Thousands attend conference to build solidarity with Palestine

People’s Conference for Palestine, Detroit, May 24.

The “People’s Conference for Palestine,” held May 24-26 in Detroit, attracted over 3,500 Palestinian people and solidarity activists. They came from all over the U.S. and from every continent, with many traveling from occupied Palestine. A number of Palestinians scheduled to speak were denied visas by the U.S. government.

Plenaries and workshops began with militant chanting of familiar slogans, such as: “There is only one solution, Intifada revolution” and, of course, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance was a running theme throughout the conference. Not one speaker tried to draw an equal sign between the genocidal Zionist state and the organizations waging an armed struggle for Palestinian liberation.

The seven plenaries covered “the Student Intifada,” “Palestine and Internationalism,” “Zionism and Imperialism” and other topics. Workshops covered many aspects of the struggle against Israeli apartheid, including the student encampment movement, anti-Zionist organizing in unions and workplaces, confronting media lies, the campaign for an arms embargo and Palestinian feminism.

The keynote speaker was Sana’ Daqqa, whose spouse was the martyred prisoner and writer Walid Daqqa. She spoke about the hardships faced by the thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons and read from Walid Daqqa’s writings. With her was her daughter Milad, conceived after her spouse’s sperm was smuggled out of prison.

The conference ended with a call to “Surround the White House” June 8 to protest “Genocide Joe” Biden’s pro-Israel stance and provision of weapons, and to build a campaign against the shipping company Maersk, which ships weapons to Israel. 

The steering committee that pulled this historic event together included the Palestinian Youth Movement, National Students for Justice in Palestine, Al-Awda: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, Peoples Forum, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, the Palestinian Feminist Collective, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and eight other groups.

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