UK Palestine political organising 2024 – Seema Syeda

The worldwide protests, boycotts, social media campaigns, independent journalistic and influencer exposure, legal challenges, lobbying campaigns and more have come together to create a profound shift in global discourse and opinion on the Palestine question. As key journalists such as Motaz Azaiza and Wael Al-Dahdouh have been evacuated from Gaza, a total information blackout and zero functioning hospitals creates the context for even worse atrocities than those we have yet seen; the urgency of ending the genocide is more acute then ever. There is also a crucial need to organise on local, national and international levels this burgeoning movement into a permanent anti-colonial and anti-capitalist force.

The UK National Context
Alongside all the highly important existing social movement and international solidarity organising, the UK needs a targeted national campaign group that stands/supports alternative candidates challenging MPs who have not voted for a ceasefire in the upcoming UK election. This should be supported by a broad-based coalition of sympathetic local and national groups that have been mobilising against the West’s complicity in the Gaza genocide. Trade union support is also key. While winning seats is welcome, the aim is not simply about electoral gains in a rigged and corrupt electoral system, but to take a clear stand and pressure and influence the existing Westminster political consensus from the outside.

While UKIP is rightly to be vilified, it has been the most successful political party of recent years; achieving its desired political aims having only ever elected 1 MP to parliament. In this political moment, millions of people across the UK balk at voting for Labour, a party deeply complicit in genocide. Many people will simply not vote. They are looking for an alternative. This alternative must mobilise now and has the potential to send a shockwave through the political establishment. It must be organised not just as a matter of strategy, but as a matter of principle. The broader struggle against colonialism and capitalism is of course long; this is a key moment of political opportunity for a tactical and significant victory.

Next Steps
A number of independent candidates and campaigns have appeared across the country to challenge the worst offending and most complacent Labour MPs. The ‘No Ceasefire No Vote’ conference is a key rallying event to bring these disparate groups together, alongside trade union support. A single issue campaign structure bringing independent and perhaps also green candidates should also be planned for launch ahead of the conference – something to graft the event on and create a permanent campaigning organisation.

‘No Ceasefire No Vote’ should have a clear national communication strategy so that any individual who opposes the Gaza genocide can easily find a list of who to vote for in which constituency, and can also easily join/volunteer/be a paid member of the campaign so that the organisation can build its financial and on-the-ground activist base from the bottom up.

Political Framing
A broader theme of working towards a new or different democracy – people and grassroots led – acknowledging the total democratic failure of Western institutions, could be developed. More strategic discussions around this framing would be useful.

Seema Syeda

February 11, 2024

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