Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Fascists Already Have the Keys and the Handcuffs

I've heard that even with the success of protesters holding up the nazis for over an hour from starting their rally last weekend, some folks still insist that they should just be ignored.  True, they wouldn't have had an audience and perhaps no media coverage had no one showed up to oppose them.  While I'm interested in what the opposition may have accomplished as far as the NSM's enthusiasm or ability to organize in this city goes, I am also interested in some differences in media coverage and what that might mean.

Last year, observations were made that at least one TV channel's coverage simply characterized the NSM rally as an anti-immigrant rally (well, that probably wasn't their wording).  They showed the seig heils and uniforms and such, but they made no reference to their extremist politics.  I thought this was good in a way- blurring the lines between swastika-wearing NSM extremists and the extremists who wear suits or police uniforms and deny their racism is probably a good thing.  Especially since most of those who oppose the NSM tend to ignore the other anti-immigrant rallies and tea-party rallies (much of which overlap).  On the other hand, it is important for people to know that there are actual nazis in town (okay, a lot of the ones who actually organize are from out of town, fortunately) and that nazis LOVE SB 1070.  The resistance against the NSM march and rally brought this out into the limelight.

Not so long ago, NSM members JT Ready (not in NSM anymore but affiliated is what we hear) and Harry Hughes (both attended this last NSM rally), called on others to patrol areas of Pinal County to for migrants.  Phoenix Insurgent writes in reference to Stephen Lemons' column, "one of the things I picked up on was Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's failure to denounce the Nazi composition of the patrols. Sure, he says that he doesn't think the patrols would be helpful, but it seems as if Babeu, like the local media (with the exception of Lemons), has opted to treat Ready's little Nazi crew as legitimate, giving him a pass on his white supremacist beliefs and his many violent threats. Consider the fact the two media headlines about the event identify the NSM in the title only as a 'militia', not as Nazis or even a 'Nazi militia'. A more honest characterization would surely change the way people view the action" (Source).  The Feathered Bastard has also pointed out how newscasters are hesitant to call Nazis what they are.

This weekend, however, the media is being much more clear about who was being opposed.  "Neo-Nazi march met by protesters in Phoenix" was Channel 3's headline. "Police Arrest 2 In Clash With Neo-Nazis" was Channel 5's. Channel 10: "Neo-Nazis Protest in Downtown Phoenix".

In some ways it is useful that they are being identified as neo-nazis.  In other ways, we mustn't fall into the tendency of seeing the nazis as separate from the other anti-immigrant folks.  Within the anti-immigrant movement, they are the fanatics making the others look more legitimate, more reasonable.  If we only focus on them, we lose sight of the bigger picture, just as focusing on Arpaio draws opposition away from the other police who make even more arrests but without making a show of it.   This comparison also brings up the other point about separating white supremacists from institutional white supremacy/racism, which I brought up in my last post.  As pointed out by a sign in a photo on the Prison Abolitionist blog, "The Fascists already have the Keys".

We should consider the ways in which focusing on the fascists legitimizes the other forms of white supremacy- those with more power.  This is not to imply that the folks resisting the nazis otherwise ignore these other forms--in fact the protest was in many ways just as much against the police as the nazis.  The relationship between the two is explained at the Fires Never Extinguished blog as well, but of course the issue with the police is not only their protection of and participation with nazis, but their role being mostly to enforce the color line such as through police brutality and murder as we saw in the case of Oscar Grant earlier this year.

I hope to see the kind of enthusiasm that surrounds protesting nazis also shown in cases of police brutality and prison issues in the future.  There is something to say about how resistance affects the general population's view of things, not to mention the ability of those systems and people to function in the first place.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What came first: the Racism or the Profit Motive? On Private Prisons' push for SB1070

The private prisons' involvement in passing SB1070 illuminates an aspect of the anti-immigrant tendency that complicates things and is often overlooked.  Often the finger is pointed at racism as the cause of atrocities like SB1070, without looking at the bigger picture.  This is not to say that racism plays no part, even as a basis on which the prison industrial complex functions, but the prejudicial views of Russell Pearce or the minutemen for example are not necessarily the main guiding force here.  This is particularly interesting when we consider the potential of white people to reject racism and see it as manufactured rather than intrinsic.

I'm glad that news is being spread of the role of the private prison industry in the passing of SB1070.  A few months back, Governor Brewer's connections with the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the US were exposed, although of course they denied any underhandedness.  Now more information is coming out about the influence of private prisons in the new Arizona law, as NPR's new report details.  While I don't think there should be prisons in the first place, private prisons are particularly alarming in that this is the kind of thing that can happen when someone stands to profit (of course let's not lose sight of the ways the government profits from repression in different ways).

The private prison industry has profited greatly in the past few years despite the economic downturn.  The Detention Watch Network says that "The U.S. government detained approximately 380,000 people in immigration custody in 2009 in... about 350 facilities at an annual cost of more than $1.7 billion."  And the racists say that immigrants are a burden on the economy- how about the border enforcement?  Keep in mind here that this discussion is only on the detention centers- not on the border security technology and the wall, and other aspects of security which are all making people lots of money, including companies that have already made a shitload of money off the war.

An article that came out a few months ago (Wall Street and the Criminalization of Immigrants)
discussed the lobbying efforts of CCA and the GEO group and how it paid off through more attacks on immigrants, who now fill the private detention centers. 
The lobbying paid off for both companies, in huge revenue increases from government contracts to incarcerate immigrants. From 2005 through 2009, for every dollar that GEO spent lobbying the government, the company received a $662 return in taxpayer-funded contracts, for a total of $996.7 million. CCA received a $34 return in taxpayer-funded contracts for every dollar spent on lobbying the federal government, for a total of $330.4 million... One problem for major investors seeking huge gains from the for-profit prison business was that revenue rates couldn’t keep rising because federal agencies didn’t have enough personnel to arrest and process more immigrants than the expanded number they were now handling. It became apparent that the only way to significantly raise revenue through increasing the numbers of people picked up, detained and incarcerated was to hire more law enforcement personnel.
The private prison industry now needed a new source of low-cost licensed law enforcement personnel. CCA and GEO then turned to state governments as the focus of business expansion. Both companies stepped up efforts to acquire contracts with state and local governments that were entering into lucrative agreements with the Department of Homeland Security to detain immigrants in state and local detention and correctional facilities.
The result of this shift in business focus is exemplified by CCA’s role in Arizona’s SB 1070 and both CCA’s and GEO’s roles in other legislative efforts aimed at dramatically increased numbers arrests of undocumented immigrants in over 20 states. Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer, who received substantial campaign financing from top CCA executives in Tennessee and employs two former CCA lobbyists Chuck Coughlin and Paul Sensman, as top aides, signed SB 1070 into law on April 23.
On Friday, July 30, 2010 the Republican Governors Association, which so far this year has received over $160,000 in contributions from CCA and GEO, and their respective lobbyists, sent out a nationwide solicitation written by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer requesting contributions to fund an appeal of the partial injunction issued by a judge against SB 1070. (Read on).
The NPR report that just came out explains that CCA (and GEO group) also has some of their people in an organization called American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that Russell Pearce is also part of (described as a conservative, free-market orientated, limited-government group), and that this group developed SB1070 (limited government, my ass).  What is confusing is where Kris Kobach, the lawyer who works for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) comes into it, since he is said elsewhere to have authored the bill, although I know i'm not the only one wondering this.  I imagine FAIR has connections to private prisons, although I am not doubting FAIR's genuine (not profit-driven) white supremacist views, even if many of their participants and funders are driven by profit and desire for law and order.
Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce says the bill was his idea. He says it's not about prisons. It's about what's best for the country...
But instead of taking his idea to the Arizona statehouse floor, Pearce first took it to a hotel conference room.
It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC...
It goes on,
Thirty of the 36 co-sponsors received donations over the next six months, from prison lobbyists or prison companies — Corrections Corporation of America, Management and Training Corporation and The Geo Group.
By April, the bill was on Gov. Jan Brewer's desk.
In some ways, personal racism is convenient for exploitation for more profit: scare people into thinking immigrants are a threat (is Lou Dobbs and Fox news paid by CCA?), put them in private prisons, thereby creating profits for the private prison industry.  Yet, this implies that white supremacy existed before profit motives, which isn't quite accurate.  Although colonialism and accompanying attitudes about non-Europeans existed, these prejudices and such weren't so hardened along these imaginary race lines (just look at how the Irish were treated before being gradually included as white).  The concept of race was created on top of existing hierarchies, in the interest of maintaining order and capitalism.  Since i'm not feeling very articulate right now, I will leave you with a long quote from a friend's blog giving more insight into how white supremacy developed (see below).  This was written in response to the National Socialist Movement's efforts last year to organize here, and incidentally they will be back in a couple weeks to rally.  While I believe there should be visible opposition, I don't believe that it is any more important to protest the nazis than it is to protest the police, or the prison industrial complex.  Like Peggy wrote, "The NAZIS putting all my people in prison are the ones I want to run out of town."  I think most people who show up to these protests, at least the anarchists, tend to agree, although in practice it may not appear so.  Groups like Anti-Racist Action (ARA) have been long criticized nationally for focusing on white supremacists while institutional racism is the larger threat.  In fact if you think about it, if everyone is focusing on the 20-30 neo-nazis or the occasional hate crimes happening more and more across the country, we're not focusing on the state-sanctioned murders that happen everyday (and what if we include the deaths caused by border security as well?) 

In this description of the origins of white supremacy, you can see that the private prison industry is a prime example of the ways that white supremacy benefits capitalism.
The system of white supremacy is a cross-class alliance between rich whites and working class whites, the objective of which is the maintenance of the exploitative system of capitalism. White supremacy, by providing some meaningful, but in the grand scheme of things, petty privileges to whites, seeks to undermine class unity. These privileges are petty not because they aren't real and sometimes meaningful, but because those that accrue to the white working class are much closer to the ones that non-white people get than they are to the ones that adhere to rich whites. That is, Bill Gates gets to exercise way more benefits of whiteness than the lowliest Nazi scumbag.

In exchange for accepting these privileges, however, whites agree to police the rest of the non-white population. That's the reason white supremacy was created. Originating as an English imperial ideology for the conquest of Ireland and the rest of what we now call Britain, it moved to North America after the rich English elites had trouble with what we would now call a tri-racial alliance against them. Natives, English indentured servants (most of them transported here for petty crimes against the emerging capitalist system in England) and African slaves had a tendency to realize quite quickly in the so-called "New World" that they had much more in common with each other than with the pale-skinned, blue-blooded ruling class that lorded over them. So, they kept getting together and trying to overthrow those titled bastards. Again and again.

This was naturally a problem for the elite, so a hierarchical racialized system was created to divide this class, and to empower the wealthy. It was encoded in law. Whites were given several important privileges. Firstly, they were entitled to a limit on their servitude, while that of Africans was made permanent. Likewise, whites were given access to cleared Indian lands. The new role for whites demanded they act as police and, in relation to the native population, as soldiers. Therefore, a white man was obligated to serve in slave patrols and had the right to demand papers from any Black person he encountered. Likewise, no Native had any rights a white person was required to respect. Here in Arizona, Mexicans were repeatedly disenfranchised and expropriated of their land by white militias, vigilantes, soldiers and early police formations (Arizona Rangers were notorious). All this was backed up by the rich white elite who wanted to exploit Arizona's resources. (Source).

See also this older article: How the Jailing of Migrants Drives Prison Profits.

UPDATE: see this video which is meant to partly answer the question of the title: Private Prisons in a Wider Context: Video

Monday, August 30, 2010

Invasion by Birth Canal? The fourteenth amendment and its opponents’ motivations

(for zine version click here)

Invasion by Birth Canal? 
The fourteenth amendment and its opponents’ motivations
by stacy/sallydarity

Russell Pearce, the Arizona Senator who pushed the “Support Our Law Enforcement” immigration bill (known in Arizona as SB 1070), complains about the automatically-given U.S. citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.  “This is an orchestrated effort by [illegal aliens] to come here and have children to gain access to the great welfare state we’ve created,” he huffed.[1]

Doesn’t Pearce’s comment sound eerily similar to that of this Southern legislator, pre-civil rights movement? “In 1958, Mississippi state representative David H. Glass introduced a bill mandating sterilization for any unmarried mother who gave birth to another illegitimate child.  Glass explained that his objective was to reduce the number of Black children on welfare: …‘The negro woman, because of child welfare assistance, [is] making it a business, in some cases of giving birth to illegitimate children.’”[2]

Pearce, probably feeling empowered by SB 1070’s semi-success (or at least its public support), is working on a controversial plan to “push for an Arizona bill that would refuse to accept or issue a birth certificate that recognizes citizenship to those born to illegal aliens, unless one parent is a citizen”[3].  Perhaps also inspired by the anti-immigrant fervor, Senators John Kyl and Lindsey Graham are proposing that the U.S. Senate review the Citizenship Clause of the 14th amendment. The idea of withholding citizenship to children born of undocumented parents goes back to 1991 when Elton Gallegly proposed the idea to the California congress, followed by several other unsuccessful attempts.[4]

Birthright citizenship is said to reward illegality and encourage procreation for the purpose of accessing the privileges the U.S. has to offer, such as welfare.  The underlying attitudes follow an ongoing pattern of attacks on the reproductive freedom of women of color.  This is all part of an effort to contain, exclude, and criminalize undocumented immigrants--specifically women due to their reproductive potential.  Appealing to Americans’ sense of being cheated, the topic of welfare has been used politically with hidden racial motives.  People of color and immigrants have been criminalized even though immigrants’ draw on public services is insubstantial.  The topic of overpopulation draws on white Americans’ fear of being outnumbered or overpowered and has been used to control women’s fertility, especially restricting the reproductive freedom of women of color in the U.S and internationally.  The problems of poverty and environment are said to necessitate the containment of certain populations, while in actuality the major perpetrators of these problems seek to limit the self-determination of targeted populations to continue to profit off them and their resources.

Birthright citizenship takes on the issue of who belongs—no matter their contribution, and no matter how their country of origin has been impacted, to the benefit of the United States .  “Attacks on legal and illegal immigrants’ rights to public services…are all targeted at immigrant women’s ability to have and raise children.  As Dorothy Roberts notes, ‘The value we place on individuals determines whether we see them as entitled to perpetuate themselves in their children.  Denying someone the right to bear children—or punishing her for exercising that right—deprives her of a basic part of her humanity.  When this denial is based on race, it also functions to preserve a racial hierarchy.’”[5]

Race and Welfare

Pearce claims that the use of welfare by undocumented immigrants and their children is a reason for limiting access to citizenship for children born in the U.S. despite the fact that “Many studies have found no significant causal relationship between welfare benefits and childbearing.[6]  Although there are various reasons more migrants settle in the U.S. now compared to the more seasonal coming and going of the past, increased border security has been a main reason for the difficulty to cross, causing many to just stay and have their families join them.  “Immigrant women of color and their children are targeted because of white anxieties about a racially pluralized society.  Whereas Mexican immigrant men have been perceived as temporary laborers, the presence of Mexican women and children suggests permanence…”[7]

Another Mississippi representative in the time period of David H. Glass quoted in the introduction, said of the motivations to withhold welfare from Black people, “When the cutting starts, they’ll head for Chicago .”[8]  It is interesting how this parallels with the objective of FAIR (Federation for American Immigration Reform) and collaborators like Russell Pearce to implement “attrition through enforcement”, which, significantly, was written into the Support Our Law Enforcement Act (SB1070) as the purpose of the law.  Attrition entails making it so difficult to live here (the U.S. or Arizona specifically) that the targeted population “chooses” to leave.  This has been an increasingly common tactic given that physically deporting all the undocumented would be extremely difficult, while causing migrants to self-deport would perhaps go more smoothly and in the meantime the police state can be strengthened.  Attrition through enforcement involves increasing the powers of police to ask about immigration status, thereby increasing the number of arrests and deportations and the fear that spreads to others at risk for deportation, causing them to leave (which has been somewhat successful in Arizona ).

This is nothing very new.  Earlier laws like California ’s Prop 187 and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act were designed to restrict access to basic needs provided by welfare in order to cause migrants to leave.  This, in addition to the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996 reveal that in fact there isn’t much of a welfare state in the first place.[9]

Welfare is a hot-button issue; useful in rallying citizens who feel cheated out of their tax dollars.  In fact, it is likely that the dubious statistics given by Elton Gallegly in 1991 related to his anti-birthright citizenship crusade largely contributed to the fact that, “By the time California’s Proposition 187 appeared on the 1994 ballot, arguments about immigrants’ use of public services were commonplace.”[10] Because of the media and political forces, to many, especially white people, welfare conjures images of lazy people of color undeservingly benefiting from handouts, even though most people on welfare are white.

Russell Pearce loves to repeat the incoherent phrase, “Illegal is not a race, it is a crime,”[11] in response to accusations of racism.  While it’s not worth scrutinizing “Illegal…is a crime”, “illegal” does imply race.  Likewise, “‘Welfare’ has become a code word for ‘race.’  People can avoid the charge of racism by directing their vitriol at the welfare system instead of explicitly assailing Black people,”[12] or in the case of border states in the last couple decades, immigrants from south of the border as well.  I argue, as others have, that the connection between crime (or ‘illegal’) and race goes back to slavery era, but ironically the end of slavery in particular.  The 13th amendment reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States …” (my emphasis) which gave incentives to Southern businesses to have Black people convicted of crimes such as vagrancy.

As can be seen from these examples and examples below, the treatment received by immigrants, particularly from south of the border, is similar to the treatment seen by Black people.  Although Latino/Hispanic people are often categorized as white, the way people are treated (criminalized and/or deemed parasites) has more to do with race than a clearly-defined racial or ethnic boundary (race is not biologically based, but socially constructed).  Pearce denies that his concerns about so-called “anchor babies” have anything to do with race, yet “anchor baby” is as racially charged as “illegitimate child” or “crack baby”, especially in relation to language around welfare.

Dorothy Roberts wrote that the welfare system “was never intended to end poverty, let alone provide adequate subsistence for the poor.”[13]  Mimi Abramovitz added, “Enacted in 1935, when capital accumulation, patriarchal authority, and reproduction of the labor force, as well as the overall social peace, were threatened by the collapse of the economy, the rise of working class militancy, and destabilization of the family system, the Social Security Act institutionalized the role of the state in maintaining families, the labor force, and the general welfare of society.[14]  While this is important, the way the story about welfare is told versus the way it plays out is more telling about the motivations of the story-tellers who are interested in excluding and containing migrant populations.

In recent decades, women of color have been associated with welfare and continuously attacked for their alleged abuse of it.  However, their vulnerability to exploitation renders them cheap labor.  Mothers who are considered worthy can either afford to stay at home or to have their household duties such as childcare taken care of by migrant women, whom are considered unworthy mothers (unworthy also, of a living wage, as white women’s unwillingness to organize with nannies and maids illustrates[15]).  In Disposable Domestics, Grace Chang writes, “[Immigrant women workers’] labor—caring for the young, elderly, sick, and disabled—makes possible the maintenance and reproduction of the American labor force at virtually no cost to the US government.  At the same time, this labor is extracted in such a way as to make immigrant women’s sustenance of their own families nearly impossible.”[16]  The cost she is referring to is very specific, but we must not overlook the cost to the US government (rather, the taxpayers) where it involves the criminalization of migrants to maintain this economic and social structure.  I argue that the attacks on birthright citizenship are part of this effort.

Criminalized migrants can be coerced into working in intolerable conditions and for low wages due to the threat of arrest and/or deportation.  This criminalization of migrants (which costs billions of dollars throughout each branch of government) is, in effect, welfare, hand-outs, or subsidization for the wealthier classes so they can make even more money and be better consumers.   This is aside from the other subsidies, tax breaks, etc., which accounts for more than four times the amount spent on welfare for the poor, much less for undocumented immigrants.[17]

Because certain wealthy individuals and businesses—particularly in the service industry which cannot be outsourced—don't want a total absence of migrants, here lies an interesting clash between the racists and those who employ migrants (not that the two are mutually exclusive).  As somewhat of a compromise, criminalization is more likely intended to maintain a permanent underclass, though perhaps at a smaller number (a guest-worker program is another desired arrangement to accomplish this).  Racism, and the more nuanced nativism that perhaps better describes the attitudes about undocumented immigrants, benefit businesses who wish to exploit all workers, by keeping people from uniting.  Racists/nativists like Pearce may be conscious actors in this scheme, but more likely just a product of it, so he probably won't back off until Arizona is truly free of undocumented immigrants and their kids.  Nevertheless, in the meantime the criminalization of migrants continues to benefit capitalism overall.

Since the reality is that the cost of social services to immigrants is insubstantial, clearly those who complain about undocumented immigrants on welfare aren’t interested so much in saving money or withholding incentives for migration and reproduction.  But yet their version of the story about welfare functions well to rouse popular (white) support for the criminalization and exclusion of people of color.[18]  Raising the welfare issue in relation to birthright citizenship serves to justify these true intentions.

“Race Suicide”, Population, and Reproductive Choice

With the white birthrate in the early 1900’s rapidly declining, president Roosevelt warned (white) Americans of “race suicide” (echoed by Nixon later) and actually called white women who were unwilling to procreate “race criminals”.[19]

It is likely that this sort of anxiety played a role in fueling the “pro-life” movement and anti-gay sentiment, which resonates with religious fundamentalists in a politically useful way.  Hours after California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage was declared unconstitutional, Michael Savage went on a brief tirade on his radio show about the lower birthrates of nations that allow gay marriage .[20]

The desire to control women’s sexuality and reproduction harkens back at least to the era of the witch hunts, when capitalism’s beginning in Europe demanded more workers (partly due to population crisis as a result of disease), which led to the construction of monogamous heterosexual marriage as natural through the forced dependence of women on men, and criminalization of sexual acts that were not for the purpose of reproduction.[21]

An already-existing gender hierarchy led to the reining in of women’s bodies, but the development of capitalism, then the desire to protect the white race later on, and then the ongoing attempt to keep women in their place continually prompted control over women’s bodies and roles.  Putting significance on the biological and social differences between men and women benefits capitalism in much the same way as the divisions between races continue to benefit capitalism and the state, by keeping people from uniting and rebelling.  The lines drawn between people by nativist, nationalist, and white supremacist notions fuel fears of being outnumbered by outsiders.  Women are targeted because of their reproductive potential, but their treatment is different depending on their race.

We can see within the anti-immigrant movement the concern over women’s reproductive freedom and its relationship to race.  In an article called “Aborting and Importing—Is Immigration the Replacement for Native Born Population?” the Arizona-based author writes, “Unlike any culture in history, we are aborting our children.  Have we bought into the Self-Hate so much that we are committing a protracted national and cultural suicide? ...Consider once again that we are aborting our native born population and importing their replacements…  Unchecked immigration is no substitute for a healthy birthrate.”[22]

While many oppose abortion because it leads to the death of what they call “our culture”, some promote abortion as part of the population control movement. This movement attempts to solve overpopulation, often justifying it as a necessary effort to save the environment, but focuses on populations of color without saying so.  We can see right through John Tanton, who says he specifically got involved several decades ago with Planned Parenthood to make his “contribution to the conservation movement” (although he apparently felt it didn’t go far enough).[23]  The propaganda campaign against undocumented immigrants has been a decades-long effort that can all be tied to Tanton.  According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “[Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)], and Numbers USA are all part of a network of restrictionist organizations conceived and created by John Tanton, the ‘puppeteer’ of the nativist movement and a man with deep racist roots… He has met with leading white supremacists, promoted anti-Semitic ideas, and associated closely with the leaders of a eugenicist foundation…  He has made a series of racist statements about Latinos and worried that they were outbreeding whites.  At one point, he wrote candidly that to maintain American culture, ‘a European-American majority’ is required.[24]  He and his organizations have influenced and financially supported various individuals and initiatives, including Russell Pearce and SB 1070.

It came to someone’s attention not so long ago that a few US-based doctors were advertising in Mexico about their obstetrics services.  In an article about it, Steven Camarota, research director at CIS (founded by John Tanton), “said authorities should crack down on these doctors who are putting greed ahead of the best interests of their own country.  Just publishing the names of the doctors would likely bring the practice to a halt, he said.”  There were various comments on the online article that exemplified the hysteria about Mexicans having children in the US, such as this one in which the commenter posted a doctor’s address and wrote, “We need to hold a mass rally and PROTEST this situation!! This is as bad as actually INVITING a foreign pregnant national to come to the USA for childbirth and therfore [sic] securing US Citizenship for that baby which will lead to more Mexicans coming in...And so on and so forth!!”[25]

Glaring are the similarities between the attitudes shown here and of those who protest abortion clinics.  Clearly a contradiction arises in the anti-immigrant movement in relation to abortion.  While Tanton and other racists have in the past promoted abortion and birth control as a solution to “population problems”, many of their anti-immigrant allies unconditionally oppose freedom to choose abortion.  In “Greening the Swastika,” Rajani Bhatia explains why the “population-environment right” might de-emphasize birth control and abortion. “For the anti-immigrant, population-environment lobby, birth control can only marginally affect population growth rates.  Therefore, their main response to population and environmental problems is to prevent ‘the highly fertile’ from entering United States borders,”[26] which is something the attack on birthright citizenship is meant to accomplish. This is a useful position considering the desire to both maintain/form alliances with conservatives while also courting the Left through environmental endeavors.  Despite border security having more emphasis than birth control, there is still an ongoing attack on the fertility of populations of color throughout the world, because there are other interests that consider brown populations as threats.

Some feminists, concerned about the power of the pro-life movement, have made a troublesome alliance with organizations interested in population control in the Global South because they promote family planning.  Betsy Hartmann asks, “Yes, but what kind of family planning, and for what purposes?”[27]  This predicament might remind one of Margaret Sanger, the “pioneer” of birth control, who allied with the eugenics movement (which influenced John Tanton and other promoters of population control) in order to promote access to birth control.  Unfortunately it has led to major assaults on the reproductive freedom of women of color, which the mainstream pro-choice movement has been largely blind to even though various women of color have pointed it out.

Opposition to abortion is clearly not incompatible with desires to control the population of peoples of color.  Loretta Ross, in “The Color of Choice” explains, “The only logic that explains this apparent moral inconsistency is one that examines precisely who is subjected to which treatment and who is affected by which reproductive policy at which time in history.  Women of color have little trouble distinguishing between those who are encouraged to have more children and those who are not, and understanding which social, political, and economic forces influence these determinations.”[28]

Angela Davis points out that despite the lack of access to abortion for many poor women, “they may be sterilized with the full financial support of the government.”[29]  We can see the effects of reproductive policy in the not too distant past, much of which was influenced by eugenics, or simply the racism of the day.  “During the 1970’s it is estimated that up to 60,000 Native American women and some men were sterilized… Puerto Rican women were also sterilized at astronomical rates by U.S. tax dollars.  During the same time, several Mexican American women were sterilized at a County hospital without much explanation or information.  A national fertility study conducted by Princeton University found that 20 percent of all married African-American women had been sterilized by 1970.”[30]

The attack on birthright citizenship is used as another weapon against the reproductive freedom of women of color, though perhaps not so objectionable a way as mass-sterilization.  Still, the brutal attacks on women’s choice did not end decades ago.  The coercive promotion of long-acting contraceptives Norplant and Depo Provera is a more recent example of the lack of concern for the reproductive freedom and health of women on welfare.  Norplant was developed by the Population Council (started by John D Rockefeller III[31] and linked to the eugenics movement) that promotes family planning in the Global South.  In the early 1990s, Norplant was marketed to poor women and made available through Medicaid and state-funded clinics, costing states $34 million even while other social services were cut. Despite a number of side effects, some of which are very serious, healthcare workers had the prerogative to refuse to remove the device, some were not trained how, and the removal procedure is more difficult than the implantation.[32]   

One purported reason for women’s fertility becoming a target is that if poor women bred less, there would be less poverty.  If we were to ask what poverty is and what it is caused by, the answer would lead us to systematic deprivation imposed through discrimination, the law, and through force particularly in the United States .  Internationally and nationally, we see the consequences of resource/labor extraction as part of colonialism, capitalism, and neo-liberalism, such as the increase in the growth of cash crops for export, the loss of land, the privatization of natural resources, etc.  The efforts to supposedly end poverty through population control (welfare could apply here too) is actually an attempt to decrease the threats that Black/Brown and poor people’s desires for freedom and equality (or even just survival) represent to these systems.  Native people in the US and communities all across the Global South continue to be an obstacle to resource extraction, and have been attacked more recently via their reproduction (mass-murder is now frowned upon, but ‘population control’ is mostly acceptable).

Appeals to environmental concerns make for an even more agreeable campaign for population control.  However, Andrea Smith breaks it down: “As the U.S. extracts resources from the Global South, people naturally follow these resources to the U.S.  Yet, some mainstream environmentalists complain that the U.S. is now ‘overpopulated’ by immigrants...  But the impact of an immigrant family living in a one-bedroom apartment and taking mass transit pales in comparison to that of a wealthy family living in a single family home with a swimming pool and two cars. Much of the environmental decline in this country has nothing to do with population growth or individual consumer choices.”[33]  Clearly women in the Global South make an even smaller impact on the environment.

Smith continues, “Rather than being caused by overpopulation, significant environmental damage is actually caused by the environmentally destructive Western development projects, such as hydroelectric dams, uranium development, militarism, and livestock production. These projects ultimately benefit the wealthy living in industrialized countries, which are responsible for producing over 75 percent of the world's pollution.  Development projects also cause unparalleled environmental damage, such as damming programs that flood entire biosystems or projects that rely on massive deforestation…Any damage done by indigenous people, peasants, and Global South farmers cannot compare to the damage done by multinationals and the World Bank, so the claim that stopping the ‘overpopulation’ of peasants and indigenous peoples in Global South countries will ‘save the environment’ is baseless.”

Because of the fear that “countries with large youth bulges were roughly two and a half times more likely to experience an outbreak of civil conflict than countries below this benchmark… many on the Right and on the Left want to restrict the growth of developing world populations, and in this context, ‘family planning’ becomes a tool to fight terrorism and civil unrest.”[34]  Dangerous birth control methods were largely pushed on women throughout the Global South (many were tested on, before the contraceptives were approved by the FDA) like they were to women on welfare in the United States.

When populations are contained (in size and/or activity) it is easier for those (institutions, investors, neo-liberal projects) who wish to impose their will on these populations or the land on which they reside.  It is and has been the “systematically developed” strategy of institutions such as the Rockefeller Foundation, U.S. State Department, and the World Bank to put “the blame for poverty and hunger in the colonized countries on the poor themselves…  The World Bank put pressure on governments asking for loans to take specific social and economic action to reduce fertility and to raise the status of women, socially, economically and politically.  ‘Raising the status of women’, however, when spelled out in concrete policy measures, amounts mainly to educating women in order to increase their productivity, and to increasing their knowledge of contraceptives and their readiness to accept birth control measures.” [42] This ‘raising the status of women’ is an insult due to the fact that one of the results of colonization is that women lost most of their knowledge of natural birth control and abortion methods which had existed for centuries, thereby removing their true choices and replacing them with the hand-picked so-called choices[35] (not to mention that the conditions inflicted on these populations, including higher infant mortality rates, have led populations to reproduce more out of necessity[36]).  

The rhetoric around raising the status of women and increasing their knowledge and choice parallels capitalists’ calls for limited government, which is meant only to remove controls on the free market, yet is usually accompanied by increases in police, military and other controls over the people who are targeted for containment (we can see this nationally and internationally).  “[The] emphasis on individual choice… obscures the social context in which individuals make choices, and discounts the ways in which the state regulates populations, disciplines individual bodies, and exercises control over sexuality, gender, and reproduction.”[37]  This calls not for the regulation of the free market, but the removal of the power and protection provided by the state.

There are other weapons of the free market and the state as well.  Chang argues “that the First World agencies deliberately engineer the destruction of the Third World social services via [structural adjustment policies (SAPs)] to render Third World debtor countries ultimately vulnerable to their First World creditors.  This facilitates the commodification of the Third World women for labor export as it becomes impossible for women to sustain their families at home under the devastation of SAPs and they are forced to migrate, often to work as domestic servants in the First World .”[38]  Migrants are then scape-goated for the problems that are in fact caused by Capitalists and neo-liberal projects like NAFTA.

We can see an overlap between population control and the denial of welfare in their functions to limit the population of people of color.  Whether or not these campaigns are effective to limit the growth of those populations, the campaign also functions to shift or secure the blame on poor people of color while the true culprits go un-opposed by anyone besides the targeted populations.  The “overpopulated” people and those on welfare are blamed for poverty, justifying their criminalization and constraints on their reproduction.  Central to the desire to change the 14th amendment are these attacks on the reproductive freedom of women of color, no matter how the politicians attempt to legitimize it.

A Loop Hole for Criminals?

Russell Pearce and others believe that the 14th amendment was not intended to provide citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants.  But no matter how objectionable their reasons, I tend to suspect that if the authors of the Citizenship Clause could have foreseen the issue of large amounts of unauthorized people coming from south of the border, they might very well have taken a different position.  Indeed, Senator Edgar Cowan of Pennsylvania objected to the Citizenship Clause.  He stated, “[I]s it proposed that the people of California are to remain quiescent while they are overrun by a flood of immigration of the Mongol race [sic]? Are they to be immigrated [sic] out of house and home by Chinese?”[39]  Fortunately he was outnumbered.  At the time, in 1868 there was hardly the concept of an “illegal alien” and no numerical limitations on immigration.  People did not have to obtain a visa to enter the U.S.—they would simply show up and be inspected and hardly anyone would be turned away.  Additionally, there were no controls at the border and for quite a while immigration from Mexico was ignored or encouraged.  The first “illegal immigrants” were those barred by the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882.  Of course it is more convenient to believe that the European ancestors of U.S. citizens living here did it the “right way” even though there really wasn’t a wrong way to do it unless they lied about their health or their political beliefs.

No matter how noble some would like to think the authors of the constitution are (most owned slaves and sanctioned it), and the amendments (some hated the Chinese), if the authors of the 14th amendment could see into the future, it is likely they would’ve re-worded the amendment.  Of course I am not arguing here that the children of undocumented immigrants should not have citizenship, I’m just being real.  That said, I also suspect that if Russell Pearce had been in government after the civil war, he would’ve opposed providing citizenship to the children of freed slaves.  He writes, “American citizenship is a privilege, not a right”.[40]

The concept of citizenship and the rights it entails deserve examination.  For example, why is it rarely questioned that settlers get to determine who belongs and who doesn’t?  How does citizenship and immigration law discriminate against those who are not part of heterosexual families?  Although I do not delve into these subject as much as I’d like to, the attitudes about worthiness regarding who gets to reproduce and what the consequences are for those who migrate speaks much about the ideas about citizenship.  In many ways, especially as the efforts to change the amendment are concerned, citizenship currently provides legal status for those born here—and for most others, not just exclusion, but automatic criminalization.  The question of who deserves citizenship rights or that such a thing should exist in the first place is more complex when considering the impact U.S. interests have had here (genocide, slavery, sexism), and in many of the countries that people migrate from.  Take for example the way the Mexican government was coerced into changing their constitution (Article 27) in the interest in joining NAFTA, or how NAFTA, in combination with U.S. corn subsidies, has put thousands of Mexican corn farmers out of business, leading to their necessary migration to survive.  I argue also, that the border is illegitimate based on the fact that migration is natural and that the ruling class desires borders and laws only to protect the wealth they have stolen from others.

The anti-immigrant movement has had little or no qualms about using extremist tactics which change the debate in their favor.  Shifting attention onto defending those who are already considered legal makes more difficult the defense of those who are “illegal”.  This is similar to the division created in the fight for the Dream Act in which some migrants are seen as worthy while others are marginalized.

This discussion and potential change of the Citizenship Clause may considerably change the way Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) would look, if it were to pass in the next few years.  Would the government legalize some immigrants while making the others’ children illegal?  It is especially troubling that Lindsey Graham, who has been pushing CIR, is one of the men moving this birthright citizenship question forward in congress.  Considering also that the Immigration reform in 1986 made it harder for women to become legal than men, we will likely see more of the same, especially with the spotlight on this “invasion by birth canal”.[41] 

How possible is it that birthright citizenship could change?  Could it lead to retroactive enforcement?  What will the opposition look like?  Romantic oratory about the sanctity of the constitution, or something that takes into account the points I bring up here?  And if they fail in changing the amendment, will they still have succeeded at shifting the debate in their favor?


[2] Roberts, Dorothy.  Killing the Black Body. 213-214

[3] “Author of Arizona immigration law wants to end birthright citizenship”

[4] Lindsley, Syd.  “The Gendered Assault on Immigrants”.  Policing the National Body.

[5] Lindsley, Syd.  “The Gendered Assault on Immigrants”.  Policing the National Body. 191-192

[6] Roberts 219

[7] Lindsley, Syd.  “The Gendered Assault on Immigrants”.  Policing the National Body.

[8] Roberts 214

[9] Chang, Grace.  Disposable Domestics. 8-12

[10] Lindsley, Syd.  “The Gendered Assault on Immigrants”.  Policing the National Body.


[12] Roberts, Dorothy.  Killing the Black Body. 111-112

[13] Roberts 203

[14] Abramovitz, Mimi.  Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. 1996.  216

[15] Chang

[16] Chang 13
In the book Disposable Domestics, Grace Chang provides a picture of the theories behind welfare’s role in stratifying women’s roles.  “Abramovitz proposes that the welfare state mediates the conflicting demands of capitalism for women to provide two functions: to remain in the home to reproduce and maintain the labor force, and to undertake traditionally ‘female’ low-wage work in the paid labor force.  Abramovitz argues that the state resolves this conflict by encouraging and subsidizing some women to remain home and nurture the current and future workforce while forcing others into low-wage work.  This division is achieved through patriarchal poverty policies or practices predicated on racist assumptions that some women (that is, white women) are fit to be mothers and homemakers and thus ‘deserve’ subsidies allowing them to remain in the home.  Other women (that is, women of color and immigrant women) are deemed ‘unfit’ nurturers—indeed, are thought to be undesirable reproducers—and thus are viewed as better suited to fulfill the demands for certain kinds of market labor… [Evelyn Nakano] Glenn argues that women of color have historically relieved privileged white women of much of the burden of reproductive labor by performing both private household and institutional service work.  Moreover, she argues, women of color’s performance of reproductive labor for others frees dominant-group women to pursue leisure or employment, thus making possible the privilege and ‘liberation’ of white women” and as Chang adds, “to preserve the traditional nuclear family”.[16]
Chang also discusses how white women have been unwilling to organize with women of color for fair wages for household workers (maids, nannies, etc.), because if they did, those in their demographic would have a harder time being able to afford their own help so they can continue to be liberated working women.  Such are the limitations of mainstream feminism.[16]

[17] Zepezauer, Mark.  Take the Rich Off Welfare.  South End Press, 2004

[18] As Martha Escobar explains, “During the 1990s the unworthiness of immigrants, voiced within the language of public charge produced around Black motherhood, carried over the connotation of ‘criminal,’ an identity crystallized by their assumed ‘illegal’ entrance into the U.S., rendering immigrant brown bodies as perpetual criminals…  Migrant women’s criminalization is multifaceted, but two large contributing factors are their ‘illegal’ border-crossing, automatically criminalizing them, and their imagined reproduction of future ‘criminals’”. Escobar, Martha “No One is Criminal”  Abolition Now! p61

Another example of the criminalization of women of color being clearly linked to their ability to reproduce lies in this quote taken from a webpage on birthright citizenship linked directly from Russell Pearce’s website: “Research shows that one of the biggest challenges immigrant-receiving countries face is the assimilation of the children of immigrants…” said [Steven] Camarota.  “With immigrants accounting for such a large, and growing, share of births, America is headed into uncharted territory.  We simply don’t know how these children will assimilate—but it is clear that the stakes for America are enormous.”

The policies for dealing with poverty and other poverty-related problems are not meant to solve the problems, but to criminalize those cast as a nuisance for those in power (just look at the disproportionate number of people in US jails and prisons).  The discontinuity between the stated morality-related motivation behind concern over women’s reproduction and the resulting criminalization is exemplified in the treatment over “crack babies”. Dorothy Roberts writes, “The prosecutions are better understood as a way of punishing Black women for having babies rather than as a way of protecting Black fetuses.”  She goes on to say that the sad images “that induced pity for the helpless victim were eclipsed by the predictions of the tremendous burdens that crack babies were destined to impose on law-abiding taxpayers.”  She points out however that one can’t tell if a crack baby will suffer any adverse effects and that proper health care and nutrition for drug-dependent mothers could minimize or prevent harm for the babies, which clearly isn’t a priority for the state as criminalizing the mothers.

Often these mothers end up in jail, allegedly to keep them from taking drugs, yet “women in prison often live in filthy and overcrowded spaces, eat poorly, are exposed to contagious diseases and violence, get little or no prenatal care, and have easy access to drugs—hardly a protective environment for a developing fetus.”  To top things off, the state often takes the children away from their mothers which is often more harmful.  The state is clearly not interested in treatment or dealing with underlying causes of drug-use.  They would rather put women (women of color at higher rates) in jail.  All this, despite the fact that the rate of substance abuse was slightly higher for white women than for Black women, and Black women were ten times more likely than whites to be reported to the authorities, not to mention that crack is racialized compared with other drugs, including cigarette smoking which arguably is more harmful in pregnancy.  Roberts, Dorothy.  Killing the Black Body 154-161

[19] Cline, Wendy. Building a Better Race:Gender Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom, 2001.  11

[20] Savage Nation radio show.  August 4, 2010

[21] Federici, Sylvia.  “Caliban and the Witch”.

[22] “Aborting and Importing—Is Immigration the Replacement for Native Born Population?”

[23] "Eugenics, Population Control and Racism- Inside Numbers USA , Roy Beck, FAIR, John Tanton, Pioneer Fund, and Planned Parenthood"

[24] "Eugenics, Population Control and Racism- Inside Numbers USA , Roy Beck, FAIR, John Tanton, Pioneer Fund, and Planned Parenthood"


[26] Bhatia, Rajani. “Greening the Swastika” Policing the National Body

[27] Hartmann, Betsy.  “The Changing Faces of Population Control” Policing the National Bod.y 283

[28] Ross, Loretta.  "The Color of Choice"  The Color of Violence

[29] Davis, Angela.  Angela Y. Davis Reader. 217.

[30] Puck, "Strong Hearts and Poisoned Waters: The Exclusion of Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement in the U.S."  2004

[31] Hartmann, Betsy.  Reproductive Rights and Wrongs.

[32] Roberts, Dorothy.  Killing the Black Body 108-131

[33] Smith, Andrea. Conquest

[34] Ross, Loretta.  “The Color of Choice” The Color of Violence

[35] “The power neo-liberalism is willing to give to poor women is the power to make the ‘right’ choices: to have fewer children, to become mini-entrepreneurs or low-wage workers, to buy more consumer goods.”  Hartmann, Betsy.  “The Changing Faces of Population Control” Policing the National Body. 264

[36] Hartmann, Betsy.  Reproductive Rights and Wrongs.

[37] Silliman, Jael.  “Policing the National Body: Sex, Race, and Criminalization” (Introduction). Policing the National Body. xi

[38] Chang 16

[39] “WSJ lets AZ state senator rewrite history in attack on birthright citizenship.”  Media Matters
July 31, 2010

[40] Pearce, Russell.  “The Question of Birthright Citizenship”

[41] This phrase is attributed to Barbara Coe, who has also been seeking to limit birthright citizenship.

[42] Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. 1986

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Citizenship is Based on Theft, Domination, and Criminalization

If for some reason it had not yet been time to really address the concept of citizenship, now is the time.  Once congress is back in session, birthright citizenship will be the next hot topic of debate.  The 14th amendment gave ex-slaves and their children the citizenship they did not have before, and has since applied to anyone born on US soil (aside from a few cases), including the racist-tizzy-inducing undocumented immigrants' children, called by the derogatory term, "anchor babies".

The focus on birthright citizenship, if it does not succeed in changing the 14th amendment, may have a chance at shifting the debate in the favor of the racists.  They not only want to remove all undocumented immigrants from the country, but their children as well.  While they claim that their concern is over the law ('Illegal is not a race, it's a crime', Pearce says) as of right now, the so-called "anchor babies" have not committed any crime, yet they are to be ousted as well.  The immigrants' rights movement will find it necessary to focus on defending the children of undocumented parents and retreat from the defense of undocumented immigrants themselves.  This may look similar to the hierarchy created between the more deserving and the less deserving created by the debate around the Dream Act.  We cannot allow them to shift the debate in this way.  We need to shift it in the direction of questioning the concept of citizenship and the legitimacy of the country in the first place.

So we must ask, what does citizenship mean?  We should especially ask this in the context of the fact that the US is on stolen land.  What does it mean for some settlers to seize a bunch of  land and declare that they are citizens and the original peoples are not (it took a while for indigenous people to be counted as citizens even after ex-slaves were included), and then continue to do this to many people who are in fact more indigenous to this continent  most of the settlers are.  Not only are they withholding citizenship and the rights and privileges it entails; they are criminalizing most of the folks who reside in the US who are not citizens.  This means detention centers, deportation, fear, etc.  Citizenship is based on theft, domination, and criminalization.

Certainly there are many of us who are counted as citizens who do not have allegiance to the US government.  However, in many ways citizenship is about loyalty to this system.  In what ways can we call this into question?  This all deserves much more attention and discussion.

Please also see my article "Invasion by Birth Canal?"

US out of North America!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Survival Solidarity: Stronghold Zine

From within the Stronghold publishing/distro cell of Survival Solidarity a new zine arises. Far from perfect, close to nothing…. Stronghold is brought to you in the loving memory of every “Strong Hearts” zine. Stronghold is dedicated to every life of the wild Sandhill Crane ever taken in vain. We also dedicate it to the spirit of every warrior that has lost their life in the war against borders, colonization and the fight to protect all things sacred. May each page be a spit into the face of past, present and future repression.

pdf: STRNGHLDfnl


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Immigration Reform Proponent Opposes Citizenship for "Anchor Babies"

In the course of research for an article I'm writing on birthright citizenship, I see that Senator Lyndsey Graham, who had been a strong proponent of Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) opposes the interpretation of the 14th amendment that provides US citizenship to everyone born in the US (Source).

I have already pointed out various ways that proposed CIR is deeply problematic, but here's another example of why people mustn't call for Immigration Reform without clarifying some points--or perhaps not calling for reform at all.

Opposition to birthright citizenship is part of the ongoing attack on the reproductive freedom of women of color, is motivated by racism and capitalist interests. Despite the problems with the concept of citizenship and all that it entails (voting, access to welfare, etc.), this sort of attack must be opposed.

I was unaware that this issue was coming up in the US Senate where Republicans are proposing a change to the 14th amendment or at least the interpretation of it. While I knew that Russell Pearce didn't come up with the idea, I had been focusing on what he was saying about it. I believe that semi-success of SB1070 has made republicans feel empowered to bring up this birthright citizenship issue up despite the failures of similar efforts in the past. This will be interesting indeed.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Communique: Tucson Interstate Temporarily Blocked!


Sigue en español abajo:

Partial justice is no justice at all! Despite Judge ruling to block parts of SB 1070, racial-profiling, raids, deportations and the militarization of the border will continue unchallenged. This is why today we shut down Interstate 19 (I-19)

July 29, 2010 Tucson, AZ—On the morning that SB1070 is scheduled to take effect in the state of Arizona and three days before Obama deploys 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, a group of concerned community members blocked traffic on I-19 south of Ajo Rd. in Tucson, AZ. A blockade of tires covered in tar and broken glass were placed across both southbound lanes along with a banner reading “Stop All Militarization! The Border is Illegal!” This blockade is a temporary shutdown of the very road that is used to deport people deemed “illegal” as well as a direct disruption of the flow of capital. By blocking I-19 we have halted the transportation of migrants and the profits Whack-n-hut and Corrections Corporation of Amerikkka make by these inhumane acts of separating families, communities and loved ones. This morning we interrupt the privatization of the criminalization of people of color.

The State of Arizona ruthlessly disrupts and terrorizes the lives of non-white communities on a daily basis. SB 1070 is yet another example of how migrants and people of color are criminalized. Today’s action is a declaration of resistance to the criminalization of affected communities and the militarization of indigenous land.

Neither SB 1070 nor the deployment of National Guard troops to the border do anything to address the root causes as to why people migrate. U.S. economic policies and wars have displaced and impoverished millions of people all over the world. Capital-driven policies, such as NAFTA, create poverty. These policies and laws not only consume and exploit land and people, but they also displace us from our homes, forcing us to migrate in order to survive. If policymakers were serious about stopping “illegal immigration,” they would end these capitalist exploitations and stop their military invasions abroad.

We want an end to the militarization of indigenous land, I.C.E. raids, deportations, the attacks on ethnic studies, violence against women and queer people, the expansion of prisons and immigration detention centers, empire, the border wall and the genocide at the Arizona-Sonora border that has claimed the lives of over 153 people during the first 8 months of this fiscal year alone.

Today we interrupt the flow of Arizona’s traffic to bring attention to the following points:






We affirm our dignity and promote the well-being of all people. We stand for solidarity, peace, self-determination and autonomy. We assert the rights of all people everywhere to feel safe and live free of oppression and state violence.


A pesar de la decisión de la Juez de bloquear componentes polémicos de la medida SB 1070, el perfil racial, las redadas, deportaciones y la militarización de la frontera continuaran sin ser desafiadas. Es por eso que hoy bloqueo la Interestatal 19 (I-19).

29 de Julio 2010 Tucson, AZ—En la mañana que la SB 1070 esta programada para entrar en vigor en el estado de Arizona y tres días antes de que Obama desplegue a 1,200 tropas de la Guardia Nacional, un grupo de miembros comunitarios bloquearon el tráfico hacia en la I-19, sur de La Calle Ajo en Tucson, AZ. Un bloqueo de llantas cubiertas con alquitrán y vidrio quebrado fueron colocadas en los dos carriles que van hacia el sur. En la carretera se ubicó un cartelón que declara “¡Alto a toda la Militarización! ¡La Frontera es Ilegal!” Este bloqueo es un paro temporal de la misma carretera que es usada para deportar a personas consideradas “ilegales”, al igual que es una interrupción directa del flujo de los productos y mercancía. Al interrumpir el tráfico de la I-19 hemos logrado suspender el transporte de migrantes y las ganancias que empresas como Wackenhut y Corrections Corporation of Amerikkka ganan al cumplir actos inhumanos como separar a nuestras familias. Esta mañana nosotr@s interrumpimos la privatización de la criminalización de las comunidades de color.
El Estado de Arizona sin piedad perturba y aterroriza a diario la vida ñde nuestras comunidades. La SB 1070 es otro ejemplo de cómo los migrantes y las personas de color somños criminalizadas. La acción de hoy es una declaración de resistencia a la criminalización de nuestras comunidades y la militarización de tierras indígenas.
Ni la SB 1070, ni el desplegue de tropas de la Guardia Nacional hacen nada para combatir las causas de por qué la gente emigra. Las guerras y las pólizas económicas de los EE.UU. han desplazado y empobrecido a millones de personas en todo el mundo. Pólizas impulsadas por ganancias, como el Tratado de Libre Comercio, causan la pobreza. Estas políticas y leyes no sólo consumen y explotan la tierra y la gente, pero también nos desplazan de nuestros hogares, obligándonos a emigrar para sobrevivir. Si los políticos tuvieran la seriedad de frenar la "inmigración ilegal", pondrían fin a su sistema económico que empobrece al mundo y acabarían con sus invasiones militares en el extranjero.
Queremos poner un fin a la militarización de tierras indígenas, redadas, deportaciones, los ataques a los estudios étnicos, la violencia contra las mujeres y gente gay, lesbiana, bisexual, transgenero, la expansión de las cárceles, los centros de detención, el imperio, el muro fronterizo y el genocidio en la frontera entre Arizona y Sonora, que ha cobrado la vida de más de 153 personas durante los primeros ocho meses de este año fiscal. Hoy interrumpimos el flujo del tráfico de Arizona para llamar a la atención los siguientes puntos:
Afirmamos nuestra dignidad y promovemos el bienestar de todas las personas. Estamos a favor de la solidaridad, la paz, la auto-determinación y la autonomía. Afirmamos el derecho de todos los pueblos del mundo a sentirse seguros y vivir libres de la opresión y libres de la violencia estatal.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's Happening This Week

Here's what i know about so far for this week:
Read the Call put out

July 28th: The Comunidad Resiste
and a "Policing the Police" Training

July 29th Day of Action 
9am action at Wells Fargo Plaza at 100 West Washington Street; decentralized non-violent civil disobedience and direct action throughout the city, throughout the day.
8 am March to 1st ave and Washingon~ We will be gathering at Cesar Chavez Park throughout the day
9 am rally at Wells Fargo 1st ave and Washington
4 pm rally at 4th ave. jail (4th ave and Madison)
July 29 and/or 30: Arpaio is doing a crime suppression sweep.  Contact phoenix copwatch for more info or go to the "policing the police" training listed above.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Call-Out for End of July in AZ

NO to continued invasions on O'odham land!
NO to environmental destruction to secure the border!
Border Security = Militarization
Transformative Justice NOT the Police State!!
NO to forced divisions between us and our brothers and sisters based
on immigration status (or anything for that matter)!

by Sum
Arizona is the site of the worst immigration legislation so far.  SB 1070 (aka Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act) further criminalizes and targets undocumented immigrants- increasing fear, harassment, arrests, and sanctioning state-sponsored hate.  This is only one part of a war on migrants and a larger war on people of color and the poor.  This law has been a catalyst for a round of civil disobedience actions in and outside of Arizona. While higher numbers and stronger opposition by decentralized action is needed in Arizona, the struggle should not be focused solely on SB1070. Capitalism, neo-liberalism, imperialism, and state power are root causes of migration and of oppression. This bill has been in the making for hundreds of years and now is the time to expose this by taking to the streets!
We’re calling for anarchists and other anti-authoritarians making plans to participate in creative actions here in Arizona! We are interested in solidarity, creativity, broadly-focused analysis and direct action.  Many folks from the RCP to ANSWER in addition to the more moderate and conservative elements of the immigrants’ rights movement are organizing and promoting their pseudo-solutions here.  We are not concerned with managing the struggle or with maintaining reputations worthy of scholarships and political office.   This message against borders, for freedom, and breaking down all the borders between us (gender, sexuality, race, etc.) is necessary now more than ever.
Here in Arizona, we are broadening the struggle beyond SB 1070 and just migrants' rights (see examples of recent actions below).  The immigrant rights movement has touted Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) as the answer. A big part of the CIR plan is heightened border security.  Border security means militarization, which will only get worse if border security is part of CIR.  The border, some of which is a constructed wall, divides O'odham land, preventing or complicating border-crossing for many members of this indigenous community.   They are now required to carry passports, they get their personal belongings searched at checkpoints going back and forth from visiting family and attending gatherings, and some O'odham people have been violently threatened at gunpoint by Border Patrol.
The federal government militarizes and builds walls along the border, runs the detention centers caging hundreds of thousands of migrants, and has plans for more border security.  Their intentions are not benevolent, even if some folks are “legalized” through reform.  We mustn't call for the federal government to swoop down and save Arizona or any other state facing similar legislation when they are equally part of the problem.  If we limit our goals, when will all this end? The border and immigration law are illegitimate in the face of the colonization of this land.
In connecting with each other in this struggle we must also deepen our connections to our communities. Our everyday interactions can break the borders of skin privilege, class, settler privilege, and resolve conflict stemming from cultural differences as we work together.
While you are here, recognize that you are on O’odham land. Familiarize yourself with the resources below, and determine how you can take action and support indigenous resistance in Arizona. Come with courage, respect, and humility. Let’s get creative!
There is limited information about plans so far, but the bill will go into effect before we know it (July 29 pending any obstacles).  There will be actions throughout the month, but July 28-30 is critical for support. Sherriff Arpaio is planning to raid the county with another “crime suppression operation” July 30th. We must keep organizing against whiteness/white supremacy promoted in the interest of capitalism and the state.  We must strategize on creative solutions to demilitarize the border. Continuing in the months ahead, we will actively target icons within this system of violence, and organize for the liberation and self-determination of our communities.
Meet up in Civic Space Park July 28th 7pm 424 North Central Ave.
Please view these resources:

Check out these recent actions for an idea of what’s been going on here::

no one is free until everybody is free
"When we support each other in actions and tense situations, when we act together to protect the most vulnerable among us, when we can face the potential violence of the system in community instead of alone, we undermine fear.
When we cease complying out of fear, we force the system to actually enforce its decrees. This is costly in terms of money, materials, and the undermining of public support. We force the system to reveal the underlying violence that supports it." - Starhawk
Need assistance with housing rideshares and participating despite ability?
Desire to give/need by providing daycare, LGBTQ solidarity, to feed the masses, medic skills, fundraising, legal assistance, wanna connect a skillshare, and whatever else you can think of-