Transcription of “Transnational Solidarities: Resisting Racism, Genocide and Settler Colonialism” by Angela Davis

Yesterday I had the privilege of being part of an exhilarated audience at Bosphorous University in Istanbul as we breathed the same air with Angela Davis and listened to her powerful Hrant Dink Memorial lecture on transnational solidarities.

I made a sound recording of the lecture which I’m embedding below. I think I missed one or two sentences in the beginning. I apologize in advance for my occasional donkey laughter :)

I also felt the urge to transcribe the talk. I’m sure someone else, maybe a journalist, has already done it. I don’t care. I did this because it gave me the immense pleasure of closely reading her words. She is such an eloquent and articulate orator that I rarely even had to rewind. There are only two places that I couldn’t hear very well. One of them is marked with an ellipsis and the other is in parentheses (the latter is in the penultimate sentence). Let me know if you can hear them better and also if you spot any mistakes in transcription. I broke it into paragraphs and subheadings for an easier reading experience.

I was deeply moved by the way Angela Davis made seamless connections between the genocide of Armenians in Turkey, slavery in the US and the genocide of First Nations; between slavery, higher education system and the genocidal colonization of the Americas; between the global militarization of the police force and the occupation of Palestine; between prison abolition, carceral feminisms and neoliberal individualism; between the retroactive criminalization of Assata Shakur and the newly emerging decentralized global movements of solidarity and freedom. As she poignantly remarked: “Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories.”

Without further ado, here is the full transcription of her beautiful talk.

TRANSNATIONAL SOLIDARITIES: RESISTING RACISM, GENOCIDE AND SETTLER COLONIALISM

VIOLENCE ISOLATES THE PRESENT FROM THE FUTURE
To global resistances to racism, genocide and settler colonialism. The spirit of Hrant Dink lives on and grows stronger and stronger. Since we are paying tribute to Hrant Dink, I too would like to acknowledge the assassination of the French journalists who died in the attack on Tuesday on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. But I want to say that even as we express our heartfelt condolences to the families and the friends of the 12 journalists and police officers who died, we should also feel compelled to warn of the danger of moving quickly to a stance of retribution. And as I look at the images of the young men who are the suspects in this awful act and as I learn more about them, I try to avoid simply seeing the face of terror. I try also to see misguided youth who never had the opportunity to imagine a different future. And I try to see the violence they perpetrated as an inability to imagine the future. In many ways we can say that violence is a solution or not a solution, a punitive solution that isolates the present from the future. A punitive solution that precludes future possibility. So let us hope that we find ways of mourning the deaths of those whose lives were cut short by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, ways of mourning them that are liberated from the impulses of revenge and retribution. So that we can ask ourselves “how do we begin to move towards justice as a transformation of the relations that bind us all together?”

FIRST TIME IN TURKEY, JAMES BALDWIN, NAZIM HİKMET
I’m very pleased that I’ve been accorded the opportunity to join a very long list of distinguished speakers who have paid tribute to Hrant Dink. I can say I’m a little intimidated by the prospect as well. And I know that you have –those of you who have made a regular practice to attend these lectures– had the opportunity to hear Arundhati Roy and Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky and Loïc Wacquant. So I hope I live up to your expectations.

But let me also say that I am very pleased that the commemoration of the work –the life and work– of Hrant Dink has provided me with an occasion for my very first visit to Turkey. It’s hard to believe that it has taken so many decades for me to actually visit this country since I have dreamed of Istanbul since I was very young. And especially since I learned about the formative influence of Turkish geographies and cultures and intellectual life and this very university on one of my formative influences and very close friends, James Baldwin. I can also share with you that as a very young activist –and as I grow older, it seems I grow younger as well in my memories and thoughts. But I remember reading and feeling inspired by the words of Nazım Hikmet. As in those days every good communist did.

A VICTORY AGAINST INSURMOUNTABLE ODDS
Let me say that when I myself was imprisoned I was encouraged and emboldened by messages of solidarity and by various descriptions of events organized on my behalf here in Turkey. And so since this is my first trip to this country… Like I say I can’t believe that this is my first trip. When I was in graduate school in Frankfurt, my sister made an amazing trip to Turkey. So I have to tell her I finally caught up with her 50 years later. So since this is my first trip to Turkey I would like to thank all of those who personally joined the campaign for my freedom in those days, whose parents were involved or perhaps whose grandparents were involved in the international movement for my defense. I think, far more important than the the fact that I was on the FBI’s ten most wanted list –you know, which draws applause these days. It tells you what happens if you live long enough. The transformative power of history. But far more important I think is that the vast international campaign that achieved what was imagined to be unachievable, that I used to say, against all odds, we won in our confrontation with the most powerful figures in the U.S. at that time. Let’s not forget that Ronal Reagan was the governor of California, Richard Nixon was the president of the US and J. Edgar Hoover was the head of the FBI.

Often people ask me how I would like to be remembered. And my response is that I am not that concerned about the ways in which people might remember me personally. What I do want people to remember is that fact that the movement around the demand for my freedom was victorious. It was a victory against insurmountable odds. Even though I was innocent of all the charges against me, the assumption was that the hold of those forces in the US were so strong that I would either end up in the gas chamber or that I would spend the rest of my life behind bars. And thanks to the movement I’m here with you today.

My relationship with Turkey has been shaped by movements of solidarity. More recently I attempted to contribute to the solidarity efforts of working for those who challenge the F-type prisons in Turkey including prisoners who joined death fast. And I’ve also been active in efforts to generate solidarity around Abdullah Öcalan and other political prisoners such as Pınar Selek. Given that my historical relationships with this country have been shaped by circumstances of international solidarity, I’ve entitled my talk “Transnational Solidarities: Resisting Racism, Genocide and Settler Colonialism” for the purpose of evoking possible futures, potential circuits connecting movements in various parts of the world, and specifically in the US, Turkey and occupied Palestine.

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE PREVENTION AND PUNISHMENT OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE
The term “genocide” has usually been reserved for particular conditions defined in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which was adopted on December 9th, 1948 in the aftermath of the fascist scourge during World War 2. And some of you are probably familiar with the wording of that convention. But let me share. It was: “Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such, killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to member of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

“WE CHARGE GENOCIDE”
This convention was passed in 1948. But it was not ratified by the United States until 1987. Almost 40 years later. However, just three years after the passage of the convention, a petition was submitted to the United Nation by the Civil Rights Congress of the US, charging genocide with respect to black people in the US. This petition was signed by luminaries such as W.E.B. Du Bois who at that time was under attack by the government. It was submitted to the UN in New York by Paul Robeson and it was submitted in Paris by the civil rights attorney William L. Patterson. Patterson was at that time the head of the Civil Rights Congress. He was a black member of the Communist Party, a prominent attorney who had defended the Scottsboro 9. And his passport was taken away when he returned. And this was during the era in which communists and those who were accused of being communists were seriously under attack.

In the introduction to this petition one can read the following words: “Out of the inhuman black ghettos of American cities, out of the cotton plantations of the South, comes this record of mass slayings on the basis of race, of lives deliberately warped and distorted by the willful creation of conditions making for premature death, poverty and disease. It is a record that calls aloud for condemnation, for an end to these terrible injustices that constitute a daily and ever-increasing violation of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”
And the introduction continues: “We maintain, therefore, that the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States, segregated, discriminated against and long the target of violence, suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government.”

And then they go on to point out they will submit evidence proving accordance with the convention. The killing of members of the group. They point to police killings. Police killings. This is 1951. Killings by gangs, by the Klu Klux Klan and other mass racist groups. And they point out that the evidence concerns thousands of people who have been: “beaten to death on chain gangs and in the back rooms of sheriff’s offices, in the cells of county jails, in precinct police stations and on city streets, who have been framed and murdered by sham legal forms and by a legal bureaucracy.” And they also point out that a significant number of black people who were killed “allegedly for failure to say “sir” to a white person or tip their hats or to move aside.”

DEPRIVATION OF ANCESTRY AFFECTS THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
I mention this historic petition against genocide first because such a charge could have also been launched at the time based on the mass slaughters Armenians, the death marches and the theft of children and the attempt to assimilate them into dominant culture. I had the opportunity to read the very moving memoir “My Grandmother,” the Armenian Turkish memoir, by Fethiye Çetin. Am I pronouncing–? Oh! There you are! [She notices Fethiye Çetin in the audience :)] Very nice to meet you!
And I’m certain everyone in this room has read the book. Right? Yes?

And I also learned that as many as two million Turks might have at least one grandparent of Armenian heritage. And that because of prevailing racism so many people have been prevented from exploring their own family histories. Reading “The Grandmother” I thought about the work of French Marxist anthropologist whose name was Claude Meillassoux. This imposed silence with respect to ancestry reminded me that his definition of slavery has the concept “social death” at its core. He defined the slave as subject to a kind of social death. The slave as a person who was not born: Non néé. And of course there is grave collective psychic damage that was a consequence of not being acknowledged within the context of one’s ancestry. And those of us of African descent in the West are familiar with that sense of not being able to trace our ancestry beyond people of my age, as it is in my case, beyond one grandmother. Deprivation of ancestry affects the present and the future.

OUR HISTORIES NEVER UNFOLD IN ISOLATION
And of course “My Grandmother” details the process of ethnic cleansing, the death march, the killings by the gendarmes, the fact that when they were crossing a bridge the grandmother’s own grandmother threw two of her grandchildren in the water, and made sure they had drowned before she threw herself into the water. And for me this scene so resonated with historical descriptions of slave mothers in the US who killed their children in order to spare them the violence of slavery. Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved for which she received the Nobel prize is based on one such narrative, the narrative of Margaret Garner.

I also invoke the genocide petition of 1951 because so many of the conditions outlined in that petition continue to exist in the US today. This analysis helps us to understand the extent to which contemporary racist state violence in the US is deeply rooted in genocidal histories –including of course the genocidal colonization of indigenous inhabitants of the Americas. A recent book by historian Craig Wilder addresses the extent to which the Ivy League universities, the universities everyone knows, all over the world. You mention the name Harvard and it is recognizable, virtually everywhere in the world. Well he addresses the extent to which these universities, Harvard, Yale, Princeton etc., were founded on and are deeply implicated in the institution of slavery. That, and in my mind this may be the most important aspect of his research: he discovers that you cannot tell the story of slavery and US higher education without also simultaneously telling the story of the genocidal colonization of Native Americans. And I think it’s important to pay attention to the larger methodological implications of such an approach.

Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories. And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories. This is the admonition “Learn you sister’s stories” by black feminist sociologist Jacqui Alexander. This is a dialectical process that requires us to constantly retell our stories, to revise them and retell them and relaunch them. We can thus not pretend that we do not know about the conjunctions of race and class and ethnicity and nationality and sexuality and ability.

WE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT GENOCIDE AND SLAVERY
I cannot prescribe how Turkish people –I’ve learned in the days since I’ve been here –actually this is only my second and a half day– that it might be better to refer to “people who live in Turkey.” But I cannot prescribe how you come to grips with the imperial past of this country. But I do know, because I have learnt this from Hrant Dink, from Fethiye Çetin and others that it has to be possible to speak freely, it has to be possible to engage in free speech. The ethnic cleansing processes, including the so-called population exchanges at the end of the Ottoman empire that inflicted incalculable form of violence on so many populations -the Greeks and Syrians and of course Armenians- have to be acknowledged in the historical record. But popular conversations about these events and about the histories of the Kurdish people in this space have to occur before any real social transformation can be imagined much less rendered possible.

And I tell you that in the United States we are at such a disadvantage because we do not know how to talk about the genocide inflicted on indigenous people. We do not know how to talk about slavery. Otherwise it will not have been assumed that simply because of the election of one black man to the presidency we would leap forward into a post-racial era. We do not acknowledge that we all live on colonized land. And in the meantime Native Americans live in impoverished conditions on reservations. They have an extremely high incarceration rate. As a matter of fact, per capita the highest incarceration rate. And they suffer disproportionately from such diseases as alcoholism and diabetes. In the meantime sports teams still mock indigenous people with racially derogatory names like the Washington Red Skins. We do not know how to talk about slavery except perhaps in the framework of victim and victimizer, one that continues to polarize and implicate. But I can say that increasingly young activists are learning how to acknowledge the intersections of these stories, the way in which these stories cross hatched and overlaid. Therefore when we attempt to develop an analysis of the persistence of racist violence largely directed at young black men of which we have been hearing a great deal over this last period. We cannot forget to contextualize this racist violence.

BLACK BODIES MATTER
Now, here in Turkey you are all aware that this past fall, last summer in Ferguson, Missouri. That this past fall, all over the country, in New York, in Washington, in Chicago, on the West Coast, and indeed in other parts of the world, people took to the streets collectively announcing that they absolutely refuse to assent to racist state violence. People took to the streets saying “No justice, no peace. No racist police.” And people have been saying that contrary to routine police actions and regardless of the collusion of district attorneys with the police that black bodies do matter. Black bodies matter. And we will take to the streets and raise our voices until we can be certain that a change (…) the agenda. Social media have been flooded with messages of solidarity from people all over the world. And in the fall, not only with respect to the failure to indict the police officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, but also the response to the decision of the Grand Jury and the case of Eric Garner.

FORGING TRANSNATIONAL SOLIDARITIES, OVERCOMING NEOLIBERAL INDIVIDUALISM
These demonstrations literally all over the world made it very clear that there is vast potential with respect to the forging of transnational solidarities. And what this means in one sense is that we may be given the opportunity to emerge from the individualism within which we are ensconced in this neoliberal era. Neoliberal ideology constantly drives us to focus on individuals, ourselves, individual victims, individual perpetrators. But how is it possible to solve the massive problem of racist state violence by calling upon individual police officers to bear the burden of that history? And to assume that by prosecuting them, by exacting our revenge on them, we would have somehow made progress in eradicating racism? And so if one imagines these vast expressions of solidarity all over the world as being focused only on the fact that individual police officers were not prosecuted, it makes very little sense. Now I’m not suggesting that individuals cannot be held accountable. Every individual who engages in such a violent act of racism, of terror, should be held accountable. But what I’m saying is that we have to embrace project that address socio-historical conditions that enable these acts.

PRISON ABOLITION, CARCERAL FEMINISMS
For some time now I’ve been involved in efforts to abolish the death penalty and imprisonement as the main modes of punishment. And I keep saying that it is not simply out of empathy with the victims of capital punishment and the victims of prison punishment who are overwhelmingly people of color. It is because these modes of punishment don’t work. These forms of punishment do not work when you consider that the majority of the people who are in prison are there because society has failed them, because they’ve had no access to education, to jobs, or housing or healthcare. But when you say that criminalization and imprisonment do not solve other problems. They do not solve the problem of sexual violence either. Carceral feminisms, which is a term that has begun to circulate recently. Carceral feminisms, that is to say, feminisms that call for the criminalization and incarceration of those who engage in gender violence, do the work of the state. Carceral feminisms do the work of the state as surely as they focus on state violence and repression as the solution to hetero-patriarchy. And as the solution, more specifically, to sexual assault.

Well it does not work for those who are directly involved in the repressive work of the state either. As influenced as many state officers might be by the racism that criminalizes communities of color and this influence is not limited to white police officers. Black police officers and police officers of color are subject to the same way in which racism defies, structurally defies, police work. But even as they may be influenced by this racism, it was not their individual idea to do this. And so simply by focusing on the individual as if the individual were an aberration, we inadvertently engage in the process of reproducing the very racism that we assume we’re contesting. So how do we move from this framework of primarily focusing on individual perpetrators?

GLOBAL MILITARIZATION OF THE POLICE
In the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri we quickly learned about the militarization of the police. That is of the visual images of them wearing military garb, wearing military weapons. And the militarization of the police in the US, police forces all over the country, has been accomplished in part with the aid of Israeli government which has been sharing its training with police forces all over the country since the period, the immediate aftermath of 9/11. And as a matter of fact -the chief of- Saint Louis County Police Chief, whose name is Timothy Fitch, –Saint Louis of course is the setting in which the Ferguson violence took place. Ferguson is a small town in Saint Louis County. And this chief received “counter-terrorism training” in Israel. Country chiefs and police chiefs all over the country, agents of the FBI, and bomb technicians, have travelled to Israel to get lessons in how to combat terrorism.

The point I’m making is that while racist police violence, particularly against black people, has a very long history –it goes back to the era of slavery- the current context is absolutely decisive. And when one examines the ways in which racism has been further reproduced and complicated by the theories and practices of terrorism and counter-terrorism, one begins to perhaps envision the possibility of political alliances that will move us in the direction of transnational solidarities.

TRANSNATIONAL CONNECTIONS: US AND PALESTINE
What was interesting during the protests in Ferguson last summer was that Palestinian activists noticed from the images they saw on social media and television that teargas cannisters that were being used in Ferguson were exactly the same teargas cannisters that were used against them in occupied Palestine. And as a matter of fact, a US company which is called Combined Systems Incorporated stamped CTS (Combined Tactical Systems) on their teargas cannisters. And activists noticed these cannisters in Ferguson. And so what they did was tweet advice to Ferguson protestors on how to deal with the teargas. And so they suggested, among other things, –this is one tweet: “Don’t keep much distance from the police. If you’re close to them they can’t teargas. Because they’d then teargas themselves.” And a whole series of really interesting comments about how activists in Ferguson who probably confronted teargas for the first time in their lives. They didn’t necessarily have the experience that some of us have with teargas. But I’m trying to suggest there are connections between the militarization of the police in the US, which provides a different context for us to analyze the continuing, ongoing proliferation of racist police violence, and the continuous assault on people in occupied Palestine, the West Bank, and especially in Gaza, given the military violence inflicted on the people in Gaza this past summer.

RETROACTIVE CRIMINALIZATION OF ASSATA SHAKUR
I also want to bring into the conversation one of the most well known political prisoners in the history of the US. Her name is Assata Shakur, and now lives in Cuba, and has lived in Cuba since the 1980s. Not very long ago she was designated as one of the ten most dangerous terrorists in the world. And since it was mentioned that I was on FBI’s ten most wanted list, I would like you to think about what would motivate the decision to place this woman, Assata Shakur –you can read her history, her autobiography is absolutely fascinating. And she was falsely, fraudulently charged with a whole range of crimes. I won’t even mention them. You can read about them in her autobiography. She was found “not guilty” on every single charge except the very last one. And I actually wrote a preface to her autobiography. But Assata, she’s actually younger than I am, just a few years, so she would be in her late 60s now. And she has been living a productive life, teaching and studying, and teaching and engaging in art. And so why would suddenly homeland security decide that she is one of the ten most wanted terrorists the world? This retroactive criminalization of the late 20th century black liberation movements through targeting one of the women leaders at that time –it was so systematically pursued- is I think an attempt to deter people from in engaging in radical political struggle today.

WHAT IS TERRORISM?
And this is why I’m always so cautious about the use of the term “terrorist.” I’m really cautious knowing that we have endured a history of unacknowledged terror. As someone who grew up in the most segregated city of the South, my very first memory is one of bombs exploding across the street simply because a black person had purchased a house. And we knew who the Klu Klux Klan people were who were bombing houses and bombing churches. You may be familiar with the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that happened in 1963 when the four young girls, who were all very close to my family, died. Bu you should know that that was not and unusual occasion. Those bombings happened all the time. And why has that not been acknowledged as an era of terror? So I’m really cautious about the use of that term because there is almost always a political motivation.

IMPORTANCE OF FEMINIST THEORY AND ANALYSIS: THE PERSONAL IS THE POLITICAL
But let me say as I move towards my conclusion, let me say that I want to be a little more specific about the importance of feminist theory and analysis. Feminist approaches, and I’m not simply speaking to the women, let me point that out. Because I think feminism provides methodological guidance for all of us who engage in serious research and organized activist work. Feminist approaches urge us to develop understandings of social relations whose connections are often initially only intuited. Everyone is familiar with the slogan “the personal is political.” Not only that what we experience on a personal level has profound political implications but that our interior lives, our emotional lives are very much informed by ideology. We ourselves often do the work of the state in and through our interior lives. What we often assume belongs most intimately to ourselves and to our emotional life has been produced elsewhere and has been recruited to do the work of racism and repression. Some of us have always insisted on making connections between– in terms of prison work, I want to talk a little bit about my activist work– the connections between assaults on women in prison and the larger project of abolishing imprisonment. And this larger project requires us to understand where we figure in to transnational solidarity efforts. And so this means that we have to examine various dimensions of our lives from social relations, political context but also our interior lives.

MEGA CORPORATIONS COMMODITIZING OUR INNERMOST DREAMS
And it’s interesting that in this era of global capitalism the corporations have learned how to do that. The corporations have learned how to access aspects of our lives that cause us to often express our innermost dreams in terms of capitalist commodities. So we have internalized exchange value in ways that would be entirely unimaginable to the authors of Capital but that’s another lecture. What I want to point out is that the mega corporations have clearly grasped the ways in which what we often consider to be disparate issues the ways in which they are connected. And one such corporation G4S which is the largest security corporation in the world. And I evoke G4S because I am certain that they will attempt to take advantage in France of the current situation, in a way that evokes Naomi Klein’s analysis of disaster capitalism. G4S, as some of you probably know, has played such an important role in the Israeli occupation of Palestine, running prisons, being involved in check-point technology. And it’s also that they are involved in the deaths of undocumented immigrants. The case of Jimmy Mubenga is important. He was killed by G4S guards in prison, in Britain, in the process of being deported to Angola I believe. G4S operates prisons in South Africa, prisons in South Africa. G4S is the largest, the largest corporate employer on the entire continent of Africa. But G4S would be the subject for another lecture.

And I have … What? [Someone in the audience says “Starbucks.” Bosphorous Uni. students successfully kicked Starbucks off the campus in a highly publicized and lengthy nonviolent campaign.] Oh! Ok. And yes I heard that the students have successfully protested Starbucks, is that right? And is today the last day Starbucks will be available on this campus, hallelujah? Speaking of mega corporations! And especially since Turkish coffee far exceeds which Starbucks could ever hope for. I don’t really drink coffee. But I drink Turkish coffee. But as I was saying G4S this mega corporation that is involved in prisons, in the ownership and operation of prisons, that provides armies with weapons, that provides security for rock stars, and also operates centers for abused women and for “young girls at risk.” I mention this because it seems as if they have grasped the connection in ways that we should have long ago.

MARISSA ALEXANDER AND THE LINKS BETWEEN INTIMATE AND STATE VIOLENCE
And so my last example is also an example from the US but it reflects a global pandemic from which no country is exempt. And I’m referring to sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault. Intimate violence is not unconnected to state violence. Where have the perpetrators of intimate violence learn how to engage in the practices of violence? Who teaches them that violence is OK? But this is of course another question. So I do want to evoke the case of a young woman by the name of Marissa Alexander. You know the names of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Add the name of Marissa Alexander to that list. A young black woman who felt compelled to go to extremes to prevent her abusive husband from attacking her. She fired a weapon in the air. No one was hit. But in the very same judicial district where Trayvon Martin –remember Trayvon Martin’s name?–where he was killed and where George Zimmerman, his killer, was acquitted, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years for trying to defend herself against sexual assault. And recently she faced a possible re-sentencing to 60 years and therefore she engaged in a plea bargain which means that she will be wearing an electronic bracelet for the next period. Racist and sexual violence are practices that are not only tolerated but, if not explicitly then implicitly, encouraged. When these modes of violence are recognized –and they’re often hidden and they’re rendered invisible, they’re most often the most dramatic examples of structural exclusion and discrimination. And so I think it would be important to further develop that analysis.

IMPACT VS. OUTCOME
But I’m going to conclude by saying that the greatest challenge facing us as we attempt to forge international solidarities and connections across national borders is an understanding of what feminists often call intersectionality, and not so much intersectionality of identities but intersectionality of struggles, intersectionality of struggles. And so let us not forget the impact of Tahrir Square and the Occupy Movement all over the world. And here in, since we are here gathered in Istanbul, let us not forget the Taksim, Gezi Park protestors. Let us not forget. Where oftentimes people argue that in these more recent movements there are no leaders, there was no manifesto, no agenda, no demands and so therefore the movements failed. But I’d like to point out that Stuart Hall, who recently died just a little over a year ago, urged us to distinguish between outcome and impact. There is a difference between outcome and impact. And so many people assumed that because the encampments are gone and nothing tangible was produced that there was no outcome. But when we think about the impact, the impact of these imaginative, innovative –these movements when people learned how to be together without the scaffolding of the state, when they learned how to solve problems without succumbing to the impulse of calling the police – That should serve as a true inspiration for the work that we will do in the future to build these transnational solidarities because don’t we want to be able to imagine the expansion of freedom and justice in the world as Hrant Dink urged us to do in Turkey, in Palestine, in South Africa, in Germany, in Colombia, in Brazil, in the Philippines, in the US? If this is the case we will have to do something quite extraordinary, we will have to go to great lengths. We cannot go on as usual. We cannot pivot the center. We cannot be (murderers). We will have to be willing to stand up and say “No” with our combined spirits, our collective intellects and our many bodies. Thank you very much.

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