Monday, April 26, 2010

What kind of comprehensive immigration reform do we want? More enforcement or social justice?

With many pro-immigrant rights organizations calling for immediate comprehensive immigration reform, a group of those organizations is calling for an open debate on the proposals on the table. The Grassroots Immigrant Justice Network published on Open Letter criticizing the Democratic Party proposals. The problem with these reforms, including the Gutierrez bill, is that it strengthens the punish and enforce stance of the government - further militarizing the border, putting in place an e-verify system, and making the path to citizenship very difficult for immigrants.

I agree with those on the Left who say that the primary purpose of the considered proposals is to garner votes for Democrats among the pro-immigrant rights crowd, not bring about humane reform for immigrants living and working in the U.S.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our response to the Tea Baggers

I participated last week in the large Save Our State rally calling for Illinois budget that covers the state's needs. Called by the unions of the public sector, including the Illinois Education Association and the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the coalition behind the rally is calling for an increase in the state income tax from 3 to 5% and a slight increase to the corporate tax. My own view is that we need an ongoing campaign and not just one rally. But it's a start.

Oregon passed a bill that taxed the wealthy to fill the state's budget gap. If they can do it, why can't we?

I also found some good coverage of the rally on Progressive Illinois' webpage.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ICPJE brings Cockburn as keynote speaker

Last weekend we participated in the annual meeting of the Illinois Coalition for Peace, Justice and the Environment, and for the opening keynote address, listened to Alexander Cockburn speak on sad state of the American left with Obama as president. I generally agree with him on his analysis of liberal capitulation to Obama's rightwing corporate agenda.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Race to the Bottom

This article on Obama's Sec. of Education, Arne Duncan, as leader of the corporate take-over of education, is the best I've come across yet. But I would have been a little harder on the leaderships of the two national teacher unions, which have done so very little to educate and lead on these issues. The NEA under Van Roekel is so enamored with Obama that his mild criticism of Race to the Top (RTTT) and merit pay gets lost when it isn't absent. And as for the AFT, which is getting hit hardest on NCLB and now RTTT because it represents teachers mostly in urban districts, Weingarten's appearance on Bill Maher's HBO show Real Time was absolutely pathetic. Honestly, almost anyone could have done better. The worst part was her refusal to defend the fired Rhode Island teachers, preferring instead to blame the school's administration on its "failures". Of course we can't depend on these bureaucrats, but it's infuriating nonetheless.