Sep 19, 2012

Occupying Language in NYC

The Committee on Globalization and Social Changeis putting on a very cool event:

Occupying Language

with Dario Azzellini and Marina Sitrin

Friday, September 21: 2:00 pm at the Free University of NYC at Madison Square Park and 7:30 pm at 16 Beaver Street (4th floor)

This is their shpeil about it:

Occupying Language is an open conversation. Through it, we invite you to join us to explore insurgent movements that have been organizing in Latin America over the past twenty years, and to connect key concepts and language from those struggles with what is new and beautiful in the social relations being created by people’s movements in the United States today.

There are of course many similarities with preceding forms of organization and mobilization, especially with the movement for global justice of the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, we are choosing to ground the discussion in movements and groups that arose from and are comprised of ordinary people, rather than activists.

Language is not neutral, and words transport and express concepts and ways of thinking. They can consolidate and perpetuate hierarchies, domination and control just as they can underline equality and strengthen consciousness. Latin American struggles for dignity, freedom and liberation are rooted in more than five hundred years of resistance. Language derived from their struggles comes with historical antecedents.

Among the concepts we explore are Territory, Assembly, Rupture, Popular Power, Horizontalism, AutogestiĆ³n (self-administration), and Protagonism. Examples of each term are drawn from different Latin American communities of struggle, from the spreading of Horizontalidad with the popular rebellion in Argentina, and the concept of Territory seen in Bolivia and Mexico, to the construction of Popular Power in the Consejos Comunales in Venezuela, and the vision of interconnected human diversity articulated in the call for “one world in which many worlds fit” by the indigenous Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico.

Sep 8, 2012

Rachel Corrie

I apologize for the delay in posting this, I have been consumed with organizing the caravan for peace.  As many readers will know, there was recently a ruling on the civil case on Rachel Corrie's death.  Rachel is probably the world's best known accompanier, having been murdered by the Israeli Defense Forces.  Below is a short documentary directed by Najat Jellab about Rachel Corrie.

Her Name was Rachel Corrie by Najat10

The International Solidarity Movement's statement about the ruling is:

"The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is deeply concerned by the verdict of Judge Oded Gershon that absolved Israel’s military and state of the 2003 murder of American ISM activist Rachel Corrie. Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

Despite the American administration stating that the Israeli military investigation had not been "thorough, credible and transparent" and the Israeli government withholding key video and audio evidence, Judge Gershon found no fault in the investigation or in the conclusion that the military and state were not responsible for Rachel’s death. Judge Gershon ruled  that Rachel was to blame for her own murder and classifies her non-violent attempt to prevent war crimes as proof that Rachel was not a “thinking person".

By disregarding international law and granting Israeli war criminals impunity Judge Gershon’s verdict exemplifies the fact that Israel’s legal system cannot be trusted to administer justice according to international standards.The ISM calls on the international community to hold Israel accountable by supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and continuing to join the Palestinian struggle in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Describing the situation in Gaza 2 days before she was killed, Rachel said, “I'm witnessing the systematic destruction of a people's ability to survive. It's horrifying.”  Rachel’s analysis holds true today, confirmed by the United Nations a day before this ruling, which reported that Gaza would not be "liveable" by 2020 barring urgent action.

The verdict is a green light for Israeli soldiers to use lethal force against human rights defenders and puts Palestinian and International human rights defenders in mortal danger. This will not deter us. As long as our Palestinian sisters and brothers want our presence, the ISM will continue to find ways to break Israel’s siege, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. As Rachel’s mother Cindy put it, “There were children behind the walls of the home Rachel was trying to protect...We should have all been there”.

Judge Gershon’s verdict is a travesty of justice but it is not exceptional. As a rule the Israeli legal system provides Israeli soldiers impunity to commit murder. The only Israeli soldier convicted of manslaughter since the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000 was Taysir Hayb, a Bedouin citizen of Israel for shooting British ISM volunteer Tom Hurndall in the back of the head with a sniper rifle as Tom was carrying a child to safety. At least 6,444 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces in this period, with no justice for them or their families. "