Wednesday, March 10, 2010

There's no immigration law like no law at all: On revolution as the necessary conclusion of the migrant movement

A tendency has emerged here in Phoenix that I find very exciting. More and more, as we resist the leftist model, so seductive to others, of building bigger and often disingenuous organizations (instead keeping our relations intimate and small scale), I have found that many of us have converged around a familiar and familial politics that is almost entirely unique in the US. With few exceptions (probably Modesto most notably), a particular strain of class war, race traitor, insurrectionist, and primitivist influenced politics has emerged here. Many anarchists in this town defy conventions, reject orthodoxy and instead take our influences based on what makes sense rather than whatever arbitrary groupings of ideas fall under what predetermined label.

Is it the hot summers? Is it the never-industrialized vastness of the ever-growing suburban wasteland? Phoenix seemed for so long to be like the universe -- vast but always somehow getting fucking bigger. A constantly growing behemoth, ever eating up more desert. Is it the proximity to the border? Is it the fact that Arizona was a segregated state? Is it the fact that you can see the horizon from anywhere in town? Or that the sun sets so brilliantly every evening? Is it because Phoenix was built on blood, for white people and to the exclusion of the native peoples who continue to make this area their home? Is it the malls that provided the plastic playgrounds of our youths? Is it the fact that almost no one living here was born here? Is it the waves of conquest, migration, dispossession and expulsion that define our history? To be from Arizona and also older than ten is a rare thing here, even in this age of economic collapse and foreclosed homes.

One author in particular who consistently writes exactly that kind of analysis publishes regularly at "Chaparral Respects No Borders". A very interesting article has recently been posted there that deserves a wide audience regarding the struggle over free movement, freedom from dislocation and, in particular, the kind of movement that we need in order to settle the questions we face. This most recent article reflects all the characteristics that I find inspiring about much of the writing coming out of Phoenix these days.

The piece uses one of my favorite techniques in writing. It takes a supposition that many people take seriously -- especially one upheld by movement leaders on all sides of an issue -- and subjects it to the real world. That is, for the sake of argument, one takes the positions of one's opposition and one's supposed allies, for instance, seriously and then kind of works backwards with it, showing weaknesses and contradictions along the way. We at PCWC are constantly keeping our eye out for contradictions, and so this approach always gets my attention.

Writing in the most recent piece, "The Best Immigration Law is No Law at All: Some thoughts on the logical conclusion for allies of undocumented migrants", the author smashes apart the presumptions of the movement liberals. The piece destroys the arguments from those that constantly push a legal framework as the solution to the question of free movement. And it lays bare the logical conclusions of those arguments, refuting the idea that the law can offer any answer to the demand of people to travel where they will, when they will. After all, law permits, it does not free: it prescribes freedom's limits. It is the enclosure to the commons.

At the same time, the piece does not spare the Right, pointing out their hypocrisy with regard to the question of class war in Mexico. The racist right in Arizona constantly demands revolution in Mexico, but will they overcome their reactionary ideology to support an anti-capitalist revolution? The forces of the Right hold sway in Mexico, so just who is the Right in the US calling to revolution? And against what? That is a dare that stands before that pathetic movement, and it's a contradiction worth pushing on since it will force them to choose between their reactionary defense of whiteness and colonialism and their supposed commitment to change in Mexico. They can't have it both ways.

The piece is firmly rooted within an anarchist analysis. It deeply calls into question the ability of the State to provide justice, as well as the alliances within movements that serve to maintain that myth. Most importantly, I think, the article recognizes the fact that it will be the people themselves who will organize themselves for their own liberation. It will not be through the hypocritical vehicle of politics that liberation will be delivered. Freedom will come when we are capable of demanding it ourselves, without the needless and regressive mediation of the state, Capital or the managerial activist left.

Read it:
The Best Immigration Law is No Law at All
Some thoughts on the logical conclusion for allies of undocumented migrants

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