On the United Nations Day of the Girl Child, held on October 11th, 2017, the Tricycle Collective posted a link to assist us in raising upwards of $2,500, funded through a corporate donor. The donor company, Caterpillar is an American-owned heavy machinery and apparel company. Caterpillar contacted Tricycle Collective when the company decided to take part in the UN Day for the Girl Child, through making a corporate donation to a woman-run organization. Since October 11th, the members of Tricycle Collective have come to the consensus that we will not be accepting the $1000 that was raised through the social media campaign for the reasons that follow.
The Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions movement, also known as the BDS movement, is a Palestinian led political and economic campaign to end the international economic, political and military empowerment of Israel; a movement that recognizes that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as all other humans. The BDS movement, builds power through encouraging broad disinvestment in Israeli stocks and corporations, consumer campaigns, and socially responsible investment.
Caterpillar is broadly boycotted by the BDS movement for the terror they are responsible for inflicting, whether directly or indirectly onto people in Palestine. Caterpillar machinery is used to forcibly remove Palestinian settlements and demolish buildings in the West Bank and Gaza, and their equipment has also been used to physically injure Palestinian people. Caterpillar is a direct instrument of the encroachment and dispossession of Palestinian homes and land by Israeli forces. Given what the mission of the Tricycle Collective is about, keeping families in their homes in an economic climate that has intentionally destabilized the lives of low-income homeowners and women of color in particular, Tricycle Collective will not be accepting funding or in-kind donations from Caterpillar.
Locally, Caterpillar’s ownership and management teams regularly engage in contract negotiation strategies that have destabilized the lives of thousands of North American workers. The company’s inability to bargain in good faith with worker’s unions, and the repeated closure of North American worksites has contributed the decline of stable unionized jobs for working class people in the United States and Canada. We know that a secure workplace and a living wage are essential to the maintenance of a home, and see the struggle for decent and secure wages as part of the fight for housing security. In addition to our commitment to BDS, we acknowledge that a company who intentionally destabilizes the lives of working class people is not aligned with our work.
We have a responsibility to make transnational connections to the work we carry out in our own communities. Our struggle for housing rights and security for families in Detroit are entwined with the demolition of Palestinian settlements overseas. Housing insecurity is a global crisis that requires global solutions, even though most of the time we are only capable of committing ourselves to actions locally. Making a commitment to support the BDS movement allows us to stretch our work beyond the city. A company that directly benefits from a multi-tiered contract with the Israeli military, and acts as a mechanism for Palestinian enclosure and removal has no interest in keeping families and people of color housed in Detroit. They do have taxable interests, to donate charitably.
To learn more about the BDS movement, please visit the BDS.net: https://bdsmovement.net/.
In solidarity with the BDS movement and the people of Palestine,
The Tricycle Collective members.