December 1, 2023

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Millions march around the world against Israel’s genocide in Gaza

Over 800,000 people march in London demanding ceasefire

A section of the nearly million-strong march in London, November 11, 2023. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

In a powerful rebuke to the ruling classes of every major imperialist power, huge global protests against the genocide in Gaza continued into the weekend. In London, a massive march of at least 800,000 people, although some estimates place the figure at over one million, took place on Saturday.

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Metropolitan Police ludicrously claimed that 300,000 people marched, a figure dutifully cited by the BBC, Reuters and others. Aerial footage of the densely packed route shows a sea of people, in the largest demonstration in two decades, since one-and-a-half million marched against the Iraq war in 2003. The march was made up overwhelmingly of young people.

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The enormous protest in London was a resounding rebuke to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman. Sunak and Braverman denounced the rally earlier in the week, with Sunak claiming that Saturday’s planned protest was not just “disrespectful” but, “offends our heartfelt gratitude to the memory of those who gave so much so that we may live in freedom and peace today.”

Signs at the London rally, November 11, 2023. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

The protest coincided with Armistice Day in the UK, which commemorates World War I, the first major imperialist conflict for the redivision of the world, which ended with the deaths of some 20 million human beings.

Protesters march in opposition to UK backing of Israeli war crimes. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

While Saturday’s march calling for a ceasefire in Gaza would seem to be a fitting tribute to commemorate the somber holiday, Braverman, appealing to fascists, who would later make an appearance at the rally, labeled the demonstration a “hate march.” In addition to calling for it to be banned, Braverman said that police were “too soft” on “pro-Palestinian mobs.”

In fact, the only violence on the day was clashes between the police and a few hundred fascist counter-demonstrators demanding access to the Cenotaph war memorial and unsuccessfully trying to mount attacks on the march.

Top sign reads, “Keir Starmer supports War Crimes,” while bottom signs reads, “Stop the Genocide!!!” London, November 11, 2023. [Photo: SEP-Britain/WSWS]

The march was a sea of Palestinian flags and home-made banners, including many denouncing Labour Party leader Keir Starmer for supporting Israel. At least 126 arrests were made. The Metropolitan Police initially stated that the overwhelming majority were right-wing thugs, however, later in the evening police confirmed that some of the arrested were part of a group of 150 “pro-Palestinian” protesters.

Police reported “no issues” with the London march, stating that it moved along the prescribed route.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak lied through his teeth by denouncing “violent, wholly unacceptable scenes we have seen from English Defence League and associated groups and Hamas sympathizers attending the National March for Palestine.” He was predictably backed by Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, who focused on “appalling cases of antisemitic hate, intimidation, and support for terrorist groups.”

Hundreds rally in Las Vegas against war: “They are not looking at humankind with this, but we are.”

On Sunday, on the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, over 500 people rallied and marched to call for an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza. This is at least the fifth protest that has been held in Clark County since October 7 demanding a ceasefire.

Anti-genocide protesters in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 12, 2023. [Photo: SEP-US/WSWS]

While no Democratic Party politicians or trade union officials came out in support of the protest, many young people participated in the march and denounced the US government and Biden administrations’ support for the ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign. Some of the homemade signs read, “Palestinians have the right to resist, Palestinians have the right to exist,” and “silence is violence.”

A section of the rally on Sunday, November 12, 2023. [Photo: SEP-US/WSWS]

A WSWS reporter attended the rally, distributed over 100 leaflets, and conducted interviews with attendees, many whom wished not be identified or have their photo taken, out of fear of reprisal.

A banner at the Las Vegas rally displaying the names of over 10,000 dead Palestinians. [Photo: SEP-US/WSWS]

One protester at the rally told the WSWS he was there, “to raise awareness of the genocide that is going on with Israel’s killing innocent Palestinians. That we are not okay with the US funding genocide, and for, hopefully, the liberation of the Palestinian people.”

“No human being should ever die the way that anyone involved in this is dying,” he added.

Reflecting on the unanimous backing of the US government for the war, expressed in the censure of Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress and one of the handful of politicians to support a ceasefire, he replied, “It’s obviously very disappointing because although I might not agree with some of her political views one of the things that has made America a beautiful country is a freedom of speech and when someone in her position is being censored, it is scary for individual citizens. No matter what your point of view is, that should raise awareness. ‘Now wait a second, my government is jumping in to censor anyone?’ That is never right.

“It always goes back to follow where the money is, where the dollar is coming from and going to.

“To us, we realize that we are the low guy when it comes to this in terms of money. We want to always raise awareness to people…that, wait a second, there’s something more going on as far as the motives of countries, of billionaires, that they are just looking at their financial interests, and they are not looking at humankind with this, but we are. We are looking at innocent children dying…”

A section of the Las Vegas rally, November 12, 2023. [Photo: SEP-US/WSWS]

A Las Vegas mechanic said he was at the rally to, “stand in solidarity with the Palestinians and our Palestinian community and our community out here in Las Vegas.”

Asked to comment on the role of the Democratic Party in supporting the slaughter, he said, “I couldn’t state enough how much I despise Biden, the administration, the Democratic Party and the United States government as a whole.”

“I have never supported Biden, I thought of him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, same with [Senator Bernie] Sanders, I was never with that guy.”

The worker said he was not aware of the appeal by the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions to block arms to Israel, or recent actions of Belgian and Barcelona workers to refuse to handle weapons bound for Israel. However, upon hearing these developments, the mechanic responded, “I think that’s awesome, I mean less weapons, the better, I am with it.”

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The worker said he had read about the “block the boat” protest in Oakland and Tacoma. “I did see that. People are getting more organized and doing direct action like that. I think it’s awesome.”

Thousands rally in Israel demanding Netanyahu’s resignation as government seeks to crush dissent

Thousands of Israelis took part in rallies across the country on Saturday evening demanding the government secure the immediate release of the hostages held in the Gaza Strip. Demands for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resignation were widespread.

The main rally took place in Tel Aviv, with demonstrators marching to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) headquarters in the city. People lambasting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for doing nothing to secure the hostages’ release, barely mentioning them in the five weeks since October 7.

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Noam Perry, whose 79-year-old father was seized by Hamas on October 7, said of the government, “Do not talk to me about conquering, do not talk to me about flattening [Gaza]. Do not talk at all. Just take action… bring them home now.’ Another said, “They can’t tell us, ‘trust us,’ but that sentence has had no meaning since October 7.”

Demonstrators in Caesarea, where Netanyahu has his home, demanded his resignation. In Jerusalem, around 1,000 people took part in a silent demonstration in support of the hostages. Demonstrators in the mixed Arab and Jewish city of Haifa called for a new government, saying they refused to wait for the war to end. A convoy then drove down to join the demonstration in Caesarea. Other rallies took place in Beer Sheva and Eilat.

The demonstrations, while small and still reflecting a Zionist opposition to the Netanyahu government, express growing concerns about the purpose and direction of the war that threatens to escalate across the region, putting the survival of the State of Israel at risk.

Thirty-five Israeli Jewish and Arab peace and human rights groups have issued an open letter calling on the government to work for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages and a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict. They said, “It is evident that there is no military solution to this conflict, nor can there ever be one. The only way to stop the bloodshed is a political agreement that will guarantee security, justice, and freedom for both nations.”

The groups include Machsom Watch, Rabbis for Human Rights, the Parents Circle Family Forum, Women in Black, Yesh Gvul, the Arava Institute for Environmental studies and the Jewish-Arab political party Hadash. They called on the government to immediately “promote a broad prisoner deal, stop harming innocent civilians, act to curb the rampant settler violence in the West Bank and stop the persecution and oppression of Palestinian citizens of Israel and of those who express solidarity with the residents of Gaza and oppose the war.”

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Thousands march again in Chicago following Biden’s visit: “There needs to be an alternative to capitalism and imperialism”

A section of the Chicago march against US-backed Israeli genocide, November 12, 2023. [Photo: SEP-US/WSWS]

Thousands marched in the streets of Chicago again on Sunday to protest the ongoing genocide in Gaza. Demonstrators gathered around the Water Tower Place on Michigan Avenue along the commercial shopping district of the Magnificent Mile.

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The demonstration on Sunday followed one on Thursday evening where over 5,000 protested the visit of President Joe Biden’s visit to Chicago for a fundraiser, chanting “Genocide Joe” over and over at the heavily policed event. 

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At the march on Sunday, a number of protestors came to the IYSSE table, purchased literature and signs and spoke at length with a number of reporters from the WSWS.

“It’s atrocious what Israel has been doing against Palestinians for years, and I never supported anything they were doing against Palestinians,” said Han, a public school teacher in a Chicago suburb.

“As far as what Republicans and Democrats have been doing for Palestinians, there were apparently peace talks for a while but I think that turned out to be all fluff, considering they were supporting Israel the entire time. They are two sides of the same coin. If Israel benefits them, why would they support Palestinians?”

When asked how the billions spent on war funding every year affects the US working class, he said, “There’s a hundred things that it could be used for. For one thing, it could go to education. Since I’m a teacher that’s the first thing that comes to mind. It could go toward social programs for the elderly and working class children, to infrastructure in rural areas that don’t have much maintenance done on roads, public transportation access, housing. I don’t want to sound like an isolationist, but there are a hundred things that can be solved here at home instead of going abroad to police the world, so to speak. 

“There needs to be an alternative to capitalist and imperialist society and politics, for that matter. They say money’s the root of all evil, but when you follow the dollar signs of what’s going on between Palestine and Israel, you see a lot of it’s tied to US war profiteering companies. And these major corporate interests are supporting Democrats and Republicans during their campaigns.”

Han also spoke to the broader context of opposition to capitalism: “It’s hard for me to justify the belief that capitalism is helping people, and the nonsense that there is a ‘trickle down effect’ of capitalism. Everyone at the top is living fine, but down here we’re all suffering. 

“Why do we have to struggle just to make it out here to demonstrate and support Palestinians? I work in a Republican district where a lot of officials are Trump supporters, and I’m concerned for my job if they knew I was here. Why should it be that way? Why does it have to be a struggle for people to put food on the table and have housing? It shouldn’t be that way. These are basic necessities for every human being. It shouldn’t be a struggle to live in any country.”

Ryan, a young actor and worker said, “I’m out here because what’s happening here is incredibly wrong. And because what’s happening is not just relegated to Palestine, not just relegated to Gaza, it’s the entire world. When we fight for the liberation of the Palestinian people, we’re fighting for everybody’s liberation.

“The people who are oppressing the Palestinian people are the same people who are saying that it’s okay to destroy the world for their own profits, for their own profits. 

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“So for me, with what Biden is doing, it’s just incredibly disgusting. What’s happening in Gaza and the West Bank is on display for the entire world to see. We just talked about Motaz Azaiza, who is documenting so clearly what is happening on the ground. It’s so easy to get on Instagram and see what he’s posting and see what he’s sharing.

“And then for all that to be in the face of the world, for the president of the United States to authorize billions more dollars to this genocidal government that is trying to eradicate these people… Meanwhile, we have our own problems in this country that can be solved with all that money. It’s just disgusting to me.

“I did vote for Biden in 2020. But now do I even want to vote for anybody at this point? What is the point of engaging with this system, if all it does is it fuels governments like Israel who are committing genocide against innocent people?

“People who are working class or lower class in terms of the social hierarchy rising up and saying, ‘no, this is wrong’ is a beautiful, wonderful thing.” 

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