Letter: Divestment and mass incarceration are inextricably linked

    The following is a Letter to the Editor submitted to North by Northwestern and does not reflect the views of its editorial board.

    On your way to class Tuesday, you will see a demonstration at the Rock depicting the mistreatment of detainees by G4S security personnel. The action is being put on by the organizers of NU Divest and Unshackle NU, who later in the day will be hosting a teach-in along with MEChA de NU on G4S and its activity at the Mexico-US border.

    Many wonder why those who are passionate about ending the carceral US state are also advocates of divesting from companies whose activity takes place in the occupied territories of Palestine. Upon closer examination, the intersectionalities of our struggles become readily apparent and this collaboration should come as no surprise.

    Both of our resolutions call for the removal of University holdings in G4S, the world’s largest private security company. The company’s illicit activity worldwide is fundamentally attached to the policing of Black and Brown bodies, both in the United States and the occupied territories of Palestine. G4S spends millions of dollars lobbying for laws that help disenfranchise Black Americans and keep private prisons full. G4S administers inhumane conditions during the transportation of undocumented migrants at the Mexico-US Borderlands, en route to detention centers where they are indefinitely held before their deportation. In Palestine, G4S security technology is present at checkpoints and private prisons that maintain Israel’s apartheid policies. Security services are offered to illegal settlements built on seized Palestinian land.

    That G4S is included in both of our resolutions in the smallest thing our movements have in common. Together we eschew the systems of white supremacy and colonialism that chain Black and Brown bodies, and will not allow our university to remain complicit by investing in companies such as G4S that turn these systems into an industry for profit. We do not ignore one struggle in favor of another because, as Audre Lorde wrote, “we do not live single-issue lives,” and our organizers have embodied this ideology since the beginning.

    On Wednesday, Unshackle NU will present its resolution to the Associated Student Government, just a year after NU Divest's resolution successfully passed. In this year, historically significant Black-Latinx-Palestinian bonds have been visibly present through countless acts of solidarity on campus. This includes the demands by Black Lives Matter NU that the University adhere to the NU Divest resolution, which followed Student for Justice in Palestine’s strong showing of support at the Concerned Student 1950 action in November.

    We, the organizers of NU Divest and Unshackle NU, write this in solidarity and support of each other’s campaigns. We stand together against the capitalist greed of incarceration of Black and Brown bodies, be it in a migrant detention center or private prison in the US or the occupied territories of Palestine.


    NU Divest and Unshackle NU


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