PI Briefing | No. 44 | In our thousands, in our millions

As Israel’s genocide in Gaza unfolds, millions take to the streets for Palestinian liberation.
In the Progressive International's 44rd Briefing of 2023, we look at the global movement that has risen to stand with Palestine and oppose complicity with the brutal, long-standing crimes of the Israeli regime. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.
In the Progressive International's 44rd Briefing of 2023, we look at the global movement that has risen to stand with Palestine and oppose complicity with the brutal, long-standing crimes of the Israeli regime. If you would like to receive our Briefing in your inbox, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.

In just over three weeks, more than half of Gaza’s homes have been destroyed. More than 1.4 million of the tiny strip’s 2.3 million people have been displaced. And well over 8,000 have been killed, more than 40% of them children.

The horror of this on-going massacre is hard to convey.

We see images and videos of flattened neighbourhoods; lifeless, grey and red bodies of children; weeping grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers searching through the rubble for those that were lost. 825 entire families have been exterminated — all generations wiped from the civil register. The violence is so severe that Gazan doctors have had to coin a new medical acronym: WCNSF — “wounded child, no surviving family.”

We hear human stories as Palestinians and their allies try to counter their gross dehumanisation by Western and Israeli propaganda. Nephews with Instagram accounts who will post no more, football playing daughters who have scored their last goal, young lovers who have shared their last walk on the beach.

The Palestinian people must not be left to stand up for their dignity alone. These horrifying figures, shocking images and tragic stories must all add up to action.

And they are. Recent weeks have seen tremendous global mobilisations. All over our planet, people have united in street protest. Huge marches, demonstrations and sit-ins dot the globe. They multiply, spread and grow. They learn from each other. Today Grand Central Station, New York City, tomorrow Liverpool Street, London, are filled with thousands demanding a ceasefire and Palestinian national liberation.

They are joined by bold direct action against the Israeli war machine itself. Activists and workers are blocking production and distribution of weapons of war, throwing sand in the wheels of Israel’s murderous campaign and illuminating the global structure of the war machine. As Ahmed Alnaouq, a Palestinian man who has already lost 23 family members in the bombardment, explained, “Israelis pulled the tigger. But it was an American-made F16 that was used to kill my family. And it was the the western media that provided the cover and green light.”

More practical solidarity against the war machine, which is reportedly “eying big profits” from the conflict, is needed and coming. In an urgent call, published by the Progressive International, Palestinian trade unions called on their brothers and sisters in the global labour movement to stand with them in solidarity by refusing to build weapons destined for Israel or transport weapons to Israel. Their call has been heard. Italian logistics union Si Cobas has announced that its members will not transport any weaponry for Israel and four Belgian unions have announced their "refusal to handle military equipment intended for the war in Palestine.” They are making solidarity more than a slogan.

So too are some governments of the Global South, going beyond calls for a ceasefire and placing additional diplomatic pressure on Israel by severing relations. Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Jordan and Bahrain have all cut ties, expelled Israel’s ambassadors to their country, or recalled their own ambassadors from Israel. South Africa has called for Israel to be held accountable for its breaches of international law. The balance of normative, moral power in the international community is swinging from North to South.

That’s why, in part, the US and the UK’s grip on their populations is so weak. Two thirds of US Americans want a ceasefire; only eight per cent of Brits oppose one. This rejection of their governments policies comes despite near-total support for Israel and its crimes in the political-media class of the US and the UK.

Much more protest, practical solidarity and Southern diplomacy is to come, challenging Israel and its imperial backers’ ability to obliterate the Palestinian people.

What could this rapidly growing global movement for Palestine mean? What could it achieve?

Yes, it is a mobilisation for peace that with sufficient force and scale could save lives. But it can go beyond that too. The Israeli State’s longstanding response to Palestinian rights under international law — for return, self-determination and to struggle for it — has been to deny them and seek to alter “the facts on the ground.” This policy aims to make a Palestinian state on any borders an impossibility and to permanently “change the map of the Middle East”, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged.

But the current global mobilisations and actions can change “facts on the ground” too. By raising the cost to Israel and its US and British backers of its crimes, the global solidarity movement can strengthen the Palestinian movement for national liberation. We don’t just aim for peace, but for justice for the Palestinians as well: an end to the Nakba after 75 years.

This process of strengthening the Palestinians in their struggle necessarily pushes Southern states, social and political actors as well as genuinely progressive forces in the North against imperialism. As Joe Biden, then mere Senator Biden, said on the floor of the US Senate in 1986 “Were there not an Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel to protect her interest in the region.”

The potential of this moment extends beyond peace in West Asia, beyond even Palestinian liberation itself, toward a democratisation of the global order. Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians are sustained by that order, which privileges US empire above all else. Law, norms, courts are all just a fig leaf over pure military and economic might. This conflict reveals this reality with blinding clarity.

It also demonstrates how the US, the UK and the imperial club are themselves not democracies, despite their loud claims. For the people of the Global North, imperialism abroad means oligarchy at home. The huge profits generated by the control and extraction of resources around the world is the source of these ruling classes’ political power.

Imperialism abroad also means repression at home. The same weapons that are tested on the captive Palestinian population come back to repress protesters in London or police the US-Mexican border. So to win our collective liberation, we must smash imperial rule abroad.

This moment of global popular action for Palestine can become a shining example of how mutiny in the the North can join hands with mutiny in the South against a capitalist and imperialist order that destroys lives and our planet.

That’s why today, tomorrow and until victory we raise our voices to proudly cry: In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians.

Latest from the Movement

The Gaza Resolution

“We… [u]nderstand that the fascist violence against the Palestinian people today foreshadows the violence of Western imperialism towards all the world’s workers and oppressed peoples tomorrow because this is the historical tendency of capitalism in decay…”

Over 50 movements, parties, and unions across the world have issued a pledge to stand for Palestinian liberation and sever ties of complicity with the State of Israel. The Resolution acknowledges the colonial, imperialist and capitalist roots of the Palestinian people’s oppression, and responds to demands raised by the Palestinian movement for national liberation. You can read the Resolution here.

Dignity for Bangladesh’s garment workers

Bangladesh’s garment workers are engaged in active struggle for pay and dignity. They are campaigning for a minimum monthly wage of $209. They make clothes and profits for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Amazon, and yet are not even entitled to a minimum of $209 per month. These workers are not only putting their jobs but their lives on the line, demanding their rights and dignity. This week the Bangladeshi police shot and killed Rasel Howlader, a 25 year-old machinist, campaigning for the minimum wage.

One of the Progressive International’s Council Members, Nazma Akter, is leading this struggle. We will bring you more news in the coming weeks.

Honduras Resiste

The Progressive International is mobilising to Honduras to hear directly from the communities affected by the ZEDEs, to draw international attention to the crime of corporate colonialism, and to support the government of President Xiomara Castro to defeat it.

Please watch [LINK] and share our campaign video explaining how Peter Thiel, the shady US America libertarian billionaire, and his fellow investors are suing the Honduran people for nearly $11 billion for reclaiming their sovereignty. The case is also explained in a recent article in Jacobin here.

Mada Masr under attack

We denounce in the strongest terms the Egyptian state's assault on PI Wire partner Mada Masr. The media house has been referred to the public prosecutor and had its website blocked for six months over its reporting of Israel's war crimes in Gaza.

Art: The Sea is Mine by Sliman Mansour shows a woman, a girl, and a boy raise their hands high and march along a beach. The pen and paintbrush symbolise creativity, the rifle signifies resistance, and the olive branch and white dove represent peace. The key stands as a symbol in the Palestinian struggle for the right of return for refugees.

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