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Early on 12/13/23, we, neighbors acting autonomously in committed solidarity with Palestinians, disrupted and redecorated establishments along Clark Street in Lincoln Park, Chicago. The targets included some of the largest U.S. corporations and institutions that, reflecting their endless capitalist greed, have supported Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine and genocide of Palestinians: McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Citibank.
“Nothing but hate for Israel and Zionism. Nothing but love for Palestine and Liberation. From Gaza to the Americas, decolonization means attack,” as one poster put up says.
Our actions are rooted in the questions we ask ourselves—questions we invite the reader to consider as well:
How far are we willing to go for Palestinian liberation and the collective liberation of all oppressed people?
How can we push past the boundaries of our own comfort as people residing in the heart of U.S. empire?
What actions are we willing to take beyond the common forms of “protest” (some of which are permitted and negotiated with cops, like parades) that do not truly threaten the state or capital?
How can we act in greater alignment with the chant, “There is only one solution! Intifada revolution!” we so often hear at peace-policed marches?
How can we draw from and build on the diversity of tactics being used across the world towards the shared goal of liberation?
How can we deepen our relationships to one another by committing to learning, practicing and putting into action new skills?
How can we build trust so we can keep taking bigger risks together?
Inspired by the “heartbroken, raging, yet tenderly hopeful” actions of comrades in the Bay Area who attacked four targets across Bay Area cities in one night, and by those taking continuous and persistent solidarity actions to disrupt business-as-usual all across the world, we made three humble offerings:
1) McDonald’s has been a target of popular (i.e. not explicitly a BDS campaign) boycotts since news broke that McDonald’s locations in Israel were providing free food to IOF soldiers to the tune of over 100,000 meals. In response, a group spray painted “Free Gaza” and “Boycott”, both on the front of the building and over the 24-hour drive-thru menu. The drive-thru microphone was also filled with spray foam insulation.
2) A crew made a visit to a Starbucks location, which has also been subject to popular boycotts due to their disgusting, ongoing efforts at union-busting. The coffee chain recently sued their workers’ union for expressing pro-Palestine sentiments on social media. Visitors wheatpasted pro-Palestine posters and spray painted “Free Gaza” on the front window. There were attempts to break the side window with bricks, but Starbucks would rather use their ill-gotten gains to reinforce their property with laminated glass than fairly compensate their workers.
3) Neighbors also targeted a Citibank branch. Citibank is the largest bank in Israel and has facilitated billions in military weapon funding to the country. Citibank’s role in occupation and genocide for profit also includes instigating a violent and decades-long U.S. takeover of Haiti. Folks jammed card readers, painted and pasted messages of solidarity with Palestine, and defaced the Citibank doors with the colors of the Palestinian flag. Citibank divested from apartheid South Africa due to immense pressure—we can ensure the same happens in apartheid Israel.
In our attack of these three institutions—three of the many that are complicit in the genocide of Palestinians—we also highlight the intense concentration of wealth, greed, and violence in the heart of one of the richest neighborhoods in Chicago. We can’t let the wealthy Lincoln Park residents sip their coffees, withdraw funds from their banks, and get a meal in comfort while we continue to fund Israel committing genocide against Palestinians.
We draw from long legacies of resistance to inform our praxis in this current moment. We will hone our tactics from this night, recommit ourselves to the struggle, and return to destroy these bloodthirsty institutions until we are all free. We hope others will too. There is always the next night.
Body-worn camera footage of the January 25 incident in Gresham was released by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability today.
Kevin Johnson, like other former police officers on the customer success team, is entitled to a police pension in addition to any salary he collects from SoundThinking.
Four Calumet District tactical unit officers were stripped of their police powers after filing false reports—in one instance, they even let a man wanted for murder walk away smoking his blunt.