Salinas, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Washington: Communities Under Siege
by Prof. Tomás Madrigal, UCSB Chicana/o Studies
Since the recession of 2007, Latino communities have been under siege. We witnessed this much in Santa Barbara, where a campaign for a gang injunction continues [fought against by PODER Santa Barbara], in Oxnard where Todo Poder Al Pueblo has fought against police brutality, in Salinas where this counter-insurgency approach to law enforcement was well entrenched:
Since February, combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have been advising Salinas police on counterinsurgency strategy, bringing lessons from the battlefield to the meanest streets in an American city.
“This is our surge,” said Donohue, who solicited the assistance from the elite Naval Postgraduate School, 20 miles and a world away in Monterey. “When the public heard about this, they thought we were going to send the Navy SEALs into Salinas.”
In fact, the cavalry arrived in civvies, carrying laptops rather than M-16s and software instead of mortars. In this case, the most valuable military asset turned out to be an idea: Change the dynamic in the community and victory can follow.
In a peer reviewed exposé of the history and the consequences of Counterinsurgency as a law enforcement model in Salinas, California, Kristian Williams documented the extent of cooperation between the military and local law enforcement to wage a low intensity war against the Latino community of Salinas, California.
The other side of the COIN: counterinsurgency and community policing
By Kristian Williams
This essay outlines the current counterinsurgency model, with an emphasis on its domestic application in the United States. It shows that many contemporary counterinsurgency practices were developed by police agencies inside the U.S., and illustrates the transfer of theory, strategy, and technique from domestic police to the military – and back. The essay also examines the state’s use of non- governmental or nonprofit agencies, as one element of counterinsurgency strategy, to channel and control political opposition. The conclusion briefly considers the strategic implications for social movements, especially as we learn to recognize and respond to political repression.
The murder that recently took the life of a farm worker in Salinas is not the exception, but the normal law enforcement model that is a direct consequence of the stripping of citizen’s rights by the Patriot Act of 2001 that has been extended long after the War on Terror and built upon the outdated War on Drugs.
Even as far as the Northern Border and in rural Forks, Washington this siege of Latino communities has extended its reach. Community to Community Development‘s Campaign to End Racial Profiling is fighting these very conditions in solidarity with Forks, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, San Bernadino, Santa Ana, Salinas and all of the other less than urban Latino communities who have seen an increase in this type of low intensity war to break the fabric of Community.
Dolor y Rabia is not limited to our Brothers and Sisters in the South. We make our stand where we live in Solidarity.