Alice Embree :
VERSE | Beyond Borders

water faucets

Image from Jornada del Día Mundial del Agua 2010.

By Alice Embree | The Rag Blog | July 15, 2014

On the edge of memory
The slogan echoes
“El Salvador is Spanish for Vietnam”

U.S. weapons for
Right-wing death squads
Yield peasant massacres
And refugees

In recent memory
President Zelaya of Honduras
Kidnapped and removed from office
The State Department
Careful not to say “coup”

Gang members
Cultivated in U.S. prisons
Routinely deported
From Los Angeles to El Salvador
Their skills known on the streets of San Salvador

Fueled by armies of trade attorneys
NAFTA for decades
Displaced Mexican farmers
Detroit factory workers
Appalachian textile workers

Then CAFTA rules threatened
El Salvadoran farm co-operatives
(Monsanto might not be able to “compete”)

I was in grade school
When the CIA overthrew
Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz
Erased from U.S. history books

What did he try to do?
Give United Fruit’s uncultivated land
To poor Guatemalan farmers

When Latin Americans fight
Water privatization
Can you hear their chants in Detroit?

The poor there are having their water cut off
Their children picked up by protective services
Because they live in unsafe housing
(Without drinking water and working toilets)

There is no border in this fight
It has been erased by global capital
The Neoliberal calls for
Austerity and privatization
Cuts to public services and “free trade”
Are heard around the world
As are the chants of resistance

It is wrong to punish the children of Detroit
It is wrong to blame the children on the Texas border

Alice Embree
July 14, 2014
Austin, Texas

[Alice Embree, a contributing editor to The Rag Blog, co-chair of the Friends of New Journalism, and a veteran of the original Rag, is a long-time Austin activist, organizer, and member of the Texas State Employees Union. Read more articles by Alice Embree on The Rag Blog.]

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10 Responses to Alice Embree :
VERSE | Beyond Borders

  1. David Hamilton says:

    The influx of refugees on the US border is a perfect storm of blowback. Also, it is and will be a perfect example of US denial of responsibility. As such, it is an opportunity for critics because that responsibility is so obvious. Why is it that only capital has no borders?

    • Alice says:

      Solidarity has no borders. Building it across borders takes organization.

    • Extremist2theDHS says:

      Whatever hope the far left had for “reforming” immigration policy .. better described as gutting the immigration laws and throwing open the borders to all … was killed the chaos on the southern border. Seeing illegal’s seek out border agents to surrender so they can reap the benefits of free education, healthcare and welfare payments is an image that will remain with the many Americans for a long time.

      And if that didn’t mortally wound the hope of open borders, just wait a few months till all those kids start to fill seats in schools without being able to read, speak or write English overloading the teachers and dumbing down the education of those who are able to learn.

      Just wait a few months till all those people start to visit the ER and doctors offices paying nothing for their healthcare services, while increasing wait times for others as more insurance plans get cancelled or prices skyrocket for those who are shouldering the load.

      Just wait till tax rates go up or borrowing increases to pay for even bigger loads on welfare budgets.

      Whatever opportunity you think is afforded you to build momentum for your goals, its being smothered by the facts on the ground.

      – Proud to be an Extremist2TheDHS.

  2. Frances Morey says:

    Thank you, Alice, for the history lesson in verse. Less enlightens more. Powerful thoughts weightier than the dead tree textbooks without them.

  3. SVH says:

    Thank you, Alice, for voicing these connections in this way.

  4. Beverly Baker Moore says:

    Thanks, Alice. Succinct is powerful…watching the politicians rail like little children themselves that they should have to, in any way, contend with the refugees from the nightmares they created is more than frustrating.

  5. Frieda Werden says:

    That’s the versed news I ever read!

  6. Sis, 3 cheers, great poem & it’s wonderful to have you share this intense expression with the world-at-large. Have been thinking of you & yours vis-a-vis El Salvador as the border crisis worsens & the political spin continues to whirl.
    Poverty has no borders; compassion has no borders; violence has no borders; poetry has no borders. In fact I don’t think much of anything really has borders (except the internet)! Capital wishes it was the only thing w/out borders!
    Poor Extremist, he sees increased demand for emergency room services & education as a result of the influx of Central American refugees as a BAD THING. But as Al’s poem shows, US families are beginning in significant numbers to share the experience the refugees are fleeing: a lack of basic services, decent employment, & freedom from fear.
    Eventually people may look around & say, “Oh, HERE is where all the goodies are stashed for the exclusive benefit of the 1% (who are not EVEN 1% of the world population); how ’bout we divvy it up a little better?” And nothing can stand against them when they do.
    Lack of working class-led international organization, unfortunately, increases the odds of a chaotic, dystopian future. Maybe Extremist & his like-mindeds prefer Mad Max over the Worker’s Paradise; wow; that DOES seem a little extreme, but from each, you know, according to his abilities…
    Libertarians’ most common error in reasoning is to assume that when the shit hits the rotor, theirs will have no otor!
    (Frieda, that was for you, you card!)

    • Extremist2theDHS says:

      One thing you did get right WizardBabe 🙂 is comparing the Workers Paradise and Mad Max. They are both fictional stories based on suspending reality. One for the benefit of entertainment the other for the benefit of a siren’s call to those who are too stupid to realize that what beckons is just a pile of rocks to crash into. I prefer neither. I prefer the constitutional republic we were created to be. If we fall short of that, I grant you that reality will resemble Mad Max more than any flavor of workers paradise. I am ok with that. Might makes right in that world. And he who has the most friends with the most technology and weapons wins. I will be fine. I might even let you in if you can resist quoting Marx, be a capitalist and earn your keep! 🙂

      – Extermist2TheDHS

  7. Trudy Stern says:

    Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq – all together smaller and less prepared than the USA are giving care to millions of people fleeing violence. During a conflict, it is often children that comprise the majority of refugees. Almost 7 million children have fled violence in Syria, South Sudan, Somalia and Central African Republic. The wave of children at our border is a ripple in an ocean of misery which we have not witnessed in here before. Welcome to the planet Earth.

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