Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, expresses its strongest support for the Black liberation movement and for the popular uprising that is currently confronting police violence, racist structures of mass incarceration, economic injustice and state repression. We recognize that our liberation as Palestinians is bound together with the liberation of Black people and that our movement must stand clearly with the targets of U.S. racism and imperialism, domestically and internationally.
We affirm the principle that racism, white supremacy and capitalism are the greatest threats and the primary sources for the suffering, pain, and death of Black and Indigenous people, and other poor and oppressed communities in the United States.
We join the Black community and all people of conscience in mourning and rage over the brutal and violent murder of George Floyd. We honor him and offer our deepest condolences to his family, his loved ones, and to all victims of racialized violence, often at the hands of the police, including Ahmaud Arbery, who was killed by two white men – one a former cop – while jogging in Georgia; as well as Breonna Taylor, a health worker, who was killed by the police in her home.
As indigenous people of Palestine, we have firsthand experience of what it’s like to live under the boot of white/European settler-colonialism, apartheid and racist genocidal violence as it is wielded by Israel’s regime of oppression – with the military funding and unconditional support of the US government – to dispossess us, ethnically cleanse us, and reduce us to lesser humans.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic sweeps the country and the world, it lays bare the triple crisis of a deadly virus, systemic economic breakdown, and the refusal of governments to provide necessary protections and support for affected people. At the same time, the U.S. government continues and escalates its militarized policing, predatory surveillance, and imperialist attacks domestically and globally.
The U.S. ruling class has used the pandemic for massive looting of the people’s resources. Corporations collected over $500 billion dollars in stimulus money while the people, including essential workers, were allotted a one-time $1200 payment forcing them to choose between food and rent. Over 40 million American people are out of work, with no end in sight. The resulting threat of a global economic depression and imposed austerity combines with the disasters created by climate change, with imperialism exacting the greatest toll upon the people and nations of the Global South.
We call upon the United Nations and its human rights bodies to take meaningful action to hold the U.S. government accountable for its ongoing and systematic racism and violations of human rights, specifically the human rights of Black and Indigenous peoples in the United States and the peoples and nations around the world targeted by U.S. military attacks internationally. Furthermore, we demand:
1. An end to all state violence against Black people. In order to achieve this end, all racist and anti-Black institutions and policies must be systematically dismantled and defunded, including the militarized police systems that operate as occupying forces. We also highlight the need for an immediate end to violence directed at protesters and journalists, and we join the call of Veterans For Peace for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the National Guard from affected communities. We also join the demands for defunding the police, immediate evaluation of all on-duty police officers in regards to their current and past race-related performance and immediate reform of criminal justice training programs to address systematic racism.
2. Redress and reparations for the crimes against Black communities and Indigenous peoples from the inception of settler colonialism and the institution of slavery to the present day.
3. Release of all Black political prisoners in U.S. jails. The strugglers of the Black Liberation Movement, including Jalil Muntaqim, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, Mumia Abu Jamal, and Mutulu Shakur, have in many cases spent decades in prison for their involvement in defending their people, often when confronting police violence. Mass incarceration and the targeting of Black movements have been a major mechanism of white supremacy in the U.S. We uphold this demand alongside our call for the liberation of all Palestinian prisoners in U.S. and Israeli jails.
4. The dismantling of the current structures of U.S. policing, including putting a permanent end to the “Deadly Exchange” between the U.S. and Israeli repressive forces, which has included the Minnesota police. This alliance is deadly both to Black and Palestinian communities. The Movement for Black Lives recognized in its platform the role of U.S. aid to Israel in ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people as well as the “global war on terror” used to advance U.S. imperialism, including in Africa.
As people resisting colonial oppression, we know that we must remain steadfast and resist all attempts to colonize our minds with hopelessness, self-deprecation, and surrender. The targeting of Palestinian activism in the United States, including the imprisonment of the Holy Land Five, the surveillance of Palestinian organizations and the anti-BDS legislation promulgated at state levels nationwide, is part and parcel of the very structures of white supremacy and imperialism that were built on the dispossession and genocide of Indigenous people and the enslavement and vicious oppression of Black people.
Al-Awda PRRC stands in unequivocal solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters in the long, painful, and the ongoing historical struggle for justice and liberation for all. State violence against Black Americans has gone on for centuries without accountability; the time to end it is now. We must act to defund militarized policing, free political prisoners and fundamentally dismantle the systems of oppression that subjugate Black and Palestinian people alike, and we pledge to build the movement necessary to achieve those ends.
Call to Action:
- We urge our Palestinian communities and supporters of Palestine to join the protest movement sweeping the streets nationally. There are countless actions and protests everywhere, and every person’s participation is important. No vow to address anti-Blackness, through political education or otherwise,is stronger than the commitment to action in joint struggle and true solidarity.
- Demand freedom for all Black political prisoners including prisoners of anti-black legislation and policing. Jalil Muntaqim is one such longtime political prisoner, a former Black Panther, who is currently suffering from COVID-19 as a result of continued imprisonment. Join the actions called for by the Jericho Movement and the campaign for his freedom.
- Join the Movement for Black Lives’ Week of Action June 1st to 5th In Defense of Black Lives. This is an opportunity to uplift and fight alongside those turning up in the streets and on the airwaves.