Just finished up CM #19 and sent it to the printers. It will be ready for pickup sometime today. Unfortunately we were doing final layout/design when the elections came, so we don’t have much coverage of Prop 2 passing and the implications of that. There’s always next issue though… We do have a lot of really great articles, on the Battered Women’s Clemency Project, the state of worker’s rights in the auto industry, and, of course, teacher’s strikes. I did a lot of design work for this issue (along with Megan and Kate), and I am happy with the way it turned out. We got some new fonts from Fault Lines in the Bay Area which we put to good use. Stay tuned to www.criticalmoment.org for the articles and more. Here’s the letter from the editors as a sneak preview:
As we go to press, Proposal 2, the ban on affirmative action, has passed. This is a major defeat for racial justice in our state. Michigan is the most segregated state in the union, according to the U.S. census. The loss of affirmative action will further divide us between those who have access to mobility and resources and those who do not have such access.
University of Michigan graduate student blogger, BlackatMichigan responded to Prop 2’s passage saying, “As a first generation college student and graduate of African-American descent, I was able to take advantage of programs… [and] resources on campus targeted to people like me, who didn’t come from the best of circumstances… When I look back down the pipeline [after the passage of Prop 2], there will be fewer ‘me’s’ coming in the door.”
One of the only public organizations to endorse Prop 2 was the Ku Klux Klan. Many big business leaders (even including Dick DeVos) and big community leaders claimed to oppose the ban, but they did little to prevent the proposal from getting on the ballot. They knew, as most of us did, that if the anti-affirmative action initiative got on the ballot, it would be very unlikely for it not to pass in segregated Michigan. Large sections of Michigan’s middle and working class have seen their standards of living fall in recent years. Factory closings, neighborhood and school deterioration are daily realities. African Americans, women, immigrants from Latin America, queer people are all being used as scapegoats. In reality, corporate greed—not affirmative action or immigration or gay marriage—is the source of many working peoples’ hardships.
The restriction or limitation of affirmative action hurts all working people. It divides Michigan’s working class and weakens it for further attacks. Without affirmative action, our workplaces and schools become more segregated than they already are.
Many grassroots organizers worked valiantly to defeat Prop 2. That work of public outreach and voter education should not be in vain. Now is the opportunity to continue this work with renewed dedication as the fight for justice in our schools and workplaces continues. We can carry forward our organizing by supporting legal challenges to the proposal. Beyond that, we need to continue the work of building a society in which all have access to good work and education opportunities, and all have full civil and human rights. We invite the readers of Critical Moment to contribute your thoughts on where do we go from here, after Prop 2? Articles submissions and letters can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question of education and the role of teachers are increasingly becoming central to broader struggles for just communities. In this issue we are excited to offer articles on the problem of standardized testing (page 12), and on the recent Detroit teachers strike (page 14) and the Eastern Michigan University faculty strike (page 9).
As we go to press, our thoughts are also with the people of Oaxaca, Mexico, where a teacher’s strike has evolved into a broader social movement demanding the democratic transformation of the state. Mexican police and state-sponsored paramilitaries have been cracking down on the movement. Several people have been killed, including Brad Will, a NYC Indymedia activist doing video work at the frontlines of the struggle in Oaxaca.
As part of a community of independent media activists and organizers, some Critical Moment editors had worked on projects with Brad. Brad was a passionate journalist who was not merely a videographer but a community gardener and long-time human rights activist.
Please read the call for international solidarity with Oaxaca (page 3) and let’s all work to keep building this movement in our own communities.
The Critical Moment Editorial Collective