What follows is an analysis on the #OccupyICE encampment in Charlotte, North Carolina that is now coming to a close.
The Charlotte NC occupation in front of the DHS office, from which ICE operates regionally, came to a close on Monday July 9th as the local coalition that started the occupation shifted focus to supporting already existing local anti-ICE campaigns.
This report back shares the thoughts of some anarchists who participated in ground support for the duration of the occupation. This particular anti-ICE occupation has been consistently small (an average of 4-5 folks) in numbers and of an entirely symbolic nature. While there has been much support from people driving by the site and from folks coming out of the bottom floor court building, there has not been a steady large number of folks holding down the space as has been the case at other occupations.
As folks not from or living in Charlotte, we can not give an in-depth analysis on why the numbers were not present. While we found it heartening to hear from many impacted folks that our presence was an encouraging sight, an occupation takes much time and resources and without militant/direct action there does not seem to be much material gain from holding the space down. This highlights for us the need to analyze the local context of a city/town and be able to determine (to some extent) what a tactic being implemented across other cities might look like for that specific space.
Perhaps this could have looked like putting in more effort to amass numbers before beginning the occupation. We find it inspiring as all hell that the Portland occupation began with just a small determined crew but perhaps (and again, we aren’t fully aware of the local context of organizing in Charlotte) this occupation needed much more direct outreach for numbers ahead of time through various channels.
The small number of folks were still able to consistently berate the fuck out of the federal agents on site, their Department of Homeland Security sign magically repeatedly got altered by some anti-ICE elves, many folks were heartened by our presence (and by our Fuck America, Abolish ICE/police, No Borders No Walls signs) and connections were made and strengthened between local groups to further long term work against ICE.
We also were able to learn the patterns of when ICE snatch vans and the large transport bus entered and left the facility. This type of information gathering can certainly be of use for a possible future occupation or action and could help open the door to more militant tactics.
We send our love, rage, and solidarity to all the folks working against all manifestations of state oppression. Fuck ICE, fuck the cops, and fuck the State. Until all cages are empty and borders, citizenship, and walls of oppression are but a distant memory. Keep learning, keep loving, keep fighting.