Britain: Gaza war – a lightning rod for seething anger everywhere

Events in the Middle East are having a profound impact on consciousness in Britain. While the establishment all sing from the same hypocritical hymn sheet, hundreds of thousands are taking to the streets. Revolutionary explosions impend.

[Originally published at]

Lenin once wrote an article entitled Inflammable Material in World Politics. This headline aptly describes the present international situation. One crisis follows another, in rapid succession, whether it be economic, political, or military.

Following on from the pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, we have the unfolding catastrophe in Palestine, which has a long way to run. At the time of writing, Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza has not properly begun yet.

The brutality of the bombing by Israeli armed forces has sent shockwaves across the world. As we go to press, more than 8,000 innocent Palestinians have been killed. This includes several thousand children, hurriedly buried in mass graves. Many more Gazans are missing. Over a million have been displaced from their homes.

The imperialists in Washington, London, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere are responsible for this nightmare. They attempt to cover up their crimes by blaming their victims, just as every murderous ruling class has done throughout history.

But ordinary people can see through this deception, despite the cacophonous propaganda campaign of the capitalist media. We can see the blood on their hands.

Starmer and the establishment

The British establishment and all their toadies are hellbent on supporting the ruling clique in Israel, who have oppressed the Palestinians for 75 years.

“Israel has a right to defend itself,” assert Biden, Sunak, and the rest of the western imperialists, justifying Israeli war crimes. But the downtrodden Palestinians have no such right.

‘Sir’ Keir Starmer has joined this hypocritical chorus, echoing the Tories and the imperialists at every turn. This former human rights lawyer, ever so keen to show the ruling class how statesman-like he is, even defended Israel’s deadly siege of Gaza.

Under pressure, the Labour leader later backtracked. But his initial Pavlovian response reveals his staunch support for capitalism and imperialism.

Sunak Starmer Class divide Image Socialist AppealThe British establishment and all their toadies are hellbent on supporting the ruling clique in Israel / Image: Socialist Appeal

Sunak and Starmer’s jingoism has added to the outrage felt towards the entire establishment. While the Tory and Labour leaders, in lockstep, oppose a ceasefire in Gaza, a recent YouGov poll shows 76% in favour of such a demand, with only 8% against.

Among Muslim communities in Britain, there is revulsion. One survey of 30,000 Muslim voters recorded a drop of 66 percentage points in support for Starmer’s Labour, were a general election to be held now, from 71% to just 5%.

The survey found that almost all Muslims in Britain – 98% – have a negative view of Labour and the Tories on the issue of Palestine. Some 40% said that they would abstain in an election.

This collapse in support for Labour is unprecedented. You would have to go back to Blair’s support for the 2003 war in Iraq for any comparison.

Despite Starmer’s efforts to ‘sanitise’ the party over the last few years, through a persistent purge of left-wingers, a string of Labour councillors have resigned in protest in recent weeks. Many ordinary members have also been tearing up their cards.

Even senior Labour figures, such as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, have broken ranks with the leadership, as have various shadow ministers.

Them and us

The surveys and opinion polls demonstrate how quickly the mood can change. The situation has become extremely volatile, with cracks and fissures opening up across society.

The question of Palestine is feeding into a class anger; into a ‘them and us’ attitude, with an alliance of cynical, out-of-touch elites on one side, and ordinary workers and their families on the other.

With each passing day, there is a growing hatred towards the Tories and Starmer’s Labour, towards the establishment, and towards the capitalist system generally.

The youth in particular are becoming increasingly radicalised. This is reflected in weekend after weekend of massive demonstrations across Britain.

According to one UK opinion poll, 39% of those between 18-24 years old sympathise with the Palestinians, while only 11% sympathise with Israel. These figures are reversed, however, when it comes to those over 65.

In other words, the most vibrant and dynamic sections of society – those who represent the future – support the struggles of the oppressed, and are looking for a fundamental change.

Catalyst for consciousness

Socialist Appeal communist bloc Palestine march Image Socialist AppealThe cause of the Palestinians has become a catalyst for all the anger accumulated in the past period / Image: Socialist Appeal

The cause of the Palestinians has become a catalyst for all the anger accumulated in the past period – not only in the Middle East, but internationally. It is the lightning rod for the oppressed, exploited, and repressed everywhere.

Everything is coalescing. All the pent-up frustrations that have built up are coming to the fore once again over this latest crisis. The horror being inflicted on Gaza is acting as a spark for all this combustible material, giving rise to a further dramatic shift in consciousness.

Increasingly, workers and youth no longer trust the capitalist establishment, or their lying politicians and press. A big majority of people are sickened by the ruling class’ nauseating hypocrisy and corruption.

“An ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory,” explained Lenin. The very experience of life in this epoch of crisis is a rich lesson for millions.

Across the world, protestors cry for justice. But there is no justice under capitalism.

The system is in a complete impasse. This means profound instability at all levels. That is the real reason for the social and economic chaos breaking out across the planet.

Revolutionary explosions

The last 18 months has seen a reawakening of the working class in Britain, after decades of acquiescence. The impact of the cost-of-living crisis has forced millions to act. Many have taken part in strike action for the first time.

These class struggles have not gone away, but are set to intensify. New battles are on the horizon.

Revolution is not a single act, as Lenin explained. It is a process that builds up. Under the hammer blow of events, millions begin to question the entire system, as they are doing today.

And tomorrow they will be forced to go through the ‘school of Starmer’, with attacks on the working class even worse than those meted out by the Tories, given the depths of the crisis.

Millions will painfully learn the harsh realities of capitalism. They will see the barbarism produced by imperialism on a world scale.

But this will also provoke revolutionary explosions that will shake society, as with the Arab Spring.

For these movements to succeed, and put an end to this capitalist nightmare once and for all, a revolutionary party is needed. That is what we are building, with increased determination and urgency. Join us.

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