By Paul Brown
Civilian militia aka autodefensas (self defenders) members in Michoacan, Mexico were recently inducted into the rural Mexican police, facing the threat of arrest if they refused as reported in the New York Daily News. It’s no secret that the Mexican federal government is not a fan of the autodefensas. In February the Mexican Senate approved reform of terrorism laws so they would make actions taken by the militia illegal. When the population is armed the elite few at the top no longer have all the control. Sound familiar? . . .
Clearly declaring the autodefensas terrorists hasn’t worked. For the most part they have refused to disarm, and without reliable means to remove or counter them, the Mexican government has offered them what appears to be a Trojan horse. Sure, now they carry some more legitimacy, and they no longer have to worry about being arrested for defending their own homes, but I see some pretty realistic potential drawbacks.
- The autodefensas were formed to counter the established violence and corruption. If you join that system, do you not risk becoming a part of it? I believe these are men who truly believe in justice and freedom, and that’s why they started doing what they’re doing, but it’s hard to resist systemic corruption when you are immersed in it.
- Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. This could be one of the strategies being employed by the Mexican government. After surveying the situation they found that countering the autodefensas was not a viable strategy. So bring them in close where you can watch them and control them. Now you don’t have to fight them.
- Just because you follow the man’s rules does not make you safe. These men joined with the threat of arrest hanging over their heads. It was either that or disarm, and they were not ready to do the latter. It seems unlikely that they would be arrested all at once, but now the Mexican government could still investigate them one-by-one and arrest them for “other” problems, slowly, over time in a way that might not catch media attention.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. According to the New York Daily News article only 3,300 out of an estimated 20,000 members of the autodefensas have actually joined the police forces. That’s good news. More and more, we’re seeing that standing up to those who wish to disarm us, even when it is your own government, is a legitimate means of protest. And furthermore, it works.
Why is all this important?
There are a million different strategies any movement can use. The antis have quite an extensive playbook to pull from, so it’s worth watching what some of them are doing next door so we can consider, “What would I do if….”
I find the specific circumstances currently underway in Mexico to be pretty unlikely to occur here in the United States, but unlikely is a far cry from impossible, and a few months ago I would have said it was unlikely that Russia would invade Europe…oops.