Here’s some people gazing at Julia Barbosa Landois‘ 2013 piece Star-Crossed II at MACLA on Fisting Friday. It’s a video featuring a ranchera tune about breaking up with Jesus. Landois came all the way from San Antonio to come talk about it.
Landois spoke briefly to the crowd assembled at MACLA about how she started in painting and progressed over time to working in other media such as video in order to better suit her stories. Her speech and her website lead me to believe that she’s been in bands and stuff in the past.
Myself I thought the karaoke bit that marks Star-Crossed II was really captivating and that it motivates the viewer to get into the piece. I asked Landois privately what her warmup tune is for a good night of karaoke but she said she doesn’t do it. Then I asked if she ever interviews herself while washing dishes etc., in order to practice figuring and explaining what her stuff is all about, and she said she sometimes does. Interesting!
The piece is part of MACLA’s Chicano/a Biennial. I love how MACLA always finds artists who keep the medium, the look, very simple for their very complex stories. Bravo and good eye, MACLA! Also present is a prison toilet glazed with a large array of information about the prison experience. Really, everything in the Biennial is excellent.
Lucky for all you ignoramuses who may go see the piece, it has English subtitles so you may not feel threatened by the strangeness of the Spanish language, a language spoken by almost half a billion people on a huge percentage of the planet’s dry surface, even though you went into a space that promotes Latino-ness in order to see it, since apparently there are ZERO bilingual people on the entire internet to read this article, but only segregated Spanish and English speakers, as segregated as you all drool to be in your safe suburban or hip urban coffins. Consider yourself stroked, primped, preened, prepared.
And now for some good news.
The corporate media have barely whispered the story about how openly-armed black citizens in the Huey P Newton Gun Club marched through downtown Dallas in late August to demand an end to police brutality in the US. This is a marked contrast to racist white open carry groups who march through black neighborhoods to duly intimidate the poor. But we must always remember that racism is an invention that covers up the real issue of class.
The Huey P Newton Gun Club, named of course for the co-founder of the Californian Black Panthers, has arisen only a year after the Autodefensa (self-defense) phenomenon in Mexico. The Autodefensas, loosely-organized groups of citizens, assumed security duty of some 400,000 people in the state of Michoacán. In the desperately violent state they’ve chased drug gangs out of towns, unfortunately through gun battles in some cases. They even bloodlessly disarmed police departments considered to be working for the narcos and used the armaments to fight off narcos. Unlike the autodefensas, North Americans have the right to have weapons of war under a majority of states’ laws.
A recent report by National Public Radio included in ‘This American Life’ highlights that Michoacán is the top producer of avocadoes probably in the world. These avocadoes are mostly ground up, pumped full of chemicals and frozen in plastic bags to be smeared on the food of people who don’t know what good is in North American restaurants like Chili’s, Quiznos and Appleby’s. Corruption and gang violence over Michoacán’s avocadoes reaches even into bad restaurants across North America, many of them staffed by minimum wage-earning black Americans.
Are black people in the US aware of the class oppression they share with the Autodefensas? Is it time for black people in the US to grow similar defense groups? That question, however, raises more important questions: will such black gun clubs work without bloodshed against their oppressors?
In Mexico the enemy of the people is drug trafficking. Our brave Mexican neighbors were, in the end, cleaning up what the police would not until their disarmament in summer 2014. But in the US police forces are close to 100% militarized, armed with leftovers from the massacres of Iraq and Afghanistan, just as our agricultural fields were polluted for the first time after WWII with nitrogen left over from munitions manufacture. Will militarized police forces listen to black defense clubs and end brutality, that they themselves perpetuate, without a fight?
The Dallas PD assure us via the National Review that they ‘support the constitutional rights of all.’ Their record shows, however, that the constitutional rights of the poor are not as respectable. Will it take a self-defense movement to convince all police to stop murdering the poor and observe due process of law?