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Victory at Intel

July 2, 2024

Late last year the computer-chip manufacturer Intel announced that it was planning a $25 billion expansion of its factory at Kiryat Gat in Israel, just miles from the border of the Gaza Strip. Intel had been a target of the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement for years but this expansion put them in the top rank of companies doing unscrupulous business with the genocidal Israeli state.

Campaigns sprang up at the sites of Intel’s campuses in the US, including its largest: the sprawling Ronler Acres facility in Hillsboro, Oregon, just outside of Portland. I worked with Portland DSA and a group of Intel employees to organize a rally in January at that facility, where a big crowd showed up at dawn in the pouring rain to block several entrances and disrupt Intel’s regular business for a few hours. I had painted a series of banners and produced a stack of screenprinted signs for the event.

Over the next few months we continued to organize inside and outside the facility; producing and distributing flyers that described Intel’s complicity in genocide to employees arriving at the facility. We helped the growing group of horrified Intel employees find each other and figure out ways to create pressure from the inside. We made connections to workers who were organizing at other Intel facilities as well, like the big ones in Chandler, AZ.

On April 15th of this year, we joined in the call for economic action against the Israeli genocide with another rally at the Ronler Acres facility, where we blocked different entrances and shut down entry and exit activity at portions of the plant for another lengthy period. We found ourselves joined by numerous employees who came out of the plant to see what we were doing, and who then took signs and joined the picket line. A simultaneous rally was held at the Chandler campus, where one Intel employee walked off the site and resigned in protest of Intel’s refusal to divest.

A couple of weeks later, we were in the process of planning another action: a surprise rally targeting Intel’s “Family Day”; the largest public event of the year at the Ronler Acres campus, where employees are invited to bring their families for a day to visit the facility. A slight security slip led to some of our plans being posted in a public Signal chat; and within hours we heard through our employee contacts that Intel had canceled the event. This was a dramatic and expensive choice, and it gave us pause to realize exactly how terrified the company was of the prospect of their employees and their families encountering a group of people armed only with flyers and a desire to educate their community about the realities of the genocide in Gaza.

Then the bombshell- in early June Intel announced that it was halting construction of the Kiryat Gat facility. While many factors contributed to this decision, including the rapidly deteriorating Israeli economy, the ongoing Palestinian resistance, and Intel’s own financial troubles, it’s also true that the international BDS campaigns that we in Portland DSA were a part of played a role in shaking the foundations of this company to their core.

The struggle to get Intel to completely divest from Israel continues, but it’s vital to be able to celebrate our victories when we have them- and this, for the BDS movement, is the biggest one yet.

Anti-capitalismAnti-warGlobal SolidarityIndigenous ResistanceLaborSocial Movements

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