Occupation is a crime: Militarization at home and abroad
Chicago, IL – When the people of Ferguson rose up last August, an act of international solidarity took place that the world is still talking about. Less than one week after the killing of Mike Brown, Palestinian activists resisting the Israeli war on Gaza tweeted advice on dealing with tear gas to Black protesters in the suburb of Saint Louis.
In Chicago, over 40 people gathered to hear a panel of local organizers discuss the struggle against war and occupation at home and around the world on Sept. 12. Holly Kent-Payne of the Anti-War Committee-Chicago, the group that hosted the gathering, talked about the use of tanks, assault rifles and other surplus military gear by the cops in Ferguson. These images were shocking to the U.S. public unaware that police forces in oppressed Black, Chicano and Latino communities have militarized heavily in recent years.
19-year-old Sundous Daghash of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network explained the struggle of the people of Palestine, and then noted that “tactics of repression were perfected by the Israeli military by constantly using them against the Palestinian people and then brought back to the U.S. to be practiced on the occupied Black nation here in the U.S.”
Lorena Buni of AnakBayan, a patriotic organization of Filipino youth in the U.S., detailed the suffering of the indigenous Lumad people at the hands of mining companies in the Philippines. The country’s armed forces torture and murder human rights advocate with impunity and with the full support of the U.S. military.
Frank Chapman, field organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the main force behind the recent and historic August 29 rally to #StopPoliceCrimes in Chicago, put the different struggles in the context of U.S. imperialism and its 500 years of genocide and oppression of subjugated nations, including African Americans, Chicanos and Native Americans in the U.S., and Filipinos, Palestinians, and countless other countries that have the boot of imperialism on their necks.
All the speakers referenced the case of Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian community leader in Chicago unjustly convicted in a federal kangaroo court for refusing to accept Israel’s occupation of her homeland. All the speakers, and many in the crowd, pledged to be present in Cincinnati when Rasmea has her appeal hearing on Oct. 14.