08: Anti-imperialism, Internationalism, and Palestine with Sumaya Awad
In this week’s episode, we speak with Sumaya Awad, a Palestinian activist who has been active in Students for Justice and Palestine and co-founded a project to counter the Canary Mission, an odious blacklist of campus Palestine solidarity activists.
Sumaya talked to us about the incredible bravery currently taking place at the Gaza-Israel border, where thousands are enduring violent and often sadistic Israeli repression in a nonviolent protest to assert their right to return to their historic homes. She put the current protests in the historic context of the first and second intifadas, and the endless “peace process” that has been cynically used to defuse Palestinian resistance without ever touching the fundamental questions that the marches to the border have put back on the agenda. And we discussed the importance of the international Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) solidarity movement, and her work in helping to start Against Canary Mission to defend BDS activists.
In opening discussion, Jen, Danny and Eric discuss the meaning of anti-imperialism, an important concept in the socialist tradition that some have distorted to mean supporting any regime (no matter how repressive or reactionary) that opposes the U.S. government. We talk about what it means for leftists to recognize that “the main enemy is at home”—especially when their home is the world’s biggest imperial power—while also being internationalists who instinctively support struggles for justice by people anywhere in the world regardless of whether their governments are allied or opposed to Washington.
Here are some links if you want to pursue any of these topics further:
You can read Sumaya’s writings in Socialist Worker about the Great Return March in Gaza and her solidarity visit to Standing Rock, and visit Against Canary Mission to learn more about this important effort to defend the free speech rights of Palestine solidarity activists.
For further reading about the state of Israel and the Palestinian struggle, there are many useful pieces in the International Socialist Review, including Phil Gasper’s Israel: Colonial Settler State in the International Socialist Review, Naseer Aruri’s 2001 interview about Israel’s cynical abuse of the peace process, and Sherry Wolf’s piece on the rise of the BDS movement.
In addition, Haymarket Books is having a 70% sale this month on all of its books about Palestine.
For further reading about our discussion of anti-imperialism, check out Anti-Imperialism and the Syrian Revolution by Ashley Smith and the solidarity statement with the protests in Iran that Jen referred to from the Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists.
Music and audio from this episode
The Boy Sister Alma, “Lizard Eyes” (Dead Sea Captains Remix)