Bananeras rise up !

For the Original men and women who struggle to provide us with food just to barely feed themselves. YA BASTA! As Indigenous men, women and children rise up to relcaim their humanity against the slavery imposed by the multi-national corporations, the evil offspring of colonialization. Many of us that that were reared in the states, even in the midst of the poorest of environments, still can not imagine life for our people in the "third world". So we never generate interest in the lifes and well-beings of those people and block them out of our consciousness. We are taught and instructed to be concerned for nothing except the "wonderful life" here in the wilderness of North America. Like horses with blinders on.

It makes me of my father and the letters we would send from Boriken and the times he would tell me of nothing to eat except for bananas...and the numbers of children here who grow up preferring a 25 cent bag of swedish fish over a banana. What our people have went through for us to have the audacity to 'not' want to eat healthier. Of course this 'preference' having been rooted in miseducation. Miseducation not withstanding, there are many of our people who assume a strident position of maintaining and perpetuating ignorance. It's the relationship between the two realities that's the jewel. Alla y Aca. Like 'blood diamonds' that people and especially 'rappers' continue to flaunt despite the controversy that surrounding the topic after the film "Blood Diamonds" was released.

Plantation workers look for justice in the North
by T. Christian Miller
May 29, 2007

After years of toil in Central American fields where they say pesticide use made them sterile, they're suing Dow, Dole and other firms in L.A.

Chinandega, Nicaragua -- THE people crammed into the stifling basketball gym. They filled the court, lined the walls and tumbled beyond the doors onto the sun- blistered streets.

They had gathered to hear a promise of justice.

Many had spent their lives toiling on banana plantations that U.S. companies operated in this region some 30 years ago. By day, the workers had harvested bunches of fruit to ship to North American tables. At night, some had sprayed pesticide into the warm, humid air to protect the trees from insects and rot.

As the decades passed, the workers came to believe that the pesticide, called DBCP, had cost them their health. Prodded by U.S. lawyers, thousands joined lawsuits in the U.S. and Nicaragua alleging that the pesticide made them sterile.

The U.S. firms that sold and used the pesticide have never faced a U.S. jury trial over its use abroad. Last month, a Los Angeles attorney named Juan J. Dominguez stood before a sea of nearly 800 dark, hard faces and predicted that the day of reckoning was at hand.

"We are fighting multinational corporations. They are giants. And they are going to fall!" Dominguez thundered.

The crowd exploded. They leapt to their feet, waved their hats, shook fists in the air. "Viva! Viva!" they chanted.

Also, more information can be found at: www.studentsforbhopal.org/DirtyDow.htm



Reconnecting the Body: More Indigenous Diasporic Unity

Special thanks Cedric Muhammad and the staff of Black Electorate.com for posting this article. More efforts and activity in the struggle to unift the population of the ORIGINAL NATION here in the wilderness of North America.

The Gathering of Nations Festival

By Yo'Nas Da Lonewolf-Muhammad

Mitake Oyasin-We are all related

Greetings Relatives,
In the words of my Uncle Chief Ernie Longwalker, "Let the ceremonies begin!" The 24th Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow and Festival was held April 26-28 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Last year was my first year, and I was amazed and joyful to be around so much culture, especially seeing over 100,000 Indigenous Brothers and Sisters at one gathering. So, this year, I could not experience this event alone. With the assistance of Native American rap artist Litefoot and Navajo Nation’s Ervin Keeswood, we made sure that the presence of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and the Millions More Movement (MMM) was there. I was a part of a delegation that consisted of Minister Ishmael Muhammad, the National Assistant to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan; Nation of Islam Chief-of-Staff Leonard F. Muhammad, NOI Southwest Regional Representative Minister Robert Muhammad, as well as several Brothers from the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.).

I was very nervous, because I wanted to make sure Min. Ishmael was comfortable and that all the logistics were in place for him to speak during the 2nd Grand Entry on Saturday-the largest kickoff for the weekend’s numerous festivities.

When they arrived, you should have seen the look on everyone’s face. From our delegation and from the participants in the pow wow. I know our delegation must have been thinking, "Wow, look at how many Natives are here, at one place. Look at all the regalia, jewelry, food, etc." and I know the Natives must have been thinking, "Wow, look at how many Black Brothers are here, and they are dressed in suits and bowties," (smile). A few Natives came up to us and wanted to know who we were. Believe me; I just was in amazement at the relationship bonding that was happening.

The night before, Sis. Bahati of Albuquerque, Bro. Leonard and I went to the Miss Indian World Pageant. This pageant is for young Native women to present their traditions from storytelling, dance, song, and various ways of life from their tribe. One participant, Tai Simpson, who is half-Nez Pierce and a former Miss Black Idaho, won the 1st Runner Up position and for Best Public Speaking. Most of the girls represented their own tribe as well as another tribe, and it was a beautiful experience to see so much pride in the richness of being Indigenous. The criteria to participate is that a woman must be between the ages of 18-25, have no children, have tribal membership and be very well educated in the traditions of their tribe.

During the 2nd Grand Entry, the music stopped, the lights were cut off, and then the spotlight hit Min. Ishmael, who addressed over 100,000 people in attendance, plus all of the dancers in the middle of the arena. He did an excellent job and in response to every word he spoke, the people cheered and made "war calls," etc. Upon leaving the arena, numerous people came up to Min. Ishmael in order to take pictures and embrace him with love. It was a historic event for a Black organization to be invited to the Gathering of Nations, which is organized by its founders, Derek, Dr. Lita and Melanie Mathews. It is a family business, and family united we felt.

Before we left, I wanted to show our delegation where Native music is going, by watching rap artist Litefoot perform. An actor in Indian in the Cupboard, Mortal Kombat and numerous other films, Litefoot has also recorded over 10 albums. Last year, he completed a tour called, "Reach the Rez," where he visited over 211 Native communities promoting non-violence, empowerment, justice and unity through his words and music.

Litefoot and I have been close friends for over 10 years; my mother, Wauneta, use to work with him on various events she use to have, and to see him and his family come together and work on the empowerment for Native youth is wonderful. He is the first Native rapper to be signed to a major label-Roc-A-Fella-with his label Red Vinyl Records.

Min. Robert bought his mix tape and the whole time, Litefoot was performing, he was yelling, "Teach, Brother, teach!!" So, you can only imagine the positivity in his music. By the grace of God, we will have Litefoot on an upcoming webcast.

The Gathering of Nations was a delightful and enjoyable event. We must come to events like this to show that Indigenous people and Black people are One Family. We deal with the same enemy and the same struggle. Even though Native and Black people come in various shades and colors, we are one. The Indigenous Nations Alliance-Millions More Movement is moving forward and not looking back.

Mitake Oyasin-All My Relations

(YoNasDa LoneWolf McCall-Muhammad is the National Director for the Indigenous Nations Alliance-Millions More Movement and is now working to develop chapters throughout the country. If you would like to assist in this Movement, please email yonasda@gmail.com.)


Chavez Vs. The Pope

I love it when President Chavez calls people out. He is a person who does not fear and shows you. While his ways, words and actions and severely downplayed in Western media as mere showmanship for the world 'camera', the truth of who he is and what he is doing is seen through the people.

One specific quality that stands out the most to me about President Chavez is his love for the people and for the revolution. He does have his perspectives on issues. He is a devoutly religious man. However, his 'religious faith' comes through his relationship with "God" and not that which is dictated by the church. The fact the he is willing to stand in the name of truth and speak to the wrongs done to the Indigenous people despite his own faith is admirable. Many can not and will not take such an approach. Like black Christians who for some reason never want to take about how Christianity was enforced upon them or how muslims and typically within the black community praise religious Islam's work in developing civilization in Africa however it opened up and weakened West Africa for the chattel slave trade. Hugo Chavez has his own understanding, after all he called Jesus Christ the world's greatest socialist, something not very well received by the church. He is a socialist, b-u-t he is not a Marxist. He has a strong understanding in the governorship of the Original people and how the Indigenous communities worked and ran and strove to develop a similar system through the Bolivarian community councils. His bottomline is the people, his people and Afro-Indio unity with the so-called "Latin" American diaspora.

His is dead serious about lifting the yoke of 500 year of colonization.

Venezuela’s President Chavez Tells Pope to Apologize to Indigenous Peoples
By: Chris Carlson - Venezuelanalysis.com

Mérida, May 21, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com )- Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez called on Pope Benedict XVI to apologize to the indigenous people of Latin America for his comments on the evangelization of the region. During an official visit to Brazil last week, the Pope defended the evangelization of the indigenous people of Latin America, claiming that Christianity had not been "imposed" upon them. Chavez disputed this in a speech Friday night, calling on his nation to challenge the old capitalist hegemony and create a new society.

In a nationally broadcast speech at an event in Caracas, Chavez criticized the Pope's remarks and asked him to "offer an apology to the people of our America."

"How can the Pope say that the evangelization was not imposed," said Chavez. "Then why did our indigenous people have to flee to the jungles and the mountains?" he asked.

Pope Benedict XVI made the remarks last week during his first visit to Latin America. While in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Pope claimed that Christianity was not "imposed by a foreign culture" on the pre-Columbian cultures, but rather that these populations where "silently yearning" to be converted to Christianity. The pope went on to criticize the resurgence of pre-Columbian religions in the region, calling them "a regression."

President Chavez called these statements into question, accusing the Pope of ignoring what he called the holocaust of the colonial era, in which millions of people were killed by war, disease and slavery, with the support of the Catholic Church.

"What happened here was much worse than the holocaust in the Second World War, and no one can deny us that reality," said Chavez. "Not even his Holiness can come here to our land and deny the holocaust of the indigenous people."

Chavez referred to the work of the Spanish Dominican priest Bartolome de Las Casas, who denounced the genocide of the indigenous people in the 16th Century.

"Christ came to America much later. He didn't arrive with Columbus, the anti-Christ came with Columbus," stated Chavez, who went on to ask the Pope to apologize for his error.
"Just like the Catholic Church has recognized errors, as a descendant of those martyr Indians that died by the millions, I ask, with all respect, your Holiness, apologize, because here there was a real genocide," Chavez pleaded.

Giving birth to the new, burying the old

Chavez went on to emphasize in his speech on Friday the need to replace the old sociopolitical structures that oppose the construction of a new society. Chavez spoke of the double task of the revolution to give birth to a new counter-hegemony, as well as the necessity of burying the old.
"Those of us who push for the birth of the new, we have a doubly historic task: we are the creators of the new, but also we must be those who bury the old," said Chavez.

Paraphrasing the renowned Italian political theorist Antonio Gramsci, Chavez spoke of the imperial hegemony imposed on South American nations, and the need to challenge this hegemony.

"Real historic crises happen when there is something that is going to die, but has not quite died, and at the same time there is something new being born, but it hasn't quite been born yet," he said.

Chavez referred to the policies of the United States and the use of the School of the Americas to train Latin American armies to torture and kill their own people, using as an example the Caracazo massacre in Venezuela in 1989.

"They turned us against our own people, to massacre them, many times, they used us. The Caracazo was the ultimate tragedy of that history," he said.

Chavez also responded to recent accusations of "politicizing" the military due to the use of the new slogan "socialism, homeland, or death," among military ranks.

"Socialism is a concept that goes much further than a political party, it is a national concept, it is a national project," he said.


'Lighten up": A brief analysis of 'color' in Boriken

Reggaeton artist, Tego Calderon, from Loiza, Puerto Rico

Below is an article I wrote awhile ago (6 years now) concerning the color complex in Puerto Rico. I lost my copy on disk however I found the article posted on www.stewartsynopsis.com, an excellant website about the African elements throughout the world and the processes that concealed them. I encourage everyone to check it out, the sister is well researched. After all, she obtained my article and posted it on there. Big ups! I wanted to post the article in reference to the Born degree (9th) in the lesson we call LIFE or the 1-40 (Lost found muslim Lesson No. 2) as ABG#7 would say. As the answer to the question in that degree states, "To conceal that..." I originally wrote the article with the God degree (7th) in the 1-14 (Lost Found Muslim Lesson No. 1) in mind, "Why does the Devil call our people African", concerning 'nationalism' and the last line of the degree, "He wants us to think we are all different." I am actually working on a revised version. Enjoy!

The Color Complex in Puerto Rico

When examining the psyche of Original people, we find that they (the majority) have been taken from their original nature and taught to think other than their own selves. This way of thinking is the effect of Yakub’s rules and regulations (societal policies in place to further the 'lightening' of darker societies), which has caused us to think we are all different, thus separating the shades through marital and breeding preferences: both of which are results of conscious and more importantly, subconscious grafting (eugenics).

It is visible all over the world, especially in the Caribbean islands and the lands of Latin America. In Puerto Rico, it is popular to be' light'. As it can be seen on television, lighter skinned Boricuas are shown as the dominant majority. Ideas of Desi Arnez (and a more contemporary Ricky Martin or Reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee) are the view of what a “true” Latino looks like. I can say that when I went to visit my physical father in Adjuntas, PR a couple years ago, most of the Boricuas I seen were mainly brown seeds/soil or darker. Many/most of the darker skinned Puerto Ricans are disregarded and simply silenced under the false idea of “nationalism”.Many Latin American countries use nationalism to blanket the ever-present African culture present amongst the people. The intellectuals in society, working on behalf of conservative elite in government, overtime constructed the image of the "mestizo" (mixture of Indian, African and Spanish) as the national heritage. The term is used as a blanket identity for the entire population, in attempts to unify the people under the idea of patriotism, i.e. "we are all Puerto Ricans/Cubans/Panamanians/etc."

The contribution to music such as 'Salsa' is well known, yet it is “not deemed a proper representation of authentic Puerto Rican culture by government officials”(1). Many boricuas abandon their African identity and even their Indian identity for the sake of being “Puerto Rican”. A major symbol of Puerto Rico is the “jibaro”. The jibaro is the country worker/ mountain man. He is usually portrayed as lighter skinned and takes great pride in their “Spanish” bloodline, even when many of them haven’t any. Jibaros, in reality of the descends of the escaped Taino and Maroon communities (Cimarrones). The elitists/politicians in Puerto Rico have mostly been the lighter Power Rule's (p-power, r- rule; as per the Supreme Alphabet of the Five Percenters), and even Europeans who have migrated there and married into Puerto Rican families, to carry on a “white” bloodline. However, even the lightest of boricuas were still considered “niggers” when they began to immigrate in large numbers to the United States to find work as cigar rollers (3); especially to New York (actually to Harlem where the Puerto Rican flag and Cuban flag were designed, at the same time to promote the Antillean revolution. The original flag that was to be used for Puerto Rico was the flag of Lares, a town which attempted to up rise against the Spanish colonizers and abolish slvaery in the late 1868 but were massacred). Anthropologists have argued that children in the local schools in Puerto Rico should be taught of their African roots (2). Their urging was to an extent successful and in many ways wasn’t.

The Spanish managed to kill off a lot of the native Tainos on the island by the mid 1500’s. Then African slaves were brought (in 1519) to substitute as workers. During the times of Spanish colonization of Puerto Rico, Africans outnumbered, not only the Tainos, but also the Spaniards of the island. The African population reached its zenith between 1530 and 1540 with a ratio of 5 to every 1 Spaniard, while managing to hold fast and even increase until the late 1700’s. Then in the mid 1800’s the Spanish officials brought in more Europeans (French, Italian and Dutch) to try and neutralize the influence that African culture had on the people. Let it also be known that slavery was abolished in 1873 on 'la isla de Puerto Rico'.The African legacy continues to live on in Puerto Rican culture, although many Boricuas take the bulk of their pride in their “Indio” bloodline. The fact is, that we as Boricuas do have a strong presence of Taino influence and blood in our culture as well as many other tribes within the West Indian region. For when the Tainos were murdered, the Spanish began to import other Indian peoples for labor as well. Amongst those being the Arawaks of South America, the Igneri/ Carib and the Lokono (2).

Platanos (plantains), gandules (Congo peas), bacalao and numerous elements of Power Rule 'la cultura' is “African”, specifically from the Yoruba peoples (thus the contribution of Santeria, a mix of Roman Catholicism and African Yoruba practiced by many peoples in the Caribbean). Not to mention that a significant amount of Chinese were imported shortly after the Africans to work as slaves as well. Yet and still it has been a topic largley ignored. Even though the particular dialect of Spanish is even strikingly different from other so-called 'Latin' Americans, because of the African linguistic influence from enslaved brothers and sisters who spoke 'bozal' Spanish. Bozal Spanish is a blend of Spanish, Portuguese and Ki-Congo; it is why many Puerto Ricans swallow their “s” (Como ta? instead of “Como estas”) and often say “r” like “l” or "h", because in that particular African tongue there is no “s” or “r”. It has come to the point where most people don’t regard Puerto Ricans as “West Indian”, however they are located IN the West Indies. Other countries are looked to such as Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, etc. This is not by choice, for the most part, but because this is the position that many Puerto Ricans move into, trying to be like their white oppressors. The behavior is found in many children and is called “identifying with the aggressor”. The child learns to take on attributes of the person of force that in some way is intimidating to them, in attempts to overcome it. This is done (mostly involuntarily) by our people as a way to combat the oppression placed upon us, as we attempt, not to conquer the opposing force, but to adopt many of it’s attributes and assimilate. Overlooked by us, there wasn’t any space made for us in their society of men, although we shed our identity and the very essence of our being in hopes of standing next to them on the golf course.

This mix of culture in 'Boriken' is why many other Latin American countries despise Puerto Ricans for being what they consider as “mutts”. They (other Latinos) predicate their culture and identity on their Spanish and Indian bloodlines, making it look more cleanly cut and pure (closer to the Spaniards). However, just as many, even more, Africans (and Chinese too) were taken to these lands, only to mix in with the Indigenous people, creating the culture and people we know of today. This, however, is not so for a few of the South American countries where, although they come under the title “Latino”, don’t be fooled Gods and Earths, check their family photos and family trees. In some countries, like Argentina, the Indigenous population was virtually all wiped out and high numbers of Europeans came. Therefore you can be from Argentina and have a pure Italian or German bloodline as many due. In Mexico for instance, one would think that all Mexicans (for the most part) look alike. The idea is that the majority are 'Indian' and Spanish mixes. However, they, like most other Latin American countries (i.e. Puerto Rico), are so-called “mutts” as well. During the Spanish occupation of Mexico, numerous amounts of African slaves were brought over to work. According to the University of Vera Cruz professor, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltran, in his 1946 book entitled “The Black Population of Mexico”- the Africans eventually outnumbered the Spanish, even more than in Puerto Rico. The population in 1570 was said to be at 20,569. They too have become victims of “nationalism”. Many will say that since you don’t see many blacks in Mexico, that there probably wasn’t many there to begin with. They didn’t disappear, only mixed in, as shown by the many predominate elements in Mexican culture, such as instruments, music ("La Bamba") and food. There are many black and brown seed/shade people throughout Mexico. Many live in communities along the coast of the province of Guerrero to the south and Vera Cruz bordered by the Caribbean Sea. These communities generally keep to themselves, while the rest of Mexico, as in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, people favor “lighter” spouses and children.

There are many notable figures in Latin American history. One of those being Juan Garrido, the first “black” man credited (he was a Moor) with touching the shores of Puerto Rico in 1509. He was also the first to bring wheat to Mexico. Others include Rafael Cordero and Arturo Alfonso Schomburg. More to be revealed...

Peace and Blessings from your righteous brother,

Sha-King Cehum Allah


Davila, Arlene “Contending Nationalisms: Culture, Politics, and Corporate Sponsorship in Puerto Rico,” from Francis Negron-Muntaner and Ramon Grosfoguel (eds), “Puerto Rico Jam: Essays on Culture and Politics. Minneapolis: U of Minneapolis, 1997. 2) Rouse, Irving The Tainos: Rise and Decline of the People Who Greeted Columbus. New Haven: Yale, 1992 3) Vega, Bernardo The Memoirs of Bernardo Vega: A Contribution to the History of the Puerto Rican Community in New York. New York: Monthly, 1984.For more info also check out: http://www.stewartsynopsis.com/racial_amnesia.htm


Afro-Colombia: Ecologic and Economic Exploitation

- The following article I obatained from www.zmag.org

AfroColombians Oppose Free Trade Agreement
by David Bacon; t r u t h o u t; May 14, 2007

Ana Valencia still tries to eke out a living as a miner in the hills near the headwaters of Colombia's Rio Salvajina. Her sisters are gone now to the nearest city of Cali, where they work as domestics. She's having a hard time hanging on.

"Due to the absolute poverty in which we live," Valencia explains in Spanish, "many women have to move to the city to work. Single women have to leave their children behind with the eldest child caring for the younger siblings. They can't afford to send all of their children to school, because you must pay for tuition and their uniform and there isn't enough money to go around. So they come home every two weeks to leave more food for the children and return to the city again. That is their only option."

Living on the mountain is even harder. In this AfroColombian community, Palo Blanco, the men farm and take care of animals, while the women mine gold. "We do everything here, even a man's job," says Valencia. "My mother's a miner too. She's 77 years old, and she's been mining since she was 15. She's still out there right now."

As hard as mining and farming are, people like Valencia are fighting to stay. Today, though, the threat to Palo Blanco's existence doesn't come only from poverty. The Anglo American Corporation plans to pulverize the mountain where Valencia and her community mine and extract the gold using industrial methods that will leave behind huge piles of tailings and pits filled with cyanide residue. If the project is allowed to proceed, Palo Blanco residents will lose their small diggings and the income they gain from them. Pollution will make it even harder to farm. The town might become just a memory.

"Development" projects like this one are backed by the Colombian government and pushed by the United States and international financial institutions. Later this spring the US Congress is expected to debate a free trade treaty that President George Bush has already signed with Colombia. Like all such agreements, it will create more favorable investment conditions for US corporations and banks, by removing legal protections for the land inhabited by AfroColombian and indigenous communities, cutting the public budget for social services, and privatizing public enterprises like electricity. The North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico, for instance, allowed subsidized US corn producers to flood the Mexican market, making it impossible for many small farmers to compete. Colombian workers and farmers fear these measures will lead to a huge loss of jobs, and to driving farmers from their land.

All of this will lead to more displacement of people in rural AfroColombian and indigenous communities, including Valencia, who asked to have her name changed for fear of reprisal. Leaders who stand in the way of foreign investment projects will disappear or die. While most displaced Colombians become internal migrants in the country's growing urban slums, that migratory stream will eventually cross borders into those wealthy countries whose policies have set it into motion. Since 2002, more than 200,000 Colombians have arrived in the US.

Valencia and her neighbors are defending their land in the hills of the Cauca department, and not just because it's the source of their economic survival. It is also part of the historical territory of AfroColombians. Development projects like the one led by the Anglo American Corporation threaten more than just a group of families or a single town. They endanger the territorial basis for maintaining the AfroColombian culture and social structure that has developed over 500 years. In Colombia, Africans fled the plantations established by the Spanish colonizers in the early 1500s in huge numbers, traveling south and west to the Pacific coast and the jungle-clad mountains inland. They called their runaway towns palenques. By the time Simon Bolivar and Francisco de Paula Santander raised the flag of liberation from Spain in 1810, slaves and former slaves made up three of every five soldiers in the anti-colonial army. Yet, emancipation was delayed another forty years until 1851. By then, the rural AfroColombian communities founded by escaped slaves were as old as the great Colombian cities of Bogota or Cartagena.

Today Colombia, a country of 44 million people, is the third-largest in Latin America, and one of the most economically polarized. Luis Gilberto Murillo Urrutia, former governor of Choco state, says AfroColombians make up close to 40 percent of Colombia's people, although the government says it's only 26 percent (or about 11 million people). While non-black Colombians have an annual income of $1,500, AfroColombian families make $500, and only 38 percent of AfroColombian young people go to high school, compared to 66 percent of non-black Colombians.

Institutionalized racism has been reinforced by decades of internal displacement due to economic pressures and a civil war. From 1940 to 1990, the urban percentage of Colombia's population grew from 31 to 77 percent. AfroColombians joined this internal migration in hopes of gaining a better standard of living. Those hopes were dashed, and instead, Murillo says, "they joined the ranks of the urban poor, living in the marginal areas of big cities such as Cali, Medellçn and Bogota. Currently, most AfroColombians are living in urban areas. Only 25 percent, approximately three million people, are still based on the land." Those who remain in rural areas also find themselves caught in the country's deadly civil war between government forces, insurgents and right-wing paramilitaries (who are politically linked to Colombia's conservative politicians, including President Alvaro Uribe).

In 1991, AfroColombian and indigenous communities insisted that the country's rewritten Constitution recognize their right to their historical territories. Law 70, passed in 1993, said these communities had to give their approval prior to any new projects planned on their land. Having a law is one thing, however. Enforcing it is another.

Many families in Palo Blanco have already been displaced by a series of hydroelectric projects, starting in 1984, when 3,600 people were uprooted by construction of a dam on the Rio Salvajina, a project by the Spanish power giant, Union Fenosa. Behind it, water flooded schools, homes, churches, even cemeteries. Community leaders who resisted the removal were killed or disappeared.

"The company didn't kill people directly," says community activist Esperanza Rivas, who asked that her name be changed. "It asked the state, through the army, to force people to leave so they could run their business."

By 2001, however, silt had begun to build up behind the Rio Salvajina dam. Power generation, and therefore Union Fenosa's income, dropped. So the company proposed a new megaprojec - to divert the Rio Ovejas from its course in the next valley, through a tunnel into the Rio Salvajina reservoir. Knowing families couldn't survive the loss of their river, local communities got organized and refused to consent.

The Colombian government is now under pressure to respect international human rights, and so it turned to the right-wing paramilitaries. Rivas says that's when she began seeing bodies thrown into the river in front of the house.

"Leaders began to disappear," she recalls. "There were massacres, not just of people living in the area, but even those who'd fled to other places. Their bodies were dumped here. People were very frightened. And after the paramilitaries arrived and the resistance was weakened, [the company] came back with the proposal again."

Local communities do not control these large development projects -regardless of what the Constitution dictates. Power and gold sales create dividends, but the only Colombians who benefit from them are a tiny handful of brokers in Bogota. But the Colombian government, like many in thrall to market-driven policies, sees foreign investment in these projects as the key to economic development, and thus revenue. It cuts the budget for public services needed by AfroColombian, indigenous and other poor communities, while increasing military spending. The US military aid program, Plan Colombia, underwrites much of that Colombian military budget.

In response, AfroColombians have built a grassroots organization, the Proceso de la Comunidad Negra, or the Black Community Process. Some of its leaders have traveled to Washington, DC, to denounce the project in meetings with US Congress members, trying to convince them to vote no on the proposed free trade agreement.

Whether or not the treaty is ratified, the AfroColombian community is organizing to resist. In a 2000 confrontation with the paramilitaries, Valencia explains, "we all gathered together to put up a fight. We confronted the paras [paramilitaries] at this road, where they had bound a community member and were going to kill him. When we began to question them, they let him go. We saw that once we all united, we were stronger and lost our fear. When they came around again to beat us, we were ready to stand up for ourselves."

For more articles and images on free trade and Colombia:
See also The Children of NAFTA (University of California, 2004)

http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9989.html and the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US, Communities Without Borders

(Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006).

David Bacon is a California photojournalist who documents labor, migration and globalization. His book Communities Without Borders was just published by Cornell University/ILR Press.


Renewing Our History

Renewing our history after reviewing our history. This is very important. For as we seek to resurrect the plight of our civilization and reinstate our guardianship over the planet and the universe, it is important that we stay mindful of our effectiveness and practicality. Many want only for the return of what is theirs. Yet, they arr many processes that are irreversable, at least not withing a time frame that would be sufficient for our immediate needs. to adapt , adjust and overcome, retaining many of the old ways, and building upon them to improve the effectiveness of the ideas in application. We must face the fact that things will never be how they once were. So to renew our history is to create history again, to reintroduce the world to itself. We bear witness to this through the repopulation by reoccupying our lands of North America (so-called illegal immigration) to the restructuring and reshaping of societies through assertive political movements and govermental policy (Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales), the Earth is being retaken by the Original Man. La Otra Conquista! Returning the history's pen to it's rightful authors we can speak for those without a voice and be who we are. Kill the colonalization, save the 'Indian' !!!
Bolivia - From colonialism to Indianism
by Christian Rudel; Bolivia Rising http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2007/05/bolivia-from-colonialism-to-indianism.html;

May 14, 2007

The "new Bolivia" that emerged from the ballot boxes in 2005 cannot be reduced to a mere victory of the political left, as some Western commentators have characterized it. Rather, it is the victory of "Indianism" over more than 500 years of colonialism and injustice.

On December 18, 2005, through fully democratic elections, Bolivia gave itself, for the first time in its history, a president of indigenous origin. This event is especially remarkable in that these indigenous peoples - the descendants of the peoples living in this country before the "discovery" of America and the arrival of the Europeans - make up at least 70% of the population. An important event, therefore, but above all an indication and the beginning of a profound change in the political, economic and social life of Bolivia.

The task now, says the program of the new president Evo Morales and his party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), is to build a new nation in which all will be equal in the diversity of their ethnic origins, languages, customs and beliefs, although the attitude inherited from the time of the colonization, and which prevailed until now, was to view the "Indians" as inferiors.It is also to secure the economic basis of the new Bolivia and a life worthy of all its citizens through the return to its sovereignty of the natural resources now being operated by huge international companies for their own benefit.

The MAS had assembled and systematized the demands and popular claims expressed by the various movements, trade unions, peasant organizations and other neighborhood associations.

They had fought, through marches, strikes, roadblocks, etc., against the persistence of the old colonial spirit, the racial segregation and the consequences of the implementation in the mid-1980s of the neoliberal economic model: privatization of national firms followed by massive layoffs, increases in the cost of living, an end to the needed agrarian reform and the concentration of lands for the benefit of the major agro-industrial operations, the devastation of the subtropical forest for production of lumber and raising of herds, destruction of the environment and habitat of the indigenous peoples of the forest, etc.

At the same time, the coca leaf producers were up against the anti-drug program to destroy the coca plantations that was developed by the United States and implemented in Bolivia with Washington's financial, technical and military support. But the coca fields had become the refuge for many workers laid off after the privatizations as well as small peasants from the Altiplano fleeing dearth of lands, drought and a hard life. Moreover, coca, a part of daily life in the Andes since the dawn of time, is one of the most pronounced aspects of the people's identity; attacking it is to attack head-on the very soul of the Andean peoples.

Indigenous revolts and uprisings

In fact, the Bolivian people, the indigenous peoples in their forefront, have never accepted the yoke of the conquerors, either under the Inca empire or during the Spanish colonization and the independent republic that was but a continuation of the political and economic situation of the colony. Over the centuries there have been many indigenous revolts and uprisings, and more recently strikes and violent demonstrations by miners, accompanied by attempts at building authentic resistance organizations. In the indigenous world of the final decades of the 20th century, the foremost aspect was the Aymara "awakening" in the early 1970s which, to some extent, prepared the advent of the MAS. During this period the first Aymara political parties appeared: the Tupac Katari Revolutionary Movement (MRTK) and the Tupac Katari Indian Movement (MITKA), both named in reference to Tupac Katari, the Aymara hero of the great uprising of 1780-82. These parties denounced the economic exploitation, cultural oppression and racial discrimination being suffered by the aboriginal peoples. They reclaimed their traditions and their cultures, community democracy and autonomy. They participated in some elections, obtained a few MPs and were thereby able to advance the themes of the ethnic renaissance and its demands.

The "Kataristas" controlled the Confederación Sindical Única de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB), the independent union of rural workers that had put an end to the military's control over the peasantry. In the late 1990s, Felipe Quispe Huanca, an Aymara Indian, became head of the Peasants' Confederation. Associated with urban left-wing elements then led by Álvaro García Linera (now vice-president of Bolivia), he helped to train Cuban-style armed struggle groups, the "Red Ayllus", from which there developed the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army (EGTK); it was quickly broken up and its leaders imprisoned. When he emerged from prison, Felipe Quispe created the Pachakuti Indian Movement (MIP) and launched the proposal for an independent Aymara republic.

Meanwhile, the aboriginal peoples of the vast Amazon area - some 800,000 people, long confronted with the ongoing theft of their lands by the major agro-industrial and extensive livestock operations, and devastation of the environment - had established the Confederación de Pueblos Indigenos de Bolivia [Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia - CIDOB], for the defence and recognition of the rights of the original peoples.

It should be added that the continent-wide "500 years of resistance" campaign, triggered in reaction to the announcement of the 1992 official festivities to mark the "discovery" of America by Christopher Columbus, were an opportunity for the indigenous peoples to discover and rediscover the pre-Columbian societies and civilizations from which they were descended, to draw pride from them, to assess their place and their status within the present societies and states, and to demand recognition and enforcement of their rights.

A new mass organization

The genius of Evo Morales - who had become the leader of the unions for defence of the coca growers of Chapare - was to sense that the times were changing and above all to know how to coalesce the various organizations with their demands to form the basis of a new mass organization, the medium for all the claims, all the proposals for change, focused primarily on the indigenous peoples, of course, but subsequently proposed to the country as a whole. That was the origin of the Movimiento al Socialismo, the MAS or Movement Toward Socialism, initially called, in the early 1990s, the Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (IPSP), for the task at that time was to denounce and oppose open intervention of the United States in the fight against coca and drugs. And the MAS, to win the demands of its many components, quickly took the path of the direct conquest of power by participating in electoral contests.

Álvaro García Linera, now Bolivia's vice-president, draws attention to a novelty that marks "a break with the previous strategies.... In the past, the fighting strategies of the subordinate classes were built around a united vanguard that managed to set up movements it could use as a social base. Depending on the period, it was a political, legal or armed vanguard that managed to form or connect with social movements which then drove it forward." In most cases, however, the unions and social movements simply served as "political ladders" for the parties in their struggle for power and the victorious party ignored the movements and their demands once elected.

This novelty - the self-representation of the masses and the forgotten and marginalized classes - and this break are one of the central points in what is referred to in Bolivia as "Evismo", a neologism formed from Evo, that is not a body of doctrine so much as a set of measures and pragmatic steps dictated by circumstances. Another novelty of "Evismo" is the recognition of the ubiquitous reality of the indigenous peoples, who predominate in both the national population (where they make up more than 70%) and in the social movements. All of these peoples - Quechua, Aymara, Guarani, Chiriguano or others from the jungle and the Amazon basin, in all 36 ethnic groups - are seeking an end to both the colonization and to 500 years of injustice. The two are linked: the colonization, its political apparatus, economic system and social exclusion having endured long beyond the end of the Spanish colonial empire.

The nation now being proposed by Evo Morales and the MAS, "the new Bolivia", must therefore be rooted in the indigenous presence, a physical presence reinforced by the identity-based struggles and demands of recent decades. These demands and struggles have restored to the light of day the identifying factors of languages, religions and customs, etc., ignored and denied by successive governments since the arrival of the Europeans, who had stuffed all the indigenous peoples into the same bag labelled "Indian". The new Bolivia must now be a nation open to all, multi-ethnic and multicultural, developing unity amidst diversity.

In other words, the new Bolivia is abandoning the "tradition" of a country turning on the sole axis of the white elite, to become a nation organized around the multiple poles of the original peoples. Last July 21, reviewing the record of his first six months in government, President Morales declared: "Each measure of the government has for its objective the inclusion of the national majorities in a project of rebirth of the fatherland. We will achieve this in complete attachment to freedom of expression and to democracy." Some will say that the ideas and struggles waged by Bartolomé de Las Casas (who died 440 years ago, on July 31, 1566) are finally being fulfilled.


This future entails recognition and support of the original peoples and their identifying characteristics. That is how, in part, the new government perceives the work of decolonization it is seeking to effect. For example, the numerous original languages (still living although the rural exodus has expanded the use of Spanish) must be respected, through the presence of interpreters in all governmental offices and environments, and taught and used in daily life.

The original religion - of the Andes and the peoples of the forest - which had to hide behind the symbols of Catholicism brought by the Spanish, will openly regain its standing. Amidst this reconquest, discussions are humming over the reorganization of education.

Similarly, the community justice system will have to be recognized. This justice, delivered openly and orally before the assembled community, pursuant to age-old rules, is designed to maintain and promote peace within the community and facilitate the "return" of those who have breached the elementary rules of life in society.Another community custom awaiting recognition is decision-making through consensus after relatively lengthy discussions in which the entire community is summoned to participate, and which reduces the role of the leader of the community (a responsibility never assigned for life but subject to renewal dictated by circumstances) to one of responsive leadership, "command by obeying".

Also to be restored and enforced is the former autonomy of the indigenous peoples over their traditional lands, an autonomy that should not be confused with the departmental autonomy now at the centre of fervent debates, or with the autonomy of other administrative entities arising out of the colonization or more recently.

Flexible and cultural Indianism

This is how the Indianism proposed by Evo Morales is taking shape, an Indianism that does not seek to overlook the non-indigenous Bolivia or to reject it with contempt in the name of some historical revenge or narrow return to the traditions and customs of the Andean peoples. Such a policy would no doubt have quickly resulted in the partition of Bolivia into two parts: one "Indian" and poor, on the Altiplano, and the other "white" and rich, in the East. So "Evoism" offers non-indigenous Bolivia the status and the same rights as those of the native nations, and associates it in the sharing and exercise of power.

This Indianism, thus comprehensively interpreted, has been characterized as "flexible" and "cultural" as opposed to the intransigent and exclusive indigenism once favoured by some. In fact, the "500 years of colonialism and injustice" that the new government seeks to end afflicted not only the indigenous peoples but the population as a whole. So Indianism is the name for a genuine social contract, the first in Bolivia's history, that is proposed to the many components of the nation.

Economically, the new government will put an end to the colonialism that had made the country a mere exporter of unprocessed raw materials, a function from which it gained nothing. It will have to recover control over the nation's natural resources - a process already under way - and, through their industrial operation, put those resources to the development and improvement of the living conditions of the entire population.

Although this may mean relying on foreign technique and capital, and thus becoming more closely involved with the globalized world, there is a need, realistically, to retain, protect and even develop the small-scale traditional base economy of the peasants, the self-employed and family micro-enterprises and all aspects of the informal economy. That is, a base economy governed by the Andean community socialism of solidarity and reciprocity to which President Morales is deeply attached. It is a conception of an economy based on both indigenous traditions and external contributions that shares the same spirit of flexible and open Indianism.

In fact, the new Bolivia proposed by Evo Morales is a true revolution. For the first time since independence, on August 6, 1825, the original peoples, the descendants of the conquistadores and the first colonists, the mestizos and recent immigrants, are all invited to build, on an equal footing and without renouncing or forgetting their cultural heritages, a homeland that is independent, just and dignified. Official white Bolivia was never willing to integrate its indigenous peoples. The closest attempt was that of the revolution of 1952. The middle classes, protagonists of this revolution, thought they had resolved the problem by granting the entire population the right to vote, a right previously reserved to a small elite of well-off whites. But this right, soon controlled and stifled by the new parties, did not enable the indigenous peoples or the people in general to be heard.

Fifty years later, Evo Morales, the MAS and the new government are embarking on the difficult task of building a true nation under the banner of unity in diversity. While victory is still far off, Bolivia feels it is at the dawn of a new pachakuti - a Quechua-Aymara word which can be translated by opposing and complementary terms such as overthrow, revolution, renewal, renaissance, but which also refers to a new historical period. A pachakuti anticipated as well by all the original peoples of the Andes.

Christian Rudel is a journalist and special correspondent on Latin America. He has published about twenty books on the various countries and problems in this part of the world. Translated by Richard Fidler from Développement et civilisations, No. 346, September 2006: http://www.lebret-irfed.org/fr/publications/FetD2006/christian_rudel.pdf. Introduction by C.-A. Udry is from À l'encontre, a "virtual political review" published on-line from Switzerland: http://www.alencontre.org/Bolivie/Bolivie04_07.html.


"Brothas Under the Skin"


Below is an excerpt from one of my favorite books "Down These Mean Streets" by Piri Thomas, a famous Puerto Rican writer. It is an excerpt that highlights a major issue within, not only the 'Puerto Rican', but so-called Latinos in general. Miseducated and in denial.

"Brothers under the Skin"

My day dreaming was splintered by my brother Jose kicking at the door in sheer panic. "Hey, who's in there?" he yelled.

"Me,man,me," I yelled back. "Whatta ya want?"

"Let me in. I gotta take a piss so bad I can taste it."

"Taste good?" I asked softly.

"Dammit, open up!"

I laughed, and reached out my dripping hand and flipped the latch. Jose rushed in like his behind was on fire. His face had a pained look on it. "Chri-sus sake," he said, "you made me piss all over my pants."

"It'll dry, man, it'll dry."

"Aggh," he said as he relieved himself. "That feels good." I looked at my brother. Even his peter's white, I thought, just like James's. Only ones got black peters is Poppa and me, and Poppa acts like his is white , too.

"Poppa's home."

"Yeah. Hand me the towel, simple."

"Damn, Piri, you made me piss all over my pants," Jose said again. He pulled back the towel he was offering me and began to wipe his pants with it.

"Man, turkey, what are you doin'?" I said. "You drying that piss and I gotta wipe my face with that towel."

"It'll dry, man, It'll dry."

I yanked the towel outta his hand and carefully wiped with what seemed to be the part he hadn't used.

"You know somethin', Jose?" I said.

"What? Jesus, I hope this piss don't stink when it dries."

"I'm goin' down South."


"Down South."

"What for?"

"Don't know all the way," I said, "except I'm tryin' to find somethin' out."

"Down South!" He said it like it was nuts.

"Si. I want to see what a moyeto's worth and the paddy's weight on him," I said.

"Whatta ya talking about? You sound like a moto who's high on that yerba shit. And anyway, what's the spade gotta do with you?"

"I'm a Negro."

"You ain't no nigger," Jose said.

"I ain't?"

"No, You're a Puerto Rican."

"I am, huh?" I looked at Jose and said, "Course, you gotta say that. 'Cause if I'm a Negro, then you and James is one too. And that ain't leavin' out Sis and Poppa. Only Momma's an exception. She don't care what she is."Jose didn't look at me. He decided that looking at the toilet bowl was better. "So whatta you got to find out eh?" he said. "You're crazy, stone loco. We're Puerto Ricans, and that's different than being moyetos." His voice came back very softly and his hand absent-mindedly kept brushing the drying wet patch on his pants.

"That's what I've been wanting to believe all along, Jose," I said. "I've been hanging on to that idea even when I knew it wasn't so. But only pure Puerto Ricans are white, and you wouldn't even believe that if you ever dug what that white paddy said."

"I don't give a good shit what you say, Piri. We're Puerto Rican, and that makes us different from black people."

I kept drying myself even though there was nothin' to dry. I was trying not to get mad. I said, "Jose, that's what the white man's been telling the negro all along, that 'cause he's white he's different from the Negro; that he's better'n the Negro or anyone that's not white. That's what I've been telling myself and what I tried to tell Brew."

"Brew's that colored guy, ain't he?" Jose said.

"Yeah-an' like I'm saying, sure there's stone-white Puerto Ricans, like from pure Spanish way back-but it ain't us. Poppa's a Negro and, even if Momma's blanca, Poppa's blood carries more weight with Mr. Charlie," I said.

"Mr. Charlie, Mr. Charlie. Who the fuck is he?"

"That's the name Brew calls the paddies. Ask any true corazon white motherfucker what the score is," I said."I'm not black, no matter what you say, Piri."I got out of the shower and sat on the edge of the tub. "Maybe not outside, Jose" I said. "But you're sure that way inside.""I ain't black, damn you! Look at my hair. It's almost blond. My eyes are blue, my nose is straight. My motherfuck'n lips are not like a baboon's ass. My skin is white. White, goddammit! White! Maybe Poppa's a little dark, but that's the Indian blood in him. He's got white blood in him and -"

"So what the fuck am I? Something Poppa an' Momma picked out the garbage dump?" I was jumping stink inside and I answered him like I felt it. "Look, man, better believe it, I'm one of 'you-all'. Am I your brother or ain't I?"

"Yeah, you're my brother, and James an' Sis, and we all come out of Momma an' Poppa- but we ain't Negroes. We're Puerto Ricans, an' we're white."

"Boy, you, Poppa and James sure are sold on that white kick. Poppa thinks that marrying a white woman made him white. He's wrong. It's just another nigger marrying a white woman and making her as black as him. That's the way the paddy looks at it. The Negro just stays black. Period. Dig it?"

Jose's face got whiter and his voice angrier at my attempt to take away his white status. He screamed out strong, "I ain't no nigger! You can be one if you want to be. You can go down South and grow cotton, or pick it, or whatever the fuck they do. You can eat cornbread or whatever shit they eat. You can bow and kiss ass and clean shit bowls. But-I-am-white! And you can go to hell!"

"And James is blanco, too?" I asked quietly.

"You're damn right."

"And Poppa?"

Jose flushed the toilet chain so hard it sounded as if somebody's neck had broken. "Poppa's the same as you," he said, avoiding my eyes, "Indian."

"What kinda Indian?" I said bitterly. "Caribe?" Or maybe Borinquen? Say Jose, didn't you know the Negro made the scene in Puerto Rico way back? And when the Spanish spics ran outta Indian coolies, they brought them big blacks from you know where. Poppa's got moyeto blood. I got it. Sis got it. James got it. And mah deah brudder, you-all got it! Dig it! It's with us till game time. Like I said, man, that shit-ass poison I've been living with is on it's way out. It's a played-out lie about me, us, being white. There ain't nobody in this fucking house can lay claim to bein' no paddy exceptin' momma, and she's never made it a mountain of fever like we have. You and James are like houses--painted white outside, and black'n a mother inside. An' I'm closer to being like Poppa--trying to be white on both sides."

Proper Education Always Corrects Errors


Illegal Immigrant = Pilgrims

The real "illegals".....

The Michael Jackson Syndrome

Obviously, such a question of identity could have only been formulated after long pondering by the countries 'bleached' elite. Unfortunately, many upper class intellectuals may have been involed in revolutions through Latin America which proved to be the "lesser" of two evils for the Original people in those countries in the long run. Many countries won their independence from Spain, however the colonization remained due the the forging of the countries by their 'intellectuals' whom undoubtly were victims of the colonial education system. Many of their influences came from the European "Enlightenment" period. And even today, as the overwhelming majority of the Mexican masses are clearly and visibly 'not white', those more affluent in society i.e. access to jobs,education, are usually lighter and have a better chance of assimilating into the U.S. These are the people making an issue at of this, because it leverages their ability to be accepted in the 'states'. Regardless to one's actually skin color, there is more in their bio-chemical make-up that constitutes who they are. Someone may appear 'white' or really light, but they aren't. And their 'blood' and DNA bears witness. However, many remained confused because of how we are educated. What I like to call the "Michael Jackson Syndrome"...

"What do you call a Mexican with a job that makes more than $50,000 a year? A Spaniard." - Carlos Mencia, comedian

"To my Puerto Rican friends.....I'm Spanish!.....I looked and said...."What chu say nigga?"- Paul Mooney, comedian

"Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans....ain't nothing but niggas that can swim..."- Paul Mooney

"The Mexicans just got their niggas wake up call too !!!"- Paul Mooney

Are Mexicans "white" or "brown?"
by Amber Arellano

"Some readers are asking whether Mexicans are "white" or "brown," as I wrote recently.

My colleague Manny Lopez answers: Yes. To both, that is. He says it depends upon what you're asking -- the color of the person's skin? Or their cultural identity?

My personal answer: depends upon the person, their own identity, background, experience and belief system.

Ethnic and racial concepts are very different in Mexico and Latin America, where such identities and ethnic boundaries are more fluid. This became evident when the U.S. Census 2000 showed that Latinos were increasingly reporting themselves as "other," or mixed race. Of course, many Hispanic Americans also chose to identify themselves as "white" and "black," too.

American perceptions of race and ethnicity are also at play here. Some people say, "Hispanics are just like other immigrant groups." However, traditionally, many Americans have viewed Hispanics differently than other immigrant groups, stemming from old and outdated notions of racial hierarchy.

For example, U.S. public opinion research from the late 1990s shows that among Americans of European descent who were interviewed anonymously, about 50 percent said they view both white people of pure European descent as being "superior" to both Hispanics and African Americans. They did not report that sentiment regarding other ethnic groups.

The good news is, that percentage has dropped considerably since the 1950s.

The bad news is, 50 percent is still a lot of people -- and research finds that their notions of superiority influence their support for public policies, such as investing in education for African American children.

In terms of American equality in thought, treatment and behavior, we still have a long way to go. "

- from http://info.detnews.com/blogs/bloggers.cfm?id=arellano&blogid=779


Hello My Name is......

Most Original cultures have a rites of passage for it's youth. The purpose to is prepare them for adult life's duties and responsibililties and many times serves as a sort of official orientation to what it means to belong to that group of people. Often times one of the elements found amongst different 'rites' of passage is the adoption of a new name. Many peoples take on a new name different from the one they were given at birth, to represent a new stage in life and of their own development. Even Jesus gave new names to his disciples.

Within the wilderness of North America we find the same thing. However, the adoption or taking of a new name is more common amongst adults and is usually a requirement within certain cultural, religious and social circles. Most notably is the change of name associated with religious Islam. We as well, within the Nation of Gods and Earths, take on new names or 'righteous names'. These names are usually adjectives exemplifying the attributes of divinity in man and the attributes of the planet earth in the woman. The purpose of taking on a new name is as Allah told to us...when you change your name, you change the way you think.

A name is powerful and is representative of a person's history and culture, their identity. Unfortunately, for most of us afflicted by the 514 year holocaust, our identity was stripped from us. We were forced to take on the names, language, and religion of the oppressor. Many black and latino movements and organizations within the 20th century, in the United States, had some interest in resurrecting this lost/hidden legacy in the Original people. Organizations like the Moorish Science Temple and the Nation of Islam, strove to bring us back to a greater concept of who we were and are, giving people names African or Arabic names or surnames like "Bey", "El", and "X" in attempts to confront to dilemma of a lost knowledge of self. For the Five Percenters (Gods and Earths) we were advised to draw up and create our "own" names from our value system: the Supreme Mathematics and the Supreme Alphabet.

Of course, with the vision of reshaping and structuring our realities and controlling our destinies, we then bestowe similar names upon on children who them must face the world, whether prepared or not. The subject of names is very controversial, with a noted celebrity like Bill Cosby denouncing 'ethnic' sounding names amongst the so-called African American population. This is evidence of our struggle to reclaim our reality and the confrontation we face from our our people who option for compliance with the oppressor. This of course means embracing their names, culture, religion etc. Those of us who chose to resist realize what we are in for and continue to resist and redefine the world. Our names and children's names show up everywhere and seem so different, so funny, and often times outrageous. Nevertheless, we persist to resist and define who we are. Not allowing others to define us and tell us who we are. We receive dirty looks, musings about our names and outright discrimination at the jobs and elsewhere. Still...we are here.

Below is an article about the Indigenous struggle in Mexico, a country, like many Latin American countries, steeped in Roman-Catholic tradition and colonial social structure. It is the struggle to break free from the domination of the conquistador mindset. And remember to all my latino family, you speak Spanish, however Spanish is the language of the oppressor, the devil, just like English, French or Dutch. So having a "Spanish" name doesn't fortify you as "Spanish", only your mindset. You are the Original man. The descendants of Indios y Africanos.
Please read on...

Indigenous Pride Rising With Name Issue in Mexico

"Mexico City- The daughter born to Cesar Cruz Benitez and Marisela Rivas has no official name. Which is rather strange considering the girl is almost 2 years old.

Her parents live in Tepeji del Rio, a town in an arid corner of Hidalgo state north of Mexico City. Speakers of the indigenous language Hñahñu, they call their little girl Doni_Zänä, or "flower of the world" in Hñahñu.

But Cruz's attempts to register the baby's name with the authorities have been rebuffed. The state's computers, officials say, don't accommodate the characters - including an underscore - that represent the distinctive sounds of the Hñahñu language.

For Cruz and other Hñahñu, the case has become a human rights issue highlighting what they say is discrimination against their people, an indigenous group of several thousand people in central Mexico. To some outsiders they are known as the Otomi, a name given to them by Spanish conquistadors five centuries ago.

"My daughter doesn't have a name yet, but I'm not going to give up," Cruz, an artisan, said in a telephone interview. "If necessary, I'll go to the international organizations to help me."

Proper Education Always Creates Errors

Poli-tricks As Usual

- the article below has been reposted from blackelectorate.com

The Basis Of Black-Latino Unity Is Not Political
"For quite some time we have observed the recent discussions surrounding the efforts to construct "Black-Brown"; "Black-Latino"; or "Black and Hispanic" political coalitions. We have been struck by the manner in which many intellectuals, political scientists and elected officials in their efforts to justify or cobble together Black and Latino Unity, are taking their point of departure from the results of the 2000 Census. We disagree with their approach on a couple of levels. A few months ago, in an e-mail discussion on an outstanding list serve that I am part of, I wrote the following in reference to the issue of Black and Latino unity:
I am of the opinion that Black and Latino unity can never be generated in the political realm. The root of unity will be found in a discovery and recognition of the common root in history, of which a majority of Blacks and Latinos are still ignorant. This is one area where the power of culture will be the genesis and base of political action. At present, both groups are neither "Black" or "Latino" in their political activity. Partisan politics and local political machinery is dictating the terms of the relationship as well as the mode of politics being used by both electorates and their most visible leadership. In addition, it is important to recognize that the power to define is a basic and an instrumental source of the disunity and the eventual unity that is to be formed. One of the most striking aspects of this recent debate is that the impact of slavery in the Western Hemisphere is never discussed in terms of the classifications, language and cultural barriers that currently exist today. When the debate stops taking its point of departure from the recent census categories and (moves) into the true origins of our divisions we would have found a basis or springboard for constructive unity and political mobilization.
In essence, our argument is not a difficult one to understand, at its root. We are stating that mayoral elections, like that which recently occurred in Los Angeles and that which is upcoming in New York, are not well-suited to generate the long-talked about Black-Latino unity. We believe that the political establishment, through the two-party system, can not generate or even tolerate Black-Latino unity because such unity would produce a political agenda, created by the self-enlightened interest of the Black and Latino communities that would elevate issues in the political arena that the two-party system is designed to avoid. Neither the Democratic or Republican parties can handle a true Black-Latino united front. The combined power of the vote and the issues that it would champion would present the ultimate challenge to White supremacy in American politics and society.
But the greatest impediment or enemy to the production of Black and Latino unity is not White establishment politicians but rather the gross ignorance, prevalent in both communities, of their shared history and "ethnic" origin. In essence, both groups lack the true knowledge of themselves, and as a result don't understand that the strongest basis of their unity lies in the spiritual and cultural spheres and not in the political or electoral realm.
And it is in this area where the recent discussions that take their springboard from the recent Census results are so destructive. We discussed all of this over the weekend with The Nation Of Islam's Latino Representative Minister Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad, who is based in New York City. Minister Muhammad talked about how deceptive the recent census was and how the unsuspecting public bought into the Census' misrepresentation and misclassification of the population growth of Blacks and Latinos.
"The census has carved up a classification for Hispanics that excludes race and other characteristics of Latino people. This is inappropriate because the Latino people are not monolithic. But not according to the U.S. Census. So a Black Latino and a White Latino are both counted as 'Hispanic'. On the surface, with the rise in the 'Hispanic' population it looks like the Black population is dwindling when it is not. We have to be very careful because when you say that there are approximately 35 million Black people and 35 million Hispanics what are you really saying? Of that 35 million classified as 'Hispanic', you have lets say, 5 to 7 million Afro-Latinos and 23 million that are heavily of the Indigenous population. Most Latin Americans are mestizos which means of mixed race - a combination of Indigenous, African or European."
Minister Muhammad then described how the classifications of the Census are even more divisive, as in Directive No. 15, with which the Census, without equivocation, classifies Hispanics, under all circumstances, as White. He mentioned instances where law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities are mandated by provisions to count Hispanics or Latinos who are arrested or imprisoned as "White".
Minister Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad told us that there are a confluence of forces at work here but that two of the major aspects to what is taking place that thus far has prevented Black and Latino unity from forming is the lack of knowledge of self, of both communities, combined with a strong incentive, in society and from the United States government for Latin Americans to identify with Whites before they identify with Blacks. He highlighted the fact that in the last census 80% of Puerto Ricans classified themselves as White. But anybody familiar with Puerto Rico or who has traveled there knows that the commonwealth is heavily populated with Blacks. The same is true of Cuba. Minister Muhammad said that it is an ignorance of the history of many Latin American countries coupled with denial and the seeking of access to resources, power and social equality that contributes to many Latinos rejecting Black and Indigenous roots in favor of an association with a White lineage. Of course, we recognize the same phenomenon among Blacks in this country.
Minister Muhammad Abdullah told us,
" If you look at the history you know immediately that Puerto Rico is not filled with Whites. In 1530 Governor Francisco Manuel De Lando made the first census of Puerto Rico. At the time it showed that Puerto Rico was made up of 416 Spaniards, 1148 Indians (free and enslaved) and 2077 Blacks (enslaved). During the subsequent centuries hundreds of thousand African slaves and Europeans migrated to the Island. The Indigenous population did not increase. According to Sociologist Martin Sagrera, in 1802 there were 78,231 whites and 71,510 blacks in Puerto Rico; by 1860, there were 300,406 whites and 241,037 blacks; in 1899, 1930 the black population had dwindled to 20 %; and by 1965 it had dwindled down to 7 %. What happened to all the Blacks? Sagrera attributes this phenomenon to racial prejudice, which has prompted a rejection to a self classification as black among Puerto Ricans Today, many Puerto Ricans reject the classification as Black. They take the opposite approach to identity Blacks have been culturally and legally conditioned to take in America. The Anglo-Saxon set a precedent that in many ways was beneficial to Blacks when he said that if you have 1 drop of Black blood in you then you are Black. In Latin America, according to the system of 'castas', one drop of White blood makes one other than Black. Many, therefore reject being classified as Black on those grounds."
In addition, Minister Muhammad stressed that it is important to never underestimate the impact that the Indigenous or Indians have in the discussion. He discussed at length with us how many Blacks and Latinos in America are in denial about their shared ancestry from the Indian populations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. He even spoke of how few people are aware of how the fact that many people in the Western hemisphere are of a dark-complexion not just because Black blood is mixed in them, but also because of the mixing that has taken place with Indians. Often Indians are described as "red" but that distinction has been oversimplified by many who use it. He wrote to us, "That color red was very dominant in North America. But in Mexico, you find a browner, sometimes almost Black Indian. In The Andes, you will also find a very dark Indian - ranging from red to dark brown. However, due to 500 years of race mixing, you will also find very light skinned mestizos."
The problem of what to do with the Indigenous people or Indian is prevalent throughout the Western Hemisphere.
One of our technical consultants at BlackElectorate.com is from Peru and informed us that although there is a significant Black population in Peru, one of their major problems is that while there exists in Peru a reverence for the culture of their indigenous population, there exists, parallel to that reverence, discriminatory practices against the indigenous people of Peru and the elevation of the light-skinned Peruvian on broadcast media and in politics. It is that way in many countries in Central, South America and in the Caribbean. It is that way in the United States and Canada.
The challenge of getting Blacks in the United States of America and Latinos in the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere to forge a union is typified when one considers the history of Mexico. Minister Muhammad spoke to us of the fact that many Blacks in this country don't identify with Mexicans but that such an attitude is the byproduct of cultural conditioning and the lack of knowledge of Mexican history. He points out that over 1 million Mexicans died during the Mexican war of independence, the majority of them being Afro-Mexican. Most of the soldiers of General Morelos and General Guerrero, both Afro-Mexicans themselves, had African blood in their veins. Moreover, the African influence is vivid in Mexican culture. "La Bamba" is an Afro-Mexican rhythm, and its name is African. And the foremost Afro-Mexican musician is the expressive Santana, who never fails to praise Africa, Minister Muhammad tells us. In addition, we have noted the inability of the reparations movement in America to connect with those who make similar claims throughout the Diaspora.
In addition, it is peculiar that Blacks in this country who connect with struggles in Africa are unable to do the same with the struggles of the Indigenous populations in the Western hemisphere.
We have always been amazed that Blacks in the U.S. have bought into the deception that the Jewish community for example, are their natural allies, as opposed to the Native American population.
Minister Muhammad Abdullah stressed the importance of the Black and Latino communities educating one another of their shared history. He said that many Latino immigrants, as an example, are unaware of how devastating slavery was for Blacks in this country. He also mentioned that Blacks are woefully unaware of the struggles of the indigenous and Black populations in Central, South America and the Caribbean. He said that both communities have to learn about one another if any unity is to be lasting.
He placed emphasis on the fact that it is important that the current cadre of Latino leaders in the U.S. not make the same mistakes that Black leaders made in the 1960s, and still make in the present, in some of their efforts at integration. He told us:
"Much of the Latino community itself, is a newly arrived community except for the older Mexican communities from the 19th century. And some of its leadership is fighting for crumbs from White America. Many have to realize that when they come from Latin America and try to be White, the White Americans and those in government will try to make them feel White but they won't ever receive the benefits of being White like the Italian, for example. The Latino is behind the Eastern European and the White Anglo-Saxon in that regard. America doesn't really want Latinos as White, they just don't want them to identify with Blacks…the greatest fear in America is of the Black ex-slave and they want to divide the Black ex-slave from the new Latino immigrant."
While it may be chic and the "in" thing to talk of Black and Latino political coalitions, the truth of the matter is that such coalitions will not work if Blacks and Latinos see themselves first and foremost, in the political system, as Democrats and Republicans. Secondly, while there are major points of agreement among Blacks and Latinos on matters of social justice and political advancement, the playing field constructed by the American political establishment will leave both communities fighting for crumbs that fall from the table of "benevolent" White Democrats and White Republicans - not enough for a meal, and certainly not enough to sustain a lasting unity among over 70 million people.
Already, we are learning of the intention of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee to pursue the "Hispanic" community as never before. The efforts, as they are being formulated, are already pitting Blacks against Latinos, especially in the Democratic Party, as both groups recognize that minority politics in America is a zero-sum game where the gain of one minority group is the loss of another. Sadly, instead of opting out of the system, or exploring independent alternatives, Black and Latino leaders are poised to alternate with one another for the affections of political party bosses. Again, it is a classic example of how Black and Latino leaders devalue their electorates and their votes by making acceptance from the White establishment more important than true political empowerment and a responsiveness to issues.
It is only through a cultural and spiritual agreement fostered in large part by the education of Blacks and Latinos of the true history of Blacks, the Indigenous and Whites in the Western Hemisphere, that both communities can become one and form a coalition in the political realm.
Anything short of that exercise will result in dashed hopes and expectations and increased tensions among the two groups currently being pitted against one another by the political establishment. "
Cedric Muhammad
Tuesday, July 24, 2001


History of Mexican-Black Solidarity

The article below was reposted from blackelectorate.com, very insightful and necessary.

History of Mexican-Black Solidarity

by Debbie Johnson

There is a long history of Mexicans welcoming and assisting Blacks fleeing American slavery. The fact of the matter is that when white "slave-hunting" militias would come into Mexico demanding that their "property"-the enslaved workers-be returned, many Mexicans rejected these pleas and were angered at the fact that these slave hunters would have the audacity to enter Mexico and attempt to impose their laws in a nation that had already banned slavery for moral and religious reasons.

As early as 1811, the Rev. Jose Morelos-a Mexican of African descent-led an all-Black army brigade to help fight for Mexican independence. In 1855 more than 4,000 runaway slaves were helped by Mexicans in Texas to escape and find freedom in Mexico. The Underground Railroad was not just into Canada. It went south as well.

Indeed, throughout three centuries, African slaves were joined by Mexicans in opposition to the exploitation of Africans by European "immigrants-settlers-on the North American continent. Just a few examples of this long and rich history of solidarity are:

• In 1546, Mexico recorded the first conspiracy against slavery, which occurred in Mexico City among a coalition of enslaved Africans and indigenous insurgents.

• In 1609 in Vera Cruz, Mexico, Yanga established the first free pueblo of formerly enslaved Africans in the Western Hemisphere.

• In 1693 within the area of the "United States," which was in fact Mexican territory, an alliance between African runaways and rebellious indigenous tribes developed and resulted in considerable cooperation and intermarriages between them. It was much like that which developed between African people and the American Indian communities.

• In 1820, in Mexico, the pro-independence army commanded by Black Gen. Vicente Ramon Guerrero was joined and saved by the courageous Mexican/Indigenuous leader Pedro Ascensio. This army won many battles in resisting French and American colonial wars of occupation.

• In 1836, during the battle of the Alamo, Mexican troops fought not only to keep the U.S. from annexing Texas, but also to abolish the dreaded practice of slavery carried out by pro-slavery white settlers. While the Mexican people did not have to join in this fight, they believed slavery was wrong, and they helped fight to stop it. Mexicans consistently took in and helped Black slaves who would run away from the U.S. Another "underground railroad"-this one south of the border-saved the lives and allowed the freedom of thousands of African people fleeing enslavement by European settlers.

• During the period before the Civil War, Mexican authorities refused to return enslaved runaways to the U.S. slaveholders. Aided by Mexicans in Texas, thousands of runaways escaped to freedom in Mexico. The U.S. government had to send 20 percent of its whole army to the Mexican border to try to stop this and intimidate the Mexican people, but the people continued to aid escaping slaves.

• In 1862, during the Civil War, at the same time French colonialists had invaded Mexico seeking to take over. However, at the battle of Puebla on May 5, the Mexican defenders, with the help of freed African slaves-this army was considered the complete underdog-defeated and turned back the French invasion. It was a great victory, now celebrated as Cinco de Mayo. This victory was also a blow to the slaveholders of the United States.

• One historical event, organized through the solidarity of Mexican, Blacks, Indigenous and Asian people, was the "Plan de San Diego." This was intended as a general uprising by these peoples joined in the Southwest, initiated in an effort to regain the lands stolen in the U.S.’s aggression in the 1840s, which include California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and other states of what is now the U.S. Southwest. The plan actually addressed and recognized the contributions of Blacks, Asians and Indigenous people by granting them freedom and autonomy. Although the plan was not successful, it revealed the long history of solidarity of peoples of color in struggle against those who would enslave them.

• In 1866, Mexican President Benito Juarez confirmed an 1851 land grant giving Black people in Mexico a sizeable place of refuge at Nascimiento.• More recently, in 1960, the Latin American communities were excited by the hosting of the Cuban delegation, led by Fidel Castro in their historic visit to Harlem and the United Nations. This pride and joy was shared and celebrated equally by the African American community.

• In 1964 that joint celebration and welcome was laid out by the African American and Latino community to the heroic revolutionary leader Che Guevara. The pride and joy of each of these communities with the presence of Che would be remembered and celebrated for years.• In that year, Che Guevara also met with the revered Malcolm X, as Malcolm offered his solidarity and appreciation for the work Che had done with freedom fighters in the Congo as they fought against the neocolonial "immigrants" [settlers] there.

• In 1968, solidarity was developed in Southern California and the Southwest among the Brown Berets, Black Panthers, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and other progressive youth organizations.

• In 1992, during the April 29 rebellion in Los Angeles, Latino and African American neighbors recognized their common plight, and demonstrated their collective rage against continuing acts of injustice, oppression and exploitation.

• Then came the magnificent immigrant-rights demonstrations of last spring. What glorious events they were, across the country, in wave after wave of white and brown-the white clothing of the millions of demonstrators and the brown faces of the Latino/ Mexican peoples who were joined by Central America and South American workers, which were also joined by Caribbean, Asian, African, and African American allies. Make no mistake about it, this class solidarity shook the ruling class to its very toes. It frightened and deeply worried them. It gave a glimpse, even in the midst of periods of reaction, of the crucial struggles that are on the agenda.

The current attacks against immigrants must be seen as attacks on all workers. This current assault on Latinos/Mexicans is just another tactic-like racism, homophobia and sexism, that the ruling class uses to pit workers against each other. The only winners when this happens are always the bosses.

Note: The above are excerpts from a talk given by Debbie Johnson at a meeting in Detroit during Black History Month this year.Articles copyright 1995-2007 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Email: ww@workers.org

The reflection aboave is of Emiliano Zapata, famous Mexica revolutionary leader.

"Emiliano Zapata, was perhaps the noblest figure in 20th century Mexican politics, a peasant revolutionary still beloved as a martyred man of the people. Although Marlon Brando played him in the 1952 movie "Viva Zapata!" the best-known photograph of the illiterate idealist shows him with clearly part-African hair. His village had long been home to many descendents of freed slaves.

Similarly, Vicente Guerrero ,a leading general in the Mexican War of Independence and the new nation's second president, appears from his portraits and his nickname to have been part black.
Perhaps African-Mexicans were so often leading the revolutionary vanguard because they were even more oppressed by law than Mexico's Indians. Back in the 16th century, the great Spanish Bishop Bartolome de las Casas, the first modern human rights activist, in the sense of battling for justice for another race, persuaded the King of Spain to ban the enslavement of Indians, at least nominally. Yet, bondage for Africans remained legal until "El Negro Guerrero" officially abolished it in 1829. It had largely withered out before then, however."

- from http://www.isteve.com/2002_Where_Did_Mexicos_Blacks_Go.htm

for more information and especially artwork/photography:

"Know who you are !!!"