Many lessons can be drawn from the now defunct anti-illegal immigration movement which are still valid concerning grass roots activism. I am wary today about recurrence of some things I observed then.
On one hand we are, or we were, a nation of citizens bound together by a general common identity, which some seek to nullify or eradicate. On the other, after our 1981 recession, Mexican President Lopez Portillo necessarily devalued the Peso (after promising to defend it like a guard dog) and the Mexican government squandered the national oil wealth, in the words of journalist Alma Guillermoprieto,“with all the glee of jumping into a pool full of naked women”. Combined with the 1980's oil crisis, the wealth of the formerly growing Mexican middle class was wiped out and the small stashes of bank notes squirreled away by the poor became worthless. The result was a northward flood of basement cheap labor which negatively affected the American working class of all races and all ancestral origins.
The resulting constituent firestorm forced Congress to address the issue, or at least pretend to do so, resulting in the public being hoodwinked with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which was to provide a one time amnesty along with vigorous enforcement of immigration law. For various reasons we all are aware of, the enforcement part never came around. Which further resulted in a northern bound human tsunami that further negatively impacted the American working class of all races and all ancestral origins, and no one in the elected political class accomplished anything to fix the problem.
So, in the early 2000's, some newly minted activists thought to bring it to the public forum via street rallies and other forms of protest, which, ultimately, also did nothing to move the elected political class into action.
However, legal and economic issues that are at the heart of immigration became twisted into racial issues. The media were more than one sided in their coverage, and purposefully looked for knuckle draggers and village idiots on the anti-illegal immigration side to ask leading interview questions for their spun “reports” . Race obsessed, brown ethnic nationalists whipped up racial hysteria on their side of the street, and the media ignored the vile and racist things some on the pro-illegal side would often say or do. Police from various departments unevenly enforced the peace. In one instance, they allowed a pro-illegal mob to cut a woman out of her group and be savagely beaten.
While they had their own flavors, the distasteful internet rhetoric of keyboard warriors on both sides of the issue was over the top. Both sides would push stereotypes of the greatly diverse peoples termed “Latino” favorable to their version of “truth”.
While not everyone was pure as the driven snow by any means, the group I am most familiar with had no racial agenda as a founding principle, it was about Washington enforcing immigration law. However some white supremacists began showing up at rallies in order to hijack the anti-illegal group to their own purposes, surreptitiously handing out vile anti-Jewish literature to passersby. After some internal debate as to whether to allow them to be a part so long as they left the racial agenda behind and fight out differences over racial issues later on, the white supremacists were informed they were not welcome and not to come back. At a subsequent rally, there were individuals no one had seen before scattered through the group holding the normal signs and otherwise blending into the crowd. However, at the end of the rally, the strangers grouped together behind a car with an open trunk, put on swastika armbands, brought out Nazi flags and posed for whomever wanted to take pictures of such a sensational thing.
Their racial supremacist agenda was rejected, so they gave the anti-illegal immigration group a vile, engineered smearing all over the internet. It was like revenge from a spurned suitor in the form of a large, hurled bucket load of feces.
Sometime after that, the founder left the group to do other things, relegating leadership to one of the more prominent activists. Then things got weird, not just with the leadership of that group but throughout the movement.
Paranoia set in, with an obsession about pro-illegal “moles”, government surveillance and there were recurring purges among at least some of the groups. If one went along 100% with whatever megalomaniac was head of the group that person was deemed a patriot, all others were denounced as traitors to the nation and were to be ostracized. The leaders of various groups throughout at least California and Arizona hurled anathemas and denunciations at one another and cut mutual ties. There was a sharp turn to ultra far right, lunatic fringe, conspiracy theory politics.
A couple of helicopter gunships circling over a backyard of some nude, sun bathing women (probably by personal time and place invitation to come and get an eyeful) and an unrelated occurrence of a uniformed National Guardsman directing traffic for a public event became “martial law”. A small, fenced in and crammed with equipment MWD water utility facility with an electrical substation in it likewise became a FEMA concentration camp. There was hysteria about chemtrails. The Storm Front crowd and other supremacists swirled in the roiled waters. A crazed woman from Washington state and a couple of accomplices did a home invasion robbery in Arizona to fund their version of the anti-illegal cause, thinking they were jacking a "Mexican" drug dealer. In the course of that stunt, they murdered a nine year old girl, her father, and attempted to murder her mother, who survived by pretending to be dead.
From the beginning, the Latino activists were working overtime on their own brand of divisive racial lunacy, car pooling hundreds of miles to events, some berating each other all the way there about lack of commitment, beating drums while yelling “racist” all day long, and berating each other for hundreds of miles all the way back about lack of commitment. There was a perpetual blizzard of often incoherent, refurbished, 1970's style Aztlanista race rhetoric that would have made Joseph Goebbels swell with accomplished pride if he were alive, "Chicano" and a part of the "Tan Klan" in 21st century America. They would encourage brown kids to skip school on certain days for their “pride”, which most of the kids couldn't explain what it was about. There came about what the activists saw as their master stroke, the May 1st “day without a Mexican” farce, which backfired.
If I remember right, it all seemed to fizzle out after the 2009 Arizona murders. On the other hand, with the exception of Obama's legally contested executive order, Washington still hasn't done anything about illegal immigration either way.
If I learned nothing else, I learned that the only difference between a white supremacist and a Latino activist is that they work opposite corners of the same street. However, while white supremacist David Duke would rightfully never hold a teaching professorship, his darker skinned, ideological twins are encouraged to spew their similar racial message every day in the guise of ethnic studies professors - simply because political correctness defines their intellectual garbage as “ethnic pride” rather than racist bilge. On the other hand, white bigots and minority race hucksters need each other to fuel their agendas.
While I haven't quite seen the above pattern repeated, there is currently long simmering voter anger over taxes, festering immigration issues, class warfare, middle class annihilation, unresponsive politicians, the economy, terrorism, lies and damned lies and much more. The Obama administration has been racially divisive, Hillary is throwing out the race bait as well as the woman card, and where Sharpton and others can't find a handy racism issue, they'll invent one. The Tea Party and, perhaps thinking they're reincarnated late1960's SDS activists, the brief, unwashed, weed addled, publicly defecating Occupy Wall Street movement as well as the twin phenomenons of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are a direct result of derelict stewardship by both national political parties over several decades. God help us if voter anger has the results it did in California.
In more than one way, there is a big chance for things to go very wrong.
-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary