Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted that “war is the enemy of poor and working people,” and that the triple evils of racism, poverty, and militarism were to blame for the suffering of workers in the United States.
The Southern Workers Assembly stands in full solidarity with the people of Palestine, and joins workers around the world in expressing our outrage at the brutal, genocidal siege on Gaza by the Israeli government, with full economic, political, and military support from the United States. We call for the implementation of UN resolutions and established international law that defines crimes against humanity.
We additionally join the growing calls for an immediate ceasefire, an end to the occupation, and for an end to U.S. aid to Israel which has supported an apartheid regime in Palestine for decades.
Each year, the United States gives Israel around $4 billion of aid, mostly in the form of military armaments. The Biden administration recently requested an extra $14.3 billion in aid to Israel, and has been sending additional weapons that Israel is using to bomb hospitals, universities, refugee camps, and residential buildings. Since October 7, Israel has imposed a total blockade of Gaza, depriving the over 2 million people who live there — half of whom are children — access to food, water, medicine, and fuel, again with full backing from the U.S. government. While issuing orders for residents of Gaza to leave their homes, they’ve left people there with nowhere to safely evacuate to.
The U.S. aid to Israel, alongside the staggering $800 billion plus that the U.S. government spends on the military each year, should be used to fund workers’ needs, not wars abroad or to enrich the military industrial complex.
In recent weeks, millions around the world have taken to the streets to demand an end to the unrelenting bombing campaign and ground offensive by the Israeli government, which has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians at the time of this writing. Increasingly, workers are engaging in work stoppages and other job actions, heeding an October 16 call from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions to:
- Refuse to build weapons destined for Israel.
- Refuse to transport weapons to Israel.
- Pass motions in their trade union to this effect.
- Take action against complicit companies involved in implementing Israel’s brutal and illegal siege, especially if they have contracts with your institution.
- Pressure governments to stop all military trade with Israel and, in the case of the U.S., stop funding it.
We solidarize ourselves with this call, and encourage workers throughout industries in the South and elsewhere to find ways to engage with it, whether that’s through job actions, speakouts, open letters, petitions, or other activities. All efforts to broaden solidarity and increasingly to bring the working class movement into the Palestine solidarity movement are contributions towards ending the Israeli/U.S. occupation and war on the Palestinian people.
We are deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism and Islamophobia, as Jewish and Muslim communities around the world live in fear for their safety. There are also many disturbing efforts by employers and politicians to silence the growing solidarity movement. In recent weeks, workers have been fired for expressing opposition to the Israeli war being carried out with U.S. backing, and attacks are underway in Florida and elsewhere to ban the campus organization Students for Justice in Palestine, among other efforts to censor workers from speaking out. We encourage workers to strongly oppose such moves to limit free speech or to discriminate against workers on the basis of race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, immigration status, or otherwise.
Workers in the U.S. have a role to play in ending the siege on Gaza. We must continue to find every avenue to raise the call for a ceasefire and pressure the U.S. government to end its support for the ongoing bombardment of Gaza and all aid to Israel. One of the core tenets of the workers movement that we are building is internationalism – that in order to build the power necessary to transform our workplaces and our society, workers must unite and build solidarity across national borders.
In this critical moment, all efforts are needed to mobilize pressure on the U.S. government to stop the war on the people of Palestine.