Another Year of Life Under Trump

4 12 2018

Going into 2019 is crazy to imagine. I can’t believe we have survived two years under a Trump presidency. Things are hectic here at the U.S. Mexico border especially at the Tijuana/San Ysidro crossing. We held a protest in support of the migrants from Honduras and other Central American countries.


Member of AIM Southern California leading the march for migrant rights at the U.S. Mexico border (Nov. 25, 2018). Image by @lsd_images on Instagram

There has been some backlash against people who live in Tijuana against the migrants due to the challenges that people have faced especially when Trump supports shutting down the border to bring the area to a screeching halt. People are taking out their frustrations on the migrants instead of the real culprit, which is the Trump administration and the Border Patrol.


Lopez Obrador participating in a ceremony to the four directions, creator and mother earth. (Dec. 1, 2018)

On the flip side there is hope in Mexico’s new president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. It was amazing to see the welcome he received by the native community in Mexico. It was a very symbolic gesture when he was given the Baston de Manda, which if you know anything about the native community, you know this is a huge deal. I know from carrying sacred staffs from Canada to Panama, that these are important gestures.

I was concerned about some of the development projects he mentioned during his speech, but hopefully these can be worked out between the two interest. I could write so much more about the last year, but unfortunately due to my work load this year, I haven’t had time to write at all, so I gotta get back to work, hope my followers are happy, but please leave a comment or send me a message if you want to discuss more, I will respond.

Pala Rez Pow Wow in August

21 07 2018

Here is flyer for Pala Pow Wow. click image to go to link with more info on Pala website. To learn more about the history of the people click here


Shout Out to the New Subscribers

18 01 2018

Welcome to the new year, 2018!

Wait, according to who?

Damn it, I thought I was just gonna give a shout out to my new followers and then I started thinking. I can’t turn it off, I’m always gonna be asking questions. So with that said, I do want to welcome my new followers and thank you for having an interest in my blog.

With that I encourage people to learn more about the calendar that we do use to keep track of time in this country and know that not everyone in the world uses this same system. For example the Chinese have their own calendar, but for business and commerce they follow the dominant system that the western world uses. A good starting place to start is Wikipedia and go from there: Gregorian Calendar.  Apparently it gets its name from Pope Gregory XIII and was introduced in 1582.

So did our ancestors have their own calendar? calendar aztec roundMost certainly and there is a great website that can tell you what today is and you can even go back in time and find out what your birthday is according to the Mexica calendar. (disclaimer, there is debate as to the accuracy of this calendar, so before you go getting a tattoo, do more research)

If we are to believe Today Jan. 18, 2018 is: 12 Jaguar or Mahtlactli-ome Ocelotl, in the month of 1 House or Ce Calli in the year 6 Rabbit or Chicuace Tochtli. On the Mayan Long Count calendar today is Calendar

Here is link to youtube video on how to count in Nahuatl

Here’s another video on how to pronounce Nahuatl language

By the way, this is not the Aztec Calendar or tonalpohualli. It was a tribute to the sun, but does contain the twenty day names that are on the calendar, so it is often confused and misnamed Aztec Calendar.

It is also not Mayan. MAYAN CALENDAR 4This is an image of Mayan symbols and language, but as you can tell, the Aztecs based their measure of time on the Mayan system and just adapted it to their culture and language.

I hope you enjoyed this small introduction to measuring time and learned a little bit about your culture, (if you are indigenous to Mexico or Central American) and thanks again for following my blog.

Coco, Un Poco Loco

9 12 2017

By Abel Macias

A Chicano’s dilemma with the film by Pixar

I begin by saying, that I went to go watch the movie, not once, but twice and hope to watch it again, but this time in español.

My dilemma

As an educator, when I began to come across media advertisements for the film I thought it would be a good topic of discussion for my Chicana/o Studies classes. I showed the trailer for the film in my classes and I also shared the controversy around the attempt by Disney to copyright the former title Dia de los Muertos.

I allowed my students to decide whether they would watch the film and whether they felt that Lalo Alcaraz had contradicted himself when he signed on as a cultural consultant. This was an effort to promote discussion and critical thought.

However, after watching the trailer a few times, I actually thought this would be a good film to take my little nieces to. One of them being age one and the other age five. I knew both of them enjoyed watching the film Moana, another Disney film about a young Polynesia girl who turns out to be the hero. I thought to myself why shouldn’t my nieces enjoy a film about their own people and culture.161207_coco_miguel_14a435b7bb6824aba3954206a8ed8480.nbcnews-fp-1200-800

Realistically only I would know about what had happened a year prior with Disney and I was willing to put that aside, since it was only my politics that I was sacrificing in order for my nieces to have a good time. I knew this was just going to be a window into the world of their culture, but it would be a window on the big screen, one that they could identify with hopefully.

Rumble in the Jungle

There were some rumblings on social media about how Chicanas/os shouldn’t see the film, but I knew it wasn’t as simple as that. I knew this situation called for a different response.

My analysis was of the broader society and this decision warranted a more sophisticated approach that took into account many factors, not just a decision based on a blanket position against all corporations and their products. After all we use many products in order to function in our daily lives that are produced as a result of capitalism. We have to be able function in our daily lives and not get hung up on issues that are not going to prevent us from carrying out our work or ability to prosper as human beings. This film was definitely not going to harm us and actually did the opposite and gave me great pleasure in being able to witness a tradition that is related to my people and culture.

The Unfortunate Reality

Unfortunately, the bigger picture here is not whether we should see the film or not, but that we even have to be having this debate.  Chicanas/os can’t just go to the movies and enjoy themselves like “normal Americans”. We constantly have to be wary of what we are going to see when we go to the movies. The history of Hollywood has historically been bad for our people. We have had to endure decades of stereotypical portrayals of our community and culture. That is if we are even given a voice, many times we are relegated to the margins of a script and used only as props to support the heroification of someone else.

One day we will be able to just enjoy ourselves at the movies, but that day won’t come until we change society and until then, we have to extract the benefits from the dominant cultural productions that surround us, while at the same time trying to influence them, since these reach the broadest audiences.

By the way, the film has surpassed expectations and surpassed other box office hits and was number one in it’s second week and looking good going into its third week, the only thing that will stop it is Star Wars. dj-star-wars-the-last-jediMay the fuerza be with you and don’t forget to enjoy yourself when you soak in some scifi fun, because even Chicanos/as love Jedi’s and their crazy friends like Chewie. Oh another by the way if you hated on Coco, don’t let me catch you at the theater watching the Last Jedi, ‘cuz guess who owns Lucas Films now? Yes, Walt Disney cabrones.

Why does Chicano Park have images of Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara?

4 09 2017

By Abel Macias

September 4, 2017

These questions are important in light of the current conditions that we find ourselves in. As we have seen, Donald Trump has given rise to those who believe in White Supremacy and racial hatred. Many of these Neo-Nazi and White supremacist groups feel emboldened by the Trump presidency and secure in coming out of the shadows and expressing their racist views in public.

It was this atmosphere of embolden racism that caught the attention of the Chicano/a/x community when they heard rumors that Neo-Nazis were coming to attack their park. It was the terrorist attacks in Charlottesville that made people feel a heightened sense of urgency and vigilance when they heard someone dared to step foot in Chicano Park to do anything that was perceived as disrespectful.

In essence the community was not having it and is feed up with racist attacks against Mexicans and all people of color.

The response was great, three to five hundred people showed up to defend the park. People drove in from out of town to lend their support. There were Chicanos, Chicanas, Chicanx, socialist, anarchist, Whites, Blacks, Natives and many others who came out in mass to defend the park and its murals.che_guevara_y_fidel_castro

But what murals were under attack and scrutiny? It appears White supremacist and Neo-Nazis don’t like Fidel Castro and Che Guevarra because they were communist. They also tried to equate an ancient Native American symbol which they stole to represent their fascist regime in Nazi Germany.

But what is wrong with communism and why can’t we determine for ourselves who we choose as our heroes? The Chicano community has every right to sympathize with communism, socialism or any other ideology that it feels meets the needs of our community. Who are outsiders to say what we can or can’t believe in? This is the essence of self-determination and what we have been fighting for since those murals were painted back in 1973.

Who was Fidel and why does he deserve a place in Chicano Park? Without getting into a very long history lesson, we should know that Fidel was a revolutionary leader that overthrew the Cuban government in order to bring about change for the people. Because he beat overwhelming odds in defeating the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista who was backed by the United States, he is a hero. He was and is an inspiration to the people who feel they can never win a battle with a more powerful force. But he proved that wrong, he was a shining example of how organization, determination, faith and perseverance can beat all odds.

One of the people who helped Fidel defeat the Batista dictatorship was Dr. Ernesto Che Guevara. Che was an Argentinian by birth, but left his country after studying to become a medical doctor to travel Latin America. He met Fidel in Mexico where the Cuban was making plans to reenter his country with a small group of revolutionaries in order to take power. After their successful overthrow of the dictatorship and implementation of the new government, Che decided to go to Bolivia in order to help build another revolutionary army to overthrow the Bolivian government. Unfortunately, he was unaware the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States was sending support to the Bolivian government in order to stop another revolution in Latin America. Che was assassinated by Bolivian forces with the assistance of CIA operatives stationed in the country.

So to the Chicano Movement in the 1960s Fidel Castro and Che Guevara were heroes in the fight against U.S. Imperialism and Capitalism. These two systems are the same that continue to oppress Chicanas/os today. And it is for that reason that we defend the legacy, imagery and murals painted in Chicano Park. Because even if people do not know the history that is represented in some of the figures and icons that are in Chicano Park they know that no right wing racist or Neo-Nazis are going to come into the park and destroy or deface the murals that we fought for.

Yesterday, was an amazing example of how the people came together to defend what is ours. Now we must continue to organize ourselves and study the legacy of Fidel, Che and many others who fought to make a better world. If we learn anything from these great heroes, we should learn that they analyzed the conditions they were under in order to make strategic decisions that would lead to victory in the face of great odds.

Onward Mi Gente

¡Hasta la Victoria Siempre!

Balboa Park Pow Wow 2017

13 05 2017


Power to the People, Fight Gentrification

5 04 2017

The piece below this image was originally published by me back in 2015 in response to a cover story written by Kinsee Morlan. Here is a link to her City Beat article, the headline of the original article has been changed from “power to the people” to “A Renaissance on Logan Ave”

DSC01378After having read the piece in City Beat Magazine (People Power, Barrio Logan, July 22, 2015), I felt the need to write a response and hopefully stir people to think more critically about what is really happening on Logan Avenue.

I was born and raised in San Diego, and I’ve been around long enough to know gentrification when I see it. Plain and simple, what is happening on Logan Avenue is a phase in that process.

I think what confuses people about what is happening is that you have brown folks   involved in the process, some are calling this “gente-fication”. But color is just one thing that informs our judgments; we have to consider how class intersects with this as well.  Don’t get me wrong I’m in favor of the arts and Brown people moving forward, but we have to consider the cost of so called progress and who ultimately benefits from that “progress”.   We must reflect how our actions are contributing to a larger situation that is beyond our control unless we have a highly organized, militant and complex response to what is happening. It may seem cool now, but capital isn’t interested in community empowerment, it’s interested in dollars and how to maximize profit.

You may be reading this and thinking what a *#!?!* hater.  But before you dismiss read on.

The article in City Beat seems to go back and forth around this issue of gentrification, whether it’s happening or not and whether it’s good or bad. Some of the points made lack depth and a clear analysis.

As John Alvarado mentions in the piece, much of Logan Avenue was “overlooked by bigtime developers/investors who wanted to swoop up cheap land close to downtown”, apparently that is changing “it wasn’t until last year that a lot of properties were sold on and around the block”. Alvarado is actually confirming the process of gentrification is taking place. Alvarado represents the small business interest in the neighborhood (or in Marxist terms the petty bourgeoisie) as the Director of the Logan Avenue Business Association.

According to another source for the article, Juan Martinez, a broker for a real estate firm located in Bonita, argues several properties were just sold, but not to worry about gentrification, “at least not for now, because the developers seem to be a good fit for the neighborhood”.  What the hell?  Who are these developers and why does Juan Martinez get to decide what is a good fit for the neighborhood? Were community members at the table when he was meeting developers that were interested in buying?  I doubt it.

Another investor Sasha Favelukis just purchased two properties on the block and plans to open up studios and a restaurant, but claims it’s in the interest of artist. I’m sorry but investors don’t put down hard cash because they are worried about the art scene in Barrio

Logan, they spend money to make money, bottom line.  Based on a recent ad for property  on Logan Avenue commercial property prices have jumped to $2.10 per square foot. This is double the price in some areas of San Diego from just a few years ago.

I’m glad to see someone in the article made sense, probably because he’s already seen it happen. David White was pushed out of his artist studio in North Park and says, “it’ll be difficult to protect the street from the kind of development that raises rent and forces artists out”. He predicts rents will increase dramatically in the next few years. I think White is correct in his prediction. One space is already struggling to keep up and is looking for artist to help cover the cost by leasing space at $300 a month and has even resorted to to raise additional money. Without support from the city the art spaces will have a difficult time keeping up with the cost of operating without bringing in some kind of revenue. [update, this space “The Church” closed soon after this article was published and had to move to a smaller space across the street]

However, the writer Kinsee Morlan tries to end the article on an upbeat note and includes  the voice of an architect Hector Perez. Perez along with other architects bought nine lots in the area not including a design school down the street. They designed a creative building with an image of Cesar Chavez on the side. He admits that the “development sharks” are circling, but thinks that the community can salvage its cultural identity and isn’t too worried.  Well, if I owned property on the block I wouldn’t be too worried either, because any property I owned would only increase in value as the area becomes more gentrified.

Imagery and icons from the Chicano community can be easily appropriated to fit the needs of developers or business interest in general. (see Urban Outfitters for the latest examples)

You can call it what you want, but culture is controlled by those who own the wealth in society and as property values continue to rise, poor and working class Raza will get pushed out. According to the census, the white population in 92113 has jumped from 11.7% to 32.8 from 2000 to 2010.

When a wealthier population moves into an area they will want to see and experience things that make them feel comfortable based not just on income, but also race and social background. So it’s only a matter of time before brown working class residents and artist get pushed out. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. Perhaps this message will encourage the Raza that are there to think critically about what is happening and face the writing on the wall. If the community wants to save the Barrio than it has to implement guarantees that will protect the social, economic, cultural and political interest of the community that is quickly being displaced and the way to do this is through organization. More importantly these organizations must develop a clear analysis of their position in this process of gentrification or else they are just pawns in the development game.