imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Campo: Good Riddance and Goodbye

by Leslie Tuesday, Aug. 09, 2005 at 5:30 AM
lradford@radiojustice.net

On Saturday, protestors celebrated the defeat of the California Minutemen, and Friends of the Border Patrol introduced themselves.

Campo, CA, August 6, 2005 – Nearly 150 determined protestors, forty or more traveling from Los Angeles and Riverside, rallied under the hot sun of the desert in Campo to bid good riddance at the retreat of the California Minutemen. Scheduled to end their human hunting expedition on Monday, minutemen regulars had, for the most part, snuck off during the previous night to a neighboring ranch. The Good Riddance! Goodbye! demonstration and celebration capped three weeks of protests and actions, which had thwarted the minutemen's efforts to hunt and capture border crossers.

The minutemen had left word with sheriffs that L.A. Chicano gangs would be descending on Campo to attack them, and the sheriffs dutifully asked protestors if they were gang members. A handful of last-minute minutemen recruits remained to fend off the protestors. These remaining California Minutemen, although presumably armed as minutemen have been in earlier confrontations, barricaded themselves behind the cattle gate. Inside their dark refuge they were confined to waving impolite hand gestures at the chanting, victorious protestors. Their own reports indicated their nerves were frayed from facing drug dealers, hostile locals, and the incessent interventions of protestors.

Since July 16, angry twilight confrontations had brought protestors toe-to-toe with the heavily armed vigilantes. Night-time patrols slipped into minutemen caravans, disrupting plans and exposing lookouts. The Buenas Noches Brigade, under the cover of the desert night and armed with noisemakers, blaring music, spotlights, spontaneous dances, and shouts of "Buenas noches, minutemen!", blocked minuteman vehicles, confronted the vigilantes, and alerted border crossers.

James Chase, leader of the California Minutemen, reported to local newspapers that during their three-week stay, "rogue" minutemen had shot and wounded two border crossers–and that he personally had illegally transported two migrants to the Campo Border Patrol station.

Following the rowdy afternoon demonstration at the VFW hall, now-quiet protestors climbed to the border marker at the crest of the bluff overlooking the Gente Unida camp to remember those who had died crossing the border.

A letter from the mother of a border crosser wondered why her son had to die looking for work. Another told of a fifteen-year-old boy who had held his mother in arms in the desert this past June until she succumbed to dehydration.

The mourners began a roll call of the deceased and responded to each name with "Presente." Thirty-two hundred border crossers have died since 1994 when Operation Gatekeeper forced migrants into the deserts and mountains–one migrant has died for every kilometer of the Mexico-U.S. border–most often from heat exhaustion and exposure. The vigil leader, Enrique Morones of Border Angels, cradled a small white cross marked "no identificado" and "no olvidado." He reported 116 deaths in July of this year alone, including one down the road at Mount Signal, nearly double the sixty deaths of July a year ago.

On the border wall were taped images of a fiercely drawn Native man demanding papers from the European invader, a vivid painting of La Virgen de Guadalupe flanked and crowned by symbols from the Mayan calendar, depictions of the Hopi prophecy rock and a bumper sticker declaring the presence of the "indigenous element." Homemade flags for the dead and paper chains commemorated the deceased.

The border marker at the crest had been emended in pink marker to identify the etched words "Mexico to Canada" as Aztlan. Under "Southern Terminus Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail Established by Act of Congress on Oct. 2, 1968" was added "Whose the Immigrant Pilgrim."

The New Minutemen, Not Quite Like the Old Minutemen

Most of the protestors, lost in thought and private conversation, straggled down the steep 500-foot hill and across the dirt road to the Gente Unida camp to begin the celebration. I held back, spending a few minutes at the corrugated twelve-foot sheet-metal barrier that had caused so much suffering, looking across at the cars, tents and blue canopies of the protestor’s camp now lit in twilight below. Behind me, the Border Patrol and sheriffs pulled their vehicles back to their usual observation post on the hill above the protestors.

About a hundred feet down the path, I nearly ambled past a large, unmarked, untagged, newly painted pale yellow pickup truck, with a purchase slip in the rear window. Startled, I looked back to see a middle-aged man in a Polo shirt and a younger man with a shemagh wrapped around his neck counting the cars below.

The following conversation is reconstructed from memory. The younger interloper refused to provide his name, so I here call him Sidekick.

Leslie:

Fifty cars.

Mike:

About forty.

Leslie:

Some around the bend. So what are you doing?

Mike:

We’re with Friends of the Border Patrol.

Leslie:

Andy Ramirez’s group?

Sidekick:

Yeah.

Mike:

[noting my T-shirt] I used to play Christmas concerts at KPFK. Years ago. It's a brick building on Cahuenga, next to the ARCO station. For "Folkscene."

Leslie:

The Larkins' show.

Mike:

Back in 1983.

Leslie:

Strange to think 1983 was long ago.

Mike:

Yeah.

Leslie:

Madonna was big then. Bet you [indicating Sidekick] don't even remember Madonna

Sidekick:

I was born then.

Mike:

Madonna was late 80's.

Leslie:

So why are you here?

Mike:

Come to see Chase’s group and the protestors go at it. Sorry we missed him.

Leslie:

Just reconnaissance.

Sidekick:

Yeah. Chase is out of control.

Leslie:

So you don’t like Chase?

Mike:

He’s crazy. He’s got no discipline.

Leslie:

I know he’s more with Simcox, Gilchrist is with Ramirez.

Mike:

Not exactly.

Leslie:

What is it then?

Sidekick:

It’s on the internet.

Leslie:

About Chase saying he wanted snipers?

[no comment]

Leslie:

And he had them.

Sidekick:

You mean the two immigrants who got shot?

Leslie:

Yeah. Chase said they were rogue minutemen.

[no comment]

Leslie:

So how are you different than Chase? Now Ramirez is saying he’ll have people with guns.

Mike:

Different tactics. We'll be staying in private residences.

Sidekick:

We’re different.

Mike:

Do you support our right to protest?

Sidekick:

He’s the Constitutional guy.

Leslie:

Sure.

Mike:

So what’s your problem with us?

Leslie:

Do you support our right to counterprotest?

Mike:

There's an eighty-nine year-old woman who owns a Colt Python. Immigrants jump her fence, killed four of her dogs, shit in her yard. Is that right? She should be enjoying her old age.

Two protestors, one identifying herself as an independent journalist, had by this time noticed the men and climbed the hill to join us. One took a picture of Sidekick, who demanded she delete it; she refused. Mike volunteered that he had spent time in Pakistan and had traveled the Middle East. Then he repeated the story of the 89-year-old woman packing the .357 magnum for the reporter.

Juan Santos, a regular anti-minuteman protestor, had remained on the bluff and was making his way down when I hastily pulled him aside and told him who the visitors were. He alerted the camp and brought about thirty protestors running up the hill to the site. John, another regular protestor, recognized Mike, who readily admitted he was from Sherman Oaks and had recently infiltrated an L.A.-area anti-minuteman activists' meeting. Mike warned the protestors that they would be surprised at the number of people FBP would be bringing to their border action on September 16.

Sidekick folded his arms on the truck’s door and stuck his head into the cab through the driver’s side window to avoid pictures. A videographer slipped over to the passenger side of the truck and took the startled younger man's picture again. Sidekick crawled into the driver's seat, closed the door, and buried his head in his arms on the steering wheel, hiding his face completely.

When the protestors began chanting "Racists go home!" and "We'll be back, and we'll be bigger!", Mike scurried around to the passenger seat. Sidekick, his scarf now drawn well up under his eyes, threw the vehicle into gear and spun his tires backing up. The newest minutemen tore down the steep hill in a plume of dust, bumping one bystander in their rush to get away from the heckling crowd and rounding a corner down the hill at an alarming speed.

It appears that Friends of the Border Patrol will use more sophisticated intelligence and public relations campaigns than the California Minutemen. FBP's Executive Director Andy Ramirez's "Save Our State" Proposition 187 campaign was noted for such tactics. Ron Prince, co-author of Proposition 187, chairs FBP. It also seems that FBP's unarmed representatives, at least, don't have the arrogance or bravado that marked Chase's armed squad.

The Celebration Continues

The protestors laughed and cheered through a roughcut video of the three weeks of minuteman intervention: the brave antics of the Buenas Noches Brigade, the minutemen turning on their heels and walking away from the protestors. Kids swung fluorescent light sticks, spinning red, green, white, and yellow streaks against the star-laden sky. Music from the home-built, DC-powered amp and speaker system that had frightened away the minutemen now lured protestors to dance. Between tunes, drummers kept up the beat. The camp stoves sizzled with carne asada, beans, and tortillas. Just when it was declared that the paper plates had run out, a last handful magically appeared on an ice chest for the stragglers at the end of the line.

A ranger from the Bureau of Land Management rolled out of the dark and tried to goad the protestors into admitting disappointment at the minutemen's absence. The protestors, savvy and experienced, weren't biting, but, when queried, the ranger offered that he supported the migrant hunters. Asked why he wanted to see armed vigilantes doing the work of law enforcement, he could only explain, "I think they're helping."

I walked away from the campsite for the drive home, away from the spotty glow of Coleman lanterns, and shouted over my shoulder to the lingering crowd, "Buenas noches!" Echoing returns of "Buenas noches" rang through the night, maybe as far as the minuteman camp. I saved my last goodbye for Enrique, who was sitting in his truck talking on his phone and busily scribbling notes before one more night patrol.

My traveling partner, Enrique, and I improvised an off-key and almost-sweet chorus of "See You in September" underscored with both sadness at the circumstances of our autumn reunion and awe at the bravery of so many people.

Driving out, the VFW hall–former home of the minutemen–was dark, the parking lot empty, the gate chained shut.

See you in September.

Report this post as:

Local News

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

Last of California's nuclear power plants is on its way out J30 3:44PM

Patrisse Khan-Cullors explains why Black Lives Matter J26 7:02PM

Women's March L.A., 2018 J24 4:39PM

The case for US government sanctions on Israel J23 5:36PM

 Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 4 J22 9:07PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump Photoset 3 J22 8:24PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 2 J22 7:36PM

Women of LA Rise Again to Denounce Trump PhotoSet 1 J22 7:14PM

Women's Political Representation & Electoral Reform J21 12:43PM

Trial Starts for Woman with Erb’s Palsy Punched in Face Repeatedly by LAPD Officers J10 1:38PM

Dear District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Prosecute Killer Cops, Signed: Your Constituents J09 10:09PM

Great solidarity action today J06 10:22PM

Chris Ballew beat up by Pasadena police J05 5:01PM

Retired LAPD Sgt. Cheryl Dorsey explains how the LAPD's Board of Rights hearings work J05 3:40PM

An Ex-Cop Talks About Police Shootings J05 3:39PM

Do Nukes Kill? J02 4:40PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Le serment d'impunité F25 2:14AM

Subversion de la théorie F24 1:02AM

Feds Using Mobile X-Ray Vans On U.S. Streets (Fox News) F23 8:38PM

Tantra & The San Francisco Two-Spirit PowWow F23 5:59PM

Adam Smith as Philanthropist F23 6:43AM

The Shortwave Report 02/23/18 Listen Globally! F22 5:03PM

Hero Hunters Cheat - Guide - Tips to Win F22 12:57PM

Paraphysique de l'anaphore F21 11:14PM

“Lost in a Dream” Karaoke Competition Promises $20,000 Prize! F21 10:43AM

NYPD Case Calls Attention to 'Consent Defense' That Can Be Used by Officers Accused of Rap F20 11:59PM

Hero Hunters Hack - Get Unlimited Bucks and Gold F20 3:27PM

Our Beneficial River Jordan F20 11:43AM

State Investments and the Public Sector F20 6:13AM

Apprentissage irrémissible F19 11:12PM

Sauve-qui-peut du gâchis F18 12:09AM

Talon de fer F17 1:50AM

The Shortwave Report 02/16/18 Listen Globally! F15 4:24PM

The judiciary could force America to solve the homeless crisis F15 9:56AM

The torrefied pellet plant will not be built on the Limousin mountain! F15 6:19AM

Endf Russophobia! Time for a New Detente Policy F15 4:27AM

Paraphysique du catastrophisme F14 11:22PM

Baltimore police union balks at policy requiring officers to pay some legal damages themse F14 6:19PM

Researching Islamic Terrorism in Europe. F14 5:08PM

Asian American Stereotypes in Media F14 2:33PM

La diversité clonée F14 1:59AM

Forever Fierce Day F13 3:18AM

A l'époque du spectaculaire concentré et diffus ( Hommage à feu Michel Noury ) F12 10:34PM

Zombie Capitalism F12 4:07AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy