Thursday, April 22, 2010

Civil Disobedience and Walk-Outs Oppose Racist Bill

This week is an intense one, as Russell Pearce's bill SB1070 sits on the desk of the governor signed, vetoed, or let to pass. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, 9 students got arrested after chaining themselves to the doors of one of the capitol buildings. They were really stealth about it, and had a great statement they read during the action, which happened at the same time as the press conference at which various politicians spoke. I fully support them taking their action when they did even if it disturbed the order of things at the press conference- this was far bigger news. The students called for more non-violent civil disobedience because they've tried all the usual tactics like calling their legislators. If anything, many years ago was a time to escalate tactics because now we are at desperate times.

Today I got to witness hundreds of high-school students march to the capitol. They apparently had a walk-out. I'm reading accounts of thousands having marched there, but when I was there, many had left, but there were more on their way! These actions are quite inspiring and will hopefully inspire more actions, even if they don't stop this bill.

This is all reminiscent of the powerful time of the walk-outs and marches during the threat of the federal Sensenbrenner-sponsored immigration reform bill in 2006 and 2007. I am glad to know that this large-scale resistance is not dead. Yes, the Arpaio marches were big, but the walk-outs signify something different.

It will be interesting to see what happens next since the bill is likely to pass. I imagine that many migrants will feel the brunt of it, even if the bill gets caught up with lawsuits and issues with constitutionality. However, although it's difficult for many of us who live in the Phoenix area to imagine what's going on down at the border, we also must be aware of the increasing militarization that is looming. The governor and McCain and others are trying to get more troops down to the border. In addition, as comprehensive immigration reform comes closer to being seriously talked about in the US legislature, there will hopefully be more resistance to guest-worker programs, biometrics, increasing militarization of the border, etc.

See also: Civil Disobedience in Protest of SB1070

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