By Javier Rodriguez     from Lake Forest     18 June 2013

Pacifica’s LA based KPFK Radio Station celebrated the 7TH Anniversary of the March 25, 2006 massive immigrant rights street mobilization in Los Angeles against the infamous anti-immigrant HR 4437,  the Sensenbrenner bill, by programming 24 hours of continuous Spanish language radio for all of Southern California.  Naturally the move created expectations in the Latino activist community and especially in the circle of veteran leaders and organizers of that national march of seven years ago. However, after sometime into the station’s promotional campaign,  it was obvious we were not going to get quality reporting nor an in depth narration and analysis of the historical event that set the whole country in motion by moving millions in LA and in 75 other cities in the country, on that same weekend.

To begin with, the commercials for the celebration did not include any of the original  March 25 Coalition leaders and organizers as potential guests. Additionally, the ads publicized the mega march as “garnering 500,000 people, making it the largest demonstration in the history of Southern California.”  This number  effectively confirmed the LAPD’s skewed numbers given to the press on that day. In contrast, the majority of networks  TELEMUNDO, UNIIVISION, CNN, NBC and many others, with the use of their helicopters and a panoramic sky vision, that same afternoon called it at 1 to 2 million demonstrators. Then, days later, to give it the official seal of approval, the ethnic based Ch 22 Spanish language TV ordered  a digital study of the crowd; and the results on their count was a staggering 1.7 million people. 

Throughout the day this last March 25, 2013, which was an official Cesar Chavez holiday, in the station that I wake up to with Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzalez on the microphone, there was no real description of the political, organizational or media strategies which in 2006 made and rewrote history, applying a vanguard vision for the social movement in terms of the massive mobilization of Latinos in the country. Nor was there a similar presentation on how we activists organized and motivated the almost unanimous participation of the Latino media for the march. With the notable exception of former Program Director Armando Gudino, like the White English speaking media, the majority of the KPFK Latino programmers were also totally out of the picture on March 25, 2005. 

Inexplicably, for the anniversary celebration, none of the March 25 Coalition leaders or rank and filers were invited as guests by the programmers to present their views and address the significance of March 25 to the present struggle for immigration reform. For our city’s progressive radio station, the omission was not surprising.

During that Spring of 2006, I was the liaison to KPFK and Gudino, who attended several planning meetings of the M25C and covered the march and program live for four hours on that Saturday, as well as, on May 1 in 2006, 07 and 08. As far as I know, and I may be wrong, none of the speeches made on that wonderful historical day were recorded. Nor were they used for the celebration.  And we had about 30+ speakers including– all the Coalition leaders, Mayor Antonio,  incoming mayor Gil Garcetti, our present new LA Councilperson Gil Cedillo, Speaker Fabian Nunez, Majority Democratic Leader Senator Gloria Romero, Congresswomen Hilda Solis and Linda Sanchez, the Latino DJs Humberto Luna, Piolin, El Mandril and many more– were not used for the celebration. Essentially, all the taped audio of the live coverage taken on that day by the KPFK team was excluded.  Yet, on Monday the 27th of that year, I was interviewed live by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on “Democracy Now,” and on the same week, Jesse Diaz and I taped an interview for “Nightline,” which was aired a few days after. Both versions can be found and seen on Google or my blog LaRayueladeJavier.WordPress.Com.

And incredibly to add salt to the wound, the core organizers -Gloria Saucedo, Ph.D. Sociologist Jesse Diaz, Juan Jose Gutierrez, Raul Murillo, Alejandro Ahumada, Guillermo Bejarano of Networkaztlan.com, Isaura Rivera, my brothers and nephews, Antonio, Jaime, Jorge, my sister Isabel, Paco, Little Jaime, Armando Gudino and many more of the leaders- were also persona non grata on all the programs involved in the anniversary broadcast. With one exception, the afternoon Strategies Session had as a special guest who is one of the known obstructionists described on Part I of these series. (See blog.)

Dialectically speaking, everything has a historical context; and, regrettably behind the drama of exclusion, there is a long story of sectarian and factionalist journalism emanating from old political conflicts, power struggles, victories and defeats within Latino progressive and nationalist circles; and several of those players have been in KPFK for some time. Some of  the battles in question were: La Casa del Mexicano in Boyle Heights in 2001-2003 in which I and my family also played a prominent role; the 2003 California Latino Economic Boycott against the Cancellation of the Cedillo Driver’s License Law; the historical fight back against the Minutemen in 2005 and the political direction of that movement and its principal state wide organization  “La Tierra es de Todos Coalition/The Land Belongs to All of Us,”  of which the latter was founded at UC Riverside by College Prof. Diaz, UCR student organizations and departments and many activists from Southern California. I served as a keynote speaker in the founding conference as well as a mentor; and the National Latino Congreso to name a few.

Lamentably, some of those conflicts deepened,  and one was even dragged on to the courts. That was the case of La Casa del Mexicano and the legal showdown that pitted my brother Civil Rights Attorney Antonio Rodriguez, for the defense, and Luis Carrillo, “the millionaire,” for the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs fabricated the charge that the defendants had used violence and paraded ten witnesses, mostly KPFKers, against me and another leading member. Trust me, I can honestly convey to you that Antonio swept the court  floor with Carrillo and his witnesses. Interestingly, in the conclusion I made the closing remarks requesting a dismissal of the charges;   and the judge ruled in our favor, stating, “I agree with you. The plaintiffs’ did not provide any substantial arguments. The charges are dismissed.”

Not all was outright conflict- based. There were also differences in defining the momentum. Strangely since then,  some sectors within the Latino media and the social movement that were not part of the making of the Immigrant Spring, have argued that the great mega marches and the May 1st Great American Boycott  “arose spontaneously;  and, therefore, there was no organized leadership involved”; and “It only [came about] because the Latino DJs pushed and called on the people to march.”   The preposterous and dogmatic optic totally negates the  infrastructure provided by the LA based March 25 Coalition or the many organizing venues and thousands of experienced social/labor activists  and immigrant rights leaders nationally,  who convened the people to resist and march in hundreds of cities. Moreover, that same fabricated vision that has emanated from the same Latino Quarters, also negates the historical and inherent political battles that enriched that process and which are beginning to see the light.   

Within this latter context, late in the month of May 2006, I was invited by my friend and long time KPFK producer Ruben Tapia as a guest on his Thursday night Spanish language show of “Nuestra  Voz.” The topic for the whole 1 ½ hour show was the immigrant rights movement and its political direction,  and I was actually interviewed by three programmers  [Ricardo Moreno, an Uruguayan and a young Angelina] with Tapia engineering the controls. After a few minutes I sensed something was amiss  when I noticed that instead of the usual friendly supportive demeanor of the many appearances in past  years, the interviewers’ tone was aggressive and disdainful, questioning the integrity of the M25-Coalition’s  leadership, assertions, statistics and its vision on how to continue the resistance. The contentious encounter went on until the station’s radio listeners were allowed to step in. Logically, several of the callers were members of the Coalition;  and, hazily, I recall Gloria Saucedo and my brothers Jaime and Antonio. The three were and are excellent debaters with many years of experience on Radio, TV, newspapers interviews and also as op-ed contributors. At the point when Antonio was in the middle of his intervention, his call was suddenly cut off  though  several minutes later, unexpectedly, his second call got through. At that precise moment, through the studio cabin window, I observed Tapia at the control desk and noted his gesture of displeasure, upon hearing Antonio’s voice once again on the air.

At that point it became clear that the friendly invitation had been a set up, an ambush, which totally boomeranged on them. The proof of the pudding were the rest of the callers. With no exception, they all supported our point of view. Needless to say, at the end of the program, I was not courteously extended a hand of good bye and gratitude by the gang of four. Nor was I told to come back soon. After saying my goodbyes and chatting with a couple of people in the waiting area, on my way out, I walked over to a small office in front of the Men’s restroom and I opened the door. The four were there and predictably, what I saw, were the faces of anger and defeat; so with nothing else to say, I gave them my usual V for victory hand sign and a smile.

The past and current approaches by KPFK were present in programming subsequent to the anniversary show. A few days after publishing part  II of  this series(See blog), which also contained a brief reference to KPFK, the 7 a.m. Sojourner Truth Show dedicated the whole hour to the immigration reform proposal now being debated in the US Senate. With all due respect, I cannot honestly say the program was a response to my piece. However, the last two guests interviewed by Margaret Prescod were Antonio Gonzalez of Southwest Voters and the well known Arizona Attorney Isabel Garcia.  Both are adamant opponents of  the present reform process, and, truly, I think, they don’t provide an objective analysis of the political and organizational issues, nor a panorama of the broad spectrum of social sectors and the organizational and political support for the S744 bill. Especially omitted, are the ongoing myriad grass roots campaigns from all sectors that are mobilizing millions on the air and on the ground. Instead, they narrowly paint a dismal picture of the negative effects the bill will have on the immigrant community, including the extreme and contradictory position that I heard espoused on the KPFK radio program, which predicts that if the present reform is approved, there will be more deportations in the future affecting the same people who will initially meet the generous residence requirement of  physically being in the United States prior to Dec 1, 2012.  No one else from the vast universe of progressives that do support the process in the Senate were included to give the opposing view.

The following is a brief list of potential and powerful guests for future programs: Jesse Jackson; Richard Trumka President AFL-CIO; Eliseo Medina Sec-Trea SEIU; Maria Elena Durazo Sec-Trea. LA CFL; Cong. John Lewis; Cong. Luis Gutierrez; Cong. Xavier Becerra; Janet Murguia NCLR; Frank Sharry and Maribel Hasting of America’s Voice; Marshall Fritz and Angela Kelley of Center for American Progress, etc.

History belies these fatalist and hopeless arguments. One has to only look at the economic, political and social benefits that resulted from the 1986 IRCA Law. Studies have shown that in the following  two decades, the security and stabilization of the three million people that were approved, amongst many others, dramatically augmented the ranks of union membership as well as the voting empowerment for Latinos, which undeniably crystallized last November. Moreover the overall income of this sector and their families -now generational- increased by 15%; and, yes, it uplifted the economy. The same, but multiplied by almost  400%, is expected of the new generation of 11.5 immigrants -the majority- that will   enter the path to citizenship. The experts, including Dr. Raul Hinojosa’s pioneering study at UCLA,  have clearly pointed to an economic up growth for the country by trillions of dollars which will only arrive with a sound legalization program and full citizenship rights. As the legendary Georgia Cong. John Lewis stated on CNN during the presidential inauguration festivities, “If we want to raise the economy, we have to approve an immigration reform that will uplift the millions of undocumented immigrants in America.”     

Moreover, the opponents stay away from analyzing or at minimum offering a window into the changing correlation of forces at play, who by all indicators,  show that the overwhelming majority favors the national political strategy that since last year has influenced the national conversation in the country on the issue. The small progressive sector opposing the current bill, which I have been observing and occasionally engaging since early 2010,  has never named the politicians in Washington that will write and sponsor the “ideal progressive comprehensive immigration reform bill to proceed.” in both the Senate and the House, accompanied with the usual needed  list of a substantial number of supporting Senators and Congressmen. They don’t exist.

In sum, the country’s diminutive opposition from within progressive or left circles has yet to place on the table a tangible alternative to the immigration reform process now advancing at a fast pace in D.C. and supported by a wide majority of the country’s progressive and liberal forces from labor, civil rights, faith communities, African Americans, Asians, and logically Latinos. Categorically, the polls also evidence a majority of widespread support for Senate Bill S744 and the Senators leading the charge. Furthermore, as you are probably aware, the polling on Latinos  has indicated for some time that immigration has trumped the economy and education as the number one issue for the large majority of this population in the United States. In fact the last poll on Latinos warns the political class that any politician opposing reform with a path to citizenship will not be seen kindly by Latino voters; Again, the November elections are enlightening on this point.

In this light, the highly popular Latino TV and Radio networks and newspapers have made coverage on immigration reform a top priority for their venues. Additionally, conservative  journalist Jorge Ramos, the national news director for UNIVISION and considered the top dog of  Spanish language anchors, recently declared to the Los Angeles Times that ensuring the passage of  the reform legislation is also a top advocacy issue for the network. On the one hand it’s business, but looking at it historically, it is also activist ethnic journalism at its best. For most Latino journalists, immigration is personal and understanding this cornerstone of Latino media conduct in the United States was key in developing the media strategy that was designed and implemented in the making of March 25 (see Part I and II). The heart of it was going after the hearts and minds of Latino journalists and Latino DJs and we succeeded.

 

If KPFK and Radio Pacifica sincerely aspire to be a progressive  leading force in this struggle, understanding the present stage of the epic  fight for comprehensive reform, as well as the build up of the momentum that has brought Latinos and the people of this movement to the brink of a victory, is an imperative. The present day struggle for Latino and immigrant equality is similar  in nature to the long historical fight for full citizen rights for African Americans relatively accomplished  with the enacment of the civil rights act of 1963 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. With the exception that we are now  in a higher stage of capitalism, “Capitalist Globalization.” globalization.  

*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, he spent 22 years as a labor organizer and adviser for rank and file movements; directed the mass street mobilizations of 1982-86, in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986; He was also the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott. Presently he is involved in building La Universidad Obrera de Mexico-Los Angeles and in 2012,  traveled for 5 ½ months thru Mexico observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, the drug war and migrants. Blog Larayueldejavier.wordpress.com, email bajolamiradejavier@yahoo.com, zazmediarelations@yahoo.com

KPFK’s 24 hour Spanish Radiothon on the 7th Anniversary of the 1.7 million “Gran Marcha del 25 Marzo 2006.”

By Javier Rodriguez     from Lake Forest     18 June 2013

Pacifica’s LA based KPFK Radio Station celebrated the 7TH Anniversary of the March 25, 2006 massive immigrant rights street mobilization in Los Angeles against the infamous anti-immigrant HR 4437,  the Sensenbrenner bill, by programming 24 hours of continuous Spanish language radio for all of Southern California.  Naturally the move created expectations in the Latino activist community and especially in the circle of veteran leaders and organizers of that national march of seven years ago. However, after sometime into the station’s promotional campaign,  it was obvious we were not going to get quality reporting nor an in depth narration and analysis of the historical event that set the whole country in motion by moving millions in LA and in 75 other cities in the country, on that same weekend.

To begin with, the commercials for the celebration did not include any of the original  March 25 Coalition leaders and organizers as potential guests. Additionally, the ads publicized the mega march as “garnering 500,000 people, making it the largest demonstration in the history of Southern California.”  This number  effectively confirmed the LAPD’s skewed numbers given to the press on that day. In contrast, the majority of networks  TELEMUNDO, UNIIVISION, CNN, NBC and many others, with the use of their helicopters and a panoramic sky vision, that same afternoon called it at 1 to 2 million demonstrators. Then, days later, to give it the official seal of approval, the ethnic based Ch 22 Spanish language TV ordered  a digital study of the crowd; and the results on their count was a staggering 1.7 million people. 

Throughout the day this last March 25, 2013, which was an official Cesar Chavez holiday, in the station that I wake up to with Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzalez on the microphone, there was no real description of the political, organizational or media strategies which in 2006 made and rewrote history, applying a vanguard vision for the social movement in terms of the massive mobilization of Latinos in the country. Nor was there a similar presentation on how we activists organized and motivated the almost unanimous participation of the Latino media for the march. With the notable exception of former Program Director Armando Gudino, like the White English speaking media, the majority of the KPFK Latino programmers were also totally out of the picture on March 25, 2005. 

Inexplicably, for the anniversary celebration, none of the March 25 Coalition leaders or rank and filers were invited as guests by the programmers to present their views and address the significance of March 25 to the present struggle for immigration reform. For our city’s progressive radio station, the omission was not surprising.

During that Spring of 2006, I was the liaison to KPFK and Gudino, who attended several planning meetings of the M25C and covered the march and program live for four hours on that Saturday, as well as, on May 1 in 2006, 07 and 08. As far as I know, and I may be wrong, none of the speeches made on that wonderful historical day were recorded. Nor were they used for the celebration.  And we had about 30+ speakers including– all the Coalition leaders, Mayor Antonio,  incoming mayor Gil Garcetti, our present new LA Councilperson Gil Cedillo, Speaker Fabian Nunez, Majority Democratic Leader Senator Gloria Romero, Congresswomen Hilda Solis and Linda Sanchez, the Latino DJs Humberto Luna, Piolin, El Mandril and many more– were not used for the celebration. Essentially, all the taped audio of the live coverage taken on that day by the KPFK team was excluded.  Yet, on Monday the 27th of that year, I was interviewed live by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez on “Democracy Now,” and on the same week, Jesse Diaz and I taped an interview for “Nightline,” which was aired a few days after. Both versions can be found and seen on Google or my blog LaRayueladeJavier.WordPress.Com.

And incredibly to add salt to the wound, the core organizers -Gloria Saucedo, Ph.D. Sociologist Jesse Diaz, Juan Jose Gutierrez, Raul Murillo, Alejandro Ahumada, Guillermo Bejarano of Networkaztlan.com, Isaura Rivera, my brothers and nephews, Antonio, Jaime, Jorge, my sister Isabel, Paco, Little Jaime, Armando Gudino and many more of the leaders- were also persona non grata on all the programs involved in the anniversary broadcast. With one exception, the afternoon Strategies Session had as a special guest who is one of the known obstructionists described on Part I of these series. (See blog.)

Dialectically speaking, everything has a historical context; and, regrettably behind the drama of exclusion, there is a long story of sectarian and factionalist journalism emanating from old political conflicts, power struggles, victories and defeats within Latino progressive and nationalist circles; and several of those players have been in KPFK for some time. Some of  the battles in question were: La Casa del Mexicano in Boyle Heights in 2001-2003 in which I and my family also played a prominent role; the 2003 California Latino Economic Boycott against the Cancellation of the Cedillo Driver’s License Law; the historical fight back against the Minutemen in 2005 and the political direction of that movement and its principal state wide organization  “La Tierra es de Todos Coalition/The Land Belongs to All of Us,”  of which the latter was founded at UC Riverside by College Prof. Diaz, UCR student organizations and departments and many activists from Southern California. I served as a keynote speaker in the founding conference as well as a mentor; and the National Latino Congreso to name a few.

Lamentably, some of those conflicts deepened,  and one was even dragged on to the courts. That was the case of La Casa del Mexicano and the legal showdown that pitted my brother Civil Rights Attorney Antonio Rodriguez, for the defense, and Luis Carrillo, “the millionaire,” for the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs fabricated the charge that the defendants had used violence and paraded ten witnesses, mostly KPFKers, against me and another leading member. Trust me, I can honestly convey to you that Antonio swept the court  floor with Carrillo and his witnesses. Interestingly, in the conclusion I made the closing remarks requesting a dismissal of the charges;   and the judge ruled in our favor, stating, “I agree with you. The plaintiffs’ did not provide any substantial arguments. The charges are dismissed.”

Not all was outright conflict- based. There were also differences in defining the momentum. Strangely since then,  some sectors within the Latino media and the social movement that were not part of the making of the Immigrant Spring, have argued that the great mega marches and the May 1st Great American Boycott  “arose spontaneously;  and, therefore, there was no organized leadership involved”; and “It only [came about] because the Latino DJs pushed and called on the people to march.”   The preposterous and dogmatic optic totally negates the  infrastructure provided by the LA based March 25 Coalition or the many organizing venues and thousands of experienced social/labor activists  and immigrant rights leaders nationally,  who convened the people to resist and march in hundreds of cities. Moreover, that same fabricated vision that has emanated from the same Latino Quarters, also negates the historical and inherent political battles that enriched that process and which are beginning to see the light.   

Within this latter context, late in the month of May 2006, I was invited by my friend and long time KPFK producer Ruben Tapia as a guest on his Thursday night Spanish language show of “Nuestra  Voz.” The topic for the whole 1 ½ hour show was the immigrant rights movement and its political direction,  and I was actually interviewed by three programmers  [Ricardo Moreno, an Uruguayan and a young Angelina] with Tapia engineering the controls. After a few minutes I sensed something was amiss  when I noticed that instead of the usual friendly supportive demeanor of the many appearances in past  years, the interviewers’ tone was aggressive and disdainful, questioning the integrity of the M25-Coalition’s  leadership, assertions, statistics and its vision on how to continue the resistance. The contentious encounter went on until the station’s radio listeners were allowed to step in. Logically, several of the callers were members of the Coalition;  and, hazily, I recall Gloria Saucedo and my brothers Jaime and Antonio. The three were and are excellent debaters with many years of experience on Radio, TV, newspapers interviews and also as op-ed contributors. At the point when Antonio was in the middle of his intervention, his call was suddenly cut off  though  several minutes later, unexpectedly, his second call got through. At that precise moment, through the studio cabin window, I observed Tapia at the control desk and noted his gesture of displeasure, upon hearing Antonio’s voice once again on the air.

At that point it became clear that the friendly invitation had been a set up, an ambush, which totally boomeranged on them. The proof of the pudding were the rest of the callers. With no exception, they all supported our point of view. Needless to say, at the end of the program, I was not courteously extended a hand of good bye and gratitude by the gang of four. Nor was I told to come back soon. After saying my goodbyes and chatting with a couple of people in the waiting area, on my way out, I walked over to a small office in front of the Men’s restroom and I opened the door. The four were there and predictably, what I saw, were the faces of anger and defeat; so with nothing else to say, I gave them my usual V for victory hand sign and a smile.

The past and current approaches by KPFK were present in programming subsequent to the anniversary show. A few days after publishing part  II of  this series(See blog), which also contained a brief reference to KPFK, the 7 a.m. Sojourner Truth Show dedicated the whole hour to the immigration reform proposal now being debated in the US Senate. With all due respect, I cannot honestly say the program was a response to my piece. However, the last two guests interviewed by Margaret Prescod were Antonio Gonzalez of Southwest Voters and the well known Arizona Attorney Isabel Garcia.  Both are adamant opponents of  the present reform process, and, truly, I think, they don’t provide an objective analysis of the political and organizational issues, nor a panorama of the broad spectrum of social sectors and the organizational and political support for the S744 bill. Especially omitted, are the ongoing myriad grass roots campaigns from all sectors that are mobilizing millions on the air and on the ground. Instead, they narrowly paint a dismal picture of the negative effects the bill will have on the immigrant community, including the extreme and contradictory position that I heard espoused on the KPFK radio program, which predicts that if the present reform is approved, there will be more deportations in the future affecting the same people who will initially meet the generous residence requirement of  physically being in the United States prior to Dec 1, 2012.  No one else from the vast universe of progressives that do support the process in the Senate were included to give the opposing view.

The following is a brief list of potential and powerful guests for future programs: Jesse Jackson; Richard Trumka President AFL-CIO; Eliseo Medina Sec-Trea SEIU; Maria Elena Durazo Sec-Trea. LA CFL; Cong. John Lewis; Cong. Luis Gutierrez; Cong. Xavier Becerra; Janet Murguia NCLR; Frank Sharry and Maribel Hasting of America’s Voice; Marshall Fritz and Angela Kelley of Center for American Progress, etc.

History belies these fatalist and hopeless arguments. One has to only look at the economic, political and social benefits that resulted from the 1986 IRCA Law. Studies have shown that in the following  two decades, the security and stabilization of the three million people that were approved, amongst many others, dramatically augmented the ranks of union membership as well as the voting empowerment for Latinos, which undeniably crystallized last November. Moreover the overall income of this sector and their families -now generational- increased by 15%; and, yes, it uplifted the economy. The same, but multiplied by almost  400%, is expected of the new generation of 11.5 immigrants -the majority- that will   enter the path to citizenship. The experts, including Dr. Raul Hinojosa’s pioneering study at UCLA,  have clearly pointed to an economic up growth for the country by trillions of dollars which will only arrive with a sound legalization program and full citizenship rights. As the legendary Georgia Cong. John Lewis stated on CNN during the presidential inauguration festivities, “If we want to raise the economy, we have to approve an immigration reform that will uplift the millions of undocumented immigrants in America.”     

Moreover, the opponents stay away from analyzing or at minimum offering a window into the changing correlation of forces at play, who by all indicators,  show that the overwhelming majority favors the national political strategy that since last year has influenced the national conversation in the country on the issue. The small progressive sector opposing the current bill, which I have been observing and occasionally engaging since early 2010,  has never named the politicians in Washington that will write and sponsor the “ideal progressive comprehensive immigration reform bill to proceed.” in both the Senate and the House, accompanied with the usual needed  list of a substantial number of supporting Senators and Congressmen. They don’t exist.

In sum, the country’s diminutive opposition from within progressive or left circles has yet to place on the table a tangible alternative to the immigration reform process now advancing at a fast pace in D.C. and supported by a wide majority of the country’s progressive and liberal forces from labor, civil rights, faith communities, African Americans, Asians, and logically Latinos. Categorically, the polls also evidence a majority of widespread support for Senate Bill S744 and the Senators leading the charge. Furthermore, as you are probably aware, the polling on Latinos  has indicated for some time that immigration has trumped the economy and education as the number one issue for the large majority of this population in the United States. In fact the last poll on Latinos warns the political class that any politician opposing reform with a path to citizenship will not be seen kindly by Latino voters; Again, the November elections are enlightening on this point.

In this light, the highly popular Latino TV and Radio networks and newspapers have made coverage on immigration reform a top priority for their venues. Additionally, conservative  journalist Jorge Ramos, the national news director for UNIVISION and considered the top dog of  Spanish language anchors, recently declared to the Los Angeles Times that ensuring the passage of  the reform legislation is also a top advocacy issue for the network. On the one hand it’s business, but looking at it historically, it is also activist ethnic journalism at its best. For most Latino journalists, immigration is personal and understanding this cornerstone of Latino media conduct in the United States was key in developing the media strategy that was designed and implemented in the making of March 25 (see Part I and II). The heart of it was going after the hearts and minds of Latino journalists and Latino DJs and we succeeded.

 

If KPFK and Radio Pacifica sincerely aspire to be a progressive  leading force in this struggle, understanding the present stage of the epic  fight for comprehensive reform, as well as the build up of the momentum that has brought Latinos and the people of this movement to the brink of a victory, is an imperative. The present day struggle for Latino and immigrant equality is similar  in nature to the long historical fight for full citizen rights for African Americans relatively accomplished  with the enacment of the civil rights act of 1963 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. With the exception that we are now  in a higher stage of capitalism, “Capitalist Globalization.”

*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, he spent 22 years as a labor organizer and adviser for rank and file movements; directed the mass street mobilizations of 1982-86, in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986; He was also the initiator and directed the making of the 1.7 million historical immigration march in Los Angeles on March 25, 2006, as well as the May 1st 2006 Great American Boycott. Presently he is involved in building La Universidad Obrera de Mexico-Los Angeles and in 2012,  traveled for 5 ½ months thru Mexico observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, the drug war and migrants. Blog Larayueldejavier.wordpress.com, email bajolamiradejavier@yahoo.com, zazmediarelations@yahoo.com