Protest against war on Gaza. Photo: Paul Mattsson
Protest against war on Gaza. Photo: Paul Mattsson

Days after the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague ruled that Israel must take all measures to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza, Israeli forces continue their murderous bombardment from land and air. “Hague Shmague”, Israel’s far-right National Security Minister posted on X following the interim ruling.

Israel has also been ordered to get basic aid into Gaza. Since, British and other governments have followed the US in suspending payments to the UN’s aid agency for Palestinian refugees. How many more Palestinians will die as a consequence?

Now, with three US servicemen killed on a US airbase in Jordan, US President Joe Biden is promising to “hold all those responsible to account at a time and manner of our choosing”. The spread of war and instability in the region means further misery for working-class and poor people.

The sight of awful horrors carried out by the IDF exposes the rotten brutality of the capitalist system and is radicalising whole sections of workers and young people worldwide. The threat of mass movements developing in the Middle East, like those of the Arab Spring in 2011 that overthrew dictatorships, terrifies the ruling classes in the region and worldwide.

The millions-strong anti-war movement adds to the pressure on the Israeli government to stop its brutal assaults. In Britain, mass protests have already taken the scalp of hated Home Secretary Suella Braverman. They feature in the calculations of the Israeli ruling class too. “There are huge demonstrations in Western capitals…we need to apply counter-pressure”, Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

The Socialist Party is helping to build and strengthen the movement, and increase working-class pressure on all the capitalist politicians contributing to the horror.

Organise for trade union action

The strikes that have swept the country in the last 18 months gave a glimpse of the power that the organised working class has. The over 6 million-strong trade union movement in Britain is yet to put its full weight behind the anti-war movement. Trade union blocs on the national demonstrations have been modest, although inevitably tens of thousands more trade union members have been among the hundreds of thousands marching.

A ‘workplace day of action’ has been called for 7 February, encouraging lunchtime protests and meetings. Trade union leaders are coming under pressure. NEU, UCU and PCS unions have given their support nationally, PCS leaders had previously voted down proposals to do more (See ‘PCS Broad Left Network: ‘Our union must be stronger on Gaza’).

Discussions in the workplace are a good starting point towards preparing for further workers’ action. There have been a series of protests outside of arms factories in the last months aimed at stopping production, but so far, this has been limited to protests outside and not workers themselves organising stoppages.

There is a history of workers’ action against war in Britain. Examples include: London dockers refusing to send weapons for use against the Russian revolution, Rolls Royce engineers refusing to work on jet engines destined for use by Chilean military dictator Pinochet, and oil refinery workers in Ellesmere Port refusing to offload Russian oil after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

A next step towards developing future workers’ action would be to bring together shop stewards in the arms, logistics and transport industries, which could handle goods destined for the Israeli regime, to discuss and plan what can be done.

Build student walkouts

Already, school, college and university students have organised walkouts and protests against the siege on Gaza. Socialist Party members are part of Socialist Students, a nationwide organisation which is helping to organise further walkouts.

Can you organise a protest at your school or college? Get in touch!

Come to Socialist Students national conference in Birmingham on Saturday 10 February to discuss with others how to build the fightback.

Help us build the socialist, anti-war election stand

At every stage through the 100+ days of Gaza horror, Labour leader Keir Starmer has echoed Tory Rishi Sunak, who in turn has followed US president Joe Biden backing Israeli state terror.

Sunak has also joined Biden in bombing Yemen – putting yet more civilian lives at risk. The strikes will not achieve their stated aim of stopping Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia has been bombing them for nearly a decade with US and UK backing.

MPs in Britain didn’t get a say on the airstrikes, but Starmer was in on it and gave his approval. No wonder hatred of both him and Sunak is so widespread on the Gaza protests. People are asking: Who can I vote for at the general election?

The Socialist Party is campaigning for a workers’ list of candidates to stand, backed by the trade unions, which could include people such as Jeremy Corbyn, Dianne Abbot and Emma Dent Coad, as well as anti-war and community campaigners. We are starting preparations now for our stand as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in the general election when it comes, and in the local elections in May. And we are calling on other anti-war campaigners to stand with us (visit for the core policy platform).

  • Delegates from a number of different campaign groups and socialist organisations, as well as trade unionists, will attend a ‘Convention to organise a working class challenge at the general election’, in Birmingham on 3 February. The event is organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

The Socialist Party is fighting for:

  • End the siege – for the immediate permanent withdrawal of the Israeli military from the occupied territories
  • For a mass struggle of the Palestinians, under their own democratic control, to fight for liberation
  • For the building of independent workers’ parties in Palestine and Israel and links between them
  • For an independent, socialist Palestinian state, alongside a socialist Israel, with guaranteed rights for all minorities, as part of the struggle for a socialist Middle East
  • No trust in the capitalist politicians, internationally or in Britain. Fight to build a workers’ party in Britain that fights for socialism and internationalism

Enfield Labour council refuses to hear out trade union-led campaigners

Enfield Trades Council organised a lobby of Labour-controlled Enfield Council on 24 January, calling on councillors to support the demand ‘Gaza ceasefire now!’

Enfield Trades Council had individually written to all elected councillors ten days prior, asking for support for the call. Shamefully, not one had replied by the time of the meeting.

There were speeches and lively chanting outside Enfield Civic Centre. Security initially insisted protesters remove their keffiyehs (Palestinian scarfs) before entering the public gallery, they were forced to back down on that. Scandalously, security locked out some of the protestors with the false excuse that it was full up.

The council meeting started with Hindu prayers, which (hypocritically) had all councillors praying for such things as ‘Peace’ and ‘Health’.

At the start of the meeting, a Trades council officer stood up and asked the mayor to be allowed two minutes to address the council about Gaza. The mayor initially agreed to this after a testimonial and minute’s silence for a recently deceased councillor, respectfully observed by all.

The mayor then changed her mind. The request for a deputation and moment of silence for victims in Gaza was rejected.

It was clear then that the Council had no interest in hearing what we had to say which provoked angry and loud public gallery calls for a ‘ceasefire now’. The mayor then suspended the meeting and all of the councillors upped and left to continue meeting in another room, without us!

The councillors departed with criticism ringing in their ears: “You’ve signed pro-Palestinian petitions!” “You’re supposed to represent us!” “No ceasefire – no vote!”

One of the Tory councillors leaving the council chamber was seen making a ‘cut-throat’ gesture up to the public gallery.

In the public gallery, we expected to be removed – but the security staff were sympathetic to our cause! We ended up leaving at our own leisure.

Enfield Trades Council will not stop with this action. A delegation to call on Enfield North Labour MP Feryal Clark to publicly state her support for a Gaza ceasefire is planned for February.

John Dolan, secretary of Enfield Trades Council

Swindon marches

Swindon Socialist Party members joined a Palestine demo on 20 January. The first speech announced the latest statistics from Gaza. I personally believe that statistics can never fully quantify the horror. However, the next two heart-wrenching speeches made it completely clear. Tears flooded everyone. These speeches remind you that people are dying and families are being torn apart.

The march following behind banners made by children, representing the fact that Palestinian children in Gaza have been plunged into a horrifying war that they cannot escape. Throughout the march we stopped at multiple different banks, shops and restaurants to chants of “your profits are stained in Palestinian blood”.

Ezra Bell

Oxford – It is political

200 people attended a Palestine solidarity meeting in Oxford. Speakers included an Oxford socialist independent councillor, who recently resigned from the Labour Party in protest over the Labour leadership’s position on the issue. She spoke of her experience in apartheid South Africa and drew parallels with Palestine.

There were three separate workshops, in the ‘trade union’ workshop Socialist Party members were told by an organiser that “people should not use this meeting to raise a political platform. We need to build support for Palestine, it shouldn’t be political.” But politicians are deciding to drop bombs on the Middle East!

I attended the student workshop and discussed with others about their experiences campaigning. I was able to build links with students from University of Oxford to work with our Socialist Students group at Oxford Brookes University.

James Giraldi