Saturday, October 31, 2009

March 4 Strike and Day of Action To Defend Public Education

On October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC
Berkeley at the Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education. This massive meeting
brought together representatives from over 100 different schools, unions, and
organizations from all across California and from all sectors of public education ?
Pre K-12, Adult Education, CC, CSU and UC ? to "decide on a statewide action plan
capable of winning this struggle, which will define the future of public education
in this state, particularly for the working class and communities of color."

After hours of open collective discussion, the conference democratically voted, as
its principal decision, to call for a statewide Strike and Day of Action on March 4,
2010. The conference decided that all schools, unions and organizations are free to
choose their specific demands and tactics ? such as strikes, walkouts, march to
Sacramento, rallies, occupations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. ? for March 4, as well
as the duration of such actions.

We refuse to let those in power continue to pit us against each other. If we unite,
we have the power to shut down business-as-usual and to force those in power to
grant our demands. Building a powerful movement to defend public education will, in
turn, advance the struggle in defense of all public-sector workers and services.

We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations across
the state to endorse this call and massively mobilize and organize for the Strike
and Day of Action on March 4.

Let's make this an historic turning point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs,
fee hikes, and educational segregation in California.

To endorse this call and to receive more information, please contact and consult

Spring Statewide Conference
The next Statewide Conference was called for Spring 2010 and will be held in
Southern California. We hope that the upcoming Conference can move forward in
democratically deciding on unifying demands, as well as build for the statewide
actions on March 4. The exact location and date are TBA and will be sent out ASAP!

Throughout the day of the October 24 Conference, individuals and organizations had
the opportunity to raise the demands they felt were most crucial to this struggle.
All written and spoken demands are compiled in the document ?Demands 10/24/2009?
attached to the original email. We hope that the upcoming Spring Conference can move
forward in democratically deciding on unifying demands for the statewide actions on
March 4!

Coordinating Committee
A volunteer coordinating committee met after the conference. To join the
Coordinating Committee listserve ? ? please contact if you would like to be added to the email list.

We encourage other individuals and activists to join the coordinating committee. It
is open to all!

The next in person coordinating committee meetings will be on November 7th at 1pm.
NorCal Location: San Jose State; SoCal Location: TBA by participants from the
region. Details will be sent out ASAP!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Latino Popular Music Cultures

So in order to diversify the offerings of my U.S. Latino Lit. course and to touch on some different cultural productions, I've decided to have my students acquaint themselves with some of the dominant trends in U.S. Latino music over the last hundred years or so. Since muxtape no longer exists, I thought I would post some of the songs on the mix I am making them.

"El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez"

Corridos were musical forms produced in the border zone between United States and Mexico used to carry news, gossip, etc. from town to town. This one depicts the resistance of Gregorio Cortez to the brutality and murderousness of the Texas Rangers toward the native Mexican population:

These forms of corridos were replaced in the contemporary moment with Narcocorridos which depict the heroism of drug-runners between Mexico and the United States (see Los Tigres Del Norte, which I've posted earlier).

Perez Prado "Que Rico el Mambo"

This form is Cuban in origin, but Mambo in general was not a phenomenon that really caught on in Cuba. It exploded in the U.S. fostering several films produced in Hollywood around the Cuban-American relationship, and shuttled Desi Arnaz (of I Love Lucy Fame) to stardom. This is by far the most popular Mambo tune in the United states:

Daddy Yankee - "Gasolina"

Representing the explosion of the Reggaeton phenomenon, a sort of Latino Hip-hop constructed around almost exactly the same beat/time signatures, the hit Gasolina:

Abe Vigoda - "Skeleton"

Mexi-American kids from Chino producing tropical punk, of L.A.'s The Smell scene fame:

Diplo - "¡Soy Cumbia!"

Although Diplo is not Latino, he is responsible for circulating historical and current trends in Non-Western music in the United States and Western Europe. This mix from his Mad Decent radio show/podcasts features the 1970s(?) Afro-Columbian trend of Cumbia music.

Los Crudos - "That's Right We're That Spic Band"

Hardcore legends of Ecuadorean and Chicano origins. I've embedded the video for Martin's (the lead singer) famous but now out of print documentary of Latino Punk/Hardcore called "Beyond the Screams."

Miyata Bicycles

I admit I am not an adept bicycle mechanic but with the help of friends, a book I got from five for the winter holidays last year, and Pittsburgh's FreeRide I've been able to learn a few things that have saved me some money on repairs. Also, my friend Jess and I assembled her miyata bicycle together as well, giving me a pretty decent sense of the process.

So a few years ago I purchased a purple Miyata bicycle frame for which I have only just begun to buy parts for. The confusion of the whole thing, because I want to assemble the bike myself, is what parts actually will fit on a frame that is almost 10 years old (my current ride has a 1960s steel Puegeot frame, which is rather heavy despite all the light parts I've added).

I discovered this blog to help me search for parts. It is a series of scanned catalogues from Miyata bicycles that allow you to see the original parts with which the bicycles were outfitted. Also it supplies the following information, that during WWII Miyata was a gun and ammunition manufacturer in Japan, and afterward converted to a bicycle producer, with some of the tubes on the frame matching the shape and size of former gun designs.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mistabishi--Printer Jam

Perhaps its because the only work with a computer I do involves the internet and of course a word processor that I enjoy this song. Or perhaps it is because my own reified consciousness wants to aestheticize that which is symbolic of alienating and poorly remunerated labor. Whichever the case, I like this video forwarded to me by friend Edgar Um

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cuban-American Politics

So since I've been doing a great deal of work reading U.S. Latino literature, theory, and history I've come upon the fanatical elements of 1960s era Cuban immigrants/exiles to the United States. Many of these folks were directly funded in their immigration, often of bourgeois elements or middle class, highly skilled, and as their presence in Miami progressed they became recruited directly into the CIA. Actually, there is a CIA station at the University of Miami that contributes to this flow of people.

Often this generation of Cuban-Americans consider themselves exiles (as opposed to maybe those of the Mariel boatlift era, who were largely motivated to leave for economic reasons), and they orient their politics around "lo que dejé"--what I left behind. The Cuban communist/Castro regime dispossessed the enriched elements (the Criollos) of Cuba instating such "draconian" policies as seizing the properties of those who owned more than one residence, to solve housing shortages in the country. The Cuban-Americans of this generation want those properties, along with their nationality returned to them.

This persistent grudge has enabled some rather unsavory political moves by this U.S. funded exile group (see the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act) including voluntary involvement and attempted-invasion/coup during the Bay of Pigs fiasco, some presence inside the Watergate scandal, working against Communist groups within the U.S. and Latin America, the fatal bombing of a Chilean ambassador to Washington, and bombings/terrorism within Cuba itself. In the below video a journalist recounts how a former CIA agent and anti-Castro Cuban-American Luis Posada Carriles was able to move between the United States and Cuba to cause bombings of the tourist industry and the intelligence agency cover-up of evidence regarding his case, with what appears to be some U.S. government supported mandate. He awaits a trial in Texas currently. This move by the exile community is actually a departure from the left-wing radicalism of earlier generations of Cuban-Americans who were often active in unionization, communist, and anarchist struggle.

Part 1

Part 2

What this reminds us is that to be minority does not equal subordination necessarily, or a standpoint against domination and capitalism. Instead, the case of the Cuban-American community is often one where the U.S. colludes with the national bourgeoisie and perpetuates clientelism in the Americas...NIMBY

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Favorite Hangover Remedies.

In honor of my vow to cease drinking like someone who wants to obliterate his life and start "getting serious" about exam reading (2nd draft of the petition is in the works), I've decided to post my favorite hangover remedies, none of which work 100% of the time. In the order they occur to me:

1) Green tea w/ roasted brown rice.
This is a particular form of green tea which you brew with roast brown rice kernels in the tea. It has a really pleasant savory flavor and can settle an upset stomach well with the added bonus of a little caffeine to wake you up. A nice alternative to coffee on hangover mornings.

2) Brunch.
Usually consisting of pure proteins, eggs (choice of meats, or false meats), fried potatoes, toast, etc. This is actually a great meal if you are worried about the shits post-drinking because both proteins and carbs help solidify your stuff and absorb excess stomach acid.

3) Whining.
This one only applies to those with a roommate or partner who is in close proximity. Whining can offer some relief only insofar as the other person will sympathize, accomodate you, or bring you things.

4) 3 large glasses of water before bed.
This can really work to prevent the negative effects of hangovers like headaches and soreness. Unfortunately, when I need it the most I am usually passed-out or too drunk to remember it.

5) More sleep.
I can't sleep in anymore. I am getting old. Alack.

6) Alka-seltzer.
I am often of the upset stomach, nausea, starving-on-the-edge-of-my-life hungover variety and this little remedy brings much relief and a dose of pain-killer to my dehydrated, alcohol addled body, without the stomach upset brought about by taking ibuprofen or aspirin in the morning.

7) Procrastination.
Avoiding all work and commitments can help you get over your hangover faster.

8)Fluids of Choice: Seltzer/Sparkling Water/Gatorade
For settling stomachs and rehydration. Gatorade's flavor of watered-down cool-aid isn't hard to swallow for the touchy, formerly inebriated, sensitive stomach.

9) Small Glass of Orange Juice Before Bed:
I've heard this gets your liver working overnight to process the alcohol. The jury seems to be out on this one.

Please, feel free to comment with your experience with these remedies and any suggestions of your own.

Also, here is video of a powerfully inebriated man trying to buy beer:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mystical Pornography

Japanese photographer Daikichi Amano renders some strange, beautiful, animist-seeming images interacting with the ancient art of Shunga, woodblock erotica.

See more images at Beautiful Decay Magazine or at his own website