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Mass Against HP: Resisting Apartheid Technology from Palestine to Cambridge
Activists Condemn HP’s Complicity in Racism; Call on Cambridge to End Contract
Cambridge, MA (February 8, 2017) – Last Sunday, over 60 community members gathered to discuss Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) participation in human rights abuses in the United States and Palestine. Speakers detailed HP’s role in maintaining the Israeli occupation of Palestine, U.S. deportation of immigrants, and mass incarceration, calling attention to the ongoing campaign asking Cambridge to opt-out of a state contract with HP.
Dr. Yamila Hussein Shannon, a Palestinian scholar and educator, spoke on life under occupation in Palestine and mass incarceration. “Mass incarceration operates to maintain a system of control,” she said. “Without corporations like HP, those systems would not be efficient.” Dr. Hussein Shannon called attention to incarceration as a method of “criminalization of dissent,” drawing on her experience as an educator in schools, and spoke to mass incarceration’s role in the “terrorization of a nation,” in Palestine and elsewhere.
Other speakers noted the role of HP in unjust immigration law enforcement in the United States, as well as parallels between Palestinian and Black American experiences. “During the Ferguson Uprising in 2014, not only were there two statements of solidarity from Palestine, and not only were there Palestinians taking to Twitter and advising black people in Missouri on how to deal with tear gas,” said Khury Peterson-Smith, a post-doctoral fellow at Tufts University and the author of the Black Solidarity Statement with Palestine, “but there were Palestinians on the ground in Ferguson, who were marching alongside black people fighting for our freedom.”
Elizabeth Rucker, of Black and Pink, described HP’s role in the expansion of prisons, police surveillance, and unpaid prison labor, reminding attendees that “HP provides the nervous system of apartheid in Palestine and the nervous system of incarceration in the U.S.”
In light of recent mass protests in Boston and beyond, Gabe Camacho of American Friends Service Committee noted the brilliance of the common “No Ban, No Wall” chant. “That is really beautiful,” Camacho said. “That is making the connections between our struggles.” Campaign organizer Tala Berro agreed, explaining that “to resist bans and walls here in the U.S. is to resist bans and walls in Palestine as well.”
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Massachusetts Against Hewlett-Packard is a campaign composed of members representing numerous community and human rights groups. Visit www.MassAgainstHP.org for a full report detailing HP’s role in Massachusetts, Israel, and beyond.