On March 29th 2020, a 13 year old boy named Adam Toledo was murdered by the Chicago PD with his hands in the air. The police did not notify the family for two days despite the fact that they had filed a missing person’s report.
Corporate media has opened the door to police union members who have taken the opportunity to slander both Toledo and his family. The disgusting lies of murderous cowards are not worth reprinting. However they point to corporate media’s complicity in presenting the side of vicious murderers who are not just out to kill people but to justify the murder. Unfortunately the slandering of Adam Toledo is standard operating procedure.
In recent years all across the country raza have been murdered by the police with some but not nearly enough awareness from the broader community, they are also slandered in death.
In Santa Rosa, in 2013, Andy Lopez was murdered holding a toy gun in his own backyard. He was 13. After his death he was slandered.
In Boyle Heights, in 2016, Jesse Romero was shot in the back. He was 14. After his death he was slandered.
In San Jose, in 2016, Anthony Nunez was said to be suicidal. After the police talked to him for for fourteen minutes they shot him. They did not call an ambulance for another ten hours. Anthony too was slandered after his murder.
In Gardena, in 2020, Andres Guadardo was shot in the back. He was 18. After his death he was slandered.
These are just a handful of stories that even made the local news. The truth is we are under constant attack in this country and these attacks can be traced back to broader historical context, which is intentionally stricken from the broader understanding of the history of this country as a whole. But that is another article for another time.
As it stands, these campaigns of awareness have been mostly grassroots with very little coverage in corporate media outlets. Other than initial and local coverage again mostly revolving around the justification of murder there has been very little national coverage of the murder of our teenagers at the hands of the police.
The killing of brown teenagers rarely makes it through to the corporate media. The disinterest in our murder at the hands of the police and the ignoring of our resistance to it mirrors the general disinterest and ignorance we face in this country which could be spelled out in a million different ways.
Given our numbers are the least represented demographic in this country when it comes to what could be described as a national narrative and it isn’t close.
Given our relative position in this country it is not surprising that our stories are so suppressed. We are collectively the lowest paid most exploited workers in America making up the bulk of the most hazardous work.
Our stories must be suppressed our existence must be ignored. We must be made an afterthought to keep this meat grinder of a country going.
We are not invisible. We are made invisible. We are not an afterthought in the actual structure of this country. We are its economic backbone, we are the cheapest most exploited labor. If we shut down, this country would shut down.
We don’t know our power. It is time we learned it. It is time we used it. Justice for Adam Toledo.
Recently an article came up on my facebook feed named “HOMIES FOR TRUMP: UNPACKING THE CONFUSION IN LATINOS WHO SUPPORT HIM IN THE FOO COMMUNITY”, not wanting to miss a chance at taking another swing at what can only be described as traitors and backstabbers, vendidos AND vendepatrias I proceeded to read the piece. The article starts off very good stating that “Homies for Trump: are three words that many adults who grew up in the barrios of progressive epicenters like Los Angeles probably would have never imagined seeing next to each other.” this in itself is true. Who would’ve thought that in what many have called “the capital of Aztlan” we would be seeing our own blatantly turn their back on their people. But in honest reality it wouldn’t be anything new, every people have their traitors, compradors and sellouts. We do too. The article then goes on to mention that “Latinos are not a monolith” something again we could agree with. The writer Nathan Solis also makes a good point about how groups like “Latinos for Trump” help whites psychologically not feel as guilty about what they’re doing or claim to believe. I guess the walls to Trump supporters safe space are made out of Coconut husks and Oreos as well. But after or besides that the confusion starts and goes down a hole that mixes woke mepa neoliberal politics and straight up Miami Gusanismo.
The writer goes on to do what liberals and the right wing constantly have done and that is to mask something inherently Chicano Mexicano as “Latino” but use it to bash the Chicano Mexicano nation inside of the “USA”. Pointing the finger directly at the rapidly emerging Chicano subculture that is very much alive in the Barrios and Social Media, the piece mentions “the foo community”. ( As far back as I can remember I was in the 6th grade at Morningside Elementary in San Fernando, Califas when Chicano youth began referring to each other as “foo” this was around 1992 or 93. The word gained popularity over the various other terms although these are still used, (homie, homes, carnal, ese, vato, etc). Almost 30 years later from the first time I heard this word and it made its way into my personal lexicon the advent of social media and well time itself has popularized it far and beyond the traditional Chicano Mexicano cultural region of the Southwest/Aztlan.) Back to the point, Nathan Solis the writer goes on to use La Raza as the political pinata that everyone likes to smack around when convenient. What the article fails to realize is that: There is no “Latino” community, rather this “Latino” group is really a set of separate nations the largest and oldest within the confines of the USA being the Chicano Mexicano. This mashed up ball for the most part brown are groups with vastly different histories and experiences. For example: There is a huge difference between a “Foo” in any Barrio and a white Miami Cuban gusano that abandoned their nation because of the Cuban peoples heroic revolutionary struggle. Chicanos Mexicanos are constantly denied any identity by all means. This actual erasure of the majority Chicano people leaves Chicanos for the most part without a political identity of any sorts. Therefore Chicanos, minus the minority that is involved in one way or another with the Chicano Movement grab on to whatever they can find and that is either Neoliberal politics or relatively few but obnoxiously loud like an annoying kid that needs a few chanclasos.
Point 2 is very important as the writer horribly ignores it or really just doesn’t know himself but goes and attributes the “appeal” of Trump to “Latinos” and by Latinos hes obviously talking about Chicanos Mexicanos to “Toxic Masculinity” or what is stereotypically called “Machismo”, while Machismo is something terrible and real and should be combatted, what is called “machismo” in our community is Male Chauvinism, Patriarchy etc and that is inherent in a colonial capitalist society that developed out of that. To point the finger at “machismo” within the “Latino” community is to accept racist stereotypes about our people. Every group again because of the society we live in has an element of Patriarchy accepting the idea that Chicanos Mexicanos or “Latinos” are in some inexplicable way “Machistas” is the same as accepting that La Chicana or “Latinas” are some sort of exotic spicy latina that carries a knife. Both are horrible stereotypes created to justify the dehumanization of our people. In one case the male as violent and dangerous and the woman as a sexualized exotic object to be conquered by the white male and rescued by him from this dangerous macho. As if that wasn’t enough, Solis does the good ol’ Liberal trope of comparing someone like Comandante Hugo Chavez who like his successor Pres. Nicolas Maduro have won election after elections, have struggled to overturn centuries of exploitation and terror at the hands of European colonizers and imperialists while at the same time having to deal with illegal US sanctions, constant threats, covert attacks, and funding of violent far right opposition groups to compare such men and their heroic peoples to something like Trump? Should it be any mystery that this oft used Liberal trope plays right into the hands of right wing Miami Gusanidad who surprise, surprise support Trump? Trump never won an election, Trump wasn’t a Union leader, bus driver or former paratrooper that came from humble beginnings like either Chavez or Maduro. Trump hasn’t expanded social programs and struggled to raise the consciousness of his nation. Trump belongs to a settler nation that is squatting on native lands/Aztlan and has as a matter of fact attacked social programs. Trump inherited his wealth from a racist robber baron family and hasn’t ever worked a day in his life. To compare such men as Chavez to this filth of Trump is complete and total laziness and disgusting. Chavez and Maduro have both in fact been criticized in the left for not being more strong handed with the opposition who has been allowed to run amok, running candidates and holding political offices, calling for the assassination of either Chavez or Maduro and other democratically elected political leaders on television and in public events, calling for violence in the streets, hiding and destroying food and other necessities, beating, attacking and even murdering activists. I don’t know of any anti Trump leader who has gone on television to even mention any sort of action of this nature against Trump, Pence or any Republican leadership. There is no actual organized and strong enough political opposition to the corporate duopoly much less an organized opposition receiving millions of dollars by another country. Again to make such a comparison from Trump to Chavez is both completely lazy and disgusting. At the very end what we need to take from this is that our presence in the USA is hard to ignore although it constantly is. If we don’t organize a vibrant and powerful alternative that can bring some sort of cohesion for La Raza, an overwhelmingly working class community then we will continue seeing our brothers and sisters join one side out of fear or betray everything for a pat on the back.
La Raza Unida
“Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly diverse attitudes about different things. You go to Florida, you find a very different attitude about immigration than you do in Arizona. So it’s a very diverse community.”
This insulting comment simultaneously directed towards the African American and so-called Latino community is just the latest racial gaffe in a career of racial gaffes by Joe Biden who may just be the most racial gaffe prone candidate in the history of the Democratic Party.
What was immediately grasped by many audiences was the patronizing tone Biden had taken towards the Black community. Joe Biden has said some intensely and indelibly offensive things this campaign season towards Black America. These are comments that are not only jarring but also carry the weight of so much history they tend to crystalize the general racist paternalism of the so-called white liberal in ways most politicians are careful not to. Biden’s coarse tone and clumsy expression exposes far more than himself but an entire school of thought and approach to governance. The most jarring example thus far this campaign season was likely telling voters who were not swept off their feet by the prospect of a Biden presidency then “you aint Black.” And who can forget the Corn Pop speech that recently resurfaced? In this video Joe Biden recalls nearly getting into a street fight that involved chain-link and a straight razor with a Black teenager named “Corn Pop.” It was a truly horrific speech told with the intention to show an audience that seemed composed mostly of children and their parents, that Biden was……. down to scrap!!??….. This most recent gaffe stating that African Americans are not politically diverse rightfully takes its place in the shameful echelon of gaffes of one of the most prolific racial gaffers in recent U$ history. It is also indictive of the racist paternalism Biden like so many of the Dixiecrats of his generation holds towards Black America.
What does this comment then mean towards Biden’s outlook on the so-called Latinos? Well firstly the separation of Arizona vs Florida politics is very telling. Over the last few decades Arizona distinguished itself as the most explicitly anti Mexican/Brown state in the country. Monstrous figures like Joe Arpaio, Jan Brewer, Tom Horne, the Minutemen project arose out of the cesspool of Arizona’s hard right. Even the grand wizard of OZ Kris Kobach of Kansas saw Arizona as fertile ground for his eugenic vision of a white America and assisted Russell Pierce in the drafting of SB1070. Kris Kobach would later head the transition team for Trump. Trump’s 2015-2016 campaign, beginning with a speech calling Mexicans drug dealers and rapists, in many ways brought Arizona politics to the national scene.
Action, reaction, oppression breeds resistance. Arizona, like much of the Southwest, is also a battleground for the country’s future. The movimiento in Arizona has fought against the fascism of Arpaio, the fascism of a book ban, the fascism of the vigilante minutemen etc. It is these politics, the politics of struggle, the politics of la lucha, that Joe Biden wants nothing to do with.
Florida on the other hand…..
Joe Biden has fully embraced the imperial Gusano politics of Miami perhaps more brazenly than any recent predecessor in his position. Shameless Joe, has gone as far as to reach out to former Contra fundraiser and career Republican strategist, Ana Navarro for Latino outreach strategies. Navarro has written in the past that it was Reagan’s commitment to the Contras that had made her a lifelong Republican. Just last week of this writing Navarro went on to organize a “Hispanic-focused virtual organizing event and roundtable conversation” for the Biden campaign.
In addition to this the Biden campaign has ran ads splicing together clips of Trump’s disastrous handling of the COVID pandemic as well as his brutal repression of the George Floyd uprisings, with comparisons to Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro the intended connection being that these men are or were all “tyrants” of some sort. This right-left bait and switch is typical of the DNC and really dates back at least to the days of Bobby Kennedy, who would paint Republican opposition and well Fidel Castro with the same brush. It was as comically absurd then as it is today as the Republican agenda and Democratic agenda towards national liberation in Latin America or anywhere on the globe are identical. This has played out with the support that both Biden and Trump are receiving from the Miami Gusano Diaspora which on the question of Venezuela are uniform. They want to see the overthrow of Maduro, the installment of Guaido and a reversal of the Chavez era reforms. They want their money back. Both Trump and Biden are committed to that program, as are both their parties. The Biden campaign has even gone so far as to Gusano bait Trump over a tweet that Trump was prepared to meet with Maduro, questioning Trump’s commitment to the Gusano cause. The Trump campaign quickly stated that it would only be to tell Maduro to step down and make way for Guaido. Such are the theatrics of the Gusanidad.
The overrepresentation of Gusano politics when discussing the so-called “Latinos” in the U$ is a move played out by both parties. It blurs lines and allows people like Ana Navarro and so many other Ana Navarros from the death squad right to make careers speaking for the “Latinos.” It fills the airwaves with a rightwing politic that never has to deal with the far more proletarian demands emerging from other sections of the country rooted in very different histories. It should not be forgotten that while the Biden campaign is eager to cozy up to Florida politics, he told an immigration activist in front of cameras no less, that if he didn’t like his answers to “go vote for Trump.”
Shameless Joe Biden is a pox upon many houses and the “diversity of Latinos” line of argument is Gusano politics 101.
Matt Sedillo Tele-Jaguar Exclusive
As monuments to Confederates, Conquistadors and mass murderers of various other racists stripes are torn down throughout the country let us also throw the shameful legacy of General John Pershing into that mix.
A graduate of West Point Pershing began his murderous career in the Indian Wars first stationed in New Mexico killing Apaches. Pershing later participated in the infamous massacres campaigned against Lakota Sioux. Though not present at Wounded Knee, he was a leading commander in the Ghost Dance Campaign from which Wounded Knee is remembered. This is a disgrace.
Later in his bloody career Pershing went on to murder people overseas in the so called Spanish American war. In this disgusting episode of U$ imperialism, Pershing was not sent out to fight Spaniards but instead to crush Filipino resistance to U$ imperialism. Pershing traveled to the Philippines to spill yet more blood. He claimed at the time he was bringing “civilization” to the “Moros” as Filipino Muslims were referred to by the people who were murdering them. It is important to not the poem by Rudyard Kipling “White Man’s Burden” was actually a plea for the U$ to do their part in the ongoing Euro conquest of the world broadly and to do so specifically by suppressing the Philippines, whose people Kipling referred to as “half devil, half child.” That racist poet Kipling may have said it, but the racist murder Pershing actually did it. This too is a disgrace.
The war crimes of John Pershing extend to Mexico as well. John Pershing was the leading figure in the so called Punitive Expedition, later named the Mexican expedition. This was a murderous campaign led by John Pershing into Mexico to literally punish Pancho Villa and his supporters for their role in the Mexican Revolution. The general and his soldiers, then and now were referred to as “bandits.” Though a small military campaign that still resulted in the murder of hundreds of Mexicans, the lore surrounding this incident has deep impact on the U$ psyche vis-a-vis Mexican/Chicano people. The popular concept of the “bandito” was likely first crystallized in the American psyche during Pershing’s campaign. Truly this is a monument to disgrace.
Pershing Square is where much of LA activist and organizers convene to dream and fight for a better world. Why stand in the name of a racist murderer?
It is not for one writer to suggest what the name should be. The people of Los Angeles should get together and decide this. However the current state of affairs is completely unacceptable. Change the name.
Fuera Con Serra
“Lets go lets do it if there’s any time we need to do it now!” exclaimed the sister at a meeting. The subject? The removal of the Junipero Serra statue across the street from the San Fernando Mission in San Fernando, California. There had been various efforts at bringing attention to that statue in particular and the genocidal legacy left by Serra in particular during his Canonization by the Pope in 2015. California tribes and other Raza had been demanding he not be canonized and instead that people know about the crimes of Serra who oversaw most of the California Missions.
For thousands and thousands of years prior to the European invasions people already inhabited these lands. The Tataviam people created a vibrant culture in what is today named the Valle de San Fernando, Santa Clarita and the eastern portion of “Simi Valley”. The site where the Mission was forcefully built was a village by the name of Achoicominga south of there lies present day Pacoima or originally called Pacoinga which means “The Entrance”. The Tataviam nation is also a Uto-Nahuatl or Uto-Aztecan speaking people.
Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer
Miquel Josep Serra i Ferrer born in Spain became a Catholic Priest of the Franciscan Order. He came to what was then under Spanish colonial Rule “Nueva Espana” to help bring a subservient workforce for the Spanish crown via Catholicism. Let us not forget what Spain wanted was to expand its empire and extract from the colonized lands and people as much as it could. To do this it had to have a steady work force that wouldn’t rebel or successfully organize against it ergo Christianity/Catholicism. Now this is not meant to insult anybody’s faith but this is how Catholicism came to the “Americas” cross in one hand, sword in the other, submit or die. Again the purpose in all this was not that the Spanish crown literally believed in “the word of God” but that they needed the people to work for them and the only way you’d take a free human and make them submit is by instilling fear and subservience in them via a system beliefs meant to make them feel they have a predestined destiny and this was it, in this case and historically Religion has played much of that role for the most part.
Serra went on to found 9 of the 21 Missions in California and although he came with words of love and brotherhood it was violence that made him successfully enslave people to build the missions then work the land and tend to livestock all to send back to Spain or whatever colonial authorities in the former Tenochtitlan. This time was also marked by several rebellions and escape attempts yet in the end around 40% of the people of California died due to the Genocidal Mission System. More where to die eventually.
Floggings, executions, rapes, beatings, massacres, shackling, torture, raping and abuse of children and deaths from overwork or preventable or curable diseases abounded in the Missions. Why we should ask ourselves should we permit public displays of veneration and honoring that horrible wound in our history? Shouldn’t somebody that is of faith see the disgust and irony in honoring such a person as Junipero Serra and his Mission system?
The USA inheritor of Spanish Colonialism
It was barely 20 years after Mexico gained its independence that another foreign occupation came to the Southwest (Aztlan) and reached all the way to California. The US invaded Mexico and stole the northern portion in one fell swoop laying false claims over a huge portion about 1/4th of its present territory. In that acquisition was obviously included San Fernando whose original name is Tataviam. In one fell swoop the areas native inhabitants’ both tribal and not became “foreigners in their own land”. Not only had we been forced to learn Spanish, now we were chastised for that and forced to learn English.
A new order was forced on the people only this time we were meant to be completely replaced by droves of invaders/settlers that drove Tribes and Mexicanos off of their lands by force or coercion. A clear example is the tragic story of Tataviam elder Rogerio Rocha who was repeatedly harassed by Charles Maclay over and over to sell him his land, Rocha refused everytime. Why shouldn’t he have? One day Charles Maclay arrived with the Sheriffs and forced our Tataviam elder Don Rocha and his family out into what can only be described as a death sentence. An elderly man with his elderly wife and family died due to Pneumonia after living as a homeless person in Lopez Canyon. Charles Maclay went on to have a main street named after him in San Fernando…
A full 76 years after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo a group by the name of “San Fernando Mission Land Company” decided to erect a statue to Junipero Serra. Almost 100 years after the expulsion of Spain from these lands this organization decided to “honor” the past by placing a statue to a brutal colonizer and a reminder to the indigenous people in Tataviam including Chicanos Mexicanos of who remained in charge. European invaders. The statue erected in 1924 was not even at the Mission itself but across the street at Brand Park in other words on public property. For years the community demanded its removal which basically fell on def ears. We even had organized a previous march in 2018 for the same reason!
Seeing everything going on as the world is going through a significant period of challenges to the status quo and seeing how throughout this prison of nations people have been successful at either bringing down or forcing the colonial state to bring down symbols of conquest and colonization we decided to strike. On Saturday, June 27th we marched starting from Rudy Ortega Sr. Park (named after a Tataviam leader and elder) on Hubbard and turned on San Fernando Road and marched past the old Barrio San Fer and turned again on San Fernando Mission Blvd straight up towards Brand Park. To the chants of “Viva Tataviam!”, “Fuera, Fuera, Fuera Con Serra!” and “Esta es Mi Tierra! Esta es Mi Lucha!” We took over the Boulevard. As is basically tradition in the Chicano nation, the Huehuetl or tambores guided la marcha. La Raza from the Barrio came out to view what was going on and shouted and waved fists in support. At the park we were greeted by more Raza that had gathered there. People from different organizations and supporters and activists chanted. Organizers of the event spoke on why we were there. Caroline Ward a Tataviam member, spoke on the crimes of Serra and the Church on the Tataviam and indigenous peoples. A small group of counter-protestors were also there and one of them tried to push, kick and jump over a small fence to get to the statue when La Raza put trash bags over it. The violent man instead of being arrested was escorted back to the Mission. A parking lot full of police also awaited us down the street but the event ended without any real incident. The supporters of the genocidal rapist Serra even came in after most of us had left and surrounded the statue and chanted in a rather odd fashion to this inanimate object of a man holding a child. A man that sanctioned Child abuse. They even put a frame of the Virgin Mary which strangely or maybe rightfully was blown over by the wind causing it to fall and almost break. To our surprise yet also thanks to our collective and coordinated effort the following morning the disgusting statue was gone.
The Statue Represents Colonialism.
The Serra statue like all these other statues and symbols of Empire represents the relationship we as colonized nations have with the colonizer. Serra was a colonizer, the US and its European-American settlers are colonizers. European Americans erected the statue. 96 years later we forced their hand at bringing it down. Is this fight over? Definitely not. What we should aim to do is continue organizing and mobilizing among our people both Tribal and Chicano Mexicano. We must continue studying our history and present condition. If we are to do this we would realize that in the Southwest many times the struggle of Chicanos Mexicanos intertwines deeply with the struggle of the tribal nation whose historic territory one may be in. In every old Barrio throughout what many Chicanos call Aztlan if you study the history you will find that most of these Barrios started off close to or where the original peoples inhabited. San Fernando is a perfect example. The old Barrio in which my family is from is down the street from the San Fernando Mission. Throughout my life I heard of how what the Anglos called “SonoraTown” was basically a separate village in which tribal and Mexicano lived as neighbors, intermarrying and at times technically the same people. The only place Raza could live was there and by Raza I mean any indigenous person living here. Whatever you needed was there, poor and humble but it was there you only ventured out of the Barrio if you had to conduct some business or go to work. To the colonizer everyone there was just “Mexican” and for the most part people probably mostly identified as Mexican including Tribal members who had no other choice or suffer having their families torn apart according to US colonial law and or being forcefully relocated somewhere far away, away from their homelands in this case Tataviam.
This is something key to remember because it should remind us that despite the horrors we have lived both tribal and Chicano Mexicano peoples in particular in the Southwest are closer than they’d want us to notice, and if we are to move forward as a people across the Southwest (Aztlan) we need to begin this dialogue. I don’t think there is any contradiction and in fact both struggles empower each other as it literally is the land that we fight for not just aesthetic changes. How does that look like locally would be that the San Fernando Mission along with all the territory currently held by it be returned to the Tataviam nation, the streets honoring brutal colonizers both Spaniards and AmeriKKKans be changed immediately and that the history of the Tataviam peoples along with that of the Chumash and Tungva be taught to all students in the Los Angeles and Greater Los Angeles areas. This in essence would make the masses of Chicanos/Raza see themselves in their Native brethren and uphold the history and culture of our original ancestors on this land. Not only should we identify with our Mexica ancestors but let us recall that before they were Mexica various nations migrated down south and their mark is still carried in the Uto-Nahuatl roots throughout the Southwest something we should be proud of and something that MUST connect us to the First and Tribal Nations of the southwest and thus sowing the seeds for a National Liberation struggle that will change the course of history.
Que Viva TATAVIAM, Calif-Aztlan!
La Raza Unida
Telejaguar Minister of Meme Defense
5 Questions with Alex Garcia de Aztlan
A Tele-Jaguar Exclusive
Alex Garcia is the kind of artist who embodies the spirit of Jaguarismo. Bold, confrontational and absolutely zero consideration of what the critics might say. Steady is his hand, steel is his will, Jaguar in his blood.
We sat down with the brilliant Alex and asked him 5 questions. Enjoy.
1. Before we discuss El Indio Arte, tell us, who is Alex Garcia de Aztlan?
This is probably the most difficult question to answer in the line-up. Where do I start? By day I’m a truck driver. At night I do art. And my upbringing has a lot to do with both those things. I was born and raised in Sun Valley. It’s in the San Fernando Valley, right next to the city of Pacoima. But unlike the arts and community improvement renaissance they’ve been through,we’re still sort of stuck in the grind of being known only for having the most dumps, recycling centers, trucks, dust, and cracked roads. Also we got the GR office that most single, poor folk are required to go to in the Valley. So it’s largely working-class and Mexican, both recently arrived and Chicanos. My mom and dad are immigrants (or migrants, if you’re in the know). So my brothers and sisters and I are first-generation.
I think with me, it’s all in the name. When you read “de Aztlan” you kind of have an idea of what I’m about, where I’m coming from. I chose to add the “de Aztlan” sometime in the mid 2000’s, when I was at Valley Community College, after taking my first Chicano Studies Class. That experience really opened my eyes and my mind to where our people came from, and what we’ve been through. Although I didn’t pick up my degree in Chicano Studies, I kept taking more Chicano Studies and other “ethnic” studies classes when I got to UCLA. I can’t stress enough how grateful I am for those classes (both at the community college and university level). I got to learn about Zapata, Corky Gonzalez, La Raza, La Causa, the entire movement. Those are all things and people I didn’t find in the books in K-12 schooling. It was important, especially then, because the political atmosphere was fueled by fear, and anti-immigrant. Mostly because 9/11 had occurred a few years prior, and there was talk about closing the borders because terrorists might make their way in like Mexicans. Its safe to say we’re seeing that now, with Trump’s America. But in my mind, this white nationalist resurgence is a lot uglier, and more powerful, sadly. Anyway, I felt I resisted all that by being in school, learning, participating in community programs.
For a while, I frequented “Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural.” I would also bring my little brothers and sisters. Eventually, we got into Danza Azteca at Sun Valley Park. but I got two left feet, so I mostly stood on the outer ring of the Danza, but sometimes I’d bring fruits and water to show my support. My dad’s side of the family is largely Mexican paisas, so it was a bit of a culture shock, them seeing me and siblings involved in that kind of stuff. Anyway, that’s around the time I decided to take on the “de Aztlan” part of my name. As a way to reconnect with my roots, based on the education I was getting (in college or at “Tia Chuchas” or through Danza). I understand the concept of Aztlan can be seen more as ideological, even mythological. But it’s not so much whether or not the Aztecs came out of those caves in the American Southwest. It’s more the fact that the land we had here, and our people on it had been robbed and displaced. Aztlan, along with the Chicano identity was a way to flip that ugly history on its head. To claim what’s ours and be prideful of it. The same is true of my “art name.” I go by “elindiocopyright1985.” The 1985 part because I was born in ’85. The “el indio” is my way of identifying with my native roots. And, yes, I know “indio” isn’t the politically correct way to refer to a Native American. But it’s the term, among other bigotted terms, Mexicans use. You know that expression at birth? When a baby’s born “bien prieto” or “too dark?” it goes, “salio indio…” I’ve always found that so fucked up. Taking that word as a name is my way of punching back: “sali indio. Y que cabron?!”
2. How did you get started doing revolutionary art?
It’s funny because I’ve always felt it was sort of by accident. Never had any formal training in the arts. I mean I’d shown some skill in drawing as a kid, but I never followed through with the things I’d start. This time around, I started playing with memes. I was jobless, about to lose my apartment, looking for work, but nothing was happening. So I found myself online, A LOT. And I noticed a lot of the memes out there were really racist. I had a conspiracy theory that there was this cult of racist white teenagers that would produce blatant or passive-aggressive memes targeted at people of color and women. Here’s a good example. This one time I was leaving the UCLA dorm area, cutting through a jogging route in the hills. It was dark, a lot of trees and shrubs. And I was alone. At one point I looked over to my side, and I got freaked out by a sheet of paper stapled onto a tree. It read “YOU GAWN GET RAPED.” Right under the big blocky writing was an image of a black man in a hoodie, with large, stern eyes. I thought, “what the hell?” I’d asked some friends and they told me they’d seen the same image online, as a meme. Then there’s this other meme. The Verizon v Att v Metro PCS vs cricket user. The box that says “Verizon” depicts a fair-skinned woman, silky hair, all dolled-up—she’s attractive. As you go down the list, the woman being depicted eventually becomes a chola, with metro pcs, then a dark-skinned, overweight paisa by the time you ghetto the cricket box. Is it racism? Sexism? Colorism? Classism? It’s so fucked up. And these are only two examples, there’s thousands or millions out there. Anyway so in the middle of being unemployed, annoyed, agitated, I started firing back. I saw a meme about how black folk should get over slavery, because it was so long ago, to “get over it.” I had enough, so I made a meme, too. It read something like, “white people be like: get over it.” and under those words I included a pie chart. I think it was filled in 90-95% with the words, “slavery, emancipation, jim crow, unfair housing/employment,etc.” and in the 10 or 5% it read “civil rights movement to present.” I did a lot more but the message and point was to fire a meme back at stuff I kept finding online that would piss me off.
So at some point, I realized I didn’t have to use words to make my point. I could use historical figures meshed with pop icons to say what I wanted. AND BOOM! That’s when it happened. I put Zappa and Villas heads on Spock and Kirk. I put Malcolm X’s head on Superman’s body. I put Geronimo, and his rifle at the center of a police badge that read“to protect and serve.” I reworked the “WWJD?” (what would Jesus do?) idea. I wrote “what would” then put an image of “CheGuevara” and “do?” I grew up in the 90’s, when super hero cartoons and trading cards were all the rage. And I used to draw spiderman, wolverine, cyclops all the time. I wanted to draw just like those action comic cards, but I never could. Now, with the computer, I found I could cut/paste and throw in my secret recipe and make it my own. But with a conscious twist. It was so fun. Having held these historical figures in such high regard and finally seeing them in the way I see them in my mind, as heroes. It was also a form of therapy for me because I was combating the racist memes with positive imagery, and I wasn’t sinking to their level. But also because things had gotten worse for me. I was borderline homeless, in fact, I eventually did go homeless. I was staying in a friend’s garage, on the condition I’d keep looking for work, but it just wasn’t happening. I was washing up and showing in the park. So then I’d turn to art as an outlet. One day someone asked if I would sell my work. I was like, “wait… what?” I’d never really thought of it like that. I’d been fighting meme wars and eventually got to the point where the pieces were more statements. And they looked pretty damn cool. They became art. Times were tough so I jumped on it because I needed cash to eat. And I jumped in half-assed too. I didn’t know about the print method, framing, mailing expenses, etc. I also didn’t want to over-charge because it felt unfair that I sort of just stumbled onto it out of fun. So prices were negotiable, the best was to make a personal delivery. I was using the bus tokens from the GR office to ride to Highland Park to drop off an art piece that I’d make 30 to 50 dollars off of. Then I started taking it more seriously. At one point a client told me I sold her a piece with my fingerprints smudged on it. I’d noticed it, but I thought it was kind of neat, like it fit the conditions I was living in to have a smudge like that. But that was really unprofessional so they gave me the opportunity to fix it. The same is true of the art itself. Sometimes I’m right on target with what I’m saying. Other times it’s too abstract or vague. Like I thought it would be cool to put Pancho Villa riding pridefully into town on a horse piñata. Very easily someone can see that as insulting.
Recently I got some heat for putting Zapata under the slogan, “Don’t Tread on Me.” I came up with the appropriation idea a few years ago, but recently someone checked me on it, and rightfully, too. I get the issue of combining white nationalist slogans with Mexican pride. My idea was to break racist white folks monopoly on slogans like “freedom ain’t free” or “don’t tread on me.” Because, really, a lot of the historical figures I look up to had to fight for their freedoms, even died for them, and they wouldn’t take lightly being violated or “tread” upon. But the criticism was apt. They pointed out how Zapata’s concept of liberty was more for the oppressed, the wronged, the people. White Americans on the other hand, was more individualistic, white entitlement. The light flicked in my mind. I got it. So I took that schooling and changed the slogan to“don’t tread on us.” Changing the “me” to “us” made the world of difference. And I’m grateful they helped me see that. My point really is that I’ve gone from fun to shock value to informative and I’m always open to growing my work and ideas because I take it seriously now.
3. Tell us about your “Despierta” series! (This series is our favorite!) How did you get the idea and which iconic figures have you featured in this series? Which one is your favorite?
I’m really happy this series found a crowd. I’d come up with it a couple of years ago, but it just sort of faded away. Recently I started reposting it and you guys featured 2 of them on the Tele-Jaguar page. That’s cool. This series is probably the most disciplined I’ve done. I know it looks straightforward and simple, but a lot went into the style behind it.
Consider dualism. I’d learned a lot about the Aztec, or the Mexica. Especially from the book “Aztec Thought and Culture.” One of the ideas that stuck with me was dualism. How the symbol for war is fire and water, back to back.The Sun is masculine, the moon feminine. I might be wrong but I think there are 9 realms of death, reflecting the 9 months of birth. The all-powerful sun is represented by the small hummingbird. The wise one, Quetzacoatl, is both bird and snake, sky and earth. In the“despierta” series, I’m working with historical icons known for war, agitation, resistance. But they’re not in action mode. They’re taking a breather, having a cup of coffee. They’re in t-shirts, loose clothes. I’ve never seen Malcolm X casual. Here, his collar is undone. Most of them are sort of hiding behind the cup, letting the words on it speak for them: “despierta” or “wake up.” They’re sort of on a break, but of course, their work is still ongoing. I like to think that there’s a bit of my learning of zen Buddhism and minimalism coming through. There’s a lot of blank space, white air. Simple black and white. No one is really saying anything. Less is more. And then there’s the pop factor. Andy Warhol is THE artist for me. His work is so straight forward, and 2 dimensional. But it’s also vibrant and colorful. The ideas seem almost paradoxical in his work. Was he glorifying celebrity? Condemning mass consumption? His work is gritty and industrial (it’s bleeding ink), but there’s a sense of awe that comes through. He would use Elvis or Marylin. But in my conscious world Frida and Che are the celebrities. In “despierta” I also used them and Zapata, Malcolm X, Karl Marx, Nietzche, even buddha. People I look up to. And they’re also rock stars. And rockstars get paid. They promote coca-cola or Nike or Apple. We see them pushing products. But in this case the commercial product they’re endorsing is the idea of waking up.
As to which one my favorite one is. I think it’s both the Che one and the Malcolm X one. Che looks like he’s really enjoying that coffee, but also I actually left the red star in the barret in color. So the eye goes to the red star first, then to the “Despierta” writing on the cup of coffee. Then there’s the Malcolm X one. I mentioned it earlier. I’d never seen him in a casual way. He was always in a suit and bow or tie. Very formal. Simply having him with that collar undone speaks levels to something else the series is trying to do. And it’s to familiarize the viewer, even more, with familiar faces. It’s one thing to see Zapata holding that rifle, looking hard at you. It’s another for him to be in a black-T, sort of telling you, “you know what I’m about.” And frankly, they look cool.
4. What are you currently working on for El Indio Arts?
Right now I’m a little more focused on truck driving. I’m trying to get my shit straight so that I can get a “Class A” license, maybe go interstate hauling. But when I’m driving I’m always coming up with ideas. The protests recently broke out, and people are finally taking down idols of white supremacists, so it’d be an opportune time to participate in it visually. And I did. I’d initially done a “resist” series when Trump went into office, but I reworked it to “Black Lives Matter” (BLM). So for example I have Rosa Park’s mugshot, and instead of holding up her jail number, she’s holding up a sign that reads “Black Lives Matter.” There’s others, but that’s one that stands out to me. And the reasoning behind it is to counter those arguments that go something like, “Real activists were people like Rosa Parks or MLK, they protested peacefully, unlike all the BLMers.” So I take Rosa Parks and slap BLM in her hands. She was part of the same cause and Dr. King and Malcolm X. And each of them did what they did in an agitational way.
I’m also considering reworking some music I’d made a few years ago and posting it on the El Indio Arts page. I started making music like my art. It was spontaneous. No training, all by ear. I have a few beats,a few recordings and maybe 3 tracks that I want to really finalize. But that’s sometime in the future.
Maybe poetry is where I’m really at right now. Over the past couple of years I started writing poetry. There’s this one big ass one about me and my family’s experience in this country. It’s pages, and pages long and covers the undocumented experience, tamales, school, la quinceanera, prison, la Llorona, Dia de Los Muertos, etc. It’s a passion project of mine and I hope to have it all finished by the end of the year. At first I wanted to start going to poetry slams and open mic nights to share it, but due “la ‘rona” that doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon. So I figured I polish it up and post it to el indio arts page.
5. Where can people follow your work? We love seeing your new pieces pop up!
I sort of see “el indio arts” as being a space where I can post all my creative work. Visual, music, written. Right now it’s all image-based, but soon enough there will be poetry and music. Eventually I’ll make a webpage, but for now, I’m relying on social media to get my stuff out there. The hashtag is also my best friend. Just google #elindioarts.
The best places would to find my work would have to be www.facebook.com/elindioarts
and if you want to hear some amateur music:
The Trojan Gusano: Remezcla is Trash and it Always Has Been
A Tele-Jaguar Exclusive
Remezcla is trash and it always has been. Under the glossy veneer of hip Latinx site reporting the latest and greatest musical, cinematic and literary trends from across Latin America, including Estados Unidos de America, has always laid the rot of straight up imperial Miami Gusano politics. Time and time again this trash outlet has sounded like a subcontractor for the National Endowment for Democracy or the State Department. Just straight up petty nasty propaganda designed to reach a particular demographic.
Here are some headlines to illustrate the point. Just look at this outrageous Gusaneria.
“Evo Morales Shoe Tying Bodyguard Make Bolivians Think He’s No Longer Evo From the Block”
“What Will Castro Confess to the Pope?”
“Chavez is Starting to Brainwash Children”
“Chavez Se Muiro: Thoughts from a Venezuelan ex pat”
“This is the Scene at Miami’s Versaille’s When News Fidel Castro Died Broke”
“Gloria Estafan on Fidel Castro’s Death: It is the symbolic death of destructive ideologies”
The Gusanos are downright ghoulish in their celebration of the death of revolutionary heroes. However it is not just spitting on the past that these devils specialize in. La gusaneria sigue sin vergüenza. Time and time again Remezcla has championed the cause of Juan Guaido. In the preposterously titled article “A Look at the Misconceptions About Venezuela’s Political Crisis” Remezcla point by point regurgitates Guaido’s press conference coupish claims to legitimacy. They echoed the talking points of the coup against Evo Morales in Bolivia publishing one mild rebuke of Anez interim government, then they went radio silent when she revealed herself as a complete fascist. In fact Remezcla went as far to refer to the Wiphala, the indigenous flag of resistance, as a “symbol of division!” ¡QUE GUSANIDAD!
Just as Remezcla opposes national liberation abroad so too in the U$, this prison house of nations.
Remezcla’s conduct during the MEChA-MEPA struggle was no less treacherous. When MEChA a student organization born out of a broader national liberation struggle came under attack Remezcla posed as an honest broker between two sides of an argument. What they ended up actually doing was highlighting the work of the preposterous Aaron E. Sanchez, a right wing Republican evangelical from Texas, whose previous work deals with how Trump squandered all the work done by Reagan and Bush to bring Latinos into the Republican fold. But of course one could expect such audacious rottenness from an outlet opposed to national liberation, not just abroad but here in the U$. Gusanidad opposes national liberation throughout the Americas and the Southwest is no exception.
Generally speaking Remezcla is an outlet that not only revels in the petty gossipy turn in community organizing but in fact is an active force in that general historical push. The pulling away from analysis of facts, dates, history, economy and the move towards centering the latest cancellation or internet trend is the basis of Remezcla’s appeal and part of a larger ideological trend. This too is garbage. Placing central focus on how people feel about being oppressed rather than analysis of oppression and the struggle against it, is garbage. The new age so called “Woke” outlets including but not limited to Remezcla are garbage. These politics need be thrown in the dustbin of history.
Getting political analysis back on solid footing of historic materialism is the goal and aim of the Tele-Jaguar. Defeating Gusanidad is on the other hand is all our responsibility. Remezcla es basura.
5 Questions with Mike Bravo
This next interview is near and dear to the heart of Jaguarismo. The great Mike Bravo was one of the first to take an open stand against wokoseria in the opening salvo of the MEPA-Flame Wars. Before it became popular to take anything on directly or simply state what you mean online without dozens of qualifiers, Bravo stood tall and typed clear. But one would expect nothing less from our brother in arms. Whether its the question of indigenous identity, the gentrification of neighborhoods, having those difficult conversations within community, whereever there is a good fight to be had you will find Mike Bravo up to the challenge.
Recently Tele-Jaguar had the opportunity to talk with the great Mike Bravo and ask few questions. Enjoy.
1) Tell us about Sixth Sun Ridaz
So Sixth Sun Ridaz is a website I made back 2013 or 2014. Basically an Indigenous education website focusing on practical understanding and employment of our people/s spirituality, philosophy, and worldviews as it applies to the world we find ourselves in today. I never put myself out there like that but people would frequently ask me questions about things Mexican Indigenous. I’ve been through a lot and have done a lot in this Indigenous Activism/Reclamation game over the past what, almost 20 years now. I have made many mistakes and learned many things so it was also intended to share my perspectives and guidance on how to successfully navigate as an Indigenous activist and avoid a lot of the common pitfalls, posers, and manipulators inundating the scene. Also, part of the inspiration was that at the time Mexica Movement seemed to have an internet monopoly on online Mexica (Mexican Indigenous) web content. Got tired of hearing the same old regurgitated “thinking”. Even all the other “independent” Mexica sites basically regurgitated their stuff. Don’t get me wrong, the base of their content and message has been beneficial and precedent setting but that was in the 90s. They also don’t respect Indigenous spirituality. Not go into that too much but I felt and still feel there’s so many topics and information missing from their and other “Mexica” sites. Everything shouldn’t be centered about how much you don’t like White people, it should be centered in your love for yourself, your traditions and your people. Sixth Sun Ridaz goal is also to engage and equip, or remind rather, Indigenous Mexican and Central American peoples of their spiritual and cultural tools. Like I mention on the site, being Indigenous is more than just wearing regalia, putting your fist in the air, and accumulating book facts (which are mostly tainted by western methodology anyway), its about the way you walk, create, conduct yourself, and treat all relations.
2) You are big on promoting digital literacy among Brown and Black communities. Why is it so important for us to learn these skills?
Yes. Digital literacy as it pertains to documenting, defending, and lifting up our narratives. We all know media is biased. One of our main Indigenous teachings is that the Word can be a tool of creation or a tool for harm. If we’re not controlling our word, our image, and our narrative, someone else will and we all know that hasn’t worked out for us. Self sufficiency, self defense, and narrative control in the biggest age of information exchange the world has ever known is critical.
Fuck having to jock or beg someone for press or get mad at the punk ass local media who leaves you out 99% of the time. Do your own write up with a couple respectable relevant images, follow a few digital publishing basics, and boom, your page and exposure is as good as any other site on the net. Fuck having to get mad at the local paper or publishing that dissed you’re event or is perpetuating false narratives about you, your art, your cause or business.. write your own shit that has more truth and share it out. Fuck those child molester apologists who get by on people not knowing about their shenanigans, make a page about them. Anyone Google “Harmony Keepers” lately? 🙂
People are also more inclined to share a web page than someone’s long “great wall of text” post on Facebook that doesn’t even use paragraphs. There’s a lot of great thinkers with great insights that end up only reaching their immediate circle of friends. They could do so much more, impact so much more. My graphic design and web design publishing skills have been a pillar to my successes as an activist and educator. One doesn’t have to be a professional designer. There’s a lot of simple online publishing skills that people can learn which would greatly improve their reach and to success in whatever their “business” is, be it an artist, activist, or any other business. Controlling your/our narrative and image is the key take away.
3) You been fighting gentrification in Venice for a minute. The racism of the gentries has been shockingly open at times. Yet now you see them all backpedaling trying to appear to be part of the solution instead of the problem. This of course is still not the case. What are some of the more glaring hypocritical things you have seen recently coming from the forces of gentrification in Venice California?
Yea, the last 4 years or so my activism has been more Venice centered, lots going on here in my hometown. I don’t know if it’s a backpedal, more like upgraded intensity of their facade and opportunism. This is a town filled with people who espouse themselves progressive but are hella apathetic and staunch agents and apologists for gentrification. There’s a street called Abbot Kinney that’s known for its affluent bougie trendy scene. They had their “BLM” march, stores boarded up with all these “Black Lives Matter” sentiments but that scene is the epitome of systemic racism and everything wrong about Venice. For instance you got that trendy artist Muck Rock who’s not from here with all them graffiti portraits of different Black personas both living and dead. Admittedly the art is cool and catchy at surface but she has people fooled thinking she’s some type of conscious hip hop artist or a real local but in actuality she’s one of the biggest apologists and tools for gentrification here. She works with and hangs with the most egregious gentrification agents. That’s just one example tho. People coming to Venice think that shits cool. Sadly, nobody really does their research about where they go and how to be socially responsible to the communities they visit who are fighting white supremacy, displacement, and other bullshit. Probably even more prevalent in Venice since it’s a city, state, and world famous tourist destination. Gentrifiers, tourists, and visitors in general think Venice is their playground. They come here to have fun. They ain’t trying to hear or be about anything serious or reality based.
4) What’s going on with Venice Baptist Church?
Man. Quick recap for those that don’t know, the First Baptist Church of Venice is 111 year old 7-lot historical Black space/property. The first black church in Venice. #BlackLandMatters and this is the most important Black property in Venice. About 3 years ago it was fraudulently sold by a crooked pastor who sold it to billionaire Jay Penske, son of George Penske of automotive racing fame. Jay Penske owns Penske Media (PMC) which owns Variety and Rolling Stone amongst other media publications. They havent been able to build anything yet because myself and small group of stubborn Blacks and Mexicans have been holding them from building anything. We’ve been through I don’t know how many city hearings and departments. I even had a lawsuit representing myself, against L.A. City Planning which eventually got dismissed this past January 2020 . We keep fighting tho.
Things were a lil slow for that cause after that, trying to recoup some energy and strategy. You know, it’s being almost 3 years, was winter, and then trying to figure out how to get things crackin again. Covid hit
and the normal Sunday gatherings that we’ve been doing the past three years stopped. A big blessing came beginning of June when Ben Affleck came to that protest on Abbot Kinney. My homegirl was making noise at the event about the church and apparently he approached her and talked to her. He held up one of our signs promoting the fight for the church, she took a pic, she sent it to me, I hash-tagged and verbiaged it up on social media, and it went viral. I ended up doing interviews the rest of the day. It got our cause national and international attention and put Jay Penske and our local racist councilperson on full blast. Now with all the BLM movement momentum and this windfall of attention to our cause we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in the past 3 years. We’re gonna win this.
People say you can’t fight big money and it definitely plays a role but there’s a lot to be said for people power, strong hearts, and persistence. If a huevon like myself can do this much I can only imagine what someone younger and more organized could do. You can catch up on the scoop here: https://savevenice.ca/campaigns/save-historical-black-church-venice-ca/
5) Can you introduce us to Ben Affleck?
Not my Ben.
Haha. Come to Venice, I’ll introduce.
Tucker Carlson is an enemy of the people.
On June 6th 2020 Tucker Carlson added to his long list of infamously racist attacks this time targeting the Black community by saying “This may be a lot of things, this moment we’re living through, but it is definitely not about Black lives. Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will.” The blatant racism of Tucker Carlson gives way to a central lie told about U$ history and society. That lie is that the U$ is constantly moving forward and progressing towards some grand justice, that things were worse in the past and that we are moving towards some shining new future. What Tucker Carlson says here that Black people are going to “come for you” harkens back to rhetoric used during the fight to end segregation in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s as well as the rhetoric of the so called Redeemers who fought against the reforms being achieved following The Civil War in the late 1800’s. The first major motion picture made in the U$, Birth of A Nation made in 1915 central theme was that Black people are going to attack white people given half the chance. Woodrow Wilson called it “history as written by lightning.” This is a central theme of U$ history and society.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan delivered a speech on “state’s rights” in Philadelphia Mississippi only a few miles where three Freedom Riders had been killed in 1964. In 2020 the President of the U$ said in response to Black led rebellion “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” as well as planning a rally in Tulsa site of a massacre of Black people on Juneteeth no less, a day recognizing not the end of slavery but the trickery of slaveholding whites who did not follow the laws of emancipation. The criminalization of Black people animated lynch law as well our prison industrial complex today. Tucker Carlson’s latest racist attack on Black people would find a a home in the 1800’s in 1915, the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, the 1960s in the 1980’s or today. These attacks are constant and core to the U$ experience.
Tucker Carlson is an enemy of the people. His attacks on our community have also been horrific.
On January 2018 he invited professional white supremacist Mark Steyn who said this, “The white supremacists are American citizens. The illegal immigrants are people who shouldn’t be here.”
After Steyn rambled a bit more about the betrayal of “real Americans” over “these DACA people”, Tucker Carlson sprung to the defense “real American White supremacists”, asking how could politicians could possibly “lead a country whose population you despise?”
Continental white supremacist Mark Steyn, a Canadian, continued , “In Arizona the majority of grade school children are Hispanic. That means Arizona’s future is as a Hispanic society. That means the border has in effect moved North. And the cultural transformation outweighs any economic benefits.”
Tucker Carlson’s responded, “It’s at the very least bewildering for the people who grew up here. And that’s real. I don’t think you have to be animated by hate or anything to say maybe I should have some say in how my country evolves.”
On March 27th 2018, Tucker Carlson opens a segment entitled, “Hazelton Transformed” by stating, “Recently on this program we told you about the wave of demographic change that has transformed the town of Hazelton Pennsylvania. In the year 2000, Hazelton was less than 2% Hispanic. Today thanks to mass immigration Hazelton is majority Hispanic.” Carlson further sounded the alarm decrying, “More than half of the residents there speak a language other than English at home.” Tucker Carlson then continued, ” We got those numbers from a recent piece in National Geographic that quoted lifelong Hazelton residents saying they no longer recognized their own hometown. They didn’t hate immigrants, most Americans like immigrants. But this was too much change. In fewer than 20 years the culture their parents and grandparents built evaporated. They never asked for that. They were bewildered, understandably.”
Tucker Carlson, constantly bewildered enemy of the people continued,
“What happened in Hazelton is happening around the country and the neighborhood changed forever with no public debate.” Carlson also issued the stark warning that “Los Angeles County is overwhelmingly Hispanic.” The segment concluded with Carlson speaking with guest Lou Barletta, the former mayor of Hazelton. As Barletta spoke a byline ran across the screen posing the question,
“Are Immigrants Replacing American Culture?”
In 2006 as Mayor of Hazelton, Barletta passed the Illegal Immigration Relief as well as an Official English Ordinance. Barletta at the time was working under the tutelage of Kris Kobach, the longtime secretary of state from Kansas. Kobach, who led Trump’s transition team in the selection of a cabinet, was also instrumental in Arizona law SB1070.
In December of 2018 Carlson decried immigration policies that left the country “poorer dirtier and more divided.”
In 2019 in response to the massacre in El Paso, Tucker Carlson referred to white supremacy as “a hoax.”
The idea that Mexicans are going to make or are making the country “poorer and dirtier” and therefore should somehow be managed in one way or another could find a home in arguments for and against the Mexican American War, such as Emerson’s infamous quote “Mexico will poison us” or Whitman’s “What has Mexico… to do with peopling the new world with the noble race”, could be found in the greaser act, the bath riots, Texas massacres, Mexican Repatriation Act, Zoot Suit Riots, Mexican Schools, the banning of Salt of Earth, the murderous attacks on Chicano Moratorium, the sterilization of Chicanas in California, massacres at San Ysidro, Prop 187, Operation Gatekeeper, the Sessenbrenner bill, SB1070, Joe Arpaio, Donald Trump, massacre in El Paso.
Again Tucker Carlson would find a home in the 1800’s, the 1940’s, the 1950’s, the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and very much a defining feature of this cursed century of U$ politics.
Tucker Carlson is an enemy of the people and a product of racist society built on a colonial economy. He is a cancerous but logical outgrowth of a sick system. These are not mistakes. These are statements of attack and the howl of a racist beast that creates and recreates itself generation to generation.
Pandemic and Protests, Pacoima Presente!
The US went from being the center of a Global Pandemic to the center of a historic Rebellion that has smoldered the tender fabric holding together the hypocritical entity that is the United States. Weakened by the Coronavirus’ the image of George Floyd an African man being lynched in public streaming live on Social Media in the year 2020 set fire to the shaky restraint the African nation inside of the US had held back even a large number of the Chicano-Mexicano and Raza peoples together with the public at large. Rebellions tore through basically all of the major cities of the empire or prison of nations. Images of extreme violence we are used to seeing happen ANYWHERE else but here imprinted themselves on the people. Police forces without any restraint and the people who had had the last straw met on the street. Brutal clashes, looting, a police station torched, Trump hiding out in a bunker while outside police shot at people and people battled them. A cloud of tear gas wafts over from sea to shining sea.
Take all that in and in Pacoima a small town in the most northern part of the City of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley a working class Barrio, the only place Africans could buy a house, down the street from where the Rodney King beating happened. Yes this small town home of Ritchie Valens, where you can see Danny Trejo attending some event every now and then, where Cheech Marin’s original character “Pedro de Pacas” walked the Barrio streets, where all three of their faces adorn many murals, took a stand.
Police murder and brutality has always been a staple in the experience of Chicanos. Neighbor to Pacoima is the independent City of San Fernando which used to have the fame of Chicanos mysteriously “committing suicide” by hanging themselves in the old town jail under the Court building. So bad was their reputation that not that long ago many of their officers were known for beating Chicanos up if they caught you unaware. San Fernando PD and the LAPD were also sued by La Raza Unida in a class action lawsuit in the early 80’s for spying and disrupting the Partido. Some of their tactics included not only infiltrating the organization but infiltrating families, mine one of them. One of my fathers stories includes being pulled out of his van by SFPD at gunpoint. The cop saying “oh you’re one of them Raza boys, lets see how bad you are now” the police officer holding a gun to my fathers face with his buddy behind him gun drawn as well and in contrast my father a new teacher at Pacoima Junior High with two Raza Youth Committee members with him. Then the 80’s and 90’s came and you walked in fear of the police. Pacoima is home to the LAPD foothill division, the same one that beat Rodney King and the same one to first use the LAPD’s then new toy, a tank modified with a battering ram. Back then before cameras and phones were being carried around everywhere the police exacted an amount of fear, mistrust and indignation upon Pacoima and San Fernando that still rears its head up today. Obviously the same story practically goes anywhere there is Raza or Africans.
Then as we saw these events unfolding before our eyes people wanted to organize something locally. With an amount of fear and uneasiness because one does not just jump into planning things risking the health and well being of their own community or people. Many people in the barrio having seen images of looting feared that that would be brought to Pacoima with anything even touching upon the subject at this very moment. Also, Coronavirus has impacted the area going from a dozen cases two months ago to almost 1,000 confirmed cases by now. These concerns were real.
The call was made to gather on the corner of Laurel Canyon and Osborne about two large blocks away from the LAPD foothill station itself. The corner is the parking lot for a decades long abandoned supermarket “El Tigre” and a small shopping center with only a small shop open in that corner. A testament to the abandon and disregard to our peoples, to our communities well-being. A group of young Chicanos came and set up giving away BBQ and chicken sandwiches, the event started with the sound of the Huehuetl or “tambores Mexicas” then members of the Tataviam and Tungva tribes made a welcoming, followed by members of Danza Temachtia Quetzalcoatl, Tloque Nahuaque and others whose drumbeats and dance helped bring the crowd together. I, a member of La Raza Unida, was asked to MC the event. Speakers from the community came up, some of them having come off the street. An elderly African man said how he teared up in his car seeing us out there supporting Black Lives that he just had to stop, some people spoke about their experiences, a Chicana mother spoke of having had to raise her nephews because the Foothill Division had murdered her brother in the 80’s. A sense of empowerment and down to earth solidarity electrified the crowd. The event ended without any incident although it was said the LAPD was waiting up the street. People mostly young Africans and Chicanas rallied and a group would march from corner to corner shouting “Black Lives Matter!” On one of the corners some brothers from the GR818ERS a local hip hop cultural group, began breaking. We emphasized the need for organization and were able to sign up a lot of people to participate in future actions and events. Rancheras and oldies mixed into the air from the Ranflas parked behind the crowd as the event came to a finish and we were able to have everyone go home safe and without incident.
A few days earlier a small committee of people had come together and developed a program and pulled together a security team. Then another flyer came out and that added another variable to our concerns. We were able to reach them and coordinate. We were able to coordinate with some of the local Barrios as well who kept a watchful eye over the barrio making sure all was well. With what little time we had Pacoima proved itself as not only a center of resistance and a long held tradition of liberation politics but that Pacoima itself was able to like always defy all the odds and bring out its people, manifest our justified indignation and just as abruptly pull back and send everyone home safe. Against the fear, against the social media woke policing of events held by Chicanos all this was accomplished. That day was a true testament to organization, a true testament to community policing and defense. A glimpse of what could be shown itself in this humble Chicano Mexicano and African/Black barrio nestled in the San Fernando Valley.
I cannot express the pride I felt going home that evening. The pride that my town, my Raza was able to in the matter of days muster itself up and put this together and show leadership and solidarity is beyond words. I love this town, I love Pacoima. I love Tataviam.
La Raza Unida