Local Action Resources - Stepping Up to Divestment
So your group has been meeting, inviting speakers, reading and discussing Palestine. Now you are ready to work for change by engaging in a solid Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against G4S, but you are unsure how to do that. This campaign packet is designed for you. By urging local governments to divest from contracts with this company, we aim to mainstream Israeli abuse of Palestinian children and also put pressure on G4S to abandon its work with the Israeli occupation system.
We invite you to join us. BDS has proven its worth, especially in South Africa, where grassroots groups organized campaigns targeting companies that enabled apartheid. The strategy produced amazing results, and we believe this is our South Africa moment, as BDS is now drawing support from around the world. This packet outlines ways to join this effort on behalf of Palestinians. It focuses on G4S, but the methods are universal and apply to campaigns against other companies as well.
Much of the work done by your local government involves contracts with outside companies. Typically a local governmental entity will announce a contract opportunity on an online procurement portal, and companies will then bid for that contract. After a set time (typically a few months) bidding will close and the city council, school board or other entity will then review each bid, and decide on an award. The contract will then enter into force for a specified period of time. After that period the contract will expire and the process starts again.
We encourage groups to work on municipal campaigns, targeting local government entities that have contracted, or are proposing to contract with G4S in their areas. Get to know the local political powers and learn how the system works, who makes contracting decisions and what BDS targets are the most strategic in your area.
G4S engages in a specific range of activities, so you do not need to exhaustively look through every contract your municipality puts out. The company is unlikely to be bidding on playground equipment for a local school, but they might be seeking to provide the metal detectors for that same school. In the USA, with a few notable exceptions, it’s unlikely you’ll see a guard in a G4S uniform, but you will probably find many contracts for equipment installed and maintained by G4S, in prisons, jails, deportation facilities, and police stations.
Start by searching Google for your local city procurement portal. If you can't find G4S at first, it is possible that its contracts in your area are being managed by one of its many subsidiaries so be sure to confirm the ownership of the security contractors in your area. See below for a map of the US, showing local public contracts with G4S we've found so far. Use this tool to search your city or if you find a G4S contract we don't know about be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll add it to the map immediately.
Even though G4S is the largest private security company in the world it's not found everywhere. It is possible that none of your local government entities have a G4S contract, or perhaps there isn't one that can be effectively attacked. Don’t despair! Another option is to lobby for a proactive ban against corporations with a proven track record of violating human rights, which obviously includes G4S, or to find another local target that oppresses Palestinians and other groups around the world and mobilize against them!
Distribute these resources at protests or local actions in your area.