Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A friendly reminder - or not,

depending of course on one's perspective. A couple items for your consideration, given that some issues seem perpetual. First, Black Agenda Report's Lee Cokorinos has an article up on The Racist Roots of the Anti-Immigration Movement.

We've touched on nativist racism before, looking of course at its history. Needless to say, even though spreaders of hate have been quite busy these past few years (see, When the extreme becomes mainstream - immigration edition; and David Neiwert's Eliminationism in America: Apendix and scroll down to sections D and E for a few exemplars), we can trace modern nativism back to two strains, as Cokorinos notes: cultural supremacy (think of good old "manifest destiny") and eugenics. Of course even a cursory look at the roots would take you even further back to the first European and English contacts with the indigenous peoples of the Americas (documented for example by David Stannard's book American Holocaust) and Africa (see for example social psychologist James Jones' book Prejudice and Racism), respectively. Basically the short version of a very long story is that with a possible few exceptions, today's anti-immigrant rhetoric and action is essentially racist in nature in much the same fashion as the Know Nothings' anti-Irish rhetoric and action during the 1850s.

Second up, speaking of the ghosts of Manifest Destiny past coming back to haunt us, check out this article by Brenda Norrell found over at The NarcoSphere (Terrorism reigns in America):
THE GATE, TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION (Arizona) -- While Homeland Security announced the forced occupation and takeover of Lipan Apache lands in Texas for the border wall yesterday, I was at the Arizona border once again being bullied by the US Border Patrol.
All along the border, Homeland Security's Border Patrol is intimidating and harassing the people who have lived here all their lives.
The Tohono O'odham have lived here since time immemorial. Now their land has been seized and taken over by the Border Patrol, the contractor Boeing and the invading National Guardsmen, for construction of the border wall. The graves of O'odham ancestors have been dug up, according to the traditional O'odham.
All along the border, young people are intimidated and harassed constantly. Tailgating police, excessive force and Nazi-style prosecutors push young people into rage and jails.
[snip]
In Texas, Margo Tamez, Lipan Apache/Jumano Apache, called for immediate support Thursday, Dec. 6, when Homeland Security announced the occupation of lands where Apache land title holders are refusing to sign NSA waivers for the border wall.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the United States will seize private lands in south Texas for the border wall, using the law of eminent domain. Tamez said, "We need your help on our continuing efforts to protect and keep safe the elders of our struggle against U.S. tyranny."
Chertoff announced plans to force occupation of South Texas families who refuse to allow the government access to their lands.
Tamez said, "'Refusers' such as the Lipan Apache Land Grant Women Defense, led by my mother, Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan Apache, Basque-Apache), in the rancheria of El Calaboz, have frustrated the NSA, Border Patrol and Army Corps of Engineers officials for over two years, and increasingly in the last two months.
"Using tactics such as public announcements over the news service, used as intimidation and as psychological warfare--NSA/Chertoff exploits the press to prepare the nation to invade South Texas--and indigenous peoples--who are being 'architected as the perpetual enemies of the United States.' This is an old story of genocidal tactics and militarization.
"This scenario played out before, in 19th century, in 20th century. And now the 21st, my mother, the 'child of lightning ceremony', is fighting for the vestiges of our traditional lands.
"My mother, and the ancestors of 'the place where the Lipan pray', have been critical to our land-based struggle, and they are leaders in an Apache struggle in the Mexico-US International Boundary region. Our elder voices direct us in a huge role that Apache people will play in standing up against tyranny of the settler society. We cannot do this without the support and the solidarity of our indigenous sisters and brothers who are also at the forefront of the 21st century battles for our rights as indigenous people with ancient footprints on this land.
"My mother, at this stage of our community-based struggle, indicates that she is prepared to receive national and international support for our small community on the peripheries of U.S. empire. She wrote a comment on the page of this newsstory out of Houston, Texas.
"Today we are submitting our comments to the Environmental Impact Statement authorities, and parallel to that we are submitting an in depth case study of our histories under U.S., Mexican, Spanish, Vatican and corporate domination to the International Indian Treaty Council shadow report to be submitted to the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racism and Racial Discrimination in December," Tamez said.
Big Bad Government typically plays the "war on terra" and "national security" cards in justifying the seizure of others' land. As an aside, we find the same thing going on - minus the racism - in the US Army's ongoing effort to seize much of Southeastern Colorado (see my periodic references to the current Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site expansion). One striking consequence of today's nativism is that it once more is trampling over what is left of indigenous cultures along the border in the name of building this century's Great Wall - a wall that is intended to blockade displaced farmers and factory workers who have felt first-hand the wrath of NAFTA and who are facing the very real likelihood of starvation (their own and their families). Not that the nativists among us care particularly.

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