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Fwd: Baldwin Park Round Two: A lesson in a Movement that is building

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  • Al Soto
    El Mensajero wrote:Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 11:50:31 -0700 (PDT) From: El Mensajero Subject: Baldwin Park
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2005

      El Mensajero <mudpmensajero@...> wrote:
      Date: Thu, 30 Jun 2005 11:50:31 -0700 (PDT)
      From: El Mensajero <mudpmensajero@...>
      Subject: Baldwin Park Round Two: A lesson in Movement Building
      To: minutemenwatch@yahoogroups.com

      Baldwin Park Round Two
      A lesson in movement building and keeping the peace by
      any means necessary

      There was a lot riding on the event that happened this
      last Saturday, June 25th. There was much more
      activity going on aside from the presence of the
      Minutemen/SOS in Baldwin Park. There was much more at
      stake than simply protesting the Minutemen/SOS, and
      that was to make a significant effort to control our
      own event, our own protest, build our own movement and
      to support the local organizers from the Baldwin Park
      community in their own struggle.

      Within our own demonstration, which was surrounded and
      contained by an army of police and separated from the
      Minutemen/SOS camp by approximately 100 yards we had
      to be alert for anything that would disrupt the event
      and allow the police (who were armed to the teeth with
      assault rifles and much more) to repress our cultural
      protest and our growing movement. We understand well
      from the experience of the Chicano Movement that
      repression on behalf of the police is almost always
      instigated by “protesters?amongst the people, whether
      they are paid police agents or just plain idiots who
      don’t know what they are doing. We also understand
      that repression on behalf of the state has been
      effective in destroying movements and the people’s
      fighting spirit and morale, especially when
      organizations are not in a position to respond to
      repression in an effective manner, either by legal or
      other means. So as organizers of the event, and
      especially as security personnel for the event, we had
      to keep the peace by all means in order for this
      movement to grow and to keep the men, women and
      children who attended from being hurt, beaten or
      gassed by the police.

      Errors and Lessons from Baldwin Park 1
      Due to the number of people who participated and the
      lack of security for the event, Baldwin Park 1 was a
      free for all event. Certain organizations, such as
      the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and
      others who attended broke unity with the event and
      split the demonstrations into two factions. People
      left the permitted protest area to confront the
      Minutemen/SOS face to face and ultimately put the
      entire event at risk of being called an “unlawful
      assembly?and repressed by the police. Known agent
      provocateurs such as Frank “Mohammed?Martinez,
      dressed in Muslim garb were a part of this crowd and
      eventually, some unknown person threw a water bottle
      at the opposing side. This and other undisciplined
      acts compromised the whole event, but luckily, there
      was no further response either by the police or the
      Minutemen/SOS. Our concern here is not so much for
      the safety of the Minutemen/SOS, or a “fear?of the
      police and their guns (which any unarmed person in
      their right minds should have some fear of, especially
      if you’re Mexican or African), but for the
      working-class people from the community who brought
      their babies and their children with them. Our
      concern is for these people who have never come out
      to protest anything before, who are outraged enough to
      begin to take a political stance at this particular
      moment and who we need to protect in order so that
      they can come out again to the next meeting or other
      political function. Our concern is for the future of
      a movement we are trying to build which is the only
      means we have to deal with people like the Minutemen
      and the bigger problems we have and will continue to
      have once they leave the scene.

      Having learned from the errors of the first Baldwin
      Park demonstration, the organizers of Baldwin Park
      Round Two made the efforts to prevent these situations
      from arising again. In order to create an environment
      which will allow for the community to come out of
      their homes and participate in this protest, the event
      was organized as a cultural event with live music,
      teatro and pi?tas. It was agreed that since these
      Minutemen/SOS fear or hate our culture, or languages
      and our history so much, we would counter-protest them
      with our culture, our languages and our history. This
      would be an alternative to just yelling and screaming
      at the Minutemen, which in fact, is what the
      Minutemen/SOS expected and what they wanted from us.
      They wanted us to yell and scream at them because they
      are looking for this kind of attention. So instead,
      the organizers became creative and used culture and
      art to protest these lunatics. A team of artists, in
      which renowned Chicana artist Judy Baca participated
      with, created a powerful picket-sign display which
      expressed the sentiments of much of what has been
      discussed throughout these months of madness since the
      Minutemen moved their lazy asses off their couches and
      onto lawn chairs to observe “Meskins? This would
      take away the focus from their pathetic protest and
      would reaffirm the value and the worth of our culture
      to our community. This in fact was the most
      revolutionary stance we could havae taken this day and
      is evident of new and meaningful tactics being used
      which will allow for our movement to grow.

      Also, a security team was formed with the combined
      efforts of the Harmony Keepers and Mexicanos Unidos en
      Defensa del Pueblo along with others and a permitted
      protest area was designated and announced to everyone
      with the cautionary note stating that should anyone,
      or any group protest outside of the designated area,
      they would be on their own and would no longer be a
      part of the organized protest and if they were to
      leave the area, they were not to not be allowed to
      re-enter our demonstration. In other words, if they
      were going to create a confrontation with the police,
      they would deal with it themselves and would not bring
      the community along with them.

      Having set the terms for how the protest was going to
      take place, the event had gone much calmer and
      smoother than the previous one and allowed for a clear
      line to be drawn between a disciplined and organized
      demonstration versus any other type of demonstration
      which only invites for agent provocateurs to do their
      thing. As the culture and art took their place in the
      event and took the focus away from the Minutemen a few
      incidents took place which tested the emotions and the
      discipline of the organizers and the protesters. On a
      few occasions, Minutemen and SOS members deliberately
      walked either through the permitted protest area or
      very near by the area, occasionally animating the
      crowd. Our security team was on the scene to tell the
      police about these intruders and to calm down the
      crowd in order to avoid confrontations.

      Also, the ISO or so called “socialists?and their sub
      organizations had decided, for reasons only known to
      them, to disunite with a Mexican/Latino led event to
      demonstrate on the other side of the taped-off area
      which separated the permitted area of protest from the
      non-permitted area. All they needed to do was step a
      few feet to the right in order to be in the permitted
      area, but again, for reasons only known to them, they
      chose to be on their own and disunite with the
      cultural demonstration. In a further show of disunity
      and in an opportunistic manner they managed to pull
      people out of our event and led a march toward the
      police barricade, as if they were a part of the
      demonstration and the coalition. Their attempt to
      animate the few people from the community who joined
      them did not last long, especially after our security
      team, using a bullhorn, warned the people that anyone
      on the other side of the tape was not in a permitted
      area of protest and were on their own.

      As if this form of disrespect wasn’t enough, they
      again went back to the main area where the cultural
      demonstration was taking place to get some more
      people, and marched back to the same un-permitted
      location. This time they had a few more people with
      them. At first the police did not seem to react to
      this situation, so we did not make a big deal out of
      it either. But then it became apparent that the
      police had called for back up, so once again, we
      announced to them that anyone on the other side of the
      tape was not in the permitted protest area, that these
      people were instigators of illegal actions and that
      they would only provoke a police confrontation. All
      they needed to do was be on the other side of the
      yellow tape to do the same thing they were doing, but
      without putting people at risk. Apparently, most of
      the people there weren’t ready for a confrontation
      with the police, so the “socialists?were left
      wandering around on their own. The fact that they
      call themselves, “socialists?is a cruel joke because
      if they truly had some type of socialistic
      inclinations, they would unite with Mexican/Latino and
      colonized people’s rights to self-determination and
      would not attempt to factionalize and divide an event
      in order to get people to join their protest. Since
      they are pseudo-socialists, (or maybe they are sincere
      but they don’t know what the hell they are doing) they
      have no ability to recruit or mobilize the
      Mexican/Latino community on their own, so they
      parasitically survive off the work of other
      organizations and eventually take the credit as if
      they did the work themselves.

      This has become even more evident in the articles and
      summations that have come out after the June 25th
      event, where these “leftist?organizations have not
      given any mention or credit to the organizers of the
      cultural protest. Not once have they been
      self-critical and mentioned that they broke unity with
      a Mexican/Latino led demonstration, nor do they give
      any explanation as to why they behaved so
      undisciplined and selfish. Furthermore, not once have
      any of these “socialist?groups addressed the question
      of this land being stolen Indian and Mexican land,
      which is part of the reason why the SOS have a problem
      with the monument, and which furthermore does not set
      the ISO too far apart from the Minutemen on
      ideological terms. Both groups are coming into our
      communities to tell us what to do and what not to do
      and neither are uniting with us on practical terms.
      The so called “socialists?luckily left our event to
      go play into the hands of the Minutemen/SOS by yelling
      and screaming at them. What was ridiculous is that
      when the Minutemen/SOS’s permit expired and they ended
      their demonstration, these “socialists?came back to
      our demonstration claiming that they “won?because
      they stayed there longer than the SOS! These people
      had no clue that the real battle was within the
      Mexican/Latino led demonstration.

      One final provocation took place which could only be
      summed up as a clear attempt to sabotage the
      demonstration and provoke a violent confrontation, and
      not between us and the Minutemen, but between us and
      the police. A Minutemen/SOS supporter (or very likely
      a police agent) had again walked nearby our protest
      area, at a time when the event was at its peak in
      terms of the number of people who were in attendance.
      This blue-eyed white male bearing a large American
      flag hanging from a stick quietly walked by a crowd of
      angry Chicanos and stood next to the police in the
      same un-permitted area of protest where the
      “socialists?had been an hour or so earlier. He did
      not say a thing, he just walked by, and stood in one
      place long enough for the angry young Chicanos to
      gather around him and get even angrier. Our security
      team had been escorting him out in order to prevent a
      provocation, but since at this point he wasn’t
      leaving, and the police weren’t doing anything about
      it, we had formed a circle around him. This
      Minutemen/SOS supporter/police agent stood right next
      to a line of police, so that if someone would have
      thrown an object, or tried to push or hit him, the
      police were right there to come down on the people.
      Using a bullhorn, one of our security members began
      to inform the crowd that they must calm down and get
      behind the yellow line. The security person informed
      everyone about how this idiotic person was clearly
      there to provoke an incident and cause for the police
      to get involved. People then hesitantly began to back
      away, while the rest of the security team began to
      tell the rest of the crowd to move back.
      After about 10 minutes of this, a fully armed platoon
      of police dressed in riot gear, donning assault
      rifles, shotguns and hand guns, arrived and placed
      this person under arrest. They could have easily
      taken this person across the police barricade and
      carried him away without any further interruptions,
      but they chose to parade him back along side of the
      area where the main event was taking place. The angry
      crowd of Chicanos, Mexicanos and other protestors
      followed the police and the security team quickly
      formed a buffer between the rifle yielding police and
      the angry crowd. This was an intense moment,
      especially being in the middle of it all, for as you
      looked to your right, you literally saw assault rifles
      and police with their fingers on the triggers almost
      in your face, and on the other side the emotional
      crowd of Chicanos and Mexicanos who could barely
      contain their anger. We had to maintain the peace at
      all costs. The European-American/Minutemen/SOS
      supporter/police provocateur was eventually taken away
      and the security team was quick to sum up this action
      as a provocation by the state. The crowd was informed
      in English and Spanish how important it was for us to
      remain peaceful and disciplined, and that this person
      was only trying to create an incident in which the
      police would have a reason to end the event and keep
      it from being successful. The fact that this incident
      was conducted within the proximity of the
      Mexican/Latino led protest and not where the
      “socialists?had been at the time, testifies to the
      importance of our protest in that they attempted to
      cause our event to fail.

      This incident was what tested the character, the
      organization and the discipline of the entire event
      and we met the challenge successfully. This is where
      the victory occurred on Saturday, in that we were able
      to maintain the peace and discipline by any means in
      order for our people to struggle another day. The
      biggest enemy we faced on Saturday was not the
      Minutemen, nor the SOS, nor even the colonial state.
      The hardest enemy to deal with is the internal enemy,
      our lack of organization, our lack of discipline and
      our lack of willingness to unite with other forces who
      struggle for the same cause, which keeps us from
      getting our shit together and which allows for the
      state to do their job that much easier. We succeeded
      in building and controlling our own movement.

      Mexicanos Unidos en Defensa del Pueblo
      202 W. Ammunition #38
      Fallbrook, CA. 92028
      (760) 451-1754
      ¡La lucha sigue!

      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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