Filed under: Action, Featured, Solidarity, Southwest, War
Report from Black Powder Press on recent direct action and blockade in Southern California against defense contractor, Raytheon.
On Monday, November 13th at 7am, hundreds of people converged on defense contractor Raytheon’s sprawling southern California campus in an autonomous action that blockaded the facility for upwards of 7 hours, effectively shutting down operations for the day, in response to a call by workers in Palestine to take direct action to prevent the arming of Israel in their ongoing campaign of genocide against the Palestinian people.
Protesters built barricades, marched, carried and hung banners, vandalized Raytheon signs, lit smoke bombs, physically blocked employees from entering the gates, and even filled entire roads with rocks in order to prevent police from advancing. Raytheon is one of the largest weapons manufacturers in the world and is currently providing sophisticated military technology and weaponry that is being used against Palestinians.
The action was called and coordinated autonomously (meaning without formal involvement from organizations, nonprofits, or under the banner of any groups), which resulted in hundreds of individuals coming together for the common purpose of shutting down Raytheon for as long feasible. The stated framework for the action was that it would be non-symbolic, a diversity of tactics would be supported, and that the overall goal was to prevent people from going into work to create and export weapons of war for as long as possible.
Several days ago a call was issued online for people to show up to a direct action to stop the flow of weapons to Israel, with links to a telegram channel that only confirmed the location of the action the morning it was to take place, which seems to have helped this time to prevent an early response from law enforcement that was coherent enough to stop the action from taking hold before enough participants arrived.
After hours of preventing employees from entering the facility, ignoring dispersal orders, and playing cat-and-mouse with police, the action ended after 7 hours of blockaiding. There were no arrests.
Over the past month, a Palestinian child has been killed every 10 minutes on average. One out of every 200 Palestinians is dead, totaling over 11,000 civilian lives lost, and that number is likely to rise fast as starvation, dehydration, and disease start to take their toll. Unknown thousands more are buried under the rubble of buildings collapsed by Israeli airstrikes. We can’t afford to wait any longer to do everything possible to help put this to an end.
For those of us who live in the heart of the empire, it’s not a question of IF we should act, it’s a question of how. As our tactics and strategies develop, it’s imperative that we learn from past successes and failures alike, constantly evolve our actions, grow our capacities, and multiply the impact to cause maximum disruption to the war machine. Weapons manufacturers, shipping routes, financial backers, and powerful apologists of this genocide are unfortunately everywhere, but so are we. The time for action is now.