Let our collective voice ring out for a free Palestine this May Day: APAN

May 1, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) today marks May Day by acknowledging the vital role of the international workers’ movement, trade unions, and collective action in calling for an end to Israel’s genocide in Gaza and its history of occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

May Day was born of worker strike action to build pressure for the regulation of an eight-hour working day. 

It has always been a time to both celebrate the power of public political action to effect change, and to ensure that communities continue to stand together for human rights, equality and social justice.

Across the continent, stop work rallies and protests demanding workers’ rights will include Palestine solidarity contingents and expressions of support for the ongoing struggle for Palestinian rights, lives, self-determination and justice.

This is a reflection of the strong ties between the union movement and our movement for a free Palestine, a relationship that grows stronger as the community struggles with the dissonance between the intensifying horror of Israel’s genocide in Gaza and its occupation of the West Bank, and the Australian Government’s refusal to take political action to end these atrocities.

And in protesting and rallying, we make clear and visible our resistance to ongoing attempts to criminalise, shut down, silence, intimidate and smear protesters who are standing against this ongoing Israeli brutality.

During the past seven months, we have welcomed strong statements of solidarity from a number of Australian unions, including from the national peak union body the ACTU, calling for Australian Government action towards an immediate ceasefire, an end to all military trade with Israel, an end to Israel’s blockade on Gaza and urgent and unfettered access to humanitarian aid for Palestinians trapped in the besieged territory.

We encourage Australian unions that are yet to add the power of their voices to this call to do so today. 

We must come together to demand that our government uses all tools within its grasp – diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, travel bans and divestment – to compel Israel to end this genocide and to see it held accountable for its crimes.

Just as the collective action that we celebrate this May Day brought about the realisation of crucial workers’ rights, so too can it bring an end to Australia’s unequivocal support for Israel and, in turn, an end to Israel’s occupation and policy of apartheid in Palestine.

And this collective action can create the political will and space for a future in which Palestinians finally enjoy equal rights and the freedom to determine their own political aspirations.