On Saturday 21 October, over 5000 people marched through downtown Auckland to protest the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza by the reactionary right-wing Israeli government, backed by Western imperialism. It was substantially larger than the first protest on Saturday 14 October where around 1000 people turned up. For over a week the Israeli military has been bombing Gaza relentlessly, killing thousands of civilians.
Protesters marching in support of Palestinians in Auckland, New Zealand
The previous week, the majority of NZ's political establishment, together with all western nations, had lined up behind Israel and imperialism, asserting Israel's "right to defend itself". This just gave the Israeli government the green light to start the slaughter. NZ Labour leader Chris Hipkins played a cowardly role, besmirching the traditions of the labour movement by effectively lending support to Netanyahu's far-right government - from the comfort of the other side of the world! His statement was all about Hamas, with not a single word about the occupation, oppression, and constant provocations of the Israeli government and far-right settlers against Palestinians in the leadup to Hamas' attack. Contrast this to left-wing Hadash MP Ofer Cassif in Israel itself, who denounced Israel's genocidal plans and has been suspended from the Knesset (Israeli parliament) for 45 days.
The worst that can happen to anyone in Aotearoa opposing the current murderous campaign against the Palestinians is to be accused of being "anti-semitic" or "pro-terrorism" by a few Zionist supporters and media hacks. For people inside Israel, going against the frenzy for revenge whipped up by the government is a different matter. And it is a different matter yet again for the people of Gaza and the Palestinian territories - a matter of life and death.
The disgusting accusations of being pro-terrorism are thrown by our political enemies to cover their support for the oppressor. We oppose the methods of individual terrorism against civilians, carried out by Hamas militants. But such attacks are a direct consequence of the oppression and occupation, for which full responsibility lies with the Israeli government. We support the methods of mass struggle - the Intifada. This includes international solidarity and struggle against our own ruling class. The class struggle can cut across ethnic divisions. The same class who lines up behind US and Israeli imperialism in their one-sided war on Gaza is the same class who will wage war on workers at home.
By 2pm a mass of people had gathered at Aotea square. There were a handful of speeches: by a Kiwi with Palestinian heritage who was part of a 2018 Flotilla to Gaza; a couple of young women from Gaza who recited poems; a representative of the Christian organisation Corpus Christi; and a representative of the Green Party. The attacks on Gaza were denounced and the NZ political establishment was criticised for its complicity. Both the National and Labour party leaderships were singled out.
After the speeches, people marched along Queen Street to the waterfront, carrying placards, banners, and waving Palestinian flags. The marchers stopped at the US Consulate on Customs Street, where they chanted slogans in support of Palestine and against Israeli and US imperialism:
"Free, free Palestine!"
"From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!"
"Israel, USA, how many kids did you kill today!?"
No one was home at the US Consulate, so the only thing the protestors could accomplish was to hold up traffic for several minutes. A number of people started drifting away but the majority were still full of energy to continue protesting. They marched back to Aotea square to continue the rally. Police were also out in force, heavily outnumbered by demonstrators. People were disciplined and there was no violence or arrests.
The video below was taken from the corner of Customs and Queen Streets as people marched back to Aotea square.
The speakers at the rally put the blame where it belongs - on the Israeli government. The simple solution is to end the occupation and give people their rights. However it will not happen under Zionism, a colonialist project whose main aim is to serve US imperialism in the Middle East. It will not be accomplished by the reactionary Arab governments who only yesterday were normalising relations with Israel and selling out the Palestinians. It will not be accomplished by that powerless talkfest called the United Nations. All these are part of the current system. A socialist revolution in the Middle East that sweeps away all of this rubbish is the only solution.
- Against the bombing of Gaza!
- For a mass uprising against the occupation, on both sides of the green line!
- Release all political prisoners!
- End land theft by Zionist settlers – and return all stolen land.
- End oppression! For equal rights for all people, regardless of ethnicity or religion.
- For a socialist federation of the Middle East!
- Intifada until victory!
For a detailed statement of our position, please read "Down with hypocrisy! Defend Gaza! - IMT Statement"
For news and analysis on this conflict from a communist perspective covering more than 20 years, see
Socialist Appeal is the NZ section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), a revolutionary organisation with groups in over 40 countries. Our aim is to build a world party of the working class that can overthrow capitalism and begin building a communist future.
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