Feathered Bastard

Arizona Boycott On Like Donkey-Kong, Say Pro-Immigrant Groups

In the wake of the defeat of five anti-immigrant bills in the state Senate last week, there's been some question about whether the boycott of Arizona over Senate Bill 1070 should continue.

There's no doubt that the boycott has been effective. Both the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce cited harm done to Arizona businesses by the boycott as the reason each organization has actively lobbied against anti-birthright citizenship legislation, and other anti-immigrant proposals pushed by state Senate President Russell Pearce.

Last week, pro-immigrant attorney and activist Danny Ortega, chairman of the board of directors for the National Council of La Raza, announced at a press conference that the boycott committee formed locally would consider lifting the boycott if those five bills stay dead.

As a motion to reconsider was not made on Monday of this week on the Senate floor, the bills in their current forms are moribund. However, they could be brought back in other ways through the chicanery of Pearce and his allies.

Now the Arizona human rights group Puente, headed by activist Sal Reza, has called a press conference for 10 a.m. today at the state Capitol to announce that Puente and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network stand behind continuing the boycott.

Puente's press release states:

"The Boycott will intensify and continue until SB1070 and other anti-migrant laws are repealed." Said Raul Cordero. Raul has been actively boycotting business associated with financing anti-migrant legislators in their election and reelection bids. "These legislators have taken Arizona to the brink of disaster causing major economic losses with their anti-human campaigns against workers and law abiding residents of Arizona." Concluded Isabel Garcia from Tucson

There have been statements by local activists groups to the fact that the boycott would be lifted if the bills were not reconsidered.. The Barrio Defense Committees with more than 20 active chapters in Maricopa, NDLON (National Day Labor Organizing Network) with 40 member organizations nationwide, Derechos Humanos, International Action Center based in Tucson and others to be disclosed at Press Conference will be present to declare the intensification of the Arizona Boycott.

The New York Times took notice of the Arizona legislative change regarding five anti-migrant bills. However, it also noted; "While it is a relief to see realizing that bigotry is bad for business, it is not the end of harsh, shortsighted laws." The Editorial concluded, "it's important to note that none of the objections by Arizona's businesses had anything to do with the strong moral arguments against xenophobic anti-immigration bills."

The boycott will continue until SB1070 is thrown into the trash bin of History.

There have been legitimate disagreements over the boycott, which I have supported as a cudgel to beat Arizona's redneck politicians into line. For instance, my colleague, Phoenix New Times music editor Martin Cizmar has been vocal in his criticism of Sound Strike, the music boycott of Arizona led by Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha.

While I respect the views of Cizmar, and certainly of Ortega, for whom I have great admiration, I don't think the war is over just because one battle has been won. 

It's not for me to decide if the boycott should continue, of course. That's the purview of the activists. But until Russell Pearce is removed from power and the tide of hate in this state is reversed, the pressure on Arizona to change its ways should continue, whatever form that pressure takes.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons