A Palestine solidarity march on Oxford Street, central London, in December (Picture: Guy Smallman)

The movement for Palestine needs to come roaring back onto the streets. And it needs to not just reach the numbers and the militancy of last November, but go beyond it.

The numbers of the street movement for Palestine went down over Christmas. The calls from Stop the War, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others for national marches in London stopped and the push for local action was scaled back.

It’s almost a month since over 100,000 people joined the sixth national demonstration. And it’s nearly two months since around a million people raged through the capital.

This was the protest that sealed the fate of former home secretary Suella Braverman and showed the mass backing for Palestine.

That doesn’t mean the fury and horror at what Israel is doing in Gaza has gone away. There are still millions of people in Britain sickened at the massacres by Israel and the unstinting support for Zionism from Rishi Sunak, Joe Biden—and Keir Starmer.

Thousands of people did continue with local protests and other actions over the last few weeks. But it’s more apparent now that “one big march” or even a series of marches won’t by themselves deliver a real ceasefire, let alone justice for the Palestinians.

Demonstrations still matter. A key task is to work for large numbers on the streets this Saturday and a huge turnout in London next Saturday on 13 January.

Such demonstrations will show that we are not prepared to go quiet or to ignore the genocidal crimes of Israeli apartheid. When hundreds of thousands are on the streets it raises the issue of going further.

It makes the movement more militant and drives it further into the workplaces, schools and universities. It makes it easier to pressure the trade union leaders to show more than weak vocal support for the Palestinians. We have to revive the sense of revolt in every layer of society.

Disrupting our rulers’ system is what matters most. Israel would not be able to continue its assault on the Palestinians without the backing of its sponsors and allies in the West, particularly Britain and the US.

The heroic Palestinian resistance is crucial, and so are revolts in the Arab regimes. But a movement that puts massive pressure on leaders in the West can play a vital role.

We need to keep up the organisation, agitation and education around Palestine and link the issue of imperialism to all other class issues. With the Tories on the rocks, and Labour split over Palestine, we need to take the movement to new heights.

Local demonstrations for Palestine across Britain, Saturday 6 January
Next national demonstration, Saturday 13 January, 12 noon, London
Stop the War London Activists’ Meeting,  Monday 8 January, 6:30pm, Mander Hall, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD
Target British universities’ links with Israel. Check out updated information from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. 

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