Hurriyyah Collective Mayday Statement
The following speech was written and presented by Idil Osman of Hurriyah Collective outside the ICE building in Portland OR May 1st, 2021. We were so moved by the speech we asked if we could post it here on our website! Support Hurriyyah Collective! Long live anti-imperialist solidarity! - RM
I’m so excited to be here with you all today on International Workers Day. Happy May Day!! Like the announcer said, I am with Hurriyyah Collective and we are a Muslim anti-imperialist organization. One of our central concerns is organizing against islamophobia, militarism, and state sanctioned violence. On this May Day day we have decided to uplift and rise with migrant workers as we assert their vital contributions to the working class.
But we cannot talk about migrant workers without talking about the conditions that have led to their forced migration and the double abuses and indignities they face by being forced to leave their homelands and then by facing additional xenophobia and exploitation in the US and whatever other countries they are forced to migrate to.
As a Muslim collective that organizes against militarism, we know that the US military apparatus functions as a global police force. In the name of national security and peace keeping the United States starts illegal wars and occupations, rains drones on civilian populations. It is important for us to recognize the ways that the War on Terror has caused the forced migration of Muslim people all over the world, destabilized governments and economies, created refugees, and separated families. Any student of history knows that The War on Terror is a rebranding of the counterinsurgency and surveillance technologies previously used to target the Black Liberation Movement in the United States and other global revolutionary movements. US IMPERIALISTS, #1 TERRORISTS!
As a Somali organizer, it is important for me to uplift the ways in which the War on Terror has had a devastating impact on the African continent which is home to 29military bases. For decades Somalia has been a pawn in an imperialist game as the US military sets up bases surrounding the country, sending drone strikes, coordinating with AfriCom troops in an attempt to defeat terrorists. when it is the instability caused by US intervention that makes us unsafe. As the number of military bases on the continent grows, guess what also grows? The number of self-proclaimed terrorists and terrorist attacks. So to this we say, The US military and their imperialist lackeys don’t make us safer. US OUT OF AFRICA, US OUT OF WEST ASIA, US OUT OF EVERYWHERE.
We are standing here in front of the ICE building, that notorious terrorist organization that separates families, cages children, and disappears people in the desert and surrounding areas. We must work to abolish ICE, and we can’t stop there, we must do our part to abolish imperialism, we must strike a fierce blow to it here in the belly of the beast as our comrades, as other workers around the world, do their part where they are. And together we will bring this whole system down. There are no borders in the worker’s struggle.
And when we talk about ICE and the violence that they wage in coordination with homeland security and local police forces, we have to realize that no presidential administration will free our people. Already we see the liberal media rebranding the idea of children in cages into a kind of charity or public service.
I want to uplift Black migrants, particualry Black Muslim migrants and undocumented people who occupy a complicated subject position. They exist at the intersection of islamophobia, anti-blackness, and face the brunt of a rising tide of xenophobia. Because of the erasure of Black migrants from the public discourse around immigration, they are left with little to no structural support.
Despite the horrific violences that the United States is enacting on migrants, it is the migrants who are portrayed as criminals! The criminalization of migrant communities, documented and undocumented, belies the true crimes of settler colonialism, US imperialism, and capitalist exploitation. Settler colonial states like the U.S. justify their continued brutality by using the language of legality. Laws on stolen land are meaningless and they cannot shape our understanding of justice. Instead of obsessing over what is legal and illegal, we must instead ask ourselves what is just? What gives people dignity? We must unequivocally reject the criminalization of our existence and survival.
We have a right to live and grow old and die in our motherlands. We have the right to speak our mother tongues. We have a right to live free of imperialist violence and plunder. We have a right to our ancestral domain. I am not supposed to be here, but imperialism has made it impossible to be where I am from. But while I am here, I am with you, heart to heart, shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand. And together we will do what we can to fight for our lives, to fight against these cruel systems, and we will win. We have no other choice.
All power to the people! All power to the workers! Happy May Day friends and Comrades.