Hellhole – week of 6/18

10.8 minute read

Capitalism and fascism are two sides of the same system of oppression: one economic, one political, with the same end of enriching those at the top at our expense. And … Read more

Capitalism and fascism are two sides of the same system of oppression: one economic, one political, with the same end of enriching those at the top at our expense. And while that’s bad, is the Space Force any consolidation? This week we have stories of ICE, our Seattle political establishment’s “bravery,” an occupation, and Microsoft’s shady contracts. Enter the Hellhole …

Jenny Durkan, ICE, and the Proximity Rule of Seattle Politics

The Trump administration is a neo-fascist collection of bumblers and grifters who have managed, through their extremely cruel policies separating children and parents at the border and holding them in concentration camps, to galvanize the American people against them. This week they announced they would allow parents and children to stay together while interred. And while Republicans may have been temporarily shamed, the prison profiteers and racists will never stop demanding their pound of flesh. Until the systems that enable this brutality are defeated, we have to keep the pressure on.

At the same time, the terror on the border gave Seattle politicians a great chance to show their “progressive” bona fides, as Jenny Durkan flew down south to join mayors from across the country to call out the Trump administration.

This sequence of events highlights another example of what local comedian, and host of “The Seattle Process,” Brett Hamil has termed the proximity rule of Seattle politics.

In a nutshell, the proximity rule holds that the farther away an event the more progressive Seattle politicians become. Standing against Trump and his administration — no brainer, they’ll march in the streets, rally, and give speeches against them. Are Republicans going to cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations at the national level? The Mayor is taking a brave stand and opposing it! Tax corporations like Amazon to deal with a real humanitarian crisis in our city? Not so fast.

Seattle politicians, much like many of the city’s residents, consider themselves dyed in the wool, “capital P” Progressives when it comes to things that either don’t affect them or that are easy to do. But these Resistance warriors are the same folks who show up at Town Hall meetings to rail about “homeowners rights” and spit invective about their disdain for the homeless.

We know that the only way to win a better world is to organize against oppression both at home an abroad. Interested in taking the fight to ICE? Join Seattle DSA and NWDC resistance members this Tuesday and help keep a local freedom fighter and organizer from being deported!

The Portland Commune

For the past 5 days the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Portland, Oregon has been under non-stop occupation by protestors. The action started in an impromptu campout by around 17 black bloc protestors following a vigil sunday afternoon. With the support of local leftist organizations, such as the IWW and Portland DSA, the few tents around the facility grew to a sizeable camp, and from there to a sprawling base of operations, drawing national media attention and huge crowds to the camp. The occupation has seen both moments of tension and solidarity: on the third day of occupation, protestors managed to convince a worker delivering a pizza to ICE to instead deliver the food to the encampment.

Barricades were established to prevent ICE agents from leaving their workplace. After several days, an armed contingent of DHS police evacuated the modern-day Gestapo from the building, and the center was completely shut down.

As of this writing, the occupation is ongoing!

Getting More Like IBM Every Day

Earlier this week, a Microsoft blog post from January resurfaced in which Microsoft touts how ICE makes use of their services and how proud the company is to support their work. With all of the new attention, CEO Satya Nadella emailed the employees and posted to LinkedIn his extremely narrow and meaningless opposition to ICE. He claims:

“I want to be clear: Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border. Our current cloud engagement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is supporting legacy mail, calendar, messaging and document management workloads.”

Even if somehow providing those things has not been helping the child separation efforts, which is doubtful because you need to use emails, messages, calendar invites and documents to do it, Microsoft is still supporting the brutal and racist gestapo that is ICE. Anything that facilitates their work should not be happening. This is another example of how companies that position themselves as progressive and inclusive are always more motivated by the bottom line. Working with ICE was good right up until it drew too much heat, and so Nadella did his best to try to push it off without actually changing anything. How many other terrible organizations, states, or militaries is Microsoft working with that simply haven’t yet made the news?

Hundreds of employees have already signed a letter to Nadella demanding that the contract with ICE be cancelled, that Microsoft adopt transparency in its contracting process, and that the company refuse to work with agencies that violate human rights. The heat must be kept on Microsoft because capital will only bend when their profits are threatened. We must not forget that even if they do give in here, the ultimate goal is not to get capital to bend, but to break it and create a world where human rights are not undermined in pursuit of profit.

Worth a read

The Seattle City Council’s repeal of a business “head tax” last week didn’t just eliminate future spending on solutions to the city’s homelessness crisis—it also killed funding for several ongoing programs that are currently being funded with one-time revenues.

Join us on Saturday, June 23 for our Second Annual Seattle DSA Summer Picnic, 3pm at Seward Park Picnic Shelter #3. You can RSVP here, and let us know what you’ll be bringing – invite your friends and fellow travelers!


? Get involved with Seattle Democratic Socialists of America ?

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Hellhole is written by members of the Seattle DSA communications team. Unless expressly stated, Dispatches do not necessarily reflect the views of Seattle DSA as an organization or its leadership.