Defend the Palestinian People!
Free the Anti-Zionist Protesters! Drop the Charges Now!
The following article appeared in Workers Hammer No. 210 (Spring 2010), newspaper of our comrades of the Spartacist League/Britain.
We print below a 13 March letter sent to the Home Office by the Partisan Defence Committee, a class-struggle, legal and social defence organisation associated with the Spartacist League. The letter protests the conviction and jailing of youth, mainly Muslims, who took part in London protests against Israel’s war on Gaza a little over a year ago. There will likely be more such sentences as more cases come before the courts.
Comrades of the Spartacist League/Britain and other International Communist League (ICL) sections internationally participated in protests while the Zionist mass murder machine pounded the Gaza ghetto in air assaults followed by a devastating ground invasion, terrorising and killing Palestinian men, women and children. The ICL called for the working class internationally to stand for military defence of Hamas without giving that reactionary Islamic fundamentalist outfit one iota of political support. We demanded: Defend the Palestinian people! All Zionist troops and settlers out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem!
Unlike the Zionists and indeed the anti-Semitic Islamic fundamentalists, we do not equate the Zionist state with the Hebrew-speaking people, who have the right to self-determination as well as the Palestinian people. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is one of interpenetrated peoples: two peoples laying claim to the same piece of land. Under capitalism, the exercise of national self-determination by one will necessarily be at the expense of the other. As long as the national principle prevails, the oppression of the Palestinians, who are the weaker side, can only worsen. As Marxists we seek to bring the class question to the fore, insisting on the need for proletarian revolutionary parties to fight for workers revolutions to shatter the Zionist state from within and to sweep away the mullahs, colonels, sheikhs and all the other capitalist rulers. Defence of those subjugated by the imperialists around the globe demands the pursuit of class struggle in Britain, the U.S. and other imperialist centres, pointing towards a proletarian struggle for power.
For Arab/Hebrew workers revolution! For a socialist federation of the Near East!
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We protest the outrageous convictions and sentences meted out to youth arrested during the December 2008-January 2009 London protests against Israel’s slaughter in Gaza. Reportedly of 119 arrested, some 26 have so far been sentenced and 22 sent to jail for terms ranging from eight months to two-and-a-half years, for such trivial acts as throwing placards. The arrests followed months of surveillance by the police, who descended on homes like stormtroopers in dawn raids during which family members were handcuffed in separate rooms.
These youth, almost all Muslims and many under 20 years old, were expressing justified rage at the bloodbath carried out by the Zionists in Gaza. Israel’s war left 1,400 Palestinians dead and thousands injured, and reduced most of Gaza—already essentially a concentration camp surrounded by an electrified fence, a sealed border with Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea—to ash and rubble. The jailings for protesting this atrocity underline British imperialism’s solidarity with the Zionist butchers.
Judge John Denniss, in handing down the sentences at Isleworth Crown Court in Middlesex, has stated his intent to send a message of “deterrence.” The message, broadcast loud and clear in the convictions and sentences, is one of naked state racism otherwise known as the government’s “war on terror,” which is an anti-Muslim witch hunt. In fact the judge reportedly relied on the precedent of the draconian sentences handed out to young Asians jailed for defending their communities from rampaging fascists in Bradford in 2001. Then too such “lessons” were delivered in the form of six-year prison terms for throwing stones. The fruit of this poison relentlessly dished up by the Blair and Brown Labour governments is the growth of the fascist BNP and their spin-offs, the English Defence League, who parade their anti-Muslim filth.
We demand: Free the jailed protesters now! Drop all the charges!