Enfield, north London – politicians complicit in massacre
This was the first local Palestine protest – on a Saturday between two national demos – and won’t be the last, with over 200 people.
There were many speakers. Some Palestinian themselves.
Anger was expressed at British politicians, both Tory and Labour, who are complicit in the massacres of Palestinians.
Socialist Party member Paul Kershaw also spoke, on behalf of the Enfield Trades Union Council. He said that workers stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people, but that the local Labour MP Feryal Clark neither represented the interests of workers in Enfield nor the Palestinians in Gaza.
Feryal wasn’t present at the ceasefire vote in Parliament, and hasn’t made a public statement. The Socialist Party’s Paul suggested that the protest should send a delegation to her office demanding that she act, but also that the movement needs working-class, anti-war candidates in the next elections.
There was great interest in our Socialist Party stall at the protest. 19 people bought our Socialist paper, they donated £100 for our fighting fund on top, and we met six people that wanted to join the Socialist Party.
We distributed leaflets for our next local Socialist Party meeting – ‘How to build the movement to end Gaza slaughter and fight for Palestinian rights’.
Dewsbury, West Yorkshire – desire for change
Many raised the inhumane response from both the Conservatives and Labour, and putting pressure on local councillors and MPs. When Iain Dalton, regional secretary for the Socialist Party in Yorkshire, spoke, he discussed developing a new mass workers’ party that could represent the people on this issue.
Afterwards, people wanted to discuss this, and the possibility of standing candidates in an election. Many left wanting to learn more about the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).
The desire for change was palpable, and many people took our leaflets and placards, and bought our Socialist paper and badges.
Even in a small town on a freezing cold day on the other side of the world, people will turn out to show their solidarity with Palestine – and are looking for ways to change the system that leads to these horrors.
Swindon – grew as we marched
The first person we met campaigning in Swindon town centre on 2 December saw the headline on the Socialist paper, ‘Tories Out!’, and gave a donation straight away. “I’m a Wrexham fan. We sing ‘Fuck the Tories’ every week!”
Rightly, the most common question was, “Yes, Tories out, but what’s going to replace them?” Keir Starmer’s position has clearly alienated a lot of people.
Our programme for a new mass workers’ party usually meets with agreement. No doubt this feeling will grow if and when Starmer enters Downing Street.
The next day there was a local demo for Gaza in Swindon. The turnout doubled in size as we marched.
The desire for an electoral alternative was even stronger here. A local Muslim community leader said: “There can be no change until we replace the rotten politicians”. We approached him afterwards for a discussion on working with the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the upcoming elections.
There will be a bigger demonstration in Swindon on 16 December. We’ll be there!
Hackney – dismay at Labour
300-plus attended. The speakers were predominantly young activists. Some had relatives in Palestine.
Whist speeches were strident in support for the Palestinian people, there was also sadness and reflection at the death and suffering.
The rally was well attended. But also the crowd was a fair reflection of the diversity of the local area, and the extent to which the conflict has impacted and affected people from all walks of life.
Socialist Party members had many conversations with a wide group of people at the protest. We spoke about this particular issue, but also the wider causes of conflicts brought about by the failings of capitalism.
There was dismay from attendees about the Labour Party’s failure to support the vote for a ceasefire, which reinforced the growing idea that the Labour Party is no longer interested in them.
Attendees then marched, receiving warm applause and toots from car horns.
With the ceasefire now over, it was clear that the determination of the protesters to keep showing support and solidarity was undimmed, and is likely to grow should the conflict continue.
Newham and Redbridge – pressure is mounting
Marches from two east London boroughs, Newham and Redbridge, convened in Plashet Park. Speakers included Sophia Naqvi (recently elected independent councillor for Plaistow North), Louise Regan (National Education Union executive), and Steve Hedley (chair of Newham Trades Union Council).
1,000 attended. The mood was furious and urgent. The area was heavily policed, and some witnessed officers attempting to question protesters regarding their signs.
Socialist Party members were speaking to people throughout the march and rally. We found protesters were interested in our perspective on the conflict. Many bought the Socialist paper, donated money to our fighting fund or took Socialist Party literature.
We call for the resignation of local Labour MP Lyn Brown, who had abstained from voting for a ceasefire. Many protesters expressed anger at the absence of local councillors and MPs. Pressure on local politicians is mounting, and it is becoming impossible for them to remain silent on this issue.
Reading – every week
Reading Socialist Party members have made the effort to maintain a presence in every demonstration held since they started up, and plan to continue doing so as long as they are occurring. It is good to see the same core of individuals at the demonstration each week.
In particular, our conversations included younger people at the demonstration, and even those walking past showed an active interest in serious change. And there was knowledge and support for socialism being the direction of that change.
Demonstrators appreciate that we have been there week on week, showing solidarity.
Reading Socialist Party provided placards calling for a socialist intifada as a key step in stopping the violence.