By Matthew Rothschild on April 30, 2012

The public school administrators in Tucson have taken censorship to new heights.

First, they banned Mexican American Studies.

Then, they actually yanked books out of the classroom that were on the Mexican American Studies reading list.

Then they fired the head of Mexican American Studies, Sean Arce. He told Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now that “this was an act of retaliation” because he had denounced Arizona’s law against ethnic studies as “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory.”

And now the people who run the Tucson Unified Scool District have prevented Ana Castillo from coming to talk to the students in the schools. Castillo, the author of “Loverboys” and “So Far from God,” is an American Book Award winner. She volunteered to come to Tucson at her own expense to “try to bring healing” on this issue, as Jeff Biggers reported on Huffington Post.

But the Tucson Unified School District said no.

Fortunately, the Latino literary community in Tucson and others who value free speech and academic freedom have rallied to bring Ana Castillo to town anyway, Biggers noted.

On May 4, she’s going to meet privately with students and then give a public reading.

And on May 5, she’ll be appearing at another public event.

“They can take my books out of the schools and they can keep me out of the schools,” Castillo told The Progressive. “But as a law-abiding citizen, they cannot keep me out of Tucson.”

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Stop Obama’s Drone War in Pakistan."

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By Julia Burke
Ali Abd ElRahman believes the United States has the potential to take a leadership role in food...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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