Is a boycott the best way to oppose SB 1070?

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Eleanor Goldberg of the Religion News Service reports that many faith leaders who have opposed the new anti-immigration law in Arizona are hesitant to endorse a boycott of the state:

Yet a central feature of the apartheid fight — a church-led boycott against South Africa — hasn’t been fully embraced by religious groups who are treading carefully on whether to withhold spending in the Grand Canyon State.
I am somewhat torn on this question myself. While I am as outraged over this racist piece of legislation as anyone else, and thus am sympathetic towards the idea of a boycott (and I find myself rooting for Major League Baseball to pull its All-Star game out of the state next year), at the same time, I am also sympathetic to the argument that an economic boycott would hurt many of the very people who we want to be supporting--since many Hispanics in Arizona work in the hospitality industry. I am also a little unclear as to whether those who advocate a blanket boycott would extend it to the many Native American tribes who live in the state, including the Navajo Nation and the Hopi and Apache reservations.

So what do you think? Is a blanket economic boycott the best way to oppose this law or not?

8 comments:

Cynthia said...

After reading a UCC news item about raising funds for an ad and the conflicting comments following, I must confess to being confused about the exact contents of this bill.

And I agree that a boycott can only serve to hurt those who benefit from the hospitality industry and those on the Native reservations. It's like boycotting your local gas station to make a point with the big oil company--it only really hurts the little guy.

The UCC (that is, the national office witness) once again is jumping in where angels fear to tread but sometimes I wonder if they don't get all the facts first. Passion can accomplish many good things but it only serves to confuse and piss people off when it doesn't use its God-given brains.

bdickens said...

What is racist about the Arizona law? Have you even read it? Or have you just swallowed Obama's (who admittedly hasn't read it either, nor spoken to Governor Brewer about it) bald-faced lies?

Arizona is a state with twice the percentage of Latino population than the rest of the country and many of THEM support it.

If you oppose the Arizona law (which mirrors Federal immigration law precicely) that is a perfectly legitimate opinion and worthy of discussion in a logical and forthright manner. Your throwing out the charge of racism, however, only serves to demonstrate that you can not bring any logical arguments to bear on the matter and must resort to an attempt to poison the well in order to shut off discourse.

It is a shame to see you stooping to such tactics when you can be so perceptive and insightful - particularly when it comes to answering the charges leveled by people like Richard Dawkins against religion, Christianity in particular.

Mystical Seeker said...

Cynthia,

It's like boycotting your local gas station to make a point with the big oil company--it only really hurts the little guy.

The down side of blanket travel boycotts of a political entity like a state is that they have the unfortunate side effect of not just going after the responsible parties, but also punishing people who are not responsible for what you oppose, or even the victims. I think that some of the statements on behalf of a boycott have only made passing references to the collateral damage involved.

On the other hand, boycotts can be effective tools in certain contexts. I think a lot of people are using the analogy of South Africa to argue that boycotts can work, although I'm not even sure that South Africa is a good analogy (see this article for an argument against travel boycotts. Note that the author of that article comes from the travel industry, so we have to recognize his bias.)

Another thing to bear in mind is that some Arizona city councils, like Tuscon, have publicly come out against the laws and have filed lawsuits against it. Would it make sense, instead of boycotting the entire state, to spend our travel dollars in those cities in Arizona that oppose the law?

A lot of Hispanics in Arizona are understandably scared by the racism in Arizona, as represented by this law and other initiatives, so I think that it is important to support them in concrete ways. I understand the frustration and the desire to use boycotting as a tool to oppose the law and to show solidarity with Hispanics in Arizona. The question is, what is the best way to do this.

Sherry said...

I don't know what other means there can be that packs that kinda punch. Shaming doesn't work for the unshameable. And frankly most of the American Indians living in and about the area are poor and kept that way by those who hire them at low wages, much as they do the latinos they depend upon. These arguments are always made, that you hurt the poor. But you cannot change systems any other way.

I have read the bill, and it is exactly as portrayed by the left. A good many of law enforcement in AZ want no part of it. It will undoubtedly fall constitutionally anyway. And frankly I don't care if 100 of the white population of AZ favors it. No doubt that was true of Jim Crow in the South too. That is not a barometer of legality, morality or constitutionality. Since crime has not gone up, there is little else this law is concerned with other than what Rand Paul said--most of em are Democrats and given citizenship will overturn the Rethug control of the state.

Mystical Seeker said...

Sherry, I have traveled through the Navajo Nation and spent some money there a while ago during a vacation of the Southwest. Are you saying that you advocate boycotting the parts of the Navajo Nation that lie within Arizona?

I have to ask whether a travel boycott will necessarily get anyone to change their views or repeal a a law. For me, boycotting is first and foremost of a personal and moral decision about living my life in accordance with my values--I might boycott a company that uses sweatshop labor, for instance, because I don't want my money spent on clothes made from such labor and I don't want to give more profits to such companies. If an organized boycott can get a company to change its practices, that's great.

But are travel boycotts against everyone in a political jurisdiction the same as economic boycotts against specific companies? The problems of poverty are in my view rooted in our political and economic system, and both major political parties are cheerleaders for free markets, globalization, and neo-liberalism, which in my view are really the source of the economic woes that lead to poverty. But in any case, the boycott here isn't aimed specifically at solving poverty so much as addressing racism and oppression of a racial minority.

I hear what you are saying about the need to use a strong tool to fight this problem. And I am sympathetic with the idea of a boycott. I just think that some of the difficulties with a travel boycott are not being seriously addressed--and I am curious if the issue of Navajos and other tribes who live in Arizona has been addressed at all.

Sherry said...

I am not advocating a boycott of native people and their independent enterprises. Businesses owned and run by American Indians are perfectly outside this mess, it seems to me. I am advocating strict withdrawl from all other corporate and independent business. Surely there are plenty of Latinos who will suffer, but I think they agree that it is necessary to hurt these hate mongers in the only way possible--through the wallet.

bdickens said...

Sherry, you've read the bill? Seriously?

If you have, then you have real problems with your reading comprehension.

"Stipulates that a law enforcement official or agency cannot solely consider race, color or national origin when implementing these provisions, except as permitted by the U.S. or Arizona Constitution."

Forbidding law enforcement to solely consider "race, color or national origin" is racist?

"Stipulates that these provisions are to be implemented consistent with federal immigration law protecting the civil right of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of US citizens."

Protecting people's rights under the Constitution and specifically the Fourteenth Amendment is racist?

What kind of alternate reality do you live in?

Since you obviously missed some of it the first time, here is a link to the full text of Arizona SB 1070 for you to go over again. Pay attention this time.

http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/legtext/49leg/2r/summary/h.sb1070_04-19-10_astransmittedtogovernor.doc.htm

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