Brianna Gibson of the BlackOUT Collective interviews Sidney Miralao from Dissenters, an anti-imperial youth organization playing an important role in the student movement for a free Palestine. Learn what’s happening on the ground and how this political moment is creating a new generation of disciplined leaders.


Dissenters is leading a new generation of young people to reclaim resources from the war industry, reinvest in life-giving services, and repair collaborative relationships with the earth and people around the world. Since October, they have shut down factories of weapons companies, organized campaigns demanding universities divest from war profiteers, and their members are currently participating in campus encampments across the country. 

This interview was conducted with Sidney Miralao, who has organized with Dissenters since 2020 and is based in the DC area.


Brianna: We’re now seven months into the latest onslaught of violence from the State of Israel in Gaza and 76 years of occupation and apartheid. What’s keeping you going in this work of resistance and sustaining you so that you’re able to do the work beyond this moment? What advice do you have for others when it comes to sustainably remaining in this work?

Sidney: Over the last six months I have never felt more proud and grateful to have a community and comrades in Dissenters. Knowing they are throwing down across their cities and campuses, and bearing witness to their courage and commitment to the liberation of Palestine, and of all anti-imperialist struggles, gives me hope even in moments when organizing feels fruitless. Recognizing the legacies of our organizing and our tactics has also sustained me; knowing that our movements have been here for decades and will continue to do this work until full liberation.

When it comes to talking to new people and moving them to take action, I think again there is so much power in drawing on our organizing histories…and admitting to our movement's growth edges. I think there’s also a point to reminding people of our responsibility as folks in the United States to organize in the belly of the beast; it is indisputable that it is the power of American politicians and tax dollars enabling and abetting the genocide, and continuing to target them – making an end to the genocide unavoidable – is key.

The last six months of organizing and resistance have also been so evidently intergenerational, multiracial, and cross-class in a way that has re-energized everyone taking action whether they started yesterday or decades ago. That gives me a lot of hope.

Brianna: How have tactics and strategies shifted from October to now? Where have you seen organizers both build more power and gain leverage when shifting your targets?

Sidney: Since October, the lines linking the corporate greed of weapons manufacturers to the US imperial project of Biden, Congress, and the Pentagon have been exposed to thousands of newly activated organizers. Communities are recognizing that in the same way our resources, our tax dollars, are being used to police, detain, and murder our people, they are also being used to murder Palestinians. Targeting weapons manufacturers is a critical intervention in the narrative around US militarism and in taking action to block factories, ships, commerce, and more our movement not only demonstrates our material power to disrupt business as usual but also sharpens the understanding of communities in connecting these dots.

Brianna: How are new leaders being developed at this moment? Where are these strategies excelling? What’s still needed to provide greater support for newer organizers and activists?

Sidney: Thousands of young folks have been mobilized, especially students, and with every action and every campaign push, new people are stepping into leadership. It is in moments like this that drawing on our histories of organizing is crucial, and learning and applying the lessons of those who’ve organized before us. Sharpening the tactical training of new organizers and activists is critical to being able to grow and exercise our power.

The now over 40 student encampments around the world are a prime example of how ready folks are to grow and practice new tactics and strategies. Student organizers both new and experienced alike are showing what true, principled leadership looks like in their uses of propaganda, community security and safety, and care. Moreover, the encampments themselves have become beautiful models of solidarity and political education, where the lines of campus and community blur, Gaza and Palestine are the unequivocal compass, and the sharing of skills and knowledge are part of the foundation. 

Brianna: What are you learning? What lessons do you have to share with other current and future movements and organizers?

Sidney: Balancing the urgency of this moment with the work of absorbing new people and leaders into the movement with intention and care has felt like the most daunting task, but is a very necessary one. Our movements will only grow and win when we use these moments to absorb and cultivate space for new leaders and organizers to grow and learn into the next group of leaders.

Locally, it became a question of how do we onboard people without dampening the rage, grief, and overall energy that has driven folks towards wanting to take action? How do we not get bogged down by uncertainty and feeling unprepared? The moment has asked us to practice building trust and meaningful relationships through taking action together. Dispelling that one needs to be an expert, committing to learning by doing, and leaning into experimentation have helped us meet the moment.


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