Source: Communist Revolution

Students at the University of Toronto encampment in solidarity with Palestine faced off against pro-Israel counter-protesters May 8.

Enabled by a phalanx of police, dozens of Zionists jeered hundreds of U of T students at the encampment along with faculty and other supporters, including the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Zionists celebrated the racist ethnostate of Israel and its genocide in Gaza, which has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and is now reaching a new level of horror as Netanyahu begins his long-threatened attack on Rafah.

The small pro-Israel contingent was dwarfed by a continuous line of pro-Palestine demonstrators. Jewish protesters supporting Palestine were especially prominent, carrying the banners of their organizations: Jews Against Israeli Apartheid, Jews Say No to Genocide.

The Zionists set themselves up across from pro-Palestine demonstrators, divided by Toronto police. While they protected Zionists attempting to provoke the crowd, Toronto police faced towards the students.

Police are trained to face whatever they view as the greatest threat. Despite the fact that the Palestine solidarity movement has been peaceful and all violence has come from Zionist goons and cops, the movement to liberate Palestine indeed represents a threat to the system police defend: the capitalist state.

RCP comrades, students and non-students, stood with the crowd supporting Palestine. Student chants included: “Divulge! Divest! We will not stop, we will not rest!” and “There is only one solution! Intifada, revolution!”

Supporters of Palestine, wearing keffiyehs and showing a grim determination, faced off against police and played the Palestinian national anthem, “Fida’i”.

Zionists, decked out in clothes appropriate for a country club, smirked, waved Canadian and Israeli flags, sang “O Canada”, and enjoyed the protection of police. But for all their smugness, they were outnumbered. Eventually the Zionists left and the students went back to their encampment. Where Zionists had been, only students defending Palestine remained.

These events show that the strength of the Palestine solidarity movement is in its numbers. If we want to continue to defend the encampment, and to win, then the movement must grow and spread. 

The encampment already defeated a state crackdown with the force of the masses. The first attempt at state repression was defeated by a protest of several thousand supporters. This is an invaluable lesson. Everyone who supports Palestine must fight to bring the movement into their campus, union, or workplace.

This is exactly what the RCP program for the U of T encampment aims to achieve:

  • Not a cent, not a bullet for the Zionist war machine. The movement must force the universities to divest.
  • Shut down the campus. Spread the Intifada to campus workers, faculty, and the whole student body. The student union must hold a general assembly to mobilize a mass walkout. Workers on campus must be drawn into the movement en masse through their unions.
  • Safety is in numbers. Defend the encampment by building a mass movement. Hold and heavily promote democratic mass organizing meetings to bring more people into the movement. Organize rallies to defend against police repression.
  • The same administration that funds Israel exploits their staff. The encampment should call for University of Toronto unions to go on strike. Work with anyone at the U of T who supports the encampment to spread the movement to their unions, including CUPE, Unifor, and OPSEU. Only the working class can free Palestine.
  • Form organizing committees of students, workers, and Palestinian activists to spread the movement across campus and beyond.
  • Open the books. Make the universities disclose all financial operations, including investment.
  • Down with the Governing Council of millionaires that rules campus like a business. Students and workers must control where the money goes. Nationalize the university under democratic student, worker, and community control.

If you want to help put this program into action, join us!