House floor sees most personal anti-Palestinian attack in its history over apartheid charge.
Archive for category: Palestine
PALESTINE MARCH DC PHOTO: NUHA MAHAROOF / IG (SRI.LANKAN)
When Some Progressive Groups Can Issue Solidarity Statements on Palestine Online, But Cannot Take to the Streets for Palestine, They Lose Credibility
Last Friday, 60 young climate activists from the Sunrise Movement protested in front of the White House. The direct action was fairly mild compared to other Sunrise actions. The event was precipitated by President Joe Biden’s announcement that he would be reducing commitments for climate spending.
Now compare that to the National March for Palestine a week before on Memorial Day weekend when 35,000 protesters showed up in DC from all over the country. Not a single major media outlet covered the event.
Sunrise’s visibility brings a progressive gravitas. So when Sunrise is absent from international solidarity movements, its absence leaves march organizers and Palestinian rights activists rebuking the Gen Z and Gen Y climate movement that is supposed to center voices of color.
Sunrise’s national leadership and its local DC hub discount the intersectionality of the climate movement when they fail to show up. Again and again Sunrise seeks to center voices of young American people of color, but being black and brown and young and woke doesn’t make one immune from U.S. imperialist ambitions in the form of climate hegemony.
“This is the first Sunrise Movement escalated action directly targeting Biden at the White House since he entered the presidency,” a statement from the organization read. “But definitely will not be the last.” https://t.co/FyqAYEeVRI
— The Hill (@thehill) June 4, 2021
The past month’s protests for Palestine were part of a tectonic moment of international solidarity.
The Climate Civilian Corps that Sunrise Movement is currently touting is just another policy puzzle in the arsenal of climate policy. Sunrise Movement’s 400-mile trek is meant to drum up support for a Civilian Climate Corps and Green New Deal. It’s also a media grab to promote the Sunrise brand.
Meanwhile, unfunded and underfunded antiwar organizations do not have the benefit of protecting white spaces, which is essentially what climate activism does with the exception of indigenous water protectors protesting oil pipelines contaminating their land. Sunrise speaks broadly of jobs and has learned to package its messaging to appeal to an audience that rarely challenges the Pentagon as the largest consumer of oil and largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Speaking out with antiwar messaging may dilute the message and hurt Sunrise’s perceived brand. So it treads cautiously. Yet it is for precisely this reason that 60 young activists fighting for environmental protection of white spaces get more media attention than 35,000 Palestinian rights protesters and 100 buses in DC.
The climate movement needs to look inward and see the history and legacy of colonialism and slavery that have led to the climate crisis, including its own erasure of Third World voices and people of color. Sunrise cannot be pro-climate, without being staunchly anti-war. Where will all this money come from for the Climate Corps? The most likely place would be the military budget, which needs to be slashed – hook, line and sinker. Otherwise, climate change advocacy is just middle class idealism against the backdrop of Third World deaths, devastation, and natural resource exploitation.
Playing nice has only gotten climate advocacy so far. President Biden backtracked on half of his promises to placate right-wing Republicans who will sabotage him anyway. President Biden needs to be reminded where his base is and to support those who got him elected, instead of making half-baked attempts at compromise and negotiation with Republican climate deniers.
“Over 35,000 protestors converged in Washington DC this Memorial Day weekend for The National March for Palestine, the largest nationwide protest against U.S. foreign policy in decades.” https://t.co/JEimspe6cs
— Michael Arria (@michaelarria) May 31, 2021
Having Sunrise DC Hub members show up in their individual capacity at Palestine protests instead of with the weight of their organization undermines the antiwar movement. If the Sunrise Movement and other progressive organizations, including Democrat Socialists of America and Justice Democrats, cannot speak out against the war machine in the streets, their words are pie in the sky white solidarity.
Even when 140 Progressive Groups speak out on Palestine, not all of them lend their muscle to actually do the coalition building, grassroots organizing, and media campaigns to support full fledge Palestinian solidarity.
We reached out to Sunrise Movement, DSA, and other major progressive groups to endorse the National March for Palestine, and I am still waiting. These larger progressive organizations can issue solidarity statements until the methane-emitting cows come home, but let’s put this in perspective. Let’s not forget that every cow in Europe gets $2.20 subsidy per day on average. That amount is more than the income of half of the world population. Apparently, it’s better to be a cow in Europe than a poor person in a developing country economically speaking. More than one million people live before the poverty line in Gaza.
Climate groups and other progressive groups suffer from shortsightedness on global antiwar activism. The fossil fuel extraction model depends on the failure of people’s movements to connect the dots on militarism, climate catastrophe, development challenges, energy apartheid, and environmental justice.
📺@LorenzoWard7DC from @DMVBlackLives joined us along with 35,000 supporters of justice for #Palestine on May 29 @ the Lincoln Memorial for the National March for Palestine, led by AMP & @USCMO.
➡️ Don’t forget to sign our petition: https://t.co/EZJLhegMaDhttps://t.co/yOayAHS0kO
— American Muslims for Palestine (@AMPalestine) June 4, 2021
Environmentalists are arguing for better food labels when people are starving.
Sunrise and other progressives groups need to level up.
When Anthony Lorenzo Green, a core organizer for BLM DC, showed up at the National March for Palestine, he said he wasn’t an ally, but a comrade.
Climate change needs to be more than a yuppie excuse to be woke. Climate change activism needs to be klaxon for demilitarization. Progressives need to go hard in the paint on more than just the environment, wages, and healthcare. The hubris of youth and the largess of organizations can fizzle away. Third World liberation voices are hampered and demonized, so they must rely on white and middle class progressives to provide that comradeship.
Progressives cannot merely update policy, but they need to dismantle the entire system that disenfranchises black and brown voices, not only at home, but also abroad. They need to recognize citizenship privilege and see that not only their zip code, but also their passport and U.S. exceptionalism impact their activism.
There, we gathered with approximately 35k people, organized by a coalition of over 100 orgs, to demand an end to Israeli apartheid and to demand freedom for Palestinians. Hear them as they share their hearts. #FreePalestine (2/3)
— Awake Storytelling (@awakestories) June 2, 2021
How can organizations stand against fossil fuel extraction, but remain silent with ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and other oil and gas companies displace Third World peoples from their homes? How can organizations call for an end to fossil fuel subsidies when renewable energy deployment will rely on rare earth minerals with extractive mining techniques in Third World countries? (Then what’s the answer–give an answer, otherwise it feeds into Chevron’s argument that we must rely on fossil fuels.)
Now is a moment of reckoning.
As antiwar activists, we didn’t enjoy a honeymoon with President Biden. There was no courtship, no exchange of vows, none of that. As antiwar activists, we mobilized our respective communities, Muslims and progressives, nationally for the Biden Harris campaign because the opportunity costs of four more years of a Trump presidency were too costly, too ghoulish. So where are we? Instead of the Trump administration strangling the human rights of our brothers and sisters, we have the Biden administration trampling on our human dignity in the war zones-Yemen, Gaza- funded by our tax dollars.
We have President Biden proposing a record $753 billion military budget with billions for new nuclear weapons to escalate the arms race and make the world less safe. We have the Biden administration pivoting to Asia to prepare to plunge us into another disastrous war.
We still have killing fields in Third World countries, but at least the President isn’t a climate denier.
Save the climate mumbo jumbo and demand an end to the war machine our government funds in the name of peace and oil. The American climate movement must express solidarity with the international anti-war, anti-colonialist movement.
Sunrise, no compromises, no excuses.
Nadia B. Ahmad and Corrine Daly
The post The Revolt Among Progressives: A Third World Gaze on the U.S. Climate Movement appeared first on LA Progressive.
In descending order, the most fervent supporters of Apartheid Israel and hence of Apartheid are the Anglosphere democracies of the US, Australia, Canada and the UK. Apartheid Israel has had 4 elections in the last 2 years but in their massive coverage of these elections the Zionist- and US Government-beholden Mainstream media of these Anglosphere democracies overwhelmingly ignore the hard[Read More…]
The post Lying US, Australian, Canadian & UK Mainstream Media Ignore Race-based Rigging Of Israeli Elections appeared first on Countercurrents.
The coalition-in-waiting is another collection of genocidal extremists.
With enormous pro-Palestine demonstrations erupting across the world — including a historic general strike today in Palestine itself — Israeli apartheid is feeling the heat. The next step is to bring it down.
Palestinian citizens of Israel demonstrate in Haifa, Israel, on May 18, 2021, to mark a nationwide general strike called by the country’s Arab leadership and to express solidarity for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. (Mati Milstein/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“Do you support the protests, the violent protests, that have erupted in solidarity with you and other families in your position right now?”
“Do you support the violent dispossession of me and my family?”
Last week, CNN interviewed Mohammed El-Kurd from Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem — almost certainly the first time a Palestinian resisting dispossession was given the chance to speak on the network. With that brief opportunity, the young Palestinian swiftly challenged decades of malicious portrayals of the Palestinian struggle in mainstream media.
The interview was emblematic of a broader shift in perceptions about the reality of Israeli apartheid. Mohammed is part of a new generation of Palestinians whose indignation is breaking through to people all over the world — and fueling resistance across Palestine.
One People, One Struggle
On Tuesday, Palestinians launched a historic nationwide general strike dubbed the Unity Intifada. Millions participated shutting down businesses and gathering in large demonstrations in numerous cities across Palestine. Another 1.6 million Palestinian workers in Israel went on strike, including transit workers, teachers, and nurses, despite the threat of termination, cutting through decades of political and geographic fragmentation.
“The scenes across Palestine are breathtaking,” Palestinian writer Salem Barahmeh said. “Ramallah chanting for Gaza, Haifa singing to Ramallah, the Palestinian flag raised in Jerusalem. It is an incredible day led by the people for their liberation from the subjugation of a tyrannical regime. Long live Palestine.”
The historic protests are being organized by young Palestinians who reject any association with the traditional Palestinian leadership. When a member of the Palestinian Authority attempted to visit Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood committee released a statement repudiating those who cooperate with Israeli security forces. As Palestinian journalist Amjad Iraqi recently noted, “An extraordinary feature of the demonstrations is that they are primarily being organized not by political parties or figures, but by young Palestinian activists, neighborhood committees, and grassroots collectives.”
And it’s not just Palestinians in occupied Palestine resisting. Jordanians have been protesting the Israeli embassy for days despite violent police crackdowns. Last Friday, hundreds assembled at the infamous Allenby Bridge connecting Jordan and the West Bank, chanting “open the border.” Several managed to break through.
In Lebanon, too, people gathered at the border, chanting and waving flags, preparing to cross and march to Jerusalem. Palestinians in Haifa tweeted instructions about which roads to use when entering the country. (One demonstrator was shot and killed by Israeli troops.)
Beyond acts of solidarity, these border protests are declarations of Palestinians’ wish to return to their land. Millions of Jordanian and Lebanese citizens are in fact Palestinians, displaced in 1948 and 1967.
And the border protests are historic. Many have commented that the last time Palestinians were so unified was in 1947, ahead of Israel’s violent founding.
The Tide Is Turning
Things are changing outside of Palestine as well.
Solidarity protests have erupted throughout much of the Middle East, from the Levant to the Gulf to North Africa, signaling the potential for a much broader uprising in the region.
In London, one hundred thousand marched over the weekend. In Paris, protesters rebuffed a government prohibition on Palestine solidarity demonstrations to turn out in the thousands. Carrying homemade signs with the slogans “We Can’t Breathe,” “Save Sheikh Jarrah,” and “Free Gaza,” thousands protested in dozens of cities across the United States last weekend. In Washington, DC, ten thousand people in a sea of Palestinian flags marched to demand an end to US funding for Israel’s war crimes. Twenty thousand marched in downtown Chicago.
Palestinian voices on CNN and the Washington Post and an unprecedented number of statements by celebrities are making it clear the struggle for justice in Palestine is no longer a fringe issue. Mark Ruffalo joined longtime advocate Susan Sarandon in calling for sanctions on Israel. Viola Davis put out an explanation of the ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah. John Oliver delivered a damning segment on Israel’s war crimes.
Equally significant was the intervention last week by pro-Palestine members of Congress, including members of “the Squad,” who went well beyond hollow statements about the “cycle of violence” and pain felt by “both sides” and spoke out explicitly against the impunity that the US government grants Israel.
Palestinian American Rashida Tlaib, in what was truly a historic act, called on fellow members of Congress to recognize the nakba and acknowledge the ethnic cleansing campaigns of 1947–1948. Ayanna Pressley and Cori Bush powerfully connected the Palestinian struggle to Black Lives Matter, with Bush declaring, in no uncertain terms, “we are anti-apartheid.”
And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez drew links between Israel’s onslaught on Gaza and US imperialism in Puerto Rico:
My family comes from the island of Puerto Rico, and I grew up visiting my family on the island of Vieques, where the United States bombed its own territories. . . . And I would go to sleep as a little girl to the sound of US bombs detonating. Practice is what it was called at the time. Practice. And when I saw those air strikes that are supported with US funds, I could not help but wonder if our communities were practice for this. This is our business because we are playing a role in it.
This Is Our Business
Over forty thousand Palestinians in Gaza have lost their homes in the last seven days of Israel’s assault. Over two hundred Palestinians have been killed, including fifty-nine children. Israel has bombed a media building, a power plant, schools housing refugees, Gaza’s largest library and publishing house, and roads to hospitals. During a twenty-minute bombing interval last Thursday, a Palestinian in Gaza tweeted: “I lived through three wars in this country. The last 20 minutes were worse than all of them.” There is nothing defensible about Israel’s so-called right to self-defense.
Time and again the United States has defended Israel’s war crimes as US-manufactured bombs rain down on Palestinians from US-manufactured warplanes. Just this month, Joe Biden approved a $735 million arms sale to Israel. A movement to put sanctions on Israel could undermine all of that.
The world is finally seeing the truth about Israel, and the tide is turning in our favor. With a push for sanctions in the United States and from movements on the ground in Palestine, Israeli apartheid could finally begin to crumble. And indeed, this is exactly what Palestinians are asking us to do. The strikers called for sanctions on Israel and for a boycott of Israeli products, stating simply, “Don’t support those who occupy.”
Moral appeals have not brought down Israeli settler-colonialism. Only a movement that pushes the US and other governments to halt their support for Israel’s war machine can hold Israel to account — and bolster the struggle for Palestinian liberation.
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Last night, Donald Trump went on air to say he won the election.
Tonight, small right-wing protests emerged around the country. In Arizona, where the election is very close and the votes have not yet all been counted, right-wing vigilantes gathered at a polling station armed with assault rifles and handguns. They are demanding that all the votes be counted — which was what poll workers were doing until the protesters showed up.
Demonstrators also spoke out against Fox News, which had called Arizona for Biden early on election night, making it significantly more difficult for Trump to legitimately claim a victory. As of 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Biden maintained a lead over Trump in Arizona but 400,000 votes in Maricopa County had not been counted. Maricopa is heavily trending towards Trump but it is unlikely that this will turn around the whole state. Nevertheless, the votes in Arizona are still quite close and could — although it’s unlikely — swing Trump’s way.
As a result of the protest, the polling station had to stop counting ballots and shut down, evacuating those inside the building.
BREAKING: Maricopa is now CLOSING due to concerns about unrest from sizeable crowds protesting vote counting per @CNN
— Alexa O’Brien (@alexadobrien) November 5, 2020
Is this the “Antifa” Trump rants abt? U know, the ones storming the streets
Maricopa County, AZ ballot office is closing bc of concerns abt unrest from armed Trump supporters chanting “count the votes”
— Dana (Store Name) #AmplyBlackVoices (@sagesurge) November 5, 2020
Though the county sheriff’s office showed up to guard the polling station, the police did not make any moves to arrest these protesters, who were disrupting the vote count and prolonging the election results. The police didn’t come with tear gas or pepper spray as they did in North Carolina when they severely repressed a peaceful “souls to the polls” group walking to a voting station.
Congressman Paul Gosar in the middle of this protest outside the county recorder’s office. Protestors, many armed, talking about debunked Sharpie conspiracy. Some chanting “count the vote.” County deputies now clearing reporters from the lobby out of caution. #12News pic.twitter.com/3yyMBiF3dU
— JOE DANA (@JoeDanaReports) November 5, 2020
But Arizona isn’t the only place where Trump’s base is mobilizing on his behalf. Small right-wing protests have also occurred across the country. But unlike in Arizona, in Detroit and Michigan, where Biden is sure to win by a landslide, Trump supporters have tried to stop the vote count to try to maneuver a Trump victory.
Trump supporters: “Stop the vote!”
— The Recount (@therecount) November 5, 2020
Trump loyalists try to disrupt and enter the absentee ballot counting center in Detroit. They banged on windows chanting “Stop the Count” as guards hold them off. (📹@DonGonyea) pic.twitter.com/4nEJ1QPqZe
— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) November 4, 2020
Meanwhile, there were also several protests by progressives and the left demanding that votes be counted. In New York City and in other cities across the country, they were met with violence and were arrested by the police. While the left is beaten and criminalized for protesting in the streets, the armed far right can disrupt voting stations without fear of repercussion. It’s clear what side the cops are on.
On 28 June 2020, as Benjamin Netanyahu pressed forward with annexation plans to further dispossess Palestinians of their land and rights, Black Lives Matter (BLM) UK reeled off a series of tweets in solidarity with the ongoing Palestinian struggle for liberation. Some popular black Twitter commenters who had previously been enthused by the resurgence of BLMUK were vocal in their disdain. BLM, they argued, is a movement specifically about black lives; therefore, to stand in solidarity with Palestinians is to hijack the movement with a distraction. In the weeks before, there had been a concerted effort, led by the Daily Mail, to smear BLMUK activists such as Joshua Virasami as subversive Marxists who sought to use the movement as cover to ‘abolish the police, smash capitalism and … close all prisons’. These claims didn’t seem to dissuade a newly radicalised generation of black voices, which speaks to broadened black political horizons since 2014.
It seems apt, then, to interrogate why Palestine – a cause long entangled with the political imaginaries of those seeking universalist emancipatory projects – revealed a deep and acrimonious fault line in black politics. It’s important to note that this was not the first ‘Palestine scandal’ in relation to BLM. As the US city of Ferguson, Missouri, exploded over the murder of Mike Brown in 2014, Palestinians besieged in Gaza sent not only solidarity but also advice for activists on how to handle the violent tactics of the state, such as teargassing, which they knew all too well. In 2015, a delegation of representatives from Ferguson, Black Lives Matter and the Black Youth Project took a historic trip to Palestine led by the Dream Defenders, in which they deepened their understanding of the relationship between black and Palestinian struggles. Upon their return, they released a joint statement of solidarity. The fallout was far-reaching. BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors explained that many funders pulled out; black lives in America was one thing but Palestinian lives were something entirely different.
To understand the affinity between black struggle and Palestine, we must trace back to the moment in the 20th century when ‘negroes’ became ‘black’. Blackness as a generalised form of self-identification is a relatively new phenomenon in the west and, at the genesis of its widespread adoption, it was an explicitly political one. In 1966, as he emerged from the jail cell where he’d been held for his voter registration agitation, Stokely Carmichael’s first words were ‘Black power!’ That phrase invoked a radically new era of black political organisation, marked by a fundamental shift in the political imagination, from the negro to the black. The ‘negro question’ had held the mirror up to US society, challenging its morality for sending people to Vietnam to fight for freedoms to which they were not entitled at home. The ‘black question’ did something more dramatic: it posited a common identity between some Americans and the Vietnamese people, the wretched of the earth. In America, that meant asking why war was being waged on the Vietnamese, charting a path which refused to be placated by a cut of the bloody spoils.
To the black political imaginary, emancipation predicated on the domination of others was no emancipation at all. The identification of black Americans as black was not a natural process – it was a reaction to and disruption of a negro politics that saw the political horizons of negroes within the confines of the US state. This shift was therefore not simply a semantic one. It marked a rejection of the domestic blinkers that shackled the civil rights political establishment. Carmichael’s speech is often misunderstood as a call to get black power. Instead it was a call to unlock a black power already latent in America. To him, blackness was a structural position brought into being by material conditions, rather than any innate quality of particular people. A position created by American society, which then made possible the radical critique of that society. ‘We must question the values of this society,’ Carmichael asserted. ‘Black people are the best people to do that because we have been excluded from that society and the question is… whether or not we want to become a part of that society.’
To the black political imaginary, emancipation predicated on the domination of others was no emancipation at all
The material position of American ‘negroes’ created a vantage point and a language for blackness: a section excluded from US society but fundamentally embroiled in it, who were able to ask existential questions about the role of America as an imperial power. Rather than an assemblage of cultural markers, as it is now usually imagined, blackness was a structural position that provided the tools for critique of America’s rise as a global power. It is not surprising, then, that the ‘revolutionary culture’ was a central theme – to which extensive essays, speeches and art were dedicated. ‘A revolutionary culture is the only valid culture for the oppressed!’ This language of blackness spread across the globe as black people within the metropole began to define their structural relation to empire as a focal point for organising. From the multi-racial British Black Panther Party, to the black consciousness movement in South Africa (which saw blackness as a state of mind inclusive of the country’s Asian populations), this conception of blackness was globalised. The conditions of interconnectivity – a global system of wealth extraction with shared apparatuses of repression and domination – meant not that all groups fighting against imperialism were the same but that the destinies of their liberation struggles were fundamentally linked.
This point, made by Frantz Fanon, Huey Newton and countless other militants, was given expression in new transnational alliances. As this changing language took shape, there was a concurrent shift in political sympathies within the black movement. Earlier sympathies with the Zionist project gave way to conceptual and material connections between the black power movement and the Palestinian revolution. Fuelled by the international solidarity that poured out of countries and movements fighting US imperialism, from Algeria to Vietnam, organisations such as the Black Panther Party and the Student Non-Violent Co-ordinating Committee began sending delegations to the Tricontinental, a conference of revolutionary movements from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Catalysed by what they were learning from revolutionaries around the world – and from the 1967 war, which rocketed the Palestinians to the forefront of American politics – many black radicals picked up the threads laid by Malcolm X’s commitment to the Palestinian cause. This commitment was embraced by the Tricontinental as black Americans embedded themselves in the international networks of solidarity that co-ordinated and sustained anti-imperialist struggles across the third world. From Palestinians, the Black Panther Party learnt military and political strategies of resistance detailed in memoirs from former Panthers, such as Flores Forbes’ Will You Die with Me?
In the late 1980s, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was leading the charge in calling for blackness to be ditched and replaced with ‘African American’. It became a defining transition in black American history. Two arguments were made for this shift. First, the claim that blackness had represented a sense of shame in and a refusal to engage with the African heritage of America’s black population. This might seem strange, given that black power was originally articulated by sections of the black movement who saw themselves as black nationalists and wanted to reconnect themselves with ongoing struggles for liberation on the African continent. Second, tellingly, was the argument that black held more negative associations in people’s minds – African American sounded less threatening. While the debate was inconclusive, African American steadily replaced black in textbooks and state ethnic data gathering. African American held the respectability of other hyphenated groups that had included themselves in the American family, such as Italian Americans and Asian Americans. The black was once again an American, the descendant of slaves, and black freedom was once again contained within the nation’s borders.
This transition was not only happening in America. Across the global north, black was either given suffixes tying diasporic populations to the metropole or ditched altogether. In Britain, the 1991 census was the first to include an ethnic designation beyond ‘white’ or ‘coloured’. Black – a category which had once encompassed all former subjects of empire – was co-opted by the state and became: ‘Black African’, ‘Black Caribbean’, ‘Indian’, ‘Pakistani’, ‘Bangladeshi’. Those of mixed heritage had to choose. This data failed, and continues to fail, to distinguish ‘race’ (as a constructed and real social hierarchy) from ‘ethnicity’ and geographical heritage, but that is not what it was intended to do. In the administration of empire, ethnicity data gathering did the work of creating ethnicities by making these ‘communities’ a primary mode through which the citizen and non-citizen alike navigated their relationship with the state – the groups have not been static, but they remain defined by the state. The classifications were not neutral but formed the datasets for investigations into racial inequality – determining the language through which communities could seek funding and redress for harms from the state. In Britain, as in America, narrower, discrete categories became naturalised as the contours of race. Anti-racism was largely shorn of its internationalism as political horizons retreated into ‘community organising’.
Throughout this process, the material conditions sustaining any coherent black community with a single collective interest were also eroded. We saw the emergence and consolidation of a black bourgeoisie whose daily lives did not reflect the conditions of domination embedded in earlier accounts of blackness. Instead, the husk of this relation was transformed into a cultural politics in which blackness existed as an abstract community that obfuscates rather than illuminates the conditions it emerged to articulate. Many within this emergent black bourgeoisie have clung to blackness to position themselves as dominated while appropriating the trauma of working-class black communities who live the conditions of domination, exploitation and carcerality that previously tied black struggle to the internationalist politics of the global south, not least Palestine.
This contradiction was displaced into anxieties about the exploitation of black people by non-black people of colour. You could now speak of black wealth as collective, shared in some abstract sense by the working-class black people from whose exploitation it was amassed. The task was no longer to dismantle the oppressive structure of race, and the extractive processes that create and sustain it but rather to manage the essentially oppositional interests of different communities of colour. The black militant has been largely replaced in the popular imaginary by the black columnist. In such a world, the question of Palestine has become a black political litmus test. As Angela Davis continues to argue passionately, solidarity with Palestinians comes from more than a place of sympathy. It involves a recognition of the shared history of struggle and the similarities linking the technologies of domination levelled against us. ‘Palestine under Israeli occupation is the worst possible example of a carceral society,’ Davis says. This framing sees blackness as political, one relation within a broader matrix of imperialist domination. It sees black struggle as one contour of a politics that also encapsulates Palestinian struggle and every other struggle against imperialism – ‘a world struggle’. By contrast, the ethnic black frame rejects the possibility of such a common cause. It posits comparisons with Palestine as essentially antiblack, thus paralysing routes to solidarity.
Black politics faces fundamental challenges today; 1970s slogans ring hollow now. The apparatuses of domination to which they refer have evolved in response to our gains. Recounting these bitter transformations of racial politics is not a call for imitating the language and imagery of old; it is instead to render explicit the logics and conditions that shaped the thinking that today presents itself to us as natural. Identities transform, they do not inscribe themselves on blank canvases – words accumulate layers of meaning in their travels like old library books annotated by generation after generation. I like the metaphor of the palimpsest: blackness in its new form will always bear the weight of the morphology that clouds its history.
If the great mystification of racecraft inheres in presenting recent historical constructions as if they were natural and eternal, then the work of demystification means recovering agency: expanding the range of things in our lives we believe we can change. How we identify ourselves, and with whom we find common cause are two of those things – we just need to find a language to express it. The words of righteous indignation might retain their force over time (racism, after all, is still with us) but what really matters is to ask afresh what winning would look like in changed conditions.
Annie Olaloku-Teriba is a writer and independent researcher investigating the theory and history of ‘blackness’. Illustrations by Andrzej Krauze
The post The ‘Palestinian Chair’: Exposing Israel’s Direct Role in US Violence appeared first on Toward Freedom.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s threat will end hopes of a two-state system and probably result in expulsions and violence
Unsurprisingly, Benjamin Netanyahu has now made things starkly clear. On 28 May the Israeli prime minister explained that when – not if – his government goes ahead with unilateral annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, thousands of Palestinian residents would be granted neither citizenship nor equal rights.