Linking Trade, Work, and Migration

Globalization and NAFTA Caused Migration from Mexico

By David Bacon, Political Research Associates

Immigrant Oaxacan Farm Worker and Weaver, and her Family

Rufino Domínguez, the former coordinator of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, who now heads the Oaxacan Institute for Attention to Migrants, estimates that there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the U.S., 300,000 in California alone.1 [1]

In Oaxaca, some towns have become depopulated, or are now made up of only communities of the very old and very young, where most working-age people have left to work in the north. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are now uprooting and displacing these Mexicans in the country’s most remote areas, where people still speak languages (such as Mixteco, Zapoteco and Triqui) that were old [2] when Columbus arrived from Spain.2 [3] “There are no jobs, and NAFTA forced the price of corn so low that it’s not economically possible to plant a crop anymore,” Dominguez says. “We come to the U.S. to work because we can’t get a price for our product at home. There’s no alternative.” Continue reading

Corporate Titans throw millions into the anti teacher campaign in California

by Duane Campbell

VergaraSlider-24Corporate school  “reformers” have raised over $4 million from the very rich during the last week to contribute to the campaign to elect anti union leader Marshall Tuck as Superintendent of Public Instruction in California.  According the Sacramento Bee The fund includes $1 million each from Los Angeles businessmen Bill Bloomfield and Eli Broad, a major financier of efforts to overhaul public education. The Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and Laurene Powell Jobs, philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs, have each contributed $500,000.

Incumbent Tom Torlakson is a former teacher and is supported by both major teacher unions. He supports extension of Prop. 30 taxes passed in 2012 which have restored funding to California schools after the devastation of the national economic crisis when over 30,000 teachers were dismissed in the state. Schools in other states without new taxes currently continue to reel from austerity budget cuts. Continue reading

A victory for corporate “reformers” over teacher unions in California

A victory for the corporate “reformers” in the decision of the court in Vergara v California

Duane Campbellby Duane Campbell

California judge Rolf Treu ruled Tuesday in the Vergara v.California case that California teacher tenure laws deprive students of their right to an education that is guaranteed under the state constitution and violates their civil rights. The decision is a major defeat for teachers’ unions and will presumably lead to challenges of tenure laws in other states. The ruling overturned five state statutes giving California teachers firing protections and rights to tenure and seniority.

The implementation of the ruling has been stayed while under appeal.

The Sacramento Bee editorial board and Bee columnists Marcos Breton and Dan Walters, along with their candidate Marc Tucker each applaud the court ruling. Note what they say in their columns. They applaud this defeat of the Teachers Unions, they do not deal with the critical issue of adequate school funding. June 11.

What do the sides agree upon?

It is clear that many students in California receive a substandard education and that failing schools are concentrated in poor and minority neighborhoods.   The judge cites the long history of successful law suites Serrano V. Priest I, II. III, and more that mandated changes in state funding to provide equal funding. There is also general agreement that teacher quality is a significant factor in improving education. Continue reading

Update on Cesar Chavez, farmworker organizing, and immigration reform

by Duane Campbell

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally.

Cesar Chavez at the Delano UFW rally. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Monday, as Californians celebrated Cesar Chavez Day the Real News Network has recorded an excellent two interviews with persons presently engaged in farmworker organizing. Both had worked with Chavez-
Marc Grossman and Rosalinda Guillen. They give current testimony to conditions in the fields, the role of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act, and two different views of the issues of immigration reform. Guillen describes the current largely indigenous labor force in the fields

I encourage all friends of labor to inform themselves and these important struggles.

http://antiracismdsa.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-current-status-of-farmworkers-and.html

 

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Columnists seek to shape opinion in discussing school reform

Duane Campbell

Duane Campbell

The Paucity of Dan Walters’ Commentary on School Issues

The column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee entitled “California’s School Wars Heat Up” in the print edition for Dec.20, and entitled  “Powerful Factions Go to War Over Direction of California Schools,” http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/20/6015661/dan-walters-powerful-factions.html  in the on line version  seriously and deliberatively misinforms.  Walters’s columns are reprinted in newspapers throughout the state.

He frames the conflict between the School Establishment ( school administrators, elected officials, teachers’ unions]  vs. the “School Reformers”.   These are indeed two of the powerful factions competing in the California State Capitol, but not at all the complete story.

To understand the distortion lets see who these “reformers “  see the Democracy and Education Institute  https://sites.google.com/site/democracyandeducationorg

Continue reading

This immigration bill is not good enough- PICO

Sacramento meeting This immigration reform is not good enough – Pico of California.

by Duane Campbell

At a mass meeting and send-off of pilgrims, hosted by Pico of California, with Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto ,  Pico youth leaders  Cecilia Munoz and Noemi Hernandez declared, “this Immigration reform is not good enough “ at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Sacramento on Aug.11, 2013.

The meeting in the packed church hall was a send off event for eleven pilgrims to begin a 285 mile walk through California’s Central Valley, the vegetable heart land of U.S. agriculture. – a pilgrimage toward citizenship.  The walk begins on Monday Aug. 11.  Religious and human rights activists are also  preparing to go to Modesto to  join with the pilgrims as they walk neighborhoods to bring pressure on Central Valley Congressmen who have not yet supported comprehensive immigration reform.  The 285 mile walk will conclude in 22 days  at the  Bakersfield office of  Cong. Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip in the House.   McCarthy is not usually counted among the Tea Party Congress persons.  The Bakersfield area district has a 35% Latino population and 22.8 %  of the voters in the 2010 election were Latino. Continue reading

California Is Taxing the Rich… and So Can You

Yes on 30 Steve Rhoades

The Yes on 30 campaign won higher taxes for rich Californians, winning 55 percent to 45 percent. Even though polling showed that people were willing to vote for higher taxes on the rich, the governor kept talking about “shared sacrifice.” Photo: Steve Rhodes.

“There is no alternative to austerity,” insist the rich, along with their politicians, foundations, think tanks, and media.

They’ve been saying it for decades. “Taxes are bad,” they also claim. “Government doesn’t work. And public employees are greedy.”

Consequently, common wisdom had it that “you can’t raise taxes.” Even people who should have known better believed this—while the public sector slid down the tubes.

So how did Proposition 30 succeed? This measure, passed by voters last November, raises $6 billion a year for schools and services—in California, a supposedly “anti-tax” state. The money comes mostly through an income tax hike on rich people, along with a tiny sales tax increase of ¼ percent.

The story should be better known, because with the right preparation, you could make it happen in your state, too.

Continue reading

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