I wrote this on Facebook at the end of July as a general sounding-off against all those war pimps who try to equate the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressor in Gaza.
I am so sick of listening to people slating the Palestinian resistance (‘Hamas’) for trying to fight back against the genocide being perpetrated against their people.
To deny people their right to resist is to deny them their humanity. It is a right that is actually enshrined in international law. Not that you’d know it from watching or reading the corporate media coverage.
How do you feel about the French resistance who fought Nazi occupation? If you think this is different, ask yourself why? Because the people fighting this particular occupation are brown and not white? Because some of them are muslim and not christian? Because your own ruling class has demonised them?
No doubt Goebbels’ nazi media accused the French and other European resistance fighters of all sorts of dreadful crimes and motivations. That was their job. It didn’t make them right. And the western demonisation of ‘Hamas’ (Palestinian resistance) doesn’t make those lies true either.
If we really want peace in the Middle East, we should be calling for the odds to be evened up. Give the Palestinians some tanks, fighter jets and a nuclear weapon or two, and I bet you anything the Israelis would be all about the peace talks … so easy for them to be brave when they’re massacring babies like fish in a barrel from uncontested skies.
And this a week or so later in response to the most disgusting bit of BBC war propaganda I’ve yet had the misfortune to read:
The British people need to know what the BBC won’t tell them: a. that the occupation is illegal, b. that the siege is a crime, c. that the massacre is a war crime, and d. that resistance, including ARMED resistance, is a UN-recognised human right.
Senior BBC journalists should be facing a war crimes tribunal. This kind of disinformation campaign is exactly what the Nuremberg judges were talking about when they looked at the role of propaganda in facilitating war crimes. Journalists actually got executed after WW2 for their role in enabling the Nazis’ crimes.
Hamas were elected by the Palestinian people. The resistance is the resistance of the Palestinian people. Wishing resistance to an illegal occupation would stop is NOT a justification for war crimes.
If the Israelis want the oppressed to stop resisting, there is a simple solution. They need to stop the occupation, end the siege, dismantle their apartheid state and allow the refugees to return home. In short, they are going to have to stop acting as stooges for imperialism in the Middle East and give up their fascist dreams of a jewish-only supremacist state in Palestine.
Check out the video below for confirmation of this view from a humanitarian doctor who could in no way be described as a communist or a communist sympathiser. Just an objective observer who refuses to be cowed by the weight of the imperialist propaganda offensive about ‘Hamas violence’.
“This is not a battle between terrorism and democracy. Hamas is not the enemy Israel is fighting. Israel is fighting a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist. The unbending determination not to submit to the occupation!
“It is the Palestinian people’s dignity and humanity that will not accept that they are treated as third-, fourth, fifth-ranking people.
“In 1938, the Nazis called the jews ‘untermensch’, subhuman. Today, Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza, in the diaspora are treated as untermensch — as subhumans who can be bombed, killed, slaughtered by the thousands — without any of those in power reacting …
“It’s stated in international law. You are permitted to fight the occupier, even with weapons …
“Nobody wants to be oppressed! Nobody wants to be occupied! Therefore it is actually rooted in international law — that an occupied nation can resist — also with armed struggle.”
– Dr Mads Gilbert of Norway, who has been serving in Al-Shifa hospital Gaza during the latest massacre
Yes, it’s good not to buy Israeli peppers, but wouldn’t it be even better if we had mobilised the shop workers not to put the peppers on the shelves in the first place?
We as British workers have a huge amount of power over the Israeli project, and we mustn’t be led to believe that all we can do is go to a demonstration and write to an MP, sign a petition and go back home and feel cross. We have power together, and we must be spreading that awareness.
We as communists are nothing if we aren’t trying to spread the awareness that workers have a collective power. We need to be mobilising for no cooperation completely.
That means do not stock Israeli products on the shelves. That means do not supply Israel with war materials or help of any kind. That means do not help the settlements to be built, the infrastructure to be built, the telecommunications to operate.
That means do not put out, help to put out, write, transmit, broadcast or put on a website any propaganda that supports this illegal, genocidal war. These are war crimes.
That’s the message that we need to take into the British working-class movement. That is the message that is lacking. That stops the anger that I felt in the street today outside the Israeli embassy from turning into a power that will frighten the living daylights out of our ruling class and force them to drop their support for this disgusting project.
[Outtake from a short speech I gave at the weekend. Full speech in the video above.]
The lines which do not blur and which have become more focused are the absolute obligation to support Resistance, who are fighting against foreigners, occupiers, and for the very lives of Palestinians.
And in Syria, Syrians, against largely foreign insurgents whose ‘revolutionary’ tactics include: car-bombing civilian areas, mortaring (with insidious mortars packed with bits of jagged metal, glass … whatever will inflict as much pain and damage as possible upon their civilian targets), cutting — often sawing, not enough the luxury of a swift stroke, but instead a jagged blade, a slow and brutal death — and stoning to death, using chemical weapons, and if not murdering flogging, cutting off hands …
It’s time to really bring Resistance to the forefront and erode the stigma corporate media and western governments have tagged them with. They have a legitimate and legally-lauded right to resist.
The countless Syrians I met in Syria, Lebanon and Canada were uniform in their unwavering support of Palestine. Hizbollah has again come out with statements of unwavering support for Palestine.
These, the Resistance, and the medics/rescuers, and the Palestinians resisting in so many ways throughout occupied Palestine and proxy-warred Syria are my heroes and inspiration.
– Eva Bartlett, In Gaza blog
Eva is absolutely right in her conclusion about the need to support the resistance.
It is resistance that is the key to defeating zionism. The resistance of the Palestinians is what has forced the rest of the world to take notice of what is happening there. It is what has steadily destroyed Israel’s moral standing in the world.
There is also our own resistance to think of.
Here in the imperialist countries, there is more we can do than simply ask our imperialist politicians politely not to take Israel’s side — not to send weapons, money or supplies to the zionist state that commits such heinous crimes. We can actually force our governments to drop support if we are prepared to ACT.
What we really need to be calling for in all our respective countries — and especially in those with close ties to Israel like Britain and the USA — is a mass campaign of non-cooperation with Israeli war crimes.
I know that British people are sick of the crimes being committed in Palestine. They are sick of their government’s complicity. They feel powerless. It is the Palestine solidarity movement’s job to point out that they are not as powerless as they think.
Not only the media needs to be held to account and those firms that profit from the war and occupation singled out and boycotted (something our own Palestine Solidarity Campaign does work at), but all parts of the war machine need to be actively stopped from functioning.
We are not only consumers but workers. Media workers should refuse to write war propaganda or to publish or broadcast them. They should be reminded that taking any part in creating such propaganda makes them war criminals too, according to what was established at Nuremberg.
Those who are making munitions for Israel need to refuse to continue with such work. Those who ship them likewise. Those who provide any goods or services to Israel and to the settlements need to withdraw their labour from such work and explain exactly why they are doing so to the rest of the British public. Supermarket workers should refuse to put Israeli products on the shelves. Transport workers should refuse to carry them.
Collectively, as workers, we do have a lot more power over the situation than the ineffectual lobbying of MPs would lead us to believe. The role of Palestine solidarity movements everywhere should be to lead the campaign to raise that awareness and mobilise workers in every area of productive life to get behind such a campaign and bring their co-workers with them.
The whole zionist enterprise would collapse pretty quickly if we put our money where our mouth is and used our collective power. It’s the one thing that could terrify our own ruling class into dropping its support for the Israeli project.
The camp at Yarmouk – the largest centre of Palestinian refugees in Syria – is more of a small town than a refugee camp. There are no tents to be seen, but instead streets of houses that are home to every strata of Palestinian society and complete with all the necessary infrastructure and amenities, from hospitals and schools to internet cafes and beauty parlours.
Given its pivotal location as a gateway to Damascus city, the capture of Yarmouk has long been a strategic goal for the takfiri terrorists, who succeeded in completely taking control of the camp towards the end of 2012.
As a result of two years of fierce fighting, the camp’s former population of 250,000 has now dwindled to 18,000, creating many thousands of new refugees, and leaving those who remain to suffer severe hardships. Women in labour have died, the wounded cannot be treated, and malnutrition is rising as food supplies sink dangerously low.
Much has been made of the siege of Yarmouk in western and comprador Arab media outlets, with imperialist-aligned politicians and commentators shedding crocodile tears over the fate of the Palestinians of the camp.
What is not reported, however, is that despite the tragic fact that some Palestinians have been persuaded to side with the rampaging western-backed militias, many more have volunteered to join the Syrian Arab Army in fighting the terrorists.
The Press TV report linked to above makes it clear that the battle for Yarmouk is pivotal in the battle for Syria, and, since both sides know this, the fighting to recapture every house and building is intense. The retreating terrorists are looting, burning and destroying houses as they go, in what has been described as a ‘scorched-earth policy‘.
The battle for Yarmouk is not only one to save the remaining refugees in the camp – it could well be described as Syria’s Stalingrad.
Meanwhile, as western NGOs try to blame the Syrian government for the suffering of civilians, Palestinian activists from inside the camp told Ma’an news agency last week that PLO supply trucks loaded with medicine and food have been prevented from entering the camp by ‘rebels’ firing shells at them from inside.
Our aid convoys have been fired on by Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham and Suqur al-Golan. All these groups are known for their terrorist links and methodology. Palestinians everywhere know that those who have taken Yarmouk hostage are these groups, not the Syrian authorities.
More from Ahmad Majdalani’s press conference (cited above).
As a small contribution to countering the imperialist media’s narrative surrounding the siege, I am reproducing here some useful insights from comrades in the Arab world with direct connections to present and former residents of the camp:
With the suffering of the Palestinian and Syrian people in Yarmouk reaching a fever pitch, let it never be forgotten that this entire tragedy began with the takfiri scourge entering the once vibrant city in December 2012.
Due to its geographical location as a strategic gateway into Damascus, Yarmouk is being held hostage by various terrorist groups which are also blocking all humanitarian aid delivery attempts by the Syrian Arab Army and the PLO.
As is the case with the destruction of the nation as a whole, this catastrophe falls on the rebels and their zionist-imperialist backers that inflicted this ‘uprising’ on Syria to begin with, not those defending their country from it.
It should also be noted that unlike the rest of the Arab world, where denigration, indignity and even outright racism have befallen them, the Palestinian people are well treated in Syria; they are citizens of Syria and equals.
They are given the same access to the nation’s top-notch education and healthcare programmes, the region’s best before the ‘uprising’, as well as social security benefits, and there are Palestinians who serve in the government, the nation’s armed forces and other important institutions throughout the country.
Yet another reason why the Syrian Arab Republic has been targeted with this conspiracy: because it refused to abandon the Palestinian cause and treat the Palestinian people in the same disgraceful manner that the zionists’ treacherous Arab allies have since the Nakba.
Before the takfiris arrived, Yarmouk was a beautiful place, inhabited by Syria’s best: doctors, engineers, lawyers, professors, writers and resistant youth full of promise and hope. The zionists couldn’t be happier with what is taking place there today.
Via Sarah Abdallah in Lebanon
The PFLP have constantly blamed the takfiris for the siege. They said they have taken over the camp, and they won’t leave. They now shoot at anyone trying to bring in food.
The Saudis want them to starve the Palestinians so they can use their photos on social media and western papers to demonise Al-Assad; that’s the sick mentality they have. They had no problem slaughtering people in the past and blaming Syrian troops.
Sometimes I listen to some Saudi ‘intellectuals’ on TV expressing their ‘sorrow’ for the fate of the Palestinians in the Yarmouk camp and my jaw just drops.
Really??? The Palestinians were dying under F16s, Apaches and bombs and you never lifted a finger, nor showed any outrage on your sick media. Nor did you write an article showing support. You stood by America when bombs fell on both Lebanon and Gaza and you did not give a damn. Hypocrites.
Via Fatima Madani
I have witnessed the [formerly] thriving Palestinian Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. I’ve been there and it was as if it was a piece of sovereign Palestinian soil.
I want to agree with Sarah again in regards to how the Palestinians have been treated in Syria.
I haven’t been to Yarmouk but some of my closest comrades whom I’ve been close to for years and Palestinians from Yarmouk can definitely confirm that.
It’s important to note that Syria sent food and weapons to Gaza when the violence broke out by the hands of the zionists.
I also agree with Fatima’s comments on the PFLP. This is true. They’ve been the main force trying to protect the Palestinians.
Via Samia Saleh
Originally posted on Facebook, 12 January 2014
As when that other murdering tool of imperialism Margaret Thatcher died last year, I can’t feel any particular triumph at the death of Ariel Sharon.
He is one more blood-soaked war criminal who will never be brought to justice – having lived to a ripe old age and received the best possible medical care for years. Care that is routinely denied to those Palestinians who have survived the many attempts to wipe them out by imperialist-backed zionism.
There will be no justice for Sharon’s victims – or for any of those other millions who have been killed and pushed off their land and out of their homes across the Middle East – until imperialism is defeated and its hideous creation Israel is relegated to the dustbin of history.
The struggle continues. And right now the front line of that struggle is in Syria, with tentacles spreading across Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere.
If you truly want to see imperialism and zionism defeated in the Middle East, if you want to see freedom for Palestine and an end to the reign of all the murdering Sharons, make sure you are doing everything possible to support the national-unity government of Bashar al-Assad against the jihadi death squads.
The Syrian people don’t need ‘aid’ for orphans, they need Saudi, Israel, Qatar and Turkey, who are all acting as proxies for Britain, the US and France, to stop sending money, weapons and mercenaries to tear their country apart.
Everyone who falls for the propaganda lies about Syria and gives support to the takfiri scum – or even to the west-backed ‘humanitarian NGOs’ – in Syria is holding back the chances of victory for Palestine and freedom for the people of the entire Arab world. They are prolonging the life of this terrible system and allowing the body count to rise.
I’m sorry Sharon died in a hospital bed and not in a hangman’s noose. Let our revenge be the laughter of our children … or our children’s children … or our children’s children’s children. The struggle continues for as long as it takes.
Hasta la victoria siempre!
Soon I was surrounded by a whole lot of children. Kids without homes, without parents, without futures. But they were the children of Sabra and the children of Shatila. One of them spotted my pocket camera, and wanted a picture taken. Then they all stood together, wanting their pictures taken. They wanted me to show their picture to the people of the world.
Even if they were killed and the camps were demolished, the world would know that they were the children of Sabra and Shatila, and were not afraid. As I focused my camera, they all held up their hands and made victory signs, right in front of their destroyed homes, where many had been killed. Dear little friends, you taught me what courage and struggle are about …
I looked into the face of death and have seen its power and ugliness, but I have also looked into its eyes, and seen its fear. For our children are coming, and they are not afraid.
A small selection of reactions to the death of Nelson Mandela, along with some quotes from the man himself.
Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.
– Nelson Mandela, Letter from underground, 26 June 1961
Our long walk to freedom will continue until oppression and exploitation, war and hunger, ignorance and poverty are a thing of the past.
To this end, let us celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela, defend his revolutionary legacy in the face of distortions and lies and intensify the struggle against imperialism. There is no better way we can honour this outstanding son of the African soil!
– Tribute to Nelson Mandela by Khwezi Kadalie of the Marxist Workers School of South Africa, 15 December 2013
During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to the struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.
It is an ideal which I hope to live for, and see realised. But my Lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.
– Nelson Mandela at his trial for sabotage and treason in Rivonia, 20 April 1964
In the life of every nation there arise men who leave an indelible and eternal stamp on the history of their peoples; men who are both products and makers of history.
And when they pass they leave a vision of a new and better life and the tools with which to win and build it.
The people of Asia and Africa have seen through the slanderous campaign conducted by the USA against the socialist countries. They know that their independence is threatened not by any of the countries in the socialist camp but by the USA, which has surrounded their continent with military bases.
The communist bogey is an American stunt to distract the attention of the people of Africa from the real issue facing them, namely, American imperialism.
– Nelson Mandela, The Struggle Is My Life
If you supported the war against the Libyan Jamahiriyah and called Gaddafi a “dictator”, then shut up about Mandela.
If you don’t support socialist Cuba, then shut up about Mandela.
If you don’t support the struggle of the Palestinian people for national liberation, then shut up about Mandela.
If you don’t support President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF, if you think he’s a dictator and you don’t support the struggle to free the land, then shut up about Mandela.
If you don’t think that armed struggle is a legitimate tool in the hands of the oppressed to free themselves, then shut up about Mandela.
– Erich Struch, Chicago, via Facebook
Some say that it is impossible to acquire the great qualities of revolutionary geniuses like Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin and that it is impossible to raise our own qualities to the same level as theirs.
But as long as party members work hard and earnestly, never allow themselves to be isolated for one single moment from the day-to-day struggle of the people, and make serious efforts to study Marxist literature, learn from the experiences of other comrades and the masses of the people, and constantly strive to steel and cultivate themselves, they will be perfectly able to raise their qualities to the same level as that of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin.
– Nelson Mandela, How To Be a Good Communist
When Cameron latches on the Mandela bandwagon this week remember that in 1985 he was a top member of the Federation of Conservative Students, who produced the “Hang Mandela” posters.
In 1989 Cameron worked in the Tory Policy Unit at Central Office and went on a anti-sanctions fact-finding mission to South Africa with a pro-apartheid lobby firm that was sponsored by Botha.
Remember this when he tells the world he was inspired by Madiba.
– Unknown author, via Tori Rae, West Yorkshire on Facebook
Fifty years of non-violence had brought the African people nothing but more and more repressive legislation, and fewer and fewer rights.
– Nelson Mandela, statement from the dock during the Riviona trial
I had no epiphany, no singular revelation, no moment of truth. But a steady accumulation of a thousand slights, a thousand indignities and a thousand unremembered moments produced in me an anger, a rebelliousness, a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people.
– Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom
Maybe the simplest demonstration of the hypocrisy and crocodile tears here is that Mandela and Gaddafi were close friends, and while Obama is declaring a day of prayer for one, he killed the other.
Or maybe it’s that British prime minister David Cameron, who is so saddened by Mandela’s death, spent much of 1985 distributing “Hang Mandela” posters. They’re mourning Mandela because they don’t dare not to, not because they want to.
– Daniel Sullivan, Dallas, via Facebook
Long live the Cuban Revolution. Long live comrade Fidel Castro … Cuban internationalists have done so much for African independence, freedom, and justice.
We admire the sacrifices of the Cuban people in maintaining their independence and sovereignty in the face of a vicious imperialist campaign designed to destroy the advances of the Cuban revolution. We too want to control our destiny …
There can be no surrender. It is a case of freedom or death. The Cuban revolution has been a source of inspiration to all freedom-loving people.
– Nelson Mandela, Speech at the celebration of the start of the Cuban revolution, 26 July 1991, Havana
During the conflict there was a close working relationship between Irish republicans and the ANC … the IRA provided practical training and advice and assistance with military operations to MK [Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation, the ANC's military wing, founded by Nelson Mandela and others].
… the famous attack of 31 May 1980 on Sasal Oil Refinery near J’Burg was carried out with the assistance of the Irish Republican Army …
The British government at the time  lobbied hard for Madiba not to meet me. And when it was clear that the ANC was determined and Madiba was determined that the visit should go ahead the British lobbied for no handshake or photograph. He ignored them.
– Gerry Adams pays tribute to a comrade-in-arms in the Irish Dáil
If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America.
We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.
– Nelson Mandela, Address at the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in Pretoria, 4 December 1997
4 December 1997, Pretoria
Tata Madiba, no matter how much they try to use your name, no matter how much they want to bathe in your glory, we know that none of your gentleness, none of your humanity, and none of your integrity will rub off onto them, for they don’t possess gentleness, humanity nor integrity.
We know that you are on the side of the downtrodden, the oppressed and exploited.
We know that you will never abandon a single political prisoner, nor will you ever abandon a single fighter for justice and freedom.
– From Tata Madiba, we are ONE with you by ZK Kubu, South Africa
No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do.
Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi. They are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.
– Nelson Mandela on his visit to Libya, which he made as soon as he was released from prison in 1990
The truth is that Mandela was above all else a freedom fighter and a leader of armed struggle against the apartheid regime and its imperialist backers.
He supported and in turn was supported by other freedom fighters the world over, from the IRA, Yasser Arafat’s PLO, Muammer Gaddafi’s Libya, to Fidel Castro of Cuba, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Agostino Neto of the MPLA, etc. – all of whom were branded as terrorists by the representatives of imperialism and its gigantic propaganda machine.
It is to the great credit and integrity of Mandela that he refused to turn his back on any of them, in spite of the pressure brought to bear upon him by imperialism.
– Lalkar tribute to Mandela, January 2013
The ANC has a proud record of struggle and resistance to the efforts of successive white minority regimes to entrench this system and make it an everlasting reality defining the nature and functioning of South African society.
It is precisely that struggle which has changed the balance of forces to such an extent that the apartheid system is now under retreat. Through the struggles of our people the ban on the ANC has been lifted and we are able to meet in our own country today.
A regime whose ideology is based on a virulent anti-communism has been forced to unban our ally the South African Communist Party, and remove provisions from the law prohibiting the propagation of communist ideals …
We have suspended armed action, but we have not terminated the armed struggle. Whether it is deployed inside the country or outside, the Umkhonto we Sizwe has therefore a responsibility to keep itself in a state of readiness in case the forces of counter-revolution once more block the path of peaceful transition to a democratic society.
– Nelson Mandela, speech to the ANC Congress in Durban, 2 July 1991
Hamba Kahle, Madiba. Qhawe la ma Qhawe! (Go well, rest in peace, Madiba, hero among heroes!)
The goal of communism is a classless society based on the principle: from each according to his ability and to each according to his needs. The aim is to change the present world into a communist world where there will be no exploiters and no exploited, no oppressor and oppressed, no rich and no poor.
Communists fight for a world where there will be no unemployment, no poverty and starvation, disease and ignorance. In such a world there will be no capitalists, no imperialists, no fascists. There will be neither colonies nor wars.
– Nelson Mandela, How To Be a Good Communist
6 December 2013, via Facebook.
In the next days and weeks when all the bourgeois politicians and media whores are pretending they loved Mandela, and are doing their damnedest to turn him into the next Gandhi — into an advert for ‘peaceful protest’, ‘non-violence’ and all things respectable (ie, harmless to imperialism) — I will be remembering that our Madiba was a FREEDOM FIGHTER first and foremost.
He was a leader of the armed struggle against apartheid and imperialism. He supported and was supported by other freedom fighters all over the world, including the IRA, Yasser Arafat’s PLO, Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, Fidel Castro’s Cuba, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe … and the list goes on.
Like Mandela and the ANC, these have all been vilified and branded as ‘terrorists’ by the corporate media when they dared to stand up for themselves and their peoples. And even after the imperialists tried to turn Mandela into a poster boy for the ‘third way’, he refused to turn his back on his old friends.
Because the truth is that capitalists don’t do reason and debate. They understand only one language: FORCE. People get freedom only if they take it; it is never given.
So let Mandela’s example and his victory against apartheid teach us that if we are prepared to make sacrifices, if we are prepared to organise and if we are prepared to fight, we too can win.
La luta continua! Madiba zindabad!