Thursday, July 17, 2008

why higher education might not pay off

"Hi, my name is Tony and I'm underpaid."

This is the first thing a worker said when he was introducing himself to a collective of students from various organizations at my campus. Although it was back in August, this was the first of many times in a few years that students and service workers of the University of California (UC) would work together to fight against low wages. Workers at the UC currently do not make enough for living wages. Since then, students have been organizing and rallying to let campus officials know that this injustice needs to end. It happened in 2001 and it's happening now.

SAN DIEGO – Despite a temporary restraining order against a strike, hundreds of University of California San Diego service workers began picketing with their brethren statewide yesterday for better wages.

They included custodians, groundskeepers, housekeepers and food-preparation employees who work for the UCSD campus and UCSD Medical Center system.

At issue is a dispute over salary increases for 8,500 service workers statewide represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3299.


Read it for facts and try to ignore the UC representative's clouding bullshit. The workers are not justly described nor are their struggles humanized. This is real, especially when politicians refuse to cross picket lines.

This is another call for justice, support, love and Life. 

Monday, July 14, 2008

free our sisters, free ourselves

This just in, copped off MySpace. Because you know that MySpace bulletins and online organizing happens effectively (most of the time). I've been working with GABNet for a while now, with womyn as strongmilitantbeautiful as I wish I was. My work with them can be viewed here. These issues are never disconnected from reality. Never a single, isolated circumstance. Please read with an open heart. Thank you.

GABNet/Mariposa Alliance Statement

Not Just One Ambassador, Just One Consul
DFA of Philippines is a Haven for Traffickers

Had Marichu Baoanan not filed a civil complaint against former Philippine ambassador to the UN Lauro Baja, his wife, his daughter and their travel agency, people of Philippine ancestry would have shrugged off her story for its ordinariness.

In the more than ten years that GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance has worked on the issue of trafficking, countless such stories have come our way: of embassy and consulate personnel and their relatives lugging, like so many suitcases, women from the Philippines, extracting enormous amounts for a US visa, or a Saudi visa, or a British visa or French or Italian – in other words, wherever the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has diplomatic representation.

There have been innumerable stories of Filipinas seeking sanctuary from their brutal employers at consulates and embassies only to be returned to the same employers; of Filipinas funneled into the sex trade by embassy and consular personnel; of Filipinas traded as domestic workers by embassy and consular personnel to their relatives and friends as favors; of Filipinas coerced into paid-for marriages and sex work to enable embassy and consular personnel to make enormous profits.

It is a vast narrative of corruption and greed – the hallmarks of bureaucrat capitalism – and of feudal/patriarchal anti-woman values which underlie the sustained violence against women that is the hallmark of the Philippines' Labor Export Policy.

Every Filipino is familiar with this narrative. Every Filipino has at least one tale of this miserable narrative, whether directly experienced or indirectly experienced through family and/or friends.

When the first DFA personnel and/or the relative(s) thereof was convicted of forced labor, peonage and/or trafficking, the Department of Foreign Affairs should have immediately launched an investigation to weed out the traffickers in its midst.

When the first diplomatic corps staff was shown to have been connected, even remotely, to even one incident of trafficking and coerced labor, the proper thing for the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to have done was launch an immediate crack-down on the traffickers in its midst.

Instead both Macapagal-Arroyo and the DFA bosses chose to ignore such incidents.

Now we know why; the DFA has been transformed into a sanctuary, not for overseas Filipinos, but for traffickers. Trafficking profits fulfill the lust for wealth of the bosses of bosses.

The overseas face of Macapagal-Arroyo's government accurately reflects its character at home: corrupt, greedy, exploitative, a parasite living off the wounds of the Filipino people, exacerbating injuries to the body politic by blaming its victim. Marichu is poor and just "a maid" and therefore should not speak truth to power.

One very simple question -- how many diplomatic "red" passports for alleged "domestic employees" does the DFA issue per year? – would have immediately given anyone an understanding of the extent of this corruption.

As for those who decry what they perceive to be attempts to sully the reputation of "a citizen above suspicion" by a simple "maid," bear in mind that whitewashed tombs are beautiful outward but full of corruption and "uncleanliness within.

"Marichu Baoanon's story is common. GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance has heard it over and over and over again. To fence-sit and do nothing about it now is to be an accomplice in the exploitation, commoditization and disempowerment of the Filipina. Do nothing, say nothing and you conspire with the Macapagal-Arroyo government's policy of implementing globalization through sustained violence against women.

Therefore, GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance calls for a thorough investigation, not only of the defendants in the civil complaint filed by Marichu Baoanon but of the entire Department of Foreign Affairs and of its embassies and consulates.

We demand that the DFA issue and implement a policy of zero tolerance towards trafficking, forced and exploitative labor among its ranks.

Zero tolerance toward trafficking and peonage should be the minimum policy of a government that survives on remittances from overseas Filipino workers.

We demand of the United Nations as well a policy of zero tolerance toward trafficking, slavery and peonage among its ranks. Nations cannot be united if trafficking, slavery and peonage are allowed to be visited upon more than half of the world's population.

We demand that these "whitened sepulchers" stop vilifying Marichu Baoanon for being just "a maid" and for speaking out. This is public verbal abuse and extremely disrespectful of the Filipina domestic worker

We call for the affirmation and assertion of labor rights and women's rights for Filipinos at home and overseas.

We call for JUSTICE FOR MARICHU and all "maids" like her victimized by the sustained violence of the Labor Export Policy.

We ask all friends of the Filipino people to stand with Marichu, to stand with GABNet of the Mariposa Alliance, in opposition to the continuing violence against women embedded in the Labor Export component of imperialist globalization.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

yellowgurl update july '08

I subscribe to artist/poetess Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai's listserv, who updates her fam frequently on her upcoming performances, whereabouts and always includes a new poem. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year in NYC, and I've been a fan of her words for a while now. In regards to the rest of the post: Yeah, I'm probably going through stuff. I've learned to rearticulate love by breaking down current events and such, but a girl's gotta give it up to a good love poem every now and then. Enjoy!:


by Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai

it used to depress me
that love over time falls away

like fast-food hamburger wrappers
or used band-aids, torn from
their practice, decaying in the sun

i used to want love to last forever
or else like a piece of plutonium,
glowing hot in its chamber, dangerous
and worthwhile

it'd be kept in the
same way: metal cases armed
by two security guards, a key
in the lock, the rod jostling 'round

now, i get that love is meant to
be survived, not possessed, experienced
like sunshine, like a breeze of the ocean,
sand upon the skin.

none of these last forever
but they do return
when you seek to find them

so is the certainty of love
locked in the frightened human body
reaching out, hands flailing,

not knowing which way to turn.

Friday, July 04, 2008

You Go Pinay! - Charisse Pempengco

Maybe I'm a little late, or maybe this Pinay is a little too under the radar, but I can't believe I didn't hear about her before. This teenager sings like Whitney (because she sings hella Whitney songs), is practically a reality T.V. star from the Philippines, and has already been a storyline swooped up by Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. She may also be making another appearance in the States very soon... who knows.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

show your support!

The highly anticipated ScRuNcHiEs & hEaDbAnDs 90s RNB MiX by Dj Mark Marcelo has been recently released, get your copy now!  

Special reviews on the mix will be featured here shortly, as requested by Dj Mark Marcelo himself.

This is seriously one of the dopest mixes, if not, then THE DOPEST mix I've ever heard. And I'm not just sayin that cuz I'm a 90s RNB fiend, I'm being real. Show your support and listen to the mix and buy the album! If you think that Lil Wayne and Kanye West albums were long overdue, then you got a another thing coming. Dj Mark Marcelo's mix is the shit.

To all the hypebeasts, music junkies, hipsters, poets, wallflowers and wannabes - this is what you wanna be into. Put aside those coveted Nike kicks, the huge (and unnecessary) trendy glasses frames, the weed, and the poet notepads - this is the business. For the 90s kids, if you've ever wanted to own a compilation of your sweetest musical memories - school dances, hours spent in front of your computer and its 56k dial-up connection trying to get to Napster through AOL, car rides (before you were the driver), MTV when they actually played music videos - then you gotta get with this.

DJs always make that shit go, and this mix is taking you back.


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