Report from Long Beach, California, on recent mass mobilization against ICE raids organized by anarchists, antifascists, and socialists.
Over the weekend, anarchists in the so-called Long Beach area participated in several actions against recent threats of increased oppression by ICE, operating in partnership with the local DSA chapter, the Long Beach Immigrants Rights Coalition, and the Long Beach Community Defense Network.
On Friday, our collective prefaced Saturday’s actions by dropping a banner over a section of the 405 freeway in Long Beach. This was our group’s first banner drop (we’ll make a larger banner next time) and we kept the message simple and in line with the call to action: ICE OUT OF LB. As of this writing, the banner is still intact over the freeway.
— Long Beach Anarchist Collective (@AnarchistLB) July 6, 2019
Saturday morning, on the day of the march and rally, our collective turned out a sizable group of anarchists to march and chant with a crowd of about 250 – 300 others—including plenty of folks not attached to any of the participating organizations.
Our marching route lead through the downtown area of Long Beach—from the aptly-named Harvey Milk “Equality” Park all the way past city hall, the downtown police station, and to the federal building: ICE’s home in Long Beach.
Besides some exasperated commuters, reception to our chants and our presence was largely positive. Many community members even joined in on chants of “Robert, Robert, what’s your price? / LBPD works with ICE,” referring to longstanding grievances taken with the local sanctuary city bill which, despite what Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia would like the city to believe, contains so-called “carve-outs” that allow the PD to hand over information of undocumented residents if certain criterion are met, thus endangering residents and their families, many of whom have been living here longer than Garcia has been mayor.
Upon completion of the march route, a smaller group of organizers took it upon ourselves to pay a visit to another home of ICE in Long Beach—this time, the home of a higher-up currently working for ICE in LA.
This home visit, unsurprisingly, meant a trek to the opposite end of town, right at the border of Orange County in a white suburban neighborhood that most wouldn’t recognize as Long Beach, and residents here were certainly not as receptive to our presence or our message. This organizer was meant with chants of “Shame” upon entering the cul de sac at the end of which ICE lives.
Things were wrapped up fairly quickly after police showed up and blocked off the end of the cul de sac, though we’re certain neighbors and anyone inside the home during our visit won’t forget us quickly.
Long Beach is diverse. While discussing blue lives matter flags, one participant in these actions even commented that you don’t see a lot of tell-tale signs of open white supremacy in the culture here like you do in places with more notorious and openly white supremacist pasts—Huntington Beach and Lake Forest to the south of Long Beach come to mind.
But confronting the man tasked with running concentration camps was met with ire by his neighbors. These are the people who gain from both capitalism and white supremacy, far removed from any communities who have suffered the ill effects of these dual oppressions.
Systemic racism is not escaped by diversity. The people with power will remain comfortably removed from the terror of ICE, but, even moreso, they’ll remain comfortably removed from the subtle, creeping terror of gentrification, of worrying whether or not Long Beach will even be your home for much longer.
Our collective is happy that we were able to bring the fight against ICE to the streets and especially to the streets that ICE truly calls home. The actions over the weekend served a purpose of showing the strength of our numbers and activating the community, as well as promoting the Community Defense Network’s hotline to report ICE activity and encourage community members to take action by signing up for trainings as first-responders.
At the end of the day, we’ve raised ourselves up, but the camps are still open. What’s the next step?
All images labeled Richard Grant are copyright © and reprinted with permission. instagram.com/richardgrant88