There’s a lot of confusion about the boycotting of Arizona. Here I present some facts and ideas for your consideration.
In the link to the article above it was noted how Arizona became the last state to approve a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Being the Republican state Arizona has always been, our state legislators could care less.
Those were the days of Evan Mecham, and the clip below is from a 60 Minutes show about Evan Mecham, and includes video of his warning to black people about trying to push for a MLK holiday.[tnivideo caption=”You might be appalled by what the Arizona governor says, back then and today!” credit=”60 Minutes”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Whn4vCBEs8
When you have people like this in office, there is no way to talk sense into them. Arizona is no different today… well, actually it is worse! We have an unelected governor running the show and approving whatever Russell Pearce and Steve Montenegro send her way, Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas who is running against Tom Horne for Attorney General. Talk about a bunch of haters!
In the 1990’s there was no reasoning with the state legislature, so a boycott was called. Eventually the first Super Bowl ever to be played in Arizona got canceled. The football players agreed they would not play in this state, and it was moved elsewhere. That really sent a strong message to the legislature because of the economic impact, and Arizona now has a MLK holiday.
Now let’s explore what we know about this modern-day Arizona boycott.
Who is in charge?
The short answer is: no one. When I saw Terry Goddard’s Facebook status calling on a Tucson congressman to call off the boycott I thought two things:
- Terry Goddard really needs to stop saying stupid things before he loses all of the Latino vote! The latest polls released today show Brewer has a lead over him. While Three Sonorans is voting for Goddard, I have yet to be able to get excited about him, especially whenever he opens his mouth and tries to appeal to the right-wing, for example telling Eric Holder that he will defend SB1070 against the feds.
- The Tucson Congressman is not in charge of the boycott. No one is in charge.
People around the country decided they would change their plans to come here. Arizona is not the only place in the nation, nor in the world. There are many places to have conventions and to go on vacation. It is too simple to not come to Arizona.
Latinos and boycotts
Also in the previous article it was noted how the UFW boycotted the Fresno grape farmers since a strike was not working.
The farmworkers who were already impoverished from the Fresno agribusiness exploiting their cheap labor were no longer working. But the injustice was so great they kept the boycott going, even though it led to a direct hit on their own finances.
They worked together as a community to get access to food, people from around the country came to show their support, including Robert Kennedy. Cesar Chavez went on a fast; 36 days with no food.
This is something the mainstream doesn’t understand. When you are poor, you know how to be hungry, you know how to starve, and you know how to survive still.
Contrast this to 9/11/2001. The United States was just attacked on US soil. People were afraid. They didn’t know what would happen next, if there would be more attacks, or who knows, maybe the end was near with all out nuclear holocaust?
The World Trade Center in New York City was Ground Zero. During this time of uncertainly and time of reflection, what did the leaders, for example NY mayor Guiliani, tell us to do?
Go shopping! Go eat out for dinner!
This is the same mentality of those fearing the economic impact of an Arizona boycott. You will also notice a huge cultural divide.
- One group of people, usually political leaders and those economically well off, will fear for their finances.
- The other group of people will say YA BASTA! A major injustice is taking place that is targeted on their community, and they will not will be silent but stand up strong against this injustice.
There is a power in hunger, in fasting, and it is something that privileged Americans do not know much about. A whole different level of consciousness takes place when you go to sleep hungry, when you do without. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus went out to the desert and fasted, and other human rights leaders such as Cesar Chavez and Randy Parraz have gone on strikes against injustice.
One thing about Latinos living in Arizona is that they are part of a larger community, and their neighbors may even be their family. During tough times you still have the support of your community, a couch to sleep on, and food to get you to the next day.
It is easier to do without when you do have much to begin with.
What can Arizonans do?
One of the causes of most mathematical paradoxes arises when there is a self-referential statement, such as:
- This sentence is false.
- The barber shaves all those who do not shave themselves.
The problem with 1 is if the sentence is true. If it’s true then it must be false… but if it’s false then the statement is true.
The problem with 2 arises when one asks the following question: Who shaves the barber? If the barber doesn’t shave himself, then the statement implies that he does… etc.
This is the paradox that arises with the Arizona boycott. How can Arizonans really get involved? How can Arizonans boycott themselves? It’s not really possible since we all need to buy food, buy gas, buy stuff to stay alive.
So the truth is that, ironically, the boycotting of Arizona does not apply to those living in Arizona!
But a solution to this is simple and this is the idea I would like to put forward.
SB 1070 – Strategically Boycotting 1070
Here is a way for Arizonans to get involved, and I will also provide two real life cases of this in action. But this should apply to those boycotting Arizona from other states.
While it is impossible to boycott all of Arizona if one lives in Arizona, we can still have a strategical boycott. The way it works is simple.
A sign, like the one you see on the left, designates that the business doesn’t not approve of SB1070, and that they will not allow any searching of the premises without a warrant from law enforcement.
It’s that simple!
If you see a business without a sign, tell them to get one, even if it is just a homemade sign that designates this. Once the sign is placed up, business can continue as usual.
If they refuse, then you simply take your business elsewhere.
How effective is this? Let’s now consider the second article ever written by the Three Sonorans. This one was written live at the scene of a boycott against Jimmy Johns at University Main Gate. It turns out the Jimmy John protest was successful!
Jimmy John’s franchise owner condemns SB1070 under pressure from boycott
By Brad Sigal
July 15, 2010
Minneapolis, MN – The immigrant rights movement scored a victory in Minnesota. Under pressure from a growing boycott and weekly protests, on July 14 the owner of nine local Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in Minneapolis and the western suburbs signed a public statement condemning Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB1070 law and calling for immigration reform.
The statement signed by franchise president Michael Mulligan says, “We reject Arizona’s SB1070 and urge the federal government to repeal this misguided law. We support the passage of just and humane comprehensive immigration reform.”In May the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc) initiated the Boycott Arizona-MN (BAM!) campaign to build the Arizona boycott in Minnesota. The first target chosen was Jimmy John’s Minneapolis franchise owner, MikLin Enterprises, Inc.
Jimmy John’s is one of the companies targeted in the national boycott campaign aimed at repealing Arizona’s racist and anti-immigrant law, SB1070. They are targeted because company head Jimmy John Liautaud contributes large amounts of money to anti-immigrant Arizona politicians like Joe Arpaio and John McCain, who are staunch supporters of SB1070.
According to MIRAc member Anh Pham, “This is a victory for the immigrant rights movement. It’s the first victory we know of against one of the companies targeted in the national Arizona boycott. We made it happen here through a campaign to get hundreds of Minnesotans to sign a petition pledging to boycott Arizona, and through regular protests in front of Jimmy John’s in downtown Minneapolis. We hope this helps open the doors to more such victories around the country to force Arizona to repeal SB1070.”
Here is a recent example, just this week, of the boycott scoring a victory against SB1070. And things are just getting started.
On the other side of this issue, you have the local business owner and restaurateur Tony Vaccaro, owner of Brooklyn Pizza Company and Sky Bar, both on North Fourth Avenue, who originally supported the No More Deaths campaign to have the anti-SB1070 sign on his 4th avenue business, but then changed his stance on SB 1070. The following is from the Arizona Daily Star.
“Additionally, barring extreme situations, I do not believe that businesses should get involved in politics. That is for individuals, politicians and lobby groups. I feel that I have let some of my customers down by getting involved in the SB 1070 debate.”
Sarah Launius, a spokeswoman for No More Deaths, said the organization has received telephone calls of support in the days since the “We Mean Business” campaign started.
“There have been a number of businesses that have sought us out saying they want to put up a sign,” Launius said. “We’ve also heard from a number of community members saying, ‘Thank you so much for presenting us a different side,’ and they will change their shopping patterns to support the businesses that display our signs.”
“We Mean Business”
For a list of companies participating in the “We Mean Business” campaign, go to www.nomoredeaths.org
This case is made even more special considering that the signs were actually up and the owner made a conscious decision to take them down. The owner can believe what he wants and do what he wishes.
But we as consumers are also free to not eat there and visit his businesses anymore. There’s more than one pizzaria in Tucson, after all!
The strategic boycotting of Arizona businesses allows Arizonans to get involved with a boycott.
One of the comments I received after reporting on the Jimmy John’s protest was that a person found his new favorite place to eat. I am sure that this is what prompted the owner of Brooklyn’s Pizza to reconsider his decision. I’m sure it began with a customer protesting the sign and then he took it down after reconsidering.
But he must now rely on the pro-SB1070 customers from now on, because it is now Brooklyn’s Pizza that will be boycotted and perhaps targeted for protest in the near future. These are the decisions that the business owners will have to deal with in today’s Arizona.
Also in closing is something that goes back to one of my section titles above. No one is in charge of the boycott. It’s organic and it evolves over time. No single congressman is in charge, and neither is the Three Sonorans. This is a grassroots movement.
I speak for myself only with my view on the boycott. No one has the power to stop it now. It will continue until recent racist legislation in Arizona is overturned, and if that takes years, so be it. When you don’t have much, you don’t have much to lose, and those in charge have much to lose.
Our voices will be heard!