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11/17/2005 - Fwd: [Noii-announce] November 20: Trade Agreements, Border Politics, and Racist Vigilantes

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  • Al Soto
    No One is Illegal-Vancouver wrote: Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 08:25:29 -0800 (PST) From: No One is Illegal-Vancouver
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 17, 2005

      No One is Illegal-Vancouver <noii-van@...> wrote:
      Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 08:25:29 -0800 (PST)
      From: "No One is Illegal-Vancouver" <noii-van@...>
      To: "noiilist" <noii-l@...>
      Subject: [Noii-announce] November 20: Trade Agreements, Border Politics,
      and Racist Vigilantes

      * please post widely... No One is Illegal statement below ***

      Time is Up for the Minutemen!
      Sunday, November 20th, 2005 from 2 – 5 PM
      SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings

      Join us in a discussion about groups like the Minutemen and the threat
      they pose to our communities, the ways in which the "the war on terror"
      legitimizes the actions of such groups, and the global neo-liberal
      realities of migration.

      * Rosalinda Guillen: migrated to Washington state where she picked crops
      from the age of 10. Her tireless work resulted in the first-ever
      collective bargaining agreement for farm workers in Washington and she
      became NW Regional Director and National VP for United Farm Workers.

      * Michael Vendiola: from the Swinomish Nation, and currently Ethnic
      Student Center's coordinator at Western Washington University.

      * Chinmoy Banerjee: former professor in the Department of English at SFU
      and founding member of the BC Organization to Fight Racism in the 1980s
      mobilizing against KKK violence.

      * Lawrence J. Estrada: Associate Professor of Social Theory and
      Comparative/Ethnic Studies at Fairhaven College and Director of American
      Cultural Studies at Western Washington University.

      * Mandeep Dhillon: organizer with No One Is Illegal Vancouver.

      Organized by: No One Is Illegal Vancouver
      For more information: noii-van at resist.ca or call 604-450-1680.



      No One is Illegal-Vancouver denounces and completely opposes the Minutemen
      Project. We oppose all such vigilante attacks against our communities. On
      October 1, 2005, the Minutemen launched their campaign on the
      U.S./Canadian border. They have already been met with clear opposition
      from community groups on both sides of the border. We affirm that this
      opposition will continue to grow and that we stand united against and will
      not tolerate any such activity on the Canadian side of this border.

      Since April of 2005, the Minutemen have engaged in the targeting of
      racialized communities under the pretext of preserving U.S. security. The
      Minuteman Project has arisen out of a history of vigilante groups
      patrolling the U.S/Mexico border against “illegals” and “potential
      terrorists”. The post 9/11 climate has perpetuated the false association
      between migrants and terrorism. A new anti-terrorist paradigm guides
      enforcement and immigration matters are now contextualized within the “war
      on terrorism” where the result is an increased number of abuses of
      migrants and racialized communities. The very basis of racial profiling is
      the double standard by which individual members of communities are
      stereotyped and legislation is passed and legitimized to criminalize their
      civil liberties and human rights. The Minutemen Project is based on this
      very false consciousness.

      Members of the Minuteman Project have been shown to have clear ties with
      white supremacist groups such as the National Alliance, yet they have
      attempted to distance themselves from the allegations of racially
      motivated actions by stating “ethnicity, race, religion and all
      suchfactors are incidental and irrelevant in the debate over illegal
      immigration”. However, any just account of the migration of peoples of the
      Third World needs to recognize that ethnicity, race and religion have been
      central to the political, social and economic repression which are the
      driving forces behind this displacement. These borders have been made open
      to the free movement of the very corporations and neo-liberal policies
      causing oppressive displacement but decidedly closed to those migrating
      humans deemed undesirable.

      Furthermore, the “illegal” movement to which they refer includes that of
      Indigenous peoples who are simply traversing borders which were imposed
      upon them, dividing their territories and communities. The Minutemen have
      falsely claimed that they have the support and are working in the best
      interest of Indigenous nations – protecting their land from the invasion
      of illegal migrants. However, various Indigenous communities have already
      denied such claims.

      Finally, they have openly stated that they are concerned by the "tens of
      millions of invading illegal aliens who are devouring and plundering
      [their] nation". The Minutemen have labeled migrants as being “people who
      wish to take advantage of a free society”. The reality is that the U.S.
      and Canadian economie take advantage of the cheap labour of such migrants-
      who work farms, cook food and clean homes- yet they remain invisible and
      under constant threat of inhumane immigration policies and racist
      backlash. By equating the movement of migrants to an “invasion”, they have
      clearly attempted to foster anti-migrant sentiment – furthering the threat
      of violence against already marginalized communities.

      Therefore we, along with numerous civil rights organizations and community
      groups in the U.S., are gravely concerned by the impunity with which such
      a group that has clearly stated racist views and alliances has been
      allowed to carry out armed border patrols. It is not lost upon us that
      there exists an obvious political and social double standard, by which
      communities of color have been increasingly subjected to arbitrary
      detentions, racial profiling and charged for being terror suspects on
      secret evidence or no evidence, while vigilante groups whose work actually
      harms and terrorizes communities have been either openly or tacitly
      supported by government officials.

      Besides the deployment of border patrol units, the Minutemen have put out
      national calls to recruit “informants” on “illegal aliens”, their
      employers and anyone engaged in what they term “identification fraud”.
      Their statements have promoted an environment of constant insecurity for
      those who are already the most insecure individuals of marginalized
      communities – people who suffer the greatest poverty, racism, inhumane
      working conditions and lack of social services; people who face
      exploitation on every front.

      The Minutemen are a present day example of a history of violence towards
      migrants. Over 3,500 people have died crossing the US/Mexico border since
      1994. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said at least 464 migrants
      died crossing the border from Mexico into the US during the fiscal year
      that ended Sept. 30. And let us remember that in the U.S. invasion of
      Mexico at least 25,000 Mexican people were murdered for the land the
      Minutemen patrol today.

      Since the North American Free Trade Agreement’s (NAFTA) implementation in
      1994, the economic consequences of the neoliberal trade policy has created
      a multifaceted crisis that now dominates the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico
      border. Economically violent policies like NAFTA force people off their
      land and out of their communities- over 1.5 Million Mexican farmers have
      lost their farms as a result of NAFTA- to migrate towards the Northern
      economy to work in low-paying sectors of the economy that heavily rely on
      their hyper-exploitable labour.

      The simultaneous militarization of the border through Operation Gatekeeper
      has drastically transformed the fragile desert land over the past decade.
      Black helicopters and unmanned drones patrol the desert by sky, searching
      for human beings with infrared cameras. Families living in Nogales, one
      city divided by the border, see a large concrete and steel wall topped
      with barbed wire everyday. Gatekeeper was developed with help from the
      U.S. Department of Defense's Center for Low Intensity Conflicts and has
      been implemented in three phases. Each has raised the risks of migrants
      dying, yet Border Patrols confirms that the added dangers have not slowed
      the migrant foot traffic.

      “Through my eyes, the problem is that what occurs on the U.S. México
      border is one of the grossest human rights violations in the history of
      the United States,” states Ray Ybarra, American Civil Liberties Union
      spokesperson, “Here in our backyard, human beings have to face death and

      In a petition filed year before last with the Organization of American
      States, the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego & Imperial
      Counties and the Oceanside-based California Rural Legal Assistance
      Foundation have charged that the U.S. government has flagrantly abused
      human rights by resorting to a strategy at the border designed to maximize
      the physical risks, which cannot be reconciled with the obligation to
      protect life, be it an undocumented person's or a citizen's.

      The end result of the Minuteman Project will be an even more militarized
      border; more migrant deaths, and more fear in our communities. We are
      disturbed by the fact that the Minutemen have stated their larger goal is
      setting “not only an example for other Americans to follow, but a
      precedent we hope will have a lasting effect on how border security is
      viewed for generations to come.” Canada and the US have already developed
      a militarized and integrated, so-called Smart Border Policy, including the
      Safe Third Country Agreement implemented in December 2004 and known to
      many as Fortress North America.

      We cannot forget our basic moral underpinnings as to how we treat other
      human beings.

      No One is Illegal-Vancouver
      To subscribe to low-traffic email annoucement list email noii-van@...

      web: http://noii-van.resist.ca
      email: noii-van@...
      (604)682-3269 x 7149
      Office 714, 207 West Hastings, Vancouver BC V6B 1H7

      The No One is Illegal campaign is in full confrontation with Canadian
      colonial border policies, denouncing and taking action to combat racial
      profiling of immigrants and refugees, detention and deportation policies,
      and wage-slave conditions of migrant workers and non-status people.

      We struggle for the right for our communities to maintain their
      livelihoods and resist war, occupation and displacement, while building
      alliances and supporting indigenous sisters and brothers also fighting
      theft of land and displacement.

      Noii-l mailing list

      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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