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California | San Francisco | Immigrant Rights

San Francisco Immigrant Rights Supporters Confront Racist Minutemen
by Bill Hackwell ( hckwll [at] yahoo.com )
Thursday Jul 31st, 2008 11:34 AM
Activists drown out media stunt targeting immigrant workers

On less then a day’s notice, over 300 supporters of immigrant rights in the Bay Area came out on July 30 to confront the racist Minutemen on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall. When the ten Minutemen arrived for a scheduled press conference to challenge San Francisco’s policy of sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, they found their permitted area occupied by pro-immigrant groups and individuals determined to take a stand against the scapegoating of immigrants for the U.S. economic and social problems.

Minutemen founder Jim Gilchrist was drowned out by chants of "Immigrants are here to stay, racist Minutemen go away" as he attempted to address the media. San Francisco Sheriff Department deputies and San Francisco Police Department officers escorted the Minutemen as they left.

The pro-immigrant forces were brought out by a call from La Raza Centro Legal, San Francisco Day Laborers Program and Movement for Unconditional Amnesty. Groups from the St. Peter’s Housing Committee, CARECEN, Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition, ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), the Party for Socialism and Liberation and others mobilized people to come out to the counter protest.
§Supporters of Immigrant Rights Take Over the Steps of City Hall
by Bill Hackwell Thursday Jul 31st, 2008 11:34 AM

§The Workers Struggle Has No Borders
by Bill Hackwell Thursday Jul 31st, 2008 11:34 AM

§Amnesty for All
by Bill Hackwell Thursday Jul 31st, 2008 11:34 AM


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by Indymedia Fan
Thursday Jul 31st, 2008 12:01 PM
Indymedia coverage speaks volumes!
by Equally Great Article
Thursday Jul 31st, 2008 11:06 PM
Immigrants are here to stay!
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Minutemen FORCED OUT! Firsthand report


In a gloriously successful counter-protest today, local minutemen were silenced by an uncontrollable roar from immigrant rights supporters.


The predominantly white upper-class minutemen were attempting to stage a press conference/protest on the steps of San Francisco city hall today at 11am. A protest was, however, already underway in expectation of their arrival.



Having paid a presumed financial cost in the hundreds of dollars, the minutemen were allocated space on the "private property" steps of city hall and were assisted by the defenders of the capital class, the members of city law enforcement.



The mass demonstration that had thus previously gathered on the steps would be physically pushed to the sidewalk, this being the only element of achievement the minutemen would gain. With police forces at their side, the minutemen unfolded banners condemning the city of its sanctuary status. This was of course incredibly ironic, given that no such enforcement has actually taken place and that the city has worked alongside Immigration and Customs Enforcement to continually violate this status and deport the immigrants it is said to be protecting.



To the educated political mind, the said sanctuary status is merely an illusionary rhetoric to pacify the pro-immigrant masses of the progressive city. Such facades are commonplace in the political arena where action seldom coincides with politician's promises. As such, the minutemen were forming to condemn a fantasy.



This fantasy of immigrant asylum was elucidated by the gathered masses this morning, who readily expressed anger and hostility toward the minutemen and the law enforcement for safe guarding the city and state's interests. This massive contradiction was easily visualized by the masses when the minutemen held out posters condemning Mayor Gavin Newsom for his protection of immigrant rights while Newsom's city law enforcement stood next to them providing protection and support.



The range of the city's interest towards anti-immigrant policies was made further evident as the protests wore on with the eventual arrest of a pro-immigrant activist. Police agents used physical aggression towards activists with the violent shoving and throwing of men and women that violated only one law: the natural law of opposing state interest. One woman was repeatedly shoved and pushed down to the sidewalk by an angry policeman after breaking her picket sign in two and throwing it to the ground.



Fortunately the protest remained in peaceful solidarity despite the arrest and physical police aggression. Non-violence and lawfulness continued to be practiced by the demonstrators.



Many agitational slogans were vocalized in unison, including "Racists Go Home!" and "Minutemen go away, immigrants are here to stay!" The chanting masses were a mixture of all races and creeds, spreading the example of justice as a non-identity politic.



Custom picket signs rallied together along with those of more formalized political groups, giving the demonstration a unique and unified character. On the more customized side were signs reading phrases such as "Where did your family come from?" Whereas the more formal signs read slogans such as "The struggle has no borders" and "Rights for ALL immigrants."

There was a blitz of media for the even, including press for channel seven which will surely put an expected right-wing slant on the demonstration. Indy media was also present though, as well as a considerable amount of unrepresented interested persons.



After nearly two hours of drumming, chanting, and rallying, the minutemen seemed to reach a consensus on the futility of their demonstration. They had not managed to speak a single word in their defense (or offense) over the vocalized masses of chanting and as such their financial and timely investments in gathering was an obvious waste of both the former and the later.



The perseverance of political solidarity along fighting for equality had rendered the minutemen presence a useless, if not positively agitational gesture for expanding the left. While there can and will be pushback from such a demonstration there can be no doubt that the people are mobilizing for change and nothing seems to slow the movement of the awakening and increasingly political masses.