Gaza Solidarity in Austria: report of the demonstration on 23.11.

RKOB, Austrian section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 25.11.2012

 

About 400-500 people joined a demonstration on 23.11. against the Israeli war of terror in Gaza. Several organizations of the Muslim migrant community as well as the campaign “Gaza must live” and the RKOB (Austrian section of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency) called for the demonstration. In addition also a number of activists from the Syrian opposition against the Assad dictatorship joined the demonstration.

The RKOB had a militant and lively contingent of about 60-70 activists. We raised slogans in German, Arabic and Turkish language in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance and against the Zionist oppressor state. Our internationalism was well reflected also by the fact that activists from Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Austria, Bosnia, Serbia, Somalia, Kurdistan, Egypt, Poland and other countries participated in our contingent. The RKOB was the most active left-wing force in all actions since the Gaza war started. (at the same time we also want to mention the valuable contribution of the comrades from the Anti-imperialist Camp).

Michael Pröbsting, representative of RKOB, stressed in his speech at the closing rally the need for a determined and resolute struggle for the freedom of Palestine. He stressed the importance of the resistance of the Palestinian people in Gaza. It is used worldwide as a symbol of the struggle against oppression. Oppression and exploitation of the working people takes place not only in Palestine but also in other countries including Austria. It is therefore decisive to build a massive and determined resistance to fight for our rights.

The reformist and centrist Austrian workers movement and left were largely absent. They ignored not only the demonstration on 23.11. but all (!) solidarity actions since the beginning of the war. This is not accidently but reflects the massive strength of Zionist positions in the official labour movement. In particular social democracy has a significant pro-Israeli wing. The leadership of the Communist Party has also moved towards Zionism in the past decade. CP leader Walter Baier accused our comrade Pröbsting in 2006 in an article in the main bourgeois daily paper “Die Presse” of “Anti-Semitism” because we reject the existence of the Israeli state! The centrist left finally does not want to isolate themselves from the reformist milieu or is simply full of aristocratic prejudices for the migrants and oppressed people so they ignore this issue.

A weakness of the demonstration was the failure of a significant part of the Muslim community leaderships to mobilize. They hesitated to mobilize from the beginning. Only after several days of war they agreed to call for a demonstration and they did do so only because of the massive pressure of many ordinary Muslim migrants. When the ceasefire was agrred – which took place a day after the community leaders announced the demonstration – the pressure from the rank and file lessened a bit so many leaders felt released from the obligation to mobilize. As a result we didn’t see several thousands of migrants on the streets – as it was the case during the war in 2008/09 or during the Mavi Marmara crisis in June 2010 – but only several hundreds.

This reflects the petty-bourgeois character of the Muslim community leaderships. They wish to avoid mass mobilizations in order to prevent a radicalization of the rank and file and to prevent that they come into contact with people like us “the communists”.

This was particularly the case this time where the RKOB could – through its active and very visible intervention from the first day of the war – build a prestige, profile and contacts with many migrants. As a result a sector of the community leadership wiped up anti-communist prejudices and slander amongst their supporters against us. So at the demonstration hard-core supporters of these petty-bourgeois leaders tried to harass a number of Muslims who are sympathetic to our participation and activities in the Gaza solidarity movement. Some even tried to destroy our flags. Naturally we reacted in an organized and determined way. We are glad that many brothers and sisters from the Muslim community opposed the destructive intervention from these patty-bourgeois forces and helped us to stop this. We denounce the behavior of this sector of the community leadership as divisive and reactionary.

In order to beat the Israeli oppression we don’t need communalist backward isolation of migrants but the unity in struggle of the oppressed.

 

Pictures and videos of the rally can be viewed on the RKOB website:

http://www.rkob.net/multimedia/video-und-bilder-gaza-23-nov-2012/

 

We refer those who are interested to a video from the Egyptian video producer Khaled Hamdoun. It gives a good impression of the Gaza solidarity rally on 18.11.2012 and includes also interviews with two leaders of the RKOB:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGdT6905vT8&feature=colike

 

(This is a shortened and edited translation of a report which appeared in German language)