Radical Resistance: The Bird Lauds One of the Bolder Acts of Civil Disobedience Arizona's Seen Recently

RADICAL RESISTANCE

In one of the boldest acts of civil disobedience of late, a group of Native American, Mexican-American, and white activists occupied U.S. Border Patrol offices at Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base on May 21, locking themselves around a pillar in a lobby that was soon filled with shocked Border Patrol agents.

Six of the demonstrators bound themselves together using pieces of PVC pipe around their arms and u-shaped bicycle locks around their necks. A banner was hoisted in front of the lobby's desk reading "Stop Militarization on Indigenous Lands Now."

The protesters had decorated the PVC with slogans such as, "No Militarization of the Border," and "Stop SB 1070." They chanted, sang songs, prayed, and even did freestyle raps, as befuddled BP agents tried to figure out what to do with them.

"It's very empowering to be in a room with 30 officers and know they can't do shit to you," Alex Soto, a Tohono O'odham tribesman and Phoenix group member told me after the action. "It was definitely going to take some force to get us out of there. Force they did not want to use."

Ultimately, the Border Patrol called the Tucson Police Department, and a settlement was negotiated. The demonstrators agreed to leave after 3 1/2 hours. They were arrested, cited for trespassing and disorderly conduct, then released.

Soto, who's working on a degree in American Indian studies at ASU, is originally from Sells, the O'odham Nation's capital, where much of his family still lives. He said this act of "peaceful resistance" was meant to broaden the debate over what's been going on in Arizona in the wake of Governor Jan Brewer's signing Sand Land's new "papers, please" legislation.

"It's not just about one bill or one sheriff," Soto told me, making reference to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "Our voices are always being marginalized. So we felt the need to take action."

The occupation of the Border Patrol HQ was meant as a challenge not only to Secretary Janet Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security, of which the Border Patrol is a part, but also to the immigration-reform movement itself.

Soto decried what he insists is a trade-off that reform activists are willing to make: increased border security and a border wall in return for a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented residing in the United States.

"We want no walls, no racist, colonial laws that affect people of color, people who come here out of forced migration because of [economics]," he said.

The 24-year-old aspiring hip-hop artist also questioned the Border Patrol's heavy hand on the O'odham Nation, where thousands of migrants cross regularly, and where Border Patrol agents — with their checkpoints in and out of the reservation and their seemingly ever-present vehicles — make O'odham tribal land resemble a police state.

"How are we a sovereign nation when we have an occupying army patrolling our lands, while we're just trying to live?" wondered Soto.

That's a good question, one with no ready answer.

I would also note that it's highly ironic that an agency such as the Border Patrol, which supposedly guards the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border using barriers, helicopters, nighttime cameras, and watchtowers has little or no security vetting access to their own offices on a freaking U.S. Air Force base.

ARIZONA BRUSH FIRE

"Hopefully what we did will inspire other O'odhams and other races to take action," said Alex Soto.

I have no doubt that it will. Indeed, in the wake of SB 1070, the recent ban on ethnic studies, and the declared intent of state Senator Russell Pearce to push the Legislature to deny birth certificates to American-citizen children born to undocumented parents, a brush fire of pro-immigrant activism has swept the state.

On May 17, four students pushing for the DREAM Act were arrested after a sit-down strike in the Tucson offices of U.S. Senator John McCain. The DREAM Act is proposed federal legislation that would allow undocumented students brought to this country as kids to normalize their status.

Three of those young activists were undocumented, and they were held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement after hearings before a judge in Tucson. ICE later released them on their own recognizance, but they now face deportation hearings.

Though the three came here from other states, they have vowed to remain in Arizona to organize and agitate on behalf of the DREAM Act.

Fifteen students were arrested days earlier, also in Tucson, in a protest over a ban on classes that promote "ethnic solidarity." The ban is the lame brainchild of Arizona Schools Superintendent Tom Horne, who is beating the nativist drum as he seeks to become our state's next attorney general.

And before that, on April 20, nine college-age men and women chained themselves to the door of the state Capitol in protest of SB 1070, forcing Capitol police to use bolt-cutters to free the activists before they were arrested and shipped to the Fourth Avenue Jail for this display of civil disobedience.

One of the Capitol Nine, as they're now called, was Leilani Clark, a 21-year-old student at Pima Community College whose defiant expression, radical outlook, and massive hair all combine to remind me of a young Angela Davis, the California history professor and political activist whose face was emblazoned on many a poster during the 1970s.

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20 comments
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PHD
PHD

It's just another story that our government let law breakers do whatever they want beside walk on our street and scream for their right.

Soto said "We want no walls, no racist, colonial laws that affect people of color, people who come here out of forced migration because of [economics],"

So they came here illegal, get on our welfare systems, get on our health care system and send money home with our TAX. I think they need to learn how to GIVE beside ONLY TAKE.

Americans work hard for years from many generations to build our country... I don't think they care. Please return to your home and come back here legally..You're welcome :)

Steven
Steven

@PHD: You're right about one thing; it isn't racist to be against 'illegal' immigration. What is{or at least can be racist, however, is all of the profiling, fearmongering, etc. that is associated with undocumented immigrants.

A point I'd like to make is: chances are, had the old immigrants been able to bypass Ellis Island..........well, a number of them certainly would have.......who knows? This might've even included a few of my own.

Danon
Danon

is it so hard to ask for a little organization? Clearly forcing the members of ellis island to document their entrance worked. Everyone was documented and therefore everyone was on the same playing field, paying the same taxes, abiding by the same laws with the same consequences. It's called order, its what makes America work, its why so many immigrants came here and made this such a great country. Simply asking them to follow the rules as everyone else and allow the same documentation to be processed amongst all members of this country is not wrong. Its a matter of order and everyone playing by the same rules....or we can just forget all order, enter into chaos....I wonder how that is working for other parts of the world?

Tazer Them!!
Tazer Them!!

They should have shot mace in their faces and tazered all of them for being public jackasses!

mike nash
mike nash

In one six-month period from September 2008 through February 2009, at least 9,758 migrants were kidnapped and held for ransom in Mexico — 91 of them with the direct participation of Mexican police, a report by the National Human Rights Commission said. Other migrants are routinely stopped and shaken down for bribes, it said.

A separate survey conducted during one month in 2008 at 10 migrant shelters showed Mexican authorities were behind migrant attacks in 35 of 240 cases, or 15%.

clos
clos

In AZ, it is about religion, politics and racism. This state is heavily mormon and the sponsor of this bill, Russell Pearce, was motivated by the mormom articles of faith to write this law - most hispanics are catholics. This same politican is the same politician who takes pictures with members of hate groups and in the past has distributed e-mail from these hate groups to other employees. He received help from others with affilitions to hate groups to help him write this law. This state has passed extreme gun ownership laws that lets us carry concealed weapons without a permit and these hate groups are arming themselves, heavily. Yet what you hear on the national news is that illiegals in AZ are killing cops daily (not true), that illegals commit more than 1/2 the crimes in AZ (not true), that over 65 people died in 1 day in AZ (not true), that most illegals are sex criminals (not true). Then they wonder why people do not want to come over to AZ? AZ is a great state and beautiful and safer than other states. Yet, being an election year and with many retirees living here, by putting fear in the older population and then promising to fix this false fear = they get the votes of the retirees.Now you hear comments such as these on the street:if you can decide whether to allow guns in your business or not you can decide what color of people to allow of not to allow. the constitution should have included that no black man can hold the office of president. Now, we understand why Hitler killed all those Jews. They sympathize with Hitler and few have a problem with this.

Steven
Steven

"This same politican is the same politician who takes pictures with members of hate groups and in the past has distributed e-mail from these hate groups to other employees. He received help from others with affilitions to hate groups to help him write this law. This state has passed extreme gun ownership laws that lets us carry concealed weapons without a permit and these hate groups are arming themselves, heavily. Yet what you hear on the national news is that illiegals in AZ are killing cops daily (not true), that illegals commit more than 1/2 the crimes in AZ (not true), that over 65 people died in 1 day in AZ (not true), that most illegals are sex criminals (not true). Then they wonder why people do not want to come over to AZ? AZ is a great state and beautiful and safer than other states. Yet, being an election year and with many retirees living here, by putting fear in the older population and then promising to fix this false fear = they get the votes of the retirees."

And yet these same nutjobs won't admit that THEY are the ones ruining Ariz. Ever.

"Now you hear comments such as these on the street:if you can decide whether to allow guns in your business or not you can decide what color of people to allow of not to allow. the constitution should have included that no black man can hold the office of president. Now, we understand why Hitler killed all those Jews. They sympathize with Hitler and few have a problem with this."

And we have to stop this kind of crap before violence begins erupting in areas all across this country.

spacette
spacette

It's all so 60s retro! How tiresome!

Gary
Gary

It is a shame they dont teach what kids need to know to survive in the world in the college. They need to just throw these in jail for a couple of months and let them see what the real world is like. What a waste of good kids.

FreemonSandlewould
FreemonSandlewould

Taze them and slap them in jail on disorderly charge. 70% of the country would be with this. Let's stomp out this stupidity.

immigration pie hogging mexicans need to let people for OTHER countries come here. My Brazilian friends can not because visas are so hard to get because of MEXICANS.

Mike
Mike

Bonny,"I can only hope they and their families are murdered by criminal illegals". How many people do you know personally that have been murdered by Criminal illegals? Now think about how many people you personally know that have been murdered by a US citizen?Now compare those 2 numbers of the people you personally know that have been murdered. Out of which pool is the larger number from? For that matter what were those 2 numbers exactly?

Now how many time have you been robbed/assaulted by an illegal criminal, and how many times have you been robbed/assaulted by a US citizen? Again compare those numbers and which one is the larger and from which pool have you been the victim of the most? Again what were those exact numbers?

So now Bonny are you really mad that people are crossing into the US and they are doing so with out proper papers or are you mad that people that don't look like you are crossing in the US at all?

The Entire argument that Illegals make up the largest majority of the criminal element has been proven time and time again to be not true. The only things that all those studies do prove is that Racial and ethnic minorities make up a disproportionate number of those incarcerated. Does that prove that the racial and ethnic minorities commit more crimes? No it only proves that a mostly NON minority jury is more likely to find a minority guilty.

Bryan J.
Bryan J.

It's quite impressive how they got in there and set up without anyone preventing them from doing so.

Piss on Nazi's
Piss on Nazi's

What they should do "Lynch M all" is take you outside, pour gas on you and then set you on fire just to watch you burn.

Bonny
Bonny

This has got to be one of the stupidest displays of opposition I've seen to date regarding this issue. These morons want us to just let anyone and everyone walk over the border with nobody there to try and stop anything. I can only hope they and their families are murdered by criminal illegals while my family is left alone.

Jameson Johnson
Jameson Johnson

Mr. Lynch, you are an idiot. What about just leaving them there alone, and paying them no mind? They would have left eventually.

Lynch M All
Lynch M All

They chanted, sang songs, prayed, and even did freestyle raps, as befuddled BP agents tried to figure out what to do with them.

They should have dipped cotton balls in liquid capsicum and dabbed it on their eyes, then cracked their skulls.

 
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