New York (Palestine Online)- A group of protestors marched to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in midtown Manhattan on Friday, wielding Palestinian flags and a banner reading “globalize the intifada.”
Friday’s march was part of the Strike MoMA campaign, which began as a series of 10 weekly protests which ran between April 9 and June 11, against MoMA’s alleged complicity in war profiteering, environmental harm, dispossession of communities worldwide and association with morally corrupt billionaires.
The 10-week initiative was founded by the Strike MoMA Working Group, part of a collective that called itself the International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF).
Friday’s march was part of Strike MoMA’s so-called “second phase” under the title “Convening for a Just Transition to a Post-MoMA Future,” and with the goal to “determine the next steps for disassembling the museum in light of its harmful history,” according to the movement’s manifesto.
The model of the Palestinian intifada was chosen as a model of resistance against colonial violence and oppression, and “Globalize the Intifada” as the rallying cry of Friday’s march, with banners also reading “Honor the Martyrs of Palestine.”
The IIAAF first began to focus on MoMA after reports emerged that MoMA chairman Leon Black was closely associated with convicted sex offender Jeffry Epstein, which eventually led to him stepping down from the MoMA chairmanship.
According to Strike MoMA, the fact that the museum’s board remained silent about Black’s ties to Epstein exacerbated the fact that the museum itself, and not just its chairperson, was part of the problem.
The movement accused MoMA board members of having ties to “war, racist prison and border enforcement systems, vulture fund exploitation, gentrification and displacement of the poor, extractivism and environmental degradation, and patriarchal forms of violence. Board members also have ties and donate to the NYPD Police Foundation. In short, the rot is at the core of the institution,” according to its manifesto.
“We refuse to acknowledge the separation of the museum from the rest of society,” the manifesto continued.
“We see MoMA as existing on the same plane as the violence of the ruling class that has controlled it since its inception with the oil wealth of the Rockefellers in 1929. No more rationalizing the regime. They have long enabled the killing of our people and non-human relations and they have always expected us to thank them for their philanthropy.”
The manifesto drew a line between Black and the museum’s founders, the Rockefeller family, calling them a succession of predatory billionaires, and concluded that the history of MoMA and the history of “empire” were connected, and that “there is zero degree of separation between MoMA and the highest echelons of the global ruling class.”
“No struggle is left behind as we move together and separately, but in agreement. At MoMA the frames of abolition, decolonization, anti-capitalism and anti-imperialism overlap in the course of struggle,” the manifesto says in another section titled “Operational Terms for Striking MoMA.”
These included both ‘Israel’ and South Africa as being apartheid states.
A slew of organizations took part in the protest, including groups named Decolonize This Place, MoMA Divest and Direct Action Front for Palestine.
Another group that participated was Within Our Lifetime, whose goal is to liberate Palestine and who names the US and Zionism as two forms of colonial oppression.