Against Slavery, Environmental Disaster, and Fascist Nations: BDS in Action

With the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel causing so much mainstream controversy, other BDS movements often get overlooked. Alongside the current ongoing prison strike that started August 21st and is stated to go on until September 9th, there is also a BDS movement concerning companies that profit from prisons and prison slave labor. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is also known for using similar tactics against companies to pressure them to sign onto the Fair Food contract, while other groups have used these tactics to combat environmental damage.

Dream Defenders recently launched their GEO Cages campaign targeting GEO Group, who is one of the top three largest profiteers of the private prison industry. GEO Group supplies everyone from juvenile detention centers to ICE camps and everything in between. Shortly after the campaign was launched, GEO Group sent a cease and desist letter to Dream Defenders and threatened to sue but thankfully the ACLU has taken to defending the Dream Defenders on the basis of free speech.

Dream Defenders is currently urging folks to download their Freedom Papers Toolkit which contains information and resources on how to pressure politicians into refusing to take GEO Group money through means of bird dogging, social media, community outreach, and their Freedom Pledge which they are pushing politicians to sign.

In addition to that there are also independent efforts to urge the following corporations and individuals to divest from and/or cease their business dealings with ICE as well:

Profiteer Relationship Contact
GEO Group ICE’s largest contractor. (561) 893-0101
Core Civic Billion-dollar prison corporation that runs the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia. (615) 263-3000
Microsoft $19.4 million contract with ICE, providing technology services. CEO Satya Nadella has received a letter from his own personnel who asked the company to sever ties. By participating in this call, you’re supporting workers AND immigrants. 1-800-642-7676
Northeastern University $2.7 million contract with ICE for “exploratory methods mapping process services for data sets.” (617) 373-2652
Ernst & Young $4 million contract with ICE to provide “accounting, program management, budgeting and financial services,” and $98,000 for “leadership training.” (404) 817-4450
Thomson Reuters $4.7 million contract through 2021 for “web of science subscription service.” CEO Stephen Rubley is on the board of directors for “ICE Foundation,” a pro-ICE organization. (646) 223-4000
Motorola Solutions $3 million contract to provide “core upgrade/GPS project/mobility project” and other “integrated hardware/software/services solutions.” 1-800-668-6765
Deloitte $1.2 million contract with ICE for “administrative data/records management support services.” as well as $13.5 mil for “program management office support services.”  Contact Here
John Hopkins University $992,000 to provide tactical medical training and $455,000 to provide “historical training and decision-making skills.” (410) 516-8171
Dell $500,000 for software and $42,000 for laptop licenses. CEO Michael Dell “advocates for immigration reform that supports our businesses, customers and families.” 1-800-624-9897
Xerox $130,000 and $4,000 for an unspecified reason (likely technological). 1-877-979-8498
Canon $53,000 for “multifunction copiers and repairs,” possible second contract of $44,000. (631) 330-5000
Amazon $12,000 for “RRT supplies–which may mean rapid response team.” 1-866-216-1072
Time Warner Cable $6,000 agreement to provide cable and internet services to two Texas ICE locations and another in Buffalo, NY. 1-800-892-4357
Comcast $4,800 to provide ICE with cable through November. 1-800-934-6489
LinkedIn $3,600 contract with ICE to provide “license agreement for unlimited library access.” Email: customerservice@linkedin.com
United Parcel Services $3,500 for “domestic delivery services”. Potential to raise up to $31,500 contract. (404) 828-6000
Charles Prather / Birchwood INS, L.C. ICE/DHS Tampa property owners and landlord. (727) 896-1080
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri One of the architects of the Basic Ordering Agreement declared in January 2018 in which several Florida sheriffs will now work with the ICE gestapo to hunt, trap, cage and deport Undocumented persons.

(Demand that Florida sheriffs END complicity and sever BOA agreement with ICE.)

(727) 582-6201

There is also an effort to boycott and protest companies who use prison labor such as, Abbott Laboratories, AT&T, AutoZone, Bank of America, Bayer, Berkshire Hathaway, Cargill, Caterpillar, Chevron, the former Chrysler Group, Costco Wholesale, John Deere, Eddie Bauer, Eli Lilly, ExxonMobil, Fruit of the Loom, GEICO, GlaxoSmithKline, Glaxo Wellcome, Hoffmann-La Roche, International Paper, JanSport, Johnson & Johnson, Kmart, Koch Industries, Mary Kay, McDonald’s, Merck, Microsoft, Motorola, Nintendo, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Quaker Oats, Sarah Lee, Sears, Shell, Sprint, Starbucks, State Farm Insurance, United Airlines, UPS, Verizon, Victoria’s Secret, Walmart and Wendy’s.

Do your research, produce and distribute infosheets, place informational stickers on products, protest outside of their businesses, do a banner drop, or use whatever creative means one can to spread the word and increase participation in these boycotts.

CIW and their allies are currently boycotting Wendy’s due to their refusal to sign onto the Fair Food Program which, “is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms.” CIW has also recently endorsed the March for Our Lives’ call for a boycott of Publix Supermarkets, who is also refusing to sign onto the Fair Food Program. However, during their long running campaign against Publix, they themselves have never called for a boycott. March for Our Lives of course is boycotting Publix for completely different reasons than the CIW would if they had called the boycott themselves. Instead of protesting labor practices, they are calling for Publix to divest from politicians who take NRA money and are pledging to boycott them until they do.

Obviously the NRA is an awful organization that has historically fought against black gun ownership and tends to care more about protecting the profits and interests of gun manufacturers than gun owners, but the March for Our Lives movement isn’t concerned about that. They are concerned with pushing an agenda of gun control, an agenda that explicitly calls for expanding the police state and violating medical privacy rights. So while the NRA is awful and the CIW has attached their cause to the boycott, it is understandable that many anarchists will not fall into supporting the March for Our Lives in any way.

Groups such as Divest Gainesville and college movements such as Divest UF and the similar push from students at USF and other campuses and cities, have called for colleges, universities, and state and federal governments to all divest from the private prison industry, the use of prison slave labor, and investment in arms manufacturing, and fossil fuel companies.

As such they have called for individuals, schools, and governments to divest from and continue to boycott not only the companies listed above but also energy companies including, but not limited to, Coal India, Adani Enterprises, Duke Energy, Exxon, BP, Shell, and Chevron, as well as supporting and expanding boycott and divestment efforts spearheaded by the Water Protectors and their allies.

As part of their efforts in combating the Dakota Access Pipeline and other similar pipeline projects, the Water Protectors have called for boycotts and divestment from all banks who have invested in various pipeline projects including Bank of Nova Scotia, Citizens Bank, Comerica Bank, US Bank, PNC Bank, Barclays, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Canada, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Community Trust, HSBC Bank, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, DNB Capital/ASA, SunTrust, Royal Bank of Scotland, BBVA Compass, Sumitomo Mitsui Bank, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Citibank, Mizuho Bank, TD Securities, Credit Agricole, ABN Amro Capital, Intesa Sanpaolo, ING Bank, Natixis, BayernLB, ICBC London, and Societe Generale.

Of course, with a long history of human rights violations and the oppression of the Palestinian people, the state of Israel no doubt still needs to be dismantled. In opposition to the practices of the Israeli state, a decentralized grassroots BDS movement sprung up, calling for boycotts against Israeli products and companies, pressure campaigns to get states and companies to divest from Israel, and calls for state sanctions against Israel. While most anarchists are less invested in using means of the state to combat Israel and therefore tend to be less invested, if at all, in calling for state sanctions, few would disagree with the first two.

While the call is to boycott all Israeli products generally until the apartheid stops, to simplify things companies and products that have been singled out for consumer boycotts include Israeli produce, Caterpillar, SodaStream, Ahava, HP, and Sabra, as well as all Israeli universities. Artists have even joined the movement by refusing to tour in Israel or participate in any cultural or artistic events in Israel or sponsored by the Israeli government.

BDS tactics have worked historically to tackle apartheid in South Africa and other abuses, so there is definitely a precedent set that shows it can be used effectively in combating fascist states. However BDS tactics also work on non-state actors as well, as the countless current campaigns listed show. We should definitely support the BDS movement against Israel but we should not let it be at the expense of exposure for these other boycott and divestment campaigns. Whether it’s the state or private corporations, we must stand against all forms of abuse that threaten our freedom and safety. From Palestine to prison cells, we will fight for this planet and the dignity of the people on it.

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