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September 24

Durham, NC: Bank Shutdown Kicks off Week of Action Against ICE Profiteers

Report from Catholic Workers and anarchists in Durham, North Carolina who took action and responding to a call for a week of action to #ShutDownICEProfiteers.

At 10:30 AM on Monday, over 15 activists shut down the Durham office of State Street Corp for just over half an hour.  As part of an action organized by the Rose of Sharon Catholic Worker community in solidarity with #BlockTheWall and in response to their call to #ShutDownICEProfiteers, we entered the office with chants and a large banner.  Our goal was to take up enough space and make enough noise that the employees of State Street Corp would not be able to work and that those in nearby offices would hear that their neighbors hold a significant portion of the bonds of CoreCivic and GeoGroup, two private prison companies that run most of ICE’s migrant detention centers.  We read a list of names of those who have died in detention and, after each name, shouted “murdered by state street bank!”  On our way out, police cuffed two of our comrades who were leaving the building and put them in patrol cars.  However, both were released and, as of this writing, no one has been charged as a result of this action.

We organized this action, first of all, to highlight, as others have before us, the important role that financial institutions play in maintaining the infrastructure of mass detention and deportation of migrants – and the prison industrial complex more broadly. Second, we also wanted to show that anyone can shut down a bank office in their community. While we were inspired by groups like the Olympia Assembly and Block The Wall Network, and while we got State Street Corp off of their (very helpful) list of targets for actions to #ShutDownICEProfiteers, we organized this action autonomously. All we had were our hands, our voices, and a few friends.  So many of us wring our hands asking “what could I possibly do to stop the detention of migrants?”  The truth is, there are targets all around us – places where the gears and the wheels of the system are continuing to turn, continuing to make detention and deportation not only possible, but lived, daily realities. All we need is the willingness to attack those targets with whatever tools are at our disposal. If all of us did that, not only Trump’s policies, but the bipartisan, all-American machinery of border imperialism itself would simply cease to function.

Third and finally, this action was our letter of intent to State Street Corp: we see you, we know where you work, where you crunch the numbers and move the dollars that build the walls of America’s concentration camps.  And as long as you keep on propping up the infrastructure of death in our community, we will do everything in our power to stop you.  There are more actions in the offing.  We will be back!

If you are interested in plotting our next action with us (or if you like dumpster diving, serving dinner on the street, hugging tree sitters, supporting nuclear weapons resisters, community gardening, or just hanging out and sharing life together) feel free to get in touch. Our group email is [email protected]. You don’t have to be a Catholic to be a Catholic Worker (most of us aren’t). For that matter, you don’t have to work either.

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