by B.J. Delas Armas on 9/22/2004 08:04:00 PM 0 comments Print this post

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MECha, Voting, and Guns

Yes, I'm back, not that anyone would notice. I just felt like writing on scratch paper the past few days instead of actually organizing thoughts or writing anything I feel is "substantial."

But anywho these are some interesting E-mails I got from various organizations, and I agree with each of em.

EMAIL #1: ATTACK on MEChA to pick up. I think this affects not only the Latino organization but all other student organizations. Republicans just don't understand what it is to be a minority.

"Latino organization unable to shake accusations of racism

Conservative activists vow to dog MEChA
By Rita Beamish, Globe Correspondent

September 5, 2004 STANFORD, Calif. -- Despite a student vote to slash its funding, a prominent Latino organization will be back on Stanford's campus this autumn, along with lingering opposition from conservative critics at colleges across the West.

In a reverberation from California's gubernatorial election last year, accusations of racist underpinnings still dog the group known as MEChA, a Spanish acronym that stands for the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, even after Stanford's administration stepped in to restore the group's funding. Although focused for now on the start of school and efforts to reelect President Bush, conservative activists at Stanford and elsewhere vow, separately, to press their campaigns against MEChA.

It is not the first time they have wrangled with the Chicano group, but their efforts intensified last year when Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, a former MEChA member, ran unsuccessfully for governor. ''We're going to pick up the fight again," said Bob Sensenbrenner, chairman of the Stanford Republicans. His group and the student magazine, Stanford Review, last year campaigned against MEChA de Stanford, demanding the group renounce a 1969 manifesto that the critics said demonstrates a separatist, racist philosophy.

Undergraduates subsequently voted by a narrow margin to cut MEChA's budget. UCLA Republicans, citing the same historical documents, waged an even fiercer war with MEChA last spring and tried unsuccessfully to get the student government to slash MEChA's budget.

The Republicans did collect $30,000 in listener contributions when they took their case to a conservative radio talk show. In August, they won funding for the first time from the student government. Their efforts this year will be aimed more broadly, beefing up conservative programs and influence on campus, said Matthew Knee, executive director of the Bruin Republicans.

''What we are seeking is to change the campus environment to make the radicals weaker and the mainstream political groups stronger," he said. Michael Davidson, chairman of the California College Republicans, a network of campus clubs affiliated with the state GOP, said that once the presidential election is over, MEChA can expect more heat.

''We will not let MEChA escape scrutiny especially after the election because we feel it's funded bigotry," he said. It is unclear whether these latest efforts will gain steam -- similar attacks have cropped up at campuses and on the Internet for years -- but some defenders worry about a broader context in which MEChA is just one piece of a growing movement against organized progressives.

Chris Gonzalez Clarke, assistant director of El Centro Chicano, the Stanford office for Chicano affairs, said the attacks demonstrated a Republican strategy ''to marginalize the progressive Latino voice, which is really what MEChA represents, and to use the language of the civil rights to do so. And that's been the really ironic thing."

Founded in 1969, MEChA is a fixture at many colleges, especially in the West. Its mission is to promote education and cultural identity for Latinos, and take up political and social causes like advocating for immigrants and the poor. When Lieutenant Governor Bustamante sought the governorship last year, Republicans found ammunition in a 1969 Chicano manifesto called El Plan de Aztlan, a document that preceded the founding of MEChA but has been posted on some chapters' websites.

Using flamboyant language of the protest era, it calls for Chicano nationalism and states, ''For the race everything. Outside the race, nothing." Carlos Munoz, a University of California at Berkeley professor who was involved both in founding MEChA and the Denver conference that produced the Aztlan plan, said the inflammatory language was ''strictly metaphorical, strictly symbolic" and expressed the emerging ethnic identity movement. ''There was never, never any militaristic intent, no real thinking about us taking over," he said, but rather a call for Chicano economic cultural and political power.

Still, the document became a rallying point for conservatives. Prodded by denunciations in The Stanford Review, MEChA leaders here disavowed El Plan with a statement that called its rhetoric ''dated and inappropriate in these times." They stated that MEChA accepts all races. ''We made it clear that nobody is talking about any sort of secession or anything like that," said treasurer Francisco Cendejas. The documents, he said, are historical. ''They belong on the shelf but that's pretty much it. They're not going to decide anything for today."

Still, Stanford undergraduates in an annual vote last April, surprised many by excluding MEChA, along with a handful of groups, from receiving budget allocations from student special fees. The administration decided to pick up the slack and has earmarked about $18,000 from other streams toward the $35,000 that MEChA lost, said Dean of Students Greg Boardman. MEChA's activities, he said, ''help create important dialogue on campus as far as areas of diversity and outreach to the community."

Aside from political and labor advocacy, MEChA helps sponsor cultural and educational events like Ballet Folklorico, the Cesar Chavez commemoration day, and outreach to high school students, and serves as an umbrella organization requesting funds for smaller Latino groups.

The GOP's Sensenbrenner complained that administrators are undermining the students' will. ''The student body obviously rejected it. They don't think this is something that furthered the mission of the university." MEChA itself is considering changing the way it seeks funding, and the university is launching a committee to evaluate the whole special fees and voting system for campus groups. Meanwhile, said student body vice president Kory Vargas Caro, the anti-MEChA vote was ''a wake up call," indicating students need more information about the funding of campus groups. ''We're going to work on educating the entire campus, not just about MEChA but what student fees do."

© Copyright <http://www.boston.com/help/bostoncom_info/copyright> 2004 The New York Times Company

E-MAIL #2: This one is about getting more young motherfuckers to vote. It's ironic that the senile ones with no future are the ones voting in droves. However, senile they are, they still see how much power they have as voters.

"Dear CALPIRG Student Chapters supporter,

As part of our campaign to increase voter turnout among 18-to-24-year-olds,we're kicking off an on-line debate to get Bush and Kerry to answer YOURquestions.

To submit your question on the New Voters Project website, click on the linkbelow, or paste it into your web browser:http://youthdebate.newvotersproject.org

Young people are registering to vote in record numbers. The media are talkingabout youth voters as the voters who will decide the next election. And now Bush and Kerry have agreed to answer directly to young people. The debate will be in three main phases: submit questions for the candidates,vote to pick the 12 best questions and finally, George W. Bush and John Kerryanswer YOUR questions online.

The first phase has already begun, so get your burning question in immediately. YOUR question could be the one that George W.Bush and John Kerry have to answer!

To submit your question, click on the link below, or paste it into your webbrowser:http://youthdebate.newvotersproject.org

The state PIRGs have teamed up to launch the New Voters Project and registeryoung people wherever we can find them around the country, from campuses togrocery stores. In each place, people have been asking us to tell them moreabout the candidates. Now we're providing you with a chance to ask yourquestions directly to Bush and Kerry.

You have until Tuesday, September 28 to submit questions, so get yours in rightand away. Invite your friends to submit questions too by forwarding this e-mailon to them. To submit your question, click on the link below, or paste it into your webbrowser: [in case you missed the first two times I posted it, asshole] http://youthdebate.newvotersproject.org"

E-MAIL #3: Concerning the assault weapons ban being left unsigned by Shrubya. So gun-toters, feel free to rampage your local gun store for your uzi to protect your loved ones in that tapioca pudding with the personality of the inside of a sock in junkyard you call a town.

"Dear B.J.,

This past Monday, President Bush and the Republican Congress brazenly blocked the renewal of the federal Assault Weapons Ban. Uzis, AK-47s and other military-style assault weapons are legal again -- for now.

The blocking of the renewal has already become a major issue in the Presidential election. Supporters of the ban in Congress are already gearing up to SAVE THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN. If we work together, even the NRA's lobbying machine will not be able to stop legislation supported by nearly 80% of Americans and every major law enforcement group.

Nearly 50,000 people have already signed Tom Mauser's petition to renew the Ban -- click here to see a map showing this nationwide support. Tom started the petition because his son Daniel was killed at Columbine High School by two students.

The Columbine shooters used an assault weapon -- Tom is fighting to keep these weapons out of the hands of children, criminals, and terrorists. Your friends and family felt powerless when they saw the news reports about the ban expiring. Let them know that they can do something to fight back! Go to your personal petition page and invite 10 friends to join us: http://www.tomspetition.org/impact.php?uid=8069db9da3a82898eb702fde68f525d9 By sending our petition to mothers, fathers, friends, and relatives, we can help keep American families safe from crime, terrorism, and needless accidents.

Thanks for your support,Tom's Team

www.tomspetition.org"

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