Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network participated in the Third Annual Native Liberation Conference convened by The Red Nation in Albuquerque on 11-12 August 2018. The Samidoun international coordinator, Charlotte Kates, participated in a session entitled “From the River to the Stars: Irish and Palestinian Anti-Imperialism” focusing on the struggles in Ireland and Palestine against colonialism and settler colonialism.
Watch the video of the workshop below:
The Native Liberation Conference focused “on global solidarity and decolonization in the heart of empire, bringing together Native, Black, undocumented, and Palestinian organizers. In this time of terrible danger, we must work together to build a better world — the future of the planet is at stake.” Workshops included events highlighting indigenous feminisms, challenges to celebrations of conquest, indigenous student organizing, border imperialism and Native peoples in struggle against police violence.
Workshops addressed “decolonization, land liberation and Third World solidarity economies” as well as envisioning a way forward for Native Liberation struggles. The rooms at the conference highlighted political prisoners of anti-colonial struggles: Little Feather (Michael Giron), Red Fawn Fallis, Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Khalida Jarrar and Tony Taylor.
Several Palestinian and Palestine solidarity organizations gave presentations at the conference, including Addameer, where David Joseph Deutch and Lana Ramadan were joined by Brad Parker of DCI-Palestine and Walaa Abu Ghussein, a Palestinian student from Gaza. The Adalah Justice Project, with Nadia Ben-Youssef and Sandra Tamari, focused on land, liberation and the links between U.S. settler colonialism and Zionist settler colonialism.
The “From the River to the Stars” workshop included a presentation by Micheailin Butler, an Irish American activist and organizer, as well as contributions from the Irish Republican Socialist Party and Anti Imperialist Action Ireland. Charlotte Kates from Samidoun spoke about the targeting of political prisoners as a means of targeting the resistance to colonialism and the importance of organizing to defend these prisoners as leaders of the movement. Her presentation focused on the case of Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, as his imprisonment since 2002 by first the Palestinian Authority and, since a bloody raid in 2006, by Israel, also involved the United States and Britain. Indeed, some British guards charged with guarding Sa’adat and his comrades in Jericho prison had previously held Irish Republican prisoners as captives.
Melanie Yazzie, co-founder of The Red Nation, spoke about exchanges of solidarity and history between the Indigenous liberation struggle on Turtle Island and the Irish liberation struggle. She addressed the importance of reigniting these solidarities and joint struggle through mutual and material support. “Our national liberation struggle is a struggle for decolonization,” she said of the Indigenous liberation movement, connecting it to the Irish and Palestinian struggles for liberation.
The Red Nation, the organizers of the conference, describe their work in principles of unity, including the following:
“We are Indigenous revolutionaries. We are comrades and relatives first and foremost. We practice radical democracy and compassion for all relatives. Despite differences in organizational role or affiliation, we are equals in struggle.
We are anti-capitalist and anti-colonial. We are Indigenous feminists who believe in radical relationality. We do not seek a milder form of capitalism or colonialism—we demand an entirely new system premised on peace, cooperation, and justice. For our Earth and relatives to live, capitalism and colonialism must die.”