Critical report from Dallas, Texas about repression faced at an anti-ICE demonstration and the lessons learned when the smoke cleared.
Occupied Indigenous Land, so-called “Dallas, Texas” – In solidarity with the growing wave of anti-ICE sentiment, a demonstration had been called for on June 30 at the local ICE field office by the local Democratic Socialists of America Chapter, DSA North Texas and The North Texas Dream Team. Framed as an event calling for the abolition of ICE, various crews decided to attend and meet new friends. The day was set to have multiple demos. The largest, happening at the same time in downtown, centered on reuniting families, was expected to draw thousands. While smaller, networking with other abolitionists seemed more attractive than large crowds. This report back will omit certain details due to pending legal cases.
The atmosphere was very positive as people mingled, chanted, danced and listened to speakers share their experiences. As the number of people started to grow, there was obvious communication between Department of Homeland Security Agents, Dallas Police Department and DSA NTX Leadership. As DSA leadership started to explain their political project, chalk was handed out, and people started writing on the concrete. Adults and children, documented and undocumented spread messages of love and rage in multi-color across the dark tarmac much to the annoyance of the Pigs and DSA politicians. After numerous visits from both DPD & DHS, and multiple attempts at silencing anyone who wasn’t in line with DSA Leadership, everyone was asked to sit on the ground and listen to the very serious speech:). Obviously peeps weren’t having that, they’d rather sing, dance and have fun.
Sadly this is were the fun ends. After the DSA leadership’s failed attempts at pacification, a very angry DHS agent singles out a person for harrassment who is wearing a t-shirt identifying them as a DACA recipient, and is helping their small child draw with chalk. The people in the crowd circle around the parent and child. After intense verbal exchanges, the agent retreats recognizing the hostility of the crowd to his presence. The lead pig on the scene from DPD comes toward the crowd looking to find someone to negotiate with, but there are no politicians there. DHS and DPD are then seen talking with DSA leadership. As they leave, DSA leadership moves amongst the crowd whispering in the ear of DSA members who are clearly identifiable by their red DSA NTX shirts. They then proceed to leave all at once, en masse leaving undocumented people and everyone else at risk. Some DSA members denounce the actions of their “comrades” and choose to stay. Someone in crowd yells out “Hey DSA! Is this what solidarity looks like?” Some look back. Most don’t.
The police move in on the crowd resulting in multiple arrests and a felony charge for one of the arrestees. A jail support team goes to work quickly collecting the needed information from the arrestees and raising money. To add insult to injury when the jail support team reaches out directly to DSA leadership on multiple occasions they are met with silence. It should be noted that DSA members were among the arrestees yet received no support from DSA NTX, not even a ride home from jail. Individual DSA members participated in the jail support work, but they did this against the direction of DSA NTX leadership who told all DSA members that those arrested were “on their own.” These moments can be frustrating but provide lucidity. You begin to know who your friends are and you clearly see those who are not.