WESTERN ISSUES 2

 

Racist stuff in Cochise County, some labor history, and the eternally good words of George W.P. Hunt  [Hunter Gray   2/20/02]

 

NATIVE LANDS, PUBLIC LANDS, GREEDY CORPORATIONS -- AND THE LATEST INCARNATION OF THE "SAGE BRUSH REBELLION"  [Hunter Gray    12/24/01]

WILSON RILES AND JERRY BROWN [ARIZONA -- AND SOME OTHER MEMORIES]  HUNTER GRAY  2/02/02

 

Racist stuff in Cochise County, some labor history, and the eternally good words of George W.P. Hunt  [Hunter Gray   2/20/02]

Note by Hunterbear:

I am very glad to quote herewith the time-honoured words of the "Old
Governor" of Arizona -- George W.P. Hunt: words which apply with the force
of an old-time single-jack metal miner's hammer to the current mess in which
our country swims today -- and to the people responsible for it.

This posted article deals with very current Klan-type, anti-Mexican
Anglo-racism centering in Cochise County, Arizona.  Nothing new about these
vile goings on in this general region -- except that the nature and conduct
of the current US administration et al. and the generally poisonous national
mood have provided, in the minds of these thugs, carte blanche.
Fortunately, there have always been many decent and courageous people of all
ethnicities in the Border Country and well beyond in all directions. But the
history of this region has been dramatic and sanguinary.

Cochise County [Arizona], was the scene on July 12, 1917, of the
Phelps-Dodge Copper organized "Loyalty League" roundup and deportation of
1200 striking copper workers at Bisbee [not counting three that were
killed.]  This was in the context of the great IWW-led copper strike that
stretched from Butte, Anaconda, and Great Falls down to the Mexican border.
The 1200 were taken without food or water by box cars and dumped at
Columbus, New Mexico.  They were Chicano, Anglo, Oriental, and Native --
either members of the IWW or members of Mine-Mill [or both, a practice that
actually lingered through the 1950s in the Western copper situation.]  The
Bisbee Deportation followed the July 10  deportation of about 100 IWW and
Mine-Mill members -- at Jerome, Arizona, just south of Flagstaff -- by a
"Loyalty League" organized by the United Verde Copper Company.  These
workers were dumped in California and then driven back into Arizona by a
California sheriff's posse -- and finally imprisoned at Prescott, Arizona.
In the early morning hours of August 1, 1917, Frank H. Little,  Cherokee
Indian and Chairman of the IWW General Executive Board, was taken from his
Butte boardinghouse by gunmen employed by the Anaconda Copper Company.  With a rope around his neck, he was dragged by automobile through the outlying streets of Butte for two miles before being hanged from a railroad bridge trestle. Frank Little, crippled from a car wreck at Jerome, was on crutches and was in Butte to assist the strike in Montana where he had just delivered a stirring anti-War speech.  His funeral was the largest ever held in the State of Montana.

No one was ever punished for any of these atrocities.  But, soon after these
horrific events, the "liberal" Wilson administration moved through the
Justice Department to round up 150 top IWW leaders on charges of violating
the "Espionage Act" -- hastily passed legislation outlawing anything
construed as "interfering" with the War effort [including, of course,
strikes  fundamentally motivated  by static wages and rampant inflation.]
In three massive Federal trials in 1918 -- Chicago, Wichita, Sacramento --
the defendants were all convicted and sentenced to heavy prison terms.
Eventually, as earlier with also victimized Gene Debs, they were released by
President Warren Harding.


Arizona [with New Mexico] had only become a state in 1912 and its fiery
Governor George W.P. Hunt -- who had come into the Territory on a mule and
who was essentially a socialist -- later denounced the brutal vigilante
actions against copper workers in an extraordinary address before the
Arizona Legislature:

"At this juncture I am sorely troubled for lack of a word, a phrase, an
expression with which to give poignant utterance to that which is in my
heart; to adequately describe a certain sort of thing in human shape that
wears the outward semblance of a man, but yet is a craven cur; whose heart
is as malignant as a cesspool; whose mind is a sink of infamy. . . .Such a
thing is the "profiteering patrioteer," the detestable hypocrite who, with
sanctimonious demeanor, goes through the mummery of patriotic service,
though striving all the while to profit by his country's dire distress; to
vent a personal prejudice under the guise of patriotism, or to gain for
himself a pecuniary advantage under the starry folds of his country's flag
with which he drapes his sorry soulless figure.  There is no word in all the
range of human tongue from Sanskrit to Anglo-Saxon with which to describe
this creature, so I abandon the effort in despair."

From Vernon H. Jensen, Heritage of Conflict: Labor Relations in the
Nonferrous Metals Industry up to 1930 [Ithaca:  Cornell University Press,
1950], pp. 426-427.

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

===================================================

Vigilante Group recruiting members to patrol Mexican border

The News [Mexico City]
Maria Leon, EFE - 2/20/2002

DOUGLAS, Arizona - Human rights groups have complained about Operation
Falcon, a campaign launched by the anti-immigrant group Ranch Rescue in an
effort to recruit volunteers to help guard the border between Arizona and
Mexico.

Through its Web page, the group made up of Texas ranchers has invited U.S.
citizens to participate in a campaign aimed at stopping illegal immigration
in Cochise County, Arizona, this spring. The group says members of terrorist
organizations may have entered the United States illegally through that
county, which continues to witness the most activity of any on the border
between Mexico and the United States.

Ranch Rescue maintains it is now more important than ever to put border
security into the hands of "good" citizens because the Border Patrol has
been ineffective in stemming the tide of illegal immigration.

This is the second time Ranch Rescue has threatened to patrol the roads
along the border between Douglas and Agua Prieta, Mexico.

In the past, the group has distributed flyers inviting volunteers to join in
a "hunt" for undocumented immigrants, whom they describe as criminals who
come to destroy ranches, rob and smuggle drugs.

According to the information on its Web page, the group plans to descend on
the border between Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora during the last
two weeks of March.

Immigration attorney Isabel Garcia, director of the Human Rights Coalition
of Arizona, said Ranch Rescue was coming to Arizona at the invitation of
Douglas ranchers. A group of armed ranchers led by Roger Barnett has devoted
itself to detaining undocumented immigrants in the Douglas area.

Barnett has stated on several occasions that he has detained and turned over
approximately 1,000 undocumented immigrants to the Border Patrol.

Garcia said the presence of this anti-immigrant group in Arizona is another
consequence of continued militarization along the border and unjust U.S.
immigration laws.

"These groups are taking advantage of the uncertainty existing in our
country to spread their racist hatred and resentment against undocumented
immigrants," Garcia insisted.

The immigration attorney also said undocumented immigrants crossing the
border at Douglas are generally Mexicans or Central Americans looking for
work.


Illegal immigration has once again become a hot topic in Arizona, where
legislators and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officials will
meet next week to study a possible increase in the number of agents assigned
to the area.


Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]  www.hunterbear.org

 

 

NATIVE LANDS, PUBLIC LANDS, GREEDY CORPORATIONS -- AND THE LATEST INCARNATION OF THE "SAGE BRUSH REBELLION"  [Hunter Gray    12/24/01]

Note by Hunterbear:

Our RedBadBear list seems to be pretty representative geographically -- with
a fair number of bona fide Westerners. This is true, also, of some other
lists -- but there are those which have [certainly with exceptions] a
definite East Coast tilt.  This is obviously inadvertent -- but there can be
"regional mis-readings." When, several weeks ago, I posted an interesting
historical/contemporary piece on the very complex Western polygamy issues
[presently very heated indeed] on several lists, it was received with
interest and appreciation by many -- but, on ASDnet and SocUnity, at least
one person very vocally viewed it as a deliberate effort "to stir up
controversy."  Well, we does our best -- but you can't win'em all.

This so-called "House Western Caucus" -- focused greedily, among other
things, on our national forests [Forest Service] and park lands [Park
Service] and other public Federal lands [Bureau of Land Management] and on
Indian lands and resources as well,  is  simply the newest in a very long
series of  land and resource grabbing schemes. [Much of this, BTW, has roots
in the East and even abroad.]

 As always, these things warrant continual, ever-vigilant scrutiny. ["Ride
the fence-lines, folks!"] I should say at the outset that I am  not against
all lumbering or metal mining by any means [ how could I be, I've worked in
those settings --although I'm  certainly completely against any uranium
mining, milling, refining. ] My Anglo mother came out of an old Western
ranching family.  There are ways of doing these things -- essentially
reasonable ways.  [But bona fide socio-economic democracy, of course, is the most
reasonable context of all!]

Given the historic and currently voracious appetites of the corporations,
their traditional relationship with public lands/resources  -- and with
Indian lands -- has at best been an armed truce. And, for at least the past
two or three generations, it's been more and more of an open war.  If the
Clinton administration was, despite its friendly-media hype, a fair-weather
friend of the Native people and conservationists et al., the Bush entourage
is obviously an open foe.

In addition to just plain grassroots Native power, Indian country -- Indian
lands -- are mostly protected [albeit uneasily] by the special Federal
treaty/trust relationship  grounded on  Article 1, Section 8 ["commerce
clause" and general Federal primacy in Indian affairs] and Article 6,
Section 2 [ all treaties made by the US government are part of "the supreme
law of the land"] of the US Constitution; by the general exclusion of state
jurisdiction via Worcester v. Georgia 1832 [Cherokee Nation] and a myriad
more of comparable decisions -- and embodied [for better and worse] in the
U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.  But, despite all of these bulwarks and more,
Indian land and resources are under constant attack [ and the Bush
administration is, as I've just noted, an open foe of Native interests ] --
and Indian people and our allies are constantly maintaining extreme
vigilance.

Lately, our enemies have focused mostly on trying to block land-claims cases
brought by various tribal nations -- and the generally paltry "settlements"
eventually secured.  In all of this, too, the foes have generally been
unsuccessful -- but constant Native scouting and scrutiny in this realm are
also the absolute rule.  The enemies have been somewhat more successful in
trying to impede Native water rights [guaranteed in treaties and via the
almost century old Winter v. US decision] by blocking and diverting the
water when its respective headwaters and initial flow are located in
non-Indian lands.

But the most open goal  right now -- as discussed in the following news
piece -- are the  public lands of the West.  The major coveting interests
are not so much the small or middle-sized ranchers.  [Grazing and water
leases are now  generally 25 years, in contrast to the 99 years of the
obviously much older Taylor Grazing Act.]  The basic enemies are the mineral
corporations --  e.g., oil and gas, metal, coal; the lumber and sawmill and
pulp outfits; the big "recreational" and "development" companies.   None of
these are -- or ever have been -- content with "reasonable" solutions.   They
want it all.  And fast.

It's an on-going fight and the Native Americans and the Real Westerners and
the Real People generally -- in contrast to these greedy predatory outfits
and their allies in Washington -- can use all the help we-all can get in
protecting these very vital sections of our turf.

It's an intensive  fight -- always.

As I entered my teen years in Northern Arizona, a big kid, I had no
difficulty at all in that laid-back era in representing myself as 18 years
old when I was years short of that point. No problems -- people "in the
know" simply grinned -- and one of the arenas I went into full-force in the
years before I entered the Army was fire-fighting for the US Forest Service.
[ A great many Indian people have traditionally worked in that dramatic and
well-paying endeavour.  It's also egalitarian:  a forest fire really doesn't
care one way or another about your respective ethnicity. And the woodsmoke
and ash make everyone look very, very black.]

 At 17, I ran a major  fire and radio lookout  on the Coconino   National
Forest.  Close friends of mine had fathers who were regular USFS employees.
But I can remember when, at the obvious instigation of two lumber
companies --  Saginaw and Manistee, and Southwest -- an excellent district
ranger and a dedicated conservationist was suddenly transferred out of the
Coconino into the "Siberia" of USFS Region 3:  the old Apache National
Forest.  That ranger, half a century ago, had been a sharp  and effective
foe of ruthless lumber company expansion. "They" did a hatchet job on him --
but he certainly continued his vigorous conservationist activities on the
Apache.

The  predatory scope and the ruthlessness are now far, far greater than they
were 'way back in those far-away days -- infinitely more so.

I should add that Bureau of Land Management turf -- public turf -- begins
only a good stone's throw from my present back door here in Idaho.

[Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]  Micmac / St Francis Abenaki / St Regis Mohawk  --
and DSA, SPUSA, CCDS  -- and three labor unions]


House caucus raising profile of West issues

Source: Las Vegas Reveiw Journal
Published: 12/24/2001
Author: CHRISTINE DORSEY



Lawmakers promoting property rights, access to public lands and local
control
By CHRISTINE DORSEY
DONREY WASHINGTON BUREAU

WASHINGTON -- Members of the revitalized House Western Caucus carry a map of the United States checkered in bright red and blue wherever they go: to the White House, the Interior Department or the Capitol Hill offices of House
leaders shaping the Republican agenda.

The map is a colorful reminder of which counties voted for George W. Bush
and which ones did not.

A rich red hue representing Bush dominates hundreds of rural counties west
of the Mississippi River. Many of them are represented by Republicans who
say their constituents don't much like the federal government telling them
where they can graze their cattle, where they can mine for gold or which
critters have the power to stop them from using the land that surrounds
their homes.

"We think we're good critters, too," said Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa.,
communications chairman for the House Western Caucus. Though his district is
in the East, Peterson said he shares many of the same concerns as his
Western counterparts.

This fall, Peterson, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., the new caucus chairman,
and more than 40 other Republicans reorganized the Western Caucus in hopes
of turning it into a force to promote property rights, more access to public
lands and local control over how those lands are managed.

The lawmakers believe mining, grazing, logging and other industries that
depend on public lands were denied a seat at the table during the Clinton
years, and the Western Caucus intends to pull them up some chairs.

"We need a strong rural, Western voice," said Peterson, who argued that
during the Clinton administration, national environmental groups drowned out
the voices of small-town America.

"We're going to try to fight back," he said.

The first order of business, said caucus members, is to get rid of
Clinton-era civil servants working in agencies that regulate the West --
mostly within the Interior and Agriculture departments.

"A lot of members are frustrated," said Matt Miller, caucus executive
director who works out of Pombo's office.

Career managers put into place by the Clinton administration continue to
carry out an agenda not shared by the Bush administration, Miller said. "In
some districts, priorities are being ignored," he said. "What we've got is a
complete philosophy of the Clinton administration embedded now in the middle management of these agencies, and they're running head-first as quickly as they can to do as much as they can before the door closes on them," said caucus member Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev.

Gibbons cited a recent decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to grant
emergency Endangered Species Act protection to the Carson Wandering Skipper, a small, orange butterfly found only in Washoe County and Lassen County, Calif.

Gibbons complained the decision left out local input.

"It has dramatic impact on use of private and public lands in that area,"
Gibbons said. "I mean, it was listed I believe with the subtle hope of
putting ranchers out of business up there."

Gibbons has fielded calls and e-mails from constituents unhappy with the
decision, and is looking into the matter, said his spokesman, Robert
Uithoven. Asked if Gibbons wants to remove Bob Williams, the Fish and
Wildlife Service manager responsible for the area, Uithoven said, "No
comment."

Randi Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Reno office of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Office, said the decision was based on recommendations made by
local officials, and that Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed off on it as
part of an agreement with environmentalists over a lawsuit to list several
species.

Gibbons and other caucus members have met with Vice President Dick Cheney,
White House congressional liaison Nick Calio and a handful of political
appointees within the Interior and Agriculture departments to talk about
endangered species listings, forest management and other issues.

"The White House is very interested in working with the Western Caucus,"
Miller said. "I strongly believe we're the most powerful caucus in
Congress."

Environmentalists who generally oppose the group's pro-resource development
agenda are not convinced the lawmakers will make a difference on the House
floor or with the Bush administration because they have not shown the
ability to attract support from beyond the like-minded, especially in the
virtually evenly divided House.

"I don't see it," said Wilderness Society lobbyist Dave Alberswerth. "They
are preaching to the choir."

Alberswerth cited examples of House votes on amendments to the Interior
Department spending bill this year that illustrate a split among the
conservative and moderate arms of the Republican Party.

For instance, 28 Republicans crossed over and voted with Democrats to pass
an amendment blocking the Interior Department from rolling back new
environmental regulations on mining.

"There's an important regional split, and maybe that's what the Western
Caucus is trying to address," Alberswerth said, noting most of the moderate
Republicans are from the Northeast and Midwest.

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., said the caucus is not going to sway
moderates.

"Honestly, I don't think this caucus will change voting behavior on the
floor," Inslee said. "They're not going to convince suburban Republicans
from Philadelphia and New Jersey to vote against the environment. It's not
in their self-interest."



Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]
www.hunterbear.org (social justice)

Left Discussion Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Redbadbear

 

WILSON RILES AND JERRY BROWN [ARIZONA -- AND SOME OTHER MEMORIES]  HUNTER GRAY  2/02/02

An Arizonian not intricately versed now, or ever, on California politics --
but interested in this ASDnet discussion on Riles and Brown et al. --  I'll
listen closely to Duane and Ross on all of that!  But I am consistently
struck by the fact that, although global population has doubled since I
taught my first college sociology classes [1960], people and trails and
interesting examples of personal awareness continue to intersect -- even in
the great demographic wilderness.

I have many very positive memories of the "senior" Wilson Riles -- the
father.  I was still very much a kid when he was principal of the small,
all-Black Dunbar Elementary School which was squeezed 'way down on the south side of town [far "below" Highway 66 which cut right thru Flag as Santa Fe Street. It was very close to the huge Southwest Lumber Mills and their
volcano of smoke.]  Flagstaff had a small Black population that had come
from Mississippi and Louisiana to work in the timber [yellow pine] woods.
Only Blacks were segregated in Flagstaff's elementary school system -- and
the one high school was totally integrated student-wise.

 That Wilson Riles, [the only one I knew], was a consistently courageous and
principled person -- not only on the extremely challenging racial issues
swirling in and around Flagstaff and all over that region [a complex and
frequently violently repressive blending of Border South with Southwest] but
also very much on international and peace matters.  He was a close friend
and associate of my parents and others such as Ysabel Maddox, a very
forthright Cuban woman whose courageous husband, Virgil,  was,
interestingly,  a Texas Anglo. Ned Hatathli, then an Arizona State College
student on the GI Bill and later a major Navajo educator, was much involved.
Linked into this network were "highly controversial"  staffers from the
American Friends Service Committee who were doing good work on behalf of the Navajo.   All of these and many others -- Native, Chicano, Black, Anglo -- in
that brave band of social justice folk often met at our home which was then
relatively isolated on the far edge of town.

Wilson Riles was essentially a pacifist -- a position which I early on  came
to respect and  always do -- but as a very young kid at that point knew
nothing about.  Yet it was from him that I first heard of the Fellowship of
Reconciliation and it was many years later that a friend  of mine in that
organizational setting, Glenn Smiley, its exec director, made the critical
mutual contact between myself [and Eldri whom I had just married] and FOR
member, Dr A.D. Beittel, President of  embattled Tougaloo Southern Christian
College -- which carried us to Mississippi in the Summer of '61.  I only
recently learned that Dave McReynolds had worked with Glenn in Los Angeles
in the early and mid '50s.

After the Brown school desegregation decision in 1954, Arizona -- which
didn't fight the ruling openly -- closed the small Black elementary school
at Flagstaff. At some point in that general time frame, the Riles family
went on to California [I was still in the Army during that period, until the
very beginning of '55.]  We were never surprised that Wilson Riles became
State Superintendent of Public Instruction in that setting.  [In Arizona, we
wound up with W.P. Shoftstall, McGuffey-carrying national board member of
the John Birch Society, as "our" State Supt of Ed.  When he had been Dean of
Students at ASU, we kept him at arm's length via student picket lines and I
used to periodically  threaten him with  lawsuits.]

And, in the very dangerous Fall of 1962,  right after the bloody and
Anglo-riotous entrance of Jim Meredith into Ole Miss, Medgar Evers came one
night to our meeting of the Jackson NAACP Youth Council [to which I was
Advisor.]  We were in a room above an old church in the darkened north
Jackson area.  Our group was planning what was soon to become the very
successful economic boycott of downtown Jackson and environs -- the
foundation-laying precursor of the massive Jackson Movement. With Medgar was a  very young white man who sat in on our meeting and visited extensively with us afterward.   He was Jerry Brown, then introduced as son of the California governor.   Everyone liked him.  He had come, simply as a
supportive individual, to learn what was happening in the Magnolia
maelstrom. And he had been stunned by a visit earlier in the day --
unaccompanied at that point by Medgar who wouldn't have been able to get
even close to the building -- with the Mississippi State Supt of Education,
who I believe was a Mr Tubbs.  That official was explaining the orthodox
Mississippi view of the Meredith/Ole Miss crisis to Jerry Brown -- who
wondered if Mississippi was at all concerned that it was on the brink of
losing its school accreditation due to its violent recalcitrance vis-a-vis
these racial-issues-in-education.

Tubbs looked at Jerry Brown and smiled pleasantly.  "We really don't ca-yah
about ak-rah-day-shun in Miss- sippi," he said slowly.  No one does aroun'
heah -- 'cept maybe the Common - ists."

It was clear that Jerry Brown was as intrigued by the drawl as he was
shocked by the-door closing-to-the-20th Century.

Anyway, I've always remembered the father of the contemporary Wilson Riles
in a very positive fashion and, over the years, have come to appreciate the
rich influence that all of those people had on me as a little ruffian
[although it took a few years for those seeds and others to poke above
ground.]  And it took guts for Jerry Brown to come to that Mississippi
meeting in an extraordinarily dangerous atmosphere.

The "younger" Riles and Jerry Brown may be political rivals  but I wish them
each well personally.  I always have since I began following the strange
doings in "that place over there that's always trying to take our Colorado
River water."

As Ever, Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

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