Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only shake you down once a year, but when we do we really mean it. It costs a lot to keep the site afloat, and our growing audience, well over TWO million unique viewers a month, eats up a lot of bandwidth — and bandwidth isn’t free. We aren’t supported by corporate donors, advertisers or big foundations. We survive solely on your support.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

New Leaders Surface in Wave of Texas Protests

by

The young adults who helped coordinate the Texas Stands With Gaza rally of over 5,000 people set a precedent for twenty-somethings across the United States who want the occupation of Palestine to end. Veteran activists like UT Professor Snehal Shingavi and ICPR‘s Bernice Hecker played a central role in preparing and executing this action, but the large numbers that converged in front of the Texas State Capitol last Saturday can only be explained by the new organizing talent coming out of Texan schools and cities.

Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada has argued that internet literacy has made the Millennial generation more receptive to Palestinian voices: “How many young people on college campuses get their news from the PBS NewsHour or the ABC nightly news or from CNN? Not that many that I meet. The mass media still has a big impact, but I think among young people, they’re not turning to those. They’re turning to media that is uncensored, where the gatekeepers cannot shut out the Palestinian narrative. That’s why public relations like Israel’s cannot ultimately change the direction that this is going.” Dina Kesbeh, a recent graduate of the University of Houston, echoed this observation.“We’ve come to realize that people go straight to Twitter or Facebook for their latest information on Gaza, completely skipping the conventional routes,” she said. Jauzey Imam of UT Austin’s Palestine Solidarity Committee says that proficiency in new media can be empowering as well: “I don’t think technology is a silver bullet to solving these problems, but I do think there are certain areas where young organizers can tap into technology that might bolster those tried and tested organizing methods—through social media, various web applications, and so on.” Tactics used for organizing the August 2nd rally included sharing a Facebook profile picture and the hashtag #TexasStandsWithGaza on Twitter.

The statewide rally wielded the momentum built by earlier protests held around Texas, all coordinated in part by student organizations. The night before the rally, Sana Anam Khawaja Anwar, a member of North Texas BDS, said: “We are hoping to have our voices heard by our elected officials in Texas and beyond in Washington DC. We want fellow Texans, Americans, and the rest of the world to see that we cannot and will not tolerate our own country’s support of Israel while it commits war crimes against the population of Gaza.” Ahmad Kaki, a student at Texas Lutheran University, reiterated this responsibility. “Texans have an obligation to show solidarity with Palestine,” he said.

The day of the rally, young people unloaded and distributed the bottles of water, protest merchandise, and organizational information, and cleaned up the litter after the event was over. Jasmin Ali from San Antonio and Dania Hussein of UT Austin’s PSC served as the emcees of the event, setting the stage for the guest speakers. Jasmin opened by thanking all of the organizers and invoking the crowd to “renew their intentions.” “We are here for Gaza, and we are here for the oppressed people,” she said. In her speech, Dania put the recent bombardment of Gaza in context: “If you are a six-year-old in Gaza, this is the third massacre you are witnessing.”

In the days following the rally, students at UT Austin are not wasting any time pushing the movement in Texas forward. At a meeting held on campus Wednesday night, attendees discussed the examples of Loyola University Chicago and the University of Michigan, whose student governments have tried to pass resolutions calling for their respective administrations to divest from companies involved in Israel’s war crimes. Mohammed Nabulsi, a UT Law student, compiled a list of UT’s implicated equity securities:

Corporation Name Parent Company No. of Shares (or Par Value) Value ($) Cost ($)
COCA-COLA CO. COCA-COLA 124,468 $4,707,396 $3,636,623
COCA COLA FEMSA SAB DE CV COCA-COLA 3,259 $182,164 $120,873
COCA COLA ICEK SANATI COCA-COLA 2,091 $43,751 $19,101
ESTEE LAUDER COS INC ESTEE LAUDER 22,479 $1,545,230 $1,433,638
ALSTOM PROJECTS INDIA LTD ALSTOM 241 $1,222 $3,804
CEMEX SA DE CV CEMEX 501,116 $1,756,137 $1,264,855
PROCTER & GAMBLE HYGIENE & HEALTH CARE LTD PROCTER & GAMBLE 502 $24,833 $23,715
UNILEVER INDONESIA UNILEVER 32,292 $75,507 $59,421
UNILEVER PLC UNILEVER 162,759 $6,256,494 $4,767,448
HEWLETT-PACKARD CO HEWLETT-PACKARD CO 14,686 $425,897 $548,693
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP 32,982 $3,760,585 $2,809,950

 

The group discussed how support for this kind of resolution at UT Austin could be raised. Protests, sit-ins, tabling at other university events, bringing in well-known commentators, and film screenings were some of the ideas suggested. Mukund Rathi, a computer science major, said that political education should be emphasized in all these strategies. Patrick Higgins, a graduate student at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, clarified how student teach-ins could be more effective as an organizing tactic than hosting celebrity speakers. “Students don’t have careers to protect, so they can reach radical conclusions more quickly,” he said.

The proposed resolution at Michigan did not pass, and the resolution at Loyola was vetoed by the student president after being passed twice. Even more discouraging for UT Austin activists is the fact that UT’s investments are handled by an external corporation, UTIMCO. This extra degree of separation makes the adoption of a divestment resolution by any UT student government seem unlikely. Still, Jauzey Imam says that the press coverage generated by the student actions at Loyola and Michigan makes fighting to pass a resolution at UT Austin worth the effort.

Joseph Caterine‘s work can be found at http://theintrusivethought.blogspot.com/.
More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
David Swanson
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail