The Meaning of Life (for Kuahtemok)

The Meaning of Life

(for Kuahtemok)

 

when asked, “holy cow! Coyote

what is the meaning of life?” Coyote

rubbed his stomach, took a hop

skip and a jump, and replied

“the age old question, how come chickens

don’t have any lips, can now be answered”

 

“chickens ain’t got no lips because

rhinos cannot fly nor make an apple pie

armadillos carry their pillows to teenage

road runner pajama parties under

their armor plated underwear

armadillos cannot cross pollinate

they are simply too heavy duty 

to squat on the delicate daisies

 

porpoises rarely do foolish things on purposes

 

scrawny chickens lack lips

but huge papa grizzly bears

whisper sweet nothings into lady bear ears

late at night when their cubs are safely away

at grandma grizzly’s house in Chicago

 

a starving taxi cab driver in downtown Detroit

eating a chicken samich’ does not care

that god did not give chickens any lips

it is the barbecue sauce from Brother Crawfords

on Saturday night that matters the moistest

 

chickens do fine without any lips

even when they French kiss

it is the darting tongue that makes

the sexy porno flapping sound”

 

“and” Coyote concluded

“even with all their suitcases

on holiday to the south of France

sparrows are tiny by comparison”

 

                                                  Aztatl X

                                                    2014 

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Land, Language, Maya, Mexica, Mexican, Mexico, Movimiento, MuXer, Nahuatl, Palabra, Quotes, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Transnational, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Impaction: Mental Masturbation

We used to have a name for it; we called arguing with the administration “mental masturbation.” It led nowhere only complete mental frustration.

Although many campus administrators want to do the right thing; they are either masochists or are just into it for the foreplay.  It must also be frustrating to deal with a central administration that bends to the political wind. A basic problem is the Board of Trustees; most of whom don’t have the foggiest notion of what higher education is about and less about how it functions.

Legislators just want to stay in office and impress corporate sponsors by keeping costs down. Latino elected officials at one time audited the campuses inquiring about access, the number of Chicana/o and Latino students. However, I have not seen a Latino politico advocate for students or diversity since the days of the late Marco Firebaugh.

Students do not fall within their priorities. I was disappointed in Alex Padilla who I have known since he was a kid. When he came out a couple of years ago, he did not consult with Latino faculty or students on campus. Alex was now running with the chancellor and campus administrators no more homeboys. Absent pressure from elected officials, faculty, students and reformers are pretty much abandoned.

In the current controversy over impaction I would have thought that at least one elected official from the San Fernando Valley or Ventura County would have picked up the baton since it affects many of their constituents.  Apparently serving them does not matter.

However, I did get a straight answer from an administrator who said “the reason why we are going to impaction, though, has nothing to do with physical capacity. Rather, we are being held to our share of CSU FTES that the state funds. The CSU does not want us to exceed our share, because the legislature might conclude that we can support more students with the same or less money.”

Roughly, an FTES means fulltime student equivalent. One FTES equals a student taking 15 units. The state uses a complicated formula to determine how much money is given to a university for each FTES. In recent years the legislature has been leaning on the campuses, threatening to fine them if they exceed their assigned FTES.

Complicating this is that the legislature has not compensated the campuses for new buildings. This has led to a lack of research space and space for faculty offices that at a university like CSUN where faculties have pretensions are vital. Solutions such as mine that faculty double up seems like heresy to many faculty.

However, when you have a fulltime faculty member who teaches 12 hours a week and is on campus for only two days a week it does not seem unreasonable to expect them to share. In Chicana/o Studies faculty double up because we made the decision to create additional space to students for a lounging area, a writing lab etc.

The truth be told, most new buildings on campus have been built by student funds during the last ten years. Their commodification brings in funds and relieves corporations of the duty to pay for the costs of social production. Another sad fact is that most faculties do little research and the CSUN library is a Grade “A” facility.

Because the administration has further privatized the university by running it with adjunct faculty even less space is needed for research. I have always accepted this lack of support and have funded my own research from my salary. It is my duty as a professor as professional to publish.  It certainly led to a better life than my father’s.

Okay, impaction itself has nothing to do with physical capacity. As my friend has said CSUN and other campuses are being held to their share of CSU FTES that the state funds. More telling is the statement that the “CSU does not want us to exceed our share, because the legislature might conclude that we can support more students with the same or less money.”

This assumes that the legislators does not know about the shell game or that they are too stupid to care. Moreover, if they do know and are so petty to penalize campuses for doing the right thing, the taxpayers are in trouble.

But there is another facet; administrators do not want to deal with the fact that we have at least 4200 International and Out of State students. I have a problem dealing with this since no one has explained to me whether these 4200 students are counted as part of CSUN’s FTES budget. I could see a hundred or so falling through the cracks but 4200 –seems much.

– by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, CSUN, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Globalization, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, Palabra, Resistance, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

A Simultaneous Broadcast with Broken Sword Publications: Xicana/o Live Webcast tonight at 7:45pm PST!

Join me tonight, live, on Google Hangouts for a test webcast that is hopefully the start of a weekly series. I’m testing the webcast waters and this broadcast is just to see how things go. I don’t anticipate these things going longer than 30 minutes but we’ll see. Honestly, that’s a lot of empty space to fill with just live video and no breaks and or bumpers, interludes… :/

Originally, I wanted to do another podcast or even a live radio program but it’s pretty expensive. So, I want to try a webcast and see what happens. With this format I’ll discuss a little of everything including, but not limited to books, writing, publishing, news, culture, film, horror, vinyl, Xicanos, tacos, coffee and whatever is relevant…or not. This is a TEST run so please excuse my dust. I’m hoping to do this weekly…or as much as interest warrants.

One of things I hope to do is interview people and hopefully shed some light on issues that often get swept under the carpet or just flat out ignored. One of the cool things about this format is that it’s wide open. Tonight I’ll be joined by photographer Art Meza or Lowriting fame so you definitely want to check that out.

Anyway, join me tonight and we’ll see what happens.Ask questions, make suggestions etc. Come hang out. This is new territory. I’ll post the videos here after they record and they’ll also be archived on YouTube.

You can watch the feed live right here at 10:45 EST or on the YouTube page.

You can join me, LIVE, in the Hangout and interact, chat etc. here.

See you there! Please spread the word on your networks. Thanks!

– via BrokenSwordPublications

Posted in Aztlan, Broken Sword Publications, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Platica, Podcast, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Social Media, Solidarity, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

There Must Be A Poem Here Somewhere

There Must Be A Poem Here Somewhere

 

(for the 400 Indigenous folks, writers, who attended

 the 4 day “Returning The Gift” Writer’s Conference,

 University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, 1992)

 

Walked through the wind-dried woods

this morning looking for a poem -

 

a scrap to construct a writing of epic proportions

searched the parched underbrush and red sand

surveyed the leaf covered trail, poked a probing

finger into an indentation in the stone shaped

like a bird nest asked the stone with a pinch of

Tobacco to release a poem of its flighty ways

 

walked through the blank halls of the university

journal and pen in hand, scribbling with the tempo

of laughter from brothers and sisters gathering

their own stories some more lost than others

missing familiar homeland terrain where wild

Moose, Corn fields, Plumed Serpent, jumping

Salmon composed their own musical story

waited patiently for someone to relate it to

 

I sought the common root that binds us the

wet rawhide/Buffalo coat pulling us together

stretching us well beyond our imagination

 

heard it told in a loud voice how

the white man stole our sounds of magic verse

then buried our poems in drawers of sunless

museums gasping for the scent of green grass

summer rain and the call of Eagle 

the broken Hoop of the People?

 

“see that tree over the roadway?” 

old Kiowa Chief Satank whispered

to a captive companion “I shall not go beyond it in slavery

 

O sun, you remain forever, but we Kaitsenko must die.

O earth, you remain forever, but we Kaitsenko must die”

and chief Satank went no farther….

 

prisoners on our own ancestral lands how often

do we choose just short of the Blooming Tree of Life?

the Hoop of the Nation is broken only in our imagination

 

poems live and sing where we least expect to find them

move to the beat of ceremonial drum urging us come listen

 

spoke with two grandmothers who live alone in the woods

who light old family stories in the fireplace to keep warm

spoke with teenaged writers grown wise before their time

on city streets and dusty roads of the reservation inventing

new recollections of brave Chief Satank I walked

beneath red-purple sunset forest moonlit night 

along with black silhouette movement of Xhixhimeka

chanted poems by firefly light and green frog rhythms

 

heard the ageless voices of our fore parents

lap Little River shore line “we are still here

wait   look   we are still here!”   found a near

perfect rose stone under dried out stream

slate rock I added it to my growing collection

of still-damp rain water verse

 

found our campsite

near the shoreline of Little River

heard your warm sleep-sounds Kathe

Walking Bears Siberian Husky dream whimpers

when I settled into the arms of family I felt

the dark soft green Earth move slightly

as our Mother nestled into Her proper place

 

so many poems to choose from

 

                                                                 Aztatl X

                                                             Tlalquetzqui

                                                               1994/2015

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Literature, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Resistance, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Racializing Social Membership in Natalia Molina’s Fit To Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939

Fit To Be Citizens?

Fit To Be Citizens?

Through the wonders of social media, namely Twitter, I have been sharing and recommending hundreds of Chicana/o books and film titles amongst my “followers” for the last four years in order to promote Chicana/o literacy, encourage students to major or minor in Chicana/o Studies, to dispel the myth that Chicanas/os are not creating scholarly and literary works by and for Chicanas/os, and lastly to facilitate an expansive list of works for people to search out these titles in their local bookstores and libraries for personal reading enjoyment or academic research purposes.

Knowledge is our weapon. Knowledge is power. Specifically, knowledge is Chicano Power.

Chicano Power, then, demands that we work towards dismantling racist and sexist institutional structures that negate our human rights as Indigenous peoples. Knowing our history, also, forces us to challenge false assumptions about Chicanas/os that are falsely spread in academic circles and in social media spaces.

We have been omitted from the historical record, and when we do appear we are depicted as passive, docile, and only participating in the social landscape as a result of outside assistance. We are never allowed to exist as original inhabitants. Nearly every time the Chicana/o-Mexicana/o experience is discussed, especially on social media, it is done thru a racist filter that usually describes some outside ethnic/racial group discovering or influencing us, thus revoking our autonomy, sovereignty, and agency as a people.

And so what I wanted to do for this particular blog space was to highlight several Chicana/o books and film titles that our people might find of interest and meaningful as they search for their own knowledge and self-determination. These reviews and those of other contributors are written from a Chicana/o-Mexicana/o frame of reference.

If you are interested in sharing a written review of your favorite Chicana/o book, film, art exhibit, etc. please feel free to contact via email at clshc@me.com – Resistance Through Knowledge, one book at time.

c/s
cultural sovereignty
——

Emerging New Chicana/o Studies Scholarship

Rebirth

Rebirth: Mexican Los Angeles from the Great Migration to the Great Depression

The early literature on Mexican Americans during the early 1900s usually centered on the various socioeconomic push and pull factors that shaped the Mexican “immigrant” experience in the “settling” of early barrios, such as in El Paso and Los Angeles (see for example: Mario T. García’s Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880-1920 [1981] and Douglas Monroy’s Rebirth: Mexican Los Angeles from the Great Migration to the Great Depression [1999]).

As these two studies demonstrate, Mexicans in El Paso and Los Angeles did not passively migrate from México to the United States, but in the process of migration and settling actively transformed their space, culture, and identity.

As the field of Chicana/o Studies matures, emerging new scholars are making significant contributions to the field helping us to better understand the Mexican experience in the United States by going beyond the traditional “immigrant” narrative. These Mexican “immigrant” studies are important for they reveal the migratory patterns of Mexicans into the Midwest, the Eastern seaboard, and even Alaska. The migratory process was both a familial and personal choice as well as influenced by American corporate interests.

Desert Immigrants

Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880-1920

Most importantly to the discipline of Chicana/o Studies is that these emerging scholars expand and refine our previous ideas on race, class, gender, and sexuality, all while continuing to deconstruct and decenter Eurocentric analysis of our community.

One of the emerging scholars in the discipline of Chicana/o Studies is Dr. Natalia Molina whose work brilliantly synthesizes the interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary paradigm shifts within the field through her insightful analysis of how science and health intersect with race and gender as well as how race and citizenship are socially constructed and adapted by larger American society to determine who can be accepted into the body politic.

Molina’s first monograph, Fit To Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939, published in 2006, and her second work, How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts, published in 2013, document the racialization of the Mexican community, while tracing the way in which institutionalized power has socially constructed race and how it applies racial hierarchies differently depending on the ethnic/racial group being being targeted through what are discriminatory educational, health or other social policies aimed at restricting the movement of the Other.

How race is Made in America

How Race is Made in America

Fit To Be Citizens?

In Fit To Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 (2006), Natalia Molina describes how at the turn of the century Los Angeles city and public health officials promoted the city as a beacon of modernity and healthy living in order to encourage Midwestern and Eastern Euroamericans to settle within the city limits in order to eradicate undesirable areas, such as Chinatown, which as Dr. Walter Lindley, the Health Officer in 1879, described as that “rotten spot [that pollutes] the air we breathe and poisons the water we drink” (1).

Fit To Be Citizens? is a comparative study of Mexicans, Chinese, and Japanese communities but it mostly focuses on the Mexican community as they eventually would become the largest racial/ethnic group in Los Angeles as a result of laws that restricted Chinese and Japanese immigration to the United States in the years 1882 to 1907.

Natalia Molina traces the long-established tradition among public health officials who armed with the weapon of “scientific objectivity” developed a racist discourse that attributed the health problems facing the Mexican, Japanese and Chinese communities to their supposed biological and cultural inferiorities.

As such, public health policy narratives fueled racist portrayals of Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese communities as “threats” to the well-being of Euroamerican citizens and civilization.

By negating the real causes of communicable disease, however, Los Angeles public health officials institutionalized policies that shaped negative perceptions of racial/ethnic communities as “menaces” to the social comfort of the city’s Euroamerican population (2). In the present, these past public health racial scripts continue to inform medical as well as public opinion on the social conditions of Mexicans.

Natalia Molina divides her study into several sections:

- Introduction
- Interlopers in the Land of Sunshine: Chinese Disease Carriers, Launderers, and Vegetable Peddlers
- Caught between Discourses of Disease, Health, and Nation: Public Health Attitudes toward Japanese and Mexican Laborers in Progressive-Era Los Angeles
- Institutionalizing Public Health in Ethnic Los Angeles in the 1920s
- “We Can No Longer Ignore the Problem of the Mexican”: Depression-Era Public Health Policies in Los Angeles
- The Fight for “Health, Morality, and Decent Living Standards”: Mexican Americans and the Struggle for Public Housing in 1930s Los Angeles
- Epilogue: Genealogies of Racial Discourses and Practices

Racializing Gender

Between 1879 and 1931, social membership, participation in civic affairs, and access to citizenship in Los Angeles was largely determined by Euroamerican health and hygiene standards that dictated who could and could not belong to the body politic. In fact, not only were public health and hygiene standards key sites of racialization but they were from the very beginning gendered as well with the State making every effort to control and discipline the bodies of Mexican women (185-187).

These health and hygiene standards, of course, were predictably framed within the construct of a Euroamerican standard of “cleanliness” that disproportionately marginalized non-Euroamerican communities. Thus, living in unsanitary conditions was synonymous to being biologically inferior.

As Molina points out, city health officials used their institutional power to target Mexican, Japanese, and Chinese communities as health menaces to society, whose movements and place of residence needed to be restricted for the public good, meaning for the good of Euroamericans.

These public health discourses were largely responsible for the establishment of a racial lexicon that racialized the city’s Mexican, Japanese, and Chinese communities into social/racial hierarchies, while influencing Euroamerican negative perceptions about these communities.

Although there were other ethnic groups residing and working in Los Angeles at the turn of the century, city health officials were mostly concerned with the health issues of its non-Euroamerican population. In particular, Mexican women were blamed for the health ills of the community. By 1920, Mexican women made up 43% of the Mexican born population in the United States (75).

As the “first line of defense” against the Mexican “problem,” health officials targeted Mexican women with both Americanization classes in order to assimilate them and well-baby clinics to prevent the high infant mortality rates disproportionately impacting Mexican women. The reality of these programs were that they pathologized Mexicans as inferior, which persist to this day.

Needless to say, structural inequalities that permitted the Mexican community to be easily prone to communicable disease were never addressed, such as being forced to live in substandard housing or having inadequate access to clean water.

By 1930, Mexicans represented nearly 11% of the population in Los Angeles County. Euroamericans believed that that there was a Mexican “invasion” taking place and one Euroamerican writer complained that it was “as if all of Mexico was moving to Belvedere” (82). At the time, the Belvedere area of Los Angeles County was home to one of the largest concentration of Mexicans in the United States., but this was mostly due to Euroamerican housing covenants that restricted where Mexicans could live.

Eugenics and Mexicans

Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese communities received inferior medical and health services that were politically driven and legitimized by the eugenicist movement that falsely and erroneously characterized Euroamerican culture as superior to all other groups. Thus, being Mexican was equivalent to being a disease carrier (70).

For instance, during a 1916 typhus outbreak in the Southern Pacific Railroad camps, the official response of city public health officials was to immediately blame Mexicans for their low hygienic standards as well as to define Mexicans as disease carriers. At no point was the Southern Pacific Railroad camp faulted or penalized for both their poor substandard housing as well as their unclean and rather limited toilet facilities.

The consequence of defining Mexicans as disease carriers would eventually ignite a debate on limiting Mexican migration that continues to this day. As such, the border patrol was created in 1924. Most importantly, the housing areas in which Mexicans lived in were found to be in need of either inspection, bodily movement restriction, or quarantine.

In fact, the city health department launched a weekly delousing campaign resembling a military procedure, which consisted of bathing in equal parts coal oil and warm water. In effect, this racialized and stigmatized the Mexican community as well as their public and private space (64-66).

In 1924, the health department quarantined a seven-bloc zone of nearly 1,600 Mexicans in East Los Angeles. Anyone not living in the area, but who was caught during the quarantine dragnet could not leave until the quarantine was lifted (84). Eventually, 675 security guards, along with seventy-five police officers patrolled the area twenty-fours a day. Simultaneously, the Mexican community was criminalized and stigmatized.

There were also reports that have never been disproven that claimed that two Mexicans had been killed trying to escape the quarantined area. Yet, interestingly enough, Mexican laborers were allowed to leave the area on a daily basis.

Despite being framed outside of the normative body politic (i.e. not American), however, Molina demonstrates the way in which the Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese communities resisted against the inferior medical and social services they received. Although the language of resistance used by the Mexican community, for instance, was not comparable to that used during the Chicano Movement, there is no doubt that Mexicans exhibited agency in the midst of institutionalized racism.

It also shows how the Mexico de Afuera community during the early 1900s relied heavily on the Mexican Consulate for legal, social, and political assistance as well as their own grass-roots Mutual Aid Societies to defend their communities. It also demonstrates how Mexicans forcefully demanded equality in American society.

Fit To Be Citizens? is an important contribution to the field of Chicana/o Studies. Molina provides an excellent account of public health policies that constructed racist perceptions of Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese communities. Molina’s study expands the field of Chicana/o Studies through a comparative analysis of different racial/ethnic groups.

In the Epilogue, Molina makes important connections to California’s passage of racist laws and its use of coded language in the 1990s that were eerily similar to the language used in the early 1900s to demonstrate continuity in racist public policy. Connecting the past with the present is an important reminder that uncovers how historical events do not happen in isolation.

Fit To Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 by Natalia Molina is a great addition to any Chicana/o Studies collection. The study extends the traditional Mexican migrant narrative of the 1900s to 1930s period that was very popular in early Chicana/o Studies texts.

– by D. Cid

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Book Reviews, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Literature, Chicana/o Studies, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Los Angeles, Mexican, Mexican Deportation, Mexican Repatriation, Mexico, Migrant, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Quotes, Race, Racism, Resistance, Sexism, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

José Gómez Farmworker Justice Day at Evergreen State College (4/15/15)

José Gómez Farmworker Justice Day

José Gómez Farmworker Justice Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year’s annual Farmworker Justice day is a tribute to José Gómez. The events of the day are organized to bring farmworker voices to the Evergreen campus to educate and involve students and community members in the critical issues farmworkers face.

Morning Panel Discussion 10-12pm Library 4300

Remembrance of José Gómez will be led by Greg Mullins and Alice Nelson.

The morning panel will include Odilia Romero, with Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales; Rosalinda Guillen, with Community to Community Development;
Maru Mora Villalpanda, with Not One More Deportation and North West Detention Center Resistance;
Ramon Torres and others, withFamilias Unidas por la Justicia. The panel will discuss issues of labor and the border, as well as the local labor organizing farmworkers are engaged in at the Sakuma Brothers Farm.

Afternoon Workshops:
1:15- 2:30 – Supporting Local Struggles: How Organizations Collaborate- SEM II A1105 Ramon Torres FUPJ, Rosalinda Guillen C2C, Odilia Romero FIOB, and Maru Maro Villalpando, Latino Advocacy

2:30-4:00 Arts and Activism- SEM II B2105 – WWU Students for Farmworker Justice and the Evergreen Farmworker Solidarity Collective

Sponsored by:
Presidents Diversity Fund
CCBLA
Campus Food Coalition
Black Cottonwood Collective/TESC Farmworker Solidarity
Cultural Landscapes
Food Coevolution Community and Sustainability
Spanish Speaking World
Operating Manual Spaceship
EarthSOS: Working in Community CCBLA
Practice of Organic Agriculture
Making a Difference Doing Social Change
Current Economic and Social Issues

ALSO:
5-6pm ACTION – in planning by students

7-9PM
The Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen
Ayotzinapa Vive: A Panel Discussion with Caravana 43 & Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora Committee
Evergreen event: https://www.facebook.com/events/46391…
This panel will include members the West Coast Delegation of Caravana 43 & Libertad para Nestora Committee. Members of both these groups will speak and answer questions about their campaigns. Caravana 43 represents the parents of the 43 students kidnapped in late September in Guerrero, Mexico will be in Olympia to speak to about their children’s experiences and about the human rights violations occurring in Mexico.The parent’s visit to Olympia forms part of a national speaking tour

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Healing, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Evergreen State College, Family, Farmworkers, Globalization, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Pacific Northwest, Palabra, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Social Media, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Transnational, Unity, Washington, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

May Day March & Rally 2015 in Seattle, Washington

May Day March & Rally

May Day March & Rally

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Globalization, Immigration, Indigenous, Knowledge, Land, Language, Law, May Day, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Pacific Northwest, Palabra, Politics, Resistance, Seattle, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Unity, Washington | Leave a comment

In Lak’Ech: Teaching Justice & Decolonial Pedagogy (February 26-28, 2016)

XITO: In Lak'Ech

XITO: In Lak’Ech

 

This 3-day institute is an opportunity for educators, activists and community organizers throughout the great northwest to engage in and learn about the theories and methodologies behind the successes of the former Tucson Mexican American Studies Program. This gathering is not a conference but rather an intensive professional development opportunity with applicable, goal-oriented work participants can bring back to their own communities. XITO facilitators will share the liberatory, research-based pedagogy and community organizing skills that led to the success of K-12 youth of color and communities of color in general. The cost is $575 for the institute, meals and lodging. Register at http://lacima.org/xito.

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Palabra, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Chicana and Chicano Studies Open House: Our History and Future at the University of New Mexico (4/24/15)

Chicana and Chicano Studies Open House

Chicana and Chicano Studies Open House

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, New Mexico, Palabra, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, University of New Mexico, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

In Search of the Almond: Impaction a Symptom of Privatization

The power of “The Man” as they used call the establishment in the 1960s is its ability to control and change the narrative. In Arizona the Koch Brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) bought politicians, the media and Tea Party activists. They wrote anti-immigrant bills, lowered taxes and privatized Arizona.

But the truth be told, political struggles politicize only a few activists. The vast majority sit on the sidelines picking up a lesson here and there. For instance, in a recent two year struggle with the California State University Northridge administration over the UNAM scheme only a small circle of faculty and fewer students were directly involved. Learning a lesson takes more than just sitting in the classroom or watching a game from the sidelines.

Few comprehend the full meaning of privatization. This lack of understanding makes us vulnerable to The Man and allows him to manipulate the narrative. You can see this played out in present impaction struggle that will decrease freshman and transfer enrollment over a four year period by 1,200 students. Impaction goes much deeper than just being racist.

Administrators have seized on our lack of analysis and are trying to absolve the institution of its role in the privatization of the university. They ignores why few students can afford to attend CSUN and less to live in the dorms.

The failure to politicize students is the fault of the leadership – myself included. As spectators, students learned the definition of privatization but did not learn how UNAM and the university are part of neoliberalism. We failed to expose the administration’s role in the privatization and the role its Latina/o minions in maintaining a system that makes students commodities and relieves corporate interests from paying for the costs of social production. The truth is that corporations are the main beneficiaries of an educated workforce.

Absent critical analysis, something that Chicana/o studies is supposed to teach, the narrative is easily changed. It is easy to distort reality and claim that CSUN was forced to go along with impaction because like a bad tooth or constipation the infrastructure is impacted. Blame it on the governor and the legislature and not privatization.

The story goes back to Governor Ronald Reagan and his plans to privatize public education. California corporate interests backed Reagan’s plan because like the Kochs they did not want to pay taxes. Many also saw the growing access to public higher education of minorities as a waste of money. According to them, the poor were poor because they did not want to work.

Presently not all faculty, staff or students are against impaction, which limits the size of incoming freshmen and transfer students. Even sympathetic administrators resemble developers favoring pro-growth because for them growth means higher salaries, more staff, and more buildings while non-friendly administrators believe that by cutting enrollment it will keep the cash flowing for the education of a selected few.

The response of students to impaction has been minimal. Demonstrations and sit-down strikes that make them feel good for a day are planned. They point to huge demonstrations in Mexico, Spain and Greece. But they forget that those student movements brought out massive numbers of protestors because they were planned and sustained. In contrast, American campus strikes are lucky if they draw 500 students.

There is an apparent disregard for planning. It is already mid-April; the last day of instruction is on May 8. After that final exams, commencement and summer vacation render the university dead until late August. This will allow The Man to further control the narrative. Already we see the defenders of the UNAM accord moving in.

Political education is tedious, it is hard work. Chicanas/os are well acquainted with strikes, i.e., the massive school walkouts of 1968 in California, Texas and throughout the nation as well as the Civil Rights and Vietnam protests.  These strikes had a common denominator, they were planned.

Spain, Greece and Egypt followed a similar pattern. They had large consolidated and politicized constituencies as well as leaders. They effectively used social media to mobilize these constituencies.

According to Jerry Ceppos, a former executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News, “Leadership tells you a lot about a movement …” He points to the lack of leadership in the Occupy Wall Street movement as a limitation.

In other words, successful movements are mot spontaneous. At the college level students are decentralized and the challenge is to keep them informed, keep them moving. Strategies such as liveblogging give updates online throughout the day.

Impaction kicks in when the number of applications received exceeds the number of available spaces. In the case of majors, campuses are authorized to use supplementary admission criteria to screen applications.

Let me be clear, impaction should be opposed, but it should be remembered that the administration bears a major responsibility for the current crisis. A Huffington Post headline is  an example of a distorted message: “California Is In The Middle Of Its Worst Drought In 1,200 Years, And These People Are Doing Something About It” – the something was don’t water your lawns or remove the plants – don’t shower and be smelly.

Few talk about the fact that a single almond takes one gallon of water to grow.  I remember hearing about Dr. Ben Yellen in the 1970s suing the government to enforce the 1903 Reclamation Act limits on farms using reclamation water to 160 acres per individual. Dr. Paul S. Taylor believed that this was the best way to democratize agriculture. California’s mega-ranches were just too wasteful and powerful.

Students are making a similar mistake in fighting impaction; they are not searching for the almond that takes a gallon of water to grow. They are not critical of CSUN’s statement that it cannot do anything about impaction – it is the governor and the legislature. However, there is enough guilt to share.

According to the CSU System there are 2,662 non-residents at CSUN. That low estimate makes a difference since In-State Tuition is $6,525 and Out-of-State Tuition is $17,685. In a meeting Provost Harry Hellenbrand stated that there are 4,200 International and Out-of-State students on campus. I could not find statistics for the Tseng College, a for-profit college that belongs to CSUN.

The plan is to reduce undergraduate enrollment by 1 percent — approximately 300 students — for each year for the next four years beginning fall 2016. Given the push down from the University of California, there will be additional competition to increase grade point averages and added requirements for those wanting to get into impacted majors.

It is time to search for academe’s almond.  Again more than 10 percent of our students are International and out-of-state students. They are encouraged to enroll not to bring about diversity but because it makes money for the administration; not because it improves teaching but because it creates a slush fund for administrators.

The California Faculty Association says that the number of full time professors has declined in the past ten years with more classes taught by lecturers who are paid less. At the same time, administrators are proliferating to the point that former dean Jorge Garcia says that the staff of the College of Humanities has grown three fold since 2000. In my forty-six years of teaching at CSUN I have seen a similar pattern throughout the university.

Perhaps it is time to dissect the almond – it is consuming too much water.

– by Rodolfo F. Acuña

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