By Michael A. Dover, Paul Garver, Andrés E. Jimenez, Paul W. Rowe, and John Zuraw
Some international peace and solidarity activists focus more on peace and some focus more on solidarity. We should agree to disagree on matters of priority of focus and favored tactics and strategies. We should welcome all anti-occupation forces and peace activists to peace and/or solidarity movements focused on the Middle East.
One lesson of the recent debate within DSA and on the left is the need to move beyond overly harsh criticism of others in the progressive and socialist movements. We must trust that people are acting upon our beliefs and convictions as to how best to work for peace in the Middle East and how best to work in solidarity with Palestinian self-determination.
We write not as experts on the Middle East, but as a group of US based socialists and peace and solidarity activists who have differing views on the tactics and strategies which US residents should adopt in working to end the occupation and for a lasting peace and justice in the Middle East.
Although at least one of us is a strong supporter of BDS, we recognize there are DSA members, including Jews, Palestinians and Muslims, who may pursue different tactics and strategies in working to end the occupation and for achieving peace and justice in the Middle East. The main and most urgent responsibility of US peace and solidarity activists is to demand that the US government do everything it can to work with the UN and other nations, with the leaderships of Israel and Palestine, and with civil society activists in the region to end the occupation, avoid more bloodshed, bring a halt to the growth of settlements, and address the neglected human needs and violated human rights of Palestinians.
A very important part of this is solidarity activism, conceived in a variety of ways by different activists both in the US and in the region. We should respect each other, or we risk undermining both solidarity and peace activism. Unfortunately, lost in the recent decade of solidarity action is the urgent need to also demand peace in a region which could easily trigger a new world war. We must also advocate for peace and nuclear disarmament, beginning with resumption of the Iran agreement.
We need to re-focus on supporting the variety of approaches to international peace and solidarity work which can better express the range of progressive and socialist views. Activists need to be free to work within left and progressive organizations with assurances that if they are not in significant disagreement with the long-established policies of the organization, they do not have to worry they are not welcome.
We are dissenters! Dissent should be the order of the day, every day, even as we also work to unity ourselves for effective political action of a variety of specific kinds. Our primary commitment is to effectively influence US policy. We should respect the diverse tactics and strategies used by anti-occupation forces.
The lessons of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the solidarity movement with the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and the Chile solidarity movement include the importance of respecting varying tactics, strategies and positions taken. It was and it is important to avoid internecine conflict amongst these tendencies.
Both peace and solidarity movements are important. Complete unity in the broader principles of both demanding peace with justice and of expressing solidarity may not be possible, and unanimity may be even harder to achieve. But we can and must find ways to work both for peace and for justice and in solidarity in the crucial months and year to come.
The opinions expressed here are those of members and allies of DSA North Star Caucus meant to educate, inspire discussion and encourage comradely debate.
North Star caucus member pages
antiracismdsa (blog of Duane Campbell)
Hatuey's Ashes (blog of José G. Pérez)
Authory and Substack of Max Sawicky
Online University of the Left
The Washington Socialist
In These Times
Black Agenda Report
Working Families Party
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Progressive Democrats of America
Democracy for America
Black Lives Matter
Movement for Black Lives
The Women's March
Jewish Voice for Peace
National Abortion Rights Action League
National Organization for Women
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights