What Comes Next: We need the courage to do away with existing institutions, policies, and paradigms

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 7 Comments

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This post is part of “What Comes Next?: A forum on the end of the two-state paradigm.” This series was initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace as an investigation into the current state of thinking about one state and two state solutions, and the collection has been further expanded by Mondoweiss to mark 20 years since the Oslo process. The entire series can be found here.

There is no easy way to go about addressing this kind of question. Let me begin by stating that the enclosed words do not represent Palestinians, or any of the groups I am a part of, such as Students for Justice in Palestine and The Palestine Youth Movement. These words are my personal opinion informed by my organizing within such groups and my world-view.

Two fundamental issues must be addressed for a conversation about statehood to even be relevant. First, Israel must end the brutal occupation of Palestine, which will cease the torturous living conditions of Palestinians under occupation, and second, Palestinians need to construct a governing apparatus that democratically represents them. I am under-qualified to make an informed opinion about statehood. Moreover, at this volatile political juncture, my opinion–or anyone’s opinion for that matter– is practically irrelevant because of the countless unknown variables involved. My ideas about justice tell me that there should be a popular movement or uprising – a politically forceful occurrence needs to be actualized then reckoned with in order to accomplish the end of the occupation and a democratic governing structure.

From that departure I say with confidence that I am participating in this forum as a kind of suggestion. Gestures like a Palestinian asked to participate in a forum initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace, and collaborative projects and campaigns in general, are what one hopes will come next. So before approving a state – a nation-state – one must also build an internal structure, must create a state of being built on equal footing. This means we need to build institutions, implement policies, and disseminate work that reverses the roles of oppressed and oppressor, the roles of those who are chosen and privileged over those who are un-chosen, beneath, and subjugated. This means having the courage to destroy existing institutions, policies, and paradigms. This means working against protecting and privileging one people over another. In the process of engaging in this work we should always be aware of the power dynamics, of the implications of our work, and constantly questioning, rediscovering our own intentions.

7 Responses

  1. Hostage
    October 31, 2013, 9:38 am

    We need the courage to do away with existing institutions, policies, and paradigms

    I agree wholeheartedly.

  2. Keith
    October 31, 2013, 11:43 am

    “We need the courage to do away with existing institutions, policies, and paradigms.”

    “Courage” has little to do with it. Power has everything to do with it. Those with power do as they like, those without suffer as a consequence.

    • bintbiba
      October 31, 2013, 12:24 pm

      Courage to overcome ‘consequences’ is not impossible.

      • seafoid
        October 31, 2013, 12:36 pm

        I think Judaism needs a reformation.
        This medieval mystical torture driven occupation stuff is really for the birds.

        But where are the iconoclasts ?

      • Keith
        October 31, 2013, 3:19 pm

        BINTBIBA- “Courage to overcome ‘consequences’ is not impossible.”

        Courage may well be essential, however, let us not delude ourselves that the problem can be corrected talking about the “courage” to change “existing institutions, policies, and paradigms.” This suggests that what is required is some sort of intellectual exercise involving policies and paradigms. One can develop the most brilliant paradigm and recommend the wisest of policies, but without the power to implement these things you have engaged in a sterile exercise, essentially evading the problem. Yes, the Palestinians need courage, however, they desperately need to address the asymmetrical power imbalance and develop strategies to deal with that as best they can in view of their limited resources and utter dependency upon international aid.

  3. MHughes976
    October 31, 2013, 12:47 pm

    What new policies and paradigms will we put in place of the old lot?

    • Keith
      October 31, 2013, 2:58 pm

      MHUGHES976- “What new policies and paradigms will we put in place of the old lot?”

      “We” put in place? The elites formulate the policies and the intelligentsia create the paradigms to justify these policies. The 99% need to educate themselves on the real-world political economy and devise strategies for dealing with the enormous power imbalance.

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