Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Immigration Reform is about Worker's Rights

marjorie says...

I’ve been struggling with how to say all the things that come up for me when I consider the reactionary attitude toward immigrants so prevalent in this country. As immigration has increased over the past decade, it’s obvious that much of this reaction is under girded by a strong racist impulse. Working people of a different culture and ethnicity are easy targets for the frustration and anger that ought to more accurately be directed at the top of the corporate/government pyramid. It’s at the top that decisions have been made resulting in the decimation of our manufacturing base, the decline of our labor unions, and the consequent shrinking of our middle class. Combine the historic racism so prevalent in this country with rampant job insecurity and you have a tailor made recipe for reactionary impulses toward a predominantly Latino immigrant working class.

When I get asked what my “solution” to the “immigration problem” is, I find myself struggling with how to answer without upending entirely the notion that there is a problem. Because I do believe there’s a problem, but it’s primarily a problem of how to take care of the needs of our lowest-paid workers, both immigrant and non-immigrant. It isn’t a problem of how to protect ourselves as a culture or an economy from a threatening horde of foreigners.

It disturbs me greatly to see the pitting of normal, everyday working people from this country against those who should be their allies in a struggle to maintain some semblance of economic equality in this country. The reality is that we are all enmeshed in a restructured global economy together, an economy in which a global capitalist class literally sucks the resources out of the global south to their benefit, leading to mass migrations of workers the world over to the richer, first world countries. At the same time, our own high wage manufacturing jobs have been taken away.

On our trip north to Colorado this week, I stopped with my co-workers at the Ludlow Massacre Memorial just northwest of Trinidad. To be in the space in which 24 distinct languages were spoken among a striking workforce that lived in a tent colony together for almost a year was just what I needed this week. The kind of unity that existed in that space in 1913 and 1914 is what we need now.

Right now there is great debate in the Senate about proposed immigration reform legislation. If a package gets passed, it will have enormous life consequences for millions of people who work here, and it will also greatly impact all of us in other ways.

For instance, one measure would build a fence along the U.S. Mexico border and greatly ramp up the military and police presence there. This isn’t to keep terrorists out…it’s to keep workers out. Frankly, I find the advocacy of, not to mention the building of, such a wall…immoral. It isn’t good for immigrants, nor is it good for my own peace of mind.

Concurrent with the border “security” provisions are proposals to create a worker program in which a person could hold their job for only two years. A New York Times editorial called this a system of modern peonage” and I wholeheartedly concur. I encourage all of you to read that editorial, in fact, for a better understanding of what is being considered by congress. You can see the editorial in its entirety on Swopblogger here, along with a breakdown this week of points to highlight in calls to Domenici and Bingaman, provided by Santa Fe immigrant’s rights organization Somos Un Pueblo Unido.

The immigration package being debated is going to change dramatically over the coming weeks. I believe that the package as originally proposed is a bad deal. But it’s possible that it could be fixed…please join me in communicating with our senators about what should be the core principles: the valuing of human rights and family unification for everyone who works in this country.

Some of the essential points, in my mind:

· All workers in this country regardless of status should be afforded safety, dignity, and a living wage.

· Building a wall and militarizing our border endangers the lives of working people and must be stopped.

· Immigration policy should recognize reality and provide a safe route to work in this country, and legal status to the millions who come here seeking work.

· The right to organize is fundamental to having a just and equal society, for all of us regardless of whether or not we are part of a union. This right needs to be protected and enhanced through our legal system. And we need to direct resources to organizing across the board.

Senator Bingaman: 505-346-6601.

Senator Domenici: 505-346-6791.

Or the DC switchboard: 800-417-7666.

En La Lucha!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Rey Garduño for District Six: He's Running Clean!

marjorie says...

A good friend of mine, Rey Garduño, has announced his campaign for the District 6 City Council seat.

Rey is running a "Clean" campaign, which means he is undertaking a series of steps outlined through legislation to qualify for public financing of his campaign. Once he's successfully qualified he will not accept any private money to finance his campaign, including his own family money.

As a private citizen, Rey has been a strong advocate of clean elections legislation and ethics in government reform bills. I think its very fitting that he would now run for City Council utilizing the clean elections rules. In addition to his work in this area, I can attest to the strong progressive values that Rey holds and hope you will all take a moment to read more about him on his website.

For those of you living in District 6, I have another strong request: support the concept of "clean elections" by contributing $5 to Rey's campaign by the last week in May, which will qualify him as a "clean" candidate. The rules state that a candidate has to turn in just under 300 signatures with accompanying $5 contributions by the end of May in order to qualify. Let's all do as much as we can to ensure that all those who want to run clean campaigns are able to do so by meeting this benchmark. In fact, you can contribute the $5 to any and all candidates who are running in your district...because this is about ensuring that everyone is able to compete for office, not just those who have access to the big moneybags.

How can you contribute? Well, you can track me down because I have some of the forms. Or, you can contact Rey directly. In fact, he is having a "signing party" this Saturday. Please see below for a note from him and details about the signing party. And, please pass this information along to everyone you know who lives in District 6!

Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters of Rey Garduño for City Council District 6:
We are moving forward at a steady and measured pace with The Clean Elections process. We turned in to the City Clerk about a third of the necessary signatures and contributions on Tuesday the 15th; albeit, they need to be vetted. This is great; now, we need commitments from all of us to get at least five (5) of our friends and neighbors to come to a “Signing” Party at my house at 414 Vassar, NE in the UNM Campus (Directions below) from 10am-12pm this Saturday, May 19th
What is this signing party you ask? Quite simply it will be a centralized place where we can ask folks to sign the qualifying form and contribute $5 to democracy. This will qualify me to run as a clean candidate for City Council District 6 this fall, and not have to take campaign contributions from special interests. It is most urgent that we gather these signatures as soon as possible, our deadline is May 29; having begun the process now I can take the forms on a weekly basis to verify the signatures. The sooner we have 271 qualifying signatures the sooner we can begin the campaign and formulate how we are going to improve on the good initiatives already in District 6. Furthermore, we can build a framework cooperatively with the rest of the city to make this a great community.
Thank you in advance for your dedication to Democracy, to our community and my campaign.
Gracias, Rey Garduño
414 Vassar NE: From Girard at Campus [street between Central and Lomas] you would go West on Campus into UNM campus turn North or right onto Vassar, the first house on the right is 414 Vassar).

Friday, May 11, 2007

State Rep. Miguel García statement about Posada Carriles

marjorie says...

Here is the statement released this morning by State Representative Miguel Garcia demanding that Posada Carriles be extradited to Venezuela. It was from Venezuela that Posada Carriles plotted and carried out his bombing of the Cuban airliner.

Statement in Support of Extradition of Luis Posada Carriles

Hon. Miguel P. García
New Mexico House of Representatives District 14

Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 11, 2007

Luis Posada Carriles committed the worst crime of terrorism in 1976 by masterminding a mid air bombing of a Cuban airliner killing seventy-three innocent human beings. These victims were our brother and sisters in Christ. They left behind a grieving spouse, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, uncles, cousins, friends, colleagues, and neighbors.

American citizens are freedom loving individuals that deplore the innocent taking of a life by deranged individuals who have no respect for human decency. It has come to my attention that the Bush administration has created a precedent setting act of malfeasance in government by objectively giving Luis Posada Carriles card blanc asylum in the United States, knowing that Mr. Carriles illegally entered the United States in 2005.

Worst of all is the fact that the Bush administration fails to abide by international extradition laws pertaining to the harboring of terrorists. Venezuela is rightfully seeking extradition of Mr. Carriles to hold him accountable for the horrific tragedy of the 1976 incident.

As American citizens, we have an obligation to uphold our constitutional obligation in upholding the health, safety, and welfare of our communities. The Bush administration, by refusing to extradite Mr. Carriles, and by having his presence in our midst, gives us no choice but to side with our constitution and seek the “citizens arrest” of Luis Posada Carriles.

Freedom loving people in New Mexico and the United States must engage in an effort to apprehend Luis Posada Carriles and carry out a “citizens arrest” of the individual. Mr. Carriles creates a serious breach of peace in our presence with the potential for violent injury to our citizenship given his terrorist background.

I am committed to do what I can in my capacity as a State Representative to engage in a citizen to government relation with Venezuela to ensure the return of Luis Posada Carriles to that country for prosecution and incarceration of his terrorist act. It does us no good to engage in a “citizens arrest” of Mr. Carriles and turn him over to U.S. federal officials only to see him go free again in order to see him return to his mansion in Miami so he can continue watching the novelas on TV and drinking his rum & coke.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Support New Teen Art & Entertainment Center for ABQ

Mikaela says:
How many times have you heard a teen complain there's nowhere to go, nothing to do?

How many times have you heard this used as a reason why some kid or other got in trouble making trouble?

I'm not sure what the cool factor is on teen centers, but I know that having one is a lot better than not having one. This town owes its youth in a big, bad way. How do you discourage behavior you don't want? By encouraging behavior you do. We all know this. Well, most of us know this...

Tonight, you can do something about it and show your support.

City of Albuquerque Public Meeting with the City Council
about a new Teen Art & Entertainment Center

Taylor Ranch Community Center
4900 Kachina St. NW (Kachina & Montano)
Phone: (505)768-6006 Fax: (505)768-6009

  • Dave Pulliam, Community Recreation Center Supervisor (
  • Patrick VanHorn, Community Recreation Activities Coordinator (
  • Marissa Kutzscher, Community Recreation Activities Coordinator (

Give the Terrrorist Posada Carriles the Boot!

marjorie says...

As Mikaela so aptly points out, the Bush Administration is completely hypocritical. One of the most egregious examples is playing out this very week with all charges against Luis Posada Carriles dropped by a federal judge in El Paso who said the Justice Department had improperly dealt with his case. Of course, the charges dropped were illegal immigration charges, not charges against Posada for his long history of terrorism. As we have pointed out numerous times on m-pyre (see here, here, here, and here) Posada is an international terrorist. This is acknowledged almost across the board. Even the U.S. government doesn't deny it.

How can the Bush administration continue to hold the banner high against "terrorism" and let an utter terrorist walk the streets of Miami freely? I'll tell you why...because the U.S. government is just fine with "terrorism" if the acts are done by those who act in accordance with U.S. foreign policy objectives. You want to blow up a plane full of people? And those are Cuban people? "Well...ok!! Because, you know, we don't like Cuba!"

That's exactly what this man did, and it's a well-known fact. So why isn't he being extradited to Venezuela, which is the country from which he plotted and carried out that act, a country which has had a long standing case against him that predates Chavez? He went on to engage in smaller terrorist acts for decades, moving from country to country. And seemingly, its just fine with our government.

He does not belong in this country unless we are utter hypocrites. Join us in a protest tomorrow at the Federal Courthouse. It's really too egregious to let slide by with a shake of our heads.

Bush Democracy=Hypocrisy

Mikaela says:
If I hear one more time that we're in Iraq to foster Democracy -- at the point of a gun and even if we have to wall off every faction from every other -- I'm going to scream. Cheney's heading to Iraq this week to intimidate its Parliament to move faster. Sounds like a healthy way to encourage an independent government, no?

The Bush Administration doesn't believe in democracy. It believes in loyalty at all costs. It's holding all of us hostage until it gets what it wants. Gotta love freeedom. Ah, America. Land of Tyranny with very long, bloody, not-so-invisible global arms.

Here's the latest evidence:

WASHINGTON, May 9 — Moderate Republicans gave President Bush a blunt warning on his Iraq policy at a private White House meeting this week, telling the president that conditions needed to improve markedly by fall or more Republicans would desert him on the war.

Participants in the Tuesday meeting between Mr. Bush, senior administration officials and 11 members of a moderate bloc of House Republicans said the lawmakers were unusually [emphasis added] candid with the president, telling him that public support for the war was crumbling in their swing districts.

One told Mr. Bush that voters back home favored a withdrawal even if it meant the war was judged a loss. Representative Tom Davis told Mr. Bush that the president’s approval rating was at 5 percent in one section of his northern Virginia district.

The response to this candid assessment and plea for sanity?

Mr. Bush made no commitments, but seemed grateful for their support and said a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq could cause the sort of chaos that occurred in Southeast Asia after Americans left Vietnam.
Meanwhile, speaking out of the other side of his smug mouth:

The White House on Wednesday promised a veto of the emerging House bill, which would essentially provide financing for combat operations through midsummer, but require the president to provide a series of reports on the state of the Iraqi military and the progress of the government in achieving political unity.

There's democracy in action.

More polls show that more and more Americans directly oppose the President and his misguided stubbornness putting American and Iraqi lives at risk (reposted from White House Watch):

Susan Page and William Risser write in USA Today: "Most Americans don't believe that the continued presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is the key to preventing a full-scale civil war there or protecting the United States from new terrorist attacks, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

"Amid broad pessimism about what's ahead for Iraq and the region, one-third of those surveyed would be bothered 'a great deal' if the United States is seen as losing the war. One in four would be bothered 'not at all.'

"Six in 10 support setting a timetable for withdrawal and sticking to it regardless of what's happening in Iraq; 36% say the United States should keep troops in Iraq until the situation there improves . . .

"Only 22% of Americans accept the administration's argument that U.S. forces in Iraq are preventing new terror attacks on the United States; 17% say the troop presence is making those attacks more likely. Another 58% say the U.S. deployment doesn't affect it either way."

CNN reports, similarly: "A majority of the U.S. public disapproves of President Bush's decision to veto a war spending bill that called for U.S. troops to leave Iraq in 2008, according to a CNN poll released Tuesday.

"The poll found that 54 percent of Americans opposed Bush's May 1 veto. . . .

"Now that the veto has been cast, 57 percent of Americans said they want Congress to send another spending bill with a timetable for withdrawal back to the White House, the poll found -- but 61 percent would support a new bill that dropped the timetables in favor of benchmarks for the Iraqi government to meet to maintain American support."

If only anyone trusted the Democrats to be strong enough to make that happen...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

All is not lost... Naomi Shihab Nye

Mikaela says:
Apologies, but I'm reposting from a YogaNow newsletter. Too good not to! This poet has several amazing books, including one of my favorite kids books these days, a collection of poems from around the world, "This Same Sky."

Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal by Naomi Shihab Nye

After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately. Well one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her problem?

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu-biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew however poorly used - she stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you'll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English.

I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and would ride next to her Southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts out of her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, the lovely woman from Laredo; we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers and the two little girls for our flight, one African-American, one Mexican-American ran around serving us all apple juice and lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend by now we were holding hands had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves.

Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, this is the world I want to live in.

The shared world. Not a single person in this gate once the crying of confusion stopped has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too.

This can still happen, anywhere. Not everything is lost.

Kindness -- Naomi Shihab-Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things,
Feel the future dissolve in a moment
Like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
What you counted and carefully saved,
All this must go so you know
How desolate the landscape can be
Between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
Thinking the bus will never stop,
The passengers eating maize and chicken
Will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
You must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
Lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
How he too was someone
Who journeyed through the night with plans
And the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
Catches the thread of all sorrows
And you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
Only kindness that ties your shoes
And sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
Only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
And then goes with you everywhere
Like a shadow or a friend.