Charging The Cavalry
Down Prison Road
Games of Shame
Our Kind of Guy
Zaps - 10/10
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SB1070 And The Banality Of Evil
A heavyset man dressed in camouflage pants, boots, and a navy blue T-shirt stands in front of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's tent city. The man waves a large confederate flag with a rattlesnake in the middle and the words "Don't Tread on Me" written across the bottom. The flag swirls in the hot air of this May 2, 2009 afternoon. To the left of this man is another with an automatic weapon in a tactical drop holster strapped around his thigh. He is waving the flag of the state of Arizona. To the right of the first man is a guy dressed in black standing on a Mexican flag, holding a large banner that says "Deport All Illegal Scum." The eyes of these three men are fixed on a stream of marchers demanding comprehensive immigration reform who have walked six miles from downtown Phoenix.
The heavyset man, J.T. Ready, has periodically received attention from the local press and from watchdog organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center. In June 2010, he organized a "minutemen on steroids" patrol in the Arizona desert. His name has also surfaced in discussions of Russell Pearce, the person behind SB1070. Pearce has lately disowned Ready, though Ready has not necessarily disowned Pearce. Characters such as Ready and his buddies in the national socialist movement are only the most visible aspect of an unwanted inheritance.
Most policymakers do not like to speak of race and immigration in the same breath, but there are good reasons why the ghost of race is not easily put to rest when it comes to immigration. Decisions and policies formulated by government officials and citizen groups are bound up with a complex history in which racialized identities circulate in different guises. Powerful ideas such as the nation, sovereignty, national security, cultural integrity, and criminality orbit around these constructions in a complicated constellation that creates openings for such thought-stopping claims as: "It's got nothing to do with race. It's about obeying the law."
During the past several years all of these ideas, but especially security and crime have been cited as justifications for stricter immigration enforcement, culminating in Arizona's SB1070, Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. Race has often been used to demonize those considered the enemy in times of war. We are now living through a moment in history in which war has been declared on undocumented migrants, their families, their communities, and by extension all of our communities. The goal is to make "them" go away. This war goes by the name of "attrition through enforcement" and is the brainchild of Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which presents itself as an impartial, research organization, but which has been identified as part of the nativist lobby by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In May 2006, Krikorian wrote an article entitled "A Third Way," which he suggested was better than legalization or mass deportation. This third way, or "attrition through enforcement," would "prevent illegals from being able to embed themselves in our society, denying them access to jobs, identification, housing, and in general making it as difficult as possible for an illegal immigrant to live a normal life."
While no overarching federal or local enforcement strategy goes by the name of "attrition through enforcement," its underlying philosophy has been embraced by officials across the political spectrum and it has become the de facto way of dealing with undocumented immigration in various places such as Arizona. SB1070 is part of this strategy, but so are the numerous other anti-immigrant bills in Arizona and elsewhere that have preceded it and that will likely follow. Arizona's Proposition 200, which passed in November 2004 with 56 percent of the vote, was a forerunner of this strategy. Prop. 200 was a ballot initiative that, among other things, required proof of citizenship to vote. Ostensibly a local measure, it was pushed by a group called Protect Arizona Now (PAN). However, crucial support was provided by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) through a signature drive and ad campaign.
Dr. Virginia Abernathy who was brought in as an advisor at the time held leadership positions in several organizations that advocate racial purity—for example, the Council of Conservative Citizens that has its origins in the White Citizens Councils of the 1960s. Abernathy is currently on the advisory board of the Occidental Quarterly, a white separatist publication whose editor is Kevin MacDonald, director of the American Third Position, which has recently gained notoriety for its contributions to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's defense fund.
In November 2006, Arizona passed 4 propositions all of which received more than 70 percent voter approval:
- Prop.100 amended the Arizona constitution to deny bail to undocumented migrants charged with Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 felonies
- Prop.102 denies civil lawsuit awards to anyone who is undocumented
- Prop.103 makes English the official language of Arizona
- Prop.300 requires undocumented students to pay out-of-state tuition at public universities and prohibits them from receiving any type of financial assistance that is funded with state money
None of these have been enough for folks like Russell Pearce who now want to eliminate birthright citizenship for babies born to parents without documentation and charge undocumented children tuition for attending public schools.
Arizona is not alone in this frenzy to "rid" the country of migrants without papers. One of the earliest and most well-known pieces of local legislation was an ordinance passed by the City Council in Hazelton, Pennsylvania on July 13, 2006. This legislation made English the official language, imposed fines on landlords who rented to undocumented migrants, and revoked the business permits of those who hired them. The ordinance was found unconstitutional a year later, but that did not stop it from having a negative effect. People began packing up and leaving just as they are now doing in Arizona. The most recent is Fremont, Nebraska where voters approved a ban on hiring or renting property to undocumented migrants. The vote in Nebraska was the culmination of a two-year process of collecting signatures and putting the ban on the ballot.
These actions are not simply isolated local events, but part of the broader "attrition through enforcement" philosophy. They are often coordinated at the national level by anti-immigrant organizations such as FAIR and its affiliates. FAIR is based in Washington, DC and has over 200,000 members nationwide. It is the largest, oldest, and best known anti-immigrant organization and acts as something of an umbrella for the movement as a whole. Kris Kobach, the lawyer who wrote Arizona's SB1070, works for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, an affiliate of FAIR. Kobach was also involved in the Fremont, Nebraska ordinance. FAIR helped start the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) in 1985—the organization run by Krikorian. FAIR and CIS, major players in the anti-immigrant movement, have supported border vigilantes such as the Minuteman Project. CIS reports, articles, and studies are widely cited by immigration researchers and frequently appear in the mainstream press. Its directors often testify on Capitol Hill and have played a central role in legitimating the exclusionary practices in place today.
The underlying logic of these strategies is a very dangerous one that functions to legitimate extremists such as J.T. Ready and creates an atmosphere of indifference, intolerance, and hate. Ordinary citizens and political leaders have bought into the dubious notions that our borders are not secure, that violence is spilling across the border from Mexico into the United States, and that most undocumented migrants are criminals.
We are constantly bombarded with these messages from our leaders, the press, and the television news media. Brewer's recent comment that most undocumented migrants were drug smugglers and John McCain's TV ad that says we need to finish "da dang fence" are prime examples of this. It should come as no surprise that folks like J.T. Ready are attracted to the anti-immigrant cause or that Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeau appears on a white supremacist radio program or that a white supremacist organization like American Third Position contributes to Governor Brewer's defense fund. Both the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League report significant increases in hate groups that use the national immigration debate to attract new members. Many, if not most, of these hate groups are white supremacist/white nationalist.
Folks like J.T. Ready and the overtly supremacist groups they belong to, as well as ostensibly more "moderate" groups such as Jim Gilchrist's Minuteman Project, no longer have center stage in the anti-immigrant movement. To a large extent they have been up-staged by elected officials and anti-immigrant lawyers like Kris Kobach who share important aspects of their ideology.
Writer Hannah Arendt coined the term the "banality of evil" to convey the notion that evil frequently happens not at the hands of extremists, but is enacted by everyday people, "just like us," who believe they are doing what must be done, who accept the misguided premises on which unquestioned ideas are often based. In an important sense, it is the banality of evil, rather than the overt displays of racism and intolerance, that is equally, if not more, dangerous to the country and the values it professes.
This is not to say that every individual who opposes immigration is a white supremacist. It is to suggest that powerful ideas about culture, national identity, and race have historically been intertwined in disturbing ways, which have permitted practices we as a nation now regret. Add to these, today's widespread (though factually inaccurate) narratives about security and crime and we have a situation that gives racism many places to hide.
Roxanne Lynn Doty is a professor at Arizona State University and lives in the "epicenter of the anti-immigrant movement." She is the author of The Law Into Their Own Hands (University of Arizona Press, 2009).
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; email@example.com; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; email@example.com; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; firstname.lastname@example.org http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: email@example.com; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; email@example.com.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; email@example.com; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: email@example.com; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.