Stop the Minutemen! Growing Opposition to Vigilante Patrol of the Derby Line

A group of Montrealers are going to the border between Quebec and Vermont on Saturday, October 15th to hold a counter-demonstration against the Minutemen at the Derby Line in Vermont.

The Minutemen are an organization of armed vigilantes who attempt to prevent immigrants, refugees, and "illegals" from crossing the US borders.

Departure: QPIRG Concordia, 1500 de Maisonneuve west, 2nd floor, 9:00am.
Cost: $10 (optional to cover gas)
Reservations: 514-859-9023, sansfrontieres@resist.ca

More indepth analysis of the Minutemen, the lethality of the border, reasons for opposing the border and the effect of the border on indigenous peoples...

Why are we here today?

Today, an armed vigilante group calling itself the Minutemen are patrolling the border between Quebec and Vermont. Their goal is to stop "illegal migrants" from crossing that border. We are here to say that borders don't protect, they kill - and to send a message to the Minutemen that they are not welcome!

Who are the Minutemen?

Historically - a militia organization which aided in the violent theft of Indigenous lands and the genocide of the first peoples of what is now known as the U.S.A. In its latest incarnation, the Minuteman project was begun on April 1, 2005 under the pretext of regular U.S. citizens taking charge of securing the border against “illegals”. On that day, Minuteman founders James Gilcrist, Chris Simcox and 857 volunteers began a 30-day patrol of a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border near Tombstone. About ½ of those volunteers were prior military and about 2/3 were armed with handguns. Their goal? To set “not only an example for other Americans to follow, but a precedent we hope will have a lasting effect on how border security is viewed for generations to come.”

In groups of 4-8 and often armed, they patrol the border in order to report on the movement of those crossing the border. They have also sent out a national call to recruit informants on “illegal aliens”, their employers and anyone engaged in what they call “identification fraud” - promoting a true police state.

On October 1st, 2005, the Minutemen launched their official US-Canadian border campaign, and are now trying to be active in the states of Maine, Vermont, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington.

Borders don't Protect - They Kill

All around the world, borders set lines that people aren't supposed to cross. Someitmes if they try, even out of desperation, the results can be deadly. This can be evidenced in the recent events at the Spanish border in Morocco, where five African refugees were shot dead as they tried to cross in late September, 2005. At the US-Mexican border, untold numbers have died from dehydration as they try to cross through the hot desert. Even without the Minutemen, many people have lost their lives trying desperately to cross the Canadian border. On September 7, 2005, Shkelqim Harizi, a 24-year old Albanian refugee drowned to death while trying to cross secretly into Windsor, Ontario. We say that no human being should have to face the threat of death at a border - borders should be open to
all.

Why we Oppose Borders

In "Canada", there are litterally thousands upon thousands of people who's lives are negatively affected by the border. Many of these people are our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and our family members. We can say that they are the social fabric of our society.

Borders only really exist for poor people. For foreign elites it is relatively easy to migrate to Canada. For poor people, the country is off limits.

For the rich, for corporations and for capital, borders don't exist. While the rhetoric of freedom and liberty is thrown around regularly, we actually take these things seriously. We are all subject to innumerable controls in our daily lives, but hundreds of thousands of people in this country have been stripped of the right to exist, their very being deemed illegal.

Furthermore, immigration controls, like other forms of racism, create a class of people who have less rights and are more precarious in the living and working situations. Having such a class of people at hand only serves to make all people more likely to have less rights, as well as to divide people with the threat of putting them into such a class. Think Apartheid, but this time poor whites and people of colour are pitted against poor migrants so that everyone loses except corporations and a handful of folks at the top.

Migrant people are subject to beatings, detention for years without trial and deportation, often splitting and destroying families forever. While the privileged amongst us cross through the turnstiles at the port of entry fairly easily, thousands more aren't as lucky.

We take very seriously the belief that every human being is inherently equal, valuable and deserving of rights. Borders, “citizenship” and migration controls are a means of saying that one person is more valuable and deserving of rights, and dignity than another person. And not only is it a way of saying some people are more valuable, it is a way to justify and give license to the cruel exploitation and gagging of millions of people.

Those in power tell us that we need borders and "border security" for our protection. This breeds a xenophobic fear of any outsider. Instead, we should recognize that the real terror threat resides within our borders already - the politicians and corporations who profit from racist exclusion!

Borders and Indigenous People

We cannot forget that this border these minutemen are trying to protect is itself a colonial weapon. Close to Tiohtia:ke (Montreal), the 49th parallel slices through the sovereign nation of Kanien'keh (the Mohawk Nation). For nearly three hundred years, this border has divided Native people into "American" and "Canadian", and has sought to deny the unity of Kanien'kehaka (Mohawks) on either side of the border in an admitted plan of assimilation and annihilation. The community of Akwesasne (near Cornwall, Ontario) itself is split in two, forcing many residents to travel back and forth through border checks in the course of a day. Akwesasne's sensitive position as a crack in the border has caused it to become one of the most heavily policed communities in both the USA and Canada, with police, the army and secret services from New York state, Quebec, and Ontario stationed nearby. Akwesasne is but one example, for all along both borders of the U.S. are Indigenous nations that have been attacked by colonial armies, and all territories are now under patrol by the shortsighted minutemen.

Who are we?

We are individuals and activists working with groups in Montreal such as Solidarity Across Borders, the North-Eastern Federation of
Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC), the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC), Block the Empire, and the Indigenous People's Solidarity Movement. As immigrants, anarchists, and community activists, we are struggling for a world free of oppression - without borders and those who guard them.

If you want more info, stay in touch!

514-859-9023 (Solidarity Across Borders)
sansfrontieres@resist.ca

Solidarity Across Borders
North-Eastern Federation of Anarcho-Communists (NEFAC)
Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC)
Indigenous People's Solidarity Movement