The introduction of extremist and armed militias on the Arizona-Mexico border is sending shockwaves worldwide. The message: that extremist anti-Mexican militias, supported by other racial supremacists, are welcome there.
And it's not that these extremists are saying anything unusual. They're actually just echoing the administration's rhetoric about the border having something to do with ?the war on terror?? as if the 911 terrorists had all come from, or through, Mexico.
Something isn't right. This is the same administration that goes to war, and calls for permanent war, under false pretenses, sanctions torture and military ?targeted assassinations? and schemes to consolidate all power in the hands of the president, minus any checks and balances.
If the presence of these extremist militias isn't violating state or national laws, then perhaps the tacit governmental support of these militias may be placing the United States in violation of several international human rights conventions, including possibly the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. They are supposed to protect the human rights of all people, including migrants, while the treaty - which is still in force today -- is supposed to guarantee the rights and safety of Mexican citizens.
If their concern is terrorism, why aren't they on the Canadian border? And it's not as if these militias are overgrown boy scouts. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the American Friends Service Committee have tracked vigilante violence along the border for decades. So why then is the administration allowing this new militia effort - heavily supported by other known supremacists - to ?take the law into their own hands?? Beyond the law, it's the message.
Since 1848, there have been untold deaths along the border by Texas Rangers, U.S. Border Patrol agents and vigilantes alike. And we're not talking ancient history. Every year, migrants turn up dead on the border as a result of drownings, exposure or vigilante violence. Court cases against vigilantes are not unusual. What's unusual is justice. Rare is the punishment for the death of a Mexican.
What's also unusual is to somehow link terrorism with Mexicans.
What seems to be at work is that these militias are providing cover, or better yet, leverage for an administration that is using fear to balloon the military and ?homeland security? budgets. A death at the hands of one of these extremists will trigger an international outcry? but the administration will cleverly parlay it into a call for the further militarization of an already highly militarized border.
A death at the hands of one of these extremists will also be parlayed into passing the president's proposal to create a massive ?guest worker? program that will result in a permanent subclass (subhuman) of workers, without the basic rights afforded all human beings. For instance, these workers will not be placed on track for legalization, much less U.S. citizenship. Nor will they will be allowed to bring over their families nor the right to unionization.
This inhumane scheme is in complete contradistinction to practices in Europe. There, workers from member nations of the European Community can work in any other member nation - without a loss of rights, citizenship or humanity. Here, with a trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, the government pretends that ?illegal aliens? are sneaking in to take peoples' jobs. (Best right wing excuse is that they are taking jobs from African Americans. The question is, who awarded a patent for the worst U.S. jobs to African Americans?). The truth is, big business and government have always been in cahoots. The existence of ?illegal aliens? means exploitable non-unionized labor - one that is forced to live in fear and in shadows - always with the threat of economic and sexual exploitation and deportation.
Can the United States adopt an EC labor-type arrangement with Mexico? Absolutely. Will it? Of course not. (The border patrol would be unemployed and multinational corporations would not be able to enjoy the fruits of extreme exploitation).
Militias on the border? That's but a manifestation of a larger problem - the systematic creation of legal and illegal human populations. If we want to get rid of these extremist kooks on the border, the first step is to eliminate the greatest source of dehumanization; the existence of legal and illegal human populations. Failure to do so will lay the groundwork for a future society based largely on hunter and hunted populations.
? Column of the Americas 2005
Roberto Rodriguez & Patrisia Gonzales write the weekly syndicated Column of the Americas and can be reached at XColumn@aol.com.