FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

"No a la Guerra"

Once thought to be among the most uncritically patriotic of communities, Mexican Americans created a massive antiwar movement during the Viet Nam period. Since that time, corporate and government managers have sought to erase this history in order to replace it with a passive “Hispanic” identity that fits well with conservative national agendas. On the threshold of another unnecessary war, the spirit of Chicano/a progressive politics has reappeared. In just two days, over two hundred people of Mexican descent signed an open letter to Congress demanding that members vote “no” on granting the Bush administration unlimited war powers. The letter also demanded that the nation’s priorities be shifted from a growing militarism to issues of health care, education, low-cost housing, and other social needs.

The letter states: “As a community that has sacrificed many of its young in U.S. wars, we resent the campaign of fear and prejudice being waged by the Bush administration to justify militaristic foreign and domestic policies and so we must speak out. We believe there is a need for disarmament, especially the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. But the U.S. is the only country capable of destroying the globe with its weapons. Let disarmament begin at home.” It was distributed to key members of Congress, read at an antiwar rally in San Diego, and published in several Latino newspapers. Although recent antiwar rallies have included few people of color, Latinos are organizing in their communities and putting pressure on elected representatives. In Los Angeles, Congresswoman Hilda Solis reported that over ninety percent of her constitutents were opposed to Bush’s war plans. Included among the signatures on the Chicano antiwar letter were the mayor of Huntington Park, CA., a councilwoman from Hanford, CA., dozens of Chicano/a academics, students, and working people. At an antiwar rally in San Diego last Sunday, one speaker reminded the crowd that Mexican American soldiers have won more Congressional Medals of Honor than any other ethnic group. “We honor that service,” he said, “but we will no longer sacrifice our son and daughters in useless wars.”

On October 8, I was interviewed as co-author of the letter on Radio Bilingue, a Spanish station broadcasting in San Francisco but heard throughout live throughout California and as far south as Guadalajara, Mexico. Callers were almost unanimously against a first strike in Iraq. Speaking in Spanish, one elderly lady pointed out that Iraq has biological weapons because the U.S. supplied them. She then asked “Que mueve a Bush?,” that is, what are Bush’s true motives? Another caller asked “Para que vamos a mandar a nuestro hijos a morir en tierra ajena?” “Why should we send our children to die in a foreign land?” Bush may get his war resolution but support for his policies is weak in grass-roots Latino communities poised to raise their voices for peace as they did a generation ago.

JORGE MARISCAL is a Viet Nam veteran who teaches at the University of California, San Diego, and is a member of Project YANO, an antimilitarism organization working to demilitarize California’s public schools. He can be reached at: gmariscal@ucsd.edu

More articles by:
August 10, 2020
Gerald Sussman
Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem
Vijay Prashad – Érika Ortega Sanoja
How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
Daniel Warner
Geneva: The Home of Lost Causes
Mike Hastie
The Police Force Stampede in Portland on August 8, 2020 
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Executive Orders: EOs as PR and FUs
Rev. William Alberts
Cognitive Without Conscience
David Altheide
Politicizing Fear Through the News Media
F. Douglas Stephenson
Is Big Pharma More Interested in Profiteering Than Protecting Us From Coronavirus?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Money Plague
Howard Lisnoff
Revolutionaries Living in a System of Growing Fascism
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump is Defeating Himself
Lynnette Grey Bull
The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Human Rights Emergency is Not a Photo-Op for Ivanka Trump
Victor Grossman
Some Come, Others Go
Binoy Kampmark
Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities
The Stop Golden Rice Network
Why We Oppose Golden Rice
Michael D. Knox
After Nagasaki, the U.S. Did Not Choose Peace
Elliot Sperber
A Tomos 
Weekend Edition
August 07, 2020
Friday - Sunday
John Davis
The COVID Interregnum
Louis Yako
20 Postcard Notes From Iraq: With Love in the Age of COVID-19
Patrick Cockburn
War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast
Eve Ottenberg
Fixing the COVID Numbers
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose
Paul Street
Trump is Not Conceding: This is Happening Here
Robert Hunziker
The World on Fire
Rob Urie
Neoliberal Centrists and the American Left
John Laforge
USAF Vet Could Face ‘20 Days for 20 Bombs’ for Protest Against US H-Bombs Stationed in Germany
Andrew Levine
Clyburn’s Complaint
Kavaljit Singh
Revisiting the Idea of Pigou Wealth Tax in the Time of Covid-19
Paul Ryder
Here Come the 1968 Mistakes Again
T.J. Coles
Fighting Over Kashmir Could Blow Up the Planet
David Macaray
Haven’t We All Known Guys Who Were Exactly like Donald Trump?
Conn Hallinan
What’s Driving the Simmering Conflict Between India and China
Joseph Natoli
American Failures: August, 2020
Ramzy Baroud
Apartheid or One State: Has Jordan Broken a Political Taboo?
Bruce Hobson
The US Left Needs Humility to Understand Mexican Politics
David Rosen
Easy Targets: Trump’s Attacks on Transgendered People
Ben Debney
The Neoliberal Virus
Evelyn Leopold
Is Netanyahu Serious About Annexing Jordan Valley?
Nicky Reid
When the Chickens Came Home to Roost In Portlandistan
Irma A. Velásquez Nimatuj
The Power of the White Man and His Symbols is Being De-Mystified
Kathy Kelly
Reversal: Boeing’s Flow of Blood
Brian Kelly
Ireland and Slavery: Framing Irish Complicity in the Slave Trade
Ariela Ruiz Caro
South American Nations Adopt Different COVID-19 Stategies, With Different Results
Ron Jacobs
Exorcism at Boston’s Old West Church, All Hallows Eve 1971
J.P. Linstroth
Bolsonaro’s Continuous Follies
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail