The global protests against Israel’s genocide in Gaza must turn to the working class

People march towards the U.S. Capitol during a demonstration opposing Israel's genocide of the Palestinians on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) [AP Photo]

The escalating Israeli genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza has sparked massive demonstrations, involving millions of people, on every inhabited continent in the world. 

The World Socialist Web Site welcomes these demonstrations as the expression of the enormous opposition to the horrific crimes being carried out by the Netanyahu government in Israel. A long period of political stagnation, during which the ruling classes successfully pushed through their policies of war and political reaction, is ending.

In the UK, over 300,000 people participated in a rally in London on Saturday, the largest anti-war demonstration since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and one of the largest in the history of London. Tens of thousands marched in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. More than 15,000 people rallied at Place de la Republique in Paris Sunday. Thousands of people marched in the German cities of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hanover, Karlsruhe, Münster and Stuttgart, with 10,000 protesting in Düsseldorf. There were mass demonstrations in Spain, Australia, Canada and many other countries. 

Protests are spreading throughout the Middle East. Thousands of people packed Egypt’s Tahrir Square on Saturday, the centerpoint of mass demonstrations in 2011, in defiance of orders from the El-Sisi dictatorship. Over the past week, demonstrations have taken place in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Morocco, Malaysia and Indonesia. There have been protests of more than one million people in Pakistan and Algiers, and hundreds of thousands in Rabat, Morocco. 

These protests have unified people of different nationalities all over the world. In the United States and Europe, the demonstrations have involved large numbers of Jewish people denouncing the Israeli government for carrying out genocide. Young people are taking part in protests and school walkouts throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East, and an entire generation is being politicized.

In the face of this global movement, the corporate media is pretending that the demonstrations do not exist. The front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Guardian have all ignored the demonstrations, and they have not been reported on the evening news. 

An article published in the Times, “What Voters Think About U.S. Support for the Wars in Israel and Ukraine” did not even mention that mass protests had been occurring against the war on a daily basis. The local media is no better. In Chicago, where tens of thousands demonstrated over the weekend, neither of the major newspapers, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune, carried an article.

This mass anti-war movement is developing amid a major escalation of Israel’s genocide. With the support of the Biden administration and the US-NATO axis, Israel is intensifying its bombing campaign in preparation for an invasion. It has airdropped fliers in northern Gaza declaring that anyone who does not evacuate will be treated as a terrorist. It is demanding that all remaining hospitals in the north shut down, after it bombed a hospital last week, killing nearly 500 people. It is launching drone strikes on residential buildings and targeting journalists who document the devastation. 

According to Al Jazeera, “At least 400 people have been reported killed across Gaza following nonstop Israeli air strikes in the last 24 hours, which Palestinian media described as the ‘heaviest bombardment’ since the October 7 Hamas attack.” Israel has also launched strikes against Jenin in the West Bank and the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Palestinans have fled in the effort to cross the border into Egypt.

At the same time, the US and NATO powers are preparing for a broader conflict in the entire region. The US has dispatched over a dozen warships, including two aircraft carrier strike groups, to the Middle East and has put an unspecified number of troops, likely in the thousands or tens of thousands, on high alert. US personnel are evacuating embassies throughout the region in anticipation of a regional war.

On Sunday, former Vice President Mike Pence advocated for deploying US ground troops to Gaza, while Senator Lindsey Graham explicitly threatened a “third front” in the war, directly targeting Iran.

Israel’s war against the people of Gaza is just one part of a global eruption of imperialist violence. The American ruling class views the conflict in the Middle East as one front of a global war that includes Russia and China. The Biden administration has seized on the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israel to push for a global military escalation. In addition to $14 billion for war in the Middle East, Biden is seeking $60 billion for war in Ukraine.

The Biden administration aims to reverse the debacle suffered by Ukraine with the failure of its spring offensive. The US has removed all restrictions on providing military hardware, and plans are underway behind the scenes for a US troop deployment to the combat zone. The war against Russia is itself seen as part of the preparation for conflict with China.

The demonstrations that have erupted in response to the war in Gaza must be expanded and developed throughout the world. But the emergence of mass opposition raises critical questions of political perspective and program.

The central challenge in the development of this mass movement is directing it toward the working class. The demonstrations come amid a global strike movement by workers in every part of the world and in every industry. 

This year, all the governments supporting the Israeli genocide have confronted mass opposition. In France, millions of workers took part in a mass strike movement against President Emmanuel Macron’s attack on pensions. In the UK, tens of thousands of rail and postal workers have waged a bitter struggle for their jobs and wages. 

In the US, the largest strike movement in decades, involving writers, academic workers, and tens of thousands of autoworkers, is underway, which the trade union apparatus, working closely with the Biden administration, is seeking desperately to control.

The ruling elite is waging war on two fronts: a global redivision of the world and an internal battle against the working class. The hundreds of billions of dollars that are being allocated for war will be paid for through the escalation of the assault on the working class at home. Moreover, the attack on democratic rights, the attempt to criminalize opposition to Israel’s atrocities, will be directed at all manifestations of opposition to the policies of the ruling elite.

The working class must be mobilized to stop the genocide in Gaza and the broader war policy of the ruling elite. Workers should take industrial action to deprive Israel of all resources that can be utilized in its war. Dockworkers, airport and transit workers all over the world should refuse to handle any weapons directed toward Israel.

The fight against the explosion of imperialist violence of which the genocidal campaign against Gaza is a part is necessarily a fight against capitalism.

The solution to the deepening crisis confronting mankind is the development of a powerful socialist movement rooted in the working class. The demonstrations this weekend, a critical milestone in the development of a mass anti-war movement, must be deepened, expanded, and, most of all, turned to the working class on the basis of a socialist perspective.