SFSU #ICEOut Walkout

Photo by SFSU Anarchist Student Committee

Cutting Class – Counterinfo for the Ungovernable Generation

While the insurrectionary activities in Berkeley never cease to inspire, their Bay Area neighbors are no less militant. Students at San Francisco State University recently demonstrated this militancy in a walkout against ICE.  Gathering on the Malcolm X Plaza on campus, students held signs and a banner reading “Crush ICE,” while others spoke out about resistance to ICE. The walkout was done in solidarity with a larger #ICEOutOfCA action occurring that day, which featured various community organizations. This came in response to recent raids in San Francisco that kidnapped over 150 people, although the plans had been circulating since earlier in February when ICE raided 77 businesses in Norther California.

Student signs display messages of international solidarity (Golden Gate Xpress/Kyler Knox)

What local coverage of the protest, even by the student paper, missed in describing the protest as being opposed to Trump’s immigration policy & border wall was the underlying radical critique that the protestors posed. Chants of “No borders, no nation, fuck deportation!” succinctly articulated a critique of the colonial state itself. Students voiced an awareness of the international entanglements of colonialism with chants like “From Palestine to Mexico, these border walls have to go,” connecting Israel’s border wall and recent move to deport African immigrants with the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border. One undocumented student made clear that this issue did not start with the 2016 election, and that this is “this a fear that i’ve been living with from the last 13 years.”

Student sign makes clear the international entanglements of the U.S. war machine (Golden Gate Xpress/ Kyler Knox)

After their speak-out, the students took their action beyond the bounds of the campus. Marching 8 miles downtown, they converged with other community organizations in front of the local ICE office. There, protestors proceeded to block the entrances to the building. Some filled the intersections, scribbling anti-deportation messages and using tubes to lock their arms together. Others put up makeshift barricades in front of the entrances using barrels and other materials.

Protesters block entrances to the ICE building.(Amarah Hernandez/Golden Gate Xpress)

This momentary obstacle to the normal operations of ICE has value beyond the disruption itself. Actions like these send a signal to undocumented communities that they are not alone and that ICE will face opposition. They furthermore provide a blueprint and example for mobilizations that aim to directly interfere in ICE’s ability to terrorize communities. Giving people a moment to realize their power to collectively produce sanctuary without waiting for politicians to listen builds momentum that can further manifest in a variety of tactics, from rapid response networks to sabotage against ICE. For students in particular, it takes the site of struggle beyond the limited terrain of campus itself, connecting their struggles & organizing with that of communities and revolutionaries outside the University–communities whose destruction the University is often complicit in. As the multi-century war on immigrants escalates across the country, actions like these will likely proliferate and escalate. As they do, students will need to decide–like the students at SFSU did–which side of the fault lines they will stand on and what tools & tactics they will use to bring down the walls.