Art+Politics+History+Culture

Vigilance Committees take on the Knights’ Templar

Shortly after the Mexican American War, vigilance committees were created in San Francisco and Los Angeles due to the rampant lawlessness brought on by the Gold Rush and the government’s ineffectiveness to prevent it. It makes sense since these places were making the transition from small villages, to towns, to cities, but once order was established these committees were disbanded or transformed into sanctioned government organizations as part of the criminal justice system. The most recent examples of vigilance committees are the Minutemen Project and other such organizations along the Mexican-U.S. iron curtain that deem it their civic duty to protect United States territory from illegal immigration and cite the ineffectiveness of federal government regulations. Coincidentally, in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, in a town called Nueva Italia, a vigilance committee has recently formed to take on a regional cartel, The Knights Templar. The committee came down from the mountain like errant knights, heavily armed like a battalion, and proclaimed to take back the town from the cartel and cited government ineffectiveness as their motivation. At the end of the day, it is a continental concern related to North American Union and NAFTA relations that effect the entire region.

Ever since the United States declared a “War on drugs,” it has worked with Mexico, through NAFTA protocol, to seize merchandise and wound the Mexican drug cartels. However, there is a simple capitalist rule that keeps the cartels strong and alive, supply and demand. Although Mexico is the biggest supplier of drugs, the United States is the biggest consumer. This phenomenon can be traced back to pre-WWII when NAZI intelligence officers helped the Mexican government and people establish a complex infrastructure of drug supply in hopes that the U.S. populace would be too drugged to enter the war. Since then, the United States has become the biggest drug consuming country in the world and nobody is untouched by the shame, including presidents and politicians. Mexico has always said the same line, if you stop demanding, we’ll stop supplying.

In turn, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, related to the war on drugs, was established to check immigration and blame the ineffectiveness of Mexican foreign policy to prevent mass immigration. However, we must remember that it is a border that divides the first and third world, unlike European borders or U.S.-Canada. According to the late Robert Pastor and the North American Idea, the only way to facilitate this concern is to help Mexico join the first world rapidly. A country that establishes regional domination as a hegemon and manipulates foreign policy for capital gain, must always deal with the consequences that follow. Action causes reaction, that is the rule of politics. People have always left their countries of origin to find a better life or escape rampant violence, diasporas have always existed throughout civilization. And now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement is under heavy fire over their use of force against pregnant women and handcuffing them under detainment. We live in a cold world where we look at our neighbors and complain about their cartel violence, yet not a month goes by in the United States where a kid is not shooting up a school and killing some random person.

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