MEChA Nationals 2016 at the University of Arizona

MEChA Nationals 2016

MEChA Nationals 2016

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, MEChA, Memory, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Tucson, University of Arizona | Leave a comment

Hysteria is Stupid!

The great thing about history is that you can recognize idiocy. The stupidity of Mexican American Republicans leading the anti-refugee hysteria. Mexican American Congressional representatives voting to exclude Syrian refugees.

In Corridors of Migration I told about the hysteria against the Yaqui in 1903 because the Yaqui would not let American settlers into the Yaqui Valley. Throughout the conflict many Americans tried to use the Yaqui “menace” as an excuse for intervention. Newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times exaggerated tales of refugees fleeing from the “savage” Yaqui., painting portraits of “Americans” being victimized by Yaqui warriors near Hermosillo; gouging their blue eyes and cutting off their ears. The Yaqui was portrayed as “wild Indians” on the warpath. The only solution was for the United States was to save the Mexican people and give them democracy by taking the Yaqui Valley off their hands. For the meantime, the reconfigured elite besides concluded as many other elites had before them that the Yaqui was bad for business.

These pseudo Mexicans forget that in 1914 in Arizona the Magonista newspaper Regeneración and the LA Times reported on “A War of Races in Arizona.” According to the PLM newspaper, white scabs attacked nineteen Mexican workers in Ray, Arizona. Sheriff Brown died along with two Mexicans in the Canyon of the Devil near Ray. That night there was another confrontation and another Mexican was killed. Masses of whites descended into the Mexican barrio, and entered Mexican homes and committed atrocities. They went into hills looking for Mexicans. “The American working class is the most mentally retarded class”, wrote Regeneración, not knowing its interests as workers. The Los Angeles Times on Aug 20, 1914 also wrote “RACE WAR IN ARIZONA DEATH LIST IS SIXTEEN.” They had killed four Euroamericans and twelve Mexicans in the bloody riot. Deputy Sheriff Finn Brown and two American “horse thieves” were shot in a shoot out. The hunted Mexicans killed two Euroamericans in a clash between the runaway Mexicans and the posse: The Los Angeles Times reported,

Infuriated at the news of the death posse members, white residents of Ray invaded the Mexican section of town, driving the terror-stricken men, women and children of the section from their homes.

One American and seven Mexicans were killed when a number of the Mexican residents resisted the attack upon their homes. The others fled to the hills.

Reports said that many Americans were searching the hills near Ray tonight; bent upon killing every Mexican they meet.

Officers and citizens have been sworn in as deputies, were sent to patrol the entire section to prevent a spread of the race rioting, if possible. I could go on and on and cite the Repatriation of a million Mexicans during the 1930s. However, hysteria has no reason.Small minds, stupid people, cowards spread it.

Stupid people learn little from the past. An incensed Ricardo Flores Magon after the 1914 hysteria called the U.S. a nation of maranos (pigs). Today we must remember that a minority of Americans of all colors condemn the racist xenophobes.

— by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Arizona, Aztlan, Borderlands, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Studies, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Hispanics/Latinos, History, Los Angeles, Mexican, Politics, Resistance | Leave a comment

23rd Annual MEChA Nationals at the University of Arizona (2016)

MEChA Nationals 2016

MEChA Nationals 2016

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, MEChA, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, University of Arizona, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Relax by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)



Posted in AmeriKKKa, Capitalism, Cartoonista, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Posters, Chicana/o Studies, Colonialism, Community, Decolonization, Globalization, Knowledge, Military Industrial Complex, Neo-Liberalism, Washington | 1 Comment

For Elena

For Elena


the sadness in my heart

a brief Xikano memory

thinking about you

Cass corridor sweetheart

you said you were tired

of being poor

union sister did we fall

in love for the time being

I bought you flowers that you might watch

love grow in fresh wandering night air flow


Xikana sister

all your life

all my life waiting

for our moment to arrive

still chasing our laughter

your touch the expectation

in our wandering heartbeat a jazzy

Detroit sax lull starlight caress at home

in these Sandia Mountain roadways up

to the crest where Creative Spirit wanders


sleeps is awakened by the expectation

in your voice your eyes my thoughts

of you tonight in a blues mode


this my starlight gaze 


the Heart of Sky







                    fertile soil

                    our Father

                    and Mother


                                                Aztatl X


Posted in Aztlan, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Healing, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Prose, Chicana/o Studies, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, History, Memory, Palabra, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

The National Question


don’t you think if you had become part of the academic community   instead of remaining as  an outsider you could have been instrumental in    increasing the percentage  of faculty of Mexican extraction beyond three percent? 

Take care


No, I don’t; the program, would have never succeeded if I was an insider. We have 26 tenure track and 40 part timers offer 166 courses a semester. This is part of the problem; History says we are taking “their” students (we are over twice as large as History). They haven’t hired Mexican faculty members because they are racist.


What distinguish people of Mexican extraction in the United States from those in Mexico are their life experiences in this country that have, for better or for worse, shaped them. That is why many sociologists pay so much attention to the questions of race and cultural conflict. Their experiences have grown more complex over the years as the numbers of Mexican American and other Latino groups have escalated. The total Latino population has zoomed for 5 million in 1970 to 53 million in 2010, with two-thirds of them of Mexican extraction.

Latino organizations have also changed as their constituent population has grown. Most non-Mexican immigrants have arrived in recent years, distinguishing them from Mexican Americans who have a much older history in the United States, and who have consequently suffered the brunt of rural segregation as well as the harsh racism of the pre-1960s.  Indeed, Mexican American organizations are rooted in civil rights issues and the protection of the foreign born.

During the 1960s and early 70s, local Chicana/o organizations changed, dropping the fiction of “other white” that was at the core of its earlier civil rights cases.  Influenced by radical and civil rights organizations, more of them began to think about what long range strategies should they use? Were they part of the Mexican or American working class?

Some Mexican American organizations looked to Karl Marx’s definition of the National Question, which they discussed in study circles.  They repeated Josef Stalin’s definition that “A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” In doing this, they challenged the myth of the American melting pot.

They recognized that only by a collective identification could they achieve liberation.  Mexican Americans did not invent the National question. It had been raised since the 18th century and later debated by Marxists and anarchists. The basic premise of the National Question was the Right of Nations to Self-Determination of oppressed minorities.  By extension, it referred to nations with multi-nationalities.

The question took on new meanings for Mexican Americans and Latinos as they have achieved a critical mass. Meanwhile, many national organizations and leaders adopted assimilationist strategies supposed to solve the problem of inequality that replaced the more radical end self-determination.

It is important to reiterate that the discussion of the National Question is not a product of the 20th Century.  Karl Marx and his followers, for instance, wrote about National liberation, the Irish and the Jewish question and imperialism.

Today, the National Question has become much more complex as national liberation has shifted to stop the Third World’s subservience. neoliberalism and to curtail the influence of the World Bank and IMF, austerity programs and national debts.

My involvement in Arizona forced me to focus on the privatization of public schools and higher education, as well as driving home the importance of micro-history in answering the question of whether assimilation is a viable strategy in achieving liberation for Mexican Americans and others. The thesis of my blogs in recent years has been that the ruling elite achieves its dominance over the minority through a strategy of pseudo assimilation and the erasure of memory.

The other day, I read an article In These Times by John Collins titled “For the Activists in the New Economy Movement, All Revolution Is Local.” It is a spinoff of the feminist saying that all politics are local. It notes “the collateral damage unlimited economic growth” has caused harm to society, as “the mainstream media works to fit the debate about economic inequality into a bootstrap-capitalist versus freeloader-socialist box, here are some of the realities fueling the skepticism.” Collins solution is local democracy though “co-op and consumer ownership ideas.”

While I agree with much of what Collins writes, my take is different. Mexican Americans and Latinos are going to have to take another look at the National Question and learn to say “no” to assimilation policies. This includes “No” to political parties, Democratic part candidates and trade unions.  This can only be accomplished through a collective discussion of the National Question and a dialogue on what is to be done.

These collective discussions are absent today in Arizona and efforts to roll back the privatization of public schools and higher education.

The rhetoric of assimilation is to isolate minorities. There is an over concentration on culture that plays a huge role among oppressed minorities who over identify as members of a national culture rather than on thanr inequality.  By assimilating, the minorities inequality is not changed, and their political emancipation is delayed.

The debate on strategy is not new. In the decades surrounding 1900, when most working-class families were on the brink of financial ruin, mutual aid societies (mutualists) were formed to provide health insurance and a space for workers — they were combinations of social clubs and financial institutions.

Mutualistas were invaluable to minorities who were often excluded from trade unions. Socialists, however, criticized them as relieving capitalists of their duty to provide for essentials such as health care.  It weakened the struggle against capital and delayed revolution.

My criticism of assimilation is not so much based on separatism as much as a strategy to achieve collective goals. My discussion with Mike that introduces the blog is a counter-argument to those who maintain that my tactics and those of others should have been more cooperative. Assimilation and the call for civility are strategies by the ruling elite to keep us in our place and subvert the preservation of memory and community.

— by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Studies, Chicano Movement, Community, Decolonization, Education, History, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Mexican, Movimiento, Nepantla, Race, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

SNL by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)



Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, Cartoonista, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Knowledge, Labor, Language, Mexican, Movimiento, Political Cartoon, Racism, Resistance, Sexism, Television/Media, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

On Illegal Pete’s and the Dark Shadow of Arizona

We Are Never Illegal in Our Own Land

Let’s get one thing clear: Chicana/o-Mexicana/o-Indigenous peoples can never be illegal in our own land. Yet, there are “laws” in place which erase and negate this historical fact, while also criminalizing our presence on this continent.

There is a history of anti-Mexican attitudes, which date back to some of the first encounters between Anglos and Mexicans in Texas during the early 1820s. Although anti-Mexican terminology changes over time, the perception that Mexicans are “illegal” has not.

To be designated “illegal” by the State has serious implications for Chicana/o-Mexicana/o-Indigenous peoples as we have historically been subjected to State-sponsored verbal, psychological, and physical violence, including being denigrated, ridiculed, murdered, lynched, detained, tortured, imprisoned, and deported simply for being Mexican

Illegal Pete's in the heart of the University of Arizona

Illegal Pete’s in the heart of the University of Arizona

To be racialized as an “illegal” is no laughing matter as the historical record shows. So it makes me wonder why Pete Turner, owner of Illegal Pete’s, which is scheduled to open soon in Tucson in the heart of the University at Arizona, thinks it’s flattering to name his restaurant with a term that research by Old Dominion University Professor Matthew R. Pearson has shown evokes strong anti-Mexican attitudes among Euroamericans who perceive Mexicans as a threat.

In June 2015 when declaring his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the presidency, Donald Trump made several racist and anti-Mexican remarks. One of the most memorable statements Trump made was that Mexico is sending rapists and criminals to the U.S. Many people with no sense of history laughed it off as the comments of a crazed clown with no real hopes of winning the presidency.

Perhaps that may be true, but what was lost in the rhetoric of violence was that these types of comments have historically engendered real life violence against Mexicans.

Indeed, in August 2015, two Euroamericans violently assaulted a Mexican homeless man in Boston stating: “Donald Trump was right,” the two men said, as they beat the man with a metal pipe and then urinated on him. “All these illegals need to be deported.” Most recently, Ariel Rojas, a Florida University student, was violently dragged out of a Trump rally by one of his “make America great again” supporters.

For Pete Turner to have us all believe that he is merely paying homage to his father is ahistorical gibberish, which, truth be told, deflects from him being held accountable for instigating in the American psyche obvious racial tones at a time when the current political climate that hangs a dark shadow over Arizona, and it can be argued throughout the country, is without a doubt anti-Mexican.

Anti-Mexican Hate Has Always Been the Norm

Imagine this scenario: Pete Turner opening up a restaurant chain in the Deep South with a “N*#! Pete’s” offering Black Southern cuisine that pays homage to his slave holding father, all while offering wages above the minimum? What do you think the reaction would be nationwide?

I can’t fathom such an idea ever materializing because then he’d be held accountable for his so-called “mysterious and playful” take on the term, while having to explain his racism. Yet, somehow in the anti-Mexican climate we find ourselves in, it is acceptable to invest in a chain with the term ‘Illegal” because it is perceived as harmless and amusing.

If Pete Turner thinks a name is harmless, he should ask Indigenous peoples how they feel about the racial slur in that one NFL team?

The University of Arizona, Where art Thou?

For Chicanas/os-Mexicanas/os-Indigenous peoples who have suffered a history of verbal, psychological, and physical violence, we must stand in solidarity to oppose Illegal Pete’s restaurant chain coming to Tucson, and of all places, in the heart of the University of Arizona.

That the University of Arizona (UofA) appears to be silent on the issue of Illegal Pete’s is revealing in light of the fact that the chain is opening in Main Gate Square. Main Gate Square is the central location where UofA faculty, staff, and students go daily and nightly for entertainment, food, and drink. Main Gate Square is not a neutral spot, it is verified extension of the UofA.

The failure of the UofA to publicly distance itself from this chain nor use its influence to let Pete Turner know that his chain is not welcome at the doorstep of the University speaks volumes. The UofA has first and foremost the responsibility to protect the safety of its faculty, staff, and students.

I can’t even imagine the scene inside Illegal Pete’s on Cinco de Mayo and the potential for Chicana/o-Mexicana/o faculty, staff, students, and community to be physically and verbally harassed.

If the UofA continues its “neutrality”, and by implication, silently approves of Illegal Pete’s, is it acknowledging an unspoken truth: that it too perceives Chicanas/os-Mexicanas/os as “not belonging” or in other words as “illegal”?

Main Gate Square


Sign in front of Illegal Pete’s. Does the UofA approve of the dehumanization of Chicana/o-Mexicana/o people?

The Main Gate Square properties are principally owned and managed by the Marshall Foundation, which has donated over $16 million to the University of Arizona over the years. Thus, the UofA is (in)directly giving its blessing to Illegal Pete’s to set up shop at the doorstep of the university in a location where athletic and student pep rallies are held the night before each football game.

As Chicana freelance writer Adriana Maestas told me, “There’s also the issue of why the [Marshall Foundation] would lease to a Colorado-based company instead of a local restaurant?” This is an interesting question for further examination that I do not readily have an answer for. But the message is clear as to what this foundation and affiliated property management company think of the Chicana/o-Mexicana/o community.

Wage Benchmarking Project?

In the March 28, 2015 edition of the of the Arizona Daily Star, the news site attempted to deflect from the issues that are sure to come to the Tucson community by propagandizing about Illegal Pete’s so-called “wage benchmarking project” that purportedly will increase employee wages.

That the even had to create a fluff piece about paying employees livable wages points to bigger issues about the economic exploitation of working-class people and begs the question as to why aren’t employers already expected to pay their workers above so-called minimum wages?

In the same article, interviewed Lea Marquez Peterson, president and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber, who said that the name doesn’t concern her. Marquez Peterson was quoted as said, “I believe that it is good news for Tucson if Pete has a financial model that supports paying a higher wage.”

Using Marquez Peterson’s reasoning as a measuring stick, it appears that racism and the potential threat of violence against Mexicans is acceptable as long as you are getting paid $2 more than the other restaurants. This is the new civil rights model in the age of social media.

Looks like the lessons from the Chicano Movement have been forgotten for expediency and upward mobility.

Yet MEChA de Arizona has begun a petition and will stage several demonstrations to oppose Pete Turner and his dehumanizing chain.


cultural sovereignty


Posted in AmeriKKKa, Arizona, Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Indigenous, Knowledge, Memory, Mexican, Mexican Deportation, Mexico, Movimiento, Politics, Quotes, Race, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Tucson, Unity, University of Arizona, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Forgotten Memories: Wasted Years

By chance I met a respected adversary in the Freudian Sip, and I took a moment to exchange pleasantries. Out of the blue he asked me how was Chicana/o Studies conceptualized. It is one of those questions that, although asked and answered a thousand times, I have not fully dug into the recesses of my memory.

In looking back, all educational reform in the United States begins and ends with John Dewey (1859-1952).[1] His Inquiry Method has run through reform movements in the United States and abroad since the early 1900s. It was resurrected in the 1960s and is alive today in what we call critical thinking. Having started out as a junior teacher, I experienced heavy doses of Dewey throughout my education.

Today, Dewey has been forgotten in most narratives and education has been captured by neo-liberals who are trying to convert education into a cash register.  Texas and other states are passing laws saying that classroom teaching experience is no longer required to be a superintendent of schools, a practice that has spread to California and Washington DC.

However, Chicana/o studies thankfully was born in another era and is still kept alive by people who want to educate and not train students. Reform and experimentation are woven into its fabric.

ChS was not based on any particular theory or model.  It owes debts to educators such as George I. Sanchez who in turn were influenced by Dewey, the godfather of the Inquiry Method.

In the fall of 1957, American education entered an era of intense educational reform. The Soviet Union launched Sputnik that led to cries for educational reform with different currents forming. Initially, it was an anti-reform movement that wanted to go back to a mythical “get back to the basics” and convert education into math and science factories.  However, the Democrats took over in 1961 widening the trajectory of educational reform.

Billions of dollars went into reforming the teaching of math and science, and not as much money went into the humanities and the social sciences. History rightfully claimed to be more part of the humanities than the social sciences so it had the best of all worlds.

Another American trait surfaced;  higher education seemed more interested in getting grants than actually implementing reforms. Much of the experimentation was eventually forgotten and the books on the findings were forgotten.  However, for the moment,  many of us were the beneficiaries of the intellectual ferment.

The sense of urgency produced by Sputnik and the fear that perhaps the United States was not Number 1 made it clear that it was in the national interest to change education, i.e., curriculum in mathematics and science, but also the humanities and social sciences as well as education.

Aside from teaching and community involvement, I belonged to the California Council for the Social Studies that were made up of many young radical scholars who wanted to change methods and the way history was taught. Our guru was Edwin Fenton, whose books on the Inquiry Method can today be found on Amazon for as little as one penny.

The California Council was very successful for a time until it was intensely red baited by Max Rafferty, the state superintendent of public instruction who waged war on the reformers calling us Communist and subversives because they wanted to teach students to think critically.

My first three textbooks. The Story of the Mexican American, 1969, 3d grade, A Mexican American Chronicle 1969, 8th grade, and Cultures in Conflict, 1970, 5th grade, were based on the Inquiry Method and influenced by Edwin Fenton.  They were adopted by the State of California until the forces of evil went after them at the same time they went after John Caughey, John Hope Franklin, and Ernest May’s better known Land of the Free: a history of United States.

The Sputnik era was important because Americans were out to prove their superiority over the Soviet Union. But once the money dried up so did the interest of higher education. It influenced me and others since it gave us the opportunity to experiment with ideas. Unfortunately, even Schools of Education abandoned experimentation once the money dried up.

The emphasis of the neoliberals who eventually gained control was that everything could be resolved by a greater emphasis on higher academic standards, especially in science and mathematics.

During this period I had the opportunity to work in a teacher training programs under Julian Nava and Ray McHugh in 1967 and 68. Having had public school teaching experience and a teacher trainer for eight years, I was their classroom consultant.

I had received my PhD in 1968 and since 1966 taught experimental courses in Mexican American Studies at Mt. St. Mary’s downtown campus. I also began as a tenure track position at Dominguez State College where in order to justify its existence its president Leo Cain experimented with curriculum. Everyone was required to have an Area Studies Major and a disciplinary major. We took workshops on the newest trends, and I learned about Area Studies that later became the model for Chicana/o studies.

No one person can be given credit for the formation of ChS or any other reform program.  I consider ChS to be revolutionary.  It is revolutionary because it frees students’ minds. It motivates them to think and demand more democracy.  To achieve this we must preserve our memories since forgotten memories are wasted years.

[1] John Dewey, Democracy and Education  (Radford VA: Wilder Publications, 2009)

— by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, Capitalism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Memory, Movimiento, NACCS, Resistance, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

My Dear Princess True


My Dear Princess true

we share this same space in time

unfamiliar quotations sublime we

cross the desert of the mind

to find the trail may lead behind

yet another worn simple state


friend, I call you

with deeper expectation

I reclaim my responsibility

& say I am allergic to caviar



reclamation of

our own destination

I am the silent rapper

I confine my soul out of necessity

change each movement of the pen



basics: empathy

does not compute

the ability to place oneself

into someone else’s shoes

one’s own emotions,


ex-social worker me is


subversion – tending or seeking

to subvert, overthrow destroy

undermind or corrupt, as in morals


or shall I sympathize

organize the silent throng

at pasture alongside wild mustang memories

East Sandia Mountains, New Mexico coyotes

red wolves on the prowl after such a long pause



Mesa Verde Parkway

thank you grandfather

for bringing so much good

so much attention to detail


homeless indigenous campers

my advice sirs and misses eat fideo

drink café Bustello for the Mexican in you

fry bread Indian Tamales too

for the wild Indian in you

so what else is new?



to t.v. or not to t.v.seeking

tarzan funny man standing

laughing at the laughing hyenas

a klown for the establishment 

in the kingdom of proper


cool Gnu honey

morning dew

run!  skunky pee-you

coyote hollers in the holler blue




Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Prose, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Palabra, Resistance, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Spirituality, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment