http://www.youtube.com/embed/4cWyjGXK9l4?list=UU-iJa60bRBOEak3eF5eO62Q&hl=en_USFor a more of my thoughts on the subject read a piece I wrote for the Huffington Post, "What 2012 Means"
I’m 2012’s vice-presidential candidate for the Justice Party, running with presidential candidate Rocky Anderson. Why? Because we need justice in our economy, in our environment, and in our politics.
Today there is a growing gap between the wealthiest and the poorest people of the land, a largely closed and corporate-run democratic process, and few remedies to address climate change and fossil fuel dependence.
Neither Republicans nor Democrats have the long-range, comprehensive, and substantial solutions to any of these as the two parties are daily revealed to be two heads of the same beast.
I understand the dangers of having Governor Romney and Senator Paul Ryan possibly becoming our president and vice-president with the same outlook, policies, and war-mongering that got us into this mess in the first place—there is no way they can be removed from the hammer blow of responsibility for what Republicans in the White House and Congress have done to our country.
I support the historical place Barack Obama has as our first African American president and whatever good he has done against terror in the Middle East and for job growth. Most of those who voted for him reached out to the hope.
But as many others have said before—we should want more.
The Obama Administration’s continual bail-out of financial institutions that have mercilessly ripped off the American people, increased raids and deportations of hard-working immigrant families from Mexico and Central America, and the fact that 60 percent of the job growth has been in the low-paid, unorganized and unrepresented sectors of the service economy cannot be excused.
The eroding of our civil liberties, the waste of lives and monies in the drug wars, and the ongoing use of military operations to resolve the world’s problems, leading to more insecurity, cannot be excused.
President Obama is also a leader. It’s clear he can’t lead us out of economic and political collapse, except to prop up the same ideas and tired structures from the other side of this two-headed entity—which has also failed us.
I’m in this race with Rocky Anderson to inject new ideas, to inspire a new imagination for what’s possible, and to help with a true healing of the people and the land.
I’m in this to make sure the poor and pushed out are at the forefront of any policies and plans—finally… justice for all.
The first step is to allow the voices and alternatives to the two-party system a full airing, the same free and equal access to the media, and to be given a chance to speak out on these issues. You don’t have to agree entirely with Rocky or I, or any of the other far more interesting and knowledgeable candidates out there. But you can agree we all need to be heard.
I’m a first generation U.S. born son of Mexican migrants. My parents believed in the American Dream, which in poor neighborhoods we lived in like South Central L.A. and East L.A. was largely frozen. Although I was a troubled youth—on drugs, in gangs, and out of school—before I left my teens I dedicated myself to education, books, social justice as well as deep economic and political change. This provided me direction, meaning, and energy to move forward as a person and for my community.
I myself became a steelworker, construction worker, paper mill worker, and foundry smelter for many years until I decided in my mid-twenties to be trained as a journalist, and later as a poet, fiction writer, essayist, and memoirist. I’ve also stayed active in my community for some forty years for proper youth development, immigrant rights, better schools, neighborhood arts, and for a vibrant economy and a dynamic political reality.
That’s why I’m running as vice president of the United States for the Justice Party.
Can we win? All I know is that with the Democrats and Republicans we constantly lose. It’s time to vote for what you believe, for what you know to be true, for what you deserve.
It’s time to vote for true justice.
Here are some highlights of the past few months that I’d like to share with everyone:
o As previously mentioned, I’m now Rocky Anderson’s running mate for the newly-formed but growing Justice Party. You can find out more at http://www.justicepartyusa.net/
o I was chosen as one of sixty “fascinating people” in Los Angeles in May by the L.A. Weekly: http://blogs.laweekly.com/arts/2012/05/luis_j_rodriguez_people_2012.php
o I co-produced the film “Rushing Waters, Rising Dreams: How the Arts are Transforming a Community,” written and directed by John F. Cantu. I also co-edited the book of the same name with Denise Sandoval, published by Tia Chucha Press (the publishing wing of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural). Both have been released in May, with film screenings all over the city and other parts of the country; the book is available through any bookstore or other book outlet.
o I became part of the Transnational Advisory Group in Support of the Peace Process in El Salvador that from July 20 to July 27 sent an 11-member delegation to the country to assess the gang peace truce from March of the Mara Salvatrucha-13 and Barrio 18, the country’s largest street gangs—and advise and assist where possible. As a member of this delegation—which consisted of human rights leaders, a psychologist, a lawyer, and gang prevention/intervention experts from Los Angeles, New York City, the Washington D.C. area, the San Francisco Bay area, and London—we visited prisons, including for women, non-governmental agencies, schools, factories, and the government ministries of education, health, and public safety (including heads of the prison system). We also met with gang leaders of the truce in prisons and in the streets. You can find out more on the piece I wrote for Fox News Latino: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2012/07/31/gang-peace-in-el-salvador-opportunity-cant-afford-to-miss/
o My youngest son, Luis, 18, graduated in June from the Social Justice & Humanitas Academy of the Cesar Chavez Learning Academies in Sylmar/San Fernando. He’s now been accepted to the University of California, Riverside. His brother, Ruben, 24, is finishing Mission Community College, with classes at College of the Canyons, and should be at a bigger institution himself by next spring.
o My oldest son, Ramiro, 37, successfully completed two years of parole since being released from prison in July of 2010. He’s still in Chicago and working with BUILD in their gang prevention/intervention programs. I’m proud of his efforts.
o My daughter Andrea, 35, is still director of a cooperative pre-school in the Eagle Rock/Silverlake area. We also just heard her boyfriend Sean Patrick Kenney has asked her hand in marriage—and she said yes. I’m happy for both of them.
o My youngest granddaughter Catalina, 16, was accepted this summer in the theater program of Summer School for the Arts of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. I also had visits with my other granddaughters Anastasia and Amanda in Illinois, and my oldest grandson, Ricardo, who turns 20 this year, is doing well in his first year of college.
o Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural and Bookstore is now the official “LibroTraficante” site for Los Angeles to celebrate banned books in light of the destruction of Raza Studies in Tucson AZ and the removal of around 50 books of literature, history, and more.
o My trips since April have included a couple of forays into San Francisco/Oakland, including two visits at San Quentin Prison (and HEAL the HOOD events with Poor Magazine); talks and readings in Lansing MI; Port Townsend and Seattle WA; Fresno CA; at the Power of Poetry Festival in the Hocking Hills of Ohio; Orange CA; Highland Park CA; Boyle Heights CA; Tia Chucha’s “Celebrating Words” literacy and performance festival in Sylmar CA; LeaLA (Read LA), Spanish-language book fair in downtown L.A.; Chicago; the Aspen Literary Festival (where “The Three Louies” performed); Leimert Park, Inglewood CA; and more. Media talks have included the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting System, KPFA in Berkeley and KPFK in L.A., KTLA-TV; L.A. Daily News; KJLH’s Front Page talk show in L.A.; and various Salvadoran and international news outlets, among others
My work with the Network for Revolutionary Change—founded in Chicago last October—continues on a national and local level. It’s aim is to bring together the often scattered leaders and organizations in various fronts of struggle—be they in labor, veteran’s rights, immigrant rights, justice against police abuse, poverty, and more—toward independent political strategizing and organizing across the United States. I have an NRC event in San Francisco at the Red Poppy on August 20. To find out more go to http://networkforrevolutionarychange.org/index.html
There is more to report, I’m sure, but I’ll leave you all with this. Stay tuned for further developments. Stay in peace and in justice.