We are excited to announce that the 2014 National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference will take place on October 24-26th at Tufts University! This year’s conference is themed Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine.
At last year’s conference at Stanford University, From Margin to Center: Connecting Struggles, Forging a National Movement, we concluded with a panel on joint struggle. The term “joint struggle” represents the work of acting together to resist the systems that oppress our respective communities–sometimes in ways that overlap and other times in ways that are very specific.
Joint struggle means that a victory for one group should also strengthen and advance the movements we are connected with. It comes from an understanding that oppression will never cease to exist for a group unless all oppressed groups are free. For the members of the National SJP steering committee, we have appreciated the solidarity we have received nationally from groups like MEChA and Anakbayan, and we hope to build on both new and existing relationships.
The summer’s events in Palestine and across the U.S., specifically in Ferguson, have clearly shown the connections between racist and colonial oppression in both locations, sparking transnational solidarity and consciousness raising. It is in the spirit of forming a stronger global movement to liberate all peoples that we dedicate this year’s conference to not only strengthening solidarity, but moving from expressing it with words to expressing it by committing to self-education and concrete joint action.
In addition to the theme described above, this year’s conference will focus on building our movement through political and skills development, as well as critical discussions about our work and role in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. The 2014 National SJP Conference will aim to achieve the following goals:
- This conference will highlight building joint struggle by providing space to learn directly from other national grassroots movements on concrete and intentional actions that we can take to advance all struggles. We will focus on anti-black racism, the ongoing colonization and occupation of indigenous lands and peoples, and the violence against Black, indigenous and migrant people in the U.S. by deepening ties with those who are already organizing against such oppressive forces. This will tie into a focus on militarism as a transnational problem, which arises from collaboration of police, military and intelligence organizations. We will discuss how we can support national movement building emerging out of Ferguson, as resisting militarism becomes a transnational conversation.
- This conference will delve into why and how the struggle for Palestine is a feminist issue. We will further understand how settler colonialism is racialized and gendered and disproportionately affects women and children. We will also look into the increased violence against Palestinian women and women refugees and migrants in Israel.
- This conference will create a space for critical discussion on confronting all forms of racism within our movement through reflection, self-accountability and movement accountability. We will also focus on continuing to combat all forms of Judeophobia/anti-Semitism and conflation of Zionism with Judaism.
- This conference will focus on confronting Islamophobic and Western liberal responses to resistance in Palestine, which relegate Palestinians and their allies to the position of the “non-human Other.” We will discuss how these responses contribute to the dominant Western narrative of the Orientalist discourse, specifically how it impacts our movement and how to resist delegitimation efforts.
- This conference will help break down the term “decolonization” from a “sexy” social justice buzzword to a lived, feasible experience and practice. We will work to define what colonization and decolonization mean, and what it means to decolonize oneself and the movement.
- This conference will give students the opportunity to discuss and organize around ways to resist institutional and administrative censorship of Palestine solidarity organizers and Muslim and Arab students on campus, who are often targeted and silenced.
- This conference will provide the necessary knowledge and tools to counter efforts by Zionist organizations to normalize and whitewash the Israeli occupation as a means of undermining student groups organizing on campus around Palestinian rights.
- This conference will delve deeper into the successes and failures of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns locally and nationally; in addition to sharing resources and best practices in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the movement.
We hope to see you at Tufts!
The National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee