Sunday, January 23, 2011 firesneverextinguished.blogspot.com
Phoenix area anarchists kicked off the new year by calling for a march in
the arts district of downtown Phoenix for the monthly "First Friday"
artwalk. The call was in response to the deaths of two immigrant youths
who were found in a canal after fleeing from a Maricopa County Sheriff
Deputy near Gila Bend, and the murder of a third youth who was shot and
killed by a Border Patrol agent while climbing the border wall in Nogales.
Nearly two dozen anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and O'odham and Dine'
indigenous comrades, all assembled for this unpermitted manifestation of
outrage. This also being a First Friday (FF) our small group attracted the
attention and participation of many in the crowds wandering between
galleries and bars, as well as from the youth who often come down to FF to
get out of the house, check out some art, and to flirt and meet other kids
The march took to the streets with banners and statements against the
"poliMigra," prisons, all borders and police. We shouted into the night
"Out of the galleries, into the streets!" Naturally we garnered the
attention of the police, not a special distinction as on any given FF they
maintain a very heavy presence, even though a demonstration like this has
probably not occurred in sometime, aside from an organic confrontation
with the authorities a couple years back. After a few shoving matches with
the Phoenix cops, the march was pushed to the sidewalks, but after losing
the police, the march returned to moving in and out of the streets,
throwing traffic barricades into street, and making a detour into one of
the more notoriously yuppie galleries downtown. We lost some of our
numbers when we marched down to the Suns game, but we also shook our
police tail and were able to march in the streets unimpeded (aside from
the occasional police vehicle that would pull up, use their bullhorn to
tell people to get off the streets, and then drive off). We encountered
the most reactionary and nationalistic sentiment of the night outside the
Suns game, but we shook it off and mobbed onto a light rail train for a
free ride back to the arts district.
So, what does this mean for the future? The mainstream movement voices
were once again silent during this latest outrage, the "human rights
movement" raised a number of eye brows around town after their total
absence in any forum when young Danny Rodriguez was murdered by Phoenix
cop Richard Chrisman in his mother's trailer last October. The high
profile killing of this young man came amid a shit storm of corruption and
brutality allegations against the Phoenix police department, specifically
the notorious South Mountain precinct, but perhaps the mainstream hacks
were too concerned about upsetting their friends in the mayor's office to
actually hold one consistent political position. Or maybe someone should
have told them there's money to be made from the non-profit industrial
complex in organizing against police violence, that seems to get their
What I saw in the streets the night of this march is a sight becoming
increasingly common in Phoenix, a gathering of indigenous, latin@, and
anarchist people ready to take to the streets and to move beyond the
boundaries put forth by the mainstream immigrant movement's leadership, as
well as the laws of the authorities. I believe that in these alliances lay
the future for a broad based movement of resistance, built upon mutual
respect and participation in confronting this system of death, repression,
and incarceration until there is total freedom for all.
Below is the text of the flier handed out during the solidarity march,
along with a couple more images from this procession.
Where are the voices of disbelief and anger now that SB1070 is law?
Where have the crowds gone who were in the streets in the spring and
summer? This writing is addressed to you who weep with clenched fists
when another immigrant is found dead trekking across the desert, shot
dead by a border patrol agent, or drowned in a canal after fleeing the
authorities. This is to you, who tires of a political movement that
demands your patience for a political solution all the while this
O'odham (the indigenous people of this region) land is militarized by
the border patrol, building more new checkpoints, and nothing ever
Why now, why without the responsible, reasonable movement leadership?
Because it’s come to this: Three children, presumed immigrants by the
state, found dead in a canal on Christmas eve, just one week before
that five other immigrant brothers and sisters were discovered by the
authorities, forced to conceal themselves in cow manure. Just
yesterday a 17 year old Nogales resident was shot dead by a border
guard on the U.S. side after climbing the border fence. Where is the
outcry from the human rights activists, or even the mainstream
This is a call to all those who oppose the tyranny of law and order,
this cold business of institutions that place freedom and dignity
underfoot to preserve power and control for the few. There will be
people in the streets tonight, decrying this sick order that places
property, law, and the will of a few over the lives, dreams, and
freedom of human beings.
Another night of wandering the sidewalks of downtown admiring the art
that lampoons Arpaio, or defends immigrants, and then home, content to
believe that a moral duty has been exercised, justice against the
oppressors has been served in Phoenix this First Friday. Of course we
appreciate this art, but to pretend that the representation of a
struggle is in fact a struggle is lunacy!
There is active solidarity, or there is complacency! Observers of art,
become participants in your own life! Join us tonight as we take the
streets to stand with all those murdered by the laws and institutions
on this stolen indigenous land.