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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 January 2009

Protesting against Gaza attacks

In the last week there have been meetings, protests and demonstrations all over the country against the attacks on Gaza. Socialist Party members have been prominent in organising and taking part in many of these protests. We only have space for extracts from the many inspiring reports we have received.

Stop the Slaughter in Gaza: London demo, photo Paul Mattsson

Stop the Slaughter in Gaza: London demo, photo Paul Mattsson

In London in Trafalgar Square on 17 January there was a large rally of around 30,000 people, many looking for a political analysis of the situation. Over 50 people expressed an interest in joining the Socialist Party. 200 copies of The Socialist were sold and 400 was collected for the Socialist Party's fighting fund.

International Socialist Resistance and Socialist Party members in London also called for lunchtime protests at FE colleges and schools. Twenty young students joined a protest outside Hackney community college.

The megaphone and placards attracted students to listen to speeches about the situation in Gaza and the need for mass action of young people and workers. There were some great discussions about the solution in Israel/Palestine.

Demonstration against war on Gaza marched from Leyton to Walthamstow in east London, photo by Senan

Demonstration against war on Gaza marched from Leyton to Walthamstow in east London, photo by Senan

Hackney has a large Jewish population and many of the students at Hackney college thought it is important to try to get young British Jews involved in campaigning against the war.

Ten students gave their details to get involved in ISR and the Socialist Party and are planning to help with another stall and an informal meeting next week.

Demonstration against war on Gaza marched from Leyton to Walthamstow in east London, photo by Alison Hill

Demonstration against war on Gaza marched from Leyton to Walthamstow in east London, photo by Alison Hill

A demonstration, organised by local mosques, from Leyton to Walthamstow in east London attracted about 1,000 people on 17 January. Socialist Party member Linda Taaffe was invited to speak at the rally and her points about the need for a united workers' struggle against our common enemies were applauded.

110 copies of The Socialist were sold, 186 was collected in donations to the fighting fund and ten people asked to join the Socialist Party.


Joining the demos across Wales

Cardiff demonstrates against invasion of Gaza, photo by Cardiff Socialist Party

Cardiff demonstrates against invasion of Gaza, photo by Cardiff Socialist Party

In Cardiff we ran out of leaflets and sold 84 copies of The Socialist. We also raised 141 for the fighting fund.

At the rally Socialist Party and ISR member Glyn Matthews spoke from the platform, and was the only speaker who raised the need to take further action such as school student strikes and workplace stoppages.

He raised the need for action to be taken amongst the Israeli working class, pointing out that demonstrations have taken place in Tel Aviv and pointing out the role of Maavak Sozialisti in Israel. This was well received by the 250+ demonstrators.

Cardiff demonstrates against Gaza invasion, photo by Cardiff Socialist Party

Cardiff demonstrates against Gaza invasion, photo by Cardiff Socialist Party

Around 300 protesters attended a city centre rally in Swansea. MPs and Assembly Members all expressed their horror at the killings of innocent people and demanded an immediate ceasefire.

But it was left to Socialist Party member Rob Williams, speaking from the trades council, to put forward the class demands of mass struggle and working-class unity as the only lasting solution. Rob's speech got loud applause from many Palestinians.

The Socialist Party stall was also very busy with over 50 papers being sold and one person joining up. At the end of the rally the vociferous young Palestinian protesters led a spontaneous march around the city centre.

Alec Thraves
Bangor demonstration against Israel

Bangor demonstration against Israel's war on Gaza, photo by Socialist Party Wales

In Bangor, north Wales, the high street rang with the sounds of " one, two, three four, stop the bombing stop the war". The protest was joined by a march into town from the local mosque, with a rally on the high street.

Bangor demonstration against Israel

Bangor demonstration against Israel's war on Gaza, photo by Socialist Party Wales

Both rallies were addressed by Iain Dalton, Bangor Socialist Party. Over 30 copies of The Socialist were sold and 30 was collected for the fighting fund. Three people asked about joining the Socialist Party and many others expressed an interest in attending our public meeting on the crisis the following day.

Sean Homan, Bangor university Socialist Students

East Midlands

Socialist Party members in the east midlands responded boldly to the crisis in Gaza. They organised two demonstrations on 17 January, both involving around 150 people.

Lincoln Socialist Party against war on Gaza, photo by Lincoln Socialist Party

Lincoln Socialist Party against war on Gaza, photo by Lincoln Socialist Party

Nick Parker reports from Lincoln: "We circulated our leaflets widely, going into pubs, takeaway restaurants, where we met several supportive Palestinian workers, the university, the mosque and we gave them to passers-by on the High Street after work.

We managed to build a loose coalition of socialists, university lecturers, mosque leaders and trade unionists to mobilise the numbers.

At the rally I said that we need to fight for an end to war, imperialism, poverty, conflict and exploitation - for a socialist world. This was received enthusiastically. And the organisation of the demo has really boosted morale in the Socialist Party locally.

Five Socialist Party 'join' cards were filled in and 20 copies of The Socialist sold."

Northampton Socialist Party at the Gaza demo

Northampton Socialist Party at the Gaza demo

Lee Dunkley reports from Northampton: "Our brand new branch organised a demo of 150. We sold 17 papers and raised 58 for the fighting fund.

Three Socialist Party members made speeches at the rally, two of whom had joined just four days prior to the event.

Northampton Socialist Party have their next meeting on 27 January at the Artizan Pub, Artizan Road. The discussion will be on How will socialism work?. We will also be discussing the campaign to prevent Weston Favell School becoming an academy." (see page 5).

Nottingham demonstration against the war on Gaza, photo by Nottingham Socialist Party

Nottingham demonstration against the war on Gaza, photo by Nottingham Socialist Party

In Nottingham, around 800 people marched. It was one of the largest demonstrations in Nottingham for many years. There were a lot of young people on the march.

On the Friday night there was a candlelit vigil outside the town hall with about 200 attending.

Nottingham demonstration against the war on Gaza, photo by Nottingham Socialist Party

Nottingham demonstration against the war on Gaza, photo by Nottingham Socialist Party

Socialist Party members sold 60 papers and collected over 70 fighting fund at the two events.

In Leicester 40 papers were sold on a protest, plus ten on 14 January at a vigil.


North west

Two very angry demonstrations were held in the north west. Demonstrators were mainly young, with young Muslim women the most vocal in opposing the slaughter and very open to the idea of socialism as the only lasting solution. Tony Pentin reports from Liverpool and Hannah Roche from Manchester.

Around 500 people marched through Liverpool city centre to a rally at St George's Hall. Socialist Party member Roger Bannister explained the importance of workers' action to block arms supplies to the Israeli state and for the need to continue mass protests across the UK.

50 papers were sold, dozens of leaflets distributed and many new potential members met. Over 85 was raised for the fighting fund, and one person re-joined the Party.

350 people attended the Manchester rally in Albert Square. The vigils outside the BBC building in the evenings leading up to the rally reinforced this number of people who want to speak out in opposition to the violent acts that have taken place.

Over the weekend we sold about 30 copies of The Socialist and raised 20 for the fighting fund.


Birmingham

Birmingham demonstration against Israel

Birmingham demonstration against Israel's war on Gaza, photo by Birmingham Socialist Party

In Birmingham on 17 January more than 5,000 people took part in a protest. Socialist Party member and Coventry city councillor Dave Nellist was among the speakers. He received a warm response as he called for Egyptian workers to break down the border between Egypt and the Gaza strip, and for the trade unions in Britain and Europe to take action like striking Norwegian railway workers did on 8 January.

Birmingham demonstration against Israel

Birmingham demonstration against Israel's war on Gaza, photo by Birmingham Socialist Party

2,500 Socialist Party leaflets discussing the nightmarish conflict were given out, 208 copies of The Socialist were sold and 186.93 fighting fund was raised in what was a great achievement for the party's West Midlands region.

On top of this several people expressed an interest in joining the Socialist Party. Many young people in particular wanted to come to future Socialist Party meetings. An article written by the section of the Committee for a Workers' International in Israel, Maavak Sozialisti (Socialist Struggle), outlining what socialists have been doing in Israel to oppose the brutal actions of their government, went down particularly well.

Stephen Burrell

Brighton

Brighton demo againats Israel

Brighton demo againats Israel's war on Gaza, photo by Brighton Socialist Party

Brighton and Hove Socialist Party held a public meeting on Gaza on 15 January. Nearly thirty people, including seven who had never been to a Socialist Party meeting before, attended.

Judy Beishon, editor of The Socialist, spoke. She explained how mass actions of the working class in the occupied territories, Israel and around the world could bring an end to the occupation.

Brighton demonstration against war on Gaza, photo by Brighton Socialist Party

Brighton demonstration against war on Gaza, photo by Brighton Socialist Party

This was followed by a lively discussion. After hearing the arguments, one person agreed to join the Socialist Party.

On 18 January we joined a protest of around 500 people. This was the third demonstration in Brighton against the Israeli government's actions in Gaza.

Claire Laker-Mansfield

Yorkshire

In Leeds about 300 were on the demo, where 20 copies of The Socialist were sold in preparation for a public meeting on 19 January.

In Huddersfield there were about 300 on a demonstration. Socialist Party member and local councillor Jackie Grunsell spoke at the rally and was well received.

In Sheffield there were about 400 on the demonstration where 30 copies of The Socialist were sold. Three people asked for more details about the Socialist Party.

Alistair Tice

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 21 January 2009:

No more bailouts for bosses!

Fast news: My Lords, Ladies and cash dispenser


War and occupation

Gaza war paves way for further conflict

Protesting against Gaza attacks

Egypt: Gaza conflict fuels anti-Mubarak opposition

Readers' comment: media reporting on Gaza


Socialist Party campaigns

Hands off Royal Mail

Wirral anti-cuts campaign

Save jobs - nationalise JCB

Fighting the cuts in Greenwich

Shop workers need a fighting trade union leadership

Campaigning in Exeter

Hoover workers march in protest at job losses

Amicus election

Glasgow Unison


Socialist Party feature

Obama takes power: What change will the Democrats bring?


International socialist news and analysis

Refugees and repression in war ravaged Sri Lanka

Exiled Zimbabweans demand Brown acts

Capitalism kills, concludes study of privatisation era

Lawyer assassinated


Environment and socialism

Opposing the expansion of Heathrow

Waltham Forest anti-incinerator campaign: Residents get results

Campaigners fight attacks on education and the environment


Socialist Students

Students fight academy status


Socialist Party review

What's going on? The meanderings of a comic mind in confusion, by Mark Steel


 

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