SUNTA Endorsement of the Resolution On The Proliferation Of Border And Security Walls

The board of the Society for Urban, National, Transnational/Global Anthropology (SUNTA) has endorsed the following resolution on the proliferation of border and security drafted by Miguel Diaz-Barriga and Margaret E. Dorsey and proposed at the general business meeting of the 2017 AAAs:

Whereas, border walls and other state-constructed walls of containment are proliferating at a global level. Since 1989, with the Fall of the Berlin Wall, over 70 states have walls.

Whereas, the proliferation of walls at a global level has increased human suffering and death by displacing native peoples, increasing militarization, and forcing migrants and refugees to take more treacherous routes through deserts and seas.

Whereas, border and containment walls are sites of unnecessary, violent, and deadly clashes with security forces.

Whereas, walls divide and segregate communities, farmlands, parks, and universities as well as limit access to land, kin, jobs, and social services.

Whereas, states that construct walls and fortifications are abdicating their responsibility to work with neighboring states and peoples to peacefully resolve social, economic, and political issues.

Whereas, leaders throughout the world, including Europe and the United States, have called for wall construction to maintain the “cultural integrity” of the nation, and calls for wall construction, in many cases, are linked to the rise of ethnic and religious nationalism as well as white and other supremacist movements.

Whereas, in the United States, the Trump administration has proposed through Executive Order 13767 to build a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and to escalate border militarization.

Whereas the Task Force on AAA Engagement on Israel-Palestine found that walls are a “key tool” in Israel’s “elaborate system for the regimentation of space,” which “monitors and tracks Palestinians, restricts and channels their movements, often separating them from spaces marked as exclusively Jewish, while rationing the resources and services available to them” (p. 18).

Whereas, anthropologists in all four subfields (archeology, linguistic, physical, and cultural) have researched and written extensively about the violence and death that have resulted from walls and border militarization.

Whereas, anthropologists have noted the negative impacts of wall construction on archeological and cultural heritage sites.

Whereas, the American Anthropological Association has more than a century of findings on the crucial social and political impact of discrimination based on race, national origin, and ethnicity and a long history of concern for the well-being of diasporic and marginalized populations and the peaceful resolution of political conflict.

Therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the American Anthropological Association is committed to collaborating with other scholarly and professional organizations and institutions of higher learning to honor its commitments to monitor, intervene, and update its membership on key issues that have a clear impact on anthropology and to participate as a valued disciplinary stakeholder in shaping policy outcomes.

RESOLVED, That the American Anthropological Association condemns the construction of walls and fortifications as a means for states to control migration, manage political conflict, and create cultural homogeneity.

RESOLVED, That the American Anthropological Association condemns the global proliferation of walls that serve as barriers to international cooperation and cause increased violence and unnecessary suffering.

RESOLVED, That the American Anthropological Association will create a Task Force to investigate the effects of wall construction on people and communities and issue a report that will update its membership on this key policy issue.

RESOLVED, That the American Anthropological Association Executive Board will take steps to collaborate with scholarly organizations and institutions (including sections within the AAA, international anthropological societies, and organizations dedicated to border studies) to address the violence and militarization that is enabled by the construction of walls.