We are living in a very dangerous time.
In just the last week alone, Trump has openly called for the rounding and mass deportation of millions, only days after it was revealed that migrants will now be housed in concentration camps formally used to intern Japanese-Americans during World War II and ICE officials will now no longer officially keep track of how many detainees die in US custody. Scientists are now reporting that permafrost in the arctic has already started melting – an entire 70 years ahead of when it was originally expected to. On Monday, only days after police arrested a neo-Nazi in the bay area who was plotting to massacre and a different individual in Florida with similar plans, a far-Right shooter was killed after opening fire on a federal building in Dallas, but by Trump’s speech on Tuesday, both were already seemingly forgotten. If that wasn’t enough, Trump is pushing the United States closer and closer towards all out war with Iran.
Today, it was announced that ICE will begin raids in “Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, and San Francisco by this weekend,” according to the Miami Herald. According to CNN, ICE is targeting people with “court-ordered removals” and “is expected to target approximately 2,000 people, according to the senior immigration official.”
As with most of Trump’s spectacles, the bluster if often grander than the actual actions – which often only helps to normalize the everyday operations of mass detention and deportation. On the other hand, this reality also helps to demoralize people and center their hopes in a political solution to be delivered from the Democrats, who in reality have helped build the massive deportation machine that Trump now wields.
In short, if a material force does not develop and articulate itself on the streets, and soon, Trump will deliver to his base a massive victory, a large scale draconian State roundup of working people living in the United States. On top of securing Kavanaugh’s position on the supreme court and pushing through a massive tax cut for the wealthy, this may be enough to secure a base of support to win Trump’s re-election in 2020.
Adding to this context is both a wing of the Alt-Right which is becoming increasingly violent and prone to random acts of violence against the public, as well as a far-Right street movement which is determined to support Trump and his policies while acting as a violent auxiliary force against any population which can be seen as an enemy to the regime.
There’s a lot happening this summer; both in terms of gatherings and conferences as well as calls to action. This gives us an opportunity to come together, make plans, and build capacity – while also taking action that can hopefully help grow a material force on the streets which will help center autonomous anti-politics in the face of rising State repression and the smokescreen of democracy.
Melting of the ICE
As this is being written, people have just finished over 24 hours of occupying the area outside of the ICE facility in Portland, Oregon. Protests several days ago took place in Detroit against the potential deportation of Iraqi refugees. In Florida, mass marches and protests continue against the Homestead child detention center, where thousands of children are being held. In Chicago, people are gearing up for marches against several detention centers, while the FANG collective has called for a week of action against 287(g) and Block the Wall for a week of action against ICE profiteers. These upcoming days and weeks of action give us opportunities to gather regionally and build our collective power, experiment, and also offer solidarity to others on the front lines.
- June 22nd: Demonstration against opening of former Japanese concentration camp to be used for migrants. Rally in Lawton, Oklahoma. More info here.
Zero Tolerance 4 Migrant Detention!
June 22 @ 2pm
Rogers Park demo 2 Shut Down Heartland Alliance Child Migrant Prisons@heartlandhelps Release the hostages! Reunite the captives w their families!
— Little Village Solidarity Network (@littlevillagesn) June 15, 2019
- June 22nd: Shut down child migrant prisons. Chicago, IL. More info here.
Hey everyone we’ve added speakers, tabling and workshops starting Saturday at 12pm until Sunday 10pm! Can’t wait to see y’all there! pic.twitter.com/OxE321xXHt
— Los Angeles Antifascist Bloc (@LAAB23362986) June 21, 2019
- June 22nd-23rd: Gathering and rally to shut down ICE on the one year anniversary of the #OccupyICELA encampment. More info here.
- June 23rd: Rally at Federal Building in Asheville, NC. More info here.
- June 23rd: Rally to shut down Berks County Family Detention Facility. Happening in Leesport, PA. More info here.
- June 23rd: Protest Mass ICE Raids. New York, NY. More info here.
- June 23rd: Rave Noise Protest Outside of ICE Headquarters. More info here.
- June 23rd-27th: Protest outside of Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. More info here.
- June 23rd – 29th: The FANG collective is calling for a week of action against 287g. According to the campaign website, Shut Down ICE Now:
287(g) agreements with ICE allow law enforcement agencies to question people about their immigration status, detain people on immigration charges and carry out the duty of ICE officers. Currently, 80 law enforcement agencies in 21 states have 287(g) agreements with ICE. Every year thousands of people are detained and deported by ICE through the 287(g) program.
Backed by anti-immigrant white nationalist think-tanks like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as well as the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), 287g is a way for the Trump administration to further deputize police officers while also getting around a city’s potential sanctuary city status. As Political Research Associates wrote:
The 287(g) program and related efforts are the primary way in which the administration, the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), and the anti-immigrant movement are seeking to expand immigration enforcement’s already substantial presence in communities. The 1996 immigration bill, which was drafted by the anti-immigrant movement and signed into law by President Clinton, created the 287(g) program. (Its name refers to Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.) The law allows ICE to enter into agreements with local law enforcement agencies, and deputize them to enforce federal immigration law. Such agreements divert local resources away from the public good and towards the enforcement of federal immigration laws. 287(g) and other cooperation agreements with ICE effectively subsidize a federal agency whose Enforcement and Removal Operations Office has already nearly tripled since 2003, at the expense of local communities.
For more information on the campaign, go here.
From June 23-29th we are calling for a Week of Action to #End287g and #ShutDownICE. Please visit https://t.co/NcSlZ6iAfD to learn more and stay tuned for ways to plug in. #AbolishICE pic.twitter.com/pK2I3YJbvN
— FANG (@FangCollective) May 30, 2019
- June 25th: Rally to Defund ICE. Washington DC. More info here.
- June 25th: Rally against ICE deportations. Salt Lake City, UT. More info here.
- June 26th: Rally against ICE Expansion. Every Wednesday. Elk River, MN. More info here.
- June 26th: Stop the Raids, ICE Protest. Foley Square, New York City. More info here.
- June 27th: Community Defense Against ICE Rally. Fairfax, VA. More info here.
- June 28th: Protest for Migrant Children. Cook County Building. Delhi, NY. More info here.
- June 29th: Rally against ICE, North Dartmouth, Massachusetts. More info here.
- June 30th: Rally against Detention Center. Boston, MA. More info here.
- June 30th: March against ICE Raids. Minneapolis, MN. More info here.
- June 30th: Rally against ICE at Utah State Capitol. Salt Lake City, UT. More info here.
- July 1st: Rally against Concentration Camps. Belleville, IL. More info here.
- July 2nd: Protest Phoenix ICE Office. Phoenix, AZ. More info here.
- July 5th: Rally at GEO Immigrant Detention Center. Aurora, Colorado. More info here.
SHUT DOWN ICE PROFITEERS!
"Call to Action: From July 8th-12th take collective and direct action to protest or shut down branch locations of Bank of America, SunTrust and PNC Bank."
— Olympia Assembly (@OlympiaAssembly) June 20, 2019
- July 12th: “Lights for Liberty” events planned across the US. Some outside of detention centers. List of events here.
- July 8th – 12th: Olympia Assembly and #BlocktheWall Network are calling for a week of action against ICE profiteers in the private prison industry.
- July 12th: Rally in Olympia as part of week of action. More info here.
- July 12th: Rally in San Francisco as part of the week of action outside of ICE HQ. More info here.
Already, such divestment campaigns have made a huge impact on the industry, and the campaign seeks to take aim at those funding the GEO Group and others. As the call states:
The private sector actors fundamental to ICE and CBP operations rely on debt-financing from large financial institutions. Geo Group and CoreCivic which are structured as Real Estate Investment Trusts, are particularly vulnerable to credit loss. This has enabled recent campaigns to yield key victories. In March 2019, JPMorgan Chase committed to halt further financing to the private prison industry following long-term organizing efforts. In the immediate aftermath, Geo Group and CoreCivic stocks plummeted and Geo Group warned its investors that mounting pressure “could have a material adverse effect on our business.” After Chase’s announcementWells Fargo began partially divesting, while U.S. Bank reduced credit to an “immaterial amount.” Bank of America, SunTrust and PNC Bank continue to bankroll the migrant detention industry and are some of its largest funders.Divestment from these remaining large banks could jeopardize the economic viability of corporations like Geo Group or CoreCivic.
This campaign represents an opportunity for everyone with a Bank of America down the street the opportunity to take creative actions both big and small with the end goal of hopefully putting enough pressure on the banks to defund private prisons in the United States.
Shut Down Trump’s Shock Troops
As the Trump campaign of 2020 kicks off, the far-Right (embodied most strongly by groups like the Proud Boys) once again is pushing its way out into the streets as the Alt-Right continues to slide into the realm of nihilistic lone-wolf terrorism. Either outside of Trump rallies or on the border, the far-Right is looking to constitute itself as as an auxiliary force that can support and protect the State and engage in violence against social movements which would threaten the power of the Trump administration. As we continue forward in the current terrain, not only countering the far-Right but also ensuring our safety from it will be paramount. Below are some upcoming events which people already are organizing and mass numbers are needed at.
- June 22nd: Defend Knoxville PRIDE from neo-Nazi gangs. More info here.
- June 28th: Call to defend Seattle Trans Pride from Proud Boys. More info here.
Round 2 Bell State Park goes down June 29th.
David Duke &
Micheal Hill are meeting, recruiting, and speaking at the "Nationalist Solutions Conference"
hosted by the Council Of Conservative Citizens & the American Freedom Party.https://t.co/edlAQyhAGr
— JAM CITY ANTIFA (@JamCityAntifa) June 2, 2019
- June 29th: Mobilize against Nationalist Solutions conference. More info here.
FB event here: https://t.co/EBLM0GooYJ
— Always Antifascist (@RoseCityAntifa) June 20, 2019
- June 29th: Call for antifascist mobilization against the Proud Boys. More info here.
🚨Alerta 🚨! The alt-right is coming to DC July 6th. For an organizing clearinghouse https://t.co/V4AIIs4vc6
— All Out DC (@AllOutDistrict) June 10, 2019
- July 6th: Mobilization in DC against large Alt-Right rally. More info here.
- In late September, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) will host their annual “Hold Their Feed to the Fire” in DC at the Phoenix Park Hotel. The conference brings together rank-n-file members of the white nationalist, anti-immigrant, and Nativist movements along with law enforcement, politicians like white nationalist Steve King, and far-Right radio-show hosts. FAIR has been instrumental as a think tank in recent years and is connected to various appointees in the Trump administration as well as within DHS and ICE. FAIR is connected to a variety of non-profits and anti-immigrant groups, such as Numbers USA and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which all are the brain child of the late John Tanton, a white nationalist and eugenicist who’s goal was to secure racial superiority of whites and end non-white immigration. Figures like Kris Kobach also come out of working for FAIR, and have gone on to streamline kicking millions of voters of color off the roles. Along with publications like V-DARE, they represent the suit and tie white nationalist beachhead within the Trump administration. Over the past few years, their conference has faced hardly any protests. This year, with FAIR taking such a leading role in the attack against migrants, we must change this.
Despite how grim things are, there is also a lot to be excited about. We continue to win victories in court when confronted with repression; backed up by grassroots action and solidarity on the ground. Land defense struggles against clear-cuts, pipelines, and beyond are still going strong, as relationships between Indigenous rebels and autonomous accomplices are strengthened. Some of the infrastructure from last year’s response to autonomous disaster relief efforts is still in place and is growing. Numbers out at antifascist demonstrations are still high. Rent strikes, labor struggles, and community organizing initiatives continue to evolve and learn from past efforts. There also a large amount of gatherings and conferences this summer, as people take time to reflect discuss the path ahead.
But we shouldn’t kid ourselves either about the work that lays in front of us. The media spectacle has shifted from 2017, when it was obsessed with confrontations of MAGA hat wearing young men and the black bloc. The goal at the time was to show that Trump had led to an unstable nation in chaos, whereas now the media spin will be that we need to unite around a leader that will bring us back to “normal.” In short, we can’t rely or wait for just the viral potential of this or that outrage to bring people out into the street. Instead, we need to get back to both the drive to act where we are and our ability to mobilize people to do the same.
HAPPENING NOW: Hundreds gather in Milwaukee to rally against ICE’s deportation raids. Many of them saying “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.” pic.twitter.com/ndjICWkm1p
— Sarah Thamer (@SarahThamerWISN) June 24, 2019
For three years we’ve run full stop, engaging in battle after battle, fight after fight, from riot to occupation from strike to climate disaster. Many of us are tired, burned out, and contemplating our next move. The problem is, our vantage point in history affords us no luxury of simply not acting. For if we do nothing, there simply will be no one left to carry on the work that simply needs to be done. The point is not to simply do something, but to strategically think about our context and then take action.
This summer will offer ourselves an opportunity to do just that. Instead of waiting for liberals, the Leftist soup, and the “political class” to catch up, let us instead busy ourselves with the task of agitation, mobilization, and intervention into the social war of everyday life. And opportunities are everywhere, as a growing class anger rises in the face of the increasing repression, rising cost of living, climate chaos, and stratification of wealth, along with the reality that the government is increasing becoming a failed State.