Vancouver: Political education event on Walid Daqqah and Palestinian prisoners’ cultural and revolutionary writing

On Tuesday, 19 September, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network Vancouver hosted a political education seminar at the Centre for Socialist Education, discussing the writings of the Palestinian prisoner, revolutionary, intellectual and freedom fighter Walid Daqqah, who is currently struggling for freedom while suffering from a rare bone marrow cancer.

Specifically, the seminar focused on discussing “Consciousness Remolded or the Re-Identification of Torture,” originally published in 2010 in English. Dave Diewert of Samidoun Vancouver introduced the session with a review of the Palestinian prisoners’ movement and its role in the national liberation struggle in Palestine over the past decades. He highlighted the changes and transformations in the prisoners’ movement through various eras of the liberation struggle, especially after 1967 and the rise of the modern Palestinian revolution, as well as the great Palestinian intifada of 1987.

Marking the 30th anniversary of the notorious Oslo accords, he discussed how the Oslo process and the creation of the Palestinian Authority affected the prisoners’ movement, alongside what he noted was the “disastrous and destructive impact on the Palestinian struggle” overall.

Diewert discussed the concept of “molding the consciousness” presented by the Palestinian revolutionary intellectual Walid Daqqah, as well as the vision he presented of confrontation of the occupation in his article. Daqqah discusses the goals of the Zionist prison administration and the forms and mechanisms of torture, isolation, oppression and marginalization undertaken in order to achieve their goals more effectively. He also provides critical insight into the current position, development and decline in the role of the prisoners’ movement and its revolutionary values and practice, specifically after the Oslo Accords. He notes in particular the negative effects of the Oslo process on the Palestinian struggle and the prisoners’ movement in particular, as well as the role of the PA.

The participants in the event discussed the article, and one of the participants indicated the profound impact on her of Daqqah’s explanation of the connection between what happens at the broader Palestinian level and specifically to the prisoners, while another participant noted the strength of the class analysis present in the article.

Prisoners’ writings provide a vision for action and organizing

Charlotte Kates, the international coordinator of Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, said that Samidoun “decided to organize a series of political education meetings and events on the positions and thoughts of Palestinian revolutionary intellectuals and their literary and creative output in Zionist prisons. They provide us with thought and vision for action as leaders, not only as prisoners and detainees, as important as that role is. This writing is historically important as well, and the cultural, intellectual and political production of Palestinian prisoners in occupation jails is also material for education, documentation and confrontation of the occupatipn’s crimes.”

“Of course, the writings of revolutionary prisoners in occupied Palestine, and in the world in general, are a priority for us. These writings help us to inform our organizing and develop a deeper understanding of the prisoners’ movement and its priorities. In particular, Walid Daqqah’s writing is an important revolutionary y contribution. The prisoners’ political and literary articles and studies lay the foundation for overcoming the stagnation created by the Oslo project. The results of these efforts by the prisoners are apparent in the lively dialogue among Palestinians about the role of the prisoners’ movement, what some call prison literature, and the prisoners’ position as political leaders of the Palestinian liberation movement.”

At the conclusion of the event, participants expressed their rejection of the racist, oppressive German state policy against Palestinians in Germany, including the targeting of Zaid Abdulnasser, coordinator of Samidoun in Germany and a member of the executive committee of the Masar Badil, the Palestinian Alternative Revolutionary Path Movement. Zaid is being threatened with the stripping of his residency and deportation due to his political participation in Palestinian organizing.