Tired ol' lefty Linda Valdez of the Repugly disappoints today in her "quick hit" against Salvador Reza and the protests at Pruitt's. I guess she got the top-down memo telling all of the Repugly's writers that they have to tow the line on the Pruitt's matter. Does Pruitt's advertise with the Repugnant, I wonder? In any case, Valdez's gotta feel like a real putz, having to write this one to appease the bosses:
Protesters should leave Pruitt's alone, focus on officials
The march on Phoenix City Hall fizzled. I think the pro-migrant protests at Pruitt's ought to wind down, too. Intentions may be good, but the supporters of day laborers are providing a forum for the anti-immigrant faction. The weekend face-offs only serve to harden opposition to migrants. What's more, a store should have the right to keep unwanted non-customers away. Relocate those protests to City Hall, the Sheriff's Office and the County Attorney's Office.
Now, I know Valdez is familiar with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and she must be aware that the sidewalk is public property and is not owned by Pruitt's proprietor Roger Sensing. Moreover, day-laborers never set up shop in his parking lot. Have there been jornaleros walking around the area looking for work? Sure. If Sensing doesn't like it, he should get together with Reza and help establish a work center for the jornaleros in the area. But no, he doesn't want to do that. He wants Sheriff Joe's deputy dawgs to run 'em off.
Then there's this loony assertion:
"...the supporters of day laborers are providing a forum for the anti-immigrant faction. The weekend face-offs only serve to harden opposition to migrants."
The weekend face-offs have been very successful from the perspective of Reza and those who support him. The Pruitt's protests have garnered national press. When The New York Times was in town in the person of editor Lawrence Downes, he ended up doing a rather sympathetic piece on Reza, with an online slideshow of a Saturday at Pruitt's.
Reza's ranks are growing. Each week there are more and more protesters present, and they outnumber the bikers, nativists, and skinheads who show up. As far as I'm concerned, the more of the anti-immigrant faction, the better as well. Because the hatefulness of many in that camp offers the perfect foil for the pro-immigrant position. The lines are drawn, and everyone in this city will eventually need to decide: Are they going to stand for humanity, civil rights, and simple progress? Or are they going to join the knuckle-dragging armies of nativist hate, and ride with Sheriff Joe, Andy Thomas, and Rusty Childress?
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Pruitt's is also the right place for the protests because Roger Sensing has called in Sheriff Joe and Joe's terrorizing that community, stopping people for being brown and hauling them off for deportation. Morally, Reza cannot look away while this is being done to his people, and he is absolutely correct to target a businessperson who has targeted Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in such a manner. Economic pressure is a legitimate and time-honored means of protest. Certainly, Valdez has read the history of the Montgomery bus boycotts, the sit-ins at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, and Cesar Chavez's boycotts of grape growers?
(And, Nimrod nativists, save the lie that "Cesar Chavez hated illegal aliens." Most of the people he organized were immigrants, often undocumented. And Chavez's UFW supported the '86 amnesty, even helped pen parts of it. Chavez did call in INS on strikebreakers, which was a controversial move, even with his own supporters. Still, Chavez hated strikebreakers, not illegals.)
Reza and his group have been studious in their adherence to city laws. There is absolutely no reason for them to cease their protests. Reza tells me that after this Saturday, they will take a break for Christmas, but will return in the new year. They should ignore the Repugly, and press on in their struggle against Sheriff Joe's bivouac at Pruitt's.
Finally, on another note, it seems the Repugly's Robert Robb is a fave of the neo-Nazis over at Stormfront.org. They posted a portion of his December 7 piece, "If Arizona is lagging, immigration is reason," and of course, it was posted there because they agree with Robb. When I blogged about Robb's piece days back, I pointed out that his column offered an intellectual (really a pseudointellectual) justification for racism. And now some local neo-Nazi has proved my point! Kudos to Stormfronters for welcoming Robb into their fold where he belongs.