Palestine’s Day (What’s Happening newsletter #17)

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Showing love for Palestine on Valentine’s Day

The prolific grassroots campaigners at Palestine Action marked 14 February 2022 with acts of resistance at two arms factories. The direct actions in Runcorn and Reading aimed to disrupt the supply chain of Israeli arms company Elbit. Protesters drenched the buildings in red paint and broke windows.

The group said in a press release:

This double-action marks an escalation of the campaign against Elbit following recent victories in the courts, with 11 activists walking free from charges over the past two months, and in the direct action campaign, with news breaking last month that the long-targeted Oldham factory has been forced to close permanently.

It added:

Elbit are not able to operate without a network of complicit firms and accomplices, including APPH and Thales targeted today.

It also stressed its intention “to shut down all remaining Elbit sites in Britain”, and to “do the same to any of Elbit’s partners – if they fail to publicly cut ties with Elbit Systems”.

It then emphasised a message of love, saying:

Taking action is solidarity, and solidarity is love – with these activists putting solidarity into action this Valentine’s Day to dismantle Elbit’s brutal war machine. Today, we’re choosing to show love for humanity; by destroying the tools of apartheid and working to stop the production of weapons under which millions live in a state of fear.

APPH was shut down by an action in June last year. Thales are business partners with Elbit at UAV Systems, Shenstone, which has been shut several times by actions including this most recent one.

Great Ormond Street Strike Injunction

As reported previously, security guards are campaigning to be brought in-house at the famous children’s hospital. After getting nowhere with initial attempts to negotiate with hospital management, an almost unanimous strike ballot was held and a six-week strike began last week.

The hospital’s response has been to take out an emergency injunction to prevent any rallies, singing, or even holding banners within 200 metres of the hospital, effectively making their presence and peaceful protest illegal.

The GOSH security guards are currently the only workers on site who don’t receive sick pay, and the mainly racialised out-sourced workers want parity with fellow workers, including cleaners who were brought in-house recently.

Their union, United Voices of the World, called for support when it challenged the undemocratic injunction at the High Court on Wednesday 16 February.

Other News

  • In January 2022, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported on the murder of seven journalists around the world. Four of those murders took place in Mexico, with the others happening in Haiti and Myanmar (Burma). The group calls Mexico “the deadliest country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere”. In the last two decades, few years have gone by without at least one murder. And on 10 February, at least two attackers murdered yet another journalist, Heber López. The CPJ reports that: “The day before his killing, López published a short article accusing… a former municipal official… of corruption, and alleged that she tried to coerce locals to vote for her”.
  • Some union victories include thousands of BMW Mini workers in Oxford securing pay increases, First bus drivers in Manchester getting an improved pay offer, and B&Q distribution workers in Worksop obtaining a pay rise. Meanwhile, staff began to strike at 44 universities across the UK.


That’s all for this week. Please let us know of any stories and issues you’d like to see more of, and remember to subscribe on YouTube.