This story originally appeared in Mondoweiss on Oct. 29, 2023. It is shared here with permission.
We are witnessing an emergent movement in the United States, one that upholds Black Lives from Ferguson to Minneapolis, champions Native sovereignty from the Hawaiian mountains to the Plains of the Dakotas, knows no borders from the Texas deserts to the California valley and reclaims our stolen labor from the classrooms of Oklahoma to the factories of Michigan and the hotels of Los Angeles. It is a mass base, cross-coalition movement unwavering in its struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Although it may appear disparate at times, its compass is the world-historical refusal of the downtrodden, and as the Palestinian revolutionary intellectual Ghassan Kanafani makes clear, Palestine unites us, for “the Palestinian cause is not a cause for Palestinians only, but a cause for every revolutionary wherever he is, as a cause of the exploited and oppressed.”
This movement did not begin two weeks ago but builds on decades of grassroots and youth-led struggle wherever Palestinians, Arabs, and those who stand with them against Zionist colonialism find themselves. On November 4th, this movement will make its way to Washington, DC’s Freedom Plaza, to march for an end to the siege on Gaza, a ceasefire, and an end to the U.S. aid to Israel. Organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), National Students for Justice in Palestine, ANSWER Coalition, The People’s Forum, Al-Awda, US Palestinian Community Network, American Muslim Alliance, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Maryland2Palestine and the Palestinian Feminist Collective, this march represents a critical moment in the Palestine struggle, signaling the consolidation of a mass movement in the United States committed to challenging the decades-long role of the American government in the genocide of the Palestinian people.
As of this morning, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported approximately over 8,000 Palestinians have been martyred, including no less than 3,342 children, with one child killed every 10 minutes by the Israeli bombardment. All of this death in just three weeks’ time. Still, there are hundreds more buried in the rubble, scattered across the besieged and leveled neighborhoods. Palestinians cannot count their dead, and Israel—in its never-ending bombardment—has robbed them of their mourning. The occupying colonial power has destroyed over half of all homes in its bombing campaign, displacing 1.4 million Palestinians within the 140 square miles of what is called the Gaza Strip. There is no place to hide from this unceasing assault. Even the places of refuge and medical care—hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches—are brazenly blown to pieces. More US-funded bombs have been dropped on Gaza over the past two weeks than the United States dropped on Afghanistan over ten years.
A campaign of relentless destruction and massacre is not cheap. Israel needs more bombs, more white phosphorus, more soldiers, and ever more weapons to raze Gaza and fill its mass graves. On October 20, the White House requested $10.6 billion in additional military aid to Israel. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, this material support for the Israeli state’s escalating colonial depravity is “a smart investment that’s going to pay dividends for American security for generations.” Concurrently, Israeli think tanks—operationalizing this investment—have openly laid out their blueprints for the complete ethnic cleansing of 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli officials have openly called for genocide, the wiping of Gaza from the Earth, and referring to Palestinians as human animals and children of darkness. This extermination, as both U.S. and Israeli governments assert, is essential for national security. Such revolting claims to national security are not new but predicate U.S. imperialism and the 17-year siege on Gaza: a land, air, and sea blockade that has transformed Gaza into a concentration camp, where new U.S. and Israeli weapons and surveillance technologies are field-tested on a captive population, and Israeli officials proudly exclaim that they are keeping Palestinians in Gaza on a strict diet.
The movement for Palestine is not confined only to the crowds of big liberal cities but courageously proclaims its imperative in the streets of Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Jackson, Mississippi. This movement advances alongside the global people’s struggle to uplift the Palestinian cause from the streets of Dublin and Sanaa, Jakarta and Tehran, Toronto and Cairo, and London to Amman, calling for the end of the U.S.-backed Zionist siege on Gaza. Students walked out of their classrooms on October 25th on over one-hundred campuses across North America; Jewish organizers chained themselves to politicians’ doors and occupied their offices, along with New York City’s Grand Central Station; activists are taking direct action against Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, in Cambridge Massachusetts; Palestinian youth and grassroots organizations from Houston to Detroit organize rally after rally, culminating in some of the largest marches for Palestine the country has ever seen.
As we march, speak, and sing out our commands for Palestinian freedom and an end to the genocidal siege, we know that we are not alone or small. We hear the mighty chorus tremble through our city streets. We see the feeble Zionist response. It is clear the people are with Palestine. Yet, the corporate media attempts to portray the movement as an isolated radical fringe. The numbers in the streets are outright ignored or under-reported, revising the thousands into hundreds or fewer. When reported on, the movement is depicted as violent “terror” rallies, reinforcing the Biden administration’s Islamophobic incitement of hatred and the dehumanization of the Palestinian people. With these mass mobilizations have also come state repression and violence. The FBI has visited homes of Palestinians, workers and students have been fired from their jobs, and universities have threatened action against the student movement. Lamentably, these are not empty threats. Lives have been destroyed. Our precious martyr, Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year old living with his family in the suburbs of Chicago, was brutally murdered in his home. And as Zionists attack peaceful rallies with their cars and fire guns into crowds in another Chicago suburb, we continue to mobilize in the face of reactionary violence, resolute in the conviction of the Palestinian cause.
In spite of these attempts to silence and violently suppress the movement, we know that Palestinians in Gaza and throughout the lands of Palestine hear us and see us. We know, just as they have remained steadfast throughout 75 years of occupation and ethnic cleansing, throughout 17 years of blockade, and in the face of the current bombardment of Gaza and reinvigorated effort at eliminating Palestine, our struggle is not in vain, and we too must remain steadfast in mobilizing day in and day out to end the siege on Gaza and stop the genocide of the Palestinian people.
The national march on November 4th in Washington, DC, is a call to all progressive forces steadfastly fighting against exploitation and oppression: the Palestinian cause is your cause. Transportation is being organized all over the country, from cities including Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Albuquerque, Providence, Philadelphia, and more. Over 200 organizations have endorsed the march and are joining together on Joe Biden’s doorstep—with the combined energy and strength the movement has brought to cities, towns, workplaces, and schools across the country— demanding, loud and clear: CEASEFIRE NOW! END THE SIEGE ON GAZA! END ALL U.S. AID TO ISRAEL!