The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy has produced a rolling catastrophe for international workers in the United States, with Department of Homeland Security entities like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, and Border Patrol targeting ever-increasing numbers of completely innocent people for indefinite detention, physical and emotional abuse, illegal deportation (“refoulement” of refugees in contravention of international law), and worse.
The scale of the disaster has repeatedly been underestimated. ICE is scrambling to find places to warehouse all the families, unaccompanied minors, and separated children that they are forcibly abducting. Already existing concentration camps, most operated by for-profit prison contractors with no public accountability, are overcrowded and facing more and more resistance as horrific stories of violence and sexual assaults of detainees at the hands of camp staff continue to trickle out.
Alongside a wave of protest actions targeting the private companies profiting off the federal government’s mass surveillance, kidnapping, and forced displacement project, over the summer there were several protest occupations and encampments at ICE facilities across the country. One of these, #OccupyICE_PDX in Portland, Oregon, produced immediate results when DHS opted to close the office that had been successfully blockaded by activists including DSA members, IWW-GDC defenders, and many others. Nonetheless, as the encampment persisted and came under intensifying surveillance and confrontation from both federal law enforcement and local fascist gangs, many participants came to face both legal and physical repercussions.
Thankfully there has been a solidarity response in the Twin Cities for Portland comrades who threw down against the ICE Gestapo. Our IWW General Defense Committee local established a defense fund for ICE resisters in August, and on November 17 held a benefit show, co-hosted by Twin Cities DSA and the No Cages Minnesota coalition (of which both organizations are a part, along with the International Socialist Organization – Twin Cities), called Dancing On ICE. Wobblies and DSA comrades showed up big at Pimento, a beloved southside Minneapolis restaurant and club, got down to a raucous lineup of electronic, hip-hop, Latino alt-rock, and punk acts (ET, Guante, Madness Malaga, and Murrieta), and raised nearly $500 for the defense fund.
Taking care of comrades facing repression, so they can get back in the fight as soon as possible, is an essential part of sustaining our resistance to the forces of fascism. Thanks to all the Twin Cities DSAers who helped make Dancing on ICE possible and who came out and pitched in.
The fight, of course, is not over. Indeed, one of the places ICE has its sights on for expansion of its detention archipelago is right in our backyard here in Minnesota. In particular, the Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, which already houses fluctuating numbers of ICE detainees alongside its normal caging operations for county and federal law enforcement, and which is already under renovation supposedly for administrative offices, is considering a bid to double its overall capacity specifically to make more room for ICE.
Resistance to these plans is already underway in Elk River, and No Cages Minnesota is supporting local activists there in their efforts to shine a light on a project that could easily go forward if it were to remain undetected and unchallenged, which is clearly the way ICE prefers to operate. A public forum on the topic will be held on Saturday, December 8 at Pillsbury United Communities (420 15th Avenue South in Minneapolis), from 2 to 4 pm. Speakers will include an activist from Elk River as well as the remote testimony of three men from #ReleaseMN8 who experienced ICE detention in Minnesota before their deportation to Cambodia. Come on down, get up to speed, and join the fight against ICE’s appalling depredations and the fascist camp system that is growing right under our very noses.
Article by Ed S.
‘I am forced to get my living by the labour of my hand; and the sweat of my brow… for bitter bread, earned under the frowns of some who have no natural or divine right to be above me, and entirely owe their grandeur and honor to grinding the faces of the poor…’
— James Otis
Racial Justice Branch
The purpose of the racial justice branch of the Twin Cities DSA (TCDSA) can be summed up in two words – “de-center whiteness.” As a relatively young branch (formed in March 2018), racial justice focuses on centering the experiences, perspectives and knowledge of its members of color, with an emphasis in leadership development. One of the first contributions from our branch to TCDSA was to implement the current land acknowledgement – which acknowledges we are on stolen Dakota land – to be said before every TCDSA event.
Racial justice is currently working on a number of actions for the upcoming year. Our members are part of No Cages MN, a socialist coalition formed to prevent expansion or construction of ICE detention centers in Minnesota. The upcoming public forum, Minnesota Warmth, not ICE, on Saturday, December 8th from 2 PM – 4 PM at Pillsbury United Communities, will center personal stories about the lasting impact of immigration detention and deportation. In addition to this event, we are also involved in planning a book event featuring Erik Loomis, the author of “A History of America in 10 Strikes” on Thursday, February 21 from 7 PM – 9 PM at the East Side Freedom Library. All are welcome to join us at these events, and in-between at our monthly meetings.
The TCDSA Solidarity Fund helps comrades like you
The Solidarity Fund puts money in the pockets of TCDSA members + our allies during times of need. To request help or to donate to the Fund, visit twincitiesdsa.org/solidarity.
For Further Review
With so many great podcasts, articles, books and videos coming out, it’s easy to miss something great. Here’s a few things we’ve found and loved recently:
A great conversation with some great DSA folx about Hurricane Michael relief efforts and more: Chapo Trap House Bonus: Chris Talks Hurricane Relief & “Disaster Socialism” with Tallahassee DSA
An Ecosocialist Path to Limiting Global Temperature Rise to 1.5°C by Richard Smith
The Border Crossing Us from Viewpoint Magazine
Have something to share? Want to write for the newsletter? Contact us on slack at #linkroundup or #quoteroundup or email newsletter [at] twincitiesdsa.org.