Gaza protests not stopping

London — another huge demo

Leicester Socialist Party members Alex Gillham and Sam Ward participated in the latest huge London demonstration on 25 November.

We attended the London demonstration, and the Saturday evening rally at Socialism 2023 afterwards.

London Palestine Protest
London — biggest ever Palestine march in Britain.
Photo: Roger Thomas

As soon as we left Bond Street station, the first thing we spotted was a Socialist Party gazebo, run by party members. It was very effective seeing a large number of stands, where protesters could buy the Socialist paper, and get our materials.

It is a busy time for Socialist Party members. In Leicestershire, we have attended demonstrations every week since 7 October.

A march in Leicester on 19 November attracted 2,000 protesters – our biggest Palestine event to-date. But the London march was on another scale.

It was fantastic to see the very strong presence of the Socialist Party. Our socialist messaging could be seen everywhere across the demonstration.

People were proud to display our placards. And we were able to sell the Socialist paper to people who approached us because they recognised our material.

We observed a significant level of anti-Starmer sentiment, including a large number of homemade signs criticising Starmer’s Labour.

Waltham Forest, East London — dissatisfied with Labour

by Roy Wills

A demonstration, primarily for students in support of a ceasefire in Gaza, was well-attended. About 1,000 stood around the lit pool in front of the town hall.

This was an opportunity to not only protest at the needless murder in the Middle East, but to express dissatisfaction with the leadership at all levels in this country, including the Starmer-loving Labour council.

No sooner had we brought out our Socialist papers, leaflets and collecting tins for people to donate to fund our message, young people were showing an interest. One asked to join the Socialist Party.

On a cold, dark Friday night the main communication was the, now familiar, songs from the Palestinian repertoire. But amongst the crowd, it was still possible to have those vital, incisive conversations that enable people to see a way out of the madness.

The Socialist Party calls for a socialist intifada. At these gatherings, when people hear our socialist programme and tune in to our ideas, they very often respond positively.

Many Socialist Party branches around the country will identify with this scenario. It is worth participating in every minute of the protests.

Hackney, East London — “Sunak is a wasteman”

by Brian Debus

Over 200 primary school children, parents, and some older students filled the steps in front of Hackney Town Hall and the concourse below on Friday 24 November.

One 9 or 10 year old, with a maturity beyond his age, led several of the chants, including: “Sunak is a wasteman”. The chanting and speakers went on for well over an hour.

Our leaflets and paper were readily received by many of the parents and older students.

Camden, North London — boisterous support

by Dara Fitzgerald

150 demonstrators were in a boisterous mood, chanting slogans, and waving flags and banners. And people on the pavement were filming and taking photos in support.

Students walk out against war

Queen Mary, East London — power in the collective

by Nandi Shalita

There was a student-organised sit-in at Queen Mary University to protest against the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, and the university’s involvement in it. Queen Mary issued a statement expressing sympathy with the victims of this violence. However, it refused to condemn the actions of the Israeli state.

Queen Mary invests millions of pounds in Barclays. The bank funds weaponry sent to Israel from the UK.

Queen Mary college Palestine Protest
Queen Mary Palestine protest. Photo: James Ivens

We, the students, find this unacceptable and sickening. This is yet another example of universities prioritising money in their pockets over the cries of their students for change.

Queen Mary students are calling for the university to condemn the actions of the Israeli state, demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire, and divest funds that are supporting war crimes.

Queen Mary Socialist Students got involved in this protest. We were able to share our views that were very well received. And some students expressed interest in getting involved with our campaigns.

Nandi also spoke at the protest:

❝They’re looking at us in the face and telling us what we’re seeing with our own eyes is a lie. They’re trying to scare us into silence.

Netanyahu used the Hamas attacks to make it seem like he is the protector of the Israeli people. He is not. He doesn’t care about his people. He is using October 7 as a scapegoat.

Palestinians need an intifada — an uprising against the occupation. A socialist intifada led by the people.

Let us not be fooled into thinking there is nothing we can do about what’s happening. We demand the government condemn the actions of the Israeli state. Its compliance in this genocide is appalling and unforgivable. And we will not forget.

And our own representative — Tower Hamlets Labour MP Rushanara Ali — refused to vote for a ceasefire. [“Shame!” — shouts from crowd] They do not speak for us. And they do not represent us.

This Tory government is trying to ban discussion and the waving of flags. They’re trying to silence us.

It’s because they see the power we hold. They’re afraid.

There have recently been hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of London every Saturday for over a month. There is power in the collective. And we need to utilise it to demand Palestinian liberation.❞