Saturday, May 29, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Financial support is needed for the six people who locked themselves together in the lobby of the Tucson sector border patrol office for over three hours last Friday.
In the statement released the day of the lockdown, the group demanded the end of the militarization of the border, in addition to the end of the racist SB1070 law, and the 287(g) program that allows police to act as immigration agents. As if on cue, the federal government answered today as President Obama has decided to militarize Arizona's southern border with 1200 National Guard soldiers, and over $500 million dollars in funds. It's clear the government, from the local, county, state, and federal levels, is declaring war on indigenous communities, immigrants, and the communities of the border states. Likewise, it's clear that many more will stand up to the repression and terror of the authorities, and to fight for autonomy, dignity, and freedom that is under increasing attack every day.
We can't fight alone, and we hope we won't have to, so please consider showing solidarity to our O'odham, Dine', Latin@, and anti-authoritarian comrades who locked down and are now facing misdemeanor trespassing and misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges. Click the link below to make a donation that will aid our comrades with their court fees and related expenses over the next few months.
No borders, no state, no papers!
Friday, May 21, 2010
1st NATION AND MIGRANTS OPPOSE SB1070 DEMAND DIGNITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND END TO BORDER MILITARIZATION
Many comrades of ours, with whom we have organized in a variety of ways this year, including the DO@ Bloc and the Inglourious Basterds Bloc, occupied and locked down in the Border Patrol HQ this afternoon. This statement was issued to press and various resistance and anarchist sites for proliferation and discussion.
The statement further pushes the discussion around freedom of movement and the rights of people to be free from state harassment and, most importantly in my view, directly attacks the idea that "immigration reform" must come with a commitment to militarizing the border. These two ideas must be de-linked! To continue the dialog as it predominates now is to concede to further shifting the burden of controlling movement onto native land and to force indigenous peoples to suffer even more attacks from the state and its myriad racist agents.
Those who do not currently include the perspectives and concerns of those who live everyday with the extreme expression of border militarization do everyone, including themselves, a disservice. If one is not free until all are free, then it is impossible to support "immigration reform" as long as it includes militarization of the border. At least until that is no longer true, we must be opposed to reform.
The occupation lasted several hours. Through persistence and creativity, all who participated in the action were released with a citation and no one was taken into custody. Solidarity, comrades!
OCCUPATION OF BORDER PATROL HEADQUATERS
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIRFORCE BASE, TUCSON, AZ
1st NATION AND MIGRANTS OPPOSE SB1070 DEMAND DIGNITY, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND END TO BORDER MILITARIZATION
“The militarized border imposed by the U.S. has lead only to cultural and environmental destruction of the indigenous peoples whose land is on or near the border. This militarization brings death and terror for indigenous peoples from other parts of the continent migrating to this land.”
21 May 2010
Tucson, AZ – More than a dozen people occupied Border Patrol headquarters at Davis-Monthan Airforce Base today in an act of peaceful resistance. The group includes members of Indigenous Nations of Arizona, migrants, people of color and white allies. Six people used chains and other devices to lock themselves in the building. These Arizona residents disrupted the Border Patrol operations to demand that Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which tears families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.
The protesters also call on the State of Arizona to repeal the racist Senate Bill 1070 that criminalizes immigrant communities on the state level, makes it illegal to transport or harbor an undocumented person regardless of family relationship, requires police agencies to engage in racial profiling, and ultimately is an attempt to ethnically cleanse Arizona of those with brown skin. This act of civil disobedience was only the latest in an increasing wave of direct action targeting the federal government’s terrorist immigration policies.
Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities.
The development of the border wall has lead to desecration of our ancestors graves, it has divided our communities and prevents us from accessing sacred places.
Troops and paramilitary law enforcement, detention camps, check points, and citizenship verification are not a solution to migration. We have existed here long before these imposed borders, my elders inform us that we always honored freedom of movement. Why are our communities and the daily deaths at the border ignored? The impacts of border militarization are constantly made invisible in the media, the popular culture of this country and even the mainstream immigrants rights movement which has often pushed for “reform” that means further militarization of the border, which means increased suffering for our communities.
Indigenous communities such as the O’odham, the Pascua Yaqui, Laipan Apache, Kickapoo, and Cocopah along the US/Mexico border have been terrorized with laws and practices like SB1070 for decades. Indigenous people along the border have been forced by border patrol to carry and provide proof of tribal membership when moving across their traditional lands that have been bisected by this imposed border; a border that has been extremely damaging to the cultural and spiritual practices of these communities. Many people are not able to journey to sacred sites because the communities where people live are on the opposite side of the border from these sites. Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated.
On this day people who are indigenous to Arizona join with migrants who are indigenous to other parts of the Western Hemisphere in demanding a return to traditional indigenous value of freedom of movement for all people. Prior to the colonization by European nations (spaniards, english, french) and the establishment of the european settler state known as the United States and the artificial borders it and other european inspired nation states have imposed; indigenous people migrated, traveled and traded with each other without regard to artificial black lines drawn on maps. U.S. immigration policies dehumanize and criminalize people simply because which side of these artificial lines they were born on. White settlers whose ancestors have only been here at most for a few hundred years have imposed these policies of terror and death on “immigrants” whose ancestors have lived in this hemisphere for tens of thousands of years, for time immemorial.
In addition, the migration that the U.S. government is attempting to stop is driven more than anything else by the economic policies of the U.S. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have severely reduced the ability of Mexicans and others from the global south to sustain themselves by permitting corporations to extract huge amounts of wealth and resources from these countries into the U.S. This has led to millions of people risking the terror and death that so many face to cross into the U.S. looking for ways to better support their families. Thousand of women, men, children and elders have died crossing just in the last decade. If the U.S. really wants to reduce migration it should end its policies of exploitation and wealth extraction targeted at the global south and instead pursue policies of economic, environmental and social justice for all human beings on the planet, thus reducing the drive to immigrate.
The protestors are demanding:
-An end to border militarization
-The immediate repeal of SB1070 and 287g
-An end to all racial profiling and the criminalization of our communities
-No ethnic cleansing or cultural genocide
-No border patrol encroachment/sweeps on sovereign native land
-Yes to immediate and unconditional regularization (“legalization”) of all people
-Yes to human rights
-Yes to dignity
-Yes to respect
Yes to respecting Indigenous Peoples inherent right of migration
Monday, May 17, 2010
I suppose it goes without saying that things here in Arizona have been moving fast and furious since the week or so before SB1070 passed. The resistance continues to broaden. Direct actions and civil disobedience continue to spread in a state where "responsible" leaders on all sides try hard to pretend that such things are not necessary for social change. In the face of the attack, the twin "trust the politicians"/ "trust the political process" mantras that have been repeated for the last several years have become ridiculous to the point of absurdity.
The racist rift that has, for the rest of the country, burst quite impolitely out into the light of day continues to deepen and polarize. In Phoenix, violence has already broken out on at least two occasions, leaving one dead, and we're heading into what promises to be a particularly hot summer, even by Arizona standards. If nothing happens to change it, SB1070 will go into effect on July 28th, when the temperatures march towards 120 degrees. The kind of days where you sweat just sitting still. The forces of reaction, armed and ready, prepare to form up to defend the border again. The National Socialist Movement, who we successfully countered last year, have re-emerged from their holes at long last and are interviewed on television by a complacent, cowardly and pitifully uncritical media afraid to call them the Nazis that they are. Things are in flux and the struggle intensifies. It's too early to call this "Bleeding Arizona", but we do wonder: are we on the verge of an explosion?
It is in that context that we decided to put up this note to our comrades in the state and, in particular, outside it. We know that you rely on us for analysis and news about the class war here. We apologize for not updating the site as much as we have in the past. And for not directly addressing the ever-growing crisis in our backyard with the written word as much as we would like to. It may help you to know that we have begun along with some other comrades a new site to chronicle all the resistance to SB1070. You can get updates on the situation in Arizona very easily there and we add several new articles a day from a variety of sources.
But the truth is, we have been very busy intervening, fighting and organizing, and taking the time to write has not been easy (especially with the Suns in the Western Conference Finals!). Likewise, aside from the pace of struggle, a lot of what is going on cannot be written about for a variety of reasons. We hope you understand. When we get a minute to put something comprehensive together, we will. In the meantime, we hope that our past analysis has helped prepare the way for those interested in acting in solidarity or joining us in the fight.
Along with everyone else, we are running to keep up with events, which is natural in situations like these, where the people show ever increasing signs of pushing past vampiric politicians and professional managers of struggle and making a break for it. The movement leadership here in Phoenix, at least, have failed miserably in their obligation to deliver even the most modest self-defense for migrants in town, not to mention to provide a vehicle for the fight back. This most recent bill (a particularly onerous one indeed, but not the first of its kind in Arizona by any means) has revealed this bankruptcy to many. With each internal movement peace cop and every repeated, failed tactic or strategy, the defeat delivered by mainstream organizers to us all seems more and more clear, which is why more and more people are stepping outside the conventional movement organizations and taking action themselves.
It has been our contention and continues to be that the struggle in Arizona contains all the elements necessary for a social explosion. In Arizona we have reflected the segregationist, colonialist history of America (the Arizona territory was in the Confederacy, for instance, and imposed a regime of segregation after the Civil War).
In fact, there's a semi-famous story about a Nazi officer, a prisoner of war, being shipped across the country to a POW camp during World War II and who passes through Arizona on his way. Among his military police escort is a black soldier. The unit stops at a roadside diner to eat, taking a seat in the dining room. Almost everyone takes a seat there, that is. Because Arizona is a segregated state, the black MP has to eat in the kitchen, with the Mexican staff. That's Arizona in a nutshell: Nazis eat in the dining room.
Of course, there's another story about a cadre of imprisoned Nazis during the war who managed to get a map of Phoenix and to construct a rubber raft while they were held at a camp in the city. A crafty bunch, they got over the wall and to the Salt River, where they expected to float to the Colorado River, Mexico and, ultimately, to the ocean and to whatever Nazis consider freedom. Unfortunately for them, the Salt River had long ago suffered from dry weather and damming upriver. They were quickly recaptured.
So our history isn't everything -- it's also what people bring with them. While we have a racist past to be sure, we likewise have the ongoing settler expansion, which continues to this day as an internal influx of people from other parts of the US. The population of Arizona has more than doubled in the last thirty years, thrusting Phoenix practically overnight from a backwater to the fifth largest city in the nation, and gobbling up land at a rate that quickly gave our city a geographical area larger than LA, bumping uncomfortably up against the two O'odham reservations that sit to the south and east of the Valley.
While many people in states outside Arizona bemoan the backward nature of Arizona politics, it's important to note that given this flood of people from other parts of the US, Arizona's politics are not really just "Arizona's politics". They are the politics of the rest of the country, magnified -- smashed together in collapsing now but once overpriced suburbs and set on fire by long commutes to work in the company of hot-headed right wing radio jocks.
In Arizona, white people who have moved two thousand miles in just the last few years to set up their suburban homestead or to secure their cheap retirement denounce the movement of people who may have only traveled a few hundred miles, or who may have migrated back and forth for generations. Or, it's true, who may have been deported during one of the previous economic crashes, dispossessed of their labor and their meager earnings and deposited across la linea when they became inconvenient to the demands of Capital, just like the Wobblies from Bisbee in an earlier era, the largest part of whom were Mexican.
Perhaps people who move here can be forgiven for not knowing the history of Arizona, but did they not at least look at a map before they piled their possessions in a U-Haul and headed West? That funny shaped thing to our South is Mexico! And Phoenix is in the "Sonoran Desert", a name it shares with the Mexican state of Sonora that borders us. The Sonoran Desert also contains the O'odham pilgrimage site of Magdelena. The rising border fences and military deployments that so many new Arizonans request will impede or even make impossible this yearly voyage. Likewise the demands for papers cannot be met by many traditional people, born outside cities and unable to acquire documents acceptable to law enforcement and border authorities. Sometimes the obvious ain't so obvious to everyone.
But, unfortunately, when these internal white American "immigrants" and migrant workers to Arizona (and what else do you call people who moved here for jobs at Taser International and Boeing that now find themselves foreclosed and dispossessed in the era of the new austerity?) left their crowded East Coast cities and turned West, their RV's and East Coast and Midwest accents weren't all they brought with them: they also brought their racist politics, which finds fertile grounds in the not-so-long-ago-stolen Arizona land.
So, we have the default white supremacist class politics of the white middle and working classes, who substitute their vulgar and petty cross-class alliance with the white ruling class for what ought to be a genuine class consciousness of solidarity, selling the rest of their class out in the process. But we also have a long history of open borders and free movement of peoples. The border with Mexico has, for all intents and purposes, been open for all of human history until just the last few years. And we have a history of indigenous resistance, which stretches back hundreds of years but continues today in the resistance to the predations of corporations like Resolution Copper in Superior and Peabody Coal on Black Mesa.
And we have a history of worker resistance, too. The bitter Phelps Dodge copper strike in 1983 wasn't that long ago, even if the Phelps Dodge Tower sits now victoriously in the heart of downtown, in the "Copper Square" district named for it (and copper's place in Arizona is enshrined on our very flag). But we remember that the very same National Guard units that racist politicians now threaten to deploy at the border in order to satiate the demands of the white working class for the the recognition of their white privileges, dividing Tohono O'odham lands and disrupting their natural right to travel freely, are the very selfsame units that Governor Babbit deployed to break that strike. It's interesting to note that the Bisbee City Council just voted to oppose SB1070, joining Flagstaff and Tucson, so let's never say that lessons can't be learned and that things can't be different. Other cities will, we hope, soon follow.
As for us, we continue to believe that another dialog is possible around movement and dislocation, as well as the conditions that cause it, hinder it and seek to control it. In particular we have learned from our O'odham comrades, with whom we have worked very closely over the last couple years, that we must maintain the heat on those who demand immigration reform. Because from our experience such demands usually contain a call for militarization of the border, and we firmly believe that we should not "solve" the question of illegalization by shifting the burden onto people at the border, in particular indigenous people.
We remain committed to the principles laid out in the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc statement. The process isn't easy, but the fight to elbow out some room for a broader discussion continues. At the same time, as white revolutionaries, we still take very seriously the admonition of Malcolm X to organize within the communities we come from and amongst white people. The struggle continues to find arguments and to push on contradictions that can open up opportunities for white people to act against whiteness so that a genuine ethic of solidarity can prevail, creating the kinds of conditions that can turn this struggle into a revolutionary one. We will continue to intervene in white movements and to see what shakes out.
In the near future we hope to get together a statement that can offer direction for those anarchists/anti-authoritarians interested in engaging in solidarity actions. Your solidarity means a lot to us, and to those who have been in contact or who have come out already, many thanks. As we said before, there is a real opportunity for anarchist ideas to spread in this context. Much is happening, though, so to list a lot of specific actions is beyond our means right now.
In solidarity from occupied O'odham land,
Phoenix Class War Council
Monday, May 10, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
It's that time of year again, the NBA playoffs are in full swing, and we at PCWC are closely following our favorite sports team, the Phoenix Suns, as they battle it out with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western conference semi-finals. Game two was tonight, and it was a fantastic game, and not just because the Suns took down our biggest rivals for two games in a row ("rivals" may be too kind to describe the vitriol Suns fans reserve for the Spurs, "immortal enemies" may be a better fit), but we're pleased for their actions off the hardwood. Yesterday the Suns organization came out against the racist bill SB1070, sponsored by state senator Russell Pearce, signed into law a couple of weeks back by Governor Brewer, and the focus of numerous protests locally, and solidarity demonstrations, rallies, walkouts, boycotts, and direct actions across the US.
In an act of solidarity with the state's immigrant and Latino communities, the Suns donned their "Los Suns" jerseys, originally worn as part of the "Noche Latina"promotion, tonight it was an act of defiance to the terror being spread by the reactionary and white supremacist political and social forces at work in Arizona. Suns general manager Steve Kerr made the Suns' case at a press conference yesterday:
"It's hard to imagine in this country that we have to produce papers," Kerr said. "It rings up images of Nazi Germany. We understand that the intentions of the law are not for that to happen, but you have to be very, very careful. . . . It's important that everyone in our state and nation understands this is an issue that needs to be explored. So, we're trying to expose it."While the announcement came from the Suns front office, team owner Robert Sarver said the decision to challenge the new law came with the final approval from the players. The Phoenix Suns players came to consensus to wear the Los Suns jerseys, and stand in solidarity with Arizona's Latino community, a bold move in these days as the social tension is ever so present.
Suns point guard Steve Nash, winner of two MVPs with the Suns, and one of three foreign born players on the roster, has earned a reputation for his political stance. During the opening days of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Nash caught a firestorm of criticism after taking a very unpopular stance against the war, and it's encouraging to see him step up once again, this time in defense of the state's Latino community:
Other Suns spoke out on the bill as well, Grant Hill, Amar'e Stoudamire, and coach Alvin Gentry, even our long term rivals are in support of the stance against SB1070. Spurs coach Greg Popavich had this to say in defense of the Suns management and players:
"I don't agree with this bill, I don't agree with the spirit of the bill or the message it sends, not only to people in our community but how it represents our community across the country and the world.
"I think the bill opens up the opportunity for racial profiling, racism. I think it puts the police in an incredibly difficult position that isn't fair to them. It's an infringement on our civil liberties to allow the possibility for inequality to arise in our community."
"It's kind of like 9/11 comes, and all of a sudden there's a Patriot Act, just a knee-jerk sort of thing, and it changes our country, what we stand for. This law smacks of that to some degree. So, I think what he's doing . . . is very wise and very correct."To be clear, I hate the Spurs. Hate 'em. Their bad behavior in previous playoff series with the Suns was just as despicable as the notoriously poor officiating from the refs (or was it something else at work?), but I will reach across the aisle on this, they should be commended for supporting the Suns stance. Popavich and the Spurs will show a little solidarity with AZ on the hardwood by wearing their own "Los Spurs" uniforms during one of the next couple of games in San Antonio.
For those outside of the valley, I'm not saying this is a perfect political moment, we get very few of those after all, but it is a moment to build momentum from. The Suns are run by a bunch of billionaire and millionaire investors, the players themselves are millionaires, I understand that. However, the significance of this should not go unremarked by anti-authoritarians, regardless of your inclination towards professional sports. The Suns are a staple of life in Phoenix, they were the city's first professional sports club, many a Phoenician has fond memories of their grade school class receiving free tickets to Suns games at the old Veterans Memorial Collesium ("The Mad House on McDowell"), and the greatest season of all, the 92-93 team led by Charles Barkley who took it all the way to the NBA finals to challenge Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
While we've been life long Suns fans, we don't mistake these acts of solidarity from the players or management with a developing anti-capitalist, or anti-authoritarian critique. Make no mistake, we see this for what it is, this is a multi-million dollar sports franchise weighing in on the very oppressive atmosphere in Arizona, and some may be speaking up because they recognize the egregious rise in racial profiling and detentions by police, others from the Suns organization probably see a profit incentive with a future Latino audience. If, however, there is some chance of a breakthrough during this playoff run, it's will originate from the commonality that sport offers us, the sense that we are all on the same side as long as we cheer on our team. So, yes, their decision to speak out is massive, but it's no cure all, we remain certain of the ability of ordinary people organize their own lives, to struggle, and to wage war on their oppressors on their own terms.
On a final note, I had a good laugh watching the evening news the other night as the racist politician Russell Pearce was interviewed by a Channel 3 reporter on his reaction to the Suns move against SB1070.
Reporter: Are you surprised that the NBA and the NBA teams taking a stance like this, do you think it's their place to?Ah, "anarchism" and "anarchy", time and time again this simple utterance by a blowhard politician is intended to strike fear in the hearts of every law abiding, god fearing, immigrant hating, patriotic American citizen, but there's a catch. See, when he calls the Suns' actions anarchism, or labels anyone opposed to his brand of racist terror as an anarchist, he is effectively saying that the common sense of the society is "anarchy." By his logic what the Suns are doing is anarchism. Those who speak out against Sheriff Arpaio are anarchists. All those critical of immigration policy, or law enforcement are obviously for open borders, against the rule of law, or so the logic goes. Everyone else is the anarchist. If only this were the truth.
Pearce: No it's not their place to. It's the rule of law, I mean, that's anarchism!
Then again, perhaps we need not look too far. The kids are self-organizing and walking out of school, or the 90 cities across the USA had solidarity rallies against SB1070 and bills like it, are closer to the visions of a popular movement than we may give them credit for. We may all be anarchists now, in the eyes of the state, or the reactionary social forces, but the challenge we still face is how we can contribute to a popular anti-authoritarian common sense. The Suns position is certainly a step forward, but also not enough, the position against racial profiling is right on, but where is the defense of immigrants, legal or not? How far will we have push the limits of the debate before the mainstream acknowledges that comprehensive immigration reform (as it's proposed now) means the militarization of the border lands, and as a direct result the lands of indigenous people divided by the border wall?
At best we can thank the Suns for opening this void, but it's up to all of us to fill it, and to keep pushing forward. Reform will never deliver freedom or autonomy. The state will never concede anything to those demanding liberties beyond its own laws and constitution. So we forever look beyond compromise and the state.
No controls on movement, no borders, no militarization. It's a start.
For a previous writing on our pro-Suns and anti-authoritarian orientation/contradiction, I recommend checking out the old blog of PCWC member Phoenix Insurgent for some thoughts on the Suns, anarchy and basketball, and former Suns center Pat Burke.
I'd also recommend some of the writing from lefty sport writer, Dave Zirin, on this matter. Check out "A New Era: Here Come the Suns", an essay he wrote a few days back, I've posted it over on the Resistance to SB1070 blog, a little side project of ours dedicated to recording the struggles against SB1070 and other forms of resistance to controls on movement.
GO SUNS! BASKETBALL KNOWS NO BORDERS!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Luigi Galleani and the anarchists of Barre
...In 1919, as the Justice Department resorted to wholesale deportations to quell dissent, the Galleanisti turned to ‘direct action” in protest. They proclaimed their objective with a bluntly worded pamphlet. “Deportation will not stop the storm from reaching these shores. The storm is within and very soon will leap and crash and annihilate you in blood and fire. You have shown no pity to us! We will do likewise. And deport us! We will dynamite you! Either deport us all or free all!”
The anarchists-avengers embarked on a terrorist campaign targeting important American institutions and individuals (such as J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller). Sixteen mailed explosives were discovered at the New York post office (undeliverable due to insufficient postage) but others delivered by hand caused panic in cities around the country. Even Palmer was targeted with a bomb delivered to his Washington, D.C., address. The bomber died in the explosion which caused significant damage to Palmer's house.
Extensive anti-terrorist actions were undertaken by the government with little success. Their investigations were hampered primarily by the inability of anyone within the Federal Bureau of Investigation to speak or read Italian. Eventually, Italian informers were recruited and their efforts finally yielded meager results. Their most-effective informant was able to connect the Galleanisti with the bombings, and the anarchists hurriedly began to conceal their pamphlets and supplies of explosives. The U.S. government deported Galleani in June 1919 in an attempt to tame the burgeoning anarchist threat to American institutions.
It was during these efforts that Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested, and their claims to have been hiding anarchist literature during the robbery/murders in Braintree were considered to be insufficient alibis to offer the authorities. It is safe to say that the Palmer Raids in 1920, instigated by the U.S. Attorney General, whose home was partially destroyed by the anarchists in the previous year, were precipitated by the Galleanisti bombings. In the aftermath, more than 10,000 people were arrested in an effort marred by the absence of due process and extorted confessions. Although the anarchist movement in the United States was greatly diminished, a defiant Galleani continued to publish the Cronaca after his forced return to Italy. But the fascist government of Italy repeatedly jailed him. Destitute and ailing, Galleani, once considered the most dangerous man in America, died in Tuscany Nov. 4, 1931.