THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bye, Bye Miss American Pie...

!YA BASTA! (sorry, I can't do the punctuation right with this program.)

This is a compelling argument for anarchy over this facade of a democracy...


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Lies and Betrayals: The Coming Death of a Criminal Democratic Party

Blog: Un Pueblo Sin Fronteras

Posted by digoguerra en diciembre 29, 2010

By Raúl Al-qaraz Ochoa

Mark my words that the only things to have been halted in 2010 were not just immigration reform or the DREAM Act; it was also the year the Democratic Party died.

Allow me to explain.

In Washington D.C., from 2008 to 2010 in the House of Representatives, there were 257 who were Democrats; only 178 were Republican. In the Senate there were 59 Democrats; only 41 were Republicans. The Party that Latinos voted overwhelmingly for controlled two-thirds of the House of Representatives and had a majority in the Senate, for 2 years, and still they couldn’t keep their promise to you or me.

For 2 years Democrats sat around, not passing immigration reform and actively blocking passage of the DREAM Act. Most recently, the DREAM Act needed 5 votes to live and 5 Democrats voted against it and 1 Democrat had no shame and failed to vote at all!

While Republicans push white supremacy to new heights. Democrats are worse. At least we know where Republicans stand and we know they will keep their evil word. But Democrats, as liberal as they may be, are weak, they’re fence-sitters, they’re spineless, they’re hypocrites and they’re liars. If we have turned a blind eye to the Democrats’ tricks, lies and betrayals, we can no longer deny reality. Being naïve is no longer an excuse to continue supporting a party that actively works against our interests.

But let me be positive too and mention what Democrats have done for us. While Obama says he is disappointed that the DREAM Act didn’t pass and while he says no family should be torn apart, his actions and those of Department of Homeland Security head-honcho Janet Napolitano (a former Democrat governor from a little state called Arizona) have secured the following record-breaking numbers:

  • “$4.6 billion to support 20,000 Border Patrol agents and complete the first segment of Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) virtual border fence.
  • Includes $94 million for 300 new CBP Officers for passenger and cargo screening at ports of entry as well as expansion of pre-screening operations at foreign airports and land ports of entry.
  • More than $1.6 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement programs to expeditiously identify and remove from the United States illegal aliens who commit crimes. Included in this total is continued support for the Secure Communities program.
  • $137 million for enhancements and expansion of immigration related verification programs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

So, I guess I was wrong and I misunderstood. A Democrat-sponsored immigration reform did pass and these numbers that I got from www.whitehouse.gov are the reform put into action: Record-breaking detentions, record-breaking deportations, record-breaking border militarization, record-breaking profits for private prison corporations, record-breaking police state terror, record-breaking family separations and record-breaking deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border.

This is the only Comprehensive Immigration Reform Democrats have given us.

This is immoral. These are crimes against humanity.

Let me back-track a bit. Would you vote for a Republican? I didn’t think so. How about the Tea Party? The Neo-Nazi Socialist Movement? What about the Minutemen or the K.K.K.? Of course you wouldn’t! How about a Democrat? Well, voting Democrat is not much different than voting for a white supremacist group or party (that is out of the closet). Voting Democrat means voting for more family separations because under a Democrat administration DHS intends to deport over 400,000 undocumented people in 2011; voting Democrat means voting for more deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border because under a Democrat administration DHS has received record-breaking budget for border enforcement; voting Democrat also means voting for the criminalization of migrants and people of color, because under a Democrat administration, Secure Communities, 287(g), E-verify and other programs that criminalize migrants are scheduled to expand. These points are focused on immigration; now consider where Democrats stand on electoral fraud, health care, poverty, the environment, education or the war in Iraq/Afghanistan/the world!

So… I have to ask. Why on earth would we vote Democrat? Because it’s the lesser of two evils? I don’t agree. Their rhetoric may be less evil, but their actions and their votes cast an equal amount of terror upon poor communities and communities of color.

Democrats are immoral and they are guilty of crimes against humanity.

This is not bad leadership at the top. This is not an accident. This is not a Republican/right-wing conspiracy; this is as Democratic/liberal as it gets, coming from all levels. Not even local or disagreeing Democrats are putting their bodies on the line to stop this madness coming from their own national political party they represent. Party elected officials allow business as usual to continue. I don’t care how “progressive” Congressman Raúl Grijalva may be, or how “supportive” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be to undocumented students, both professional politicians are just as responsible and complicit in their party’s crimes against the Latino community as the rest of them.

As slave abolitionist Frederick Douglass felt about participation in the political system during slavery times, holding office or participating in electoral activity is immoral and sanctifies oppression and slavery itself.

As clear as it was back then, it is clear today that our community’s emancipation won’t come through changing this system from within. We’ve tried over and over. The results won’t be much different if we try again tomorrow. This system rests on our social/political/economic/labor oppression and exploitation. We’ve blindly believed in the Democrats and the electoral system for generations and look at where we’re at today. We only have promises, lies and betrayals to show for all of our electoral work and dependence on Democrat politricks.

In the 2010 elections it can be argued that the “Latino vote” saved the Democrats a majority in the Senate (51-46). This means that even after the Democrats for 2 years (and much longer than that) just laughed in our faces and either abstained or voted against us, we still came out to vote for them in November! This is mind-bogglingly stupid. No wonder they blocked the DREAM Act.

They know they can

  1. make fake promises to us during election time,
  2. get elected by our votes,
  3. then they can break their promises for 2 or 4 years,
  4. they will campaign again when their term is up and
  5. we will vote again for the same politicians and the same Democratic party that did us wrong!

And we get exactly what we deserve. The cycle is never-ending. Why do we allow them to do this to us without political consequences?! They asked us to vote for them so they can pass immigration reform. We came through, they didn’t do their part and now we need to get rid of them. But for reals.

Pro-immigrant rights reformers love to threaten the political system with withdrawing the Latino vote. But Democrats know it’s just a front and that the High-spanic establishment is filled with ride-or-die Democratic party loyalist slaves that will suck it up, pacify the brown, angry masses and sell us out (or remain silent) for a seat at the top. Clearly we need a double revolt: not only against an oppressive, white supremacist, two-party, corporate, political system, but also against phony brown faces that proclaim to represent us.

As Malcolm X famously declared at a time when Black people faced similar political struggles: “Anytime you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that [Democratic Party] can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time, and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that Party, you’re not only a [political] chump, but you’re a traitor to your race.”

We have no more excuses. What are we waiting for? Where do we go from here? What do we do? What is the alternative?

My proposal is NOT to create a new electoral political party that will work in this very same system that co-opts and corrupts any attempts at justice. It is clear that this apartheid, corporate two-party electoral political, economic system must be dismantled and replaced with local, decentralized communities based on collectivism, autonomy, justice, equality and love. I’m not being idealistic or theoretical here. We don’t need a revolution to make this happen. We can start today. We already have these elements in our communities. Let’s develop the collectivism we already exercise into an organized social, political, economic force.

But the first step is to recognize that we are in an abusive relationship with the Democratic Party—they are the abusers. If we can’t recognize that, we will never abandon them, much less create a healthy, beautiful, strong alternative to this abusive, oppressive, criminal political, social and economic system.

We’ve waited long enough.

Let’s take back our power. The answer is not in party politics; it’s inside of us, in our mothers and fathers that sacrificed everything, in our grandparents that struggled yesterday and in the youth that struggle today and tomorrow. WE have the power to RISE and create a healthy reality based on dignity and respect for all of us.

When will we declare YA BASTA with all the rage and love in our hearts?

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