Cuomo Won’t Deliver Us a Free CUNY

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On January 3rd, 2017, New York Governor Cuomo and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced a plan to bring free tuition at public universities in New York State for those students coming from families with joint incomes under $125,000 under a three-year phase-in program through the new Excelsior scholarship.  

Students for Justice in Palestine has had a massive presence in the CUNY and SUNY systems in the last five years, with chapters present at almost all of CUNY’s four year campuses and many SJP chapters active as well on the SUNY level.  We have dedicated ourselves to the struggle for a free and liberated University that serves the needs of the broad masses of working-class and oppressed nationality New Yorkers. Indeed Palestinian organizing as part of the larger CUNY struggle  goes at least as far back as the 1990s where the Palestinian Club at Hunter College made up an integral part of the Student Liberation Action Movement whose precursors battled then Governor Mario Cuomo, the current Governor Cuomo’s father, on the streets of the financial district, forcing him to veto his own bill to raise tuition at CUNY.

We recognize and understand the rich history of struggle at CUNY, and that our role as Palestine organizers must be one of unconditional support and participation in the movement to liberate CUNY for the people.  We understand the historic demands of free tuition, open admissions, democratic governance, and a revolutionary curriculum which teaches oppressed nationality students their history, stemming from the 1969 Open Admissions Strike, to be part of a larger anti-racist, global movement to bring down US Imperialism and provide reparations for those populations shackled under it.  Indeed, it was the specific conditions of CUNY itself that led us to build NYCSJP, which would include all youth from our communities, not just those who were fortunate enough to attend CUNY or another higher education institution.

While we are excited by the possibility of great opportunity for working-class and oppressed nationality youth in New York City to attend CUNY and SUNY schools given the Governor’s proposal, we worry about the larger impact of the proposed legislation itself. With the increased effort by CUNY to privatize and militarize the university as a whole, this can lead to increasing the number of black and brown working class NYC youth being locked out of the CUNY system and their right to education.

As with the passage of open admissions in 1969, we expect that CUNY enrollment will increase astronomically in the next few years, especially given the poor job market for those who do not possess college degrees. The question then remains if Governor Cuomo will provide increase funding to accommodate these extra students. If not, the individual colleges will be forced to further increase their already outrageous selectivity standards, pushing us further away from the historical demand of a CUNY student body which represents the makeup of New York City as a whole, and increasingly locking out the exact students which Cuomo’s proposal was supposed to assist in attending college.  

When we examine, for example, the most elite and selective institution within CUNY, the Graduate Center, we see an overwhelmingly White population, unreflective of the population of  NYC Public High Schools and even of the other CUNY campuses.  We will not trade affordability for access and we reject any attempt to continuously increase the selectivity of an institution which belongs to the people of New York.  If tuition is abolished but only the elite, select (and White) few can attend CUNY, we consider this no victory and pledge to fight any attempts to cut funding from CUNY after the passage of the Excelsior scholarship.

FREE TUITION AND OPEN ADMISSION!

LIBERATE CUNY FOR THE PEOPLE!

Right to Resist: Decolonize This Place & NYC SJP Zine!

In light of the surge of violent attacks by white supremacist vigilantes emboldened by Donald Trump’s election and the promise of intensified state surveillance, violence, and repression, we respond to the urgent need to redouble our struggle against US imperialism from within the belly of the beast.

In mapping out what the right to resist looks like from Eastchester in the occupied Bronx to East Jerusalem in occupied Palestine and beyond, we are reminded that the fight against white supremacy and structural racism in the US is incomplete if it is not situated as part of the broader fight against US empire.

As chatter that Rudy Giuliani, former New York City mayor and champion of broken windows policing, is being considered by Trump for a top cabinet position, we reaffirm the right of all oppressed peoples to resist by any means necessary. In the words of Kwame Ture, “In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.”

We look to history and to the examples of our comrades alongside us in NYC and around the world from Palestine to the Philippines that are fighting the very same forces championed by the president-elect to guide our way toward revolution.

We call on all comrades and allies in the struggle against Islamophobia, white supremacy and zionism to join us in collectivizing our insights, experiences, and resources in the consolidation of our movements into a united front against fascism.

Link to the livestream of the event: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1355960427750582&id=899935043353125

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CALL TO MAY DAY 2016: PALESTINE CONTINGENT

When: May, 1st at 12pm

Where: Union Square West

 

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Join NYC Students for Justice in Palestine as we turn out to this year’s May Day contingent at Union Square. International Workers Day, or “May Day” originated to commemorate the death of the four workers protesting for the current 8-hour workdays during the Chicago Haymarket Riot in 1886. Although the U.S. does not recognize days like this as it continues to wipe away the history of the workers and migrants that built this country, May Day has since continued to celebrate the ongoing class struggle waged worldwide to overthrow oppression and exploitation.

 

The world imperialist system today is prone to instability and crisis, and the people are confronted with a deepening economic crisis that the 2016 presidential candidates promise to fix. On one hand, GOP-top runner candidate Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric creates sharp antagonisms in class struggle that gives rise to a fascist movement. Among the Democrats we see neoliberalism take the form of Social Democracy, often the friendliest form of capitalism. Yet around the country, black people  still continued to be killed with impunity, immigrant families are still raided and deported, and communities are still struggling for clean water, living wages and affordable housing.

 

This May Day, our thoughts are with oppressed people everywhere. While oppression manifests itself through class, it takes up many different forms, with imperialism being the most sophisticated and detrimental to oppressed nationalities worldwide, as imperialism and state sanctioned violence forces displaced people to come to countries like the U.S. for survival. The exploiting class in imperialist countries ally with the comprador class in their colonies and territories, often engulfing in proxy wars that result in the destruction we see in places like Aleppo, Syria today.  
As NYC SJP,  we  emphasize the global struggles for national liberation and self-determination, in particular that of the Palestinian struggle, for on this May Day, Palestine remains under the occupation of the white supremacist, settler-colonial Zionist entity that calls itself Israel. Discriminatory laws have been signed into practice in occupied Palestine by Israel since the Nakba in 1948, which killed, displaced, and forcibly removed three-quarters of a million Palestinians. The Palestinian people are subject to an ongoing genocide on a near-daily basis, and every few years, they are subjected to major Israeli operations that kill indiscriminately. The point of these operations is to crush the souls and morales of the Palestinians, to reaffirm Israel’s domination as the settler-colonial vanguard state in the Middle East. We last saw this on a major scale in the summer of 2014, when Israel killed over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza. In the U.S. we see the conviction of Palestinian organizer Rasmea Odeh along with many political prisoners fighting for liberation. We see the rapid expansion of settlements in the West Bank as our communities continue to be gentrified and surveilled in America. We see the ever-expanding continuation of the Nakba in occupied Palestine as the U.S. expands as the largest military and prison system in the world. Then, when Palestinians rise up and resist, Israel and its global enablers label them terrorists.

Indeed, this May also marks 68 years of living under occupation, ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and genocide for the Palestinian people. Israel sustains itself and its crimes through the aid of global imperialist powers that also oppress working class peoples in their own countries, the most notable of these countries being the United States, the world’s only superpower and leading imperialist power.

This May Day, we denounce Israel, we denounce the United States, and we denounce global capitalism and its highest form, imperialism. We salute the workers, the resistors, and the oppressed everywhere.

WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!

FOR A LIBERATED PALESTINE, THE RETURN OF ALL ITS REFUGEES, AND A DEMOCRATIC STATE IN WHICH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE CHOOSE THEIR FUTURES!

FOR THE LIBERATION OF ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE EXPLOITED WORKERS WE ARE PROUDLY MARCHING WITH!

Political Prisoners Day Statement

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Today, Sunday April 17, 2016, join us and our allies as we launch the second Prison Divestment National Week of Action and mark the 42nd Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. We will gather at 1:30pm at Cadman Plaza and come out in full force to rally against the massive public investment and private prison companies that profit off of human rights violations in New York, Palestine, the US/Mexico border and prison detention centers around the world.

It is no secret that the U.S. is built on the foundation of genocide and enslavement of indigenous, Black, and other oppressed nationalities, and seeks to punish and imprison those who build power in antagonism with said foundation. And like its imperialist benefactor the United States, Israel imprisons Palestinians who seek justice from the violent Zionist settler state.

As of February of this year, Israel has detained 7,000 Palestinian political detainees, including 406 children and 670 administrative detainees. Israel true to its apartheid-like nature, has separate legal systems for Palestinians in the West Bank and the illegal settlers occupying it. While settlers enjoy their full fledged rights under the Israeli civilian system, Palestinians are subjected to the Israeli military court system.

Case in point, is twelve year old Dima al-Wawi the youngest girl in the world to be detained. She has been arrested and tried under the military courts for allegedly holding a knife and attempting to stab an Israeli soldier. Dima was questioned without the presence of her lawyers or parents, subsequently, she was coerced to sign a confession in Hebrew (a language that Dima does not understand). Dima’s case is not unique. In fact, coercion, torture, and psychological abuses are a general practice by the IDF soldiers and the Israeli military system put in place for Palestinians.

It is the link to U.S. imperialism that help make it possible for the Israeli military to orchestrate these kind of travesties. The U.S. spends 3 billion dollars a year on the Zionist state, which includes its military fund. Companies likes G4S, one of the largest security and imprisonment facilities in the world, provides services and equipment for Israeli prisons.

Zionism is built on, and maintains itself on the erasure of Palestinians, their history and their culture to survive. Israel, frantically trying to destroy the Palestinian spirit, finds itself confronted with the resistance that came before its establishment, and will live on after it’s destruction. Zionists can attempt new ways to divide and conquer Palestinians, but the oppressed peoples of the world will find a thousand more ways to resist and crush Zionism.

We will not stay silent at Israel’s farce of a so-called democracy and the United States’ hand in the colonization of Palestine. We unapologetically call out Israel for what it is: a European settler colonial state created through ethnic cleansing, displacements, and crippling national oppression. Zionism and a liberated Palestine can not exist concurrently, one will necessarily overcome the other. As Palestinians in the diaspora and internationalists, we know that Zionism can not be simply tolerated and reformed, it must be ended by any means necessary, as well as every ideology that upholds the imperialist system today.

Furthermore, the United States, as an imperialist nation, depends on Israel to further its control and influence in the region. We cannot call for a liberated Palestine without the defeat of US imperialism. We, as solidarity organizers for the Palestinian cause in the United States, must connect the struggles of all oppressed peoples here in the States and around the world. We must call out the US’ mass incarceration for what it is: genocide. Like Zionism, national oppression in the United States against Black people, Chicanos, First Nations and others is not something that can be voted away or changed by shifting the political narrative in popular media. Only by revolutionary struggle can these systems of oppression not only be managed, but they can be ended. From the detention centers in Arizona to the dungeons in occupied Hebron, FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

NYC SJP CONDEMNS ATTACK ON FARMERS IN KIDAPAWAN

YOUTH AND STUDENTS UNITE TO FIGHT IMPERIALISM FROM THE PHILIPPINES TO NEW YORK TO PALESTINE

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As students, workers and community members in solidarity with Palestine and all oppressed nations, New York City Students for Justice in Palestine stands in solidarity with the people of Kidapawan, after the massacre in which several farmers were killed, hundreds were injured and dozens remain missing.

 

During a devastating drought in the Cotabato region of Mindanao, over 5,000 farmers and indigenous Lumad marched on the Cotabato-Davao highway and formed a human barricade to demand relief in the form of 15,000 sacks of rice. Responding to this show of power by the people of Cotabato, the Philippine National Police (PNP) opened fire on the barricade, killing at least three people, injuring more than 100, and arresting more than 80 others. After the massacre, the protestors found sanctuary in the United Methodist Church compound, where the PNP continues to harass them under the pretext of “searching for firearms”. US imperialism, represented by the Government of the Philippines, will try to halt the growth of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines by any means available, as shown by the recent massacres in Hacienda Lusita and Kidapawan, disappearances and extrajudicial killings of indigenous activists from the Cordillera mountains to Mindanao, and the armed campaign against the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

 

NYC SJP recognizes the parallels between the reactionary government in the Philippines and the settler-colonial state of Israel. Like the Zionist state, the Aquino regime in the Philippines depends on U.S. imperialist aid to survive, receiving $79 million in U.S. military aid in 2015. AnakBayan NY notes, “This aid goes directly to the repression of the people’s just resistance against their oppressors as this recent incident in Cotabato shows. The shooting of unarmed protestors exposes the cowardice of the Malacañang government and their desperation to hold onto their power.” Similarly, Israel ranks as the number one recipient of U.S. military aid, receiving $3 billion in 2015, in addition to regularly receiving annual lump sums as much as $1.9 billion. Both the Government of the Philippines and the Israeli state operate as U.S. outposts in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, advancing the interests of U.S. hegemony at the expense of the Filipino, Palestinian, and oppressed nations all over the globe.  

 

While the police and military in the Philippines prevent the people of Cotabato from accessing necessities like food, the Israeli state imposes a crippling siege on Gaza. The siege results in extreme food shortages, water sources in which 96% of the coastal aquifer is contaminated with chloride and nitrate, chronic unemployment and damaged and destroyed crucial infrastructure. This air, naval, and land siege is used to collectively punish the Palestinian people for their continuous resistance, in the various forms it takes, both armed and unarmed. However, the siege of Gaza is but one aspect of the national oppression Israel inflicts on the Palestinian people. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is a struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine from the river to the sea, and must be led by Palestinians wherever they may be–in Gaza, the West Bank, ‘48 Palestine, the camps, and the wider diaspora. Similarly, the struggle for National Democracy and Socialism in the Philippines is a struggle not only against the Aquino regime, but a struggle for genuine democracy and liberation, against semi-feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and U.S. imperialism.

 

Our role as progressive and revolutionary youth and students in the imperialist center is to weaken the Empire and incapacitate its reach, so that space is created for revolutionary movements to flourish in nations like the Philippines and Palestine, and they are able to self-­determine their futures, free of imperialist and colonial domination. While the benefactors of Empire seem all-powerful, in reality they are weak and dependent on imperialism, illustrated by the Zionist’s need to dip into the U.S. ammunition stockpiles during the 2014 Israeli aggression on Gaza. Neither the puppet government in the Philippines, nor the settler state on Palestinian land have any chance of surviving without support from the imperialists. Logically then, our tasks must be to both organize in solidarity with Palestine through tools like BDS, as well as consciously and intentionally move forward the struggles rooted in national questions within the U.S. prison-house of nations.

 

We call on all Palestine solidarity organizations, and other progressive and revolutionary organizations to stand with the people of Cotabato not out of moralistic grandstanding, but out of revolutionary, internationalist necessity. As we have previously stated, “Advances of one anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle both objectively strain the resources of oppressor nation(s), and subjectively inspire anti-imperialist struggles around the world by proving these struggles are possible in practice. As SJPs organizing within the center of US imperialism, we are in a position to advance the anti-imperialist and anti-settler-colonial struggles here, and in particular the national liberation struggles of internal colonies within the borders of the US (the struggles for national self-determination of Blacks/New Afrikans, Chicanos, First Nations, etc.). By doing so, we will actively advance Palestinian liberation by undermining the ability of the US imperialist state to so extensively support Israel.”

We stand forever in solidarity with the struggle in the Philippines, and with our comrades in AnakBayan – USA. The crimes in Kidapawan and Gaza will not go unpunished.

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As long as the imperialists globalize their system, we will globalize as well.

-Leila Khaled, Quezon City, Philippines

#BigasHindiBala

!يسقط الإستعمار

IMPERYALISMO IBAGSAK!

Women hold up half the sky: Palestinian women in the struggle against Zionism

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“Palestine, our souls will not rust in exile”

Join us today on March 5th at 1 pm in front of the Harriet Tubman Statue – 122 St and St Nicholas Av/Frederick Douglass Blvd, in  Harlem New York to commemorate International Working Women’s Day as an inseparable aspect of the fight for Palestinian liberation. NYC SJP along with many other student and community organizations will be out in full force to affirm our commitment in the fight against patriarchy and zionism. The struggle against patriarchy is inextricably linked to the struggle against racism, colonialism, and capitalism: The very core of the settler colonial state of Israel. As we voiced in our article about Mordechai Kedar’s appearance at Hunter, Israel’s patriarchal roots go back to the mass rapes committed during the Nakba as a psychological weapon to colonize and wipe out Palestinians, as well as the daily assault and sexual harassment of Palestinian women to this day by the Zionist state. This is evident from sexual assault and harassment of Palestinian women, to IDF soldiers custom printing t-shirts with misogynistic messages such as “a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull’s-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, “1 shot, 2 kills.” And “a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, “Bet you got raped!” These shirts were made during the 2008 military attack on Gaza, and have gotten approval from IDF commanders as part of a military tradition. Zionism uses patriarchy, just as it uses racism, imperialism, and other systems of oppression, to ensure its continued survival. It is therefore our duty as advocates and supporters of the Palestinian people to unite with all those fighting gender oppression from Palestine, to the United States, and at our own college campuses.

Israel is a state that was built on the murder and rape of Palestinian women, a state that forces women to give birth at checkpoints, where more than half of the babies died as a result. It is a state that imprisons Palestinian students and folkloric dancers like Lina khattab, who had an Israeli judge point at her saying “she looks like a leader” as she was sentenced to prison just for protesting against Israel. Khattab was accused of “throwing stones” and sentenced to six months in Israeli prison in December 2014; her case won international attention and solidarity from student organizations and activists around the world. After her release in June of 2014, Khattab changed her major course of study at Bir Zeit from journalism to law, noting that she planned to become a lawyer to defend Palestinian political prisoners and advocate for their freedom after witnessing their conditions first hand. The U.S and Israel know the power of organized Palestinian women, with identical goals of targeting revolutionaries to suppress political organizing. Lina Khattab is among many Palestinian women imprisoned for being a leader in their community. Another being Khalida Jarrar who has defended political prisoners under the PFLP. Khalida has been arrested in her home and held in indefinite detention by Israeli occupation forces multiple times. Her first arrest was at a protest marking International Working Women’s Day in Ramallah, Palestine, 1989. She was detained in Israeli prison for one month and subsequently became involved in human rights organizing and advocacy as a student at Birzeit University. Khalida Jarrar was actively involved in community-based and university organizing, for self determination. As a Palestinian immigrant to the U.S, Rasmea Odeh has made it her life’s work struggling for an end to Israeli colonization. She was first targeted by the Israeli state, sexually abused by Zionist occupation forces until she signed a document confessing to a bombing in Jerusalem. In moving to the U.S, she did not mark her bogus confession when asked if she has been convicted of a crime on her immigration papers. 11 years after grassroots work in Chicago, the U.S says she committed immigration fraud. In reality, this was a concentrated state effort to suppress the support she has been extending the Arab population of Chicago. Her treatment in both the Israeli and U.S court system reveal the misogyny a part of these institutions. On the one hand, she was raped by Israeli interrogators. On the other, the reality and evidence of her rape was held from the jury when she went on trial.

The Zionist movement is contingent on upholding patriarchy as a justification of their colonization and occupation of Palestine, with officials like Ayelet Shaked the Israeli minister of Justice spewing violent rhetoric against Palestinian women by saying “if she sends her son to to hell she should know she’s going with him, along with the house, and everything inside it.” The struggle for Palestinian liberation is indivisible with the struggle for women’s liberation. We reject the idea that women should support each other solely based on “womanhood”. Women who facilitate Zionist aggression in Palestine do not have any common ground with women resisting it. We reject any ideology which delegitimizes or ignores oppressed peoples right to rebel against colonial conditions. Similarly, we recognize the domestic call for “women’s equality and opportunity” from U.S “feminist” politicians is empty rhetoric. From NYC to Honduras, their actions continue the U.S legacy of white supremacy and dominance. The 1994 “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act”, with the support of First Lady Hillary Clinton, put more police on patrol in working class Black and Latino communities, also enacting a “mandatory minimum” for nonviolent drug related sentences. Prisons today are filled with people of all genders scooped up by this legislation. Under the policy of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the U.S. funneled funds and support to overthrow then Honduran president Manuel Zelaya in 2009. After the U.S backed coup, femicide accelerated among other drug cartels and state police violence. Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Caceres faced repeated death threats from state security forces because of her role organizing against the 2009 coup and her work with the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. She cofounded COPINH in 1993 to address the growing threats posed to indigenous Lena communities by illegal logging, fight for their territorial rights and improve their livelihoods. Cáceres mounted campaigns and lead protests to demand the Lena people have autonomy over their lands. March 3rd, of 2016 she was killed in her home. The assailant is unknown but it is highly likely this is a state sanctioned assassination and almost certain there will be no adequate investigation. This is a clear example of the farce that is “global sisterhood” after all, what do women like Leila Khaled and Golda Meir have in common when they are at the opposite sides of a struggle, with Golda Meir an Israeli Prime minister colonizing Palestinian land through zionist Ideology, and Leila Khaled committing her life to be a freedom fighter in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

To stand against imperialism, capitalism, and patriarchy is to stand with political prisoners, indigenous women, and those struggling against all systems of oppression around the world.

Smash the Patriarchy!

Smash the Settler Zionist State!

Free Palestine, and Free Women EVERYWHERE!

Long Live the Memory of Omar Nayef Zayed!

Omar Nayef Zayed

 

Today only hours apart from the victory of Mohammed al-Qeeq after his 94-day hunger strike, the revolutionary Omar Nayef Zayed was assassinated within the Palestinian embassy in Bulgaria.

Omar, a former political prisoner and hunger striker, was threatened with extradition from Bulgaria in December of 2015 when the Israeli state demanded his arrest. Zayed was accused of carrying out a resistance operation against settlers in 1986, and had escaped from Zionist prisons in 1990 after a 40 day hunger strike. NYC SJP holds the Israeli state responsible for his assassination, and the Palestinian Authority for failing to adequately protect Omar within their diplomatic mission. The individuals and government who carried out this assassination must be held accountable through any channel possible.

All of the Palestinians resisting in the bowels of Israeli jails represent the firm resilience of the Palestinian people for self-determination, however no amount of happiness from al-Qeeq’s victory will make us forgive or forget about the enraging assassination of Omar Nayef Zayed. Even though we are Palestinians living in the diaspora and internationalists in solidarity with Palestine, the issues of the prisoners must always be on our minds. We salute Mohammed al-Qeeq, the martyr Omar Nayef Zayed, and all political prisoners.