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Call to Action by Journalists, Academics Urges Americans to Use 'All Nonviolent Means Necessary' to Shut Down Trump Detention Camps

"From abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice. Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible."

"Inspired by the civil rights movement, ACT-UP, and early labor struggles, we must employ every nonviolent tactic at our disposal to oppose this institutionalized criminality," states the call to action. (Image: NoMoreConcentrationCamps.org)

A group of nearly two dozen prominent journalists, academics, and activists Tuesday called on Americans across the nation to use "any nonviolent means necessary" to force the closure of President Donald Trump's immigrant detention facilities.

"What would you do if it were your daughter, grandson, niece or nephew who was sick, denied medicine, deprived of sleep, and so traumatized that they've become suicidal? You'd move heaven and earth to free them. These are all our children; their lives are sacred."
—call to action

"We are calling on all people of conscience to shut down the concentration camps on the U.S.-Mexico border," reads the call to action, which was backed by renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky, environmentalist and author Naomi Klein, Intercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill, and others.

"From abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice," the call states. "Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible. Inspired by the civil rights movement, ACT-UP, and early labor struggles, we must employ every nonviolent tactic at our disposal to oppose this institutionalized criminality."

The call to action marked the beginning of a new campaign titled "No More Concentration Camps," which aims to mobilize communities across the U.S. to combat the Trump administration's horrific—and often deadly—treatment of migrants.

The new campaign is centered around five demands:

  • Closure of all of Trump's concentration camps now;
  • Abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE);
  • Defunding the Customs and Border Protection (CBP);
  • Upholding the legal right to seek asylum; and
  • Decriminalization of the border.

"What would you do if it were your daughter, grandson, niece, or nephew who was sick, denied medicine, deprived of sleep, and so traumatized that they've become suicidal? You'd move heaven and earth to free them," states the call to action. "These are all our children; their lives are sacred. We must shut down these camps today and forever."

The campaign comes as Jewish activists are employing nonviolent civil disobedience across the country to demand an end to the Trump administration's abuse of migrants.

On Tuesday morning, just hours after hundreds of demonstrators surrounded an ICE office in Chicago, over a dozen Jewish activists held a sit-in inside the U.S. capitol building to condemn Trump's anti-immigrant agenda:

In their call to action, the journalists and academics outlined a number of effective non-violent tactics that can be used at Trump administration detention facilities.

"We can blockade the concentration camps with occupations and die-ins," they said. "We can set up our own 'freedom camps' on their doorstep. We can support workers who walk out and strike. We can make life impossible for the tech companies profiting from this misery, for the big banks that fund it, and for the politicians that make it possible."

Read the full call to action:

We are calling on all people of conscience to shut down the concentration camps on the U.S.-Mexico border through any nonviolent means necessary.

From Abolitionism to Standing Rock, Americans have come together time and again to defy horrific injustice. Now, as the government tries to normalize concentration camps, it is time like never before to target those responsible.

Inspired by the civil rights movement, ACT-UP, and early labor struggles, we must employ every nonviolent tactic at our disposal to oppose this institutionalized criminality. We are calling on everyone to organize: your community, your school, your house of worship, your workplace, your friends and family.

We can blockade the concentration camps with occupations and die-ins. We can set up our own "freedom camps" on their doorstep. We can support workers who walk out and strike. We can make life impossible for the tech companies profiting from this misery, for the big banks that fund it, and for the politicians that make it possible. And we can directly aid the immigrants-rights groups who are already working to end the illegal mass detention of our brothers and sisters. We ask everyone to recognize and respect the front-line immigrant communities and organizers who have been fighting for many years, and to take leadership from those most impacted by this brutal system.

We demand:

*Close all of Trump’s concentration camps now

*Abolish ICE; Defund the CBP

*Uphold the legal right to seek asylum and decriminalize the border

Historians call the “border detention centers” concentration camps. Rabbis call them concentration camps. Actor George Takei says, "I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again."

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Doctors say children are being detained in "torture facilities." The camps are rife with disease, filth, and lack of proper food. Seven children have died in detention in recent months. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is telling judges that the safe and sanitary conditions that it is required by law to provide are possible without soap, toothbrushes, or even sleep.

When even the New York Times calls the camps "a mass atrocity," and says people should target the "mid-level functionaries who make the system run," you know it's time to act.

What would you do if it were your daughter, grandson, niece or nephew who was sick, denied medicine, deprived of sleep, and so traumatized that they've become suicidal? You'd move heaven and earth to free them. These are all our children; their lives are sacred. We must shut down these camps today and forever.

America must be better than this. Lady Liberty does not lift her torch so that we can herd innocent women and children into concentration camps. The right to seek asylum is completely legal under U.S. and international law. The criminals here are in the Trump Administration—and when the government engages in such breathtaking criminality, people must take action, fast.

Unless people step up to stop them, concentration camps always get worse. Today it's refugees; tomorrow it could be Muslims, journalists, political opponents, and anyone who doesn’t think or look quite right.

We must emphatically reject a future built on walls and drones and surveillance and worse. Instead, we must embody the best of our values and fight for a society in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and given a fighting chance.

For a first step, join in the July 12 protests organized by Lights for Liberty. Then check out closethecamps.us and nomorecamps.org to find out about all the upcoming events, the latest actions, how you can organize your own protest, and frontline groups you can support.

Let's raise the floodwaters of resistance and rebellion until we wash away all the hate. Together, we can do this.

Endorsers include:

Naomi Klein, Author

Barbara Ehrenreich, Author

Noam and Valeria Chomsky 

Jeremy Scahill, co-founder, The Intercept, author of Blackwater and Dirty Wars

Bill Fletcher, Jr., former president of TransAfrica Forum

Rae Abileah, Kohenet, Beautiful Trouble

Andy Bichlbaum, The Yes Men

Arun Gupta, Journalist

Juan Carlos Ruiz, Co-founder, New Sanctuary Coalition

Jeanette Vizguerra, Sanctuary movement, Colorado

Rabbi Alissa Wise, Deputy Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Tzedek Chicago

Tania Mattos Co-founder, Queens Neighborhoods United

Sonali Kolhatkar, Host of Rising Up with Sonali

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