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In my piece @truthout, I looked at the El Paso Shooter in the context of the US’s history of racist vigilantes.

From the beginning of the U.S., whites vigilantes have long terrorized communities of color with the help of law enforcement.
/1 truthout.org/articles/mass-…
In the book “No One is Illegal,” the authors argue that the very first “border” was “the genocidal violence that Jacksonian Democracy unleashed on the South West.”

Manifest Destiny gave white vigilantes slaughtering Natives a “personal imperialism”
During the Gold Rush, white mobs attacked and killed immigrants while law enforcement enabled/looked the other way

In 1850, a mob lashed, mutilated & then lynched 16 Chilean miners

In 1871 in Los Angeles a vigilante mob of 500 whites killed 18 Chinese truthout.org/articles/mass-…
Often, vigilantism followed the passage of racist policy.

In 1882, The Chinese Exclusion Act banned all Chinese immigration.

In 1885, at least 28 Chinese miners were murdered in Wyoming by white members of the Knights of Labor.

Vigilantism also pressured politicians into passing repressive law.

From 1922-23, a Los Angeles-based campaign organized by the KKK called “swat the jap” encouraged publicly humiliating Japanese immigrants.

In 1924, the Johnson-Reed Act banned all immigration from Asia.
This is why vigilantism is more than just extra-legal violence.

In his book, Urban Vigilantes in the New South, Robert Ingalls writes, “Vigilantes take the law into their own hands to *reinforce the existing power relationships,* not to subvert them.”
Often vigilantes partnered with business owners to attack the labor movement.

In June 1924, the IWW hall in San Pedro, CA, was attacked by 150 vigilantes & KKK members who kidnapped & beat several men but also dipped CHILDREN present there in boiling coffee
Vigilantes worked with law enforcement to break labor strikes—sometimes with murder.

When grape workers from the United Farm Workers went on strike in the summer of 1973, strikers were beaten, shot, and in two cases, killed — one striker was murdered by a Sheriff’s Deputy.
Today, instead of vigilante strike breakers, bosses are using ICE to retaliate against its own workers.

See the crucial reporting this week by @MikeElk:
Of course you can’t talk about vigilantism in the US without talking about the reign of terror by southern Whites against Blacks. From 1889 to 1929 a Black person was lynched every four days. herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1884
Vigilantism was a key part of the genocide of Native people in the US. In the 1850s, California passed three bills to literally funded militias to run “anti-Indian” campaigns. As a result, vigilantes killed at least 6,460 Native Californians from 1846-1873 latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/…
In 2005 there was a resurgence of vigilantism with a group called the Minutemen, a militia that (with no legal authority) would patrol the Arizona border.

Horrifically, @Schwarzenegger even praised this group when he was Governor of CA theguardian.com/world/2005/may…
But activists and organizers didn’t take the intimidation & vigilantism of the Minutemen go unanswered.

Throughout 2005, immigrant rights activists successfully confronted the Minutemen with numbers far greater than the vigilantes. latimes.com/archives/la-xp…
In 2007, the Minutemen were again outnumbered as they protested Mexico’s involvement in the case against Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos & Jose Compean, who shot an unarmed, fleeing immigrant in the back.
(GWB commuted Ramos & Compean‘s sentences)

The incredible 2006 opposition to the racist Sensenbrenner bill, which would’ve changed border crossings from a misdemeanor to a felony & criminalized immigrants seeking benefits, led to 500,000 people in the streets in LA for a “day without immigrants” latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/…
The lesson I draw from all of this is that mass movements can confront vigilantes like the Minutemen militia, and make them buckle.

The law and vigilantes often work together to harm.

So we must act in solidarity with one another to confront them.
And if you want this thread all in one place, well I got you! It’s all in my piece for @truthout! truthout.org/articles/mass-…
And if you want a deeper dive, I cannot recommend this @haymarketbooks book enough: “No One is Illegal: Fighting Racism and State Violence on the U.S.-Mexico Border” by Justin Akers Chacón and Mike Davis


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