This three-angle interview reflecting on abolitionist organizing in the last year since the murder of George Floyd was published in Issue 35 of The Abolitionist in July, 2021. With a features section on defunding policing, this issue covers a range of topics from this past year of robust anti-policing advancements in the fight to abolish the prison industrial complex, as well as the return of our columns launched in Issue 33 in 2020. Read the full issue online here, and subscribe to the paper today to support free subscriptions for imprisoned people. If you have a loved one or comrade who is locked up and would like to send them the issue for free, sign them up here.

One Year Later: Reflections from Minneapolis, Palestinian Solidarity, and UK Youth on George Floyd Summer of Global Rebellion

With Miski Noor, Aima and Lara Kiswani by Molly Porzig

“Daddy changed the world,” – Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s daughter, 6 years old.

On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police arrested a 46-year-old Black man for allegedly using a “counterfeit” $20 bill at a corner store. The lethal position George Floyd was thrown into while being handcuffed by several cops kneeling on his back and neck killed him. As video of this common but deadly policing move went viral, just two months after hundreds of cities internationally mandated COVID-19 quarantine procedures, protests of all kinds spread worldwide. Fed up, we burst into a historic moment where abolition and “defund the police” entered the international mainstream. To delve into the complexity and dynamism of 2020’s summer of global rebellion as a historic moment in the struggle for prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition, Critical Resistance’s The Abolitionist Editorial Collective interviewed abolitionist organizers from three different geographical standpoints and focuses: One angle from on the ground in Minneapolis, one youth perspective from the UK, and a third on Black and Palestinian solidarity in the diaspora and Palestine.

First, we interviewed Miski Noor (pronouns they/them), a co-founder and co-executive director of Black Visions, a power and base-building organization for Black queer and trans communities in Minneapolis founded in 2017. Second, we interviewed Aima (they/she pronouns),a 19-year-old new abolitionist and activist based in London, who co-founded the organization All Black Lives UK last year. Finally, we interviewed Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) based in the Bay Area, California, Palestinian organizer, long-time friend and comrade, and current Community Advisor of Critical Resistance (CR). We present each organizer’s responses as a collective conversation, sharing their reflections alongside each other.

What work was your organization doing leading up to and following the death of George Floyd?

Miski, Minneapolis: Black Visions was founded out of learnings from the fourth precinct occupation in Minneapolis after police killed Jamar Clark in 2015. We realized Black folks deserve organizations that are sustainable, visionary, and strategic, to move beyond responding to Black death and trauma, and build long-term, visionary plans for a world in which Black life can thrive. Our coming-out campaign was around the 2018 Super Bowl. As the NFL took over our city, criminalization increased, especially of sex workers, houseless folks, and youth in an attempt to make Minneapolis look like a corporate utopia. This hindered access to hospitals and other social services. Cops checking IDs, undocumented folks were endangered. The day of the Super Bowl, light-rail tickets were around $1,500. No public transportation to work, to do laundry, or to get groceries. For our first campaign, we shut the light-rail down. We said, “If our folks can’t use it, nobody is going to.” The tagline was: Divest from violence, invest in our communities, and imagine what’s possible.

Protest in Minneapolis, courtesy of Black Visions

Following, we got into a budget fight, identifying where our city’s bloated budget needed shifting to invest in our people’s safety. In 2018, with Reclaim the Block and others, we moved $1.1 million from the police department into the Office of Violence Prevention, an experiment with alternatives to public safety. Fast forward to George Floyd’s murder, City Council and the Mayor propose cutting $8 million from police. We had been sharpening our leadership and lens around abolition, the state, and transformative justice, changing our demands. In 2015, we were asking for the names of cops and for tapes of Jamar Clark’s murder to be released for a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. Now we know the investigation under Obama’s administration created no changes and was a distraction. When George was murdered, it was really clear to us we could push the demand to defund the police. It took hold of people’s imaginations across the world.

Since, we’ve been in a fight to amend our City Charter. In Minneapolis, the police are the only institution written into the city constitution, meaning the police are the only institution that are guaranteed to exist. It says, per x number of residents, there must be x number of police officers, about 800 cops right now. Amending the charter is a way to change the city infrastructure, to remove power and scope of the police.

Aima, UK: We started All Black Lives UK last year, as protests in response to the murder of George Floyd went global. We’re a youth-led organization committed to the liberation of Black people in the UK. The UK’s Black youth are suffering, and it’s never really spoken about; the Stop and Searches, for example, especially targets young Black men. We focus on all Black lives, especially trans and queer lives, because Black trans women need to be protected, with so much transphobia and racism. We do community education and organize a lot of protests against police and racism in particular.

Since George Floyd’s death and all the protests, the government cracked down and is trying to pass a new policing bill – the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The Kill the Bill movement is opposing it in Parliament now. Introduced by Priti Patel, the bill allows police to deem a protest “too noisy” or disruptive and then stop it instantly. If you resist, cops can use any violence against you by law. You can also go to jail for 11 months for organizing a protest the police don’t like. Throwing a tomato at a statue gets 10 years in prison. If you’re not from the UK, and police stop you at a protest, they can deport you just because you’re foreign. Then the bill also expands discrimination against the Roma community, requiring that they have “traveler” passports. Then there’s “secure schools,” which basically makes schools prisons. We’ve been organizing protests against the bill, and we delayed it in Parliament two months ago.

Lara, Palestine: Before the death of George Floyd, AROC was a lead organization with CR in Stop Urban Shield to defund the world’s largest SWAT training and militarization expo. AROC joined to expose the relationship between policing, militarism, and surveillance, as it relates to both apartheid Israel and war-making more broadly. We knew our Bay Area corner stores had surveillance cameras, handing footage to local law enforcement. That beat cop was a friend of the store owner and was trained by Israel. That surveillance was also used by the FBI. Since our community understood the FBI and the Israeli military, we could use that. Since people most impacted know what it takes to shift our conditions, we ensured those most impacted by militarism and policing were at the forefront. We successfully defunded Urban Shield; those funds are now reprioritized and redistributed toward our communities’ well-being. Defunding Urban Shield provided our own community practice of solidarity as joint struggle, while offering a concrete win for the Bay Area and the world against racism, surveillance, militarism, and Zionism.

We’ve also worked on Block the Boat to stop port workers unloading an Israeli ZIM ship. In 2014, Israel was bombing Gaza; a spectacle of Palestinian families and children massacred was all over the news. We decided to build with the port workers’ union in Oakland, in solidarity with workers in Palestine. We built that coalition similarly to Stop Urban Shield, with deep anti-militarist principles around abolition. We built directly with ILWU Local 10 rank and file, a predominantly Black union, that historically chose not to unload apartheid ships, stood against the Holocaust, in solidarity with the Justice for Oscar Grant movement, and in this case in solidarity with Palestine. Through on-the-ground outreach for weeks, our youth and community spoke to union members about why to not unload that ship, and how a ship bringing in weapons from Israel impacted communities in Palestine and US Black and Brown communities. We got a statement from Palestine saying, “Please stand in solidarity with us, as workers.” The union – a Black labor union that has historically stood up against US imperialism, capitalism, and racism—responded to that call and did not unload. This shows what’s possible when you build relationships with communities who are impacted, who share struggles and fates, taking collective action together, to chip away at the systems that are harming us.

AROC has also worked on creating alternatives to policing. Through our partnership, CR’s analysis of the PIC and abolition has very much informed ours. Wanting to translate that analytical work in a way we could bring to our Arabic-speaking base, AROC worked with Rachel Herzing (CR co-founder and long-time former member) to develop alternatives to policing in the Arab-Muslim community. What does it mean for Arabs to be abolitionist? What does it mean for Arabs and Muslims in this country to stand against the PIC? The language doesn’t exist in Arabic. We didn’t want to just come up with a document; we wanted to come up with practices. What could we actually do to embody an abolitionist worldview, and what could we do to put that into practice, to protect our own communities and also be in solidarity to protect others? We’re still working on those practices, but we developed this document, translated into Arabic in 2017, and made it available again after the death of George Floyd. It became much more sought-after in 2020 because there hadn’t been such frameworks in the Arab-Muslim community prior. It also was a building block for us: Now we do trainings for many organizations, are in conversation with businesses, with community partners around what it could look like to have alternatives to policing, to not call 9-1-1, and to not be in compliance with the FBI.

Right after George Floyd was killed, we did a series on the history of Black-Palestinian solidarity. If you weren’t raised in that tradition, our organization’s historical memory ensures that people understand the history of struggle. From its inception, AROC has been deeply committed to Palestinian liberation as a contribution to all movements against US imperialism and settler colonialism, a belief shaped by and informed by the Black radical tradition. Anything we do should also be in service of our collective liberation, and anything we do that undermines anyone’s liberation actually undermines our own.

Aima, what was the response in the UK after George Floyd was murdered and rebellions spread around the world in his name?

Aima @ a Kill the Bill Protest

Aima: The main response was anger, not shock, especially from Black Europeans. One thing we spoke about is the link between policing in the US and in the UK. A lot of us understand police violence and killings happen here, too. We, like everyone, realized that it’s a global issue. George Floyd showed how much the death of Black people in the UK is ignored because British media likes to focus on the US and American racism but ignores the amount of anti-Black oppression in this country. We were marching for George Floyd last summer, but we were also marching for the Black people in this country who have died or been harmed by the government; the British media never focuses on it. A lot of the response in the UK to George Floyd’s death has been about exposing anti-Blackness and racism in the UK.

The UK response has also been to resist police more. There’s a great organization in the UK that is mobilizing regularly called the 4Front Project. When a young Black person is arrested, they march to that station, gather and fight against the police outside. All Black Lives UK has been protesting and going to the streets countless times. Again, the Kill the Bill movement is working to stop Priti Patel’s bill that attacks our rights to protest, discriminates against the Roma community, but also increases the amount of policing we have. The fact that our protests made the government delay on whether they are going to pass the bill or not shows how much people are out on the streets and how much people are pressuring the government. They knew that if that bill had passed, it would not end well.

“We were marching for George Floyd last summer, but we were also marching for the Black people in this country who have died or been harmed by the government; the British media never focuses on it. A lot of the response in the UK to George Floyd’s death has been about exposing anti-Blackness and racism in the UK. The UK response has also been to resist police more.”

Lara, what are some of the roots of Black-Palestinian solidarity? How has Black- Palestinian solidarity been a part of the response to George Floyd’s death and the rebellions in his name?

Lara: For a lot of us, Black-Palestinian solidarity didn’t recently emerge; it’s a part of how we understand Palestinian liberation. Specifically, we have an analysis of racial capitalism and liberation of Black and Indigenous people, in the US but also globally. The roots are quite deep, in terms of the dialectic between how internationalism is informed by the Palestinian movement, how the Black radical tradition is very much informed by internationalism, and how the Palestinian movement is informed by the Black radical tradition. The tenets are internationalism, anti-colonialism, anti-capitalism, a deep emphasis on base building, on grassroots organizing, and on cross-movement building locally and internationally. That is reflected in the Palestinian left, globally, in diaspora, and on the ground in Palestine. We trace it back to political prisoners in Palestine reading Angela Davis, how Malcolm X shaped and influenced the Black liberation movement in the US but also solidarity with Palestine, and how that shaped the Palestinian movement’s understanding of Black liberation.

Mural by artist Walid Ayyoub, painted on apartheid-Israel’s annexation wall in the West Bank, depicting George Floyd wearing a kufiya, a symbol of Palestinian resistance and solidarity. Photo from The Popular Chorus.

Today, the movements in the US against the PIC still inform the movements on the ground in Palestine and the ways people in the US understand policing, imprisonment, and militarism as global in character. Palestine offers a lens for everyday people—a window into internationalism and why it’s important because of the relationship between US imperialism and the construction of the state of apartheid Israel. While over 400 police departments around the US get trained by Israel, solidarity means not making the fact that the Israeli defense forces come and train or bring police departments from the US to Israel the problem with police; instead, policing itself is the problem, like we focus on in our campaigns. That collaboration exposes the role of Israel in global policing.

The murder of George Floyd propelled newly formed commitments toward understanding anti-Black racism both within the Arab community and the US. The fact that the corner-store where George Floyd was killed was Palestinian-owned is not unique; many corner stores are Arab-owned. People moved very quickly to condemn that it was an Arab corner store or to speak out about anti-Blackness within the Arab community. While that’s a sensical reaction, it distracts from a clear critique of racial capitalism, from asking the needed questions: Why is it that those corner stores exist in the first place, and why is it that they are rewarded for call- ing 9-1-1 for a counterfeit bill? Why are corner stores deputized to become their own form of law enforcement in communities, and how are we rewarded and also punished if we don’t? How has that been enforced and enabled and normalized in this country? Beyond that: What’s the history of solidarity, movement building, and relationships between the struggles of Arabs, Palestinians, and other Black and Brown communities in the US and globally? Many people made it seem like the first time Palestinians realized that we own corner stores, that we in many ways reinforce oppressive relationships, or that Palestinians are learning about policing or anti-Blackness—all of which is absolutely not true; it’s ahistorical.

Particular to this last year, people were forced into a deeper conversation into what principled solidarity looks like and how we can take on campaigns that advance Palestinian liberation without undermining abolitionist movements in the US. So many more people finally ask about alternatives to policing, what defunding the police means, and what will be refunded. In many ways, Black-Palestinian solidarity looked like solidarity period. In other ways, it was very particular because of our relationship to militarism. Our folks in Palestine marched for George Floyd, making direct connections between the Israeli occupation and what’s happening in the US with another settler colonial state. During the Ferguson rebellions, Palestinians tweeted from Palestine: “This is how you deal with tear gas—we have a long history of dealing with tear gas; here are some tips.” The 2020 rebellions were a little different; they weren’t offering advice. It was more: “We, as Palestinians, are with you, in joint struggle. We understand what is happening to you deeply, and we’re also learning.”

Miski, since George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has become a beacon for defunding work and abolition. What are some challenges with this? What does Minneapolis teach organizers in other contexts?

Miski: Folks always pay attention to the East or West coasts, but there are lessons to learn from the Midwest. There’s incredible organizing that’s happening. We are not just fly-over country. Black folks live here. It’s amazing to finally be heard and for folks to say, “Yes, Minneapolis! We see you.” It’s not: “What’s a minna soda?” Minneapolis is a poster child for police reform; every police reform has been tried. We currently have a Black police chief. Before, we had a queer, Indigenous woman. The very tactic Derrick Chauvin used to kill George Floyd, he and the entire Minneapolis police department were trained not to do, putting people in prone positions. It’s hard being upheld as a model city. We are not special, not different from other cities; organizers in other places face the same challenges.

A couple of weeks before George Floyd was murdered, City Council was planning on giving that $1.1 million we divested back to the police. Literally less than two years, before there was an opportunity to see what that million could do. Following Floyd’s murder, they made a public commitment on Prince’s birthday to defund the police. People power and organizing did that. Organizers cannot take credit for the energy and the will of the people in the streets, but it is our responsibility to give our folks a framework to understand the moments where we can build collective power—to give a demand or a set of demands that can help understand that.

With the cops’ trials, our city is being turned into a spectacle again, from having the National Guard descend on us, to the city and state governments deciding to spend $35 million when the trial started to militarize our city. All folks in Minneapolis want is space to heal, to create real safety with each other. The city is doubling down on violence over and over. We have three more trials during Black August for the other murderers of George Floyd.

Also, there are folks who are not abolitionists but who are trying to organize in this moment around the police, whether through reform, or community control, and so on. We have to have hard conversations with our communities about why abolition is the only way, to bring our people along. In these whirlwind flash moments, so many people pay attention to our issues, but many are white people, wanting to give money and ease white guilt. We’re thinking about how we identify and dig in with Black and Brown people, poor people, disabled folks, trans folks, who are really feeling the brunt of policing, as the folks we build strategies with.

Lastly, leadership is hard. The left in general eats its own. Fortify yourself, your relationships; get clear with your team. Last summer would have been harder if we hadn’t built alignment with each other around abolition and transformative justice and our practices.

Aima and Lara, has the defund policing movement reached the UK or Palestine? How, if so?

Aima, UK: The defund policing movement is definitely in the UK. We know how much money the government puts toward policing. Last year, Priti Patel announced a $16 billion funding package for the police. The UK’s abolitionist movement is getting bigger, but the government increased the police budget. While the movement is growing, we haven’t won any major changes yet. There are a lot of community groups, for example the 4Front Project, who are in communities providing support and building alternatives to police, but still these areas are so heavily policed you can’t get away from them. A lot of people want to defund and abolish the police, but we’re struggling to actually have that conversation. There are some Labour Members of Parliament (or MPs) who have spoken to activists and agree with them. We’re continuing to battle unsupportive politicians, but it’s disheartening how our government is going.

A lot of the anti-racist and abolitionist activists and organizations in the UK right now are youth. The defund movement is very youth-led. Most of the organizations I speak to on a daily basis are youth, under 25. Leading this movement as a young person myself has been scary but very refreshing and inspiring. We’ve been doing a lot of education on policing to strengthen the movement, speaking publicly and writing, prompting people: How can we feel safe when this system that we are paying towards that has so much money is not doing anything for us? The police were made to oppress us. They were never made to protect us. Why put more money into them? What is the point of having any police? Now more people understand the defund police movement in this country. Social media has been a very big tool for us; we use it to push the abolitionist movement, especially during COVID.

Lara, Palestine: Where we can find some clear connection is with the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement against apartheid Israel, modeled after the movement against apartheid South Africa. In many ways, that is a defunding campaign: It removes resources from that which is harming our communities and perpetuating social systems that continue to enforce racial and oppressive hierarchies, and then funding and investing in alternatives. Defunding as a direct term perhaps isn’t as easily translatable to what’s happening in Palestine, but divesting absolutely is, and reinvesting, understanding priorities differently. With BDS, the idea is for the international community to put pressure on Israel economically, politically, and culturally. BDS in the US pushes the US government to stop funding Israel $3.8 billion a year. Many are increasingly challenging the US backing Israel while it neglects investing in basic resources for its own communities at home.

What are some lessons from the last year that you think abolitionists should consider? What have been some of the most inspiring or powerful moments?

Miski, Minneapolis: We need strategies for all our enemies—from the white supremacists and fascists to the neoliberals and reformists. Discernment is a huge tool, sussing out what is strategic, what are the ways we need to build, with whom, where we can compromise, and where we have to stand strong. Sometimes it’s convoluted and not easy to tell what is really for us and what is yet another trick. What does it mean for our folks to call each other in, or call each other out? What does it mean to be able to hold the principled versus the unprincipled? The personal versus the organizational? We all have to build our skills if we’re going to co-govern. It’s not just that we get to “freedom land,” and we all know how to act, and we’re all suddenly decolonized. How are we doing that work right now, as we’re dismantling? That is actually how we build at the same time toward the world that we say we want to live in together.

“Sometimes it’s convoluted and not easy to tell what is really for us and what is yet another trick. What does it mean for our folks to call each other in, or call each other out? What does it mean to be able to hold the principled versus the unprincipled? The personal versus the organizational? We all have to build our skills if we’re going to co-govern.”

Photo of George Floyd Square, courtesy of Black Visions

My shining light is George Floyd Square: I want folks to know that since May 25, 2020, George Floyd Square has been an autonomous, police-free zone. The police come to harass and terrorize folks, but it’s been the community that’s held down that space. There are multiple memorials, not just for George Floyd. Folks are fed and cared for each and every day. If there is interpersonal violence, it’s the community that deals with it and figures out how to do right with each other. 612 MASH is doing the medic trainings and giving folks the skills we need to show up for each other. It’s been a year since May. That’s hard work, holding down an intersection for over a year with threats all the time from the City of Minneapolis to shut it down.

Another inspiring but really hard thing is when Daunte Wright was murdered, the way our community was able to spring into action. Most everyone’s immediate needs were provided for in the first 24 hours. We have gotten really fucking good at responding to Black death and trauma. That’s great for how we can show up for each other; we’re creating these ad-hoc networks because the state’s not, but it’s tragic we’re so good at it—the different mutual aid networks that popped up, the organizers that are stepping in. There’s even more youth-led formations, which feels really amazing to see.

Aima, UK: This is a global issue. It’s very important we all connect on a global scale and have conversations
and educate each other about our countries, how we have organized, and how we can resist police and oppression. Another thing is you can’t trust anyone. It’s terrifying to say that, but I have never experienced so much racist hate in my entire life until last summer started. For example, we hadn’t even had our first protest yet when The Daily Mail had written an article on us and put our names in it. My mom then called me saying that The Daily Mail was at my house threatening to leak my information. I’ve had to deal with a lot of death threats, racial hate, a whole bunch of stuff because I’m trying to fight for my rights. I know that I have a community that supports me, people to talk to who want the same and who are going through the same thing, but it’s terrifying feeling like the rest of the country is against you. Black people are so gaslit, we can’t even say that we find something racist without having other people calling us racist for talking about race. Plus, we have the SpyCops, who work to infiltrate activists. You always have to be on alert, know everything that’s going on. The way some of these governments are moving, you don’t know what could happen one day.

Also, take time for yourself. I never knew how much Black trauma there was that I had to witness and still experience, and it really takes a toll. I feel like activists need breaks sometimes, to realize that we can’t always take control of everything. If you overextend yourself, you will burn out and break down. It’s no good having you not okay, watching what’s happening and feeling like you can’t do anything about it. I think that is actually the most important lesson.

The most inspiring moment was the first protest we organized, marching from the US Embassy to Westminster with over 20,000 people in London. I didn’t realize how many people felt the same way, not until that moment. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone as a Black woman in the UK. I felt I actually had people who cared about my life, that my life mattered. I think that was the first time in the UK a lot of people saw how racist the UK actually is and the first time some people heard Black voices. That’s why it’s so emotional for me, because I’ve never seen that before, living in the UK. I had never felt comfortable speaking in public about racism. Then there were 20,000 people plus talking about racism in our country. It was a really big moment.

Lara, Palestine: Clear as day to me is the need for base buildingIf we’re not able to move our bases around these questions and build real solidarity in the communities themselves, to build across communities, to move people toward action, then our collective impact is limited. The most hopeful moment was when I’d be in conversation with elders or youth learning about our shared legacies of resistance. When we did that political education with our members, many people were unaware of that long history of struggle between Black, Arab, and Palestinian solidarity. Pulling out archived photos of leaders—Malcolm X in Egypt, talking about the statement on Zionism from SNCC—and seeing that as part of our history, ourselves as part of that history, applying that to our every day.

“Clear as day to me is the need for base building. If we’re not able to move our bases around these questions and build real solidarity in the communities themselves, to build across communities, to move people toward action, then our collective impact is limited.”

2021 Block the Boat blockade at Port of Oakland.
Photo by Brooke Anderson

Solidarity requires us to look into how we perpetuate anti-Black racism in various ways in our communities, and how we’re collaborating with policing in different ways. Having hard conversations in the Arab community has been deeply inspiring for me. It wasn’t because George Floyd died at the hands of police; it was the rebellions against the murder of George Floyd and the leadership of queer, Black, and Indigenous people organizing that made this a topic at every dinner table. Look what’s possible when movements spark conversations and channel that energy into organized efforts. This is a wide awakening for so many people around an issue and a long-standing movement, and it is an opportunity to situate ourselves and today’s work into something much bigger.

Looking forward, what do you hope for the defund policing movement? How do we need to grow or strengthen this movement right now?

Miski, Minneapolis: That we keep building. That we don’t let “defund” get co-opted. For people to understand that defund is one strategy toward abolition.We also have to decriminalize. We also have to do harm reduction. We also have to decarcerate. Defunding policing is one piece. I would love for all the other pieces to be as popular or to have as much clarity. We don’t talk about prisons enough—about detention, cages in general. Making these connections for folks in more real ways.

Aima, UK: One main goal for abolitionists in this country is the head of the Metropolitan police force leaving—because she is one of the spearheads of the policing of Black people, the increase of stops and searches. Another thing is to speak about policing globally; countries need to have conversations with each other. British people need to have conversations with Americans, Americans with British people; Brazilian people need to have conversations with Americans— everyone needs to speak about this collectively together because even though we’re in different countries, the same things happen to us. Every single day.

Lara, Palestine: Everything we do must be from an internationalist perspective. Everyone around the world understands it that way. Globally, people suffer due to US foreign policy and ultimately are committed to our liberation in the US; it is in service of their own. As abolitionists, as anti-racists, or as communities impacted by racism and classism, to see ourselves as part of a global movement against racial capitalism, policing, and militarism, we must learn from lessons around the world. We have a responsibility as people in the “belly of the beast” to do better, and to center people within prisons globally. We need to understand the anti-prison movement is inherently internationalist. In Palestine, prisoners, particularly political prisoners, are leaders of our movement. Their photos are plastered all over walls as heroes, informing the movement outside of the prison walls, developing strategies our people are accountable to. About 25 percent of our population become political prisoners at some point. Imprisonment is a huge part of Palestinian everyday lived experience. This offers people not only a look into Palestine but a deep critique of the US prisons, the ways it cages predominantly Black, Brown, and poor people, and how that is used as a way to quell social movements.

Lastly, a tried-and-true tactic of our adversaries is to pit us against each other. While our opposition constantly collaborates to build their power, we often fear that solidarity is taking something away. We must build our collective power by understanding solidarity as joint struggle, working in coordination with other movements as essential rather than losing something. Structural change won’t happen if we work in silos, not only globally but in terms of movements. Housing justice is not separate from anti-policing work or immigrant justice. Internationalism is a remedy, an intervention, reminding us that we, and all our liberation, are bound.♦