People’s Conference For Palestine – Detroit

Our Struggle for Liberation

“We met in exile, we organize in exile, and one day we will return to Palestine together.” These words from Palestinian activist Monadel Herzallah resonated deeply at the Palestinian Youth Movement’s (PYM) Peoples Conference for Palestine I attended back in May. As an OAO activist, I joined thousands from across the globe to reflect on the lessons learned over the past eight months and chart the future of our mission for a liberated Palestine. The conference was a source of inspiration, deep emotion, and hope for me. It also gave me three key lessons for our movement that I wanted to share with you: the need to shift from reactive to proactive action, the importance of unity in organization, and the need to build solidarity and coalition.

At the conference, PYM leader Mohammed Nabulsi posed a question: “What would Palestine have benefited from on October 7 that we still do not have now?” We’ve done a great job building financial aid and community organization, but now we must turn our focus to infrastructure. We need to build the political infrastructure to effectively pressure the Biden administration, the local infrastructure to support student organizers in their disruptive actions, and the personal infrastructure to mobilize our friends and family. If we can do this effectively, we’ll be able to operate more proactively instead of simply reacting to problems as they arise.

From Reactive to Proactive Action

Unity in Organization

In order to effectively resist the genocidal machine, we need unity in organization brought on by a shared vision and cohesive organization. Our efforts are part of a multifront war. We may not be the sole front that’s going to liberate Palestine, but if we align our work with the larger mission we can have an even greater impact. As Hind Khoudary shared from Gaza, every social media post, protest, encampment, and action that leads to someone learning more about Palestine contributes to the mission. We’ve successfully amplified the Palestinian narrative after decades of suppression but authorities continue to interfere both here and abroad. We must maintain the clarity and strength of our message and stay unified in our support if the work is to continue.

A Starbucks union organizer at the conference shared that their pro-Palestine stance was what brought them to the negotiating table with Starbucks. This underscores the interconnectedness of all oppressed classes—whether working class, 2SLGBTQ+, people of color, or people with disabilities. Building solidarity infrastructure and showing up for each other is essential, as the liberation of all peoples is tied together. As one speaker eloquently stated, “Solidarity is not a form of charity; it is a form of mutual aid.” We must build these mutual aid networks. We must ask ourselves what people here at home need our support and step forward. Showing up for others will increase the visibility of our movement, and as we’ve learned, when you pull on one thread of the imperialist tapestry, it all starts to unravel. 

Solidarity and Coalition Building

In Summary

We are at a pivotal moment for the pro-Palestine movement. It is crucial to capitalize on this momentum to build long-term infrastructure and power, achieve unity in our organizing efforts, and develop the solidarity networks vital to our success. The road ahead is long and difficult, but the conference truly highlighted that the people, united, will never be defeated.

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