Supporters of justice for the Palestinian people have targeted Caterpillar Distribution Center in Roseville, Minn., for the company’s role in manufacturing the bulldozers that Israel uses to demolish Palestinian homes. Student activists at Macalester College blocked the driveway to the plant on April 20. The Macalester Peace and Justice Committee/Students for a Democratic Society issued the following statement to explain why they were taking action.
We, Macalester Peace and Justice Committee/Students for a Democratic Society, block Caterpillar’s driveway because Caterpillar must be held responsible for the things from which they profit.
Caterpillar bulldozers are used to clear-cut forests and demolish natural habitats, clear out slums that are the homes of millions in brutal “cleaning” operations, and, perhaps most visibly, the Caterpillar bulldozer is the weapon of choice in Israel’s systematic assault on the Palestinian people.
Caterpillar executives cannot be divorced from responsibility for the consequences of their profit. Caterpillar executives may not be the ones driving the bulldozers, but they gain directly from the injustice and oppression that their products propagate across the globe.
Specially armored Caterpillar bulldozers are Israel’s tools for the relentless, slow-motion destruction of Palestinian lives, homes and livelihoods. Israel uses Caterpillar to demolish Palestinian homes, rip up Palestinian olive groves and build new settler homes with manicured lawns and central air.
Since 1967, Israel has demolished 24,145 Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories; in the same time period, Israel has built 214 settlements and erected a separation wall that cuts deep into the West Bank. Time after time, settlements “spring up” right where they are most disruptive to local economies, while Israel further shatters trade routes and freedom of movement with apartheid walls, Israeli-only roads and pervasive checkpoints.
The goal is to push Palestinian’s off the land, leaving it open for Israeli settlement. This is not a complicated issue–Israel is enacting a policy of ethnic cleansing and apartheid onto the Palestinian peoples.
We’ve put our bodies here today to oppose Caterpillar’s participation in occupation and injustice. We disrupt business as usual and take direct action against Caterpillar because, despite years of letters, pickets and marches, Caterpillar continues to ignore the blood on their profits. We ask workers and drivers at this center for their patience and solidarity in the struggle to do our part here, now, to end oppression where it grows boldest.
We share in the responsibility to resist colonialism, imperialism and oppression propagated by U.S. corporations. We believe that resisting injustice is a fundamental human concern and that the sale of Caterpillar equipment to shore-up apartheid borders, clear-cut forests and natural habitats and devastate communities is an affront to all people everywhere.
We cannot continue to allow the voices of oppressed peoples to be silenced, no matter how distant. We are committed to holding corporations accountable for their profits, whatever it takes.
In solidarity with the people and the planet,
Macalester Peace and Justice Committee/Students for a Democratic Society
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