Yes, Berkeley Can Boycott Amazon and Microsoft Over ICE Contracts

Consumer boycotts don’t work very well in our highly fragmented global marketplace. But imagine a city with the resources to assign a project manager to a boycott. And imagine you’re a councilmember in that city thinking about your role in stopping the rise of American fascism.

You might decide to go after two of the corporations feeding data to ICE, Trump’s detention and deportation machine. This is what Berkeley councilors are considering.

Can Berkeley Boycott Amazon?

The Times reports from a city IT memo questioning the feasibility of moving off Amazon; those objections are minor and Berkeley’s next steps will make it easy for other cities to follow. The PM for Berkeley’s Amazon boycott should work transparently and publish a DIY report on the full switchover. Kate Harrison, who I worked to elect in 2017, is right: “If we identify a company involved in data brokerage for ICE, and we have an alternative, we should take the alternative.”

As hundreds of peer reviews from Gartner show, there are several major competitors to Amazon’s cloud storage services. Adding a migration away from AWS to a city IT schedule is feasible. Berkeley’s City Manager also cites Nextdoor and Airbnb as services the City uses that are on AWS. I’m sure the city could stop paying these services in the pursuit of immigrant justice.

Is a Berkeley Amazon / Microsoft boycott technically feasible? Yes.