LAST Friday, the Tory plan to designate the political wing of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas as a ‘terrorist organisation’ was nodded through Parliament without any debate after not a single Labour MP raised any objection.
If just one Labour MP had objected this would have forced a debate and vote, but instead, all those MPs who in the past have professed support for the Palestinian struggle either made sure they were absent or sat on their hands.
This cowardly refusal to make a stand allowed this reactionary legislation, which makes it an offence to meet any Hamas official, wear clothing or badges supporting Hamas or in any way indicate support for the organisation, to pass into law without any opposition at all.
Anyone convicted faces up to 14 years in jail!
As the right-wing Daily Mail crowed when the legislation was first announced, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn himself would be treated as a terrorist if he supports the Palestinian group in the future.
Not just Corbyn of course, under this law all the trade unions and the TUC, that have for decades supported the struggle of the Palestinian people, face the same threat.
All those groups, individuals and trade unions that support the right of Hamas to defend the people of Gaza now face jail under this law that not a single Labour MP opposed.
Having set the precedent with Hamas, it does not take any great leap of the imagination to see that next in-line for a legal ban will be trade unions and the right to strike.
Already, the Tory legislation in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill gives the police powers to ban picketing or any gathering they choose to designate as causing a ‘nuisance’.
The next step will be for the Tories, along with their Labour allies, to declare a state of emergency as workers take action to defend their living standards from spiralling inflation and the economic collapse of British capitalism.
Trade unions and the working class will be dealt with in the same way as Hamas.
The outlawing of Hamas and any support for the liberation movement in Palestine must be a wake-up call for the trade unions and the entire working class, as it sets a dangerous precedent for the emergence of a new form of rule where all the legal rights of workers to fight for wages and conditions are smashed in the name of ‘rescuing’ bankrupt British capitalism.
Just as the Labour MPs betrayed the Palestinian people last week so the Tories are relying on the right-wing leadership of the Labour Party to betray the entire working class by joining with them in some government of national emergency to ‘nod through’ draconian laws that declare trade unions and strikes a ‘terrorist threat’ to capitalism.
The Tory attack on Hamas is an attack on all Palestinians and an attack on the trade unions and millions of workers who support their struggle.
Last May, 250,000 workers and youth took to the streets of London to condemn the murderous attacks by Israel on Gaza, with 15 of the UK’s largest unions represented.
At the rally following the march Kevin Courtney, leader of the National Education Union, told the vast crowd that the trade unions were in solidarity with the general strike in Palestine and that ‘we need to take similar action for Palestine here.’
The time has come for the unions to take up this call and organise a one-day general strike to force the Tories to dump all the laws criminalising support for Hamas, and reverse the decision.
The Tories will never do this of course, so the unions must prepare to go forward from this to an all-out general strike to bring down this Tory government and go forward to a workers’ government that will recognise and give all material support to an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Kicking out the Tories and advancing to a workers’ government and socialism is the only way to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and the only way to defeat the common enemy of both Palestinians and the working class at home.