Immigrant-bashers occupy land stolen from Mexico (2006) + Robert Erickson: Here’s to the State of Arizona

By B.J. Sanders
Apr 27, 2006

Mapa de México en 1847

As Congress fights over what anti-immigrant law to impose, and the right wing rails against the powerful new movement demanding legalization of undocumented workers, one question is never addressed by the politicians and pundits: Who does the land of the United States really belong to?

The “founding fathers” and their successors stole the entire country from the Indigenous nations through centuries of war, treachery and genocide. A huge swath of the country was torn from Mexico.

Texas, California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas belonged to the Mexican people. The Spanish had first annexed Mexico, killing millions of indigenous people.

Even before the Mexican people won liberation from Spain in 1821, rulers in this country were plotting to take their land, proclaiming with cruel arrogance that it was their manifest destiny to take whatever they wanted.

The United States spread westward, seizing land to expand the slave territories. Pro-slavery Southerners began settling in Texas. John Ross writes in “The Annexation of Mexico: From the Aztecs to the IMF” that, by 1835, they outnumbered the Mexican population seven to one. Ten years later President John Tyler annexed Texas to the Union. But that wasn’t enough.

In 1846, President James Polk provoked a war with Mexico to grab more land. He sent U.S. troops into territory that he declared the United States suddenly had rights to. When Mexico fought back against the invaders, Polk got Congress to declare war on Mexico.

Mexico's Territorial Evolution

After nearly two years of brutal slaughter of the Mexican people, the United States took half of Mexico in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Washington promised to pay Mexico $15 million for this vast territory, but Ross notes that only about half that amount was ever paid.

History of profits from immigrant labor

It is bitterly ironic that the right wing in the U.S. is now waging a vicious campaign—from the vigilante Minutemen to proposed legislation that would put up a 700-mile wall along the border—against Mexicans crossing onto land once owned by their ancestors.

The United States was built on the labor of millions of Africans captured and sold into slavery. The capitalist class grew rich through murder, torture and horrific brutality. The railroads were laid, factories and steel plants run, and crops planted and harvested with the blood and sweat of millions of immigrants from China, Mexico, Europe and Latin America.

The Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads hired 10,000 Chinese workers and 3,000 Irish laborers to build the first transcontinental railroad. Howard Zinn writes in “A People’s History of the United States” that the Union Pacific used 20,000 workers “who laid five miles of track a day and died by the hundreds in the heat, the cold and the battles with Indians opposing the invasion of their territory.”

From 1860 to 1880 nearly 200,000 Chinese entered the country, primarily on the West Coast; over the next 20 years, 9 million immigrants arrived in the United States.

The United States portrays itself as a welcoming refuge for immigrants. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” proclaims the poem engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, the ultimate symbol of U.S. beneficence. But the capitalist government in reality has welcomed immigrants only when businesses needed their labor. In the early years of the 20th century, Mexican workers could gain entry into the U.S. for a few cents. In 1942, the U.S. implemented the Bracero Treaty that allowed Mexicans to immigrate, but only temporarily, to do agricultural work in the fields.

But when their labor has not been needed, the U.S. government has whipped up a racist assault against immigrants. In 1892, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibiting Chinese laborers from entering the country. During the Depression it pressured nearly 500,000 people of Mexican heritage to leave the country. Many who were born in the United States or had citizenship had to leave in order to avoid being separated from their families. Then, in the early 1950s, the government launched a racist campaign that resulted in the deportation of millions of undocumented Mexicans.

Now Congress, the Bush administration and corporations are debating how to deal with undocumented immigrants. But hundreds of thousands of people have marched in cities across the country demanding legalization of the 11 million undocumented immigrants.

They know this land does not belong to the politicians and corporations. It belongs to the working people, including immigrants, whose labor is essential to keep every aspect of the country functioning.

John Ross’s “The Annexation of Mexico: From the Aztecs to the IMF” and Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” can be found at

Articles copyright 1995-2010 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


Robert Erickson: Here’s to the State of Arizona


April 29, 2010 — Here’s to the state of Arizona,
Mexico’s land stolen through conquest, war, and lies
If you walk her scorching deserts, nameless bodies you will find.
Whoa the border walls and ICE agents have hid a thousand crimes,
The calender is lyin’ when it reads the present time.
Whoa here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,
Arizona find yourself another country to be part of!

Here’s to the people of Arizona
Who say the folks up north, they just don’t understand
And they tremble in their shadows of the racist minuteman
The sweating of their souls can’t wash the blood from off their hands
They smile and shrug their shoulders at the murder of a man
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Arizona find yourself another country to be part of

Here’s to the cops of Arizona
Theyre stomping on your rights with racial profiling galore
They’re asking you for papers as they knock upon your door
Just like the Nazi soldiers they wont just stop with 10 states more
Behind their broken badges there are racist pricks and more
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Arizona find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the laws of Arizona
A xenophobic scheme to take your civil rights away
While the Constitution is drowning in an ocean of decay
Lets track immigrants with microchips, I’ve even heard them say
Will we ever see reform or will the dems just run away?
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Arizona find yourself another country to be part of

And here’s to the government of Arizona
In the sands of their bureaucracy they’re always bogging down
And criminals are posing as the sheriffs of the towns
They’re hoping no one sues them, when their stopped for being brown
And the speeches of the governor are the ravings of a clown
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Arizona find yourself another country to be part of

video unavailable


Sowing The Seeds Of Violence by Bruce Gagnon

Behind the Arizona Immigration Law: GOP Game to Swipe the November Election by Greg Palast

16 thoughts on “Immigrant-bashers occupy land stolen from Mexico (2006) + Robert Erickson: Here’s to the State of Arizona

  1. Pingback: Howard Zinn: The Myth of American Exceptionalism (2005) « Dandelion Salad

  2. Mexicans are NOT of the same people as the Native American Indians of the US South West.

    First off… what “Indian” blood there is in some Mexican people is of a totally different cultural stock… and secondly… Mexicans are a mix of different ethic groups including Spanish, African, French, and Native Central American.

    Many Mexicans are more White than anything else… and almost all have white in them.

    The Mexicans raped, butchered, and murdered the Native American Indians of the US South West long before the North American Whites arrived there.

    The Apache (Apachean) peoples who dominated the US South West HATED the Mexicans and fought as viciously against them as they did the USA decades later.

    Mexico paid bounties for Apachean scalps… signed treaties and then violated them… raided and destroyed their villages… etc.

    The Apache fought back effectively… even more so than they did against the US decades later… raiding into Mexico itself in retaliation.

    The Apache hated the Mexicans so much that during the Mexican-American War the Apache promised safe travel to US soldiers traveling through their lands to fight the Mexicans.

    The Mexicans were trying to conquer and colonize the area but failed due to a number of reasons including the fierce resistance of the Apacheans, an unstable Mexican government and an inability to get enough of their own citizens to effectively colonize these areas (which is why they advertised for white North Americans to come to Texas and settle there).

    Mexico CLAIMED these regions… but they never really “owned” them.

    Claim… Conquer… Colonize… Own.

    Mexico never got beyond claiming these lands.

    Mexico TRIED TO STEAL these lands from the Native Americans of the South West… and largely failed.

    To say that these lands were stolen from Mexico by the USA is ridiculous.

    The land did not belong to them either… and they never really held it.

    • I don’t think you have any clue here, mr. student,
      You wanna take issue with the horror of spaniard corruption of native americans south of the border, then deal with that (did you even read Las Venas Abiertas?).

      Native americans in the whole of the americas are all genetically similar stock, tribes are forever fighting, but nobody in the history of the world ever wiped out as many in cold blood as the god-bless-amerigoon USA.

      Get real, or go get a differet degree, like how to be a black-ops cia killer and keep the death and destruction going forever.

      Mexicans, americans, canadians, we’re all NORTH AMERICANS. These borders are arbitrary, and will disappear soon enough.

    • Well, the U.S. empire is definitely and irrevocably dwindling and fading away. I guess the karma will come home to us when we have become so weakened through our government exclusively of, by and for the rich that we will eventually get our lands stolen just like we’ve stolen everyone else’s. Until then, I hope that so-called “illegal” latinos continue to reoccupy their stolen lands north of the Rio Grande.

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  7. Yup. They get robbed and then kicked out of their own land. Ain’t that something? I have always been amazed…just AMAZED by immigration laws and how racist people can be.

  8. history of profits from immigrant labor ? yeah , it still goes on . its called ”loose borders” . tighten up the borders and it will at least help to stop the corprate expolitation and their straw bosses from cheap slave wages.

      • They’re already US citizens, I’ve sponsored imigrants and won, but that’s a ridiculous technical nightmare. Mexicans are americans and have been here for 12,000 years. To hell with the borders. The border is there to keep the poor people out for our racist benefit.

        • To me they’re documented by being here, everybody gets a living wage for their honest work. I have a lawyer friend who’s heroically defending migrant workers, you work, you contribute, you’re documented in my book. poor citizens also don’t pay tax and use the emergency room for medical care. They dont like mexicans, documented or not, because their racist slavers. Mexicans are some of the hardest working laborers I’ve seen. (Along with Salvadorans, guatamalans and the rest risking all to get to el norte.)

          But you’re right, they’re here, document them and be done with it. But an employer who abuses any worker? They get deported to jail.

  9. robert –stop your race baiting . calling a whole state zenophobic . look ,you want reperations . fine . then lets do it across the board. lets start with the poor caucasians in the revolutionary war , the ones in the south that did not own slaves , the african americans who were former slaves , the native americans who have had every treaty broken except one , and the hispanics. unless this thing is done across the board it is not just . it is racially unjust . ACROSS THE BOARD.

  10. Pingback: Sowing The Seeds Of Violence by Bruce Gagnon « Dandelion Salad

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