Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Poor Prince William County just can’t afford to be racist

As seen on Charlottesville Weekly...

BY DAN CATALANO

Here’s a dilemma for you: Let’s say you’re a mean-spirited municipality that doesn’t cotton much to outsiders, and prefers to scapegoat a powerless group of caramel-colored folks for all of its (largely self-inflicted) problems. Now, let’s say you pass an ill-conceived law transparently designed to harass and demonize anyone with a healthy tan and a spicy, south-of-the-border accent. So far, so good, right? Now let’s say that, during the all-important implementation phase of said law, it turns out that these new programs are going to cost a boatload of taxpayer dinero. Unfortunately, this metaphorical cash-filled boat has suddenly sprung a massive leak, because—surprise!—it’s a houseboat, and plummeting property values have compromised both its seaworthiness and fabled ability to support untold amounts of cash.

Oh, what’s a poor, illegal immigrant-bashing Board of County Supervisors to do?

Well, this is the exact dilemma currently facing the hardworking, office-holding xenophobes of Prince William County, who have long fed off the voting public’s fear of an impending Mexican invasion of Northern Virginia. Led by Board Chairman Corey A. Stewart, and backed by the hyperbolically named anti-illegals group Help Save Manassas (run by ex-infantryman and current computer consultant Greg Letiecq), the Prince William politicos voted for an illegal-immigration crackdown program last October that, among other things, instructed police officers to check the residency status of any “criminal suspect” who looked like they might have recently waded across the Rio Grande.

The problem with this brilliant piece of legislation, as any frequent viewer of “Law & Order” can tell you, is that accosting random dark-skinned people and demanding to see their green cards is commonly known as “racial profiling,” and can get a police department in all sorts of legal trouble. And so, to prepare for the flood of court cases that will almost certainly result from this “walking while beige” suspect-accosting policy, the county police department requested dashboard-mounted video cameras for all of its vehicles, in order to show that its officers were only asking about residency after observing possible criminal behavior, and not merely because someone was observed eating their arroz con pollo with a little too much gusto.

But, gosh darn the luck, cameras cost money! As does housing and feeding the hundreds of new prisoners being held on immigration-related charges in the Prince William County jail (the Board originally insisted that only 40 people a month would be detained under the program, but the jail’s superintendent, Major Peter Meletis, now estimates that 73 immigration-related in-mates a month have arrived since the law took effect last September). And don’t forget the extra money you’ll need to fight the numerous legal challenges to your impressively discriminatory policies. And hey, did we mention that housing prices (and the attendant tax revenue) are in the toilet?

But not to worry, everything’s sure to work out just fine in the end. As Chairman Stewart recently told The Washington Post, “we need to give this program a chance to work. We are blazing a new trail. It’s not easy. We need to define ourselves and not let the naysayers define us.”

Well, you know what, Mr. Stewart? As longstanding naysayers, we have a little piece of unsolicited advice for you. Instead of arresting people just because they want to live and work in your once-thriving county, perhaps you should allow them to go about the business of pursuing the American dream peacefully and without undue harassment, and thus encourage them to find decent jobs, buy cars and houses, and pay taxes. And guess what? Those taxes might just help plug the leaks in that fiscal houseboat you’re currently steering over a raging waterfall. In short, Chairman Stewart, if you really want to find a way out of Prince William’s current financial morass, you just need to ask yourself one simple question:

What can brown do for you?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Harassment continues...

In Prince William County the police will be checking for even more undocumented immigrants when they are arrested, and police can still check when undocumented immigrants are not.

The racist extremist policies of Prince William continue, even when thousands of immigrants demonstrated in Washington on May Day to show that the majority of people do not favor separating families with deportations and treating immigrants like second class citizens just as the Zionists in occupied Palestine Israel do to any arabs within the occupied lands.

The struggle against racism continues...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rescind The Resolution!

Prince William County may rescind part of the Rule of Law Resolution! Frank Principi is taking the brave stand to defend immigrants in Virginia and is going to make a move to have part of the immigration resolution thrown out. If we are successful here we may be able to soon overturn the entire racist monstrosity!

Go to anti-bvbl for information about how to participate in this important effort!

Si se puede!

Dr. Al-Arian Placed in Punitive Detention

From the Immigrant Solidarity Network:

At 1 a.m. on Saturday, Dr. Sami Al-Arian was moved by
hostile prison guards from a regular holding cell at the Howard County
Detention Center in Jessup, Maryland, to the "Special Housing Unit."
The SHU is an extremely punitive and restrictive section of the prison
where inmates are placed in solitary confinement 23 hours a day,
usually in freezing temperatures. Prisoners are normally moved there
for violating prison rules. However, in the case of Dr. Al-Arian, he
has always been placed there without reason or any explanation. In the
SHU, prisoners are subjected to continuous, deafening alarm sounds and
have little contact with the outside world. With no medical
supervision, this is an extremely dangerous place for Dr. Al-Arian to
be during his hunger strike, which is on its 41st day. Dr. Al-Arian
was also held in solitary confinement for 37 months before and during
his trial. This was a deliberate attempt by the government to break
him down physically and psychologically and to prevent him from
preparing for his trial.

Amnesty International has written several letters decrying the prison
conditions of Dr. Al-Arian, calling his treatment "gratuitously
punitive" and "inconsistent with international standards for humane
treatment."

The Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace urges all conscientious
individuals and organizations to contact the Howard County Detention
Center and call for humane treatment of Dr. Al-Arian. We also call on
media outlets to cover these abuses, which so far have received no
attention.

TAKE ACTION

Call the Howard County Detention Center and ask that Dr. Al-Arian be
removed from the Special Housing Unit, where he does not belong, and
that the prison ensures he is given proper medical treatment during
his hunger strike. The number is (410) 313-5200.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Myths about our Undocumented Citizens

The undocumented are not our enemy:

Crime Rates Have Declined as Immigration Has Increased:

Even as the undocumented population has doubled to 12 million since 1994, the violent crime rate in the United States has declined 34.2 percent and the property crime rate has fallen 26.4 percent.

Cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami also have experienced declining crime rates during this period.

Immigrants Have Lower Incarceration Rates than Natives:

Among men age 18-39 (who comprise the vast majority of the prison population), the 3.5 percent incarceration rate of the native-born in 2000 was 5 times higher than the 0.7 percent incarceration rate of the foreign-born.

The foreign-born incarceration rate in 2000 was nearly two-and-a-half times less than the 1.7 percent rate for nativeborn non-Hispanic white men and almost 17 times less than the 11.6 percent rate for native-born black men.

Native-born Hispanic men were nearly 7 times more likely to be in prison than foreign-born Hispanic men in 2000, while the incarceration rate of native-born non-Hispanic white men was almost 3 times higher than that of foreign-born white men.

Foreign-born Mexicans had an incarceration rate of only 0.7 percent in 2000—more than 8 times lower than the 5.9 percent rate of native-born males of Mexican descent.

Foreign-born Salvadoran and Guatemalan men had an incarceration rate of 0.5 percent, compared to 3.0 percent of native-born males of Salvadoran and Guatemalan descent

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

And what did voting get you, exactly?

Seen what voting has done for us in Prince William County? Nothing but racist garbage.

These people have a better idea:

Members of the Northeast Anarchist Network have initiated a two-tiered campaign to discredit representative democracy and promote direct democracy and anarchy. Armed with centuries of failure of representative government, we will be creating and distributing propaganda that undermines the credibility and attacks the legitimacy of the U.S. political system, while at the same time introducing alternatives such as local autonomy and neighborhood assemblies, highlighting their successes in other parts of the world.

We welcome others to distribute this material as it is made available. Furthermore, we call upon anti-authoritarians to creatively and effectively target all upcoming speeches, caucuses, debates, votes, and everything else related to this electoral sock puppet show. We also encourage the planning of public events, forums, and community discussions to achieve the aims described above. Let's make our presence known!

For flyers and other materials for this campaign, see Anti-Elections Materials under Resources/Documents

Monday, April 14, 2008

Racism and zionism - familiar refrains...

Israel sits on land that was originally Palestinian but Zionist movements in Europe and the United States claimed that the "land was given to them by God" and their belief that their race possessed some "natural superiority". European Americans prayed to "god and country" and taught their future generations to pray homage to the gangsters, outlaws and thieves who stole the country from Indian nations in god's name. The European idea that they possessed a "God given superiority" not only had brought them into conflict with the Palestinian people, but also North American Indian Nations in the 1800s.

In contrast, European-Americans and Europeans began their westward expansion of North America under the banner of manifest destiny. A belief that they had a "divinely inspired mission" to expand. European-American expansion meant the theft and occupation of Native American Indian lands. A big part of William Henry Harrison´s responsibility, who as the Territorial Governor of Indiana, was to obtain title to American Indian lands so that white settlement could expand in the area, asked the Indiana legislature: "Is one of the fairest portions of the globe to remain in a state of nature, the haunt of a few wretched savages, when it seems destined, by the Creator, to give support to a large population, and to be the sea of civilization, of science, and true religion?" Isn't this the Zionist attitude toward Palestine?

The United States continued the European practice of recognizing only limited land rights of Native American Indians who they regarded as "savages" who stood in the way of Euro-American expansion. The same mentality has prevailed with Israel people in their dealings with the Palestinian people.

In the time of Manifest Destiny, this idea was clear and simple, "Indian Removal". The "Indian wars" between Native Indian Nations and White American armies, which are now well recorded, ended in more then 300 treaties that won some tribes large sections of land, but today these lands have all but melted away into the hands of European Americans.

European-American's believed that Native American Indians were "destined to melt and vanish before the advancing waves of Anglo-American power..." but the large land sessions won by the Tribes through treaty in fact allowed future generations to survive, even as their lands continued to be lost through one passage after another of Congressional Acts that swindled tribes out of millions of acres of land. Today Native lands have become checker boarded with European-American ownership and continue to be subject to Congressional Acts to defraud Native people of even more land and the natural resources.

The Palestinian people continue to struggle through various groups like Hamas in self defense of their sovereignty and to keep their remaining lands. So too, has North American Indian people continued to struggle to keep what is left of their lands and recover stolen lands. The more things change...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Speaking Truth To Power

Prince William County would benefit by having someone like Professor Falk speak the truth about racism and neoliberalism, just as Falk spoke of the nazi tendencies of the Zionists.

"Professor Falk said he drew the comparison between the treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi record of collective atrocity, because of what he described as the massive Israeli punishment directed at the entire population of Gaza.

He said he understood that it was a provocative thing to say, but at the time, last summer, he had wanted to shake the American public from its torpor.

"If this kind of situation had existed for instance in the manner in which China was dealing with Tibet or the Sudanese government was dealing with Darfur, I think there would be no reluctance to make that comparison," he said.

That reluctance was, he argued, based on the particular historical sensitivity of the Jewish people, and Israel's ability to avoid having their policies held up to international law and morality."

That is what antibvbl is doing now. I suggest you visit them.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Those pesky papers...

This sound familiar to anyone in Prince William County?

When the Arab-Israeli conflict broke out, Palestinians who were working or studying in Lebanon were not permitted by the Israeli authorities and ensuing border changes to return to their homeland.

Other undocumented Palestinian refugees are former PLO fighters who lost any legal status when the PLO was forced out of Beirut in 1982.

Finally, when some Palestinian refugees, due to recurrent Arab-Israeli conflicts, were exiled for a second time from their initial country of asylum, their original registration files with UNRWA did not follow them to Lebanon, and they lost their "official" form of identification. They are thus not registered as refugees in Lebanon.

Not only do non-ID Palestinians share the same abysmal conditions facing the remainder of refugees, but the fact that they have no proper identification breeds additional burdens that they must nevertheless face.

A report by Cynthia Petrigh of DRC states that these refugees are also "unable to move outside the camps for fear of being arrested. They cannot travel, own property, register marriages, graduate from high school, or enroll in either private or public higher education. They find it difficult to access UNRWA services and cannot afford to pay for healthcare."

Source: Zawya.com

Monday, April 7, 2008

Our Apartheid


Prince William County is starting to look like occupied Palestine. Document checks by authorities, racial division, incarceration of indigenous peoples for traffic violations of all things and talk of building walls. Zionism has returned as "The Religion of The Rule Of Law" and the undesirables are being removed. The stink of the Bush war machine oozes from the Prince William supervisors, threatening to duplicate the same tragedy here that has ravaged Palestine.

We must demand an end to war and occupation. End to the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the occupations of Haiti, Palestine, and an end to occupation of Indigenous land on Turtle Island. Demand an end to detention and deportations of migrants, many of whom were forced off their land and out of their homes by poverty and economic displacement due to neoliberal policies that the United States supports.

We should declare the boundaries between the US and Mexico, the US and Canada, null and void. Natural regions, and their capacities, would be the touchstone. A bunch of gringos could move south if they had the will to learn. Let the Chicanos who want to, move north and give their work and loyalty to their brothers and sisters north of the artificial border that separates them now. All of us will cut down population growth, white and brown alike, and then learn our ecosystems together--from Panama north--in Spanish, English, and maybe Navajo and Lakota. Multiracial patriots/ matriots of Turtle Island.

We are one human people.

Israeli apartheid does not belong here.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Community Resistance to Immigrant Scapegoating in Prince William County

Prince William County, Virginia has become ‘ground zero’ in the war against immigrants. Prince William has implemented a draconian policy targeting the immigrant community. Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, a community-based, all volunteer organization, has been working tirelessly since last July to organize mass resistance.

In October of 2007, the all white Prince William County Board of Supervisors, in search of an election issue, unanimously passed this resolution in a county that has over 40% people of color. The resolution requires PWC police to investigate a person’s immigration status when detained if they have ‘probable cause’ to think that person has violated immigration laws. This could happen during a routine traffic stop, if the person stopped for trespassing, jaywalking, or even spitting on the street. Undocumented individuals will then be reported and in many cases turned over to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation. For the immigrant community, this resolution has created an atmosphere of terror, discrimination, and desperation.

For over a hundred years, migrant workers from south of the border have been recognized as essential to many parts of the U.S. economy. The NAFTA agreements have resulted in the loss of farmlands and the displacement of millions of rural farmers and urban workers. The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has forced additional millions from Mesoamerica to flee northward as well. The undocumented immigrant population in PWC is here to work and provide for their families just like any of us. They work hard, pay taxes and abide by our laws and singling them out for our societal problems is racist, unjust, and unconstitutional.

Despite the fact that the resolution was not actually implemented until March 3, 2008 the community has felt its impact since October. People have already become victims of racial profiling and some have commented that they feel like it is “open season” on Latinos in PWC. Fear is causing many immigrant families to move out of the county. Businesses are beginning to close down as customers diminish. The foreclosure rate in Prince William County is the highest in the Mid-Atlantic region. Many immigrants feel they are being forced to walk away from their homes because they cannot risk waiting until they sell. Families have been separated as fathers and mothers have been detained leaving citizen children behind to be cared for by family members or friends.

The community has been fighting back. In July, 2007, after the Board of Supervisors passed its preliminary version of the resolution, Mexicanos Sin Fronteras organized three community gatherings to listen to the community’s recommendations for resisting the resolution. Over 4,000 members of the immigrant and indigenous community came together along with African American and white supporters. The community decided unanimously on the following resistance actions: a week long economic boycott over Labor Day weekend; a massive march and rally on Sunday, September 2; and a one-day work stoppage on October 9. All three actions were successful and attracted local, national and international attention. The mass rally attracted approximately 7,000 participants, the largest protest rally held in Virginia in over 100 years.

In an effort to resist the present implementation of this resolution we have developed a legal support program which provides “know your rights” seminars on a regular basis to the immigrant community. We also provide referrals for persons in need of legal representation as a result of the increasing number of immigration and criminal cases. In addition, through our hotline, we document and record cases of discrimination and racial profiling in order to build civil lawsuits in federal courts. Finally, we are conducting a campaign of outreach, education, empowerment and mobilization of county residents. On Sunday, March 2, 2008 another community meeting was held in order to inform and educate people about the resolution and how to protect themselves when approached by the police. Over 1300 people attended this gathering. To continue our work, we need your immediate help. We need immigration and criminal attorneys to volunteer to provide legal representation to the many who cannot afford such services. We also need financial assistance for materials, printing, equipment, and outreach. Our hope is to also be able to fund at least one part-time or full-time position to help coordinate this effort. The demand for our work has grown exponentially and it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet this demand with all volunteers and occasional donations. Any assistance from supporters around the nation would be greatly appreciated.

North and South, the victims of neo-liberal economic policies like NAFTA, and CAFTA are the working poor. Our mutual struggle for justice and dignity requires us to stand in solidarity with our immigrant and indigenous sisters and brothers. As we establish alliances within our communities, across the state, and across borders, we must develop bottom up alternatives to divisive transnational economic policies, acts of oppression, and environmental catastrophe.

For more information on this struggle you may contact:
Nancy Lyall at lyallna@comcast.net or 703-969-0197
John Steinbach at johnsteibach@starpower.net or 703-703-822-3485

Donations may be mailed to:
Mexicanos Sin Fronteras
PO Box K
Woodbridge, VA 22194

Introducing the Solidarity without Borders Campaign

Dear comrades,We are writing to introduce the Solidarity Without Borders Campaign, a coordinated, sustained, three-pronged campaign in solidarity with immigrant and indigenous struggles across North and Latin America.Anti-authoritarian groups from across the Northeast and Midwest USA have come together to form the Solidarity Without Borders Group.This working group came out of the recent Consulta of the Northeast Anarchist Network (NEAN) and Midwest Action Network (MAN). The proposal was initiated by the Boston Anti-Authoritarian Movement (BAAM) and NYC Local Union of the North East Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC),and has been joined by anarchists from over a dozen other towns and cities.The campaign emerges in light of the escalating war on
indigenous communities in Mexico and immigrant communities in the United States:

In light of military and paramilitary aggression against the peoples of Oaxaca and Chiapas, in light of Plan Mexico and the Security & Prosperity Partnership, in light of recent attacks on immigrants here in the USA, and in light of the corporate
invasion and displacement of their communities.The campaign arose in response to calls to action from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), from the Council of the Indigenous Peoples of Oaxaca-Ricardo Flores Magon (CIPO-RFM), and from
New York City's Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB).Please join us in Solidarity Without Borders, endorse this campaign, and begin to organize within your communities and alongside us.For Solidarity Without Borders!

Our Call To Action:
We are calling for a coordinated, sustained, three pronged campaign by the anarchist movement in the United States to:

1. confront repression of our comrades, shut down Plan Mexico and
SPP, and stop the invasion of rebel territory in Mexico

2. confront repression of immigrant communities in our own cities and regions

3. confront the corporations invading communities both here in the northeast and south of the border* We recognize, with
the Zapatistas, that these struggles are intertwined and none of these things can be won without the others

*Our Goals:1. To take action at US government offices, Mexican consulates, and offices of related corporations across the region.

2. To support local and national actions in defense of immigrants, with the ultimate goal of shutting down all ICE detention centers and offices.

3. To support the International Campaign in Defense of El Barrio being launched by Movement for Justice in El Barrio.

4. To raise resources and supplies, if and when needed, for our
comrades in Chiapas, Oaxaca, and El Barrio.

5. To send a delegation to Southern Mexico, in the event of invasion or escalating repression, to stand alongside our
brothers and sisters.

Our Next Steps:
1. Local groups send delegates to the new Solidarity Without Borders Group.

2. Local groups make contact with local organizations in their area, join local coalitions and support their struggles.

3. Local groups support other organizations and actions with common goals in their communities.

4. Local groups visit government and corporate offices, delivering letters and ultimatums to those responsible.5. Local groups plan and implement creative direct actions, beginning no later than May Day, sooner in the event of invasion or escalating repression.

Contact: solidaritywithoutbordersgroup@gmail.com

For more information:

On the situation in Chiapas: http://chiapas.indymedia.org (Spanish)On the situation
in Oaxaca: http://www.elenemigocomun.net
On Plan Mexico: http://www.globalexchange.org/countries/americas/mexico/planmexico
On the Security & Prosperity Partnership:
http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2008/0108sciacchitano.htmlOn
Movement for Justice in El Barrio: http://www.narconews.com/issue42/article2037.html
On the border & the war on immigrants: http://deletetheborder.org On immigrant solidarity groups in your area: http://www.immigrantsolidarity.org
http://www.fairimmigration.org/about/who-we-are.html