Sunday, December 9, 2007

Detroit Blog for divestment from Apartheid Israel


[Wayne State University Blog, promoting divestment against the Apartheid State of Israel.]

Detroit, Michigan

On the Web at:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Member of the WSU Board of Governors Defends Apartheid Israel!

ARA was in attendance today as public radio station WDET 101.9 fm hosted a public forum on the future president of Wayne State University. The audio is available here. 58 minutes into the program, ARA got a chance to make its demands for a new president of WSU known. We posted those demands on our blog earlier today...


It is our strength that is decisive

Back in September, ARA posted our thoughts on President Reid's decision to resign as president of Wayne State University. We opposed him both for his domestic policies - gutting and destroying Wayne State's urban mission, disenfranchising working people in Detroit, and attacking black folks in general – as well as for his decisions on an international scale, specifically twice rejecting demands by students at Wayne State to divest from apartheid Israel.

What we would like in a new president of the university is someone committed to anti-racism and fighting imperialism. Whoever it is should not be afraid to proudly declare their support for such positions. Doing so would place them in the company of people like Malcolm X, Robert F. Williams, Stokely Carmichael, Selma James, Rosa Luxemburg, and many others.

However, let us be clear from the outset: a president who refuses to uphold these basic principles will reap the whirlwind of public sentiment. The Wayne State University community has a long and proud history of opposing racists, apologists of imperialism, and all others who would deny our right to self-determination along these lines. We in the Wayne State community are not unreasonable people. We are willing to give any new president time to prove which side of the barricades they prefer. But we refuse to remain idle forever. Our demands are the following:

  • Immediately freeze all tuition hikes and fees for studying, including library fees, lab fees, and fees to use workout facilities.
  • Re-commit the university to upholding its once-proud urban mission.
  • Reinstate the College of Urban, Labor, and Metropolitan Affairs at Wayne State University.
  • Reinstate the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and the College of Lifelong Learning.
  • Reinstate open enrollment for all people with a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • Institute apprenticeship programs that provide job-training to lower-income and unemployed folks.
  • Commit the university to intervene on behalf of movements against imperialism throughout the world, beginning with divestment from apartheid Israel.

We will give any new president a full semester to institute these demands. If our demands are refused, we will ruthlessly organize our power to ensure that the new president's tenure is as brief as possible. Our organization will reflect our strength, and our strength will be decisive.


Friday, November 30, 2007

The Jewish Internationalist Tradition vs. Zionism

[Selma James speaks in favor of boycotting Israel, explaining how boycotts helped to end Apartheid in South Africa]

On November 17th, Selma James came to Detroit to speak about the Jewish Internationalist Tradition versus Zionism in an event hosted by ARA. Selma James is an amazing woman with a 40 plus year history of being involved in activism. Most particularly Selma started the International Wages for Housework Campaign and is a leader of the Global Women's Strike movement; her work involving race, sex, and class was the topic of her discussion at the November 15 th event held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

For the event on the 17th though, Selma talked about how Zionism can’t be equated with Judaism, a myth that Zionists have long attempted to perpetuate in the discussion of Zionism and its state, Israel. The truth is Zionism is a political ideology that began in the late 1800s, more than 2000 years after the founding of Judaism. Zionism's crimes are many but Selma touched particularly on perhaps one of the most egregious and that is Zionism's destruction of the long-standing tradition of Jewish people's struggle for justice and equality for all. Great Jewish figures such as Rosa Luxembourg and Emma Goldman have disappeared from the vast majority of Jewish consciousness in today's world and in its stead Zionism has taken hold.

Zionism and those who stand by it have worked hard to erase the struggles for justice that people like Luxembourg and Goldman fought so hard for. Zionists mock the work of people like Selma James, callously dismissing it as the work of a "self-hating Jew". This could not be further from the truth, as was seen in Selma's talk on Saturday. She is proud of the tradition of struggle for a better world that for so long has been a part of the Jewish people. She also pointedly drew a distinction between Zionism and Judaism, understanding well that Zionists opportunistically use Jewish tradition to establish their own state power based on white supremacy and racist oppression of the Palestinian peoples. It was an honor for ARA to host such a wonderful woman who has dedicated her life to making the world a better place for all peoples. The experience and insight that Selma has to offer all of us who are today struggling is remarkable. We can only hope that other people recognize the great Jewish traditions of struggle and emulate the footsteps of people like Goldman, Luxembourg, and James. Only when this is done will there truly be justice in Israel/Palestine for all people.

The Jewish Internationalist Tradition, part 1

The Jewish Internationalist Tradition, part 2