Sunday, February 27, 2011

People Move When It's About Food

A few days ago there was a immigrant protest march at the University of Texas at Austin.  About three thousand people attended, mostly students.  They were protesting the draconian bills presently before the Texas Legislature.  One of these, horrific to say the least - sponsored by Rep. Debbie Riddle of Conroe, is for children who are undocumented to be reported to ICE by their school.  Is it appropriate to say this sounds like Nazi Germany?  Some people don't like using these types of analogies.  How can being deported to Mexico compare to the Holocaust?  

Perhaps many people don't know but those families who get sent back face terrible hardship.  A large percentage of the Mexican population does not have enough to eat.  Why else would they leave their homes under such conditions?    The narco war is also taking its toll.  People are being killed and kidnapped.  You can't travel on the highway between Monterrey and Laredo anymore, or between Mexico City and Monterrey - especially if you are driving a pick up truck.  Road blocks appear out of the blue and before you know it your car is gone... if you protest you can be shot.

Since there are about 12 million undocumented people in the U.S. you would think that they would protest and create a change.  Yet, this has not happened.  There have been protests, but not enough to pressure the government into change.  Perhaps it is that most of the people in the U.S. have enough to eat.  There isn't enough pressure to get millions of people out...  The 12 million have to be really hungry for things to get to that point.

London Independent

The price of food is at the heart of this wave of revolutions

No one saw the uprisings coming, but their deeper cause isn't hard to fathom
By Peter Popham
Sunday, 27 February 2011

Revolution is breaking out all over. As Gaddafi marshals his thugs and mercenaries for a last-ditch fight in Tripoli, several died as protests grew more serious in Iraq. Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah tried to bribe his people into docility by splashing out $35bn on housing, social services and education. Across the water in Bahrain the release of political prisoners failed to staunch the uprising. In Iran, President Ahmadinejad crowed about chaos in the Arab world, but said nothing about the seething anger in his own backyard; in Yemen, the opposition gathers strength daily.

And it's not just the Middle East. This is an African crisis: Tunisia, where it started, is an African country, and last week in Senegal, a desperate army veteran died after setting fire to himself in front of the presidential palace, emulating Mohamed Bouazizi, the market trader whose self-immolation sparked the revolution in Tunisia. Meanwhile, the spirit of revolt has already leapt like a forest fire to half a dozen other ill-governed African nations, with serious disturbances reported in Mauritania, Gabon, Cameroon and Zimbabwe.

Nowhere is immune: dozens of activists in China are in detention or under other forms of surveillance, and the LinkedIn network was shut down as authorities seek to stamp out Middle East-style protests there. In what is arguably the most repressive state on the planet, North Korea, the army was called out and five died in the northern city of Sinuiju after violent protests erupted there and in two other cities. The generals who rule Burma under a trashy façade of constitutional government were keeping a close eye on the Middle East, ready to lock up Aung San Suu Kyi again at the first sign of copycat disturbances.
Nowhere is immune to this wave of rebellion because globalisation is a fact; all the world's markets are intricately interlinked, and woe in one place quickly translates into fury in another. Twenty years ago, things were more manageable. When grain production collapsed in the Soviet Union during the 1980s and what had been one of the world's greatest grain exporters became a net importer, the resulting surges of anger brought down the whole Communist system within a couple of years – but stopped there. Today there are no such firebreaks, and thanks to digital communications, events happen much faster.

Why are all these revolutions happening now? Plenty of answers have been offered: the emergence of huge urban populations with college degrees but no prospect of work; the accumulation of decades of resentment at rulers who are "authoritarian familial kleptocracies delivering little to their people", as Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation put it; the subversive role of Facebook and Twitter, fatally undermining the state's systems of thought control...more

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