Culture of Resistance

There were a total of 4 pickets in 2 Russian cities against concentration camps for immigrants this week, and humanitarian groups have issued statements on the issue. 

On Tuesday night, in Moscow, there were three group pickets held against the concentration camps and the new government policy of hunting for migrants. At the monument of Vysotsky on Strastnoy Boulevard, there was a rally organized by the Committee of “Civil Assistance.” At the monument to seasonal workers in Lermontov Square, by the exit of the subway “Red Gate” M, an action by the Russian Socialist movement was held. It brought together about 60 people and at the “May Day” Mall. Not far from the camp, the Campaign Committee for a Workers’ International held a rally that was attended by around 10 participants. All three Rallies happened without provocation and detentions.

In St. Petersburg, activists held their own solidarity rallies. In front of the municipal government of the Federal Migration Service on Tuesday afternoon, there were a series of pickets organized by the local branch of “Solidarity.” No arrests were reported. This is not the first recent protest against the xenophobic policies of the authorities. The first pickets in front of the Federal Migration Service were held on August 6. Two days later, at the entrance to the camp in the Golyanovo District, a group from several leftists movements rallied under the slogan “Illegal people do not exist.” Later, in Moscow, there were other actions against the concentration camps. A rally in support of migrants took place on August 10 in Yekaterinburg.

The Colta. Ru Project (a free collective of writers, artists and intellectuals within Russia) issued a statement: “After providing the right to vote to some of us (happy owners of Moscow’s “registration”), the authorities have gradually taken away all of our other rights. It is this ability to divide and turn us against each other that is the principal resource of their power. It is this infinite distinction between “us” and “them” that makes us a submissive population. The ability to stand up against this machine makes us citizens of the whole population. What is happening today with the “illegals” is a crucial test; a test of our willingness to fight together against the usurped authority to decide for us. Sobyanin’s and Opposition Candidates call for these raids and anti-immigration laws, and ignoring this fact will lead to the oppression of the entire population…

We appeal to all Muscovites, and in particular to the so-called fundamentally, graciously endowed (with the privilege of the “correct” registration) with a call to show the dignity and self-respect and to speak out loudly and clearly against the police “raids” and concentration camps in our city. Ways to do this are plentiful, you can go to a rally, help with food and clothing of “illegal” detainees, or at least put your signature on this appeal.”

The Committee of Civil Assistance also issued a statement: “In the last two weeks, all over Moscow, there have been mass round-ups of migrants. Authorities kidnap people off the streets, in the dorms, and in the markets, without even looking at their documents. The police provide no explanation as they recklessly lock people into cages like animals. Hundreds of detainees have passed through the courts, never meeting with anyone official, and not even properly identified. All it takes is a courts decision and a stamp to send people to the detention center for foreign nationals. In hastily creating these camps, authorities have not even provided proof of the camps legality. Their documents are taken and lawyers are not allowed, thus depriving them of the opportunity to appeal against the result of the judicial copy machine.

The official excuse for these kidnappings is the perceived need to combat illegal migration, but only a fool would accept this explanation at face value.

Workers are increasingly a focus of attention for the police and the FEDERAL MIGRATION SERVICE: every Muscovite watching daily on the streets sees them checking the documents of migrants. Reports of police raids and the identifying of illegal immigrants are now appearing regularly in the media. Detention centers, prior to the start of this campaign, were filled to capacity with foreigners waiting to be deported. Sudden reports of a mass influx of illegal immigrants into Russia have been made by the leadership of the border guards.

The event tused as an excuse for this campaign is a recent case of fighting between police and traders from Dagestan at Matveevskom Market. However, this ordeal has not begun by chance. The authorities are trying to stir up hostile feelings from Muscovites towards foreigners for use in the upcoming elections. Which apparently, is the importance of the campaign.

In order to try and disguise the selfish nature of the pre-election campaign, the Russian government has announced that they also are charging the owners of underground sewing workshops in Golyanovo, where many Vietnamese workers (who make up the bulk of the inhabitants of the camp) will be prosecuted for the use of slave labor and the organization of illegal migrants. For almost 10 months, law enforcement authorities in Moscow did not proceed with these investigations of slave labor. Without a doubt, the same fate awaits Vietnamese workers. Next weeks plan is to deport more Vietnamese to their homeland. Victims or witnesses will not be able to be located for questions or subpoenas. It is clear that in making a criminal complaint, the authorities hope for a certain effect.

This tough anti-migrant campaign launched in Moscow with very little political interest. It is accompanied, like such campaigns are, by mass violations of law and human rights such as: the violation of the right to liberty and security of a person as guaranteed by Article 22 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation (the detention without trial of over 48 hours and not provided by law), violation of the right to equality before the law, guaranteed by Article 19 of the Russian Constitution, violation of the right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and violation of the right to protection of their rights and assistance to counsel as guaranteed by Articles 45, 46 and 48 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

We Demand:

 

  • an immediate stop to the shameful anti-immigrant campaign aimed at inciting ethnic hatred.
  • for prosecutors to check of all the facts surrounding human rights violations of migrants in this campaign, including the detention of migrants in an illegal facility.

  • an allowed exit from the tent camps, the return of personal documents to detainees, the enabling of all wishing to leave the camp to do so, and insure the unimpeded access of lawyers, human rights defenders and members of the media to the camp.
  • For the city to pay compensation to the Vietnamese workers who are victims of slavery in the territory of Moscow.”

Article Details/Video/Statement Releases: http://grani.ru/Politics/Russia/activism/m.217886.html 

http://grani.ru/tags/police/m.217922.html

http://grani.ru/tags/camps/m.217813.html

Published Statements:

Open letter/Appeal against sweeps and concentration camps 12.08.2013 Colta.Ru:http://www.colta.ru/docs/29100 

Videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWmDTN68kp4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgBy6KBeGwg

How homonationalism works:

1) The Inclusion Argument: Sexual minorities should call for inclusion in the state through liberal rights of the individual (e.g. gay marriage). The struggle for individual rights replaces the struggle for collective rights, collective resistance, or the transformation of asymmetrical power formations.

2) Good vs. Bad Queers: The call for inclusion is predicated on making the distinction between good queers and bad queers. These appeals argue that most sexual minorities are no different than members of dominant society, and thus that these queers deserve to be recognized as part of the mainstream. Here, bad queers are offered as the undesirable other to help sell the good queers to Canadian society, since bad queers are dangers to society or drains on state resources. They include racialized queers, people who are HIV-positive, poor and homeless queers, drug users, non-status queer migrants, etc.

3) Reinforcing the Social Order: Once the right kind of queers are welcomed into the state, these institutions can use the newly admitted ‘good queers’ as evidence that symmetry has been achieved, effectively dismissing larger concerns over the rights of those who remain marginalized and subjugated. Further, the inclusion of sexual minorities under the terms of individual rights is then used in propaganda by the state to demonstrate how civilized, modern, liberal, and democratic the West is, particularly in opposition to backward, pre-modern, and non-democratic states (such as in the Middle East) – a tactic rooted in Orientalism.

Trending Homonationalism – Natalie Kouri-Towe

(via hummussexual)

(via androphilia)

Posted by
Lemond

"Reportero" film shows how Mexican journalists risk their lives

nbclatino:


Courtesy Quiet Pictures

In 2007, Mexico-born and New York-raised filmmaker, Bernardo Ruiz, traveled to Baja California to investigate a shelter for deported children. However, during his time there he met veteran reporter, Sergio Haro and realized his story was more urgent to tell.

Read More

(via nezua)

ICE’s Collateral Damage in an Ironic Sex Trafficking Raid

immigrantstories:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/subhash-kateel/ices-collateral-damage_b_1477871.html


ICE’s Collateral Damage in an Ironic Sex Trafficking Raid (HUFFINGTON POST)
by Subhash Kateel

An article in this week’s Miami Herald brought me back to November 2008, when I was an immigrant rights organizer in South Florida. It turns out that two men from Guatemala, Adolfo García and Julio Díaz, are set to be deported by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on May 18. How they got picked up and why they shouldn’t be deported is the subject of my flashback.

It all started with a November 21, 2008 press release authored by the former U.S. Attorney for South Florida Alex Acosta (now the Dean of the FIU law school) and the former ICE Special Agent-in Charge of all investigations for the Miami field office, Anthony Mangione, announcing that they had broken up a South Florida sex trafficking ring involving Central American immigrants in Palm Beach, Broward county and Homestead, a small rural-esque city in south Miami Dade county. The sex trafficking raids, as described in the release, netted a total of four arrests. At the time, even ICE’s most vocal critics looked each other in the face, shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well sex trafficking is really bad, so I guess they did a good job.” It only took a matter of hours before another story unfolded of the 80 or so other people ICE had arrested in the same raid, who the agency didn’t tell the press about and who had nothing to do with sex trafficking. They called them “collateral arrests,” which in this case meant the “overwhelming majority of arrests.” Two of those collateral arrests were of Adolfo Garcia and Julio Diaz.

Several things make the “Homestead Raid of 2008,” as many have called it, ironic. For one, between Adolfo Garcia, Julio Diaz and Anthony Mangione, the Special Agent-in-Charge whose office led the raid, only one person would ever be charged with a sex crime…Anthony Mangione.



Second, while ICE agents conducted the raid, they allegedly assaulted more individuals (including Garcia and Diaz) who were never charged with a crime. Perhaps the most significant irony is laid out in a complaint to the U.S. Attorney’s office filed by several organizations:
“The sum actions of these raids, meant to protect victims of trafficking, have victimized many in the Homestead community and created a climate of fear and mistrust.”

This week, I reunited on my radio show with Jonathan Fried from WeCount!, and Romy Lerner from Americans for Immigrant Justice to talk a little more about the Homestead Raid that we all played a role in documenting. As an organizer at the Florida Immigrant Coalition at the time, I saw first hand the collateral damage from the ICE raid. One story, mentioned in an advocate’s original press release, sticks out in my head:
“‘They knocked the door to our room down. There were three agents who barged in to the room. They threw my husband to the floor and one of them stuck a gun to my head. He told me not to move. He said if I moved, the situation would be worse. They kicked my husband in the head. His head was swollen when they took him out of the room,’ said a woman after ICE agents stormed her home and took all its residents, although none of them had anything to do with the trafficking investigation. The woman said her four-year-old daughter, who witnessed the attack, is traumatized.”

According to Jonathan, at least a half dozen others were beaten senseless during the raid. As Jonathan recounted on the show, they were beaten so bad by ICE agents that officials at the GEO Broward Transitional Center, where the men were detained, demanded an inquiry into the injuries after noticing their bruises upon arrival.

What started off as a clear-cut public relations victory for ICE in South Florida, whose reputation took its own beating after agents were in the news after facing charges ranging from sexual assault and drug trafficking to bribery, ended up being yet another black eye for the agency. Some advocates claimed that the human trafficking aspect of the raid was used as a front for a much wider, and more brutal, dragnet. The groundswell of criticism was enough to prompt the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights to launch an investigation.

By the time the investigation began, however, several witnesses to the assaults had already been deported. But six of the men that had been beaten made the difficult decision, while in detention, to step forward and cooperate fully in the investigation. Garcia and Diaz, only 17 years old at the time, were among those that made the leap of faith. According to advocates, the U.S. Attorney’s office found their statements credible and they decided not to pursue charges. What they did decide to do was issue the men U-Visa certifications, which would enable them to get special visas for crime victims that cooperate with law enforcement. According to Lerner, although ICE decided not to deport several of the witnesses/victims in the incident, the agency arbitrarily decided that Garcia and Diaz would have to pack up and go by the middle of May.

Whether Garcia and Diaz can stay or go matters for many reasons. As Lerner states:

“The two young men had their civil rights brutally violated by ICE agents. They courageously came forward to participate in an investigation against the officers and deporting them now is like victimizing them a second time… it also sends the wrong message to immigrant communities about law enforcement and increases the fear that already exists about cooperating with authorities.”

Or as Fried puts it:
“What it means is that you have a Federal police agency that doesn’t give a damn about what they do and doesn’t give a damn about the community they work in.”

So the questions remain. Does one of the largest law enforcement agencies, with programs and operations with names like “Secure Communities” and “Community Shield,” really care about the communities it is “securing” and shielding?” If so, why do they lie, or at least not tell the whole truth, when working in those communities? How can an agency where the head of the Miami office of investigations (Mangione) is arrested on child pornography charges and at least one other agents are either arrested or convicted of sex crimes in the past few years alone, have the moral or ethical authority to, as Mangione stated in a 2009 press release “ensure that those who try to hurt children are brought to justice” when they have a hard enough time holding their own agents accountable?

While those questions are being answered (or not), WeCount! and Americans for Immigrant Justice are busy collecting signatures to stop the imminent deportation of Garcia and Diaz. There is a Change.org petition circulating around the country that already has hundreds of signatures. While this case won’t be the first or the last in which allegations of misconduct surface, it is an important one for those seeking to ensure that the agencies aiming to protect “victims” don’t create more in the process.

 

Follow Subhash Kateel on Twitter: www.twitter.com/letstalkletsbe      

citizens4immigrants:

Immigration MythBuster: Infographic via @LIRSorg
In the shadow of political debate that becomes more polarized every day, and in the light of the recent Supreme Court hearings on Arizona’s extreme anti-immigrant law,  SB 1070, it’s increasingly important to dispel the myths about immigration.
With that in mind, we’re excited to share the new LIRS Immigration Mythbuster. In it, we’ve compiled common myths and carefully pointed out the truth corresponding to each. It’s an infographic, available at the link below, that you can post in your church or workplace, forward to friends, and refer to when writing letters to the editor.
This resource makes it clear that immigrants aren’t just beneficial to the United States, they’re also our brothers and sisters. They are sojourners seeking the same things as the rest of us: security and happiness for family, friends, and loved ones.
Share the truth, tell others about the realities of immigration, and together we can dispel the myths about these brothers and sisters who are new to our country.
Check out the LIRS Immigration Mythbuster here: lirs.org/mythbuster

citizens4immigrants:

Immigration MythBuster: Infographic via @LIRSorg

In the shadow of political debate that becomes more polarized every day, and in the light of the recent Supreme Court hearings on Arizona’s extreme anti-immigrant law,  SB 1070, it’s increasingly important to dispel the myths about immigration.

With that in mind, we’re excited to share the new LIRS Immigration Mythbuster. In it, we’ve compiled common myths and carefully pointed out the truth corresponding to each. It’s an infographic, available at the link below, that you can post in your church or workplace, forward to friends, and refer to when writing letters to the editor.

This resource makes it clear that immigrants aren’t just beneficial to the United States, they’re also our brothers and sisters. They are sojourners seeking the same things as the rest of us: security and happiness for family, friends, and loved ones.

Share the truth, tell others about the realities of immigration, and together we can dispel the myths about these brothers and sisters who are new to our country.

Check out the LIRS Immigration Mythbuster here: lirs.org/mythbuster

(via immigrantstories)