Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Politics and Inequality

Shirley Cereseto, in her little-known 1982 article, "Capitalism, Socialism, and Inequality," published in the Insurgent Sociologist 11(2): 5-38, is the most comprehensive study of quality of life under capitalism and socialism. She finds that poverty and misery among peoples of the “third world” are not caused by the reasons given by capitalist propagandists (backwardness and/or overpopulation), but rather result from the laws of motion inherent in the capitalist mode of production.

Read more...

Or read about political economies and quality of life. Or Is Democracy Good for Our Health?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who is worth what and who gets bailedout?

There is a study showing that cleaners at a hospital provide more value to society than bankers. I don't think there has ever been much doubt to that. Read the article and listen to the interview.

Cleaners worth more than bankers.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Politics of Health Inequities

A very important article that talks about health from the political perspective and also clarifies some what health means. The Politics of Health Inequities.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Politics of Health

It seems like we need a politics of health. We approach environment, sexism, racism, jobs, and so much more in a very fragmented way. All of these things impact health. People profit and people die because of these issues. So let's pull them together and move forward!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Health Insurance Debate

We keep calling what we see in congress as a health care debate. True health care would be the societal policies and expectactions that would provide everyone an honest opportunity to live a health and long life. Only corporations are supported in that way.

What we have is a health insurance debate to attempt to provide access to illness treatement services. Changing the health of the country in the future will depend on preventing illness through policy. Medical services providers do very little prevention work.

If we want changes in health we'll need to change power dynamics. We'll need political parties that support family friendly wages, educational for all, and health coverage for all as a given!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Joseph Gallegos

GALLEGOS -- Joseph "Joey" Jeremy Gallegos, 20, resident of Albuquerque, passed away Saturday, November 14, 2009. He is survived by his father, Joe Gallegos and wife, Elena; mother, Jodelle Willoughby; step-father, Tracy Willoughby; siblings, Jazmine and Tyler Willoughby, and Angus and Stevie Ray Gallegos; girlfriend, Jasmine; grandparents, Leo Maestas, Sally Maestas, Richard and Arsenia Gallegos, and Jim and Cookie Willoughby; great-grandmother, Frances Gallegos; aunts, Tamara Pacheco, Anita Large, Tami Miller, and Lorraine Willoughby; uncles, Anthony Gallegos, Gabriel Large, Tom Pacheco, Glenn Willoughby, and Darren Miller; and several other extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandmother, Mayumi Willougby; and great-grandparents, Gilbert and Rose Gutierrez, and Herman Gallegos, Alfredo and Casianita Gonzales. Joey loved everyone he knew. He was passionate about life and his music. He was a Dallas Cowboy fan and loved his dogs. Joey was strong willed and good hearted. His family and friends will love him for ever and ever.

Rosary will be recited Thursday, November 19, 2009, 9:30 a.m. at St. Jude Thaddeus Church, 5712 Paradise Blvd. NW. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:00 a.m. Interment will follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

Monday, November 16, 2009

D.E.P. Joey

This young brother participated in La Raza Unida Youth, May Day, and Peace demonstrations. Joey will be missed.

This is one of the many reasons that I personally engage with La Raza Unida. Because I'm tired of so many people dying young and earlier than necessary.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lou Dobbs out of CNN

After some pressure from various groups including Raza groups - Lou Dobbs leaves CNN!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Reality

There are a lot of statistics about how veterans have more problems than the general population. Homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence, PTSD, and so much more. If we really care and support vets then why did 2,266 veterans die last year because of lack of health insurance?

Read the abstract from the research.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Training This Weekend

Dear Raza Unida Familia:

I attended one of these trainings and greatly appreciated the flexibility of their philosophy and model. I am planning on attending and encourage all Raza Unida members to attend.

We could share notes. I plan on attending this for the organizer track, and in future trainings participating in the elected official track. Contact Ariel, email is in the CC of this message, if you are interested. Also let me know so we can plan to drive together if possible.

Amor y Rebeldia,

Enrique Cardiel



Camp Wellstone:
“The Movement Building Project is aimed at empowering change-oriented nonprofits with the skills they need to move a progressive issue agenda and integrate their policy work w ith electoral engagement and grassroots base-building on an ongoing basis.” -- description of Camp Wellstone, Issue Campaign Track

This training will be held in Albuquerque, Nov. 13-15 – event details will be forthcoming. AVNM is currently recruiting for the Camp Wellstone and keeping track of registrations. The Wellstone website does not have a registration key set up yet, but once it does, you will be asked to go there and register as well. You will be able to pay the registration fee online at that time, or you will be able to pay on the first day of the event. The registration fee for Wellstone is set at $50 so that it is affordable. However, there are some scholarship opportunities available for those might otherwise not be able to attend. Wellstone’s philosophy is that no one should be turned away due to finances. Also, for those of you who have membership or staff in other parts of the state who will commit to the entire training, there will be some limited assistance with accommodations. Most meals will be included, as well as a Wellstone book and handouts.

I recommend that you pay a visit to the Wellstone Action website at www.wellstone. org to get a better idea about their programming and mission!

Please contact me personally to save yourself and/or your team members a spot!


Ariel Bickel
Political Director
America Votes New Mexico
Direct: 505-247-0615 Cell: 505-366-8588 Fax: 505-242-4667
625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 120 Albuquerque, NM 87102
abickel@americavote s.org
www.americavotes. org

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Information

There are more and more emails from people wanting our help in starting a chapter. We do not have a travel budget at this point but with the internet we can help. Start by looking over the information on the Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Raza Unida webpage, the events are behind, but the principles are sill up to date.

If you are still interested at that point then send an email and we'll give as much assistance as we can. Every once in awhile someone will have to travel for work, school or family and can meet with people in person. Eventually we will ahve training to help people be volunteer organizers.

Amor y Rebeldia!

Friday, October 23, 2009

10/23/09 Reply to Comment

La Raza Unida is an all volunteer organization. If you are interested in seeing an LRU chapter in your area you'll need to get it started. We can give information and support. The Wellstone trainings would be a good start for someone who hasn't done a lot of organizing, or a lot of electoral organizing.

Please keep in touch!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From Wellstone

They placed this as an Organizing Case Study - the Working Families Party.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Beery Wins!?!?

Most people thought there would be a run-off election. Interesting turn of events that Berry won outright.

Going to make some fun work for progressives.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Universal Health Care NOW!

While we are encouraged to wait for health care reform women are being denied health care while bleeding through their shirts! What is worse is that it is denied after services are given so it is not like you could make a choice about it. How insulting to tell you that you made a mistake in going to the ER because you were bleeding through your shirt.

Just by cutting the salaries of Health Insurance Company CEOs we could save millions! That could go to pay doctors, nurses, and other health providers directly. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have Universal Health Care. It's time to catch up! Call and write your elected officials and let them know to move on this reform so they can move on to providing health care for all!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

US World Power in Decline?

A UK Think tank thinks that the US world power is in decline. This could mean that the US will need to look internally and rebuild itself as a society.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More to think about

Not only did the Census report about more people without health insurance. Poverty also went up. We keep focusing on "economic growth" and avoiding equality issues.

And when this guy yelled "you lie" he was lying!

And there is a site that tracks Obama's broken promises. He seems to still be on the positive side overall. And the most outrageous stuff seems to be the conservative lies. If we could staff a website like that for local politics we'd be really in business!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

46.3 Million Without Health Care!

More and more people are ending up without health insurance. The Census reports that it is now 46.3 Million Without Health Care! And President Obama made sure to mention that no "illegals" get health care.

Everyone deserves health care. If we want to make sure less people come here for work we should be encouraging and supporting other countries to be more equitable and improve their economies.

Come to think of it we should ensure that our economy is more democratic!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Health Care Time

Write to your elected officials and ask for real health care reform!

First - find out who your reps are http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

The send them an email and follow up with a phone call and/or letter.

In the SUBJECT line you should have something like, Keep Public Option request from Albuquerque/Bernalillo County (or wherever you are writing from)

Dear Senator (or Representative):

[Introduction]
My name is ___. I am a constituent/NM resident who lives at _______.

I am writing as a constituent/NM resident to tell you my story and express the need for a strong Public Option. Until Congress is ready to implement a comprehensive Universal Health Care Policy it is vital to have a powerful public option.

[Insert a personal story here about you or someone you know who would benefit from being covered or having improved coverage.] 1-3 Paragraphs.

[CLOSING - asking something specific]
I am sending this email with the hope that you will take a strong stand for a public option now and powerful stand for Universal Health Care SOON. Please support public option and real health care reform now!

Thank You,

Your Name

Again, if you need to find out who is your representatives you can go here
http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/

There is some local work we need to do as well, but everyone having health coverage would make the lives of so many people better off that we need to put our two cents worth in for this as well. Personal letters will be posted to the blog if sent in.

Results from Candidate Forum:
At the August 29 Candidate Forum we were not collectively inspired by the turnout of candidates nor the presentations by candidates. We will each need to support whom we feel we need to at this point.

A great idea came from this. To develop our resume of a candidate we would support. Please send those in and they will get posted to the blog as quickly as possible.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Municipal Candidate Forum Update

There were very few candidates who bothered to show up and the audience took quick note of that. By the time the forum was over one of the mayoral candidates had left.

At the end of the day, La Raza Unida and Advocates for Equity had decided that no candidate had been inspiring enough to receive and endorsement.

The CAMBIO members felt likewise and need to have more discussion before coming out in support of that statement.

So there were NO endorsements after this event.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

REMINDER: Mayor & City Council Candidate Forum

WHEN: SATURDAY, AUGUST 29, 1-4PM
WHERE: LA MESA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH COMMUNITY ROOM,
7401 COPPER NE EAST OF NM EXPO (FAIRGROUNDS) OFF OF LOUISIANA

ORGANIZED BY
: ADVOCATES FOR EQUITY, LA RAZA UNIDA, & CAMBIO

For more information email magonista66@yahoo.com
If you will be bringing children please call 255-9312


CUANDO: SABADO, 29 DE AGOSTO, DE 1-4PM
DONDE: EN EL CUARTO DE COMUNIDAD EN LA PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH,
7401 COPPER NE AL ESTE DE LA CALLE LOUISIANA, CERCA DE NM EXPO (EL PARQUE DE FERIAS)
ORGANIZADO POR: ADVOCATES FOR EQUITY, CAMBIO Y LA RAZA UNIDA

Para mas información contacte a: magonista66@yahoo.com
Si esperan traer niños por favor dejar mensaje a 255-9312

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Senator Obama on Health Care Reform

Senator Obama said that he was a supporter of Universal Health Care but the obstacles that had to get out of the way were control of the White House and control of the Congress....

Sound familiar? Watch Obama say he is a Single Payer supporter on this Bill Moyers special.

Monday, August 17, 2009

More on Inequality

The debate on health care often skips talking about inequality. It has become hard to keep up with all the changes in direction.

If you take into account that one out of four children in NM lives in poverty we see that things like health care are important to flourishing. Not just for the children but for the parents. Unhealthy parents will obviously have a much harder time raising healthy children.

There is a lot of talk about working to end violence, obesity, drop-outs, and other problems with youth. But the reality of our inequality is often ignored. Not just that "kids in China don't have shoes" type of inequality, but the type that attacks your senses, often without you knowing it. There is a lot of interesting information in the video link above.

Here are some facts about NM Inequality. One of the important things is the NM is 6th in greatest inequality between rich and poor. And the site mentions some specific strategies to reduce that.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Need to Keep Organizing

Here are a couple of good short posts from Wellstone.



Grassroots vs Astroturf


"If it wasn't before, it's obvious now that the right still knows how to organize. And with powerful channels of message dissemination (see: Fox News) sending misinformation, anti-reformers are riling up a small but vocal group that could dismantle the best shot at real reform we've ever had.

That's why it's not enough for progressives to just dismiss the vocal minorities we're seeing in the news and wait for the political backlash. We have to turn our anger and frustration into action. So, don't just get mad--get organized."

Same Day Registration Increases Youth Vote

"The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) just published a report on election law reform and its connection to youth voter turnout. More specifically, they found election day registration (EDR) is key to increase the youth vote.

In the nine states that currently have EDR, youth are 41% more likely to vote than youth in other states. In addition, five of the eight states with the highest youth vote, Minnesota, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and Maine, all have EDR. Although CIRCLE acknowledges that EDR is not beneficial for all ages or even all youth, it is an important step in encouraging youth to be active citizens."

* * *

La Raza Unida will be encouraging people to support the "Public Option" and push for Universal Health Care as the follow-up!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Mexican Voices for Health Care Reform - Enrique Cardiel & Karen Cathey

Here's my mom and dad telling it like it is... I'm so proud to be their daughter!!!

Anti-Government Militia on Rise

Anti-Government Militias are on the Rise

WASHINGTON – Militia groups with gripes against the government are regrouping across the country and could grow rapidly, according to an organization that tracks such trends.

The stress of a poor economy and a liberal administration led by a black president are among the causes for the recent rise, the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says. Conspiracy theories about a secret Mexican plan to reclaim the Southwest are also growing amid the public debate about illegal immigration.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Recognized Parties in NM

Parties and their abbreviations that are acceptable to the Secretary of State

American Independent Party (AIP)
Citizen's Party of New Mexico (CNM)
Constitutional Party (CON)
Democratic Party (DEM)
First New Mexican Party (FNM)
Independent (IND)
Independent New Mexican Party (NMI)
La Raza Unida de Nuevo Mejico (LRU)
Libertarian Party (LIB)
Natural Law Party of New Mexico (NLP)
New Mexico Alliance Party (NAP)
New Mexico Green Party (GRN)
New Mexico Socialist Party (SNM)
New Mexico Taxpayers Party (NMT)
New Party of New Mexico (PNM)
Peace and Freedom Party (PAF)
People's Constitutional Party (PCP)
Prohibitionist Party (PRO)
Reform Party of New Mexico (REF)
Republican Party (REP)
Socialist Labor Party (SLP)
Socialist Workers Party (SWP)
Worker's World Party (WWP)
Other (OTH)

When registering you put the initials in Box 5 of the NM voter registration form. If you put none, leave blank, or a line through the party box you are registered as "Decline to State" (DTS)

"Left" parties are the ones that support policies which make people healthier and happier - such as 6 months paid paternaty/maternity leave, living wages, paid education through higher ed, Universal Health Care (the not for profit kind), full employment, subsidized child care (like a universal Head Start idea), paid vacations for ALL workers (often about 6 weeks).

How do you think these policies can be implemented here?

Social Mobility

Here is a great article about social mobility and equality.

And one on Equality, Social Mobility and Poverty.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mayor and City Council Candidate Forum

Save the Date!

Mayor and City Council Candidate Forum


When: Saturday, August 29, 1-4PM
Where: La Mesa Presbyterian Church Community Room,
7401 Copper NE, east of nm expo (fairgrounds) off of louisiana

Organized by: advocates for equity, la raza unida, & cambio

For more information email magonista66@yahoo.com

If you will be bringing children please call 255-9312




¡Guarde esta fecha!

Foro de los candidatos para Alcalde y el Consejo de la Ciudad de Alburquerque


CUANDO: Sábado, 29 de Agosto, de 1-4 PM
DONDE: En el cuarto de Comunidad en la Presbyterian Church,
7401 Copper NE, al Este de la calle Louisiana, cerca de NM Expo (El parque de Ferias)

ORGANIZADO POR: Advocates for Equity, La Raza Unida, y Cambio

Para más información contacte a: magonista66@yahoo.com

Si va a traer sus niños por favor llamen a 255-9312

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is Inequality Killing Americans?

Thom Hartman had a great segment where he pointed out that societies where inequalities were higher had worse health outcomes. The outline of his show are on his website. He used information from EqualityTrust.org.uk for the information and there is even a video there for those who prefer watching to reading.

Here is a quote from the EqualityTrust:

"Great inequality is the scourge of modern societies. We provide the evidence on each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage births, and child well-being. For all eleven of these health and social problems, outcomes are very substantially worse in more unequal societies."

The US does close to the bottom in almost every area. And Thom talked about even within the US states that are more unequal also have worse outcomes for these public health issues. Until we have strong parties that stand on this as basic policy we will continue to get the fights that we get for decent wages, health policy, and more.

Register Raza Unida in NM by placing "LRU" in box 5 of your voter registration form!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shatner Comedy

Sometimes you just have to take a minute to see the lighter side of things. Here is William Shatner doing a read of Palin.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bilingualism when? Now!

There is always some random conservative hack going on about the dangers of bilingualism or for "English Only" laws. And as usual - science shows that early bilingualism is easy!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

07/16/09

There is a lot going on. Health Care is a big issue, but in Albuquerque there is also a Municipal Election. We will have a forum on August 29, 2009 from 1-4 at La Mesa Presbyterian Church.

Details coming soon!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Community Organizing - 07/09/09

Community Organizing - something that seems vague to many people. In essence it is work that comes from the sense that we care. We care about ourselves, our neighborhoods, and our larger communities. And that caring creates a sense of responsibility in us to do something about those we care about. It usually involves fighting those who make money or gain privilege from the suffering of others. And so we organize to build the strength to carry out our responsibilities for the people and places we care about.

Wellstone Action has one description of community organizing. Not all organizers are paid. Often paid organizers forget that and play out their own versions of privilege and can sometimes be patronizing.

Most organizers are respectful and responsive to community. Many are dedicated and work above and beyond what their paychecks cover.

In the end we need to build community power to counterbalance the corporate power that has been supported in our country, state, and county. That's why La Raza Unida is working hard for voter registration and community power building!

Friday, June 26, 2009

To Pledge or Not

Since fourth or fifth grade, I've chosen not to participate in the pledge of Allegiance, for a number of reasons. First off, through La Raza Unida Youth Cmte. I learned of what the conquistadores, and other European voyagers did to the people who lived on this continent.

Mostly it was that my father, a veteran, taught me that freedom of speech meant that I had a choice. It was not mandatory. He made sure we learned our history, our rights, and our responsibilities.

Also, the response that teachers had made me more determined to practice my freedoms. Here they are supposed to teach me to be an active member of society and they would tell me that the pledge was mandatory. In fact it is not. My parents would have to meet with principals and teachers almost every school year. My father would often just tell them, "This is her freedom of speech and you are not forcing her to do something she doesn't want. Kids are forced to do too many things already."

This fighting spirit is what makes our communities great. It helped me get through school. And it makes me who I am.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

FMLN at Peace and Justice Center

Hola, lovers of music and justice!
This Friday, June 19, Albuquerque will host a representative of the newly-elected government of El Salvador, William Hernández of the FMLN, and L@SOTR@S will sing.

The event will be a potluck supper at the Center for Peace & Justice, 202 Harvard, SE (at the corner of Silver), 6:30 PM. The suggested donation at the door is $5.

Most of you know that the FMLN has fought for justice for the people of El Salvador for many decades, and were probably bowled over and moved to tears like me when they won the presidential election in March.

Elated that we will host such an event here in Albuquerque, L@SOTR@S offered to play, and we will close out the evening with music.I hope you're able to come to this wonderful, heart-filling event. To put you 'in the mood,' here are some videos that have been making Mayr and me cry with joy since March, photos of the FMLN campaign and victory set to some appropriate music - incredible to see joy-filled rallies in places whose names we associated for so long only with massacres and heart-breaking oppression.

All the best,
Dair

domingo rojo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ppigpVcUco

todo cambia:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQUAJNXP3z0&feature=related

sombrero azul:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef8sXZ94Ef8

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Policy Changes for Drop Off

One of the things La Raza Unida has been doing is supporting the policy changes for how the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) drops people off. Often people are released in the middle of the night into downtown Albuquerque. Whether they are disabled, having mental health problems, or substance abuse issues.

Kalpulli Izkalli and Young Women United have been doing great work around this. And it is paying off!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

David Vs. Goliath

How David beats Goliath - from the New Yorker. It is important to think outside the box. Especially as a third party in a two party system.

Wellstone has an article as - David vs. Goliath as a Winning Strategy for Campaigns.

Please read and leave some thoughts. Democracy needs some new thinking!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 4, 1989

It was twenty years ago today...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Grassroots Policy

"Conservatives have been very serious about building their power — to govern, to dominate the political agenda and to shape the ideological context in which issues and agendas are contested. Progressives have not had this clarity of purpose, nor have we grasped the importance of harnessing the power of ideas. We are hesitant to define a progressive agenda, let alone a progressive worldview. And only recently have some progressives begun to say that they are aiming for the power to govern as a prerequisite for sustained, fundamental change. If we cannot name transformational social change goals, then we will not aim for them and we certainly will not achieve them."

From Grassroots Policy Project

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5/26/09

There is a Wellstone training on Campaigning and being a Candidate. The training is June 5-6 and we are encouraging all Raza Unida members to consider participating.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Rise Up!

Reading the newspaper really brought me down. Reading about the little boy who was killed by his mother, more money for war, and they're not closing down Guantanamo...
So I wrote this to get some of the heaviness off my chest:

My eyes are tired from crying.
My heart is tired from being so heavy.
The destruction in this world is unbearable.
People don't have homes, food, or any basic needs.
So much violence and suffering...

My eyes are tired from crying.
My heart is tired from being so heavy.
I'm tired of being tired!

We as a people need to rise up!
Help one another, and make sure
Our governments serve us...

We need to fight for justice!
For a livable wage, health care for everyone,
a free higher education...

We need to rise up from this destruction!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Health and Health Care Reform

Women in Japan living the longest. Most of these news stories don't mention why people live longer in different countries. They sometimes talk about what an individual did to live so long, but don't mention the larger picture.

Health and public health professionals are talking about the need to change the dynamics of power ton improve health. It is very interesting. Vicente Navarro and others are taking a strong stand on the importance of politics and health.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Caps on Execs?

Geithner keeps letting execs rip off American People. No exec works 100 or 300 times harder than anyone else in a company. This is just stealing the profits which could be shared more equitably and giving them to a few instead of to many.

This is why we are stuck on the idea of increasing credit. Just pay everyone fairly and ethically and more people would be able to live within their means and enjoy the common wealth created by everyone's work!

Maybe then college students wouldn't have such a hard time.

Quotes from Solidarity

From the article SOLIDARITY, published in Regeneración, October 29, 1910

"Solidarity is the consciousness of the common interest, and the actions that follow from this consciousness."

"Ignorance of humanity's common interest, that is, ignorance of solidarity, makes each man see in the other man a competitor who must be vanquished so that he can live."

"One must consider an injury to one an injury to all."

- Ricardo Flores Magón

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Universal Health Care? Not Yet (5/13/09)

Well on the Ed Shultz show yesterday there was talk about how Obama was holding hands with corporations to continue screwing the people out of Universal Health Care. It was depressing and looking at the news it seems accurate. And Congressman Kucinich has introduced a Universal Health Care bill!

Physicians for a National Health Plan have lots of information from a doctor's point of view. I think it is safe to say that Single Payer is off the table. Exclusion is normal in a society with corporate sponsored political parties. I like where the video shows the person talking about "pay to play." I think Vicente Navarro does a good job at pointing out "why this situation persists." He even talks about solutions. He talks about the nature of the problem in the US (pdf) and does something that is not mentioned in the media. He actually looks at life expectancy and infant death rates and looks to see if the health system of a country makes a difference.

Instead of sadly comical news about terrorist doctors like the US. I think the final note in this article says more than just fear mongering of particular news stations.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Raza Healthcare Issues

Health of Latinos at Risk

A study undertaken by the organization Familias USA, using data from the U.S. Census and the Department of Health and Human Services, reveals that one out of every three people spent at least part of the past two years without health coverage.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

European Policies Soften Blow of Economic Hard Times

With its tidy villages, orderly cities and atmospheric scenery, there are few outward signs that the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to historic Heidelberg and the famed Black Forest, is a victim of the current economic crisis.

But with the auto industry here hit especially hard — this is the home of Mercedes-Benz — things are tougher than they have been in decades. Unemployment is up 70 percent in the past year (albeit to a relatively low 5 percent total) and many employees have been forced to cut down their hours.

Misery below the surface, perhaps? Not at the bustling Fuerstenberger home just outside Heidelberg, where little has changed for the family's four children despite neither parent currently working.

Read more...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rose Wilson Ebaugh

Rose Wilson Ebaugh



Sunrise November 11, 1959 Sunset May 4, 2009

Rose Wilson Ebaugh was born in Winslow, Arizona as the third daughter to James and Louise Wilson. She had five sisters—Elsie Barber (Richard), Elouise Lee (Randolph), Ella Wilson, Carol Wilson, Judy Wilson (Gilbert Packineau) who loved her very much.

Rose was the proud mother of three sons: Joseph James Ebaugh, Justin Jeremy Ebaugh and Carson Gilmore Lafferty. Joseph Caine Ebaugh, her grandson, was the apple of her eye. All of her boys brought her much joy and she went out of her way to find opportunities for her children’s enrichment.

Rose was fiercely independent and a leading community activist. She would take a stand for what she believed in; she would speak out for her beliefs and for the rights of others. She was very involved in her community and supported many social justices’ causes. Much of her work both paid and volunteer reflects her convictions. She was a SAGE Council Board Member, An Advisory Board member for the "All My Relations" program at 1st Nations, An active member of the Network of Indian Organization, Worked on the ABQ Dineh Voters Project as a member of National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) and the Navajo Vote Coordinator for Navajos in Albuquerque, Employed by 1st Nations and a long time DJ for Singing Wire on KUNM- FM. Rose and was an avid athlete and enjoyed many sports. She was a UNM Alumnus.

Rose was a very loving generous person who was willing to share what she had. However, she was also very humble … She gave to and touched more people then what any of us will ever know about.

She will be sorely missed by her family and many friends at the marches, the fundraisers, on the radio, the sports events, and the celebrations …..

Rose Wilson Ebaugh passed away on May 4, 2009. Her memorial services will be forthcoming.

Ex-Felon Voting Rights Change in Washington

Governor signs bill allowing some ex-felons voting rights. We're greatful that Ballot Access News keeps track of this important type of news. There is a lot going on now. Visit the site!

More May Day Pictures























Pictures from the SWOP Blogger!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Great May Day March!




Here are some of our members marching. More to come this week.




Thursday, April 30, 2009

Greens Not a Qualified Party

In solidarity with a party that has worked hard to become fully qualified in the state we wanted to let people know that unfortunately in NM the Greens are not a Qualified Party at this time.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Labor at the Movies


Presented by the Albuquerque IWW.

3 short movies about current Labor Organizing and a song that changed the world
7 pm Thursday April 30th, 2009
@ The Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center


MORE INFO abq@iww.org or 331-6132


Friday, April 17, 2009

May Day Information

May 1, 1886, became historic. On that day thousands of workers in the larger industrial cities poured into the streets, demanding eight hours. About 340,000 took part in demonstrations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Baltimore, Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and other places. Of these nearly 200,000 actually went out on strike. About 42,000 won the eight-hour day. Another 150,000 got a shorter day than they had had before.

* * *

International Workers' Day was founded for the struggle for something we take for granted - the 8 hour work day. Back in 1884 a general strike was called for May 1, 1886. This work was done by groups of workers in the US and included a large number of immigrant workers. Moderate labor organizers worked with the bosses and had the first monday in September declared "Labor Day" in order to seperate themselves from those who fought for the 8 hour day, women's equality, equality for immigrants, and other ideas.

So as history has it - May 1 as a labor day started in the US by a diverse group of men and women from many countries - immigrants - is recognized around the world except here.
http://www.londonmayday.org/

A friend from Mexico pointed out that red and black are "strike" colors. For those who died for me to have an 8 hour work day, weekends, and so much more wear red and black on International Workers' Day. Respect the calls for peace that the organizers of the event in Albuquerque and still honor those who have fought and died for workers' rights in all countries.
http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org/MayDay2009/
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/images/2006/05/mayday_caracas2.jpg
http://desdelabalaustra.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/primero-mayo-1886-chicago1.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3331/3251251238_f9756b32af.jpg

Thanks to all who have organized for Primero de Mayo now and in the past!!
http://anarchistblackcat.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=746
http://newmexico.indymedia.org/news/2006/05/2760.php

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Party Lessons

Well there was lots of glowing coverage of the Tea Party protests. The lesson learned is that there needs to be a counter balance to the extremist right wing. If the only people out in the streets are these tea baggers, then very possibly the Democratic party will continue its slide to the right in order to court votes.

This will lead to more things in Albuquerque like the public schools cheese sandwhiches. A short video is available on Good Morning America. Go here and if it is not on the front page search "School Lunch Shame." The tea baggers think that it is OK to give kids this "food" because their parents are having a hard time paying for lunch, it is OK to underpay educational assistants, and overpay administration!

May Day is coming - let's get a BIG turnout and show some real power!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seriously Tea Bagging?

I can't believe how much unquestioning coverage News 4 gave to the Tax Day protest.

Here are some links to learn more about this issue...
Rachel Maddow on Tax Protest.

Veterans Upset about Teabagging at Veteran's Memorial.

Teabaggers out of Sync with Real People.

and one final

Tea Baggers' Strange Brew.

In a country with one of the lowest tax rates for people to be complaining about being overtaxed is very laughable. Unfortunately it is expected.





Join the Party Party (4/14/09)

Saturday, April 18 at 5:30 pm1028 Ann St. SW apt. 5

Join the Party Parties are house meetings set with the intention of giving new people a sense about La Raza Unida Party and the work we are doing. We are currently building some good voter registration through these events.

Quotes from Spoiling for a Fight 1

"Though most people commonly think of parties as national organizations, nearly all party building happens at the state and local levels. ...

Third parties succeed when people get elected under that party's banner or the party's candidate gets enough votes to affect the larger political debate and change people's political awareness. A third, more subjective measure of success is when a third party shows that it is not a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon but actually builds an enduring organization that is self-supporting and growing. ...

The idea of "bearing witness" against a corrupt and seemingly impenetrable political system can be noble. But it is usually not very political in the sense of actually affecting the direction of the country. That requires a willingness to engage in dialogue with real voters, not just true believers, no matter how hard that may be. So one critical element of third-party growth is whether the party's activists are outward focused (on winning elections or moving issues) or inward focused (on often irrelevant organizational or ideological battles). ..."

- From Spoiling for a Fight


This seems to point at the tough work of building a real base is the key work. Registering voters, developing volunteers, donors, and leaders. In essence we need activists - volunteer at first and eventually paid - who do the nuts-and-bolts of building the party, supporting candidates, and getting the word out.

Lots of working-class and poor people know that the current set up isn't helpful to them. They are blown off as apathetic, but knowing you are locked out is not apathy. So what to do?

Build options! Large numbers of people are interested in alternatives. Many people support aid to poor families, eliminating corporate welfare, reductions in military spending, universal health care, poison free communities, better labor conditions, healthy energy systems, healthy food, and many more progressive issues that come down to working people having real power.

So get out there and register someone!

More on Marriage Equality

Well Vermont and Iowa have done some great work for Marriage Equality. Congratulations!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Polls

Here may be some polls to watch. Apparently partisan voters affiliated with the corporate parties is decreasing. And also people aren't as pro-capitalist as we may have thought.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Peoples' Rights

Every human being has the right to be with who they love. Whether a man love a woman, a man love a man, or a woman love a woman. We are all human and deserve that. We also all deserve to have the same legal rights when being recognized as partners by law. Married couples have certain rights that same-sex couples are entitled to as well. Hopefully soon we'll stop being so homophobic and grant same-sex couples to have the rights they are entitled to.

Another chance
to fight for this might come up in the special session. Gov. Richardson said that domestic partnerships could be on the agenda.

Global Labor Strategies Blog post

Global Labor's Forgotten Plan to Fight the Great Depression.

In the early 1930s, as global unemployment tripled in two years and the world plunged into the Great Depression, the world’s labor movements developed a program for fighting the global crisis through international public works. It’s a little-known historical might-have-been that could have helped halt the Great Depression, the rise of Adolph Hitler, and the Second World War. And, as the efforts of world leaders to address today’s “Great Recession” threaten to break down in nationalist rivalry and petty political bickering, it bears lessons – and perhaps an alternative vision – for today.

Workers and organized labor have historically advocated government public works as a solution to unemployment. Not only would they provide jobs and income for those directly employed, but they would raise overall purchasing power, thereby creating demand for the products of other workers and creating a virtuous circle of economic growth. In the context of swelling unemployment in the early Depression, discussion of national public works programs developed in many countries.

Click link above to read more.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Congressional Bills for Public Financing

The long-awaited bills in Congress for public funding of Congressional candidates have been introduced. In the House, the bill is HR1826, sponsored by John B. Larson (D-Ct.) and 12 co-sponsors so far. In the Senate it is S752. Unlike past bills on this subject in Congress, the bills treats all candidates alike, regardless of party or independent status. However, write-in candidates may not qualify. House candidates qualify for public funding by raising at least 1,500 contributions from their district. The total raised privately must equal at least $50,000. Contributions between $5 and $100 count for this purpose. Thanks to IndependentPoliticalReport for news of the bills.

From Ballot Access News.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Singing Down the Walls April 5

Hi, friends, family and music lovers!

This Sunday, April 5, 3-5 pm, is the next round of Singing Down the Walls, our teaching sing-alongs at Bandido's Hideout Restaurant. This time it will be led by Leila Flores-Dueñas and Carol Vigil, Las flores del valle, who are not only way-dynamic and wonderful singers and performers, but great teachers and also happen to do terrific research on their work, so they can tell us all sorts of things about the songs we'll learn.

All songs in Spanish will be translated to English and vice versa. It's free, you can't beat that!Don't miss it! Tell your friends, bring your family!

Sunday, April 5, 3-5 pm
Bandido's Hideout Restaurant
2128 Central, SE

Please print it out and spread the word.

Dair Obenshain
Project DirectorSomos los otros ... and they are us!
dair_o@yahoo.com
(505) 934-2419 (cell)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Speaking through Art



Art is a great way to let your thoughts be known. Some of us are good at speaking, some of us are good at writing, and some of us are good at expressing ourselves through forming our thoughts into visual pieces. I really admire artists, because I myself do not have the ability to express myself freely like that. My way of expression is through written words.

I also think it's a good way to engage young people. After all, we are a very visual generation. Not all of us have the patience to sit through a speech or read an article.

(Photo by: Jule_Berlin on flickr.com)

Cesar Chavez Event in Española

The Cesar Chavez Day Celebration in Española went very well. We held the event on the campus of Northern New Mexico college in Española, in the cafeteria, which allowed to reach many people who may not otherwise attend the event.

We had presentations by: Dr. Jose Griego, President of the college, did a brief welcome and spoke for a few minutes about Cesar's legacy and informed everyone that Northern is one of the few institutions in the country that is fully unionized.

Lang-time community activist Santiago Juarez, presented on keeping Cesar's legacy alive, and about his experience organizing with the UFW in the 1970's. And raising our expectations for ourselves and communities.

John Chavez, Santa Cruz Land Grant and New Mexico Lang Grant Council, spoke about the land rights movement in NM, and some of the legislation the Land Grant Council has helped get passed.

Long-time community organizer and activist Clarissa Duran presented about the life and legacy of Dolores Huerta, and carrying on her mission for justice, including her commitment for voter registration. and read poetry.

Dr. Hilario Romero, director of Equal Opportunity Office at Northern an past State Historian and Archivist, spoke about the importance of learning our history and passing it on to future generations. He also spoke of time he spent with Cesar during his final visit to Santa Fe before he died.

One of the founding members of Northern's Chicano Student Club and Hermano Angelo Sandoval presented about Cesar's life, achievement and vision for non-violence and a more just and fair society.

Maurice Segovia, Northern Staff presented about the Dream Act, educational opportunities for undocumented population and about the Union movement in Florida and the history of the boycott against Taco Bell and Pizza Hut.

Tessa Cordova performed music and spoke about the racist actions in Taos and the boycott against the Taos News (newspaper).Enrique "Syk Ryk" Martinez, front man of Gloryhorde Orchestra, and long-time event organizer and Poet from Española, performed poetry.Northern Student and poet Beat Tsosie-Pena performed poetry.

Northern graduate and community organizer Solisa Zamora performed poetry.Ortiz Middle School teacher Loretta Trujillo performed music and shared her poetry.

I spoke a little about La Raza Unida and passed out information sheets about the Party. We also collected signatures for the petition to make Cesar Chavez's birthday a federal holiday, and passed out information on immigration issues.

We had a good turnout, a good mix of community members, Northern students, faculty and staff. Even Chef Ron, the school's main chef shared a Juaquin Murrieta quote for the students. A lot of positive and cooperative energy and support.

Reported by Adan

Past Bernalillo County Elections

Past Election Results

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

IRV In LA

IRV in LA.

Prayer Vigil

PRAYER VIGIL AND SPEAK OUT!
SATURDAY, APRIL 4, 7:00-9:00pm
Robinson Park (at downtown round-about)

Join us in circle and community to continue to celebrate the life of Amber A. Archibeque to acknowledge the circumstances that brought her precious life and the lives of so many women, to an abrupt end. We also celebrate the lives of Victoria Chavez, Michelle Valdez and her unborn baby, Cinnamon Elks, and Julie Nieto who were found on the Sacred Site/West Mesa Grave Site and the many other Women who are missing in Albuquerque.

We stand together to oppose the silence of violence against women, silence of sexual abuse, and the silence of addiction that feeds our pain and tears at our communities.

We come together in circle and community to restore hope, to amplify the voices of women, our struggles, and heal the current systems that perpetuate the cycles of poverty, addiction, sexual abuse, and violence in hope and action toward a better world for our children, families and communities.
Their loss is a perpetuation of the inattention and continued violence against women that WILL NOT GO UNVOICED!

For more info call: Family @ 249-6309. Young Women United @ 831-8930 . Kalpulli Izkalli @ 452-9208

Thursday, March 26, 2009

One Description of Proportional Voting

"Through proportional representation electoral systems, like-minded groupings of voters win legislative seats in better proportion to their share of the population. Whereas winner-take-all elections award 100% of power to a 50.1% majority, proportional representation allows voters in a minority to win a fair share of representation. Proportional representation describes a broad range of methods that require at least some legislators to be elected in districts with more than one seat."

From FairVote.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

US Voter Turnout

Compared with other nations the US voter turnout is at 139!

Fair Vote has some suggestions.

"Proportional representation, which is a system that better represents the varied choices and beliefs of the electorate, is usually associated with higher turnout in contrast with winner-take-all plurality districts. A National Popular Vote (NPV) with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) would also better represent the views of members of minority parties. IRV would also reduce negative campaigning with the proliferation of multiple opposition candidates. These both are associated with higher levels of turnout, especially among minorities and young people, in the United States and abroad. Finally, FairVote advocates Universal Voter Registration to make the voting process easier. The barrier of registration in the United States has been estimated to deter voters and decrease turnout by as much as 10 percent. Furthermore, registration barriers that depress turnout contribute to the "socioeconomic skew" of elections in which the wealthy are more likely to turnout than low-income voters. Thus Universal Voter Registration would likely reduce class barriers to voting. There are also a number of turnout boosting institutional changes that are issues not represented by FairVote. ..."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Interesting Information (3/23/09)

The Second International, which was an international organization of political parties, led to the founding of the Socialist International.

In 1889 they declared May 1 as International Labour Day. A day that began in the US. And in 1910 they declared March 8 as International Women's Day. Some nice facts.

A side note - in 1980 the National Chicano Moratorium Committee, Union del Barrio, and Partido Nacional La Raza Unida declared August 29 - Raza Memorial Day, honoring those who died for Chicana and Chicano freedom and liberation.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Adjournment of NM Legislature

NM Legislature will close tomorrow and there isn't a count of what parties are eligible. The Secretary of State is supposed to take care of this before the end of session the way I understand it.

Red House Meeting

We met this week at a beautiful red house and reviewed our principles and policy directions to come to prioritize policies we want to work on.

If you want to see the draft posted here please leave a comment and we'll post it. Have a wonderful first day of Spring.

The next Join the Party Party is Wednesday, April 1st at 6:30 at 2602-C Coal SE.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Improving Health (3/17/09)

There are places where social inequalities have been reduced and the health of the population improved. Two of these regions have been studied extensively because they are a region within a country and not the entire country. Mostly showing how inequality reduction supports public health.

These areas are the state of Kerala India and the northeastern regions of Italy. Over the last 40 or so years these areas have improved the health of the population and reduced social inequalities for their regions. What they have in common? They have parties that intentionally implement policies of equity.

Because we often have such a negative view of parties and politicians in the US we lose sight of this. This is not to say that the corporate friendly parties that we have in charge don't disappoint. In fact, in almost all countries people's expectations of parties and politicians lead to a lack of engagement.

Political parties are important because they the policies they implement when in government determine the level of equalities and inequalities in a society and relates to the health of the population as a whole. If you look at the social democratic countries (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Austria) the labor movements and their related parties have been very strong.

What does this look like? Social democratic parties are in power at least half the time. The percentage of people in unions is about 60-80%. In the US? About 13% Social security expenditures are high, taxes are higher, public employment in health, education, and welfare are higher. And importantly women's participation in the workforce are higher.

Besides the fact that it pays to be union, parties can make a difference as well. Worker oriented parties also work at full-employment policies. This leads to lower unemployment. Universal social policies. Things like universal health care, paid time off for all workers, and childcare available for all families. These fit together very well also.

One quick example. For universal health care to work there would need to be an increase in health care workers. This would require increasing support for education to build the work force needed. And that requires more teachers to train the work force. By expanding the work force in a wide variety of ways more people are employed in general and also more women.

There is so much more. But really quickly let's look at the reasons for inequalities in a country. Three major areas of policy are involved. One is the amount of money that goes to capital versus labor. Even our stimulus has gone mainly to corporations and focused on credit versus wages. A second the wage disparities within the labor force. Again worker friendly governments have the lowest wage disparities within the work force. The distributive effect of state interventions. Changes in disposable income as a result of taxation system.

We can easily see in the US that these three policies which work in "corporate friendly" countries are most corporate friendly here. How can we change this? Only through a lot of hard work done by all of us. We have to take the caring we have and the responsibilities that come with it to form a strong stand for the entire population. Our government has been serving mainly the top 5% for a long time.

Working together we can change that. Working together can make the incremental changes that will lead toward strong communities. We can have freedom from want, freedom from intrusion, and freedom to thrive by taking a strong and caring stand together!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Role of Political Parties (3/16/09)

La Raza Unida is an independent group building a democratic organization that can promote policies that serve democracy, fairness, and freedom. This will be a challenge given the system we have now, but it can be done. It will take participation from many, many people over a good period of time. But the option is more of the same failures we've endured for decades.

Political Parties play an important role in any modern society. When parties and politicians fail to meet their role, people become disillusioned. Some still believe in democracy but give up on parties and politicians as a result. That look many people give when you say the word "politics" is the result of this dynamic.

In some of the progressive movements people say that they "don't do politics" or that they are past doing politics. This itself is fairly self-delusional as parties are who organize a great deal of our society by enacting the policies we deal with. Parties and politicians are who we lobby when we want change.

It is time to improve this situation. We need to understand the role of political parties. We need to understand the role of the political process. And we need to understand our role in democracy.

Four functions that political parties play are 1) developing policies and government programs, 2) pick up demands from constituents and create a cohesive platform, 3) recruit, select, and train people for positions in government and elected office, 4) to oversee and control government. These are important roles that we have often tried to fill from the non-profit sector, thinking that somehow that was "cleaner." This is often behind the illusion of "non-partisanship" or "bipartisanship."

The non-profit sector can support democracy but cannot replace it. The fact that it is beholden to funders automatically limits it. Even though there is a range allowable for advocacy, there are laws that will limit how much change can happen directly from the non-profit sector.

The functions that parties play also feed into their fundamental roles. For a party truly outside there are very distinct roles as the "opposition." Developing alternatives, gaining support for change, and building a pool of competent people. We saw some of this in the last election. We also saw some limitations because of our two-party system.

Political systems characterized by individuals rather than parties cannot provide an institutional memory of previous policies and politics. Ross Perot is a classic example of this. Other parties also lean on individuals as opposed to party building as their ticket to power.

Parties can have some standard goals. For example, three easily identifiable goals are 1) maximize votes, 2) obtain as many elected officials as possible, 3) push a specific policy agenda. There is a link but enough difference between them to consider them separately.

The party system we have now has often been detached from citizens' concerns and without creative answers to our problems. This has led to low turnouts because people are tired of that. More and more people are registering independant or "decline to state" party.

La Raza Unida is working with people interested in creating more democracy, healthier democracy, and more responsive government. La Raza Unida is pushing an agenda for healthier politics. La Raza Unida is building an organization that will be responsive to social, political, environmental, and economic justice needs of our communities.

We look forward to working with you on this.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

IDEA International

Here's a link to learn about democracy internationally.


International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Instant Runoff Voting (3/11/09)

Why so many posts on Instant Runoff Voting? For a few reasons. One is that what we have is called "First Past the Post" (fptp) or "winner take all" electoral system. This system tends to gravitate to two parties. This is known as Duverger's Law.

Our current system is defended in its simplicity. That sounds to me as an insult to be able to understand more than two choices. We expect people to understand lots and lots of choices when shopping, but not for something as important as who leads us to war. Very interesting and sad notion.

Often our style of system leads to single party governments. Wait you say, we have two parties right? Well we actually have many. But there are only two national parties and often on has a strong majority over the other in our type of system. Like the Republican Revolution we have just survived we now have a Democratic Majority. Well, after that what will we get? Depends on what organizing we do NOW.

Disadvantages to our system is that it actually excludes different voices. Since the set up is that a vote for a new voice or party will not likely get the plurality (most not always majority) of votes they are seen as "wasted" votes. So in our system voting for who you REALLY want is considered a "waste."

On average our voting system excludes minorities from fair representation. People may think we are past that now, and in NM it sure doesn't seem to be the case. But look at the range of political thought considered part of our norm and you'll see that minorities can mean many different things.

Women are also often excluded in our system. Around the world women represent 11% of national elected officials in fptp and 20% in proportional representation systems. This and a lack of general responsiveness is enough problems.

With a fptp system you get a lower voter turnout and much less responsiveness. If you don't need a majority to get elected then why bother being responsive? Democracy requires responsiveness. Democracy needs participation.

If we made a minor adjustment and went with Instant Runoff Voting, we would still have some problems but they would be much reduced. With IRV you would need to be careful of attacking another politician because you would want to be that politician's constituency's second choice. You would have to try and come to a true center in order to win elections.

Minor parties would be able to become part of the debates and elections without being a "spoiler." This spoiler effect limits our debates and dialogues and thus our real choices. We think in the US that we have a "left" and a "right" yet we really have a right and a center. A whole range of thinking is missing.

We would greatly improve our politics if we could encourage more choices. A democracy needs many options to be true. The millions it takes to run for national office, the limitations on who can run for that alone is shocking. Then take into account who doesn't even bother to run because they don't want to be a spoiler and we have a truly limited democracy. This one simple step would open the door to better ideas and greater participation. And that's what democracy is all about.

Aspen Council Adopts Instant Runoff Voting

Here is some good news about Aspen Colorado adopted IRV.

On March 9, the Aspen, Colorado, city council voted to use Ranked Choice Voting in the city election set for May 5, 2009. The offices up are Mayor and two at-large city council seats. The Aspen voters had voted in 2007 to use Ranked Choice Voting, but the city council had to determine the details. The city spent a great deal of effort choosing among competing sets of rules.

Monday, March 9, 2009

03/09/09

As the economy crashes, and as Warren Buffet says - "falls off the cliff", we are seeing a big crises and sense of tension around us. For a short version we need to have some general strategy to continue to move forward. I'll lay out a rough draft for comments and reflection here.

In the short term we need to promote, stand for, and applaud things that reduce suffering. From wage increases, creation of jobs, and support of families. We also need to push for more support for working people and the unemployed. We still need to push for better wages, better services, and better government. Opening up democracy and creating a culture of more participation is key right now.

There are plenty of organizing opportunities at this time. From democratic changes in politics - public financing, Instant Runoff Voting, same day voter registration, etc. to changes in health care availability, food systems, and transportation. Whether we voted for Obama or not we need to keep pushing him and all other elected officials right now. Even if we are developing independent models we need to push the elected officials because their decisions still have impacts on even our models "outside" of the system.

Mid-term - we'll need to be able to create alternatives, whether through "reforms" or dramatic changes. Alternatives to business, food, health and most of the rest of our daily lives. This can be hectic but also will be rewarding.

Capitalists may have lots of dollars, but they can get our loyalty and creativity only if we give it to them. Now is a great time to look at building and organizing all of our progressive organizations and projects. The Obama election opened a door for progressive and radical work. And the economy is providing a clearer need for that work!

As the saying goes - "Hasta La Victoria!"

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dia De Los Muertos Meeting

The next DDLM 2009 planning meeting is on Saturday, March 7th AT 6:30pm at 1411 Roma Ave NW, Alb, NM 87104. It's downtown, between 14th and 15th street and between Lomas and Central.

Instant Runoff Voting Explanations

During the election people often said they were too scared to vote for who really represented them, or that a vote for anyone but Obama was really a vote for McCain. This is a systematic problem.





Wednesday, March 4, 2009

IRV In Burlington Vermont

Here is an account of Instant Runoff Voting from the League of Women Voters.

And a brief description of the value of IRV voting by a blogger.

This from the FairVote website linked on the top left corner of this blog or directly here for more IRV info.

Two Important Bills - Action Alert

Who to Call: Call House Judiciary Committee Chairman Al Park at (505) 986-4411 or email at alpark.nm@gmail.com

What to say:
HB 441 and HB 651 have been awaiting a hearing for over two weeks. These bills deserve a fair hearing and need to be scheduled as soon as possible.

Tips on Making a Call:
* Most legislators' staff answer their phones during the session and log all of the messages. The call will only take a minute!
* Be courteous, positive and brief.
* Identify yourself, and mention if you are a constituent.
* Ask Representative Al Park to schedule House Bill 651, the Felon Voting Rights Immediately

After Prison bill and House Bill 441, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, in House Judiciary Committee as soon as possible.

Talking Points on HB 651, the Felon Voting Rights Immediately After Prison Bill:
By focusing on the successful reintegration of people coming out of jail or prison and welcoming individuals back into our communities, we can facilitate the reentry process and contribute to the success of people with convictions.

When people with convictions are allowed to vote they feel connected to their larger community, making choices which affect themselves, their families, and their state.

Talking Points on HB 441, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act:
Our state is suffering from a serious fiscal crisis. Drug treatment will save New Mexico millions of dollars every year. House Bill 441 will offer substance abuse treatment in lieu of incarceration for people arrested for drug possession and drug-related probation and/or parole violations. Review detailed talking points on treatment instead of incarceration here.
Offenders need treatment.
This legislation will make communities safer.
We need to break the cycle of addiction.
Treatment will not be more expensive.
People will get treatment from appropriate community-based treatment services.

Al Park's district is bordered on the north by Menaul and the south by Gibson. On the west by San Mateo and Louisiana and the east by Wyoming.

Ideal Democracy (3/4/09)

From a wikipedia page on Robert Dahl:

"In another landmark book, Democracy and Its Critics (1989), Dahl makes his view about democracy clear. No modern country meets the ideal of democracy, which is as a theoretical utopia. To reach the ideal requires meeting 5 criteria:

Effective Participation - Citizens must have adequate and equal opportunities to form their preference and place questions on the public agenda and express reasons for one outcome over the other.

Voting Equality at the Decisive Stage - Each citizen must be assured his or her judgements will be counted as equal in weights to the judgements of others.

Enlightened Understanding - Citizens must enjoy ample and equal opportunities for discovering and affirming what choice would best serve their interests.

Control of the Agenda - Demos or people must have the opportunity to decide what political matters actually are and what should be brought up for deliberation.

Inclusiveness - Equality must extend to all citizens within the state. Everyone has legitimate stake within the political process.

Instead, he calls politically advanced countries "polyarchies." Polyarchies have elected officials, free and fair elections, inclusive suffrage, rights to run for office, freedom of expression, alternative information and associational autonomy.

Those institutions are a major advance in that they create multiple centers of political power."

The question then is then - what can we do to move closer to the ideal? In Dahl's book How Democratic Is the American Constitution? he seems to say that multi-party democracies are more participatory than two-party democracies.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Women of Color Conference

Anti-Bias Legislation

The Committee Substitute for HB 428, the bias-based profiling ban, is scheduled in House Judiciary Committee for tomorrow at 1:30PM or ½ hour after the House floor session ends in Room 309.

Please review the most recent draft of the legislation that has developed through negotiations with the district attorneys, the chief of the state police, the Attorney General’s office, and Representative Cote.

The main components of the legislation include:
1) Officially defining and banning bias-based profiling in New Mexico .
2) Requiring law enforcement agencies to:
a. develop policies and procedures to prohibit and prevent profiling
b. provide training to officers at least annually
c. develop complaint procedures, including submitting a copy of all complaints to the Attorney General
d. develop discipline procedures for officers who violate the act
3) Directing the Attorney General’s office to develop procedures for receiving complaints and investigating complaints.

Follow the link to the House Judiciary Committee and contact the members and ask for a DO PASS on banning profiling!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Public Health (3/2/09)

As social and economic inequality widens dramatically and becomes impossible to ignore, the connection between the vulnerability of people who live on the margins and the importance of working together collectively as a community for the public good has become more salient, if unarticulated. A clearer picture is emerging of the relationship between community-level well-being, resources for basic infrastructure, economic equality, and good healthy. Yet in the Unites State, the federal government continues to target diseases rather than health and redirects resources toward bioterrorism and military preparedness instead of the public health infrastructure.

Richard Hofrichter

Sunday, March 1, 2009

From Fair Vote

On February 20, the New Mexico house passed National Popular Vote (NPV) legislation, making it the 23rd state legislative chamber to pass the bill in its short three-year history. The anniversary marks a milestone for NPV, which is on track to reform the Electoral College by 2012. NPV is a national effort to enact an interstate compact ensuring that the winner of the popular vote wins the presidency. The compact will go into effect once states totaling 270 electoral votes enact the legislation.

The NPV bill has been introduced in 49 states and has the support of more than 1,240 state legislators who have sponsored or voted for the legislation. Representing nearly a fifth of the necessary electoral votes to implement NPV, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey have already passed the legislation. Recent polls indicate more than 70% of voters support NPV in a full range of states.

New APS Board Members Sworn In

Monday at 4:30 p.m. Board Member Oath of Office Ceremony, APS John Milne Community Board Room, 6400 Uptown Blvd., NE

I think it would be great to have a turnout and let the new Board know that community people care and are planning to stay engaged. I doubt that the members being sworn in have forgotten the Anti-Racism Forum.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Universal Healthcare Around the Corner?

Television pundits have been talking about Universal Health Care as if it is around the corner because of the President's speech this past week.

If you read Vicente Navarro and get an idea of the obstacles before previous attempts it is helpful in listening to current discussion.

Also important is to look at the deep causes of policy. We often talk about causes of illness, but where pollution, poverty, and illness is concentrated is directly related to politics (pdf). The unhealthy policies that we have today are a direct result of unhealthy politics. La Raza Unida is working to open up the political process and create the policies we need.

Politics has health outcomes. (pdf) And it is time to create a healthy politcis. It will be a steep climb at times, but nothing of value comes without hard work and without focused effort. As long as the road may be, we will be there!

Our numbers are growing. Register Raza Unida! (In Bernalillo County all you need to do is fill out your voter registration form and place "LRU" in box 5 for party.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

International District

Today a large section of the Southeast Heights of Albuquerque will be named "International District" in the Senate. This quote seems very befitting...

"We ought to plan the ideal of our city with an eye to four considerations. The first, as being the most indispensable, is health."

Aritsotle

Monday, February 23, 2009

Quote for 2/23/09

People often say with pride, "I'm not interested in politics." They might as well say, "I'm not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future."

Martha Gellhorn

Saw this in a book yesterday and took a quick note of it. We had a great Join the Party Party on Saturday and participated in Environmental Justice Day at the Round House. It was a good weekend over all. We have a good handful of new registrations for me to turn in later today. Actually looking at running and influencing policy is helping to move things along.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Power

Power - a topic many people try to avoid. It is a topic we need to take head on. We've seen what happens when people with opposite values have control. Loss of freedoms, environment, and life. What we want are more freedoms, a poison-free environment, healthy communities, strong schools, meaningful jobs, and a more caring society.

That's why La Raza Unida is going beyond rhetoric and protest - not without these. We are encompassing protest, organizing, voter registration and running for office because we need at minimum some cooperation with these different strategies if not coordination. To get to where the good things in life are not just for some but for all we will need to use our whole spectrum of tools and skills.

So we're going to organize, not just for the process but to win. Only by some actual wins will we be able to move our communities to healthier, stronger and safer places. We need power to make the changes in the world that we demand when we protest.

Power is the ability to do something. To move a box across a room, to move a person out of a burning building, or to move politics to a positive level. Doing nothing will allow others to move their agenda forward. At minimum we can keep things from getting worse. Our goal is to make things better, in a very concrete and serious way.

Harry Shearer has a great quote - "If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?"

Each Raza Unida registered voter and each Raza Unida supporter needs to consider running for office. It is comforting to be outside of the system and critique it. It is much more humbling to think about how we would do things differently. We're not going to learn everything we need to know about creating a new world from the outside. We need giant waves of new leadership at all levels.

And all of that new leadership needs support. We have to do more than elect new progressives and leave them hanging there. We need to help them move in good directions. We need to hold them accountable to all of us. We need to make it easier to do the right things.

That's why La Raza Unida is organizing, advocating, and doing voter registration. In order for Raza Unida members to consider running for office there needs to be an LRU voter base. In order for our advocacy efforts to have any impact we need to have numbers. And for many decision makers their choices are influenced by money or votes. We can gather lots of votes and a bit of money. That gives us potential power.

That potential needs to be harnessed and used. Organizing is our best tool. It will be mostly mobilizing at first and slowly we will build more and more relationships. Then we can be organized. We start with 100 new voters. Then we continue to build. It may take years before we are "on the map." If we don't move, then things have nothing to do but stay the same or get worse. Even with a new president, things will not get better without lots of work.

Like muscles we will need to build strength and endurance. We will need to do lots of light things for endurance. And we will need to do some heavy lifting for strength. And like anything else, the more hands involved the load will feel lighter.