Monday, September 14, 2009

the folk art fest!

much fun. a sweet day in albuquerque. didn't make much money but i covered my costs plus a bit and got to chat w/ waaaaay too many booth was in a great spot under a big tree w/ a good view of everything...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

“The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today”

check this STORY
democracy nows' amy goodman speaks with Kevin Bales, a leader in the abolition movement to end modern-day slavery and co-author of The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today. Bales estimates some 27 million people labor as slaves today—more than at anytime in history. Bales has also helped expose modern-day slavery in the United States, where he estimates between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the country each year. He writes, “There has never been a single day in our America, from its discovery and birth right up to the moment you are reading this sentence, without slavery.”

not surprising. and connected to the UFW post below and its assertion that farm work conditions in ny "are one step from slavery." its no lie.

Take Action to Help NY State Farm Workers

In New York State, laws protecting workers categorically exclude farm workers from basic rights and protections leading to conditions that are one step from slavery.

Farm laborers often work 14 hour days, 7 days a week, at minimum wage, with no overtime pay, no right to form a union, no disability insurance coverage, and no right to a day of rest. Children who work in the fields can be paid $3.20 an hour, less than half of the $7.15 minimum wage.

The UFW is joining with a coalition of groups--including Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy and Founder of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights—who are working to change this injustice. "The Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act" (S.2247/A.1867) would finally grant farm workers rights equal to all other workres.

NY’s Governor Paterson said he will sign the bill if it crosses his desk. The bill had already passed by the Assembly. Organizers believe that they have enough votes for the bill to pass if it makes it to the senate floor.

Making it to the senate floor, however, is a big challenge. Opponents will do all they can to see the bill stalled in committee. That’s why we’re begging you to help the bill organizers by contacting key senators today.

When Robert Kennedy broke bread with Cesar Chavez in Delano ending Cesar’s fast, he said, “When your children and grandchildren take their place in America,--going to high school, and taking good jobs at good pay, when you look at them, you will say, ‘I did this. I was there at the point of difficulty and danger.’ And though you may be old and bent from many years of labor, no one will stand taller than you when you say ‘I marched with Cesar.’”

Please take action here. And, when you are old and bent you will turn to your children and grand children and say “I was there. I helped the farm workers."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


lover pulls a needle out for his T shot and time stops
memory appears like ink on my vision and bleeds outward to cover everything i see
then suddenly w/ me is the lull
as he draws the liquid into the syringe emptiness arrives boldly on the surface of my skin
this feeling i must always carry
once stuffed into trash bags, weighted and sunken to the bottom of my life
the rig, the bottle, the pipe, the need, my friends
my goddam junkie friends i couldn’t trust as far as i could throw
people i loved
shot up and lost and wandering

I’m still wandering

It’s the feeling i carry heavy in the bottom of my life
the pull to stop caring and trusting to stop feeling
wanting to just disappear
cuz fuck this shit anyway
just fuck it

but the truth is i fight it everyday
the bitter break
the breaking weight
the bitter pull to give up
for all the need to go away

just go away.

to once again put my belongings into trash bags and head off into a lulling sunset
away from here
away from the dissatisfaction the disappointment the envy
the anger and the shame
get away from the feeling that I’m just waiting to die.

even with my lover on the bed beside me
even with laughter and righteous hopeful conversation sometimes streaming from my lips

syringe says remember the despair.

the clammy skin and rolling eyes and the stagger
the secret
the ones that have survived and recovered their lives
the ones that didn't
the spent love
all the sweaty desperate love that you just can’t trust

I just don’t trust me

not sure I’ve recovered much of anything, yet I’m here
don’t know why I’m writing this
why of all the people I’ve known and lost, I’m the one alive to tell anyone that cares to listen another sad story about bitter broken dreams
about flashbacks and hollow innards
about trash bags of hopelessness sunken to the bottom of memory

maybe I’m here to sing the story of needles and bottles and pipes and pills and fuck this I’m outta here
to sing the story of things you just can’t trust
to remind everyone including myself that there’s a poem in a moment that stops time and brings up danger from the depths

and in that poem that should or shouldn’t be trusted as far as you can throw it
there’s possibly something worth recovering.

Friday, September 4, 2009

thank fuck for the brilliant collision of youth and poetry.

theres a ton of these "brave new voices" clips to watch if you go to the youtube page. just fabulous.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

the problem w/ grapes: Giumarra's legacy of abuse continues under a new label

"Giumarra--the world's largest table grape company that employs close to 3,500 grape workers. Giumarra has a history of intimidating and bullying workers. Back in 2006, a union election was thrown out by an administrative judge because of their unlawful interference. In addition, two farm workers have died of heat-related causes while laboring in Giumarra’s fields.

You’d think that Giumarra would have learned their lesson and quit putting workers at risk. Unfortunately not. Workers report to us that Giumarra is back to its old tricks. They have asked us to help them in getting a union contract so they have protection against these abuses. Please help make this possible, click HERE to e-mail Giumarra.

Giumarra has another way of forcing workers to reach unrealistic quotas and to intimidate workers. It’s a version of the “time outs” you do to a little kid when they are naughty. Giumarra is the only grape grower who uses this humiliating public method of punishment.

A worker does not pick fast enough or dares to question a supervisor? They get an unpaid, “time out” where they need to sit and wait until the supervisor says they can go back to work.

Giumarra worker Oswaldo Luna says, “The most unjust thing I have seen in the company is that they punish us by stopping us from working, for an hour or for days ...The supervisor yells at us instead of talking to us. If someone responds to him, he stops them from working.

“The supervisor Rambo began to look for things to punish us on and reasons to send us home? He stopped us for 3 hours without pay that day just because he got mad we answered him back. He told us he did not want to see us and sent us home for the day.” Oswaldo feels that the supervisor is “hoping that if he sends us home enough times, we will get fed up and leave the job.”

This situation has escalated to such a degree that on August 17, Oswaldo and two other workers filed ALRB charges against the company. That day their crew boss started unfairly harassing these workers for low production. When the workers explained that they were doing the best they could, but there were barely any grapes in their row, she suspended them for two days for questioning her.

The multimillion dollar Giumarra corporation--which is the largest table grape company and a major distributor of fresh produce—has developed a new label, Nature’s Partner. Please email Giumarra at Nature’s Partner today and tell them to treat their workers with dignity and respect and to quit retaliating against UFW supporters."

*I think that this huge corporation w/ a sketch labor history changing its name to "natures partner" its so insidious and so indicative of capitalisms' ability to co-opt absolutely fucking everything...its like how mega-corporate/anti-union whole foods has put out new paper bags w/ the phrase "i'm local!" printed all over it. blech