Juan Santos: Turning the Corner Toward Fascism


Richard Moore

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Brown Skin / Yellow Star: Turning the Corner Toward Fascism
Tuesday, March 21 2006 @ 06:43 PM PST
Contributed by: Anonymous

     We won't need a yellow star.

     The color of our skin will mark us as suspects, as felons,
     as threats to "the homeland." Any cop will be free to stop
     us at any time, under any pretext, to check -- not for dope
     -- but for our "papers."

     At first it won't seem like much. Quietly, at first, a few
     of us will begin to disappear, just like some 60 thousand
     immigrants of Muslim and Arabic descent have disappeared
     since the onset of the Patriot Act; without a word. Like
     them, we will become targets of the so-called "war on

Brown Skin / Yellow Star: Turning the Corner Toward Fascism
by Juan Santos

The US Senate debates legislation that would make migrants
an openly felonized, legally scapegoated racial and cultural
under-caste, with deeply dangerous implications for us all.
600,000 or more to march this Saturday, March 25th, Broadway
and Olympic, 10 AM.


As I write, the US Senate is debating legislation that would
make migrant peoples a felonized, legally scapegoated racial
and cultural under-caste, a move with deeply dangerous
implications for us all.

Maybe it wasn't such a lie, what the German people said
after Hitler - "we didn't know."

Certainly the mainstream media isn't telling you.

But many - Mexicans, Central Americans, and immigrant groups
like the Poles and Irish know. As many as 300,000 of them
marched together in Chicago recently to oppose these new

20,000 marched in Washington DC.

People in Los Angeles know; over half a million people in LA
are expected to march against these anti-migrant laws on
March 25th. The march is being promoted on all the Spanish
language media.

This essay is both a plea and a demand: you must march with
us on the 25th; somehow you must take action...


We won't need a yellow star.

The color of our skin will mark us as suspects, as felons,
as threats to "the homeland." Any cop will be free to stop
us at any time, under any pretext, to check -- not for dope
-- but for our "papers."

At first it won't seem like much. Quietly, at first, a few
of us will begin to disappear, just like some 60 thousand
immigrants of Muslim and Arabic descent have disappeared
since the onset of the Patriot Act; without a word. Like
them, we will become targets of the so-called "war on

First it will be dozens, then hundreds, then thousands, then
tens of thousands.

Mothers will disappear walking to the corner store. Fathers
will never come home from work. Children will be left
behind, sobbing in apartments empty of food, warmth, money
and life. The neighbors will be afraid. The tens of
thousands could readily become millions.

The picture painted above is nothing but hard headed
realism. Legislation now before the US Senate would make
every undocumented person in the US a felon and authorize
every police department in the country to arrest people on
immigration charges.

The size of the Border Patrol would, in effect, increase by
60 times, from the current 11,000 Migra agents to 663,546
enforcers. If each authorized officer in the US arrested one
undocumented migrant once every three months, within five
years over 11 million migrants would be gone - an ethnic
cleansing without parallel in US history.

This is the future they have planned. Certain neighborhoods
-- the Gulfton District or the North Side in Houston, Pico
Union and Boyle Heights in LA, the San Francisco Mission
District -- will be targeted. Almost everyone in them will
be considered a "felon," or someone who has aided the
"felons." They won't be able to be able to tell us apart. "A
Mexican is a Mexican," is what they will say.

In certain neighborhoods concrete barriers will block the
streets. Police and La Migra will arrange themselves in
hunting parties together. Like clockwork, a police cruiser
will turn the corner near your place, once every 60 seconds.
No one will breathe. The children will have nightmares.

This isn't just emotional rhetoric. It's happened before; in
the Gulfton District in Houston in 1990 and '95, and in Pico
Union in LA in 1990. This is how it's done. The barrio will
be besieged, taken over from within.

They want to build detention camps for us. They are debating
it now. They want to label us felons, but deny us a trial.
They're debating it now. They want to build a wall -- they
want us to die, tongue swollen and hallucinating, without
water in the desert. They are debating it now.

These are the human impacts of planning already underway.
New border fences are an integral part of current
legislative initiatives.

On Feb. 6, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff
announced that the Fiscal Year 2007 federal budget would
allocate over $400 million to add 6,700 additional detention
beds for migrants, part of a10-year Homeland Security
strategic plan, code-named ENDGAME.

According to a Homeland Security document on the plan,
ENDGAME aims to carry out goals "articulated in the Alien
and Sedition Acts of 1798." Homeland Security is seeking the
ability to "remove all removable aliens," including "illegal
economic migrants, aliens who have committed criminal acts,
asylum-seekers or potential terrorists."

Mr. Bush and the Christian fascists in power have found
their scapegoat - and it is us. We are the new Jews in a new
Germany in a new century. They call it the New American
Century, a New World Order, a "unipolar" Reich - a White
America over all.

E Pluribus Unum: the many eradicated; reduced to One. White.

This is the pretext. They call us "invaders." We represent a
"destabilizing factor" for the "nation." They say we are
dirty, just like they said the Jews were dirty -- and
disease ridden.

They say our neighborhoods and our culture are "cesspools."
They want to keep their culture "pure." They say we "steal"
the jobs that they have in fact shipped overseas, and that
are nowhere to be found. And now they're calling us
"terrorists," just like they called our ancestors "savages."

After decades the nation's long-suppressed racism is finding
an open voice once more, and they are openly strategizing
about how to best appeal to the unconscious racist
sentiments just beneath the surface among a broader public.

US Congressman Tom Tancredo warns about us: we (Mexicans and
migrant peoples) "need to be found before it is too late.
They're coming here to kill you, and you, and me, and my

It's a matter of "spin." One strategist on the right wing
web site RedState.org tells them how to spin it. He says
that to deal effectively with us our enemies must "focus on

"People who are in this country without proper
documentation," he writes "are foreign infiltrators. These
foreign infiltrators operate clandestinely within our
country. They are no different than the foreign infiltrators
who destroyed the world trade center and attacked the
Pentagon. Except that they haven't done anything yet."

"ŠOnce you have the terminology correct," he continues, "it
is easy to define a solution to discourage foreign
infiltration. First, treat any foreign infiltrator as a
prisoner of war. Turn them over to the militaryŠ No
hearings, no public defenders, no backlogged courts, no
squandering of American tax dollars protecting the
non-existent civil rights of foreign infiltrators."

The strategizing isn't empty: these Minutemen fantasies are
on the verge of becoming national reality.

Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman
Sensenbrenner's HR 4437, The Border Protection,
Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,
recently passed the US House of Representatives. Its most
extreme and punitive provisions are being upheld by the
Judiciary Committee of the US Senate.

This legislation would do just what the RedState strategist

Key elements of the Sensenbrenner bill include:

   * Making it a felony to be in the U.S. without legal
documents. Under current law this is a simple civil
violation. Millions of us would be classified as "felons"
and subject to immediate detention and deportation, often
without so much as a hearing. Access to the courts will be
severely restricted if legislation currently under
consideration is approved.

How can they tell who's a felon? The felons will have brown
skin. Fifty million of us. All of us will be suspects. What
will they stop us for? Anything they please. After all, they
already stop us for anything they please.

   *  Making it a federal crime to "assist" our people who are
without documents. Those who leave water in the desert to
save the lives of migrants would become felons. Millions of
teachers, doctors, priests, nurses, attorneys and others who
give any kind of help or services to undocumented people
will also become felons - overnight - and could face five
years in prison and have their assets seized by the

Giving a ride to someone without the proper "papers" could
lead to felony charges. It remains unclear if renting an
apartment or selling a car to someone without "papers" would
become a felony.

Cardinal Mahoney of the 5 million member Los Angeles Diocese
of the Catholic Church has declared he will order his
priests to defy this law, if it is passed.

   * Expanding police powers over immigrants. Police departments
would be granted greater power to check legal status, a move
that would increase the number of immigration enforcement
agents by 60 times the current number. Local law enforcement
agencies would be paid for detaining our people and turning
us over to federal authorities.

These provisions will turn police into bounty hunters, the
moral equivalent of Cazamigrantes, and highlight their role
as a modern version of the Night Riders that once terrorized
communities of color.

   *  The construction of five double-layer border
fences--totaling 698 miles--in California and Arizona.

Over 4,000 people have died trying to cross the US/ Mexican
border since fences in California forced people to cross at
points in the Sonora desert into Arizona.

   *  Requiring employers to collect Social Security numbers and
other data on workers and turn it over to the Department of
Homeland Security, which would then verify worker's "legal
status" and store the data. All workers would, in effect,
need a government clearance before they could have a job,
any job.

   *  In a related development, the U.S. government announced in
February 2006 that it plans to pay Halliburton $385 million
to build new "detention centers" to imprison us.

This is a chilling and potentially deadly development in a
nation that kidnaps and spirits captives to secret prisons
in Europe and which runs torture centers in places like Abu
Ghraib and Guantánamo - torture centers which are condemned
and denounced the world over.

In concert with the specter of mass deportations, pogroms,
and widespread, race-based scapegoating, new "detention
centers" strikes a chord eerily close to concentration camp.

As one writer questioned "Just what will happen in these
detention centers, built to lock away undocumented people
whose legal rights have been disappeared, and who have been
cast as "hordes," "invaders," and a threat to national
security? "

On the ultra-Right, anti-Mexican shock groups such as the
National Policy Institute, Minutemen leaders, and others are
calling for our mass deportation.

The Minutemen's Jim Gilchrist has called for the National
Guard to be deployed at the Mexican / US border. Gilchrist's
partner and rival in the Minutemen, Chris Simcox, makes the
agenda clear, saying, "Oh, Jesus, it is unbelievable. I
mean, we need the National Guard to clean out all our cities
and round them up. They are hard-core criminals. They have
no problem slitting your throat and taking your money or
selling drugs to your kids or raping your daughters and they
are evil people."

While there is no mention of using the National Guard under
the federal legislation currently under consideration, clear
steps leading toward a police state for people of indigenous
descent are being advanced - and the record shows that when
the Euro-colonialist leadership of the US chooses to attack
us, mass deportation of migrants and Chicanos alike is the
weapon of choice. It can happen here. In fact, it has.

Over 1 million of us were deported during the racist
"Operation Wetback" in the year 1954, alone.

Before the mass deportations during the Great Depression a
Congressman from Texas testified in formal hearings that a
strict quota system should be imposed on Mexicans because we
are "germ-carriers, inassimilable, a people who are with us
but not of us, and not for us." We are, he said "Š incapable
of development away from" a condition of "moral and
financial pauperism," and that our influence was causing
"the breaking down of [the] social fabric...."

If this rhetoric sounds familiar, it should. It is the
unchanging rhetoric of white nationalism.

That such rhetoric is being used again by the highest
authorities in the US should be cause for deep alarm,
especially in the context of the Patriot Act and other
dramatic moves toward legalized fascism in the US.

That the State is acting on this rhetoric to create a
felonized, legally scapegoated racial and cultural
under-caste calls for uncompromising action aimed at our
self defense as a People.


Juan Santos is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. He can be
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