I learned that this is Argentina’s 30th year as a democracy since the horrible dictatorship that took place under General Videla and others. I know that the walk toward independence is long, especially given the crisis that ravaged Argentina in 2000-2001,that caused Argentineans to lose their visa-waivers and brought extremely high inflation.
I’m not really sure what’s happening right now but all I know is that the dollar was worth around ARS $5,40 and is now worth ARS $6,08 give or take a few cents. People here place a high premium on dollars because of this extremely crazy inflation. The price of the Subte just went up by 1 peso per ride, and I hope the busses don’t go up because I know there will practically be a revolution then. A dollar at the black market is bought for about ARS $9,60, much higher than the official value, and the value is sure to rise.
The problem with this is is that even if you get your pesos in the black market they’re still worth less and less. I feel as if a crisis is looming here, and if it does it will be because the Argentinian market is still heavily tied to the US economy-specifically Wall St. I think South America has come a long way from the School of the Americas-sponsored coups, the dictatorships, the loss of human lives that happened because of these sudden interruptions to normal life in South America, but clearly the USA still controls this country—at great expense to those who still live here.
There is no such thing as travelling to “find yourself” when you are a person of color in this world, especially if you’re a person of color who is also of the working class.
If you don’t know who you are or where you’re going when you board that plane you’re still going to be lost no matter where you go. Inequality, white supremacy and sexism aren’t unique to empires or rich nations—they’re systems that have existed probably as long as the first greedy person ever walked on earth. Even though in the past I’ve worked in movements, sometimes to utter and complete failure, I don’t believe a “movement” is the answer to the worlds’ problems as long as there’s a deadline and as long as people involved don’t recognize that movements end every day when you sleep and begin every day when you wake up alive.
Some days you’re going to lose big. Some days are going to turn into months, weeks or years of losing in hopes of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe you’ll get one win out of about 10,000 tries, but the point isn’t even about winning, and it’s not even about empowerment or optimism. One thing I’ve noticed about indigenous resistance groups is that they teach their children that oppression is generational. Sure, maybe you can change the way power is distributed next year, but if you don’t teach the next generation how to fight, and that fight isn’t over then you lose anyway. That’s life. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t protest against inequality, racism, Monsanto or other things we care about—we just need to recognize that where one CEO falls 10 more institutions rise up to take its place.
If you have the privilege to travel as I do, you’ll see that wherever you go you have to fight. There is no stopping. The “movement” doesn’t even need a name or description. If you’re born into a group that’s been subjugated for years you were born fighting whether you want to or not. Selling out is just a denial of this fact. It’s not about life being fair, as a wise person once told me, “Everything has an end, therefore everything is fair.”1 note
The only way a working-class person can find themselves is by looking inside themselves and fighting their own demons. That’s probably a luxury for anyone who’s too busy living from paycheck to paycheck (or no paycheck at all) in order to survive. I’ve met so many rich people who travel to other countries to “find themselves” but then realize they don’t like what they see—and they may be stuck in a country where they don’t know anyone and no one wants to listen to their sob stories about how their lives are so “hard” because guess what? Life in Latin America, for the Latin Americans who live in it, is even harder and they’re still standing. Life for brown/black people in the USA is also hard, and they’re also still standing. And judging by what happened in Chicago/ATL yesterday they’re standing strong.1 note
Le sigh… I’ve been in my own little porteña world and this week I had a lot of FB messages/e-mails regarding different immigration things. One of the most common requests has come from leaders in MS who want to make sure that immigrants—specifically undocumented immigrants—go to certain events. Instead of getting contact lists from me, I’ve been basically sending them back about 20 questions on how to check their privilege, especially white privilege around immigrants and how they’ll ensure that we will actually be respected.
In Mississippi racists call us “spics” and “illegals” even at voting polls, and “liberals” just kind of tokenize us and want us to vote for their agenda but don’t care about our concerns. The relations between the NPIC and the immigrant community—especially the undocumented community—have been troubled at best, and marred by racism/xenophobia/white charity complex at worst. People probably think I’m being overly critical, but that’s not it. I’ve always felt this way, the only difference is that now I’m not afraid to express these things to you.
The movements for POC don’t revolve around your whiteness, and POC are diverse—some happen not to have papers, and there’s a huge difference between a Latino with papers and one without, even if you don’t see it (and not all immigrants are Latino, not all Latinos are “liberal,” etc). Sure, some of you are dear friends and are wondering why I’m being so hard on you. The system is harder on POC and we’re still standing.
Last Saturday was Noche de Museos in Buenos Aires. After checking out a few places, my roommate, friends and I went to a restobar (restaurant + bar) in San Telmo. One of the persons there was someone my roommate met at a tango lesson. I forgot his name but he invited his friends.
At a certain point I wanted to leave. It was about 3 am and I was done eating my pizza. His friends arrived and kept saying we should all stay “for a few minutes” but I know porteños and that “a few minutes” really means one or two more hours. I’m not a very social person. When I’m tired my mind goes blank and everything anyone says to me just sounds like “blah blah blah blah.” When I’m tired I could literally be inside a club and still take a nap despite the blaring music (I have a witness to prove this).
The guy that showed up was actually very attractive and maybe in his late 20s, early 30s, he seemed nice but I just didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to be on my nice, comfy bed. Anyway, he kept making jokes to try to make me laugh, and I’m sure if I had been in a good mood I would’ve laughed too. Hell, I would’ve noticed how attractive he was at the moment. I was so tired I only just realized this now. He noticed I wasn’t laughing, and his friend (who had invited him) and a third guy (whose name I also forgot) noticed it too. They kept teasing me about it but I didn’t really care.
It was at the moment, when I was seriously about to go to sleep on the table, that I realized I owe people nothing. Sure, we all have to be respectful to each other but that’s about it. I don’t have to laugh when some stranger tells me to or worry about pissing someone off. This is a patriarchal misogynist world and in their small way, these guys were being misogynists by taking over my time and expecting me to smile about it. Finally we left, because I was yawning about every three seconds and it takes about 45 minutes to get from that side of the city to my house. I know I was probably a downer, but sometimes I feel we just need to assert ourselves. Being a woman doesn’t make men masters of our time. We don’t owe you anything.3 notes
Aquí en Argentina yo pago la misma cuota para estudiar que los argentinos y no me han puesto ningún pero. Los demás alumnos en la escuela no me tratan diferente, no me preguntan por mi estatus legal y no les importa. Mejor, todos hablamos sobre cosas típicas y a veces me piden que les ayude con el inglés. Si tengo una emergencia sé que hay un hospital público que me ayudará y puedo usar mi pasaporte como identificación. Me dicen que ese hospital no le cobra a nadie por emergencias sin importar la nacionalidad.
Apenas tengo 3 meses en este país y la policía jamás me ha molestado y no tengo miedo. Y hoy arrestaron a mi amigo Yovany Diaz—no porque quiere ir a la escuela de gratis… en los USA todo se paga—no, lo arrestaron junto con un compañero porque quiere pagar una colegiatura IGUAL a la que pagan los estadounidenses en el estado de Georgia donde vive. La cuotas universitarias para los ciudadanos son carísimas a comparación con el sistema educativo argentino. Qué loco es este mundo: puedes vivir, trabajar y pagar IVA toda tu vida, puedes hablar inglés perfectamente y haber crecido en los USA pero si no tienes el DNI estadounidense no tienes derecho a estudiar aunque sea pagando con dólares que has ganado sufriendo.
Esa es la realidad estadounidense para los que no pueden ajustar su estatus legal: es muy fácil ir a la cárcel y muy difícil estudiar. Y bueno… hay muchas cosas más que uno puede decir sobre este tema. Yo personalmente, estoy agradecida por poder estudiar aquí aunque sea una clase y porque a la UNSAM no le importa que no soy argentina y no tengo DNI.
a friend put up some FB rant on facebook about how people in the Deep South don’t get the respect they deserve (and it’s true):
Damn, if you feel that way think about how undocumented immigrants feel. Their “advocates” are just as racist as the white establishment in the rest of MS, journalists only quote white people about immigrant issues, and fellow immigrants in other states act as if they don’t exist. I will say that there is a lot of work done in the South, and people refuse to let their preconceived notions at the door. However, perhaps it’s because I grew up in LA but there is something in the Deep South that makes it much more difficult to live there and messes with your head a lot more. There are no support networks, and yet many of the so-called “progressives” who criticize won’t even donate to your pot if you ever ask them for funds you can use to organize. It’s a tough world out there. I can’t stand Mississippi, not in the least, I hate people feeling sorry for me because that’s where I used to live, but no one deserves the kind of disrespect people in the Deep South gets when it comes to organizing. People complain all they want but they won’t invest in trying to change the very part of the USA that’s holding everyone back. As a Latina who had to put up with both white supremacy and the indifference of friends, I’m tired of having to justify my existence or prerogatives to people who frankly don’t care if I live or die, and who won’t acknowledge my death if it happens in the wrong state. Screw these people and the privileges they bring with them when they come into rural spaces and don’t know what’s up. (Jackson is rural to me after living in Mexico City and its 20 million residents, sorry).