Tag Archives: Border Wall

Ward Churchill speaks on which settler invasion wrote the book on Apartheid

Tucson Tohono O'odham
Ward Churchill spoke in Tucson on Friday and Brenda Norrell has posted the footage. Watching the ex-CU professor speak, I can’t help but think about the university students’ loss. They’re missing the lamentably rarefied perspectives he offers of course, but more important, the inspiration gained from such an engaging luminary.

Throughout his lectures, Churchill likes to put questions back at his audience. He understands, if I can presume to project his rationale, that a mentor’s role is to bounce ideas around, and be sure his students have minds open enough to let them resonate. It’s also a sign of someone fully confident with what they are teaching. Churchill gives you the impression he’s interested in the best argument you’ve got, and I believe him, but in reality he’s going to have few peers up to the task.

When it’s time for Q and A, Prof. Churchill calls it mud-wrestling, and welcomes all shots, “even spit wads.” He draws the line at brick bats, because he says, one might bounce off his head and hit somebody else. He warns, as if he’s had practice, “because someone might get hurt. I can assure you it won’t be me.”

I wished at that moment that Tucson was not so far from Churchill’s curiously vile detractors, who attended his trial in Denver, and who hold bitch fests online about every Churchinalia for reasons unspecified. I predict they’re remunerated; the love-to-hate pretext is wearing thin, these yahoos are pro-Israeli tea-baggers. So there’s no Drunkablog or Pirate Ballerina there tonight to take the “perfessor’s” challenge. Although wouldn’t such an exchange have been simply tedious? I recall this dismal attempt mounted against “Wart” by a couple CU college Republicans, it was just embarrassing. Have Churchill’s online critics ever confronted him in person I wonder? They can spout off in the safety of anonymity, and that’s about it.

Churchill’s speech to the predominantly Anglo and O’odham border activists was about the bigger issues behind the border wall. The theme of the gathering was Apartheid in America, and Churchill demonstrated how South African Apartheid came of the successful colonial methods practiced in the United States. These were the strategies employed by the Germans in taking and settling the Eastern Front during WWII, and of course the goals of Israel in Palestine.

Churchill described how settler invasions vary from colonial administration. In the latter case, the colonizers can go home, in the former, they stay. Another distinction is critical, the settlers aren’t moving to a land and becoming part of the social system, they remain citizens of the occupying force. They bring their identity and the foreign system with them, to apply against the people indigenous to the land. The process involves two steps: displace enough of the natives to make room for yourselves, but leave just enough to serve as a labor pool, for all the building that is required of empire building. You’ve need of only a portion of the original population, to do the manual labor required of developing the land, but eventually you need them to die off. The Nazi strategy in Poland was to eleminate a great deal via war, then another mass through starvation, ill health and exposure. Methods mirrored today in Gaza. As a USA example, Churchill sited the average life expectancy of a Native American on a reservation in 1975. The age was 44.6 years old. That’s 1/3 less that the G-Pop average, equivalent to thinning the population by a third.

To cut to the quick, Churchill asked his audience how they felt about social challenges like sexism, racism, ageism, classism. All were basically in accord as being against. What’s the problem, Churchill asked. If so many are against these things, why do they persist? Then he threw imperialism into the mix, which had not been mentioned. Churchill said we cannot adequately address the others until we have a clean conscience about the land taken from America’s First Peoples. This must be the priority. First Peoples, First Nations, First Priority.

Below is the video of Friday’s Tohono O’odham event in Tucson. Take note also of the excellent speeches which followed the keynote, by Ofelia Rivas and her brother in particular.

Click ON DEMAND, then select the “Live Show Fri Nov 13 2009 06:20:55 PM” or watch it at Livestream/earthcycles.

Minutemen Civil Defense Klan in hindsight

COLORADO SPRINGS- I had the pleasure Tuesday night to attend a membership recruiting meeting for a Minuteman border protection group. About fifty citizens turned up, with a collective IQ of probably about that. Lots of people eager to use their handguns against brown usurpers of American land, jobs and social programs.

Yesterday's bigotsProtect our border because the Federal Government won’t do it. Protect it against immigrants, Hepatitis B, Drug-resistant TB, drugs, rape & pillage (seriously) and terrorism. The pitch was big on the threat of terrorism, 9/11 and all.

We knew they were bigots because they didn’t care a lick about the Canadian border. My friend Mark Lewis and I were going to show up in Klan robes, to mix it up and mock their bigoted enthusiasm, but we got there late and copped out.

The meeting was held at a police station of all places. We were going to make a stink about that, but didn’t.

In fact I spent the whole meeting trying to think of pointed questions but didn’t say a peep. And worse, when a protestor stood up and disrupted the presentation I didn’t chime in with words of support. He was pelted with insults and led out of the room with his young daughter. I felt very bad that she would have been hurt by the universal condemnation of her dad’s heroism. I do so hope to run into the two again someday.

By the way, the man was called out of the room by the officer in charge at the Falcon Police Sub-station, Sargent Rob Kelly who had I guess appointed himself bouncer to the public meeting. The protestor’s comments were disruptive but not obstructive. The minuteman spokesman didn’t ask to be assisted, the officer abruptly jumped in.

Mark and I had decided our presence would be most effective after the meeting, providing an opposing voice interview to the TV crew. It worked out, the TV crew was just as repulsed as we at the presence of such trigger-happy white people meeting in a police station community room.

In hindsight, I might have some suggestions for effective communication disruptors, if the goal is to dissuade as many of the attendees as possible from signing up with the Minutemen. If you get a chance to attend one of these meetings, here are a couple tactics you might consider.

Don’t do the KKK robes, they won’t let you in the meeting and the satire will be lost on them. Instead wear a t-shirt with the vintage Klan poster depicting Uncle Sam saying “I want you to join the Klan.” Later in the slideshow the Minutemen have the same image but this time it says “I want you to join the Minutemen.”

The first thing the Minutemen do in their presentation is try to dispel the idea that they appeal to bigots. If you are motivated by racial or cultural hatred, they ask you to please leave. Now. I so wish that I’d chosen that uncomfortably silent moment to stand up and walk out, well almost out, before saying “just kidding!”

The rest of the meeting was just more cheap manipulation, with little room to question the truck-sized fallacies in their fear-mongering. Questions were only solicited well past the emotional appeals. Laughter might have cracked the reverential manner in which the audience absorbed the bombastic presentation.

A strange point: There’s a $50 fee for applicants who require a security check before being accepted. The fee is waived for anyone who has a handgun permit. I wonder if the Minutemen are interested in you if you don’t have a gun. How then would they expect you to shoot Mexicans?

Do you have any questions you’d like to ask the Minutemen?

Standing against veiled bigotry