Monday, November 16, 2009

punk anti-immigrant protesters

Here's a young, white anti-racism activist with some serious satiric brilliance, and the guts to carry it out.

On Saturday, several dozen anti-immigrant activists gathered on the steps of the Minnesota state capital for a Tea Bag rally. A smaller group of counter-protesters also appeared; one of them infiltrated the teabaggers and got up to deliver an apparently sincere anti-immigrant speech.

Identifying himself as "Robert Erickson," he began with the expected spiel about "a huge immigration problem where I'm from, Minneapolis." It wasn't long before he indicated the immigration menace he was protesting: "European immigrants." His coup de grâce -- getting the crowd to chant along with him near the end of his three-minute speech -- is comic gold.

Here's a transcript of the speech by (a person I'm guessing is not really named) "Robert Erickson":

Hi, my name is Robert Erickson and I’m really excited to be here. It's people like all of you and events like this that make our country great! Give yourselves a round of applause!

I just want to talk about a couple themes this afternoon because I love this country, and I want to see America be the best place it can be.

Mr. Gutierrez is getting ready to propose an immigration bill in just a few short days, and we have to make sure he knows that we want a bill that’s tough on immigration. Now is the time for us to stand up and make our voices heard!

In Minneapolis, where I’m from, we have a huge immigrant population that’s been causing a number of problems. With the economy in recession, and so many people getting laid off, and unable to find work, immigrants should not be competing for the few jobs that are out there. It's just not fair to the folks who have a claim to this land and the right to be here. All across America, they are contributing to the flooding of our job markets making it hard for American’s to find jobs. Well I’m fed up, and its time to let our politicians know that enough is enough, and we’re not gonna take it any more!

We need to secure our borders to protect this country. We need to restore order and put an end to the anarchy that’s sweeping the nation. We need tougher immigration laws to make sure that we send these people back where they came from. We need to protect the sovereignty of the real Americans. We need to hold our politicians accountable.

Its no secret that with an invasion of immigrants, comes waves of crime. We see them involved in massive theft, in murder, and bringing diseases like smallpox, which is responsible for the death of millions of Americans. These aren’t new problems though; they've been going on for hundreds of years, and continue to this day.

I say its time for us to say "enough is enough!" Are you with me? Are you with me?

Let's send these European immigrants back where they came from!

I don’t care if they are Polish, Irish, English, Italian, or Norwegian! European immigrants are responsible for the most violent and heinus crimes in the history of the world. We're talking about genocide and slavery! I want more workplace raids, starting with the big bankerss downtown. There are thousands of illegals working in those buildings, hiding in their offices, and taking Dakota jobs. Let's round them up and ship them out. Then we need to hit them at home where they sleep, I don’t care if we separate families, because they came here illegally!

So, if we aren't able to stand up to these European immigrants, who can we stand up to? We need to send every one of them back home, right now.

Thank you very much, and we’ll see you in the streets!

Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home!

[crowd picks up the chant]

Okay, I'll be honest: apparently, the anti-immigrant protesters didn't chant along with "Erickson"; the counter-protesters did. As Sally Jo Sorenson writes at Bluestem Prairie in her eyewitness account,

Most of the MINN-SIR supporters were slow to catch the satire, and so the cheering from that side of the crowd took a while to subside. As they realized they'd been punked, they stood in a cold, stunned silence, while the 30 or so counter-protesters urged Columbus to go home.

Sorenson goes on to describe their subsequent, violent reaction:

Unfortunately, some of the pro-MINN-SIR audience made up for what they lacked in humor through the use of violence. Both Danielson and I saw middle-aged men attack young protesters, knocking one off a bike before he started throwing punches at the young man.

Just as shocking was the reaction of the state police working the rally, who pushed back those being attacked, rather than those attacking the counter protesters.

With the Obama Administration promising to take on immigration reform soon, this Minnesota scuffle looks like a portent of things to come. As David Neiwert writes at Crooks and Liars, "If you thought the town-hall teabaggers went nuts over health-care reform, just wait."


  1. I wish I had that guy's balls, because they are enormous. Major kudos to him and his fellow protesters against racist and xenophobic anti-immigrant sentiment.

  2. spherical envy,

    As I prepared this post, I was tempted to follow the trend these days of equating courage with testicular magnitude, but I've learned to resist that trend, and managed to do so again. Most of the truly courageous people in my life have been women.

  3. haha. Reading this reminds me of something I saw on the Huff-Po this morning. Anti-immigration protesters and neo-Nazi goons clashed with each other at a rally in Phoenix, AZ.

    it's always fun to see two idiotic sides fighting each other.

  4. Macon, a lot of the women I know sub "tits" for "balls". Like "Man, I'd never have the tits to do that!" And there's the gender-neutral "guts"

    And I am totally gay for this guy. Olive juice, Mr. Whateveryourrealnameis.

  5. Wow, this guy has far more guts then I ever would.

    Now run, guy, run. The scary crazy people have seen your face and are hunting you for your cojones.

  6. Hee hee. "Columbus go home!"

    Hee hee hee.

  7. There sure are a lot of testicles in these comments.

  8. I think I have fallen in love with him!!

  9. Check out another NEW video - the full story of Robert Erickson!:

    The crowd reaction is priceless and check out the weird interactions w/ the teabaggers - including one pushing a kid off his bike and more weirdness. Columbus go home!

  10. I have often seen gonads as a gender neutral replacement for balls in that phrase.

  11. This was genius!

    These anti-immigration rallies are being funded by some of the most racist organizations in this country. What's messed up about it that they are powerful and well funded with close ties within the government.

  12. That was pure genius. But I am sad that things got violent.

    And I am NOT looking forward to going straight from annoying health care reform debates straight into immigration reform. Can I have, like, a month or two reprieve from knowing how stupid/ignorant so much of our populace is?

  13. Intersectionality alert, too: One of the speakers at this rally was a men's rights type, who gave a long speech about how, thanks to the sinister machinations of the National Organization for Women, thousands of undocumented women [in Minnesota alone!] were making false claims of domestic abuse in order to get residency in the US. And some abusers, he said, "have good reason for what they do." Also, seventy percent of domestic violence cases are the fault of women. (Which is doubly nonsense because undocumented women in need generally can't access support services). There were a few other creepy details about this speaker's interaction with his much smaller, much younger woman partner which I'm reluctant to post and which I haven't included in the stuff I've written about the event.

    They are a creepy, spiteful crowd, every bit as bad as you'd think.

    There's more details about the anti-immigration protesters here here at Twin Cities Indymedia. (Disclosure--I'm part of TC-IMC)

  14. this guy is awesome, as are all the counter-protesters. i can't say i'm surprised that the protesters reacted with violence, though it certainly speaks volumes of how defensive they are when their racism has been called out.

    As I prepared this post, I was tempted to follow the trend these days of equating courage with testicular magnitude, but I've learned to resist that trend, and managed to do so again. Most of the truly courageous people in my life have been women.

    macon, whenever you write something like that, it makes me swoon. you rock.

  15. When describing brave women, I prefer the phrase "big brass ovaries." I haven't met a women yet offended by this. :) And most of the strongest people in my life have also been women.

  16. I'm okay with using "balls" in this case because he IS a man. But like others have said, the strongest people in my life have been women too. So for them, I use another term (that said, I keep hearing women use balls referring to other women - are we appropriating this?)

    This guy is awesome.

  17. Jillian said...
    (that said, I keep hearing women use balls referring to other women - are we appropriating this?)

    LOL - last night I was at my best friends house and she told her 13 year old daughter to "grow a pair". I ROFL'd.

  18. Technically, ovaries are balls.
    Just a pair of haploid-cell producing organs, and very much analogous to testes (They are developed from the same tissue, it is when the Y kicks in that the "ovaries" descend and develop into testes).

    Unfortunately, balls now brings up images of only the male organs, so I try and use "oves" with some of my girl friends.

  19. pissing my pants with fearNovember 20, 2009 at 11:17 AM

    No matter what this guys said it doesn't take away from the fact that some sort of regulation of immigration is needed. If some of you want wide open borders just be prepared to suffer the consequences.

  20. Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home! Columbus go home!

  21. pmpwf:

    I want inspections and identity checks at borders, but otherwise think it is a natural right of people to migrate. A natural right which has been wrongly limited by the advent of stationary, land-based governments.

    I'm not completely free on this: People should be able to own personal property and be secure in that, but they do not have a right (sometimes they have the power, but not the right) to, as a group, exclude others from lands outside of the immediate commons.


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