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Communique: BACFM and Anarchist Action return from Shutdown of Minutemen & NoBorders March
Communique & Reportback on the Sep. 16-18 actions to Shutdown the Minutemen--Confrontation with and disruption of the Minutemen/No Borders March
The Minutemen Project is a grouping of various armed anti-immigrant, white supremacist, and nationalist vigilante factions that sprung up recently in Arizona, and two months ago were invited to California by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Their stated aim is to patrol the U.S./Mexico border and stop “illegal” migrants and “terrorists” from crossing the border into the U.S, and they have extensive ties to neo-Nazi and “Aryan” power groups. They have been actively patrolling the border with guns, threatening, detaining, harassing, and trampling the human rights of migrants attempting to cross. Already they have murdered two migrant workers in cold blood.
One such faction, The Friends of the Border Patrol, announced earl this Summer that they would monitor the stretches between San Diego's Border Field Park and Calexico starting September 16, the same date as Mexican Independence day. When they showed up on the weekend of Sep. 16-18, they were met by hundreds of direct action protestors confronting them, marching against borders, and disrupting their operations. The FBP leadership announced that they were forced to stop their patrols, at least for the week, if not for good. The actions were organized by a wide array of groups, organizations, and coalitions (about thirty) fighting for immigrant freedom in Calexico, Mexicali, San Diego, San Francisco and the South Bay, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Fresno, and other places. These included: Genta Unida, O.r.g.a.n.i.c. Collective, La Tierra es de Todos, The o.r.g.a.n.i.c. Collective, Anarchist Action, Bay Area Coalition to Fight the Minutemen, Blast Furnace Radio, Pittsburgh, PA, ABC Melbourne Australia. Anti-Racist Action LA, San Diego Renters Union, Peninsula Anarchist, Collective, San Diego Indymedia, El Laboratorio de Integracion Plastica "La Gargola", Mexico City, Anarchists in Mexicali, Mecha from Bakersfield, and others.
In San Diego, The Friends of the Border Patrol’s training session was shut down early in the morning of September 17, by a group of around 50 protestors yelling “No Borders, No Racists, No Classes, No Nations”. The FBP members were primarily middle-class, white, and male. The protesters blocked off the entrance to the Scottish Rites Center for a period of time, where the FBP training session was located and destroyed the FBP’s registration table and flag. Anti-racist protestors got up in the FBP’s faces, shouting and screaming. Physical clashes broke out between the fascists and the anti-racist protestors after a few of the vigilantes began to physically attack the protesters, including one who tackled and jumped a protestor. Then the police—an even more nefarious group of armed racists—arrived and tried to control the confrontational crowd, which was hard to remove from the building. Once they got the protestors into the parking lot, they immediately began assisting the vigilantes by handcuffing two organizers pointed out by the FBP. Both detainees where held for similar reasons, but the white detainee was released after only giving his name, while the Latino detained was cited with a misdemeanor charge. No member of the FBP received any reprimands. Protestors remained outside the building for quite a while chanting, yelling at police and minutemen, and dropping anti-border, anti-capitalist banners from highway overpasses.
A mass working-class No Borders and No Minutemen march took place later that day, on both sides of the illegitimate U.S./Mexico border, in Calexico and Mexicali. Around 600 protestors were present on both sides. Although there was a large presence from out of town, the majority of the participants were working-class residents of Calexico and Mexicali. There was a strong revolutionary and anarchist presence, especially on the Mexico side of the march. The two portions of the march met up at the downtown border fence, which separates Calexico and Mexicali. A revolutionary fervor was present in the atmosphere as huindreds of protestors on both sides swarmed the border fence, chanting No Capitalism, No Borders in Spanish. Some protestors were attacking the border fence with poles, rocks, and bricks, and started scaling the fence, waving Anarchist and Communist flags. The Calexico marchers reconvened at a park to celebrate and listen to speakers from a variety of local and regional organizations. Towards the end, three undercover cops appeared out of the crowd and arrested a protester on false graffiti charges. While the individual was being detained, about a hundred protesters staged a stand off with about 20 cops and a few INS guards; other protestors negotiated with the police for his release. The police were eventually pressured to let the detainee go.
On that same night, numerous anti-vigilante affinity groups went out to the desert, about 20 miles out of Calexico, seeking to disrupt the racist vigilantes’ patrol. To the anti-racists’ surprise, there were almost none to be found because they were scared off due to the earlier actions of the day. At the only confrontation that occurred, two FBP individuals and four anti-racists had a stand off. The protesters remained even after one of the vigilantes repeatedly fired shots at the sky and repacked his rifle, and then aimed it at the chest of a young Latina woman. Moments after this incident, the vigilantes left the scene when informed that other activists were on their way.
The FBP patrol was quickly called off by their leader, Andy Ramirez, due to the direct action resistance of anti-racist and anti-border protestors. “I can’t send them out if somebody is going to try to harm them,' Ramirez told the Los Angeles Times. He also wasn’t sure if they were even going to attempt to regroup for a patrol next week. (United Press International).
The following morning, a large vigil ceremony was held at the Calexico/ Mexicali border fence in honor of all who have died in attempts to cross the line. Then anarchists from north of the illegitimate border crossed into Mexico to meet with Anarchist groups from Mexicali. They discussed future activities, and cemented cross-border relationships. As nightfall occurred, anti-vigilante affinity groups continued anti-minutemen patrols just to make sure all the FBP really were gone, which they were. However, one car witnessed the Border Patrol itself in action, at a rural transfer point where migrant workers were rounded up en masse, to be sent back to Mexico.
The various groupings that make up the Minutemen Project are acting with the tacit approval of the U.S. government because they are fighting for the interests of the bosses and corporations that control it. When the Sep. 11 attacks occurred, the capitalist government utilized the media as state-sponsored propaganda to spread a new, even more militaristic racist nationalism. This racist nationalism functioned as a direct attack on Middle Easterners, South Asians, and Muslims, who suffered thousands of hate crimes, including violent ones, and thousands of illegal detentions in the immediate wake of the attacks. Now as then, the policies and actions of the government have worked hand in hand with those of racist vigilantes in denying the human rights of immigrants and working-class people of color. While the Minutemen have been patrolling the border, all sorts of racist and nationalist laws have been pushed through Congress, including those outlawing bilingual education and the providing of health care services and civil rights for undocumented workers. At the same time that the state of California invited the Minutemen, they’ve been prohibiting undocumented workers from receiving driver’s licenses. When the radical protestors swarmed the FBP in San Diego, the cops defended the Minutemen as did the Border Patrol, who detained protestors at the border, and not Minutemen.
No one is illegal. Immigration is not a problem—we stand for the unrestricted, free movement of all human beings. The problem is our racist capitalist social and economic system and an ever-expanding, blood-thirsty, and greedy global Empire, which the Minutemen are fighting to uphold. The U.S./Mexico border was built off the genocide of Indigenous people and the theft of their land. The United States’ imposition of neo-liberal economic policies, such as NAFTA, and bloody imperialism on Latin America (e.g. the murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent people in Central America during the 80’s via death squads) have created a cycle of perpetual poverty and desperation there, which many are trying to escape from. To punish working and poor people who are migrating to feed their families is simply inhumane.
We are opposed to all borders as they are artificial barriers created by corporations and politicians to divide working and poor people from
each other. Borders facilitate the exploitation of people on the "wrong side" of the line, and box in special privileges for those on the "right
side" of the line. Thousands of poor and working migrants have already died crossing this illegitimate border. The increased militarization of borders by power-hungry and violent imperialists, corporations, and politicians is also a great concern for well-being of the global population. We seek to tear down all borders and create a world free from poverty, racism, and capitalism.
The bosses and politicians—the haves—the super-wealthy elites who control society, do not want the working class—the have-nots—to organize around and for their common class interest. Nationalism is a time-tested way that the haves divide, create hierarchies within, and control the have-nots. The Minutemen attempt to polarize society around racial and national lines and fight for the government and capitalism. That must be counteracted by a popular movement, rooted in the have-nots and those most directly affected, to take back control of their lives, their communities, and their workplaces from the haves, and tear down the whole system—by any means necessary.
More Coverage & Photos of the No Fronteras March:
Radio Interviews of anti-racist protestors at the Minutemen training disruption:
Video of the morning disruption and confrontation: