Palestine Solidarity Updates:
At the January General Meeting last Saturday, we voted on two Palestine Solidarity Resolutions. These resolutions both passed unanimously, reaffirming New Orleans DSA’s commitment to Palestinian liberation, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, refusal to work with Zionist entities, and setting minimums for our endorsed candidates.
Resolution Regarding Endorsed DSA-LA Member Nithya Raman: First, our chapter’s membership unanimously voted to sign on to the “Open Letter to the NPC Regarding Nithya Raman.” Members who wish to add their names to the letter individually as well may do so here. Nithya Raman is a Los Angeles City Councilmember and endorsed member of DSA-LA. The unanimously passed resolution contains extensive documentation of Raman’s antagonistic actions toward Palestinian solidarity organizing efforts and other work that our comrades across the country are doing. Nithya Raman has demonstrated an unacceptable level of disrespect for our organization, liberation movements generally, and the very concept of dialogue and willingness to learn. Our chapter joins the call for comrades in DSA-LA to revoke Nithya Raman’s endorsement, and we call on the National Political Committee (NPC) to expel Nithya Raman from DSA.
Anti-Zionist Resolution: Next, our chapter unanimously voted to pass the Resolution for an Anti-Zionist New Orleans DSA in Principle & Practice. We are most proud of our chapter membership for unanimously voting to stand on our anti-racist and anti-imperialist principles, and acting on the statement in our land acknowledgment, which commits us to “solidarity with the long and continuing battles of… peoples for liberation and justice.”
Thank you to the members and guests who attended to contribute to this important discussion. We are especially grateful to the local Muslim Organizing Association and community member Hakm M., Ph.D. for attending on their behalf to support the Resolution. We share this message from Hakm:
Congratulations on taking a bold stand for justice by passing the anti-Zionist resolution. This victory echoes beyond resolutions; it resonates with the struggle for equality and dignity worldwide. The Palestinian community in the greater New Orleans salutes your courage in choosing the right side of history.
In motivating the Anti-Zionist Resolution, our co-chair Wash F. spoke of the many intersections between Palestine solidarity organizing and our other work: Police Abolition, Environmental Justice, Healthcare, Education, and fighting against the capitalist empire. For example, following the 2020 uprisings, our chapter passed a Resolution to Prioritize Organizing Towards Police Abolition – in the Deadly Exchange, US police train with the genocidal Israeli military. As for the environment, oil and gas corporations have turned our Gulf South region into a “sacrificial zone” and “cancer alley” – Israel and the US have plans to exploit offshore gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. The money that should be spent on public goods and services, healthcare, education, and housing for us in the US is instead given to military contractors and weapons manufacturers to bomb Yemen and Palestine. Our chapter recognizes DSA as an “organization of socialists fighting to weaken the power of corporations and the rich” – President Biden has been unabashed in his violation of democracy to protect trade and capitalist interests. Members who aren’t willing to fight capitalism and racism endanger the safety of our space and our reputation and vision.
New Orleanians who experienced Hurricane Katrina know well that imperialism always comes home. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, mercenaries and military contractors descended upon our City. Meanwhile, the American media painted Black New Orleanians as “looters,” giving ample cover for racist police and vigilante gangs to hunt, brutalize, and murder them. The top contractors involved in bleeding Iraq sucked up $3.4 billion in construction contracts along the Gulf Coast. When a reporter asked private security contractors stationed outside the Royal St. Charles Hotel if things were getting pretty wild around the area, one of them replied, ‘Nope. It’s pretty Green Zone here.’” While Katrina left 400,000 New Orleanians homeless, thousands suffering squalid and crowded conditions in the Superdome and Convention Center, the wealthy residents of Audubon Place hired Israeli mercenaries. They specifically requested former operatives of Shin Bet — the Israeli internal security agency infamous for torturing and murdering Palestinian detainees. The Israeli mercenary and owner of the company contracted by these wealthy residents stated, “[m]y people were highly trained to operate in hostile environments. That fit well with the demand of the situation in New Orleans[.]”
As residents in the heart of the empire, we have all been subjected to propaganda and had information withheld from us by our government, media, and educational institutions. None of us can be expected to come to this movement with perfect historical knowledge and critical analysis of all intersecting issues. However, we do have a duty to disabuse ourselves of the propaganda and ignorance that is inherent to residing within the empire. It is critical to our chapter work, to DSA, and to the movement that each one of us recognize and understand these connections between Palestine solidarity organizing and the issues that arise in other areas of movement work. We must stay curious, be continually willing to self-reflect, educate ourselves, have conversations with comrades, and listen to the members of marginalized and exploited communities. This is doubly important for our endorsed members and those holding political office as they purport to represent and lead the rest of us.
Murder of 17-year old Tawfic Abdeljabbar by Zionist forces on January 19th: Last week, we learned that Israeli occupiers murdered 17-year old Tawfic Abdeljabbar, a Palestinian member of our New Orleans community. As a member of Masjid Omar pointed out, Tawfic is not even the first teenager from New Orleans murdered with complete impunity by Israel. In 2014, Israeli forces murdered 14-year old New Orleanian Orwah Hammad. This Sunday, January 28th at 1pm meet at Masjid Omar, 1528 Pietro Ct. to Ride for Tawfic, a Memorial Motorcade in honor of Tawfic Abdeljabbar and all martyrs of Israel’s genocide. Please follow Masjid Omar and Nola4Palestine on Instagram for updates on this action.
Curious to learn more about Palestinian liberation?
- We recommend starting with Decolonize Palestine, a collection of resources for organizers and anyone who wants to learn more about Palestine.
- TOMORROW Saturday, January 27th, 1:00-4:00pm at Cafe Istanbul, JVP New Orleans, Patois, Channel Vivid and Nola Healthcare Workers for Palestine are hosting a special screening of “Israelism” + the short film ‘Roof Knocking.” The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the Palestinian and Jewish members of our community who are fighting together for a free Palestine. Get your tickets here!
Louisiana Democratic State Party Election Updates:
Thanks to the current misleadership of the Louisiana Democratic Party, Louisiana now has a Republican governor and a veto-proof Republican supermajority in both chambers of the Louisiana legislature. The upcoming Democratic State Party elections are an opportunity to breathe new energy into the Louisiana Democratic Party. At our January General Meeting, our chapter officially recommended eight state-wide DSA members as candidates for the upcoming Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) elections in March, and six local chapter members as candidates for Democratic Parish Executive Committee (DPEC) races. Those candidates are:
Democratic State Central Committee:
- Courtney Price (Baton Rouge DSA, 66A)
- Davante Lewis (Baton Rouge DSA, 67B)
- Jackson Voss (SWLA DSA, 31B)
- James Jeane (Shreveport DSA, 5B)
- Kai Macias (Shreveport DSA, 11A)
- Ealom “Tucker” Allen (Shreveport DSA, 14B)
- Bobby Woodruff (LA Tech YDSA, 11B)
- Benjamin Eunice (LA Tech YDSA, 12B)
Democratic Parish Executive Committee:
In addition to these recommendations, our chapter will vote to endorse six of our chapter’s members for their respective DSCC races. A chapter endorsement requires a simple majority vote of at least 25% of our membership. You can review their responses in the candidate’s Q&A sessions in Drive for the video and notes. Chapter members, please check your email for an email from OpaVote.com titled “New Orleans DSA DSCC Endorsements” with instructions on how to vote. Abstentions help towards the 25% quorum requirement, so please submit your ballots before Tuesday, Jan 30th. Those candidates are:
The deadline to register as a democrat to vote for our comrades running for Louisiana State Democratic Party seats is March 2nd! (Register or Change your Registration Here!). Early voting begins March 9th: find early voting locations here. And Election Day is March 23rd: Check your ballot.
We are also announcing — nominations are open for two new roles with the Electoral Working Group: Working Group Coordinator and Socialists in Office Liaison. These new roles will help support our continued efforts electings socialists into office & advocating for our vision of New Orleans and Louisiana. These positions are open to any members in good standing of the chapter, and individuals can nominate themselves. Descriptions can be found on the nominations application here.