5 Questions With Mark Torres

5 Questions With Mark Torres

Tele-Jaguar Prowl

Mark Torres is quite possibly the most important single figure of the past 3 decades in the life and proliferation of Chicano music made and heard in the city of Los Angeles. The program he founded Travel Tips for Aztlan is an essential building block to the scene that thrives today. Since its debut in March, 1995 Mark’s show was the first of its kind to feature the music of the Latino youth culture giving voice to the previously unknown music from an underrepresented community and now features both emerging talent and international superstars. Several bands that have performed live on Travel Tips For Aztlan and KPFK for their radio debuts and have gone on to win Grammy’s or Latin Grammy’s including Ozomatli, Lila Downs, Gaby Moreno, Quetzal, La Santa Cecilia, Flor de Toloache and Juanes. The quintessential man behind the man, Torres has brought up acts that have gone on to build their legend and in doing so with such love and consistency has built something of a legend of his own.

We here are Tele-Jaguar got a chance to catch up with the great Mark Torres and ask him a few questions. Enjoy.

1) Mark you are an institution. You are like a Chicano Dick Clark or Don Cornelius, an icon that makes icons. Who are some acts that were first featured on Travel Tips for Aztlan who went on to connect with national audiences? 

My show Travel Tips for Aztlan has been on KPFK 90.7 FM since 1995. There was a dire need to create radio space for the great LatinX talent that didn’t have airplay, access to record labels, agents, managers, etc… the few clubs that existed at the time.

My show was originally created in the early days to be one hour of recorded music and one hour of live Performances. This allowed all bands at every level a chance to have millions of Angelinos hear their music.

The early bands that gained success started with Ozomatli. They came up to perform live in KPFK’S Studio A in 1998 and they almost immediately were signed by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss’s (AM Records) new record label ALMO Records. We took a trip to Havana that summer together and they came back to LA ready to record their first big label record. They went on to win Grammy’s and open doors for our scene.
Quetzal performed the first year I was on the air in 1995, but the music industry didn’t know what to do with a hybrid folkloric rock band. Quetzal would produce fantastic record after record with great critical acclaim. It wasn’t until they signed with Smithsonian Folkways that they would win a much deserved Grammy.

In 1998 KPFK Global Village creator Beto Arcos knew that I had a regular live program that was really helping the LatinX bands each week. He asked me if I would help him engineer a new artist he stumbled upon in Oaxaca, Lila Downs.I said of course, and brought in LA’s best live audio team. Her debut on KPFK launched a career that included a film debut in Selma Hayek’s Frida, Grammy’s and really an industry changing career.
Later, Travel Tips live performance alum that went in to great success include Grammy winners include Gaby Moreno and LA Santa Cecilia. 

2) As the host of Travel Tips you are both a chronicler and participant in the history of Chicano musical movements. You know better than most that our community rich with talent and yet face all kinds of barriers to “mainstream success.” Why do you think this is and what can we do about it?

It was worse when I started as I said above..Xicano/a bands had very few public spaces to perform in, no radio play no record labels or music industry infrastructure (management, booking, agents, publicity, AR at labels to champion at labels) to help. The Recording Acadamy Grammy Museum just gave a section of the museum to showcase the Latin Grammy winners after 20 years. There have been improvements in all of these areas but there is so much more that needs to happen. There are few Latinos in positions of decision making power and those that are in those positions aren’t doing enough for the incredible talent in our communities. We need to keep being undeniable in our abilities and talent and pushing forward. The few LatinX who have big success and resources need to step up and help the newer generation. 

3) Who are some of the most exciting acts of 2020 our audience might not be up on?

Make sure you check out the great women songwriters and performers in 2020: 
Weapons of Mass Creation – an entire family of talented artist who formed and R&B soulful Hip Hop group spreading based in Orange County. Messaging is knowledge,
awareness of greatness of self and culture.

Reverie – a very powerful hip hop artist who has helped forget a community of powerful female hip hip scene with Val the Wonder and others. 

Welfair – a very Grass Roots soulful Hip hop artist with powerful messages on community, women, wealth gap, many of the problems we face today 

Nancy Sanchez – an artist who blends jazz, Mexican folkloric, pop, and Latin Alternative. Lyrics tell stories of women empowerment, embracing our rich history, listening to our indigenous ancestors, continuing our struggle against intolerance. 

Jessica Medina – Jazz and R& B and Carribean influences carry Jessica’s songs of liberation, female empowerment, anthems against injustice and racism.
These are just a handful of so many doing great things and making incredible music in an industry not set up for them to succeed.

Each one of these artists, in their own way are creating powerful messages, beautiful music and are breaking through all of the barriers we have been speaking about using the tools at their disposal: Tenacity, Persistence, Energy, Intelligence, Creativity, Talent, Nerve. It is not easy, but it is very possible to make and share uncompromising beautiful music and make a living with Music.

4) Two part question for a multifaceted man. In addition to being host of Travel tips for Aztlan you are the lead archivist for the Pacifica Archive, the largest of its kind in the country. Can you tell the audience just some of the treasures of the archive and what are some of your plans or projects you are planning to bring them to the public? 

Rosa Parks 1956 Interview just after being released from jail for refusing to leave her seat in a public bus. One of the most powerful interviews you will ever listen to. A mild mannered women took a stand, risked her life, and changed the world.
Fannie Lou Hamer 1963 Interview about her efforts to register Blacks in the South ahead of the 1964 Presidential election. She tells the story of being beaten to within an inch of her life, with permanent physical damage. Inspiring to whole generations to take action when there is injustice.

Bob Dylan 1962 first live radio performance reveals a very talented and creative poet who told tall tales to help create a myth and mystery about him to protect his youth and Minnesota privilege as he quickly ascended to be one of the greatest voices of our time.

Cesar Chavez 1965 before he and Dolores Huerta formed the United Farm workers talking about organizing community and labor. A great lesson to learn about the sleeping power our communities have if we unite and have a common goal.

There are 65,000 of these incredible recordings that many people don’t know about. In 2020, we will begin putting these recordings online so the public can stream these recordings. We also plan to expand our Campus Campaign to give access to these primary source recordings to students at every level around the world.

5) Who is the best poet you ever had on Travel Tips for Aztlan,( no pressure to say Matt Sedillo) ?

Iris De Anda

Mexican As American Dirt

Mexican As American Dirt

Matt Sedillo


Debasing Mexicans is as American as land theft and genocide. It is a central theme of U$ culture and must be produced and reproduced with each successive generation in order for U$ culture to survive each generation of its dying advocates and practitioners. The publication of American Dirt fits well within that continuum. It was not a failure, an oversight, foolishness, naivety, or a symptom of a broken system it is a deep expression of U$ culture of which the humiliation, degradation and dehumanization of Mexicans is a central theme. 

I have not read this book. I do not intend to read this book. The time in which I am compelled by the very state itself to read things that debase me has long passed. The time of being forced to read On the Road and to be taught that my only place in the great American novel was to be as a tragic “mañana” is over. The time of being compelled to read Under the Volcano only to learn that the land of my ancestors was a fittingly strange and macabre place for a troubled white man to drink himself to death because you know, Mexico, is over. The time of being forced to hear the greatness of Walt Whitman, proponent of the Mexican American war who once said “What has miserable, inefficient Mexico—with her superstition, her burlesque upon freedom, her actual tyranny by the few over the many—what has she to do with the great mission of peopling the New World with a noble race?” is over. The days of hearing of the genius of Ralph Waldo Emerson who said “Mexico will poison us” are over. I will not read that book in a box, with a fox, or wearing a red, white and green or red, white and blue shirt, I will not read American Dirt. 

This all also has to be seen within a context broader than current print literature. In the 20th Century film and Television became the premier forms of cultural production and the U$ the world’s leading producer. The debasement of Mexicans was a central theme ran through U$ film and television beginning with founding father of racist cinema himself, D.W. Griffith. The same year he directed his deeply Amerikkkan racist opus Birth of Nation, a literal celebration of the Klu Klux Klan, he also produced a film called Martyrs of the Alamo also known as The Birth of Texas. In one of the earliest slides of the silent film the audience is informed referring to Santa Ana “Under the dictator’s rule the honor and life of American womanhood was held in contempt.” Both Birth of a Nation and its lesser known counterpart Martyrs of the Alamo or Birth of Texas were released in 1915. One hundred years later in the year 2015, Donald Trump began his presidential campaign stating Mexico was sending “drug dealers” and “rapists.”

In the 1920 the Mask of Zorro starring Douglass Fairbanks as Zorro/Don Diego Vega, created a great many of the tropes that came to define the action hero genre. While the stereotypes on display, and they are there, are not as galling as the Martyrs of the Alamo, it is important to remember that inspiration for Zorro was Joaquin Murrieta. A legendary figure of the California gold rush and the prototypical bad hombre. The details of Murrieta’s life are matter of historic debate. What is a matter of historic record however is that in 1853 a Mexican was beheaded and that man’s head, claimed to be Murrieta’s, was put on display and taken on tour by the California Rangers throughout the state. The severed head was finally housed in a museum and only then lost in San Francisco’s great quake of 1906. This grizzly trophy/artifact served as a reminder to Mexicans and non Mexicans alike how unruly Mexicans are to be handled and was an early symbol of Californian justice. Reminding Mexicans of their place in society is U$ culture. Decades later re-imagining a man’s beheading as a jaunty comedic tale of romance and adventure is also U$ culture.

In 1948, 100 years after the Treaty of Guadalupe, John Huston released the film The Treasure of Sierra Madre. This film is famous not only for its star studded cast, including Humphrey Bogart but also in large part for the scene where a federale says “Badges? We don’t need to show you no stinking badges!” The treaty of Guadalupe insured that the property rights of Mexicans would be honored with the incorporation of new territory into the U$. Instead between the decades of the 1850s-1890s Mexicans were lynched at the highest rate per capita of any racial or ethnic group in U$ history, often times in obvious naked land grabs under some specious claim of legal authority. Making Mexicans look ridiculous is U$ culture. Violating your own treaties and then pretending like other people have no respect for laws, agreements, paperwork or proper identification of authority is also U$ culture.

In 1969, Anti Mexican recidivist Sam Peckinpah reimagined the U$ army’s 1916 “Punitive  Expedition” as the Wild Bunch. The Punitive Expedition later relabled the Mexican Expedition was Led by John Pershing. Roughly fifty years later this murderous campaign to punish Mexico was reimagined by Sam Peckinpah as restless white men who ran out of frontier so they headed south and saved a bunch of Mexicans from themselves. The Wild Bunch is a film celebrated for it’s innovations in the depiction of violence and bloodshed on the silver screen a true landmark of U$ cinema. The blood that was shed was Mexican. 100 years later Donald Trump ran on the campaign promise to build a wall. He promised “Mexico will pay.” This too is U$ culture. 

From Speedy Gonzalez to Breaking Bad, Reefer Madness to the Trump Presidency we are awash in anti-Mexican imagery and ideology. This is insult to injury. We are oppressed in this country. We are source of cheap labor in this country. We are fodder for their wars and their prisons in this country. The culture emerges from the conditions. The insult does not stand alone randomly. They debase us because they exploit us. We cannot change this culture without changing the horrific debasing conditions we find ourselves in. 

That will take struggle across the board. In order to struggle here or anywhere the first step is building our own networks outside of their machine. We need to build our own infrastructures outside of their machine. It is central to their identity to debase us because it is central to their position in the world to debase us. They won’t stop. They can’t stop. It is who they are. We will not thrive in their system. We have to build outside of it. We need more of our own presses and we need those presses to work together. We need our own studios and we need those studios to work together. New technologies and demographic shift are making new things possible. Things can change. We must make them. There is no other way.

5 Questions With Lupe Carrasco Cardona

5 Questions With Lupe Carrasco Cardona

A TeleJaguar Exclusive


Chances are if you are living in the state of California and fighting the good fight anywhere near the city of Los Angeles there is a strong possibility the event or committee was organized or at the very least is being co chaired by the great Lupe Carrasco Cardona. Organizer, educator, curriculum developer, writer, speaker, chair, co chair, costume designer, puppeteer, hashtag strategist there really is not much that Carrasco Cardona cannot or does not do in service of the movement. What she does she does for the community.

Recently our team was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to ask Lupe Carrasco Cardona a few questions. Her answers exceeded our already high expectations.

1) Can you give our readers a brief history of the Association of Raza Educators, how and why it formed and what the organization is doing today? 

ARE was founded by members of Unión del Barrio in the spring of 1994, and its first core membership was made up of teachers from the San Diego area. What “sparked” ARE to life was the passage into law of Proposition 187, a ballot initiative designed to deny so-called “illegal immigrants” social services, health care, and public education.  

A.R.E is organized under five basic objectives and principles:
1. To promote critical pedagogy as the principle means of addressing the question of how to teach our children;
2. Struggle for democratic education, where the parents and community have the same rights as teachers, counselors, and administrators in the education of their children;
3. Promote community activism among teachers;
4. Nurture student activism and develop student activists;
5. Struggle to reclaim spaces in the institution (i.e. schools) for progressive education and to develop politically active teachers. 
Today ARE has a chapter in Los Angeles and I am the chair of the Praxis committee.  There is a chapter in Sacramento and a new one forming in the Santa Rosa area of Northern California. The Association of Raza Educators  (A.R.E) is a group of public school educators, university professors, students, and community allies committed to using education as a tool for the liberation of our community.  We do this by organizing and mobilizing teachers, developing curriculum, and working with community organizations to ignite change. We believe that education is the first step in creating consciousness that leads to action.  In these turbulent times, we know that its just not enough to teach about social justice, we have to practice social justice in every facet our lives.  

2)You were part of a historic writing team assembled to draft a statewide ethnic studies curriculum. Can you speak to that experience and tell us a little bit about the curriculum? 

The process was painful and simultaneously powerful.  There were amazing Ethnic Studies activist scholars from throughout the state of California that were convened by the California Department of Education to serve as the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Advisory Committee.  I was one of 18 chosen to help advise and edit curriculum that was written by ES curriculum scholars.  The core of the curriculum was good and together we chiseled and molded it until it was better but still incomplete.  We asked for more time to reconvene and continue the work of editing it until it reached a more “model-like” state.  We were consistently met with the response that AB2016 did not afford the budget or the timeline to be able to do so.  Nonetheless, when conservative elements partially read sections of the curriculum and found points of disagreement, they began a spree of public comments that were mostly computer form generated.  Ultimately, those public comments led to additional legislation being passed that pushed the deadline to have the ES model curriculum approved by a full year.  Even AB 331, the ES graduation requirement legislation, was pushed back by one year to be voted on by the Senate and to be signed by the governor. Additionally, there was funding extended to WestEd to conduct focus groups by ES and non-ES teachers on Ethnic Studies.  It is frustrating to see posts about the ES model curriculum being improved by the CDE and we have not as the ESMCAC been included in the process nor have we been invited to give input.  Additionally, the CDE is misleading the public about the intentions and quality of the ES model curriculum.  Ethnic Studies scholars across the state of California and beyond have defined the discipline of Ethnic Studies and the people “improving” the curriculum most certainly do not have the educational expertise to make any edits.

  • 2010 – Arizona banned the Tucson School District Mexican American Studies courses of the Ethnic Studies Program with the passage of HB 2281; it led to resistance and inspiration
  • 2011 – The Academic and Social Value of Ethnic Studies: A Research Review by Dr. Christine Sleeter was published by the National Educational Association
  • 2014 – Former CA Assemblyman Luis Alejo introduced an Ethnic Studies bill for K-12
  • 2014 – CA communities began to pass High School Ethnic Studies Course Requirement Resolutions
  • 2016 – The Causal Effects of Cultural Relevance: Evidence from an Ethnic Studies Curriculum, a research study from Stanford University supported Ethnic Studies 
  • 2016 – Governor Brown signed AB 2016 (Alejo Bill)  with 84% CA Legislators voting in favor; the bill led to the making of the non-mandated CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum for high schools
  • 2016 – over 25 districts passed Ethnic Studies resolutions
  • 2017 – Arizona judge declared the ban on Ethnic Studies in TUSD unconstitutional in December
  • 2017 – Oregon passed Ethnic Studies legislation
  • Nov 2018 – Instructional Quality Commission selected 18 Ethnic Studies educators to serve on the Advisory Committee (out of about 130 applications)
  • 2019 – Vermont passed Ethnic Studies legislation
  • Jan 2019 – State Board of Education appointed the Advisory Committee members
  • Feb 2019 – Department of Education presented an initial draft of the curriculum to the Advisory Committee, that focused on Native American, Chicana/o Latina/o, African American, and Asian American groups
  • Feb to April 2019 – Advisory Committee met for only 3 sessions (6 meetings); among the public comments presented to the Advisory Committee were from mainly Pacific Islander, Native American, Korean American, Hmong American & Arab American groups
  • April 2019 – Advisory Committee requested to extend their commitment to work on the curriculum but because of limited resources (i.e., time, writers, page limit, and travel finances) members were discharged in April as scheduled
  • May 2019 – The Instructional Quality Commission reviewed and APPROVED the CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum draft for public comment
  • June to Aug 15, 2019 – The Department of Education posted the draft online for public comments
  • July 29, 2019 – CA Legislative Jewish Caucus, including Chair Senator Ben Allen, signed a letter of accusations and complaints about the Draft to the Instructional Quality Commission; Allen also became a member of the Instructional Quality Commission sometime after June 4
  • July 30, 2019 – Start of negative press and misinformation about the Draft and Advisory Committee members
  • August 2019 – Members who served on the Advisory Committee understood the concerns and agreed that some edits needed to be made to the Draft but were no longer in the position to aid with editing
  • August 2019 – Members who served on the Advisory Committee received hate messages at work
  • August 14, 2019 – At a press conference, State Superintendent Thurmond said “there was no intentional omission of Jewish experience” and proposed to make the curriculum inclusive of European American groups; some CA legislators stated that the CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum needed to include Jewish American and European immigrant group histories
  • August 14, 2019 – Council of Ethnic Studies wrote to the State Superintendent and the President of the Board of Education confirming that the discipline of Ethnic Studies had always centered on the studies of people of color
  • August 18, 2019 – Ethnic Studies Researcher Christine Sleeter, who was cited in AB 2016, wrote to State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, to not eliminate the draft (make some edits), keep the Ethnic Studies framework, and focus on Ethnic Studies as defined by the Council for Ethnic Studies
  • August 2019 – Members who served on the Advisory Committee and other college faculty appeared on the radio to defend Ethnic Studies
  • September 2019 – Over 55 organizations with thousands of voters joined to support the draft with some edits
  • September 12, 2019 – CA Legislature approved AB114,which delayed the ESMC completion date by one year, the new completion date is March 2021
  • September 13, 2019 – The San Francisco State University Black Student Union / Third World Liberation Front Student Strike Veterans of 1968 joined Save CA Ethnic Studies
  • September 16, 2019 – State Superintendent announced a new path to revise and improve the ESMC
  • September 19-20, 2019 – Instructional Quality Commission took no vote on ESMC and heard public comments, the majority of which were in support of the model curriculum

3) Like anything of any value some people in power have put roadblocks in the way of the implementation of the curriculum. In response you began a photo campaign called #IamEthnicStudies. The outpowering was tremendous. Can you speak to why ethnic studies means so much to our community? 

Ethnic Studies means so much to people because often times it is the first time they see themselves in the curriculum.  Many students have no idea where they came from, their ancestor’s accomplishments, the actual circumstances that led to the socio-economic and politico-cultural realities of their existence.  Ethnic Studies helps to give names to feelings and give folks a purpose for continue on their path of education and growth.  Ethnic Studies connects the past to the present and the future and gives us hope that positive transformation is real and possible.  It teaches us that we are greater together than as individuals.  This holds true across Ethnic groups. ES shows us that the four racialized ethnic groups have so much more in common and benefit from a collaboration to seek justice and change in the world.  People who have experienced the power of Ethnic Studies will defend it for the next generations.

4) In addition to your tremendous work as an educator, a writer and an organizer you are also co-chair of the Chicano 50th Moratorium Committee. Why is the moratorium still so signifigant today and what can our readers do to get involved?

The Chicano Moratorium is part of our collective history.  That history belongs to all of us.  Furthermore, the struggles of 1970 unfortunately are still real and persistent today.  The threat of war due to US imperialism plagues the world and our communities who are sought after to be recruited to fight the US’s dirty wars for capitalistic gain.  The principles of unity of the 50th Chicano Moratorium really speak to the why of significance today.  Learning from the past we resolve to unite with: women, African Americans, indigenous/Natives, Asians, LGBTQ, the youth, our elders, veterans, labor unions, refugees, immigrants, migrants, the disabled, and all other oppressed peoples. We will correctly use the original demands of the first moratoriums, and expand our demands based on currents ones. These demands include: self-determination; the liberation of women; ending Chicano military drafting into wars like Vietnam; pro-peace; stopping U.S. military intervention; ending racism; ending police killings/crimes; proper access to bilingual and quality public education; good jobs; equality for all; access to health care; benefits for veterans and the elderly; housing; political representation; legalization for all; fair and humane immigration; stopping Trump’s administration/policies; environmental justice (Exide); solidarity with all oppressed nations of the world; and ending white supremacy, and privatization of public social services.

5)What, where and when is Factzlan? 

We are in Factzlan. Factzlan is as ancient as human existence in these lands.  Factzlan respects and recognizes the original custodians of these lands. Factzlan does not ascribe to uber-nationalistic rhetoric that pins gente born under one flag against gente of another. Factzlan recognizes that our gente is black and/or brown and/or a lighter shade of brown; that we existed before imperial borders and the papul bulls; that we deserve to remain here in peace and free from oppression and aggression.  Factzlan knows that we are not free until WE ARE ALL free and that in order to make that a reality we must fight the colonizers who are still operating under the colonial system and not fight one another.  Factzlan does not ally with the oppressors ever, even when the oppressor looks like us, comes from our community and has bought into the colonizers’ dominant bullshit narrative. Our brothers and sisters and primxs are other folks breaking free from the chains of slavery and colonization.  We are in solidarity with all oppressed people of the world.  

4 Reasons Why the Democratic Party Will Never Be the Vehicle for Progressive Change

4 Reasons Why the Democratic Party Will Never Be the Vehicle For Progressive Change

Karena Acree-Páez


What kind of revolutionary joins the establishment to protect the revolution? 

Historically, the function of the Democratic Party has been to sap and neutralize progressive energy. The party has honed a vastly efficacious strategy as the “big tent” in which progressive efforts are laid to rest. In light of another rigged primary approaching, it is imperative to revisit the history, patterns, and structures which are in place to neutralize progressive energy. We must also consider that the DNC has, in fact, increased control over the primaries since 2016. 

For close to 50 years, the Democratic Party has made it very clear that a private corporation will not allow a progressive to win the Democratic primary. As we will discuss in further articles, history shows us that the Democrats would rather lose to a Republican than let a progressive win. Look at what the party did to peace candidate, George McGovern, in 1972 after he won the primary. The Democratic Party chose to sabotage McGovern’s campaign; the specter of Richard Nixon did not scare them then, and Donald Trump does not scare them now. The Democrats then threw the election to Richard Nixon; they are not above throwing it again.

The pervasive discontent among Democratic voters who supported Sanders and watched the establishment sabotage the campaign, remains ever present. Many have taken up sincere and courageous efforts to reform or “takeover” the party. It is refreshing to see a wave of political activity, especially among those who are fervently pushing for progressive gains within the party. Not only is taking over a major party not easy, it appears to be impossible, given that the last 50 years of attempts have been successfully frustrated while neoliberal party leadership which is firmly in control, moves further and further to the right. 

1.  A new progressive organization to steer energy back into the Democratic Party follows a progressive presidential loss.

As we may observe by the following examples, oftentimes after a progressive loses, a new organization is then formed trying to push progressive politics; all subsequent efforts then steer progressives into the Democratic party. Let’s look at some recent examples: 

✔️ 1984 and 1988 – Jesse Jackson is crushed by Democratic party corporatists: He creates a new progressive organization, Rainbow Push, hoping to push politics to the left. 

✔️ 1992 – Jerry Brown is crushed by Democratic party corporatists: He creates a new progressive organization in 1995 – We the People. Later, Brown evolves into another corporate Democrat, which is the standard pattern for any progressive politician who wants to remain and gain power in the party. 

✔️ 2004 – Dennis Kucinich is crushed by Democrat party corporatists: He endorses John Kerry and formed Progressive Democrats of America in 2004, hoping to push the party to the left. 

✔️ 2004 – Howard Dean is crushed by Democratic party corporatists: He creates a new progressive organization, Democracy for America, in 2004 which hopes to push politics to the left. 

✔️ The DNC rigs the primary against Sanders and then argues in open court (by way of the DNC Fraud Lawsuit in Florida) that the party has the right to pick their candidate. Sanders is appointed the Democratic Party Outreach Coordinator in November 2016 and established Our Revolution in January 2017. Our Revolution calls itself a progressive political action organization; it serves as another vehicle for funneling progressive energy into the Democratic Party. 

This creation of a new, progressive political organization after a notable progressive loss, is one of the ways by which the party provides the illusion of having a “progressive wing” and reinforces the myth that the Democratic party is the party of progressives. 

2. Superdelegates and the Loyalty Oath

Does anyone have an extra 300 pledged superdelegates lying around? If not, why campaign? 

Superdelegates were partly in response to George McGovern’s loss of 1972. In 1984 the party implemented superdelegates, system which equates one superdelegate vote with 10,000 citizen’s votes. They effectively serve as a “kill-switch” to prevent any progressive candidate from winning the nomination. 

At the August 2018 DNC meeting in Chicago and after much pressure from progressive activists and voters, it was decided that superdelegates were to be banned from the 1st round vote at the convention. This was widely received by corporate media as a tremendous gain for progressives. However, even if a progressive wins, the DNC can force it to a second round vote just as they did with George McGovern. The DNC controls the rules of the convention. They can make, break or bend the rules however they please. 

However, the DNC Loyalty Oath which also resulted from the August 2018 DNC meeting, makes it even easier to eliminating progressives than superdelegates ever were. The second paragraph confirms that one person, Tom Perez (DNC chairperson who is picked by establishment party bosses), has full power to disqualify anyone he decides is not a “bona fide Democrat” who has, at any time, not demonstrated faithfulness to the party. All Democratic presidential candidates must affirm the oath. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5759585-DNC-Loyalty-Pledge.html

3. The DNC Affirms the Right to Choose Their Nominee In a Smoke-Filled Backroom

The DNC fraud lawsuit was initiated by Bernie Sanders supporters against the Democratic National Committee and former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for rigging the Democratic primaries in Hillary Clinton’s favor. 

The court transcripts reveal several outrageous justifications for rigging the Democratic primary. Here are two quotes from the DNC’s attorney, Bruce Spiva: 

  1. “[I]f you had a charity where somebody said, Hey, I’m gonna take this money and use it for a specific purpose, X, and they pocketed it and stole the money, of course that’s different. But here, where you have a party that’s saying, We’re gonna, you know, choose our standard bearer, and we’re gonna follow these general rules of the road, which we are voluntarily deciding, we could have — and we could have voluntarily decided that, Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way. That’s not the way it was done. But they could have. And that would have also been their right, and it would drag the Court well into party politics, internal party politics to answer those questions.”
  1. Regarding the Article V, Section 4 of the DNC Charter—stating that the DNC chair and their staff must ensure neutrality in the Democratic presidential primaries— the DNC attorneys argued that neutrality was “a discretionary rule that it didn’t need to adopt to begin with” and “those are internal issues that the party gets to decide basically without interference from the courts.”

Courtroom Transcription of April 25th DNC Fraud Lawsuit: http://jampac.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/042517cw2.pdf

As hard as it is to create a viable alternative to the corporate duopoly, it is more likely to succeed than ever trying take over a private corporation; the very structure of the Democratic party will prevent change. Simply put, if a progressive elected official does not serve corporate interests and tow the party line, they are rendered powerless until they are replaced. There are structures at every level of the Democratic party to prevent “reform,” “takeover,” or “revitalization” of the private corporation’s boardroom. 

Keith Ellison provides another example of what happens to a progressive in the Democratic party.

  • Ellison was the first member of congress to endorse Sanders. He was the co-chair of the progressive congressional caucus.
  • When Ellison announces his run for DNC chair, within one month he had endorsed Steven Bittel, the billionaire real-estate developer in Florida, for state party chair.
  • Within two months, Ellison had pulled back on his promise to take corporate money out of the DNC, which was a hallmark of his campaign.
  • Within 3 months he was meeting with David Brock and other very wealthy donors including billionaires to discuss party strategy.

Progressives, can enter the DNC machine, but they cannot fully divorce themselves from the establishment. The establishment IS the party.

4. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. 

Since 2016, none of the issues contributing to the rigging of the Democratic primary which are delineated below have been addressed by the Democratic party, yet people still expect a different outcome:

  • The use of provisional ballots; 
  • Incompetent caucuses manipulated by party bosses;
  • Reduction of and misinformation re: polling places, or fraud;
  • Broken and vulnerable voting machines used across specific states and districts;
  • Massive strategic purges of voters from rolls;
  • Blatant destruction of ballots – similar to what occurred in Tim Canova’s race in Broward County, Florida; and
  • The suppression of certain delegates at the DNC.

Let’s look at how the Democratic party has actively sabotaged progressives since 2016. 

❌ Tried to elect a progressive in the 2016 Democratic primary. Nope! Democrats rigged it against Bernie.

❌ Tried to push for progressive platform. Nope! Lobbyists control the DNC platform.

❌ Tried to get a progressive elected to DNC Chair. Nope! Tom Perez was installed.

❌ Progressives tried to take over Democratic National Committee. Nope! Tom Perez purged Berniecrats & veteran progressives from the DNC.

❌ Tried to reform presidential process to remove power of superdelegates. Nope! Democratic party made sure corporate lobbyists in control of the reform process (Rules Committee) and expanded the party’s control over the primary with a new loyalty oath.

❌ Tried to elect progressives during midterms. Midterms tested the strategy of taking over the party. Nope! Only 2 progressives replaced establishment incumbents.

❌ Tried to push for a progressive Speaker of the house. Nope! The party threatened with even more conservative speaker of the house and ends up getting Democratic progressive Rising Star to support Pelosi along with Trump.

❌ 2020 – Back to Square One? Tom Perez just named lobbyists, party bosses, and Sanders opponents to the DNC convention committee. Infamous Hillary Clinton operative, John Podesta, was also among Perez’s nominations to the 2020 Convention Standing Committees. Loyalty Oath, anyone? 

The same thing has been happening for close to 50 years. There are structures and incentives in place at every level in the Democratic party to ensure that there will be no takeover by progressives. 

GOOD NEWS: Party affiliation is at all time lows. The Democratic party is a political corpse ready to be replaced. 62% of Independents said the two-party system is broken and a third party is needed. (NBC/WSJ poll from March 2019: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/nbc-news-wsj-poll-2020-race-will-be-uphill-trump-n978331. 71% of millennials reject both major parties NBC News/GenForward poll.

Party Affiliation is at historic lows (Gallup, December 2019). What does this tell us?

  • 41% Independent
  • 28% Republican
  • 28% Democrat

What do we do about the fragmented left? We have many organizations and parties that can’t do it on their own and are not attracting the membership numbers to challenge the Democrats. A broad front coalition for the working-class is the missing ingredient. This is the strategy that has recently worked in several other countries in recent years; corrupt establishment parties which have ruled for up to a century have been effectively displaced by broad front coalitions. The planet won’t wait another 50 years. 

Politics Are Not Therapy

Politics Are Not Therapy

Matt Sedillo



Politics are not therapy. 

Politics are the debate of law. The law is the legally binding and enforced rule and regulation that human beings declare to one another in the governance of what is and what is not permissible over given bodies of land, sea or sky.

Therapy, on the other hand, is a series of activities that human beings engage in in order to soothe or heal wounds and injuries either immediate or lingering. 

These are not the same and should never be confused for one another. Politics and therapy should never be practiced in place of the other. The results will always be counterproductive. 

Polemics will not fix a broken arm. A hug or holding space (the cyber equivalant of a hug) will not seize the means of production. 

The purpose of political organizations should not be the edification nor evisceration of its membership. They should not exist to ease the pain of its members nor get to the root cause of a given individual member’s anti-social behavior. While this may be necessary to do for the group to carry out its purpose these activities in and of themselves should not be the purpose of the group.

This is the purpose of therapy and or group therapy.  Political organizations should form so that people may organize politically and with their collective energies and efforts to fight in the political sphere. 

The conditions we are living under today demand strong organizations with clear goals.

All across the world thousands of children starve to death every day in countries exporting food.  The three richest Americans hold more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country.  Just over two dozen billionaires hold more wealth than half of the people living on the planet. A handful of corporations are endangering the future of life on Earth. 

The United States of America is a police state and a war machine. It cages more human beings than any nation on the planet. It threatens war with nations all across the world, particularly those with large oil reserves. 

There are today concentration camps throughout the country for migrant children. Children have been dying in these camps. The militarization of the border, the practice of caging migrants is the platform of both political parties. This cannot be voted away. This is neither conspiracy nor exaggeration. It is a simple statement of fact. History will not absolve our inaction. History will not care how we were feeling on a given day. We must act.  

For better and worse people change the world all the time. The struggle for the organization of the production and distribution of our collective genius and efforts is a struggle for power. It is a political struggle. The struggle for land, labor and resource, pan y tierrra, is a political one.  Therapy is something else entirely.

Politics are not therapy.

The War That Wasn’t Ours

The War That Wasn’t Ours
A Tele-Jaguar Exclusive

I didn’t have a break all Winter and I work weekends so the night of Thursday, January 2nd I went to sleep early as I would any other day. Being a member of the local La Raza Unida chapter and starting off the year working on several projects with other compas, my mind wasand has been focused on that. I went to bed, read a little then fell asleep.
I woke up the next morning bright and early, got ready for work, sat down to drink some Cafe and checked FB on my phone. Post after post of the US having assassinated Iran’s 2nd in command General Qassem Soleimani.

From night to day all of a sudden a man who I didn’t even know about myself became the talk. Although sort of caught off guard themselves mainstream media reported on Soleimani’s assasination but quickly afterwards went to work demonizing not only him but Iran itself. “He has the blood of our troops on his hands!”, “good riddance to this terrorist!”, “I don’t support Trump but,…” read many posts and these are the least worst of countless horrible statements being regurgitated for people to accept as justification for State Terror upon Iran and the peoples of the Middle East.

Nevertheless what should one expect from the descendants of the people that invaded our land, committed genocide on our people and then ripped another people from their motherland to work as captive slaves less than beasts of burden, right? I don’t expect much from them really.

Yet the problem that should be of concern is that these statements were being said by Chicanos and other colonized peoples. “WE are going to war!”, “Pray for OUR troops!”, “OUR embassy was attacked!” Excuse me but every month I try to keep up with my mortgage payments, neverdid I know I had an embassy all the way across the world much less a collectively owned embassy. I have some friends that need a place to stay at actually, maybe this embassy “we” have can be put to use after all it is paid by our taxes and several Chicanos did shed blood setting the conditions for a US embassy to be placed there.

I am obviously being facetious but this highlights two serious issues.

  1. LIke ALL of US foreign policy in particular its bellicose actions around the world and
    throughout its history, the invasion of Iraq, the long history it has of intervening in Iran’s and the Middle East’s affairs and in this case murdering one of their leaders. US foreign policy is completely wrong, unjustifiable and MUST be opposed in totality by any decent human being. The US is an imperialist power in its waning days. All freedom and peace loving people must vehemently oppose US Imperialisms actions around the world in particular those of us inside of it.
  2. Chicanos-Mexicanos as a people are subjects of US settler colonialism and as Native
    people are its first victims. The US was born of genocide, beginning with the slaughter of tribal nations in the East and ending with the direct war against Mexico and the Mexican and native nations of the Southwest the US has historically been diametrically opposed to our actual interests. Whether in support of US imperialism or in opposition, this talk about “We” needs to be reflected on. Yes Chicanos compose a large part of the empires fighting forces, but whose interests are they actually fighting for or defending? Chicanos and Mexicanos are the historically invisible underclass of the US in particular in the Southwest/Aztlan. What we have been able to achieve from greater access to educational institutions, civil rights etc we have won on our own collectively organizing and many times having to shed our blood in the fields, campuses or our very own barrios. Nothing was given to us much less was it somehow won via US invasions of countless countries.
    Exactly 50 years ago from today one of the most historic events in Chicano history would take place in East Los Angeles, Calif-Aztlan. Fed up with the promises that had run their course and the utter hypocrisy of the USA, La Raza from throughout Aztlan and beyond came together and held the largest none White anti-war march to ever be held. The Chicano Moratorium crystallized the sentiment of the time. Who exactly where we fighting for when all of our problems are here and they’re caused by the same people that tell us that, that poor brown campesino bent over picking rice is the enemy of you the poor brown campesino picking grapes. That war wasn’t ours, it was theirs. Our war was and continues to be HERE!

    Ernesto Ayala
    La Raza Unida
    Jaguar Nation

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.