Tag Archives: Middle East

Palestine today, but what about tomorrow?

By Will and jubayr

Last week, we all watched as the Obama administration asked to get “all the facts” before releasing a comprehensive statement about the murder of 9 Palestine solidarity activists by the Israeli Defense Force aboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.  If he just waits a little longer, he might be able to find a way to use international law to bury both the dead and the living.

Many of us have become depressed and catatonic, staring eyes wide and mouths dry;  we’ve lost sleep and shed tears;  there is a heavy weight in our chest as we’ve become both saddened and enraged at the continued barbarism of Israeli state violence, and the way the US ruling class justifies spilling the blood of Muslims, Arabs and Palestine solidarity organizers alike.

In response we’ve organized rallies, protests and candlelight vigils around the world.  In Turkey, dozens of our sisters and brothers declared an end to sanctuary for Zionism and white supremacy, by storming the Israeli consulate.

Continue reading Palestine today, but what about tomorrow?

Collapse of the Palestinian Authority?

Is the Palestinian Authority (PA) going to collapse?  If not the PA, then is Fatah imploding?

No one can say for sure, but the succession of events over the past several months brings these questions to mind; questions which could drastically reshape the struggle for Palestine as we know it.

The current change in the winds began as early as this past August over the shady organizing of Fatah’s first party congress in some twenty years.  Then, in October, Abbas and the PA withdrew their support for the Goldstone report, which documented Israeli war crimes during its assault on Gaza last winter.  This betrayal by Abbas & co enraged Palestinians, Arab folks and Palestine solidarity organizers alike.

More recently, Abbas has announced he will retire, and Israeli liberals and US negotiators are running around frantic because Abbas is their only hope of continuing the sordid peace process without having to deal with Hamas.  Shortly afterwards, Abbas began supporting a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state that would forgo the peace process and negotiations with Israel.  While many have applauded this declaration as the long-awaited arrival of Palestinian liberation, in reality it would, under the current conditions, enshrine Israeli apartheid and the shattered social and political lives of Palestinians.

These fractures and desperate measures by Abbas & co have come in response to the US and Israel’s refusal to compromise during negotiations, which would have provided legitimacy for Palestinian rulers.

Since the first Intifada, Fatah has consistently compromised with Israeli apartheid and US Empire, while popular movements in Palestine have repeatedly rejected that compromise.  Gains have only been made by popular self-activity on the part of everyday Palestinians.  This dynamic lies at the heart of the crisis.  The truth today is that Fatah no longer has any social base.  These latest maneuvers by Abbas and Fatah, which treat notions of independence merely as a bargaining chip or a bureaucratic maneuver, should be interpreted in this light.

These articles help contextualize these events:

“Where is Fatah Headed?”
Here’s an article by Toufic Haddad just before the party congress this past August, which traces the increasingly authoritarian character of Fatah both internally, and in relation to the struggle for Palestine.

“Bantustans and the unilateral declaration of statehood”
This is an excellent essay by Virginia Tilley on the pitfalls and consequences of the recent “threats” to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state.

“White House Pivots on Mideast Bid”
and “Short-Term Fixes Sought in Mideast”
And for what it’s worth, the NYTimes on how the lack of direction by US Empire contributed to these latest gambits by Abbas and the PA.

Nidal Hasan: The Soul of a People

written with fatima & Will

For the moment, no one can say for sure that they understand the dynamics behind the events at Ft. Hood involving Nidal Hasan. What is clear is that he attacked military personnel whose sole purpose is to kill Arabs and Muslims. This should not be forgotten. He was humiliated and attacked for being Arab and Muslim, he desperately wanted to avoid deployment in a war that was directed against him and our people, and he believed that it is our duty as brown, black, Muslim, Asian, Arab, South Asian and many more to stand up and fight our oppressors. This rage that we feel swelling up in our hearts, weighing heavy in our chests, that rises up to choke us and bring tears to our eyes can only be held back for so long.

This rage cannot be controlled. Liberals and Conservatives get upset when we don’t express that rage in ways they are comfortable with.  They send troops to put bullets in our peoples’ heads, and then council patience and moderation to us. This lets them offer the solution of dialogue to everyone who has their necks under the boot of Empire.  When they disband the U.S. military, then dialogue can be considered with these hypocrites. There is no hope of explaining this rage to them. They will never understand.

At the same time, many liberal and conservative Muslims are afraid of this rage as well because they profit from their role as our prison guards. It is clear that the Muslim community is not united and can never be under these conditions.  There are some who want to join the club of American Empire.  They just want American Empire to kill less Muslims and to interrogate them with less electricity.  They are just as afraid of the Black people, poor people, and queer people as the racists, the homophobes, and the rich.

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The Labor Movement in Egypt

written with mlove


Over the past three years the energy of Egyptian workers has created exciting  possibilities for the working class across the Middle East. In December of 2006 over 24,000 workers at Misr Spinning and Weaving company in Ghazl el-Mahalla initiated a wave of strikes and industrial actions that has extended well beyond the Mahalla al-Kubra industrial center challenging the foundations of the Egyptian state.  As this rank-and-file activity grew into a movement, it increasingly came into direct confrontation with the state, with well over 200 major strikes in 2007. When Mahalla workers again struck in April of 2008, the dictatorship looked to crush the movement. As soldiers and police tried to occupy the factory, clashes broke-out and spread, with live ammunition being fired on strikers and protesters.

The April 6 movement, as it became identified, was an important catalyst for grievances against the regime as striking workers were joined in the street by the mass outcries against the rising cost of bread. It is no accident that since 2008 there has been an attempt to crush the movement by arresting rank-and-file leadership, student activists, and opposition intellectuals, many of whom have been tortured, taking a place next to hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood organizers sitting in jail. What has been striking about the movement are the political dimensions of the protest.  In addition to fighting privatization and demanding back payment of bonuses, demanding for the raising of the minimum wage, people are singling out Mubarak and his American-backed dictatorship.
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