To the editor,
In the past weeks, we have seen local rallies in support of Palestinian liberation grow from dozens of people to hundreds. While #CeasefireNOW is the unifying call to end the immediate bloodshed, there is a recognition that we cannot return to the status quo. We must work toward an end to Israel’s occupation and the dismantling of colonial structures.
These weeks have revealed the hollow reality of the liberal order. Its ideals of democracy and human rights are quickly sacrificed on the altar of power. Senator Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries — leaders of the Democratic Party, which presents itself as our protector from Republican fascism — appeared on stage at the pro-war “March for Israel” alongside election deniers and bigots. Censorship has been accepted by CNN and other news networks as the price of access ride-alongs with the lie-prone Israel Defence Forces (IDF). And international law has been thrown to the wind.
These weeks have also revealed the promise of new structures destined to replace this decrepit system. Political forms capable of challenging power have been solidifying in the resurgent student movement, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the labor movement, and other allies. (Note: the author is a member of Rochester DSA.) In spite of censorship and assassinations, journalism has been leaking out of Gaza and circling around independent media. Internationally, we are witnessing a renewed recognition of our intertwined struggles. Imperialism, policing, and race are all tied up in the continuation of Israel’s apartheid regime.
“They told me to do my research. … In the last three weeks I’ve gone back, and I’ve done some research, and I’m teachable; I don’t know enough, but I know enough that this is a genocide.”
By providing context for the ongoing genocide, we see that these events did not start on Oct. 7, rather they are a continuation of the nakba — the “catastrophe,” the forcible removal of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland for the creation of the Jewish state.
Second, we must continue to rally and march to show strength and ensure that genocide does not happen in complicit silence. Third, we must continue to call on representatives for a cease-fire, as DSA has done through its No Money for Massacres campaign. Over 30 members of Congress have now been convinced to do so. Importantly, a cease-fire will only succeed if backed up with the threat of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions. Finally, we must take direct action by using our bodies to stop the gears of war.
Ultimately, we must grasp the connected struggles of the working class. By organizing as a mass movement, we will overcome systems of oppression and domination premised on the extraction of profit. A better world is possible, and the actions taken now will usher in a new era in which all lives are valued.
Lebens-Higgins is a community member serving as the co-chair of ROC DSA’s communications committee. This Letter to the Editor was published as part of the Campus Times’ Nov. 21, 2023 Special Edition on Israel-Palestine.