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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/2/17

Rising Resistance to Trump on Immigration

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So, this is the way that we're going to resist. There are hundreds of municipalities who believe that migrants need to be protected, rather than persecuted. We're going to go and keep supporting those so-called sanctuary cities. Making sure that they extend better protections for migrants, but also that they stem the attack from the Trump administration. So, we are definitely planning in all fronts. We're preparing for the worst, and obviously, hoping for the best.

But one thing is for sure, we are not going to go quietly into the night, we're not going to disappear, we're not going to go down without a fight. And I think... I believe that this is, obviously four years of resistance, and it's barely starting. And I can tell you that there is so much energy in our communities. People feel the fear, there is obviously fear, widespread fear, but at the same time there is courage.

If you think about, for example, the workers that I represent -- they, everyday, in order to feed their loved ones, they defy all the odds: the weather, the rain, the hot sun, unscrupulous employers that fail to pay their wages, minute men in white supremacist organizations that come and harass them, security guards, police officers, ICE agents. They defy everybody, in order to make a living, and feed their loved ones. That is courage. That is the courage that politicians and activists and organizations need to match, as we fight back, as we resist President Trump and his policies.

DB: Pablo Alvarado, I want to ask you more. Those... you talked initially about, sort of, local defense committees, which reminds me a lot of what began to happen in the south when the resistance to apartheid, Jim Crow, in the south. There began to be these black ministers' defense committees. It seems like almost a... sort of an evolution of that idea for the 21st century and this, what could really turn into a brown revolution.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona speaking at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 25, 2011.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona speaking at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 25, 2011.
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PA: Well, look, I don't think that at this point we have any other choice. And, yes, I mean these are experiences that other people have done in other places when they are under attack. People organize themselves to defend themselves. It's very simply not another choice in terms of how we respond to the attacks.

And, by the way, it's already happening. See, in Arizona, when SB1070 was introduced and created this human rights crisis in Arizona, the first thing that we did is we went to our communities and said, "What do you want to do?" And they laid out the strategy for us. Right in front of the capital of Phoenix, you know, we have about 10,000 people.

And we began asking people, "How do you want to fight back?" People said, "We've got to boycott the state." That's exactly what we did. People said, "We've got to organize block by block" -- so the barrios in these communities emerged, in Arizona, around that time. People said, "We have to denounce SB1070, as a racist, as a fascist law and we need to have artists to come in and help us, define what we already know it's about." Then we brought in the lawyers, and we brought in organizers from all over the country. Massive civil disobedience. The fight we put together in Arizona is exactly what we need to replicate nationwide.

And, I believe that our communities are not only ready to do that, but we don't have any other choice. See, when we began the campaign against Sheriff Arpaio, for instance, he enjoyed 85% of voter approval ratings. The man was untouchable. Anybody who dared to criticize Mr. Arpaio would end up under criminal investigation. One newspaper, actually, the Phoenix New Times, was raided because they dared to criticize Mr. Arpaio. The man was untouchable, at that time. And we knew that we couldn't confront him in an open field, in an open battle. We knew that we had to draw him into another fight that we could control and that we could win.

So, we decided to boycott a furniture store that had hired six off-duty sheriff deputies to patrol the surroundings of the neighborhood, and arrest and turn over to ICE anybody who looked Mexican. We initiated the boycott [this was in 2007] and in a period of three months we had defeated the owner of the furniture store. And he ended up firing the six off-duty sheriff deputies. These were Arpaio's sheriff deputies. That was actually the first defeat that Mr. Arpaio suffered. Ever since, people began taking him on, and lost their fear to go after Arpaio. That's exactly what you do to bullies. You draw them into alley fights that you can control.

And we plan to have hundreds, if not thousands, of those alley fights, across the country. The struggle will not be a centralized struggle. It will be a de-centralized struggle. People doing whatever they can, from civil disobedience, to litigation, to educating, for example, Americans about the importance of defending migrants, and showing that those who employ nannies, defend their nannies. Ensuring that those who have a gardener, to keep their gardens green, that they defend the gardener. Because without that work force, Americans will not be able to do the kind of jobs that they do, and would not be able to have the kind of lifestyle that they have. So it's in their best interest to protect our community, to protect our undocumented communities.

Artists work on a sign that reads
Artists work on a sign that reads 'Deport Trump' during the presidential inauguration. January 20, 2017.
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So that resistance is going to take different shapes across the country. In places where there is no infrastructure to defend migrants, in places where the political reality is too hostile, than in those particular places, like Alabama, Georgia, it will be pure resistance. It will be pure barrio, you know, community defense organizing so that people can protect each other.

And, in places where there are possibilities, to push for more proactive measures, like California, that's exactly what we are going to do. But that struggle, again, is going to be decentralized and this time around, we want every community group, doesn't matter how small or big, that group is to stand up, and organize.

And the way we're going to win is by exposing, you know, the lies, by exposing the injustices that this precedent will undertake, and, during his administration, by showing the American people how ugly racism is, how ugly xenophobia is, and by putting our bodies on the line. This is the kind of resistance that's going to take place, nationwide.

DB: We're speaking with Pablo Alvarado, he is the Executive Director of the National Day Labor Organizing Network. That network protects... has centers all over the country, in which day laborers are able to gather and organize and protect themselves as they do the hardest work in this country.

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Dennis J Bernstein is the host and executive producer of Flashpoints, a daily news magazine broadcast on Pacifica Radio. He is an award-winning investigative reporter, essayist and poet. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Nation, and (more...)

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