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Challenging Raytheon’s complicity with Israeli Genocide

Two reports from the front

Tempest members and other activists report on two actions in solidarity with Palestine and targeting Raytheon for supplying military equipment–including the “Iron Dome” system–to Israel.

El Segundo, CA, November 13–Denée Jackson and Neon

On Monday, November 13, autonomous organizers shut down the El Segundo Campus of Raytheon in response to the Palestinian Trade Union’s call to stop the flow of arms to Israel. Their goal was to shut down work for the day, blocking multiple entrances to the campus and preventing employees from entering. Organizers began showing up at 7 a.m. and blocked three targeted entrances by picketing, holding banners, and notably scattering a bunch of large rocks across the roads.

One anonymous organizer said,

This is not a specific organization. This is a collective of people that got urgently connected to each other with the sole intent of trying to do some tangible action, not just a symbolic action, that would disrupt business as usual. We chose this site because they are responsible for the upkeep of the Iron Dome as well as many other weaponry services.

At the main entrance on East El Segundo Blvd, there weren’t counterprotesters, but there was a large police presence. Police in riot gear shut down the intersection and blocked it with their police SUVs. At 1:20 p.m. they gave a dispersal order that everyone had to leave the intersection by 1:30 or be subject to arrest or violence. At 1:30, we dispersed east down the street. There was one arrest made.

Two masked activists hold a banner, in black and red on white, reading Raytheon Workers: Stop Arming Genocide.
Photo by Denée Jackson.

The back entrance, which had a connected security building and construction project, garnered a much higher police presence in riot gear, and dozens of different Los Angeles regional police (from Culver City to El Segundo) started to show signs of kettling the organizers in the back. The decision the group came to was that most would disperse at the first dispersal order–and did–and there would be a latter group who stayed and held the line. Some activists who dispersed were later followed and questioned and some were cornered in a nearby shopping plaza.

After the dispersal orders at the back and side entrances, the majority of activists funneled back to the “main” rally at the front. Vivid red paint on street poles and construction signs called Raytheon out for their complicit actions in genocide. One activist was notably able to douse the Raytheon company sign in the front with red paint to symbolize the blood on their hands.

There were three groups in communication with one another trying to block two main entrances as well as a third side entrance. The back entrance, miles away from the more public front campus, had higher security and police presence. As dozens of police in riot gear started showing up and blocking off the streets from the back, a call for support was answered by those in the front coming to add to the masses as well as observe the increasing police presence.

The atmosphere was energetic. There were folks holding banners at the intersection of the major entrance of Raytheon. Behind them, people were picketing and chanting “free free Palestine” and “not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes” among other chants. Folks took care of one another as there were bags of water and snacks at each of the three entrances.

As employees tried to enter the building and more confrontations happened with activists, tensions rose. One security guard at the turnstile entrance threatened an activist to take him on “one on one,” calling them “pussies.”

Police focused on the protesters gathering at the back entrance, and as dozens of police swarmed from the streets and police helicopters flew above, organizers had to regroup and plan  how they wanted to respond to dispersal orders. Support was also called to the back entrance as activists walked the miles from the front just to rally and stand with the smaller, but riskier group in the back. The mass escalation of police confrontation and attempted kettling increased tensions as nearby scouts noted dozens of militarized sheriff vehicles as well as a large mobile command vehicle all speeding towards the between thirty and fifty activists picketing in the back.

Two cops in riot gear flank the sign at the entrance of Raytheon Intelligence and Aerospace in El Segundo. There is red paint dripping from the white sign.
Photo by Denée Jackson.

There were two noted Zionist encounters – one who drove by with an IDF flag and one resulting in some fist fighting. Later reports said that the Zionists had suffered most of the blows.

The organizer commented,

This is the largest we’ve seen any kind of attention towards Palestine in a very very long time and it’s heartening to see people of all different creeds and colors come out because they recognize the fight for liberation is one of solidarity and can only be won with solidarity.

Another participant said,

We living here in the imperial core can’t just sit by and do nothing, our tax dollars are going toward this. This was an action in solidarity with the Workers in Palestine. We are doing what they have asked us to do and we are calling more people to do what they have asked.

Tucson, AZ, November 2–Hannah M.

The newly formed Tucson Coalition for Palestine, with co-sponsorship from Arizona Palestine Solidarity Alliance (APSA) and Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP), planned a die-in that blocked one of Raytheon’s entrances in Tucson on November 2. People were lying on the ground with signs and white sheets to represent bringing the death and genocide to Raytheon’s doorstep. People lay on the ground for about 45 minutes and then continued with a 45-minute rally/chanting session.
There were over 120 people there and organizers used encrypted platforms to collect people to do further organizing. No arrests were made.

The start of it, which was the die-in, was silent, which was sober and intense, with a vigil-like vibe. However, people said it was a powerful moment of sharing collective grief. The second part was much more upbeat and energetic with a lot of chanting. We ended with a song that felt cool as a way to wrap up the event and feel our collective strength. There was one counter-protester in their car who did not affect the event.

People said they found out about the event through personal connections and through social media. The main message was that Tucson is rejecting the genocide/war economy in which the city is entrenched.

About 60 masked activists wearing black are gathered on pavement near railroad tracks. In the foreground, two hold a banner, reading, in white on black, "From Palestine to O'Odham land: Resist Colonialism." There is an image of a figure throwing a rock.
Photo by Hannah M.

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Denée Jackson, Neon, and Hannah M. View All

Denée Jackson (she/her) is a bi-racial (black and white) queer woman with Jewish ancestry. She is based in Los Angeles and has organizing roots in Tucson. She's a member of the Tempest Collective and Black Lives Matter LA; she also practices transformative justice in community settings.

Neon is a part of various queer collectives and organizing groups around the Tongva Land (‘Los Angeles’).

Hannah M. is a Tucson Branch member of Tempest who resides on the occupied land of Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes.