i titled this post as such because of the incredible physical proximity between awesome union/garden work and the alamo. as you can see in the video about the alamo, the way history is portrayed gives a glowing account of the anglo forces, who were “heroes” defending the area from mexican forces. this account hides the vicious history of land theft that had been going on for decades in this region, and paints the fighters at the alamo as defending democracy and the thought of a texan republic – not as armed forces invested in making this region more profitable for slave-owning cotton and cattle growers. i left the area, which is literally surrounded by a mall, feeling pretty grossed out.
on the other hand, we have the work of the southwest workers union reclaiming space through cultivation. current projects are described as being part of the food sovereignty movement, which in SWU’s words are part of an effort to “outgrow the government.” this is a long term goal, obviously, but one which seeks to reclaim community sustenance so that contact with and dependence on the government is decreased. below is a video with Che Lopez, an organizer with SWU who often talks about having four generations of militant fighters for justice in his family, especially in this Texan region. ryan and i helped dig a big bed in the front yard to plant more vegetables and we took a short break to shoot this interview. check out their website at http://www.wsunion.org
i have another video interview with Diane, who is the garden coordinator with WSU and has worked with them for over 4 years. (will post video soon) in this video she gives a tour of the garden behind the WSU office which includes lots of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and native plants to this area that have a history among indigenous communities. after the video we talked about the longer term plan for this area (office building, intern house, and two run down adjacent buildings which used to be a plumbers shop and a school house). the goal is to have a vibrant community space, offices available for organizations, living quarters for interns to learn about gardening and organizing for 6 months and then start food projects in their neighborhood. ryan and i explored the run down buildings and agree that there is a TON of potential here.
tomorrow i’m headed to oakland to visit mi madre. excited to be back in on of the places i’ve called home, and get involved in some solidarity actions around July 29th: A Day Without Papers. SWU is really involved in coordinating this day and bringing tons of people in – without papers. this means bringing in citizens and others with or without documentation into Arizona and flooding the jails. the idea is to bring light to the racial profiling inherent in SB1070.