Sunday, March 27, 2011

U. Of A. Immigration Week Connects Arizona To Palestine Through Largest Mock Border Wall In U.S.

Students at the University of Arizona constructed the largest mock border wall in U.S. history, as a part of the school's immigration week. Lucha has displayed a similar spectacle during Columbia's immigration week in semesters past (though much smaller in scale and funding while no less in heart!) in an attempt to engage the student bodies of both institutions with the ongoing struggles of the undocumented and their communities. As a visceral monument of authoritarian oppression and hyper-militarization, the controversial border wall enclosing the U.S./Mexico border is a modern testament to the systemic oppression faced by impoverished communities of color in the Global South. Beyond being a literal deterrent to the free movement of people into the United States by those unable, typically for class reasons, to legally enter via the bureaucratic nightmare and intentionally obtuse U.S. immigration system, it also serves the very practical function of killing immigrants. In 2010 alone, the wall has been largely responsible for the known deaths of 253 people, and those are just the ones recovered in a vast expanse of desert that is impossible for search teams to fully navigate.

Coverage of the events at U of A. can be found here

Photos of the event can be found here

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Sunday, October 3, 2010


-THE BORDER WALL, Lowe Plaza, all day Monday (postponed until later in the week for weather)
-VIGIL, Sundial, 6pm, we will begin a candle-lit vigil for those who have lost
their lives and been deeply affected by immigration and crossing the border. We
will be reading off names and invite others to share stories of
themselves/others they know.
-ROOTed Discussion on Border Policing, 9pm, IRC

Intersections of Invisible Immigrant Identities
-Join us for an INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION with speakers and students to reflect on
the more nuanced identities of the immigration conversation. Speakers include
Sel J. Hwahng, Ph.D, visiting Scholar and Adjunct Professor at the Center for
the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University and Verónica Bayetti
Flores, Senior Policy Analyst at Latina Institute, 7-9pm, IRC Conference Room.

. Panelists include Sonia Guinansaca, New York State Youth
Leadership Council, Jen Waller, Arizona Boycott Coalition, Teresa Gutierrez,
May 1st Coalition and Professor Mae Ngai, Lung Family Professor of Asian
American Studies and Professor of History at Columbia, 7-9pm (Diana, LL103)

-DREAM ACT PHONE BANKING PIZZA PARTY, come and call your senators to support
the DREAM Act at Casa Latina in East Campus, 5-8pm.

-DOCUMENTARY SCREENING: 9500 Liberty, Prince William County, Virginia becomes
ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when
elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they
have "probable cause" to suspect is an undocumented immigrant. 6pm, Dodge Hall
INSIDE Earl Hall.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Radical Right Update

The radical right is seething at the moment as they try to run against the tides of an increasingly different political landscape. The anger seething amongst many on the right stems from an increasingly different racial makeup, the state of the economy (loss of jobs, bailout of bankers and elites), and the passing of many liberal policies that have been termed as “socialist” by many conservative pundits. According the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) the number of hate groups has ballooned with the number of hate groups rising by an estimated 54% between 2000 and 2008, as there has been an increasingly angry backlash against non-white immigrants. As highlighted by the video posted below, many of these people, hiding behind the veil of free speech, are spewing truly insulting remarks towards a wide group of people. In a truly deplorable attempt at comedy one of the klansman says that half the Mexicans coming over “live in mud huts” and that living in a van is like living in the Taj Mahal. Another man interviewed hinted that the gestation period of a Mexican is no more than three months, while also saying that he does not “need black people.” What use is this rhetoric in our national narrative? I do not believe that the maligning of a group of people was an imagined use for the first amendment.

The United States is truly a special country. No other country has been founded by a diverse group of immigrants and risen to prominence on the world stage—the most powerful country in the world to be exact. Many, however, it seems have forgotten the history of this country. If we are to be truly correct, we are all, no matter if you’re Irish, Mexican, Jewish, been here since before your great grandpappy could remember, immigrants. Over 61% of Americans polled believe that the United States is in decline. If this is true, we have no one but ourselves to blame. We focus on everything and anything that divides us, and can never come together in beneficial ways. I believe that the reason that progressive initiatives such as healthcare have failed is truly a racial question. It is much harder for people to help others that are different from themselves, be it a racial, religious, or socio-economic difference.

I’m sorry if this post seems like nothing more than me rambling, but really I’m tired of this shit. In 2010, are we really acting like this?

Souther Poverty Law Center: Raging on the Right

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Gay Marriage Legal in U.S. Capital

Same-sex marriage was legalized in our nations capital to the displeasure of many. Washington, D.C. became the sixth place in our nation (the other being the states of Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire) to legalize same-sex unions. Although the law was signed by D.C. mayor Adrian M. Fenty in December, it had to undergo congressional review, which ended Tuesday. With great anticipation dozens of same-sex couples waited outside the City Courthouse to receive their marriage license as many shed tears of joy at finally being recognized as a couple.

Although this is a time of celebration for many couples in Washington, I still find it rather upsetting that same-sex marriage is still an issue on our nation's agenda. The idea that the civil rights of a minority would still be openly trampled upon is ludicrous and disgraceful. The United States champions itself as a haven for the oppressed and the disenfranchised, and yet the voices of many go ignored. This is not an issue of personal opinion on homosexuality, but a question of civil rights. The government does not have the right to deny any civil benefits to anyone because of race, religion, gender, or sexual preference, and that's final.

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National Day of Action to Defend Education

On October 24th students, teachers, workers and community members in the California Statewide Mobilizing Conference called for a National Day of Action to Defend Education on March 4, 2010 to respond to the tuition hikes, budget cuts, school closings and other attacks on education. More information available here.

JOIN the National Day of Action to Defend Education

Rally on Thursday, March 4th 2010 at 4 PM

March from Governor Paterson's office (3rd Ave & 41st St) to MTA Headquarters (420 Lexington Ave)

Lucha stands in solidarity with the protesters opposing policies and budget cuts that weaken the already disquieting reality of our of our public education system. It has long been considered a fundamental human right to have free access to a quality education in the United States, and the decaying of public education in America and all over the world is an unjust infringement on that right. In an economic climate where governments have been actively cutting social programs,the education system is extremely vulnerable to losing indispensable resources. Action is necessary now.
A free and accessible education is a value that goes back towards the Declaration of Independence, which stated equality was a fundamental principle of the founding of this country. Unfortunately, those tenets of freedom and equality have been reduced to lip service in a country that seems more interested in war, profit, individualism, and greed. For these reasons the protests against budget cuts in education are just and necessary.
In states across America budget cuts have resulted in exorbitant tuition increases, decreased financial aid, and limited course availability in public universities, and to a lesser extent even private universities. K-12 education is arguably even more vulnerable, with teacher lay-offs that only increase class size and more budget cuts that result in fewer services for child care, library access, computer labs, student centers, public transportation for students, and much more. These protesters are speaking out while the media and politicians focus on "more important" matters, who consistently neglect impoverished communities.
Moreover, as students it is our duty to speak out against these attacks on our right to a decent education, and the refusal to speak out ultimately is little better than complicity. We cannot wait for the media and politicians to address education. These brave protesters are taking the lead. Lucha strongly supports these efforts, and we encourage other organizations to do the same.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Right to Rebel

"I'm scared America. I'm scared for you and your children and for the sanctity of the American life we have all enjoyed until now." This is something that Glenn Beck says on an almost nightly basis. The eminent destruction of the United States has been coming for the last two years and the fear mongering seems to grow worse everyday. Beck, however, has become an important voice for the growing Tea Party Movement, who really see the government going to pieces.

The Tea Party Movement is a conservative movement that has come to prominence in the time after the recession and the passing of the stimulus and bailout packages. They are preaching "classical" American values and looking to re-establish the Constitution as the governing document of the United States. They believe that the government no longer represents their interests and Washington does nothing more than pander to a select group of lobbyists. What I'm about to say perhaps gives a little too much credit to the Tea Partiers and their movement. The Tea Party Movement obviously has found an ostracized and disillusioned demographic. People are losing their jobs and defaulting on their mortgages, and their faith in government has been shaken, and rightfully so. The failing of the banks and the housing bubble that caused it were not unavoidable. And profit was sought in spite of the large risks being taken.

The Federal government has become nothing short of a tyrannical "socialist" state that is encroaching upon its citizen’s rights. People are scared that their government is becoming a police state that is seeking, like never before, to control all aspects of their lives. They want to see a reduction in the size of government, reduction in taxes, and protection of their "liberties." The Tea Party Movement, however, is taking legitimate concerns and is hyperbolizing them to the point where they lose all credibility. The bank bailout and the stimulus packages are seen as nothing more than Washington pandering to Wall Street. It is hard, however, to convey to these people the importance of such policy. The government could have saved $800 billion and not passed the stimulus package, but this would have been done at the cost of going into a full depression. Lines to collect unemployment would have become soup lines. It is facts such as these that are not touted by the right-wing media and its supporters (pretty clear why). Providing healthcare has becoming a socialistic plot that will lead to "death panels" and the government deciding who lives or dies. Such claims may seem illogical and farce to some, but for many in the movement it has become a legitimate concern.

Many are dismissing the Tea Party Movement as a decentralized and cantankerous group, but I think they are gaining more and political sway. We are already seeing politicians trying to align themselves with the movement. I see this as a danger for two reasons: it eliminates any possibility of bipartisan cooperation and gives credibility to many of their fallacious claims. The Republican and Democratic parties are more at odds than at any other point in recent history and if the government is to address issues such as healthcare, two wars abroad, and a ballooning deficit, they need more unity and not more division. People, in times of strife, will clamor and rage, but this is not the time to do it. We do not need another war raging on our own front.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Event: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society

Check out this event this Saturday, Feb 20th, 7pm: The Myth of a Post-Racial Society.

Post-Obama, has America become colorblind-and is that even a worthy or achievable goal in this country? How does the supposed "post-racial" society measure up to the reality of poor and working people's lives, 60 years after the Black civil rights movement? Join a freewheeling discussion and celebrate the ongoing struggle for "Freedom Now!"

Speakers include: Norma Abdulah, a retired school teacher and longtime Harlem civil rights leader; Kenyon Farrow, from Queers for Economic Justice and co-editor of Letters from Young Activists; and Emily Woo Yamasaki, representing the Comrades of Color Caucus of Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women.

Door donation, $3. Savory southern supper, 6pm, $9 donation. Work exchanges available for students, low-income and unemployed people.

Freedom Hall, 113 West 128th Street, Harlem (b/t Malcolm X Blvd. & 7th Ave.) Childcare is provided.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blackwater Ordered Out of Iraq

The Iraqi government has ordered hundreds of private security personnel linked to Blackwater Worldwide to leave the country. This decision came after a U.S. judge dismissed the case against five Blackwater employees for killing 17 Iraqis in September 2007; many of those killed were women and children. This decision to dismiss a criminal case of this magnitude does nothing but further tarnish Iraqi-American relations and increase anti-American sentiments. Vice-president Biden, however, has assured the Iraqi government that the Obama administration will seek justice.

The actions of the Blackwater employees illuminate the problem with these military contractors, who in the facade of performing their job will go to any end. One of the main criticisms against these private military contractors is the fact that it is not clear how they are held accountable for their actions. It is not clear whether they are to be tried by U.S. law or the law of the countries they are operating in. Being positioned in "legal limbo" gives them a false sense that they are above the law, and thus not accountable for whatever heinous act they might commit. Companies like Blackwater have become private-corporate extensions of the Pentagon, and this can prove to be a frightening prospect. They are not termed as part of the U.S. military (even though they clearly represent a military agenda), and are free to do business as a private company.

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Food Stamps Find New Acceptance

In recent years the government has been trying to enroll more and more people in the Food Stamps program. Up through the late 1990's the Food Stamp program faced many cuts, as it was seen as part of the welfare system. The notion that Food Stamps would make the poor dependent was propagated amongst conservative circles and many people, who actually needed the aid, were turned away. After 1999, and especially during the Bush administration (woah! I'm going to say something nice of the Bush administration??), the government did well in promoting the Food Stamp program as not being welfare and removing red-tape preventing people from accessing it. The Food Stamp Program is not welfare and does not create a dependent population, since most of those receiving benefits are already part of the working class. Many of these people see this aid as a necessary subsidy to augment their incomes which are already below the federal poverty line. The Food Stamp program has become an important safety net for many, especially in these precarious economic times.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sarah Palin Cheating?

When then Presidential hopeful John McCain announced his decision to choose Sarah Palin as his vice-president, predictions of her political importance ran high. Would she represent the success or the failure of the Republican Party? Today, the question still remains unanswered. Even after a series of political (and personal) blunders, an embarrassingly rambling Katie Couric interview, a lost candidacy, and a resigned governorship, she somehow has remained active in the minds of many Americans as a possible contender for the 2012 presidential election. Palin also seems determined to give the left more and more ammunition, and below is just a small piece of the comedy skit that is her persona.

Palin has become the face of the "Tea Party Movement," as the savior from Obama's "socialist" agenda. Appearing at a Tea Party conference in Tennessee, Palin delivered a speech condemning President Obama and his policies, at one point referencing President Obama as "a guy with charisma and a teleprompter." An unremarkable speech gave way to a pre-screened Q&A session, meaning that Mrs. Palin was given plenty of time to prepare her answers. This Q&A may have been too much for the presidential hopeful to handle, as she resorted, just as any 7th grader would do, to writing the answers on the back of her hand. If this video is undoctored, it reveals Palin unable to articulate the basics of her party platform. A large portion of Palin's own popularity is based on her ability to deftly throw out buzz words, such as budget cuts and small government. She too is a politician "with charisma" and a little extra help. But while the "Tea Party Movement" seeks mainstream political clout, the $549 ticket cost, lack of diversity in the audience, and other factors, signifies little more than entrenched upper class and business interest, rather than a "movement" speaking for "the people."

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Stephen Fry talks about imprisonment in the United States

This is a short clip outlining some of the major shortcoming of the prison system of the United States. The United States has just over four percent of the world's population, and yet we house more than twenty-five percent of the world's prison population. We are consistently touting the merits of democracy, and yet we manage to imprison more people than the "socialist" Chinese. The prison system is flawed and has degenerated into a system that is nothing more than modern slavery.

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Friday, February 5, 2010

Haiti and New Orleans

When I think of political commentary, Lil Wayne isn't the first to pop into my mind. However, I stumbled upon this, and while short, it's very true. The parallels between the situation in Haiti and New Orleans abound -- which leads one to wonder what will happen to Haiti in the long term. Once the media is "over it" and Haiti will need true support to rebuild infrastructure, will help be around?

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