In recent weeks, the working class has protested across the world, from the U.S. to India. Even more recent protests attempted to stop U.S. shipments of weapons that were meant to be sent to Israel; hundreds of protesters gathered around an arms shipment and other supplies and blockaded them from reaching Israel.
In Tacoma, U.S. protesters blockaded the port to stop a ship that carried supplies to Israel carrying Palestinian flags and chanting the slogan “Free Palestine”. “We want a ceasefire now. We want people to stop getting murdered now. We want a real examination and action on US foreign policy and US funding to Israel,” said Wassim Hage, one of the protesters at the Tacoma rally.
This outcry by the working class has only materially achieved minor delays in the military aid to Israel. This recent blockade of protesters only delayed the ship for a measly 12 hours.
Other protests currently happening across the world have also called for the continued slaughter of Palestinians to stop, including in the UK, where recently hundreds of thousands protested against the bombing of Gaza. The “official” police estimate of the size of the protest was 300 thousand, with pro-Palestinian estimates being 800 thousand. This significant number of people constitutes one of the biggest protests in UK history.
We, as communists, support and welcome these movements. However, spontaneous action by the working masses has not been successful in stopping the continued massacre in Palestine. There are multiple reasons that these protests have failed to stop the bloodshed in Gaza. Among them are such factors as lack of proper leadership, decentralization, and abstract demands put forth by the protestors.
For example, the most infamous American labor union, AFL-CIO, made vague statements in support of stopping the invasion of Palestine. While on the contrary, they also have been making pro-Israeli statements with a history of supporting the Israeli regime. Furthermore, this contradicts other trade unions such as United Electric (UE) which has been “demanding an end to military aid to Israel”. The desecration of coherency leads to a mixed outlook, which is no basis for leadership. This leadership role should instead be fulfilled by a vanguard party.
Therefore, only a few anti-war protests and strikes managed to stop shipments of arms to Israel. The masses of workers have not created a leadership or organizational process for these protests. Currently, unions and movements across the world are disjointed and unorganized. Due to the absence of a leading vanguard party, the masses of spontaneous workers fall into as pointed out by Lenin:
“The working class spontaneously gravitates towards socialism; nevertheless, and most widespread (and continuously and diversely revived) bourgeois ideology spontaneously imposes itself upon the working class to a still greater degree. - What Is To Be Done?”
Despite these problems, they are right in fighting for the people of Palestine. It is in our interest as communists to lead these movements and help the working class achieve its final goal, overthrowing the capitalist class. But the communists can do it only when they are organized in a united communist organization, a vanguard party, guided by the Marxist-Leninist theory.