The recent ‘freeze actions’ at train stations in Manhattan ‘No Attack on Iran’ are an important tactic in creating a ‘space of non—violent resistance’ at the lowest geographical scale of mass public presence on foot, namely inside a train station.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Palestinians under the Occupation are creating a singular space of non-violent resistance to the building of the Great Wall of Palestine and the stealing of their land and their very livelihood at the village of Ni’lin. That stolen land is being appropriated to the nearby settler enclave of Hashmona’im. The Caterpillar tractors are in action every day. The repression there has been brutal, bought and paid for in effect by Washington, and American taxpayers like you. Protestors on the streets on New York and the bullet-ridden hills around Nil’in share a common goal of halting injustice, and putting their body where their minds and hearts are.
I’d like to call for greater solidarity with that struggle in Ni’lin. Today it is an icon of joint Palestinian-Jewish-international non-violent resistance, under a hail of rubber bullets and the choke of tear gas, a daily toll in injuries and blood.
On 23 July, the first all-women’s demo against the apartheid wall was organized. One participant, Rona, reported on Israeli indymedia:
“Soldiers welcomed the group with sound bombs and gas, they kept the women from reaching the work site using violence, but demonstrators repeatedly forced the soldiers to retreat quite a bit over the hour long protest. There was one arrest, two injuries, and lots of gas; this is the first of a series of women’s actions in the village. Nilin’s women were supported in large numbers by activists from Ramallah, Tulkarem, Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, Sweden, Switzerland, France, and the USA among other places. The group, that also included a number of children, marched from the village’s center toward the work site when soldiers stopped them about 100 meters from the machinery using sound bombs and tear gas. The group dispersed a bit on the hill, but the wind followed them, so that about half of the women were able to stick by the soldiers while others retreated to safety and treatment.”
[ https://israel.indymedia.org/newswire/display/9361/index.php ]
Neve Gordon has described what is happening in Ni’lin, “popular acts of civil disobedience that persist despite the ruthless repression of an occupying power.” He underscores that this is what’s called in Arabic ‘ta’ayush,’ radical solidarity, “scores of Jewish Israeli and international activists are standing beside the Palestinian residents as they try to stop military bulldozers from destroying Ni’lin’s land.”
[ http://www.counterpunch.org/gordon07192008.html ]
Jamal Juma’ of the key initiative Palestinian Grassroots Anti Apartheid Wall Campaign [http://www.stopthewall.org ] writes: “Nil’in will soon be ghettoized and isolated from the rest of the West Bank, with its main entrance being a tunnel running under the segregated settler-only road. Not only will this involve the confiscation of a further 200 dunams, but it will also effectively give the Occupation military full control over movement in and out of the area.” That’s the dark prospect in the Israeli soldiers’ state.
ANARCHISTS AGAINST THE WALL
One group lending a regular hand in building this node of resistance is Anarchists Against the Wall. In its fierce commitment to direct action, AATW [ http://www.awalls.org ], is a mini-paradigm of joint Palestinian-Israeli action. Some sense of the terrible repression of peaceful demonstrators at Ni’lin is visible in videos here [ http://www.awalls.org/topics/niilin ]. And here a recent petition against human rights abuses in Ni’lin, vicious repression: http://www.petitiononline.com/nilin/petition.html . Add your signatures.
AATW recently issued a call for support of the legal defense of hundreds of arrested activists, especially in the resistance at Ni’lin. Donate a few bucks if you can: http://www.awalls.org/donations . You could interview some AATW people by phone, broadcast it around NYC, get their voices into print. Invite some of them to speak, build a bond of solidarity.
PARADIGMS FOR CATALYZING TRANSFORMATION FROM THE BOTTOM UP
The resistance at Bil’in village, also central for AATW action (much info on A-infos and http://www.anarkismo.net ) and at Ni’lin are protest paradigms. Even for protest on the streets of your own cities. As Noam Chomsky recently stressed, envisioning a future for Palestine and Israel: “a non-violent struggle would have had considerable prospects for success. I think it still is the only prospect for success”
[ http://www.zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/18051 ].
OVERCOMING NOT ONLY ZIONISM BUT THE STATE
I believe the unending impasse in Palestine/Israel points up an ever more apparent fact: the nation-state is unworkable in its conventional capitalist sense. I agree with Serbian anarchist Andrej Grubacic that
“what is needed, not just in the Balkans, is an alternative to nationalism, colonialism and capitalism. […] It should be a politics of a Balkan federation. A participatory society, built from the bottom up, through struggles for the creation of an inclusive democratic awareness, participatory social experiments, and an emancipatory practice that would win the political imagination of all people in the region”
[ http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/1859 ].
The struggle at Ni’lin and elsewhere, like ‘freeze actions’ at Grand Central and Penn stations, are small steps toward a greater goal: a libertarian-socialist multicultural Commonwealth. That could begin to energize new forms of decentralized direct democracy, people’s participation and horizontalism, neighborhood autonomy as it moves beyond received notions of a capitalist ‘state’ run by a corporate ruling class. In Palestine/Israel, We need a mass movement striving to create a mosaic society of ta’ayush, Arab-Jewish synergy, founded on autonomy, authentic direct democracy, mutual aid anchored in radical social empathy. Beginnings can be forged, at the most grassroots, place-based local scales. In people’s own neighborhoods, workplaces. Your neighborhoods. Palestine’s under the boot of military occupation and repression, Tel Aviv’s in the heart of Leviathan.
I think both in Israel and New York, New Jersey, one exciting window for change can look to the kind of neighborhood Household and Home Assemblies that James Herod envisions in GETTING FREE: CREATING AN ASSOCIATION OF DEMOCRATIC AUTONOMOUS NEIGHBORHOODS (AK Press, 2007, and online http://www.jamesherod.info/ ). That could begin to generate a whole geometry of people’s initiatives from the bottom up, a network of dual power, the incubators of a new society of ta’ayush and power to the people – not just slogans, but concrete scaffolding for transformation. But that’s a topic for another time. I comment a bit on it here:
as you resist in New York and Jersey. The attack on Ni’lin, the U.S. actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the coming attack on Iran are part of the same offensive. It’s a war on the workers everywhere. Build some links. It’s all one struggle, ma’avak ehad.