What is the minimum requested or required of you by yourself, your peers and by your family in the area of ethics, morals, education, professionalism, intellectual curiosity, family life, reciprocity, civic engagement and cultural participation? This society does not expect much from our youth and will, therefore, not request or require much in the areas above. Consequently, those who control this society will not implement much to engender high attainment in the areas listed above. It is up to us US to request, require and expect more from our youth and loved ones in the above areas. When you find someone that pushes you to reach your full potential (do your best) in these areas you have found your mate. When you create a society that nurtures your people’s full potential, you are one step closer to self-determination.
I’m not a big fan of Kennedy or any US president’s, but I am a big fan of my dad. I hope to post interviews of his activities in the Raza Unida Party.
Friends, this morning, I was writing a quote as a response to a friend’s facebook post. I could not bring myself to type Hispanic in reference to our people. I usually used the word so-called before the word, but that was often clunky. I just typed H*spanic instead, since it was a quote. Just a thought on how to remember identity without getting sidetracked from another theme like economics.
I was trying to figure out what I would be doing for muertos. There is a lot going on, so I though I’d list them and share the list.
November 2. Rothko Chapel. Renewing Our Chapel for Migrant Rights.
October 26, November 2. Casa Ramirez. Class, then reception for exhibit.
Oct 21-Nov 9. Lawdale Art Center. Celebration.
Nov1-3. MECA. Various events.
Nov 3. Goodrich Jones State Forest Conroe by Danza Chikawa. Miccailhuitl-Fiesta De Los Muertos-Day Of The Dead.
Nov 1 6-9. EESG. Exhibit?
Nov 1 6-9. TBH. Exhibit?
Nov 2 @ 10AM. Evergreen Cemetery. Museo Guadalupe Aztlan
First, I wanted to note that I have not posted much on this blog lately. I have been writing mostly for our xochicuicame (floricanto celebrations) that we hold twice monthly, as well as for a novel that I have been writing in my spare time. I am going to make it my goal to write my notes for my floricanto on this blog as well. This is written in a conversational style, as I will be saying this tomorrow.
Nehuan ni Tehuan.
In this world of interconnectedness, a world in which border are being destroyed, why would anyone want to organize around the traditions and history of a particular people? Shouldn’t we be trying to create multi-cultural organizations? Isn’t focusing only on “your people” backward?
Many years ago, this question bothered me. But I have come to love and to appreciate this question because the person posing it is asking out of a love of brotherhood or a love for justice and both. And so, rather than disdaining this question, I now attempt to answer this question with an open heart, a love of brotherhood, and a love of justice.
To understand why we must focus on our own culture, as least at first, we must understand development in people and in societies. If we fail to understand development, we will fail to understand how to achieve TRUE brotherhood among and between different people.
True Brotherhood/Sisterhood vs. Liberal Brotherhood
Brotherhood and sisterhood is the desire to be on good terms with another person, to trust another person, to love another person and to care for another person. When you are practicing true brotherhood and sisterhood, there is one more requirement: that you respect and care for the ways, traditions and heritage of the person with whom you are seeking this brotherhood or sisterhood. It is more than respect even, it is a desire to see those positive traditions that they bring survive and flourish among their own children, descendants and family.
Liberal Brotherhood on the other hand is the desire to be accepting of another person, only to the extent that they can be like you. And we see this all the time, in electoral politics especially. When white people say, “look at that candidate. He is very articulate. ” what they are saying is that he is very easy for them to understand. We are all very articulate. All of our family can understand us easily, and if they can’t our brothers take the time to understand us. If you seek brotherhood or sisterhood with someone else, you take the time to understand who and what they are. You don’t seek to make them adapt to you. Rather you seek to understand their way, their customs and habits. Liberal brotherhood, on the other hand is the opposite of that. If you are liberal seeking brotherhood, you are looking for someone who can behave like you, without you having to patiently get to know them on their terms. This liberal brotherhood was present in colonization. Some conservative colonizers sought to kill all native people, akin to a modern Nazi or fascist philosophy. Other colonizers figured that some Native people were “human enough”or “good enough” to become Catholics and learn Spanish. They weren’t practicing true brotherhood. They were practicing liberal, colonialist brotherhood. Rather than kill us, they would simply kill our heritage.
Infants and Individualism
Being an infant is often akin to being an individualist. When you are an infant, you are unable to contribute to the family. Everything that you want or do is geared toward your own needs or wants. If you want juice, you want it now. Nevermind that mom is cooking or dad is mowing the lawn. You want juice, when? Now. Nevermind that mom is on the phone with work. This is still a necessary and beautiful phase in development. Nobody would say that these infants do not LOVE their parents. They are simply incapable of showing and effecting contributions to the family.
Similarly, this is the first phase in development for any society. This society was created during the advent of the Enlightenment, when Europe was coming out of the Dark Ages. Their first thought in creating a society was the protection of the individual, and this is why INDIVIDUAL rights were protected in the constitution. The society had not fully developed to think about the rights of groups or of other peoples. It was in its infancy in its development, and, like the infant it could only focus on itself. This is not to say that the society, if properly developed, and that’s the key….if properly developed… could not contribute to the human family. But it was, and is, in a stage of development where, like the infant, it is incapable of contributing to the human family.
Development past individualism and toward familalism
Once an infant is developed properly, he or she is then capable of contributing to the good of the family. This may come in many forms. It may come in the form of cleaning, the home, working at a job, or working on the lawn. In any case, this is a beautiful phase in development, when it is done at the right time in the development of a child. This is when one begins to become a man or a woman. Problems can arise when in development, a child is forced to contribute too early or is guided to contribute to the family too late in life. Different types of problems can arise when a child contributes to the family either too early or too late. In any case, these first two phases of life must be experienced properly in order to properly contribute to the next phase.
Community development: the next phase of development
When a man or woman has their family on the proper path, they are then charged with contributing to the community. Let me repeat that: WHEN a man or woman has their family on a proper path, THEN they are charged with contributing to the community. If a man or woman is needed at the home, and instead they are out running for office, going to community meetings or block walking, they are risking the collapse of their own home. It may not hurt them if they are fully developed as a man or woman, but it will hurt them if their identity as a person is connected to their family, because he risks collapsing everything that makes him who he is.
Application to focusing on our own cultura.
What does all this information on personal development have to do with preserving our traditions and seeking a focus on Nikan Tlaka people instead of all people? The questions still remain. Our people and our nation are currently in a that middle phase of development. We understand and practice individualism. We’ve been made to understand individualism by our society and circumstances.
Our goal in this group is to transition into the next phase in development, that is we must transition our community to the phase of contributing to our own family first. If we transition into this phase either too late or too early, it creates a long-term misstep in our own development. After that phase, and once our own family is on a proper path, THEN we can transition to helping create bonds between communities. You see the development of our nation is not much different that the development of an individual.
You see a man or a woman who sees that his family is not on a proper path, if he or she truly loves his family, will not risk dedicating the majority of this time in the community. Of course, he can go to meetings occasionally or attend the occasional event, but if he were to risk spending most of his time in the community, he would risk the collapse of his family, and someone who loves his family would not do that.
The same principle applies to our community. This society is forcing us into individualism. This society is goading us into individualism. It is stifling our development to work collectively toward our solutions, and it does so skilfully and intentionally. We must focus first on contribution to the development of our own community…We must do this first, and we must make sure our people are on a proper path first…THEN we can focus on the larger picture of international brotherhood. Failing to do so risks a collapse of our own house. This doesn’t mean that we can’t focus some efforts on relations with other communities, but it does mean that the bulk of our efforts must be on preserving our own history and traditions, while we still have the opportunity.
So if our own goal is to get our house in order. We have some work to do. We have some work to do. First and foremost, anyone who hopes to care for another must be in a position to do so. We can have the desire to help develop our community, independent of any outsiders or corporations. If we don’t have the means, though, it is only a dream. There is a model of self-help and community development that was popular and effective almost one hundred years ago. It was call mutualismo or mutual aid societies. We are proposing the development of a new one, the Mutualistas Nikan Tlaka. It is a project designed to help our members in their time of need and to invest in their future at those times that they are willing to invest in themselves. We hope to have this operational no later than January 1, and I invite all of our members to consider becoming a part of the project.
Nonchantlaka, thank you for your time.
***This event, which will share the perspectives of a diverse group of Houston Latinos, is the first in a series. All Houstonians are encouraged to join us and participate in the dialogue.***
2013 is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, delivered during the march on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Racial divides were central to both of these moments that stand out so brightly in American history. These divisions were again at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness, with the election of President Barack Obama. The 2008 election and 2012 re-election of President Obama marked yet another shift in the American Reality with discussion of race often behind closed doors, in the safe space of the familiar. Our hope is to bring what we feel is a long-needed discussion of race and ethnicity and all that it affects, out into the open, to help the community on a local, state and national level, grow into the next phase of existence, with her members enjoying a greater self-understanding and understanding of others. The goal of an ongoing dialogue, in the form of several conversations throughout the year on a variety of topics to include Race, Identity, Color, Slavery and Segregation will hopefully result in a better appreciation and understanding of one another, as we go forward to collectively create a future that benefits all of us, rather than some of us.
The purpose of this series is to examine notions of ethnicity & identity in 2013 from the perspective of various communities that make Houston the most diverse city in the nation. Our interactive panel conversations, made up of diverse community members from many Houston’s ethnic groups, will be framed within the context of ‘The Past, The Present & The Future.’ A vigorous question & answer session will follow each panel conversation where audience members can ask the panelists to expand on previous comments or ask questions of their own. The first conversation in this series will be on May the 6th at 6pm & will feature a diverse panel from Houston’s Latino community speaking about what it means to be Latino in Houston in 2013.
Hear & Now: Conversations on Ethnicity & Identity in 2013 Houston. The first conversation in this series will be on May the 6th at 6pm & will feature a diverse panel from Houston’s Latino community speaking about what it means to be Latino in Houston in 2013.
Talento Bilingue De Houston (T.B.H.) 333 S Jensen Dr, Houston, TX 77003
May 6th, 6pm-9pm
The purpose of this series is to examine notions of ethnicity & identity in 2013 from the perspective of various communities that make Houston the most diverse city in the nation in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech.
Our interactive panel conversations, made up of diverse community members within Houston’s Houston’s many ethnic groups, will be framed within the context of ‘The Past, The Present & The Future.’ A vigorous question & answer session will follow each panel conversation where audience members can ask the panelists to expand on previous answers or ask questions of their own.
Depending on the society, there are people today who are beaten, killed and shot, when trying to organize the strength of workers. Families are broken apart due to social conditions. For example, the same forces that have brought people here in an undocumented way are the same forces that are splitting them up by deportation. It is not chattel slavery, as was the case in the US, but I argue that it is a form of slavery, neo-colonialist slavery. When you, from birth, take a man or woman and intentionally deny them the tools and the skills to survive, you create a dependence that is akin to slavery. When, by birth, a man or a woman has no guarantee of shelter, no guarantee of food, but rather you give them a guarantee of war, inadequate schooling, no land to produce food, then you have created the conditions of neo-colonial slavery. It is a form of slavery in which the victim may choose his corporate master but in which he is disallowed from deciding whether or not to have a corporate master. Repression varies from region to region, and it depends on wealth, political structure and culture. Nonetheless, UNCHECKED capitalism produces the conditions that give rise to this sort of required dependence all over.
As far as the achieve act: I only know based on news reports the following: the original DREAM act was a good plan. However, it got changed to require military service or higher education, which I had a big problem with. The vast majority of our brothers and sisters could make no use of the higher education provision, which created a situation similar to a draft, I called it a de facto draft. For this reason, I opposed the later version of the DREAM Act. It would put undue pressure on our youth to go and commit to wars of imperialism for the sake of not having their families separated.
However, when Obama pushed deferred action, he did not have these two requirements as the only pathways. This was a big improvement, which I always said was possible. Again, this “improvement” was part of the original DREAM Act and it was also pushed around 2010 by Rep Luis Gutierrez in his proposal. I wrote an opinion piece published by the Chron on my thoughts about the improvement the Obama plan had (and of course the weaknesses as well). Anyway, it appears that the achieve act reverts to the military and higher education as the only options. This sets up a draft for our youth, and I would have to oppose this two. I could accept a pathway to residency instead of citizenship, because history teaches us that citizenship often does not provide the protection it promises anyway. I could not negotiate on leaving the pathway open to high school grads or even maybe those willing to do community service. Residency at least promises that families won’t be broken up, but a narrow military pathway will create aggressive warfare, and I can’t accept that. The achieve act does not even offer residency. It is a revocable visa. When the political tides change, everybody will be vulnerable to deportation again.
In sum, I believe that the achieve act should be discounted, and not used as even a discussion point toward negotiations.
Welfare is one of those topics that I have thought a great deal about this year. At least over the past couple of years, there seems to be some growing resentment, even from those who pay little or no taxes about those who collect welfare. In fact, I wrote a much briefer post about this in June of last year. I’ve have heard it so much and from so many different people in different situations, that I placed some thought into the subject. It may seem that I have someone in particular in mind. I don’t. I have handfuls of people in mind.
It seems that over the past few months, many people who have normally been very silent politically, have become very outspoken on the issue of welfare. It seems that this handful of people even seem to allow their entire political perspective be framed by this one subject. Largely, this is why I am writing this piece.
As for myself, I recognize that there is a place for some temporary safety net for people. Sometimes people are disabled and can’t work. At other times, they are young people who have become pregnant. Yet at other times, they are simply people enjoying a public education.
My point here is simply that we have all benefitted from services that we could not afford individually. The essence of a public school system is that most of us could not afford private tuition for all of their children for grades k-12 then college and post grad. So..we take money from those that have and give it to those who don’t have for the greater good. In this view, those of us who have had a public school education have benefitted from welfare.
I just want to share some simple thoughts on the subject.
“Those people” are lazy and are draining the system, cheating, taking advantage etc.
I mentioned earlier that I have heard a lot about welfare these past few months. The comments usually go something like this: “I saw a young girl paying with a lone star card at the store, and she had a (insert designer brand here) purse [which is better than mine/my wife's]. Relax. Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t allow one experience to dictate policy. In such situations, you don’t have all of the facts to judge. The purse could have been purchased second hand, in which case it would have been sold at the same price as any other brand. It could have been a good fake. It could have been a gift from a rich parent, relative or boyfriend.
The point is that there is a myth that many welfare recipients live a better life than everyone else. I would invite you to visit and talk to the people waiting at the Little York welfare office, and I bet you will change your mind. I have done it myself. I think it would change your perspective on the luxurious life that you think they lead. It is true that there is abuse. This should be dealt with and monitored and prosecuted, but those involved in abuse should not hinder those who need temporary help from getting it.
The other myth is that people who use welfare benefits
People who work hard are often infuriated by the experiences that I explain above. Naturally, this is what we see. These experiences happen in our neighborhood stores.
However, if tax spending is the greatest concern, then the culprit is corporate welfare, not welfare to people. The Cato institute places the number for corporate welfare at 92 billion versus 59 billion for people welfare. Corporate welfare comes in many forms. It comes in the form of unnecesary military contracts, unprecedented no-bid contracts, government/corporate no-oversite cronysim, tax loopholes, and farm subsidies. Frankly, I think that most, but not all, people clamoring about welfare, are too intellectually lazy to actually study the issue of government spending. It’s easier to blame the people they see with the Lone Star card, because they see this with their own eyes. They have NEVER seen a wall street banker sucking up welfare at Mi Tienda or Fiesta. It’s intellectually easier just to blame what they see around them. I doubt that these handful of people understand the mechanics of farm subsidies, or even know what a farm subsidy is, much less that farm subsidies alone seem to account for about half of what is spent on welfare to people. It would take some intellect and research to critique corporate welfare. It’s just easier to call out the neighbor. Rich gringos have us fighting over crumbs while they eat the whole loaf as they always have.
Dependency IS destructive
I don’t know that there are any formal studies, but my gut tells me that most people who receive welfare, receive it for a short period of time and then move on with their lives. Maybe they are out of work and their kids need braces so they get on medicaid. They eventually get a job and pay back what society invested in them in spades. Some exceptions do and should exist, such as the permanently disabled. In fact, sixty five percent of people on welfare are unable to work…it is not that they are lazy, but they are too young, too old or too disabled. There are many people who DO work who still qualify for welfare because their efforts at work are not profitable enough to make ends meet.
However, there does exist a small sub-culture of able-bodied young men and women who habitually subsist on all forms of welfare. This is disastrous for their spirit, self esteem and upright nature, even though they do not recognize it as so. This is one of the reasons that those who abuse welfare have never bothered me. It comes at a very high price, a price that I would not wish for any of my brothers or sisters to pay. That price is one’s manhood/womanhood and dependency. Those that live this way are paying a heavy price that they often pass on to their children. Let me be clear, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with accepting temporary help, but those who unnecessarily become permanently dependent on welfare are paying for it with their man/womanhood and with the values and lifestyle that they teach their children. I don’t envy their situation one bit, not even their designer clothes, cell phones or cars. They already pay too high a spiritual price for me to care much about their abuse.
Diminishing Returns/The Intelligence of Becoming Dependent On Welfare
Removing values and womanhood from the equation, sometimes, for certain able-bodied people, becoming permanently dependent on welfare makes perfect economic sense. In the economic and business worlds, it is called the law of diminishing returns. It describes a principle that at a certain point, further investment in capital resources will produce a comparably less percentage of return than at a smaller scale of development. When this return is too small, it does not make sense to expand in that manner. Yes, the company can make a few more bucks, but it will spend a great deal to make those few extra dollars, to the point that such an expansion will not make sense. In this case, rather than creating more work for itself, the corporation will just send the money back to the shareholders in the form of dividends.
A similar logic holds true of the permanently dependent. It does not make economic sense for them to work hard at times. Sure, they might make two hundred dollars more per month by working at McDonald’s but it does not make sense to do so, when they can do nothing and collect welfare. If YOU were offered a situation to work forty hours more per week for $200 would you take it?
While it takes its toll on their spirit and self-esteem it is a logical conclusion to collect welfare. Think about this. There SHOULD be resentment toward this situation, but the resentment should be toward a SYSTEM that exists, because a great deal of people that are working forty hours do not have the income to cover the basics. It can be easy to resent the permanently dependent. It takes a little more thought to understand that the system makes this a logical choice for some. This system system is capitalism’s greed-for-all and the charity model of welfare that this government has constructed. Rather than investing in communities, they hand out food. If our communities continue to go undeveloped, they will continue to have to hand out food. If working forty hours continues to barely pay the basics, then it will continue to be a logical decision to get welfare instead of going to work.
The new conservative media.
For decades, conservatives talked about this issue in terms of policy and ideology. The talked about the evils of permitting dependency and how welfare reduces productivity etc. However, a new breed of conservative talk show hosts have become masters at propagandizing the issue. They don’t talk about the policy, they talk about the welfare recipients. However, they use the stereotypes that people have experienced. They use those experiences in the store that I mentioned above to bait listeners into believing that most welfare recipients are a bunch of lazy, loser life-long dependents. They draw this characture, very similar to images that the Klan and the Nazi party would draw. Michael Berry, for example, uses Shirly Q Liquor to charicature poor blacks. Shirley Q Liquor is actually a white man who works in black face and black voice. This sort of stuff was supposed to have been erradicated in the thirties or forties. In any case, this characture and sterotype resonates with everyday so-called Latinos, because they have seen these stereotypes first hand. It’s something that they can relate to, and its easy to understand…. no study or messy policy analysis needed. Just blame that damn girl with the lone star card, and everything else can be explained easily…the economic mess….the moral demise…why they hate their job and have to work so hard, etc. The conservative tak people have found something that resonates, and they have done a wonderful job of selling it to intellectually lazy people who have a deep resentment of the social mess we are in.
That’s all…just a few words.
He was writing about the Anglo incursion into Texas, and about the theft of land, specifically about the theft of what he believed was his personal land. These, and many more, words were recorded in a book by my grandmother. She recorded four memorials. Three were by her grandfather, Ygnacio Balli Tijerina III and one by her father, Ignacio Balli IV.
This excerpt is from Ygnacio Balli Tijerina III, my great-great Grandfather. He is writing about the legal and moral protests about the theft of land.
When a person is weak and prudent and besides, if he is very much offended, and if the laws of nation do not listen to him what can he do??? Resign oneself to the situation…
We protest by not fighting with malice and rancor…I don’t dare risk the importance of those miserable insolent people of superior race who have wrongly acquired these Mexican land grants. The are lured by a magnet taking our properties. So that we won’t cry, they pay us a days work like when someone takes a jewel of value from a young boy and gives him a toy made of clay.
He wrote about the tricks and the force that were used, the pillaging of tax records, tax manipulation and guns. He wrote that he knew that the lands did not have much monetary value, but that later “they would cost more and more.” He cited these lands as “La Feria, Padre Island, El Ojo de Agua, and Llano Grande.”
Some of these lands are now pillaged by the oil companies. [As of March 1, 2005, there have been 78 oil and gas operations either on Padre Island National Seashore or, prior to the park's opening, on the land that was to become Padre Island National Seashore. These operations include: 62 wells, 7 pipelines, and 9 seismic operations.]
It is haunting to read his words. He sounds as frustrated as I have felt from time to time. He was a visionary. He knew what was on the horizon and could not stop it.
I read through these memorials from time to time and wonder if my great-great offspring might read my words and those of my great-great grandfather.
I rarely become frustrated these days, for I know, without a doubt, that a world wide change is coming. I believe that Our New Anahuac will be a part of this change.
Toward Our Restoration.