National Sections of the L5I:

Build a Mass Movement to aid the Gaza Resistance

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Dave Stockton, the international secretary of the League for the Fifth International, outlines what kind of steps the international Palestine solidarity movement needs to take to help defeat the Zionist war machine and end the oppression of the Palestinians.

Dave Stockton, the international secretary of the League for the Fifth International, outlines what kind of steps the international Palestine solidarity movement needs to take to help defeat the Zionist war machine and end the oppression of the Palestinians.

Friday and Saturday 9 and 10 January have been days of enormous protest around the globe on a scale not seen since the period before the US invasion of Iraq.  

Stop the Wall calculated that “over 1,200,000 people were out on the streets this weekend to protest against the Israeli carnage in Gaza.”

The infamous actions of the Zionist forces – especially the massacre of at least 43 refugees taking shelter in Fakhura United Nations school in Jabaliya refugee camp on January 6 - are exposing the racist nature of Israel for millions of people, especially in Western Europe. Under more difficult conditions in North America and the Middle East, too, forces are mobilising, facing respectively media blackouts and repression. In Europe, the demonstrations, in their size and frequency, now far outstrip all previous actions on Palestine. They must become even bigger. 

As happened during the bloody imperialist wars on Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001-03, a grassroots coalition of opposition is emerging. It is made up of Palestinian refugees and members of the Arab, Turkish, Iranian and Muslim communities, who are uniting with trade unionists, youth from schools and universities, the antiwar and peace movements and far left organisations. However, we cannot be complacent. As the reports below show, the reformists, the revolutionary left and the labour and trade union movements have not yet mobilised anything like their full forces.  

Many political and ideological barriers are holding back the full potential for mobilisation. These include:

• The baleful influence of Zionism in Europe, built up over years by the links between the Israeli Labour Party and the Histradut, both colonising Zionist organisations, and the official labour movements

• A misconceived secularism in countries like France that makes even ‘far left’ militants fearful of going on demonstrations with Muslims who might chant “Allahu Akbar!” or pray

• An obsessive fear of anti-semitism, particularly in Germany from the so-called anti-German Left

All these act as barriers to the mobilisation of solidarity that should reach the levels of February 15, 2003, when millions marched in nearly all the large European countries. Israel’s actions present a historic opportunity to explode these barriers for good and all.     

It is vital that this movement grows and exerts the maximum pressure on governments to stop their support for Israel, to call a halt to the killings that are now approaching the thousand mark, but also to demand – as an absolute minimum: 

The complete withdrawal of Israeli Occupation Forces from Gaza

The total cessation of all bombing, shelling and over-flights of Gaza

The opening of the border crossings and the free transit of food, fuel and medical supplies

Free access to media - official and unofficial - to reveal the situation in Gaza

The recognition of the elected Hamas government and the restoration of all illegally detained revenues

The release of all Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody 

Mass demonstrations are certainly essential and direct actions, such as occupying buildings connected with Israel or states and corporations strongly supporting it, add greatly to the pressure but, to give real force to our protests and demands, we must get the trade unions, student unions and solidarity campaigns to impose a total embargo on all trade with Israel, blocking all Israeli produce and boycotting all firms with major links to Israel. At the same time, we must raise money for Gaza both for medical and other aid and, where this is possible, to aid the resistance fighters. In EU countries, this is illegal - though of course it is not illegal for governments and Zionist organisations to supply the high-tech weaponry that is used to massacre the people of Gaza.  

We must demand that this ban is lifted, indeed the ban on all Palestinian organisations. We must target those mass media outlets that systematically refuse to report what is going on in Gaza and blank out the mass protest movement at home. We must break the media blockade, too.  

Indeed, we need to go on the offensive and must demand that our governments sever all diplomatic contacts, expelling Israeli ambassadors/withdrawing ambassadors from Israel, cutting all cultural and educational links. Like Apartheid South Africa, we must make Israel into an international pariah until it stops its murderous attempts to destroy the Palestinian people. We should allow no one to forget that this mass murder was predicted and threatened by Israel’s deputy defence minister, Matan Vilnai, who said Palestinians risked a “shoah”, the Hebrew word used for the Nazi Holocaust.

Israel says it is moving into the third and final stage of its carnage, an assault on the central urban centres - on Gaza City in particular. If it tries to extirpate the Hamas fighters, the civilian casualties will be enormous. The movement in solidarity with Gaza must greatly multiply its efforts in the week to come. 

Though we must unite in action with everyone who will take action to bring a halt to the Zionist onslaught, occupation and siege, the only logical and consistent position is to support the victory of the resistance, in the first instance its survival and continued ability to fight back. This in itself will be a major victory, given the intentions of the Zionists, their imperialist masters and their collaborators in the Arab and Palestinian ranks.  

Secondly, consistence demands opposition to all attempts to make the Palestinians accept the Zionist state’s bogus “right to exist” which is in no sense the same thing as the right of Jewish people to live in Palestine. Only a single state for Jews and Arabs can allow the right of return for the Palestinians displaced by sixty years and more of ethnic cleansing as well as the right to remain for those Jews willing to accept this on the basis of equal rights for all - and privileges for none.

Such a liberatory goal can only be achieved in the framework of a region-wide struggle – especially drawing in the powerful Egyptian working class - to overthrow puppet rulers like the president of Egypt and the Kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. 

We, in the League for the Fifth International, believe that this can, in the end, only be a socialist Palestine – a place where collective ownership of the means of production will allow both Arabic and Hebrew speaking workers to build a better life for all collectively, rather than struggling over land, jobs and houses as would be bound to happen under capitalism.  

At the same time, socialism could hardly flourish in an isolated, tiny Palestine, lacking many of the resources necessary for development. What is needed is a Socialist United States of the Middle East, capable of using the vast natural resources to meet the needs of the masses, uniting all communities, national and religious, and able to defy, and help overthrow, European and North American imperialism.