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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Truthout: The United States of War


ben williams library

America's Future: War and Peace in the 21st Century

Wednesday, 28 November 2012 00:00By Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, Truthout | Op-Ed
Despite the political rhetoric, America is not defined by its division into red and blue states, but by its addiction to imperialism, exceptionalism and a military budget that positions it as The United States of War.

In the United States, Arizona has come to represent many things; a super-magnet for the ignorant, the backward and the insane; a home to racial supremacists and xenophobes and, most of all, a laboratory for hate legislation.
And yet its real political function nowadays is that of a convenient political distraction.

Truth is, Arizona is but a mirror of the rest of the nation. It is what permits Americans to point the finger at this desolate state, allowing them to feel superior because it represents what America isn't. Arizona is purportedly the past, symbolized by its right wing kooks like Gov. Jan Brewer, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Attorney General Tom Horne, ad nauseam.

To read more articles by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

But Arizona is an aberration only in a symbolic sense. Such "aberrations" permit the media overlords and their talking heads to have a field day discussing our most recent elections. It permits them to exuberantly dissect the exit polls, break down demographics, examine the Latino and women's vote and the coming new majority, which includes people of color, white women and the LGBT community. It permits them to discuss what this means for the future of the nation, without ever broaching the most important topic of all: war.

For many conservatives, this coming new majority - represented by the browning of America - is already here and signals the end of the American Dream. For these conservatives, President Obama and this new majority are prima facie evidence for what Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly recently proclaimed: that traditional America no longer exists.

Contrarily, for the liberal talking heads, this new majority represents a more enlightened America; one that believes in human rights for all and that is more tolerant and more embracing of different peoples, cultures, languages, lifestyles and beliefs. The liberal talking heads believe in the possibility of a new America.
With the president's re-election, it appears that the old America is withering away while the new one is ascendant. And there is no turning back.

If this were true, even at a symbolic level, this would represent great news. But this is not quite reality. Through all this discussion, nary a word has been spoken about the business of America: not democracy, not human rights, not equality, but this nation's addiction to war.

Who can deny that for all intents and purposes, we now live in The United States of War? Translation: The USA is the imperial power of our times.

Military weaponry, in effect, is this nation's number one domestic product and its number one export. Of the top 15 most powerful nations, the United States spends more on its military than the other 14 nations combined, to the tune of $700 billion dollars in 2012, accounting for some 40 percent of the world's military spending. Yet, beyond hardware, what it is actually exporting and spreading is its historic ideology: manifest destiny and today's secular equivalents: American exceptionalism and global dominance.

The previous president put that ideology into effect with his belief that America had the inherent right to pursue unilateral permanent worldwide war, thus blurring the lines between legal and illegal wars and also at the expense of our rights, liberties, due process and privacy.

One could divide up those who believe or oppose that ideology into Republican and Democratic camps, but the reality of President Obama's first four years in office is that party affiliation seems to be irrelevant. He has embraced that ideology perhaps even more wholeheartedly than his predecessor. Evidence of this is his expanded use of drone warfare (targeted assassinations sans trials) on a global scale.

And yet it is not simply the president. The new majority has not thus far challenged that imperial ideology. The Middle East is one example: Polls indicate that the majority of Americans continue to support Israeli occupation and aggression (under the guise of defense) against the Palestinian people. And the president's policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, with his supporters' acquiescence, have shown little difference from those of his predecessor.
After the Cold War, the nation had a short-lived discussion regarding the peace dividend. In a similar vein, the ascendancy of this new electoral majority calls for a new discussion regarding not simply the future of this nation, but about its militaristic character. Absent this discussion, it will matter little how Latinos vote or who this new majority puts into office.

One can infer that this new majority doesn't simply want that discussion; it also wants its own peace dividend, not simply at home, but abroad. Judging from right wing discontent, peace won't be gifted to them; it will have to be fought for. Given President Obama's past inclination to appease and accommodate the wishes of his enemies, rather than those of his liberal/progressive supporters, he is unlikely to gift peace either. Let the fight for peace begin.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Rodriguez can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.comhttp://drcintli.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Call for Mexican American Indigenous Studies

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NOV. 26 TUSD DESEGREGATION PUBLIC FORUM – TUCSON ARIZONA

The first of three public forums is now in the books. More reporting on this later. Comments can be emailed to the "Special Court Master" by midnight Wed Nov 28 at: To comment directly to the court: http://168.174.252.75/usp/index.asp

The following document is one that most of our community is signing on to. People/organizations are encouraged to sign on to it also. See end of this post for instructions on how to do this.

Declaration of Intellectual Warriors 




November 26, 2012
Created by:
Chicano Literature After School Studies program Tucson High M.E.Ch.A
University of Arizona M.E.CH.A U.N.I.D.O.S 


Declaration of Intellectual Warriors
Dear Special Master Hawley, 

We, the youth belonging to the Chicano Literature After School Studies program (C.L.A.S.S.), Tucson High M.E.Ch.A, University of Arizona M.E.CH.A, and U.N.I.D.O.S., along with community input, collectively submit the following response addressing the proposed TUSD Unitary Status Plan:
Restoration of Mexican American Studies 

The new Mexican American Indigenous Studies program must be built on the foundation of the previous program that had demonstrated quantitative and qualitative measures of success. Therefore, the implementation of the Mexican American Indigenous Studies program and the other Ethnic Studies Programs must take budgetary priority over the implementation of the Multicultural Program.
Expansion of Ethnic Studie.

With the expansion and implementation of the new Mexican American Indigenous Studies and African American Studies, we demand that Native American, Asian American, and Middle Eastern American Studies be included in the plan. Core level curriculum will be essential for these courses. We believe that all ethnic groups should have a chance to develop their cultural identity by learning the contributions their people have made in the United States, as well as their experiences in this country. 

Core vs. Elective
All Ethnic Studies course must be considered as core English and core Social Studies classes, as opposed to Elective credits. 

Women’s Studies and LGBTQ Studies (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer)
In every section of the Ethnic Studies curriculum there will be an emphasis on the perspective and contributions regarding gender, women, and the LGBTQ community. 

K-8 Expansion
It is imperative that all of the Ethnic Studies programs be expanded to all learning levels. We reaffirm the decision to expand the programs from K-12 grade levels and expect that the newly developed African American, Native American, Asian American, and Middle Eastern American courses be held to the same standard. 

Directors
The position of Coordinator of Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Pedagogy needs to be changed to a Director’s position. In addition, there should be multiple directors (i.e., one representing Latino, and one representing African American Studies), with each Director having appropriate teaching experience in the field of study s/he will be directing, and each reflecting the ethnic background of the community s/he serves. 

Public Hiring of Directors
The hiring process of the Directors of Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Pedagogy must include representatives of the community who are former Ethnic Studies students and teachers because of their unique expertise and experience with culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy. These community members must also have decision-making power in the hiring of the directors. 

Community Decision-making Power
To ensure grassroots participation, we demand the creation of a community committee with formal representatives and full voting powers be established, that takes part in the following areas and decisions:
  •   The hiring process of the Directors of Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Pedagogy, and other staff.
  •   Curriculum
  •   Course creation
  •   And Overall USP Implementation and Accountability
    The district must ensure formal representation, with full voting powers, to:
  •   C.L.A.S.S.
  •   M.E.C.h.A.
  •   U.N.I.D.O.S.
  •   Parent
  •   Community member
  •   Former MAS teacher 

    Naming
    Each program Director (i.e. Mexican American Indigenous, African American, Native American, Asian American, and Middle Eastern Studies) must have the authority to name her/his corresponding program as s/he sees fit in reflecting the cultural relevance of the curriculum. 

    Capacity for new classes
    A course involving culturally relevant pedagogy must be available at every high school. As enrollment demands indicate the need for additional courses, additional courses must be established. The establishment of an Ethnic Studies Class shall be determined by the number of students requesting the class, not by the set number of previously established classes. The number of students in a class should not exceed thirty students; allowing more than thirty students in one class is detrimental to the learning environment. 

    Censorship
    The Unitary Status Plan must promote a pedagogy and curriculum that is free from censorship. Teachers must have the freedom to teach all aspects of the literature and history called for in the curriculum. 

    English Language Learners (ELL)
The Unitary Status Plan must limit the segregation of ELLs to no more than two hours per day. Interaction between ELLs and their English-speaking peers promotes ELLs' acquisition of English and fosters a shared sense of community among all students, while extended segregation creates social divisions and restricts ELLs' opportunities to acquire English in real-world situations. 

Dual Language Programs
The Unitary Status Plan must also recognize and include Dual Language (DL) classes as Advanced Learning Experiences. Dual Language programs provide academic enrichment and offer the same kind of rigorous and challenging instruction found in GATE and IB programs. Moreover, DL programs have a greater capacity to serve ELLs and are more likely to positively affect a significant portion of the ELL population. 

Discipline
Students guilty of minor infractions shall not be subject to removal from class as a part of their punishment, whether through in-school suspensions or out-of-school suspensions. Humiliation and demeaning disciplinary tactics must be prohibited. 

Restorative Justice
Restorative Practices must be used as stated in the Unitary Status Plan in order to promote accountability, while building a healthy, positive, constructive, and supportive school environment for every student. TUSD must not resort to police, border patrol, or Juvenile Hall as means of disciplinary action. 

Transportation 
TUSD is responsible for the providing school bus transportation for all students. Students must be provided with school buses before and after school. Providing students with public transportation vouchers is an inadequate form of transportation. The use of public transportation extends the travel time from students, taking time from their studies. 

Equal Time in Class
All schools of equivalent educational levels need to be in the classroom for the same amount of time. Decreasing any schools meeting time creates disparities in the quality of education a student receives. 

No School Closures
TUSD proposes school closures that are disproportionately targeting Southside and Westside area schools. This negatively impacts working class, students of color, and their families and communities. It is impossible for TUSD to implement a Unitary Status Plan if it finds solutions in closing down our schools. We ask that the USP clearly state that no school closures are acceptable.

Supervising of the Implementation of the Unitary Status Plan
Students enrolled in TUSD schools and Ethnic Studies courses must have the same right as other community members to play an active role in monitoring the district’s implementation of the
Unitary Status Plan. Their active participation in the monitoring process will be a key factor in keeping TUSD in compliance with the Unitary Status Plan. 

Conclusion
As students, we are clear that in order for these court-ordered district changes to be genuine, sustainable, and transformative, students and community members must be engaged in meaningful ways at every level of the process. To restore respect, justice, and equity in our educational experience and school district, we ask for the full integration of our student demands in your Unitary Status Plan. 

Mr. Hawley, we, the students await a detailed response to all our points above. 

With Gratitude & Sincerity,
Chicano Literature After School Studies program, Tucson High M.E.Ch.A,
University of Arizona M.E.CH.A,
U.N.I.D.O.S

If you would like to sign on to this, send signature/identification to: "Daniel Montoya: dmr92@hotmail.com or Alanna Castro: tecamujer@gmail.com
***************

The following are my comments from the Nov 26, 2012 forum.


Cualli Yohualli Dr. Hawley:

Ne hua no Toca Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez. I am a media scholar and an assistant professor in Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. Welcome to Shuckshon – to Tlamanalco: the place where offerings are left.

There’s been a lot of talk in this country about an impending fiscal cliff. If we are going to use metaphors tonight, here in Tucson, Arizona, we’re facing a moral cliff. Yet, as you well know, our community has gone through perilous quick sand and explosive mine fields just to get to this point.

Today, the issue before us is segregation. Yes, it’s the end of 2012 and we are still talking about segregation, disparate funding, unequal schools, substandard education for the majority… and a conscious attempt by the state and by TUSD to destroy that which works for our students: The district’s highly successful Mexican American Studies Department.

The most pressing issue on its face appears to be one driven by the region’s demographics. It only appears that way because both the state and TUSD and its school board have been operating in an apartheid manner… that is but another term for segregation, except it is applied when the minority attempts to impose its will on the majority. Statewide we know that students of color are now the majority in public schools, especially in the lower grades, and in Tucson specifically, we know that also to be true at even higher percentages. The politics of apartheid reigns supreme here in this godforsaken desert.

But let me reiterate; the issues before us are not about demographics but about what is moral. The proposed desegregation plan deals with a number of issues, as it should. So let me simply address a few of them. The effort to destroy Mexican-American Studies/Ethnic Studies in this state has been nothing short of immoral.

The proposed plan appears to affirm the success of Raza Studies. Yes, that’s what it was called before the nasty politics of this state forced administrators to capitulate and call it something palatable to bureaucrats. And then the state, and then TUSD, proceeded to dismantle it, decapitate it, then destroy it. Incidentally, every scientific study affirms the success of MAS, including the latest UA Cabrera, Marx & Milem Study, completed this summer of 2012.

Throughout all this time, the state has always been clear – via Tom Horne and Mr. John Huppenthal – that the state would destroy MAS… But the TUSD board and the superintendent, under the guise that they wanted to improve MAS/Ethnic Studies, not only facilitated the destruction of MAS, but then created a multicultural initiative in its place. Very disingenuous.

As you know, TUSD has objected to the draft proposal for the desegregation plan… and they did this with godspeed on Nov 9, the same day the draft plan was made public. In their objection, first, they say that there are no vestiges of segregation at TUSD, and that even if there were, their multicultural initiative – which is untried, untested, unfounded, etc. – is their solution.

Isn't that special…. The state and TUSD colluded to destroy the nation’s leading program and department – one which had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that it is a successful academic program – and then they give us an untried model – and essentially tell you and tell us, the parents and the children of this district, to go away… and to simply trust them. This is highly disturbing. Since 1978, hundreds of millions of desegregation dollars have flowed from the federal government to make things right in Tucson. It appears to have gone to everything, but desegregation.

This time, we have a chance to ensure that desegregation funds go to restoring Mexican-American Studies, solidifying it and then expanding it… as the draft plan essentially advocates, to every high school and to every middle and elementary school in the district. Once this is in place, the district can move on to create that multicultural initiative. If these funds are used properly, the district’s budget crises notwithstanding, there should be no impediment for TUSD to restore MAS, though now our community is calling for Mexican American Indigenous Studies (MAIS).

If it sounds like I do not trust TUSD, that is not true; it is our community that does not trust TUSD. And we have good reason. TUSD has brought about this distrust upon itself, with continual deceptions, distortions and a literal distrust of our community. It has even assaulted our community, educationally, culturally and even physically. Some in our community have been beaten, others arrested, this while our views have been thoroughly ignored and demeaned.

We know that a new school board majority awaits us. From all indications, this new majority are longtime supporters of our beloved MAS department. So we do trust that they will step forward and put the interests of the students first, before politics.

In this community – in Tlamanalco – we trust our youths for it is they that have had the burden of fighting for the rights of our entire community. Our community has entrusted them with the drafting of a document: Declaration of Intellectual Warriors. My statements are in support of it. That is our offering. A document that rejects segregation of any kind, especially against Tucson’s American Indian  students – who are essentially ignored in this draft proposal.

Finally, I wish to state that I am a member of the Arizona Ethnic Scholar’s Network, The National Association of Chicana/Chicano Scholars and the National Association of Ethnic Studies Scholars and Raza Studies Now/Plan de Los Angeles. All these have long supported Tucson’s MAS program and support its restoration and expansion.

Tlazocamati huel miac – Thank you very much

********************************************
There is still time to comment: To comment directly to the court: http://168.174.252.75/usp/index.asp
 You can also access the plan via this document. Also see this document as to where to send comments, etc. Click on document to enlarge.:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PLAN DE TLAMANALCO: RESPONSE TO TUSD

TRUTHOUT

El Plan De Tlamanalco: A Community Response to the Tuscon Desegregation Plan

http://truth-out.org/speakout/item/12733-el-plan-de-tlamanalco-a-community-response-to-the-tuscan-desegregation-plan)

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 09:51 By Roberto Cintli Rodriguez, SpeakOut | Op-Ed

The most important aspect of the proposed plan for the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) – to get out of its desegregation order – is that beyond individuals, the community is coming together to respond, both as a local and national community.

Perhaps soon, we will hear of El Plan de Tlamanalco (Tucson) or something similar that our community is putting together. And why Tlamanalco? Because the fire and the drum have been there at every step of the way.

What’s before us is not so much a legal matter, but about the will of a community (TUSD has been under a federal desegregation order since 1978 as a result of the Fisher, et al., Mendoza, et al. v. TUSD lawsuit). The plan’s contents permit us to proclaim our struggle a victory. We fought for it, defended it and have never lost faith in the celebrated Mexican American Studies department. What is left is to craft that victory and follow up on it, even if it takes more protests. And when I say we, truth is, it is primarily a student-led victory, led by Social Justice, UNIDOS and MEChA students.
On its face, the unitary plan’s principal feature is that it affirms the success of Tucson’s MAS high school classes – as core curriculum – and calls for their expansion into middle and elementary schools. To be sure, the department was never controversial. It is only its few critics – almost all of whom are non-educators and who do not have children in TUSD schools – that conjured up so-called controversies, without any facts or data and without ever even visiting the MAS or Raza Studies classes.

The plan, which was submitted to the Court, Nov. 9, provides a pathway, however, there are several deficiencies (including the continued segregation of non-English speaking students), but none of those deficiencies are insurmountable, even if it requires new battles. Perhaps the most deficient feature of the document is that it does not address the [dire] situation of American Indian students in the district. While not part of the original lawsuit, the community and the new board will hereafter have the responsibility to do so.

In regards to the plan that was filed, for six years, the state has imposed itself, via the anti-Ethnic Studies HB 2281, and the school board has complied, all on the basis of outright distortions against MAS. The latest 2012 study (Cabrera, Milem & Marx:http://www.coe.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/MAS_report_2012_0.pdf.) affirms a positive linkage between taking MAS courses and student success. Both the unitary plan and the study essentially debunk everything that the state, school board and superintendent have been saying and doing for the past few years.

What the unitary plan does is provide the community an opportunity to bring clarity and to create a roadmap as to where we go from here. Word games will be played, legalisms will be the order of the day, but in the end, it is our community that will design the victory, fight for it and ensure it.
The unitary plan does not mention the Mexican American Studies department or its classes by name, however, there is but one department, with a proven track record that was providing “Latino relevant courses” since the 1990s. This plan does not come in a vacuum; that’s why we can dispense with the word games.

The key to this proposed plan is the budget. This time around federal desegregation monies cannot be siphoned off, for everything, but desegregation, as has been the custom since the 1970s to the tune of one billion dollars. Sylvia Campoy, an advocate for the Mendoza plaintiffs says that TUSD has consistently refused court-ordered accountability. Given budgetary pressures, TUSD may again be tempted to do more siphoning. This plan, however, calls for the tracking of these monies. If approved, accountability will not simply be a wish, but part of a court order, monitored by our community.

What is instructive is that the law firm representing TUSD responded on the very same day that the plan was made public. Their principal objection is their claim that they do “not acknowledge or admit that vestiges of the segregated system remain in the district.” Furthermore, they believe that even if there were [problems to be solved], that the district “is already in the process of revising its social studies curriculum to include multicultural perspectives.” Not quite. The unitary plan does call for a multicultural initiative – which is a good idea – but given TUSD’s reliance on it – as a replacement for MAS – and given TUSD’s track record, it is safe to say that most of us would feel a little more comfortable if the primary emphasis was placed on restoring and expanding MAS first.

Yet, even before dismantling their legal objections, it is important to note that the TUSD legal response reflects the thinking of the superintendent and the old majority of the school board. As of these past elections, TUSD has a new majority that for all intents and purposes, is friendly to MAS.
The next step does not belong to the new school board majority, but rather to our community. It is we who will craft a plan and it will be up to the new friendly majority to carry it out. At the end of November, there will be community hearings for input. Once the input is complete, the special master (appointed by the court), will submit his plan to the judge and then the judge will issue a court order. The new board, in turn, will interpret the decision, and then carry it out.

We have been told that under the guidance of the court, the proposed plan cannot guarantee the return of the former MAS director (Sean Arce ) to his rightful position, nor the former MAS teachers to theirs. That may be true, but the new board can make that happen and it is our community that can provide that guarantee. It is highly doubtful that our community protested, marched, walked, walked out, ran, rallied, occupied buildings, got arrested (and some beaten), and attended countless board meetings (and took over one of them), only to have the maestros fired through the back door.

The attack on MAS was not limited to an attack on the program, but on the discipline of Raza Studies and on the red-brown communities of Arizona and nationwide. It will be difficult to forget that this battle was waged against us as a civilizational war, especially since HB 2281 is still on the books.

That is why as a community, it is incumbent upon us to create a plan that restores the Indigenous or maiz-based curriculum, and that also uplifts all students in the district, including American Indian students.
  • For a copy of the proposed unitary plan, plus instructions on how to provide input, go to: www.tucsonusp.com
  •  
  • For a copy of the TUSD legal response, go to: http://threesonorans.com/2012/11/09/democratic-run-tusd-uses-democratic-law-firm-to-immediately-object-to-return-of-mas-under-federal-orders/
  •  
  • Independent of this plan, El Plan de Los Angeles seeks to spread Raza Studies to K-12 schools nationwide. For info, go to: RazaStudiesNow.com
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. 

Rodriguez teaches at the University of Arizona and can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.com

Monday, November 12, 2012

Re the Tucson desegregation plan

Pretty much staying away from insta-analysis re the Special Master's report, etc.  Despite that, it is our victory to assert:
In regards to the Tucson deseg plan - which in effect - calls for the expansion of Raza Studies to every high school and eventually throughout k-12 - that's our victory. In regards to the TUSD response... I could be wrong, but in effect, we in Tucson now have a new school board... with a majority that for all intents and purposes, is on our side. Thus, we can consider whatever the Deconcini law firm did as null and void, because it represents the old majority view, along with the view of the superintendent. We have yet to hear the voice of the new majority, but even then, that's looking at it upside down. We know what our community wants and we will continue with our demands. It is the responsibility of the new majority to carry them out!
Here's an article on next steps... with a link to the report: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/plan-filed-in-court-to-end-tusd-deseg-case/article_81c7e5f7-2c71-52cd-b58a-2ef5ba7e35a5.html
 If you do want minute-by minute posts, go to Threesonorans.com

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tlamanalco Wins!

In our six-year battle over Mexican American Studies, Tlamanalco has won!

Details are forthcoming...

Our victory took place perhaps 2 years ago... when we ran through the desert.

But a few politicians got in the way.

You will see details shortly.

The victory is sweet... and we still have to do some fighting... perhaps a lot more protests... but about our victory, there is no doubt about that.

When the dust clears, people will understand how the youths of our Tucson community -- kicked a lot of behinds to make this victory possible. But truly, they turned to our traditions, with the assistance of Calpolli Teoxicalli and other Indigenous maestros and elders from throughout this continent. Most outsiders are clueless about what has actually been going on... but rest assured, the stories will soon surface.

Congratulations to UNIDOS, Social Justice (SJEP) and MEChA for making this victory possible.

Again, this victory will become evident in the next few days, weeks and months. And this victory has already spread nationwide... the seeds have been planted and we will see the maiz very soon!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

DECISIONS 2012: END OF "OUR" WORLD?


By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez


I vote, but I never endorse. Seems a bit presumptuous for people in media to go around making endorsements. Ideally, media should inform, and the readers should decide.

As such, I feel compelled to put my $.02 regarding the importance of these elections. I have friends that believe that voting is either a waste of time, or an endorsement of the politically corrupt system we live in. Despite this, they’re probably going to vote for Ralph Nader again.

OBAMA V. ROMNEY

My friends may be correct about our politically corrupt system (where money trumps character), however, elections do matter and they do have consequences. At the national level, one party believes in this nation’s inherent right to wage permanent worldwide war. The other party believes in waging but one “legitimate” war at a time.

I think war is not legitimate ever; for the most part, war is simply about aggression, theft of land and natural resources, and [global] dominance. On this topic, the choice is stark. People should make their decision based on how much war we want for the next four or even eight years.

But of course, there are other issues. The parties have different positions on education, on the rights of women, the rights of the LGBT community, the rights of people of color, the rights of migrants, the rights of the poor and the ecological future of the planet. No doubt, everyone knows where  each party stands. Thus, people should know how to vote.

ARIZONA: ADIOS ARPAIO

For those that do not live in Arizona, this is the perfect example of how  elections do matter. Arizona is the new Alabama and the old Alabama. Yet,  Alabama does not quite have all the quirky politicos we do; Gov. Jan Brewer; Atty. Gen. Tom Horne; (the intellectual author of the anti-ethnic studies HB 2281) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio;  Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu; state school’s superintendent, John Huppenthal… and the recently recalled and ousted, former State Senate President, Russell Pearce, the author of the anti-immigrant--SB 1070. To send Arpaio packing to wherever Pearce now resides alone would make the entire 2012 elections worth it. And it is possible.

Of course, each state has its own local races that are critical to issues that do matter.

THE TUCSON MINEFIELD
  
Seems like nowhere else are the 2012 elections most important than Tucson, Arizona. After six years of attacks from the state and local school board, the dynamic regarding the dismantling of Mexican-American Studies (MAS) may change in a big way this Tuesday. And actually, this Friday is another big day in Tucson. On that day, the special master in the historic 1978 desegregation case will make public the plan by which TUSD can be in compliance with the court, which has long determined that Tucson schools remain segregated.

The two events actually are related.

Three seats are up. The three candidates up for reelection all voted to dismantle the Mexican-American Studies department. The vote here is pretty simple; if people don't like the way they voted, then they should be voted out of office. The three are Alex Sugiyama, Miguel Cuevas and Mark Stegeman.

The question becomes who to vote in their place? For a while, there was momentum in lining up behind three candidates that had demonstrated support for MAS; Cami Juarez, Krystel Foster and Betts Putnam- Hidalgo. In this badly fractured community that we live in, people have found something to not like about each one of them.

I won't tell anyone how to vote on this, other than to say that if people would like to see the three incumbents returned to office then this is an easy choice. From my understanding, for MAS supporters, there is at least one other candidate who would be an acceptable replacement. Voters should take the time to research this. Voters should also be cognizant that a leading member of TU4SD, the group that has consistently opposed MAS, strongly endorses Dr. Stegeman and John Hunnicutt.

TUCSON’S NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE
"Reasonable Suspicion" J Burds 2012 (Militarized TUSD School Board)
It is quite amazing that these races for the Tucson school board actually have a national significance. If after this election is over and our community has three sympathetic candidates, regardless of what the special master reveals, our community should be in the driver’s seat. If this comes to pass, it is our community (perhaps a community coalition) that needs to tell our representatives on the school board what we want and how we should proceed. What we all seem to agree on is that a multicultural studies program is acceptable, but not on the grave or ashes of the highly successful MAS department. MAS must be reinstated, expanded and if anything, exported.

Regardless of how this plays out, of concern to our community in Tucson is also the fate of former MAS director, Sean Arce and MAS teacher, Jose Gonzalez, who are facing what appears to be a blatantly frivolous lawsuit (to get information on that case go to: http://threesonorans.com/raza-defense-fund/).

Elections do matter; a sympathetic school board will indeed make all the difference in the world... and I would also presume that this world would be better off with less war.



PO BOX 3812
Tucson, AZ 85722

UPDATE RE CRYSTAL TERRIQUEZ AND 4 OTHER DEFENDANTS


ONE VICTORY AND ONE MORE TO GO

The political battles in Arizona are long, very long. Especially in the last six years, the battles have been intense but there have been a number of victories. One such victory is that of Crystal Terriquez.

She is the young woman Rudy Acuña wrote about, and I wrote about a few weeks ago, who had lost her job as a result of getting arrested in defense of ethnic studies, the day after Gov. Brewer signed the anti-ethnic studies bill HB 2281 in May 2010.

In trying to save her job she received many letters of support. Her employer still fired her. But no matter, in the course of a month, she found a new job and our community also responded and raised enough money to cover all the bills she had to pay while without a job.

The next job at hand is to have the verdicts set aside (this will involve setting aside guilty verdicts for 5 of us). Toward this end, we have found an attorney that will do that. If you can, please send what you can, otherwise sending a letter of support is good enough because all we need is less than $1000 now. And we will get it. We will do a fundraiser in Tucson on December 7. It will most likely involve raffle tickets for artwork. We'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, please consider sending in a contribution for the legal expenses. Any amount is welcome. For the paypal link, click here. Or copy and paste this address: https://www.wepay.com/donations/help-out-mas-alum-crystal-terriquez-fired-for-defending-ethnic-studies

If you would rather mail in a contribution to her, put it in her name and mail it to me at:
Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez - PO BOX 3812 - Tucson Arizona, 85722. Or contact her directly at: terriquez123@yahoo.com
For info, you can reach me at: 520-271-6796 or XColumn@gmail.com 

* After we finish this, we need to concentrate or focus nationwide in raising money for MAS director, Sean Arce and MAS teacher, Jose Gonzalez, who are facing what appears to be blatantly frivolous lawsuit. To get information on that case go to: http://threesonorans.com/raza-defense-fund/

Saturday, November 3, 2012