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Ode to an encampment

Tempest's Sam Friedman offers this ode to faculty, students, staff and others who have camped in solidarity with Palestine.

Here, in a long-stolen homeland,

in a country insecure, paranoid, and


supplier of smart bombs, dumb

bombs, sound-bites so inane they clearly embody

the essence  of those at the top:


Here, at the heart of complicity,

at a university whose dollar-seeking rules 

demand obedience and indifference to Others’


you students, 

you staff, 

you faculty,

Palestinian, Jewish, and other,

have the gall, 

the chutzpah

to say 


to dare to


I sit with you, see your willingness

to defy arrests, teargas, and violent cops,

see you cram for exams in the off times,

hear you talk strategy, wisdom, and virtue

in a country of amoral


I watch a video where one of you

chastises the Board of Governors,




telling these empty yes-men to

                fuck off,



that despite Biden’s, DeSantis’s, and Greenblatt’s


our encampments are full of wisdom,

full of love,

full of morality,

as they expose the amoral cruelty

of those who batter students here

while Gaza


Featured image credit: Global Panorama; modified by Tempest.

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Sam Friedman View All

Samuel R. Friedman is a lifelong social activist and long-time socialist. His writings on social justice topics include about 50 publications on workers’ movements, how we might create socialism, political economy, racism or social movements—including Teamster Rank and File (Columbia University Press, 1982) and “What happened in Ukraine” (2015). He currently is a research professor of Population Health at a leading New York university and previously the Director of the Institute for Infectious Disease Research at National Development and Research Institutes in New York. He has published two books of poetry (most recently A Precious Residue: Poems that ponder efforts to spark a working-class socialism in the 1970s and after) as well as several chapbooks and many individual poems. He is the author of over 500 publications on HIV, COVID-19, STI, and drug-use epidemiology, prevention and harm reduction. He is a member of the Tempest Collective, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Ukraine Solidarity Network, the Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War, and the People’s CDC. He can be reached at