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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Street protests work

The Israeli Elbit arms factory in Oldham has closed following a sustained campaign by Palestine Action that has cost the company millions of pounds worth of damages. Whilst Elbit simply say they’ve sold the plant as part of their restructuring strategy in the UK, the Palestine campaigners say it was their prolonged campaign that forced their hand.

The Elbit Ferranti factory in Oldham is one of ten owned by Elbit in the UK. A majority of it was sold to British firm TT Electronics for £9 million. The Elbit Group makes drones and is responsible for 80 per cent of Israel’s military drones. The Israeli company’s products have been used to target Palestinians in Gaza and equip Israel’s apartheid wall with surveillance technology.

Over the last 18 months Palestine Action supporters have blockaded the plant, sprayed the premises with blood-red paint, smashed windows and occupied the entry to the factory. Some 36 people have been arrested but no-one has been charged with a crime or prosecuted yet.

This sort of direct action, which is a stage up from sit-down protests, requires the sort of agility and fitness needed to scale buildings and protest in all weathers. Some of us may not be up for this sort of robust protest but we can all support the view of the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network that said this “victory speaks to the successful nature of strong direct action to impose a meaningful and material cost upon the profiteers of the colonisation of Palestine and Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people”.