I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

License to Kill: Pearce's Bills

When I first heard about Beltran-Rabago last week, it was because he was an illegal immigrant who had been arrested for a series of rapes. But not much more information came after that, which is surprising, given how much white men like to talk about defending their women. Then a friend emails me a print version of the story that highlighted the citizenship status of the victims, not the perpetrator. The victims, you see, are undocumented also. Suddenly the way this man slipped into obscurity makes sense.

The Pinal County Sheriff believes this man is responsible for numerous "heinous crimes", but it appears that the status of being an illegal immigrant in this area of the country makes rape victims fear the police more than they fear their assailant. At least, that's what the Pinal County Sheriff thinks. Too bad that didn't deter them from their "crime suppression sweeps" with Arpaio. Instead of chasing down frightened motorists with SUV's and K-9 patrols, the Pinal County Sheriff could have been building relationships with people in the community who might be able to get other victims to come forward.

Most people who actually read this blog will understand the implications of this for Russell Pearce's last big push to get his anti-immigrant legislation signed into law with the budget package. He'll want to exploit the fact that the apparent perpetrator of these crimes is an illegal immigrant, not that some of the victims may have been scared into silence. the larger problem is the power that legislation like his gives to the real criminals among both the citizen and non-citizen populations. By criminalizing immigrants for their presence and robbing cities of their sanctuary status, he seeks to further marginalize the group of women and children that are already suffering most from the abuse, greed and exploitation of the privileged classes...not to mention the rest of us who have in some way benefited from someone else's cheap, hard labor in this state.

I hope Arizona's women's rights groups are prepared to jump on Pearce's attempt to resurrect his bills and slip them to the governor. He might not care what the rest of us think, but Brewer will - and her constituency is not as xenophobic as his, because the rest of us are in the mix. She can't win the state with just Republicans. Democrats matter a great deal in several upcoming Republican elections, in fact (assuming you believe in electoral politics, which many of my friends do not...). If she knows that we know what he's up to and that we'll hold her responsible for what she signs, then maybe she'll think twice about it. Especially if it's framed as a matter of women's safety.


I guess I'm kind of past writing letters to the governor now, myself, though.

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