Posts tagged borders.


Ceramic tortilla press, work in progress. All I need to do now is fire it, I can’t wait!

PS, the second picture is flipped so you wouldn’t have to read backwards letters. ;)

It is not an exaggeration to say that this is what my wildest dreams are made of.

(via beautifulbrwn-deactivated201308)

Document for U.S. Citizens Who Have Never Applied for a Visa and Have Just About Had It with These Aliens Who Go On and On about Some Letter, by Tsitsi Ella Jaji


It is not like going to the bank.

There are no hard candies in a basket made in China,
And no Kleenexes on the counter.
There is no refund if someone forgets to wish you a good day.

There are no chairs for the aged, no toys for two-year olds with earache, no supervisor to speak to in case of the

There are no meal vouchers if it takes all day,
No list of local hotels with a negotiated rate.
No one wants to know if you are a doctor.

Plastic is not magic. Seals are not signs.
Your cousin’s wedding is not relevant.

And it is always your fault: not enough planning,
The wrong color passport, the misplaced stress

In a word.

Taken from here.

(via jhameia)


The Undocumented, is a documentary [Marco Williams is] making which exposes the little known consequence of current United States immigration policy—the annual recovery of dead bodies and skeletal remains of those who attempt to cross into the United States through the Sonora desert.  The film documents border patrol agents who fight to prevent migrant deaths, medical investigators and the Mexican consulate who work to identify dead border crossers, and Mexican families who struggle to accept the loss of a family member.

Unlike other documentaries, [this] film does not engage in a passive dialogue. Those depicted in the film don’t merely talk about migrant deaths; they are immersed in it. They patrol the desert. They wheel body after body in and out of a refrigerated storage room.  They look for clues to an identity. They speak to distressed family members.  They relay sobering news of a loved ones death. 

Migrant deaths along the United States – Mexico border since 2001 exceed US troop deaths in Afghanistan over the same period of time. Yet the issue remains largely invisible, the topic muted or silent.  This silence is absolutely “an accomplice to injustice” for the more than 2000 men, women, and children who have died along Arizona’s border in the last ten years.

Donate and learn more about The Undocumented here.



You are not your culture. You subscribe to a particular collective culture. You do not own it any more than the person who “appropriates” it. Welcome to the world of multiculturalism.

So we don’t own anything right?

We don’t own our land, so people steal it right our from under our feet. And it’s still being stolen from us as we speak, treaties are still being broken to this day.

We don’t own our children, so the government throws them in Indian boarding schools where they were whipped and beaten if they so much as uttered a word in their Native tongue.

We don’t own our culture because it’s everyone else’s right to take, manipulate, and extort us in the last way they can.

We don’t own our history because every time you open a history book we get completely ignored or forgotten and our actual history is wiped over to hide the truth from people eyes at the bloody history of this country. 

We don’t own our freedom because the BIA makes it difficult for us to maintain tribal sovereignty without the United States government intervening. 

We don’t own the right to move within our own continent because Europeans came here and created borders which my brothers and sisters can’t cross.

The colonizers would be proud of your mindset.

I am my culture, do not tell me otherwise.


(via tlayisgigeyusesdi-deactivated20)

Sturdy bootstraps ›

Since asks aren’t rebloggable this is awkward:

You are so young and ignorant. There’s a difference between “wanting to keep amurrica for amurricans” and wanting to keep the people here legal citizens. My family came here, to America, and took the time to become a citizen. Why should these people be allowed a free ride and come into this country not having to do ANYTHING and still get every single right I do? If I did that in any other country, ESPECIALLY Mexico, their government would treat me WAY worse than how America treats them. READ.

liquornspice: Oh! Were you under the impression that I think the United States is a valid entity whose borders should be maintained and protected?

Your nationalism is invalid, good bye.

Forever hate variations on “These bootstraps just showed up conveniently, and then I pulled myself up by them, and you should too.”

Maybe if this person wants to tell someone else to read and not be ignorant, they should give us a book report on the Mexican-American War, and the fact that plenty of people were living in Mexico when the US border swallowed them up, and suddenly they were immigrants. Pretty sure Mexico has never done that, so I guess you’re right that Mexico has been treating people and the border a little differently.

Also don’t know what’s up with the claim that undocumented people get every single right as citizens. For instance, think how many things you do in a day that depend on having a state-issued ID, such as a driver’s license: have a job that isn’t under the table, drive a car, use a bank account, cash a check, use a credit card that hasn’t been verified, get on an airplane, not get automatically taken to the police station if you’re stopped by the cops (maybe), use a library card, buy alcohol or get into a bar, and on and on. These are just some examples off the top of my head. But without a state-issued ID you couldn’t legally do any of those things, and at best would have to find an illegal workaround. (To be fair, in New Haven we have a city-issued ID that lets you do many of these things, but it isn’t recognized outside of the city and we are the only place in the US that has that. ETA: firesandwords just told me that San Francisco also has one) This is like bare-minimum, basic things you can do as a documented US resident that you cannot as an undocumented one.

I don’t even want to go into it more than that, because this is foolishness. There’s other things that should be obvious going on too, like some immigrants are white. Or already wealthy. Or professional class. Or coming from countries that the US government considers allies.

borders notes updated

The borders I am honing in on for my zine are:

  • prisons, penal abolition, 13th amendment
  • nuclear family as a unit for capitalism, using examples of pathologizing black family, gay marriage vs. queer liberation, immigration & birthright citizenship
  • national borders and citizenship, DREAM Act, poc liberation movements’ difficulty finding an alternative framework
  • patriarchy of manifest destiny, privatization of land, gentrification
  • body autonomy, e.g. forced sterilization, migrant workers’ workplace hazards, reproductive justice framed by people of color, environmental racism


#zines  #borders  

[image description: me, a small brown ladyperson in a blue striped tank top, grinning and holding a large stack of books]

This is the magic I’m working with for the borders issue of Readin & Fightin zine. From the top:

  • How to Stage a Coup zine
  • 3 Positions Against Prisons zine
  • AREA Chicago newspaper, “immigrations” issue
  • Against Equality anthology
  • Off the Reservation, Paula Gunn Allen
  • The Chicken Chronicles, Alice Walker
  • Listen Up! Voices from the Next Feminist Generation
  • Want to Start A Revolution?
  • Making Face, Making Soul
  • Borderlands/La Frontera
  • Feminism Without Borders
  • Nobody Passes
  • Golden Gulag

(Now that I have a computer with a camera, I can be this self-indulgent)

Borders notes

These are borders that I might be interrogating for the next issue of my zine, the theme of which is geographic and social borders.

  • school segregation, Jim Crow, etc.
  • prisons/penal system
  • nation-states and arbitrariness of national borders; use of borders for colonialism and resistance to national borders as part of anti-colonial struggle
  • class & race as socioeconomic borders; double consciousness
  • NAFTA & border economy such as maquiladoras
  • gender binary & passing
  • neighborhood segregation
  • body autonomy
  • definitions of nature, divisions between humans and nature, correlation with gender binary—is environmental patriarchy a term? Cause it will be.
  • identity politics and POC nationalism; coalitions amongst people of color across borders

Yeah! My work is cut out for me. I will not be tackling all these; hopefully I can touch on more than half. Today I drank a jar of coffee and finally started reading Feminism Without Borders by Chandra Talpade Mohanty in order to start this project—not nearly as hard to read as I’d feared.

Chicano/as have been accused of being a people really without a history, as though all of us were immigrants. We’re “new” to this country every decade, every century we appear in the United States—and then, we’re new again. So it is essential for us to recover our collective memory. We must talk about what was lost through the incursion of the border, through the separation and loss of the multitudes, and remember the millions killed through violence, disease, and brutal labor conditions in the so-called ages of discovery in Mexico.

Amalia Mesa-Baines, homegrown: Engaged Cultural Criticism p. 109

The theme of the next issue of my zine Readin & Fightin is going to be BORDERS. Need to get crackin.


#zines  #borders  

The Bath Riots: Indignity Along the Mexican Border


For decades, U.S. health authorities used noxious, often toxic chemicals to delouse Mexicans seeking to cross the border into the United States. A new book tells the story of what happened when a 17-year-old Mexican maid refused to take a gasoline bath and convinced 30 other trolley passengers in 1917 to do the same.

The maid, Carmelita Torres, crossed every day from Juarez to El Paso to clean American homes. The gasoline bath was noxious, but effective at killing lice, which carry typhus… Before being allowed to cross, Mexicans had to bathe, strip nude for an inspection, undergo the lice treatment, and have their clothes treated in a steam dryer.


When Torres and the others resisted the humiliating procedure, onlookers began protesting, sparking what became known as the Bath Riots.

The Mexican housekeepers who revolted had good cause to be upset. Inside a brick disinfectant building under the bridge, health personnel had been secretly photographing women in the nude and posting the snapshots in a local cantina. A year earlier, a group of prisoners in the El Paso jail died in a fire while being deloused with gasoline.

U.S. and Mexican troops eventually quelled the riot, and young Torres was arrested. Though she’s been compared to Rosa Parks, Torres’ protest had little effect, Romo says.

The baths and fumigations (DDT and other insecticides were later used) continued for decades, long after the Mexican typhus scare ended. The practice was finally discontinued as health authorities realized the chemicals were dangerous.



I am working on editing a book for a professor and he devotes a chapter to the medical aspects of race and citizenship at the borderlands. The book mentioned in this article is not his book.

(via praxis-makesperfect-deactivated)


[Image description: Greyscale photo of two people holding up a banner with the words “Freedom for all with or without papers”. They’re standing on the roof of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection building. Below that, the word “No” is added before the words “Border Patrol Sector Headquarters - El Centro, California”]

(via dancingonembers-deactivated2011)

Border Patrol 6 Trial Begins ›

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON – Protesters who locked-down at Border Patrol headquarters in Tucson were in court on Wednesday. In the streets, two more protesters were arrested as O’odham and others demanded an end to border militarization, racist laws in Arizona and the US government’s reign of terror.

More than 40 protesters took to the streets and two were arrested, while six people who locked-down and occupied the US Border Patrol Tucson Headquarters on May 21, went on trial to fight charges of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

Indigenous in the struggle for justice released a communiqué calling for an end to the reign of terror on the border created by the US government and carried out by the Border Patrol and immigration agents.

“This terror manifests with the bones of thousands – making the southern Arizona desert a graveyard, where the hopes and dreams of migrant families are stomped into the ground by border patrol agents, National Guard, Minutemen, and profiteering coyotes. Through the military strategy of terror and fear the state maintains power and control,” stated the communiqué.

U.S. ends "virtual fence" project on Mexican border ›

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration on Friday canceled the troubled “virtual fence” project meant to better guard stretches of the vast U.S. border with Mexico and will replace it with other security measures.

The project, begun in 2006 and run by Boeing Co, has cost about $1 billion and was designed to pull together video cameras, radar, sensors and other technologies to catch illegal immigrants and smugglers trying to cross the porous border.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said commercially available surveillance systems, unmanned aerial drones, thermal imaging and other equipment would be used instead, suggestions made by critics of the Boeing SBInet program.

Last year, Obama signed a $600 million bill to fund some 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, customs inspectors and law enforcement officials along the border, as well as pay for two more unmanned drones.

Additionally, he ordered some 1,200 National Guard troops to the southwest border to help with security.

The SBInet project has faced setbacks, missed deadlines and cost overruns. The future of the project has been in doubt for some time after criticism by lawmakers and Napolitano.

Boeing said in a statement it was pleased the Department of Homeland Security planned to continue using surveillance towers already constructed and that it “remain committed to providing valuable solutions and supporting DHS.”


An assessment of the Boeing program released by DHS found that $1 billion was spent to cover just 53 miles in Arizona. The new approach should cost less than $750 million to cover the rest of Arizona’s border, some 323 miles, DHS said.

The market for hi-tech border solutions is worth billions of dollars and the competition is fierce.

Other firms in the market include defense and homeland security contractor Raytheon and Arizona-based ICx Technologies, which develop and market high-tech detection and surveillance systems with border security uses.

"There were things that (SBInet) did right, and things that it did wrong, but one of the concerns was always that this was more of a gimmick than substance. By pulling it, that tends to reinforce that impression," said Steven Camarota, research director of the Center for Immigration Studies think tank.

The Boeing project had been on the chopping block for some time. Napolitano last year pulled $50 million of funding for it that was included in the economic stimulus package and she froze other funds for it pending a review.

She said in March the money would be used instead to buy existing technologies such as thermal imaging devices and ultra-light plane detection systems.

Boeing’s shares closed up 24 cents to $70.07 in regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The last line seems to be the most important: how’s the corporation doing?

I feel shitty for not knowing how hi-tech the border was (I’ve never been anywhere near it) and for not knowing Boeing was doing this. But everyone, file this one away for next time you need to give someone a solid example of the role corporations play in militarism.

Notes on radio show about US-Mexico border wall on indigenous land

Taking these notes on a radio interview but I gotta go to the library! Then I’ll do a little research on this work.

  • Listening to an interview with an indigenous woman from the Arizona/Mexico border on the radio. I missed her first name, last name is Ophelia Rivas.
  • Lives on Tohona O’odham reservation, US is currently building border wall through the reservation, 1/4 mile from her house.
  • Told a story about being stopped by INS agents for being brown, she said she was born on rez & this was her land first, agent put a gun to her head in front of her grandchildren. Her grandson then started playing cops, pretending his finger was a gun & holding it up to ppl’s heads.
  • Building vehicle barrier along border meant US dug up burial grounds, put ancestors’ remains in boxes instead.
  • Tribal council tried to ban her for protesting US gov building wall.
  • Border wall means nation has been divided on diff. sides of border, border patrol is supposed to give them clearance for travel for ceremonies but doesn’t always.
  • Has started documenting harassment by Homeland Security, gives know your rights trainings, Homeland Security is retaliating by beating & arresting ppl including elders, unwarranted searches of homes & cars.
  • Reservation on US side is as big as Connecticut.
  • Homeland Security goes thru stopping ppl for papers under SB1070 on reservation, ppl have to show papers even tho they obviously are tribal citizens not US citizens, many elders don’t speak much english.
  • Very high unemployment, poor roads, 3 casinos but money still isn’t getting put into infrastructure. Didn’t have electricity & running water til 1970s.
  • Drug & human trafficking happening thru reservation, scapegoat for government to use for harassing ppl.
  • working on solidarity with EZLN, indigenous ppl around world, sees work as global issue. Went to Bolivia for climate change talks.