Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Unity: Black & Brown


Why We Need A Deeper Dialogue On Black-and-Brown Relations

Posted: 8/30/11 11:12 PM ET

Recently, African American comedian Katt Williams went on a xenophobic anti-Mexican rant during a comedy show on August 27th in Phoenix, Arizona, apparently in response to a heckler. In comedy it's painfully hard dealing with audience barbs and catcalls (no pun intended), although everyone knows this is part of the life and any comedian worth their salt generally address such attacks with their most powerful weapon--humor.
Yet we get those instances when a comedian loses it. Here is some of what Katt Williams said during his tirade:
"... it appears to me, y'all like it over here a lot... If y'all had California and you loved it, then you shouldn't have given that mothaf*cka up. You should have fought for California, goddamnit, since you love it... Are you Mexican? Do you know where Mexico is? No this ain't Mexico, it used to be Mexico, motherf*cker, and now it's Phoenix, goddammit. USA! USA!... No n*gga, do you know where you at? USA! USA!... No n*gga, this is my hood... [security comes] F*ck him! Mothaf*ckas think they can live in this country and pledge allegiance to another country... Do you remember when white people used to say go back to Africa? And we'd have to tell them we don't want to? So if you love Mexico, bitch, get the f*ck over there! [breaks into the National Anthem]... We were slaves bitch, you just all work like that at the landscapers..."
There was more, but I'm sure you get the idea. I apologize to anyone offended by seeing this, but I have to contribute my two centavos on this matter (and the way our economy is going, two centavos may soon be worth more than two cents). Now, I don't mean to fuel any animosity between African Americans and Mexicans, whites and anyone else. God knows there are enough attacks against one another for superficial and ridiculous reasons (and attacking anyone for their so-called race or ethnicity is silly). What we often forget is that idiots come in all colors--if I have any prejudice it's against people who don't know what they're talking about, who don't know their own history, let alone that of others.
So instead of going off myself, I'm going to make this a "teaching moment" (I know, this is dumb cliché, but you get the point). Why react in kind to Mr. Williams in an already negative environment; this issue is bigger than one bad night at the comedy club (a small message to Mr. Williams: There is always going to be bad nights at the club, get over it).
Mexicans did fight for California. In fact, the one major battle they had with Anglo forces invading California they won, with horses and lances, just outside of Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the decision to turn the state over to the United States was made in Washington D.C. without the input of the people involved.
In fact, there was a whole war that Mexicans fought to stop the illegal invasion, which, lest Mr. Williams forget, was being pushed by the slave-owning interests in the United States. It was Southern slaveholders who ignited the war to rip Texas away from Mexico when Anglos refused to accept Mexico's laws against slavery.
Mexico had abolished slavery in the early 1800s, way before the Emancipation Proclamation; Mexico even had at least two African-Mexicans as presidents some two hundreds years before Barack Obama was elected president in this country.
The main catalyst for the Mexican war was the refusal of Mexico to return black slaves--believed to be more than 10,000--who had taken the southern-route of the "underground railroad," crossing the border to a free Mexico. In Mexico's governing assembly heavy debates on the issue ended up with the majority supporting these slaves, allowing them to own land, to farm, to become part of the Mexican social fabric.
Mexicans were willing to die so blacks could be free.
The invasion, led by a more powerful U.S. army against a mostly poor and subjugated Indian population (including lots of African-Mexicans, who make up the great third of Mexico's racial heritage) killed upwards of 25,000, mostly civilians, when there was less than eight million people. This invasion was soon denounced around the world. The national and international outcry forced the U.S. to back off from taking over all of Mexico and to pay $15 million for more than half of Mexico's territory (this amounted to less than .002 cents per acre).
Unfortunately, for Mexico, the U.S. obtained 60 percent of Mexico's mineral wealth, including gold and oil that were eventually discovered and exploited by U.S.-based interests and companies. If Mexico still controlled these lands, it'd have eventually become the world's largest oil producer.
Today Mexico has one of the world's highest poverty rate (with 60 percent unemployment and underemployment), the city with the highest murder rate in the world (Ciudad Juarez, due to the recent anti-drug lord campaign of President Felipe Calderon, instigated by the Bush Administration), and vast losses of agricultural as well as manufacturing income from the so-called North American Free Trade Agreement.
Millions of Mexicans have been forced to cross the border to the United States to "slave" in the farm fields, the cheap labor sweatshops, and, yes, the landscaping industries. All of which became profitable for U.S.-owners of such shops and industries, profits that have helped keep an economy going, even when many U.S. corporations decided to send jobs--including inner-city jobs--to other countries.

You can't blame Mexicans for this rising joblessness. This is mainly the result of greedy industrial and financial interests who care about as much for African Americans in the South or the urban core--or poor whites for that matter--as they do for Mexicans.
In other words, zilch.
It's time to base our actions and words on our unified histories, our real interests as working people, and not fall into the traps of blaming one another due to race or other nonsensical reasons. Any energy spent by Africans Americans against Mexicans--or Mexicans against African Americans, since this is equally wrong--is energy that could be better spent fighting for justice, economic equity, and a social transformation that benefits our children, our wellbeing, and future generations.
Like I said this is bigger than Mr. Williams. This is about the footprint or legacy we all want to leave in this world--mine will go with the anti-slavery Mexicans just as I join with African Americans who spoke out against Katt William's rant. My impact I hope will be with the growing surge of all peoples against war and poverty as well as to end the control of our homes, jobs, and lives by a smaller and smaller corporate class.
Mr. Williams, you love the U.S.A. so much, why don't you rant against that!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mujeres trabajadoras de Domestic work

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Dear MUA Supporters,

We need your support now as 200,000 Domestic Workers across California are on the brink of winning a historic campaign for justice and respect. Tomorrow marks our first week of a two week fund raising campaign via email and facebook to try to raise $10,0000 to help support leadership opportunities in this campaign for MUA members.

Supporters like Kent L. have donated and you too can help us.  We hope Kent'stestimony will help encourage others to take the time out of their busy schedules to support us now more than ever.

This historic campaign just steps away from the Governor’s desk, we must
ensure we have the resources needed to keep fighting. And MUA must continue the
long-term work of developing the community leaders that make a campaign like this

We need 400 more supporters to donate at least $20-25 to reach our goal in the next 8 days. Will you be one of them?

You can help by:SacImage 3
  • Making a donation
  • Forwarding our email to your contacts with a personal message asking them
  • Ensuring at least two friends donate
  • Recording your own short (less than a minute) video and sending it to us
  • Helping us bring our campaign to facebook by reposting our messages on your page

Together, we will win dignity and respect for all domestic workers. Thank you!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Largest Act of Civil Disobedience to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

Native American and Canadian First Nations To Take Part In Largest Act of Civil Disobedience to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

by Clayton Thomas-Muller on Saturday, August 27, 2011 at 11:07am
August 27, 2011

Native American and Canadian First Nations To Take Part In Largest Act of Civil Disobedience to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

Washington DC: The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is a national environmental justice and indigenous rights organization taking part in the largest act of civil disobedience in decades taking place at the White House in Washington DC from August 20 to September 3, 2011.

The purpose of these actions is to send a direct message to President Obama to deny approval of the 1,702 mile Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would be transporting pollution from the tar sands (also known as oilsands) oil of Canada to the United States by carrying 900,000 barrels per day of thick, corrosive, toxic, synthetic crude oil for refining in Texas and the Gulf States. If approved, the Keystone XL would lock the US into a dependency of energy intensive, hard-to-extract dirty oil and create a massive expansion of the world’s dirtiest and most environmentally destructive form of oil development currently taking place in northern Alberta Canada. These operations are already producing 1.5 million barrels per day and having horrendous environmental justice and human rights impacts on the way of life and health of the local Native communities of Cree, Dene and Métis.

The proposed pipeline threatens to pollute freshwater supplies in America’s agricultural heartland and grasslands with increased emissions in already-polluted communities of the Gulf Coast. The Keystone XL would cross Indian Country; States of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas encompassing Indian-US treaty territories crossing water aquifers and rivers, grasslands, cultural sites and ecological sensitive areas. Leaks and spills are common occurrences from such pipelines that could result in disproportionate impact to Native Nations and thousands of tribal members. A spill from the Keystone XL poses an even greater threat, given that the pipeline would run directly through the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies one-third of our nation’s ground water used for irrigation, and drinking water to 2 million citizens.

The Indigenous Environmental Network is bringing tribal governmental and grassroots leaders from US and Canada, directly impacted by the proposed pipeline and the tar sands oil operations, to say “NO KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE” to President Obama.  This Indigenous Day of Action on September 2, 2011, at the gates of the White House will express the solidarity of Native Nations, standing with concerned citizens, workers, farmers, ranchers, unions, youth and a coalition of environmental groups from across the continent, in peaceful protest to protect Mother Earth and demand Obama respect the treaty rights and survival of Native Nations of the US and Canada.

“Nature is speaking, but Obama is not listening. The Keystone XL pipeline is a 1,700 mile fuse of the world’s largest carbon bomb. The Canadian tar sands, the proposed Keystone XL and all the other current and proposed pipelines are weapons of mass destruction leading the path to triggering the final overheating of Mother Earth”, says Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “President Obama made promises to Native Nations and here is an opportunity for him to honor those promises and be a man of conscious by standing up to corporate power and say NO to the Keystone XL pipeline.”

A barrel of tar sands oil emits up to three times as much climate-disrupting gas as conventional oil. Building Keystone XL would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of adding roughly 6.5 million passenger vehicles to the road, or constructing 12 new coal-fired power plants.

“IEN is putting out a national call for ACTION and Solidarity on September 2nd. Even if your homes won’t be crossed by this pipeline, we are raising the consciousness of America to reevaluate its relationship to Mother Earth that would be ruined by the intensity of environmental devastation and of greenhouse gases created by the enormous tar sands oil infrastructure crossing North America. It’s like a giant spider web crossing our Turtle Island”, added Goldtooth.

National Native organizations such as the National Congress of American Indians, the oldest and largest Native organization representing Native Nations are calling for a moratorium and better management practices on expanded tar sands development and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. NCAI requests the U.S. government to take aggressive measures to work towards sustainable energy solutions that include clean alternative energy and improving energy efficiency.

The IEN delegation will arrive in DC on August 30th and be participating in the August 31st Canadian Day of Action and staying until the Indigenous Day of Action on September 2nd.

For more information, please contact:

Marty Cobenais IEN Pipeline Campaigner cell: (218) 760 0284 email:

Clayton Thomas-Muller IEN Tar Sands Campaigner cell: (613) 297 7515 email:

Tom Goldtooth IEN Executive Director cell: (218) 760 0442 email:

Kandi Mosset IEN Tribal Campus Climate Campaigner cell: (701) 214 1389 email:

Or visit or