Thursday, May 04, 2006

Other Items (Michael Ratner on KPFA's The Morning Show today -- 7:00 am Pacific)

"Growing Unease for Some Blacks on Immigration" is the title of Rachel L. Swarns piece in this morning's New York Times. For those missing the point, let's stamp it with the real title, "No One's Buying Our Push for the Senate Bill, Let's Suddenly Focus on 'Some' African-Americans to Try to Sell Our Plan!"

That's right, African-Americans who are more likely to be a topic in the Times in a story about how they're really not present in NYC (comforting, if dubious, figures pushed by the paper) become big news when the Times wants to try one more time to push the "guest worker" enslavery that the Senate favors.

The topics been covered by independent media for some time. Tuesday, on Democracy Now!, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez and a guest addressed it again. But the paper's desparate so they've got to try something, even if means bring people of color into the White Timid.

"Some" and "many" fluctuate in Swarns' 'reporting.' So much easier than offering actual figures.
Searching high and low (well, low), Swarns turns up a "branch president" of the NAACP in Des Moines who gives her the money quote she's been seeking. (Did Swarns have a cigarette after?)
Strange because Julian Bond, Jesse Jackson and Joseph E. Lowery aren't quoted in the first half of the article. (Well there's the Times beloved 'balance' at work again.)

Those critiquing the Times coverage (positive or negative) on this (or any) issue would do well to grasp the inverted pyramid model. The Times does. It's what allowed them to cheerlead a war.

So Swarns could respond, "I did include Jackson!" Yes, she did. And to the uninformed that might fly. To those aware of the structure, it doesn't cut it. She knows what a lede is, she knows what a hook is and she knows the inverted pyramid. Readers may not know it, but they grasp that the important information comes upfront. (Just as reporters grasp that not all readers will read from start to finish. See "Rudith Miller.")

Another way to read the article is that the Times grasps they can't get what they want directly so better to attempt encouraging tensions between two groups and hope they fight it out. (Call it Bully Boy's Iraq 'plan.')

For reality, Mia recommends James Petras' "The Rise of the Migrant Workers' Movement" (CounterPunch):

Between March 25 and May 1, 2006 close to 5 million migrant workers and their supporters marched through nearly 100 cities of the United States. This is the biggest and most sustained workers' demonstration in the history of the US. In all of its 50-year history, the US trade union confederation, the AFL-CIO has never been capable of mobilizing even a fraction of the workers convoked by the migrant workers' movement. The rise and growth of the movement is rooted in the historical experience of the migrant workers (overwhelmingly from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean), the exploitative and racist experience they confront today in the US and the future in which they face imprisonment, expulsion and dispossession.
The migrant worker's movement is engaged in an independent political struggle, directed against local, state and particularly the national government. The movement's immediate objective is to defeat congressional legislation designed to criminalize employed migrant workers and a "compromise" designed to divide recently arrived workers from older workers. The key demand of the migrant workers is the legalization of all workers, new and old. The choice of direct action methods is a response to the ineffectiveness of the legalistic and lobbying activities of established middle-class controlled Latino organizations and the near-total failure of the labor confederation and its affiliates to organize migrant workers in trade unions or even build solidarity organizations.
To understand the dynamic growth of migrant labor movement in the US and its militancy, we need to analyze the structural changes of the 1980's and 1990's in Mexico and Central America.

On WBAI today, Rachel and Micah note the following programs (times given are Eastern):

10:00-11:00 am: First Voices Indigenous Radio
Tiokasin Ghosthorse and Mattie Harper cover issues of importance to Indigenous communities.

8:00-9:00 pm: Where We Live
Sally O'Brien and Rosa Clemente with issues related to political prisoners and police repression.

Rachel also notes that the main page of the WBAI site features a summary of the previous night's WBAI Evening News. (Remember that you can listen to WBAI, out of NYC, live at the site or you can listen to archived programs.)

Zach notes that on KPFA's The Morning Show (7:00 am Pacific), Daniel Ellsberg will be a guest this morning. I believe Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights and, of course, WBAI's Law and Disorder, will also be a guest this morning (discussing Guantanamo). (Also, today's the day Andrea Lewis returns from vacation.)

Rushing, but please check out Mike's "Lynne Stewart hosts a film festival May 4th 7:00PM 40 E. 35th Street, NYC" (films show tonight in NYC), Rebecca's " goldie's (and marlene's) house party last weekend to end the war" (and we'll note some more community sites later today -- again, I'm rushing).

Remember to listen, watch or read Democracy Now! today.

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