Changeseeker: January 2008 Archives

Borders, Schmorders

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  immigrant rights now --.jpg The other day, a colleague and I were talking and the topic of borders came up.  Now, this may sound like an odd topic, but we're both sociologists and we're both highly interested in globalization and, let's face it, if globalization (from the top down) is about anything, it's about bulldozing borders.  At least, if you're a member of one of the elites, it is.  If on the other hand, you're just another poor sap, part of the hoi polloi, then borders and boundaries of all kinds -- between races, genders, ethnicities, classes, and above all perhaps, countries -- are, as they say, carved in stone.  "Why is that?" we asked each other.  If borders are part of a truly basic reality, then shouldn't they be the same for everybody?  They're not.


Memories of Mexico

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As I see things like this and these, I am increasingly heartsick.  How wrong it is, how immoral that indigenous peoples should be so maligned, so brutalized, so disrespected.  How wrong it is that they should have to fight for their space, for their survival, for their lives.  And as I watch these political candidates (and others) openly trying to turn indigenous immigrants into a collective enemy so that uninformed U.S. voters will act to shut them out, I am reminded of my trip to Mexico last March.

I had the great fortune to be allowed to accompany some students to Cholula for eight days and I will never be the same.  When I returned, I blogged about it at Why Am I Not Surprised?, but now, with all that's going on, I want to re-publish my post -- basically a string of memories -- here.  It's admittedly (and I'll warn you now) long.  It took more than a few words to capture the sense of what I learned on that trip.  But I think what I learned is very pertinent to why it hurts me so to see my sisters and brothers so ill used across the mainstream media in the U.S. now.

So when you have a little time, come take a trip with me to Mexico, where I left a bit of my heart and found a bit of my soul.

Together We Are Strong

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    together strong - scw.jpg BULLETINAccording to David Bacon at Truthout, ""Mexican labor authorities seized on technicalities to order an end to the strike at the country's largest copper mine in Cananea, Sonora, on Friday. The Mexican press reports that over 700 heavily armed agents of the Sonora state police arrived in Cananea just hours before the decision was announced, and agents of the Federal Preventative Police were sent to this tiny mountain town as well. Strikers report that the streets were filled with rocks and teargas, and 20 miners have been injured -- some seriously -- in the ensuing conflict. The union says that five strikers are missing."

Additionally, in a piece dated a few weeks ago, but appearing in the January 7th issue of The Nation, Naomi Klein quoted EZLN Subcomandante Marcos as saying: "Those of us who have made war know how to recognize the paths by which it is prepared and brought near.  The signs of war on the horizon are clear. War, like fear, also has a smell. And now we are starting to breathe its fetid odor in our lands."

Researchers at the Center of Political Analysis and Social and Economic Investigations told Klein: "On the fifty-six permanent military bases that the Mexican state runs on indigenous land in Chiapas, there has been a marked increase in activity. Weapons and equipment are being dramatically upgraded, new battalions are moving in, including special forces--all signs of escalation."

Be aware.


The above poster is a product of the highly respected Syracuse Cultural Workers.

  Thumbnail image for thomas paine.jpg Some anti-immigrationists point to what they like to call the early "forefathers" of the United States of America as examples of the kind of people we want to represent -- so different, they tell us, from those who leave their homelands to come here today.  Consequently, I found it interesting to read that this week in 1776 marked the publication of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense," a pamphlet that is largely credited with being responsible for selling the idea of breaking away from Great Britain.  The vast majority of the colonists at the time, if not totally loyal to the crown, were disinterested in becoming an independent nation.  Nevertheless, Paine's arguments were so persuasive that he managed to sell 120,000 copies of his treatis, going from tavern to tavern in town after town to do so.

So who was this Thomas Paine, this "forefather" we should emulate?

The Four Freedoms

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justice for all - nezua.jpgThe following words were Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address to the United States Congress on January 6, 1941. That was fifty-seven years ago today. Looking back over all that has come to pass since then and remembering the history of this nation from its beginning -- including the genocide of the indigenous peoples, the brutal desecration of Africa and its children through exploitation and slavery in all its forms to the present, the commitment to disproportionate wealth reserved for specific groups to and by the exclusion of others, and the relishing of the use of global warfare to amass and maintain power -- it is hard to imagine that he could have been sincere. Would that we could take these words down from their airy perch in our history and boldly implement them now. Before it is too late.


This is the first day of a brand new year. And in this sparkling new world of a year, I expect to stretch my wings and fly into several new arenas. For one thing, I have been invited to begin cross-blogging occasionally here at Citizen Orange. I'm both honored and excited about this new alliance and anticipate it being a productive one for all concerned. I'm joining a very adept and savvy team here and will work hard to live up to their expectations as we fight together for justice for all people in the United States and around the world.

In addition to this lovely development, I just learned a couple of weeks ago that a major academic publisher wants to include one of my blog posts from Why Am I Not Surprised? in a reader on social problems this spring. Needless to say, I'm very excited about this for several reasons and frankly long to dance through the doors that it may open for me.

To further complicate my already sometimes overwhelming commitments to teaching, research, and the writing I do other than blogging, there are, believe it or not, several other new projects I very much want to bring to fruition, as well. So I enter this year rather like Dorothy tip-toeing down the yellow brick road toward the Emerald City, the principle difference being that Dorothy wanted to go back to Kansas eventually and I have no idea where I'll wind up.


About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Changeseeker in January 2008.

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