[R-G] September 24 and nonexclusion
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Jun 16 04:06:09 MDT 2005
Carl Webb writes: So is Fred saying that UFPJ would allow the
Palestine Right to Return Coalition( Al-Awda ) to come to any event and
allow them to say slogans in support of their people?
Fred responds: I do not speak for UFPJ and do not know what their policy
would be about "any event." But their stance toward the rally they have
called for September 24 is quite clear so far: No restriction on
banners, slogans, or contingents. All contingents, banners, placards,
and chants are welcome at their protest, including those calling for the
right to return.
There has been no serious attempt between the two coalitions to
establish a common speakers' list. As I understand it, the attitude on
both sides was such that the discussions did not get that far. Has some
leading person from UFPJ told you that you are barred from speaking?
If ANSWER et al, were to decide to press for a common demonstration, I
am sure their organizational and negotiating skills could win a broad
speakers list including forces from across the spectrum, even if there
was some resistance from UFPJ.
Of course the ANSWER and Troops Out Now support the right of return for
Palestinians, as I do. The UFPJ does not have this position and some
components are opposed to it. So the common, overarching slogans of a
united protest would not include the right of return but would have to
be focused on Iraq. (Of course, if both sides put their minds to it, a
common demand on Palestine along end-occupation lines could be agreed to
as well. But neither camp seems at all interested in pursuing this
However, again, there is no restriction whatever on contingents,
banners, posters, chants around any slogan whatsoever that is consistent
with opposition to the Iraq war, as the right of return certainly is.
Furthermore UFPJ has issued an unconditional invitation for the ANSWER
rally to march to the UFPJ rally as part of the general antiwar effort.
It seems to me that ANSWER and its allies have decided to hold a protest
centered on Palestine and the right of return, and placing opposition to
the US war in Iraq within that framework. That is their right, and I
cannot deny that such protests in defense of Palestine are needed, even
though I wish a common day of protest around Iraq had been organized.
>From a strategic standpoint today, massive united protests around Iraq
are the key to opening up more space for the Palestinian movement in the
United States, and that forcing US withdrawal from Iraq is the biggest
victory for Palestine that is possibly within reach at the moment.
I support the ANSWER call for a protest around the right of return and
the end of occupation of Palestine and other countries, including Iraq,
on September 24.
And I support the UFPJ call for a protest calling for getting the US
troops out of Iraq Now on September 24. I will probably try to attend
However, I hope ANSWER accepts, in a spirit of solidarity within the
struggle, the UFPJ's invitation to ANSWER to bring the pro-Palestine
(and also antiwar) marchers at some point to the UFPJ's out-of-Iraq
rally as an expression of antiwar solidarity and so that the world can
see the full scope of what has been mobilized against US aggression on
that day. Fred Feldman
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