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News With Nezua | Take Our Jobs!

June 30th, 2010 § 39 comments § permalink

News With Nezua vids first appear Monday mornings at La Frontera Times. Wednesdays they show up at UMX, as well as in a dim setting at The XOLAGRAFIK Theater. Link to YouTube version here.

News With Nezua | Semantic Games Do Not Make Change

June 23rd, 2010 § 10 comments § permalink

News With Nezua vids first appear Monday mornings at La Frontera Times. Wednesdays they show up at UMX, as well as in a dim setting at The XOLAGRAFIK Theater. Link to YouTube version: Part One and Part Two.

Artists in Support of the US Social Forum 2010!

June 22nd, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

FForward Movement

is an International, Multicultural, Interdisciplinary, Multimedia Digital Arts Compilation featuring

2.5 Hours of Music
60 minutes of Video
Visual Art, Poetry, Photography,
Essays, Short Stories, and MORE!

FForward Movement
was created to raise funds and awareness for the

United States Social Forum 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.

Featured artists include:


Amp Fiddler




Agents of Change

The Unapologetic Mexican


Adrienne Maree Brown, AJ Viola, Al Jagiello, Allie Moreno, Bagwis, Big A, Chinonye Nsofor, Diskarte Namin, Erin Cramer and Zeke Williams, Fausto A. Lopez, Halima Cassels, Heather L. G. Bella, Iayaalis, Jhonathan F. Gómez, Jhuelz, Jim Perkinson, John Lyons, Just One, Kevin Valentine, Khary WAE Frazier, Kiko, Len Beste, Los Nadies, Mars, Mary Simmerling, Matthis Chiroux, Michele Crimi, Nashville Session Players, Nic Notion, Niko Marks, Paul J. Miles, Phillip Morris, Ramah Jihan, Sabrina Nelson, Sails of Whydah, Sim-One, Stephan Said, Steve Falconer, Stryfe, TaRee, Tha Truth, The Pachamama Band, Tom Neilson, Treble Army, Urbanized Music, Vanessa Huang, Zeina C. Washington


$10.00 US


Proceeds from the sale of this compilation go to the United States Social Forum.

This project is a collaboration of artists and activists, individuals and groups who work every day in our communities to create a better world. Artists from Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and the Americas are represented. Though we are different colors, cultures, creeds and religions, individually and collectively we express our common belief that Another World is Possible.

The completion of this project is the realization that by our action we advance the vision of the USSF from possibility to reality.

Another World Is Here. This is only a beginning.

FForward Ever! Backward Never!!

The US Social Forum (USSF) is a movement building process. It is not a conference but it is a space to come up with the peoples’ solutions to the economic and ecological crisis. The USSF is the next most important step in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and changes history.

For more info [or if any of the links here did not work properly] visit USSF2010.org.

News With Nezua | War By Other Means

June 16th, 2010 § 5 comments § permalink

This week’s episodes includes notes on the two recent murders of Mexican nationals at the hands of the US Border Patrol, one of them the 14 year-old Sergio Adrian Hernández Guereca; on the very nasty Prescott Arizona’s City Councilman, Steve Blair who lost his radio job (but not his government gig) over his racist commentary on a new mural in Prescott; and the overall weave of hostilities and violence against the Mexican people by US law agencies, and how this fits into a historical definition of “justice” in the USA.

[slider][A note of thanks to eric of newcomm.org and a video they are now producing, for spurring my thoughts on the Alamo. I put a title card mentioning this at the end of this vid, but as I was wrapping up video production after about four heavy days of work, I was up late and exhausted and didn’t realize how fast it went by.][/slider]


News With Nezua vids first appear Monday mornings at La Frontera Times. Wednesdays they show up at UMX, as well as in a dim setting at The XOLAGRAFIK Theater. View YouTube version here.

We Got Thunder and Heavy Bellied Sky

June 15th, 2010 § 8 comments § permalink

IT’S HARD TO KNOW WHAT TO SAY anymore on Arizona. The pus-ridden boil on the back of the USA’s purported ideals of justice for all. The exploded sore that reveals the ugly fragments and fibers of truth that typically weave so skillfully behind all our polite society lies.

Some say just as well; let this fight be on. It has always been here, skulking. And then sometimes, we fear what that fight will bring. Do we really want to see things go down this way? Can this not, finally, be avoided?

Pundits, bloggers, thinkers, people reach here and there, fix on this or that aspect, comment on what we can. But mostly, we watch in slow motion as reason and kindness crumble and a gross, vile, vindictive, dishonest, persecutory agenda dusts off its bone-spurred wings and launches into the Arizona sky. Who will bring this beast to bay? What cost by then?

And do we now see a sad mutation of our once-beautiful América? Or do the scales fall from our eyes to reveal the true, gleeful, unabashed visage of the monster we’ve been riding so many years, so high over these here crimson waves of grain?

NAM EthnoBlog, by Sandip Roy, Jun 14, 2010

Where is Nina Simone when you need her? Arizona needs her.

First there was Sheriff Joe Arpaio, shackling the undocumented, and marching them to camps down the baking streets of Phoenix.

Then came SB 1070 which requires the police to stop anyone who “looks” like they might be illegal and demand papers.

Then came word that ethnic studies programs were being targeted for being divisive. HB 2281 banned classes for particular ethnic groups or any courses that promoted ethnic solidarity instead of treating people as individuals.

If that wasn’t enough teachers with heavy accents were singled out. The Department of Education wants to reassign teachers whose accents are too heavy. The goal, apparently is to make sure there are no teachers with “faulty English” in Arizona. Let’s hope former President George W. Bush never goes looking for a teaching job in that state.

And now Sen. Russell Pearce, the man behind SB 1070 is revealing his true aim – the Fourteenth Amendment. A story in Time Magazine says buoyed by poll numbers for his illegal immigration crackdown Pearce wants to deny birth certificates to children born in Arizona of parents are here illegally.

Pearce says democracy supports him – 58% of Americans polled by Rasmussen think that children of illegal immigrants should not receive citizenship.

Friends say is the Grand Canyon state going off the deep end?

When four young black girls were killed in the Baptist church bombing in 1963, the story goes Nina Simone locked herself in her room and said she wanted to build her own gun.

In her book I Got Thunder – Lashonda Barnett who interviewed Simone, says her then husband dissuaded Simone telling her “Music is your weapon.” Four hours later she emerged with Mississippi Goddamn.

No church has been bombed in Arizona. And Gov. Jan Brewer assures the public that SB 1070 will be implemented without racial profiling. How? Don’t worry everyone is getting training. Hopefully. That will make former Arizona Governor Raul Castro, a Mexican American, relieved. He has been picked up by the police when he was a superior court judge and asked for his papers. He didn’t have them on him and they almost took him into custody. What he was doing was that most suspicious of activities, the “illegal dead giveaway” – painting a fence. (Oh, Tom Sawyer, where are you now?)

Constitutional experts say that if Arizona really goes after “anchor babies”, the courts will quickly strike it down.

But that’s not the point. The point is, Arizona will have moved the needle so far to the extreme on the issue of immigration SB1070 will start looking fair and balanced. Activists and politicians will think they have scored a victory because they beat back the attack on the Fourteenth Amendment, while SB 1070 remains in place.

Already in post-SB 1070 days, you hear less about all those other agreements already existing between sheriffs departments and ICE, where sheriff deputies can act as ICE agents. At least they are just checking once they pick up someone for some crime, we think, they aren’t just demanding papers because you look illegal.

It’s just like how John Ashcroft suddenly became a portrayed as a brave hospital-bed defender of our civil liberties, once Antonio Gonzalez came on Attorney General the scene.

As Arizona turns up the heat, pushing the rhetoric to even more ludicrous heights, SB 1070 will start sounding more mainstream.

Can’t you see it
Can’t you feel it
It’s all in the air

Lord have mercy on this land of mine
We all gonna get it in due time
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong there
I’ve even stopped believing in prayer

Arizona Goddam.

Why Conservatives and Racists Fear the Futból

June 14th, 2010 § 13 comments § permalink

I HADN’T PLANNED on writing any more about the World Cup, or about Futból/Soccer since the initial post I wrote announcing the kickoff of the games. But then I caught wind of the fact that the Grouchy Old Pricks party (GOP) is throwing itself into a veritable tizzy over them! From the satire sites on the Right to the soon-to-be-Has-Beens like Glenn Beck and dinosaurs like G. Gordon Liddy, the creepy crusty strata of the USA seems to be revolted by the global popularity of the game. And just as is the tried and true reflexive methodology of the parasitic and unoriginal White Vampiricist clan, they imagine themselves both indomitable masters of all, and yet besieged and surrounded by a dangerous and Socializzimy world that creeps forward, slavering to punk out their weak ideology with nothing more than an inflatable ball.

“I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much, and they riot over it, and they continually try to jam it down our throat.”

—Glenn Beck

You’ll note that Glenn Beck, like Rush Limbaugh, loves talking about forced and deviant sex, and will use as many metaphors as possible to relieve the tension he feels when nobody is discussing rape or sodomy in his presence. I mean…we are here talking sports, and where does Glenn go? Yeah! It’s a bit embarrassing. But he’s hardly alone in this fixation.

I haven’t talked about the World Cup, I haven’t talked about how they’re force-feeding this down our throats.”

—Mark Belling, on the Rush Limbaugh Show

I guess when you consider that all this talk comes from the party that has taken Teabagging to a national level, we ought to be grateful that they aren’t bringing the image of soccer “balls” into the creepy recurring visualization of throat-stuffage and leave it at that.

On the G. Gordon Liddy Show, Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor explains the origins of the game to the brave warriors of the Right:

“the problem here is, soccer is designed as a poor man or poor woman’s sport”

Gainor went on in hushed paranoid tones about what demographic exactly is pushing and shoving for the game’s popularity and where, stating that “the left is pushing it in schools across the country.”  He added that the game “is being sold” as part of the “browning of America.”

How’s that work? For every city block you populate with non-whites, you get a free soccer ball? Something to that effect?

Mister Liddy himself further elucidates Gainor’s earlier point, instructing us on how you go about even finding a suitable ball to kick around, should you be one of those poor people whom the game was designed for: cut off someone’s head to save a few bucks!

“this game … originated with the South American Indians and instead of a ball, they used to use the head, the decapitated head, of an enemy warrior.”

Futból: a game for vicious, poor women who only want to stuff something down your American throat. Funny. I always loved it (as a boy it was always my first choice of any team game to play) because it just seemed to require more skill than brawn. Then again, maybe that’s the kind of thing that really scares those who fear they possess much of the former and little of the latter? That is, I should have known the GOP—this pitiful caricature of strength and embracing of ignorance that so embodies the myth of American Exceptionalism to a T— would find cause in seething and spitting over others’ enjoying a soccer game. But I didn’t! I have to say, this only makes me love the game more, only makes me feel that much more excited about the World Cup.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: I’m no sadist. I certainly don’t want anyone stuffing anything into Rush Limbaugh’s throat or bending him over, or doing any of those things he constantly “fears” aloud; I just love the idea that my joy in watching the game does not stand alone but is buttressed on all sides by a conservative loathing! Mmmm. It’s sort of like chocolate syrup on top of a vanilla sundae. The damn thing was tasty anyway, but now it’s plain irresistible.

The World Cup Begins!

June 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink


And the first game in the host country (Sudáfrica, South Africa) is being played before 95,000 people, between Mexico and South Africa. (Nelson Mandela is not attending after all, due to his mourning the recent tragic death of his 13 year old great-granddaughter at the hands of a drunk driver.)

It’s already quite a good game. Mexico was all over South Africa’s goal for a while, but has not managed to put one in yet. Before this last commercial break, South Africa is returning the favor. It can go either way at any moment, and obviously there is a lot of emotion on both sides.

No TV? You can stream it live! My amigos over at Univision  want me to pass this info on to yaz, so enjoy, gente. Y Vamos México!

At Univision, live, beginning today you can find:

• Stream all 64 games from http://www.univision.futbol.com or
http://futbol.univision.com/world-cup-2010-south-africa live and for free
[I’m watching it here —Nez]
• Calendar with latest game results
• Up to the minute stats and scores
• Ranking of top goal scorers
• Group standings, games played and points
• Team websites with downloadable widgets

The action starts Friday, June 11 at 10:00am EST/7:00am PST with Mexico vs.
South Africa. For a full list of the preliminary rounds, go to
And get your Waka Waka dance ready on Thursday, June 10 with live streaming of
the opening ceremony featuring Shakira! The performances start at 2:00pm
EST/11:00am PST at
Need to get prepare yourself for the World Cup? Check out the latest news from

News With Nezua | All These Walls Will Fall

June 9th, 2010 § 20 comments § permalink

Four steps to Remaining Chill, and if those don’t work, try sitcoms and liquor.

News With Nezua vids first appear Monday mornings at La Frontera Times. Wednesdays they show up at UMX, as well as in a dim setting at The XOLAGRAFIK Theater. YouTube version here.

You Have the Right to Paradox and Cast Iron

June 3rd, 2010 § 4 comments § permalink

I’VE BEEN READING about the SCOTUS ruling (5-4 in favor of, Sotomayor dissenting) expanding police privilege and power regarding Miranda rights. Is it safe to assume nearly all my readers are up on both the ruling as well as what Miranda rights are? These are the right to remain silent when arrested, to have an attorney appointed for you by the court if you cannot afford one, the right to be represented by a lawyer, and to have these rights made clear to you upon arrest. They seem commonplace and bedrock, now, don’t they? Yet, until 1966 and the precipitating case ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, these rights did not exist.

In our ever-rightward tilting nation, it seems the folks on the highest court in the land now (except for Sonia Sotomayor, proving already that the Wise Latina has wisdom that white men do not) think it not necessary for the police to assume these rights to be in effect, but instead that one must SPEAK to exercise one’s RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT. One more time:

You must SPEAK to exercise your RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT.

I’m having fun with that! But who actually expects US law to be logically consistent! Right? Only those who experience it as an abstract idea, maybe.

Any extra little morsel of power given the police is surely to translate into even further excesses, and I am guessing that is why this ruling matters? We should hold the line as far back as possible because most cops will cross line A by double? I put the question marks because as far as I know, people are severely overestimating what impact this will have in the lives of real people.

Though maybe it matters to note incremental losses. One writer reminds us that the Conservative method is to “chip away” at laws that Conservatives couldn’t legislate against successfully—such as in the case with abortion, where given any chance to introduce elements that will hinder the still-legal process, they will. (Don’t get me started on this creepy, sleazy, bullying, moralizing, sadistic law now in effect in as many as 20 states where women must be confronted with ultrasound images of their soon-to-be-aborted fetus. (What on earth but the brain of a fantasy god/man-too-long-in-too-much-power would ever foist such barbaric strategies against women of this planet???)

I’ve visited a few Progressive™ liberal comment threads to sample the commentary in reaction to this ruling (I do not visit right wing sites unless circumstance makes it practicably inevitable) and don’t know what I had been expecting, but most opinions there were rooted in either television shows about police, or intellectual imaginings of how law is instituted upon abstract figures, in life.

I hope most of my readers understand that talking to the police should only be done in rare circumstances. Certainly never when you yourself could fall under suspicion or might, by some other party (and rightly or wrongly) be considered culpable. That is, feel free to assist the police if your help will enable them to save someone’s life, or something equally dire. But unless you are prepared to be arrested and possibly have to fight to clear your name from false accusations or false imprisonment or some other possibly worse type of state-empowered injustice, just keep them out of your path. And if you are apprehended or questioned, you need to know a couple lines.

a) Am I under arrest?

b) Am I free to go?

You don’t need to say anything else to random questions or what sounds like friendly chat or even aggressive and direct questioning. Keep repeating those two until you are either under arrest at which point you say c) I only want to talk to my lawyer. I have the right to remain silent; or until they inform you that you are, indeed, “free to go.” At which point you walk away.

I don’t care what you see on TV or what you imagine the law “makes” cops do. Cops do what they want. That’s why the example arrest in this SCOTUS case puzzled me, honestly. Of course the cops used Thompkins’ words against him, even after he said he wanted to remain silent! (What I want you to take note of is the sideways method they used to get him to admit guilt: Have you prayed for God to forgive you? They will even wiretap your prayers to close the case, so have no illusions! And don’t comfort yourself by thinking ‘Oh, but at least they caught a murderer.’ The point is larger: any power allowed against the most deserving of judgment will also be used against those least deserving, as well. And the iron reality of a sentence is the same for both.)

The truth is, the one thing cops hate more than anything else is when you know your rights. Ugh, that reallllly gets in the way of their operations. Here they are, damn sure they know already who is doing what dirty or who is a criminal trying to hide it, and so if they just poke this person, and lift this jacket up, and turn this pocket inside out, empty that drawer, and get that scared one to start blubbering, they can wrap things up nice n tidy and go home! Case closed. But then some smartass suddenly declares that he doesn’t have to talk, or doesn’t have to empty his pockets, or can walk away if he is not under arrest and you see them get angry. Unless they are good at hiding it.

Have no doubt, make no mistake at all: Cops will incriminate you on chatter, or ANYTHING YOU SAY AT ANY TIME while they are in your presence. They might pose themselves as helpers who “just want to understand” you as a person. They may even practice mellow, honeyish tones of concern when they present! They might promise you freedom, to walk the street (even in some specific amount of time like “ten minutes”) if you tell them what they want to know. After all, they repeat in an eerie echo of those who would wiretap our phones without any oversight or hindrance, you’ve got nothing to hide, right?

We really should mention class and racial/ethnic lens, here. I can only speak from my experience and from my life. I bet if you are a wealthy, white person living in a sweet neighborhood, the cops are your buddies. (Yes, white I say, because Skip Gates will tell you, the neighborhood ain’t enough!) And I bet if that’s the case, you smile and relax to see them rolling down your street. Wave, even. Hi, officer! And why the hell not. They are there to protect your wealth and station in the world. So maybe this all sounds like madness to you.

But I’m not in those shoes, that bracket, or on that street. And if you are anything like me, then I’ll make it very clear: Cops are most decidedly not your friends. Cops do not trust you. In fact, they are pretty sure you are up to something. Maybe they can’t make it up, outright. But they can prod and poke you and ask you repeatedly a, b, or c, to see if you can’t keep your story straight; they can irritate you to get you to lose your cool; they will puff up their chest to make you feel you have no choice in the world but to answer their every question. They are mostly bluff. Your rights are solid, though. They can force you to talk, but only if they physically force you. And if they do that, they are in trouble. Because that would leave marks.

Do you get what I’m saying?

That is, cops train specifically in mind games. I’ve read some of the manuals they receive, and trust me when I say it gets specific. So don’t confuse “law” with “justice” or “law” with “integrity” or “law” with “truth.”  They are not there to practice truth upon  you. They are there to prove they had a good reason to suspect you in the first place. They will huff and howl and make up everything you can imagine. Threats, jail time, life-hassle, and so on. But those threats will fall away like paper once you ignore them. (I am not saying police are harmless by any means.)

Just don’t say anything! And the SCOTUS ruling doesn’t have to mean anything. You know what I mean?

What I mean is that no matter what the Supreemies declare from the depths of their silky robes, cops are gonna go out tomorrow and shove people (kids, women, it doesn’t matter) around, pretend they have law-sanctioned rights that they don’t, and if they don’t outright rig a case, they will see what they wanna see and produce what statements they want to hear by selective questioning, presumption, and the massive weight of US law always riding right on their shoulder.

But none of that matters. All that matters is what already mattered before this SCOTUS ruling. That you know these two questions:

a) Am I under arrest?

b) Am I free to go?

and not to talk otherwise. Period.

If you are already arrested, know that everything you utter will be used against you. AGAINST YOU. Don’t let that phrase grow tired and meaningless in your mind. Think about it. They will use every sound you make or word you utter in the agenda of locking you into a box to which you will never have a key. Even after you invoke a right to remain silent. Assume every thing is being tallied and collected. Police will use anything—from what they overhear as you talk to family on your cell phone to lyrics you sing in the cell as you wait for a ride home. Every decibel, sigh, and syllabic eruption will be appropriated by the Police and added to all they already own and employ in their tenure as weapons of the State. It’s very simple.

News With Nezua | Puppets and Pawns

June 2nd, 2010 § 10 comments § permalink

News With Nezua vids first appear Monday mornings at La Frontera Times. Wednesdays they show up at UMX, as well as in a dim setting at The XOLAGRAFIK Theater. View YouTube version here.

The Arizona Boycott: Bigger Than One Law

June 1st, 2010 § 9 comments § permalink

THE ARIZONA BOYCOTT situation is an interesting one. I’d warn against thinking this is gonna fade away. There is a reason that progressive alliances, black leadership and organizations and others are referencing civil rights struggles. There is a reason today that aspiring conservative politicians like Rand Paul and pundits like Glenn Beck are openly arguing against the Civil Rights Era’s gains. This is one of those moments in time.

This is much bigger than one law in Arizona, and these times require our energy and hands, should we have them to lend.

Around the nation, the signs are encouraging. The boycott against SB 1070 grows stronger every day. So stay strong, gente. Many people refused to ride the bus that would not permit Rosa Parks  to sit where she wanted. They did it in solidarity, not because they needed a jog; not because they wanted the inconvenience; not because they did not want a ride! Many others rallied around Rosa Parks—and all others throughout time who stood against injustice—because they knew the sacrifice was worth fighting for what is right.

The Diamondbacks games continues to function as a bullhorn for the boycott:

Politics and sports came together Monday evening when several hundred demonstrators used the opener of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks to protest that state’s new immigration bill.

Holding placards that read, among other things, “Arizona Shame on You” and chanting “Boycott Arizona!” demonstrators marched up Elysian Park Avenue toward Stadium Way and assembled on the four corners outside the entrance to the stadium, walking back and forth across the streets. …

“We’re not going to stop them from attending the game,” said John Morales, one of the organizers of the protest. “They’ve already bought their tickets. We’re trying to make a connection between sports and politics…. The Diamondback team is not just from Arizona; the ownership has contributed to the Republican Party that has spearheaded the legislation.”

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada may soon come on board:

Several cities around the country are already boycotting Arizona in response to the law. Now, the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, or PLAN, wants city councils in Reno and Las Vegas to do the same. “We want to send a message to Arizona that this type of police state tactic is not welcome in our country,” said PLAN’s Communications Director Launce Rake. “Let’s not do business with Arizona businesses and let’s definitely not send any government people there to conventions.”

Pablo Alvarado, President of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network joined thousands of protestors and concerned humans in Phoenix on Saturday to protest SB 1070. He talks about how there will soon be a way to keep supporting companies who are oppose SB 1070, and leave the others in the cold:

Alvarado said the National Day Laborer Organizing Network — who organized the rally and march along with Puente Arizona, a human rights organization spear-heading the anti-SB 1070 movement — is working on a method for companies that oppose the immigration law to be identified by shoppers who participate in the boycott.

“We are creating a ‘human rights zone,’ and all of those [sympathetic] businesses are going to be hit in the next few weeks,” Alvarado said. “And those businesses are going to have a sticker that says … ‘This is a human rights zone, come and sponsor this business.’”

Kanye West, Zach de la Rocha, Cypress Hill, and other musicians are on board with the boycott:

“Fans of our music, our stories, our films and our words can be pulled over and harassed every day because they are brown or black, or for the way they speak, or for the music that they listen to,” said de la Rocha, who has been outspoken about the law since2 the bill was first introduced earlier this year. “We are asking artists the world over to stand with us, and now allow our collective economic power to be used to aid and abet civil and human rights violations that will be caused by Arizona’s odious law.”

The Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors may soon join the Los Angeles City Council in boycotting Arizona:

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will consider adding their opposition to the law. The school district is considering a resolution condemning the law and exploring ways of curtailing support for Arizona and companies based there.

The resolution, proposed by board President Monica Garcia and members Nury Martinez and Yolie Flores, would call for LAUSD civics and history classes to include a discussion of the Arizona law “in the context of unity, diversity and equal protection for all.” …

Last month, the Los Angeles City Council approved an economic boycott of Arizona.

Minnesota Native Americans and others gathered this past weekend to support the boycott:

May 29, Forth Snelling, Minnesota. Minnesotans of many ethnicities gathered to support the Arizona Boycott in protest of new immigration law (SB170) and to prevent introduction of similar laws here.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., America’s oldest African American college fraternity, has decided to move their national convention from Phoenix, Arizona to Las Vegas, Nevada in solidarity with the boycott against Arizona, and in opposition to the recent passage of SB 1070. The decision is “an expensive one,” according to The Root:

The decision to boycott Arizona is not without a cost for Alpha Phi Alpha. Breaking contracts with Phoenix area hotels, catering, and meeting rooms means the fraternity is now in litigation with contractors. And while Mason can’t give an exact amount on how much the boycott will cost the fraternity, he estimates that Alpha is looking at over $300,000 in penalties. That doesn’t include over 3,000 Alphas who will have to change their flight and hotel reservations as soon as possible.

“I’m ecstatic that our dear fraternity took a hard-line stance with a state known for attempting to block our Brother Martin Luther King Jr.’s national holiday,” said Terry Calhoun, a financial planner and Alpha Phi Alpha member from Illinois. Calhoun purchased his discount airline tickets to Phoenix months ago, and will now be paying extra for the trip to Las Vegas. But he’s fine with it.

“I would be willing to go to a campfire to hold the national convention as opposed to going to the oppressive state of Arizona,” Calhoun said.

Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is urging major league baseball players to boycott the 2011 All-Star game, which is scheduled to take place in Phoenix, to protest SB 1070:

In every century and generation, immigrants have contributed to the progress, prosperity and vitality of this nation. This law undermines that shared history by promoting discrimination against one group of people. As someone who has and continues to fight for comprehensive immigration reform, I believe the Arizona law is a call to action for reform of our nation’s broken immigration system. However, while I understand the frustration about the failures of our current system, states should not be permitted to enact their own discriminatory immigration laws while the federal government works to reform our laws. The Arizona law is an embarrassment to our country and a call to action to our communities to stand up against injustice.

For these reasons, I ask that you consider boycotting the All-Star Game in Arizona until SB1070 is repealed or the League decides to move the game to an alternate location.

Of course, as FOX news and others love to broadcast whenever possible, a MSNBC/TELEMUNDO poll taken at one point showed that a majority of whites support SB 1070, even while a majority of Latinos did not. (Do you think this is accurate, or being used by media branches to divide us? If it is a real divide, do you wonder why this might be? Why racial profiling consequences intensifying does not affect whites’ peace of mind?) And you can easily find many op-eds, articles, pundits and even politicians who run the gamut from baffled as to why the boycott even exists and keeps growing, to enraged that it does. There are people doing their best, even, to organize spending sprees in Arizona! They seem to love the idea of SB 1070 that much. As if they personally need there to be increased scrutiny and policing and Your-Papers-Please checkpoints in the nation.

The faultlines between whites and non-whites in perceptions, feelings, realities of jail, social repercussions of state violence—it all becomes clear, now. Of course that faultline has been there all along, though we’ve all become zoned out, used to dealing, adapted in our own ways. Either blinded by comfort and privilege, or just dealing with the imbalances wherever they exist. Or some mix of both?

Either way, something has happened in America. Something inexorable, no doubt. We are living in important times, just as every other person on Earth did. And here we live through an unveiling. Of our own natures. How we deal with that will define us, no doubt. In my wildest dreams I hope we all come together. I don’t see that we are there yet, as a People. Those in power are mostly holding on tighter. Which means status quo, more suffering, worse division, more racism, more prisons, more death, more poor people, more disease, more environmental disaster, more war. Those are all kindred to increased racial profiling, greater numbers of people in prison, more divided families, greater police powers, greater state power, further persecution of people of color as well as vulnerable families, men, women, and children.

This is much bigger than one law in Arizona.

But the big battle is the little battle, too. Which is why when I see factions of people or people baffled at the boycott, or in support of SB 1070; when I see them clamp down harder on views that support the corrupt status quo, I see there is a lot of fighting left to do.

Last week, Ohio radio station WTVN-AM (owned by Clear Channel, the station quick to act against errant curse words or bared breasts) actually had a nifty little contest in support of SB 1070:

610 WTVN would like to send you where Americans are proud and illegals are scared, sunny Phoenix, Arizona! You’ll spend a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert, just make sure you’ve got your green card! Win round trip airfare to Phoenix, hotel accommodations, and a few pesos in spending cash – just register below!”

This weird (not-racist) contest was a reaction to Columbus mayor Michael Coleman’s decision to join the boycott and ban city employees from visiting Arizona in any official capacity (they are of course free to go on their own time and dollar if they like). You’ll note that article has Mister Coleman’s somber and poignant and personal thoughts on the Civil Rights struggle that affected his family. His great-great-great Grandmother was a slave, and she lived to 105. And he was infused with her memory and her experience when he made the decision he did.

And what was Clear Channel’s little radio station Dj’s response to this? To give away a weekend trip “chasing aliens”; where “illegals are scared” and as the winner of the contest, you are free to sun and hunt, and spend cash.

This is much bigger than one law in Arizona.

NCLR’s Janet Murguia reacted to the station’s contest:

“The passage of SB 1070 has provoked a lot of reprehensible anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric but a radio station bankrolling someone to ‘hunt’ human beings for sport represents a new low,” stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO.  “The owners and directors of WTVN might think that this is all in good fun but what is happening to Latinos – citizen, legal, and undocumented alike – in Arizona is no joke.  We are asking for an immediate and unequivocal apology from the station and its parent company.”

Noting that the station’s contest has triggered considerable outrage in Latino communities in Ohio, Arizona, and nationwide, Murguia concluded, “It is important to keep in mind that the American people own the airwaves over which WTVN broadcasts.  As such, we will ask FCC Commissioners to ensure that threats against American citizens — such as the one encouraged and promoted by WTVN  – are not taken lightly and dealt with in an appropriate manner as soon as possible.”

(By the way, if you feel that contest was an unacceptable use of OUR airwaves, voice your feelings about that contest directly:)

WTVN Mailing Address:
2323 W. Fifth Ave.
Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43204

Main Office: 614-486-6101
Main Fax: 614-487-2559

Mike Elliott:
Executive Producer – Program Director


So we fight on.

You cannot help but look over to the White House every now and then to see if the Bipartisan Bubble that shields the DOJ and the Oval Office from further Fierce Urgency of Nows being afflicted upon them has weakened, or lifted. But whether it’s lukewarm statements on flotillas, hazy afternoon beer summits, or impassioned (but later rescinded or ignored) bankster-scoldings or denunciations of ICE and in favor  of swift immigration reform, the Obama administration has made clear its shape and method. This is no fire in the belly leadership. This is a loud sound, stall-em-off, change the subject, do-just-enough-to-quell-the-outcry, make no fast or dramatic moves administration.

That means we really do have to push our “representatives” hard. Even harder. And keep waking up the nation. More writing, more talking. More calls. More art, more videos. More letters. More boycott actions, more people, more towns. We must make the chronically comfortable feel that the situation for others is exactly as uncomfortable, untenable, and unlivable as the rest of us know it to be already.

Keep on, and we can make change. Think back to all those who sacrificed to bring us where we are today. True, there have always been sneery, bloated defenders of the status quo like Glenn Beck, but social change that changes the lives of many for the better began not with millionaire puppets with vapo-rub under the eyes and book tours under the arm, but with regular people. Every day people. Who made a stand. That’s what we can do. We don’t have the Beck bullhorn or the Rupert riches, but we are many more, and we stand on the shoulders of many regular people who discovered they could be giants, given the right cause.

This is the right cause. This is much bigger than just one law in Arizona.

Racist Frustrated With Own Racism Writes Letter

June 1st, 2010 § 11 comments § permalink

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR about immigration, in the online New York Times:

To the Editor:

I am sick and tired of being called a racist. America looks at me and sees a middle-class white man who wants something done about illegal immigration and assumes that it must be about race.

What I am actually concerned about is the socioeconomic effects of the high-density immigration. I am concerned with the complete disregard to the concept of assimilation and the complete lack of respect being shown toward what my friends and family have fought and died to protect.

Laws are fair only if all people, despite race, color or creed, are held to them. The fact that the majority of the people who are in our country illegally are of color means nothing to me.

This is not a race issue. It is a legal issue, a financial issue, a respect issue and an issue of pride. Please look beyond my white skin, stop assuming that I’m racist, and see that this is an issue about immigration, not race.

James Stewart
Mount Vernon, Wash., May 22, 2010

I’ll never stop being puzzled by people who preemptively defend against being racist. James says he is sick and tired of being called a racist, which is a perfect moment to gain sympathy with an anecdote or two of how he has suffered such a terrible experience. But the writer offers no concrete example. We learn immediately that what he is sick and tired of, in actuality, are the odd machinations of his own mind. “Being called a racist” for James Stewart of Mount Vernon, Washington comes down to an idea in his own head that “America” “looks at him” and his feelings on immigration and then “America” assumes James has a race problem. Wow! No wonder he is unsettled.

James, if you are not an orangutan, how often do you work that into conversations? Just curious. Maybe it would go something like this:

“Listen, Zookeeper. I think a larger meal allotment would benefit these animals. And I’m not an Orangutan, in case you were wondering about my bias. Nor am I a Chimpanzee! I am just a concerned citizen who can’t stop thinking about the socioenvironmental impact of these animals in our zoo.”

That would be normal.

James, why do you assume you are a racist to others? What is it about your thinking that tips you off?

What I am actually concerned about is the socioeconomic effects of the high-density immigration.

Sweet word cluster. Clearly you are not an Orangutan.

I am concerned with the complete disregard to the concept of assimilation and the complete lack of respect being shown toward what my friends and family have fought and died to protect.

Hmm. So is it really “socioeconomic” effects you oppose? Here you are bravely defending ‘concepts’ but to me, it sounds like your problem is cultural. You and your buddies feel disrespected by new neighbors who don’t have a Pacific Northwest accent? I mean, in what way can you ascertain disrespect for a concept? Have you listened in on their weekly Concept-Busting meetings?

Despite the loud noises coming from various quadrants, in the end, it seems the economic impact of immigrants is not so dramatic; positive in some places, and negative in others. In other words, immigrants are just like everyone else. And yet, you are not railing against anyone else. Was that a clue that tipped you off?

James, do you feel your views on immigration are somewhat racist in nature because your idea of the nation (“friends and family have fought and died” to dominate) begins with white people dying and killing for land that was not theirs? After all, how do you think the tribes that have been bisected by the artificial border feel about “respect” and “assimilation”? Do their “friends and families” not matter quite as much? This is not ancient history I’m flippantly bringing up. This is a current struggle in the borderlands.

Your thoughts on these peoples’ struggle?

Laws are fair only if all people, despite race, color or creed, are held to them. The fact that the majority of the people who are in our country illegally are of color means nothing to me.

Oh, right. The sanctity of LAW. Well. Laws that are brought about by force, and that are intended to normalize the aggressor’s rule and values can’t really be said to be “fair” to anyone but the aggressor! Let’s be realistic. I don’t really think you are after “fairness,” more so that you want to have your pretty lawn and be left alone on it. Understandable! (I’d add a pool to really top it off nicely.) I am sure it is inviting to run up under that umbrella of protection wielded by the aggressor and call it justice, but really it’s just a dry patch for you and yours. That’s not “fair,” that’s force. You’re an outraged squatter, no biggie. (PS: the fact that you are not of color means nothing to me.)

This is not a race issue. It is a legal issue, a financial issue, a respect issue and an issue of pride.

It’s a race issue for you, and the notion of “law” but a tool in your trickbag. You believe that the “majority of people who are in our country illegally are of color” and you want to use the law to benefit your race; you want to use legalisms to bolster your hold on finance, you consider opposition to that agenda ‘disrespect,’ and you lose your sense of pride when it is stymied. Quite simple.

Please look beyond my white skin, stop assuming that I’m racist, and see that this is an issue about immigration, not race.

Funny, James, I can’t see your skin! And you can’t see inside my head. Or inside “America’s” head. All the rest of us have are your words. They show us enough, I think.

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