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(en) US, Interview with Miami Autonomy and Solidarity (MAS) by Manu Garcia and Carmen Sanchez (ca) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 13 Sep 2010 18:41:39 +0200


On the occasion of his visit to Iberian lands had the opportunity to talk with Christine and Thomas, two militants of Miami Autonomy and Solidarity (MAS), a young organization that seeks to promote libertarian ideas and practices among the popular classes of that city in southern United States. ---- "Why there is always money for war and not for education" ---- How was Miami Autonomy and Solidarity and the objectives being proposed? -- Miami Autonomy and Solidarity (MAS) is an organization that develops its work in Miami, Florida, in the southern United States. It was established in November 2008 on the basis of a study group of anarchist communism wanted to evolve to become libertarian political organization. Born of a collective maturation process is ongoing, one of his key points was the adoption of a basis of understanding that mark the identity of the organization.

Our current work focuses on three areas: the collective study of the theory and strategy, popular education and coordination of our activities in the popular movements, especially where we are present: workplaces, communities and neighborhoods and the university.

What is the social composition of MAS and in what sectors and movements is active?

The members of our organization are for the most popular extraction and born in Latin American or Latino. As a weak point, we speak of the lack of women within it, but we see them as efforts to become more involved.

With regard to our membership in the education sector we are promoting a network of workers looking to have an alternative presence to the union bureaucracy and closely linked to interests other than employees of education. The network idea is to work both inside and outside the union.

The origin of the network are in the opposition by workers to a bill in Florida that wanted to set pay scales in wages relative to the degree obtained by the school in which they work. This degree is awarded through tests on a regular basis where students determine their level of knowledge. The problem is that this is a system that benefits go to schools where most disadvantaged social sectors. In Miami, for example, there are many immigrants who barely speak English, the schools that they therefore do not get good scores. The bill provided that employees of these schools, which are the majority in Miami, would charge less than those in schools with more resources.

In response, nearly 1,000 teachers and other education workers dropped out simultaneously on the same day and gathered in a park in protest, a protest that the union did not support. The epicenter was in Miami, but there were demonstrations all over Florida. This was the origin of the Network of Education Workers, where some friends of our organization are active.

We also have colleagues working in the taxi industry in a partnership in which taxi drivers, mostly of Haitian descent have been organized to combat the abuses of management and administration of the county. They have no legal right to form unions because they are considered independent contractors by the United States law (although in reality the case of "false self"), so they are organized, for about ten years, under the name of the Association New Generation of Taxi Drivers. The Association has tried to work with lawyers and government agencies and have received no answers. We will talk about autonomy and direct action, trying to make their organization more democratic. That's how important fights have been won, such as abolishing the mandatory use got in taxis of a collector automatic toll motorway, meaning for most of them an unnecessary monthly expense.

We are also working in the health sector, where official unions do not represent the interests of workers.

Today, in Miami, there is no organization consisting of the student, another area where we maintain efforts, although there are demands coordination around the freezing of the price of tuition. We also try to encourage critical thinking through workshops and cultural activities, some of the most recent have been the passing of the documentary "The Battle of Chile" and talks on the situation in Haiti.

Can you tell us about social structure and people's struggles in Miami?

In Miami intensely noticeable division into classes. Some people have a lot of money and power, Latinos who own businesses in their countries and businesses here, while very poor, in that sense you could say that is like a Latin American city.

Miami is very different from other U.S. cities. Most people speak Spanish, because there are many immigrants from Latin American or Latino descent, which are grouped into fairly homogeneous communities regarding the place of origin. At the same time is a very conservative city in many respects, because in the '60s, after the fall of Batista, he began to take refuge here the Cuban bourgeoisie. This created a strong middle class atmosphere right in Miami, and its cultural hegemony has been maintained since then.

In Miami, so it is difficult to carry out our organizational work. Since not only the Cuban people who suffer from this conservative hegemony, but the Central Americans in general (with the exception of Haiti) and also reached the city at the time followers of Somoza in Nicaragua, and you can see something similar with workers from Honduras or El Salvador, which is difficult to wrest the right influence.

As a result, everything about socialism is taboo in this city, then we are trying to improve areas where our ideas and practices can get through. We also have to say that, fortunately, that political control by the right and is not increased and that, for example, Cubans who have come from the 1980 to 1990 are not so conservative, it is a fundamentally economic migration to which it is more difficult to reach the reactionaries, but the McCarthyite climate causes many people prefer to abstain from expressing what he really thinks, and of course the right is very well organized and politically influential, that has not changed.

The dominant economic sector is tourism in Miami: American tourists and around the world come to its beaches. Accompanying the growth of tourism was developed construction boom and for a time many buildings were built, but from the beginning of the crisis this activity has stagnated, unemployment has risen to 11%, according to official figures. Many of these jobs were held by illegal immigrants since they lost their jobs, their illegal status prevents them from receiving public aid, so their situation is often desperate.

African-American community in Miami is also very large and often there is tension between them and Latinos. On the one hand by racism, which promotes Latin bourgeoisie, and the other by the perception of African Americans that Latinos are "stealing" the work. A lack of strong processes of organization and class struggle, social conflict tends to occur among those below.
Related Link: http://miamiautonomyandsolidarity.wordpress.com
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