This Is America #16: #OccupyICE Explodes, Bloody Portland

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Welcome, to This Is America, July 2nd, 2018.

Headlines and Tear Gas

On Saturday, June 30th, across the US, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets against the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants with demonstrations, protests, and marches taking place in over 700 locations.

Spurred on by the growing #OccupyICE movement and increasing anger at Trump, deportations, and mass raids, the rallies, much like the Women’s March and March for Our Lives, were also largely organized by sections of the Left tied to the Democratic Party. Unsurprisingly, instead of pushing the hundreds of thousands in the streets to join in the small but growing occupations, Left leadership as exemplified by speeches made by celebrities, union heads, local politicians, and non-profit leaders, encouraged people instead simply to “vote in November.”

Across the US, we here at IGD heard a variety of horror stories of DNC aligned non-profits and activists either threatening to snitch on anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and autonomists, or trying to actively stop people from occupying space in front of ICE buildings. Despite this treachery of so-called Left leadership, occupations still kicked off this weekend and on Monday, existing encampments were also refortified. Here’s a rundown and update of what’s been going down.

In Portland, Oregon, the encampment continues, as ICE and DHS agents have busiest themselves in refortifying their building with metal fencing and continued to block the street in front of the building. Meanwhile outside, the occupation continues unabated, with those involved in the encampment are currently asking for a steady stream of supplies, flags, and other items.

In Tacoma, Washington, the occupation outside of the Northwest Detention Center has started up again after a large rally on July 1st. Currently, daily noise demonstrations are happening at 9 AM and 9 PM. Police and city officials have continued to wage a campaign of harassment against the encampment, but people continue to gather on site and hold assembly meetings. Supplies and people are still needed.

In San Francisco, California on July 2nd hundreds rallied outside of an ICE facility, blocking the exits and entrances. After the main rally ended, an encampment began and at first faced heavy police harassment. Currently the encampment is ongoing but numbers and supplies are needed on the ground, and organizers are calling for bodies on the ground as early at 4:30 AM.

In Richmond, California hundreds of people rallied for several hours outside of a jail that also holds migrant detainees. Although there were announced plans for an occupation, one never materialized after police told protesters that if they camped out, people would not be allowed to visit their loved ones inside. According to some online posts, this was simply a bluff by police to get people to leave.

In Los Angeles, California the occupation continued, as did blockades of various entrances along with workshops and discussions.

In San Diego, California, mass marches and rallies took place in Chicano Park and in other parts of the city. On July 2nd, blockades also took place at the federal building.

In Troy, IL, people blocked a freeway during a protest march.

In Chicago, Illinois, a mass march took place against ICE, and a brief occupation was attempted outside of an ICE facility, however due to a variety of forces quickly moving against it, the encampment was quickly shut down after only a short time.

In Carbondale, Illinois, people blockaded a Greyhound bus. Greyhound is a corporation that contracts with ICE. While this action may appear small, it also shows a concrete and material contribution to the struggle that extends beyond the encampments and shows a set of actions that others can replicate.

In Louisville, Kentucky, a coalition of groups has started an encampment outside of an ICE facility and faced already a raid by DHS officials, however the occupation continues.

See our interview with someone on the ground in Louisville in the episode for more info.

In Wichita, Kansas an encampment outside of an ICE facility kicked off on July 1st and continues to grow.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, an encampment has been started after a kick off rally on July 1st. Follow the Carolina Workers Collective for more updates.

In Atlanta, Georgia, an occupation was set up on June 30th, and over a period of several nights, different clashes with law enforcement broke out. While the encampment was evicted on July 2nd, the determination and ability of the crowd to repeal the very aggressive and weaponized police was inspiring.

On the second day of the occupation saw people playing a song that someone locked up in the ICE facility had requested. That night, a noise demo was organized, with people chanting, “Todos somos antifascistas.” Scuffles with the police also broke out, with police taking water and a tent shelter, however people repelled the police and held their ground.

Towards the end of the third day, police returned again to the encampment, this time with an army of bike cops, and finally were successful in shutting down the encampment, but in the process sexually assaulted and attacked numerous people. All Out ATL has produced a video report back on the event which you can watch below which shows the strength and determination of those at the encampment in Atlanta.

In Washington DC, a mass demonstration against ICE saw a breakaway march from the Abolitionist Bloc rally outside of the condo owned by Steven Miller, one of the archetypes of the Muslim Ban and the “Zero Tolerance Policy.”

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a mass march was followed by the occupation and encampment of the area outside of an ICE facility. For several hours, a bloc party atmosphere exist on the ground, as banners blocked streets, and a van blasted music. People then set to blockading the doors and entrances of the ICE facility and were soon met by police, DHS agents, and counter-terrorism teams. Currently, federal law enforcement agents are threatening to make arrests in the morning if the encampment continues to block access to the building.

According to a report from Unicorn Riot:

The occupation was set up during a ‘STOP ICE’ rally held Monday afternoon at City Hall. The rally, endorsed by over 10 local Philly activist groups, presented three key demands: an end to deportations, the closure of the Berks County Family Detention Center outside of Philadelphia, and an end to Philly Police’s information-sharing relationship with ICE.

ICE’s Philadelphia office made headlines earlier this year when a ProPublica investigation found that the Philly branch of ICE, which covers a 3-state area, makes more arrests of immigrants without no criminal history than any other branch.

For more information on the Philadelphia encampment, listen to our short interview within this podcast.

In New York, New York, the encampment at Foley Square continues. On June 30th, the park was filled with people during the mass march that took place. Over the last two days, despite ongoing police harassment, the occupation has continued with daily programing, workshops, and events.

Antifascist Clashes in Portland and Montreal

In Montreal, the far-Right has been on a roll recently with a series of anti-migrant and anti-Islam demonstrations, pushing to build a large far-Right big tent that includes open neo-Nazis and white nationalists. Despite the recent doxing of a variety of movement leaders which exposed the various connections between the anti-immigrant far-Right and outright neo-Nazis, the far-Right has continued to push forward, hoping along with its counter-parts in the US, to recreate the same riotous fascist street movement in the UK which saw riots pop off in support of Tommy Robinson.

On July 1st, a variety of far-Right groups converged in Montreal in what they stated would be their biggest demo yet, but turned out to be a disappointing failure that ended in them not being able to march, and returning to their bus smashed up, but also the loss of one of their membership lists.

Wanting to know more about what went down, we talked with long time anarchist and anti-border activist Jaggi Singh. Hear our interview on the podcast.

On the same day in Portland, Oregon, far-Right candidate for Senate (in a different state) Joey Gibson, returned to Portland where in early June he and his cronies in Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys had been literally driven out of the city by large crowds of counter-demonstrators. Soon after, Patriot Prayer had another weak showing at a protest outside of Planned Parenthood, and weeks later, Patriot Prayer members were found beating random people on the street.

In response, Gibson pushed for far-Right, Patriot, and Proud Boy groups to converge in Portland from across the country, even going so far as to pay for several school buses. Joey had also chosen to rally in a Federal Park, allowing him protection from DHS agents. Despite all this, Patriot Prayer brought out less numbers than those that cae out from the surrounding area to confront them. Moreover, even though the DHS did their best to protect them, they still were not able to march, and quickly found themselves back on their bus, headed home.

Gibson was hoping for a crushing victory, to amass a huge amount of fighters from across the country in one place in order to smash antifa of the streets and demoralize people. Instead, people walked away from a hard one victory of stopping the fascist march as the media ran a variety of articles noting the rampant violence coming from Patriot Prayer, their connections to neo-Nazis, and the protection they revived at the hands of DHS.

Wanting to know more about what all went down in Portland, we were able to catch up and speak with Shane Burley, an antifascist author who covered the demonstrations that day.

That is going to do it for us tonight, until next time!


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