Richard Menec menecraj at shaw.ca
Sat Oct 1 12:05:12 MDT 2005

Standing United Against Border Militarization
Saying NO! to the "Minutemen"



Historically - a militia organization which aided in the violent theft of
Indigenous lands and the genocide of the first peoples of what is now
known as the U.S. In its latest incarnation, the Minuteman project was
begun on April 1, 2005 under the pretext of regular U.S. citizens taking
charge of securing the border against "illegals". On that day, Minuteman
founders James Gilcrist, Chris Simcox and 857 volunteers began a 30-day
patrol of a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border near Tombstone.
About ½ of those volunteers were prior military and about 2/3 were armed
with handguns. Their goal? To set "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."

In groups of 4-8 and often armed, they patrol the border in order to
report on the movement of those crossing the border. They have also sent
out a national call to recruit informants on "illegal aliens", their
employers and anyone engaged in what they call "identification fraud" -
promoting a true police state.

Gilchrist has said that critics- including President Bush- who call his
group "vigilantes" are wrong and that his volunteers are "white Martin
Luther Kings." Gilchrist promised that volunteers would be carefully
screened to keep out white supremacists. No one would be allowed to bare
guns except those who had permits to carry concealed weapons. At least
four-fifths of volunteers did carry weapons, and almost none were checked
for permits. Members of the National Alliance- the largest neo-Nazi group
in America- are often visible in their rallies

We say "NO ONE IS ILLEGAL!" Couched under the language of holding up
immigration law and preserving national security against possible
terrorists, the Minutemen are promoting all the usual myths about migrants
and refugees and placing the most vulnerable members of marginalized
communities at greater risk of violence. They have openly accused
"illegal" migrants and refugees of being the root of lost jobs, poor
wages, disease and crime.

What they have termed an "invasion" is but the migration of individuals of
the Global South fleeing social, economic and political oppression and
indigenous peoples traversing the very territories that were stolen from
them and then divided by state imposed borders. These borders have been
made open to the free movement of the very corporations and neo-liberal
policies causing this oppression but decidedly closed to those deemed
undesirable. The Minutemen have labeled migrants as being "people who wish
to take advantage of a free society". The fact is that the U.S. and
Canadian economies rely on the exploited labour of such migrants - working
farms, cooking food and cleaning homes- treated as invisible while
receiving slave wages and under constant threat of inhumane immigration
policies and racist backlash.

Too many migrants slipping through the border? The truth is both Canadian
and U.S. immigration laws are loaded with policies aimed at keeping
migrants and refugees out - be it the Safe Third Country policy, Operation
Gatekeeper or deportations to torture. In the U.S, Border Patrol is the
nation's largest law enforcement agency with 12,000 agents, of which 80%
are allocated to the US-Mexico border. Over 2000 people have lost their
lives attempting to cross the border after making the hard decision to
migrate for work in sectors of the North American economy that heavily
depend on their cheap labour. The U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border
Protection have themselves confirmed that last year in Arizona alone more
than 200 people died.

Now the Minutemen have sent out the call to dispatch similar patrol groups
to the U.S./Canada border along the states of Maine, Vermont, Michigan,
Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington State. They have set October
1, 2005 as the launch of this latest campaign. The leader of the
Washington State detachment has confirmed that he will be carrying a gun.

We must guard our communities against this hate. Please join us in
rejecting the Minutemen and their message.

For more information, contact No One is Illegal:
noii-van at resist.ca

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