As an organization dedicated to building a revolution in the United States, PSL Indianapolis is engaged in a variety of struggles affecting our class. While they are distinct causes with their own specific dimensions, they are not separate.
For the past three weeks, the eyes of the world have been fixed on Palestine. From the moment that their resistance forces broke through the walls of their concentration camp and returned to their homes, in an organized rebellion of a small group against a massively-armed occupying force, the attention of those who seek liberation has been attuned to the Palestinians and their struggle for basic human rights.
When the latest iteration of the Palestinian resistance struggle erupted, we were emerged in a long struggle for justice for Gary Harrell, having been welcomed by Harrell’s family, community, neighbors, and friends to participate in a coalition. Harrell, who was shot in the back and killed by IMPD officer Douglas Correll, was a victim of U.S. racist capitalist imperialism. Every Palestinian who is murdered by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) is a victim of that very same system.
Direct and practical ties between liberation at home and abroad
The struggle for liberation in Palestine and the struggle for Black liberation in the U.S. are deeply intertwined in immediate and more general ways. (IOF) soldiers train IMPD officers and Indianapolis gives $12 million annually to the Israeli military.
For over two decades, a host of state agencies in the U.S., from local cops to the FBI and Border Patrol, have collaborated with their counterparts in Israel. They train each other in the latest tactics of racist occupation and policing and the most recent strategies and technologies for suppressing protests. These “schools” are sponsored by far-right groups and fully-backed by both the Democrat and Republican Parties.
Deadly Exchange, a group led by Jewish Americans, provides case studies of New York City and Los Angeles Police Department cooperation with Israel. One example in the NYPD case study among several others, draws out how the racist NYPD practice of “Stop and Frisk” was adopted by the Israeli government. On the other side of the exchange, they write:
Ties between the NYPD and Israel, enhanced by police exchange programs, were critical to the development of the relationships, ideas, and technologies that underlie the NYPD spying program and the blurring of domestic policing and counterterrorism in New York.
It is not only a catchy slogan or a superficial connection between struggles of the working and oppressed in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
Beacons of hope, igniters of change
Both the Palestinian struggle and the Black Liberation struggle in the U.S. serve as North Stars for the global struggle for human rights.
In 2020, Indianapolis took to the streets after IMPD murdered Dreasjon Reed, McHale Rose, and Ashlynn Lisby in one night, and a few weeks later 30 million people joined us—in every major city, suburbs and even small towns, there was rebellion against racist police terror, demanding an end to the war on Black America. In 60 countries across all six continents, people took to the streets to show their solidarity with the cause of Black liberation here in the U.S. These twin struggles are intertwined, drawing lessons from one another and inspiring one another toward victory.
We know the tactic of the occupier. We have watched as Israel unleashes horrific violence against the Palestinian people, pouring out their wrath on thousands: children and elders, mothers and sons, caregivers and those in need of care. The Gaza Strip has 2 million people in an area a third the size of Marion County. Imagine that: take the middle strip of townships, from Carmel down to Greenwood; then cram two copies of every person in the whole county in there.
That is like Gaza, if it was enclosed with prison walls and Carmel Police got to say who came and went; if there’s electricity, water, or phone or internet connections to the world outside the concentration camp. And when we rose up in protest, they bomb us. That’s what Israel is doing in Palestine—genocidal violence. Masses around the world, including scholars of genocide and international law, have accused Israel of genocide in their vicious aggression against Palestine.
We heard how IMPD tried to spin the murder of Gary Harrell—how they talked about recovering a gun from the scene, and about how the officer feared for his safety. This officer was so afraid that he shot a man multiple times in the back. We heard how the IMPD and city tried to divide the 2020 movement by trying to divide it between “good” and “bad” protesters. Liars!
Now all we hear on the news is how Israel fears for their safety, and how they’re so afraid that they drop 6,000 tons of bombs on Gaza in a week—the same amount the US dropped on all of Afghanistan in an entire year. As they did in the case of Libya, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, the U.S. and Israel spread outrageous propaganda to justify their own war crimes.
Despite this, the Palestinians continue to resist. They, too, are an igniter of broader rebellion and an inspiration to the world. In 1967, for example, during the “Six Days War” that resulted from Israel’s continued intervention into Egypt and Lebanon, a grouping of states united with Palestinian fighters, forming a united from to liberate all of Palestine. Although they were defeated, the flames sparked the rise of a revolutionary movement in and out of Palestine that radically changed the landscape of the region.
“We Charge Genocide”
In the the 1950s, the Civil Rights Congress—whose members included Black American communists such as Ben Davis, Claudia Jones, Indianapolis native Shirley Graham Du Bois, and her husband, W.E.B. Du Bois—filed a historic petition to the United Nations titled “We Charge Genocide: The Crime of Government Against the Negro People.” The project, initiated by Paul Robeson, listed police and other white supremacist murders of Black people, providing the case that the U.S. government was guilty of genocide against Black America according to the 1951 Convention.
Genocide is defined by the UN as the destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnic, religious, or racial group, through killings, causing serious bodily injury or mental harm, inflicting conditions that would cause physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, or forcibly transferring children to another group. Well, we here in Indianapolis say: “Mayor Hogsett and IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, you can’t hide—we charge you with genocide!”
We’ll keep fighting until we are all free!
The crimes of Israel and the United States continue. But so too does the resistance—and it’s in that rebellion against injustice that the flame of hope stays lit. Every movement has ebbs and flows, periods of vigorous activity followed by lulls in action. Sometimes, when we march, thousands pour into the streets. Other time, it’s only a few dozen.
But the only way we will ever win freedom from racist police terror, from apartheid and fascist-type oppression, is by organizing to make it impossible for them to commit these crimes against our people. The Palestinians are showing that another world is possible.
We’ll keep fighting until Palestine is free, and until there’s justice for Baby Gee!
Photo: Rally at the historic Alexander Platz, Berlin, Germany. Montecruz Photo.