Two meetings on Palestine in Brighton
Wednesday, 1st of November witnessed two meetings on the question of Palestine in Brighton. These meetings were initiated by the Socialist Labour Party Youth who are also members of the Sussex University Palestine Society and the national Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. One meeting took place at 3pm on the campus of the University of Sussex chaired by Sukant Chandan, national student organiser of the SLP Youth. The speakers were Cde Harpal Brar, editor of Lalkar and SLP Executive member, Francis Clark-Lowes national Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Ayman Al-Arari who is the Chair of Sussex University Palestine Society, a Palestinian and former member of the Communist Party of Palestine (Cde Ayman left this party when it changed its name to the ‘People’s Party’). The second meeting took place in Brighton town centre at 7.30pm with the same speakers except that, due to Cde Ayman’s inability to attend, a 24year old Palestinian, George, (also a former member of the CP of Palestine, also leaving it after it changed its name) spoke in his place. The evening meeting was chaired by Dan Glazebrook, who is an SLP Youth member.
Both meetings were very well attended. The campus meeting saw over 70 people attending while the evening meeting saw 30 people attending. Francis Clark-Lowes addressed the racist and chauvinist language of Zionism, while stressing, as did all speakers, that Zionism is different from Judaism. We, as friends of Palestine, are not anti-Jew but against the ideology of Zionism which believes in an exclusive homeland for the Jews and at the cost of the displacement of the Palestinians. The formation of a ‘State for Jews’ could only lead, as it has done, to discrimination against the people who have existed there hitherto, i.e., the Palestinians. Francis outlined the history of Palestine up until 1948, the year of the formation of the State of Israel.
Harpal Brar took up the matter from this date stating that the main crime of the Arab people is that they sit on vast quantities of oil, without which modern day imperialism cannot function, as it needs oil for its industry, navy, army, i.e., all that is needed for the flow of profits into the pockets of capitalist-imperialism or ‘finance capital’. Cde Harpal clearly charted the development of the Palestinian movement up until the present day, an analysis which was very well received, particularly at Sussex campus where Cde Harpal sold several copies of his book ‘Imperialism, Decadent, Parasitic, Moribund Capitalism’. Cde Harpal stated that those who do not support the struggle of the Palestinians are scoundrels just like those who did not defend the Jews when they were being systematically oppressed, and subsequently exterminated, by the Hitlerite fascists. Recorded tapes of Harpal Brar and Francis Clark-Lowes can be bought for £3 from Sukant Chandan (email:
, Tel: 07776 233370).
Cde Ayman, as well as Cde George in the evening, explained the present situation of the Palestinian communities, villages and towns. He explained that the Palestinians are being systematically harassed and oppressed by one of the most well armed states, with all the latest technology in killing at their disposal against the Palestinian people. Cde Ayman gave the background to the ‘lynching’ of the two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah on the 12 October. They were not innocent soldiers who “took a wrong turning” but were part of Israeli assassination squads who were responsible at that time for the kidnapping, torture and murder of Palestinians, particularly of Palestinians who were released from Prison recently. State assassination is something which the Israeli state are masters of and the people of the world should be exposed to this very ‘democratic’ side of the State of Israel.
Sukant Chandan recited a poem, in dedication to the Palestinians, which is reproduced elsewhere in this issue.
All the speakers made clear that the Palestinians have no problem with Jews, with whom they want to live in peace. However this peace must be a just peace where Palestinians are treated equally. For the present Palestinians continue to be a people who are denied a homeland, who are massacred (young and old, Palestinians from a four year old girl shot through the head to elderly men!), and thus have a legitimate right to defend themselves from Israeli Apache helicopter gunships, snipers and tanks.
The meeting was a breath of fresh air as it was a meeting where speakers were speaking as part of a real struggle, they were not earning a relatively cushy income on the suffering of a people. The only funding and support they get is from the people whom they serve – the vast masses of the super-exploited and oppressed people abroad and the exploited and oppressed people in this country. If there is any purpose to education, surely it is to serve the people and advance the oppressed peoples’ struggle for liberation.