Sunday, June 19, 2011

Stolen Labor on Stolen Land

The video below of Harsha Walia of No One is Illegal in Canada is a couple years old, but i just came across it and wanted to share it.  She addresses some of the common struggles between indigenous and immigrant communities and what solidarity looks like.  These things are being increasingly discussed in Arizona.  The primary issue is the marginalization of the impacts on indigenous people the border has, and in particular, how Comprehensive Immigration Reform will more than likely bring increased border militarization to indigenous communities along the border.

There is also a marginalization of local indigenous struggles in favor of a concept of pan-indigenism (if indigenous issues are brought up at all).  One local struggle is against the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway extension.  There was a recent action addressing a member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors who has come into conflict with Arpaio over his immigration sweeps.  To me, this action not only calls out Wilcox, but those who see her as an ally in the immigrants rights struggle.  It has become more clear that she is not an ally (not even to migrants) especially because of her involvement in the pro-NAFTA Arizona-Mexico Commission which is a private entity influencing policy and development.

 The statement says, "Mary Rose Wilcox... you continue to posit yourself as some champion of immigrant and worker rights... [W]e are pro-migrant, and in our support of immigrants who have been dispossessed by predatory American trade policies, we recognize that it is those trade policies, in particular NAFTA, that are the enemy of all workers in North America. What, then, is solidarity when you support all of these conditions that line the pockets of corporations, while keeping indigenous people, workers, and immigrants down?
It is your involvement in the Arizona-Mexico Commission that signals your complicity with the exploitation caused by neo-liberal trade that continues to impact people’s lives in Mexico by dispossessing them and keeping wages in the toilet, forcing the poorest to migrate for survival... Another of the consequences of increased trade between Arizona and Mexico are the proposed freeways that would devastate the land and air, in particular the proposed Loop 202 freeway extension through the Gila River Indian Community (Akimel O’odham land). Surely, you’re aware that the tribe has opposed the freeway extension, as both District 6 in Gila River, and the tribe as a whole has previously opposed any new freeway, so it should be no surprise that there continues to be opposition..."  Read the entire statement here.

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