A Call for Solidarity with Palestine and the World’s Oppressed

Today the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, comes at a time of intensified aggression by occupation forces and violence in Palestine and throughout the region. As conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate globally, the situation is amongst the worst facing Palestinians since 1948.

In Palestine, Zionist settlement expansion continues to usurp more land unabated in the West Bank, while settler and soldier violence has reached relentless levels in all of historic Palestine. Meanwhile, Gaza has experienced three devastating assaults by Israel since 2008 -- which according to a recent UN report will render the strip uninhabitable within five years.

    Individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation. 

Palestinians have watched helplessly, as every so called peace process since Oslo, has only served to provide Israel with diplomatic cover, to kill and blatantly steal more land and consolidate power. Meanwhile, the international “quartet” tasked with negotiating a solution are consumed by violence they are responsible for creating, thus rendering hopeless any chance of creating a more peaceful solution, in the foreseeable future.

As the complacent Palestinian leadership, tasked with the role of suppressing resistance, serves to accelerate the colonization of our homeland –the situation becomes more desperate than ever. In what many have called a Third Intifada, individual Palestinians are lashing out with kitchen knives and whatever limited means available to resist the bleak situation.

The acts of resistance by Palestinian youth are spontaneous expressions of anger - yet lack sufficient organization and strategic direction, calling into question whether the demonstrations can be sustained. Despite a lack of political leadership or clear organization, the Palestinian people continue their struggle for freedom against one of the world’s largest and most powerful militaries in the world. Regardless of what it’s called, the biggest achievement of the latest surge of rebellions is its ability to reactivate the youth to directly confront Zionism.	

Palestinian Youth Movement Call for Solidarity	

To combat this Zionist project of erasure, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) the only transnational, independent, grassroots movement made up of Palestinians in exile, and within historic Palestine, put out the following statement:

“On this international day of solidarity November 29, 2015, the PYM calls on Palestinians worldwide and the solidarity movement to join us in support of the Palestinian resistance, culminating in an international mobilization on this day, and until Palestine is free: Our aspirations for justice and liberation motivate us to assume an active role as a young generation in our national struggle for the liberation of our homeland and people.

In recent weeks, Al-Aqsa Mosque has been the target of particularly brutal assaults while arbitrary killings are committed daily by the Zionist military and settlers and mass youth arrests are implemented in Palestine. In response to this Zionist violence, we must recognise that resistance is a mandatory element to surviving in the face of an ongoing project of ethnic cleansing.”	

Solidarity glimmers, beyond the otherwise bleak horizon	

As a principle, solidarity with the world's oppressed provides a guiding light of how to navigate in an increasingly hostile, complex and violent world. Every day in the corporate media - from Palestine to Iraq, Syria, Ferguson and beyond, we are bombarded with images of mass violence and those spewing hate against poor people and people of color.

    Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers--in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel's borders and in the diaspora. 

Settlers, police and soldiers are portrayed as the victims, while given free range and even incited by government officials to kill with impunity, while media pundits provide no context or cause of the violence. In 2005, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) call was signed by more than 170 civil society organizations and has gained unprecedented global success, and its leadership has filled an important vacuum left by the traditional political parties.

Likewise solidarity for Palestinians means overcoming the media misinformation and recognizing that #BlackLivesMatter and Indigenous peoples around the world that are killed with the same impunity. For us to be in solidarity means we too must make these connections and understand that all state violence is connected - while working to address the root causes. BDS is central to our movement, however BDS alone is not enough. A genuine strategy for Palestinian liberation must be based on uniting all Palestinian workers--in the West Bank and Gaza, within Israel's borders and in the diaspora. The Palestinian working class can then make regional and international alliances with all those seeking the democratic self- activity necessary for liberation.	

Road Map to Peace, Where to Begin?

Solidarity statements with Palestine are an important first step. Yet to transform the oppressive nature of occupation, we must navigate from this initial symbolic show of support - to practical liberatory action. We can begin by looking at historic and current examples - both of which provide an excellent source of inspiration.

    As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America. 

Emigrating after the First World War, Palestinians created the first Palestinian institutions outside of Palestine, in Latin America. As early as 1920 and by 1947 there was a strong lobby in several countries against the partition of Palestine by the United Nations.Today Latin American solidarity is expressed in a variety of forms of delegations and cooperation, and organizations in Latin America demanding their governments break all relations with Israel.

As solidarity among oppressed peoples grew historically–so did Israel’s cooperation with dictators in techniques of surveillance, detention, torture and death squads in Latin America such as Somoza in Nicaragua and Pinochet in Chile. Today Israel shares “expertise” with U.S. police under “various facets of counter-terrorism and first response to better protect the American people." And as “cooperation” increases we see in both instances, an increasing number of victims are blamed for their own murders, even when evidence is clear they provided no threat whatsoever.	

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Exporting Global Repression	

Israel is perfecting surveillance, and one of the top occupation profiteers, through the surveillance of the Palestinian people. Using knowledge and expertise gained from assisting in the occupation of Palestinians, the Israeli defense systems company, Elbit, has made millions exporting surveillance worldwide – and increasingly in Latin America. While, Israel’s role in arming dictators and oppressive regimes in Latin America during the last century is well documented, Elbit, is at the forefront of a new growing movement working in at least five Latin American countries, as well as along the U.S.-Mexico border.	

Elbit - Crossing Borders, Building Fortress Walls	

The technology Elbit is using to profit off of the “Wall of Death” along the U.S.-Mexico border was first deployed in Palestine along Israel’s Apartheid Wall that in 2004. The International Court of Justice ruled was illegal, and must be torn down, and that Israel must pay reparations. Despite this ruling, Elbit continues to participate in the maintenance of the Wall, thereby being complicit in a grave breach of international law, which is a war crime.	
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G4S - Leading Repression in Palestine and Globally	

In August 2015, more than 1,100 prominent Black activists, artists, scholars, students and organizations signed a historic Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine. As part of the BDS campaign, they are taking up targeting the British security company G4S that backs Israel’s notorious prisons. From their statement:

“G4S is the world’s largest private security company. G4S harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the U.S. The corporation profits from incarceration and deportation from the US and Palestine, to the UK, South Africa, and Australia.

This article was originally published on Telesur: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/A-Call-for-Solidarity-with-Palestine-and-the-Worlds-Oppressed-20151128-0012.html

Falling Stars Raise $65 million for Apartheid, Occupation and Ethnic Cleansing in One Year

LOS ANGELES: On Thursday November 4th, a fundraiser in aid of the occupying Israeli army featured B list Hollywood actors such as Jason Alexander, Antonio Banderas, Liev Schreiber, Jason Segel and Gene Simmons and brought in a whopping “$31 million, as some 1,200 people turned out for an annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) gala.”

In fact, just last November, yet more falling stars raised over $33 mill: “Barbra Streisand, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pamela Anderson were among 1,200 guests who attended the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event at which the unprecedented sum was raised. “It is incredibly touching to see how advocacy for the FIDF has grown in Los Angeles,” said Haim Saban, the American-Israeli philanthropist who chaired the gala.”

Only in entertainment land, master of creating false illusions LOS ANGELES (a city it may be more accurate to call Los Oscuro Angeles, or city of dark/fallen angels/devils!?) is it possible to raise nearly $65 million for an illegal occupying army in one year. Not to mention this occupying welfare state, is already the largest recipient to US aid in the tune of over $3 billion a year – and is currently seeking another $50 billion from US tax payers over the next 10 years!

It seems clear that Hollywood is divided zionist/occupied territory: primarily by those needing a career boost, that follow the script of execs beholden to Israel to gain power in Tinseltown. An article titled, Simmering Conflict in Hollywood Over Israel, revealed how this process works “celebrity criticism of Israel led to recriminations from pro-Israel stars and threats to blacklist those who spoke out against the military operation.”

Pleading ignorance is no excuse, everyone knows Israel is an occupying army, guilty of violating countless UN resolutions and international laws – since its inception. At the least to do or say nothing of the crimes committed by an illegal occupying army, is to be complicit in its crimes. To raise 10’s of millions of dollars for it, is directly supporting state sponsored terror, guilty of no less crimes than those of the nazis.

We would condemn in strongest terms (which we should), and call to boycott:  who raise funds to support the occupation of Palestine – in no uncertain terms. Here they even sink so far as to boast about sending foreign mercenaries to colonize and terrorize the Palestinian people, on their own land:

The evening focused on the IDF’s lone soldiers, who leave their families and native countries behind to serve in the army, and included testimonies from the mothers of fallen soldiers. It also featured a presentation from a US veteran on the impact of Israeli medical technology on the lives of Americans.

But no need really, as they are clearly writing themselves into the dust bins of history as fallen stars- that will do anything for a buck!
geneThat’s OK – we’ve got Hollywood royalty of the likes of – Penelope, Javier, Riri and Selena and KimK., among others❤

Spanish actor Javier Bardem, nominated for best actor in a drama for his work in

Spanish actor Javier Bardem, nominated for best actor in a drama for his work in “The Sea Inside,” arrives for the 62nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2005, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

keeping it far classier. Now we just need to ask them to put on a fundraiser for Palestine!😉

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Meanwhile, some great news from PORTLAND! Unlike opportunistic Hollywood and those doing it for political and or economic gain, normal every day citizens along with the Human Rights Commission upheld their endorsement of an ‪#‎OccupationFree‬ Portland.

Following a 3.5 hour hearing last night (Wednesday 11/4), the HRC held strong to their endorsement of Occupation-Free Portland’s letter to the City Socially Responsible Investments Committee to put Caterpillar, G4S, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions on the City’s Do-Not-Buy list for these companies human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

#YAY #BDS #Winning

Sliding down the slippery slope..

An article in this week’s East Bay Express: Counter-Terrorism Officials Helped Track Black Lives Matter Protesters highlighted the next phase in the progression of what is a historic, ongoing and escalating trend of using regressive laws and abusive practices against activists. Just as cointel-pro was designed to destroy the black power and anti war movements, the same attack is now taking place against the black lives matter movement – in addition to the regular and ongoing scapegoating/criminalizing of immigrants, Arabs and Muslims.
Across the board the goals are the same, but the methods, tools and tactics have rapidly accelerated, since 911 – giving free range for all levels of government (and corporations), to access quite literally unlimited amounts of information. Today never ending streams of data being transmitted and stored at local ‘fusion centers’, and as the article displays – are shared with and coordinated at the local, state & federal levels.
The article documented how, during the #BlackLivesMatter protests in December, law enforcement used tweets several activists, including one I posted, to justify their over reaching response in which an armed undercover officer in plain clothes that pulled out his gun in the middle of a nonviolent protest. The emails in question clearly display how the police use any and all means, no matter how far reaching, to justify regular abusive practices – with full impunity.
In Pasedena a dangerous, new precedent is being set, by charging BLM activist/ community leader Jasmine Richards with “terrorism” charges. Despite a shred of evidence pointing her to any violence or otherwise, this means ‘legally’ – she can be denied a trial, thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA). The irony should not be lost on anyone that these protests originally formed as a result of police misconduct, and impunity. What is abundantly clear – from Ferguson to NYC, to Oakland and beyond, is that millions of American’s have had the exact same experience.
In this case, placing an armed undercover officer amongst protesters to provoke and threaten peaceful protesters is beyond troubling. If protesters had not reacted with such discipline, and instead in self defence – this situation could have deteriorated disastrously for everyone involved; and we’re all lucky that no one was hurt. In fact, no where in the police emails is there any reference to the authorities concern for public saftey, or restraining such methods. Yet, the main justification for increasing police, weapons and militarization costing countless trillions, is for public safety.In fact, last week the trial closed for the 400+ of us that the OPD illegally kettled and arrested in 2011 during occupy. I just received the email stating that we “were exonerated, and found factually innocent”, and they agreed to pay out thousands of dollars to settle our case – like countless millions of dollars paid by the OPD to settle claims of abuse. In fact, my arresting officer during the 2011 protest was a childhood friend, who I have seen drastically change, before and after he became an OPD.

In fact, neither the occupation of Palestine or the notorious Egyptian police state, would be possible without the full support of the US government. I witnessed in both of those places, how undercover thugs and agent provocoteurs are used to create chaos and disruption, and how social media activists end up in administrative detention in a dungeon indefinitely. This is of course made possible and paid for, with our hard earned tax dollars, to abuse, arm train, support and fund- the world over – and now more than ever, here at home.

The ultimate irony was that my tweet that was used in the surveillance, was clearly referring to “dreaming” of shutting it all down, not in any reference to an actual action or plan. In light of the overwhelming evidence that the system is not going to fix itself – it’s up to us to build a movement. I will continue to dream and work with to shut down the free ways, ports and the whole damn town – until justice is served. It is the only hope for a future for and by the people….rather inching ever closer to the very real police state. We the people, must work together to take back what’s all of ours, from those who as Noam Chomsky says – are the worlds biggest terrorists, the US government. We deserve nothing less.

Related article: We’re Living in a Police State

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Goals and demands of the War Resister’s League Facing Tear Gas campaign, to put an end to the Urban Area Security Initiative/Urban Shield: 

A new generation is fighting not only to hold individual police officers responsible for their violence, but to indict an entire system built around brutality and racism.

Militarism is guns, armored tanks and drones, but it’s also a state of mind. Militarized mentalities have permeated U.S police departments and amplified dramatically the force of police violence against our communities. It has also begun to infuse emergency preparedness. Now Fire-fighters and EMT are training right along with heavily armed SWAT teams, all funded by the Department of Homeland Security (the original DHS).  Join us in challenging these harmful forces, striking at the $500 million (plus) grant program—UASI—that strengthens and unifies state repression. Support imagining a world where we get to decide how to take care of one another. Lift up community wellness, resilience, and safety. Together we can Demilitarize Health & Security!

GOALS

  1. Challenge U.S. militarism by dismantling police power in our communities & internationally.
  2. End the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), a Department of Homeland Security grant program.
  3. Communities define priorities for public safety and emergency preparedness.

DEMANDS
ONE

  1. We demand city and state governments publicly report all collaborations with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, such as weapons transfers, information and resource sharing, and training (e.g., SWAT).
  2. We demand city, state, and federal police agencies in the U.S. end all collaboration with the police, military, and intelligence agencies of other repressive states (e.g., Israel, the Philippines, etc.).
  3. We call on U.S. cities to reject all U.S. wars and occupations.

TWO

  1. We demand the federal government repeal UASI.
  2. We demand city and state agencies permanently withdraw participation in UASI programs.
  3. We demand participating city and state governments end all existing and pending contracts with UASI.
  4. We call on non-participating urban areas to commit to non-compliance with UASI.
  5. We demand private companies end existing and pending contracts with UASI programs.

THREE

  1. We demand city, state, and the federal government shift resources from policing and militarization toward community-based programs that promote common well-being and reduce harm.
  2. We demand emergency response agencies center care and community wellness, not repression and militarization, in their life-saving work.
  3. We call on each other to build on existing resistance to state violence and repression, and in doing so to create and strengthen healthy, resilient, and self-determining communities.

Help keep the massive locomotive, from derailing and destroying everything in its path

Support the national #USWstrike to keep the massive oil industry locomotive, from derailing and destroying everything in its path!

Yesterday yet another catastrophe occurred in Southern California where an Explosion Ripped Through the Torrence Oil Refinery.
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Coincidentally(?) these disaster’s are occurring, just as the national #USWstrike of steel and oil workers, is getting under way over safety and working conditions and use of untrained contractors. This strike is critical in importance for us all to support, as they may be the only hope in keeping the massive locomotive of the oil industry from derailment. Not to mention, the key source of why/who we wage resource wars throughout the planet for, and now as we are seeing, one chemical spill and environmental disaster after another – due to the greed and profit above all, at any cost – attitude of the oil industry.
Yesterday the environmental justice movement, called on community supporters to join and support the picket, and present included those from local unions including the ILWU/longshoremen and several other concerned citizens and groups. The strongest allies of all, by far – were the nurses, who showed their strength in numbers and with their signs and chants and were very outspoken towards the scabs that crossed the lines.
‘Not about the money’
I asked workers about their conditions and several were quick to jump in and share horror stories about safety issues they are dealing with, including co-workers getting burned with acid. Unlike the major/national #fightfor15 and other strikes that are being fought over wages, USW workers state fatigue as hands down the most major concern. One worker wanted to make it abundantly clear that this was not about money, as he made just under ‘six figures’ in regular pay and almost double that with overtime, and only 1% of the company’s total profits go to paying wages. He stated that they work 12 hour days, and have mandatory over time–on top of the regular hours they work, they are required to work a minimum of 1500 additional hours. If they don’t they will be cited and eventually fired. So, they were more concerned about their safety, way of life and of course the strength and power of the union.

Unfortunately, there was no way to stop scabs and management from crossing the picket so trucks and buses with people (hidden) kept cruising by. Apparently they were concerned with legal issues and avoiding an injunction, which would shut down their entire picket. The workers were very happy the community was out there, I think it lifted their spirits and everyone repeatedly thanked me and others for the support. I asked what more we could do, and they just said do more of the same, all day everyday.

The environmental justice movement is planning to show up on Wednesdays regularly. Imo, it would be good to have a regular day weekly to join picket, either weds and/or another day. We may not be able to stop the freight train, but we can definitely put the brakes on to slow it down considerably – the future of our planet may very well depend on it!

Here are the deets:
Join us
WEDNESDAYS’ at 12/noon 

Climate and Environmental Justice Solidarity Day! 
At the USW Local 5 picket line

150 Solano Way, Martinez (or Pacheco, according to Google maps)

In solidarity.

The whole system is guilty for Deah, Yusor and Razan’s murder

My heart breaks a little every time I look at these three shining, beautiful faces.

The lives of these three young people, who were pillars of their communities, were taken far too soon due to a culture that tolerates and one could argue even embraces/encourages – straight hate, targeted violence and white supremacy against arabs, muslims and Black lives/people of color.

hick Cold blooded killer Chris Hicks is not solely guilty in this heinous act, which has exposed the structures which allowed it to happen (is it a coincidence this happened so soon after the racist, top selling, violent movie American Sniper that glorified, and made it fashionable to kill Arabs/Muslims?).

While the media continues with their disgraceful coverage, without an ounce of fact finding, truth checking or outrage at this blatant double standard there is when Arabs or Muslim lives are so viscously taken–one can’t help but notice a pattern of in that respect, to the coverage of police killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

As if/in case (& does anyone) actually believe this vicious cold blooded, pre-meditated murder was over a parking dispute–see the following article, which proves beyond a reasonable doubt this harassment was ongoing and a hate crime: Deah and Yusor didn’t even have a car. “On the day of the murders, Deah had just returned by bus. The only one with a car was the younger sister Razan, who had already parked earlier in the day. The point being: There was no ‘parking dispute’ in close proximity to the actual murders.” Not to even mention his ongoing harassment of the couple, and his countless anti-Islam/religion rants which have been widely documented.

Of all the sick and twisted coverage, Inside Edition takes the cake and epitomizes how demented this media culture has become. With a straight face, clearly without a trace of a conscious – they did a segment about the violent incident – followed up with a ‘how to’ guide on finding parking!

Most apparently, what should be on clear display for anyone paying the least bit of attention to the glaring hypocrisy of the injustice system + police/investigators. Almost as destructive as the crime itself, is the lack of outrage displayed by the news/media coverage (and lack thereof, real journalism). A sure sign of the times we are living in…

SHOW DOWN AT THE PORT OF OAKLAND

Last night for the first time, since my friend who has worked on the port for at least 25 years, the company(s) cut ALL night time shifts from the schedule…indefinitely! This is truly unprecedented, and it’s adding to growing chaos and everyone’s nervousness. Up and down the coast, workers have been increasing in slowing down the unloading of cargo. This has recently transpired in companies cutting shifts as a form of punishment, and now there are even talks of Federal intervention. Several articles and opeds in the SF Chron and other publications, have come out over the past several days talking about all of this.

All the while the ships at sea are backing up, waiting to be unloaded. Meanwhile the situation of workers slowing down in protest, has caused companies to retaliate by cutting hours, thus further delaying the unloading of cargo, cutting even more into their profits- ultimately punishing themselves! Of those most adversely impacted are the truckers who have had double and triple delay times, which were already intolerable to begin with.

ContainerYard-1992x753

The main issue seems to be that there is still no contract, and there is no end in sight as to if or when their will be any progress made. Making matters worse is that workers have absolutely no idea or details whatsoever, about anything such as what the issues are or what is being negotiated, creating growing distrust of management.

This complicated show down is causing tension, uncertainty and anxiety for all involved. Of course everyone’s concerns are for different reasons, depending on their interests. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems no one is in charge and that this chaos is due to no clear strategy by union management, employers or government officials to come up with real and lasting solutions.

As community activists, we should consider reaching out to workers and support the rank and files efforts to slow down and take a stand; as it seems possible the time is coming for a legendary ILWU fightback.
ilwu

End of an era, and some reflections on the road to tahrir…

After about about 14 years of working full time as an activist and nonprofit worker. . . the time has come, to make profit! I just passed my insurance exam and beginning Monday, will begin working for the Office Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) selling life and health insurance to union reps.This is an end of an era for me that began soon after 9/11. Before that I was doing basic sales and marketing jobs that were rather unfulfilling but were fun and paid well, and I was able to have all the ‘things’ I thought I needed and save money. But when the Israeli government used the cover of 911 to, start massacring Palestinians en mass, bulldozing old people and children in their homes, while the international community of ‘leaders’ looked on, I realized then than I must drop everything and do all that was in my power to make it stop. That led me to join the International solidarity movement and use my body and my privilege to challenge the occupation, in a very direct way.

I no longer stand in front of occupation bulldozers or inhale tear gas for sport, but as I began to learn about all the injustices happening in the world and the deep level of systemic corruption and complicity esp here in the US-and how it’s all connected–it feels like being on the front line in a much different way.

detoit

This has been a most incredible journey with countless ups and downs, which has ultimately brought me up close and personal with some of the horrors that are going on in the world. What I have learned is that Palestine is a microcosm that and what those who do not accept poverty, oppression and imprisonment by the powers that seek to oppress, as we can see so clearly with the ratcheting up of the police state / state surveillance here.

Though it has been a rocky road with many twists and turns, what has been most profound and made it all worthwhile -is getting to know some of the people from all over the world, that also care deeply and are committed to spending their lives working for justice. Ultimately, I believe we the people of the world have far more in common than our so called leaders…and that if anything is going to change, we must all do everything in our power to make it so, and it is in all of our interest to work together. Also that it is the people in all of these places that are most directly impacted by these policies whether they are poor, people of color and working that must lead these struggles but for who it is so extremely difficult to fight the good fight, and so busy fighting for our survival. My biggest fear is that I will be all consumed with work, and not have time to balance with activism, and self care.

May 2015 be the time we all begin to fight not only for our survival, but to live…unafraid, and willing to stand up for what we believe. May we follow our hearts instead of the dollar, but still make enough to care for ourselves and families…while we support and struggle for justice. Here is my former blog and some observations, on my road to tahrir or liberation, and this journey we call life:  http://palestinehumanrights.blogspot.com/2006/06/caged-in-locked-out.html

To life, love and revolution yall❤