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Minutemen Countered in Fallbrook

by Mexicanos Unidos Wednesday, Jun. 08, 2005 at 3:05 AM

Fallbrook, Near San Diego Counters Minutement Protest in inspiring action.

http://www.mudp.org/fallbrookmarch/mmfallbrook.html

Minutemen in Fallbrook

Fallbrook is a small town of about 50,000 people in
the outskirts of San Diego's North County, east of
Oceanside and south of Temecula, and which is not
usually thought of as a place for making a political
statement. But for some reason, approximately
forty-five Minutemen supporters and sympathizers made
an appearance on Fallbrook's Main Street on Saturday
morning. They came to take a stance against
businesses and banks, which accept the "matricula
consular" as a valid form of identification. They are
making the claim that the banks' acceptance of the
Mexican identification card allow for criminals and
terrorists to open accounts, and allow for illegal
immigrants to blend into mainstream society. Their
demonstration began at 8:00 in the morning and they
were well protected by a virtual army of police and
sheriffs, including a police helicopter which was
patrolling the town.

The Mexican Community Responds

Word of the event soon got around. There were reports
of people beginning to show their disapproval of the
presence of the anti-illegal alien protestors. People
began to drive by their protest site with Mexican
flags flying out the window, showing their disapproval
with various hand gestures and shouting at them to "go
home". This was a very strong point to argue since
according to the North County Times, most of the
Minutemen supporters were not from Fallbrook. Some of
the people protesting were the same old retired people
who went to protest the art monument in Baldwin Park.

By 11:30 a.m., four MUDP organizers arrived on the
opposite side of the street from where the Minutemen
supporters were standing holding only a banner and a
couple of Mexican flags with them. Within a
half-an-hour, the group was about 20-30 strong and
growing, and within the half hour, almost all of the
Minutemen supporters had disappeared. Apparently,
they had anticipated a strong counter-protest as was
evident with such a strong police presence, and they
still have not recovered from their defeat in Baldwin
Park.

After gathering briefly to give some organization to
the protest, the anti-Minutemen protestors marched
down Main Street to show the community that they were
not going to just stand by and watch these people
openly attack the Mexican community. As the march
progressed, many others joined the march and the
support was heard from the many cars passing by and
honking. Some businesses offered their support as
well. The local 99 Cent store gave out Mexican flags
and the owner of El Toro Market gave everyone bottles
of water and sodas. The owners of Puerto Nuevo
Mexican Restaurant offered to assist in organizing
future events. Ultimately 60-70 people joined the
march.

A Political and Uplifting Victory

The march ended in the very same location where the
Minutemen supporters held their demonstration earlier
that day, which gave a semblance of a victory. And it
was a victory for our community. On a minute's
notice, the Mexican community came out in larger
numbers to protest these advocates against human
rights. This being in a town that was once a
stronghold for white supremacy. The protest lifted
the spirits of struggle and dignity of the community
since people were looking for a way to participate in
an organized and peaceful manner. In fact, the
community demonstrated this in a real way when a car
full of young Mexicanas who participated in the event,
was pulled over by the local sheriffs for honking her
horn in a show of enthusiasm for the days events.
Immediately a crowd gathered around to denounce the
cowardly and racist behavior of the police and to
observe the situation. In a show of dignity and
principle, the young teenager refused to sign the
officer's citation as a way of saying that she did not
recognize the officer's authority and his judgment of
justice. Even after having been handcuffed, she told
the officer not to touch her. At that moment, an MUDP
member was able to get a lawyer on the phone to give
the young Mexicana legal advice on the matter. She
will make the attempt to fight the citation in court.

Who Are The Minutemen?

As much as these vigilantes attempt to give an
appearance of simply being persons who want to uphold
the law, they have not been very successful at
containing their racist, violent, and colonialist
intentions behind their movement. Their demonstration
in Baldwin Park in protest of a slogan on an art piece
lifted the mask off their movement and exposed their
racist side since they were openly protesting against
the Mexican and Indian communities' freedom of speech,
their history and their culture. Baldwin Park was not
about illegal immigration. Also, Minutemen supporters
are childishly making racist and threatening phone
calls to their opponents, as was the case with our
organization just this past week. On Wednesday June
1st, an unknown person left a message on our answering
machine and gave us a warning about their coming to
San Diego. The message stated, "I'm calling for all
the stupid spics out there, can't wait 'til we come to
San Diego baby".

The incident in Orange County in which a Minuteman
supporter viciously hit a few protestors with his car
and was later released without charges, exposed the
violent nature of these vigilantes, and furthermore,
exposed the state's complicity and support of this
movement. The media also sided with the vigilantes in
only reporting the driver's side of the story, and
again the media in San Diego sided with the vigilantes
by not even mentioning the fact that there was a
larger counter-protest in Fallbrook (see the NC Times,
June 5th article by Teri Figueroa).

How Should We Deal With Them?

Even though these vigilantes have proven to be racist
and cowardly, the fact of the matter is that there is
more to the Minutemen than just a few retired people
with nothing better to do. Aside from having support
from the state, the media, and even white nationalist
groups, they are linked to a movement lead in part by
Glenn Spencer that has been organizing for years and
have chosen this time to launch an offensive. This
must all be taken into account when anyone or group
attempts to organize against the Minutemen.
The fact of the matter is, our movement is weak,
fragmented and still hasn't recovered from the defeat
of the movements in the seventies. Baldwin Park was a
victory but it was a water bottle away from ending in
a demonstration that would have been brutally
repressed by the army of police protecting the
Minutemen, and would have demoralized the growing
movement against the vigilantes. It must be
understood that protests against the Minutemen must be
peaceful in order to build a movement that will allow
for much more men, women and children to participate.
There is a tendency from groups that call themselves
socialists, anarchists and communists to attend these
types of demonstrations and provoke a confrontation
with the police that results in the police attacking
the people. Somehow they think that is they way to
deal with injustice. And as a matter of fact, from
the video footage we recorded, we saw that there were
agent provocateurs such as Frank "Mohammed" Martinez
(see Brian Glick's War at Home) who were present at
Baldwin Park and were engaging in undisciplined
actions such as crossing the police line, which would
have ended in declaring the protest an unlawful
gathering. These types of people are experts in
urging protestors to engage in adventurist, unlawful
acts, and creating situations in which the police will
have reason to repress the demonstrations.

Our Anti-Minutemen movement is growing and the masses
of the people are looking for an organized and
peaceful way to confront them. We as organizers must
provide them that means and we must begin to take the
offensive by denouncing the Minutemen on our own
terms. In other words, it is movement-building time,
and we must not fall in the same traps of what has
defeated movements in the past, which has been
unorganized and undisciplined action which does not
take into account the participation of men, women and
children. We don't need heroes, we need a movement
and that requires organizers.
And the Minutemen seem like they are going to be
around for a while, so we must also have a long-term
view of our struggle.

Finally, the Minutemen, even though the position they
are taking is unjust, our not our most dangerous
enemies. We had bigger problems before they stepped
on the scene, and we will still have bigger problems
once they leave the scene. One of these problems that
should serve to unite us all across colonial borders
is the effect of US trade policies, which is being
rejected all across Latin America and which serves to
force our people into a life of misery and ultimately
migration to other cities and countries. So called
immigrants (and most are indigenous people to this
continent) should qualify for some type of political
asylum since their migration is a result of a failing
economic and political system being forced upon them
from abroad. And why shouldn't they have the right to
follow and retrieve the same resources that they are
producing and being exploited for?

Yet the racist, colonialist position of the Minutemen
is having an effect on our people that is awakening
them to political life in a way that has not been done
in years. Our community is looking for a means to
express their opposition to this and many other
injustices and we must provide them that means. Yes,
we must struggle against the Minutemen today, but we
must also prepare to struggle against neo-liberalism
and colonialism tomorrow as well.


Mexicanos Unidos en Defensa del Pueblo
202 W. Ammunition #38
Fallbrook, CA. 92028
(760) 451-1754
www.mudp.org
La lucha sigue!
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