Ex-Troop Murdered in Arizona SWAT Raid
After serving two terms of delivering “shock and awe” to the people of Iraq, 26-year-old former US Marine, Jose Guerena, was gunned down by a Pima County SWAT team in Tucson, Arizona. He was asleep after working a night shift when the SWAT Team arrived to serve a warrant at around 9:30 am on May 5th, 2011. He was awoken believing his home was being invaded and quickly armed himself with an AR- 15 while his wife and daughter hid in another room. Initially, Pima County pigs claimed Jose Guerena fired first, only to later admit this was a lie: his unfired rifle was found next to his bullet-riddled body.
Much of the drama was captured by a 911 call from Jose’s wife, who had hid with their daughter and thought intruders had killed her husband. Three other homes in the Spanish-speaking Tucson neighborhood were raided, and tanks were even brought in to, according to pig sources, announce the “law enforcement presence.” Medical attention for Jose was prevented from entering the scene for over an hour.
In the wake of outrage over the murder, the representatives of the Pima County SWAT team have slandered Guerena, claiming he worshiped “narco saints” and was himself linked to “home-invasion crews.” Rather than account for their own military occupation-like behavior, SWAT officials have created the impression some sort of justice was carried out in Guerena’s murder.
The story of Jose Guerena is complex and tragic. Guerena participated in the US’s brutal occupations in Iraq, only to become the victim of a similar one against Chicanos and Mexicanos in the ‘Southwest.’ Guerena’s mourning family has given pronouncements on his patriotism and service for the US. Yet the fact remains, he was treated as an oppressed subject of the same militarist empire and its creeping police state.
Some would equate the death of Guerena to part of a genocide being carried out against Mexicanos/Chicanos in the ‘Southwest.’ Guerena, some would say, was on one hand made cannon fodder for US wars abroad and on the other subject to colonial repression. This narrative is too forgiving. Instead, Guerena fell victim to the same imperialist, hi-tech “overwhelming force” he himself signed up for and contributed to in other parts of the world. Guerena was clearly bought off into serving Amerikan imperialism, acting as a public mercenary in wars and occupations abroad. However, in the end, it was hardly in Guerena’s interest to die as part of a lower intensity war against, and occupation of, nationally oppressed communities here.
The story of Jose follows a similar pattern where oppressed nation youth are caught between a state crackdown of the imperialist-sponsored drug trade and calls to join the state and capital-aligned forces, whether as police, military, private-security or non-profit social work. Neither of these routes, though easy to walk, offer revolutionary liberation for people oppressed under this militarist, chauvinist apparatus operating around the world as global imperialism.
Following World War II and the US invasion of Korea, many Black and Chicano men returned home and used their skills to fight reactionaries and liberate their communities from colonial terrorism. They quickly learned their struggle was one against the same beast they had previously fought for and began to switch sides and support Third World peoples’ struggles against imperialism. They also learned the best solution to oppression here was to rally behind their own collective self-defense and align with the Third World masses, not rally behind their so-called rights as citizens of the empire.
Liberation of oppressed people begins with independent institutions and the ability to defend these institutions. Yet, before we can even conceive of such, we ourselves have to gain a degree of independence: we must educate ourselves and those around us, making a break from slavish devotion to Amerika and the exploiter First World. Guerena’s death should serve as a warning to others from oppressed communities: no amount of dedication to the US will end national oppression or police terror.
Guerena’s death also reveals much about class structure and the subjective forces for revolution. Rather than lining up with the Third World masses, Guerena and his family flagrantly sided with militarist US imperialism. He was asking to be bought off and brought further into the international population of First World petty exploiters. Over the past decades, imperialism has in fact refined its ability to buy off and instill petty-bourgeois attitudes in the First World while gearing up the police state and occupation-style tactics against oppressed communities. In contrast, revolution has been on the defensive for several decades and only recently begun to reemerge globally. Had Guerena been offered the real chance to work towards a substantively different world, perhaps his choices would be different. Perhaps SWAT Teams and pigs would have a much more difficult time occupying and terrorizing nationally oppressed communities inside the US and the US military would be more hard pressed in its occupations of countries and regions worldwide.
– Nick Brown