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Juan Santos: Im Memorium

by Juan Santos Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 at 2:50 PM

To Walk in Beauty More than just a Dream: The South Central Farm is Everywhere The Declaration of the Leadership Council of the South Central Farm Movement The Spirit cannot be uprooted. That’s the most fundamental truth of the matter. It was heart breaking to have the Farm stolen from us, to be driven away from it by a small army of police like chattel slaves being driven to the slave ships; to have to re-live what our ancestors faced, what indigenous peoples have always faced at the hands of this system. But we know that it is not the tragedies of our lives, but, rather, the choices we make in response to them, that have to power to shape who and what we become, and that shape what we are able to realize in our futures. No one but each of us, individually and collectively, has that power, it is not the tragedies and oppressions that are scripted into the system that are decisive, but the choices we make about our lives as we encounter them that ultimately decide the matter.

Juan Santos: Im Memo...
juanrafael.jpg, image/jpeg, 183x183

Juan Santos: Im Memorium

Thursday, 22 January 2009

The passing of Juan Rafael Santos, known to some as Rafael Renteria, will be celebrated in Native American ceremony this Friday, January 30, at the East Olympic Funeral Home, 4556 E. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, starting at 6:00 p.m. All those who loved and honored Rafael are invited to attend.

A celebration of his life will be held in the near future, at a time and place to be announced.

If you would like to remember Rafael with a gift, please contribute to

the South Central Farm, where Rafael served as a council member with all the passion that we remember him for. You can make a gift at the South Central Farm website <> or to South
Central Farmers, 1702 E. 41st St., Los Angeles, CA 90058.

Please Donate to the Causes he was passionate about.

Rafael gave us all many wise and brilliant writings. If you have kind words to share about him, please leave a comment at his blog, The Fourth World <>, and enjoy his gifts to us while you're visiting there.

And please pass this message on to anyone who loved Rafael.


Leslie Radford
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by johnk Sunday, Feb. 01, 2009 at 11:54 PM

My first contact with Rafael was at a poetry reading, and my second was online. In person, he was cordial, but online he was combative. I think he had contentious relations with his fellow activists, yet he was always a steady ally in the larger fight.

I think he was aware of this, and that's why he took on aliases. Pen names give you some anonymity, and allow the reader to judge the words, rather than the author. They give you the freedom to take risks and go where you want.

I believe the first alias he used on LA Indymedia was Chicomozteca and the second was Juan Santos. He wrote several essays that helped generate support for the Baldwin Park anti-SOS protests in 2005, which re activated Chicanos in the San Gabriel Valley. (People were talking about the article in meetings.) A lot of people involved with BP ended up supporting the South Central Farm and were involved in immigrant rights issues. The protest got heavy support from various anarchists and the peace vigil groups. It even got internationalist socialists and Chicano nationalists to get along enough to carry out a protest against a common enemy. It brought together a range of people from across the region.

He had a gripe with IMC because his stuff wasn't front-paged that much (though I put some his stuff up as part of features), but I just discussed that with him privately. His writing was hard to front-page because it was op-ed and not always focused on an event. Additionally, I think people didn't "get" what he was doing, because I raised the issue a couple times at meetings.

Perhaps as a result of this problem, he got his own blog. On the blog, he wrote a synthesis of anti-empire, ecology, and indigenous ideas. His stuff was picked up by or posted on many progressive websites, including ours.

A couple "greatest hits" from our site were: Brown Skin / Yellow Star, Land, Genocide, Memory and Denial: The Battle of Baldwin Park, How the Pro-Migrant Movement Stopped Fascism and How to Finish the Job. (All available at his blog site.)

When Juan Santos (Rafael) and Leslie Radford collaborated publicly, in writing, has forced together two activist communities, the LGBT civil rights movement and the contemporary Chicano movement, that don't trust each other. Maybe they even fear each other.

The blog is the length of a couple books, and is mostly topical polemics that, I think, reflect the times.

The times, I think, aside from being difficult, are also a time when we "contain multitudes".

Maybe we're stuck on the concrete, and need to explore the mythical. Maybe we're for the people, and need to understand the animals and plants. Maybe we're against authority, but need to develop leadership. Maybe we fight the state, but seek protection and self-determination for tribes and ethnic groups.
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