Saturday, October 29, 2011

Debra la tardita–among others–still here

by Rudy Ch. Garcia

Everything's connected, whether or not we recognize it. Some connections are obvious, some subtly disguised through our filtered interpretations of what's around us. Sometimes we need others to help remove the filters.

In response to my post last week about Debra la tardita, two of my fellow La Bloga contributors Michael Sedano and Melinda Palacio disagreed with my notion of removing myself from voter registration.

Sedano's post: "not voting though you can is letting that half of the rest of them win." My take on this is that voting for "change" in fact helped "that half of the rest of them win." Bank & mortgage co. bailouts, our new spreading wars, Guantanamo's continuation, massive legally-sanctioned arrests and deportations by that President show that "they" won. Our votes insured that, rather than our "winning." So, recent history tends not to support Sedano.

Melinda's post: "This story is important, as is your vote. We have to keep believing." I will keep believing. And I would register again when I felt there was something to vote for. Something hugely different. Not just "change" as in another President, though of a different skin color, apparently as dark on the inside as his lighter skinned predecessor. I think Debra la tardita would agree with me.

I did hear that during a non-writing time this week during her school day, she requested permission to write a letter to her dad. I don't know the letter's contents. However, the act itself--a request outside of the normal curriculum schedule--and the risky confidence of a child wanting to put her thoughts down with paper and pencil, neither of which she has mastery of, is something to believe in, draw some inspiration from.

To my same post last week, where I included my statement about Occupy my country, Esteban Chavez wrote: "Does Occupy Aztlan ring any bells? History is moving against the 1%." I do agree with Chavez's second point; his first point appears to have been bypassed by gente and people going beyond it, spreading the Occupy to more than the Southwest and Mexico. As it should be.

I watched the news this week about China moving to cover bonds for the Greek debt-crisis that the Greek people have already Occupied Greece over for some months. Apparently the international 1% seem to be willing to take write-off loses to salvage their European/Western/worldwide economic system. People in the U.S. who didn't believe the 60s and 70s anti-war protests didn't do any good to ending our invasion of Vietnam might be some of the same people who today might not think the Occupy actions have had anything to do with the 1% acting to save the existing economic system in Greece.

I'd suggest we all think again. I can't explain the Occupy movement better than anyone else, but Occupy does stand out in one obvious way: there's no list of demands. Occupy goes beyond getting rid of any current despot/tyrant/ruler/democratically elected President. It goes beyond 99% of the Greeks refusing to pay for their country's economic crisis. Beyond ending corruption or profiling of latino-looking people or just lowering a country's college-debt load before young people have gotten their first job.

By not having a list of demands, Occupy just says: ya basta. If that sounds familiar, it might be because it's been used before. Think Zapata or the Chicano Movement or thousands of other times in history. Voting wasn't usually a major strategy.

Debra la tardita's father will assumedly receive her letter sometime in Nov. Whatever she wrote probably won't include advice to her father about making sure he registers to vote. Nor would it include anything about her being ready to Occupy, though I wouldn't doubt she has the heart for it. At least, she might not be including it her letters, just yet.

Below I reprint a piece from Frontera NorteSur about Occupy Tijuana. It's followed by an appeal from Frontera so they can continue providing alternative news about what's really going on in the Southwest and Mexico. Frontera probably won't cover the return of Debra la tardita's dad, should he lose in deportation hearings.

But consider supporting Frontera, since your local newspaper and broadcasting doesn't usually cover enough of what goes on in our country. You'll want to be one of the first to know how the Occupy Tijuana/Aztlán/my country movement goes. Or comes and goes. Or maybe one day just stays. And lets working people like Debra la tardita's dad stay.

Occupy Tijuana tests rights

October 22, 2011 – Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, a protest in Tijuana is shaping up to be a test between the right of citizens to assemble peacefully and the desire of authorities to maintain public order.

In the wee hours of the morning of Tuesday, October 18, dozens of state, municipal and possibly federal police officers raided Occupy Tijuana’s encampment in the border city’s Plaza Rio zone and arrested 27 people, mostly young professionals and students, for violating city ordinances like urinating in public and allegedly possessing drugs. Some of the detained individuals were then paraded in front of a judge and either slapped with fines amounting to be about $80.00 each or ordered to perform community service.

Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante Anchondo later defended the police action, arguing that if protesters wanted to demonstrate they should have picked a safe place and not be in a position to physically expose themselves in public. Bustamante contended that the site of the protest encampment, a median across from Plaza Rio, was a congested, public thoroughfare. “The criticism is that (protesters) could cause an accident or worse,” Bustamante said.

The Tijuana mayor rejected contentions that excessive force was used in removing the demonstrators, adding that some of the young people camped out were consuming alcohol. However, Bustamante confirmed that he was not present at the scene of the eviction.

“We are students, lawyers, anthropologists, sociologists, artists, workers; we are the 99 percent,” the protesters said shortly after last week’s break-up of their encampment. “We are not paid killers, delinquents, bums or ninis (Mexican slang for young people who do not work or study).” Stories and video clips covering the eviction and the Occupy Tijuana movement have been posted on You Tube.

In a press statement, the non-governmental Northwest Citizen Human Rights Commission protested that Occupy Tijuana’s rights to peaceful assembly, redress of grievances and due process of law were violated by the police raid. While carrying out the eviction, some officers were hooded and did not display official identification, the Mexican human rights advocates charged. In addition to trampling on constitutional guarantees, the October 18 police raid violated international treaties, the statement asserted.

“It’s worrisome that the civil authority reacts in this way to citizen protests, inflicting an injury that is added to the climate of violence and insecurity which the country is going through,” the citizen commission said. “We don’t know the motive which prompted the authorities to repress the rights of assembly and association, but it is noteworthy that there was a convergence of the three levels of government to carry out the eviction of the demonstrators.”

The Northwest Citizen Human Rights Commission demanded a legal investigation of eviction, and called on the official human rights commissions of Mexico and Baja California to likewise probe the matter. The group also urged Baja California Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan to uphold the constitutional rights of the citizenry and punish those responsible for human rights violations. Copies of the press statement were addressed to other state and local officials, as well as to Javier Hernandez Valencia, Mexico representative for the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. Heriberto Garcia, Baja California human rights ombudsman, has initiated an investigation of the October 18 incident.

Occupy Tijuana was expected to resume its protest against global economic policies and war on the weekend of October 22.

Additional sources: El Sol de Tijuana, October 22, 2011., October 21, 2011. La Jornada, October 19, 2011. Article by Antonio Heras., October 18, 2011. Article by Sandra Dibble.

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es todo, hoy,


msedano said...

i'm happy you got to thinking, though not happy you skirt the point and argue against your own proposition, not mine. ni modo. i'll vote twice for michelle in your name.

Manuel Ramos said...

When I saw Rudy's original piece, I thought about responding with thoughtful, rational arguments that would show him the error of his message- which I took to mean that since all U.S. politicians are fakes and liars, he was not going to vote. I did a bit of research and, lo, discovered that many writers agree that voting is a waste of time and hope. Here are two links to such articles:

Even so, I am concerned about the message Rudy sends to Debra and other students by modeling behavior that basically says drop out, remove yourself from the process because it has failed to live up to expectations - then what? I also disagree that Zapata or the Movement did not have demands - check out the Plan de Ayala, Plan de Aztlan, etc. Not that any of those documents had all the answers, but I fail to see the up side of "no demands". After resentment, frustration, awareness, comes action, I think. One form of action is to get involved even more, but not the only way, and Rudy may be saying that there are other ways of working for change and progress aside from voting, which is correct, of course. Bottom line,I don't think Rudy is saying that his decision is what the rest of us should do. I'm just a bit unclear about what he thinks we should do, other than support the Occupy Movement, and to make sure we look for all the news.