Borderhack 2001 Jams the Mexico/USA Border

Borderhack, a festival/conference around border
issues, drew 100 activists from the U.S., Mexico
and around the world to Tijuana over the weekend
of Aug 24-26.

Borderhack, a festival/conference around border
issues, drew 100 activists from the U.S., Mexico
and around the world to Tijuana over the weekend
of Aug 24-26.

There is a place in Tijuana where the fence
between the United States and Mexico goes into
the Pacific Ocean. On the U.S. side there is a
carefully manicured park, and on the Mexican side
there is a public beach. Families and friends who
are divided by immigration laws meet there on
weekends and communicate through the fence as if
they were prisoners.

During the weekend of August 24 through 26 the
Mexican side of the beach was the site of
Borderhack, a conference/festival where over a
hundred activists, mostly from the U.S. and
Mexico, met and exchanged ideas about the border.

There was a sense of re-framing border issues in
light of the anti-globalization movement. Many of
the participants slept on the beach, and
activities took place between a lighthouse and a
bullring, under several tents.

Our slogan is ‘Delete the Border,’ said Luis
Humberto Rosales, a Tijuana native who was
co-ordinator of the event. We’re not only talking
about physical borders like this, he said,
indicating the fence, but all the other
non-physical, subjective borders that we’ve built
in our minds and our regular lives.

We have to reflect about the borders that we
construct ourselves, between each other. If we
manage to do this, hopefully one day the physical
borders will also be deleted.

The Independent Media Center movement was
represented at Borderhack as well. They focused on
starting a new IMC in Tijuana.

There was a battery of computers set up in one
tent. One of the exhibits featured images of
different elements of borders, such as chain link
fences, metal detectors, guns, and clubs. The
viewer was offered the opportunity to cancel each
of these representations.

John Martinez, a veteran of the Pacifica station
KPFK in Los Angeles, set up a micro-transmitter at
Borderhack. He went on to broadcast a cassette of
political rap music, which came across on the boom
box and may have been heard in the surrounding

Micro-transmitters are illegal, denying
communities the ability to take media power into
their own hands and do their own broadcasting.

One Mexican man came across Borderhack by accident the first day of the event. He had just been
deported after being arrested near Fresno while
picking grapes. He didn’t get any pay from the
farm labor, and he was hungry. He was offered
food. He ended up staying the entire weekend and
participating in the program.

Federico Garcia, a twenty-three year-old member of
the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, picked
up on the man’s story. “It puts a human face
on what we’re talking about, human beings
suffering as a direct result of this fucking
border, this symbol of oppression [which is]
completely unnecessary and speaks to the
injustices of imperialism.”

Author: Peter Maiden

News Service: San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center – August 29 2001


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