Panel 6D

Transnational Solidarity Between Oppressed Groups: Emerging Avenues of Change for Status Quo Oppressive Politics

15.00 – 17.00
Chair: Chuck Thiessen, Coventry University

Generation Oslo Rises Up: The Palestinian Youth Movement and Transnational Solidarity

Sunaina Maira, University of California

This paper focuses on the new ‘youth movement’ in Palestine which emerged in 2011, partly in solidarity with the Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and which representeed a new phase of resistance against occupation, colonialism, and racism. This new Palestinian youth movement was intertwined with youth culture idioms, producing new strategies of protest and idioms of transnational solidarity. In this paper, I explore how young Palestinian artists and activists have used hip hop to resist Israeli occupation as well as the complicity and repression of the Palestinian Authority, and in doing so have expressed affiliations with African American and marginalized youth in the USA. Based on ethnographic research in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel, the paper discusses how Palestinian youth have tried to internationalize the Palestinian national struggle by deploying cultural forms, such as rap and graffiti, as well as calling for solidarity through the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement. The youth movement associated with jil (generation) Oslo has also insisted on the unification of the Palestinian nation and challenged the partitioning of Palestine through an alternative political narrative to that provided by the Oslo Accords and in a moment of political disillusionment and social fragmentation.

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Transnational Solidarity as an Alternative to Status Quo Politics in Palestine and Kashmir

Patricia Sellick, Coventry University

This paper asks whether transnational solidarity can offer an alternative to the status quo politics of Palestine and Kashmir. Amongst fragmented populations can transnational solidarity transcend state boundaries, walls and lines of control to facilitate multiple and overlapping identifications? Can transnational solidarities build legitimacy and pressure to inject new ideas and discourses into local conflict processes? Research was conducted in 2016 among young Palestinian adults in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, and with the same age-group on both Pakistani and Indian sides of the line of control that divides Kashmir. The research tested the knowledge of participants about transnational solidarity and their attitudes towards transnational cooperation with other populations. The findings reveal that research participants valued cooperation with other people living with colonial-inspired divisions or under occupation, and were aware of the potential to learn from, and be motivated by, each other’s struggles. They did however question the predominant role of North American and European based organizations and their available financial resources in facilitating such cooperation and identified a challenge in making links with other populations experiencing similar fragmentation and oppression without the mediation of such organisations.

The Movement of Resistance: The Decolonial Challenge in Palestine/Israel and Beyond

Mark Ayyash, Mount Royal University

This paper seeks to trouble the ways in which resistance movements are often categorized as “Palestinian” or “Indigenous” or “Irish,” “local” or “global” and so on. Such categorizations often lead to the construction of seemingly rigid boundaries, which are then connected through a framework of solidarity. There are many strengths to this analytical approach and this paper does not propose its dissolution. Taking a different direction though, the paper will focus less on how resistance movements create solidarity networks with each other and instead examine the movement of resistance across space and time. Specifically, the paper examines, as its starting point, contemporary resistance in the village of Bil‘in in Palestine, whose repertoires of action constitute a set of global and temporal assemblages. Such assemblages are not always visible in the form of apparent structures such as solidarity networks, but can also be observed in the vey mode of resistance to which they give rise. From this perspective, the resistance appears as a particular configuration of a much broader mode of resistance – a decolonial mode whose movement spans time and space. By way of comparison, the paper draws on the case of the Dene Nation’s decolonial resistance against the Canadian State in order to outline a shared underlying movement between the two cases: that land is autonomous of human desires and plans, of ethno-national ideological projects, thus opening politics to the insight that the flux of space cannot be tamed within a bounded nation-state, and producing a decolonial resistance that sees the displacement of people from the land as the displacement of life itself. One of the implications here is that solidarity may not be only thought of as a set of connections that are made between different movements after their emergence as such, but also as part of a force that always already animates the very emergence of movements.

Transnational Solidarities (Palestine/Kashmir)

Goldie Osuri, University of Warwick

Debates about solidarity reference its philosophical and conceptual formulation as something that is in need of continual revision. Though solidarity is hardly a novel concept as Kurusawa argues (2004), it has been addressed through the idea of historical contingency (Rorty 1989) and a transnational cosmopolitan practice from below (Kurusawa 2004) in the context of neoliberalism and globalization.  Drawing on the idea of solidarity as a transnational mode of practice which needs to be placed in a specific geopolitical context, this paper will explore the theorization of solidarity in the context of struggles for sovereignty.  More specifically, this paper will explore the ways in which Kashmiri expressions of solidarity with Palestinians highlights some issues of theoretical and political significance. Some questions that the paper hopes to explore are: Is there a case to be made for conceptualizing solidarity in relation to sovereignty struggles as a very specific practice which also highlights problems with the very form of the nation-state? How do forms of solidarity located in geopolitical struggles highlight the changing configurations of imperialism and colonialism? Do the above two questions also require a rethinking of the relationship between solidarity and resistant practices of expressions of sovereignty?

The Turkish-Kurdish Peace Process: What Lessons can be Learned from the South African Experience?

Bahar Baser, Coventry University

Despite hopes for reconciliation after thirty years of low-intensity civil war, peace talks between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have recently collapsed. However, during and after the aforementioned peace process, one of the most referred-to cases was South Africa. This reference was not only discursive; many Turkish politicians established contacts with their South African counterparts and asked for advice, the Turkish parliament was visited by prominent South African politicians in April 2013 and the Kurdish movement sought solidarity with South African political and human rights actors. Thus, the ‘South African model’ sat at the heart of peace discussions in Turkey. This paper conducts an analysis of the Kurdish question (establishing a homeland for the Kurds) in relation to the South African case. It analyses the conditions that paved the way for a successful process in South Africa and then examines the actions of Turkey in comparison. Further, South African perceptions of the Kurdish question and transnational solidarity with the Kurdish movement is scrutinized along with the interactions among Turkish, Kurdish and South African actors – political or otherwise. The findings presented in this paper are based on fieldwork and interviews in South Africa in 2015-16.