I conducted the following interviews with a number of chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine over email in the spring and summer of 2016. The aim was to use this space to allow student activists involved in the Palestine movement to speak to the non-student sectors of the movement about their organizing strategies and principles. I also sought to understand how they saw their political work and its relationships with a wide spectrum of anti-racist and anti-colonial politics. I wanted to understand how students see their work and its links to off-campus and community politics, in various locations across the country, and with various traditions of Palestinian and anti-racist organizing. Finally, through this roundtable, I hope to inaugurate a broader series of interviews with past and present student and community activists in the Palestine and Palestine solidarity movements, and to begin the process of creating a collective and publicly available archive of modern, post-2000 movement experience.
The questions were as follows:
1) Can you describe quickly your chapter’s activities over the past year or two? What your does organizing look like? What kind of plans do you have for the future?
2) Does your chapter focus on anti-occupation politics or broader anti-Zionist politics? If one or the other – or sometimes one, and sometimes the other – why have you made that choice, and under what circumstances do you choose to emphasize the occupation versus a broader opposition, or vice-versa?
3) Does your chapter build alliances with other campus groups? If so, which ones, and what guides those alliances?
4) Does your chapter have links with community groups, Palestinian or otherwise? What are your frames and points of political reference in terms of Palestinian politics?
5) What role, if any, do you see for student leadership within broader movement politics? Alternatively, what do you consider the specific role of students within the movement more broadly?
6) Do you receive support from faculty? What form does that take, and are they involved in your organizing more broadly?
7) What is your relationship with the administration, past and present, both positive and negative? And also with student government?
UC Santa Cruz CJP