The National Immigrant Youth Alliance Statement on Wal-Mart Walkouts: You Can’t Deport Workers’ Rights!


The National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) Statement in Support of Wal-Mart “Black Friday” Walk-outs  Wal-Mart: You Can’t Deport Workers’ Rights!   Wal-Mart workers are fighting back and need our help! In one of the biggest labor fights this

BREAKING: Viridiana Martinez to be Released From Broward Detention Center


August 3, 2012 media@theniya.org 734.262.9705 BREAKING: Viridiana Martinez to be Released From Broward Detention Center Public move displays hypocrisy of immigration officials BROWARD, Fl.—Viridiana Martinez is being released from Broward Transitional Center right

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Marco Saavedra, NIYA’s Second Implanted Activist, has been Detained in Broward Since July 11


August 1st, 2012 media@theniya.org 734.262.9705  Marco Saavedra, NIYA’s Second Implanted Activist, has been Detained in Broward Since July 11 Hundreds of stories gathered and hunger strikes under way; infiltrations to continue  MIAMI—Today, the National

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NIYA Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Fraud of Obama Immigration Policy


July 30, 2012 media@theniya.org   734.262.9705 NIYA Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Fraud of Obama Immigration Policy Now demands full review of facility, jail organizing inside to continue  MIAMI—The National Immigrant Youth Alliance will hold a

Gender

Fighting Against Women’s Oppression All Over Again

Posted on by Prerna in Gender, Nationalism | Leave a comment

I’ve such a horrible case of déjà vu right now. Anyone else remember how the oppression of women in Afganistan was used as a polemic and rhetorical device to justify the occupation of the country and distinguish between “us” and “them?”

Of course, taking nothing away from this woman, my statement does not mean that Qaddafi and his troops are not horrendous and guilty. I’m just interested in how the crisis of women’s oppression has been used to justify war efforts throughout our history. We are so concerned about women’s rights abroad but not so much at home. A really good recommended reading is Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars.

Cover Up Kareena!

Posted on by Prerna in Desi, Gender | 2 Comments

Never one to be a Kareena Kapoor fan (let alone a Saifeena one), when the Shiv Sena took out a ‘morcha’ against the new poster of Kareena in Kurbaan, with her back in nude, I momentarily agreed to not just cover her back but the whole poster. Just get the ungodly and offending sight of her away from my eyes.

http://img689.imageshack.us/img689/834/kurbaan.png

A Shiv-Sena activist said:

“We objected to the posters as they showed the actress semi-nude and we found to be in very bad taste. It violates our Indian culture.”

Well, a semi-nude Kareena is certainly bad taste but I am not sure it violates our culture. Maybe all our other senses. Still, it is a wonder how and why the Shiv Sena is attacking the posters a whole month after they were plastered all over the city.

My ragging on Kareena is in jest. She has the freedom to pose with her back nude. We have the freedom to avert our eyes. The Shiv Sena has a right to take to the streets for our pure entertainment, and as a result, create more publicity for the movie that they are ‘morally policing.’

What is disgusting about claims of ‘bad taste’ by the Sena is that Kareena is the one being morally policed even though we see no ‘offending’ parts of her body. Why is Saif Ali Khan allowed to show his bare-chest? Why isn’t anyone covering him up? Double-standard much?

Gunda-gardi (gangster tactics) is not new to the Sena. A month ago, the Sena objected to the use of Mumbai’s name, Bombay, in Wake Up Sid (another Johar production), and he bent over backwards to insert a disclaimer in the film.

Wake Up Sid turned out to be a hit. I wish the same luck to Kurbaan.

Maybe the Sena is lucky for Johar after all.

I wonder what they think about L word posters.

House Passes BailOut of Insurance Companies Bill

Posted on by Prerna in Anti-Capitalism, Gender, Politics | Leave a comment

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 3962 (Affordable Health Care for America Act) known here as a bailout for private insurance companies, in what is lauded as a victory for Obama and health care in America.

I’ll be damned. The only worthwhile compromise is that the bill requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions and does not include a 5-year bar for legal immigrants.

Here’s my problem with the bill:

  • Mandates that all Americans, including undocumented immigrants, buy health insurance from predatory for-profit insurance companies, given them an additional $70 billion in new annual revenue.
  • Starting 2013, penalizes us if we don’t want to give money to health insurance companies or obtain health care under a public option that might have higher premium rates since it might draw less healthier patients, depending on how strongly the government can battle with private insurers on reimbursement rates.
  • A watered-down public option plan after the loss of a ‘robust public option’ tied to Medicare rates.
  • Provides no coverage for transgender health care
  • Final bill stripped an amendment that would have allowed states to have their own single payer health care (and quite possibly killed private health insurance companies)
  • Prohibits federal funding for women’s reproductive health except in dire circumstances and blocks insurance companies from providing any abortion coverage.

Congratulations, America, the wingnuts would like you to believe that you are ‘socializing medicine’ when you are actually doing ‘defensive healthcare’ and stepping towards more privatized health care on the backs of taxpayers. With a weak public option plan, we will be back here within a decade to argue why the United States needs to catch up with the rest of the industrialised world in providing single payer health care, medicare for all.

Next up is the Senate and then a tough Conference convening to hammer out a compromise that will further weaken the bill.

Short Story – Discovering Sex Through Crossword Puzzles

Posted on by Prerna in Gender, LGBTQ | Leave a comment

I have decided to share a short story from my life every week so that my readers and friends would get to know me better and get some insight on how I grew up. Maybe I should do a Videoblog, but I am camera shy.

This is from Nehru Memorial Primary School in Suva, Fiji and the year is 1995. I was in class 6, bored and doing some crossword puzzles on the back of some magazines that I had brought to school. Now, it was ‘Woman’s Day’ and may have had some provocative pictures but I was completely clueless as to what provocative meant. I was a square: went to school, came home, did homework, went to school, always came 1st in class, came back home.

My ignorant and perverted peers saw ‘Woman’s Day’ and reported me to the principle who called my father and made an example out of ‘a girl who brings dirty magazines to schools.’ Ms. Nair and Ms. Narayan gave me a thorough lecture about how they were appalled that someone with my level of intelligence and good character, could possibly bring ‘porn’ to school? (Now I understand that these women have probably never seen Playboy).

I was confused–’What, I like doing these puzzles? Why do I care about the rest of the content that adults read?’ Was it that strange to believe that someone with my level of intelligence would rifle through women’s magazines for crossword puzzles? Dad was thoroughly embarrassed but to his credit, he knew I was interested in puzzles and not the least bit into the blonde, leggy, white woman on the cover (I wish he could have retained that common sense for 6 years later). He went back to school the next day and clarified the matter. I got an apology from the principle but never a clarification. And due to that one incident, I was completely overlooked for any leadership positions in grade 7 and 8. Usually these went to the smartest people in class–I was probably the only square to miss out on these so-called ‘honors.’ In hindsight, it doesn’t matter.

Thanks to that incident, I finally started becoming aware of women in a new light. I started thinking of women’s bodies as sexual beings. Talk about creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Perversion and sexual awareness does not happen in a vacuum. It is behavior that is sometimes encouraged by our peers and often sanctioned by the state and society.

P.S. I haven’t done a crossword puzzle or picked up a copy of Woman’s Day since then. I hope Ms. Narayan and Ms. Nair burn in hell.

No on 8 – Taking to the Streets! Viva La Revolution! The Second Stonewall is Underway.

Posted on by Prerna in Gender, LGBTQ | 3 Comments

First they came for the Communists,
  and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
  and I didn’t speak up,
    because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
  and I didn’t speak up,
    because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
  and by that time there was no one
    left to speak up for me.

A large majority of people taking to the streets in California were NEVER involved in the ‘No on 8′ campaign. This is no longer a top-down, disorganized effort that some accused of being ‘colonial’ in nature. Let the people who voted ‘Yes’ for discrimination see the result of this ban–galvanizing and moving more people than ever before to come out for civil rights. This ban may just have woken the civil rights movement from its deep slumber, woken up people like me who could care less about marriage but LOATHE and CANNOT DIGEST the concept of putting minority rights to majority vote and taking them away.
The energy and enthusiasm is refreshing and exciting, save for the random acts of violence and scapegoating. Keep this up California – organize and join as many rallies as you can.

Record and put your videos and demonstrations on Youtube, Facebook, IReport.com and Twitter!

For blog entries, I suggest using the noonprop8 and repealprop8 tags.

What do we do Now? – Resources

TAX PROTEST

http://gaytaxprotest.blogspot.com/

Melissa Etheridge refuses to pay taxes. All LGBT and allies should also hold back taxes from the state of California till our civil rights are restored:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-06/you-can-forget-my-taxes/

Organizing Tools

http://kickingalion.wordpress.com/

They also launched for donations you can make in the name of the leader of the Mormon Church.

www.InvalidateProp8.org

Make a donation, in the name of the president of the Mormon Church, to support the legal organizations working to invalidate Proposition 8 and to fund grass-roots activities in support of full marriage equality. For every donation of $5 or more, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will send the following postcard to President Thomas Monson’s office in Salt Lake City, acknowledging your donation in his name

Look up your local businesses that supported the Yes on 8 campaign, WRITE LETTERS and BOYCOTT!!

Boycott these businesses

http://www.afterellen.com/node/39787

http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?m2m2y2zd53m

Information on Protests

http://stoph8te.blogspot.com/

ANSWER LA

http://www.pephost.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ANSWERLA

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com/

http://lezgetreal.com/2008/11/no-on-h8-protests-update.html

Main site: http://www.jointheimpact.com/
San Francisco: http://protest8sf.wordpress.com

Black LGBT

http://www.faithish.com/

Conservative Christian case for Same-Sex marriage
http://www.musingson.com/ccCase.html

Mormons

(Lets approach this in a ‘legal’ way rather than by showing hatred and intolerance).

March on Salt Lake City

Sign the petition to strip the Mormon church of its tax exempt status at http://www.mormonsstoleourrights.com!

Get Sundance Out of Utah

customerservice@sundance.org, sio@sundance.org, programming@sundance.org

Dear Sundance Institute,

The LGBT community needs the support of the SUNDANCE INSTITUTE. I request that the SUNDANCE INSTITUTE move the film festival out of Utah.

link: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5j3xrKGCR3_Lr31cirVMS_5fY_8igD94ADR9G0

Top-down Orgs

No On Prop 8 — We Are Not Done

ORGANIZING ON FACEBOOK

Courage Campaign is expected to announce a 2010 ballot measure to repeal this so-called Constitutional amendment. Let this not be another top-down effort that alienates the core of the LGBT community and especially ethnic minorities.

Read more

This Gay Marriage (Proposition 8) Ban Better Not Pass

Posted on by Prerna in Gender, LGBTQ | 1 Comment

img220/1970/20081031081438propchartku0.jpg

See your Halloween No on 8 pumpkin here!

I am adamantly set against the idea of marriage. And the idea of my community co-opting the heteronormative institution of marriage and effectively saving it from ‘dying out,’ is a bit irritating. Let the straight people of the world have their desecrated, abused and patriarchal ‘union.’ I don’t want any part of it — I don’t need the heterosexual idea of ‘marriage’ to have a ‘perfect union.’ That’s where I stand on the issue.

THAT does not mean I don’t favor the right of my brothers and sisters to belong to the institution. And it deepens me sadly that people don’t understand the difference between having their opinions and beliefs, and voting to preserve the rights of someone else. This is what it is really about — no matter how you feel about marriage, VOTE AGAINST DISCRIMINATION and BIGOTRY. Vote NO on Proposition 8.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the ban on marriage is winning.

But the same-sex marriage ban is winning among people who are voting early or by mail. That means it will likely pass unless there is a strong Election Day turnout of “No” voters — a fact that places the proposition’s fate in the hands of supporters of Barack Obama, who tend to oppose the measure, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

Early field polls suggest we are in for a tough fight. Barack Obama needs to come out in opposition of the ban but has failed to do so — African American voters, his supporters by large numbers, are voting for the ban. That is another problem. WE spend our time getting previously disenfranchised voters to start voting again and the first thing they do is go out to vote and strip away our rights?

What I REALLY want to know is why the cast of The L word is campaigning for Barack Obama in battleground states like Philadelphia, and NOT holding organizing events against Prop 8 in California knowing that the vote will be close. Hello? What would be a better show of support than these women?
Click to view full size image

Someone care to pose this question to IC, JB, Rose Rollins and co.? If the ban passes, I wonder if any of them might even think that they could have done more here in California.

Criminalizing HomoSexuality: The Delhi High Court Gets it … When will 40% of California?

Posted on by Prerna in Desi, Gender, LGBTQ | Leave a comment

What do you expect when you openly put up a sign that screams ‘bigot?’

Well, it gets called what it is – (IT WASN’T ME, I CAN SPELL AND WON’T BE FOUND DEAD/ALIVE IN ORANGE COUNTY)

While the battle is heating up in California, some mad props are in order for those that ‘get it.’

THE Delhi High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Centre for relying on religious scriptures to justify ban on gay sex. The Centre had quoted Bible to defend its stand.
The court, which asked the government to come up with scientific justification, said scriptures cannot be the basis for government’s views. The court’s remarks came when additional solicitor-general P P Malhotra referred to an article condemning gay sex by quoting the Bible. “We should not accept religious literature,” a bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah said. “These are not scientific reports. These are propaganda articles quoting Bible. Your arguments should be based on scientific reports. Show us scientific reports which justify criminalisation of such acts (gay sex),” the bench observed.

In a secular country, what the Bible, the Koran or any other religious text says about homosexuality should have no standing in court. When are people going to realize that we cannot and should not legislate morality that condemns a particular social group to a life in the margins of society?

I get that Proposition 8 is not precisely about ‘criminalizing’ or decriminalizing homosexual behavior — it is about eliminating the right of marriage for same-sex couples. But the arguments used in favor of banning same-sex marriage are the same ones used for criminalizing homosexuality altogether: biblical propaganda.
Read more

Menstrual Blood Banks – Viable?

Posted on by Prerna in Gender | 8 Comments

It turns out that scientists, from a culture that derides the menstrual cycle of women, have discovered that ‘period blood’ is “a good source of stem cells…that can develop into any nine different types of cells, including heart, lung, nerve and muscles.” So now, there are talks of ‘banking’ menstrual blood.
The full article is here.

The article says ‘Unclean,’ which denotes ‘menstrual.’ Are the men skirmish yet? I don’t think the biological dichotomy between clean and unclean blood is why the headline screams ‘UNCLEAN’ blood–clean blood is supposed to carry oxygen from the heart to other areas of the body via arteries whereas unclean blood is usually found in veins and carries ‘by-products.’ A Biology major can clarify, but in the article headline, ‘unclean blood’ is ‘unclean’ simply because it is menstrual blood. In other words, it has little to do with any artery/veins dichotomy and more to do with the fact that ‘only women bleed’ if I may borrow those Alice Walker song lyrics.

HA! I wonder how popular this news would be if men had periods. In all likelihood, it would make CNN, Fox, MSNBC headlines, spur all sorts of discussion and pride amongst men about how they are ‘natural saviours,’ give birth to a whole new ‘menstrual bank’ industry, and maybe even knighthood for the men who bled the most. Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get what I am trying to say. If you don’t get what I am trying to say, Gloria Steinam says it better here.  Alas, if you search for this news piece on “Google News” only one newspaper carried report of these findings–the Times of India.
Read more

EU putting an end to ‘sexist adverts’

Posted on by Prerna in Anti-Capitalism, Gender | Leave a comment

I don’t know how I feel about this. Are we going to get women bodybuilders as opposed to men, commercials about Viagra with women, and male models in facial cosmetic adverts? That would be a nice change, it may actually spark conversation about the social construction of gender.

At the same time, there is a “free speech” consideration, a danger of becoming too ‘politically-correct.’ Who gets to determine what constitutes a ‘sexist advert’ and what does not? Should a ‘brand name’ not have the right to market its products using gender stereotypes if it wants to? Is it not up to us to reject these stereotypes instead of government regulation doing the critical thinking for us?

I suppose any ‘ban’ on advertising is probably a good one in my book. In a ‘free market,’ the sales of goods and services are supposed to correlate with supply and demand, not consumer manipulation via simulation on the idiot box. Of course, companies will argue that advertisement is a way of spreading word and putting out information about their products, but if a product is good, does it really need to be artificially ‘sold’ to the consumer?

I don’t have the answer. I shall wait to see how this one plays out.

London: Advertisements that use sex to sell or promote gender stereotypes could be banned by the EU. Members of European Parliament want TV regulators in the EU to set guidelines which would see the end of anything deemed to portray women as sex objects or reinforce gender stereotypes, reported the Telegraph.
This could potentially mean an end to attractive women advertising perfume.
Such classic adverts as the Diet Coke commercial featuring the bare-chested builder, or Wonderbra’s Hello Boys featuring model Eva Herzigova would have been banned.

The new rules come in a report by the EU’s women’s rights committee. Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson urged Britain and other members to use existing equality, sexism and discrimination laws to control adverts.
Svensson said: “Gender stereotyping in advertising straitjackets women, men, girls and boys by restricting individuals to predetermined and artificial roles that are often degrading, humiliating and dumbed down for both sexes.” AGENCIES

Sarah Palin – Quite an Expected Pick but No Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

Posted on by Prerna in Gender, Politics | 4 Comments

If you are like me and believe that politics is merely simulation, a female politician picked up for the McCain vice-presidential ticket should come as no surprise. Barack Obama gave John McCain an opening by not picking Hillary Clinton, and he expectedly capitalized on it to call the liberals on their own “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” masquerade and hypocrisy. He picked Governor Sarah Palin despite her inexperience and lack of foreign policy understanding to appeal to both socially conservatives and maybe some of the Hillary bloc, but the fact that she bears a striking resemblance to Tina Fey (voted #1in the Top 100 Hot Women on AfterEllen.com) is as close she is getting to being pro-women, pro-choice and pro-gay — and the Hillary voters.

Lets face it – Picking her is a smart move at first sight, until you consider what a hard-core conservative Sarah Palin is — she is a life-long NRA member, staunchly against a women’s right to choose to the point where she is a member of Feminists for Life, opposes same-sex marriage and even civil unions. Seeing her wielding a gun on national television had me a tad-bit disturbed (after hearing about President Cheney using his friends for target practice in the woods, I don’t want to see another aimless rifle-wielding politician). Her ecologically footprint and anti-environmental policies are just loathsome. It’s certainly not appealing to independents and Hillary voters. A better choice would have been Christine Todd-Whitman or Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Do see this post at Culture Kitchen on this note who says Republicans cannot even get their feminists right–Yes, they aren’t looking for ‘feminist’ women, they want a ‘real woman‘–whatever that means!

Make no mistake, Governor Sarah Palin is a McBush/McCain in a skirt that is neither a signal for ‘change’ nor breaking any ‘glass ceilings’ for women. Picking a woman for office, especially a woman with a track record such as Sarah Palin–is no guarantee for the advancement of women’s rights or the destruction of the gender-regime that oppresses all of us. It is actually a step-back for women and a reification of the gender-regime so firmly entrenched in our society.

In the following weeks, you will undoubtedly here ‘identity politics’ playing out in the form of ‘gender-speak.’ The Republicans will show her as a ‘ballsy’ even Thatcher-like strong-armed yet strong-valued woman from the conservative base who knows how to successfully play hardball with oil/energy companies, fit the ticket and be an alternate to Clinton’s ‘whiny’ self. She will be masculated in all the right ways and feminized in all the right ways. Get ready to hear stories about her workout routine, moose stew dinners, how she rides a motorcycle and calls her husband the “first dude.” And before, after or during these stories, get ready to hear about Palin as a beauty queen, as a working-mother of five children and a dedicated wife to her husband, and salutes to her ‘soccer mom’ or ‘hockey mom’ persona. So gear up to hear an endless exploitation of Sarah Palin as a “woman,” some disparaging comments about Catherine McKinnon-type feminists from the Republicans and consequently, the amplification of the oppositional (male/female) discourse of gender. If these Presidential elections are not about black/white, then they may be about male/female–where both major parties skirt around the real issues and try to pretend to stand for ‘change.’

Just remember, as Obama declared yesterday (in a speech that even moved me), it is not about him or any candidate, it is about YOU. Of course, the media would probably repeat and regurgitate the fact that for the first time in the history of the United States, either a ‘black’ man or a woman seems poised to serve in the two highest offices of this country. It makes for a great movie, the total entertainment package.