Originally posted on It’s Going Down
Inspired by recent #BlockTheWall actions, people are calling for a week of action against the largest financial backers of migrant detention and deportation.
Call to Action: From July 8th-12th take collective and direct action to protest or shut down branch locations of PNC Bank and Bank of the West.
NOTE: Bank of America and SunTrust were originally listed as targets in this call to action. Recently, Bank of America and SunTrust announced their intention to divest from private prisons, including corporations that operate migrant detention centers. Bank of America and SunTrust were some of the largest banks invested in these entities. Thus, the private prison divestment and Abolish ICE movements have secured an impressive victory. We hope these wins further the momentum against PNC, Bank of the West and other ICE profiteers.
We are all too aware of the cruelties of the American border regime: locking children in cages or ruining families by kidnapping and deporting parents. While this is a nightmare scenario for millions, it is big business for deportation and migrant-detention profiteers.
LIKE OTHER MECHANISMS OF OPPRESSION, THE BORDER SYSTEM UTILIZES INFRASTRUCTURES THAT CAN BE DISRUPTED.
Like other mechanisms of oppression, the border system utilizes infrastructures that can be disrupted. This infrastructure is composed of state agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). But it is also thoroughly integrated with the private sector. Contracts with construction, technology and security corporations are integral to the function of a militarized border. The majority of immigrant detainees are imprisoned in detention centers operated by private prison companies contracting with ICE. The largest of these are Geo Group and CoreCivic.
GEO GROUP & CORECIVIC ARE STRUCTURED AS REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS, & ARE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO CREDIT LOSS. THIS HAS ENABLED RECENT CAMPAIGNS TO YIELD KEY VICTORIES.
Further, the private sector actors fundamental to ICE and CBP operations rely on debt-financing from large financial institutions. Geo Group and CoreCivic which are structured as Real Estate Investment Trusts, are particularly vulnerable to credit loss. This has enabled recent campaigns to yield key victories. In March 2019, JPMorgan Chase committed to halt further financing to the private prison industry following long-term organizing efforts. In the immediate aftermath, Geo Group and CoreCivic stocks plummeted and Geo Group warned its investors that mounting pressure “could have a material adverse effect on our business.” After Chase’s announcement Wells Fargo began partially divesting, while U.S. Bank reduced credit to an “immaterial amount.” Bank of the West (a subsidiary of BNP Paribas) and PNC Bank continue to bankroll the migrant detention industry and are some of its largest funders. Divestment from these remaining large banks could jeopardize the economic viability of corporations like Geo Group or CoreCivic.
The Why’s and How’s of Bank Shutdowns and Protests
Concentrating protest on a narrow pool of targets permits a greater tangible effect on company bottomlines, illuminating the power of direct action. The JPMorgan Chase divestment campaign, in particular, utilized direct action.
Shutting down bank locations for a few hours or a day is usually quite easy. Bank locations are bound by stringent safety procedures. Thus, pickets outside of bank entrances or demonstrators entering banks, chanting, making noise and distributing leaflets to customers and workers is generally sufficient to a temporary bank branch closure. Often, bank shutdowns only comprise of a couple dozen participants, or less (though the more the merrier).
Bank shutdowns and protests can be planned in a public or private fashion. Public outreach via social media and mass fliering can guarantee heightened attendance, but can tip off bank branch management and police in advance. It is likely in this scenario that the bank branch will close its doors before the demonstration occurs. This can make for a less sexy action, but a closed bank is still a closed bank and this approach shouldn’t be written off. Alternatively, bank shutdowns can be organized more privately, through word-of-mouth, text chats and other platforms off of public social media. This method will permit a greater element of surprise, likely allowing participants to enter a bank lobby, temporarily shut down the location and potentially disperse before police arrive.
If mobilizing sufficient numbers for a shutdown or picket is difficult in your community, consider organizing a banner drop or a phone zap against a bank branch. Actions like these are less risky and resource-intensive and can complement actions in other communities.
Get to it and see you in the lobbies!
La semana 8-12 de Julio, tomen acciones directos y colectivos para interrumpir locales de PNC Bank y Bank of the West.
NOTA: Originalmente, Bank of America y SunTrust eran el foco de nuestra llamada de acción. Ultimamente, Bank of America y SunTrust anunciaron su intención de parar de financiar los centros de detención privados, incluyendo las corporaciones que operan los centros de detención de inmigrantes. Bank of America fue el banco mas grande invertido en estas cárceles. Entonces, el movimiento de parar los financieros de las cárceles privadas y el movimiento Chinga La Migra han conseguido una impresionante victoria. Esperamos que esta victoria sigue avanzando el movimiento contra PNC, Bank of the West y otros financieros de La Migra.
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- Olympia Assembly
- Block the Wall Network
- NorCal Resist
- Olympia Solidarity Network
- Demand Utopia
- Just Housing
- Economics for Everyone – Olympia
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