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5/3/2005 - Mike Davis on Vigilantes....their legacy from the PAST

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  • Al Soto
    Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 13:24:57 -0700 (PDT) From: Rosalio Munoz Subject: Fwd: Mike Davis on vigilantes ... Mike Davis ... they
    Message 1 of 1 , May 4, 2005
      Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 13:24:57 -0700 (PDT)
         From: Rosalio Munoz <rosalio_munoz@...>
      Subject: Fwd: Mike Davis on vigilantes

      Mike Davis

      >>"The local people whipped themselves into a mold of cruelty. Then
      they formed units, squads, and armed them - armed them with clubs, with
      gas, with guns. We own the country. We can't let these Okies get out of
      >>(John Steinbeck, THE GRAPES OF WRATH)
      >>The vigilantes are back. In the 1850s they lynched Irishmen; in the
      >>1870s they terrorized the Chinese; in the 1910s they murdered
      striking Wobblies; in the 1920s they organized "Bash a Jap" campaigns; and in
      the 1930s they welcomed the Joads and other Dust Bowl refugees with
      teargas and buckshot.
      >>Vigilantes have always been to the American West what the Ku Klux
      Klan has been to the South: vicious and cowardly bigotry organized as a
      >>self-righteous mob. Almost every decade, some dismal group of
      >>self-proclaimed patriots mobilizes to repel a new invasion or
      >>Their wrath has almost always been directed against the poorest, most
      >>powerless and hard-working segment of the population: recent migrants
      >>Donegal, Guangdong, Oklahoma, or, now, Oaxaca. And their rant, as
      >>broadcast daily on dozens of AM hate radio programs in California and
      >>Southwest, is still the same as described by Steinbeck:
      >>Men who had never been hungry saw the eyes of the hungry. � They
      >>'These goddamned Okies are dirty and ignorant.
      They're degenerate,
      >>maniacs. These goddamed Okies are thiefs. They'll steal anything.
      >>They've got no sense of property rights.'
      >>The most publicized of today's vigilantes, of course, are the
      >>'Minutemen' who began their armed patrol of the Arizona-Mexico border
      >>appropriately - on April Fool's Day. The Tombstone, Arizona-based
      >>is the latest incarnation of the anti-immigrant patrols that have
      >>the borderlands for more than a decade.
      >>Vowing to defend national sovereignty against the Brown Peril, a
      series of
      >>shadowy paramilitary groups, led by racist ranchers and self-declared
      >>'Aryan warriors' - and egged on by rightwing radio jocks - have
      >>illegally detained, beaten, and murdered immigrants crossing through
      >>desert cauldrons of Arizona and
      >>The Minuteman Project - picturesquely headquartered at Tombstone's
      >>Miracle Valley Bible College - is both theater of the absurd and a
      >>attempt to move vigilantism into the mainstream of conservative
      >>Its principal organizers - a retired accountant and a former
      >>teacher, both from Southern California - mesmerized the press with
      >>promise of a thousand heavily-armed super-patriots confronting the
      >>hordes eyeball-to-eyeball along the international border in Cochise
      >>In the event, they turned out perhaps 150 sorry-ass gun freaks and
      >>sociopaths who spent a few days in lawn chairs cleaning their rifles,
      >>jabbering to the press, and peering through binoculars at the
      >>cactus-covered mountains where several hundred immigrants perish each
      heatstroke and thirst.
      >> >From one perspective, it was a silly ending to an obvious publicity
      >>Armageddon on the border was never every likely, if only because
      >>undocumented immigrants read or hear the news like everyone else.
      >>Confronted with the Minutemen and the hundreds of extra Border Patrol
      >>to keep them out of trouble, campesinos simply waited patiently on
      >>Sonora side for the vigilantes to get sunburned and go home. Then the
      >>normal, deadly business of the Border resumed.
      >>Yet it would be a mistake to underestimate the impact of this
      incident on
      >>Republican politics. For the first time, the Bush administration is
      >>feeling seriously embattled - - not by Democrats (they would never be
      >>impolite), but by incipient rebellions on its own flanks.
      >>The unpopularity of Bush's proposed
      privatization of social security
      >>provided so-called 'moderate' Republicans (think Colin Powell and
      >>McCain) with a wedge issue to contest the presidential succession in
      >>More importantly, the activist grassroots of the party, especially in
      >>the West and the South, is aflame with anger about the president's
      >>proposed guestworker treaty with Mexico, as well as his larger
      strategy of
      >>wooing Latino voters.
      >>The anti-Latino backlash which that evil scorcerer, former California
      >>governor Pete Wilson, helped summon to life in the early 1990s
      >>(culminating in immigrant-bashing Proposition 187), has failed to
      >>die away as Karl Rove and other Republican strategists might have
      >>Over the last decade, instead, the campaigns against immigrant social
      >>rights and the use of Spanish in schools, which originated in
      >>have been exported to Arizona, Colorado and Southern states with
      >>Latin American populations.
      >>Like earlier anti-abortion protests (which culminated, of course, in
      >>rightwing terrorism), the vigilante movement offers a dramatic tactic
      >>capturing press attention, galvanizing opposition to immigration, and
      >>shifting the balance of power within the national Republican party.
      >>Moreover, to the discomfort of the White House, the Minutemen have
      >>an ardent admirer in Sacramento.
      >>In an interview on one of his favorite rightwing radio shows (28
      >>Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger praised the vigilantes as heroes.
      >>"I think they've done a terrific job. They've cut down the crossing
      >>illegal immigrants a huge percentage. So it just shows that it works
      >>you go
      and make and effort and when you work hard. It's a doable
      >>Later, after furious Latinos leaders accused him of "scapegoating and
      >>immigrant bashing," Schwarzenegger defiantly reiterated that he would
      >>welcome the help of the Minutemen on the California border. (As he so
      >>often does, the governor followed this with the non sequitor
      >>that he was a "champion of immigrants.")
      >>If the governor sounds like he is channeling his 'inner Nazi,' it is
      >>because he is desperate. His hulking celebrity is no longer a
      >>and Schwarzenegger is dogged everywhere he goes these days by the
      >>nurses, schoolteachers, and firefighters whose budgets he has
      >>In recent months, his rating in opinion polls has fallen by 20 points
      >>the ghost of Gray Davis now shadows his future.
      >>So Arnie
      has gone back to the same dismal swamp of hate radio and
      >>white guys in pickup trucks where he won the governorship in 1993.
      >>issue then was drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants (how would we
      >>that Bin Laden himself wasn't tooling down the Hollywood Freeway?).
      >>it's the right of citizens to "help the Border Patrol" or, if need
      be, to
      >>render Western justice themselves to the alien invaders.
      >>With a Vigilante Man in the governor's mansion in Sacramento, the
      >>Minuteman provocation ("tens of thousands of volunteers blockading
      Mexican border this fall") may be tragedy not farce.

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      Buy Hydrogen or Hybrid Vehicles, not Hummers.  The government and the NEWS should reflect, not determine, the desires of the people.The news is to be reported not a melodrama of constant trivia. The founding fathers knew that government is always corrupt, that is why they gave us civil liberties.  The people must lead to survive corrupt governments. Read the constitution. (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this includes information for research and educational purposes.)  Al Soto (c) 2005

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