Google tech workers’ occupation against Israel strikes fear among bosses

On Thursday 18 April, 28 workers were fired in retaliation for their occupation of offices in California and New York in protest against Google’s assistance to the Israeli military through ‘Project Nimbus’. The draconian action of the Google bosses against these brave workers shows their determination to stamp out this example. They know that without the permission of the working class, the imperialists’ war machine would grind to a halt.

Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion contract granted to Google and Amazon in 2021 to provide cloud computing services to the Israeli government.

Google had previously claimed that Project Nimbus was “not directed at highly sensitive or classified military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services”. However, a $1 million contract between Google and the Israeli Ministry of Defence as part of Project Nimbus has recently come to light. This contract is described as “‘phase 2’ of a project to build out the ministry’s cloud architecture”, showing that the bosses were lying through their teeth.

This cloud computing is not insignificant for the Israeli military. Israeli drones use an AI programme called ‘Lavender’ to determine targets to bomb. In fact, Lavender has already identified 37,000 Palestinians as ‘suspected militants’, classifying them and their homes as targets for possible air strikes in the initial weeks of the slaughter. Such a programme would require precisely the kind of resources and infrastructure that Google’s Project Nimbus provides.

Workers’ occupation

The mood among tech workers, like workers everywhere, is one of revulsion towards Israel’s genocidal slaughter of Gazans backed by western imperialism. Once this information about Project Nimbus came to light, dozens of workers at Google took the decision to occupy Google’s offices on 16 April, demanding an end to Project Nimbus and for Google to stop working with the Israeli government and military.

sitting Image No Tech For Apartheid TwitterThe mood among tech workers, like workers everywhere, is one of revulsion towards Israel’s genocidal slaughter / Image: No Tech For Apartheid, Twitter

The workers did their best to try and spread support of the occupation amongst their coworkers by passing flyers around and discussing with them on their lunch breaks. It turned out that many of these workers did not know anything about the contract, as any attempt to discuss Project Nimbus through internal channels has been shut down. As such, it is no wonder that they received “an overwhelmingly positive response” from their coworkers who were disgusted that the bosses were using their labour to help kill Palestinians.

The bosses called the police to arrest those taking part in the occupation, before firing them for “bullying” and “harassment”. The capitalists running these apparently nice, liberal tech companies are no different from any other parasite who will crush any attempt to disrupt their profit-making ventures.

For a workers’ blockade against Israel

This is the latest in a series of attempts by a layer of the working class to shut down Israel’s war machine, showing a deep desire to stop the production and distribution of arms and technology being used to kill Palestinians.

This bold action by Google workers shows the real mood among workers at the grassroots in the US and beyond. This stands in stark contrast to the official leadership of the trade unions, which has barely lifted a finger for Palestine.

Rank and file trade unionists must hold their leaders to account, and push for the kind of action that will ensure brave groups of workers like those at Google do not stand in isolation. Without the labour of the working class, the supply of weapons and technology, and the media campaign of the imperialists in favour of the genocide in Gaza would grind to a halt. What is needed is a global campaign of action, including strikes and sit-ins, to unite all workers whose labour is used to aid Israel’s war machine. Such coordinated action would not only be more effective, but would make it far more difficult for the bosses to try and repress those taking part due to its scale.

Shamefully, the trade union leaders have played a reprehensible role in stifling any attempts by their members to organise such a campaign. The AFL-CIO in the US, for example, has taken a stance condemning ‘both sides’, whilst in Britain, Sharon Graham – the leader of the 1.2 million strong Unite union in Britain – has explicitly opposed those who “look to build networks inside trade unions to undermine the defence industry”.

This shows the lamentable state of the current labour movement’s leadership. There is a pressing need to build revolutionary communist parties to show the way forward as these bureaucrats turn their backs on the most elementary duty of the labour movement to give international solidarity against imperialist oppression. Such parties must win over these brave workers and youth who are repulsed by imperialist war and lead the fight to overthrow the warmongers at home.

Solidarity with Google workers facing repression!

For a mass workers’ boycott of the Israeli war machine!

Free Palestine!

Revolution until victory!

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