Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

International

By John Metz

Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine receiving award at People's Thanksgiving. | Fight Back! News/Olan Mijana

Chicago, IL – 125 activists gathered in Chicago, December 2. for the 2023 People’s Thanksgiving, honoring the major achievements of our movement over the past year. The annual event, organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization, serves as a people's alternative to the colonial holiday of Thanksgiving.

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By Sarah Martin

St. Paul, MN – On December 1, 100 Palestine solidarity activists responded to the continuation of Israel’s vicious and deadly bombing of Gaza. They rallied during the evening rush hour at the WAMM (Women Against Military Madness) weekly bannering at a busy Saint Paul intersection.

Motorists responded with honks and fist pumps as activists chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes” and “Hey Netanyahu what do you say? How many kids did you kill today?”

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By Solveig Swain

Protest at Jewish National Fund’s “Global Conference for Israel.” | Fight Back! News/staff

Denver, CO – Around 2 p.m. on December 1, the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) were joined by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) to march from Auraria Campus to an all-day picket in front of the Colorado Convention Center.

The picket, hosted by the Colorado Palestine Coalition drew about 250 participants, for day two of the Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) “Global Conference for Israel.” Activists picketed outside of the conference and stood up to the militarized police response, which threatened the protest for the entirety of the day.

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By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement by FSU Students for a Democratic Society

Tallahassee, FL – Since October 11th, Florida State University SDS has been involved in actions in support of Palestine and the Palestinian people. Throughout this campaign, the students at FSU have made specific demands of our university. Our demands are that President Richard McCullough rewrite the shameful letter to FSU students that only mentioned Israeli students' grief and trauma, that the university cut all ties with Boeing which builds the airplanes that drop bombs on innocent Palestinians, and that FSU ends its support of Zionist organizations like Hillel & Chabad and their birthright programs to Israel. In short, we are asking FSU to cut all ties with the genocidal Israeli government and to provide support for Muslim, Arab, and Palestinian students in the wake of rising Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism around the country.

On November 10th, SDS intended to make public comments at the Board of Trustees meeting to make our demands to the administration known. Three days beforehand, our former president Cas called the Board of Trustees office to verify that public comments would begin at 3 PM that Friday. They were assured that public comments would begin at 3 PM “no matter what” to ensure that students and faculty could attend and address any questions or concerns about campus life. At SDS’s Market Wednesday table the following day, an FSUPD officer was bothering our members about the upcoming mobilization to the Board of Trustees meeting. He asked how many people we expected to show out and other prying questions.

When the day of the action came, FSUPD informed SDS leadership that public comment had ended at 1:30 PM, hours earlier than it normally does. We saw this as an attempt to quash political dissent and were not going to go away quietly. Thus, we entered the Board of Trustees meeting and silently waved Palestine flags for about 15 minutes. At 3 PM- when the public comment was originally scheduled- we began loudly questioning the Board of Trustees’ refusal to hear our comments. We demanded to know why FSU is partnered with Boeing, why it upholds the settler-colonial “birthright” program, and why President McCullough could not make a statement that acknowledges the suffering of Arab students on campus and people in Palestine. We were directed by FSUPD to leave the building and immediately complied with their directions. As we exited, we continued chanting “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!” and other statements in solidarity with Palestine. We finished the action with a rally outside of Miller Hall. Attendees had an open invitation to voice their grievances with the University’s support of Israel throughout this conflict and with its attempt to silence student voices.

The following week, SDS leadership received emails about purported Code of Conduct violations by the organization. The “violations” and our response to each of them are as follows:

SOCC VII. H.1: Student Organizations and student organization members must comply with the lawful order or reasonable request of an identified University official, any non-University law enforcement official, any non University emergency responder, or any protective order.

Response: SDS immediately complied with FSUPD’s directives to vacate the building. When we were escorted out of Miller Hall, we finished with a rally outside of the building. Videos of our members chanting will show that they were moving toward the exit doors in accordance with police orders

SOCC VII. H.2f: The Student Organization will not engage in, tolerate, or condone: Behavior which disrupts or obstructs student learning, instruction, research, administrative, or other University operations or previously scheduled or reserved on-campus activities.

Response: This supposed “violation” targets students’ right to protest. We were peacefully assembled in the Board of Trustees meeting and peacefully left when directed to. We resorted to chanting because the Board of Trustees expedited public comment, denying us the opportunity to voice our concerns about FSU’s cooperation in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. This action, while disruptive, is protected speech under the First Amendment. Further, Article I of the Florida Constitution states that “minor, brief, or fleeting nonviolent disruptions that are isolated or brief in duration,” are a protected form of protest.

SOCC VII. I.1d: The Student Organization will not engage in, tolerate, or condone: Entering or using the property or facilities of another person or entity without the consent or authorization or refusing to depart when directed by a university official.

Response: SDS was authorized to enter the building by FSUPD and complied with orders to leave when they asked us to. Stating that we “refus[ed] to depart” is slanderous and an obvious falsehood.

We condemn the actions of FSUPD, which surveilled and harassed SDS members at ‘Market Wednesday’ the week of our Board of Trustees action. The surveillance and harassment of FSUPD was a clear attempt to target students who are members of FSU SDS. This harassment is a violation of students' right to free speech.

The attacks on FSU SDS do not come in a vacuum. Across the country, university administrators and politicians have threatened students' First Amendment right to protest. In Florida, Ron DeSantis ordered SJP chapters to be delisted on dubious terrorism charges. Florida State Representative Randy Fine has made slanderous accusations calling student protesters and organizations ‘Hamas’ or ‘pro-Hamas’. Jewish Voice for Peace was delisted at Brandeis University and JVP and SJP were suspended at Columbia.

SDS condemns the attacks on student protesters across the country. When students' First Amendment rights are under attack, we must stand up and fight back!

Hands off our movements!

Defend First Amendment Rights!

Free Palestine!

#TallahasseeFL #International #Palestine #StudentMovement #SDS #AntiWar

By Sorcha Lona

 Early morning Minneapolis protest demands Senator Klobuchar oppose genocide in Palestine.  | Fight Back! News/Meredith Aby

Minneapolis, MN – At 6:30 a.m., November 30, nearly 100 protestors assembled outside of Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to demand she stop enabling genocide. The crowd demanded that Senator Klobuchar call for a ceasefire, and push for an end to the siege of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine.

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By Mira Altobell-Resendez

University of Minnesota community members stand with Palestine. | Fight Back! News/staff

Minneapolis, MN – On November 29, over 300 students, staff and faculty members at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities skipped class and work to participate in several events throughout the day as part of the Shut It Down for Palestine International Day of Solidarity.

These actions were called and led by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and several faculty members such as Sima Shakhsari of the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies department.

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By Aodhan Bowman

Appleton, WI march in support of Palestinian resistance. | Fight Back! News/staff

Appleton, WI – Defying the notion that small towns in Wisconsin are backward, 300 enthusiastic community members gathered in Houdini Plaza on November 19 to show their support for the Palestinian resistance in the fight for liberation against the Zionist occupiers.

A crowd spanning all ages, nationalities and creeds chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and waved Palestinian flags before community members told their stories about family members who are struggling to survive the Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which has killed over 11,000 people, mostly children.

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By staff

Palestine solidarity demonstration in San Jose, CA. | Fight Back! News/staff

San Jose, CA – A diverse crowd gathered at San Jose City Hall on Sunday, November 19 to demand an end to the U.S.-backed Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people. Over 1000 people were in attendance, including families and children. The goal was clear: to demand an end to the atrocities faced by the Palestinian people and to call out the U.S. government's support for Israel's actions.

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By Josh Rudd

Dallas Black Friday die-in exposing the genocide in Gaza. | Fight Back! News/staff

Dallas, TX – Residents of Dallas gathered at NorthPark Mall on Black Friday, November 24, as at least 200 community members showed up for three simultaneous actions for Palestine, including a die-in inside the mall, a banner-drop off of Highway 75, and a picket outside of the main entrance to the mall.

Organizers handed out flyers and held signs to spread awareness of both the international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign, as well as flyers promoting an online petition calling on the Dallas City Council to pass a resolution condemning the occupation and genocide in Palestine, and demanding direct U.S. humanitarian aid to the people of Palestine.

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By staff

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN).

The U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) salutes our steadfast Palestinian and Arab people for their courageous self-defense and unified resistance to the ongoing U.S.-backed Israeli genocide against our people in all of Palestine, especially Gaza.

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