The Struggle for Palestine is the Struggle of Working People Worldwide

free palestine

The attacks by ‘Israel’ on the people and the country of Palestine have increased in intensity in the last month.  Palestinian resistance has once again forced the attention of the world on the plight of a people facing another massacre and a country being destroyed.  At the same time, the Zionist state has begun yet another move to displace Palestinians and steal even more of their land.  What is going on is nothing short of genocide.

Imperialism and its media show the ‘problem’ of Palestine as confined to West Asia and as an isolated conflict.  Yet it is a global issue that needs fuller scrutiny and understanding of the trends that have been going on for centuries.  The destruction of Palestine and the massacres and exiling of its people is not an isolated event in the history of imperialism.  It is one of the latest in a long chain of similar attacks on people and lands all around the world.  Not to see this trend of imperialist actions can mean mis-understanding the real nature of imperialism and its long history of capture of lands and massacres around the world.

What is Palestine being subjected to is no different from what imperialism did to the people and country of what is now called United Stats of America.  Here is their grim story told by NativeHope:

The Untold History of American Indians

The arrival of European settlers had a devastating impact on Native Americans.

Before the arrival of Europeans, 600 + unique Native tribes lived in eight rough geographic and cultural regions across the United States. Their cultures and languages were highly developed and diverse. Each tribe has its own history, its own stories, and its own forms of spiritual practice.

When settlers arrived, hundreds of these tribes died out over the course of a hundred years. The Europeans brought germs over that Native Americans had no immunity to. Between 1492 and the late 1500s when large numbers of settlers began to arrive, historians have estimated that up to 90% of the Native population was wiped out by the introduction of measles, smallpox, tuberculosis, and other Western diseases. Some scholars estimate that the original population of Native Americans in North America before Columbus was somewhere around 10 million people.

Similar massacres took place in Australia against the aboriginal people and their lands.  Allam and Evershed (2019) tell their story:

The Killing Times

Starting in 1794, mass killings were first carried out by British soldiers, then by police and settlers – often acting together – and later by native police, working under the command of white officers, in militia-style forces supported by colonial governments.

These tactics were employed, without formal repercussions, as late as 1926…. Government forces were actively engaged in frontier massacres until at least the late 1920s.These attacks became more lethal for Aboriginal people over time, not less. The average number of deaths of Aboriginal people in each conflict increased, but from the early 1900s casualties among the settlers ended entirely – with the exception of one death in 1928.The most common motive for a massacre was reprisal for the killing of settler civilians but at least 51 massacres were in reprisal for the killing or theft of livestock or property.

Of the attacks on the map, only once were colonial perpetrators found guilty and punished – in the aftermath of the Myall Creek killings in 1838.In NSW and Tasmania between 1794 and 1833, most of the 56 recorded attacks were carried out on foot by detachments of soldiers from British regiments, and an average of 15 people were killed in each one. The weapon most often used was the “Brown Bess” musket, which was issued to British forces in the Napoleonic wars.In NSW and Victoria between 1834 and 1859, horses and carbine rifles were used in at least 116 frontier massacres of Aboriginal people in mostly daytime attacks, with an average of 27 people killed in each attack.From the late 1840s, massacres were carried out as daylight attacks by native police, sometimes in joint operations with settlers. They most often used double-barrelled shotguns, rifles and carbines.Preliminary data from Queensland shows that between 1859 and 1915 an average of 34 people were killed in each attack.There are at least nine known cases of deliberate poisoning of flour given to Aboriginal people.

There were also efforts to cover up the atrocities.

We then turn to Africa.  Many massacres took place here too.  Massacres of millions of people took place in Congo,  Angola, Algeria and Kenya, among other places.  However, the European imperialist countries failed to eliminate entire populations as they did in USA and Australia.  Africa was too vast a continent and resistance was also high.  Facing increasing difficulties in carrying out their elimination policies, imperialism came up with an alternative to killing and enslaving people: use local people to subjugate local people, all in the interest of imperialist profits.  This involved installing ‘leaders’ such as Joseph Mobutu and Jomo Kenyatta, and killing leaders who opposed imperialism, such as Patrice Lumumba, Kwame Nkrumah and Pio Gama Pinto.  

Durrani (2022, pp. 9-19) shows the horror of European imperialism in Africa:

Imagine this: You and your family are sitting quietly at home; some strangers break down the door, rape, kill and enslave your children and ship them to a faraway country; then take over your house, steal your land, wealth and property and start ordering you around. All because they have guns and you have none. You are a peaceful family, you do not attack others and you do not need weapons of mass destruction. Multiply your one family by millions and you see the real horror of what has been done to Africa. It is difficult to believe that just a few hundred years ago, almost all the people of Africa were either enslaved or colonised by people coming from Europe. Was it a nightmare or reality? What can motivate such industrial-level savagery? Such atrocities are not seen even in the animal world. Africa is still angry. Very angry. Still suffering. Still trying to come to terms with this genocide. Still trying to recover from the damage done to its economy, industries, culture and dealing with depopulation and the constant on-going attacks. 

And yet, even more atrocities:

Terrible as the fate of Africans was, they were not eliminated totally as were the people of Americas and Australia. Some of the oldest civilisations in the world were ruthlessly looted, people systematically massacred and customs and culture, which had survived for centuries, condemned as savage and destroyed. The few people from the original populations who remain today are now the abandoned and oppressed minorities in a land which once belonged to them. Their land, country and resources have been taken over by European tribes which rule with an iron fist funded from looted labour and wealth. This was the ‘achievement’ of European civilisation. It was no ordinary warfare. Nothing on this scale had even been witnessed in the history of the world. This was the first globalisation, a globalisation of death and destruction for the people of Asia, Africa and Americas. The beneficiaries of this murderous regime of terror live in luxury in Europe and USA, plotting more economic, political and cultural wars on working classes around the world. The engine of this global destruction and death is powered by capitalism and imperialism, which get more murderous as they face increasing resistance from around the world. 

The experience in South Africa was a little different as attempts to create settler colonies like in Canada and Australia met fierce resistance.  The apartheid regime was ultimately defeated and the nation of South Africa was finally born.  But the South African apartheid regime had the full support of imperialism and the newly created country of ‘Israel’ — an outpost of imperialism in the Global South.

Palestine had existed over many centuries.  Imperialism decided to brutally destroy it and replace it with an artificial country, ‘Israel’.  The pretext of saving the holocaust victims was an easy way to try to justify its creation.  The lessons of apartheid were perfected and implemented here. Millions of Palestinians were exiled, massacred and their homes and lands were taken over by the new ‘owners’.  The process continues to-date.  So severe was the oppression here that it cannot be called apartheid.  It is much worse.  It is more like what Hitler did to the Jews, Travellers, communists and others under Nazi Germany.  Yet even making this comparison is likely to be condemned by the all-powerful Zionist lobby around the world.  

The Palestine ‘problem’ is not just a local issue. In order to survive, Zionism needs to control  opinion, not only in ‘Israel’, but in every capital of the world.  It knows that people of the world are against its takeover of Palestine and against keeping its citizens in conditions worst than the worst prisons in the world,  against the genocide it is undertaking.   It has to control working people around the globe in order to ensure the support of the ruling class in each country.  Its main target is the people and politics of USA which is its largest financier and arms merchant. But it has to ensure that any progressive leader in any country agrees with its policies to eliminate Palestine.  A stark example is the way it hounded out Jeremy Corbin from power of the Labour Party in favour of Kier Starmer,  who openly supports the oppressive Israeli policies against Palestinians.

If the working people of the world want to re-establish democracy in their own countries, their first step should be to liberate the control of their leaders from the deadly clasp of the Israeli lobby. There is no real democracy when Western politicians are directly or indirectly forced to support Israeli aggression of Palestinians.  There is no democracy when Western leaders ignore the wishes of millions of its own people, the decisions of the United Nations and international bodies in order to follow the dictates of the Zionist lobby.  It is in that sense that the Palestinian struggle is the struggle of working people everywhere.  People everywhere need to liberate themselves from the Zionist control by supporting the struggle for liberation of the people of Palestine.  The two struggles — that of the people of capitalist world and that of the people of Palestine —are linked but the links are hidden by the ruling class, their media with the support of ‘Israel’. 

The struggle of the people of Palestine is not an easy one.  The brief record of imperialist massacres of people over a long period of time shows what is in store for Palestine. That they have stood against the oppressors for over 70 years is a great achievement.  But the enemy has not given up either and is inching on with its destructive policies with the full support of USA and its followers. It has increased its attacks recently.  At this time of the greatest danger to the people of Palestine, people everywhere need to increase their support even more.  It is not only the struggle of the people of Palestine.  It is the struggle of working people everywhere.  

The struggle is hard and it is the people of Palestine who are sacrificing the most to defeat an enemy of the people.  The struggle is hard.  The struggle is long.  Long Live the struggle of the people of Palestine!  We all are Palestinians today and will remain so until Palestine is free.

Shiraz Durrani is a Kenyan political exile living in London. He has worked at the University of Nairobi as well as various public libraries in Britain where he also lectured at the London Metropolitan University. Shiraz has written many articles and addressed conferences on aspects of Kenyan history and on politics of information in the context of colonialism and imperialism. His books include Kenya’s War of Independence: Mau Mau and its Legacy of Resistance to Colonialism and Imperialism, 1948-1990 (2018, Vita Books). He has also edited Makhan Singh – A Revolutionary Kenyan Trade Unionist (2017, Vita Books) and Pio Gama Pinto: Kenya’s Unsung Martyr,1927 – 1965 (2018, Vita Books). He is a co-editor of The Kenya Socialist. and edited Essays on Pan-Africanism (2022, Vita Books, Nairobi). His latest book (2023) is Two Paths Ahead: The Ideological Struggle between Capitalism and Socialism in Kenya, 1960-1990. Some of his articles are available at https://independent.academia.edu/DurraniShiraz and books at:  https://www.africanbookscollective.com/search-results?form.keywords=vita+books

References

Allam, Lorena and Nick Evershed (2019):  The Killing Times: the Massacres of Aboriginal people Australis Must Confront. The Guardian 03-03-2019.  Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/04/the-killing-times-the-massacres-of-aboriginal-people-australia-must-confront?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other  [Accessed: 13-10-2023].

Durrani, Shiraz (2022): Forward to a Socialist Pan-African Movement:  Lessons from History.  In:  Durrani, Shiraz (Ed, 2022): Essays on Pan-Africanism.  Nairobi:  Vita Books. 

NativeHope :  The Untold History of American Indians.  Available at: https://www.nativehope.org/the-native-story#history. [Accessed: 13-10-2023].

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