Strike for Palestine May Day and Nakba Day

Call to action from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions – Gaza:

This May Day and Nakba Day [May 15], we, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions – Gaza, urgently appeal to our brothers and sisters in the international trade union movement to take a stand in solidarity with Palestine by joining us in collective action to disrupt business as usual.

We ask you to challenge the status quo in your workplaces and communities, refusing to support violence against Palestinians. Raise your voices and take action to disrupt the flow of commerce and trade that sustains Israel’s military occupation and exploitation of Palestinian workers.

Our people, especially those in Gaza, are enduring unspeakable atrocities — Israel’s relentless genocidal bombardment, starvation policies, forced displacement and land confiscation have been broadcast worldwide. These atrocities compound years of a brutal siege and military occupation that have decimated our working conditions. Israel’s genocidal war against the Gaza Strip is not an exception but a continuation of our ongoing 1948 Nakba and a feature of Israeli settler colonialism.

Palestinian workers have always been the backbone of the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice. Israel’s deliberate targeting of trade union facilities, including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions headquarters in Gaza, along with all our offices, constitutes a flagrant assault on the very livelihoods of Palestinian workers. Despite this unrelenting onslaught, we persist in safeguarding our communities, educating children in makeshift tents, getting the news out, tending to the wounded and organizing food distribution. As Palestinian workers, we make a commitment to stand strong for our communities.

This May Day and Nakba Day, as governments continue to turn a blind eye, we draw on the long tradition of trade union internationalism and speak directly to you: We urge you to stand in solidarity with our struggle and take decisive action to honor the countless martyrs lost and the families torn apart and build pressure for a free Palestine.

Fellow workers, particularly those in the arms and transport sectors, we implore you to consider that your livelihoods should not be based on the destruction of our homeland and lives. While we know too well the importance of decent jobs, we urge you to think about the products you manufacture and transport and where they are ultimately deployed. Decent employment should never come at the expense of countless Palestinian lives. As the ones directly affected by arms manufactured and moved internationally, we simply ask you to embrace the principle that an injury to one is truly an injury to all.

Throughout history, workers have bravely opposed oppressive regimes. We have refused to handle goods from apartheid South Africa, and factory workers have rejected the production of arms for dictatorships like Chile’s Pinochet. As the Palestinian death toll continues to climb, this May Day and as we mark 76 years since the colonization of Palestine and the uprooting of over 750,000 Palestinians from their lands during the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948, we ask you to stand with us — and let us strive together to construct economies rooted in justice not destruction.

Stand with us as we demand an end to Israel’s genocide and siege in Gaza.

Stand with us as we demand our rights as workers for a decent living, free from settler colonialism and military occupation.

Take Action!

Here are some actions you can take this May Day (May 1, 2024) and Nakba Day (May 15, 2024): Refuse to handle goods coming from or destined to Israel.  Organize a work stoppage or slowdown. Hold educational meetings within your trade union branch to discuss the Palestinian struggle.

Workers Solidarity Day with Palestine. Philadelphia, April 13, 2024. WW Photo:  Joe Piette

Distribute informational flyers, pamphlets or newsletters in your workplace to educate colleagues and provide resources for action. Circulate a workplace petition among coworkers calling for specific actions or policy changes, such as divesting pension funds from companies complicit in the occupation or implementing boycott measures against complicit companies.

Now is the time for courageous worker-led solidarity! Long live international solidarity with Palestinian workers in their struggle for return and liberation!

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