Monday, March 17, 2008

World Perspectives: Palestine

This post is a small part of a World Perspectives 2008 document.

In many countries the working class, after years of despondency and exhaustion, is taking the road of struggle. We see this in the impressive strike wave in Egypt, but also in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon and in Israel itself. It is necessary to place on the agenda the fight for working class policies, for proletarian international solidarity and the struggle for socialism as the only lasting solution for the problems of the masses.

It is essential that the revolutionary youth in Palestine understand this. If we accept the argument that Israeli society is just one reactionary mass, then the cause of the Palestinian people would be lost forever. But it is not true! In Israel there are rich and poor, exploiters and exploited, just as in any other country. It is necessary to work to forge links between the revolutionaries in Palestine and the masses in Israel - Jews as well as Arabs. That is the only way to drive a wedge between the reactionary Zionist ruling class and the masses.

We are told that this is impossible. That is not true! On more than one occasion in the past, there have been clear indications that the message from the occupied territories was getting through to the masses in Israel. At the time of the massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon there was a huge demonstration of protest in Israel and in the first Intifada there were clear indications of discontent in Israel, including in the armed forces.

Tactics like suicide bombings and rocket attacks on civilian targets are wrong because they are counterproductive. For every Israeli citizen that is killed they will kill many more Palestinians. This does not do any damage to the Israeli military machine but it is of extraordinary help to the Israeli ruling class and state. By pushing the masses towards the Zionist state, these tactics strengthen the very thing they intended to destroy.

We fight for socialist revolution throughout the Middle East and in Iran, the Gulf and North Africa. We fight against imperialism - the main enemy of all the peoples. But we also fight against landlordism and capitalism - the main agents of imperialism. We are opposed to religious fundamentalism, which attempts to divert the healthy anti-imperialist instincts of the masses into the blind alley of religious fanaticism and reactionary obscurantism. We stand for workers' power and socialism and a new social order that expresses the interests of the masses. We are for the creation of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East, where Jews and Arabs can be guaranteed a homeland in Autonomous Socialist Republics. That is the only real way forward!

No solution to the Palestinian question is possible on the basis of wheeling and dealing with imperialism. The only possible solution is to divide Israel along class lines: to break the stranglehold of reactionary Zionism. But this demands a class position. It is difficult to put forward this position in the given circumstances, but events will provide the Marxists with openings as the masses come to realize the futility of the old methods. In the meanwhile it is necessary to patiently explain our ideas to the most advanced elements. In future our ideas will find a mass echo.



Tina said...

I'm not certain... but something tells me that somewhere far far away, Emma Goldman just smiled.

SecondComingOfBast said...

It's not just wrong to kill civilians because it is "counter-productive", it is just plain wrong-period!

Still, I will take that reasoning if it will finally get through the Palestinians seemingly concrete-reinforced skulls that they are only bringing more misery on themselves and their people.

Unfortunately, they obviously don't care about their people. They are doing exactly what they intend to do-lob a few rockets over towards the Israelis from civilian populated areas, then wait for the bombs to fall from the other side, then mug for the cameras with crocodile tears and expect everybody to give a damn.

What they don't realize is, most of us don't give a damn precisely because we caught on to the game a few decades ago.

These bastards are intellectually backwards. Your average Palestinian leader seems to be like a little boy playing hide-and-seek by covering himself with a blanket on the floor in the middle of the largest room in the house and thinking no one can see him because he's surrounded himself with darkness.

The average person caught on to their scams long ago. The first people that realized what they were up to are either of retirement age or dead from natural causes.

If these people want their own country they had the opportunity in 1948, but refused the opportunity to have their very own country for the very first time.

News Flash-Palestine was never an independent nation. Prior to the British Mandate, the Palestinians were wholly owned subsidiaries of the Ottoman Empire-Turkey, whose people are not Arab. Then, they were given the chance to have their own independent nation. They turned it down and have been raising hell ever since.

The Israelis have just been engaged in tit-for-tat. Palestinians suicide-bomb a diner, theater, bus stop, etc., the Israelis respond. The Palestinians lob rockets into Israeli territory, usually toward civilian areas, the Israelis respond. The Palestinians, or Hezbollah, kidnaps Israeli soldiers, the Israelis respond.

In the meantime the UN seems to adopt a policy that if Palestinians kill ten Israelis, Israel should limit itself to killing ten Palestinians and stop there, and in the meantime should keep making concessions to them.

That kind of shit wouldn't work in Bizzaro World, let alone the real one.

Frank Partisan said...

Tina: Emma Goldman is not a match.

Pagan: Why is Venezuela called a state different than Colombia? Why is Congo a nation?

Palestine has as much right to nationhood as half the UN. Why isn't El Salvador part of Mexico or Guatemala? The point is people get national identity after statehood.

Lenin said that the national question is essentially one of bread. It doesn't matter if Palestine has borders, if they are people who just supply cheap labor for multinationals. Palestine will never have equity with Israel, under capitalism in either country.

You don't need a passport to go from New York to New Jersey. If each state was a small country, roads, postal system etc wouldn't exist in the US. The best answer for the Middle East, is a socialist federation.

It's too complicated, to have a simpleton analysis, that Israel is just defending itself. Zionism, Islamism and imperialist stooges like Fatah, have to removed from power.

Why does Hamas shoot misguided rockets? 1) They don't care who they hit. 2) They want a deal, so they can get a piece of the capitalist pie.

Tina said...

"Emma Goldman is not a match.".... I respectfully disagree. I think if Goldman were alive today she would be all over Palestinian statehood and as an anti-classist Jew, she would be anti-Zionist, and she would see the socialist solution put forth for the Middle East as a very viable solution for the exploited and exploiting masses.

SecondComingOfBast said...


Palestinians don't just want a nation, nor do they just want a "piece of the pie". They want the whole pie. If they just wanted a piece of the pie they could have had it long ago. In fact they could have had half the pie and turned it down.

If they had accepted their piece, they could have had their own experiment in socialism, if that's what they wanted. No one is preventing nations from having socialist policies. Even during the height of the Cold War, the US policy pretty much amounted to containment. No one was really interested in changing the internal policies of the USSR.

Perhaps the most successful experiment in Socialism, during the Cold War, was Mongolia. After the Soviet Union fell, you saw what happened. Their communist government went bye bye, and pretty quickly too.

Why? No one, so far as I know, put any pressure on them to change. They could probably have turned to China for aid, and continued pretty much unimpeded in their policies.

Perhaps it was because the Soviet Union recognized and respected their national sovereignty and borders and they feared the Chinese would not. Who knows?

FYI no nation would survive long without borders, and that is most especially true of a socialist nation. Even if the whole world was socialist you are going to have to run a police state apparatus, otherwise there is going to be constant insurrection.

Human beings seem to love power, because they imagine it brings with it a kind of independence. If I have ten billion dollars I don't have much to worry about compared to somebody eking by on thirty thousand dollars a year.

Changing the economic system isn't going to change human nature. Nothing is going to change human nature, including education and retraining and socialization policies.

That's like a red blooded male going out one day and seeing a beautiful, obviously hot and willing woman who has found herself for whatever reason, forced into a marriage to some skinny little nerdy guy, who has nothing going for him whatsoever, and suddenly you see this real hot babe looking at you, going crazy to try to attract your attention so her screwed up husband doesn't notice.

Most men are going to go for it. In fact, if he sees no other option, he might well go up to the husband and tell him to take a hike or he will whip his ass. The nerdy guy leaves crying, you get what you ant, voila-end of story.

I know this becasue I did it. I also made him take off his AC-DC t-shirt and give it to me. WHy? Because I was an asshole. After it was all over, they got back together. Why? I guess she "loves" him. It doesn't matter, I got what I wanted. That's human nature-nothing pretty about it. I can be preached to for days on end about what an asshole I was, and it doesn't make a dime's worth of difference.

Human beings are human beings and they are going to get what they want and/or what they can get.

Socialism isn't going to change that, and it sure isn't going to change the Palestinians. If it was that easy, Hamas and Fatah would have been driven out a long time ago.

But they are still there. Why? Because they are not working contrary to the natures of Palestinians, or for that matter against human nature in general. Unfortunately, they seem to be working in tandem with it, just as the Israelis are working in tandem with the opposite yet complimentary human nature observed in the survival instinct. When human beings hear and see a bomb coming their way, then they, like all animals, will exercise the natural human instinct to duck and run for cover. After so long, self-preservation kicks in and determines to counter-attack. This should not be difficult to understand.

The world is lucky in a way. WHen you look at the actions of Palestinians and Islamic radicals, what you are actually seeing is the very root core of human nature, minus the multiple millenia of civilization that is an attempt to reign all this savagery in.

There is a lesson to be learned from it. One of those lessons is NOT doing away with borders and depriving human beings of an outlet by which they might engage their natural urges to expand and acquire material goods. That is as natural as anything.

I see a mountain and I know there's gold in it. I want it. I set about getting it. If there is a mechanism in place, through the rule of law, I go about acquiring it in a civilized fashion. Otherwise, I get my friends together, I take over the damn mountain and kill everybody around it. Now, you tell me which is better.

You tell me the gold is valueless, that it's worth is artificial? Fine. I still want the mountain. There are lots of trees for lumber and clean running water. Plus, I think it's pretty and would be a good place to raise my family. Plus, I still want the damn gold. You might not think it's worth much, but others seem to disagree.

Basically, no government or economic system is going to supply all needs and wants to all people. After so long, there are going to be downturns, and things are going to get ugly pretty quickly. What will you do if there is no mechanism in place to deal with that? If there is a famine in one area, what is going to keep hordes of those people from flooding into other unaffected areas like hordes of locusts?

The answer is, you have to have a mechanism in place. One of these is the border concept. Like in all things, there have to be boundaries in life. If you don't have them, then when the locusts come, people are going to take action on their own initiative, and you have serious massacres. Again, human nature under adverse circumstances is not pretty.

That is why their has to be controls, while a wise system will allow for outlets. Otherwise, you will eventually have explosions in the way of bloody insurrections, and this is and will remain true under any and all systems, socialist and capitalist.

The American revolution didn't take place because the revolutionaries wanted a socialist system, or because they were unsatisfied with the capitalist system. It took place because they were enraged at British oppression, which provided nothing in the way of cultural or economic free expression as an outlet. It provided nothing but perhaps security, but the price was too heavy for them to pay.

Many if not most of them in fact went bankrupt funding the war, lost their homes, died in poverty, etc. This is a little known fact. What few who prospered were the exception, not the rule, and all of them were men of means and property.

Had the British respected their basic human rights in addition to providing the economic stability and security, we would probably be a member of the British Commonwealth to this day.

Human nature is just not going to change in any event. People are no more going to stop wanting to acquire goods, wealth, and power than they are going to want to stop wearing clothes appropriate to their surroundings, or no more than they will be able to resist the sex with an attractive and willing partner.

You can not not nor will you ever control that, under a socialist system or for that matter under a capitalist one, or a democratic one, or under a totalitarian one.

The most successful system will be the one that not only recognizes this, but provides the economic stability, the security, and finally, the outlets for the exercise of natural human urges according to the rule of law, including but not limited to the acquisition of material goods, property, and wealth.

In other words, a representative yet democratic capitalist system with an obligatory and yet limited though firm regulatory system.

The system we have in place is not perfect, but the groundwork and foundation has just been laid. We are, remember, only two hundred thirty years old. We still have a ways to go, but we are still in a building and growing process, and the mechanism is in place to do so.

Take a good look around you. It doesn't get much better than this.

Frank Partisan said...

Tina: I misunderstood what you said, the first time. I'm defensive when it comes to Emma Goldman, I have some major disagreements with her. I can agree with the spirit of your comments.

Pagan: Even in the Annapolis talks, there is a plan for some Palestinians to return to Israel, others to get compensation. You can't go back to 1948, just as Cuban gusanos, can't go back to 1959. That doesn't rule out some just settlement.

The human nature arguments are incorrect. Humans are by nature neutral, tending more towards caring for others. A baby animal can be left on its own in literally days. A baby human would be worthless left alone. Think of all the people involved in the process, of making the shirt you're wearing. The raw materials, sewing, distribution, design and sales, involved hundreds of people.

The borders issue I'll talk about in another post. I want to have a post soon about immigration. I'll be sure you can reply.

Anonymous said...

Ren: you're so engrossed with Marx and Engles, the class struggle, etc., that you've been missing out of current events. The Palestinians aren't killing us because they're poor. There are countries in Northern and Central Africa a lot poorer than the Arab world. They aren't killing us because we're Zionists or "colonialists" or all that other stuff. They are killing us because we're Jews. The conflict is religious in nature-not sectarian or economical.

When more Jews return to tshuva or become religious, practicing Jews, as I, myself, haven't done yet, things will get easier. When a Moshe Feiglin or a Benny Elon or even a Secular Zionist like Arye Eldad gets into office (and they will just like Sharon did) things will get easier. Until then, there will there will be a lot of Jewish blood because as you yourself know, Jewish blood is cheap.

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