08 May 2006

thoughts on may day and immigration

So this semester has been kinda hectic - not anymore than usual I suppose (except for the broken foot) but somehow I am always crazy busy :) I'm working on that :)

But seriously, I have much to be thankful for - my first journal article has been published in SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures (Spring 2006). I also have several poems being published in different places, and you'all will be da first to know when dey come out. I have been quite fortunate in traveling and presenting my work at conferences. And finally, I am done with coursework and working on my exams and dissertation. I feel blessed and ready for the challenges ahead.

Meanwhile, this world seems crazier and crazier... This immigration debate in the U.S. is bloody scary, but the protests on May Day "A Day without Immigrants" brought some hope and fortitude in the struggle against the current anti-immigration sentiment in this country (if you haven't seen the film A Day without Mexicans, check it out). And I actually thought it might create some change and bring awareness to the ignorance around us, but then I realised the control in this country is simply deep. I was listening to NPR to what I thought was a decent editorial on the protests - this syndicated collumnist spoke about the racism in the U.S. and the need for awareness, but then he proceded to berate the protestors saying that instead of doing such "theatrics" that they should go to their representatives and participate in the electoral process to create change. He basically implied that protests and marching would do nothing but rather "they" should vote. I couldn't believe my ears - I wondered if this guy really understood what the hell he was sayin - not only is he missing the point, but he is also dissing organizing and non-violent civil disobedience as a weapon of change (does he know about the struggles against colonial rule across the world or the struggle for civil rights in the United States?). What I found most disturbing about this commentary is the ease in which he could dismiss this major movement, and I saw this kind of reaction throughout the media coverage.

What does this mean for organizing, marching, protests, and civil disobedience? Do we think that "A Day without Immigrants" will have an impact on the bill that is being written right now in the U.S. Senate - which is supposed to have a plan for undocumented workers in the U.S. and a guest worker program? How much will this fuel the growing anti-immigration attitude that is promoting hatred and violence? And finally, for those of us who are immigrants, on visas, and resident aliens, what kind of power do we really have in this country - we can't vote and we have no one "representing" us - so what do we do?

On a related topic, the janitors and groundskeepers at University of Miami who have been on strike since February have reached a settlement agreement with UNICCO. This certainly shows us some hope for union work and the power of organizing... but meanwhile, it still seems that protests, marches, and such "theatrics" are not taken seriously and if/when covered by national media these movements are made a mockery and spectacle.

so there is my rant... thoughts, ideas, reflections???

peace & soul,

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