Tag Archives: Neza

Organizing Plans with News from Walmart, Facebook, Spain, and Florida Voting Suppression

Meeting of the Latin American organizers

Mexico City    The annual meeting of the ACORN International board continued its meetings for a second day in Mexico City, as they conferred on fundamental issues of support for existing work, self-sufficiency and support and expansion into new areas like Sicily and Liberia.  Additional reports were heard from Mexico on the Neza water campaign and received from Argentina.  Planning meetings of the Latin American staff and leadership spent valuable hours at a great local coffeehouse, Denmedio, appropriately facing Solidarity Square, firming up the Remittance Justice Campaign and plans to organize coffeehouses and other enterprises in our cities to support the organizing.  Other meetings consolidated the leadership training schedule and organizing plans for Local 100.   Solid progress was made on all fronts topped off, appropriately, with a Friday night visit to see the Lucha Libre Mexican wrestlers!

Reading the papers on-line was almost as wild.

Florida continues to want to make a place for itself in voter suppression by gaining access to Department of Homeland Security information on immigrants so that it can data match voter lists for any slips.  It seems the fears of immigrant rights advocates about the Secure Communities Act are fully confirmed as the continued Obama consolidation of this steel fist in a soft glove strategy becomes a potential Republican voter suppression tool, even as other studies like those of the Pew Center establish that the state managed voter registration systems are now in complete chaos.

Walmart seems to be conceding that the bribery problems in Mexico may be even worse than previously revealed and though hinting that there may be problems in other countries, they have not revealed bribes in China or India, which I have argued are very likely branches that have sprung from the roots of this corrupt corporate culture.

The rise of informal workers in the European economic crisis in places like Spain where a day’s work and wage is being bartered for hardly 50 euros, as reported by the Times, threatens to undermine the last of the social contract even in its last bastions of defense against neo-liberalism.   Europe is the new Asia perhaps?

It seems that the arrogance of Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase has led to losses of $3 billion (and rising) rather than the $2 billion earlier reported.  Hedge funds have continued to profit from Chase’s problems, proving that a billion here and a billion there are still something more for sharks on Wall Street than friends across the counter.  Nonetheless, Dimon’s board and shareholders looked the other way.

Finally, Joe Ricketts owner of Wrigley Field, founder of Ameritrade, and a billionaire with buffalo in Wyoming (sorry about that!), proved that haters still rule the world in some sectors with a kerfuffle even rejected by the Romney campaign that he underwrite a $10 million campaign of race baiting and race hating against Obama via the sputtering and aged rhetoric of Rev. Jeremiah Wright.  Good to see that there was pushback in Chicago which is not yet located in the “new” South and he was sent scurrying.  All of which is not to say that we cannot expect similar mess on the airwaves and elsewhere in the coming presidential contest, but it certainly goes to prove that other side of the coin on the old saw:  “just because you are rich, does not mean you aren’t stupid,” rather than “why aren’t you rich, if you are so smart?”

Dilcia Zavala from ACORN Honduras in Tegucigalpa showcases the entry to Denmedio

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Mexico’s Assault on Workers and Visiting Neza

Delegation with Laura in front of symbol of Workers University

Mexico City  The day started ominously in Mexico City as I walked at dawn towards the Zocalo.  First the Alameda, one of my favorite parks in the world, was encased in a plastic, invisible wall indicating some form of construction for some indefinite amount of time.  Then the Palacio Belles de Artes was blocked by police barricades and armed, bivouacked soldiers, which I later understood was in preparation for the funeral of Carlos Fuentes, the Nobel prize winning Mexican author.  Later walking to the Universidad Obera de Mexico in the light of day with the whole ACORN International delegation, the sun was shining and life on the streets of the city invigorated everyone.

Laura Juarez Sanchez, a researcher at the UOM on the effects of economy, migration, and other topics had prepared a briefing for us that was sobering to say the least.  With elaborate charts and carefully chosen words she laid out the case against neo-liberalism that was stark in the Mexican context.  The heart of her argument rested on the stagnation of the minimum wage for Mexican workers compared to other industrialized countries, including the USA and China.  She argued that the wage was now in comparison, the lowest in the world and the growth in the minimum wage had been miniscule, all because Mexico was trying to hold on to its place in the “race to the bottom” by competing against China and other Asian countries on the basis of wages even as maquila jobs were leaving the country.  The assault on Mexican workers was not simply based on low wages, but also included abnegation and dilution of the labor laws, privatization and reduction of pensions, limited health care, and increasing barriers to education.  We were glad to see our companera, Laura, at UOM and to meet in their lovely library, but there were no smiles on our face about the news she offered.

Similarly, we toured the Neza (Nezahualcoyoth), where ACORN Mexico has done most of its organizing in recent years.  Our leaders said there had been some progress in the struggle for water, but it was mainly around increased water pressure and access to more homes of water adequate for bathing, washing, and so forth.  Potable water for drinking and food preparation was still the issue and for many ACORN families sucked up 40% of their monthly income!

Besides the issue of potable water, we spent some time along the drainage canals and the rio negra  as our members called the rivers of sewage discharge that were floating out of Neza without any treatment.  The coming summer rains inevitably would lead to floods and the sewage once again overflowing into many homes and sections of Neza.

Rio Negra -- sewage discharge into river at Neza

The reports indicated progress, partially by exploiting the opportunity to pressure the parties in the face of the coming national and local elections on July 1st.  Federal elections only come every six years, so our campaign cannot depend on this opportunity, because we are unwilling to wait.

Everyone with ACORN Mexico Neza members


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