Sunday, June 10, 2007
The B Word (part 2)
By Arnoldo García
Freedom does not ask for a visa.
Justice doesn't need a passport.
Human rights are our only borders, our only country, our only security, our only nationality.
Human rights is the color of our skin, the pleasure of our bodies, the place where class does not matter, where class begins and begins to end, where clean air, water and soil conspire with us, where the natural world takes over and we take our place in the web of life called time, space, cosmos, universe, the Milky Way, la Vía Lactea.
In community and through communities, can our words and actions for a different, more just, fair world not only make sense but also stand up and start walking.
Everyone is a border brother, a border sister; you carry the U.S.-Mexico border wherever you go. The border follows us wherever we go:
There's the 1492 border, the mother of all borders that we know.
Racial slavery began in 1492, when a small group of white men thought they could own the world and whoever lived there by declaring it so, by declaring it theirs.
There's the landing of the Plymouth Rock border. Malcolm X was right: "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on of us."
There's the 1776 border; the 1848 border; the 1865 border; the 1880 Chinese Exclusion border; the 1890 Wounded Knee border; the 1905 border of not-so Gentleman's Agreement border to keep Japanese and Asians out.
The 1905, 1910, 1917 revolutionary borders when czars everywhere were overthrown and Bolsheviks, Zapatistas and Villistas called for new human borders everywhere
The 1492 border showed up again as World War I. The 1929 crash border that brought us World War II crushed humanity with hunger and desperation of their borders; the 1936 Spanish Civil War border that called for internationalists to cross and double-cross all borders. The 1939 border of running over everyone and everything with tanks, storm troopers, blitzkriegs and concentration camps for our border brothers and sisters. The Soviet Union and the U.S.A. had their own brand of forced laborers, braceros are braceros regardless of who's in charge of the border.
The Nazi-Fascist borders paled in comparison with the Nagasaki-Hiroshima atomic bomb borders. Capitalism's 1492 borders made full circle when they ended World War II.
The Jim Crow borders, the maquiladora borders, the bracero borders, the military-industrial complexion borders.
The military industrial complexion? Whiteness. For those who think that race, color without class analysis is poor, they have yet to learn that if you aren't color-conscious your class consciousness will be white, Eurocentric, ignoring more than 95% of world history and the movements for liberation, land, justice and humanity. Because when I say border, I am saying Europe, I am uttering Christopher Colombus, I am raising fists against colonialism, neocolonialism, imperialism, empires, I am speaking in silenced languages, disappeared peoples, destroyed natural worlds,
Color is class; the darker colors the darker and lower you find yourself in the working classes, the poorest are darkest, Indigenous peoples, Africans, mestizos, Asians, Arabs, Muslims, Mexicans, Salvadorans, Mayan, Lakota, Tohono O'odham, Yaqui – when you see us you see the landless, the perennially sub and unemployed, the homeless (but not without a homeland, even if it is the perenially imaginary Aztlan), who have no representative in Congress, have never had one in the White House. Have been thrown off their lands, treated as strangers, as minors incapable of managing their own dreams, experimented on with small gifts of small-pox, poisoned with siflis, cast off, put in reservations, ghettos and migrant labor camps in the U.S.
In Mexico, Meso-America, Canada, France, England, Spain, Nicaragua, Cuba, and elsewhere, the history of the struggles for freedom are inscribed, tattooed, branded, insinuated, instructed, breathing through our pores, in our pigmentation. This is the pigment of our imagination.
For poor and working class whites, their whiteness is aspiration to and sentinel of power and powerlessness to keep the darker brothers and sisters down.
Every border since 1492 has been imposed to quash the natural world and our place in her. Every border has been used to impose a redefinition, a refinement of whiteness.
Tonight I take back their words and erase their presence, erase their violent system of conquest, occupation and spiritual deceit; resurrect the Tainos, the Caribes, the Haitís, the guajiros, they who welcomed lost strangers, fed them, gave them fresh water, nourished them back to health – and lost everything for it.
Tonight let our borders sleep together, gestate, dream, make love together.
My border is my skin, my ancestral skeleton walking across fields and waiting on street corners for work.
Let the cosmos with its biggest bang pull apart the 1492 borders, until they burst in the sixth sun, scattered without redemption or hope. Leave us behind in the MesoCosmos of our borders, our lives to till the stars and regain our place in the natural world ...