A hard-line nativist pens a paranoid vision of a Mexican invasion plot. The book is a fictionalized version of the Aztlan conspiracy theory that now animates large swaths of the anti-immigration movement
DOMESTIC ENEMIES: THE RECONQUISTA
By Matthew Bracken
San Diego, Calif.: Steelcutter Publishing, 2006
In 1973, a Frenchman named Jean Raspail wrote a bitter and paranoid novel about the "invasion" of his native land by starving Third World refugees. The book was a racist vision of the consequences of non-white immigration, aided and abetted, in the author's view, by the weak-minded liberals who failed to resist it. For almost 35 years, The Camp of the Saints has been a Bible to the radical right.
Now, courtesy of former Navy SEAL Matthew Bracken, comes the American version — a portrait of the apocalypse Bracken fears will overtake America thanks to undocumented immigration from the south. The book is a fictionalized version of the Aztlan conspiracy theory — the idea that Mexico is secretly planning a "reconquista" (reconquering) of the seven states of the Southwest — that now animates large swaths of the anti-immigration movement. It's being plugged on extremist websites, in gun magazines and similar electronic venues, and on immigrant-bashing radio shows like Peter Boyles' program on KHOW-AM in Denver.
This isn't the first angry, self-published novel from Bracken. His new book, Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista, is the second in a series that began with another paranoid fantasy about gun control and evil agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a favorite bête noire of the extreme right. His latest book, marked by an enthusiastic interest in busty women, is a xenophobe's racy vision of hell.
Domestic Enemies opens in a secret Oklahoma prison camp (D-camp) full of women detained by the federal government for acts of terrorism. Here, Bracken's curvaceous 27-year-old heroine, Ranya Bardiwell, tends the fields under the supervision of gun-toting "Internal Security Agency" guards, monitored all the while by a Radio Frequency Identification Device implanted in her shoulder. Through flashbacks, we learn that Bardiwell gave birth to a son five years ago in federal prison. He was taken from her just minutes out of the womb. The action begins as Bardiwell is summoned to the office of a female warden who attempts to seduce her. They take a bubble bath together, during which the warden reveals that Bardiwell's son is living in Albuquerque, N.M., and has been adopted by FBI agent Alex Garabanda and his IRS agent wife.
Enraged at the thought of her child being raised by federal agents, Bardiwell straddles the naked warden and chokes her to death in the tub. She escapes, intent on recovering her son, but finds herself in a brave new post-amnesty world.
Gas is at $29 a gallon, gold at $7,000 an ounce. A lethal epidemic of "Monkey Pox" has swept through the southeast. Crime and out-of-control interest rates have citizens abandoning their homes by the thousands for tent camps in the "free states" of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.
Preoccupied by ethnic violence in major cities and economic turmoil, the federal government has let southwestern states sink into bedlam. Armed gangs besiege Arizona and Phoenix has lost electrical power. Los Angeles is under martial law as neighborhoods burn.
And New Mexico, where Bardiwell heads to retrieve her boy, has become a haven for communist revolutionaries. Now it's "Nuevo Mexico." The state has passed Spanish-only laws and razed businesses with English signs. Ranches once owned by Anglos are seized and given to former undocumented immigrants. The brutal, M-16-toting Milicia de Nuevo Mexico aims to get rid of all Anglos.
Bardiwell is captured by the militia in Albuquerque. But, entranced by her curves and her marksmanship — demonstrated when she shoots a hippie — the dashing Comandante Basilo Ramos orders Bardiwell to conduct weapons training for his troops and makes her his mistress, holding her captive in his mansion. In a bizarre scene, Bardiwell drugs Ramos, photographs him sodomizing a communist professor whom he strangles during sex, then escapes out a second-story window, climbing down a rope made from the comandante's silk ties. Bardiwell then hooks up with her child's disillusioned adoptive father, Alex Garabanda, who is suicidal after losing custody of the boy to his ex-wife the IRS agent and her lesbian lover.
Bardiwell and Garabanda set out to rescue the boy from his "two mommies," but first stop to conduct surveillance at a secret meeting of traitorous politicians and "billionaire globalists" drafting a new Constitution to turn America socialist.
Discovered while photographing the meeting, Bardiwell shoots down a Blackhawk helicopter and she and Garabanda escape to San Diego. In hot pursuit is Comandante Ramos, who vows to take Bardiwell to a Mexican whorehouse, inject her with heroin and force her to work as a prostitute, and IRS storm troopers, led by the steroid-enhanced girlfriend of Garabanda's ex-wife.
Ultimately, the pair recover the child, and the book closes with them cheek to cheek in a small plane flying north, the boy sleeping next to them.
Domestic Enemies plods along between the over-the-top action sequences. Bracken oversexualizes his gun-loving heroine, devoting as much prose to her breasts as he does her weapons — which is a lot — and many minor players come off as one-dimensional caricatures. But a sexy heroine shooting guns of varying calibers at liberal, communist, open-borders villains in a world destroyed by immigration and multiculturalism is an irresistible fantasy for the audience this genre of fiction attracts – no matter the novel's numerous flaws.
Of course, this fictionalization is hardly necessary, even for those given to this kind of thing. All one need do is listen to real-life zealots like Glenn Spencer, head of the hate group American Border Patrol, who puts it like this: "Our country is being invaded by Mexico with hostile intentions. When it blows up, they can't say we didn't tell them, when the blood starts flowing on the border and in L.A. We're [talking] about la reconquista."