- Masacres, control de armas y la distribución desigual de la violencia, page 8 - The Steubenville case and an NMSU student response to rape culture, page 3 - Panda Express and the privatization of NMSU, page 3 -
No. 1 - April 2013
Las Cruces, New Mexico (No) Price: Voluntary Contribution nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup
An alternative-left publication at New Mexico State University - Periódico político bilingüe - A project of Aggie Solidarity
Presidential crisis, shady interests and the (mis)administration of New Mexico State Couture’s self-coup only a symptom of more profound defects By Members of Aggie Solidarity Last semester, the unexpected resignation of NMSU President Barbara Couture, after only three years in Las Cruces, began an ongoing administrative crisis and shed an incriminating light on the state of university administration. For anyone who follows NMSU’s internal politics, the mismanagement, lack of transparency and shady interests behind the scenes were more of the same, and the presidential scandal hardly surprising. Why did Couture leave? Because she didn’t please bigname donors? Because she couldn’t find a new conference for the football team? Because she failed to meet enrollment goals? Because the DACC nursing program lost accreditation? Or, maybe, because she simply didn’t want to be here and butted heads with others among the school’s top brass? The Board of Regents refuses to say, and both parties signed a mutual agreement promising not to “discuss or disparage” their “business relationship.” Whatever the case, Couture got paid – $453,092.72 in severance – and immediately moved on to a pre-arranged advising position with a national university lobbying group; the Board of Regents looks for another promotion-hungry empty suit. The misguided priorities of NMSU administration Even before the presidential crisis, there were plenty of reasons to worry about NMSU’s trajectory. In our view, the misguided priorities of the university administration, along with budget cuts from the state and federal levels, have resulted in cost increases while the quality of our education markedly declines. While tuition rises and resources like the Pell Grant are cut, students are left with fewer professors and class options than before. Faculty receive among the lowest wages in the nation, yet increasing numbers of high-paid administrators have been hired. Money from the academic fund is robbed every year to help cover the athletics department’s millionaire debts. Despite the need to “tighten the belt” in areas of research and instruction, enormous amounts of public money continue to be poured into unnecessary construction projects and cosmetic “improvements” such as multi-million dollar renovations of bathrooms and press boxes in the football stadium. More reasons for dissatisfaction: Vital parts of university operations have been handed over to private interests – including call centers, the art department’s supply store, and an enormous area of campus currently being developed into an industrial park (the Arrowhead Center) – which has resulted in profits for companies but minimal benefits for students or workers. The most visible example is the NMSU bookstore, which was turned over to Barnes & Noble in 2008 in a sweetheart deal that included a publicly-funded $14 million building. Numer-
¿Apoyar la reforma? Por Alan Dicker La larga espera – para muchos – parece estar acercándose a su fin. La administración de Obama, luego de su reelección y más de cuatro años de atender a la opinión pública anti-inmigrante, se ha encargado de promover una reforma migratoria, incluyendo un ‘camino a la ciudadanía’ para gran parte de la población indocumentada en Estados Unidos. No es poca cosa. Es innegable que representaría una gran oportunidad
ous big-name franchises – Subway, Einstein Bros., Taco Bell and others – have been attracted to campus in recent years according to the wishes of the administration; and increasing numbers of promotions and events promoting corporate brands have made parts of campus resemble a mall more than a place for critical thinking. Target, Red Bull, and Starbucks are intentionally now as much a part of the “university experience” as academic conferences and
“An amicable separation” final exams. University administration has even attempted to advance towards installing a café in the already lackingfor-space Zuhl library. Perhaps most troubling of all, however, is the administration’s disregard for ethical considerations or the consequences for the local community when bringing outside interests onto campus. As a result, companies like Sodexo (food services) and adidas (the exclusive outfitter NMSU athletics) have received long-term contracts from NMSU without concern over their questionable labor rights records, and local small business, according to interviews with owners, have suffered due to market saturation and the
Read “Should we support immigration reform?” at our website.
para millones de trabajadores y que con ella podrían mejorar su situación socioeconómica. Actualmente muchos de ellos viven no sólo en condiciones materiales de miseria sino también en un estado constante de miedo e incertidumbre. Reciben salarios por debajo del mínimo legal, trabajan en condiciones degradantes, habitan en barrios o colonias segregadas y pueden tener la vida arrancada en cualquier momento de ser deportados o detenidos en cárceles privadas sin derechos legales. En lugares como
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Sources and further information can be found at our website.
advantageous position of newly-arrived, big-name chains. Within the halls of learning, there is a growing influence of corporate interests over the curriculum. Not only does Barnes & Noble have virtual control of the materials used in classes, but resource centers, classrooms, professorships and entire courses are the result of corporate sponsorships. Research is performed to serve the companies that fund it, such as Monsanto and Lockheed Martin, instead of serving to benefit the community or even the interests of researchers. Moreover, research work performed at NMSU for the U.S. military and private military contractors likely contributes to the development of weapons systems (in particular, NMSU has attempted to bill itself as the top university in the nation for drone aircraft research) used to slaughter, repress and terrorize people across the globe, including in our border region. As long as it generates revenues, it is welcome at our university; the rest be damned. We believe that what is happening at NMSU clearly reveals the wrong-headed priorities of the administration, which puts image, business interests, and the ability to sell the NMSU “product” over ethics, educational quality and the interests of the student body or local community. The university is being transformed to cater to résumé-padders, out-oftowners and those as interested in their daily $8 frappuccino as in any serious academic pursuit, while the rest of us receive the short end of the stick. It seems increasingly evident that NMSU needs to be saved from its own administration. The leadership crisis continues Couture’s October self-coup shed light onto the deep-seated leadership problems at NMSU. Her buyout money came at the expense of “10 to 15” unfilled administrative positions – which should make us question whether those positions are necessary in the first place. The “mutual separation” set off a chain of interesting events, including the November resignation of university Provost Wendy Wilkins, citing administrative infighting and lack of transparency among her reasons in a letter afterwards. The closed lips of the regents ruffled feathers among the media and many on campus. Eventually, he familiar Manuel Pacheco was appointed interim president and a committee was created to select a new head of the institution. In January, the regents wasted $90,000 to put the presidential search in the hands of a corporate-backed ‘governance’ association. Unsurprisingly, Sodexo - the multinational company that holds an exclusive food service contract with NMSU - is listed among its sponsors. What can we expect from such a search committee? Instead of someone who actually is familiar with NMSU and the region, we’ll get someone who appeases the established elite; instead of someone with a transformative vision, we’ll get
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Kimani Gray and the “Flatbush Rebellion” “More brothers and sisters will surely be murdered by police in the future... To change the system, rebellions will have to spread, and grow more powerful and organized. People will have to show the bravery they displayed in Flatbush, and more. It’s clear what people are gonna have to do to actually live in a world without police.” - “The Flatbush Rebellion” (pp. 7)
Link to “The Flatbush Rebellion” at nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup. The killing of yet another young person – 16-year-old Kimani Gray – by plainclothes New York City police sparked outrage, protests and “riots” (the term used by authorities and the mainstream media) in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush in mid-March. Cops fired 11 rounds at the teen, who they say was a gang member
and pointed a handgun at them, though witnesses have come forward to say the shooting was unprovoked. Both officers had previously been accused of civil rights violations and settled out-of-court. The shooting sparked anger over police brutality and tactics in poor and largely
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This is The GroundUp - Esto es The GroundUp Enquanto a sectarização é mítica, por isto alienante, a radicalização é crítica, por isto libertadora. -Paulo Freire, Pedagogia do oprimido (1970) Nota editorial
Los estudiantes y miembros de la comunidad que producimos The GroundUp pretendemos llenar con él un vacío en NMSU y la región: esto es, una plataforma con perspectivas críticas, provocativas y penetrantes. En vez de los resultados de fútbol, cuestionaremos el papel de los deportes en la academia. En vez de frívolos artículos de orgullo universitario, criticaremos las políticas y la estructura de poder de la universidad. En vez de chismes de celebridades, el clima y las cotizaciones de acciones, nos interesan las vidas de trabajadoras reales, los efectos ecológicos de actividades industriales y la posibilidad de un nuevo sistema económico. Rechazamos la clase de periodismo que sirve como vocero de las figuras de autoridad y celebra el orden actual. No aspiramos al ‘equilibrio’ periodístico (que no corresponde a la veracidad); somos abierta y orgullosamente de la izquierda radical. Ambicionamos llegar a las raíces de los problemas usualmente abordados de una manera superficial y creemos que esto requiere de un posicionamiento político radical. Esta postura no implica que nos aferremos a una línea ideológica dogmática ni que estemos cerrados al debate significativo. Al contrario, esperamos que esta publicación propicie un intercambio de ideas. The GroundUp invita a todos los miembros de la comunidad a enviar sus contribuciones sobre cualquier tema. Nuestro primer número es una prueba en muchos sentidos. La publicación regular de The GroundUp iniciará a partir del otoño de 2013. Puede que el periódico sea un medio moribundo, pero creemos que aún le queda algún valor de uso.
The students and community members that put together The GroundUp aim to fill a void at NMSU and in the region: namely, a platform for critical, provocative, insightful perspectives. Instead of football scores, we will question the place of athletics in academia. In place of campus-pride puff pieces, we will criticize the university power structure and its policies. Instead of celebrity gossip, the weather and stock prices, we are interested in the lives of real working people, the ecological effects of industrial activities and the possibility of a new economic order. We reject the class of journalism that serves as a mouthpiece of authority figures and celebrates the current order. We do not aim for journalistic ‘balance’ (which does not equal accuracy); we are openly – and proudly – on the radical left. We strive to get to the roots of the problems normally given only a superficial treatment, and we believe that this necessitates a radical political position. This posture does not mean that we toe a dogmatic ideological line or that we do not welcome meaningful debate. On the contrary, we envision this as a place to exchange ideas. The GroundUp invites submissions from anyone in the community on any topic. Our first issue is a test run in many respects. Look for The GroundUp to publish on a regular basis beginning in Fall 2013. The newspaper may be a dying breed, but we believe it still has some use-value.
Why the radish? Find out at nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup.
Laying roots and growing - Echando raíces y creciendo, Los colaboradores de The GroundUp - The GroundUp staff
Behind the free speech policy at NMSU financial restitution, but instead he pressed for just three things: funds to cover his attorney’s fees, funds to start a social justice award at NMSU (which continues through the donation of another alumnus), and a new policy to protect free speech. To meet the last demand, then-President Jay Gogue established a task force charged with drafting a new policy before the end of the fall semester. Members were selected by Sean, the Student Senate, the Faculty Senate and the Administrative Council. Three students, three faculty members and three administrators constituted the task force. We were two of the three faculty. The task force met almost daily for a month to answer this question: How do we craft a policy which advances the university’s educational mission, satisfies security concerns of some, and ensures that free and robust speech is protected? After reviewing campus speech policies from around the country, we drafted a proposal that was shared with the campus for comments, and then was adopted almost unanimously by the ASNMSU Senate, Faculty Senate and Administrative Council. With President Gogue’s endorsement, the Board of Regents signed off in spring 2001, and NMSU’s new Freedom of Expression policy was born. The policy on the books is one of the best in the nation in terms of providing broad protections for speech – whether it is chalk on the sidewalk or a large group meeting. But to keep it vibrant, we at NMSU must always insist that the policy be followed, even for the speech we do not like.
“Any outdoor area that is generally accessible to the public may be used by any individual or group for petitioning, distributing written material, handing out newspapers, or conducting speech acts. Prior approval is not necessary as long as the primary action is not to advertise or sell a commercial product.” New Mexico State University Policy Manual, Chapter 3, Section 63
By Dr. Nancy Baker and Dr. Peter Gregware Early fall 2000: A graduate student named Sean Rudolph stood outside Zuhl Library handing out flyers that promoted a new student newspaper, the Anonymo. On the flyer, the First Amendment was prominent. Sean was friendly and polite; he did not accost passersby. But what he was doing – from the perspective of Corbett Center administrators – was illegal. And he was arrested. This was the policy of NMSU at the time. To speak publicly, you had to be part of a recognized student organization with 12 members and a faculty adviser, and you had to submit a formal request and receive prior approval from the administration, even for events outside Corbett Center. Only two out-of-the-way places on campus were designated “free speech zones.” Sean and a handful of students wanted to change that. And they did. A local criminal defense lawyer took his case; charges were dropped. Then Sean’s attorney filed a lawsuit against NMSU for violating Sean’s civil rights. Hundreds of people in the community signed a petition for greater protection for free speech on campus. After a legal review, the university agreed to settle. Sean could have demanded large
Visit nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup to read NMSU’s free speech policy.
Jornaleros migrantes en marcha de 200 millas por comida justa
La Coalición de Trabajadores de Immolakee (CIW, por sus siglas en inglés) junto a cientos de simpatizantes concluyeron una marcha desde Fort Myers a Lakeland, en Florida, el pasado 17 de marzo, la cual forma parte de su Campaña por la Comida Justa. La coalición – principalmente conformada por piscadores de tomate de origen latinoamericano – exige un trato digno para los trabajadores agrícolas y que los grandes compradores (tales como cadenas de supermercados y de comida rápida) paguen un precio justo por el producto primario. La CIW se ha posicionado a la vanguardia del nuevo sindicalismo de sectores tradicionalmente marginados por su estrategia de presionar tanto a los patrones propietarios como a compradores y consumidores, logrando así importantes aumentos salariales a través de acuerdos con cadenas como McDonald’s, Taco Bell y Whole Foods. Actualmente, el enfoque de la Campaña está puesto en la cadena de supermercados Publix, cuya sede se encuentra en Lakeland y que se ha negado a negociar con la CIW. Para más información sobre la CIW y su Campaña por la Comida Justa, visita http://www.ciw-online.org/.
The GroundUp is a project of Aggie Solidarity. We are an alternative publication that seeks to provide a space for critical perspectives from the radical left on current issues both at and outside the university. Writing in The GroundUp reflects the opinions of individual authors, who may or may not be named. We intend to publish material in English and Spanish and encourage submissions in both languages. The paper is self-funded and has no price. Any monetary contributions will go towards the costs of printing and distribution; they can be arranged by contacting us at our email below. Este periódico, un proyecto de Aggie Solidarity, aspira abrir un espacio para perspectivas críticas desde la izquierda radical sobre temas de actualidad tanto dentro como fuera de la universidad. Artículos en The GroundUp reflejan las opiniones de autores individuales, quienes pueden o no ser nombrados. Pretendemos publicar material tanto en español como en inglés y damos la bienvenida a contribuciones en ambos idiomas. The GroundUp se autofinancia y no tiene precio. Cualquier colaboración monetaria se utilizará para cubrir los costos de impresión y de distribución. Mil thank you’s to all our colaboradores en USA and en México. Online: nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup Email: email@example.com Aggie Solidarity is a collective of students and workers at NMSU and in the Las Cruces community. We are dedicated to the proliferation of radical ideas and political action both on and off campus. We organize events such as lecture series and reading groups as well as actions alongside people in the community and in support of larger political causes. We encourage likeminded people to become involved. Online: nmsuaggiesolidarity.org facebook.com/groups/aggie.solidarity/
SUBMIT The GroundUp encourages submissions of letters, investigations, essays, reviews, academic papers and artwork for its future print editions and webpage. Submissions will not be altered without the consultation and consent of the author. The staff reserves the right to publish or reject submissions as it sees fit.
JOIN US Writer and fan of the Grundrisse? Wayward journalism student looking for a place to really stick it to the man? Or just think you can do better? Join us at The GroundUp. We are an new project in need of dedicated, critical, and combative collaborators to write, investigate and design.
Email us with comments, questions, submissions or to find out how to get involved:
Panda Express and university corporatization Beyond fancy installations and celebratory coverage, what’s the price of growing business presence? By Denali Wilson With great fanfare, international Chinese-food chain Panda Express opened its first Las Cruces location on the NMSU campus on March 22, topped off with a 15-foot tall inflatable panda. Students and community members waited in long lines to welcome the newest addition to a growing list of corporate franchises on campus, mirroring the warm receptions given to chain eateries like Taco Bell, Ein-
stein’s Bagels, Chick-fil-a, Subway and Starbucks (through the “Barnes & Noble Café”) over the past few years. Big-name food outlets are only the most visible sign of increasing corporate presence on campus. Just in the last half-decade, NMSU has also privatized a number of university operations, including the campus bookstore, call center operations and the art department’s supply store. Moreover, Auxiliary Services recently awarded a near-monopoly over campus food service management to Sodexo,
The March opening of Panda Express adds to the growing list of newly-arrived, big-name brands to New Mexico State’s main campus.
Steubenville rape case spurs student response On March 17, 2013, a judge convicted two male high Does the rape and its media coverage shed light on a school students, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’lik Richmond, 16, larger, overarching issue? How can we effectively tackof Steubenville, Ohio, of raping an inebriated 16 year old fe- le that issue? male after a party in August 2012. The case garnered nation- Michael: We think that the overarching issue, here, is that al attention and polarized reactions in media coverage and we’re not really talking about rape the way we should be, if the public at large. Some have sympathized with the convict- it all. When and if we do talk about it, it seems that we’re ed students: CNN’s Candy Crowley stated how the students often speaking and reacting to implicit definitions of what were “star football players” who had “promising futures,” and rape is. There’s a lot of inference that is being done on the how difficult it was for her to watch the verdict. She also re- part of the media-consuming public (all of us, really) - so emphasized the presence of alcohol at the party. Others have that, when we do hear and talk about rape, we tend to asfurther demonized the 16 year old female, blaming her for sume that there’s only one kind, one definition of rape, and ruining the students’ lives. we work from that. But we know, now, that this isn’t the In Las Cruces, the reactions to the case caused some case. There are different forms of rape, and rape can hapstudents to speak out on the matter: one new online blog pen to anybody, right? But what we’re consuming - what based at NMSU, “Speak Up, Speak Out,” aims to help media, social networking, our commonplaces and “go-to”, redirect the dialogue about rape and rape culture. See standard definitions of rape - is really incomplete informawww.voicesspeakingout.wordpress.com. tion. And that incomplete information is feeding our reacStarted by two NMSU tions (legislation, talk, etc.). graduate students, Erin Ann ...We think that part of tackThe fact that there even needs to be a and Michael Alarid, the blog ling this issue, effectively, is place where we can discuss ‘why rape is bad’ aims to “create a safe space to that we open up the dialogue. should indicate a major gap in awareness, openly discuss, challenge, and Truly open it up. As we’ve deconstruct rape culture.” “The understanding, and compassion. said, we talk about it, but fact that there even needs to be we’re not talking about it in a place where we can discuss the right way. We’re talking ‘why rape is bad,’” they point out, “should indicate a major about it as though men are the enemy (that deep inside gap in awareness, understanding, and compassion.” Keeping every guy, there’s a rape-monster that can’t control itself or with their objectives of open dialogue and conversation, Erin that has the potential to surface if the opportunity presents and Michael invite students and community members to itself), that women are the only people who get raped - the contribute to the blog. We interviewed them about the project: only potential victims, and that the only kind of rape is the penile/vaginal variety. And part of this, really, is that we’re Why has the Steubenville case elicited such a response? still uncomfortable talking about sex, and so guarded. Erin: The Steubenville case seems to contain two polarized camps of response; broadly (and generally) speaking, What motivated you to start the blog? either you feel there should be more accountability held Erin: The blog was prompted by two events: a conversation by the victim for drinking recklessly (and underage), or, that Michael and I had concerning the reactions prompted you feel that the men involved in the rape deserve leni- by the Steubenville case, and, a Facebook status a friend ency based off their athletic standing and merit. What both and past-colleague posted in reaction to the case. The concamps fail to focus on, is the actual act that was committed: versation we had was difficult; we were both uncomfortable rape. Our media has, and continues, to shape and represent and getting frustrated with the other, and the tension was rape, and by proxy what it means to be a “victim,” in such palpable. The tension evolved from a) having to discuss an a way that the issue of assault in and of itself gets glossed inherently difficult and complex subject and b) difficulty over in favor of discussing the “symptoms” of the disease; voicing our own experiences in a way that communicatunderage drinking, the mistakes of youth, etc. Unfortu- ed our positionalities without generalizing or becoming nately, this case is not unique, and this isn’t the first time overtly defensive. However, the tension slowly dissipated a case like this has been brought to “our” attention. What as we moved through conversation; and instead of backing perpetuates the phenomenalization of this case is the grey down or simply giving up in frustration, we talked through areas it inhabits. We as a society hold a categorical defini- the discomfort and reached a point where we could talk tion of what rape is, who enacts it and why, and who the and generate productive debate. We see this difficulty in victim is. This binary allows for us to conceptualize rape in conversing happening in our society at large, and this is a way that makes us feel as though there are preventative what in part prompted the blog site, or at least the idea that measures that can be taken to lessen our own risk (i.e. don’t it is necessary to have these difficult conversations in ordress provocatively, don’t stay out late at night), and thus, der to begin to unpack something as complex and difficult when we are confronted with a case that complicates this as rape. Our friend’s post was the vessel that moved us to categorical definition, then we as a socius become anxious. action; inspired by her strength and courage in discussing All the preventative and cautionary measures we have tak- her own experiences and perspectives, we quickly sought en, and instructed others to take, collapse. We think, (we’re out a means of creating a safe space for more brave and still researching and conversing) that this anxiety is in part inquisitive conversations to occur. what fuels the retrogressive, hateful, and woefully ignorant re- To read and contribute to the blog, visit sponses we’ve seen saturating the media coverage on this case. www.voicesspeakingout.wordpress.com
one of the world’s largest transnational corporations; a public-private “partnership” managed by the Board of Regents has transformed a large part of the university into a business park; and the university has continued to nurture long-term corporate relationships with Coca-Cola, adidas, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Monsanto and Lockheed Martin, among numerous others. NMSU increasingly resembles the commercial plaza across the street. While university regulations used to restrict companies from marketing themselves on campus or even setting up shop nearby, NMSU administration now seems to have adopted the role of PR manager, eagerly tacking the “at New Mexico State University” appendage onto corporate trademarks. Why should these trends concern us? Fast-food outlets like Panda Express aren’t particularly harmful in-and-of themselves; what is troubling is the overall impact of the increased presence of big business on our education and the community in general. This is not unique to NMSU, but is part of a nationwide tendency towards increased privatization of public education. As corporate influence increases on campus - in food services as well as over our textbooks, research funding and professorships - it also helps steer the university away from encouraging critical thought and towards advancing the interests of private donors and ‘business partners.’ The increasing investment of major corporations into academic programs reaches into every level of education. In areas such as agriculture, much of the university’s research and curriculum is heavily influenced by companies such as Monsanto. Other all-too-obvious attempts to reorient studies masquerade themselves as innocent charitable donations, a recent example being the Chevron Endowed Professorship created last year for the College of Business and the Domenici public policy institute. The $250,000 donation by the oil giant “is intended to attract and/or reward highly productive faculty members working with NMSU’s
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¿Apoyar la reforma migratoria? - Sigue de la portada -
Phoenix, Arizona, muchos evitan salir a la calle por temor a ser detenidos y entregados a la migra. Para varios, la reforma de Obama lleva consigo la esperanza de dejar todo eso atrás. Existe una fuerte tentación, luego de dos décadas de crecientes hostilidades y leyes anti-inmigrantes, de celebrar la propuesta demócrata como un triunfo. Pero, ¿lo es? ¿Debemos jugárnoslo todo para apoyar la reforma de la Casa Blanca? Aunque a muchos dentro del movimiento por los derechos de los inmigrantes les parezca mal, debemos rechazar las medidas reformistas de los demócratas y exigir más. Son tres las razones principales que explican esta postura: 1) los planes más ‘progresistas’ están muy lejos de las transformaciones estructurales que exige la situación; 2) el debate y propuestas políticas sólo se reorientarán de su actual tendencia reaccionaria bajo la presión militante de la izquierda radical; y 3) para radicalizar y ampliar el alcance del movimiento. No debemos luchar por reformas tan limitadas, sino por profundos cambios socioeconómicos en provecho de las clases trabajadoras y marginadas. Aunque improbable, supongamos que se aprobara un ‘programa máxima’ demócrata. El alcance de hasta la reforma más ‘progresista’ de aquel partido sería totalmente inadecuado; se negaría a enfrentar los temas que debería y al final beneficiaría a la clase capitalista y los partidos políticos mucho más que a los trabajadores. En el mejor de los casos, abriría un ‘camino a la ciudadanía’ para gran parte de la población indocumentada - pero quedaría corta en muchos otros aspectos: a) Inclusive la reforma demócrata más ‘comprensiva’ dejaría fuera a millones de personas sin papeles que actualmente se encuentran en el país. Debido a las restricciones económicas y legalistas de las propuestas legislativas, los excluidos seguramente se hallarían entre los más necesitados y marginados. b) Ninguna propuesta aborda seriamente los factores económicos – por los que EE.UU es en gran medida responsable – que generan las migraciones masivas del mundo actual. Cambiar la política económica de EE.UU. y frenar el avance de la tendencia neoliberal deberían ser objetivos prioritarios del movimiento de inmigrantes (los cuales han sido menospreciados o pobremente articulados por los profesionistas y las ONGs que, de alguna forma, encabezan el movimiento). Mientras EE.UU. siga promoviendo a nivel mundial las políticas económicas que impulsan la migración masiva, cualquier restricción o criminalización de la inmigración continuará siendo hipócrita e injustificable. c) Tampoco abordan suficientemente los obstáculos económicos y sociales que condicionan la realidad
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Attempt to reform Board of Regents fails in legislature
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The Board of Regents in Decemeber 2012
State Representative Jeff Steinborn’s two proposals to reform the selection process for regents at NMSU and the University of New Mexico were both defeated in last month’s legislative session. Proposed amendments HR8 and HR9, taken together, would have expanded NMSU’s Board of Regents from five to seven members (making it the same size as UNM’s Board), provided for the election of three of the seven, and established a nomination committee to submit names of qualified candidates. The proposals also would have designated one Board position at each university to a faculty member and two for individuals from the local community, to accompany the current “student regent” position. The proposed amendments aimed to diversify the Boards at UNM and NMSU as well as prevent the appointment of unqualified individuals and political cronyism. Presently, Article 12 of the state constitution stipulates direct appointment of all regents by the Governor. Steinborn noted, as reported in the press, that regent appointees are often friends or campaign donors of the governor and that the newly-seated student member of the board of regents, Jordan Banegas, was a campaign aide for Martinez and a former leader of the NMSU College Republicans. It is a clear sign of the crooked political reality that even this moderate push to reduce favoritism in the appointments of regents was defeated in committee by both Republicans and Democrats before it could be put before voters in January. Steinborn’s effort represents an acknowledgement of some of the structural problems behind the defective management of the state’s higher education; however, such measures are also entirely inadequate if they intend to create profound changes in university administration. While greater faculty representation and limitations on favoritism would be small positives, they would do little to weaken the current top-down model, spur widespread participation in decision-making or limit the influence of business interests and party-politics. Part of the problem may be that there is a Board of Regents at all. Of the four non-student regents at NMSU, two are connected to the banking industry, one is a CEO, one is a high-ranking Democratic Party member and three hold business degrees. Banegas, the new student regent, is a marketing major while his predecessor studied finance.
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nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/ groundup •Why the radish? •India: 100 millones en huelga •ASNMSU elections •Proposals to transform NMSU •The death of Hugo Chávez •State of the Lottery Scholarship •Should we support Democratic immigration reform? •Represión contra madres de Ciudad Juárez y cómo ayudar •Links and more!
someone who continues the negative trends we’ve witnessed. We need greater changes than administrative tinkering. Amid the spectacle of the presidential crisis, fundamental issues that should be debated – the regional and societal role of the university, whether education should adapt to pressing social needs or the demands of business, the dubious value of big-time university athletics, among others – are entirely evaded. Instead, there is an implicit consensus among the Board (and what else can we expect from a well-connected group of bankers and politicos?) for increased privatization and a more ‘business-friendly’ campus. In the long run, we need more than just a new president – perhaps we could start by replacing (or abolishing) the Board. We envision a massive transformation of university governance: absolute transparency; internal, participatory democracy and decision-making power to students, teachers and the community; revamped funding laws to get money to where it’s really needed; greater integration of distinct disciplinary areas as well as a new focus on critical thinking, educational quality and the good of the community – instead of image and moneyed interests. These are the issues to which attention should turn in Las Cruces and in Santa Fe. They will only come about, however, through an organized student movement with a strong, radical political orientation. Why NMSU needs a radical student movement The patterns we see at NMSU are not unique; they are part of a worldwide trend towards the privatization of public education: its reorientation, at all levels, by government and private interests towards the economic demands of the market and ideological demands of neoliberalism. Thus, by opposing privatization and its top-
"NMSU's lagging behind the competition. We need big improvements at this university."
down model in our schools we must necessarily JORDAN oppose the neoliberal program and the interests of capital. An effective opposition with viable alternatives must not view the issues affecting education in isolation 14 million dollars of public debt later... from the wider socioeconomic reality. We cannot separate the crisis JORDAN in public schools from the larger failures of our socioeconomic system (poverty, systemic instability, inequalities, etc.); our criticisms and proposals must go to the roots of the problems they wish to address. and demands must become the struggles The student movement must not simply and demands of the student movement. seek a return to an unsatisfactory status At NMSU, we see the need for an effecquo, but must strive for the radical trans- tive, bottom-up opposition to redirect the formation of the education system as part course of the university and defy the neoof a transformation of the larger socioeco- liberal program. Such a movement must nomic structures. It should join with the come from outside traditional channels like youth of Chile, Québec, Colombia, Spain, the dominant political parties or the impoBritain, and Mexico currently leading the tent, farcical ASNMSU. A critical, resolute struggle not only for universal, public, and movement of students, faculty and workers quality education through the university has the potential to rock NMSU to its very level, but also for critical opposition to the core and bring about a radical transformaneoliberal program. It must reenergize the tion both on campus and in the region. In idea of education as a liberating tool for response to the current crisis, we can either revolutionary social change, and it must take advantage of the situation and begin align itself with the working class and mar- to build such a movement or we can accept ginalized sectors of society. Their struggles more of the same. RD
"Yep, that did the trick."
What is academic self-governance? By José Revueltas José Revueltas, a Mexican novelist and Marxist, was deeply involved in the revolutionary student movement that rocked Mexico in 1968. Students in ‘68, both in Mexico and in other parts of the world, viewed the transformation of the academy - particularly its social role and internal governance, through democratization and politicization - as a vital element towards the creation of a new, just and free society. Ultimately, the movement was brutally repressed and Revueltas imprisoned. As we pose the need for radical changes in education, we believe it is worthwhile to look back to moments when students have looked beyond their degree plans and dedicated themselves to bringing about a social revolution. The following piece was written by Revueltas during ‘68 and was originally distributed in pamphlet form among Mexico City students. The text is an original translation from José Revueltas, México 68: juventud y revolución (México, Era, 1989 ), pp. 107-109.
1. Academic self-governance* is, above all and essentially, a building of consciousness. 2. Consciousness of what it is to study and to comprehend, not as an abstract exercise and at the margin of the time and society that surround us, but rather as something that is produced within them and as part of ourselves, in reciprocal relation and conditioning. 3. This relationship and conditioning do not operate by virtue of their lone and simple presence, subject to their mere spontaneous impulse. They require the impulse of the element that represents the conscious factor in the relationship, i.e., of those that study and comprehend, whose impulse cannot be other than revolutionary, whatever the dominant characteristics of the society and our times. 4. A conservative and reactionary society, as much as an advanced and progressive society, will always and in every circumstance need to condition the revolutionary character of the collegiate consciousness (understood as within higher education in general). That is, the consciousness of those who study, learn and comprehend (in the University and other centers of higher education), must always maintain a critical and dissenting relation to the society, whatever its nature. 5. If the collegiate consciousness (the consciousness of the universality) of the student body uncritically conforms to the society in which it exists (whether a bourgeois society or a socialist society), it ceases to be active consciousness, ceases to have the attribute that defines consciousness itself as revolutionary movement and transformation, to convert itself into an immobile mirror of the society, it is a negation of all consciousness, the academic tailpiece of the society. 6. Self-governance transforms the centers of higher education into the self-critical part of society; that is, if higher education only carried out a critical role before, it now, through self-governance, must play a transformative and revolutionary role. Criticism represents a parallel action, directed from outside, toward the society, without
“¿Qué es la autogestón académica?” en nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup
any commitment, like an inert classification, in the same way as a natural phenomenon is defined or classified. Self-governance, on the other hand, questions society from the inside, as the part of it that it is, and that, in such a condition, takes on the self-critical consciousness of that society. This consciousness, as criticism, is the negation of whatever society it may be (bourgeois or socialist), and as self-criticism, is the negation of the negation: it subverts that society, it represents the new and the relentless struggle against the old. 7. According to the concept of self-governance, comprehension is transformation. This does not mean merely acquiring a determined conception of the world, but rather that such a conception, at the same time, acts as a revolutionary displacement of the antiquated, the no-longer valid, the obsolete that resists its disappearance. Self-governance puts forth a militant knowledge, in every way nonconformist with the established values. 8. Self-governance socializes and politicizes higher education to the greatest extent possible. It socializes by committing education to the vital problems of the society in which it operates and it politicizes so that such a commitment immediately compels it toward public action. 9. Self-governance, based on principled reasons, manifests itself from the very beginning against the standard of higher education as a producer of exchange values. This pragmatic and narrow standard is nourished by the priority given to satisfying the industrial society’s technological needs (this is as true in capitalism as in a Stalinized socialist society), with the consequent denaturalization and dehumanization of knowledge. The most fully dehumanized exchange value that technological instruction creates is the specialist, destined solely and exclusively to become a cog, completely alienated from himself, in the industrial machinery. Self-governance presupposes a holistic technical instruction, subordinated to the human values of knowledge, in opposition to the skill and efficiency that make up the final and solitary purpose of technical learning and training. 10. Self-governance first off proposes a profound revision of all programs of study in the area of higher education, within the framework of a true revolution of the current systems. Ciudad Universitaria, September 11, 1968 (Translation by A. Dicker)
*Autogestión. The term literally signifies ‘self-management’ or ‘self-direction,’ but in this context refers to control of educational institutions, so we have chosen to use the word ‘self-governance.’ Revueltas used the term to distinguish his proposal and the demands of the student movement from the concept of university autonomy, which is a foundation of higher public education in Mexico and Latin America in which university governance enjoys complete independence from the government, but even so can remain hierarchical and reactionary.
By Alan Dicker On July 20 of last year, James Holmes opened fire in a packed movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12. Horrific chronicles, tributes to the victims, and analyses of the mental condition of the shooter filled newspapers and television news broadcasts for weeks afterwards. The massacre, along with another at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in December, revived an intense debate over gun control in the United States and helped bring about Barack Obama’s January proposal. Just two days after the movie theater massacre, another tragedy: 15 dead near Berclair, Texas; but this incident received little attention. No journalist wrote eulogies for the dead of that overloaded pickup. No one left flowers along A socialist the highway where argument against the they died. The names of Democratic gun control plan the victims – recentlyarrived immigrants – were not publicized on CNN. The tragedy in Texas did not merit more than a mention in the major newspapers, if that. (And not only in the U.S.; the lopsided coverage of the two events was even mirrored in the countries from which the Texas victims came.) While massacres such as those in Aurora or Newtown certainly demonstrate ugly aspects of modern life, the reactions to them – and the profoundly divergent responses to tragedies like the deaths near Berclair – illustrate more deeply-embedded sicknesses that plague our society. The silence surrounding the tragedy near Berclair is not unique. Countless others barely receive the light of day in the global mass media, do not elicit policy changes to prevent their repetition, and only ultimately hold little importance for the vast majority. Hundreds die annually attempting to cross the border; laborers are maimed and killed every day in the factories, mines, and industrial farms of places like China, Bangladesh and Honduras; 10,000 die each year in Mexico alone from hunger; in Denver, Aurora’s sister city, at least 147 homeless individuals perished on the streets in 2012 and over 13,000 were homeless in the metropolitan area. Why such distinct reactions to these tragedies and the movie theater massacre? For one, we are sold the false idea that these are not crimes and have no perpetrator or that they are not the product of violence. Additionally, they lack the spectacular characteristics of a school shooting. But the explanation is not so simple. We can continue pointing to ever-greater catastrophes, such as the massive number of war victims – which cannot even be confidently estimated to the nearest million – in places like the Congo over the last two decades, or the well-over one million children under five that die annually from diarrhea despite global health efforts. Such situations go largely unnoticed and
prompt few calls to transform the global socioeconomic and political system that has helped generate them. Why such an unequal value of human life? Events like the killings in Aurora and Newtown (and Benghazi or the World Trade Center, for that matter) are easily capitalized on, economically and politically, by the elite. We have been conditioned to react to such events in a way that maximizes their ‘market value;’ we are trained, principally through education, party politics and the mass media – all in the hands of a dominant socioeconomic class – to feel a certain way about what happens in the world around us. This process shapes us in the interest of reinforcing the existing social structure. From this vantage point, maximizing the impact of those unusual, spectacular massacres of ‘middle-class Americans’ or government agents serves the needs of the ruling class. Directing the same kind of attention to the all-too-common mass death or suffering of the poor, immigrants, and those from the third-world, on the other hand, would likely prompt discussion and action aimed at toppling the ruling class and radically transforming the socioeconomic-political system. The question before us is not, simply, how to prevent violence. The problem-at-the-root-of-the-problem is that people from certain classes are substantially more likely to die violently, suffer the trauma of assaults, endure dehumanizing treatment, and live with unfulfilled material needs. How to solve the problem of the unequal distribution of violence and misery in the U.S. and throughout the world should consume our attention--not only when particularly spectacular or gruesome tragedies strike. The obsessive and disproportionate attention given to atypical occurrences such as mass shootings serves to distract us from the everyday dystopian reality that surrounds us. The power structure exploits such isolated tragedies to sell us the image of a broken peace, as if we did not live in a world in which hundreds of thousands die of hunger every year; in which the effects of war and crime mold the lives of billions; and in which the violence of workplace exploitation, adverse market fluctuations and the threat (and reality) of unemployment entrap much of the world’s population. Raising the question of the unequal distribution of violence, misery, and want entails raising the prospect of radical economic, political, and social transformations. Needless to say, the powers-that-be benefit from keeping our attention away from this to safeguard their power and privilege. *** Obviously, this is far from the debate over gun control in the wake of Aurora and Newtown. On the one hand,
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Mothers of Juárez feminicide victims march to Chihuahua, suffer repression Información en español en nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup
Comité de Madres
Mothers and family members of victims of the ongoing feminicide (the regular murder of women with impunity) and mass disappearance of women in Ciudad Juárez stepped up a campaign for justice in the past three months starting with a sevenday march from the border city to the state capital, Chihuahua, as well as numerous other protest actions Francisca Galván, detained in Calif. throughout Mexico. Upon completion of the march at the end of January, the Comité de Madres y Familiares con Hijas Desaparecidas de Ciudad Juárez was initially brushed off by Governor Cesár Duarte and only secured a meeting after the group’s return to Juárez. The Comité is a relative newcomer among a collection of organizations that have denounced feminicide in Juárez and the impunity that allows it over the last two decades. The state of Chihuahua has experienced a dramatic increase in violence and kidnapping of young women in recent years, invariably linked to sex trafficking rings, militarization policies, drug cartels and government complicity. According to official calculations, nearly 800 women were either killed or disappeared in Chihuahua in 2012. The center of this phenomenon is Juárez, and the Comité has alleged that at
least 32 young women were kidnapped in the city during the first 70 days of this year alone. The mothers and their supporters have denounced the use of repressive tactics including threats and police harassment. Over the two years of the Comité’s existence, it asserts that four of its members have been forced into exile. The family of one involved mother, Karla Castañeda, was granted asylum in the U.S. in February after presenting evidence of persecution. Francisca Galván, organizer of the recent march and the group’s legal advisor, was repeatedly threatened and attempted to flee across the border. As of press time, she has been held in a San Diego immigrant detention center since February 22. A campaign for her liberation was immediately undertaken: A petition on change.org for her release has gathered over one thousand signatures and a humanitarian brigade travelled from Los Angeles to San Diego on March 30. Links to the petition and other ways to help are posted on The GroundUp’s website. Repression and violence against feminicide activists is far from new, as illustrated by the infamous 2010 murder of Marisela Escobedo - whose daughter was murdered in 2008 - in front of the government palace in Chihuahua. The Comité has also experienced political conflict with another nonprofit group, Justicia Para Nuestras Hijas, which some activists regard as a collaborator with the authorities. Increased levels of violence against women is not limited to the border region: According to recent United Nations reports, over 34,000 Mexican females have died violently in the last 25 years; however, other parts of Latin America have even higher feminicide rates, headed by El Salvador and Guatemala with over 90 women murdered per million inhabitants annually.
Sign the petition for Francisca’s liberation and get involved: Visit nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup for links.
Critical response to lecture: Obama and MLK’s legacy By Denali Wilson On February 13, in the shadow of the presidential inauguration ceremony, Temple University professor Dr. Molefi Kete Asante gave a presentation at NMSU which aimed to draw parallels between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. It was, in many ways, an example of the superficial, romanticized progressivism that defines modern liberal (Democratic) ideology. Given the constant allusions to King’s legacy when referring to the President, the fundamental differences between them deserved a critical analysis by Asante; however, this was hardly accomplished. For Asante, the one fundamental distinction between the two men was that Dr. King was “prophetic” while Obama is “pragmatic.” He never expanded on this – why is Obama “pragmatic” and not “prophetic” like King? Even if it was not intended by Asante (who was not shy to admit his unwavering support for the president), this word choice is tremendously significant when we read between the lines: Obama is constricted to what Asante calls pragmatism (or rather, a minimal reformism), because his policies conform to the structural limitations of the very system that King sought to transform. He insisted that Obama, as a product of historical struggle, is organically linked to all achievements of the civil rights movement. For “progressive” liberals, Obama is revered as a symbol of civil rights advances; yet in an era of renewed ethnic and xenophobic hysteria, growing inequalities and enormously disproportionate rates of incarceration among minorities, a black man in the White House hardly signifies our imminent arrival at the “mountaintop.” The illusion of “King’s dream realized” is forged with increasing vehemence to conceal the inherent limitations to racial equity instilled in our social institutions. Asante went only as far as to admit that today’s U.S. foreign policy is not entirely in line with the legacy of King. He pointed out, for example, that Obama has faithfully maintained and Obama, inheritor of inflated military occupations in Africa, King’s legacy? establishing more military bases there than all other U.S. presidents combined. The immense conflict of such policies with King’s anti-imperialist stances is clear, but Asante brushes the point off as a small blemish on the President’s elevated status. How can Asante, and all faithful Obama supporters, overlook the glaring divergence between King’s aspirations and Obama’s track record? How can they refuse to recognize the distinguishing characteristics of the administration’s first term – the anti-immigrant offensive, heightened militarism abroad and constant efforts to defend a socially-destructive economic system – as obstacles towards the social and economic justice that King fought for? Perhaps Asante and others are guilty of overlooking what King called the “malignant kinship” in Why We Can’t Wait: the interconnection of U.S. imperialism, global inequality, and the perpetuation of racial divisions which plague our society. Asante was able to conclude that, regardless of their discongruities, Obama and King represent different means to the same end. But when we adopt a critical perspective, we find that the world hegemonic empire and capitalist economy for which Obama is the ultimate guardian represent what King recognized as the genesis of much of the world’s racial and greater social inequities. The maintenance of oppressive racial and ethnic divisions cannot be separated from military and economic imperialism or our dependency on an exploitative, unjust economic system. To rectify such injustices, the whole structure must be changed, not just patched with piecemeal reforms. “All these problems are tied together,” King affirmed in “Where do we go from here?”, one of his later speeches; what is necessary is the “passing of systems that were born in injustice, nurtured in inequality, and reared in exploitation” [emphasis added]. To “live up” to King’s vision of racial and economic justice, Obama would need to go far beyond his proclamation of “National Historical Black Colleges Week” to address directly the economic roots of cyclical social limitations for minority groups. He would need to end his unparalleled crack-down on immigration and promotion of border security to not only institute a humane immigration system but seriously confront the neoliberal trade policies that make cross-border migration necessary for many. He would need to go far beyond his four-years-and-counting pledge to end the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan to seriously challenge the U.S. imperial policies and economic interests which continue to inflate our military presence across the globe.
Massacres, gun control and the unequal distribution of violence
Review: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness “More African Americans are under correctional control today–in prison or jail, on probation or parole–than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.” (pp. 175)
By Melissa Mullinax Michelle Alexander’s 2010 publication of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: The New Press, 2010; paperback edition published last year) may serve as a catalyst for an honest discussion about the role of race in American society today and how “colorblindness” contributes to the perpetuation of injustice along color lines. Alexander traces the evolution of American slavery through Reconstruction to Jim Crow, eventually leading to Reagan’s War on Drugs in the 1980s and the exponential growth of the incarceration rate between 1985 and today. She also provides multiple frameworks for understanding the criminalization of black men in particular, and how “felons” (an overwhelming majority of them black or brown) now serves as the legal label of a population against whom it is legal to discriminate: politically, economically, and socially. Regardless of the fact that drug use among different racial populations runs evenly, our prisons overflow with non-white “criminals.” As the prison-industrial complex grows, providing means of employment primarily to rural white communities, the necessity of maintaining a racial caste system becomes imperative both politically - in “getting tough on crime” - and economically. Media campaigns and police discretion build upon America’s collective, subconscious image of a criminal: a young black man. It becomes less and less relevant that whites, particularly “professional” whites, are just as likely to use and distribute illicit substances: urban ghettos remain the target of police enforcement. Young brown and black men populate our prisons, serving decades-long sentences, for possession of marijuana or cocaine. Whites systematically face shorter sentences - even when convicted of the same crime. Colorblindness, as propagated by U.S. laws, media and politicians, serves to excuse our country from facing the un-
comfortable fact of persistent racism. Today’s racism, and perhaps racism of the past, has little or nothing to do with interpersonal bigotry or hate. While the paternalism of Jim Crow faded with the invention of the War on Drugs, apathy and ardent individualism took its place. Alexander writes with the courage to criticize the policy of Barack Obama and displays how black “exceptionalism” and affirmative action serve to veil the realities of most people of color. It is commonplace today to hear someone, of any color, say, “If Barack Obama can make it, anyone can” or “people get what they deserve.” Our blindness results not only from a belief that race denotes moral character, but also from a misguided conception that our society exists outside of racial profiling and hyper-individualism. Our struggle to reconcile the contradiction of unconscious racisms and an ardent insistence of colorblindness requires a religious reliance on the narrative of the “American Dream.” “Anyone can make it,” we say as we pat ourselves on the back for overcoming racism while we spend billions of dollars each year caging men of color. Colorblindness is a farce; and it hurts us all, those casted as criminals of color most of all. The strength of The New Jim Crow lies in the way Alexander presents a complicated and important historical argument to readership both in and outside academia, while maintaining the standards of peer-reviewed research. Writing in a common language, she makes meticulously documented research and analysis highly accessible-no college degree required. Most importantly, Alexander argues that only through compassion and empathy for all people, regardless of color or “criminal background,” can we begin to address the current racial caste system which operates through our criminal “justice” system. We have fallen prey to conflating “not caring” about a person’s race to not caring about a race of people. Litigation will not solve the problem. Black leaders alone will not solve the problem. Alexander calls us to a radical paradigm shift in which we acknowledge the racial hierarchy in this country, recognize our complicity with it, and begin a mass reconstruction of our laws, our prisons and, most importantly, our communities. We must demand all of us or none.
Panda Express: A signal of increasing corporate influence at NMSU - Continued from page 3 -
Domenici Institute,” according to an NMSU media release. The real motives behind such a gift is clear. There are five other similar professorships in the Business College alone. The ramifications of NMSU’s corporate courtship are felt by the community off campus as well. Local businesses whose primary customers are NMSU students are impacted by the installation of big-name chain stores at the university. With the opening of Panda Express, small ventures like 99 Express Chinese Food on University $ Avenue are likely to suffer financially. The privileged position of big-name chain outlets on campus often allows them to dominate the local market, at the expense of independent, local business. Bernie Digman, owner of Milagro Coffee y Espresso, affirmed that last year’s installment of Einstein Bros. and Starbucks on campus has negatively impacted his business. “I now consider the univeristy my business competitor,” he said. Though he considers himself pro-competition, Digman said the positions reserved for corporate vendors makes a “level playing field” impossible. He said the coffee shop has been a major supporter of the uni-
versity for years, but that they are now considering withdrawing support. Furthermore, there is no norm for administration representatives to consult with community members potentially affected by the university’s partnerships, such as small business owners. Digman said he believes NMSU administration does not take them into account: “I’ve never heard from [NMSU] and haven’t ever heard of a small business in the area who has.” Instead of aiming to tell the “full story” surrounding the business ventures on campus, local media and The Round Up celebrate the supposed benefits to the campus, typically repeating word-for-word the press releases of NMSU administration. About the new Panda Express, local media coverage limited itself to printing meaningless, feel-good lines such as, “Our guests and the quality and safety of our food are our highest priorities” (Panda Express’ America Chong in the Bulletin), “We know NMSU is the heart of Las Cruces and we are happy to be a part of the University now” (Chong in The Round Up and Sun-News) and “Several students have been anxiously anticipating for some classic menu favorites to hit campus” (The Round Up). Praising Panda Express for its “green” initiatives and philanthropic commitments to the university, stateof-the-art digital menus, student em-
ployment and edgy new color schemes - while freely advertising menu options, hours of business and university parking arrangements - local media outlets immediately jump on the bandwagon and act as promotional agents. They uncritically buy in to the idea that, as Scott Weingarten of Panda Express Inc. said in the business proposal to NMSU (quoted in an NMSU press release), “we are here not only to deliver an exceptional Asian dining experience, but to support the students and their university communities.” Panda Express’ $25,000 donation to the University’s general fund was also widely reported, but the philanthropic motives of the corporation that raked in $1.5 billion in 2011 are questionable. Unmentioned in the media coverage, Panda Express’ donation is simply an obligation in its contract with NMSU. Furthermore, and it may pale in comparison to the financial benefit the university provides - through marketing, infrastructure and a captive consumer base. The growing presence of big business on campus, in many respects, may be doing much more harm than good. The incalculable costs of continuing to welcome corporate interests at NMSU – including the loss of academic autonomy and greater financial allocation to business friendly projects over academic priorities – must be weighed against any monetary revenue accrued
Flatbush: Killing of teen sparks outrage, protest and... revolution? - Continued from page 1 non-white communities. After a vigil in memory of Gray, youth in the community protested, confronted (or were confronted by) police forces and caused damage to numerous commercial establishments during consecutive days. Dozens were arrested, pepper-sprayed and dispersed by police. “There are police as far as the eye can see,” said
one local media report nearly two weeks after the March 9 shooting, “and barricades put in place everywhere.” The reaction of youth in the community to the Gray shooting reveals a deep, healthy contempt for the authorities and a willingness to rebel against the status quo. Revolutionary literature has circulated in the community in the wake of the shooting, including a pamphlet titled, “The Flatbush Rebellion,” a link to which is available at The GroundUp’s website.
Aggie Solidarity lecture series in review: Gandhian nonviolence, the origins of racism
UT Austin professor Snehal Shingavi gave two lectures at NMSU.
Dr. Snehal Shingavi, from the Department of English at the University of Texas at Austin, delivered two lectures on March 11 and 12 in the Corbett Center Auditorium at NMSU. A long-time Marxist and activist, Shingavi works with the International Socialist Organization in Austin and has been instrumental in organizing various grassroots movements. Shingavi used his time to discuss two distinct topics: On day one, he dissected the popular myths surrounding the role of Gandhi and non-violence in the independence of India. Although Shingavi acknowledged the vital role of Gandhi in catapulting India’s struggle for independence to international prominence, he built a strong case for the historically restrictive nature of non-violent activism. Relying on his own experience, Shingavi opened the debate for activists to determine effective tactics and strategies to face state oppression without bowing to the limits of romanticized non-violence. The following night, in “The Origins of Racism,” Shingavi presented the concept of race and racism as modern social constructs – instead of elements of human nature – which developed along with global capitalism. The forces that led to race-based slavery, he argued, were economic, not racial: race was invented as a means to justify the exploitation of a new cheap-labor force. These racial divisions, however, have remained profitable. Shingavi stressed that the racial divisions we face today share the same economic origins as yesterday’s slavery. To effectively combat racism, we must go beyond traditional anti-racist education to address the underlying economic mechanisms which have generated modern racial constructs, a task which requires direct confrontation with capitalism. Find audio/transcripts of “Gandhi and the Politics of Non-Violence” and “The Origins of Racism” at nmsuaggiesolidarity.org/groundup.
Re-appropriating our food By David Riviello We all eat - yet many of us are unaware of where our food comes from, how it is grown, raised, processed and packaged. This is is not entirely our fault. We live in a culture where food has become a means to an end: quick, cheap and tasty. We live in a culture where running to the visually polluting signs of fast food restaurants has become our hunting and gathering experience; where we now, at the command of our voice, can receive a McStrong-HyperIndigestion-Treat and walk away in temporary satisfaction. For most of us, food has lost its sacred value as the living fuel that powers us. We have raped and ruptured our connection with nature as well as with our ancestors who respected nature as the provider of everything we know to exist. We have become aggravatingly distant from our food, generally in belief that the supermarket is a magical place where food is generated; disregarding the truck driver who transported the food, the farmer who grew the food, the seed that carried the information, the water, the sun, the air and everything else that made food accessible. This disconnection, the lack of constant awareness, displaces our responsibility towards ourselves and everything that surrounds us. It cripples us by taking away our power to freely choose the best for ourselves. The decision to eat quick, cheap and tasty food has disturbing consequences that range from personal health issues to the planet’s environmental instability and everything in between. So, the question is: how can we regain power and ownership over the food we eat and the system which regulates it? Transforming the food system requires huge changes in both production and consumption, and will not occur easily. There are a number of steps we - as individuals - can take in the right direction: We must decrease our demand for mass-produced and
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Reforma migratoria: El movimiento inmigrante y sus aliados de izquierda deben radicalizarse - Continued from page 3 de la población inmigrante – tales como la pésima infraestructura educativa, el desempleo, la segregación de hecho y la represión salarial. Sin cambios drásticos en las relaciones sociales y el sistema económico, la conquista de ciertos derechos políticos – como la ciudadanía o las licencias de conducir – los intereses de las clases bajas sólo avanzarían parcialmente. Esta lección ha sido aprendida por las generaciones que lucharon en los movimientos chicano y de derechos civiles. Sin cambios socioeconómicos radicales, los inmigrantes de hoy, en gran medida, seguirán conformando una subclase social y fuente de mano de obra barata, tal y como les conviene a los empresarios y a la clase política, tanto demócrata como republicana. d) Aunque una reforma ‘máxima’ resolvería el problema político inmediato que representa la inmigración indocumentada, la situación poco cambiaría para los futuros inmigrantes, quienes afrontarían el mismo régimen migratorio excluyente que existe hoy. Recordemos que ya se hizo una amnistía general durante la administración de Reagan, la cual se negó a prevenir futuras olas migratorias con consecuencias lamentables; el no luchar esta vez por un cambio definitivo y permitir que el ciclo se repita sería nuestro fracaso. e) No habrá diálogo, como Obama ha
señalado claramente, acerca del papel de la ‘seguridad fronteriza’ (que no se limita a la frontera) en el futuro. Seguirá siendo la piedra angular de la política norteamericana hacia los migrantes. La población de origen extranjero continuará viviendo en las sombras de muros, centros de detención y un estado policiaco. La migración y los migrantes seguirán siendo despreciados y criminalizados. El notable aumento en prisiones privadas, deportaciones y muertes al intentar cruzar la frontera bajo la administración actual no es una casualidad; ésta es la desesperanzadora realidad que se tendrá que seguir afrontando, haya reforma o no. La insuficiencia de inclusive las propuestas demócratas más progresistas en el ámbito migratorio es clara. Pero recordemos, en primer lugar, que es improbable que tal reforma sea aprobada. Lo que nos espera es, como mucho, un tibio acuerdo con los republicanos. La propuesta más viable al cierre de este número incluye un programa temporal de ‘trabajadores huéspedes,’ multas y un periodo de espera de hasta 15 años para obtener la ciudadanía. Como es de esperar, tal plan beneficiaría enormemente a los empresarios y al gobierno, mientras que entre los trabajadores sólo sería suficiente para desviar temporalmente el creciente descontento. Sin que existan exigencias y la militancia radicales dentro del movimiento, las clases dominantes no tienen por qué
concedernos más. a millones en el proceso. Las decenas de Digamos las cosas como son: los partidos millones de migrantes hoy – tanto en políticos existen para manipular a la gente EE.UU. como en todo el mundo – forman ordinaria y trabajadora. Los demócratas una subpoblación marginada y necesaria promueven ahora la reforma migratoria para para el crecimiento capitalista. Aun cuando expandir su base electoral y darle estabilidad las fronteras nacionales han desaparecido a un sistema económico en crisis. Respaldar para el capital y las mercancías, siguen a los demócratas y sus reformas tan limitadas atrapando a las clases trabajadoras según las es, en el largo plazo, una derrota para los necesidades de la industria; el nacionalismo, trabajadores. La clase de propuestas por la que el racismo y el etnocentrismo desempeñan muchos en el movimiento están luchando un papel fundamental en el reforzamiento al final servirán sobre todo para fortalecer de este sistema. Nuestra tarea debe consistir las mismas estructuras socioeconómicas en combatir estas instituciones – el que generaron las migraciones masivas nacionalismo, el capitalismo y el racismo. y las condiciones en que hoy vivimos. Se La transformación radical del sistemanecesitan grandes cambios estructurales y no mundo debería convertirse en un objetivo serán regalados por quienes están encima de central y abiertamente sostenido por el la pirámide. Sólo podremos abrir las puertas movimiento de inmigrantes y sus aliados a esta clase de transformaciones profundas de izquierda. El objetivo no consiste en el futuro si adoptamos un programa simplemente en obtener papeles, sino en revolucionario ahora. la trascendencia de un sistema económico Aun así, dirán que la propuesta demócrata injusto, del nacionalismo y de las divisiones es mejor que nada. Y sí, en efecto: es mejor artificiales que existen entre los trabajadores. que nada. Pero debemos aspirar a mucho En el largo plazo, es pragmático aspirar a lo más que concesiones de la administración que es imposible en el corto plazo. en turno. Los ‘problemas’ generados por la migración masiva son producto de un sistema económico global – centrado en EE.UU. – By Melissa Mullinax que mantiene a gran parte When I was younger my mother used to tell me, del planeta en relaciones “You have to learn to sell yourself.” de dependencia y de She meant I had to play-up my good qualities subdesarrollo, desplazando (and conceal the bad).
Gun control: Proposals do not address causes of everyday violence - Continued from page 5 most Democrats support varying degrees of increased firearms regulations to prevent violent crime and mass shootings; on the other, the NRA-led right raises the specter of totalitarianism and vows to defend gun ownership. It is a debate that lacks in every way. The White House responded to the high-profile massacres with its January gun control proposal, including the restoration of an assault weapons ban, stringent background checks, resources for police forces, and a small mental health initiative. Despite cries of authoritarianism from the right, the proposal represents a relatively meager, symbolic plan that capitalizes politically on the recent shootings. Shaped by the distorted public debate over two entirely distinct phenomena – mass shootings and urban crime – it offers a narrow and badly-oriented answer to the complex problems presented by massacres: the proliferation of firearms and the day-to-day violence that affects certain sectors of the population. To begin with, the Democratic proposal would likely fail to significantly reduce violent crime because it refuses to address the economic and social factors underlying the matter and in no way confronts the armamentary-productive apparatus that has inundated the U.S. and world with weaponry (which is not surprising, considering the importance of the arms industry in the modern capitalist economy).The proposal continues to rely on police enforcement to limit violent crime – which instead of providing any real solution to the problem creates others, including exaggerated imprisonment rates as well as the exercise of state violence and repression through its police forces. A renewed ban on assault weapons would do little to address assault and murder rates, typically committed with small arms. And though the mental health provision in the Obama proposal is positive, it hides the fact that the majority of violent crime is not committed by the mentally ill, but rather by desperate, marginalized individuals raised in a culture of violence.
Furthermore, the opposition to gun control measures – however unmeasured, badly-oriented and hysterical it may be coming from the right – should not be dismissed out-ofhand. Is it so crazy to believe that greater ‘control’ will mean greater police repression – particularly in poor communities? Or that arms laws can be used by the dominant classes and the state to consolidate their power? The radical left, no matter the context, should never sacrifice the capacity for popular, armed organization – even if only potential – or contribute to an increased repressive capacity of the capitalist state. We should reject simplistic plans to restrict possession by common people, unless they simultaneously reduce the violence exercised by the state by addressing vital topics such as military-imperialist policy, the military-industrial complex and the high social costs of the dominant enforcement doctrine to lower urban crime levels. Though the easy access to firearms certainly factors into the disproportionately high assault and murder rates in working class, inner-city areas – not to mention war-torn areas in the rest of the world – it is not the crucial factor. The main problem behind violence is not that the armed population; the multifaceted problem includes our culture of violence, economy largely based on arms production, and the socioeconomic exclusion that disproportionately affects certain sectors. The only long-term solutions to violence and crime – unless we are to continue our march towards an Orwellian police state and incarcerate more than the 2 million currently behind bars – must go hand-inhand with a revolutionary transformation of the economic and social structures at the heart of our modern world. The left should reject and denounce any gun control proposal that remains silent on the deeper, systemic causes of everyday violence. Through this critical stance, we should work to refocus the debate – away from superficial ‘crime reduction’ proposals and towards a long-term alternative to radically transform the economic, social and political structures at the root of the unequal distribution of violence, want, and misery.
Food: Steps we can take now to begin to change our food system - Continued on page 6 long-distance (out of state - out of country) food products, such as caged-chicken eggs, highly refined sugar, severely processed microwaveable foods, and everything generally found in a Wal-Mart aisle. Along with the ecological and economic ills associated with their production, these products have adverse consequences towards our health: Studies have shown that caged-chickens (which are the origin of the majority of chicken products) have high levels of stress hormones, which make us more likely to suffer from stress, age faster and contract disease. This is the same for cows, pigs and all animals which have been raised under similar conditions. Thus, we must opt for consuming freeranged livestock as well as organic, non-genetically modified food products. For most people, however, it may be physically and economically improbable to change eating habits in this way.
Because of this, the redesign and restructuring of the largescale food system is crucial for a widespread change. Meanwhile, for those who find it viable, we must concentrate our attention in consuming local food products originating from farmers with strict environmental and work ethics- products which are usually found in local farmers’ markets and community stores (a.k.a. co-ops). For the products we are unable to grow in the local region, such as coffee and chocolate, some alternatives can be those of fair trade and community cooperatives that still practice a variation of natural, semi-sustainable agrobusiness. As a priority, we must also find alternatives for growing a percentage of our own food and sharing with others the knowledge necessary to do so. Cooperative and urban farms are becoming ever-more popular and offer accessible alternatives. Local food economies with high concentrations of these could drastically change the national economy, our health and our relation to food and nature.
I told her, “I don’t want to sell anything to anyone.” She said, “That’s too bad; that’s just how it is.” She meant my feelings didn’t matter and promptly inculcated me into socio-economic prostitution.
Ten years, seven jobs, and a Bachelor’s degree later, I wonder if I’ve made her proud, convincing slews of people I’m smart and pretty and worthwhile. All kinds of people—teachers, bosses, friends, students, lovers—have bought what I’m selling. I’m a regular commodity marketed and purchased by the masses, no regard for the human labor expelled in my production. But I’m tired, Mom. I’m tired of pleading my value. Can’t everyone see that I’m nothing special, but I’m okay? I don’t want to get ahead or on top or have more than you do. “But that’s the next step,” she says. Now I have to buy myself: car, house, vacation, salary. She means I have to live a stable-adult life. She means I am only what I can accumulate. And I wonder about those without my purchasing power, without white skin and a college education and an American birth certificate and parents with life insurance plans. I wonder if it’s any better buying than selling. I hear consumer spending rose last month. I hear we can buy back our value, which means we can take it from other people. Now I understand that my mother doesn’t want me to be one of those people who always has to sell; she wants me to buy, to take, to own. There is power in taking. There is status. There is respect. Perhaps ownership equals personhood, and personhood is a rare commodity, not enough to go around. Funny though, there are enough prisons. We build more when we run out of cells. The city council proposes “impact fees” and we leisurely discuss the possibility of “bonding” to finance new roads so the people living in single-family homes on the East Mesa don’t get stuck in traffic— the inconvenience. We ask (in earnest) “Where will the new golf course get water?” No one asks, “Where will the homeless live?” I guess there are no bonds for homelessness. Maybe I don’t appreciate the gravity of the congestion on Del Rey. Maybe I misunderstand the function of the City Council. But I can’t help but wonder if it’s ethical to spend 90 minutes on a Tuesday evening arguing about city development when people are sleeping in cages by the fair grounds and living in tents on Amador. We’ll sell the city to anyone with proper purchasing power. We’ll build pipelines to get the water out there, to the people who need it to the people who need it. We’ll entice developers to populate the desert we have left to offer. The population already here— who knows; no one asked how we’ll house and feed and educate ourselves. Our biggest concern is responsible development. Who’s going to buy? Desert for sale.
Masacres, control de armas y la distribución desigual de la violencia See “Massacres, gun control and the unequal distribution of violence,” in English on page 5
Por Alan Dicker El 20 de julio del año pasado, James Holmes abrió fuego en un abarrotado cine en Aurora, Colorado, matando a 12 personas. Horríficas crónicas, homenajes a las víctimas, análisis de la condición mental del tirador y tributos a las vidas de las víctimas llenaron los periódicos y noticieros durante varias semanas después. Esta masacre, junto con otra en una escuela primaria de Newtown, Connecticut en diciembre, revivió un vehemente debate sobre el control de armas en los Estados Unidos e impulsó una reciente propuesta de la Casa Blanca. Otra tragedia tan sólo dos días después de la masacre del cine: 15 muertos cerca de Berclair, Texas; pero este incidente recibió poca atención. Ningún periodista elogió a los caídos de aquella camioneta sobrecargada. Nadie dejó flores en la carretera donde murieron. Los nombres de las víctimas – inmigrantes recién cruzados – no se publicaron en CNN. La tragedia en Texas no mereció más que una mínima mención en los grandes periódicos. (Y no sólo en los EE.UU.; la dispareja cobertura de los dos sucesos fue reflejada hasta en los países de donde provenían las víctimas de Texas.) Aun cuando masacres tales como las de Aurora o Newtown manifiestan aspectos malcarados de la vida moderna, las reacciones que provocan – y las reacciones profundamente divergentes a tragedias como las muertes de Berclair – son ilustrativas de las enfermedades más arraigadas que plagan nuestra sociedad. La tragedia de Berclair no es excepcional en cuanto al silencio que la rodea. Existen otras incontables que apenas vieron la luz en los medios masivos a nivel mundial, sin suscitar ningún cambio político para evitar su repetición, y que además son vistas con indiferencia por la gran mayoría. Cientos de personas mueren cada año al intentar cruzar la frontera; obreros son mutilados y muertos a diario en las fábricas, minas y granjas industriales de lugares como China, Bangladesh y Honduras; tan sólo en México 10.000 personas fallecen anualmente de hambre; en Denver, la ciudad gemela de Aurora, al menos 147 individuos sin techo murieron en las calles en 2012 y más de 13,000 carecían de casa en el área metropolitana. ¿Por qué tan distintas reacciones frente a estas tragedias y a la masacre del cine? Por un lado, nos venden la falsa idea de que aquellos no son crímenes y que no tienen perpetrador, o de que no son producto de la violencia. Asimismo, aparentemente carecen de los elementos espectaculares de una matanza en una escuela, por ejemplo. Pero la explicación no es tan sencilla. Podríamos seguir enumerando inmensas catástrofes como el enorme número de víctimas de guerra – lo que ni se puede calcular con certeza al más cercano millón – en lugares como el Congo en las últimas dos décadas o los más de un millón de niños menores de cinco años que aún mueren cada año de diarrea a pesar de los esfuerzos globales. Tales sucesos pasan casi inadvertidos y provocan pocos llamados a transformar el sistema que los permite. ¿Por qué esta valoración tan desigual de la vida humana? Las matanzas de Aurora y Newtown (así como las de Benghazi o las torres gemelas) son fácilmente capitalizadas tanto económica como políticamente por la élite. Nos han condicionado a reaccionar frente a tales sucesos para maximizar su ‘valor de mercado;’ somos entrenados, principalmente a través de la educación, la política partidista y los medios masivos – todas instituciones en manos de la clase socioeconómica dominante – a sentirnos de cierto modo sobre lo que pasa en el mundo. Este proceso nos forma en el interés de reforzar la estructura social existente. Maximi-
Un argumento socialista en contra del plan demócrata de control de armas
zar el impacto de esas inusuales, espectaculares masacres de norteamericanos ‘de clase media’ o agentes gubernamentales es deseable desde esta perspectiva. Dirigir el mismo tipo de atención a la desgraciadamente común muerte masiva o al sufrimiento de los pobres, los migrantes y los habitantes del tercer mundo, al contrario, probablemente provocaría discusión y acciones encarriladas hacia la destitución de la clase gobernante y la transformación radical del sistema socioeconómico-político. La cuestión no es, simplemente, cómo impedir la violencia. El problema-al-fondo-del-problema es que personas de ciertas clases son marcadamente más propensas que otras a morir violentamente, a sufrir el trauma de asaltos, a soportar tratos deshumanizantes y a vivir con carencias materiales. Cómo superar el problema de la distribución desigual de la violencia y la miseria, tanto en los EE.UU. como en todo el mundo, debería estar en el centro de nuestro enfoque, y no sólo cuando ocurren espectaculares o crueles tragedias. La atención obsesiva y desproporcionada dirigida a casos atípicos como los asesinatos masivos sirve para distraernos de la cotidiana realidad distópica que nos rodea. Tragedias aisladas son explotadas para vendernos la imagen de una paz quebrantada, como si no viviéramos en un mundo en el que cientos de miles mueren de hambre cada año; en el que los efectos de la guerra y el crimen se plasman en la vida de miles de millones; y en el que la violencia de la explotación laboral, las fluctuaciones adversas del mercado y la amenaza (y realidad) del desempleo son constantes ineludibles para gran parte de la población mundial. Plantear la cuestión de la distribución desigual de la violencia, la miseria y la carencia implica plantear también la eventualidad de transformaciones económicas, políticas y sociales radicales. Lógicamente, está en el interés de los dirigentes políticos y empresariales alejar nuestra atención de estos temas, como mecanismo para salvaguardar su poder y privilegio. *** Obviamente, todo esto tiene poco que ver con el debate sobre el control de armas que se inauguró bajo la sombra de lo ocurrido en Aurora y Newtown. Por un lado, la mayoría de los demócratas apoyan diferentes grados de regulaciones en armas de fuego para impedir crímenes violentos y matanzas masivas; por el otro, la derecha liderada por la NRA levanta el espectro del totalitarismo y se posiciona para defender la posesión de armas. Es un debate que carece de todo sentido. La Casa Blanca respondió en enero a las famosas masacres con una propuesta de control de armas, incluyendo la restitución de una prohibición de armas de asalto, revisiones de antecedentes, recursos para fuerzas policiacas y una pequeña iniciativa de salud mental. A pesar de las pretensiones autoritarias clamadas por la derecha, aquél es un plan sobre todo simbólico y relativamente modesto que capitaliza políticamente las masacres recientes. Determinado por el distorsionado debate público sobre dos fenómenos completamente distintos – asesinatos en masa y crimen urbano – nos propone una estrecha y mal orientada respuesta a los complejos problemas exhibidos por masacres, la proliferación de armas y la violencia cotidiana que afecta a ciertos sectores de la población. Primero, la propuesta demócrata inevitablemente será poco eficaz en su propósito de reducir significativamente
los crímenes violentos porque se niega a enfrentar los factores económicos y sociales detrás del asunto y de ningún modo confronta el aparato productivo-armamentístico que inunda los EE.UU. y el mundo con armamentos (lo cual no es sorprendente dada la importancia de la industria armamentista en la moderna economía capitalista). Sigue dependiendo del régimen disciplinario-policiaco para limitar la delincuencia – lo cual en vez de proveer verdaderas soluciones al respecto crea otros, incluyendo tasas de encarcelamiento excesivas y el ejercicio de represión y violencia estatales a través de las fuerzas policiacas. Una rehabilitada prohibición de armas de asalto contribuirá poco para bajar los índices de asalto u homicidio, los cuales normalmente son perpetrados con armas cortas. Y a pesar de que la provisión para la salud mental en la propuesta de Obama es bienvenida, oculta el hecho de que la mayoría de actos violentos no son perpetrados por personas con enfermedades mentales sino por individuos desesperados y marginados, criados en una cultura de violencia. Más aun, no se debe hacer caso omiso a la oposición al control de armas – sin importar lo desmesurada, mal orientada e histérica que puede ser su defensa desde la derecha. ¿Es tan descabellado creer que mayor ‘control’ significará mayor represión policiaca – particularmente en los barrios pobres? ¿O que la regulación de armas puede ser utilizada por las clases dominantes para consolidar su poder? Bajo ninguna circunstancia la izquierda radical debe sacrificar la capacidad de la organización popular y armada – inclusive cuando ésta sea meramente potencial – ni contribuir al incremento de la capacidad represiva del estado capitalista. Debemos rechazar cualquier plan simplista para restringir la posesión de particulares, a menos que también busquen disminuir la violencia ejercida por el estado al plantear temas fundamentales como el militarismo estadounidense, el complejo militar-industrial y los altos costos sociales de la dominante doctrina punitiva para enfrentar la delincuencia. Aunque el fácil acceso a las armas es indudablemente un factor de peso en las tasas desproporcionadamente altas de homicidios y asaltos en zonas urbanas y populares – ni mencionar las zonas de guerra en el resto del mundo – no es el factor decisivo. La causa principal de la violencia no es que la población esté armada; es un problema polifacético que incluye nuestra cultura de la violencia, la economía en gran medida basada en la producción de armas y la exclusión socioeconómica que afecta desproporcionadamente a ciertos sectores. Las únicas soluciones de largo plazo a la violencia y el crimen – a menos que continuemos la marcha hacia un estado policiaco orwelliano y encarcelemos a más que los 2 millones de personas actualmente detrás de las rejas – deberían ir de la mano con una transformación revolucionaria de las estructuras económicas y sociales que forman la base del mundo moderno. La izquierda debe rechazar y denunciar cualquier propuesta de control de armas que ignore las profundas y sistémicas causas de la violencia cotidiana. A través de este posicionamiento crítico debemos esforzarnos para reorientar el debate – distanciándonos de los planes superficiales de ‘reducción del crimen’ o evitar masacres – hacia una alternativa de largo plazo para transformar radicalmente las estructuras económicas, sociales y políticas en la raíz de la distribución desigual de la violencia, la carencia y la miseria.
National student-labor organization launches ‘Badidas’ campaign
United Students Against Sweatshops, a national student organization dedicated to furthering workers’ rights, kicked off its ‘Badidas’ campaign this semester, targeting the multinational apparel giant adidas (sic) for unethical labor practices in its supply chain. The campaign particularly denounces the company’s position in a two-year stand-off with former workers at Indonesia’s defunct PT Kizone garment factory. ‘Badidas’ was launched with a multi-campus speaking tour featuring some of these workers, who were left unemployed when the plant abruptly ceased operations on April 1, 2011. adidas has refused any re-
sponsibility for abuses at the plant or the severance payment owed to the workers – many of whom earned only $0.60 per hour at the factory and are still seeking employment, according to USAS. As of late March, nine major U.S. universities cut ties with adidas due to student organizing and adidas’ labor rights record. NMSU’s athletics program has maintained an exclusive partnership with adidas since 2006. adidas also supplies official logo apparel to the university, currently through Barnes & Noble, along with various other companies known for sweatshop production. In 2000, a USAS chapter at NMSU
pressured the administration to join the Worker Rights Consortium – a universitybased association which monitors working conditions in apparel factories and requires schools to abide by certain ethical standards – but the university pulled out few years later and chose to stay within the Fair Labor Association, which is widely regarded by labor activists as a front organization backed by the same corporations it is supposed to monitor. More information about the ‘Badidas’ campaign and USAS can be found at http:// badidas.com/ and organization’s webpage: http://usas.org/.