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, May 4, 2010

Boycott Arizona.

The business community should have thought about this before they supported SB 1070.

If I didn't have to live here, I'd be boycotting, too.For those of you who do come to Arizona, we could use some assistance with our resistance. Undocumented citizens are in danger here - there really are violent right wing nuts coming out everywhere - but US citizens willing to come without documents, and risk the consequences, are welcome.

Defy Fascism!

Defeat state oppression!

Free Marcia Powell!!!


Cities, Businesses Boycott Arizona Over New Law

Arizona's tough new immigration law has led more than a dozen U.S. cities, organizations and foreign governments to warn against traveling there. Many hotels say guests have canceled reservations. In a state that depends on tourism and conventions, business owners who had been looking for signs of an economic thaw are concerned.

On a recent lunch hour at the Clarendon Hotel in Phoenix, owner Ben Bethel talked about the latest punch to the gut. Customers canceled 80 room reservations in just one day last week, Bethel says. That translates to about $8,000 — a big deal for a small boutique hotel, particularly one trying to emerge from a recession.

"We were so hopeful that things were recovering," he says, "but this is a situation where it's actually going to be very difficult to recover from this."

Bethel is caught in the aftermath of Arizona's new immigration law, which gives police broad powers to ask people about their citizenship status. The bill has outraged the Latino community — and in revenge, people like former state Sen. Alfredo Gutierrez are asking tourists to send their dollars elsewhere.

"The question will inevitably be, aren't you hurting yourself?" Gutierrez says. "The answer to that question is, yes, we are!"

The small role I can play is not to add my presence as if everything in Arizona is fine. I shall miss visiting the Sonoran Desert and the Arizona Inn.

Gutierrez says he wants to bring all sectors of Arizona's economy to a shocking halt, including its $7 billion hotel industry.

"We understand that our people are inordinately the dishwashers and the busboys for the hospitality industry," he says. "But we also understand they are the mothers and fathers of children in this state. It is they themselves who are asking for this boycott."

Arizona's economy is already at a breaking point. Its unemployment rate is near 10 percent; the housing sector is gasping for life.

Now cities like San Francisco and St. Paul have banned public employees from traveling to Arizona on business. Los Angeles, San Diego and Oakland have considered banning future contracts with Arizona businesses.

"We don't want to hurt Arizona, but we don't want this kind of law to continue," says Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner, who co-sponsored a bill to boycott Arizona-based companies.

Opponents are also targeting Phoenix's bid for the next Republican National Convention and Major League Baseball's 2011 All-Star Game. The World Boxing Council will no longer send Mexican fighters to Arizona.

Gov. Jan Brewer, whose signature on the bill started this frenzy, says she doesn't understand why people would use boycotts to inflict any more damage.

"Why would they want to hurt the legal citizens?" Brewer says. "You and I, and everybody else in this state. It doesn't make any sense whatsoever to me."

(* Oh! It's okay to hurt non-citizens, or even "illegal" citizens, I guess, but not "legal" ones...that, dear Governor, is why the world is boycotting us. That bill you signed screws ALL of us, making us either victims of the state, accomplices to state violence, or both... there is no neutral here. -PA )

Brewer counters that the legislation is aimed at making Arizona safer, and better for businesses.

Many experts are reluctant to speculate whether the sanctions will actually work. But economist Elliot Pollack is not one of them. He says Arizona is no stranger to controversy — or to boycotts.

"And you know what the long-term impact of those things were? Zero!" Pollack says.

In the 1990s, Arizona lost the Super Bowl because of the state's refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Day. Even then, Pollack says, the pain was temporary. But this time might be different.

"It's absolutely certain for us that we've never seen anything like this before," says Will Conroy, president of Tucson's historic Arizona Inn.

Conroy selected one of a stack of e-mails from customers who have canceled their reservations.

" 'We will not be visiting the Arizona Inn anytime soon because of the anti-immigration climate in Arizona,' " Conroy says, reading the note aloud. " 'The small role I can play is not to add my presence as if everything in Arizona is fine. I shall miss visiting the Sonoran Desert and the Arizona Inn.' "

"That one got me," Conroy says.

But the immigration legislation cuts both ways. A recent Gallup Poll shows most Americans are in favor of it. And ever since the governor signed the bill, supporters from other states have written to local news agencies to say they're considering a move to Arizona.

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