Archive article from The Socialist Issue 450
Thousands march against Israel's attacks on Lebanon
TWENTY THOUSAND people demonstrated on Saturday 22 July in London, against Israel's onslaught on Lebanon. Smaller demonstrations also took place in many other towns and cities across Britain.
In London, the turnout included people from the Lebanese community and many young people. The mood was one of great anger over the Israeli bombardment and fear for the lives of relatives and friends who are suffering directly from it.
Leaflets (including one in Arabic) explaining the need for a socialist solution for the Palestinians and Lebanese, and also for the Israeli working class, were readily taken from Socialist Party members. Many also bought copies of the socialist.
However, left-wing leading members of the Stop the War Coalition, including George Galloway and Andrew Murray, not only failed to raise socialist ideas but also expressed uncritical support for the Islamist Hamas and Hezbollah. While these organisations are particular targets of the Israeli brutality and have been vociferous in their anti-imperialist stance, their underlying ideology is hostile to socialism and independent working-class organisation.
The most urgent task in the present situation is the rapid building of mass international opposition to the Israeli state terror. But it is important to then also raise the need for cross-community, democratically organised, armed defence committees of Lebanese workers in Lebanon, and Palestinians in the occupied territories. This is the only way of building the most effective form of defence, and of laying the pathway towards the formation of mass, working class based, anti-capitalist parties in the region.
ABOUT 500 people marched in Manchester last Saturday against the continued bombing of the Lebanese people by the Israeli Defence Force.
The demo was one of the liveliest I have attended for some time, and much of this was due to the fact that a small counter-demonstration was held by a group that seemed to contain both pro-war Zionists and members of the British far right - strange bedfellows indeed!
Most of the platform speakers made anti-imperialist/anti-Zionist/anti-American speeches but did not touch on the important class issues at stake in this conflict.
We argued that under capitalism, neither the Israeli nor the Lebanese people will ever enjoy security and freedom - what is needed is mass action by the working class across that region with a view to the creation of a socialist confederation of Middle Eastern states. On the strength of this approach members sold over 40 copies of the socialist.
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