The latest aggression by the Israeli state against the Palestinian people has provoked a wave of protest across Britain.
Workers and youth can see the complicity of ‘our’ ruling class in this oppression. The Tory government offers its unconditional support to Netanyahu’s reactionary regime. ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer and the Labour leaders fall over themselves to follow suit. And the BBC and the rest of the establishment media play their part by spreading all manner of lies and distortions.
The best solidarity that we can offer our Palestinian brothers and sisters in their struggle, therefore, is to fight to overthrow our own imperialist government – as part of the fight against capitalism and for world socialist revolution.
What can communists do in Britain to #FreePalestine?
– Hold meetings and rallies in workplaces, universities and schools.
– Pass motions in the labour & student movements.
– Fight the media’s lies; build the workers’ press.
– Join the fight to overthrow British imperialism. pic.twitter.com/7DUyhIg6bu
— Socialist Appeal (IMT) (@socialist_app) October 10, 2023
This is the communist perspective that comrades of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) have been raising at the rallies and demonstrations that have erupted onto the streets of British towns and cities in recent days.
Last night, 60 IMT comrades mobilised for the Palestine solidarity demonstration outside of the Israeli Embassy in London.
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We gather beforehand for a briefing in a nearby park. A comrade gives a summary of our revolutionary position on the Israel-Palestine conflict – a helpful primer for the many new comrades with us.
We rehearse the slogans of the day:
- Intifada till victory! Revolution till victory
- Sunak is not innocent! Starmer is not innocent!
- 1,2,3,4, occupation no more! 5,6,7,8, Israel is a terrorist state!
Once drilled, we disperse into the crowd to speak to the radical young people there.
There is no chill in the air on this warm autumn evening. No – the air is hot with the rage of the protest. Flares and fireworks lick up from the crowd like flames into the sky.
The throng of people is immense. The police pack us onto the road like cattle, with barely enough room to move.
I try to push closer to the front to hear the speeches. I catch a fiery phrase or two, pointing the finger at the British media, the Tories, the Labour party, and the so-called ‘international community’ for standing aside as Palestinians suffer.
But no demands or solutions are put forward, other than calls for ‘justice and peace’ and sanctions on Israel.
Half-way through the third or fourth speaker, the crowd begins to erupt in outbursts of chanting. Some teenagers join our chant of “There is only one solution: Intifada! Revolution!” This spreads across the mass of people, carried by a pounding drumbeat.
Communists of the IMT in London mobilised for the demonstration in solidarity with Palestine outside of the Israeli Embassy in Britain.
The anger is palpable. The youth are leading the charge.
We say: Intifada til victory! Down with Netanyahu! Down with British imperialism! pic.twitter.com/1HR7p3JZIg
— Socialist Appeal (IMT) (@socialist_app) October 9, 2023
The speaker tries to persevere, but is drowned out by the noise. It becomes clear that there are two demonstrations taking place. The radical youth in the crowd are leading the charge. The rostrum falls into the background.
Unexpectedly, the crowd begins to advance. The police dash around to keep up. We march down the road, unclear where we are going. Eventually the crowd thins out. We withdraw to a side-street to debrief.
Our intervention was a success! 45 people gave over their details to join the IMT, after hearing our perspectives and demands. We sold almost 20 copies of our pamphlet ‘Israel-Palestine: A Revolutionary Way Forward’, showing the thirst that exists for a genuine communist position.
This was a strong first mobilisation. With a further mass protest scheduled in central London for this Saturday, we are fired up and ready to continue this campaign.
On Sunday, seven comrades from Birmingham IMT branches attended an emergency demonstration held in the city centre in solidarity with Palestine.
Within 24 hours, we organised a political discussion to clarify our perspectives and how we can best connect with the radical layers.
The demonstration drew approximately 200 participants. Throughout, comrades actively engaged with attendees both within the crowd and at our stall.
One comrade delivered a compelling speech. He offered a clear internationalist class position; called for the British labour movement to stand in full support with Palestine; and denounced the role of ‘our own’ imperialists here in Britain.
After the event concluded, we collected the contact details of two individuals who expressed a keen interest in joining the IMT. One of them has now joined and is eager to build a communist cell in their local area.
We recognise that this conflict has entered a new stage. Explosive changes are ready to erupt and shake the consciousness of many – in Birmingham and beyond – who feel strongly about this issue.
In response, we are planning to use our forces on campus to mobilise students and workers for a rally on Friday, to cut across the wave of pro-Zionist, pro-imperialist propaganda spewed from the establishment media and political parties.
Intifada until victory!
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On Sunday, an emergency Palestine solidarity demonstration was called in Manchester. Five Socialist Appeal comrades attended.
There were around 500 protestors in total. This was very impressive, given how last-minute the demonstration had been called.
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We heard a series of speeches, some outlining the experience of Palestinians living in the occupied territories, others shedding light on other anti-imperialist struggles.
The mood was one of anger. Attendees were desperate for change and looking for solutions. This could be seen through the speeches.
Some people were very receptive to our revolutionary position on the conflict. When I spoke to one member, he agreed with our class position and told me “there is no solution under capitalism”.
Those we spoke to on the demo were also unwilling to let the British ruling class off the hook. “They’re just as much to blame as the Israeli ruling class,” one young person told us.
In total we sold seven copies of Socialist Appeal. This was a good start to our campaign. We are now looking to organise a rally at the University of Manchester.
Nine comrades attended the Newcastle Palestine solidarity demo last night. It was very well attended, with several hundred people gathered, despite the protest being called at short notice. Many young Arabs and Muslims came along, some having travelled from across the North East.
We interviewed a young Pakistani lad who said he had travelled from Sunderland with a group of his friends, as they felt they needed to come and show support.
He was angry and upset, but said he was really happy about the turnout, and that he was pleasantly surprised that so many people were seeing through the media lies.
He told us that this mustn’t be seen as just a conflict between Jews and Muslims. He gave us his contact details and said he plans to come along to our meeting on Palestine next week.
Someone walked through the crowd shouting provocatively about Hamas terrorism. The crowd started chanting pro-Palestine chants and surrounded him. He continued shouting, and someone punched him. He was soon chased away by the crowd, showing the strong feeling of solidarity in the crowd.
A lot of people gave speeches. They were very angry and militant. But our comrades were the only ones drawing out the class question.
A comrade gave a speech putting forward our position. This was well-received, with no hostility expressed to our revolutionary demands. Some people approached us after and said they agreed with us. We were asked to speak at another demo on Saturday.
We sold two papers and handed out a load of leaflets. One activist who came along with us said they want to discuss joining the IMT on the back of our mobilisation.
The Newcastle Communists are holding a meeting next Wednesday, and we have asked the local Palestine Solidarity Campaign to speak alongside us.