THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

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

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St Patrick's Day: Immigration Bill Teach-in at the Capitol.

I actually missed all the protests myself, today - the students and teachers at the capitol and the arrest of George Bush - so I got my fix down at ASU's Taylor Mall on 1st St. - that's looking North towards my place past Roosevelt.

A cop came by as I was wrapping it up - he was rolling around one of those silly motorized unicycle things they stand on (I'd fall down laughing if they actually chased me down in one - except that they'd probably shoot me for it. I think the cops who use their weapons the most tend to be the laziest). He took in my message, my camera, and my costume for a moment, admonished me to be sure to stay off of ASU property with a smile, and left me to carry on.


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No wonder we need to add another 5,000 state prison beds - they're for the teachers, nurses, and children who defy the state. This is what happens when you give the bad guys an inch in the AZ Legislature - they want it ALL for themselves and their kin at the expense of the rest of us. I just want to go into the Senate during the pledge of allegiance or prayer opening each session and scream at the top of my lungs : "What is wrong with you people?!!!"


But they'd just lock me up and order a Rule 11 Hearing on the grounds I might shoot someone (I'm not the crazy one, I can assure you. Nor do I own a gun).
This legislature has gone insane and very few people seem to notice it these days - there are 26 anti-immigrant bills pending: Go to Border Action Network to read them and act. This post addresses only four of them. Where are the armies of resistance - did everyone just go back to their lives and hope the whole SB1070 thing would blow over soon?


If a different person screamed at the legislature every day, they'd have a much harder time burying me - I'd volunteer to be the first.
Or we could be more discreet (and maybe live to fight another day)- we could each just go in quietly with a t-shirt that says: "FUCK AZ FASCISM!" that we prominently display to the Senate floor once inside...they'll quickly ban EVERYONE from committees and sessions to prevent anyone from expressing their disgust and outrage at their conduct.



My hopes for overthrowing the state government are no doubt unrealistic; this is Arizona, after all, not Libya, where people will fight and die for their freedom and rights while we stand impotently by, chastising the man murdering them. There's only a handful of people showing up to protest Pearce et al each day anymore - we're still probably outnumbered by the bad guys' lobbyists on the inside. Never mind that we've plunged deep into a moral abyss here at their direction.


The vast majority of these people do not represent me, I assure you. Mine are relatively cool, though, because I live among artists, anarchists, and other poor people. We kind of get it, as a community.


You know what this state would do if we took over the AZ Senate like people in other states are taking back their Houses? Brewer would make
Gaddafi seem pretty tame in squashing a real rebellion here...which is maybe what people voting for those fascists need to see, up close: blood in the streets, before giving her power to constitute her own little army of white supremacists to call out on us...


They sure don't care about bodies in the desert, here -
or the children in the schools, young parents dying without health care, or any of the rest of us, for that matter. It's the Me Party Senate of Russ Pearce.

I really hope Mesa recalls that mean SOB they empowered to lead this pack of mad lemmings they call Republicans in this state. Too bad Fountain Hills doesn't have enough of a collective political clue or heart to recall John Kavanagh - he must be working out okay for enough of them, though I know there sure are families suffering there. Just try to be a single parent or live on a teacher's salary there.


That guy doesn't think our taxes should be used to cover health insurance for "these people". He knows damn well the people he's condemned to die are taxpayers, too. No one does anything in Arizona without paying the state their sales taxes - they're shifting as much as possible off the rich that way, on to the poor, while making the middle class think that it's being bled dry by the shiftless bodies populating our AHCCCS rolls, and that the feds are into socialism (hardly!)...


That sales tax last year was passed by voters on the claim that it would help spare education and other cuts, by the way. Advocates for the poor were even begging us to do so in order to save their programs, despite the negative impact the tax itself would have on so many families already on the edge. Now look at where we're at: she's cutting our programs despite taking more money from us, and now she's trying to lower business taxes despite the budget crunch. (It's part of the plan to make the tax shift shuffle permanent.)


Brewer's really got her priorities for The People straight - she'll dump $20,000/person per year to incarcerate drug and property offenders who we can't even keep safe inside, but she won't fund the schools adequately or support neighborhood programs that are key to protecting kids from being both victimized and criminalized in the first place. That's not a difficult connection to make - it would also be consistent with the trends towards evidence-based practice standards across the judiciary and in corrections. The people spending a billion dollars a year of our tax dollars on state prisons and extensive community surveillance aren't paying attention to outcomes of research or the consequences of the legislation they push on the public, though - they just twist data to justify pursuing their objectives. (which are apparently not really to prevent crime - just to punish it. Somehow that doesn't make me feel any safer knowing they're in charge).


As I said earlier: "What is wrong with you people?!!"


It's really quite disturbing that Kavanagh chairs the Appropriations Committee - the problem in our legislature won't be alleviated just by getting rid of Russ Pearce (though it's a good start). Who does he think "these people" are on AHCCCS, anyway? I've lived in Fountain Hills, and know a few good people there still: unless they do something about their elected representatives, they're hurting themselves and their kids, too.


AHCCCS patients aren't just our neighbors, they're OUR LOVED ONES - they're US -
when we get leukemia, can't work, have to re-finance our homes and go bankrupt
because the Republicans in Congress are determined to undo employer health care mandates. How can anyone raking in less than $250,000/year buy into what these people are up to?


You wouldn't know it by the Tea Partiers' promotions of their own entitlement and privilege while depriving others of any, but very few of the citizens of Fountain Hills can actually withstand that kind of economic devastation. Of course, our legislators and good sheriff needn't worry about that because they're pretty well taken care of.
The rest of us need a safety net held by the entire community, though, when struck by disaster: no less so when that disaster is cancer or Hepatitis C than when it's an earthquake, tsunami, or hurricane. That's when people can be at their best.


It's a natural response for people to extend themselves when suffering is visible...if it hits home, particularly.
My mom's whole town - Fountain Hills - has organized around helping her get to her chemo and radiation treatments in the next few weeks. Her illness hasn't burdened the people who love her - it's given us all a chance to give back, and makes us stop to take the time to be present in the day.


Why would Kavanagh want to discourage that impulse - it's what makes us better people.
Compassion and generosity of that kind helps build stronger, more resilient, and less crime-ridden communities, too. Invest in more of that, instead of the vitriol that people like these guys spew, and we can start closing down the prisons and bringing people back home.


They are "our people", you know - like it or not. Many are, anyway - not the sociopaths who go out of their way to harm others, but the ordinary Americans who got convicted of breaking a law - not all those in prison are really guilty, you know. Similarly, not all the guilty are in prison - remember that. Some of them actually make the laws.


My mom's a retired teacher, by the way, who would have never turned in a child for being undocumented. This legislature will criminalize people like her if they can, and steal our health insurance and retirement benefits for their own pet projects - like suing the federal government (i.e. the American People - us TAXPAYERS you're so valiantly championing in our House and Senate buildings every day.)

So what about "Boycott Arizona!" does the rest of this country not understand, anyway? We could use your help out here, America. Especially you musicians and artists - what's the deal with coming to the Dodge in Phoenix, anyway: look at these people! If you think you're progressive and you're coming here to perform, you are selling our people OUT!


Get on with the Boycott, tell these people you're canceling conferences and vacations and performances here because our fascism is growing beyond SB1070 (give them an inch and they'll take your child here), and be serious about the damage you do!
These legislators are criminalizing and killing people out here - don't you get it? You could be next, too - your state lawmakers may well be modeling your next laws after these below! Look at Georgia! (not surprisingly, they neglect and abuse their prisoners, too. ) Tell them you're supporting the workers of Wisconsin, instead of businesses here.



And stay tuned to blogs like Fires Never Extinguished, O'odham Solidarity Across Borders , Censored News, Survival Solidarity, Resistance to SB1070, and Chaparral Respects No Borders for the stories from the resistance to this fascist beast in the Deep Southwest that you seldom ever Google. We don't just want reforms. We want revolution and a sane, decent world where people are taken care of when they get ill instead of being imprisoned for being no more than a nuisance.

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I know a lot of the folks going to this thing, but we didn't conspire about this post, and my promoting their event here isn't suggesting that anyone affiliated with Promise Arizona agrees to any of the above editorial. I take full responsibility for what I put up here...

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Anti-Immigration Bill Teach-In
Thursday, March 17 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm


Arizona State Capitol
(Wesley Bolin memorial across the street from the flagpole)
1700 West Washington St. / Phoenix, AZ


Promise Arizona


Promise Arizona We're organizing this teach in to ensure that members of our community understand the process and are equipped to with the knowledge needed to fight against these laws! *Please wear your PAZ t-shirts (or white t-shirts)

If you can't make it, call your senators and tell them to vote no on laws that will attack our families and economy!

English: 866-794-6052
...Spanish: 866-891-0358


· SB1611- “Immigration Omnibus” or the “Throwing Arizona Under-the-Bus” bill –Sponsored by Senator Russell Pearce, this bill is a 30-page, measure requiring business owners, police officers, apartment renters, school employees, and others to verify citizenship, notify immigration and in some cases, failure to do so could result in loss of licenses, certification or imprisonment.

· SB1308 and 1309 – “Eroding Children’s Futures and the Constitution” bills. Two bills introduced by Senator Ron Gould to create a new Arizona Citizenship that excludes children born to parents in the U.S. without immigration authorization. The bills are an attempt to ignite a national legal battle challenging the 14th amendment of the Constitution’s recognition of birthright citizenship.

· SB1405 –“Turning Health Providers into Health Deniers” bill. This bill introduced by Senator Steve Smith would require hospital employees to verify the citizenship of people seeking emergency and non-emergency medical attention and to notify immigration agents if someone cannot prove they are authorized to be in the U.S.
· SB 1407 - “Schools as Immigration Checkpoints” Requires the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to collect data from school districts on populations of students who are enrolled and who cannot prove lawful residence in the United States (U.S.) Schools who fail to comply would result in loss of funding.

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