England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

Stop the Israeli regime’s genocidal war on Gaza! Step up worldwide mobilisations

By International Socialist Alternative 

On International Women’s Day this year, we mobilize to step up the struggle to stop the genocidal war on Gaza, to end arms and imperialist backing for Israeli capitalism, and to topple the siege and the occupation.

As we write these lines, even the insufficient step of a temporary ceasefire is yet to be reached. On the contrary — threats to expand the invasion into Rafah and to escalate the attack into a regional war continue to underline the dangers of even more horrific catastrophes. The Israeli regime’s genocidal attacks have already slaughtered more than 30,000 people in Gaza — a majority of whom are women and children — and thousands are missing under the rubble. The Israeli regime is enforcing starvation conditions, with mothers no longer having milk to feed their children, as hundreds of thousands of people who menstruate and pregnant individuals, forced to give birth in the rubble, are dealing with extremely harsh and unsanitary conditions that endanger their health and well-being. Entire families and communities have been decimated and displaced, living in tents in the cold, exposed to rapidly spreading diseases.

The genocidal onslaught on Gaza is developing alongside the escalated military and colonial settler aggression in the West Bank and Occupied East Jerusalem, the accelerated ethnic cleansing there — as well as in the Naqab/Negev — and the suffocating discrimination and political repression within the 1948 territories, including a nationalistic witch hunt faced by Palestinians. These are all part of a historic peak of the brutal national oppression and expropriation of the Palestinian people. Simultaneously, the struggle to end the bloody onslaught and the oppression of Palestinians is also part and parcel of the international struggle for liberation against gender oppression.

This is not only because the current catastrophe is killing, wounding and pushing women and girls to horrific survival conditions, or because the occupation endangers the lives and wellbeing of hundreds of thousands of women and girls, but also because generally, the same system that has engendered the current historic disaster is responsible for perpetuating and worsening gender oppression and the lives of working class and poor women globally. Socialist feminism is about struggling against oppression and exploitation everywhere, and for a working class struggle and socialist alternative to the ruling classes’ crisis-ridden system — fighting against the Israeli onslaught on Gaza and the occupation and its imperialist backers is an integral part of the fight against the global capitalist imperialist system perpetuating violence, war and domination.

National oppression, colonialism and imperialism breed and normalize social violence and misogyny. We oppose any use of rape and sexual assault as a weapon of war — as revealed by reports of Israeli occupation soldiers and prison guards sexually assaulting Palestinians, as well as Israeli settlers and soldiers attacking Palestinians in the West Bank. The sexual violence committed by Hamas and other militias on the 7.10 attack has been cynically exploited, and even demagogically and manipulatively presented by Israeli state representatives to justify the horrors that the Israeli state’s genocidal onslaught has inflicted in the past five months. The New York Times’ scandalous report was not published out of empathy for Israeli victims of sexual abuse, but rather to justify the Times’ support for the genocidal war, potentially also fuelling Islamophobic and racist tropes.

However, as Palestinian feminist organizations operating within the 1948 territories have pointed out, credible reports (such as that of Physcians for Human Rights) of sexual violence towards Israeli women and girls on 7.10 should be believed and the actions described unequivocally opposed, alongside other reactionary methods, such as murder and abduction of women, girls and others. This is necessary also from the perspective of the Palestinian liberation struggle in the face of Israeli state terror — such reactionary methods and programs fail to undermine the Israeli occupation, and instead reinforce its mobilization for a bloody onslaught on the Palestinians. Feminists shouldn’t ignore other oppressions, but must everywhere oppose Israeli state terrorism, destruction, displacement, killing, torture, sexual violence and state and settler violence of all sorts.

Globally, women have been playing a leading role in the struggle against national oppression, colonialism and imperialism. Women have been integral in the fight for Palestinian national liberation since its inception in pre-1948 Palestine, throughout decades, and significantly during the first Intifada. Palestinian women organized, demonstrated, and fought back against the oppressive Israeli regime. Recent years have seen Palestinian women at the forefront of the 2018 Marches of Return in Gaza, as well as the cross-community mass protest and women’s strike against femicide within the 1948 territories, where both Palestinian-Arab and Israeli-Jewish women participated. The 2021 Dignity Strike saw Palestinian people of all genders take part, in an inspiring show of strength.

Now, under this genocidal war, ethnic cleansing and national oppression, we’ve seen Gazan women and Palestinian people of all ages heroically surviving what can only be described as hell on Earth. Internationally, millions have come out to the streets in displays of solidarity. In recent years, globally and throughout the Middle East and North Africa, women led protests and revolts against oppression — from the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ uprising in Iran, which erupted following the brutal killing of Jina Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman, by the ‘Morality Police’, to the movements in Tunisia, Sudan, Lebanon, and more. The region is particularly and acutely impacted by the capitalist crisis, inflation and food prices, and the looming climate catastrophe.

We have to end the genocidal war — how?

We call on unions internationally to take up the demand of Palestinian Trade Unions on October 16th to “end all complicity, stop arming Israel and to take the mass solidarity action a step further. In the past few months we’ve seen:

  • Mass demonstrations and protests across the globe: from the UK, to Yemen and South Africa.
  • Belgian unions called on their members to refuse to handle military equipment being sent to Israel.
  • Demonstrators in the US and Canada blocked military shipments from the United States to Israel.
  • The union federation representing workers at 11 major Indian ports declared its refusal to load/unload weapons to Israel.

Protests in Egypt, including recently by hundreds of journalists, demanding to stop the onslaught and siege, and to open the Rafah crossing. Moreover, demonstrations of thousands, as well as marches to the border, were organized in Jordan. These regimes, fearful for their stability and interests in their strategic collaborations with the Israeli occupation and US imperialism, have responded with a brutal crackdown on protests and social media.

These workers’ actions must be more systematically organized to effectively stop the Israeli war machine. All trade unions need to step up this fight! No business as usual for imperialist regimes backing Israel’s genocidal attacks.

We are organizing to end the genocidal war, against imperialism and colonialism, which are linked to the fight against capitalism and for women and LGBTQIA+ rights. We are fighting for the lives, liberation and wellbeing of ordinary people globally, to end the occupation, siege and national oppression of the Palestinian people, and to stop imperialist intervention in the Middle East and the threat of a regional war.

‘To end the genocidal war in Gaza and win genuine Palestinian liberation, regional and international solidarity is necessary. However, our real allies in the region are the workers, poor and oppressed — not the international courts, the UN, or the reactionary governments in the region.’

Mass action across the region is necessary to carry this out, alongside mass international solidarity and action. For this reason, we are calling a day of action on this International Women’s Day, with organized protests and actions. However, the struggle must continue after the 8th of March too.

What we stand for

International institutions and ‘Western’ capitalist governments have once again shown they will allow the genocidal attacks for the sake of guarding their ruling classes’ interests. From Milei in Argentina to the AfD in Germany, the far right internationally as well as these specific governments are exploiting the situation to criminally whip up racism and Islamophobia and justify the horrific massacre. A socialist feminist struggle against imperialism must take up the fight against Islamophobia, antisemitism and every form of racism and division in order to build a tangible resistance against the far-right threat.

Socialist feminists have no trust in international institutions like the ICJ, UN, or ‘Western’ capitalist powers. By allowing the genocidal attacks to go on, cutting funding to UNRWA, some actively arming the Israeli war machine, capitalist governments and institutions have repeatedly proven that their facade of democracy is hollow when their economic and strategic interests are at stake. At best, some give lip service and posture with symbolic support. Regardless, they won’t stop the occupation and deep-rooted oppression of Palestinians and will continue to attack women and the working class, pushing the world further towards more catastrophes.

The continued complicity of the bourgeois Arab regimes in the face of the relentless carnage of the Palestinian people underscores, once again, that no solace nor solution can come from those oppressive, authoritarian and corrupt regimes. The regional ruling elites’ empty words against the Israeli regime merely reflect the social pressure they are under — they are worried of the effect this will have on their own stability.

These regimes are no friends of the oppressed. Many countries in the Middle East and the Gulf still apply laws that mandate women’s obedience to their husband, prevent women from moving freely, from traveling abroad, or from working without the permission of a male guardian. The Houthis in Yemen, who are purporting to defend the Palestinian people through their attacks in the Red Sea, also suffocate women’s rights at home, notably by further entrenching male guardianship laws, but also by disastrous right-wing pro-capitalist policies.

Russian and Chinese imperialism are no alternative. We stand with the workers’, women’s, LGBTQIA+, and national liberation struggles fighting against these brutally oppressive regimes. The Israeli occupation and ‘Western’ imperialist regimes are cynically using Hamas’ reactionary ideology to justify their attacks on all Gazans, including Palestinian women and LGBTQIA+ people — sometimes even hypocritically using a “pro-women” rhetoric to do so. But as the brutal Iranian regime’s repression of the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ uprising exposed yet again — barbaric oppressive regimes’ postures as champions for the oppressed are nothing but cynical hot air.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), while under attack and in a deep financial crisis induced by the occupation regime, has been repressing Palestinian protests and has been largely exposed as a subcontractor for the Israeli occupation. While seen by some as a ‘militant’ alternative to the Fatah-controlled PA, Hamas, based in right-wing Islamist and pro-capitalist ideology, has ultimately demonstrated that its program and methods offer a dead-end in the struggle against the siege, occupation and oppression. They do not rely on an independent, democratic struggle of the Palestinian masses and working class as agents of social change. The 7.10 Hamas-led attack relied on a shock effect which would mobilize capitalist powers to act, not on the mobilization of the potential revolutionary force of the Palestinian masses. This is because Hamas aspires for an authoritarian state along the lines of Iran’s dictatorship, which would be disastrous for the Palestinian people and especially for women and LGBTQIA+. The only viable route for the national and social liberation of Palestinians is through independent mass struggle, democratically organized, including elected popular committees that could assist in organizing actions and armed defense in the best interests of the movement. For a new popular, democratic intifada, and for the stepping up of international solidarity mobilizations and actions.

We fight to end the war, and to topple the siege, occupation and oppression. We call for an “all for all” swap and to end the mass abduction and incarceration of Palestinians. Stop all imperialist backing of the occupation. Stop the attacks on UNRWA. All Israeli military and state forces out of Gaza and the West Bank. End the colonial settlements project. End all discrimination and segregation policies, as well as the racist policies that uphold the logic of the mass ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba. We fight for full equality and liberation for all: for massive public investment in comprehensive rehabilitation of communities in a free Gaza and any ordinary people’s communities across the region hit by the war crisis, to be conducted on a democratic basis. The Israeli ruling class, the rich oligarchies in the region and the ruling classes of global imperialist powers must bear the financial costs.

For national and social liberation of the Palestinian people. Stop the lip-service by imperialists who posture to support a Palestinian state when they mean a continuation of national oppression in other forms, via an “upgraded” Palestinian Authority, a subjugated puppet-state at best.

To fight effectively for true liberation for all, we need to build a political alternative, a revolutionary struggle based on a socialist feminist political program. The fight against oppression is part of the necessary struggle to overthrow capitalism and imperialism and the building of a socialist society that leaves no one behind. Fight to overthrow all regimes of oppression, as part of a struggle for a socialist transformation in the region, to enable the democratic harnessing of the region’s extensive resources to guarantee high living standards and equality of all nations, including the right of self-determination, and the right of return.

Working class women have always played a vital role in every anti-war movement historically. Let’s make this International Women’s Day a show of force in the fight against the genocidal war in Gaza and continue the fight for Palestinian national liberation after the 8th of March. We must add our weight to the fight against war and occupation — and against all forms of exploitation and oppression!

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