Monthly Archives: August 2009

39th Anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium: The Struggle Continues

Commentary by Carlos Montes

Carlos Montes is a veteran fighter in the Chicano Liberation movement. He was a founder of the Brown Berets and the Chicano Moratorium. Montes is currently active in the Southern California Immigration Coalition, the East L.A.-based Latinos against War and with CSO, which organizes parents in the East Los Angeles area to fight against the privatization of public education in Los Angeles Unified School District.

The following commentary is from Fight Back! News:

chicano-moratoriumLos Angeles, CA – Today, Aug. 29, 2009, shows that our people are continuing the fight for equality and self-determination. It was demonstrated by the many groups that were present today at Salazar Park, including the student group MECHA and the new Brown Berets, to commemorate the historic day in 1970 when over 20,000 Chicanos marched down historic Whittier Boulevard in East L.A. to protest the war in Vietnam and the high casualty rate of Chicanos. The mass peaceful rally in 1970 was attacked by the Los Angeles Police Department and the sheriffs. Ruben Salazar, news director for KMEX, was killed, along with Angel Diaz and Lynn Ward. A similar example of repression took place on May 1, 2007 when the LAPD attacked a pro-immigrant rights rally at MacArthur Park.

This year’s event was organized by the local Chicano Moratorium Committee and had the backing of the East L.A.-based Latinos Against War. In Latinos Against War, we organize against the war in Afghanistan and against the military recruiters in our high schools. We support self-determination for Chicanos in the Southwest, the Chicano nation of Aztlan. Our strategy is working with community-based groups like the CSO to organize poor and working class Chicanos in our community to fight for our rights. This means fighting for better education, living conditions, for the rights of our people displaced by poverty in Mexico and Central America now living here and for full legalization.

The campaign “Escuelas Si, Guerra No,” (Schools Yes, No War) of CSO recently won the opening of a new high school in Boyle Heights. The Mendez Learning Complex had an open house today, and will open September 2009. The new school is a concrete victory won after years of struggle to relieve overcrowding at Roosevelt High School and to stop the U.S. military recruiters on high school campuses in East L.A. This is the way to build the annual Chicano Moratorium event that recently has had less participation, especially from the community.

Latinos against War also condemns and exposes the long history of U.S. military and political intervention in Mexico, Central and Latin America. For example many people do not know that U.S. Army General Pershing led an intervention during the Mexican Revolution to attack the forces of our famous hero General Francisco Villa; of course the U.S. failed.

In Central America the U.S. supported the brutal military regimes that killed many of their own people, who were struggling for democracy and self-determination. Now we have the example of Venezuela and Bolivia whose people have supported and elected leaders who defend sovereignty and work to improve the lives of the many poor in their countries. But U.S. intervention continues to sneak in – like in Colombia, which will allow the U.S. military to use several bases under the guise of fighting the war on drugs. But we all know it’s a war against the revolutionary forces in Colombia like the FARC, and to attack the independent and sovereign nations like Venezuela. The U.S. is also giving billions to the Mexican army under the Plan Merida to fight the drug war, but the army commits many human rights violations against the Mexican people.

So on this anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, we commemorate a proud past of struggle and stand committed to a future where our people achieve liberation and self-determination.

What is Happening in Honduras?

From the International Action Center

On June 28, 2009, the legitimate President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, was taken from his house by the country’s military at gunpoint and taken outside the country. An illegitimate and criminal government was installed with Raoberto Micheletti as its President.

It has since then ruled by extreme force and repression of the masses, with constant curfews, mass detentions, assassinations and multiple acts of violence perpetrated by the police and the army who have established in Honduras a state of siege where human rights violations are committed constantly against the majority of the people who are demonstrating against the coup. It has violated as well the freedom of expression, closing radio and TV stations that were reporting what was happening.

In spite of the unrelenting repression, under tear gases and live ammunition that so far have killed 8 people, injured scores and detained more than 1,500, the people, organized under the National Popular Front of Resistance against the Coup, have been on the streets daily since June 28 courageously demonstrating to bring back their elected President Zelaya, to restore constitutionality in the country and for their right to have a Constitutional Assembly to forge the future that they want in their own country.

If so many people are against the coup, why is the Micheletti government still in power?

THE ONLY SUPPORT THAT HOLDS THE COUP D’ETAT IN HONDURAS AND PREVENTS THE RETURN OF DEMOCRACY IN THAT COUNTRY IS THE UNITED STATES. The U.S. is Honduras’ major trading partner and has used that country as its military outpost against the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran Revolutions in the 80’s. It is in Honduras where the criminal “Contras” operated, trained by the infamous School of the Americas. The Honduran military is intimately linked to the Pentagon from which receives every kind of material aid and weapons, assistance in training, surveillance and military actions.

The Obama administration who claims to be on the side of democracy, says the U.S. should not intervene in Honduras. But they are intervening by refusing to recall its ambassador and by keeping the flow of aid and support to the criminal government.

Why should we be concerned here in the United States?

The people in the U.S. are part of the international community and what affects other countries, affects us here. Money spent in aiding criminals abroad is taken from the budgets for education, healthcare, housing and essential needs here. We need a culture of peace for our children, otherwise violence will perpetuate in this country.

What can I do?

The mainstream media lies about what is happening in Honduras. Write to the newspapers and demand that truth be told. Write letters to the editor. Talk to your family, friends, and coworkers about it. The same negative way that the media portrays poor people, people of color, workers demanding fair wages here, they portray our brothers and sisters in Honduras and elsewhere. We have more in common with the people in Honduras resisting the coup than with the bosses of AIG, Bank of America, General Motors and other big companies in the U.S.

Sign the online email petition to Obama, Clinton, Biden, Congress, the U.N. and the media at: http://www.iacenter.org/honduraspetition

For more information : International Action Center; 815 S. 48 th St., Philadelphia, PA 19143; 215-724-1618 PhillyIAC@peoplesmail.net

Hezbollah Rejects New Israeli Threats

By Joyce Chediac and Paul Wilcox writing for Workers World.

Huge crowd outside Beirut commemorates defeat of Israel’s 2006 invasion.

Huge crowd outside Beirut commemorates defeat of Israel’s 2006 invasion.

The pride was palpable and the emotion stirring. It was the pride of a people who have twice freed their land from U.S.-backed Israeli forces.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children gathered in this poor neighborhood south of Beirut on Aug. 14 to stand firm against a new round of Israeli threats to Lebanon. They also marked the anniversary of the Lebanese people’s victory over the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion, siege and bombardment of their country in 2006.

The Divine Victory rally called by Hezbollah, Lebanon’s national resistance movement, took place in the Shia suburb of Dahia, which was punished brutally by Israeli bombers three years ago.

Just days before the planned rally, several Israeli officials—including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—challenged Hezbollah’s right to have arms and threatened more violence against Hezbollah and Lebanon. Israel has invaded Lebanon nine times since 1945, but was driven out by the Lebanese people in 2000 and again in 2006.

Addressing the rally via a satellite television hookup, Hezbollah General Secretary Sayyed Hassan Nasrullah answered these threats. He called Hezbollah’s forces “deterrent,” adding, “We do not want war, but we are not afraid of it, and we say to you: If you bomb Beirut or its suburb, we will bomb Tel Aviv.”

Nasrullah said that the strength of the Hezbollah movement was not its weapons but the unity of the Lebanese people and the determination of its supporters. If the Aug. 14 rally was any indication, Hezbollah’s support among Lebanese people, particularly the oppressed Shiite population, is hard-won, enthusiastic and enduring.

People’s victory in 2006

The people, under the leadership of Hezbollah, withstood Israel’s devastating military assault during the 2006 war while simultaneously fighting back against enormous odds. Lebanon’s resistance stopped cold a ground advance of Israeli soldiers less than a mile into Lebanon and sent them scuttling back home. It was a huge disaster for Israel.

In retaliation, Tel Aviv waged war on the civilian population of Lebanon. For 34 days it bombed houses and apartment buildings and destroyed Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure, including its main power and water purification plants and 60 bridges. In this scorched-earth assault, more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed, a third of them children.

The U.S. government and media blamed the victims and the resistance. Just as the U.S. ruling class showed no sympathy for the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 who perished fighting the Nazis during World War II, it has no sympathy for the heroes of southern Lebanon who in 2006 stood up to the Israeli army and its modern U.S.-supplied weapons. Hezbollah, the defender of the Lebanese people, has been branded as a “terrorist” group by Washington.

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