Global issues March 2011 USA


Arizona is an unique state with distinct politics. It is a far right wing state that makes the Deep South look liberal by comparison. It seems unlikely that the politics will change anytime soon. The residents are conservative. The Republican Party of Arizona is not only one of the most far right in the country but enjoys practically a one party dictatorship over state politics. Baring an influx of progressive voters moving into the state it appears that only outside pressure will force the needed political changes to bring Arizona at least to the 1970s rather than the 1870s.

To facilitate political change will require a two prong strategy. The first strategy is to mobilise mass protests and marches defending the political and legal rights of immigrants as well as the civil rights of Hispanic American citizens. The second strategy entails organising an economic boycott of the state. These pressure tactics are the only way to to facilitate needed political and social change to the State of Arizona.

Just as many Northerners organised Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate bus travel and joined on the Freedom marches in Alabama and Mississippi during the 1960s, Americans from all over the nation must organise a mass protest rally and march in the state of Arizona. In addition, Americans from other states must confront the various vigilantes that claim to “patrol” the border along with Mexico. Americans must have a “vigilante watch” to ensure that there isn’t any violence committed against Hispanics near the border. In other words, the vigilantes who are nothing less than latter day Ku Klux Klaners must be confronted and stopped much along the vein of activists that defend clinics providing abortion and the women seeking treatment at them.

The focal point of the mass rally and protest should be the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Department facility as well as the Maripoa County jail where many suspected “illegal” immigrants are detained. Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International must demand to inspect these facilities and interview prisoners held there in order to document any human and civil rights abuses. Just as protesters are currently occupying the Wisconsin State House, protesters should occupy the Mariposa County Sheriff’s office to demand the resignation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and to demand an end to the practice of racial profiling of Hispanics and to end the arbitrary and illegal jailing of Latin American foreigners in the county.

There must also be a political march across the state from Phoenix to Tuscon much like Dr. Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama. One theme of the march should be against right wing political extremism as manifested by the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Giffords. Another theme of the march should be the demand that the state of Arizona not only obey US civil rights legislation but also adhere to International law and treaties covering human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples. A march on this scale should include not only Hispanics of the state but also American Indians as well to highlight their plight of official racism on both the federal and state level. A one week march from Phoenix to Tuscon would last about five to seven days. In addition to rallies and marches held in Arizona, there should be solidarity rallies and marches not only other US states but internationally as well. The best would be to organise mirror rallies and marches in Mexico as well. There must also be political pressure exerted against the federal government. The Justice Department must be pushed with demands that it enforces the civil rights laws of the country in Arizona.

An economic boycott would complement direct political action. Arizona does have a significant tourism industry. The Grand Canyon is Arizona’s most famous national and international tourist destination. The city of Sedona is also a magnet for many hippies and those into New Age religion. Organising a boycott by not visiting Arizona will make a significant impact on the state economically. If enough people stop traveling to visit the Grand Canyon and Sedona, the state politicians will be compelled to act soon enough.

A consumer boycott of corporations based in Arizona would be another effective and easier way to effect political change in Arizona. The airline US Airways has its corporate headquarters in Phoenix. Organising a boycott of US Airways would take a huge bite out of Arizona’s economy. As most flights that use Sky Harbor airport are by US Airways, it would also be a hit against Mariposa County. If empty planes are flying in and out of Sky Harbor, the airline would use its resources to lobby for political change in the state. Moreover, US Airways has many other competitors in the national airline market. By boycotting US Airways, the people of the country will send a powerful political message to the state of Arizona.

The Dial Corporation which makes Dial Soap, Coast as well as deodorants such as Right Guard is based in Scottsdale. The Dial Corporation makes many other household cleaning products. Consumers in other states should be the subjects of an information campaign about the politics of Arizona and how their money supports repression when they purchase household and personal care products from Dial.

The political and social climate in Arizona is intolerable as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. The ideas presented above are just some practical solutions which ordinary people can participate. As Dr. Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”It is up to the citizens of the rest of the country to stand up for justice and to end human rights abuses in Arizona.

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