Friday, March 30, 2018

Cesar Chavez Dolores Huerta, the UFW, and Strategic Racism.

Cesar Chavez  & Duane Campbell, 1972

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read.  You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.  Cesar Chávez.  November 9, 1984.

by Duane Campbell
On March 31, 2018,  Eleven  states  and numerous cities will hold holidays celebrating  labor and Latino Leader Cesar Chavez. Conferences, marches and celebrations will occur in numerous cities this weekend and particularly in rural farm 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 story.
Meanwhile,  in March of 2015  hundreds of farmworkers have walked off their jobs in Baja California, Mexico, from the agricultural fields just a few miles from the U.S. border , fields developed to provide a harvest to the U.S. markets.  Farm labor strikes and violence against strikers remains a volatile issue.  Farm workers deserve dignity, respect, and fair wages.  Achieving these goals will require a union.

The  current UFW leadership, as well as former UFW leaders  and former DSA Honorary Chairs  Eliseo Medina and Dolores Huerta  are recognized leaders in the ongoing efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform in the nation.
 On immigration, 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.  Similar compromise proposals, negotiated by the UFW and the nation's major agricultural employer associations, have passed the U.S. Senate multiple times over the last decade. The same proposal has won majority support in the House of Representatives, even though House GOP leaders have refused to permit a vote on the measure. “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.”

What Chavez, Huerta  did  accomplish along with Philip Vera Cruz ,  Marshall Ganz, LeRoy Chatfield, Gil Padilla, Eliseo Medina and  hundreds of others was to   organize in California the first successful farm worker union against overwhelming odds.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Live Boldly.  on KVIE,  March 27.  9 PM. and other public television stations. 

by Duane Campbell
There is an important new film out – Dolores, the story of former DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta and her fight for justice. (All DSA honorary chairs were eliminated by the 2017 DSA convention.) She is the woman holding the Huelga sign on the DSA landing page. If you want to be inspired by her struggle for social justice, go see the film. 
Although at times ignored by the Anglo media, and at other times castigated as a red and an “outside agitator,” Huerta tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Cesar Chavez, becoming one of the most important feminists of the twentieth century. If you don’t know her story, you should ask yourself why.  She continues the fight on many fronts to this day, at age 87. With unprecedented access to Dolores, the film reveals important parts of the struggle for dignity and justice for farmworkers, as well as the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

March for Our Lives

This weekend, students will join together at March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and in sibling marches across the country. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to Congress and state legislatures to demand measures that will protect them at their schools and in their communities.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

California and Teacher Preparation

One certain way to ruin one’s reputation is to take on an impossible task, and then fail at it. The essential qualification of any contractor is the ability to tell what is possible and what is not. Say, if you want to have a floor made of thin glass, your contractor should tell you, no, sorry, you cannot do that.

The State Legislature is asking us, the teacher preparation industry to solve the problem of teacher shortage. Our culture is that of public service, and that is true for both state-supported and private institutions. Of course, we say, “Yes, we will do our best!” The Legislature hears something slightly different, “Yes we can do it!” The difference between what we say and what they hear is tremendous, but as it is often the case, it goes unnoticed. Then we fail at what they think they heard, year after year. They get frustrated and look elsewhere, trying to deregulate teacher preparation so that almost anyone can do it, school districts, private schools, county offices, and very soon - Starbucks shops. It still does not work, for poorly selected and ill-prepared teachers stay on the job for shorter and shorter gigs. The vicious cycle is the consequence of unclear, unarticulated response on our side and wishful thinking on their side.

Of course, the State wants to solve the problem without raising teacher salaries, and without investing a dime in teacher retention. Who wouldn’t want that? The State is willing to invest some in teacher recruitment, mistakenly believing that recruitment is the main source of the problem. However, retention is far more important, and it boils down to salaries and working conditions. 

Florida Teachers on Edge as New Law Threatens Their Unions | Portside

Florida Teachers on Edge as New Law Threatens Their Unions | Portside

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Public Schools as Center of Rebellion

Jeff Bryant
Why Public Schools Have Become the Epicenter of Rebellion
The revolution may not be televised, but it is happening in public schools. This is evident in the growth of student and teacher actions across the country, from walkouts to strikes. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention. Public school communities – students, teachers, parents, and citizens – have seen their institutions targeted with deeper budget cuts, greater inequities in the system, harsher penalties for “underperforming” on arbitrary standards, and deadlier gun violence. Is it any wonder that these constituents are now standing up to say they’ve had enough?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Trump's Border Wall is Stupid and Dangerous

antiracismdsa: Trump's Border Wall is Stupid and Dangerous: The  W all (or  F ence) Yes, the U.S. can build a wall or fencing on the U.S. side of the border, except for that portion of the b...

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Kevin de Leon + Jeff Sessions

Hunting Russian Trolls, a field guide

How do you identify a Russian troll? It is simple, really. Scott Shane caught one by just noticing that the activist’s English was a little odd. It is a form of simple linguistic analysis, and it works. You may not know, but linguistic analysis was critical in catching the Unabomber. But you don’t have to be a linguist to catch a troll, because they are not as smart as Ted Kaczynski.

No matter how proficient one gets with a second language, the first language always “seeps in.” Unless you were lucky to grow up fully bilingual, the native language’s syntax and idioms will inevitably show up in your second language writing. The troll factory in Saint Petersburg is a massive operation, and they simply cannot afford to hire truly fluent people, or even reasonably smart people. Shane also shows that Americans who bought into Russian trolling efforts are, well, less than brilliant. So the troll infection is a case of the dumb leading the dumber.

Here is a few tips on how to spot a native Russian speaker who is trying to pass for an American:

  1. Because our language does not have articles, their use does not come naturally to us. My friend once told me, “You do not even hear articles.” That is true, Russian speakers tend to filter them out as noise, and that is why we are slow to learn article usage as adults. Besides, English has a whole class of article use that is purely conventional, especially in geographic names (The Hague, but simply Paris, for example). There is a whole slew of exceptions (you go to school, but go to the hospital) that simply needs to be memorized. Either missing or overused articles will point to the Russian origin of the author.
  2. The written form of Russian tends to have longer, more convoluted sentence structure, with dependent clauses placed at strange places. Russians are more likely to use awkward passive constructions. They may be grammatically correct, but not common. A Russian sentence has a free word order, and we tend to recreate this kind of variety of sentence structure in English. It often looks unnecessary complex. 
  3. Watch for weird idioms. If they do not quite make sense, they have probably been borrowed from another language. 
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