Sunday, May 08, 2005

MIke Davis on vigilantes & Schwarzenegger

Mike Davis on the Return of the Vigilante

"The vigilantes are back. In the 1850s, they lynched Irishmen; in the 1870s, they terrorized the Chinese; in the first decade of the twentieth century, they murdered striking Wobblies; in the 1920s, they organized "Bash a Jap" campaigns; and in the 1930s, they welcomed the Joads and other Dust Bowl refugees with tear gas and buckshot.

Vigilantes have always been to the American West what the Ku Klux Klan was to the South: vicious and cowardly bigotry organized into a self-righteous mob. Almost every decade, some sinister group of self-proclaimed patriots mobilizes to repel a new invasion from some subversive threat or other.

Their wrath has almost always been directed against the poorest, most powerless, and hardest-working segment of the population: recent migrants from Donegal, Guangdong, Oklahoma, or, now, Oaxaca. And their rant, as broadcast daily on dozens of AM hate-radio programs in California and the Southwest, is still the one described by John Steinbeck back in the years of the Great Depression. . . . "

[read more about this farce of the new "Minuteman" and Governator Schwarzenegger at the link above ]


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