In a continued effort to crush the Black Lives Matter movement, Trump sent Federal agents to the streets of Portland to “quell” the weeks of rallies to defund the police. Civilians in Portland, a majority-white city, have reported cases of unmarked vans “snatching” protestors off the streets and tear gassing civilians (even while a federal judge recently ruled to ban the Portland Police Department’s use of tear gas). There have also been reports of Federal agents firing rubber bullets, foam bullets, and pepper balls into crowds. While these tactics may be new for white communities, they are routinely used by DHS against non-white migrants, Black, Indigenous, and Muslim people.
Now, Trump is escalating beyond Portland and efforts are underway to expand the presence of Federal agents across the country, with Chicago, New York, and many other cities on the list.
Federal agents in Portland are part of a Department of Homeland Security task force formed in response to Donald Trump’s executive order issued on June 26th, to protect statues and monuments of Confederate leaders and against “left-wing extremism that call for the destruction of the United States system of government.”
It's time to abolish the Department of Homeland Security.
For nearly two decades, the War on Terror has devastated lives at home and, on a greater scale, abroad. It has been the central framework to justify endless war. The Department of Homeland Security was created days after 9/11 as the United States announced its War on Terror. In effect, this gave the government a blank check to maintain and expand a militarized U.S. presence not just around the world, but also at U.S. borders and within U.S. communities that are seen as threatening the status quo. Black Lives Matters protestors have been investigated by the FBI as “Black Identity Extremists” in the past while Trump has labelled antifascist protestors as terrorists. Within this context, we must recognize that the deployment of DHS agents against Black Lives Matter and antifascist protestors, while an alarming escalation, is very much in line with its own appalling logic.
We cannot allow DHS to occupy our own cities, or by extension, the U.S. to occupy cities abroad. DHS is deploying the foreign policy handbook in what will be a growing number of cities past Portland. None of this should ever be allowed. Our vision for abolishing the police fundamentally includes the call to abolish ICE, a sub-agency of DHS, and the complete abolition of DHS itself.
As we continue to follow the escalation of authoritarianism and militarized force across the country, WRL relies on the support of individuals to make our work training activists, running antimilitarist campaigns, and building an intergenerational movement against war at home and abroad possible. We have so much work ahead of us. Please consider supporting our work by making a donation today.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1. Include the calls to #AbolishDHS in your demands and analysis for #AbolishThePolice and #AbolishICE. Send us any signs or articles you write, and we'll be sure to share it.
2. Continue showing up locally for Black Lives Matter protests.
3. Continue building your strategic nonviolent direct action skills: this includes deescalation tactics and learning how to follow the leadership of Black organizers in your community.
4. Know your rights at protests, coordinate with local jail support, medical and legal support groups, and watch your federal courthouses and detention centers.
5. Preserve any evidence you have of harassment and if you are arrested, make sure to write down your recollections as soon as you are released. Connect with the National Lawyers Guild for legal support.