Monday, April 24, 2017

The Coming May Day Strike May be the Biggest in over a Decade

by Sarah Aziza, Working In These Times 
This article was first posted by Waging Nonviolence.
When 26-year-old Catalina Adorno hit the road on March 28, she knew it would be at least six weeks before she’d sleep again in her own bed. Since that day, Adorno, a Mexican-born New Jersey resident with a strong voice and bright laugh, has criss-crossed from Pennsylvania to Maine as part of a regional support team for Movimento Cosecha, a national immigrant rights coalition. Her stops have included major cities and small towns, as she and her three teammates work to mobilize Cosecha’s vast network of “local circles” ahead of a massive day of coordinated action slated for May 1.
On April 3, Adorno’s team stopped off in Washington, D.C. to hear Cosecha spokesperson Maria Fernanda Cabello make the formal call for a May 1 nationwide strike. The planned action, billed as “A Day Without an Immigrant,” is set to be the largest immigrant rights action for at least a decade, with hundreds of thousands already pledging to stay home from work for a day in protest of systemic discrimination towards the immigrant and undocumented communities. At the press conference, Cabello pointed to the massive labor and capital power represented by the immigrant community, including 11 million undocumented residents. The May 1 protest, asserted Cabello, would be the next step in a strategy of harnessing this power to “change the conversation on immigration in the United States.”
It’s a lofty goal for an organization that formed less than two years ago, but Cosecha has a strong track record already. Drawing inspiration from farmworkers and their leaders—Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong and Cesar Chavez—as well as “the thousands of African-Americans who stood up to the racist Jim Crow system,” Cosecha is an energetic movement that has grown quickly. Its ranks include a national team and hundreds of part-time volunteers across the country, which enabled Cosecha to play major role in several waves of direct action, including scores of campus walkouts and multiple protests outside Trump Towers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Socialists and Immigration

Dr. Duane E. Campbell,  April 19, 2017
In spite of the economic boon for the wealthy, working people in the U.S. have yet to receive a significant improvement in their standard of living for over 30 years.  At the same time, democratic forces are once again confronted with anti immigrant campaigns- this time fostered and promoted by a President of the U.S.
As socialists, we stand with and among the US working class in opposition to the rule of the transnational corporations and their exploitation of the economy and their despoliation of our lives, our society and our environment.
We are currently experiencing a major restructuring of the global economy directed by the transnational corporations to produce profits for their corporate owners.  The impoverishment of the vast majority of people in pursuit of profits for a small minority has pushed millions to migrant in search of food, jobs, and security.  Global capitalism produces global migration.  Along with wars NAFTA  and other “Free Trade” deals each produce a new waves of migration.
Socialists support the rights of working people to organize, to form unions, and to protect their rights and to advance their interests. Unions have always been an important part of how socialists seek to make our economic justice principles come alive.  Working people- gathered together and exploited in the capitalist workplace-are well positioned to fight their common exploitation.
Current immigration laws and practices, imposed upon us all by the corporations and their control of our government, often prevent working class unity by dividing workers against each other and  by creating categories of workers with few rights to organize and  thus to protect  their own interests.
The  neoliberal capitalist economic system now being created by the relentless merging of the world's  markets also  impoverishes the majority of U.S. workers.  The average U.S. worker has experienced a decline in their real wages since 1979.  Quality industrial jobs have moved to low wage, anti union areas in the U.S. and to Mexico, China, Singapore, Vietnam,  India and other nations. At present the U.S. has no significant controls on capital flight. Indeed, the US  government subsidizes some corporations to move jobs to Honduras, El Salvador,  and  the Caribbean.

Jerry Brown and Single Payer Health Care

Single Payer Health Care

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Struggling to make Sac City Unified a destination district

BY VICTORIA CARR  A Teachers' Voice 
Special to The Bee

I have been a teacher in the Sacramento City Unified School District for 10 years. I am also the parent of two young students in the district.
This year I wanted to become part of our union’s bargaining team because the district was in such a strong financial position, contrary to the lean years of the Great Recession of 2008 and its aftermath.

Those lean years have passed. Voter approval of Propositions 30 and 55 have greatly improved school financing in California.
Our union expanded our bargaining team to include a wide variety of certificated staff. Many have never been involved in bargaining. Our goal was to work with district administrators to “Make Sac City the Destination District for California.”
But the district didn’t really want our involvement. Our first bargaining session was Oct. 11, 2016, at 4 p.m. Rather than welcome me and my co-workers who were there on our time after a full day of teaching, the district’s negotiating team fought unsuccessfully to keep us out.
After 17 bargaining sessions, I now understand why. What we have seen over the past six months at the bargaining table has been startling.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Teaching the Legacy of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta

When we are really  honest with ourselves, we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us.  So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of people we are. ..I am convinced that the truest act of to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice.
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)

by Duane Campbell
On March 31, 2017, Eleven states and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating labor and Latino leader Cesar Chavez. 
Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities and particularly in rural areas of the nation. A recent film Cesar Chavez: An American Hero, starring Michael Peña as Cesar Chavez and Rosario Dawson as Dolores Huerta presents important parts of this union story.  With the work of the Chicano/Mexican American Digital History Project their story of union organizing will begin to be covered in all public school history texts in California this year, 
The current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders and current DSA Honorary Chairs Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the nation.
UFW President Arturo Rodriquez says, “We urge Republicans to abandon their political games that hurt millions of hard-working, taxpaying immigrants and their families, and help us finish the job by passing legislation such as the comprehensive reform bill that was approved by the Senate on a bipartisan vote in June 2013,” Rodriguez said. “The UFW will not rest until the President's deferred relief is enacted and a permanent immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, is signed into law.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Guide for Teachers on Immigrant Children and Trump Attacks on Immigrants

 Tools and Resources to help protect immigrant youth and their families in case of ICE, immigration, raids and enforcement efforts.
Prepared by the American Federation of Teachers.
Excellent resources.
Downloadable copy  at

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Trump Lies About Immigrants

Journalist Jorge Ramos
President Trump has made up three tall tales to criminalize, criticize and reject immigrants in the United States. These stories are full of lies, but he’s repeated them so often that many Americans have started to believe them.

So let’s refute all three, one by one.

1. Undocumented immigrants are criminals.
This is Trump’s core story. When he launched his presidential bid in June 2015, he famously said that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “bringing drugs; they’re bringing crime; they’re rapists.” And during his first speech before Congress recently, he again likened immigrants to “gang members, drug dealers and criminals.”
Here’s the truth about undocumented immigrants in the U.S.: A huge majority, 97% in fact, are good people. That number comes from a Migration Policy Institute study, which found that less than 3% of undocumented immigrants have committed a felony. It also found that American-born residents are twice as likely to commit a felony as immigrants are.
Crime statistics also demonstrate a correlation between having more undocumented immigrants and lower crime rates at the national level. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. tripled, from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. During that time, violent crime in America dropped by 48%, according to data from the FBI. Despite these facts, Trump insists on vilifying immigrants, and continues to push his “bad hombres” myth.
2. Immigrants are costly for the United States.
Another lie — and one that’s easy to refute by doing the math. Yes, it’s true that undocumented immigrants benefit from some social services and that their children get free public education all the way through high school. That costs money — but immigrants also contribute by paying taxes and creating jobs. The greatest irony is that undocumented workers also contribute part of their earnings to Social Security and Medicare, services from which they will never benefit.
In fact, immigrants contribute more than $2 billion to the economy every year, and produced some $54 billion dollars in net gain from 1994 through 2013, according to a study by the National Academy of Sciences. Trump blames immigrants for being a burden on the country, but they give back much more than they take.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Teachers Will Be a Formidable Force Against Trump | The Nation

Teachers Will Be a Formidable Force Against Trump | The Nation

CTA: A Call to Action for the Public Education All California's Students Deserve

Public education is the foundation of our 21st-century democracy. Social justice for all begins with a quality, free public education. Our public schools are where our students come to be educated in the fullest sense of that word, including as citizens of this great country. As educators, we strive every day to make every public school and college a place where we prepare the nation's young people to contribute to our society, economy and citizenry. 
California must continue to lead the nation. The 325,000 members of CTA are committed to making sure all California's students get the public education they deserve. We ask all Californians, including elected leaders regardless of party affiliation, to join us in supporting a strong, inclusive, safe and innovative public education system that ensures all students can succeed, regardless of their zip code. Our public schools must remain centers of our communities, and not become corporate profit centers. We hold these values because all children, regardless of family circumstances, where they live, where they were born, how they look, who they love, or the language they speak have the right to a public education that helps them reach their full potential. 

Participate in May 1 actions.
Why May 1?

May 1st has been historically linked to international worker' rights. On May 1, 1886, the U.S. Federation of Organized Trade and Labor Unions (including immigrant workers) ruled that an 8-hour work day, would be a full and legal work day. NEA and the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) are also holding a national day of action on May 1. May 1, or May Day, continues to be a national day of action to raise awareness about immigration rights and the need to keep families together as they fight for a better life.  How can I get involved?

CTA is asking our local chapters and members to hold actions with parents and community members at their local school sites. Actions may include "walk-ins" with parents and community members, unveiling new safe zone policies and safe zone resolutions, taking the pledge, hosting community meetings, and more. Please join our Facebook group and fill out our form to let us know how you are participating.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sacramento Marchers Demand Sanctuary State Laws

Duane Campbell

Over 1,500  marchers from around California descended on the Capitol on Wednesday  March 15,  seeking to pass SB 54: The California Values Act which would significantly prohibit local law enforcement from coordination with federal immigration agents.  While many cities and counties have sanctuary policies, this bill would  make it a state law and shield many immigrants from mass deportation efforts of the federal authorities. The bill is strongly opposed by the Association of County Sheriffs who manage county jails and receive federal funds for their cooperation.

  The massive demonstration on Wednesday was organized primarily by PICO of California and supported by immigrant rights organizations up and down the state.  The events began at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento in Sacramento, and then marchers proceeded to the Capitol to hear a rousing support speech from the President of the California Senate Kevin de León.
PICO is a structured multi racial organizing project with roughly equal participation and leadership from African American, Mexican, Latino, and Anglo religious traditions.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kamala Harris biography

Excellent podcast on the life history of Senator Kamala Harris on the Axe files, with David Axelrod.

The High Cost of Defunding State Universities

GREATER SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: The High Cost of Defunding State Universities: Seth Sandronsky, Last month a seven-member panel met in the state Capitol to discuss the calamitous funding situation of the Californi...

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Sacramento City Unified Declares Schools Safe Havens

Community leaders pledge support for the district’s efforts to inform every student and their families of the legal rights of the undocumented by distributing tens of thousands of ‘know your rights’ fliers at all schools, coordinating with community organizations to provide legal resources in classrooms, and covering all campuses with banners and lawn signs promoting inclusion and welcoming all students.

SACRAMENTO, CA—The Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) today announced the launch of a campaign to protect its undocumented students and staff amid growing fears of deportation in immigrant communities. The campaign is the first of its kind in California and is the next step in SCUSD’s national leadership on protecting and standing up for undocumented students and their families. District leaders were joined today by State Assemblymember Jim Cooper, City Councilmember Eric Guerra and dozens of students, teachers and community members.
“Our Safe Haven policy was the first step we took to protect our kids,” said SCUSD Vice President Jessie Ryan. “Today, we are taking an even bigger step by launching a full campaign to make sure every undocumented student and parent in our school district knows their rights if approached by immigration officials.”

A Day Without A Woman

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Republicans Pursue Vouchers and Privatized Education

The Choices in Education Act 2017 (HR 610), introduced Jan. 23 and now in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act which has provided federal funds to address inequities in public schools since 1965. In its place, block grants would go to states that have adopted voucher plans, enabling parents to use public funds to enroll their children in any public or private school. While over 100 bills are now in this committee and most will die there, the fact that this one embodies Secretary Betsy DeVos’s vision for education suggests it will likely be taken up.
This bill is misguided for several reasons. First, while evidence should guide policy, evidence does not show that voucher programs consistently improve student learning. Mark Dynarski of the Brookings Institute analyzed the research in a 2016 issue of Evidence Speaks Reports. He found mixed results: while some students benefited from the New York and Washington, D.C., programs, the same cannot be said of the Milwaukee program. The two most recent and largest studies found that public school students who received vouchers to attend private schools in Indiana and Louisiana, both with statewide voucher programs, actually achieved worse than their counterparts in public schools. Dynarski suspects one reason is that public schools have improved over the last few years, closing what previously had been an achievement gap between them and private schools.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A Message from Rethinking Schools - Re LGBTQ students

Rethinking Schools joins civil rights and LGBTQ organizations in their opposition to Trump’s scrapping of protections for transgender students under Title IX.

Transgender students should have the right to use locker rooms and bathrooms in alignment with their gender identity.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declared, "The president has maintained for a long time that this is a states-rights issue.” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos claimed, “This is an issue best solved at the state and local level.”

Calls for “local control” and “states’ rights” echo the white supremacist rationales of the 1950s and '60s when segregationists used the same language to defend Jim Crow practices and to derail federal civil rights legislation.

Trump’s action, authorized by both the Justice and the Education Departments, offers a scary preview of the future of Title IX and its enforcement. Parents, students, and educators need to stand together to defend the rights of transgender students.

Our recently published book Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality is one resource that people can turn to for guidance and inspiration. Winner of the 2017 American Library Association Stonewall Honor book in the Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award category, this book is a collection of stories about how to integrate feminist and LGBTQ content into our curriculum, to make it part of a vision for social justice, and create classrooms and schools that nurture all children and their families.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

WCVI Denounces Trump Actions on Deportations

WCVI President Denounces Trump Administrations Directive on Deportations
Trump Policy Has Gone from Bad to Worse

(Los Angeles, Feb 21, 2017) The narrative that early Trump Administration executive orders were so controversial and amounted to such bad policy because the Trump team was in chaos has turned out to be utterly false.  After a month of self-organization, the "well written" Trump Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implementing memo spells out the worst-case scenario of mass deportations, criminalization, and border militarization.
Indeed WCVI accuses the Trump Administration of seeking to launch a sui generis ethnic cleansing campaign against undocumented immigrants, 85% of whom are from Latin America, Africa and Asia.

Definition of ethnic cleansing:  the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity
The DHS Memo broadly defines who should be deported, far more so than under Obama, and in practice would cover nearly all undocumented rather than the 1% with criminal records. It also enhances the existing DHS/ICE "deportation force" with 15,000 new personnel. 
Under Trumps' plan, human and civil rights violations will impact tens if not hundreds of thousands of immigrants and citizens alike. Under Obama, 20,000 US citizens were mistakenly captured in raids, this kind of ethno-racial profiling will get worse with the new directives.  
The cost to taxpayers of hunting down the 11 million undocumented will be tens of billions of dollars.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump- DeVos Begin Attack on Public Education

Action Alert: US House bill pushes the privatization agenda

The new administration's attack on public education has begun, and we need you to take action today to stop it.

In late January, HR 610 was introduced by Steve King of Iowa, with representatives from Maryland, Texas and Arizona signing on.

You can read a summary of the bill at the website. HR 610, the School Choice Act, would eliminate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, which was passed as a part of  Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty."  Federal funds would be used instead to create "block grants" to be used to "distribute a portion of funds to parents who elect to enroll their child in a private school or to home-school their child." It would also roll back nutritional standards for free lunches for poor children.

But that is not all.

On Tuesday, Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump gathered together parents and teachers to talk about their education agenda. Who was invited (and who was not) is telling.

Of the ten attendees, one was a public school teacher and one was a principal of a public school that specializes in special education. There was one public school parent who also had children in private school.  The rest of the group were homeschoolers, charter school parents or private school representatives.

Monday, February 13, 2017

We Can Resist Trump's Immigration Raids and the Wall

By Duane Campbell

The chaos created by Donald Trump’s ban on refugees is only the beginning of a crisis that Trump and his allies are creating.  Less noticed was Trump’s rollout of executive actions on immigration and the border wall  on Jan. 25. These executive orders were the opening act of what is certain to be an aggressive crackdown on unauthorized immigration.  The left responded quickly to the Jan. 27 ban on refugees with important protests and significant legal challenges.  However, Trump has created so many crises in his first weeks  that it would be easy to miss the long-term train wreck being created by Trump’s earlier executive  actions on the border wall and the expansion of arrests and deportations.

On Jan. 25 Trump signed an executive order on immigration
that directs ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents to use a  broadened definition of  “criminal” and focus deportation efforts not only on those who have been convicted of crimes, but also those who have been charged, or “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense. This order will increase the number of persons subject to deportation by at least 2 million and the order will triple the number of agents in the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations office and give them broad power to ultimately decide who should be deported. Increased deportations have already begun under this new executive order.

Past use of aggressive interior enforcement, then called “Secure Communities,” was an abject failure. ICE agents conducted raids and arrested people at work sites, schools, and on the streets.  Often they jailed complete families.  In most cases, these arrests and deportations depended upon the cooperation of local police and social service agencies (see sanctuary cities, below). The campaigns deported parents of U.S. citizens, disrupting families, schools, and workplaces. The raids were too often done without proper warrants and other procedural safeguards.

The Wall (or Fence)

We should not assume that each of the Trump executive orders will be accepted and implemented.  On the contrary.  The orders produce contradictions and will produce resistance.

Yes, the U.S. can build a wall or fencing on the U.S. side of the border, except for that portion of the border that is on the Tohono O’odhom reservation in Arizona.   But the wall will be an expensive failure. 

Trump’s demand to build the wall and to impose tariffs is producing a reaction in Mexico.   The U.S. not only imports from Mexico, U.S. corporations also exported to Mexico  $267  billion dollars worth of goods  in 2015. Mexico is the U.S.’s second largest export market.  A tariff on the U.S. side will likely produce a tariff on the Mexican side that could cost some 1 million jobs in the U.S.

Arturo Rodriguez, President of the United Farmworkers union (UFW) asks, “Since some 50 % of agricultural labor in California, Florida and Texas is undocumented, when they arrest all of these workers, who is going to feed the nation?”  The answer to his question is, if the border is closed and mass arrests make workers not available, most vegetable production will move to Mexico and to other countries.  Is that progress?

The Trump administration is being reckless and poorly informed in matters of foreign policy as well as domestic issues.  Building Trump’s wall and threatening to make Mexico pay for the wall built on  U.S. land was  a belligerent act championed in the Trump campaign.   This poorly informed effort ignores many of the realities of the U.S.-Mexico relationship.  Mexico provides the primary security against migration to the U.S. on our southern border.  Mexican police and military restrict migration and turn thousands of would-be migrants back each year. 

The Mexican army and police also provide the primary obstacle to migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala  from reaching the U.S. border.  The U.S. pays the Mexican forces to do this enforcement.  Given Trump’s provocative statements and acts, they could simply stop serving as a border security force for the U.S. The end of bi-national police cooperation would massively increase immigration and severely reduce efforts to restrict drug cartels from moving drugs into the U.S.

The Mexican political system and the police are corrupt, but the situation could get much worse.  The Mexican legislature is already considering several bills to prevent Mexico from cooperating with the Trump surge in deportations.  Readers should know that the Mexican presidency is up for election in 2018, and the current dominant party (PRI) is in disgrace, in part because it is seen as subservient to the Trump administration.  Nationalism and resisting Yankee interference is a potent political force in Mexico  and a left populist – Manuel Lopez Obrador is currently far ahead in the polls.


 Yet another structural weakness of the Trump plan for expanding deportations further makes it almost impossible for the plan to work.
Deportations currently depend upon the persons arrested agreeing to be quickly deported.  Unless they have convicted of a prior felony, persons arrested are immediately offered a “voluntary” departure.  If they sign it, most of those arrested will be deported within 2-3 days. (In California it is usually the same day.)

Immigrant rights activists have developed a strategy to defeat these deportations.  Those arrested are encouraged to refuse to sign the “voluntary departure.”  Instead, they would insist upon having legal counsel. All persons inside the U.S. have a right to counsel (not only citizens).
If some 20%- 30% of those arrested begin to refuse to sign, the jails will fill within days even the private prisons.  If those arrested insist on legal counsel, the courts will be overloaded. 

When those arrested have an attorney, some 40% win the right to stay.  And, another 40% may not win, but they will delay deportation for 2-5 years while their cases are heard in the back logged courts (long enough for the children to grow up).

Even with the growth of private prisons, the detention centers will fail. Immigration hearing officers in the U.S. had a backlog of 453,948 cases in 2015.  It takes some 635 days to process the average case.  While Trump will expand the number of case officers, the hearings will create a backlog of years.

Sanctuary Cities

Trump’s threatening of sanctuary cities and communities that offer protection to immigrants because they recognize the injustice in current immigration laws and practices will undermine public safety.

His threat to take money from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional overreach.  By defending sanctuary cities, citizens and tax payers can severely limit Trump’s abuse.   The state of Texas is considering defunding sanctuary cities there while the California legislature is considering a bill to make California a sanctuary state. Because of shared financing and tax collection, states have more ability to withhold funds from sanctuary cities than does the federal government. Several California sanctuary cities are already preparing the legal groundwork to resist paying specific taxes into the federal treasury if Trump  follows through on his threats to cut funds to these cities.

Immigration officers (ICE) need the cooperation of local law enforcement and social services to do their jobs successfully.  ICE has far too few agents and too few jails to effectively remove large numbers of people.  The last time such removal was practiced in Operation Wetback  in  1952 the effort  was only  effective because local cities and social service institutions cooperated.   The removal was popular. This time, many will not cooperate.
There are some 300 sanctuary cities and districts in the U.S.  Citizens and voters in these cities can have an important role in their defense.

Readers should check to see if your local city, county, or state has sanctuary resolutions.  Usually, these resolutions contain statements such as:

1. Public resources, including salaries and equipment funded by local and state taxes, should be limited to serving the jurisdiction supplying these resources and its residents.  City, county and school district funds should not be used to implement or enforce federal immigration laws that are the responsibility of federal law enforcement.

2. Local law enforcement resources should be solely devoted to enforcement of local and state laws, protecting all residents and serving the community.  Enforcement of federal laws, including immigration laws, should be left to the federal government unless the individual involved is a convicted felon.
Based upon such sanctuary resolutions, we can insist that local resources and personnel not spend time and resources aiding this misguided federal immigration enforcement.

If your local area does not have a sanctuary resolution, see models on DSA’s Immigration Rights Committee resource pages  and try to pass sanctuary  resolutions in your  area.
There are numerous groups working to protect the rights, the safety, and the families of the immigrants among us. Working with your local DSA, join with these groups to insist that local resources and personnel not spend time and resources aiding  Trump’s enforcement efforts.

Working together, we are not powerless in the face of executive authority.

Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, a union activist, and past chair of Sacramento DSA. He serves on the Immigrant Rights Committee of DSA’s Anti Racism Working Group.

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