In defense of protesting the Minutemen

San Antonio students speak out about their protest of Minuteman Chris Simcox last week:

http://media.www.theindependentutsa.com/media/storage/paper1093/news/2007/04/16/LetterToTheEditor/Why-We.Shut.Down.Chris.Simcox.Last.Week-2842546.shtml

Why we shut down Chris Simcox last week

Issue date: 4/16/07 Section: Letter to the Editor

A multi-racial coalition of students and workers
shouted down an attempted speech by Chris Simcox,
founder of the vigilante Minuteman Project. Many
students disagreed with our actions. What about
Simcox’s right to free speech?

First of all, we did nothing to stop Simcox from
talking. We simply talked louder than he did.
His right to free speech confers no obligation on
us to sit silently and listen to him spew racist
nonsense. Our protest was entirely non-violent;
the only violence was committed by the police,
who left at least one person covered in bruises.
Secondly, in a just society Simcox and his
Minuteman thugs would be rotting in prison rather
than giving speeches at college campuses. The
Southern Poverty Law Center has clearly
established ties between the Minutemen and white
nationalist groups like the National Alliance and
the KKK.

They have quoted Minuteman volunteers saying such
things as “It should be legal to kill illegals.”
The fact that the cops had their fists and
handcuffs trained on us rather than the
hatemonger Simcox says a lot about our country.
Simply put, there is no “dialogue” or “debate” to
be had with fascists like the Minutemen.
Allowing gutter racists to speak freely only
lends them undue credibility and makes the
“softer” forms of bigotry represented by
politicians seem like a reasonable alternative.
We make no apology for being unruly and
confrontational. A look at our country’s history
suggests that unruly protests are often the most
effective: from the Boston Tea Party to John
Brown’s Raid to the numerous protests of the
1960s, activists have often achieved great things
by disregarding pointless rules of decorum.

Some suggest that the Minutemen are a fringe
group who should just be ignored. However,
history teaches us that fascism must be faced
down militantly whenever and wherever it crops
up. The Nazis started out as an isolated fringe
group as well. Rather than take the fight to the
Nazis in the streets, the anti-Nazi opposition in
Germany chose to rely on “acceptable” forms of
resistance such as electioneering and filing
lawsuits. As a result, the Nazis were able to
seize power by force and have their opponents
executed. The fact that Hitler had the backing
of the German ruling class was a major factor in
his ability to come to power, which is what makes
the Minutemen so disturbing. Their policy of
anti-immigrant scapegoating plays right into the
hands of the owners of American corporations, who
do everything they can to redirect the outrage of
American workers over wage cuts and layoffs to an
“alien” source.

Our protest sent a powerful message to both the
Minuteman and the capitalist bosses whose
interests they serve: ¡Las luchas obreras no
tienen fronteras!

Justin Felux
Student Worker Teacher Alliance

http://media.www.paisano-online.com/media/storage/paper975/news/2007/04/17/Opinion/Disappointed.With.Utsapd-2846648.shtml

Disappointed with UTSAPD

Issue date: 4/17/07 Section: Opinion

I’ve been at UTSA for four years, and the UTSA
police have always been helpful, kind and
involved in campus events – always at a respected
distance. However, I firmly believe that if the
UTSA police had not been involved with the
demonstrators in the way that they had, the
protest against Minutemen Defense Corps founder,
Chris Simcox, would not have escalated to such a
chaotic and dangerous situation.

Granted, the police were there to prevent the
demonstrators from getting too close to the
stage, but there are smart and safe strategies
the UTSA police must have used. On Wednesday,
the UTSA police were pushing, shoving, ripping up
banners, physically touching demonstrators
inappropriately and leaving some of the
demonstrators with bruises.

Many of us were disappointed with the lack of
training of the UTSA police to deal with the
situation and the lack of respect for the
students of their own campus and people of the
San Antonio community. Our intention was to
engage in the discourse on our own terms, and not
get physical. The situation became physical
because the crowd was provoked by the actions of
the UTSA police.

We left that day with a loss of respect for
certain officers of the police department. I
want to emphasize that we are UTSA students, we
pay money to come here, we’re proud to be here,
and it is our campus! It is our right to engage
in discourse and protest against and for things
that we feel strongly about, which is part of the
historical and international environment of
universities and colleges.

Students have always been engaged in actions like
the one on Wednesday, but it is only under
repressive governments that students are targeted
for this type of discourse and discouraged. One
of the methods that universities and governments
used was to take pictures and videos of student
protestors to harass and have under surveillance,
much like the same way UTSA police were doing.

Regardless of your attendance and the
demonstration or how you feel about the
immigration issue, we are a community at UTSA.
No one from our community should have been
treated like the UTSA police treated their
students.

Carla Gomez

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