The Calm Before the Storm….An Anarchist Perspective on Challenging the Violence of SB 1070.
A flock of racists slowly approach us on the wing of Arizona’s future. They are prepared to land on occupied Akimel O’odham Pi-Posh land (Phoenix). Like vultures they circle above us waiting for SB 1070 to go into effect. Spectators throughout the world wait eyes to the sky, ear to the ground for them to land. Unfortunately no one has stepped up to shoot them outta the sky just yet.
However a few warning shots have been fired in the air by radicals, some of them being, the march of black flags that busted through the seams of Phoenix’s business district hurling news-boxes in the street, the lock-down inside the Tucson Border Patrol Headquarters and the revolutionizing of everyday day life in Tempe through door-to-door organizing and demanding that the city council take a stance on racism in the form of SB 1070. We do recognize that for outsiders looking in it may appear as though things are much quieter than they are. The silence has only been due to the amount of much needed attention, intention and passion being poured into our vision for long-term resistance within the places we love and fight for. We promise you that without a doubt, a storm of insurrection approaches.
For radicals within the many occupied territories of Arizona our past months have consisted of day-to-day pondering on how to respond to the casualties of the US/Mexico border (reported deaths usually surpass 200 and often sit just beneath 300). Our nights are filled with starlit walks that spill into chatters of resistance welcomed by the sunrise of another day we fight together. These talks are the culmination of years of planning for so many of us. We pick up where the anti-minutemen meetings in San Diego left off. We are the reawakening of the energy within the 2007 No Borders Camp and expanding it to be as large as the international No Borders Movement erupting in one place. The student walkouts and riots within the mid-2000’s in response to HR4437. Are you getting the idea yet? Regardless of how the state feeds it’s vultures with SB 1070 we plan to unfurl our attack and make them pay! Regardless.
The Recent Bills and State Lead Attacks Within Arizona
Many of us have witnessed SB1070 transforming into the heaviest of rains in a continuous downpour of state sponsored racism. It trickles down the same path of other oppressive laws such as HB 2008 (a bill limiting the benefits undocumented families can receive from the government) and HB 2281 (A bill that explicitly prohibits classes that “advocate ethnic solidarity”). The introduction of each of these laws continues the institutionalized attack on the safety and mental well being of families and communities throughout Arizona.
As anarchists we unabashedly oppose all laws. The reality of the interconnectedness of these laws to the further exploitation of people through institutionalized capitalism is a grim truth Anarchists have always known. We also hear the call for solidarity from those that are indigenous to this land. We answer it with urgency and vigor.
We aim for our attack to be one that could trump the negativity to follow the instituting of SB 1070. We strive for our messaging to rise into a clear non-rhetorical context; One that provides a way to connect the dots between actions and targets. With that in mind, we also recognize the need for our actions to uncover the exploitative nature of capitalism and colonization. Between the diminishing economy and the blinding spectatorial spotlight covering Arizona’s politics the time to attack has never seemed riper.
Pushing our ability to both critically and creatively develop actions that are inclusive and within an accessible social context is a must. The fear and disruption that Arizona is forcing onto peoples lives is unacceptable. It is also something that would not be hard to recreate and throw back into the states face. This should be a goal of those orchestrating responses to SB 1070.
A common shortcoming within a majority of popular North American anarchist organizing is the inability to connect our actions to larger community experiences. With Arizona attacking it’s people from so many socially disruptive angles we are provided with a monumental context for our actions to play into.
Taking a glance at a few of the recent ripples the state of Arizona have sent into peoples lives provides a little insight into our motives for yearning to disrupt the lives of those in power. In the first weeks of June 2010, in Tempe, AZ The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office raided Arizona Mills Mall. They separated shoppers from employees and according to one employee they were also flashin guns at people. An employee, told a television station,
“They show me the gun and tell me I have to walk to the freakin’ break room.”
Weeks later Arpiao’s sheriffs raided two restaurants that they have been investigating for more than a year. In a statement following the raid Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the following:
“This is another example of a case where desperately needed jobs are being occupied by illegal aliens who have disregarded our laws and our borders,”
These borders and the laws that accompany them establish an almost impossible amount of silent borders in the everyday life of those they target.
In the fields of California’s Central Valley, a wall is placed in the lives of the farm workers that are repeatedly sprayed with pesticides and can’t seek medical help due to the fear of their deportation. Within the maquiladoras of Central and Southern America the health risks that the workers face are literally life threatening. Women working at these factories have been exposed to such high amounts of chemicals at the workplace that they often experience difficulties when going into labor. Many of their children are born with extreme cases of birth defects. The same companies often fire women immediately after discovering women are pregnant. What is mentioned is barely a fraction of the violence these workers face. Due to the amount of loopholes in capitalism no one is ever held accountable for these fucked up conditions. When families are torn apart through raids and deportations they are literally separated and often from there main source of income. While living in a constant fear of deportation a barrier is literally placed on families between them and their communities. A news report from Rio Rico, AZ reported that About 70 parents usually attend monthly parent-teacher meetings at their Pena Blanca Elementary School. In April of 2010, at the last meeting of this school year, only 20 showed up.
Connecting Indigenous Resistance and Addressing Colonization
“One of the central messages of colonization is the assertion that we are not entitled to autonomy over our own bodies—they are simply machines to be used in sweatshops, prisons and farms. Devoid of our own self-determination regarding sexuality and gender, we are as disposable as any other piece of equipment that has lost its use.” —Trishala Deb and Rafael Mutis of the Audre Lorde Project Conquest By Andrea Smith
Addressing the militarization of the O’odham border has become one of Arizona Anarchists main focuses this year. From the forming of the Diné, O’odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian Bloc, to the recent Border Patrol lock-down we refuse to allow the invisibleness of Indigenous issue to continue. As you read this you can know for sure that there is a BP officer on the Tohono O’odham reservation looking for someone or something to target. The Tohono O’odham often have their houses raided by masked BP and homeland security agents. BP harasses elders travelling to sacred ceremonies and school children going to class; they steal the O’odhams horses and have even recently killed an O’odham youth. One of the most appalling facts that cease to see the light of day is how the building of the border literally dug up the bodies of O’odham ancestors. All this recent colonization comes on the back of 500+ years of Indigenous people being under attack. We say fuck that! It’s time to attack.
Reflecting on the Zapatistas struggle to the south of us we see one of the most obvious places to attack; that being any of the larger systems of infrastructure. Everyday, the results of NAFTA and “Free” Trade are felt in the bones of the people affected most by those policies.
“And it is clear that in the colonial countries the peasants alone are revolutionary, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The starving peasant, outside the class system is the first among the exploited to discover that only violence pays. For them there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization are simply a question of relative strength.”
— Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth)
Borders are strung together through intricate webs of capitalism. Their purpose, to protect capital. That is why attacking everything that resembles capital to those in power is an obvious target. The racist legislation we are up against is part of the same stranglehold that capitalism strong-arms people with all across the world. The unapologetic rate of Arizona’s—current institutionalized racism is still a bit alarming. Connecting the current state-sponsored abuse, international colonization and flexing of white supremacy based policies and that of similar occurrences within the recent past provides a clearer picture of our enemy rises.
We see the violence of the state suffocating our communities. We prepare today for the fights of years to come!
“The government has failed us you can’t deny that!” “Stop singin and start swingin!”