What we don’t want to know

There is an old saying that goes “Out of sight out of mind.” If we don’t think about the shit that we live in, we won’t smell it. And if we don’t think about it, we are not compelled to do anything about it. In other words, the more you know, the more you smell the injustices.  Perhaps my grandmother was right when she told me, “Hijito don’t read so much te vas a volver loco.”

When in college, I learned that liberalism that was partially based on a political philosophy or worldview founded on liberty and equality.  It melded into the drive to secularize modern states in the 19th Century.  Liberals believed that individuals should have the freedom to use land and other resources in the ways they wanted, and that they should not be limited by government.  Accordingly, communal properties hampered progress.

This philosophy again melded into the positivist belief of the survival of the fittest.  Liberals believed in the secularization of Church property and abolishment of communal property. The individual should public properties and profit from the land and resources of a society; the individual’s freedom to exploit the land should not be limited.

I have always believed that micro-history better informs us best of the lessons and definitions in history. In the mid-1990s Bill Clinton spread the cult of neoliberalism. It was a blend of 19th century and modern liberalism that favored free-market capitalism. It was based on the policies of Ronald Reagan; Clinton triangulated it. Neoliberalism was also nurtured by the 1970s the ideas of Milton Friedman and Chicago University economists who popularized the myths of the free market.  Under Augusto Pinochet, Chile became a proving ground for neoliberals who spread the phenomenon worldwide; this same neoliberalism is today destroying Mexico where people are getting poorer and the number of billionaires is increasing.

While I have no problem understanding neoliberalism on a macro-level, my understanding is enhanced by micro events. Arizona, for example, taught us that we sometimes simplify the cause of racial conflict by blaming white racism, while true in some cases, it is much more complex. The more I studied events, the more I realized that neoliberalism was the underlying cause of the anti-immigrant and anti-ethnic studies legislation.  Arizona made possible the Trump disaster.  There was widespread profit and privatization.

Comparatively little literature exists on the impact of neoliberalism or privatization on higher and public education in the United States.  Articles mostly focus on the spread of charter and for profit schools. I thus found it necessary to apply my experiences in Arizona and my home university both of which are totally privatized.  The process was so rapid that it was hardly noticeable.  Within the universities the main casualties were faculty governance, a decline in fulltime faculty employment and the elimination of civil service employment.

Confrontations with the administration and the idiot deans have made most Chicana/o studies faculty more aware of the threat to the area of study, which brings me to my main point we cannot allow any further erosion of governance. I was browsing the CSUN web page on my IPhone when I came across an item that said that CSUN was a leader among the Masters’ Level universities in the number of foreign students. This article which I cannot now find put the information in the context of CSUN having achieved academic stature nationwide because of this increase.  Immediately it came to mind that our campus is impacted and that students in certain majors are being turned away. The ratio of Black students has fallen to about 5 percent; it would be lower if the Education Opportunity Program had not made a special effort to recruit Black students. Lastly, it brought to mind that we have about 4200 out of state and foreign exchange students. The administration profits about $80 million dollars annually that goes into a plenary fund for the administration to use. Faculty does not get the accounting that they did in years past.

Another item posted on March 2 reported that “CSU Campuses Recognized Nationally as Leaders in Diversity and Inclusion.”  The number of Hispanic serving Institutions has mushroomed. This was news to me since the administration has increasingly excluded Chicana/o studies from consultations. For close to fifty years we have requested data on the number of Mexican origin professors which the administration has refused to give us. The Dean of Humanities who in the past has done everything she could to obstruct us is promoting grants, and although she knows nothing about Mexicans and indeed has an antipathy towards them, is attempting to monopolize research and Latinx programs. At one time racists like the Dean Beth Say did not want to have anything to do with Mexicans, but now that there are so many of them she sees the dollar signs. For the record, outside ChS only about one percent of the CSUN faculty is of Mexican extraction. This ratio has not changed in fifty years.

The last disturbing item reported in the Los Angeles Times: the California State University Trustees voted to increase student tuition.  Today increasingly minority students are dropping out of college because they cannot afford it. When I first began my trek at LA State College the state paid 100 percent of the costs. I paid $5.00 a semester. Today students pay about 80 percent of the costs of instruction. Aside from tuition students are charged $1.75 for a cup of coffee. They pay for the parking structures, the dorms where they pay $900 a month for a single bed, forced to pay for meal tickets, etc. The university is a Big Mercado; they even have a coffee shop in the library.

No doubt that neoliberalism has converted us from educators into merchants. The problem is that few people notice or care. Like the movie “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” we are the patients and the administration gives us our daily tranquilizers. This is unfortunate because the privatization greatly impact all students.  It will severely limit the expansion of ChS and the ability to advocate for Mexican/Latinx students. Latinx students are the new gold who because of their numbers they are valuable commodities.

Times have changed. In 1969 white administrators and faculty did not care about ChS because  the number of Chicana/o students on campus was small. Today Mexican/Latinos are too large to ignore, witness the growth of Hispanic Serving Institutions. The lack of faculty diversity deprives students of mentors and most of all advocates. The rising tuition limits students from the bottom of the economic ladder from enrolling in college – and finally they don’t have the collateral consume what the neoliberal college peddles.

— by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Education, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, CSUN, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Knowledge, Liberation, Memory, Movimiento, Resistance, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Birth of a New Symbol: The Brown Berets & Chicano/o Education, 1966-1972 at the University of Arizona (4/13/17)

Birth of a New Symbol

Posted in Arizona, Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Education, 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 Moratorium, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Knowledge, Memory, Mexican, Movimiento, Police Brutality, Police Infilitration, Resistance, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Tucson, Unity, University of Arizona, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Challenge to Be Great: The Election of Gabriel Buelna

One of the greatest disappointments in living a long life is seeing friends who could have been great enter politics surrounded by high hopes and never achieve their potential or your hopes for them. My former student Gabriel Buelna won the recent primary election for the Los Angeles Community Colleges with over 220,000 votes. Only the mayor and countywide elected officials received more votes. Buelna received about ten times more votes than the top city council contenders.

In the past, candidates for the community college boards have viewed these seats mostly as stepping stones for well-paying government jobs such as the state assembly, state senate and city council with the election to congress for the limited few. Term limits made it impossible for most aspiring politicos to master the craft of governing. The days of the Jess Unruhs, Willie Browns, Richard Alatorres and Richard Polancos came to an end with most Chicana/o politicos spending most of their time accumulating a gaggle of lobbyists in order to build a sufficiently large funders’ base for them to tackle the next level.

This filtering process made the candidates less focused on the craft. Very few learned the issues and problems of their districts. In my more the sixty years of studying politics I found that the only city councilman in my opinion that really understood land use was Mike Hernández. Being good at anything takes time and understanding one’s district is essential especially today when developers control Los Angeles.

The challenge for Buelna will be that few of his colleagues are educators, they know very little about pedagogy. Consequently, the dropout and the transfer rates to four year universities are of concern. When I transitioned from the secondary education division (high school and junior high) to Pierce College the majority of the social science faculty came from that sector. For example, I had eight years teaching experience and had trained teachers.

Every three years of so about 300 social scientists would take history and political science exams and the top scorers would be given interviews. I wanted to go to East Los Angeles College or Valley College, but was hired at Pierce. Very few of the community college instructors had doctorates. The truth be told, doctorates at this level are not essential. After teaching history and political science for eight years you pretty much knew the field. The important thing was to know how to teach and in reality very few PhDs know how to do that.

When I had the good fortune to form the Chicana/o Studies curriculum and hire the first faculty I was frankly fortunate that there were few PhDs available. The two that were hired had PhDs but they had also been high school teachers. In retrospect the best teachers, not necessarily the most popular, were credentialed teachers. They met our needs because most of the students came from high schools that had not prepared students for college. Our mission at the time was teaching of identity (motivation) and skills.

Gabriel has it right when he says that the biggest challenge for the community colleges is to tackle the dismal transfer rate. It is true that the two year colleges are severely overcrowded and suffer from years of neglect. Although they teach most of the students in higher education, they have received the least financial support and oversight. With that said, I would urge Gabriel to consider the role of teaching. This is not a popular proposal since the teachers’ union will take the position that the teachers are already professionals and doing a good job. The unions say that they should not be blamed for the failure of students to go to four year universities. It is, however, a shortsighted view because no one is blaming them; the blame goes to those who run and fund the schools. No one objects to medical doctors having to attend seminars and take proficiency exams. That is what professionalism is about.

It is also vital that something be done about the LACCD structure. It is in bad shape administratively. It needs to be turned around and we cannot afford for it to serve as a stepping stone for Latinx political aspirants.  Gabriel is facing the greatest test of his life; however, he is capable and has the tools to succeed. But he must focus on the task ahead.  He does not want to end up like the washed-up boxer turned longshoreman, Terry Malloy, in “On the Water Front” muttering “I could have been a contender.” If he seizes the moment and makes a difference in the LACCD he could be a champion. The most tragic words when you grow old are “I could have been.”

— by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Education, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicano Movement, Community, CSUN, Cultura, Education, Hispanics/Latinos, History, Knowledge, Memory, Mexican, Movimiento, Politics, Resistance, Rhetoric, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

GI José by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)

GI José

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Capitalism, Cartoonista, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Citizenship, Community, Decolonization, Education, History, Immigration, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Memory, Mexican, Mexican Deportation, Mexican Repatriation, Military Industrial Complex, Movimiento, Political Cartoon, Resistance, Solidarity, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Neither Grapes nor Lettuce: A Cesar Chavez Day Symposium

Neither Grapes nor Lettuce: A Cesar Chavez Day Symposium

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.” -Cesar Chavez

In honor of Cesar Chavez Day and National Farmworker Awareness Week, this symposium aims to showcase interdisciplinary initiatives around immigration and migration in the United States. Presentations will include academic scholarship, artwork, film, and program proposals from students and activists across New York.

Given the current political challenges to farmworker and immigration rights, this will also serve as a gathering space for advocates of all experiences. We invite you to come explore how collective efforts across disciplines and professions can contribute to the fight for farmworker, immigrant, and migrant justice.

Speakers will include representatives from:
-Rural & Migrant Ministry
-Worker Justice Center
-AmeriCorps
-Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University

A full list of speakers and presentations will be posted in mid-March.

Co-sponsored by Columbia Population Research Center, Association for Justice and Health, Chicanx Caucus

***Please also come out for the Cesar Chavez Day RALLY for NY State Farmworker Rights on Thursday, March 30 at 11am: https://www.facebook.com/events/13817…

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, Boycott, 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, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Columbia University, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Farmworkers, Globalization, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Liberation, Memory, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Resistance, Self-Determination, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Student Empowerment, Transglobal, Transnational, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Raíces (A Chicanx Brown Bag Series) at the University of Arizona (3/8/17)

Raíces

Posted in Arizona, Aztlan, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Education, Gender, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Law, Memory, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Politics, Race, Resistance, Rhetoric, Self-Determination, Sin Fronteras, Social justice, Solidarity, Spirituality, Student Empowerment, Tucson, Unity, University of Arizona, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

White Privilege by Eric J. García (El Machete Illustrated)

White Privilege

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 Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Land, Memory, Movimiento, Native American, NODAPL, Political Cartoon, Resistance, Standing Rock, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

March in the Rain Film and Discussion at the University of Arizona (2/28/17)

Decolonizing Film & Plática Series

Posted in 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, Chicano Moratorium, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Documentary, Education, History, Knowledge, Los Angeles, Memory, Mexican, Movimiento, Platica, Resistance, Self-Determination, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Tucson, Unity, University of Arizona, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

Nepantlerx Cosmologies: Revisiting Gloria Anzaldúa for 21st Century Activisms at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio

Nepantlerx Cosmologies

Posted in Aztlan, Barrio, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Healing, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o LGBTQ, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Gender, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Liberation, Memory, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Resistance, San Antonio, Self-Determination, Sexuality, Texas, Unity, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment

My Xikana Lover

My Xikana Lover

 

con lumbre

mis suenos 

de amor y passion

querida de me vida

 

en veces 

totalmente

loca y libre 

I am first hand witness  

to your eyes a reflection

I cannot hope to run from 

temporal although it may be

 

there just below the heated thought

taught skin our depth of passion

a summer sky of willful bliss 

pressed tightly against

my strength to resist

 

“stay warm” 

your parting words survive

press at the solar plexus alive

an ache, duena de mi paz 

 

peaceful drives our Universe of intent

 

rules the natural turn of our Earth Mother

drives the Universe a perfect fit

day into night the Circular Spirituality

embers from the first wild fire blaze

eons ago our birthday right ….

 

                                                      Aztatl X

                                                   2005/2017

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Prose, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Memory, Mexica, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Resistance, Student Empowerment, Xicana, Xicano | Leave a comment