Revolution #207, July 18, 2010
Phoenix AZ, Tuesday, June 29: Bringing Arizona Freedom Summer to the Warped Tour
Thousands of young people from all over Arizona found out today that there is a movement in this country, and right now in this state, fighting for revolution. They heard the revolutionaries denouncing the Nazi-like racism bubbling up in Arizona and found a group of people that refuses to back down and accept it. This had an electric effect and our booth was busy all day with people signing up to get involved.
But not surprisingly, some people didn't like it. A number of white people walked by yelling about sending the "beaners" back to Mexico. They said they were proud to be from Arizona and love SB 1070. A couple others gave us the Nazi salute when we called them out for supporting white supremacy. Some ripped up our flyers and threw them at us. Quite a few told us to leave this country if we don't like it. People called out "more troops on the border" in response to our sign about "no troops on the border" and told us we needed to protect America from drug cartels.
But for the majority of people we talked to, the message displayed on a huge banner on our booth—"We are all illegals! We don't need to show no stinkin' papers! No troops on the border!"—was a breath of fresh air, a much needed wind at the backs of people who've been feeling like their backs are up against the wall. People were coming up in waves to take pictures of the sign and telling us their stories... My family is stuck in Hermosillo trying to cross... my best friend was supposed to be here at Warped with us today but already took off for Colorado because of this law... people in my family were stopped for speeding a couple months ago and got deported... I was stopped by police and because I didn't have my ID they took me to jail because they said they had to make sure I was legal... and on, and on. One guy stood with us while we were on the bullhorn, yelling back at anyone who yelled at us. Another hung out nearby, listening and waiting until we were done to come up and say how great it is what we are doing and that what is happening to immigrants now is like the enslavement of Black people.
People who've been told all their lives that immigrants are the problem (now Arizona governor Jan Brewer is saying that they're all drug mules), heard the revolutionaries say that the problem is not immigration, but capitalism. Many got copies of the part from Bob Avakian's Revolution talk where he breaks down "Why do people come here from all over the world": because the rulers of the U.S. have fucked over the rest of the world even worse than they've fucked over this country!
One white youth came up to us saying, "Yes, I agree with you, that's why everybody wants to leave Arizona. I want to leave Arizona." We told him that we were volunteers who came from around the country TO Arizona and that what's happening here has to be stopped as part of building a movement to get rid of the system that causes this oppression in the first place. He took stacks of the Message and Call from the Revolutionary Communist Party, "The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have," to pass out, then came back to get more after he ran out.
Native Americans from all over Arizona took stacks of the Message and Call to take back to the reservations. One Native youth talked about the miserable conditions and gang violence on the rez. So we read this section from the statement together:
"For millions in the inner cities, if they are not killed at an early age, their likely future is prison... This system has robbed so many youth of the chance for a decent life and has got far too many living, dying and killing for nothing—nothing good—nothing more than messing up people and murdering each other on the streets of the cities here...or joining the military, being trained to be murderers on a mass scale, massacring people in countries across the globe. A system which offers millions and millions of youth no greater purpose, no better fate, than crime and punishment, or to become a mindless killing machine for the system itself—that alone is reason enough to sweep this system from the face of the earth!"
He and his friends signed up and said they'd get the word out about Arizona Freedom Summer.
Some people were excited right away to hear we are boldly promoting revolution and communism, while others had a lot of questions about what they've heard about communism before. The level of engagement was really striking—with all these young people listening, asking questions, and telling us how they see what's happening and how they feel about it. And by the end of the day, people who had read the Message and Call or the flyer for Arizona Freedom Summer, or had seen us out in the crowd with our sign and bullhorn, came back to the booth to sign up.
All day long whenever we would get on the bullhorn and begin speaking some truth about this country—the history of slavery, genocide and theft of land, the white supremacy festering from Arizona to Detroit—people stopped in their tracks. Crowds gathered. Reactionary white people were furious, ignorant white people were shocked, while many brown-skinned folks and conscious white people were ecstatic. At the end of the day a young Latina woman and a white youth faced off in front of our sign. He was arguing that "they" take "our" money and resources. She told him that what he was supporting was only one step away from what the Nazis did to the Jews. She talked about how they made the Jews wear special badges so they could be targeted. Later, she came to our booth and took a bunch of "We are all illegals!" posters to put up. As we talked about, if they're gonna come after one group of people and label them "illegals," then they're gonna have to come after all of us.
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