SHAKING THE TREE
The Budget & Ecological Crisis
Edward S. Herman
GAY & LESBIAN COMMUNITY NOTES
Same-Sex Marriage And AIDS
The Road to Marriage Equality
Violence in Mexico
Beyond the Tea Party
Resisting Resource Colonialism
Housing and Health
Emerging Labor Responses
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Violence in Mexico
An interview with Noam Chomsky
Since the beginning of 2008, the violence in
Luis Cárdenas: Journalists in México live in constant danger. For example, a photojournalist from the newspaper El Diario was recently murdered in Juárez. The newspaper responded by printing an op-ed piece addressed to the cartels entitled, “What do you want from us?” Would you care to speculate on who is responsible for these attacks against the media and why?
Noam Chomsky: While I was there—this year and the year before—I met with journalists and editors from La Jornada, who I think are extremely good. They gave me off-the-record information that they had dug up about the drug cartels and about the
They still do publish some. For example, La Jornada had an article reporting the inquiries of a professor at one of the universities, a specialist on drugs who works for the United Nations drug enforcement agency, who said that about 80 percent of the businesses in México are involved in one manner or another with the drug racket. Once you start publishing things like that and looking into it, you’re getting to the power centers of Mexican society and they’re not going to want to be exposed. If they can use the drug assassins to stop it, they will.
Do you think it’s a good idea for the Mexican government to suspend certain guaranteed constitutional rights in Juárez or elsewhere in México until order is restored?
You first have to ask what the Mexican government is trying to do and that’s a little opaque. It looks to some extent as if they’re supporting one of the cartels against the other. If that’s what they are trying to do then there is no justification for them to do anything. If they want to stop the drugs, the drug rackets, I think they know how to proceed and it’s not with military action. You have to get to the heart of the matter. Part of the answer was given by the declaration of the three ex-presidents, Zedillo, Cardoso, and Gaviria. They came out with a study or declaration about two years ago in which they said that criminalizing drugs is just creating the problem and that in some fashion the drugs should be legalized, like alcohol, and regulated. Then you wouldn’t get criminal syndicates.
The drug problem is in the
Since the drug war started, there’s been a very sharp increase in incarceration rates. The
A lot of the American industrial revolution was based on slave labor from leased prisoners in the
So we have policies that are carried out which have essentially no impact on the stated goal and measures available which would have an impact and are not being used. The consequence of the policies happens to be significant for power centers—carry out counterinsurgency operations in
That’s one part of the drug war. The other part is the arms. Where are the drug cartels getting their weapons? They are being provided by the
What about NAFTA? Is that part of the problem?
That’s part of the problem. In fact, I was told by journalists that there are in México, close to the U.S. border—visible from spotter planes—big areas that used to be devoted to agriculture, which are now devoted to growing poppies. They say you can’t get in there because they’re guarded, first by the cartels, but also by the army, which is hand in hand with the cartels. These are among the predicted consequences of NAFTA and it’s pretty clear that the
Given those conditions, the insatiable
It’s pretty hard. You know the famous statement: “Too far from God and too close to the
Is it possible for the
I think these policies are harmful to the
Do you envision a day when marijuana will be legalized in the
Legalizing marijuana would make a lot of sense. I don’t think there’s a single case of marijuana overdose on record and there are tens of millions of users. It’s much less dangerous than alcohol, for example. The worst drug of all by far is tobacco. The death toll from tobacco is overwhelming.
What about cocaine and heroin? They would still be there.
The fact of the matter is, they are far less dangerous than tobacco. Everyone is in favor of regulation, but what about criminalization? It’s a topic that has to be considered carefully. In
Education may be effective in preventing addiction, but once someone is addicted, it is difficult to make them stop.
Then they need treatment, but putting them in jail doesn’t help. In fact, putting them in jail creates criminal cartels.
Do you think it’s wrong for a sovereign country like the
It’s an interesting question to ask about the
Take communities. Should a community be free to enact legislation to say we don’t want blacks? Now it’s illegal, 50 years ago it was legal. Is that progress or is that regression? That’s a subcase of the question you’re asking, a question which has complex moral dimensions. I don’t think you can give a simple answer.
I’m wondering what type of education system is best, going to school in México is not mandatory, although they say it is, it really isn’t. The
They use that slogan, but the “no child left behind” legislation should be called “every child will be left behind.” Teaching kids to pass tests is not education, that’s mis-education. It’s training for the Marines.
Take UNAM for example, it’s a very high quality university. It’s hard to get into, but it’s free. In the United States, if you take the main public education systems either you have to be rich or able to go deep into debt to go to school, unlike México where it’s free. That’s a far more progressive system than in the
It makes sense for societies to make education compulsory for children. Children are vulnerable. The decisions can’t all be left in the hands of the parents. They can be irresponsible too. There is a social responsibility to take care of vulnerable people, like the elderly. That’s a social responsibility, as is obligatory decent education and that is not happening. For example, the Boston Globe, which is a liberal newspaper, had a lead story describing the successes in education and the main success was that they doubled the number of charter schools. Is that a success? From the point of view of business interests it’s a success. They would love to privatize the school system at public expense because it’s taxpayer money. But there is no evidence that charter schools are any good. In fact, the evidence is that they are more or less like public schools even though they cherry pick their students. Why is that a success? It is a success if you accept the doctrines of private power. If you are concerned with the citizens, it’s not a success.
Luis Cardenas was born in Ciudad Juárez, México. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then returned to Juárez for ten years to work as an engineer. He currently lives in the
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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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; email@example.com; 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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: email@example.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://painlessparkermusic.com/.
COMEDY - Political comedian Lee Camp’s new album Pepper Spray the Tears Away has been released.