On Saturday, activists marched through the streets of London in protest against the continued oppression of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli state. Socialist Appeal comrades joined the demo, calling for a revolutionary way forward.
On 13 May, Socialist Appeal activists joined a demonstration in central London, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.
Meaning ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic, the Nakba was the disaster experienced by Palestinians surrounding the proclamation of Israel, with hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes and their lands as a result of a campaign of terror by Zionist paramilitaries.
This weekend’s protests, in Britain and beyond, were not only against this historic injustice, however, but against the daily oppression that the Palestinian people still face at the hands of the imperialist Israeli state.
Saturday marked the fifth successive day of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, which has killed at least 33 Palestinians and injured dozens.
Israel has claimed that this instance of ‘mowing the lawn’, as they euphemistically term it, was ‘targeted’. But what is conveniently left out is what they were targeting: the homes of sleeping families, in one of the most densely populated areas of this open-air prison.
There has not been a peep about this in the recent news cycle of the bourgeois press.
In truth, the Israeli ruling class believes that it can act with total impunity, knowing it has the unconditional support of western imperialism.
Those marching on Saturday, and many more, are also sick to their stomachs of the role that the British establishment plays in this conflict.
Tory Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, for example, recently rolled out the red carpet for his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu: the notorious demagogue heading up the most extreme right-wing government in Israel’s history.
Much of the anger on the demo, in this respect, was rightly directed at the Tories and their lackeys in the media.
Socialist Appeal activists started the day with a political discussion near the start of the demo, where we talked about the history of the conflict; the situation in Israel today; and the revolutionary way forward.
Comrades noted the crisis engulfing Israeli society, provoked by the judicial reforms that Netanyahu has been trying to push through this year.
Splits have begun to emerge at the top – with these cracks widening due to the political turn taken by Netanyahu, and the actions of the extreme settler wing that he has leant on in order to stay in power.
This has big implications for the Palestinian struggle. The aggression of the Israeli state has cemented Palestinian unity in recent years. And combustible material is accumulating, preparing the way for an even greater conflagration of workers and youth across the entire region.
Palestinian youth, in particular, are looking back on past intifadas (‘uprisings’) – mass struggles against Israeli occupation – as the antidote to today’s poison of Zionism.
This is very significant, indicating a conscious turning away from the failed strategies of the self-styled leaders in the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Comrades reiterated that it is only a mass unified struggle of all the oppressed and exploited layers in society, in the fight for a Socialist Federation of the Middle East, that can break the current imperialist impasse.
This revolutionary perspective is outlined in our new pamphlet ‘Israel-Palestine: A Revolutionary Way Forward’, recently published by Wellred Books, which many comrades had already gotten their teeth into in advance of Saturday’s demo.
The demo began at Portland Place, outside the BBC headquarters. As the march headed off, comrades assembled behind Socialist Appeal banners to form a loud and vibrant bloc.
Our chants included: “From the West Bank to Gaza, we’ll have an intifada”; and “Intifada until victory! Revolution until victory!”
Other slogans called out the role of western imperialism in this conflict, saying: “The UK is not innocent! The US is not innocent! The UN is not innocent!”
These bold slogans made our bloc stand out, attracting the attention of other protestors and by-standers, who joined in and chanted alongside us. Some even commented to our comrades about how lively, energetic, and young our bloc was.
Most importantly, these revolutionary demands connected with the mood of burning anger that could be felt amongst activists across the protest.
This was reflected in sales of our material on the demo, with attendees snapping up around 100 copies of our paper (with its headline calling for ‘intifada until victory!’), alongside many copies of our new pamphlet on Israel-Palestine.
Furthermore, many protestors said that they would like to get involved with a revolutionary organisation and join us in the struggle for socialism.
This is the most important thing that we here in Britain can do to help in the struggle for Palestinian freedom: get organised; build the forces of Marxism; and fight to topple our own imperialist ruling class.
The British ruling class – not just historically, but to this very day – plays an essential role in propping up the Israeli state and perpetuating the oppression of the Palestinian people.
Fighting to kick out these capitalist criminals and gangsters is the best solidarity that we can show to our brothers and sisters in the Middle East.
The Palestinian cause is an inspiration to workers and youth around the world. Their struggle is our struggle.
It is our duty as revolutionaries, wherever we are, to unite and fight to overthrow capitalism and its representatives – and to bring about a root-and-branch transformation of society, in order to create a world free from all misery, war, and oppression.