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actions & protests | immigration

Please stop protesting the Mexican Embassy! ¡Di no a la intimidación de migrantes!

The situation in Oaxaca is intense, frustrating and demands a response. However, please beware that although the Mexican Consulate seems like the most likely (or only) target to center anger at the Mexican State, it isn't an appropriate target because it is scaring immigrants and people who need to conduct business there.
I'm extremely proud that so many white activists are concerned with what is happening in Oaxaca and are willing to take to the streets for the people there. However, even though your intentions are good, there are unintended consequences of the protests on the Mexican consulate.

First and foremost, Vicente Fox and Jorge Casteñada and other power brokers for the Mexican state are not going to swing by the consulate any time soon. In fact, the Portland Consulate is small potatos for the Mexican government.

However, for the thousands of migrant workers and residents of Oregon (indeed the whole region), documented and undocumented, the Mexican consulate is an essential asset in terms of getting paperwork and permisos for immigration permits, work cards, etc. All too many of these people already live in fear of la migra, la ICE and racists like the minutemen. When people, who perhaps have less than full permission to be in this country, see a bunch of weird looking white people protesting the embassy, they don't think "Solidaridad" they think "trouble." No matter how good your intentions are and how many "istas" you put after your nouns and how many "Si se puede" chants you can use, your presence at the embassy is putting uneccessary intimidation on a group of people who have too much to worry about already. And when white people who don't have to live in fear of la migra chain themselves to the door of the embassy, they are not stopping political violence in the southern state, they are blocking people from getting necessary paperwork from an agency they are forced to use. Furthermore, when you all do demos at the embassy, you are bringing completely unwanted media and law enforcement attention to that little corner of Morrison where so many people slip in and out of in fear for their lives and freedom. On Tuesday a group of five braceros from Woodburn took time off of work to drive up to get copies of documents. Because of your demonstration which shut down the embassy, if only briefly, they had to go home empty handed and will have to miss another day of work.

I know all of your actions are done for good purposes, but please, i beg you. don't aggravate an already intense situation by intimidating immigrants, blocking their access to documents and bringing law enforcement pressure on people who don't need any more attention from people in uniform.

(besides, that corner is isolated! pioneer square would be a much more visible place to get your messgae across without jeopardizing the very people you claim to support)

¡solidaridad es más que ego!

Thank you, consulate official 03.Nov.2006 14:55

but....

Yes, you came out in your little suit and said this too. But the people standing in the doorway behind you did not agree with you. When Eduardo took the mic and told them, in Spanish, that we were there in solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, they cheered and raised their fists too. They were with us. They were not afraid, as you tried to tell us then. They cheered for us. And they jeered at your insinuation that they were afraid of their comrades.

Other than the police bashing in the door there, there has been no violence at the consulate. You know that. Please do not use immigrants to keep the resistance quiet. They are not with you, they are with us, with the people of Oaxaca.

uhhh.... 03.Nov.2006 15:28

.....

I appreciate certain aspects of what you were saying in your article but your assumption that only white people were protesting outside of the embassy is just plain ignorant. I understand the concerns addressed and agree that a more public place might have been more ideal but then, an international call was made to shut down the Mexican consulates worldwide and that is what happened. In addition to that, I feel you and the first person to respond have waaaayyyyy overstepped by either of you claiming to represent the entire political stance or opinion for a group of people. Let folks speak for themselves. "Illegal immigrant" does not denote a particular political stance, ideology or world view. It's a broad term refering to a bunch of different people with a similar immigration status and/or repurcussions, that's it.

Today 03.Nov.2006 16:11

Den Mark, Vancouver

I was a lone protester today, with sign & flag, for only an hour, & EVERY Mexican who passed me to & from the consulate smiled, thumb-upped, &/or thanked. One guy let out a cheer for Oaxaca. I stood on the corner, off consular property, but made sure staff saw me. In fact, when several staff left at 12:55 in the suv with consular plates, i saw that they saw me. No, one tiny gesture like mine will not matter singularly, but matters when added to other actions. Remember what drops of rain do to a mountain!

thank you 03.Nov.2006 17:00

lazy protester jadelovemoonshine@yahoo.com

i appreciate you DEN MARK for being out there today!
in solidarity, another lazy protester, turned away by the rain and biking in it...

us vs. them 03.Nov.2006 17:37

falling leaves

I can't speak to Portland. But what the poster wrote would be an inaccurate description of the situation in New England. Many Mexicans and Mexican Americans are involved in organizing in solidarity with Oaxaca and the protests at the consulate. Mexican immigrants have been involved in planning protests and attending protests. This isn't an us "white activists" versus them "Mexican immigrants" situation. In New England mexican nationals from Oaxaca have been central to organizing efforts. At the Boston demo yesterday (a couple hundred folks) an immigrant from Oaxaca who was involved in planning the protests did most of the media work. Moreover, we are all responding to the call put out from Mexican activists in Mexico to shut down the consulates.

I was just there 03.Nov.2006 17:52

pirate

and I was all alone. When is the next time other people plan on being there?

Clearly, someone is afraid. 03.Nov.2006 18:15

.

Yes, someone is afraid here. But I don't think it's the immigrants. I think the Mexican govt, the same govt whose hand held the strings above the PFP as they rampaged through Oaxaca, killing and terrorizing people, is afraid. Afraid of all the worldwide support for the people, the global solidarity for our comrades. Keep up the pressure!

I wonder if other sites around the US are getting mssgs like this one.

Correction 03.Nov.2006 18:16

Working Class Mama

The demos have all been after the open hours of the consulate. It closes at 2pm every day. The demos have been 4-6pm catching the commuters on their way to I-405. I could be wrong but I think the people who locked down did so at 3pm.

Afraid, and also blind 03.Nov.2006 18:25

.

You know, when the police began killing people in Oaxaca last week, they told the world that the killers were merely "disgruntled townspeople who were tired of the violence." Yes, just good citizens who had been victimized by these bad old protesters, and had finally had enough. But when comrades recovered Brad Will's footage of the asesinos with the guns rampaging through their streets, they were quickly identified. They were, in fact, not "disgruntled townspeople." They were the police. They were government sponsored paramillitary agents in plain clothes, and the spin designed to keep resistance at a minimum was that they were just poor, fellow townspeople. That's what the Mexican government said.

Now, someone from the Consulate is claiming that these "white activists" with "ista" behind their names are scaring those poor, dumb immigrants who are too afraid and unsophisticated, (too "disgruntled"?) to understand what we're doing there. We "white" people.

This is some spin. Because it makes it look and sound like the people demonstrating outside in the rain -- on PUBLIC sidewalks, no less -- are assholes, are intimidating people, and are racist. But you see, this is a lie. I have stood out there for days, with comrades from PCASC, and at least as many demonstrators are people of color as are white. And the people coming and going to and from the consulate are not dumb, not frightened, not unsophisticated. They are jubilant that so many people care.

So thanks anyway. But I think we will continue to stand with the people of Oaxaca, no matter what kinds of spin you want to come up with. I did not believe in the "disgruntled townspeople" theory, and I do not believe the "frightened immigrant" theory either. Nice try.

White People 03.Nov.2006 19:15

*

I'm oriental, but born in California. I feel totally white, but appear like your typical Chinese. Would you guys consider me white or asian? Funny thing, married a "white" from Spain, sort of a faux-hispanic, especially cuz her family was from the aristocratic class. Now I have half-Chinese half-Iberian (faux-Hispanic)kids! Normally I don't give it a second thought, but all this race talk just makes me wonder why color even matters.

oH orgullo 03.Nov.2006 20:57

anastasia

oh orgullo,
estas orgullosos de que?

hmmm 03.Nov.2006 22:01

Jason

When APPO and the people of Oaxaca make a call for people to stop protesting at consultes, I will listen. But rather they have called for supporters to do so, and so I shall.

There is always some reason to let fear and doubt bring inaction. Ya Basta!

ignorance 06.Nov.2006 23:06

ask questions

One of the "white activists" who felt so passionate about highlighting the represssion and resistance in Oaxaca that he locked himself to the Consulate's door is Latino, not white.

white creds- were not racists 21.Mar.2007 14:15

to quote phil ochs

"love me, I'm a liberal."

or as the stranger collumnist put it: liberals are whites who think that inside of every third worlder is a liberal aching to be free.

I'm surprised you don't still want to convert them to christianity toi save their souls- oh i know- different decades, different "religions."

A.L., race: H. Sapiens