#BlockTheWall Hits the Streets As Anger Grows Against Trump

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#BlockTheWall actions kicked off this week in response to Trump’s so-called emergency orders, which are attempting to plunder even more money for wall construction on the border. The current push by Trump is happening at a time of massive social anger at the administration and antipathy towards the State in general, rising economic anxiety, and increasing strike action. Meanwhile, much to the disdain of the political class, news of the brutality of the border regime and its police continues to seep out into the wider public, despite a near media blackout and attempts by both the US and Mexican government to keep news and images of attacks against migrants and detainees from the public. In response to these growing contradictions, the far-Right press and Trump himself has continued to revert back to cold war era demonizing of “socialism” as yet another boogeyman.

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Trump may have declared a bullshit state of emergency, but for millions of people facing deportation, eviction, debt, imprisonment, or furlough, the capitalist state IS the emergency. Who can save us? We can! The current crisis has brought with it inspirational victories and new patterns for resistance — from airport occupations (which stopped the first Muslim ban), to teachers strikes (which contested neoliberal austerity), to air traffic controller and flight attendant sickouts (which ended the government shutdown). "We refuse to choose between Trump’s openly racist wall and the Democrats’ implicitly racist 'smart border.' … We choose another way: freedom of movement, solidarity, and mutual aid." #blockthewall #thestateistheemergency #abolishICE #noborders #nooneisillegal #firestormcoop #coopsnotcops (Beck & Libertie)

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#BlockTheWall actions are also taking place against a backdrop of the release of new data showing that arrests at the border are at a recent all time low, while yet another migrant has tragically died while in a detention facility after repeatedly asking staff for medical care. These deaths in custody are not flukes or abnormalities, but part of a continued pattern of violence, that as one report wrote:

[A]re only part of a larger litany of Customs and Border Protection agency-related violence inside the US. Encounters have proven deadly for at least 97 people – citizens and non-citizens – since 2003, a count drawn from settlement payment data, court records, use of force logs, incident reports and news articles.

As The Intercept pointed out, this brutality comes out of decades of white supremacist and Nativist opposition to Mexican migrants that at times has even flown in the face of the drive by the business class to exploit Mexican labor:

The 1924 Immigration Act tapped into a xenophobia with deep roots in the U.S. history. The law effectively eliminated immigration from Asia and sharply reduced arrivals from southern and eastern Europe. Most countries were now subject to a set quota system, with the highest numbers assigned to western Europe. As a result, new arrivals to the United States were mostly white Protestants. Nativists were largely happy with this new arrangement, but not with the fact that Mexico, due to the influence of U.S. business interests that wanted to maintain access to low-wage workers, remained exempt from the quota system. “Texas needs these Mexican immigrants,” said the state’s Chamber of Commerce.

Having lost the national debate when it came to restricting Mexicans, white supremacists — fearing that the country’s open-border policy with Mexico was hastening the “mongrelization” of the United States — took control of the U.S. Border Patrol, also established in 1924, and turned it into a frontline instrument of race vigilantism. As the historian Kelly Lytle Hernández has shown, the patrol’s first recruits were white men one or two generations removed from farm life. Some had a military or county sheriff background, while others transferred from border-town police departments or the Texas Rangers — all agencies with their own long tradition of unaccountable brutality. Their politics stood in opposition to the big borderland farmers and ranchers. They didn’t think that Texas — or Arizona, New Mexico, and California — needed Mexican migrants.

Other patrollers were members of the resurgent Ku Klux Klan, active in border towns from Texas to California. “Practically every other member” of El Paso’s National Guard “was in the Klan,” one military officer recalled, and many had joined the Border Patrol upon its establishment.

Polls show that the vast majority of Americans are opposed to Trump’s wall, and currently the project is being attacked by a variety of lawsuits from State and tribal governments to home owners who’s dwellings are threatened with wall construction.

And on the streets, opposition is also building. The #BlockTheWall call was signed onto and supported by almost 50 organizations, groups, networks, and media projects, and brought together a variety of black liberation, antifascist, anti-colonial, anarchist, and autonomous anti-capitalist groups from across the country. Actions so far have ranged from marches and rallies, to mutual aid project and benefits.

Unlike much of the Left, which over the last few years has focused on pushing the Democrats into taking a more “progressive” stance, the #BlockTheWall call rejected both Trump’s push for a symbolic representation of white supremacy, along with the Democrats’ version of a “smart wall,” which would expand and normalize counter-insurgency techniques already being used by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan across the border. Both strategies would continue to criminalize migrants, while at the same time continuing to push thousands towards their deaths in brutal border crossings. Unsurprisingly, these policies would do nothing to stop the opioid epidemic, human trafficking, or “crime,” and will only help to further militarize US society while also wasting billions in tax payer money.

The #BlockTheWall actions are also not happening in a vacuum. As we speak, hunger strikes are taking place in Boston and El Paso, Texas at migrant detention facilities. Outside, people are rallying and making noise in solidarity. Strikes are also being carried out by teachers, often involving tens of thousands of workers as well as whole communities which are showing solidarity and refusing to attend school.

The push by the elites to defund education and strip social services is part of the same attack which in turn seeks to militarize the border and all aspects of our lives. Using the fear of migrants and caravans, both parities are hoping to not only push forward a repressive agenda, but moreover, keep their broader program of class war, tax cuts for the wealthy, and mass accumulation of wealth and power from going unchecked and unchallenged.

We hope that the energy shown in #BlockTheWall is part of a larger push – one that sees the upcoming elections as a total force. The path forward is building, fighting, and organizing on our own terms – not theirs.

ROUNDUP OF ACTIONS

Olympia, WA: Over 80 people held a community gathering and then a march.

Portland, OR: Community rally and speak out was organized.

San Francisco, CA: Unpermitted march took to the streets, blocking traffic.

Tucson, AZ: Night time march takes place with flares and banners.

Tornillo, TX: People mobilized outside of the Tornillo detention facility and also outside of the El Paso detention facility, where a hunger strike is currently happening. People also protested inside of the Border Patrol museum, where some stickers were put up memorializing people that had died at the hands of the border patrol and in detention centers.

Somi Se’k Village Base Camp: Marches continue to take place as people gather to resist border wall construction.

Interview with Juan Mancias at the Butterfly Center in Mission, TX after the walk from Bentsen State Park

Somi Se’k Village Base Camp 发布于 2019年2月16日周六

Austin, TX: Block party was organized featuring music, food, and literature.

Denver, CO: Rally at the capitol held, money raised for support organizations.

Columbus, OH: Rally and speak out.

Dwight, IL: Rally against ICE facility organized.

Carbondale, IL: Rally and march organized.

Bloomington, IN: Rally on campus organized.

Nashvillle, TN: Banner was dropped.

DC: Street march blocked traffic. Mutual aid events were also organized.

Carrboro, NC: Banners placed up around town.

Tampa, FL: Banners dropped, protest held.

Boston, MA: Noise demonstration in solidarity with ICE detainees on hunger strike.

Philadelphia, PA: Rally was organized against ICE.


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