Category Archives: Articles

Cuaron

I am not taking anything away from Alfonso Cuaron, his progressive credentials are impeccable and I congratulate him for opening a much neglected conversation of Mexican racism toward its indigenous people. However, Cuaron I fear had a Father Miguel Hidalgo moment. Hidalgo led a massive army made up of Indigenous followers. Rallied by Hidalgo’s grito:  “¡Viva la religión y mueran los gachupines!” the Indigenous masses flocked to his revolutionary banner. His troops numbered in the tens of thousands as they approached Mexico City, but Hidalgo fearing a massacre did not attack the Azteca capital. Instead the revolution died in midstream. Cuaron like Hidalgo arrived at a similar moment of truth last night. In accepting the Oscar he said that that Roma was a critique of servants throughout the Mexico and the world putting it into the context of a class struggle, with which I do not quarrel. However, just like Hidalgo’s initial revolution the theme of the movie was much more. It was about race and maybe it is time to kill the gachupine in all of us that keeps racism against the First People alive. It is specifically about the gachupine, it is about racism.

Venezuela: No “P” on My forehead

No “P” On My Forehead

Venezuela

No “P” On My Forehead by Rudy Acuña

I will be the first to admit that I am not an expert on what is happening in Venezuela but I know enough about the history of Latin America to say with certainty that the United States has caused most of the two continents misery. Porfirio Diaz was a dictator and tyrant but one of the few things I agreed with him is when he said “Pobre Mexico tan lejos de dios y tan cerca de los estados unidoes.”  I have read countless accounts of Americans bleeding with compassion for Mexican oligarch’s who supported Diaz and how the US should intervene for humanitarian reasons. No one objected to the tyranny of these elites who sold Yaqui People to Yucatan at 25 pesos a head so American investors could develop the Yaqui Valley or the oppression of the Mexican peasantry. Villa, the tyrant, according to them had to be brought down. Throughout the 20th century we landed marines to insure that oligarchs could be installed as American puppets so Americans could have access to land and natural resources. The communists were going to take over take over the government. When Fidel liberated Cuba, again the communist were going to take over. The people to Americans meant white oligarchs who enjoyed tremendous privileges were going to have to live like black Cubans. In 1974 Arbenz had to go, neoliberalism would cure Chile’s problems. The same occurred during the 1980s in Guatemala, el Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras. We were ensuring democracy and order. Now we are supporting a butcher in Brazil who is beginning a genocide of indigenous people with the US sprinkling him with holy water. Well I just cannot buy that we should bleed for oligarchs because there a leveling of society is taking place and poor little fresas can go back and do what the always do look down on  “pinche indios” and “pinche negros.” Logic and my heart tell me that the U,.S. does not give a shit about the poor.R

TO THE PUBLISHER. “Occupied America ” 12-7-18

Rudy Acuña – TO THE PUBLISHER. “Occupied America “Sorry that I…

TO THE PUBLISHER. “Occupied America

“Sorry that I was in a rush about the LOs.[Learning Objectives] Since my heart surgery I have had to walk. As always you made me think. One of the conclusions I have come to is that the book does not belong with Pearson, it has not felt right since Harper and Row. I have taught K-12. In elementary school the teacher is on center stage.In Middle and high school the textbook is the center of the teaching experience. In college the stage shifts.At 86 it is a whole different ball of wax. I teach two classes, a lecture class with 45-50 students and an online class with 80-95 students. The textbook becomes a tool not the teacher. Even the lecture class is a hybrid. In both classes the computer is at the center. Canvas necessitates having learning objectives built into the course (not the book). Teaching is taken to a different level. Although I prefer the lecture class I have to admit Canvas makes it easier. Exams, assignments are all posted and I just have to adjust to the classes. Like the LO the computer keeps it focused.

College students have their own computers or at least access. What makes Pearson different than Harper is that Pearson sells to institutions . It does not sell to the mass market. Its books are generally supplements rather than texts. Texts sell through college bookstores that are monopolized by giants such as Follett that have a monopoly. The rub comes in the difference between a text and a trade-book. Occupied America is a monograph that is treated like a textbook and Longman and then Pearson have wanted to convert into a textbook confusing its identity. The problem is also l with me. I am a teacher but also a skeptic. In truth, I should have left Occupied America as is after the first edition and moved on.”

Rudy Acuña

The Neo-liberal University

We have been fighting with the Cal State Northridge administration for some time over the privatization of the university. Today students pay $7000 annually for tuition, $300 for parking, $950 to rent a “bed” in a dorm that their student fees paid for, $3500 for a meal ticket, over a $1000 for books from the college bookstore. Today I tried to buy a small cup of coffee from the Freudian Sip and it cost $1.90; sushi over $8i. No wonder my students struggled through three jobs and were homeless. Then I see this sign from the school mascot, the Matador, saying that it was unpatriotic to buy off campus where 4 students can get an apartment $600 a piece, cook their own meals and get a cup of coffee for a dollar and park their car there. Down the street on Reseda at Shogun they can buy sushi for $3.85 an order. In my humble Mexican mind i think that it is the Matador who should be grateful. It is probably because I come from the Solent Green generation that paid no tuition and for a dollar bought a cuo of coffee with a huge cinnamon roll.

Roots of White Supremacy

Roots of White Supremacy

Rudy Acuña

I could not sleep last night. I was wrapped up in the final edit of the 9th Edition of Occupied America. I am on the Arizona chapter where the Indigenous People reached an incredible development that ignorance and racism has almost wiped. This led me to ponder the differences between American and Spanish Colonialism. It is a sensitive topic since so many Mexican/Latinos either suffer from a colonial mentality or historical amnesia. Without the guidance of theory or methods I came down to simple examples.

Spanish Colonialism subjugated a people integrating them into a caste that was based on color. Where the subjects had limited rights and expanded duties based that were on color. British/American colonialism was based on the Old Testament and justified and made inevitable the annihilation that was god’s will. In various forms it is present in white supremacy ideology.

Fight Back!!@

The silence of the lambs – Rudy Acuña

I wondered how masses of people could be herded to the ovens without a fight. Today’s so-called vote on cloture reminds me that the victims of the holocaust were not unique. I ask myself “where have all the radicals gone.” In large part I blame the Democrats, they have no shame. They knew the rules and knew that Trump would obstruct. His Rasputin Mitch McConnell is the worse of them all, viagra doesn’t even help him.

Yes, there were people in the streets who I applaud but it had to be something bigger and this was up to the Democrats who like Republicans have cashed in by getting elected to public office.

Only a pendejo believed that the FBI would be impartial, the strings were controlled by Trump who has never done an honest thing in his life. I kept on looking for a counter strategy; the most I got was Dian Feinstein. IF THE PROCESS IS FLAWED, invent your own process. The Democrats have raised millions on the issue. They should have rented out the Staple Center and conducted their own investigations calling and paying for the expenses of every witness not interviewed by the FBI. The media would have picked it up and paid for entrance. When a tree falls there is no sound unless someone hears it.

Feinstein, Schumer and all the other eunuchs just sit there. A counter narrative is lost. We do not live in a democracy, civility has become censorship especially when the other side does not respect it.

 

 

The Death of Gracia Alkema

The Death of Gracia Alkema

By

Rodolfo F. Acuñ

Lately, I have become more reflective, not because I am getting more considerate but because I am getting old. Grappling with what is surely the last edition of Occupied America that through no fault of its own has like Ulysses wandered. It started out in 1972 with Canfield Press (a division of Harper & Row and in the 1980s went under the direct supervision of Harper & Row. I worked with Gracia Alkema, a fiery editor with whom I often clashed. When things got heated she would fly down from San Francisco or I would drive up. It was a good exchange and she made frequent and valuable recommendations and changes.

You don’t have that many editors in book building today. The industry has been privatized, and a strict division of labor has taken place. No longer do you get the opportunity to work with an editor and it shows. Today everyone in the film industry wants to be the director when in truth the best trained editors as former script writers and editors. The editor like Gracia fights for their ideas and then learns to direct them.

Harper & Row was a big publisher and much more difficult to communicate than with Canfield that had small offices in San Francisco. However, for the most part, they were available, and you communicated with the editors by phone. They were part of the formation of the book. By the fourth edition I was with Longman that I did not know at the time had been gobbled up. Founded in London, England, in 1724 and it became part of Pearson PLC in 1968. Under. Longman, Pearson it used primarily as an imprint division. The tone changed and it became less personal.

By 2013 (8th Edition) the shift was complete. Communication with the editors whose function under Longman was outsourced. The new Indian editors were more concerned with production and I was a fly in the ointment that kept changing things. Unlike with Gracia there was no give and take. Initially, I had difficulty because the grammatical corrections clashed with my English. They spoke a 19th century classical English. Slowly we both adapted.

Pearson is multinational publishing and education company. Unlike Grecia its employees are not editors in the historical sense. They are concerned with the presentation of the product. The political has been strained out of the product.

 

Being an old man I feel like an uncle of mine at the funeral of my cousin Sandra. When they were putting her in the grave they brought out a small cigar-like box with her ashes. In a loud voice my uncle kept repeating “that’s not Sandy!”

Gracia Alkema died in 2011.