Blog

Uncategorized

Advocate for a Zero-Fare Intercity Transit

30774674123_506e6b8902_k

Intercity Transit (IT) is currently exploring the possibility of eliminating fares, “zero-fare” as its called in IT documents. Meetings will be held on November 6th and 20th at 5:30 PM at 526 Pattison St SE, Olympia (on the 62, 66 and 60 buses) during which the possibility of going fare-free will hopefully be discussed. We encourage people to attend these meeting to express support for fare-free.

There other ways to advocate for fare-free service in the lead-up outside of these meetings. Firstly, when the fare-free pilot One bus between Capital Mall and Martin Way P&R comes online (hopefully in the next few weeks) everyone should ride it as much as possible and boost the ridership figures. Higher ridership will signal support for fare-free service. Stay tuned for “bus riding parties.” IT monitors the ridership of the existing free Dash bus in downtown, so give that a ride whenever you can too.
Please consider writing emails, filling out comment cards, calling Intercity Transit, writing letters to the editor, or speaking at public comment during Intercity Transit meetings about the importance of fare-free transit.
Contact info
Phone: 360-705-5852
Public Comment: Attend public meetings on Nov. 6th and Nov. 20th at location listed above.
Comment Cards: Can be found and submitted at the customer service desk at Olympia Transit Center.
Talking-points
These are some of the important points to address when advocating for zero-fare transit.
-Economic and social justice: Transit fares are an arbitrary barrier to movement that overwhelmingly disadvantage poor people. With zero-fare service, mobility will increase and employment, housing, education, social services, cultural activities and leisure will become more accessible to everyone. Note that transit-dependent riders are disproportionately low-income, homeless, disabled, elderly, people of color, women, youth and immigrants. These groups will benefit most from zero-fare service.
Climate justice: Auto use is a leading cause of climate change, responsible for nearly 20% carbon of emissions in the U.S. Studies show that implementing zero-fare transit can lead to 30%-40% increases in transit ridership, encouraging car owners to use transit instead of driving. Particularly with shifts to electric bus usage among transit systems throughout the U.S., free public transit is an absolute necessity to mitigate the climate crisis.
 
Cost effective: Fare collection only accounts for 7% of Intercity Transit’s revenue. Accounting for maintenance of fareboxes and labor and accounting costs associated with handling fares, the percentage decreases further to probably 5% or 6% of total revenue. With dramatically increased ridership, Intercity Transit will likely be able to access more federal funding to expand service further. Financial partnerships with NGOs, employers and municipal governments could also easily fill any small funding gap. With less traffic congestion and air pollution, healthcare and road repair costs will decrease.
Increasing bus speeds: Fare-free service permits the implementation of all-doors boarding, allowing people to board buses at back doors as well as front doors. This leads to less crowding overall during boarding. Zero-fare eliminates the “fare fumble” of people scrambling to procure exact change for bus fare, delaying buses. Zero-fare will decrease “dwell” time at bus stops and on average improve general bus speeds by 3%-7%. Increased bus speeds improve rider experiences and contribute to high ridership.
Safety: In the U.S. a significant amount of disputes and altercations on public transit are related to fare collection. Zero-fare service is thus a workplace safety measure for bus drivers. Buses are also safer vehicles than cars. With more bus riders and fewer cars on the roads, car accidents could decrease as could illnesses related to chemical pollution.
Uncategorized

#ShutDownICEProfiteers Call To Action

Inspired by recent successful #BlockTheWall and #ShutDownICEProfiteers calls to protest banks lending to the migrant detention industry, we are calling for sustained organizing against large financial backers of migrant detention:

 

     Call To Action: Take direct action to shut down office locations of State Street Corp, Prudential Financial and BlackRock Inc. 

        

     Large swathes of U.S. society are ready to take action in the face of the draconian xenophobia of the Trump administration, particularly after conditions detailing the mass detention of migrant children were revealed. Never Again Action, Movimiento Cosecha and other organizations have revived the disruptive spirit of Occupy ICE from a year ago, launching new rounds of blockades at detention centers, ICE Field Offices and the offices of political leaders. #ShutDownICEProfiteers organizing has intervened within this groundswell of rebellion, exposing financial streams as another artery within the deportation and detention infrastructure that can be clogged through direct action.

        

        

Typically, over 60 percent of migrants detained by ICE are held in privately-run immigrant prisons, of which GEO Group and CoreCivic are the industry’s leading companies. GEO and CoreCivic have notorious human rights track records. At CoreCivic-owned Stewart Dentention Center 4 migrants have died in the last 2 years. At GEO-owned Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA, detainees periodically stage hunger strikes to demand decent wages, living conditions and medical care. GeoGroup and CoreCivic are vulnerable to divestment because they are incorporated as real estate companies, requiring them to return 90% of profits to shareholders annually. Without steady credit the economic stability of GEO and CoreCivic are in jeapardy. In addition, if major shareholders like Prudential, BlackRock, and State Street Corp. were pressured into liquidating their holdings (demanding the nominal value of their stock shares be paid in full), CoreCivic and GeoGroup’s extremely low level of cash reserves, as mandated by their incorporation as Real Estate Investment Trusts, means the likelihood that they could afford this payout while maintaining normal business operations is very much in doubt.

        

        

From July 8th-12th Olympia Assembly and Block the Wall Network organized a week of action to shut down large banks financing migrant detention and private prisons. The call has heeded by activists in Seattle, Tampa, Atlanta, Portland, Asheville, NYC and elsewhere. Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas all divested before and during the week of action, while Fifth Third and PNC Bank divested soon after. According to a recent impact brief, GEO and CoreCivic stand to lose 87% of future financing from these divestments, with stocks for both corporations plummeting. 

 

While most major banks have now indicated they plan to exit financial relationships with private prison companies, GEO’s and CoreCivic’s largest institutional shareholders have not relinquished their stockholdings. According to NASDAQ data released on 6/30/19 State Street Corp, Prudential Financial and BlackRock Inc. are some of the largest stock owners:

 

     CoreCivic:

     -BlackRock (#2 largest shareholder): $225,115,000 in share value.

     -State Street Corp (#4 largest shareholder): $59,794,000 in share value.

     -Prudential Financial (#6 largest shareholder): $53,620,000 in share value.

 

     For complete CoreCivic institutional holdings listings click here.

 

     GEO Group:

     -BlackRock (#2 largest shareholder): $225,393,000 in share value.

     -Prudential Financial (#6 largest shareholder): $67,925,000 in share value.

     -State Street Corp (#7 largest shareholder): 60,720,000 in share value. 

 

     For complete GEO Group institutional holdings listings click here.

        

    Suggested Tactics:

         -Informational Pickets

         -Office Occupations/Disruptions

         -Noise Demonstrations

         -Phone Zaps

         -Banner Drops

         -All of the above!

 

 Office Location Links:

 

BlackRock Inc.

 

Prudential Financial

 

State Street Corp.

 

Endorsements:

Olympia Assembly

Block The Wall Network

It’s Going Down

El Comite – Seattle

No Detention Centers in Michigan

Symbiosis PDX

Youth Liberation Front – Seattle Division

Send endorsements to info {at} itsgoingdown {dot} org

En espanol

#ShutDownICEProfiteers Llamado a la acción 

Inspirados por las recientes y exitosas llamadas “#BlockTheWall” y “#ShutDownICEProfiteers” contra los bancos que financian a la industria de detención de migrantes, estamos pidiendo organización sostenida en contra de los grandes patrones que financian la detención de migrantes:

 

La acción: tome medidas directas para cerrar las oficinas de State Street Corp, Prudential Financial y BlackRock Inc.

 

Grandes sectores de la sociedad estadounidense están dispuestos para actuar frente a la xenofobia draconiana de la administración de Trump, aun más después de que se revelaron condiciones detallando la detención masiva de niños migrantes. Desde hace un año, Acción Nunca Más, Movimiento Cosecha y otras organizaciones han resucitado el espíritu disruptivo de “Ocupa ICE”, lanzando nuevos rondos de bloqueos en centros de detención, oficinas de campo de la migra y oficinas de líderes políticos. La organización de #ShutDownICEProfiteers intervino dentro de esta ola de rebelión, exponiendo las corrientes financieras como otra arteria dentro de la infraestructura de deportación y detención que podemos obstruir a través de la acción directa.

 

Por lo general, más del 60 por ciento de los migrantes detenidos por ICE se encuentran en cárceles privadas y GEO Group y CoreCivic son las principales empresas en la industria. GEO y CoreCivic son notorios por su violación de los derechos humanos. En el Stewart Dentention Center, que pertenece a CoreCivic, 4 migrantes han muerto en los últimos 2 años. En el Centro de Detención Northwest, propiedad de GEO, en Tacoma, WA, los detenidos periódicamente organizan huelgas de hambre, exigiendo salarios dignos, mejores condiciones de vida y atención médica. GeoGroup y CoreCivic son vulnerables a la desinversión porque se incorporan como compañías de bienes raíces, lo cual requiere que devuelvan a los accionistas el 90% de las ganancias de la corporación cada año. Si una vez les falta el acceso al crédito, su estabilidad económica estaría en peligro. Además, si los principales accionistas como Prudential, BlackRock y State Street Corp. fueran presionados para liquidar sus acciones (exigiendo el valor nominal de sus acciones pagado en su totalidad), el nivel muy bajo de reservas de efectivo que tienen CoreCivic y GeoGroup, según lo estipulado por su incorporación como Fideicomisos de Inversión en Bienes Raíces, significa que la probabilidad de que puedan pagar este pago mientras mantienen las operaciones comerciales normales vuelve a ser muy dudosa.

 

Del 8 al 12 de julio, la Asamblea de Olympia y la Red “Block the Wall” organizaron una semana de acción con el fin de cerrar los grandes bancos que financian la detención de migrantes y las cárceles privadas. Acudieron a la llamada activistas en Seattle, Tampa, Atlanta, Portland, Asheville, Nueva York, entre otros lugares. Bank of America, SunTrust y BNP Paribas desinvirtieron antes y durante la semana de acción, mientras que Fifth Third y PNC Bank sacaron su dinero poco después. Según un reciente informe, para GEO y CoreCivic, estas desinversiones pueden causar la pérdida del 87% del financiamiento futuro, y que las acciones de las dos corporaciones se desplomen.

 

Aunque la mayoría de los principales bancos han indicado que planean salir de las relaciones financieras con compañías de cárceles privadas, los accionistas institucionales más grandes de GEO y CoreCivic aun no han seguido su ejemplo. Según los datos de NASDAQ [índice de acciones] publicados el 30/6/19, State Street Corp, Prudential Financial y BlackRock Inc. son algunos de los mayores propietarios de acciones:

 

CoreCivic:

 

-BlackRock (accionista segundo mas grande): valor de acciones de $251,556,000.

-State Street Corp (accionista cuarto mas grande): valor de acciones de $66,818,000.

-Prudential Financial (accionista sexto mas grande): valor de acciones de $59,918,000.

 

Para una lista completa de las participaciones institucionales de CoreCivic, haga clic aquí.

 

GEO Group

 

-BlackRock (accionista segundo mas grande): valor de acciones de $248,640,000

-Prudential Financial (accionista sexto mas grande): valor de acciones de $74,930,000.

-State Street Corp (el séptimo mas grande): valor de acciones de $66,983,000

 

Para una lista complete de las participaciones institucionales de GEO Group, haga clic aquí.

 

Tácticas sugeridas

-Piquetes informacionales

-Ocupación o trastorno de oficinas

-Demostración de ruido

-Trabarlos con llamadas

-Caída de banderas

-¡Toda la anterior!

Uncategorized

Olympic Peninsula, WA: Two US Bank Shutdowns Targeting ICE Profiteers

Reportback from Olympia and Lacey, WA on recent anti-ICE divestment actions against US Bank, the bond “trustee” for CoreCivic, and a bond “underwriter” for both GEO and CoreCivic.

On August 12th, over 25 people marched to and occupied US Bank branch in downtown Olympia, followed by a group of about 15 people then repeating the action and occupying the US Bank branch in Lacey. The action, organized by a working group of Olympia Assembly, comes on the heels of recent #DivestfromICE victories and is the latest in a series of divestment direct actions across the U.S.

Protesters gathered first in Sylvester Park, Olympia and marched towards 4th Ave and Capitol Way, where they entered US Bank. Police followed closely from Sylvester and into US Bank, with about 2 or 3 stationed inside during the duration of the demonstration. They did not intervene however, and protesters were able to chant and distribute leaflets to customers, workers, and around the space unobstructed. After leaving the bank, protesters stood outside chanting and holding up signs visible to passing cars and pedestrians, then marched back to Sylvester and mobilized for a follow up demo at the Lacey branch.

About four full cars then drove to and met up in a parking lot neighboring the US Bank on Martin Way in Lacey. Upon approaching the bank, protesters then began chanting “US Bank collaborates with ICE” as they entered, holding up a banner reading “Chinga La Migra” at the front so as to be immediately visible to everyone inside. A security guard stationed outside the bank perceived the group approaching and withdrew into the bank, but did not lock the doors and protesters were able to enter and continue chanting and distributing leaflets as they occupied the branch. Three customers left while the action occurred, and two probable customers turned back from entering the bank apparently after viewing the demonstration inside.

The majority of immigrant detainees (~70%) are imprisoned in detention centers operated by private prison companies like CoreCivic and GEO Group. These companies are structured as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which makes them reliant on financing from large financial institutions and vulnerable to credit loss. Divestment announcements, most recently including PNC, have caused private prison stock prices to plummet, consistent pressure on those still holding out is crucial. According to NASDAQ, Vanguard Group and BlackRock are some of GEO’s and CoreCivic’s largest institutional shareholders, owning stock totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars between the two corporations. In addition to U.S. Bank,  HSBC is also listed as a bond “underwriter” for both GEO and CoreCivic. Bond underwriters enable the financing of migrant detention while making individual profit by purchasing bonds from the prison companies and reselling them to individual bondholders.

If you’re interested in organization divestment action in your community, a list of the remaining major shareholders/investors and local locations of individual bank branches and investment firm offices can be found here.

Uncategorized

Platformism & Libertarian Communism – September Reading Group

Sunday, September 1, 2019, 2 PM – 4 PM @ 115 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WAintro-2.jpg

Suggested Readings: “Platformism – an introduction” and “The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists

“Platformism is a current within libertarian communism putting forward specific suggestions on the nature which anarchist organsation should take.

The origins of the Platform lie in the Russian anarchist movement’s experiences during the Russian Revolution and the resulting civil war. One group of anarchist exiles (Dielo Trouda (“Workers’ Cause”) group) came together in 1926 and published The Organisational Platform of the Libertarian Communists, since known as ‘The Platform’. They wrote the pamphlet to examine why the anarchist movement had failed to build on their successes before and during the revolution.”

Reading group texts do not necessarily represent Olympia Assembly, we read them for critical engagement and discussion.

Uncategorized

#ShutDownICEProfiteers Moving Forward

67169127_10101370756929123_8805482482142019584_n

PNC Bank protest in Atlanta

As the Abolish ICE movement erupts again, private prison corporations contracting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain migrants are feeling the heat. GEO Group and CoreCivic, who together exert near duopolistic power over the private prison sector, have been hit hard by a wave bank divestments. In just a few weeks, from late June to mid-July some of the industry’s leading lenders, Bank of America, SunTrust, BNP Paribas (parent company of Bank of the West) and Fifth Third all announced plans to cut ties with private prisons. They join JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, who agreed to cease further financing the companies in March 2019.

The divestments have roughly correlated with a groundswell of rebellion. Large swathes of U.S. society are recoiling in the face of the draconian xenophobia of the Trump administration, particularly after conditions detailing the mass detention of migrant children were revealed. Never Again Action and Movimiento Cosecha have revived the disruptive spirit of Occupy ICE from a year ago, launching new rounds of blockades at detention centers, ICE Field Offices and the offices of political leaders.

#ShutDownICEProfiteers was initiated with a public call for a week of action, released by Olympia Assembly and Block the Wall Network. The July 8th-12th Week of Action call urged coordinated direct action to shut down branches of banks financing migrant detention.

During the week, Bank of the West branches were shuttered on multiple occasions in Seattle and Portland, anarchists and community groups took action against PNC in NYC,  Asheville, Tampa, and Atlanta and ICE-tech collaborators Microsoft,  Amazon and Palantir all faced protests. Phone zaps were also organized against PNC and Bank of the West branches. Although much credit must be extended to longstanding divestment campaigners, the intervention of anti-authoritarians advancing an explicit direct action strategy into the movement could have been the last straw for some financial firms.

D_Jb-hUX4AEgSmM

PNC Bank branch shut down in Manhattan 

Although the movement has secured key victories recently, more work remains to be done. Other banks maintain investments in CoreCivic and GEO Group. CoreCivic and GEO also have large institutional shareholders who haven’t indicated they will relinquish their stock holdings. As leading financiers crumble under public pressure and exposure (or even the mere threat of pressure or exposure), now is the time to up the ante.

Already, #ShutDownICEProfiteers organizers have shifted attention to new financial targets. On July 26th, a rolling picket winding through downtown Seattle occupied HSBC and U.S. Bank branches and shut down the lobbies of investment firm offices, Prudential Financial, BlackRock and Barclays. In Tampa, another round of disruptions hit 3 PNC bank branches in one day. As of this writing, bank shutdowns also are planned in Olympia WA for August 12th.

If your interested in organization divestment action in your community please not the following financial information. Links with locations of banks branches and investment firm offices are listed.

imageedit_3_6830173321

U.S. Bank lobby occupied in Seattle

Remaining Banks Invested in GEO Group and CoreCivic

According to financial data published in April 2019 (Bank of America, SunTrust and BNP have divested since), these are some of the banks continuing to issue term loans and revolving credit lines to GEO and CoreCivic or are underwriting bonds for the companies:

Barclays – GEO Group and CoreCivic (bond underwriter)

Find Barclays branches.

Citizens Bank  – CoreCivic.

Find citizens bank branches

Regions Bank – CoreCivic.

Find Regions Bank branches.

U.S. Bank – CoreCivic (bond trustee)

Find U.S. Bank branches.

Pinnacle Bank – CoreCivic

Find Pinnacle Bank branches.

A recent CBS News report compiled statements from the banks maintaining investments in the private prison industry. While many refused to comment or issued vague, meaningless statements, Pinnacle Bank was the only one to state definitively that they do not plan to exit financial relationships with GEO and CoreCivic. The report also reads: “Two additional banks told CBS MoneyWatch they have no plans to lend to the private prison industry in the future: Barclays and U.S. Bank.” While these are not formal divestment announcements, they do indicate that Barclays and U.S. Bank could be feeling the heat. (NOTE: The U.S. Bank statement is deceptive; U.S. Bank hasn’t issued loans to GEO or CoreCivic for many years, at least. However, they are the “bond trustee” for CoreCivic and have not announced intentions to exit this position. While bond trustees do not provide direct financing, they facilitate financing by assuming an important administrative role and by underwriting bonds, buying bonds from an issuer and re-selling them to individual bondholders.)

Major Institutional Shareholders of GEO and CoreCivic:

*This data was obtained through institutional holdings listings on NASDAQ and was last updated on 3/31/2019. To find exact holding values use the NASDAQ website for GEO or CoreCivic. Offices listed may or may not be accessible to the public.

Vanguard Group – CoreCivic and GEO Group

Vanguard offices.

BlackRock – CoreCivic and GEO Group

BlackRock offices.

Prudential Financial – CoreCivic and GEO Group

Prudential offices.

State Street Corp – CoreCivic and GEO Group

State Street Corp offices.

—————

Like blockades at detention centers or airports, financial streams are another artery within the deportation and detention infrastructure that can be clogged through direct action. With the divestment momentum growing, now is the time to intervene in this node. Bank shutdowns are planned in Olympia WA on August 12th, as of this writing.

imageedit_20_9982516128
HSBC branch shut down in Seattle
Uncategorized

Seattle WA: Rolling Picket Shuts Down ICE Profiteers 

imageedit_21_2841545570

Protesters in the lobby of Columbia Center, where Barclays bank rents office space

On July 26th a lively rolling picket of over 40 people marched through downtown Seattle, shutting down bank branches and occupying the lobbies of investment firm offices. HSBC, U.S. Bank, Prudential Financial, BlackRock Inc. and Barclays bank were targeted. All of these firms have financial relationships with GEO Group and CoreCivic, the primary private detention operators for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The rolling picket, co-organized by Olympia Assembly and El Comite, comes on the heels of recent #DivestfromICE victories and is the latest in a series of divestment direct actions across the U.S.

Protesters gathered in Westlake park and marched towards 6th/Union where they entered the lobby of Two Union Square, a large corporate building where both Prudential and BlackRock Inc offices are located. A security guard initially attempted to block the lobby entrance with their body leading to a brief scuffle with one protester. This distraction permitted others to enter the building lobby until the guard relented and all were able to pass unobstructed, chanting and distributing leaflets along the way. Protesters then marched across the street to occupy the bank lobby of HSBC, forcing bank staff to lock their doors to business. Immediately afterwards, the march entered Seattle’s main branch of U.S. Bank, passing out leaflets to bank staff and customers and blocking the primary entrance with a large banner.

imageedit_3_6830173321

U.S. Bank lobby occupied at City Center location

The march proceeded to the final target, the Columbia Center, where the office of UK-based investment bank Barclays is located. Anticipating the arrival of the march, lobby personnel had locked the main entrances and protesters were met with a line of bike cops. After picketing outside the lobby entrance the group decided to attempt other entrances and were able to find access along the side of the building. Once again, people chanted loudly and leaflets were distributed in the commercial lobby, receiving intrigue and support among retail workers and bystanders. The action concluded shortly thereafter.

The majority of immigrant detainees (~70%) are imprisoned in detention centers operated by private prison companies like CoreCivic and GEO Group. These companies are structured asReal Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which makes them reliant on financing from large financial institutions and vulnerable to credit loss. While recent divestment announcements have caused private prison stock prices to plummet, maintaining consistent pressure on these holdouts remains crucial. According to NASDAQ, Prudential Financial and BlackRock are some of GEO’s and CoreCivic’s largest institutional shareholders, owning stock totaling in the hundreds of millions of dollars between the two corporations. Other financial reports expose Barclays as a lender to GEO Group while HSBC and U.S. Bank are listed as bond “underwriters” for both GEO and CoreCivic. Bond underwriters enable the financing of migrant detention by purchasing bonds from the prison companies and reselling them to individual bondholders, securing a profit in the process. Moreover, U.S. Bank is the bond “trustee” for CoreCivic, an important administrative position.

Like blockades at detention centers or airports, financial streams are another artery within the deportation and detention infrastructure that can be clogged through direct action. With the divestment momentum growing, now is the time to intervene in this node.
imageedit_20_9982516128
HSBC branch doors locked following a lobby occupation 
Uncategorized

History, Civilization and Progress – August Reading Group

Sunday, August 4, 2019, 2 PM – 4 PM @ 115 Legion Way SE, Olympia, WA

Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 8.44.51 PM

Suggested Reading:
History, Civilization, and Progress: Outline for a Criticism of Modern Relativism by Murray Bookchin

This is one of the denser readings we’ve done, so do your best with the reading and feel free to show up and learn even if you don’t get through it!

Reading group texts do not necessarily represent Olympia Assembly, we read them for critical engagement and discussion.