Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Young Americans Prefer Socialism Than Identify as Republican

After last years election of Barack Obama and the Republican party digging it's own grave with pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, it should come as no surprise that fewer American's identify as Republican than at any time in recent history. Between the Republican ruining of the economy, and the quagmire in Iraq, American's have learned that the conservatives who run the Republican party can not be trusted.

I've always felt that the American people have good values, but that those values are often misled and given false information in order to have the American people support things that are against their values. The Iraq war for instance. However, given time to learn what's going on, the American people will wise up, and act in their interest of peace and economic justice.

Just how much the Republican party dug its own grave is apparent in two polls.

According to Pew research, only 27% of the American people identify as Republican. 36% identify as Democrats, and of the 37% who identify as independent, more lean Democratic than Republican.

What is truly striking though is the Rasmussen Reports study on American's views on Socialism and Capitalism. I think it's important to point out the fact that this poll was even taken, shows a new era in terms of socialism in America. It shows that it is no longer out of the question. A fact shown by the fact that only 53% prefer Capitalism to Socialism. Decades of anti-Communist propaganda has been undermined by reality itself. 20% prefer socialism, and 27% are unsure which is better. That's about 60 million people in a country of 300 million who prefer socialism.

Many have speculated that the poll can not be trusted. I think the poll is more or less accurate.

One criticism is that there are no reliable figures on public opinion of socialism in the US throughout the years. True, however, the poll was conducted as scientifically as any other. I suspect that future polls on the subject will lead to more nuanced statistics and will help to create a record of America public opinion about socialism.

Another criticism of the poll is that many American's don't really know the difference between Capitalism and Socialism. On one hand, there is a point to this criticism. Many American's don't receive an adequate education, it seems that our government would rather spend money on bombs than schools. I mean, this is the country where more than a third of the people who live here believe that the US government planned and was responsible for the 9/11 attacks. There is also a lot of misinformation about both economic systems. Some of the propaganda put out there is simply absurd, straw man arguments that wildly misrepresents both sides of the argument.

While I doubt many American's would be able go into the details of how either economic system works, I feel like they have a general idea of the values and philosophies behind such economic systems. Capitalism, according to even it's proponents like Milton Friedman and the fictional Gordon Gecko (imitated by thousands of pathetic business students and stock traders), is about greed. Socialism is fundamentally about ending poverty, and helping each other. I think most American's understand that.

One segment in particular understands that better than any one. The youth of America. Only 37% of American's under 30 years old prefer capitalism to socialism. While 33% of the under 30 crowd prefer socialism to capitalism. This is a major story that no one has picked up on. 33% of America's youth prefer socialism. Only 27% of American's consider themselves Republican. While this means that of the 37% of America's youth who prefer capitalism, many of them are Democrats, they are at least Democrats who are willing to ally themselves with with socialists. The question is who is leading that alliance, and whose interests are going to be represented in that coalition?

Why is America's youth so open to socialism? I would primarily contribute this to a lake of propaganda clouding their judgment. They have no memories of anti-communist hysteria. They know only that socialism means food, housing, health care, education, and jobs for all. They know that socialism means peace and gay rights. That sounds good to them.

This is the generation that watched American foreign policy backfire on September 11th, fought the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, watched New Orleans drown and watched the global capitalist system collapse. The generation that has created a gift economy around music and crippled the corporate music behemoths. This is the generation that elected the first Black president. They are open to new ideas about how to run the economy.

One has to wonder: when will the political parties begin attempting to woo this new important voting bloc? Or will those who prefer Socialism have to form their own party?

I recommend people read Carl Davidson's article “Eleven Talking Points on 21st Century Socialism.” I think he has some good ideas on how to move forward towards socialism in the current political landscape.

Boogie Not Bombs 2009

Organizing Boogie

Sorry I don't have any pictures or videos, but I wanted to do a brief review of the DePaul Activist Student Union's annual Boogie Not Bombs event.

Every year since the US invasion of Iraq, students at DePaul have organized an outdoor spring concert called Boogie Not Bombs. The school sponsors a large concert called Fest, where Frat boys are allowed to drink on campus, and boring pop acts mindlessly entertain. DePaul Students Against the War wanted to host an anti-Fest where they could raise some rabble against the war while enjoying good music.

As the years have gone by, I have been critical of Boogie Not Bombs. Mainly because I have felt like it was not the best use of our collective time as an anti-war student group. It would utterly consume the life of one of our activists for several months, as they dealt with the school bureaucracy in obtaining the outdoor quad, obtaining noise permits, funding requests for bands, etc. Then every year, it would be a small turn out, where maybe 30 people would stick around for the bands. Often it would rain and the bands would be forced to perform under the overhang near the bicycle rack.

While the music was great every year, featuring punk, hip-hop and funk bands as well as speakers, I felt like we were focusing on this big party, instead of organizing against military recruiters, or kicking ROTC off campus.

This year, I am told that it required less time to set up, however the weather decided to not cooperate, it rained all day. I feel like next year students activists at DePaul might want to reconsider how they continue this tradition, and if they do. They might want to host it indoors, perhaps at the student center atrium, a public place where many students will be passing through. This would cut down the time needed to set the event up and eliminate the chance of rain outs. Another option would be to take over the better funded school music activity- Fest. If enough left-wing students get involved in the DePaul Activities Board, they would be able to host events that hundreds, even thousands of students would attend.

I remember some of the rap concerts that Students for Justice in Palestine hosted, and they were packed, sold out concerts in the athletic center. Why can't Boogie Not Bombs inspire the same kind of energy? I think it's become less of an anti-war concert, and more of a personal punk show for students activists at DePaul to bond around.

I understand that many members of the DePaul Activist Student Union want to have a fun party at the end of the year. There are many reasons to bond and hang out with our fellow activists in a more informal atmosphere. However we have to ask if an event like Boogie Not Bombs is worth the effort, when we could have parties that require far less set up.

The Boogie Music

The bands that performed to the small punk rock crowd were great though.

Ryan Harvey was great as ever. He is a humble story teller, a genuinely nice guy who plays acoustic folk while singing about the personal impact of war and empire. Son of Nun joked in between raps that compared the poverty of Baltimore to that of Baghdad. The Rust Belt Ramblers played some kickin' country rock.

Al Thawra finished the show with a sludge metal sound that invoked early Sepultura, and Napalm Death. Al Thawra closed their set by inviting the small crowd to play different tribal drums with them while a Muslim woman sang in Arabic.

Al Thawra has gotten a decent amount of press in their short time as a metal/punk band. As one of the first Arab/Muslim Punk bands, they have achieved a certain punk commodity. Rolling Stone did a feature on the Tawqacore scene, and compared Al Thawra (incorrectly in my view) to Slipknot. Al Thawra was interviewed by Al Jazeera and written about in the Chicago Tribune. Yet I feel like many of these media outlets are missing the social and political story in the rise of Tawqa-consciousness.

I was a student with Marwan, the lead singer and guitarist of Al Thawra, and I recall having long conversations with him about Anarchism, religion, the middle-east, the war, and multiculturalism . I remember talking him that Anarchism was similar to Western liberalism in the sense that it's ideology evolved out of European conditions, and that it faced a striking contradiction in that it is universal ideology, it claims that all people should be free, yet it has gained few adherents in predominantly Muslim countries. If it is to be an ideology that struggles for the universal liberation of mankind from the clutches of superstition, patriarchy, and class oppression, Anarchism faces a existential crises.

I think this crises is summed up in the fact that universal symbol of anarchy, the letter A with a circle around it, is rooted in Latin based languages. What would be the symbol for Anarchy in a culture that speaks Arabic, Hindi or Mandarin? Communists don't have this problem, the sickle and hammer represent urban and rural workers the world over. Which could represent part of the reason why there were large Communist movements in Yeman, Iran, Iraq, Palestine, and throughout the middle-east during the era of national liberation movements from the 1940's until the 1970's.

Marwan and I would speculate about what an Arab Anarchism would look like. I would point to Peter Kropotkin's classic text on Anarchism and evolution, Mutual Aid: a factor in Evolution. Kropotkin, a trained geologist who studied animal biology, wrote that human evolution led our species to cooperate with each other, to build societies together, and to help each other, and that this was a factor in allowing the human race to survive natural selection. I would tell Marwan, that there has to be elements in Arab history and culture which would be building blocks of an Arab Anarchism.

This is fundamentally a different perspective than liberalism's existential crises regarding Islam. Writers like Christopher Hitchens have written much on how Islam needs to have an “Enlightenment”, or a “Protestant Reformation” to respect women, and generally join the 21st century. Hitchen's has really hammered on this issue, in his best selling atheist book “God is Not Great”, he practically ignores Christian fundamentalist violence against enlightenment ideals, and focuses his energy on Islam. Hitchen's, who claims to be a leftist, joins the crowd of former Trotskyists in the Bush administration in their solution- invading Muslim countries and forcing Western neo-liberal capitalism on them.

Al Thawra and Tawqacore represent the first stirrings of an Arab Anarchist consciousness. Their lyrics target capitalist exploitation and imperialist expansion, as well as Muslim religious superstitions. The only question is whether this consciousness will be confined to Arab-Americans, or if it will grow in the middle-east as well, possibly creating a serious opposition to Western Imperialism and Muslim Theocracy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Movie Reviews in the Recession

Despite the economic recession, Hollywood movies are having great financial success. The article Moviegoers Flood Theaters by Erika Brekke and Meg Martin addresses this seeming contradiction in the April 9, 2009 issue of Skyline, a local Chicago paper that covers the yuppie infested neighborhoods of Lincoln Park, Old Town, River North and the Gold Coast. The article essentially promotes escaping into the movies. It encourages people to forget their economic hardships and drink Hollywood's kool-aid. Movies “regulate the body during times of stress,” and “fill a hole in the American psyche,” by “offering everything from catharsis to escape.” also “moviegoers subconsciously associate on-screen actors as part of their own social network.”

I feel that this kind of thinking is why a movie like Slumdog Millionaire won the Academy Award for best picture. Everybody loves an underdog who beats the odds and becomes a success. This movie was not only about such an underdog, an Indian boy raised in the slums who is able to win a tv game show, but the movie itself was an underdog. Slumdog Millionaire was shot on a shoestring budget and was intended to go straight to video, but instead swept the Academy Awards. Many spoke about the movie as though it were the perfect movie for the economic recession. It was a feel good Horatio Alger story, where a hard working smart kid is able to pull himself up by his bootstraps and take advantage of opportunities. I felt that the movie depicted the poverty and crime of Indian slums well, and it's great that the movie has directed attention to the poverty in the third world. However I vehemently disagree with the movies promotion of the Horatio Alger myth in this time of economic crisis. Ultimately Slumdog Millionaire was a movie about one man making himself rich the legal way, while the millions who continue to live in the slums have to be satisfied with living vicariously through the slumdog millionaires success. I think it's also despicable that the children who starred in the film have yet to see the financial success of the movie translate into their own lives. According to a recent Dateline NBC episode, the children are still living in slums.

Which is why I feel like Milk, the bio-epic about the first openly gay elected politician, San Francisco's Harvey Milk, should have won the best picture nod. While I was happy with Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black's Oscar night wins, and their fantastic acceptance speeches, I feel like Milk suited the times much better than Slumdog Millionaire. Ultimately Milk was about building a mass movement. It was a movie about Harvey Milk, but it was also a movie about mass popular struggle. It's hard not to tear up when, after Harvey Milk is assassinated, his friends wonder where everyone is, if Milk had died in vain, but then they leave the state sponsored funeral to see a large candlelight procession working it's way through San Francisco's streets. It was a movie about building gay community and opposing homophobic assaults. It was also a movie about the working class. I think it says something that after Milk created a gay business association, his first political alliance was when the Teamsters came to him, and asked for his support in boycotting Coors beer, which he agreed to with little convincing.

I haven't seen part 2 yet, but Che part 1, featuring Benecio del Toro as the Argentine Communist who fought besides Fidel Castro to liberate Cuba from the dictator Batista in the 1950's, is fantastic. It almost seems like Toro is Che. The movie starts slow and builds. They skipped some of the more obvious parts of the legend of Che. They choose to skip the disastrous landing at Cuba, where only 12 of the 50 revolutionaries survived the attacks by Batista's forces, where Che was forced to decided what he would grab, his medical box or a rifle, and he grabbed a rifle. Instead the movie starts in the the jungles and mountains of Cuba, as Che slowly builds a guerrilla army. One of the things I liked about this movie was that they didn't depict Che as some hero, but instead he's a hard ass. He has high expectations of his soldiers, and scolds them multiple times throughout the film. There is plenty of action in this movie, but none of it is melo-dramatic. One of my favorite parts is when a lieutenant for Batista's forces refuses to surrender to the Guerrilla's, so the Guerrilla walks into the church where Batista's men are holed up and tells them that if they surrender, the rebels will take care of them, but their leader wants them to continue to fight and die. The soldiers agree to not fight the rebels. I also enjoyed the final scene. Che received word that Batista had fled the country and the revolution was victorious, Che responds that the revolution had just begun. Che is driving down a road in a convoy of rebel army jeeps toward Havana for a victory parade, when a bright red convertible speeds past him with two rebel army officers inside. Che swears, speeds up his jeep, until he catches up with the convertible, and orders them to pull over. Che then asks them where they got the car, they had stolen it from a Batista supporter, Che tells them to turn around and take it back and tot ride to Havana in a jeep. They were not allowed to steal property.

While we're on the subject of violent icons, we should mention the Punisher:War Zone movie. While Che was about a man who inspired people to join the fight for their own liberation, Punisher is about one man's psychotic desire for revenge. The movie features former Cop and army veteran Frank Castle seeking revenge for the mafia killing his family. We witness the Punisher killing pickpockets, shooting an entire army of gang members, and basically showing little faith in humanity. The Punisher:War Zone movie has it's highlights. It captures the nihilistic bent of the character in ways that neither of the two previous Punisher movies came close to. Also I enjoyed the way the major villain of the movie, Jigsaw, is compared to Uncle Sam's army recruiting. When Jigsaw explains his plan to mobilize gangs to fight the Punisher, Jigsaw's henchman asks him how he'll get them to fight. Jigsaw replies that just like Uncle Sam, he'll promise them lots of money that they'll never make, and promise them a college education they'll never get.

As a liberal on crime issues, I have to say that most of these gang members are only gang members because of the poverty they find themselves in. Also the death sentence is a little harsh for people who likely could have been rehabilitated. Also, who is the Punisher to determine who lives and who dies? While I'm not the biggest fan of the police, at least they have democratic checks on their power. There are community run police review boards. Then in the courts judges are elected or appointed by elected officials. The laws the police enforce are made by democratically elected legislators. The Punisher doesn't have any of that. He's just a vigilante, a thug, a fascist brown-shirt with giant guns. I worry about the people who identify with the Punisher as part of the unconscious social network.

Speaking of vigilante movies, few have captured the public imagination the same way The Dark Knight has. There is a lot to like in this movie. Director Christopher Nolan played it not as a comic book movie, but as a serious crime drama. Christopher Bale as Bruce Wayne and Batman is good and Gary Oldman is great as Police Commissioner Gordon. Heath Ledger's Academy Award winning performance as the Joker is fantastic. I feel that Ledger, who died shortly after the film finished, deserved the Academy Award as recognition for his role in the gay rights classic cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain.

The action scenes in Dark Knight are amazing. What made this movie popular among critics though, was the fact that it was an adult movie, dealing with adult issues. There was no cheesy comic book moralizing, instead there was agonizing on what the right thing to do was. Also this was a movie that casts aside the traditional Hollywood movie script. There was no origin story of either the main protagonist Batman or his antagonist, the Joker. There was no sex scene, which is popular in such summer action movies. Instead we have a 2 and a half hour action ride that does not let up for a second.

With that said, what are the politics of the movie like? Depressingly conservative propaganda. I almost don't know where to start. Do I point out the torture techniques that Batman uses to extract 'ticking time bomb' information from the Joker as though Batman were a guard at Abu Ghraib? What about faithful servant Alfred's memories of burning down jungles in Burma? Or what about the police department's collaboration with an outlaw vigilante ala the Colombian army's collaboration with the the terrorist right-wing anti-union paramilitary forces? What about the cell phone spy network that Batman creates allowing him to spy on every Gotham City citizen without a warrant as though he were George Bush. (Many people say that he only used it to find the Joker. Well, if you believe that then you must believe that George W. Bush only spied on terrorists and Al Qaida members). There were also Anti-Asian stereotypes and representations in both the Dark Knight and its prequel Batman Begins.

What about the billions of dollars that trust fund baby Bruce Wayne spends on the Bat-Tank just so he can beat up pick pockets and people who are in need of a psychiatrist. Maybe that money would be better spent on a hospital, a school or union run factory's? Or maybe we should talk about the ending, where Batman and Police Commissioner Gordon act as Plato's Philosopher-Kings who create a myth for the people to believe about Harvey Dent, so that “their faith can be rewarded.”

One of the items that frustrated me was the Joker's anarchy speech. He explains that he's seen as a bad guy because he doesn't have a plan. Nobody would freak out if he announced that a platoon of soldiers would die, or that a gang banger was going to be shot, because it's part of the plan. But when the Joker announces that he is going to target the Mayor or a district attorney, everybody goes crazy. Not a bad line, but the Joker becomes a classic misrepresentation of Anarchist goals and ideals. The Joker is a creature of chaos, and he spends the entire movie trying to cultivate a city that is pitted against each other in devious games. Instead of waging a class struggle against the rich who exploit the labor of poverty stricken Gotham City residents, the Joker spreads mass panic. Many critics praised the Joker character for perfectly capturing the fear of irrational terrorism striking at civilians. What I feel this represents is American's failure to understand the reasons and rationalizations of those who attack America today.

The people of Gotham City are able to redeem themselves for a moment, when they decide to not blow each other up in one of the Joker's diabolical schemes involving bombs on boats. However, Bruce Wayne's struggles with his role as Batman, hoping to inspire people to legally and democratically challenge the mob, and while Batman is more morally responsible than the Punisher in that he does not kill, he ultimately only inspires gun toting Batman copycats, criminal psychopaths like the Joker and finds himself locked in a situation where “the day may never come where [Bruce Wayne] does not need the Batman.”

What is the role that movies are playing in the recession? Unfortunately, escape into the spectacle. What is the Spectacle? We should turn to Guy Debord, and his classic post-modern anarchist manifesto, “The Society of the Spectacle.

“In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all of life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation.” What Debord is saying here is that in advanced capitalist countries, corporate mass media has taken a dominate role in how we perceive the world.

“The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.” What he means here is that the Spectacle is not the movie, but the production and consumption of the movie or other mass media.

“The spectacle is the existing order's uninterrupted discourse about itself, its laudatory monologue. It is the self-portrait of power in the epoch of totalitarian management of the conditions of existence. The fetishistic, purely objective appearance of spectacular relations conceals the fact that they are relations among men and classes.” Debord is saying that the process of creating and disseminating mass media is sort of an ideological propaganda tool, a way for the capitalist system to create and perpetuate it's own myths. The Spectacle is essentially about one class (the bourgeoisie) dominating another (the proletariat).

“Alienated consumption becomes for the masses a duty supplementary to alienated production.” For the working class, Spectacular things are what they do when they are not at work. They drink, watch movies, read dime store trash novels, to mentally escape from their real world hell. There is no liberation in escaping into fantasy.

So how do we struggle against the Spectacle? “To effectively destroy the Society of the Spectacle, what is needed is men putting a practical force into action.” It can not be struggled with in fantasy. It must be struggled with in the real world.

“Emancipation from the material bases of inverted truth – this is what the self-emancipation of our epoch consists of.” The ideology spread in corporate mass media is an inverted truth, and it has a material basis in class oppression. It should be our goal to liberate ourself from class oppression in order to end the Spectacle.

“This 'historical mission of installing truth in the world' cannot be accomplished either by the isolated individual, or by the atomized crowd subjected to manipulation, but now as ever by the class which is able to effect the dissolution of all classes by bringing all power into the dealienating form of realized democracy, the Council, in which practical theory controls itself and sees its own action. This is possible only where individuals are 'directly linked to universal history'; where dialogue arms itself to make its own conditions victorious.”

Through class struggle, by uniting the working class into unions and fighting for control of the means of production, a classless society will begin to take birth, and a media which engages people will come into existence. Media which tells the truth about material conditions, media which is made, disseminated and engaged with democratically. Instead of art and media which are products to be consumed on a market, we would have an ongoing dialogue among peers in multiple mediums.

As Marx said, "The demand to give up illusions about the existing state of affairs is the demand to give up a state of affairs which needs illusions."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chicago Rallies for International Workers Day! Without Legalization, there can be no Equal Labor Rights!

Video of the beginning of the march.

May 1st is celebrated around the world as international workers day. In socialist countries like Cuba and Nepal large rallies are held. In capitalist countries around the world, protests are held. In Germany, Anarchists riot and smash bank windows. In Colombia union workers demand an end to the paramilitary violence against union members.

The holiday has its roots in Chicago. In the workshops and factories of the 1800's, in the major cities and capitalist strongholds, workers would be forced to work in dangerous conditions for up to 14 hours a day, for such a pitiful ammount of money that many of them could not afford homes and food for their families. If they had families, they were unable to spend time with them. To be caring parent to their children, to be a devoted spouse. They were treated by the captains of industry as mere tools to their profit machines.

But the workers would not tolerate this. They began to organize for the eight hour work day. The 1886 strike for the 8 hour work day was world wide, but Chicago was seen as the largest and the most militant of the workers on strike. A few days later, on May 3rd 1886, the police attacked strikers, killing several. Anarchists organized a rally to take place the next day at Haymarket Square to condemn the police brutality.

At the rally a riot broke out. Police and strikers were killed. In the political trial that followed, eight men were condemned to death. The eight Chicago Anarchists were found guilty not because of any violent actions there were involved in, none of them participated in the riot, but because their political ideology stood in opposition to the values of bourgeoisie society. The Haymarket martyrs were fighters for workers and immigrants rights. They represented a movement that was fighting for the dignity of all.

For years, this workers holiday has been forgotten in the United States. This has changed in recent years. The House of Representatives passed the anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Bill in 2006, a law which would have deported many immigrants and made it illegal to assit an undocumented immigrant in any way, including driving an injured immigrant to the hospital. In Chicago, a group of activists organized to hold a rally against the bill on March 10, 2006. It was an overwhelming success. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to oppose the Sensenbrenner bill and to support immigrants rights.

The Spanish language press had been promoting the rally for weeks ahead of time, while the English language press was silent about it. I only found out about the rally through a small flier which was poorly photo copied and stapled to a college campus bulletin board. I didn't have anything else on my agenda and decided to go on a whim. I expected maybe 15 activists vainly handing out fliers. I got on the red line and saw two young mexican students who were wearing Che t-shirts. I asked if they were heading to the rally and they replied that there were. I told them I would probably see them down there.

I got off at State and Lake, and attempted to transfer to the Green line which would take me to Union Park. Except that I couldn't get on the el. There was a giant crowd on the platform which spilled off into a long line down the stairs and into the sidewalk. All of this crowd was heading to the rally. I stood in line, making my way towards to el trains. A train came, and it was full. Completely packed. Another came. Completely packed. The train speakers announced that all the loop trains were being rerouted to carry protestors to the rally. I saw a white friend of mine, and we just stared at each other with amazement. It was as if the revolution were happening, and no one bothered to send us the memo!

The massive outpouring of opposition to the bill could be credited with the bills failure in the senate. It also launched the Movimiento Diez de Marzo, who almost immediately began organizing another immigrant rights rally, one that would be national, and one that would ressurect International Workers Day in America. The protest on May 1, 2006 was the largest in Chicago history. Hundreds of thousands came out to support immigrants and workers rights.

This year, the protests continued. While the crowd was not as large as it had been before, it is substantial that activists are continuing to push for legalization and amnesty of immigrants even with Obama as President. It is also important to stand up for immigrants rights with the media using Swine flu to stir up anti-immigrant hysteria.

Below are pictures and videos from the march and rally through Downtown Chicago and ending at Federal Plaza.













The Young Polish Alliance, affiliated with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. My Dad's side of the family is Chicago Polish, so I was excited to see organized Polish activists standing up for immigrants rights.

The Albany Park Neighborhood Council.

Korean American Resource and Cultural Center.

Video of the Korean contingent in the march.





The Chicago Chapter of the Sex Workers Outreach Project





The United Auto Workers

Teamsters Local 743.

I grew up in the North suburbs, and was would often hang out in Waukegan, a predominately latino town. A few years ago, the town council passed a law which allowed Waukegan police to be trained in checking immigration status, thus allowing them to check a persons status on routine traffic stops. This law has done little but spread fear. Many Latinos have moved out of Waukegan, businesses have closed and both documented and undocumented workers have been intimidated by the law. It's safe to say that Waukegan is a place close to my heart, and I wish immigrants rights activists in Waukegan the best.




Mexican dancers at rally at Federal Plaza.





These photos of me were taken by my friend Tamara Smith.

Intense Debate Comments