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San Francisco, California
It is a gorgeous prospect, this annexation of all of Mexico. It were more desirable that she should come to us voluntarily; but as we shall have no peace until she be annexed, let it come, even though force be necessary.
New York Hearld October 8th 1847
Back in 1846, Manifest Destiny was the hypocrite’s battle cry. California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona were at the center of a rather large border dispute between Mexico and the US government. America was destined to bring civilization to the continent, by force if need be, or so they would say.
Seeing how Mexico had already abolished slavery (in the United States this plague still held its barbarous death grip) the ensuing war was hardly the spread of civilization. At the very best the Mexican-American war was theft, and at worst, it was the spread of slavery.
Either way, the racists that patrol the borders today as so called "minutemen" should take heed. The land these xenophobes are patrolling to keep, "the menace of tens of millions of invading illegal aliens" was historically Mexican territory (and before that the Native Peoples territory).
The racists fear, "political, economic and social mayhem" will come unless we can stop the, "melting pot".
I guess manifest destiny didn’t die. But why is this happening now? It becomes painfully obvious that the war in Iraq is infecting every aspect of American society. You see these effects when congress passes a budget that cuts 150 social programs and you see it with the Lynn Stewart case. You also see it with the so called, "minutemen". When Bush says we are bringing democracy to Iraq, most people would laugh. But when it comes to calling for an immediate end to the occupation, most people think that is nuts. Most will say, "now that we are there, we have to fix it".
They accept the idea that the U.S. can be a power for good, even if we messed Iraq up in the first place. They accept the idea that the U.S. can bring civilization to an "uncivilized" society, by force if necessary.
The ideological ground that the Occupation of Iraq is standing on is the very same ideology that the minutemen stand on: racism. This is the same ideological ground that all empires have been built on.
So, will the real minutemen please stand up?
At one point in history, the British used to have an empire on which the sun never set, including the original 13 colonies. The fight against this empire required the use of the original minutemen. They were a revolutionary organization that relied on the support of the local population to wage a guerilla war. America was at the head of the fight for democracy.
What we should now realize is that the revolutionary democracy that once thrived on this continent is dead and has been for quite a while.
Any talk of bringing democracy, or even stabilization, disregards the fact that we don’t have democracy or stability for the vast majority of people in this country.
Today, the Americans are expanding an empire on which the sun never sets. Today, tens of thousands of protestors are marching around their country, Iraq, demanding an end to the occupation. As one protester eloquently told Al Jazeera, "This huge gathering shows the Iraqi people have the strength and faith to protect their country and liberate it from the occupiers." These are the true inheritors of the title of minutemen, and they deserve our support, not the racists in Arizona.
DAVID RUSSITANO is a member of the ISO. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org