Thursday, May 14, 2009

Contradictions in the border debate: CAROB flyers the Border Security Expo

Phoenix Insurgent

Below I have linked to the text of a flyer distributed Tuesday at the Border Security Expo by PCWC's comrades in the local pro-migrant anarchist group CAROB. Organizers of the Expo itself recently reported their satisfaction with the event, which eerily presented a variety of technologies that vendors hope to see deployed sooner rather than later at the border, but which we will surely see not long after on our streets and in the hands of local police forces. Obama's recent re-invigoration of the high tech border effort will certainly help things move along in that unfortunate respect.

Considering the CAROB flyer, I think it does several things worth remarking on that we at PCWC have been trying to work on ourselves. Most importantly, from my perspective, the piece looks for connections, fault lines and hypocrisies that result from or defy spoken or unspoken ideologies. For instance, linking the deployment of surveillance technology narrowly at the border to their broader spread away from the border and onto our freeways is a point well worth pushing (and one made by the infamous Santa's last Christmas). The same is true with the point about comparing the border and the airport. After all, it's freedom of movement that is being both challenged and defended within the camera/checkpoint dialogue.

At PCWC we've explored similar terrain with our pieces about the light rail and immigrant detention camps. A soon to be forthcoming article by me on cameras statewide and the resistance to them in one context, versus the embracing of them in the other will explore the white supremacist tension that lies at the heart of both issues: that freedom of movement is reserved for whites, not for migrants. One of the interesting things about the Arizona movement against immigration, against the internal checkpoints and against the roadside cameras is its generally libertarian composition. There is much overlap within each particular facet and each makes similar appeals and arguments, but each is tainted by an underlying and often unstated white supremacist assumptions. Presciently, CAROB has recognized the link here between the resistance by many in the white libertarian movement and whites in general to the internal checkpoints, even as these same people remain generally mum or even supportive when it comes to their utilization against migrants or on Native lands.

For instance, evoking the magical word "citizen" is a frequent line of defense used by those white libertarians that challenge the checkpoints, revealing a tacit acceptance of the police tactic if only it were deployed against what are presumed to be the right people -- i.e., Mexicans and others categorized as alien by the white power system (which has historically included more than just migrants). We see further in this example how the word "citizen" itself operates as a codeword for "white" in most cases. Sadly, references to the constitution itself, in this context, likewise echo past rejoinders for the defense of white citizenship. Clearly, such positions have no place in a truly libertarian movement.

Which is precisely why they are so interesting to engage. While many people find the contradictions above reason enough to define an opposition and to line up against it, those of us here at PCWC are more interested in what unseen opportunities may be revealed by them. Which is not to say that one would form an alliance with racist reactionaries. Obviously not. However, not every white libertarian is a Minuteklan supporter. And much of the support in the broader white community isn't as deep as it seems at first glance.

If contradictions exist (and they surely do), within their debate, then it means opportunities to engage with libertarian elements inclined to an anti-racist dialogue that defy the left-right straightjack may present themselves and, if finessed and studied, they may provide the potential to redefine the way that whiteness plays out in that context. Perhaps a rift can be created between the reactionaries and wider white society by focusing on these potentialities. And shifting the ground under whiteness opens further opportunities for class struggle.

For instance, and from a fanatical point of view, a campaign against the internal checkpoints that adheres to unbending opposition to white supremacy might reveal some interesting partners and openings for class struggle and, just as importantly, for the liberation of spaces in the southwest for movement by all people. This is something we here at PCWC have really just started to explore but I think it's quite worth investigating.

Read CAROB's interesting article here:

CAROB flier for Border Security Expo

1 comment:

Ryan said...

"However, not every white libertarian is a Minuteklan supporter."

I learned this one just recently. I think it's a good lesson.