150,000 march in London to extend the fight against U.S./European Commission (EC) imperialism
An unprecedented series of four huge national demonstrations in London within seven weeks culminated in the largest ever demonstration on Gaza of 150,000 people on August 9, 2014. Organized by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop The War and the Friends of Al Asqa Mosque, the march was characterized by the overwhelming presence of youth with over 70 percent of marchers under the age of thirty.
As the march passed the U.S. Embassy in Grosvenor Square, the cry “Barack Obama—shame on you” rose up demonstrating a new found political awareness among some new young British activists that U.S. imperialism is at the heart of support for the racist Zionist state of Israel and that the election of a Black figurehead for imperialism has made no difference to the brutal policies of the U.S. and its allies. The brutal indiscriminate slaughter waged on Gaza by Israel, which receives £3billion U.S. defense spending annually as well as £400million from Britain, has horrified many young people in particular and politicized many young Muslims in Britain. Hundreds of buses travelled from all parts of England for the London demonstration and it was particularly noticeable how towns with many generations of Muslim families were heavily represented. One in ten Londoners now identify as Muslims and are overwhelmingly working-class and they formed a huge contingent on the march.
Political fall-out has also occurred at the government level in Britain with the resignation from the Tory/Liberal Democratic coalition government of Baroness Warsi, the only Muslim member of the government, in protest at the refusal of David Cameron to halt defense export licenses to Israel. Whilst Warsi is a full supporter of the austerity and anti-working class program of the Tories, she has helped expose the military connection with Israel for many Muslims.
On August 9, 2014 a contingent of two hundred British Jews joined the protest behind a banner “Not in my Name.” Organizations such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians have been prominent in opposing Israeli apartheid and the violence of the occupation of Palestine and the killing of children on a regular basis across Palestine of which the Gaza bombings were a brutal example.
The attempts to suppress Palestinian resistance in Gaza represents, amongst other factors, the pursuit by Israel of the gas reserves off the Gaza coast. Israel seeks to destroy Hamas as the key Palestinian force likely to destabilize any deal to exploit the £4billion worth of natural gas. Israeli Defense Force Minister, Moshe Ya’alon made this clear when he pointed to the proceeds of future Palestinian gas sales to Israel reaching Hamas and giving them military and financial opportunities to attack Israel.
The new generation of activists is eager to debate and understand the nature of imperialism and which forces can overcome them. A joint initiative by the Labor Representation Committee North West London branch and Solidarity with the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Ukraine, drawing the parallels between U.S. interventions in Palestine directly and by proxy and in Ukraine where the military assault by the Poroshenko government, backed by NATO, on eastern Ukrainian workers resisting austerity led to a further successful picket of the U.S. embassy on August 12, 2014.
Building an anti-imperialist resistance, continues to show that the common enemy is in Washington and London, and that the renewed U.S. bombing in Iraq is motivated by ensuring oil supplies and a compliant state in Iraq, and not by any humanitarian concerns. Great opportunities exist to build this resistance as imperialism shows its ruthless disregard for human life and rights in the pursuit of profit
Graham Durham is a Unite shop steward and has written this article in a personal capacity.
—August 17, 2014