Sunday, October 24, 2010

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Oakland Has Disappeared: Record Deportations

On September 30, 2010, Oakland, California closed its doors; the elections were canceled; property tax notices stopped being served, street sweepers stayed motionless, teachers and students, families all gone.

The power was turned off and what remains of the city government, elected officials are claiming that Oakland crime is no more. Gentrification is now the good word, the savior. But there's a problem, Houston.

Oakland is off the grid.

Oakland decimated by deportations! A total of 392,862 residents were deported during the last twelve months.

Through an assortment of immigration-police programs, employer sanctions and E-verify programs that allow the employers and the government to check if a worker is authorized to work in the United States, through ICE carrying out illegal street sweeps targeting day laborers, mothers with children in tow on their way to school; at community health clinics, at church services, at funerals, in houses and apartment homes, at "DUI" check-points where anyone without a license was arrested, ICE picked up an average of 1076 residents per day. hauling them away to Mexico, Haiti, El Salvador, Guatemala, the Philippines, China, South Korea, Ecuador, Burma, Nigeria, Poland, and at least one family from Bosnia.

Oakland Now Belongs to the "Secure Communities" Family

Former Oakland Mayor, now California Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate, Jerry Brown was a big player in Oakland's demise.

As Attorney General, Brown signed an agreement with the Department of Homeland Security that allowed the Oakland police to send the fingerprints of all persons they arrested directly to DHS to check their immigration status. This turned out to be a gold mine.

Called "Secure Communities," Oakland police was able to get tens of thousands of Oakland residents who are legal permanent residents fingerprinted. Because of the 1996 immigration and welfare reform laws, the police were able to entrap many residents because they had committed an "aggravated felony" some time in their lives and got them automatically deported.

This is a nightmare.

The Fruitvale District, once a thriving neighborhood struggling with crime, first saw street vendors and their customers disappear.

Then ICE and Oakland police agents starting going into grocery and clothes stores: clerks, customers, owners feet first.

When the Fruitvale went kaput, ICE and local police began picking up anybody who looked like an "immigrant" somebody: passer-bys including hipsters claiming to be from the Hills, transit village voyeurs, wanna-be artists living in warehouses from West Oakland to Jingle Town, late night taco truck and Meso-American vegan burrito connoisseurs all rounded up indiscriminately.

A policeman was overheard telling one of the persons being handcuffed, "If you're in Oakland, you must be illegal," -- this according to one lucky hipster who happened to be carrying his passport and spoke impeccable English.

ICE and Oakland Police also scoured quineceñeras, weddings, funerals and rosary services, and Buddhist temples. ICE found a mother-lode at St. Elizabeth Church that has three Spanish Masses on Saturdays and nine masses on Sunday, starting at 6:00 a.m. and ending with the last Spanish mass at 7:30 p.m.

The Evangelicals went flying into the DHS buses; norteños, border-brothers and sureños shared aisles.

Refugees were easy targets. After ICE deported their fellow churchmembers, legal services providers, neighborhood health clinic workers, refugees stood out like a sore-ass thumb.

ICE and company hit high schools, the charter schools, elementary schools, childcare centers and arrested anyone remotely suspected of being a gang-member or didn't look white.

Chinatown is a ghost town, too. Korea-town, Little Saigon, Old Oakland, even Piedmont restaurants, where all the food and service workers were immigrants, are closed down.

A few U.S. citizens and quite a few legal permanent residents were picked up and deported. No more morning lattes, no more cheap Vietnamese sandwiches, no more Oakland the most diverse city in the universe. Even former California Governor and immigrant Arnold Schwarzennegger was stopped at the Oakland Airport. Lucky for him that Jerry Brown vouched for him.

Oakland Police Department is largely intact; the overwhelming majority of Oakland police do not live in Oakland. They were right. It's not safe to live in Oakland, unless you're a cop with a gun patrolling the 'hood.

There are only 4,205 residents left, wandering the streets like nuclear war or zombie virus survivors.

They are not lucky; all of them do not know how to plant seeds, wouldn't know a planting season if it hit them in the stomach. None have ever tended or grown a vegetable or even a flower garden.

Most have not cooked in years -- and there's no children among them. The youngest one is almost 40. Their maids and other domestic workers were all rounded up.

They will die off one by one.

Does anyone think we can get some French or British to migrate to Oakland?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

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Che means the people | Che significa el pueblo

Liberation poems, theater, music, art, hip hop

Friday, October 8, 2010
Doors open at 7:30 pm
Program starts at 8:00 pm

This is a benefit to support Zapatista communities.

$10 donation requested at the door!
Show your support in many ways, just give, speak out, get together!

Sponsored by the East Side Arts Alliance Cultural Center with the Chiapas Support Committee

At 2277 International Blvd * Oakland, CA 94606-5003
Call (510) 533-6629

Liberation poems, theater, music, art, hip hop with:


Poemas, teatro, música, arte, hip hop liberación con

Francisco X. Alarcón
Gina Madrid
Nina Serrano
Lisa Gray-Garcia
Howard Wiley
Andrew Kong Knight
Arnoldo García
Daniel Camacho
Pancho Pescador
"El tractorista" video poem by Rubén Rangel
Alejandro Murguía
Son Jarocho Music Group and Fandango Jam sessions to close!
& others!


What does Che mean in 2010 and beyond?

Recently the semi-retired elder Cuban revolutionary and leader Fidel Castro said that the Cuban model does not even work for Cuba anymore. What does liberation mean in the era of neoliberal capitalism, the international "war on terror," global climatic change, Indigenous peoples' liberation movements and governments, and small islands and movements of difference?

In this time, what does Che mean, if anything at all?

Tonight we will try to imagine and re-imagine not only Che's significance, but the meaning of our lives dedicated to progressive social change for racial justice, immigrant rights, human rights, poetry, cultural, music, clean air, water, soil, and what we can do to ensure that the revolution is to be human, like Che.

The world economic crisis has meant a re-evaluation of everything sacred and mundane in the capitalist worlds and the remaining socialist utopias amidst the harsh conditions reigning in South countries and the Third World. How does the working class survive, how are Indigenous people organizing their communities and defending the natural world, what is happening to our countries with the migrant upheavals marking the developed world? What do our words mean to do?

In this contradictory time and threatening developments, Zapatista communities and Che still remaining shining figures and examples of human dignity and struggle for a better deal and a better world for all. Tonight we will celebrate with our own words and actions Che Guevara and collectively raise some solidarity for the Zapatistas in Chiapas.

Come celebrate Che & the Zapatistas!


Ernesto Che Guevara was born in Argentina, became a revolutionary on several motorcycle road-trips across Latin America, where he saw first hand the problems of impoverished and landless Indigenous peoples, exploited workers and the devastation resulting from hundreds of years of colonialism and empire. After being expelled from Guatemala, when the CIA overthrew the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz, Che met up with leaders of the Cuban July 26 national liberation movement led by the Castro brothers in Mexico and joined their cause. He rode aboard the famed Granma (yacht) to Cuba as the nascent Rebel Army launched its war of liberation, which culminated in victory on New Years Day 1961.

In the revolutionary war to overthrow the U.S.-backed Bautista dictatorship, Che eventually reached the rank of Comandante in Cuba's Rebel Army. He led a column of guerrilla fighters across Cuba in the final march and assault that caused the final defeat and overthrow of the dictatorship.

Che became a leader and creator of revolutionary guerrilla theory and practice, Although he was a medical doctor by training, Che was also a talented writer by vocation and became a noted chronicler of his youthful escapades and of the Cuban revolution, becoming an internationalist practitioner of what he preached.

Ernesto Che Guevara was a multifaceted and selfless individual in the revolutionary world movements. In Cuba, Che became an economist, helping lead a socialist re-organization of the Cuban economy, participated and lead in the development of volunteer workers the sugarcane fields and other sectors to become and shape, as part of a shared vision, the "new man and woman." As a representative of the Cuban revolution, he traveled to Third World countries developing both economic and political relationships to ensure the success of the Cuban revolution and national liberation movements worldwide.

In these new travels, Che reinvigorated his commitment to international solidarity and revolutionary movement-building. he helped organize Cuban internationalist support and eventually spent almost one year leading a guerrilla war with an African liberation movement in the Congo.

In Africa, he continued developing the vision and the members of what would become Che's most well-known and final initiative of creating an internationalist liberation army and movement in Bolivia in 1966. Che lead a small column of guerrillas in the mountains of Bolivia, engaged in several skirmishes and battles but eventually would be surrounded and captured one October 8, 1967. He was executed shortly after capture and the rest is Che history.

Si Che viviera, con los Zapatistas estuviera


If Che were alive, he'd be at the Zapatistas side.