We listened to Palestinians born in Palestine, Palestinians born in America, Eritrean asylum seekers, 83-year-old ex-Zionists, Black Americans, Kashmiris. The message is unified — burn it down. Burn down the lies that headline the newspapers, the looting we call capitalism, the notion that humans have supremacy over the Earth let alone over each other. Burn it all down.
Burn it all down cause the forces of oppression are in cahoots. That’s why you can’t reform when you must abolish. The abolitionist’s mindset gives us a framework to pull the weed from the root. It clears the soil for a fresh start. Reform is a mere trim that makes things feel tidy at-a-glance. Reform is a light beige band-aid on dark brown skin. This two-state / one-state nonsense they want us to believe are the solutions — they’re all just reforms. Re-arranging the oppression so it looks tidier at-a-glance.
We talked about globalizing the Intifada. How revolution is the solution. We talked about how calling for Black Lives Matter on the streets of New York echoes the calls for liberation on the streets of Gaza.
I’m still wrapping my head around what makes a protest impactful. There’s that gnawing feeling of thinking we’re treading water and doing “the work,” only to find out that the bottom of the pool was within reach the whole time. That the lessons we circulate short-circuit through the echo chamber.
I know there’s power in taking up space — in causing disruption. For juxtaposing our unarmed bodies against the riot police with the words “counterterrorism” stitched in plain sight across their chests. To stand in contrast with the Zionist group that lined the perimeter, wielding blue and white flags and dangling the keys to the castle.
The imagery of a protest is electrifying. The raw energy of focused, human presence where the streets are our classroom, our peers our teachers. No gatekeepers, no degrees. Your entrance exam is existence. Protests are like a chemistry class. We gather the nouns, the ideals — equality, freedom, justice, peace — and mix them with the verbs, the work — vote, dismantle, question, abolish, boycott, critique, divest, liberate — so that they combust. Make flames. Spread with the wind. And burn it all down.