On Tuesday, July 30, about 200 activists shut down traffic around the Whipple Federal Office Building near the Ft. Snelling LRT station, under the slogan Never Again, Means Now. The Never Again movement is a recent movement led by Jewish activists and communities affected by immigration policies to protest the actions of the Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) agency and to demand an end to concentration camps and the abolition of ICE. Under the virtual banner of the No Cages Coalition, about a dozen Twin Cities DSA members and several close allies from other groups in the Coalition were among the participants. Staff in the building were prevented from leaving as the parking lot exits were blocked, and some 27 protestors were cited and removed forcibly by police. Twin Cities DSA contributed about half of the marshals for the Never Again action in addition to helping with turnout and showing up ourselves.
No Cages Coalition was a coalition of TCDSA, Twin Cities ISO (International Socialist Organization) and IWW-GDC members, organized last year. The coalition did several weekday rush hour banner drops from a bridge near downtown Saint Paul and in December presented an in-depth educational session featuring two of the Minnesota Eight, a group of southeast Asians who came to MN as toddlers in refugee families, and were slated for deportation by ICE due to minor offenses they committed as teenagers or young men. Five of the eight were in fact deported, to countries where they knew no one and didn’t speak the language, leaving behind spouses and children. Also, speaking at that event was a clergy woman from Elk River who headed a group working to protest, prevent the expansion of, and call for the closure of Minnesota’s largest ICE detention center, in the Sherburne County Jail. No Cages Coalition went inactive at the end of 2018 and in the interim the ISO, one of its constituent groups, dissolved, and some ISO members have since joined DSA. Reactivated in the late spring of this year, the coalition is mainly, but not exclusively TCDSA members now.
No Cages Coalition will in turn continue the coalition with and “show up” for other groups, such as CAIR, MIRAC, Never Again, and ICOM, but is also planning a series of actions on its own, starting with one on August 8. The current strategy is to work with immigrant-led groups wherever possible, as suggested by national DSA strategy, and also to target companies that profit from ICE activities. See the TCDSA calendar and the call for action in this newsletter for more information on the August 8 action. If you want to join the No Cages Coalition, join the #antiicemobilization channel in TCDSA Slack and come to a meeting or ask to be added to the Signal group for maximum involvement.