Saturday, January 23, 2010

Invite to 3rd NYC Anti-Displacement Encuentro

Movement for Justice in El Barrio

An echo that turns itself into many voices, into a network of voices that, before the deafness of power, opts to speak to itself, knowing itself to be one and many, acknowledging itself to be equal in its desire to listen and be listened to, recognizing itself as different in the tonalities and levels of voices forming it. A network of voices that resist the war that power wages on them. – Words of the Zapatistas at the “First Intercontinental Encuentro for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism.”

An invitation to: Members and families of organizations, community members, and people of good conscience, who are fighting against displacement in their communities across NYC.

From: Movement for Justice in El Barrio

Third NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Displacement

An Encuentro is a space for people to come together, it is a gathering. An Encuentro is not a meeting, a panel or a conference, it is a way of sharing developed by the Zapatistas as another form of doing politics: from below and to the left. It is a place where we can all speak, we will all listen, and we can all learn. It is a place where we can share the many different struggles that make us one.


The rebels search each other out. They walk towards one another, breaking down fences, they find each other. — First Intercontinental Encuentro

The rebels have met. In our first and second Encuentros, rebels who are fighting for dignity and against displacement came together to voice their presence, their rage, their struggle and their dreams. We broke down the fences that power constructs to divide us, we listened to one another’s voices, and we learned from one another. Now the moment is different.

Around the city, the country, and the globe, capitalism is heaving and shaking. We see it showing thin cracks in its concrete walls. We see its self-destruction as it razes its smaller empires. We see it exploit the cynical opportunities it envisions in terrible natural and human disasters. We see its agents rush to the battlefield to crack down on communities rising up to build something different.We walk along a trembling fault line of resistance and oppression and construct a path towards a future with dignity. With the knowledge of other compañeros and compañeras in this struggle we have walked forward stronger and now we must find ways to support each other.

Here in East Harlem, the giant has fallen. Dawnay, Day Group bought up an empire of 47 buildings in El Barrio with the intention of displacing our community members from our homes and raising rents by ten-fold. They failed in their mission in the face of years of fierce organized resistance from the tenants of Dawnay, Day that form part of Movement for Justice in El Barrio. They fell victim to their own greed. Now they face foreclosure. Movement for Justice in El Barrio is building an alternative in the ruins.

Across Harlem, the three council members that represent East, Central and West Harlem, millionaire Melissa Mark-Viverito, Inez Dickens and Robert Jackson have time and again joined billionaire Mayor Bloomberg, as he holds on tightly to the reins of power, in planning, promoting, and approving plans that displace our communities.

As we struggle here, we do not forget our sisters and brothers resisting in the far corners of the world. Nor do we forget where we come from and that many of us have already experienced displacement from our homelands. We join the humble and simple people across the world in their resistance as we stand up and join the fight against a global capitalist system that has pushed us to this dignified rage.

In this Third NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Displacement we will hear directly from movements fighting against displacement from across the world:
  • We will share a special video message from the South African Shack Dwellers to the Third NYC Encuentro. The South African Shack Dwellers Movement is fighting against displacement under the banner of “Land & Housing in the City.” They are standing tall and fighting back against forced removal and continued state repression.
  • We will facilitate direct live participation from San Salvador Atenco, Mexico by the Peoples Front in Defense of the Land who will share about their organized creative resistance to protect their land and their culture and to free their political prisoners.
  • In Haiti, a natural disaster unfolds and amplifies into a man-made disaster from the roots of neoliberal capitalism and from new visions to regenerate its exploitation. We will hear from organized Haitians who have been fighting against displacement for years and will be returning to NYC from Haiti to report directly on the most recent devastation.

Local politicians use their power, influence and money to try to buy-off resistance and pacify dissent. There are those that choose to accept the money of the powerful and ride on the currents of their power. In this Encuentro, we seek to speak directly to those who have chosen to fight against displacement and for dignity from the ground up and who will not be swayed by the seduction of the powerful and their riches.

Power seeks to divide and marginalize us as people of color, as women, as transgender, gay and lesbian, as youth, as the elderly, as workers, as immigrants, as tenants. We must resist division. We must seek to come together.

In this Third Encuentro, we will premiere a documentary of our 2nd NYC Encuentro for Dignity and Against Displacement in which 38 groups came together to share their struggles.

Groups fighting against displacement across New York will share our struggles and use this gathering to find ways to mutually support each other. We will share whatever form of expression we choose, whether it be verbally, through song, poetry or rhyme, through a video, through artwork or however people can best express their struggle.

Please RSVP by Monday, February 15th!!
P.S. Children are especially invited to come break open the “Neoliberal” Piñata!

We will provide dinner, childcare and Spanish/English translation.
Please RSVP by February 15th with the number of adults and children that will be attending, their names and an address at which you would like to receive your tickets.

Once you have RSVP’d you will receive your tickets and more details on the Encuentro.

For more info or to RSVP please contact us at (212) 561-0555 or

Who we are:

We are Movement for Justice in El Barrio. We are a group of humble and simple people who fight for justice and for humanity. Movement for Justice in El Barrio is fighting against gentrification in El Barrio, a process that is better understood by we who are affected by it as the displacement of families from their homes for being of low income, immigrants and people of color.

We are part of the Zapatista initiated transnational movement called “The Other Campaign.” For Movement for Justice in El Barrio, the struggle for justice means fighting for the liberation of women, immigrants, lesbians, people of color, gays and the transgender community. We all share a common enemy and its called neoliberalism. Neoliberalism wishes to divide us and keep us from combining our forces. We will defeat this by continuing to unite all of our communities until we achieve true liberation for all.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Free Jamal Juma'

UPDATE Jan 13: Jamal Juma' has been released! The impressive support of international civil society has moved governments and used the media to an extent that made his imprisonment too uncomfortable. Now let's ensure that the campaign for the freedom of all anti-wall activists and Palestinian political prisoners continues to grow. We have to combine our energies to ensure that the root cause – the Wall – will be torn down and the occupation will be brought to an end. the Zapatistas it looks like there's a professional army murdering a defenseless population. Who from below and to the left can remain silent? -Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos speaking about Gaza on January 4th, 2009 in Mexico at the World Festival of Dignified Rage

On December 15th, 2009, Jamal Juma’ became the highest profile arrestee in an intensifying campaign to squelch powerful grassroots mobilization against the Israeli Apartheid Wall and settlements. Juma' has been in prison since then, without charges, and will be making his next appearance in court on Tuesday. Please take action now to free him and others, such as Mohammad Othman and Abdallah Abu Rahma, who have been imprisoned in this latest wave of repression.

With these arrests, Israel aims to weaken Palestinian civil society and its influence on political decision making at the national and international level. This process clearly criminalizes the work of Palestinian human rights defenders and Palestinian civil disobedience. But we can seize the initiative, redirect the force of this attack and continue to isolate Israeli apartheid. We must remember that our strategic action is working. The most recent evidence for this comes from the warrants issued in London that are currently keeping Israeli officials, including former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, out of the UK for fear of being arrested for their participation in last year's atrocities in Gaza.

Stop the Wall is asking us to coordinate our actions with them to free Jamal Juma' and all the anti-Wall prisoners. Full details of how to be in touch with them and take action can be found here. They are calling on us to:
  • Organize petitions, demonstrations and letter writing and phone calling campaigns with friends, family and fellow members of organizations directed to our representatives at consular offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem/Ramallah as well as our nearest Israeli consulate.
  • Join their photo initiative
  • Bring this to the attention of local and national media outlets
  • Follow the online and social networking groups they've created to coordinate this struggle

Readers here at will find much inspiration in Jamal Juma''s work. He has a powerful vision of collective struggle and liberation...

Juma' speaking in November 2006 on behalf of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign:
We know that the Mexican Intifada continues and spreads to other states of the nation... The experience of these 60 years of resistance enable us to recognize our brothers in the Mexican indigenous communities who have resisted genocide for over 500 years. We salute the resistance of the people of Oaxaca against a corrupt puppet government and see in it a new point of reference for the struggle against imperialism.

In 2007, Juma' penned a piece for Left Turn Magazine illustrating how the movement they are building in Palestine is part of a much broader struggle:
But something is moving at an unexpected pace. People all over the world are starting to get an understanding of what is really happening in Palestine. Neither a “conflict” nor a “clash of civilizations”, it is about brutal apartheid and expulsion. This understanding is the fundamental basis on which the Palestinian United Call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) is built ... After 60 years of global support to our extinction, it is time to turn the tide ... Hundreds of organizations and initiatives are spreading among solidarity groups, churches, trade unions and political parties. This new global movement needs a strong foundation to be able to stand the attacks it has to face, but above all, in order to keep true to the principles of liberation, justice, and equality. We need to reach out to and join our efforts with all who are struggling against racism, war and global capital. The African Americans, indigenous peoples, immigrants, workers and farmers movements stand against the same oppressive and lethal mechanisms of power.

And just this past summer, Juma' helped host the first Indigenous Youth Delegation to Palestine. Jamal Juma' is a tireless fighter for freedom, justice and democracy, and it falls on all of us now to fight for him, and his fellow prisoners, and in doing so, to redirect the momentum of this attack back against those who stand in the way of liberation.

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