Revolution #208, July 25, 2010

Reporter’s notebook from Arizona Freedom Summer

Coming into Phoenix, you’re hit with stark black billboards in every direction: “McCAIN, Fighting to Secure the Border.”  On talk radio, the discussion is about how many Mexicans are actually “drug mules.”  The newspaper has experts writing in to discuss in reasonable tones “scenarios” under SB 1070: for example, if you’re driving for your job in a company-owned truck and your co-worker doesn’t have documentation, will you go to jail under the new law for transporting someone illegal?

As the date of implementation for SB 1070 nears, more and more immigrants are fleeing the city or staying locked inside the house, only leaving for carefully-planned trips to the grocery store.  Whole apartment buildings are suddenly empty and parks usually filled with families are quiet and nearly desolate. 

This shit is intense and sickening and enraging.  People are telling us about the journey here from Mexico, what it feels like to be lost in the desert and then lucky not to die of dehydration, or preparing to cross and looking over to the U.S. side of the border at military fencing and a hillside filled with lights that you know are armed forces waiting to get you.  People are telling us about those who have died of dehydration, and the volunteers who go into the desert to leave gallons of water to try to prevent this kind of suffering and death, and the way these volunteers have been arrested and jailed, and the way the minutemen-type forces slash open and empty the gallons of water when they find them.  When I hear Obama talk about securing the border, or bragging about how there are “more boots on the ground” on the border than ever before in the history of the country, I hear these stories replaying in my mind. 

We’ve come into this situation with a vision of bringing forward a defiant resistance against the whole fascistic direction of things, not allowing the terrorizing of immigrants to continue and take leaps, changing the current dynamic in society, and bringing into question the legitimacy of the whole system.  Obviously, this has not been welcomed by some.  But for those who have been seeking a way to do something meaningful, finding this party, with a strategy for revolution and a real vision of how another world is possible, finding the leadership of Bob Avakian, has lifted their sights and hopes.  And the prospect of being able to forge a real resistance that doesn’t allow the implementation of this fascistic program has drawn all kinds of people to start to find out more about this and take it up. 

One woman who has been fighting against the racism and anti-immigrant climate in Arizona for many years told us how completely drained and hopeless she’s been, feeling like she was going up against a wall with no possibility of breaking through.  We read the Message and Call with her and she plied us with questions, especially about Bob Avakian and what kind of leader this is and why we trust him.  She bought the DVD of his Revolution talk and then came to a showing of the clip from that talk, “Why do people come here from all over the world?”  This is a person who has big disagreements with revolution and communism, but after watching that clip and discussing it with others, she came to the conclusion that if everyone could hear and see this, we could actually begin to change things—and since then has been promoting, popularizing and distributing that clip... 

These have to be days of non-compliance and not allowing raids and deportations.  Wherever you are now, come and join us. 

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