Sunday, October 29, 2017
11:45am -1:15pm CST
Closing Plenary Introduction
Mohammed Nabulsi: Okay. So welcome to the last plenary panel. I, I want to begin by thanking everyone who has participated up until now in the conference. And I want to thank everyone who has supported us, uh, including the PATH board, whose president, Mr. Radwan, Mr. Madeen, is here with us.
Um, and uh, I also want to thank all of the SJP UH organizers who really put on a great conference. Could we give them a round of applause?
AJ+ Producer Sana Saeed Says: “Don’t, Don’t Do Hillel Sponsored Iftars, Everybody.”
Sana Saeed: And another thing that’s really important to mention, I think, is that in this country in particular, religion has been at the forefront of a lot of progressive change. We forget that. Right? Religion has also not been at the forefront of it, but it’s been, especially when it comes to the Civil Rights Era, religion was at the forefront of it. And it can be at it.
So to me, when it comes to, it may not be easy to always discern what is faith washing on campus, you know, because sometimes it can be like, we’re just trying to get together and have an iftar together, that’s it. You know, during Ramadan, and Hillel is sponsoring it. Don’t, don’t do Hillel sponsored iftars, everybody.
Sana Saeed: Um. Take it from experience, don’t do it.
National Mobilization Strategy
Hatem Bazian: Now, in terms of the strategy, and again the strategy for SJP was to actually, uh, bring the student population to localize the struggle. Because as long as you begin to talk to people you know about Palestine, you know most American society, this is nothing against anyone, their worldview does not go beyond the county. And even in the county you’re actually in a very good position. Uh, so you are actually constantly having to battle how to create a larger consciousness.
Again, geography, we only know countries after we bomb them, not before.
Hatem Bazian: So that’s the reality. So how to localize the struggle for people in the same that what we did with South Africa. Coca Cola was not the largest company, but it was the most visible company because all the athletic programs had Coca Cola, you go into the student union and the student centers, they had Coca Cola. So it localized the struggle in something that had high visibility. And then you could get the people, or the individuals, to make a moral, ethical decision relative to their relationship to Coca Cola. Not their relationship with, uh, South Africa. So you actually localize the moral, ethical questions for them at the local level, and now they’re empowered to make a moral, ethical decision, specifically on those issues.
So the SJP wants to try to localize it and get the students to be engaged. The first level was to get the students, the second level is to go uh, after the unions, or to go engage the unions, the staff unions, because again, because of their precarious position on campus, uh, they’re often are very progressive. As you know the campuses are progressive except on Palestine. So you have to rethink of the paradigm upside down, you study each university as a small city that has centers of power, has centers of contestation, so you need to look at that structure in that way. So you go out to the student union, then you go to the faculty because the faculty are more vested and they have far more stability, so they actually are not going to take on the progressive, uh, uh position, and you could know from campuses that progressives on campus, often you count them in both hands, and the ones that actually show up possibly on one hand on a good day.
So it, that’s why you have to create centers of powers in order for you to push on the faculty level. Now after the faculty is not to go to the board of regents or, uh, uh, governing. You continue to put the issue on their table, but you actually go external to the campus, to the uh, regional unions, the regional councils of unions, because that’s where the economic impact could be brought, as well as national academic associations. And that’s where we are at in relations to the national academic association. We have won some, we have lost some, but it’s a long battle to, uh, to actually undertake. We’re about to get another resolution we’re preparing, we’ve actually been in three year preparation for the American Academy for Religion to put a resolution in there.
So it actually is systematic work in order to look, uh, at the various centers of, uh, of pressure, in order to localize and make Palestine a, uh, key. Now for me, for SJP, it’s very critical in each of those areas to mobilize the students, and, where they can be most effective. And I think one area that you need to begin to have intensify your work, is the local political central political central committees of the Democratic party, as well as the Republican party. Because this past, uh, Democratic, uh, convention platform discussions, Palestine entered into the agenda. Which means that you came through the door. Uh, Cornel West, uh, James Zogby, as well as uh, Keith Ellison.
Even though that it was forced, because they, initially Bernie Sanders was not on the progressive end on Palestine, he was progressive except Palestine. But he’s pushed, what we need is to push some more. So now we need to actually on the local Democratic committees and Republican committees, to force the issue. And I encourage students to run. When you run for seats, you actually, you run, even if you lose, your run for the issue. And again, then you actually lead that debate, because when they oppose you, you actually are directing the debate. So don’t feel that because you’re being opposed that you actually are losing, you are actually working to try to center the debate on the issue. And the fact that they’re taking a note is very important because the debate actually shifts, and the boundaries of the debates uh, shifts tremendously.
Hatem Bazian Instructs Students How to Control Student Government
Hatem Bazian: And you had a platform. The platform was actually something that we worked on collectively, and basically you are engaged political on campus with a platform, and then we ran a slate for student government. Uh, both at San Francisco State and then at, uh, Berkeley, in terms of the graduate students. Because you have often two different student governments. So you have to make that assessment.