One of the most exciting new developments in the struggle for Palestinian rights has been municipal campaigns, where communities are challenging their local governments and councils to refuse to fund and enable state violence and the companies complicit in it.
Municipal campaigns focus on engaging directly with policymakers, building capacity and activating the power of everyday people to impact decision-makers locally. Through the Demilitarize U.S. to Palestine network, individuals and grassroots organizations are driving campaigns that seek to end state violence and police militarization, both here in the U.S. and in Palestine. These local Demilitarize campaigns across the U.S. build ties between local abolitionist work and international demands for justice, which reverberates to help move decision-makers at local, state, and federal levels. Ultimately, we move closer and closer to changing the U.S. policies that enable state violence, militarized policing, and Israel’s abuse of Palestinian rights.
What can that look like? In March 2022, organizers in the Demilitarize Portland to Palestine coalition and other Oregon groups mobilized to demand state divestment from the Israeli spyware company NSO Group, which is complicit in the Israeli government’s repression of Palestinian human rights work. As a result, the Oregon branch of the AFL-CIO and Oregon AFSCME approved a historic resolution advocating for state divestment from NSO Group. This important win builds on a history of activism. Previously in October 2015, Portland, Oregon took its first step toward becoming “occupation-free” when its Human Rights Commission unanimously endorsed placing human rights violators Caterpillar, HP, G4S, and Motorola Solutions on a city no-buy list.
These valiant efforts have inspired activists nationwide to pursue similar campaigns in their cities today–and you could too! Visit demilitarizeu2p.org to learn more about resisting state violence and get involved in the fight for liberation. Check out citiesforpalestine.org to find the municipal campaign that’s right for your area, see resources, and get in touch with us to start a campaign in your city.