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Coyote Journalism

A Chicano critique of a Spanish-surnamed writer who gives a right-wing Republican spin on immigration issues

By Rosalio Mu??oz
Published on LatinoLA: September 18, 2008


Coyote Journalism


Here are some comments of mine on an article on immigration by Ruben Navarrette, After my comments are portions of his article:

Back in the sixties we had the terms tio tacos and Chicano falsos, or vendidos, sell outs. There also patrones, esquiroles (scabs) and coyotes (agribusiness labor contractors), rateros (finks) . Some people were jait??n (hi-tone), others plebe (workers). In our civil rights struggle we fought bracerismo (exploitive guest worker programs) and the "Mexican wage" (widespread lower wages for Mexicans than whites in the same job. In the South they fought Jim Crow.

I don't want to use these labels with this guy Navarrette, but to use a plain English rhetorical question let me ask him: "Which side are you on?"

When after the 2000 chads election decided by the Supreme Court, the Republicans dominated all branches of the federal government. With a virtual freeze on permanent residence for workers and growing deportations some of those for immigrant rights felt it might be possible to get enough green cards in exchange for a limited temporary worker programs to make it worthwhile. The Republican big business guys wanted to keep cheap labor coming but with as few rights as possible. The Democrats wanted civil and labor rights and a path to citizenship.

Quiet as its kept, the corporate types in politics and journalism used the Minutemen types like they used the Klan in the past to attack the rights movement. They played the good migra/bad migra game: the Minutemen, Tancredo and Sensenbrenner were the bad ones, Bush, McCain and Sen. Specter were the good migra.

Among the immigrants rights forces there was a split. Some thought legalization of millions would keep guest worker programs in check, which in the long run could be dropped or changed, and that keeping more and more millions undocumented was the worst. They tried to work out a deal.

At first the deal was called McCain-Kennedy. But the Minutemen and the enforcement-only Congressmen like Sensenbrener moved the debate to the right, Bush supported them, McCain muted his stance. Actually McCain began bowing out as Specter moved in his role. Obama and Cuban Republican Martinez, both sons of immigrants, began working on the compromise as did others. McCain has always been more a poster boy for the military industrial complex than anything else. On a couple of issues he is a maverick, but 95% of the time he is very right wing. After the Democrats got in Congress, Bush's Secretary of Homeland Security chief Chertoff joined in backroom discussions

Others in the rights movement stayed away from the Grand Compromise. They felt Bush and Co. would not really compromise. After over a century of fighting for equality, why accept official lower class status?.

"Illegal or Bracero?" seemed to be the choice. These were different views.

Obama stayed with the compromise but fought to protect family unity and labor rights with amendments. He and Martinez managed to get a sunset provision on guest worker programs. But in end 80% of the Republicans opposed compromise and the bill failed. They wanted fewer rights, if any. Those that blame the people who fought for rights are for the patrones over the obreros, the pleve.

McCain in a way likes his Mexicans, Arizona patr??n-style. Check out the state legislature and his local sherrif, racists to the core. He also likes the air bases there. Don't forget he was a Congressional "liason" for the Navy, a lobbyist for the Pentagon. Pappa and gramps were admirals. His priorities are the military complex, big oil, US corporate global dominance like Bush. These are the facts, Ruben. I like to reserve the byline Ruben for the legacy of Ruben Salazar, that's not you. These are the people's facts.

Rosalio Munoz, a journalist for la plebe.

Here are portions of the article by Ruben Navarrette:

"As they recall the failure of immigration reform in Congress, Democrats want to come off as the good guys.

This means burying the fact that their patrons in organized labor instructed them to kill any compromise that included guest workers -- a concept AFL-CIO President John Sweeney termed "a bad idea (that) harms all workers."

And it means trying to refute a new Spanish-language television ad from the McCain-Palin campaign that blames Barack Obama and other Senate Democrats for undermining immigration reform in 2007 with procedural delays and "poison pill" amendments intended to make the legislation unpalatable to Republicans.

Translated, the ad says: "Obama and his congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they? The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail. The result: No guest worker program. No path to citizenship. No secure borders. No reform. Is that being on our side? Obama and his congressional allies: Ready to block immigration reform, but not ready to lead."

More:

"Now, in response to the McCain-Palin ad, Democrats are practicing revisionist history. Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said in a statement released by the Obama campaign: "To say that Barack Obama and Senate Democrats blocked the bill that Republicans filibustered is hypocritical and not true. John McCain has lost his credibility when it comes to the immigration issue ... (He) cannot attack Democrats on immigration in Spanish while pandering to the extreme right Tancredo wing of the Republican Party in English."

I understand that Menendez is trying to earn Obama's good graces after being a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton in the primaries. But did he really compare McCain to Tom Tancredo, the nativist congressman who also sought the GOP nomination in this year's primaries?"

More:

"Others on the left are also lending a hand to Democratic efforts at damage control. They include groups dedicated to the admirable goal of achieving comprehensive immigration reform. What is not so admirable is the way that these groups have turned on McCain, whom not long ago they praised for fighting the good fight on the immigration issue. Now they claim that McCain has flip-flopped.

Baloney. They're the ones who flip-flopped, and for no grander reason than because we're in an election year."

More:

"I always appreciate it when non-Latinos are patronizing and tell me what I should or shouldn't know. I know this much: Some folks inside the Beltway are so eager to put a Democrat in the White House that they're putting party before truth.

Read the complete article at: here

About Rosalio Mu??oz:
Rosalio has been an activist, writer on the Eastside, he has been for 40 years or so. He currently is the Southern California correspondent of the Peoples Weekly World and coordinator for Latinos for Peace
Author's website
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