๐ŸŽ™ Israel-Palestine & It's Impacts for U.S. Organizing in the 2024 Election

In conversation with Nadia Rahman, activist, organizer & communicator

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

Hi Yโ€™all! We pick up from my conversation with organizer, Nadia Rahman.

In the second half of our conversation, we focused on the implications for progressives in the U.S. and how we can approach the 2024 election to better hold lawmakers accountable and see the change we deserve.

What I loved most was the message of hope that kept emerging. We can stay empowered in the fight for liberatory change.

I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Nadia Rahaman Podcast Recording Final Episode2

๐Ÿ“– Read Todayโ€™s Interview ๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿปโ€๐Ÿซ

Sam Chavez (she/her) at Roots of Change

We're in this moment of rising fascism here and abroad. The climate crisis is barreling down and we are not taking action towards progressive change. And I think for me, this has been a moment just like the 2020 protests to be like, liberation is liberation. I want someone who is going to represent the true progressive and take those actions versus someone who's going to talk the talk, as we see in a lot of places. But yeah, I wanted to kind of transition into the US and specifically talk about our role as organizers.

There's been a lot of talk about how the United States is funding these violent efforts by the Israeli government. I personally feel very frustrated. We live in a regressive tax system. So a lot of people who are lower and middle income are paying a higher share. And that's really hard to know that a lot of these organizers like you and I are working very hard to make our money and then a lot of that tax dollars going to Israel.

So knowing that the US has that outsized role in funding and influence in supporting this violence, like what is our specific role in the US during this conflict?

Nadia Rahman (she/her) with Rahman Consulting

Yeah, that's a great question. So knowing that our government is the biggest enabler and funder and empower of what is going on in Israel and Palestine and, you know, supporting the Israeli government and military in this oppression and this murder and this genocide, essentially, it is our role to It is Americans' roles, American taxpayers, American voters, to challenge our government and to make our government in-line with justice. Not doing what it's doing right now.

So what we're seeing is like even the polling, there was like a new poll that came out today. I think it's like 61% of all national voters want a ceasefire and something like 76% or something like that, Democrats who want a ceasefire. So The government is like way out of line with where the average American voter is at. And then even like the Democratic Party is way out of line than three quarters of their base, which is insane. So it is our responsibility as American voters, as American taxpayers, as American Democrats to bring those organizations, the government, in line with where we are at.

And the thing is, is like left to their own devices. Like I heard an anecdote recently that it was the political class that was the last to get on board for ending apartheid in South Africa. It's not going to be any different on this. The political class is going to be the last to be on board for freeing Palestine and creating a more just approach there. You know, whether that is conditioning aid to Israel or issuing sanctions or whatever it is, changing our foreign policy, changing our relationship with that and the issue.

Because right now, Israel just does whatever it wants without impunity. And we let that happen in order to have a foothold in the Middle East. And it is our responsibility because that wouldn't be happening over there if it wasn't for the American government. And at the end of the day, we're in a republic. This is a democracy. We've elected these people to make these decisions. We need to ensure that our government is in line with our will.

Sam Chavez (she/her) at Roots of Change

Absolutely. And I know one of those actions is calling Congress, calling Biden. A lot of people feel very hesitant about being on the phone, but I will say, I do it in the morning before I even get out of bed. And I'm just like dialing Nancy Pelosi. I'm dialing Senator Padilla and Senator Butler and takes less than 10 minutes. And that is such a huge impact on at least our senators, maybe not our Congress person. Um, you know, we are barreling towards an election next year too and I think another piec e to this going into more of the US political space.

There's a lot of concerns around how President Biden is handling this conflict. And a lot of Democratic voters, especially marginalized people, are not happy with how he is handling this situation. And I'm just curious, how are you viewing that? And then how do we need to think about that as organizers, knowing that we're gonna be talking with voters in the next few months?

Nadia Rahman (she/her) with Rahman Consulting

So how am I feeling about the election? I actually do feel good for Democrats overall, because I think with the party's values and where the American electorate is at, the GOP has obviously gone off the rails and is barreling towards fascism and authoritarianism and all of that.

And I think most of the American electorate understands that and doesn't want that. And they want reproductive freedom. They want access to abortion. They want better wages. They want health care. I feel like that's where most of the American electorate is at. So it's aligned with the Democratic Party. I think that there are specific instances like Israel-Palestine and the Democratic Party not pursuing a ceasefire. Those are specific areas of misalignment. I think that in I think in like the recent elections that we saw in Kentucky, which I think was about a month ago in November, Democrats at that state level and local level seem to be winning their races, which is great. I think that that's the trajectory that we're on in 2024.

When it comes to the White House, I think that we are in a really precarious position because Biden has chosen to do something that's just genuinely very unpopular with most American voters and definitely very unpopular with the majority of his own party. And he's going to face a reckoning for that.

One thing that I do want to say out loud is a lot of like demo, like a lot of like liberal Democrats are kind of chastising specific groups, whether it's Arab American groups or Muslim American groups or young voters or other POC that are advocating in solidarity and criticizing what Biden's doing as like, well, โ€œyou're going to get Trump again,โ€ or like, how could โ€œhow dare you do that? Another Muslim man's coming for you.โ€ It's like, don't chastise us.

Like, Biden is charting his own fate here. And he's doubling down on it, despite poll after poll coming out showing his rating and approval ratings going further and further into the tank because of the policy that he's chosen. Hold him accountable. Don't come after the people whose votes you need when our communities are being killed. I definitely want to make that clear. I think that what we have to focus on is like don't don't spiral out into like oh Biden's going to lose or whatever it is he's not enough, he hasn't clinched the Democratic Party nomination yet.

And honestly like we couldn't have predicted that our last two months were what they were. We don't, we can't predict the future now either. We can just work towards the best possible outcomes and the best possible candidates. And that is the advice that I'm going to internalize and move forward with. And that's what I offer to the people listening to is don't just double down on what you think is going to happen because that's just a self-fulfilling prophecy. Do the work. To make the change and honestly look for like the more progressive candidates.

I myself am going to be focused more on Justice Democrats candidates going forward because I know on Israel and Palestine they have a more balanced and progressive and justice focused approach and those are the candidates I'm going to be supporting. Those are the ones I'm going to be donating to. Those are the ones I'm going to be investing time in And I am not going to be paying attention or focusing on people who are just going to toe the line on the status quo. I think we've reached a point in this country, and it's not just about Israel-Palestine, it's also about wealth inequality. It's also about homelessness. It's also about how many people are just suffering out there and how we let that get to this point by these elected officials towing the status quo like we need change we need new blood so as organizers let's work towards that and not just think that like oh it's always been this way and it always will be no let's change that in this election.

Sam Chavez (she/her) at Roots of Change

Absolutely. I cannot get on board with that more. And I feel like there's this assumption of that the train is going to keep moving on a track, and we have never been on a track. And I think that's a big thing to get through with the 2024 election is we have 11 months and that's going to be a very long 11 months, we don't know what's going to happen with. The Republican nomination, most likely Trump's going to get it but he's also has a lot of trials happening, like Joe Biden, there are health implications but for both Trump and Biden.

There is a lot that could still happen. And I appreciate how you shared your perspective on just how people in the United States are feeling right now, because I think that is a huge divide in the Democratic Party right now. You have people who are more establishment, more corporate. Who are really blinded by the wealth inequality and how that has impacted and rippled in a lot of what you just shared and each of those examples. And I think people are fed up. And so I think that's a great, great advice.

And I would just add, like, I saw a great water bottle that was like, there is no such thing as a protest vote. You know, if you are progressive and you want positive change to happen in this world, we have to take the action to do that. We can't just sit back because the MAGA people are going to vote, the corporate Democrats are going to get out and vote, and it's our responsibility to grow this progressive movement into what it can be in this country. So I did want to end on a little bit of hope, if we can.

You know, a lot of people are feeling a little bit hopeless in this moment, and I would love for you to share with people how you stay hopeful.

Nadia Rahman (she/her) with Rahman Consulting

Yeah, totally. I appreciate that question. And I do think that people should be hopeful. Really bad things are happening right now, but despite those bad things, we have to take what we can from them as like, what have I learned because of this? And what we've learned from the very bad things that are happening at this moment is we see our government for what it really is. We understand its role in the world now and what it has prioritized and that's imperialism and colonialism and capitalism at any cost at any number of lives.

And that's not going to change like now that this blanket has been taken off the like this is really what it is. People have that knowledge and that knowledge is power. So when you feel hopeless remember that like we are way more informed now we're way more empowered. And we have the power to make that change. When I find myself like feeling like hopeless. I and I don't actually find myself feeling hopeless, a lot I think as an organizer I, I understand that it's just like a matter of getting people together and moving them in a certain direction for change to occur and looking for those small wins.

Last week, for instance, the Oakland City Council passed a resolution calling for the ceasefire. That's now coming up. Another ceasefire resolution is now coming up at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which is our city council here. Hopefully that'll be a win, too. I'm definitely going to work towards that. And then just this past weekend, the Texas Democratic Party became the first state level Democratic Party to call for a ceasefire. What that's probably going to kick off is this domino effect of other Democratic parties, either at the local, state level, or potentially the crown jewel of the national level, doing the same thing.

And it's like, we have to look for those little wins, like the Texas Democratic Party, the Oakland City Council, hopefully the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, is those are all meaningful. And don't let people rob you of your hope. Like, for instance, you know, I'm going into the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting and some people are like, Oh, well, like, what's this resolution going to prove like we're local in San Francisco, shouldn't they focus locally. No, that creates pressure that creates pressure for other elected officials.

That creates pressure for other city councils in the Bay Area in California in a city like San Francisco that creates pressure for Biden. So all of these little wins in aggregate they are moving us in the direction that we need to go. And we need to remember that and honestly like you know I am going to go and show up at City Hall and give my public comment as a constituent in San Francisco and we all have the power to do that we all have the power to show up for a protest to show up for comment at our city council.

To write a letter into Biden, to call the White House, to make the calls you were talking about earlier to Congress, whether that's our congressperson or to our senators. Like, let's give them hell. Let's be loud on social media. One anecdote I also wanted to share is that one of my friends told me recently that, โ€œhey, my Twitter feed is all you know, this one local issue, and then it's all pro Palestine stuff, because you tweet about Palestine stuff all the time.โ€ So somehow, my overdrive of activity in the last two months has made its way into other people's algorithms and feeds.

And it's like, that's power. I wouldn't have even known that if they hadn't told me and just just Take the action. Don't just sit there and feel hopeless, whether that's your social media activism or it's taking the other actions we've talked about. Definitely voting. There's so much we are actually empowered to do. Unfortunately, it might not change something the very next moment or the very next day, but that change will come and it's going to be through all of those little actions that we take.

Sam Chavez (she/her) at Roots of Change

I love that. I, when I started Roots of Change, I talked about a trickle leading to a waterfall. And I really feel that in this moment, that there are so many trickles happening, that it's just, we are going to move and it's going to be really hard for these elected officials and leaders and elites to, not change. So I appreciate that.

And I really appreciate you coming on and talking about this really complex issue. I know it's sensitive, and there is so much emotion on all sides throughout this issue. And so I just really appreciate you bringing your full humanity here and allowing us to just be in this moment and to understand how we move forward in this moment.

Nadia Rahman (she/her) with Rahman Consulting

Thanks for having me. This was a great conversation and thanks for doing the work to put this out there, Sam.

Sam Chavez (she/her) at Roots of Change

Yeah, absolutely. And for anyone who's listening and if this is new for you, we will be talking about all of this stuff on Roots of Change throughout this year and next. So 2024 is 11 months away and we are going to work on understanding and dissecting these roots and these issues so that we can take action and build progressive and liberatory change for everyone. So thanks everyone, and we will catch you again.

About Nadia Rahman

Nadia is a skilled communicator, activist, and organizer. She has 17 years of experience in digital marketing and strategy spanning diverse specialty areas, including content strategy & messaging development, search, social media, email, measurement & analytics, and digital research. An organizer at heart, Nadia is skilled in advocacy, community relations, and bringing people together to work successfully toward shared goals. She has worked in agencies, on in-house marketing teams, and on political campaigns, and has led and managed teams of people, projects, and programs.

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About Sam & Roots of Change

Sam Chavez is a storyteller, strategist, and curious human. She founded Roots of Change, a storytelling agency for activists, non-profits, and political organizations in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.

๐Ÿ—ผ๐ŸŽ™ Type: Podcast๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ‘ท๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ Organizing & Movements๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ—ณ Democracy๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿ‘‘ Defeating White Supremacy๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ for activists & heart-first humans ๐ŸŒฑ

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


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