mexican American democratic caucus of the Texas legislature. But alas Texas' Republican-dominated state government has morphed from a business-friendly bipartisan regime to Tea-Party extremism since 2010, as extremist-Republicans have defeated common-sense legislative Republicans in four conservative primary seasons. Thus, Latinos and their allies had little chance to stop SB4 though they put up a good fight.
The question for Latino and immigrant leaders and organizations now is what to do?  Groups like ACLU and MALDEF have sued to enjoin the law from taking place on Sept 1. But given the givens of anti-immigrant ideologues in control in the White House, Congress, and now the Supreme Court it seems likely that SB4 will prevail, for now.