Lacey, WA – On Sunday afternoon, December 17th, nearly 100 people gathered in Lacey to shut down an Amazon fulfillment center and halt the flow of delivery trucks. Amazon is the technologic backbone of the Israeli apartheid regime – they have multi-billion dollar contracts providing cloud services and servers to the Israeli state, its police, and military. The infrastructure that Amazon provides enables them to communicate, collect, analyze, and archive the data needed for the expansion of illegal settlements and the repression of the Palestinian people. You can visit notechforapartheid.com to learn more about Amazon’s role in Israeli apartheid, as well as its role in domestic terror through contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and over 2000 police departments.
The march to the Amazon fulfillment center featured chants like “Amazon you can’t hide, you profit from genocide!” and “Amazon while you spy, Palestinian children die!” The group of protesters was diverse – made up of numerous youth and a wide range of adults, including parents. As the group arrived at the center’s driveway where Amazon trucks enter Hogum Bay Rd NE, security was pulling the gate closed, having already been notified of the group’s arrival. That only made the protestors’ goal of stopping the flow of trucks easier.
What ensued was a 2+ hour blockade of the center’s truck entrance and truck exit, thus successfully disrupting Amazon’s business. At least three Amazon truck drivers honked and held up a fist of solidarity from inside the gates. Those fists were reminiscent of the worker who walked off the job in solidarity with Palestine during an action at the port of Tacoma last month. Other Amazon workers chatted with protesters through the gate where they accepted flyers explaining the day’s action. These displays of worker support remind us that a free Palestine is what the overwhelming majority of people want. As people in solidarity with Palestinians continue to educate each other, the idea of a free Palestine is becoming widely understood to mean more than the bare minimum of a permanent ceasefire, but as a decolonized Palestine free of Israeli occupation, with land back, where its people can live decent lives on their own terms. A significant obstacle to that reality is the greed of corporate executives and politicians who directly benefit from perpetual war and increasingly militarized societies. But through continued education, the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) movement, and sustained direct action globally, the path is being laid towards the liberation of Palestinians.
What happened outside of the gates reflected the joy at the core of a liberated world – People dancing to amplified music, playing soccer and Uno in the street, sharing food, chalking messages on the ground, making art, and strengthening relationships built on shared values and a commitment to action. Sunday’s action was an autonomous action, meaning it was not led or sponsored by any specific organization. There were no action leaders or directives. Participants were encouraged to collaborate and act freely in pursuit of the common goal of shutting down the center. This type of action dissolves hierarchies, respects everyone’s right to free will, and encourages creativity and a diversity of tactics. This action came on the heels of Friday’s action in Olympia, WA where 40+ people marched into the RE/MAX office on Pacific Avenue to deliver a letter demanding that RE/MAX stop buying and selling real estate in occupied Palestinian territories.
Just after 4 pm on Sunday, the entire group vacated the fulfillment center, marched back to town, and dispersed. Law enforcement didn’t say a word to them all day, and no arrests were made. The people successfully wielded the power that lies in collective action. The power to stop business as usual, to occupy the streets, to play together, and create a better world without interference.
Let’s keep the pressure on Amazon and all complicit companies and continue to boycott their products. Withholding our money and calling out inhumane profiteering is effective – the global BDS movement during the 1960s -1980s played a critical role in dismantling the South African apartheid regime. Visit bdsmovement.net to learn more about the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
The movement for the liberation of Palestinians must be expanded to include the liberation of all people – like those suffering from atrocities in Ethiopia, Sudan, Congo, and elsewhere. No one is free until we are all free. My humanity is tied to yours. Our humanity is tied to theirs.
Although WIP usually does not accept anonymous submissions, it was agreed that this article be posted anonymously to protect the author’s identity in this unauthorized action. Part of WIP’s mission is to report local events ignored by other media.