To our comrades,
We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to transforming DSA into a fighting organization of the exploited and oppressed, built on the power of the working-class, rather than a handful of politicians and self-appointed movement leaders.
On March 18, 2022, the NPC voted to de-charter BDS WG, despite its compliance with their request to turn over its social media passwords. While the NPC’s statement leaned on bureaucratic explanations, there is no doubt that this was retaliation for BDS WG’s public criticism of Congressman Jamaal Bowman, and the NPC’s decision not to censure him for supporting Israeli defense funding. Ultimately, it seems the NPC’s only concrete reason for de-chartering BDS WG was its refusal to delete a month-old Twitter thread criticizing a popular NPC position defending Bowman.
In a statement of dissent posted to the internal discussion board, NPC members including Jen B, Jen M and Kara H wrote “we invite you to commit to struggling through conflict, to remain true to our anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist values and support us in standing with our Palestinian and Palestinian-allied comrades against censorship.” We stand by this statement.
Our dissenting leaders have demonstrated what true leadership means—standing without apology for the oppressed and rallying the rank-and-file members who make DSA worth fighting for to their cause. This is the DSA we joined: an organization made up of our comrades who walk picket lines in the pouring rain, who clash with riot police in the movement for Black Lives, and who organize into the dead of night to see our cause through, the rank-and-file majority who do not flinch in the face of the ruling-class. We will not stand and watch while DSA is hollowed out in the name of backroom deals with politicians.
Since the initial decision by the NPC on March 18, 2022, the NPC has reversed their decision, reinstating the BDS WG. However, the working group’s leadership has not been reinstated or had the ban lifted.
Middle Tennessee and Nashville is comprised of many Palestinian people. In early 2021 this chapter helped organize rallies alongside our Palestinian community—these marches attracted over 1000 people. At these events, the participation was staggering—there were children who have never been able to visit their homeland due to Israeli apartheid. There were parents and teenagers who were refugees that had their homes destroyed or taken from them. There were even grandparents who are older than the state of Israel who remember their homes and their neighbors.
Palestine solidarity is a local effort. The Metro Nashville Police Department has participated in the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program. This program sends police officers to Israel to learn brutal tactics from the Israeli occupying police and its military. This program also invites Israeli forces to the US to teach our law enforcement. The same tactics that have led to the deaths of people in Nashville are the same ones that they learned in Israel and through the GILEE program.
It is obvious that here in our communities there is support for the Palestinian cause. Moreover, solidarity with Palestine and her people and supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement is a moral, ethical, and logical obligation to any person, let alone a socialist. This chapter has always held a deep love and solidarity for our Palestinian comrades and will continue to do so.
We affirm the following commitments:
- We demand the NPC reinstate the BDS WG’s previous leadership and lift the ban on national leadership placed on them.
- We demand the NPC affirm the right of lower bodies—including all chapters, working groups, standing committees and caucuses—to publicly criticize higher bodies, up to and including the NPC. Without open criticism, our democracy will wither and die.
- We commit to the struggle for a liberated and democratic Palestine, and to the merger of socialism and anti-imperialist movements across the world. We will work toward a DSA that lives up to this commitment.
- In the coming year leading to the 2023 DSA Convention, we will work toward building a unified opposition in DSA committed to a strategy of international working-class revolution and against collaboration with the ruling class.
- Middle Tennessee DSA reaffirms our commitment to Palestinian Civil Society’s call and reaffirm our full support of BDS.
- Middle Tennessee DSA reaffirms itself as in full solidarity with Palestinian Civil Society’s struggle against apartheid, colonialism, military occupation and for equality, human rights, and self-determination.
- Middle Tennessee DSA affirms that any political solution to the ongoing crisis must be premised on the realization of basic human rights, including all rights outlined in the BDS call.
- Middle Tennessee DSA will establish a dedicated BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working group to show solidarity and make change in our region, and we invite all DSA chapters to do so as well.
The struggle for Palestinian liberation is as much a local struggle as it is an international one. Only through global solidarity and action in concert with the international working class will we see a free Palestine. The fight for Palestinian liberation will forever be a line in the sand for this chapter and its members.
We will not suffer attempts to undermine the struggle for Palestine or her people.
In love and solidarity,
Middle Tennessee Democratic Socialists of America