RGV community resists militarization by the National Guard
Updated: Feb 20, 2019
By Jonathan Salinas
President Donald Trump officially signed a memorandum to deploy the National Guard to the southwest border on Wednesday April 4, in a move that followed days of him calling for more border security. The announcement came after a migrant caravan coming from Central America, and organized by Pueblo Sin Fronteras, made its way to Mexico and the United States in order to request and demand rights as refugees fleeing violence in their home countries.
Approximately 250 Texas National Guard Troops arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, and according to officials, about the same amount are expected to arrive every week until they reach 1000. According to federal law, the governors of states, whose national guards are deployed, must approve of the deployments. Governor Jerry Brown of California is the only border governor who has not authorized the deployments, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott has.
Today, Governor Abbott visits the Rio Grande Valley to promote his new book Broken but Unbowed in McAllen, and to receive a briefing from the Texas National Guard at the armory in Weslaco. The morning resistance began with LGBTQ activists protesting his book signing in response to his lawsuit against the Abbott’s administration lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s decision to allow public schools to let their students choose which bathroom to use.
But in Weslaco, at 2:30 p.m. activists with La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) and NETA, will be greeting the Governor in resistance and opposition to Governor Abbott’s deployment of National Guard to the border.
LUPE Communications Coordinator, John-Michael Torres, sent a recorded statement to Únete wherein he reflects on the urgency of border communities and communities throughout the United States to resist the militarization of our communities which stems from an “addiction” to defense spending, Torres argued: “We along the border, in our campaigns along the border, have an idea that says “revitalize, not militarize,” and that is something we can embrace throughout our country. And when we feed our addiction to defense and military spending, whether it’s abroad, or those being repurposed in our communities, we are choking the life out of our domestic policies that can help out communities to thrive. And those funds, particularly, should be used to help our communities advance, projects in other countries that actually uphold rights of folks throughout the world that actually help the people to create the countries the way that they want to see them, not the way the United States wants them to look, and we open new avenues, for opportunities for all of us to succeed, to advance, so raise your voice against the deployment of the National Guard, raise your voice against use of military technology in our police departments, and raise your voice alongside with your community for a revitalization of your communities so we can see our communities thrive and advance.”
Organizing coordinator, Martha Sanchez said “we need to unite (unirnos) and organize against politicians who sell our border for political gain. Come and join us!”
Just yesterday, NETA , LUPE and 16 other civil society organizations co-sponsored a petition calling for: “1. To listen to border residents in the form of a town hall or another form that is accessible to the public 2) To stop the deployment of the National Guard to the border”
298 signatures have been gathered as of now, whereas the goal is 400. The petition can be signed here.
John-Michael hauntingly echoes Hannah Arendt’s reflections in The Origins of Totalitarianism on how former colonial powers turn their aggression in the end towards its own people: “This is just the most current example. But if we continue to allow this addiction to militarism and defense spending used throughout the world we are setting more stones in the path towards that being used at home against us, against our own people, against our own rights.”
Torres went on to state that we must take an interest in the rights of working people throughout the world, especially those who face aggression by our military because their rights are our rights.
The struggle for international human rights is also a local one therefore. And as this escalation by the Trump Administration increases, it seems so will the resistance.
LUPE will be transporting protesters from their main office in San Juan to the armory in Weslaco. See more details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1696132337141798/