June 14, 2024

On December 7, 2023, the following speech was delivered by a member of the Greater Miami Local Committee following a public screening of the documentary Arna’s Children. The documentary shows in intimate detail the stories of a group of young Palestinians in Jenin during the 1990s through to the Second Intifada in the 2000s. As the documentary follows Arna and the Palestinian children over time, the audience witnesses the daily struggle under the Israeli occupation.

The screening and speech (transcribed below) were hosted in Miami, FL before an audience of community activists and workers.

I’d like to start by thanking you all again for coming out here tonight and braving the [heavy traffic]. But hey, at least you got to listen to music a little longer or enjoy a podcast. For me, I got to practice this part.

As we saw in Arna’s Children, [the genocide of Palestinians] is a continuous process. The genocide of the Palestinian people has been ongoing for over a century. It began with the Zionist movement in the late 1800s, took a major step with the Balfour Declaration on behalf of the British, and reached a whole new phase in 1948 with the Declaration of the Israeli state. The establishment of the Israeli state, commemorated as their independence day, marked a significant step. Immediately following this declaration was the Nakba, the Arabic word for catastrophe. 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes in the Nakba – never to return, with an appalling 15,000 killed in the process.

As of today, it has been exactly two months since the start of the genocide in Gaza. The bombing campaigns, as a response to Operation Al-Aqsa Flood launched by Hamas, PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), DFLP (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and the Islamic Jihad from Gaza. Since then, 1.8 million Gazans have been displaced. The estimate of the dead stands at 20,000, surpassing the Nakba. This number is undoubtedly higher today than it was just a week ago.

In only this past weekend, following a four-day pause in the bombing, Benjamin Netanyahu stated unambiguously that [Israel] intends to continue this operation into 2024. News reports indicate that Israel knew of the operation a whole year in advance, understanding exactly what they wanted to achieve and are committed to seeing it through to the bloody end. This will likely mean the wholesale annexation of the Gaza Strip, the displacement of 2.2 million Gazans, and the deaths of unknown thousands.

For the past two months, we’ve been waking up to images of rubble, bloody hospital floors, dead children, and parents saying their final goodbyes. That’s their reality. We’re witnessing it from afar, and we can only imagine a fraction of the suffering experienced in Gaza.

How is it that, in two months of this horrific genocide, 300,000 people in Washington DC, 500,000 in London, 2 million in Indonesia are calling for a ceasefire, while governments that see the same images and footage show a radically different response? We are clearly willing to get out on the streets, attend demonstrations, and protest against armed shipments, like with the stoppage boat in Tacoma, Washington.

By a show of hands, how many of you have been to a demonstration in the past two months?

(All in the crowd raise hands)

Everybody. We are clearly willing to put in our time, our lives, and our efforts in support of the Gazan people, in solidarity with their struggle. Yet, the ruling class has not so much as called for a ceasefire.

Is the US government unaware that Israel plans to annex all of Gaza, leading to the deaths of who knows how many more Gazans? No, they’re not unaware. In fact, they have an interest in completing this operation. The state of Israel is a tool for the US Government, propped up by the US government, serving as a lap dog of US imperialism in the region. Israel sits at the center of the Afro-Eurasian continent, right between two huge economic centers, next to oil-rich states. To guarantee cheap oil and access to trade routes through the Suez Canal, Israel serves as a willing military and economic outpost of the US in the region.

This is not something they hide from us or try to obfuscate. Joe Biden himself famously said, ‘if Israel did not exist, the US would have to invent an Israel.’ Lucky for him, the UK did it 70 years ago. The US capitalist class and corporations with an interest in the natural gas in Gaza, trade routes, and combating other imperialist forces, view the Palestinian people as nothing but an obstacle. As long as there is a Palestine, as long as there is Palestinian resistance, Israel is not entirely secure, and the interests of imperialist backers in the US and the EU are not fully secure.

So, it’s not just that Gaza is in the way; it has to be cleared out of the way for them to secure their interests. We talk about our responsibility to the Gazan people, to their struggle, and we have stood in solidarity with them, attending demonstrations, talking to friends and coworkers about the ongoing genocide in Gaza. But we need to ensure we fulfill our responsibility to the Gazan people, the people in Gaza and Palestine, and the working class worldwide.

The capitalist class, as we all know, has an interest in this genocide, but we do not. Currently, we do not have the power, and the capitalist class does. To fully stop them, we must elevate our demands, calling for a complete end to all aid to Israel, something the US government would have to be pressured to an absurd degree to consider. Despite all the demonstrations and efforts, they haven’t budged an inch.

To fulfill our responsibility and stand in full solidarity with the Palestinian people, we must understand that, as the working class, we hold the power to fight back. We must translate our solidarity into organization along class lines and utilize that solidarity, organization, and power to stop this genocide. This struggle has a name, and it’s the struggle for Socialism. Our struggle in the US to stand in solidarity with Palestine, to end the ongoing genocide by the Israeli state, is the struggle for socialism. As the working class, we must organize and fight for the power, to be able to stop this genocide.

As long as the capitalist class remains in power in the US, they will have an interest in carrying out this genocide in Gaza. The West Bank, Sudan, the Congo, and working people worldwide are obstacles to [the capitalist class], extracting every last inch of profit they can from the world.

We’ve already introduced ourselves as the Communist Workers Platform USA. If you are interested in learning more about what we do or contributing to any future efforts, please sign in on the sheet and come talk to us afterwards. Thank you all again for showing up, thank you for watching this rather difficult film together, and I know that we’ll all continue to work in the struggle together.

And if we can end with a call… FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA!

[audience: PALESTINE WILL BE FREE!]

Thank you all!