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(en) US, Phoenix: Anarchists confront "Americans First"

Date Tue, 25 Apr 2006 10:17:09 +0300

30 Phoenix area anarchists, many from the Phoenix Anarchist
Coalition (PAC) along with members of the Phoenix branch of the
IWW, the Boom Box Crew, and Phoenix Insurgent, attended a
counter-demonstration, organized by PAC, against the racist
"Americans First" demonstration. Marchers met up a half mile down
the road, and walked down to the rally site, where over 150
anti-immigrant protesters were already holding their rally at the
Mexican Consulate. As anarchists approached nearly a dozen police
cars appeared, and the Americans First rally was quickly disrupted
by the anarchists shouting and shit-talking, which enraged the
anti-immigrant crowd, much to the anarchists' pleasure. The media
reached anarchists first, followed by the American Firsters, and
finally the police. The groups were quickly separated by 30 Phoenix
PD officers, who remained there for the arguing and shouting
matches that went on for nearly two hours. No one was arrested, but
one participant of the anti-immigrant rally was detained after police
learned he was carrying a concealed firearm in his belt.

The April 22 demonstration took place at the Mexican Consulate in
west Phoenix, on the heels of 200,000 Latinos and working people
marching against the criminalization of their class by racist
politicians. The protest on the 22nd was organized by JT Ready
(photo of JT Ready at the border), a member of the Minuteman
CDC, a white vigilante organization that patrols the American border
with Mexico aiding the border patrol in apprehending migrants.
Ready recently ran for a failed bid for a city council position in Mesa
(A city in the Phoenix-metro area), but his candidacy was
overshadowed after he opened fire on Efrain Martinez, an
undocumented immigrant, who Ready accused of casing his car (For
more info on the Martinez shooting, check out this post on Phoenix
Insurgent). Ready is one of the most dangerous of the
anti-immigrant set, valley anarchists wanted to make sure he felt the
heat this time around, many of the signs carried reflected a strong
anti-Ready sentiment, with one sign saying "Vote JT Ready:
Imperial Grand Wizard 2006!", another sign was in support of Efrain
Martinez. Anarchists made sure to catch Ready's attention to heckle
him a number of times.

The Americans First rally followed the typical Minuteman rhetoric,
"we don't hate Mexicans, just the twelve million illegal immigrants,"
"We're not racists, but I'm just tired of no one speaking English
anymore." This was an expected aspect of the rally, as valley
anarchists have confronted the Minutemen, and related white
vigilantes a number of times, what was truly unsettling was the
escalation in their rhetoric and their anger this time around. It was
such an ugly scene that even reporters and police were shaking their
heads. One anarchist overheard a few police officers talking about
the anti-immigrant demonstrators, one officer was heard saying
"these people are crazy", another responded "I know, it gets worse
everytime, more flags this time too." Much of this has to do with the
mainstreaming of the Minuteman movement, recently new groups
have emerged in Phoenix, such as Mothers Against Illegal Aliens,
and JT Ready's Americans First, both groups are busy expanding
the anti-immigrant sentiment amongst white working class and
lower-middle class whites in the Phoenix area. The border may be
where the battles are taking place, but their base of power is in the
cities, Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona, San Diego and the Los
Angeles area in California.

Anarchists and "American First"ers were in a variety of heated
arguments, some turned into good ol' shit talking and insults
(anarchists were great at this) as the American Firsters could not
listen. Everytime an anarchist spoke, they were interrupted by "Oh
yeah, well what do you know about...(such and such)." It was
impossible to have a dialog, and equally impossible to up the level of
confrontation due to their much larger numbers, and police

Phoenix anarchists have been very active over the last few years
working with Latino advocacy groups, unions, and grassroots
organizations to fight against a number of ballot initiatives, racist
politicians, and militia organizations in Arizona. We will continue to
advocate for no borders and to confront white vigilantism.

Read the PAC call to action here:

Below is an article on the rally from the East Valley Tribune:

Protesters state views, trade insults near Mexican Consulate
By Shanna Hogan, Tribune

About 100 illegal immigration protesters gathered Saturday outside
the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix in an event organized by former
Mesa City Council candidate JT Ready.

“The Mexican people have to realize the government of Mexico
is a threat,” Ready said. “They are corrupt against their own

Ready said the protest was not in response to the immigration rights
demonstration earlier this month, where more than 100,000 mostly
Hispanic protesters marched to the state Capitol. But some of the
protesters who showed up Saturday spoke out against that event.

“I look at that demonstration as an attack on our government
and an attack on the American people,” said Glendale resident
Iva Underwood.

The American government needs to focus on Americans, she said.

“I believe charity begins at home,” Underwood said.
“We’ve got too many problems within our own country.”

Demonstrators carried signs that read: “Mexico Please Respect
Our Laws and Our Border,” “Build the Wall,” and
“Seal the Borders.”

“We hate the illegals, our border should be closed,” said
Louise Lonsdale of Phoenix. “People need to realize we’re
being taken over.”

Debates flared between the protesters and about 30 proimmigration
activists who showed up to counterprotest.

One pro-immigration activist, Phoenix resident Eric Malatesta, 32,
wore a black handkerchief across his face and waved a sign that
read: “JT Ready is a Racist and Trigger Happy.”

“I am here to show solidarity with the immigrants and the poor
people,” he said. “They insist they are not racists despite the
fact that they are a very angry group of white people protesting the
Mexican Consulate.”



A bunch of Anarchists soon arrived on the scene and the rally broke
up to yell at the Anarchists. Photo by KB

The Anarchists began to march from 23rd Ave. and Camelback to
the Consulate at 20th Ave. and Camelback. Photo by KB

Efrain Martinez is a man JT Ready shot at and missed. Efrain
Martinez was the one arrested. Photo by KB

Cops closed off 20th Ave. and one lane of Camelback. Photo by KB

An anarchist banner Photo by KB

An "Americans First"er tapes the Anarchists. Photo by KB

PAC member masked up, white vigilantes were extremely
aggressive with their videotaping and attempts to get anarchists to
remove their masks. Photo by KB

The cops formed a line to protect the "Americans First" people.
Photo by KB

Anarchist placard Photo by KB

"American First" person and sign. Photo by KB

This photo was taken by an "American First"er and posted to the
"Save Our State" forum.

by Collin Sick - Phoenix Anarchist Coalition
copied from infoshop.org
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