First of all, a million thanks to all the people who helped out, gave art, played music and showed up to the Border Opposition Action Fund Art Auction and Party on Saturday, November 9. Every aspect of the event far exceeded our expectations. We know that some folks just showed up for a good time, but the fact that so many came to stand with us in our efforts to explicitly support indigenous anti-colonization work as well as people taking more confrontational action against borders was a truly wonderful thing to see.
The broad cross-section of people, to us, represented that many more people than we realize recognize the necessity for more offensive action when it comes to letting the State know how we feel and what we want. Whether those people want to take action or not, their support is immeasurable. As important were the people who did come just to have a good time but after learning what the event was about, showed even more appreciation for the work that was done to put it all together.
We did receive a few critiques, but hey, if the majority of critiques are about how we could have done better to get more money from folks, we can live with that.
For those who aren't familiar with Border Opposition Action Fund(BOAF), we are raising money to both support anti-border direct action that has already taken place and to fund future actions against borders and the continued colonization of Indigenous people and land in our area. We are a small group of Anarchists living in occupied Tohono O'odham territory (Tucson, AZ) who consider ourselves children of settlers and colonizers. This may sound cliché or silly to some but it is a reality that we must keep in the forefront of our thoughts as we work in solidarity with indigenous allies and for a world without borders. As part of our politics we feel that it is necessary to support the continuing fights of indigenous people against colonization. We also recognize that as the State further legalizes institutional racism and white supremacy it is the community as a whole that must respond. And we must respond with strong opposition not only to the laws which they pass but to the everyday actions and attitudes that have continued for hundreds of years. Let us not forget that racial profiling was present long before the State began to (re)legitimize it.
We formed BOAF after a presentation called Supporting Direct Action. It was hosted by a participant in the Border Patrol Headquarters lock-down that took place in Tucson. It was partially due to their charges and call for support as well as the necessity to support some of our Phoenix comrades who were targeted by Phoenix Police and left hung out to dry by mainstream organizers in the Phoenix area after a march against Sheriff Arpaio.
On May 21, approximately 15 people entered the Border Patrol Headquarters located on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Of those, a group of 6, which included Dine, Tohono O'odham, Akimel O'odham, Chicano and white people, locked themselves around a pole in the main lobby of the BPHQ. The main message: Stop militarization on indigenous lands now! We are awaiting to hear what charges they will actually face.
On January 16th, a large number of indigenous people and anarchists from around the state turned out together as the DOA (Dine, O'odham, Anarchist and Anti-authoritarian)Bloc at a march in Phoenix against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Their goal was to specifically push mainstream organizers' simple message of immigration reform to include critique and analysis of the militarization and further occupation of indigenous territory. Near the end of the march police attacked DOA and many other marchers, including children, with pepper spray. In the end five anarchists were arrested. While there were critiques and discussions within DOA circles the fact remains that cops did what they're there for and these are our comrades and our friends. We will do what we can to stand by them and support them until it is over.
Besides these events we noticed an increase in the willingness to step things up on July 29, the day that SB 1070 went into effect in Arizona. In Tucson alone, three main actions took place. While seemingly run-of-the-mill in some aspects we see them as a definite shift of things in Tucson.
Early in the morning, Interstate 19, the highway that is used to import goods by truck from Mexico one way and used to deport undocumented migrants the other, was shut down for nearly an hour when a group of people used tires, tar and glass to block it. A banner reading “Stop the Road to Deportation, End Criminalization” was hung from a pedestrian bridge directly above the blockade as it was constructed. No arrests were made.
Local area Brown Berets hoisted a banner reading “Stop SB1070” over the large “A” on Sentinel Peak, a.k.a. “A” Mountain. When police arrived and ordered them to disperse the Brown Berets refused to leave. No arrests were made.
The third thing that happened was at the main protest point, the intersection where sits a Federal Courthouse, the State Building and the Federal Building. A group of people took the intersection. As three banners were held numerous protesters took it on their own to enter the street as well. The intersection was held for nearly an hour before snatch squads were sent in to arrest those holding the banners, another who refused to exit the street and a journalist who was taking pictures of the arrests. While these may not seem like a big deal in themselves, it is definitely something that hasn't been happening for the last few years in Tucson. On top of that, we heard no complaints or attempts at separating themselves from the actions by the larger organizing bodies in Tucson, a definite switch from previous attitudes and one people should take note of.
Events such as this along with recognition of who and where we are have helped to inform us of the work we wish to do as BOAF. In recent years numerous relationships have been built. Geographic and cultural borders are being torn down. Anarchists, Indigenous, and other people of color have been working together on various projects across the state. Arizona Radical Coalition(ARC) was created in the spring of 2009. It is a space to come together, get to know each other, share ideas and enjoy each others' company. This has resulted in work and actions across the state with direct involvement by people from all parts of Arizona.
BOAF is committed to supporting ongoing groups that include anti-borders and anti-colonization analysis in their work. Currently, we have been able to provide funds for O'odham VOICE Against The Wall, O'odham Solidarity Across Borders, the Arpaio 5 and the Border Patrol Lockdown 6. More about these groups and actions can be found through links on our blog.
Border Opposition Action Fund was formed to financially support those taking action in opposition to borders and colonization. In response to the State's escalating attack on indigenous and migrant people, a diversity of tactics is necessary. Your support is equally important!
And thanks again to all those who came out to support!