BEHIND THE SCENES
Journal of 23rd Year
Losing in Afghanistan
Whistleblowers & Court
U.S. Buys Press
BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Tea Party Tale
Drones Over America
Paper of Power?
Politics of Genocide
Anatomy of Epidemic
FDR & New Deal
Zaps - 09/10
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Resisting the Guam Military Build-Up
LisaLinda Natividad is a Chamorro rights advocate and one of the main organizers of the local opposition to the Guam build-up, the imminent transfer of 8,000 Marines and their families from bases in Okinawa to Guam, an under-resourced and environmentally exploited de facto colony of the U.S. military that already controls one-third of Guam's land mass.
Natividad teaches at the University of Guam, where many of her colleagues in the social work department are also active in the struggle for Chamorro self-determination. "This whole build-up is an issue of justice," Natividad says, "social justice, which is one of our core values in the social work profession." Pushed into peace work by the signing of this accord, Natividad has since become known as a consistent questioner of the environmental and human cost of the proposed build-up. This past summer, Natividad spoke on the matter in Australia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and at the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit.
KERSHNER: Explain Chamorro-U.S. relations?
NATIVIDAD: Our political status is what's called an "unincorporated territory" of the United States, which essentially means we have no status, we are a U.S. colony. That means that we don't have many of the basic rights as a people for self-government. One of the most tangible things that people can relate to is that we don't have the right to vote for a president. We have a Congressional representative but her vote is very limited. At the accords being signed between the U.S. and Japan, our government wasn't even consulted about this transfer of Marines from Okinawa to Guam.
Recently, U.S. Congressperson Hank Johnson made remarks about Guam capsizing. To what extent does this demonstrate U.S. lack of concern for the Chamorro people?
I think it's a very flagrant example of the ignorance of the rest of the country about the issues. I often refer to Guahan, which is our traditional name, as America's best-kept secret. Most people don't realize that old-school colonization still exists. So we hear references to Guam on different TV sitcoms, those sorts of things. Typically, Guam is known for its snake population, not its human population. Often, national, particularly federal, entities refer to Guam as a sort of outpost of U.S. militarism. It's almost like that's what we're known for, so the native population is overlooked—although overlooked is a very mild description of how we're treated.
Why does Guam matter to the U.S.?
We're prime real estate. Congressperson Ike Skelton [D-MO] was here at the university to deliver a lecture and he basically described how the Asia-Pacific region—because of the population boom that's anticipated and claims that China's rising to power—will be the focus of U.S. military activity in the next decade at least. So, when you consider that the U.S. landholdings in the Pacific being primarily Hawaii and Guam, clearly our political status as an unincorporated territory gives them what's often referred to as "maximum flexibility," which means we're a colony and they can do whatever they want.
When you talk about issues of Chamorro self-determination and exercising the right to get off the list of being a non-self governing territory of the world, that just doesn't come into the conversation. It's like, "let's just pretend that's not there," because they have other things in mind for us.
A few years ago, Guam ranked as the number one most successful area for Army National Guard recruiters. What are the effects of this militarism?
U.S. military aircraft over Guam
It's very disheartening. In our high schools—Guam doesn't have very many of them—three of them have JROTC programs. We top the charts in terms of joining the military and that's largely indicative of two things. One, the sort of blind patriotism that a number of people have because of the whole touting of the U.S. "liberating" us from the Japanese occupation in World War II. So there's this sentiment of allegiance to the U.S. But the other part of it is that you've got a very high poverty rate on Guam. Nearly 50 percent of the population is eligible for food stamps. In most communities the people that join the military are not going to be your affluent people. Here you join the military and then at least you're gainfully employed—it's almost as though you're the elite here.
Also, we're desensitized to militarism in our community. If you were to drive around Guam, you would be amazed at how much of our physical environment is impacted by the military footprint. In addition you see military memorials and "support our troops" ribbons everywhere.
Are there elements of the peace and anti-base movement that are opposing militarized education in Guam?
The Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice chaired the International Network of Women Against Militarism conference here in September. What we were able to do at that time was convene a Micronesian regional grouping of women to discuss counter-recruitment. We're currently securing funding to be able to continue to convene this group of women.
This summer a practicum student was placed with the Coalition. Her job was to take national counter-recruitment materials from the American Friends Service Committee, as well as information we've received from military recruiters, and use that to develop materials for our people.
Given that so many people on Guam are dependent on military base jobs for their livelihoods, it must be difficult to organize a strong opposition movement.
Economics and colonization go hand in hand. If you were to ask me what direction we, as a people, need to take, clearly it's to develop alternative economies. But how do we go about doing that when we have the limitations of U.S. federal territorial policies, for example? Also, when you're in an impoverished place, it's hard to develop a new economy when you don't have the resources to do it. It's not an answer that's going to be realized within the next five to ten years. What we require at this point is a generational shift in identity, in nationhood, in terms of understanding the complexities of militarism and how we're contributing to war across the world. There just isn't that consciousness now.
I've started to introduce these concepts in my public lectures and when I start to talk about the contrast between Chamorro values and military values, I'm like the devil. It's very hard for people to hear that. But I keep pushing that envelope because it's so important. That's how we learn to re-frame the way we so blindly embrace U.S. militarism. What I've begun to do is to look at the issue in terms of long-term gains, long-term goals. How do we shift our whole understanding? How do we help our people become aware of the fact that we are colonial subjects? It's going to require lots of work. I think our biggest task in organizing at this point is in educating our community to develop a deeper consciousness.
Z Magazine Archive
HUMAN RIGHTS - The U.S. Human Rights Network will celebrate its 10th anniversary with the Advancing Human Rights 2013 Conference, December 6-8, in Atlanta, GA.
Contact: 250 Georgia Avenue SE, Suite 330, Atlanta, GA 30312; email@example.com; http:// www.ushrnetwork.org/.
AFRICAN/SOCIALIST - The Sixth Congress of the African People’s Socialist Party USA will be held December 7-11, in St. Petersburg, FL.
Contact: 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33705; 727- 821-6620; info@aps puhuru.org; http://asiuhuru.org/.
SCHOOLS - The Dignity in Schools Campaign (DSC) will host a workshop on the DSC “Model Code on Education and Dignity: Presenting A Human Rights Framework for Schools” at the Mid-Hudson Region NY State Leadership Summit on School Justice Partnerships, December 11 in White Plains, NY.
Contact: http://www.dignityin schools.org/.
ANARCHIST/BOOKFAIR - The Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair will be held December 14, in Eureka, CA.
Contact: humboldtgrassroots @riseup.net; http://humbold tanarchist bookfair.wordpress. com/.
CLIMATE - The World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities is hosting a follow-up event to the 2012 Rio de Janeiro symposium. The gathering will be held in Qatar on January 28-30, 2014.
Contact: http://environment.tufts. edu/.
LABOR - The United Association for Labor Education (UALE) will host Organizing for Power: A New Labor Movement for the New Working Class in Los Angeles, March 26-29. Proposals are due December 15.
Contact: LAWCHA, 226 Carr Building (East Campus), Box 90719, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0719;lawcha @duke. edu; http://lawcha.org/.
MEDIA FELLOWSHIP - The Media Mobilizing Project is seeking applicants for the first annual Movement Media Fellowship Program. The Fellow will work with MMP to produce the spring season of Media Mobilizing Project TV. MMPTV is a news and talk show that tells the stories of local communities organizing to win human rights and build a movement to end poverty.
Contact: 4233 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104; 215-821- 9632; milena@media mobilizing.org; http://www.media mobilizing.org/.
RACE - The 7th Facing Race: A National Conference will be held in Dallas, TX November 13-15, 2014. Organizers, educators, artists, funders and everyone interested in racial equity is invited to exchange best practices and learn about innovative models and successful organizing initiatives. Proposals must be submitted by January 24, 2014.
Contact: Race Forward, 32 Broadway, Suite 1801, New York, NY 10004; 212-513-7925; media @raceforward.org; http://race forward.org/.
VETERANS - They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America’s Wars - The Untold Story, by Ann Jones, is about the journey of veterans from the moment of being wounded in rural Afghanistan to their return home.
Contact: Haymarket Books, PO Box 180165, Chicago, IL 60618; 773-583-7884; http://www.haymarketbooks.org/.
LIBYA - Destroying Libya and World Order: The Three-Decade U.S. Campaign to Terminate the Qaddafi Revolution, by Francis A. Boyle, is a history and critique of American foreign policy from Reagan to Obama.
Contact: Clarity Press, Inc., Ste. 469, 3277 Roswell Rd. NE, Atlanta, GE 30305; 404-647-6501; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www. claritypress.com/.
CHILDREN - Fannie and Freddie by Becky Z. Dernbach is about two bumbling villains who gamble away the savings of the people of Homeville.
Contact: fannieandfreddiebook @gmail.com; http://fannieand freddie.org/.
PROTEST/COMIC - Fight the Power!: A Visual History of Protest Among English Speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson and Benjamin Dickson is a graphic narrative that explains how people have fought against oppression.
Contact: Seven Stories Press, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013; 212-226-8760; info@ sevenstories.com; http://www. sevenstories.com.
CHILDREN - Brave Girl by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet is the true story of Clara Lemlich, a young Ukrainian immigrant who led the largest strike of women workers in U.S. history.
Contact: http://www.harpercollins childrens.com/Kids/.
FESTIVAL - The 2014 Queer Women of Color Film Festival will be held June 13-15 in San Francisco. The festival is currently accepting submissions until December 31.
Contact: QWOCMAP, 59 Cook Street, San Francisco, CA 94118-3310; 415-752-0868; email@example.com; http://www.qwocmap.org/.
IRAQ/REFUGEES - Ten years after the U.S.-led war in Iraq, thousands of displaced Iraqi refugees are still facing a crisis in the United States. The Lost Dream follows Nazar and Salam who had to flee Iraq in order to avoid threats by Al- Qaeda-affiliated groups and Iraqi insurgents that consider them “traitors” for supporting U.S. forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Contact: Typecast Films, 888- 591-3456; info@type castfilms. com; http://type castfilms.com/.
HUMAN RIGHTS - Lyrical Revolt! III will be held December 4 in Syracuse, NY. The event will feature hip-hop musician Anhel whose album Young, Gifted, and Brown was just released. The event is sponsored by ANSWER Syracuse, Liberation News, and SyracuseHip Hop.com. Performers and artists are encouraged to send submissions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/.
FOLK - Musician Painless Parker has released his album Music for miscreants, malcontents and misanthropes featuring “Fuck Yeah, the Working Class.”
Contact: email@example.com; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.