Deportees

OUTERNATIONAL & TOM MORELLO RELEASE WOODY GUTHRIE’S “DEPORTEES” IN RESPONSE TO ARIZONA LAW

For a free download or to stream:
http://outernational.net/Deportees.mp3

In response to the recently passed Arizona Immigration Law AZ SB1070, a newly charged version of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees” has been recorded by Outernational featuring Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman. The song is available to the public at no cost and it is the band’s hope that everyone who hears it will spread it far and wide by posting and re-posting online, and that radio and other media will pick up on it as well.

“As sides are being drawn over the issue of immigration, I’m honored to join with Outernational on Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees”. Prejudice and ignorance are at the core of Arizona’s recent immigration legislation and Woody Guthrie’s “Deportees” was written to combat just that sort of prejudice,” voiced Tom Morello.

Woody Guthrie wrote “Deportees” in 1948 some days after a plane crash occurred in the Los Gatos Mountains, near the farms of the California central valley. The crash took the lives of several Americans and 28 migrant, Mexican workers. Guthrie was taken by how the reports of the crash only mentioned the names of the Americans and referred to the Mexican workers as just deportees.

An airplane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon
Like a fireball of lightning it shook all our hills
Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”

Outernational will be on the ground, in Arizona on May 29th in lock step solidarity with the thousands of people protesting this law. They believe that taken together, SB 1070, along with House Bill 2281, the new legislation which targets and dismantles ‘ethnic studies,’ represents officially sanctioned white supremacy and American chauvinism.

Some of us are illegal and some are not wanted
When contract is out, we’ve got to move on
Its six hundred miles to the Mexican border
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves

Outernational has been touring non-stop for many months and began to revitalize “Deportees” on stage as they played shows on their way out west from their home in New York City. The band is known for its revolutionary message and electrified genre bending rock sound; it’s no wonder their version of the powerful folk song became an up-tempo and rousing celebration of Mexican culture complete with accordion and eventually a classical guitar solo courtesy of Morello.

“We recorded Deportees with Tom Morello and are going down to Arizona on May 29th to stand with all the people courageously fighting back against these unjust and immoral laws. Outernational is about a whole new world, a world without borders and nations. Todos somos illegales. We are all illegals,” expressed Miles Solay of Outernational.

The song is excellent. I hadn’t heard of Outernational before, but I just listened to some of their other music, and there are some good songs there. Not on the level of The Nightwatchman or Street Sweeper Social Club, but then, what is?

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9 Comments

  1. With this law, we have been shown that the Tea Party Movement (which was, for the most part, astroturf, anyways) is made up of fascists and hypocrites. They keep saying they fear big government, yet when Arizona passes a law where they actually do round people up, they’re either for it, or they say that they’ve never had to deal with illegal immigration like that in Arizona. Excuse me?!? So that means you HAVE had to deal with having no insurance, and you HAVE had to go to the emergency room when you’ve had to ignore something so long it becomes serious, and then dealt with hospital bills afterwards? I bet you anything that none of them have. This new law is pure, ungranulated fascism! I hope that every last politician who supported this bill (or said they “didn’t know what it was like to deal with illegal immigration and couldn’t pass judgement”) gets their asses kicked in the next election! And, until this law is repealed, I hope every state in this country and every nation in the world refuses to participate in trade of any kind with Arizona!
    And, of course, Fox News and friends support it completely. They say these illegal immigrants are ruining this country, when it’s THEM who are ruining this country of ours. I refuse to let them ruin us! I refuse to let them build walls and camps! And I refuse to let any of them live without fear of anti-fascism. They said that we support illegal immigration, when NOBODY, I repeat, NOBODY is FOR illegal immigration! What we’re fighting here is the ability of police to discriminate based upon race! Why do they think this law was passed? It does NOTHING to stop or control illegal immigration, it just makes Mexican immigrants targets! I bet they’d also be for deporting ALL immigrants, too, when they came here for the same reason our ancestors came here, because they believe in America! Because they hope for a better life! Because they dream of better days!
    I say we deport every last one of these fascists to Mexico. In fact, let’s shoot them over the border in cannons. If they die, good riddance, and if they don’t, who cares? I’d rather have millions of Mexicans that can’t speak a word of English in this country than a million people who think English is the only language in the world.
    I once met a judge who said that immigrants know more about this country and what it truly is than natural-born citizens, because they had to work to become citizens, when the natural-born are just handed it. He’s exactly right, and anybody who says that these people shouldn’t be allowed in ought to be deported. Let them live in Mexico. Let them live in China. Let them live in the middle of a famine. Let them live in the middle of a war. Maybe they’ll finally realize their mistake when they look at America, and see hope and opportunity, but are unable to get there.
    Damn, that was a long comment.
    Also, like the song. Is that Morello singing, or am I an idiot?

  2. There are many Hispanics where I live. There are loads in my church because of the Hispanic ministry we started a few years ago. I have no problem with any of them. I’m friends with many of them. One of the kids looks to me as a role model, and many more think that I’m just a really tall 10-year-old.

    But none of this is stopping me from agreeing with Arizona’s law. Why? No one else has come up with a workable solution to illegal immigration, and they WON’T either because of all these claims of “Nazism” and other such crap.

    I’m not gonna deny that racism still exists. I’m not gonna plug my ears and say that there aren’t even so much as 5 Arizona cops who won’t take advantage of this law because they’re racist. But I’m also not gonna stick my head in the sand and say that EVERY cop is gonna use it for racist purposes and that all such immigration laws should just be thrown out because they’re racist. That’s just dumb.

    For practicality purposes, I agree with the new law. I’m also not an idiot saying that everyone will use it as an excuse for profiling and racism. Again, that’s just dumb.

  3. The US government has actually long had workable solutions to the illegal immigration problem, of which this law forms no part. Repeal NAFTA and stop subsidising US-agribusiness.

    When NAFTA was agreed to Mexico was ruled a US-backed, mild dictatorship. It had two important consequences. First was that it locked Mexico into a reform made in 1988, whereby the constitution was amended such that communal peasant land-holdings could be privatised and sold off. Second was that it opened the border to ‘free-trade’ in agricultural products, even as the US-government continued to pay billions of dollars directly to agribusinesses operating out of the US. The result was that subsidised US-food was dumped in Mexico. It was impossible for Mexican farmers to compete with products being sold at unsustainably low-prices, so their wealth declined, and their ability to support other local industries did likewise. They sold and moved off the land, or else converted to the manufacture of things like meat for export.

    As the production of meat, and for that matter a lot of export-crops, is not labour-intensive, the combined result of all this has been that the Mexican urban-proletariat swelled in numbers just as their jobs were being moved north of the border. This was somewhat ‘compensated’ for as a sweatshop complex took advantage of the situation to pay rock-bottom wages to assemble cheap consumer-goods for export. But all this really means is that the Mexican economy is reduced to spare capacity for the US: whenever demand exists for cheaply assembled goods Mexicans can be hired to do it, at wages just high enough to buy under-priced American stuff which undercuts the domestic economy. (And, of course, through the miracle of econometrics, all this shows up as growth and prosperity, because when you export meat you make a profit, while when you employ large numbers of small farmers in growing food, you don’t.)

    In this situation all those people who used to own land and have jobs still have to feed their families and try to get their kids out of poverty. The possibility of doing this in Mexico is undercut by NAFTA and agricultural-subsidies, both of which can be repealed, and will, in contrast to the thinly-veiled legalisation of racial-profiling, actually have an impact of illegal immigration. It won’t get rid of it, because nothing short of systematic genocide or world revolution will really do that, but it’s definitely not true that there is no more workable solution to illegal immigration.

    And this can all be done without even touching the US-military and its weird pet-projects in Central-America.

    (Not gonna fully reference this, because I have other things to do today, but Aviva Chomsky’s talk:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnP7USp2zZM

    is a good place to start looking for antidoublethink on this topic.)

  4. @Wolfgang: But what does the new law actually achieve, other than giving the police an anti-democratic power?

    As PAK pointed out, the sources of illegal immigration are economic and political, not personal. Criminalising the actions of these desperate individuals – actions that are promted and supported by the economic system – and persecuting them will do nothing but harm people.

    Furthermore, if you look at the long history of Hispanic/Latino/Chicano people in the United States, you will find that such laws have always been used to harass (and in many cases even deport!) legal immigrants – or, to be more precise, legal citizens, since many of these people were already there before the United States arrived.

    You can’t fix a problem by attacking its victims.

  5. I’m not saying that these people don’t need help. But there are just some things that don’t change.

    1) They’re here ILLEGALLY. There are legal ways of coming into the country, and while I admit the system is flawed, it’s still better than having to sneak in under cover of darkness and risk life and limb to get here.

    2) Trying to escape the woes of their countries only brings economic woe here.

    3) I’m all for helping these other countries create stable economies so that our immigration problem is lessened. But we can’t do that until we’ve fixed our OWN economy.

    I have no problem with these people, and even know a few. But all jokes about hypocrisy and Native Americans aside, there is nothing unjust about these laws. A law can be abused, but that doesn’t make it unjust. The one who abused it is unjust and should be dealt with accordingly. There’s a way to abuse virtually any law if you’re clever.

  6. 1) They’re here ILLEGALLY. There are legal ways of coming into the country, and while I admit the system is flawed, it’s still better than having to sneak in under cover of darkness and risk life and limb to get here.

    These people don’t get these options; that’s why they are extra cheap to employ. Nobody wants them to have these options.

    2) Trying to escape the woes of their countries only brings economic woe here.

    Not for the rich it doesn’t. They’d have to pay regular workers a lot more. That’s why this system exists: because someone profits from it. It’s also fantastic for breaking any kind of labour movement – an old trick of nation states: divide workers and conquer.

    3) I’m all for helping these other countries create stable economies so that our immigration problem is lessened. But we can’t do that until we’ve fixed our OWN economy.

    Fixing the US economy cannot be separated from giving people labour rights. And illegal immigration isn’t about benefiting Mexico or other countries; it’s about a cheap working force in the United States.

    I have no problem with these people, and even know a few. But all jokes about hypocrisy and Native Americans aside, there is nothing unjust about these laws. A law can be abused, but that doesn’t make it unjust. The one who abused it is unjust and should be dealt with accordingly. There’s a way to abuse virtually any law if you’re clever.

    The law is unjust, because it’s based on racial profiling, not on the basis of evidence or logic. It’s based on people “looking suspicious” (i.e. looking foreign). That is not how a democracy operates.

    Furthermore, the law actually makes being an undocumented immigrant a criminal offense and makes anyone who helps such an immigrant a criminal as well. This is completely dehumanizing and antidemocratic.

  7. Isn’t being in this country without proper documentation illegal anyway? Just because some people are racist and abuse otherwise legitimate laws does not mean that the presence of these people is any less outside the law.

    I won’t deny that the rich keep getting richer. Thing is, though, I’M NOT RICH. I’m as poor as a church mouse- no, strike that; I AM the church mouse. Congress simply needs to step up their game when it comes to cracking down on cheap labor gained by taking advantage of illegal immigrants. In order to do that, they will have to break free of their ties to the corporate world. To do THAT would require setting an extreme limit on “candidate donations”, or else banning them altogether.

    I know how deep the problem goes, Jonas. But in the end, I’m one guy trying to figure out what he wants to do to make a living for the rest of his life. All I want is to be able to get a job. I don’t blame immigrants; I actually blame normal people who shun me because I’m not a die cast clone of every prep I ever knew in high school.

    But that’s off the topic. My point is that, as I said, I know how deep the problem goes. I’m simply too poor to care enough to use money on cardboard and markers. I’d rather use it on food.

  8. Isn’t being in this country without proper documentation illegal anyway? Just because some people are racist and abuse otherwise legitimate laws does not mean that the presence of these people is any less outside the law.

    There’s a huge difference between something being illegal and something being a criminal offense. Arizona is the only state (so far) where being an illegal immigrant (or helping one) is an actual crime.

    My point is that, as I said, I know how deep the problem goes. I’m simply too poor to care enough to use money on cardboard and markers. I’d rather use it on food.

    Absolutely understandable; we’re not swimming in money over here, either. (Quite the opposite in fact.) But our problems, and yours, and most people’s, have the same cause. If we don’t realize that we’re all on the same side, we’ll never get anywhere. So as long as we don’t have the financial resources to do something bigger, we can always help spread awareness.

  9. Awareness IS the first step. But the second step is getting people to care enough to be willing to sacrifice what they have to fix the problem. With what we’re facing, that’s what it will take: A humongous collective sacrifice.