Updated: Jan 1, 2021
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Politicians in the united states of america have made intentional moves to negatively impact the lives of Hispanics, Latina/o/xs, Chicana/o/xs, migrants and immigrants. Politicians in both the democratic party and republican party swing their weight and attempt to control, often inconsistently, different communities. The politicians with their Left TWIX® and Right TWIX® campaigns construct their image, while simultaneously constructing their base. This construction is both through their ideology technology like trump mixing Spanish in with English when he stokes the racist good immigrant/bad immigrant narrative with the phrase “bad hombres” and “I love the spirit of Mexican people” or beto o’ rourke snapping a picture of a Selena statue. These are participations. These are imperatives directed at an audience. Analyzing the sincerity of trump loving Mexicans or not is a waste of time. Without being exhaustive to his metaphysics it is better to think of everything he says as deceptive. Discussing whether or not beto o’ rourke likes Selena is also a waste of time – at least politically speaking (rhetoricians this one is for you) – but what is important is how someone like beto operates with their power.
Many loving, social-justice-advocating, liberals believe that building left unity is based in electoral politics. This belief exists because the alienation brought about by the cult-of-personality-machine is so strong that people can lose the point of left politics, which is to end oppression and not watch as people perform oppressively, while speaking sweet nothings. A presidential and democrat example of this is bubba bill clinton devoting great energy towards presenting affinity for non-white culture. For his efforts, he was dubbed the “First black president” by Toni Morrison. And yet, he helped create a transformed form of slavery or new-slavery through mass incarceration and as Hillary Coker notes in “Bill Clinton Is 'Almost' Sorry for Being Defensive and Condescending to Black Lives Matter Protestors” from Jezebel, he condescended Black Lives Matter activists when they brought this to his attention at one of his speeches during hillary’s campaign. Belief and having trust in people is important. But knowing when patterns of abuse are occurring is also important.
Beto might be a far more genuine person than clinton (hopefully he is) and yet, that’s not the point. The point is that whether the politician is beto or alexandria ocasio-cortez of the democratic socialists of america, these people are constructing an ethos of ought and almost always perform through the state system what already is. More precisely, they are not more powerful than the system in which they are politicking in. A lie by ted cruz positioned beto as a supporter of an open border. Beto’s campaign office set the record straight: beto wants more humane immigration policies but he does not want an open border. The New York Times Upshot and Sienna College survey pre-election poll revealed that 56% of Hispanic voters went for beto and 37% went for cruz. CNN’s exit poll noted that only 26% of Latinos in the state voted with 64% going for beto and 35% going for cruz. A Facebook post posted by the journalists of Xicanisma argues that internalized racism and xenophobia are causes for the Hispanic, Latina/o/x and Chicana/o/x vote for cruz but what about the low 26% turn out? Are the limitations of the is of beto a cause for this? Yes, and the fact that many of the most vulnerable of those non-voting communities are afraid to go shopping because of the threat of deportation (likewise they do not provide any type of information that exposes personal location unnecessarily) is a reason the total turnout was low.
Rather than position the question to these members of the community as “Why didn’t you vote blue?” the question is “Where did your potential representative fail you?” And failure is a consistent dimension of how the federal government and its politicians respond to non-voting communities. It’s a failure brought about both by whiteness and capital. By tracing major legislation (this list is not exhaustive and the repressive state apparatus has likely done worse for vulnerable communities than this text presents) from the 103rd congress to the present 116th as well as looking at all executive orders during that period of time, it will become quite clear that the noted communities are in an abusive relationship with the u.s. and these communities do not need a beto and instead need to develop a protective strategy that incorporates both self-defense through militia and gun club building and an offensive strategy that ensures that if a war begins – they can win. Before exploring the 103rd congress, a view of the Borderlands in a period of great violence from the state and great community response through Reijes Tijerina will be provided.
Reijes Tijerina Waged War Against The u.s.
While the civil rights period commenced in the 1950s for the black community, the fight for Hispanic, Latina/o/x and Chicana/o/x rights commenced in the 1960s. Mexican-American leaders emerged to proclaim that they would fight against oppression. Similar to the emergence of the civil-violent binary of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) and Malcolm X in the black movement, in the Hispanic, Latina/o/x and Chicana/o/x movement, two charismatic leaders—kin to that very binary— emerged through César Chávez and Reijes Tijerina. The difference between the civil-violent binary from the Mexican-American leaders is that the violent part of that binary actually took to the bullet in a direct power grab against the state. Scholar José Ángel Gutiérrez wrote in the “Acknowledgments” of his translation of They Called Me "King Tiger": My Struggle for the Land and Our Rights, that Tijerina, and the Alianza Federal de Mercedes, an organization created to expropriate land from the heirs of all Spanish land-grants covered by the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty (or the land-grant question), ‘‘did what Malcolm X and the Black Panthers only talked about. [They] waged war against the state of New Mexico and the United States government’’ (Gutiérrez, 2008, p. xvi). Of course, the Black Panther Party might have engaged in violent direct action against an enemy combatant (the police) but they did not wage war against the state itself.
For an understanding of the war the Alianza waged on June 5, 1967 in Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico, one needs to think of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and what it would have meant if Harriet Tubman participated. Tubman held Brown’s belief that refusing weapons is meek in the face of oppressors who wield them and she believed in violent direct action. And Tubman or General Tubman, as Sharon Eolis documents in the article “John Brown called her ‘General Tubman’” in Workers World, “was the first woman to plan and lead an armed assault in the Civil War. In 1863, she guided a regiment of 300 Black soldiers in a raid at Combahee Ferry, South Carolina., and commanded the gunboats around Confederate mines in the river. The battle was won; 756 enslaved people were liberated” (Eolis 2013). Tubman knew of Brown’s Harpers Ferry idea but she knew not of the specifics and did not attend the raid because of health-related reasons. She therefore engaged in violent direct action against an enemy combatant but she did not wage war against the state itself. If the raid on Harper’s Ferry was co-opted by her she would have waged war against the united states of america like John Brown did.
The Alianza did wage war against the u.s. when the small band of Mexican-Americans attempted to arrest the county's district attorney and put him on trial for oppressive moves to stop the initially non-violent Aliancistas; particularly, the arrest of a few of their members. There were shots fired and a prison guard and sheriff’s deputy were injured. The invaders held the courthouse for two hours, ransacking it, but the district attorney was out of town. The national guard, equipped with armored tanks, was called in by the governor of New Mexico, david cargo. While the gunmen were in hiding, the national guard held many of their family members captive. This incident received national publicity and brought the Alianza's cause to public attention. Tijerina was arrested but unlike Brown, he was not killed. And he was only imprisoned for two years.
Tijerina unlike Brown lived into old age. Also unlike Brown, the major theme of the rhetoric of his speeches like the ‘‘The Land Grant Question’’ did not focus exclusively on appeals to civil rights. As J.D. Cisneros articulates in “Reclaiming the Rhetoric of Reies López Tijerina: Border Identity and Agency in “The Land Grant Question,” throughout the aforementioned speech, “Tijerina embodied the position of ‘outsider’ standing in solidarity with his people rather than with [a]merican society. Instead of identifying with the [u]nited [s]tates, Tijerina condemned its imperialism and ‘‘evil’’ repression of Mexican-Americans” (Cisneros 2012). And oppression in the united states for Tijerina emerged because of white people.
Now, this does possess a certain ethno-nationalism, popular at the time with the ideology technology of the clenched black power first. And with Tijerina’s rhetoric of superiority known as the new-breed, it is problematic. But when considered with his empathetic internationalism in his view that “There is a hidden side ... a dark side of the history of the United States,’’ (2012) and then Cisneros’ clarification with, “[Tijerina knew] the United States was responsible for violence and colonization across the globe, not only against the ‘new breed,’ which demonstrated that it was a society steeped in evil,” (2012) it becomes clear that Tijerina knew the “new-breed” was not othered more than the others that were othered by the other of the u.s. And he knew that what constitutes the u.s. as a particular type of other is something especially dark or heinous (and this author would even say akin to the research of Dr. John B. Calhoun on mice and rat population dynamics at the National Institute of Mental Health) with his concept of "Anglo psychopath”:
“I believe the origins of the Anglo psychopathy began when the English were excluded from the treaty of tordesillas, signed June 7, 1494, between Spain and Portugal. The treaty was brokered by the Pope. It was at this time that the Anglo not only rejected the legitimate body of the era, but also the religion that went against them. The Anglo, without respect for authority and religion, and to get back into the colonization game, legalized piracy. They had to operate outside the law to become the law. Over the last 480 years, the Anglo complex of psychopathy has worsened. His conscience tortures him, and his thinking grows demented for having violated his own religion, his own law, and humanity” (Tijerina 2012).
When this is taken as a whole, what emerges is a recurrence of the black legend, which is a historiographical phenomenon in which a sustained trend in historical writing of biased reporting and introduction of fabricated, exaggerated and/or decontextualized facts is directed against particular persons, nations or institutions with the intention of creating a distorted and uniquely inhuman image of them while hiding their positive contributions to history.
But when we play in this black “legend” device a little bit (this one is for you poststructuralists 😉) it is only quasi-real (in the sense that the legend quality of the black legend is a projection of an emotional attitude that emerges because of a concern with ensuring that the good and the bad of empires are equally explored) to consider this rhetoric one of mythos given that oppressive systems exist as do global system of oppression. And the black legend is the rhetorical anarchism against the ideology of an empire and therefore, violence against the state is this rhetoric praxially activated against the repressive state apparatus. In this way, when we see that Tijerina understood that the people he identified with (Mexican-Americans) were not othered more than the others (non-Anglo people) who were othered (colonized) by the other (difference between ethnic and racial groups that other one group to another group) of the u.s., he not only acknowledges the psychopathy of the European Anglo, he acknowledges the oppressive reification of the ideology that the other needs to be controlled, which has contributed to Anglo global power. This acknowledgment allows Tijerina — when not concerned with populism — to disengage from individualist ethno-nationalism and position the state (and systems of oppression) and whiteness (which create the apparition of capital, which is necessarily the glue that binds them) as enemies instead of particular governmental eras and politicians and white people as a whole. When this is positioned within a modern context, this provides the ideology for an organization that is rooted in anti-supremacy because the only quasi-real black “legend” is indeed monolithically operating on a global scale and whereas the apparition of target for organizations like Redneck Revolt is primarily white pride (the organization engages in anti-racist and antifascist praxis) and its relationship with the state, a Tijerina gun club is diasporically positioned prior to white supremacy but is positioned with supremacy general and therefore a Tijerina Gun Club (or something similar) ideologically positioned in social anarchism would be logical.
The past reality of a Mexican-American militia (the Alianza) has now been established as having occurred in the United States and therefore historical context has been secured for the argument of this work. What is not clear is why a Hispanic, Latina/o/x, Chicana/o/x, migrant and immigrant militia is still needed in this country – after all it is neither the 60s or 70s. This will be made clear in Part 2.
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