by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action-L.A.
As this issue of Change-Links was going to press, daily demonstrations were taking place in LA against police murders and against the massacres in Gaza. Increasingly, people are linking the two causes, recognizing that we live in a seamless empire where the same tear gas projectiles are used in Ferguson by militarized local police and state troopers, in Gaza by the occupying Israeli military, and in Egypt by the US-backed military junta.
People recognize, too, that children — and our collective future — are under attack, whether at the militarily-imposed US border against refugee indigenous children; or in the ghettos and barrios of US cities where police function as an occupying army and internal border guard enforcing white supremacy; or in Gaza, where 1 million of the 1.8 million inhabitants are under 18; or in Africa, where treatable ailments from AIDS to Ebola are allowed to fester, and US-provoked warlords kidnap children into their “militias.”
One effort to organize and educate about these connections is a growing campaign to boycott Hewlett-Packard. You’ve probably heard of HP. You may have one of their printers, or resent how much you pay for their ink. You might remember when their former CEO Carly Fiorina ran a right-wing campaign for the US Senate, or told Forbes “There’s no job that’s America’s god-given right anymore.” But did you know that HP has profited from prison labor? That HP is one of the 25 largest military contractors in the US? That HP profits from providing hardware and software to run the apartheid system of controlling the Palestinians, and technology to the Israeli military including the navy that has enforced the blockade of Gaza? HP exemplifies the integration of big capital and the state under imperialism in creating a militarized surveillance-security police state.
HP has a multi-million dollar contract with the California state prison and parole system, to create a digital database of all the information about prisoners and parolees, including who visits them. HP provides surveillance equipment to track dissidents in China and Iran, and has pleaded guilty to bribery of Polish, Russian and Mexican officials to get their business. HP has contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to speed up deportation processing, and to train federal agents in a course on forensic computing.
HP tries to present itself as a “good corporate citizen,” with a code of ethics. But the fact is HP specializes in technologies to identify, monitor and control large populations. It sells them to prison authorities, immigration police, military forces and repressive regimes. These products are designed to limit human and civil rights, and threaten all of us.
If you’re concerned about US support for Israeli massacres and illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories; about outsourcing; about surveillance; about mass incarceration and solitary confinement when HP’s software identifies a prisoner as a “risk;” about record deportations that are tearing apart working families; it’s time to take action! Boycott HP Now!
For HP, surveillance, repression, incarceration, deportation, and militarism are profit centers, along with their ink, computers and accessories. For us, their profit is our loss — loss of freedom, loss of rights, loss of our moral bearings in the world, even loss of life for people in Palestine or prison SHUs. It’s time to stand up, and use our power to hit them where it hurts, in their bottom line. It’s time to wake people up to the threat posed by HP and the systems of surveillance, militarism, and population control they enable. It’s time to take back our power to shape a future based on human needs and freedom, on the solidarity of workers and oppressed people everywhere, whether in the ports, the prisons or Palestine.
For more information, email HPboycottcampaign.firstname.lastname@example.org