Recent Attacks part of Systemic Plans to Divide and Divert

Today at 5 AM, sheriff's squad cars, helicopters, and bulldozers broke into the South Central Farm (on 41st and Alameda) to evict 350 families who have made a 14-acre garden oasis in an area of urban blight for more than 14 years. The showdown came weeks after the farmers and their supporters tried to get the city to work out a deal so they could stay. A wealthy developer fought in court to get the land back from the city so he could build warehouses in an area already inundated with warehouses.

Academia Semillas del Pueblo, a charter school for kindergarten to eight grade students, in the Eastside community of El Sereno continues to be targeted for closing by Dough McIntyre and other right-wing talk show hosts on Disney-owned KABC-AM 790 radio. The school's sole "crime" -- to be run by Chicanos/Mexicanos/Central Americans (and others) with indigenous concepts, and things like Tai Chi in the morning, and language courses in Spanish, Nahuatl (an indigenous tongue of Mexico and Central America), and Mandarin. McIntyre and his crew are saying the school is run by "terrorists," "self-segregationists," and "racists" because they don't abide by a European-based curriculum. Although the school is meeting charter-school standards and has rising test scores (in a community with some of the lowest test scores in the city), this is not good enough for the real racists at KABC-AM 790 radio. Last week, the school received bomb threats, forcing students to go home.

Attacks against Mexicans have been going on for decades. But the recent removals and targeting against institutions is to destroy anything that provides Mexicans self-sufficiency and independence. The recent anti-immigrant moves by groups like the Minutemen and Save our State (you may as well include the Congress and President Bush) are aimed against the so-called "mexicanization" of the culture. Although undocumented immigrants are made up of people from all over the world, the single largest group comes from Mexico.

This is an unfounded fear. Yet, hysterical calls for English as a national language, billion-dollar walls and National Guard troops on the border, and criminalizing undocumented people who live and work here (and those who support them) shows how desperate a people can be when they perceive a danger.

Terrorism seems to have driven some people mad. Yes, there are terrorists in this world. Yes, 9/11 has changed most everything about how we do things. But Mexicans and other immigrants are not terrorists. Apparently, most terrorists are coming through Canada. The people coming through Mexico are mostly trying to survive.

But just like the US lashed out against countries that had nothing to do with 9/11, including Afghanistan and Iraq, certain groups are lashing out at any people of color, in particular the large number of indigenous Mexicans and Central Americans forced to come here.

They are trivializing the true horror of what happened on 9/11. They are extending terrorism to almost anybody who has an issue or beef with this country. To even loudly proclaim any errors on the part of the government or President Bush has warranted an outrageous response from right-wingers and conservatives (look at how crazy some of them went against the Dixie Chicks, one of whom expressed her righteous opinion against President Bush).

We need dissent. We need critical voices. We need people to challenge the goose-stepping, racist-based, movement of people like the Minutemen and others.

The biggest thing to point out is how divisive this country has become (which is what some of these right-wingers live for) and how much diversion they have stirred up away from the real issues facing all Americans (citizen and undocumented alike, including "red state" conservatives): a polarized economy (falling for most people), increased fuel prices, astronomical housing costs in major markets, global warming, and a war that is a waste of humanity and resources.

Attacking urban farmers and charter schools who are law-abiding and within their rights to exist is a waste of energy, funds, and ideas. But that's where the dividers and diverters like to go.

The real issues facing this country, and the world, are pushed aside.

The problem is most of us won't forget. Our job is to keep bringing these issues back home. Poor whites (even in the Minutemen), poor African Americans, poor Native Americans, and poor immigrants (regardless of status) are in the same boat -- what unites us is greater than what divides us.

It's time we fought for the cohesion and coherency we need to truly safeguard our rights, our lives, and our livelihoods.

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