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HOUDINI Magazine

Erik Houdini

Palestine is the Climate Plan - Imperialism Brought Home

Over the last 90 days, a disturbing reality has emerged, shedding light on the role of the United States in a grave humanitarian crisis. Evidence has mounted, pointing to the U.S.'s undeniable involvement in funding and supplying arms to Israel as well as strong arming the UN to avoid a call for a ceasefire. These are actions that continue to contribute to what can only be described as a genocide in Gaza. This goes beyond the accusations of apartheid that organizations like Amnesty International have long asserted.

The data emerging from Gaza paints a harrowing picture. The average age of the fatalities in the region is a mere 5 years old, a statistic that speaks volumes about the nature and impact of the conflict. Over 25,000 lives have been lost, a staggering number that cannot be overlooked or understated. Over 100 journalists have been murdered by Israel since October 7th. It is critical to acknowledge that these are not just numbers; these are human lives, extinguished by weapons manufactured in the United States by a country built on the same foundations as the United States, whether it's Zionism there, or Manifest Destiny here, these truths remain self-evident.

In Berkeley, California, we witnessed a stark and unsettling scene. The iconic People's Park, a symbol of community and resistance, was unceremoniously razed. Despite passionate efforts by locals to preserve this historic site, bulldozers plowed through, obliterating it without a second thought. This incident isn't isolated. Let's turn our gaze to Camp Nenookaasi in Minneapolis. Here, amidst the biting cold of winter, a homeless encampment was ruthlessly evicted. Imagine, on January 4th, in the dead of winter, these individuals, mainly Indigenous, already marginalized, were forcibly displaced. What message does this send? It's a chilling one, indeed. It's as if the authorities are blatantly saying: "Go, suffer in the snow. Your survival is of no consequence to us. You, in our eyes, are less than human."

Yesterday, in Portland, Maine, a heart-wrenching scene unfolded – another homeless encampment, a fragile refuge for many, was demolished. Defiantly, people encircled the camp with their cars, protesters rallied, exerting every effort to halt the demolition. Yet, their resistance was met with arrests, and the bulldozers plowed through, indifferent to the pleas and protests. Maine or Minneapolism, the message is the same. "You are not human, please do somewhere else to die." Doesn't this scenario ring a disturbingly familiar bell? Isn't this eerily reminiscent of the atrocities we hear about in Palestine – the very crisis I previously mentioned, which is being perpetuated with funds and weapons from our own nation?

This harsh reality leads us to question the very definition of 'personhood' within our system. In the United States, it seems a person's worth is intrinsically tied to their capacity to own property, to partake in the economic machinery. This is a country where corporations are granted the rights of individuals, yet those who find themselves homeless, those who sleep on the streets, are stripped of their humanity in the eyes of the law. What does this reveal about our society? It's a profound and disturbing contradiction that lays bare the inequities at the heart of our system. These actions, these policies, are not just administrative decisions; they are a reflection of how our society values – or fails to value – human life.

Consider the imagery: in Palestine, olive trees – symbols of peace and life – are ruthlessly cut down; entire neighborhoods are razed, often with residents still trapped inside their homes. Now, look at Portland. Is there not a chilling parallel here? The tactics of displacement, the sheer disregard for human life and dignity – it's as if the imperialistic strategies we see employed abroad are being mirrored right here on our own soil. Can you not see that the imperialism that we inflict upon people abroad is being brought back home and inflicted upon us? It's a cycle of oppression that transcends borders, yet it's often ignored or justified under different pretexts. This should serve as a wake-up call.

Reflect on the recent events in Seattle, where a community garden dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement was dismantled. In an era increasingly aware of the value of third spaces – places for community gathering that don't require financial expenditure – this action seems particularly regressive. These spaces, vital for fostering social bonds and community resilience, are being systematically eradicated. In a time when issues like loitering laws are frequently debated, highlighting their role in promoting antisocial behavior, the removal of a community garden, especially one symbolizing a significant social movement, is not just a step back; it's a deliberate erasure.

This isn't an isolated incident. Across the country, we're witnessing the use of our tax dollars for the dismantling of community spaces. Who funds the police, the bulldozers, and the fuel for these operations? We do. Our money is being used to inflict physical and communal harm. From Seattle to Maine, there's a pattern of destruction and isolation being imposed on our communities.

And this leads us to a broader, more disturbing implication. Consider the situation in Gaza, which I mentioned earlier. It's not just a foreign policy issue; it's increasingly resembling a blueprint for domestic policy. The destruction of communal spaces, the disregard for social movements, and the environmental neglect – all are symptoms of a deeper malaise.

Take, for instance, the Biden administration's environmental policies. Despite campaign promises to curtail drilling, the reality has been starkly different. The approval of the Willow Project and the issuance of more federal drilling contracts for fossil fuels than even under the Trump administration are not just policy shifts; they represent a fundamental contradiction in the approach to climate change and environmental stewardship. This isn't a minor oversight; it's a glaring contradiction that speaks volumes about the priorities and commitments of those in power. The question we must ask is: What does this say about the direction our society is taking, and what can be done to alter this course?

As we grapple with the complexities of our current political landscape, it's essential to confront some hard truths. Consider the federal minimum wage, stagnant at $7.25 for years. Despite campaign promises to raise it, there has been no significant movement on this front. This inaction stands in stark contrast to the swift implementation of policies that were not campaign promises, such as further construction on a border wall and the continued support of actions in Palestine that many condemn as genocidal. These decisions, more aligned with what might have been expected from a Trump administration, raise critical questions about the actual differences between the two parties and their leaders.

This leads to a deeper, more unsettling realization: perhaps the differences between leaders like Joe Biden and Donald Trump are more superficial than substantive. Is it merely about "vibes" – the perceived demeanor and presentation of these leaders – rather than genuine policy differences? This scenario paints a picture of a political system where, regardless of the party in power, the underlying policies and their impacts on everyday people remain largely unchanged. The metaphor of the left hand washing the right, and vice versa, aptly describes a system where different sides may seem opposed but ultimately serve to maintain the status quo.

This realization can be disillusioning, and rightfully so. For many, the continuous cycle of promises and letdowns, of hope and disappointment, is becoming unbearable. There's a growing sense of frustration and a desire for systemic change – change that goes beyond the superficial and addresses the root causes of these centuries old issues. The current mood isn't just about dissatisfaction with a particular administration; it's a reflection of a deeper yearning for a system that truly represents and responds to the needs of all its citizens.

The core message is stark and unequivocal: the same mechanisms of control and oppression that the U.S. employs abroad are being mirrored domestically, funded by our own tax dollars. This realization prompts a disturbing question: if such actions are permissible internationally, what limits, if any, exist on what can be done domestically? The answer is unsettling: nothing.

Take, for instance, the development of 'Cop City' in Atlanta, a project that involves destroying the city's last remaining forest to construct a sprawling urban warfare training facility for police. Why is there a need for urban warfare training for police forces? This development points towards an unsettling anticipation of conflict, suggesting a preparation for scenarios that go beyond conventional policing. It becomes clear that Palestine is the climate plan for the rest of us. It becomes clear the tactics employed to subjacate and ethnicly cleanse Palestinians will soon be on our doorstep, inflicted upon us by the powers that be, the ruling capitalist elites.

This situation is more than a cause for concern; it's a call to action, a push towards autonomous action. Being prepared means organizing within our communities, both in our physical neighborhoods and online networks. It's about uniting family, friends, and allies in recognition of the looming challenges. The response to protesters in Atlanta, branded as domestic terrorists, is a foreboding indicator of the direction in which we're heading.

The international perspective offers no comfort. Recently, South Africa presented a 84-page report detailing how Israel and America are complicit in what they term a holocaust against Palestinians to the ICC. This documentation, available for public scrutiny, paints a grim picture, particularly for those who have viewed America as a symbol of freedom. It's the opposite. We're the bastion of oppression. This is not a shocking revelation to most, including my audience, but we must continue to reenforce this for the layman.

This leads to a profound reconsideration of national identity. If Israel's legitimacy as a state is questioned due to its settler-colonial nature, then the same scrutiny must be applied to the United States. America, too, is a settler colony, built upon the lands of Turtle Island. Perhaps our focus should shift to rediscovering and reconnecting with the ethos of Turtle Island, understanding its significance, and pondering how we can return to or draw inspiration from its principles and values This is the essence of our current predicament and the crux of our collective challenge, if not us, then who?