“SE HACEN PENDEJOS” Carlos Fuentes Mexico City 1996 Part II
- The 2010 struggles for immigration reform, the Washington D.C. 200,000 People held on March 21.
- The LA May 1st march of 2010 and the onerous, divisive and extreme sexist role of the LA leaders, or in synthesis “el Como se Hacen Pendejos,”
By Javier Rodriguez Los Angeles 31 October 2014
The November 2014 Mid Term Elections are now only for days away and regardless of what party wins the majority in the US Senate, the countdown for the presidential Executive Order DACA II, which is expected to provide broad protection and security for the millions of undocumented immigrants, will begin, and with it, a fierce intense national debate will ensue.
Predictably, as a preamble, the Republican leaders have already begun to launch heavy artillery and have threatened to destroy it by any means. Here’s a 180 degree turnaround by three prominent Republican ex members of the Gang of 8:
- “Acting by executive order on an issue of this magnitude would be the most divisive action you could take — completely undermining any good-faith effort to meaningfully address this important issue, which would be a disservice to the needs of the American people,” Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida wrote to Obama. AP 30 Oct. 2014It is in this context that this series of highly critical pieces on the Latino immigrant rights leaders are being offered for discussion and I’ll start with the year 2010 which in terms of our accomplishments as a movement it is undeniably factual to place it second to 2006 in numbers and momentum. Our own LA leader and long time CHIRLA Director co-chaired the event’s program and it propelled her as a national figure. It was her moment. When we got back to California, the Arizona SB 1070 exploded and just in time for the first meeting to organize the next round of May 1st marches. Recall that in the first part of these series, I pointed out that the previous year 2009, May 1st was a travesty of divisions, and six diminutive marches were held which essentially buried immigration reform for years to come. Angelica agreed and promised to discuss the points in her circles. The work with about 40-50 delegates from the four coalitions and different organizations which were MIWON, Full Rights, SCIC, the March 25 Coalition, the County Federation, SEIU, LIUNA, etc., began. The infrastructure was laid out and as usual I volunteered for the media committee along with Jorge Mario Cabrera and about 7 other media wonks. With five weeks or so to May 1st the opening press conference was scheduled. However as the days moved on, some confusion set in and as the day for the press conference neared, Cabrera sent out an email cancelling it. We lost two weeks of real work. The Coalition’s real press conference and the call I made for one march was an absolute success and this was made exactly two weeks before May Day. Unfortunately, the obsession to continue trying to manipulate the process continued to the last minute of the program at the end of the march. However I can proudly say they got their ass whipped. Immediately after the march I consulted with several of the leaders on the size of the march -it was huge, bigger than Washington on March 21- and collectively I got the green light and I called it at 250,000 and of course it was the national momentum that moved the people. To this day Sister Angelica has yet to apologize.
- I’ll end this Part II article with a letter I received on May 3, 2010, two after the march in LA. It is from Celina who worked with me and the Media Committee. She exposes one of the ugliest manifestations of male sexism against women of the May 1st Coalition by LIUNA members, the closest allies Juan El NAFTA had in his coalition and according to my sources he knew about the abuses on the young women activists. I’ll stop here and you read on.
- Nevertheless, behind the scenes the press event was scheduled and it was staged, but the SCIC and the March 25 Coalition were excluded except that the media did not bite and the event attended by the other half of leaders primarily the groups mentioned above, was a fiasco. Immediately the internet got hot with stern criticisms and accusations of divisions. Incredibly, at the following general meeting they tried to cynically silence the truth with band aids but it was impossible. To use a Maoist term of the 70s, their attitude was putchist, meaning extreme organizational chauvinism. In other words they thought the implicated largess of their faction would prevail. The sorriest part was the role played out by Angelica. My sense is that her husband Rasputin prevailed over her common sense and then CHIRLA, the Filipinos, in complicity with Juan Jose “El NAFTA,” Raul Murillo and La Hermandad, ANSWER, LIUNA and SEIU, etc., conspired and met behind our backs to manipulate the process and place themselves on top, but it didn’t work.
- Understanding the momentum and the need to follow the success of the Washington march, I knew it was paramount to maintain the unity of all the coalitions in Los Angeles and other organizations and personalities which were already part of the recently general coalition. And for that purpose, I convened an early morning meeting with Angelica at Philippe’s Deli in Downtown LA which she graciously accepted. With no formal agenda, I opened the conversation with my thoughts on the Washington march, and the fact the national coalition had become the vanguard in the fight for reform, and rightly so, had set the agenda for the nation. I added also, that politically she had also grown significantly and her status and moral authority had taken a leap forward. In that context, I explained the need to cement the unity and not allow divisions in the general coalition and that the conditions were obvious to ensure the success for only one giant May 1st march.
- The year began on March 21 with a spectacular mammoth mobilization of 200,000 people convened in the capitol by the largest pro immigrant reform coalition in history and the primary demand was the passage of legislative reform. It was a gathering that marked the beginning of a major campaign, it truly represented every corner of the country and another first, in the ESPN televised program, President Obama addressed the crowd and the nation by video. Though back in the Immigrant Spring of 2006 on April 10 D.C. was flooded with half a million people New York with 300,000 and Dallas 500,000, all against the infamous Sensenbrenner Bill, March 21 was more focused and pro active because we had taken the offensive. Additionally, that same Sunday evening, ACA, the health reform, was approved by conciliation and signed into law by the President. For us it was a double victory and it enhanced our status as a powerful grass roots force.
- With the election over, when President Obama issues the widespread protection order, it is imperative for the pro immigrant and Latino national grass roots movement to unify and effectively defend the order, and on the long term, forge an organizing and political strategy that will assist all the liberal, progressive and independent national forces in defeating the far right Republicans in the 2016 elections.
Thank you for so maturely expressing your thoughts. I can assure I can understand your pain and that of your coalition members. The offenses and resentments of those people from LIUNA are indefensible. Can I respectfully ask you to edit your letter and then resend it to me? I would do it but I’m swamped with a document I have to produce today. I’m on a deadline and other matters,
Javier — On Mon, 5/3/10, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Fw: Thank you To: email@example.com Date: Monday, May 3, 2010, 12:12 PM
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry —–Original Message—– From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Mon, 3 May 2010 19:07:50 To: Javier Rodriquez<email@example.com> Subject: Thank you I read your review of the march. Gracias por el credito que le distes al equipo de la media. It was a pleasure working with you. Really rewarding as seeing as far as the eye could see people coming. I also want to thank you for denouncing the security issues we had. I was verbally abused and harassed by members of security. At the stage three of them put their hands on me as well. Even as Ray from RIFA, William from M25, Carlos Montes, Ron Gochez explained to them that I was one of the six coordinators and must be at the stage, the security member from LIUNA, Richard wouldn’t let me in, not because it was a “full stage” as 6 other people got in at the same time they refused my entrance. We went as far as showing my name as a coordinator and Richard said “I still don’t and won’t see it. You’re a nobody and this will teach you to complain about my staff”. The other guy said, “see bitch, I told you you’re a nobody. After 3 failed attempts, Marroquin came over and we explained that all we were trying to do was make sure I was let in, no one else. Marroquin finally got me in and even then it wasn’t easy as he fought for me. The girl in security pushed me trying to block my entrance. I asked her not to touch me. Earlier that day, at 8 am, the other guy who was also at the stage entrance had verbally abused me and other members of my coalition. I had various reports from female members that were yelled at and cursed by this individual as they were setting up; to the point that other people had to interfere. When I in a polite matter asked one of them, Andy, he agreed to give us more time as I was thanking him and told him that I will talk to Gerardo to facilitate things and to be smoother. Last thing I wanted was for anyone to get in trouble for us. That same security guy that was later on the stage started yelling and snapping his fingers at me and said, “I don’t see anything moving out of this truck, get fucking moving you stupid bitch, you’re fucking nobody. You do as I say and get the fuck out of here” The verbal abuse went on for 5 more minutes. I told him he wasn’t going to speak to me or anyone like that, that I was the liaison for this group and we are trying to work together. I said I was going to Gerardo and talk to him about the situation and that we are trying to help but we won’t be mistreated. I ran into Marroquin as I was asking for Gerardo and I explained the events to him so then he removed the individual. The police was very pleasant as they informed security we had till 9:30 to remove the vehicle. Prior to that time we asked them to please help us get the vehicle out, as many members of the media were using it to take footage and pictures of the preparations because it was an elevated platform and it was surrounded before 8:30 by people. I also saw the way they treated you. I was standing next to Umberto as I asked him to please talk to the team to let you in and they shouldn’t be treating leadership or anyone else that way. Different members of the media including channel 52, BBC also complained about the security mistreatment. Both Ray and I had to fight hard to let a team of Credentialed and International officials. They were 6 Consuls and 1 Congresswoman from different countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica) that had come to show their support, organized a press conference the day before in our support, they were denied access to the backstage area. The security member said “no one gets in unless Richard tells me, he is my boss”. They eventually got in with the help of Ray, Dawn and I, but the situation and how they were treated was highly abusive. The Consul for Costa Rica left and the board member of the FMLN was also sent away. To be clear this is the original reason I went over to the stage where the other members were to speak to the other 4 program coordinators. Ray had already been made aware. It was decided collectively that we would communicate. Even now I don’t know what else will be done to rectify their abuse of power and in order for this not to continue to take place. If this is the way we treat our allies, since we fight for justice, what hope do we have to fight against those who see us as enemies, when we are being unjust among us. We don’t even need them to destroy and separate us as we are doing it for them. Gracias otra vez por el analisis. In Solidarity, Celina Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
In Part III, I will provide an X-Ray of the making of the September 22 Millions of Voices March in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Texas in the context of the national campaign, the May 1st marches of the same years and the onerous, divisive and the continued extreme sexist role of the LA leaders, or in synthesis el “Como se Hacen Pendejos,” ZAZ
*Javier Rodriguez is a journalist, a blogger and a media and political strategist. A long time social activist, he founded the Committee to Rescue La Casa del Mexicano; he is also co founder of the Millions of Voices Coalition in LA that on Sept. 22, 2013 organized one of the largest marches with thousands of people in Downtown LA for Immigration Reform; 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;
Back in 1982-86, he directed the mass street mobilizations in LA that led up to the Amnesty Law IRCA of 1986; a journalist, he traveled for 5 ½ months throughout Mexico in 2012, observing and writing about the country’s political process, the aftermath of a highly questioned presidential election, visited several war zones and his family, as well as the State of Tabasco, at the border with Guatemala, where the Central American migrants catch the train they call “La Bestia-The Beast.” Between 1987 and 1996, his son Jesus, his nephew Jaramillo and his brother Jesus all fell victim to neighborhood violence in the area. His blog is Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com; a victim of hacking his old email firstname.lastname@example.org has been recovered.