This just in from my former hometown, L.A., city of our future: campaign to defend the right of taco trucksters to sell tacos. Taco truck owners and their supporters in L.A. ( a massive army that includes pretty much anybody in that browning land where people eat tacos as often as they drink L.A.’s mineral-rich water) are facing off against the County of Angels’ titanically powerful Board of Supervisors (BOS). According to the L.A. Times, the BOS wants to
place new restrictions on the mobile grills that patrons praise as icons of East L.A. life but competitors disparage as a nuisance
The taco truck campaign provides still another striking example of the fusion of old and new school organizing as flyer and bull horn-bearing tacoistas are joined by bloggers, techies and other Web 2.0istas in the campaign, which includes a petition, lobbying, eating tacos and other tactics. There’s even a Facebook page for the campaign. Lest we forget, this same political mix brought us the largest simultaneous political mobilizations in U.S. history in 2006 (don’t forget to march this Mayday, May 1!).
(note the stuffed shirt waiting for his manna as he stands humbly before the wheeled white altar)
This story is interesting not only because it’s another example of the increased attacks on low wage immigrant workers eking out an existence by providing a cheap service; It’s also noteworthy because you can’t just pin the tail on the racist gringo donkey in this case. Among those supporting and backing the new taco truck restrictions are Latinos, specifically Latino business owners who say the taco trucks compete unfarily against their restaurants and other establishments. And these more established Eastsiders are using their citizenship and voting clout to get Supervisor Gloria Molina, one of the country’s most powerful Latinas, to sponsor the taco truck legislation.
Though primarily an L.A. issue, this is one of those developments that, like jacuzzis and pro-migrant marches, will move from West to East in this country that still doesn’t feel how the winds of change no longer blow solely (nor, perhaps, primarily) from East to West. So, next time you’re slamming down that deadly third taco al pastor with pineapple, remember that, even though you don’t live in L.A. (yet), L.A.’s underground (aka Los de Bien Abajo) will be exporting a militant taco truck packed with pyrotechnic cuisine your way soon (resistance is futile).
Whatever the outcome of this political tale of two tacos, this struggle provides a preview of the more nuanced and complex politics that we’ll see throughout these United States
Y que viva el Tacoismo!