- Announcing a Quebec and Canada-wide BDS conference
- UQAM, Montreal, Quebec 22-24th October 2010
Since 2005’s historic Palestinian call for a comprehensive, international movement for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid, we have seen many important victories for this movement in both Québec and Canada. Now is the time to reflect on the successes of the BDS movement in Quebec and Canada to date and to consolidate and intensify our efforts in solidarity with the people of Palestine, who continue to suffer under the brutal system of Israeli apartheid.
ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
All BDS activists, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about BDS, are invited to attend this conference.
The BDS conference will take place from the evening of Friday, October 22 until the afternoon of Sunday, October 24. Following the opening panel on Friday night, the conference will be divided into two main segments – educational workshops and sectoral organizing sessions.
Saturday morning will feature a series of educational and introductory workshops, including Apartheid 101; Lessons from South Africa; Indigenous struggles from Turtle Island to Palestine; Access to Health Care Under Apartheid; Israeli Apartheid as a Feminist Struggle; Popular Resistance to Israeli Apartheid; Land and Environment under Israeli Apartheid; Canada and its relationship to Israel; and Jewish support for BDS
Speakers on Saturday will include Dr. Faiha Abdelhadi, feminist scholar and activist at Birzeit University in Palestine; Riham Barghouti, member of Adalah, the New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; John Greyson, queer filmmaker and activist, Toronto; Ewa Jasiewicz, Free Gaza Movement, England; Denis Lemelin, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW); Representatives of the grassroots Stop the Wall Campaign, Palestine; the British Committee for Universities in Palestine (BRICUP); US feminist organization CODEPINK and hip-hop artist Invincible, from Detroit (who will also be performing at Saturday night’s cultural event at Le Consulat).
Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning will move from an educational focus to a working environment, where workshops and discussion will take place within sectoral subgroupings – Labour and trade unions working towards BDS, Academic Boycott and Divestment, Consumer Boycott Campaigns, Community Organizations, Cultural Boycott, Queer Organizing for BDS, and Ending governmental support for BDS.
These tracks will consist of several working sessions in order to strategize, learn lessons from past experiences and create plans for the future. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the critical work being done in the different sectors and campaigns of the BDS movement, and the array of tactics and strategies being adopted by different communities, social movements, artists, trade unionists, academics, students, and queer organizers in solidarity with the people of Palestine. This diverse work has taken to a new level the creative actions and campaigns against the corporations and institutions facilitating and profiting from Israeli apartheid.
The workshops within these sectors are designed to bring together conference participants from across Québec and Canada to reflect on what they have accomplished so far, to learn from past and current campaigns and initiatives, and finally, to coordinate on future work so that we can make the most of the ongoing momentum for BDS against Israeli apartheid.
On Sunday afternoon the conference will re-convene for a closing plenary, to discuss the work we have done and create proposals for continuing to build this movement into the future.
Pre-registration for entire conference is accessible online at http://www.bdsquebec.org or you can register in person at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), outside of salle Marie-Gérin-Lajoie – 405 St. Catherine east, pavilion Judith-Jasmin, (metro Berri-Uqam)
If you’d like to get involved in organizing the conference, DONATE, or endorse please email email@example.com to find out about our next meeting.
STAY IN TOUCH!
The past two years have seen growing numbers of Québec civil society organizations taking up the call for BDS. From the student movement and the commitment to BDS passed by L’Association pour une Solidarite Syndicale Étudiante (ASSÉ) in 2006; to college and university workers calling for boycott under the banner of College and University Workers United (CUWU) in early 2009; to the resolution in support of BDS adopted by the members of the Centrale des syndicats du Quebec (CSQ), one of Quebec’s largest labour federations, growing numbers of people have enthusiastically joined the international BDS movement.
Beyond Québec, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has become the first union at the Canadian level to join the BDS campaign, while the Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-ON) has also helped to push the boycott to centre stage. The past two years have seen increasing public debate on the issue of BDS in Canada, whether during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival; within the United Church; in the public debates on the academic boycott on university campuses in Ontario; or in LGBTQ communities, where queer activists organized anti-Israeli apartheid contingents in pride parades in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
This energy in diverse sectors of society shows that the movement for BDS against Israeli apartheid is growing.
Together we will map out the next steps in the Quebec and Canadian movement to end Israeli apartheid and to free Palestine!