Fascist Police State Alabama

By: Daniel Nardini

It is my unfortunate experience to know what a fascist police state is like. I discovered this while living in Taiwan. Under the one-party system of the Nationalist Party, there was no free press. There was no freedom of speech. The Party controlled the police, the armed forces and the prison system. The courts had no independence and handed down sentences from the government. No other political party was in power, and the only opposition party—the Democratic Progressive Party—was barely tolerated. The Legislative Yuan was packed with men (there were no women legislators at the time) who had been last “elected” in 1947, and had never been elected by the people of Taiwan. The native Taiwan aborigines were treated like total dirt, and anyone who even remotely disagreed with the government was labeled a “Communist” and faced jail and worse.

I fortunately lived in Taiwan to see eventually the end of fascist rule and the beginning of Taiwan’s democracy. But I never forgot the way things were then. My experience has given me insight into the warning signs of how a possible fascist police state could start. I am beginning to see that in the State of Alabama. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley signed the most drastic and brutal anti-immigrant legislation possible. Under this legislation, policee must stop any and all motorists or anyone using public transportation under the mere suspicion they might be “illegal aliens.” Also, police must arrest and jail anyone who transports “illegal aliens” whether they know it or not.

Police must then check any and all documentation a person has, and if that person does not have “sufficient documentation” then they can be jailed until sufficient documentation is provided. Landlords will no longer be allowed to provide housing to anyone who cannot “prove” they are U.S. citizens or legal residents, period. Worse, those undocumented or those who cannot “sufficiently” prove they are legally here will get kicked out of any housing public or private. No businesses can hire undocumented or anyone who does not have sufficient documentation, and all businesses must use the U.S. government’s E-Verify program. All school children in the public schools not only must provide detailed information about themselves but the immigration status of their parents and/or legal guardians. But not just immigrants, whether legal or not, will be searched. U.S. citizens, especially if they are Latino or African American, will be equally targets. Many immigrants are also from the Caribbean, so African Americans can be mistaken for Caribbean immigrants and also be searched and stripped of their rights.

In essence Alabama has not only created its own immigration system but is implementing an extreme racist and ethnic-biased institution of discrimination. You can ask who the “illegal aliens” are? It can be anybody, but mostly people of Latin American and African origin. And unlike say Arizona, which is next to Mexico and has a much larger Latino population, Alabama’s Latino population is very small. It is 3.6 percent of the total population of that state, or 186,000 Latinos in a state with 4.8 million people. Even if you calculated the undocumented into the whole equation that number would be equally small. So what would the point of this bill be?

The point of it is to establish a whole state system of immigration at variance with the federal system. If this can happen then what is to stop the State of Alabama from establishing a new court system? A new police system? A new form of government? When all else is failing, there is one thing that might stop this from all happening—the U.S. Constitution. The Southern Poverty Law Center has made it clear it will bring a lawsuit against the State of Alabama. The American Civil Liberties is joining in. Ultimately this fight is not just about protecting the defenseless—it is protecting our constitutional rights and the rule of law from the rule of the political jungle. Alabama has so far come closest to what I call fascism. I hope we do not come any closer.

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