No state solution in Gaza

Statement distributed by the Manchester and Sheffield Anarchist Federation groups on the conflict in Gaza, in solidarity with the victims of the conflict, and for internationalism.

Submitted by Django on January 8, 2009

One thing is absolutely clear about the current situation in Gaza: the Israeli state is committing atrocities which must end immediately. With hundreds dead and thousands wounded, it has become increasingly clear that the aim of the military operation, which has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire in June, is to break Hamas completely. The attack follows the crippling blockade throughout the supposed ‘ceasefire’, which has destroyed the livelihoods of Gazans, ruined the civilian infrastructure and created a humanitarian disaster which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to.

But that's not all there is to say about the situation. On both sides of the conflict, the idea that opposing Israel has to mean supporting Hamas and its ‘resistance’ movement is worryingly common. We totally reject this argument. Just like any other set of rulers, Hamas, like all the other major Palestinian factions, are happy and willing to sacrifice ordinary Palestinians to increase their power. This isn’t some vague theoretical point – for a period recently most deaths in Gaza were a result of fighting between Hamas and Fatah. The ‘choices’ offered to ordinary Palestinian people are between Islamist gangsters (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) or nationalist gangsters (Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades). These groups have shown their willingness to attack working-class attempts to improve their living conditions, seizing union offices, kidnapping prominent trade unionists, and breaking strikes. One spectacular example is the attack on Palestine Workers Radio by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, for “stoking internal conflicts”. Clearly, a “free Palestine” under the control of any of these groups would be nothing of the sort.

As anarchists, we are internationalists, opposing the idea that the rulers and ruled within a nation have any interests in common. Therefore, anarchists reject Palestinian nationalism just as we reject Israeli nationalism (Zionism). Ethnicity does not grant “rights” to lands, which require the state to enforce them. People, on the other hand, have a right to having their human needs met, and should be able to live where they choose, freely.

Therefore, against the divisions and false choices set up by nationalism, we fully support the ordinary inhabitants of Gaza and Israel against state warfare – not because of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion, but simply because they're real living, feeling, thinking, suffering, struggling human beings. And this support has to mean total hostility to all those who would oppress and exploit them –the Israeli state and the Western governments and corporations that supply it with weapons, but also any other capitalist factions who seek to use ordinary working-class Palestinians as pawns in their power struggles. The only real solution is one which is collective, based on the fact that as a class, globally, we ultimately have nothing but our ability to work for others, and everything to gain in ending this system – capitalism – and the states and wars it needs .

That this seems like a “difficult” solution does not stop it from being the right one. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support. As do those in Israel who refuse to fight, and who resist the war. But not the groups who call on Palestinians to be slaughtered on their behalf by one of the most advanced armies in the world, and who wilfully attack civilians on the other side of the border.

Neither one state nor two states, but no states

Whoever dies, Hamas and the Israeli state win

Pdf available for distribution here

Comments

nastyned

15 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by nastyned on January 9, 2009

Try this:

http://www.af-north.org/palestine/gaza%20leaflet%202-1.pdf

barog

15 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by barog on January 9, 2009

Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support

are you going there for an agitation rally or educ/prop rally?

Joseph Kay

15 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 9, 2009

barog

are you going there for an agitation rally or educ/prop rally?

are these things mutually exclusive? surely agitiation does not imply ignorance, and education does not imply passivity.

Django

15 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on January 10, 2009

As Knightrose pointed out on the thread in the AF forum, the core of the statement produced by the Manchester branch came from what comrades in Sheffield have written, which can be seen here.

Rob Ray

15 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on January 10, 2009

Think I'll lift this for Freedom actually.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 21, 2009

Interesting corrective to blind leftist support for anything 'anti-imperialist', but what are you actually proposing? Hamas managed to ensure that Israeli troops didn't enter Gaza and move closer to their objective of ethnic cleansing. What part did the genuinely noble ideal of 'no states' play in the number of people killed and injured? What would the concept of 'no states' even mean to a hungry, battered and humiliated Gazan right now?

The easy way out is surely to just say 'they're all hierarchical, so we reject them all', cos then you can just wallow in self-righteous more radical than thouism. Trying to find potentials for genuine freedom in actually existing struggles is far more of a challenge.

Ed

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ed on January 21, 2009

Hey Bluebottle, without wanting to sound sarky, I'd ask you the same question: What would the concept of a (Hamas-controlled?) state offer to hungry, battered and humiliated Gazans right now? Surely just more working class people going up against one of the most well-equipped armies in the world and (most probably) dying for a cause (nationalism) which would only lead to further bloodshed (of working class people for their respective ruling classes, naturally..).

Obviously what Israel is doing is a tragic and barbaric injustice, but simply cheerleading whichever set of bigots happens to be resisting it doesn't count as "trying to find potentials for genuine freedom in actually existing struggles". Its not backing anti-imperialists, its backing rival, poorly armed and weaker imperialists.

I disagree when you say "Hamas managed to ensure that Israeli troops didn't enter Gaza" as 1) Israeli troops did enter Gaza, 2) Israeli troops absolutely destroyed Gaza and 3) All Hamas did was encourage working class Palestinians to die in an ethno-religious struggle to set up a state for an abstract national entity. Its not "self-righteous more radical than thouism", its a practical examination of what's going on from a class-oriented perspective.

As has been said elsewhere, the thousands of Gazans who've refused to fight and die for their ruling class better reflect the internationalists' position than any 'national resistance' movement. Indeed, if I found myself in Gaza I'd spend my time organising escape routes for families trying to flee the conflict rather than get young men and women to get to the front line of it.

I don't think this is radical posturing, I think this is a practical response to a horrific event. If anything, I think cheerleading involvement (from a safe distance) in such a conflict is much more radical posturing..

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 21, 2009

So if you found yourself in Gaza you would simply support the Israeli objective of ridding the land of Palestinians.

The IDF sought to enter a decisive ground war with Hamas, but Hamas ensured this was not possible through staunch resistance. Israeli troops were physically in Gaza, but they didn't 'enter Gaza' in the sense of launching a ground offensive.

Gaza is of course decidedly f*cked, but when fighting against an infinitely superior enemy victory is not in having fewer casualties or less damage than the other side, but preventing them from reaching their objectives. That is why we can say that Vietnam defeated the US despite the enormous disparity of damage between the two sides. Gaza is not as 'absolutely destroyed' as it would have been had Israel had its way.

As far as what Hamas could offer Gazans, the Hezbollah model of preventing Israeli objectives and so saving Lebanon from occupation is an ideal to work towards. Sure, Hamas' weak position means that their fighters will 'most probably' die, but if someone was good enough to give them reasonable weapons, they might actually succeed in securing a little plot of land to call home.

I ask again - what is exactly being proposed here? How is yours a 'practical response'? What does 'no state' mean for a Gazan right now? Would the realisation that we're all living in an alienated world and that the Israeli working class are living equally administered lives (albeit more comfortable ones) actually have any relevance to someone in Gaza? Or would getting the Israeli (working class) aggressor the f*ck out of their neighbourhood be a more relevant struggle?

Of course 'the workers have no country', but it is a matter of tactics to support an oppressed nation against an oppressor nation, as Marx noted with Ireland. I agree that nationalism should be overcome in favour of class solidarity. But simply saying 'hey we're all working class, man' has no relevance to me when I'm getting pounded by a working class cop, or to a Gazan getting pounded by a working class Israeli soldier. Working class support (no, not just 'cheerleading', practical support which can be discussed) for the struggle against the aggressor state actually undermines the structure of the domestic hierarchy.

Finally, how do you come to deem Hamas imperialist? Almost as absurd as calling them bourgeois.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle

their objective of ethnic cleansing (...) victory is not in having fewer casualties or less damage than the other side, but preventing them from reaching their objectives.

how did you conclude Israel's objectives were to ethnically cleanse Gaza? I find it highly unlikely, given their total air supremacy, that they were prevented from killing more palestinians indiscrimnately by Hamas if that was actually their objective.

of course even if it was a genocide scenario where the israelis were systematically emptying apartment blocks, lining the residents up against the wall, shooting them and dumping them in mass graves (you know, what actual ethnic cleansing looks like), this wouldn't justify political support for hamas per se - you could say something like 'we support people facing extermination taking up arms in order to survive.' that's the great thing about words, you can be as precise as you want. i don't know what "practical" support you can offer Hamas, unless you're going to try and smuggle them arms and cash - and if you're prepared to risk charges of 'aiding terrorists' you'd be better off burning down an arms factory or something.

Bluebottle

Gaza is not as 'absolutely destroyed' as it would have been had Israel had its way.

again, Israel had total air supremacy and the whole of Gaza within artillery range. They could destroy anything they want. The fact they bombed the UN shows they were prepared to do so.

Bluebottle

The IDF sought to enter a decisive ground war with Hamas, but Hamas ensured this was not possible through staunch resistance. Israeli troops were physically in Gaza, but they didn't 'enter Gaza' in the sense of launching a ground offensive.

again, what evidence do you have of Israeli objectives? are you privy to something we're not? first world armies are generally loathe to enter street-by-street urban warfare with guerrilla groups as this is the one area where they don't have clear-cut military supremacy. it looks like the ground troops secured the perimeter of the urban areas while air strikes and artillery did the damage from a safe distance - what grounds do you have for thinking that wasn't the plan?

Bleubottle

I ask again - what is exactly being proposed here? How is yours a 'practical response'?

well many more Gazans chose to run the fuck away than martyr themselves for their 'nation', that seems pretty practical to me. Ed was explicit in what he proposes:

Ed

if I found myself in Gaza I'd spend my time organising escape routes for families trying to flee the conflict rather than get young men and women to get to the front line of it.

again, practical as fuck. in fact i'm sure many Gazans did this. their faces won't appear on posters all over town. we will never know their names. spielberg will never make an oscar-winning epic about their courage and lefties will never cum in their pants over their "brave resistance." but that doesn't make such acts any less practical or worthwhile.

Bluebottle

But simply saying 'hey we're all working class, man'

who said this? quote? is it not important that Hamas are also willing to murder palestinians when it suits them? (Please don't point out the disparity in numbers murdered, as if summarily executing prostitutes is ethically superior to bombing civilians).

Blebottle

Finally, how do you come to deem Hamas imperialist? Almost as absurd as calling them bourgeois.

i'm not sure who said this, but to think Hamas are not part of the imperial ambitions of their sponsors is niave. as to calling them bourgeois, they're the fucking Gazan government, with their own cops, military and large amounts of capital (how else do they afford all that?). not sure if - like hezbollah - they raise it through taxation, but as a government i wouldn't be surprised. brown people can be bourgeois too (this isn't a sociological claim about the make-up of their military - of course their fighters are overwhelmingly proles, as are the IDF, that's precisely why war is so shit. we die for their gain. hence your cop example is also misplaced; the police are a bourgeois force even if most coppers are working class 'in itself' - footsoldiers usually are). Hamas are also very keen to become a respectable member of the international (bourgeois) community.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 22, 2009

As to bourgeois in Gaza, i don't know if you'd claim it, but a common argument against proletarian internationalism on Indymedia has been to claim that Gaza is a classless society because they're all poor. this is obviously bollocks, but i've just seen another example.

BBC

on Thursday, one tunnel owner told Reuters: "Soon it will be operational, I will not bring drugs or weapons, I plan to use it to bring in what people need most - food and fuel, and that is very profitable."

the idea a mercantile society of 1.5m people exists without capital accumulation (and hence classes) is niave at best and noble savage racism at worst.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 22, 2009

I am a ‘brown’ person and live in a brown person country so perhaps I am indeed privy to something that hasn’t made itself known to those of you in Crawley or Seaford or wherever you are. It certainly appears so.

Given that Israel has implemented a policy, since the second Intifada, of ensuring life in Gaza is unbearable (with regular incursions, killings, humiliations, destruction of the means of production and survival while denying Gazans the right to travel for work etc), long before Qassam rockets were fired into occupied territory, furthered by Sharon’s ingenious ‘disengagement’ policy, while persistently provoking Hamas and retaliating with devastation, it seems quite clear that the objective is to force Arabs out of Gaza.

It is an established Israeli tactic to provoke radicalism to justify a ‘response’ that would facilitate mass exodus by making life so intolerable that they’d have to leave (and a common Israeli justification for the oppression of Gazans and all Palestinians is of course ‘they’re Arabs and they can fuck off to Jordan or Syria or wherever’).

This, funnily enough, is exactly your radical internationalist proletarian-solidarity anarcho-syndicalist neo-Marxist post-Situationist libertarian communist practical solution; make like brave Sir Robin and run away. Your no-state solution is run to the protection of another state, one which has less chance of being attacked by Israel, because they have some fire-power. If Hamas had that fire power, running away wouldn’t be necessary.

Run away, because fighting Israel = unconditional support for Hamas. And this is the second point of convergence of your positions – make the local population rebel against their leaders, who happen to be the only people who can foster any kind of opposition to Israel’s expansionist ambition at present.

So you have exactly the same solutions as Israel, and you wonder why your little organisation provokes the wrath of pro-Palestinian groups. Do you actually go to demonstrations and chant ‘RUN AWAY’, or do you just hand out convoluted pamphlets suggesting as much?

It’s naïve and just plain inaccurate to buy the Zionist line that Hamas’s backers (by which I assume you refer to Iran and Syria) have imperial ambition. And how exactly are Hamas being backed? If they actually have any money why are they launching worthless chunks of metal instead of something a little more sophisticated? What is this ‘all that’ to which you refer? I was responding to Ed’s characterisation of Hamas as ‘poorly armed and weaker imperialists.’

I didn’t say there was no bourgeois class in Gaza, I said it ain’t Hamas. Having cops, capital (what capital?), a ‘military’ and being ‘the fucking Gazan government’ has nothing to do with what class they are. My understanding of the term bourgeoisie is the class that, through ownership of the means of production and trade, extracts the surplus value from a working class majority through wage labour. The petit bourgeois trader class is the dominant there, from my understanding.

I’m not advocating unconditional and eternal support for Hamas – I’m saying at present they are the only thing breaking the link between what Israel wants and what Israel can get. I would say it is an empirical fact that they had done a reasonable job of supporting Gazan living standards (that may not mean a lot to you over in cushy Brighton & Hove) plus they never posed a threat to Israel and presented Israel with numerous opportunities for an end to violent conflict.

The reason Israel didn’t enter Gazan for troop-to-troop fighting was because Hamas showed an Israeli victory would come at a price. If Hamas hadn’t shown that capability, then they would have been removed and a puppet government imposed (Fatah).

And besides all this, not all Gazans fighting against Israel are even members of Hamas. I don’t think someone who has lost members of their family needs much persuading to join the resistance.

Might I suggest you look for other sources of information than the pissing BBC? If you want to stick with the spectacular media agencies Al Jazeera and Press TV are far superior, especially regarding Gaza as they are the only ones to give it any reasonable coverage.

yoshomon

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by yoshomon on January 22, 2009

Hamas still has enough power and influence here that few will criticise the Islamist movement openly.

But when Hamas called for a rally to celebrate what it has been calling a historic victory over the Israelis, the citizens of Gaza voted with their feet - they stayed at home.

In the past Hamas could easily call tens of thousands into the streets, but this time only party stalwarts could look around the devastation and believe this could be victory...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7843633.stm

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle

Given that Israel has implemented a policy, since the second Intifada, of ensuring life in Gaza is unbearable

yes it has. armed 'resistance' has done fuck all to change that, and a lot to entrench the power of the armed factions over the population, as well as providing Israel with an excuse, which as you say, it needs enough to provoke...

Bluebottle

It is an established Israeli tactic to provoke radicalism to justify a ‘response’

so the 'radicalism' of Hamas et al serves the Israeli state's interests. remind me again why we shouldn't oppose it as we do Israel?

Bluebottle

This, funnily enough, is exactly your radical internationalist proletarian-solidarity anarcho-syndicalist neo-Marxist post-Situationist libertarian communist practical solution; make like brave Sir Robin and run away. Your no-state solution is run to the protection of another state, one which has less chance of being attacked by Israel, because they have some fire-power.

it may have escaped your notice that running away isn't "my solution", it's the chosen option of tens of thousands of ordinary Gazans. if you think they're not "brave" enough i suggest you take it up with them. i've never been in a warzone, i'm certainly not going to follow your example and imply refugees are cowards from a safe distance.

Bluebottle

The reason Israel didn’t enter Gazan for troop-to-troop fighting was because Hamas showed an Israeli victory would come at a price. If Hamas hadn’t shown that capability, then they would have been removed and a puppet government imposed (Fatah).

so what is it, is Israel trying to ethnically cleanse the population or install a friendly regime? these are quite different things. unless you think fatah's going to ethnically cleanse gaza? i'm certainly not going to suggest people take up arms to defend any government, elected or not.

Bluebottle

I didn’t say there was no bourgeois class in Gaza

fair enough

Bluebottle

I said it ain’t Hamas. Having cops, capital (what capital?), a ‘military’ and being ‘the fucking Gazan government’ has nothing to do with what class they are. My understanding of the term bourgeoisie is the class that, through ownership of the means of production and trade, extracts the surplus value from a working class majority through wage labour.

well i'm not sure how you maintain an army and a police force without having significant amounts of capital (in the accounting sense). clearly Hamas are not an impoverished organisation relative to the general population. furthermore generally speaking governments are considered ruling class. you know, what with ruling and all. gordon brown would be bourgeois even if he owns no shares.

Bluebottle

And besides all this, not all Gazans fighting against Israel are even members of Hamas. I don’t think someone who has lost members of their family needs much persuading to join the resistance.

of course. although tens of thousands of Gazans did the sensible thing and ran the fuck away. i'm sorry you don't consider them as brave as yourself. an immediate thirst for vengeance is hardly a counter argument to dying for the nation is it?

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle

you have exactly the same solutions as Israel, and you wonder why your little organisation provokes the wrath of pro-Palestinian groups. Do you actually go to demonstrations and chant ‘RUN AWAY’, or do you just hand out convoluted pamphlets suggesting as much?

what, the abolition of Israel and an immediate end to the atrocities is "exactly the same solutions as Israel" ? :confused:

'you're either with us, or you're with the zionists', right? i encountered no wrath giving out these leaflets on demos, and at times had people queuing up to take them. nobody subsequently came up to complain or take offence, and a couple of people came up to compliment the politics (and correct a typo!). you can belittle refugees all you like from the safety of wherever you are, i can only repeat...

Joseph K.

i'm sure many Gazans did this. their faces won't appear on posters all over town. we will never know their names. spielberg will never make an oscar-winning epic about their courage and lefties will never cum in their pants over their "brave resistance." but that doesn't make such acts any less practical or worthwhile.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle

I’m not advocating unconditional and eternal support for Hamas

no-one said you are. the leaflet opposes the secular nationalist gangsters too.

Bluebottle

I would say it is an empirical fact that they had done a reasonable job of supporting Gazan living standards (that may not mean a lot to you over in cushy Brighton & Hove)

your third-worldist guilt tripping would be more convincing if you weren't mocking the lack of bravery of tens of thousands of Gazan refugees. must try harder. of course every social democrat ever does a "reasonable job of supporting living standards", we don't just line up behind them, especially if they're well prepared to murder us as and when it suits them.

Bluebottle

plus they never posed a threat to Israel

the leaflet objects to hamas (and the secular nationalists) as much for their treatment of the civilian population in Gaza as their targetting of israeli civilians.

Steven.

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle wrote:
I would say it is an empirical fact that they had done a reasonable job of supporting Gazan living standards (that may not mean a lot to you over in cushy Brighton & Hove)

your third-worldist guilt tripping would be more convincing if you weren't mocking the lack of bravery of tens of thousands of Gazan refugees. must try harder. of course every social democrat ever does a "reasonable job of supporting living standards", we don't just line up behind them, especially if they're well prepared to murder us as and when it suits them.

The welfare state of "my" UK government does a "reasonable job of supporting... living standards" here. But still I managed to resist the temptation to go and fight and possibly die for them in Iraq or Afghanistan after the terror attacks on us.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 22, 2009

You are mistaken, I was mocking YOU for your support of the run-away solution and condemnation of those who might oppose Israeli aggression. I may well have run away too, and I wouldn't condemn anybody for doing so, but suggesting that the only option a lefty could legitimately support is the fleeing to a state with a military force that Israel wouldn't want to mess with instead of supporting the military group in the place they are running away from... is silly.

When a social democrat is the only thing between me and an imperial power, sure I'll support them, like I would have fought against the Nazis under the command of the British.

'Third-worldist guilt tripping' - I wasn't trying to invoke any guilt, that may just be your guilty conscience playing up. I was pointing out the ease with which you can dismiss any minor social improvement which doesn't conform to your vision of social progress because you don't live in a shit-hole, you live in a nice seaside resort. Don't feel guilty by any means.

A ruler is not necessarily bourgeois - there are many kinds of rulers. Gordon Brown would be bourgeois if he didn't have any shares because Britain is ruled by the bourgeoisie. The situation in Gaza and indeed most of the Middle East is closer to peasantry than bourgeois-proletarian. In any case - Hamas aren't bourgeois.

I'm sorry, I had read one of the accounts of leafleting some Palestine Solidarity Campaigners were said to have done their usual aggressive rejection or something. Can't quite remember where it was - should have tried harder there.

Yes, your objectives are exactly the same as Israel on this issue - Arabs out of Gaza and delegitimisation of Hamas. Your 'immediate end to the atrocities' is rather rhetorical as you reject the legitimacy of the only thing history has shown will end Israeli expansion - enough dead Israelis. Your end to the state of Israel is similarly meaningless as its condition is the small matter of the end of all states, which with the amount of bickering on leftist websites seems most unlikely any time soon...

Installing a puppet government and ridding the land of Arabs are not contradictory - they are different stages in a clear objective. I can't give you a full history lesson of Israeli expansionism, maybe look into what the Zionist agenda is and has always been.

I don't get excited by Hamas or fetishise them in the slightest - I just think their opposition to Israel is legitimate. I would not have been ideologically aligned with the Vietcong, but I'd think what they were doing was worthy of support. And actually if I was fighting in Gaza now, if I had the balls, I'd be most encouraged by seeing people around the world (assuming I had access to some means of seeing them) supporting my fight against such incredible odds.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 22, 2009

Steven, your analogy is misjudged. Iraq/Afghanistan are wars of aggression. Gaza is a war of defence. Those fighting Israel are not just fighting for their nation or their religion (although their slogans may be religious or nationalist) - they are fighting for survival. I hope you see the difference.

A lever can be applied in Gaza.

Caiman del Barrio

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on January 22, 2009

Those fighting Israel are not just fighting for their nation or their religion (although their slogans may be religious or nationalist) - they are fighting for survival.

Peter Sellars would have blushed at such an absurdly paradoxical beating of the war drum.

You "fight" for survival by involuntarily adopting refugee status and avoiding bullets, bombs and white phosphorus. You don't "fight" for survival by turning yourself into a combatant, returning fire and aiming rockets on civilian neighbourhoods.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 22, 2009

You can fight for survival by either of those means, actually. Who are we (you) to criticise either option?

The aiming of rockets on 'civilian' neighbourhoods may indeed be worthy of condemnation. As Robert Fisk states, 'twenty Israelis dead in 10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed.' Not really one of the major issues of discussion though.

angrywhitekid

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by angrywhitekid on January 22, 2009

While my views certainly aren't popular on this forum, and will probably be limited to this one comment, I have to express support for Bluebottle. I think the AF declaration is simplistic and really doesn't offer any helpful plan of action or strategy, aside from supporting West Bank demos.

I think the trend in anarchism towards a kneejerk rejection of all nationalisms is dangerous and unsophisticated. Nationalisms are nuanced and context-dependent, and while may not merit acceptance at least merit consideration.

This statement also misses that Israel is a genocidal state premised in part on the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This war (in the broader, late-1800s-on context) was inflicted upon the Palestinians, they did not choose it. Even if Hamas, Fatah, or any other group didn't exist, Israel would still be at war with the Palestinian people. Many of those fighting and dying do not belong to Hamas or any other group. They are simply fighting their aggressor. To equate Hamas with Israel or Zionism with Palestinian nationalism is quite absurd.

It's a cliche move, I know, but I do like this quote from Immortal Technique about occupation (of Iraq, while Saddam was alive, but still relevant and applicable to Palestine). Though I'm sure it will be called "nationalist" because he says "my people."

They say the rebels in Iraq still fight for Saddam
But I’ll show you why that’s totally wrong
Because if another country invaded the hood tonight
There’d be warfare through Harlem and Washington Heights
I wouldn’t be fighting for Bush or White America’s Dream
I’d be fighting for my people's survival and self-esteem
I wouldn’t be fighting for racist churches from the South
I’d be fighting to keep the occupation out

Beth Giles

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Beth Giles on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle

You are mistaken, I was mocking YOU for your support of the run-away solution and condemnation of those who might oppose Israeli aggression.

The aggressor is not necessarily wrong. What happens when the proletariat becomes the aggressor? Do you swap sides to the bourgeoisie in order to maintain arbitrary support for the under-dog?

radicalgraffiti

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by radicalgraffiti on January 22, 2009

angrywhitekid

I think the trend in anarchism towards a kneejerk rejection of all nationalisms is dangerous and unsophisticated. Nationalisms are nuanced and context-dependent, and while may not merit acceptance at least merit consideration.

anarchism is inherently incompatible with nationalism, rejecting them all is the only coherent anarchist position.

Bluebottle

You can fight for survival by either of those means, actually. Who are we (you) to criticise either option?

how can attacks on civilians be self defense? and everyone has a right to criticize them.

Beth Giles

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Beth Giles on January 22, 2009

The significance of an act being in self-defence, and for that matter “proportionate responses” and so on, is merely a question of bourgeois justice. Communists can hardly take a general position against oppression or for freedom when the proletariat must by necessity oppress and curtail the freedom of other social classes.

Ed

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ed on January 22, 2009

bluebottle

You are mistaken, I was mocking YOU for your support of the run-away solution and condemnation of those who might oppose Israeli aggression. I may well have run away too, and I wouldn't condemn anybody for doing so, but suggesting that the only option a lefty could legitimately support is the fleeing to a state with a military force that Israel wouldn't want to mess with instead of supporting the military group in the place they are running away from... is silly.

Mate, don't get me wrong, I'd be all about people resisting Israeli aggression but the reality of the situation is that any resistance in Gaza is most likely to be part and parcel of Hamas' state-building project, and this project is one that is against the interests not just of the 'world proletariat' but the Palestinian one as well. Just look at how Hamas have acted against the Palestinian working class for a taster:
Palestinian union hit on all sides
Interview with Rasem Al Bayari, Palestinian trade unionist
A Hamas victory might beat back the tyranny of Israeli imperialism, but you seem to ignore that the vacuum in Gaza would be filled by anti-working class fundamentalists bigots who will just as readily attack those who oppose them in Gaza City as they would those in Sderot. As such, to call for Hamas victory, in my opinion, is really short sighted..

bluebottle

A ruler is not necessarily bourgeois - there are many kinds of rulers. Gordon Brown would be bourgeois if he didn't have any shares because Britain is ruled by the bourgeoisie. The situation in Gaza and indeed most of the Middle East is closer to peasantry than bourgeois-proletarian. In any case - Hamas aren't bourgeois.

Even if I agreed with your analysis of class relations in Palestine, then this still puts Hamas as the ruling class. Or I've missed something. But what would you say the class that runs the government is called? Is Gaza run by a peasant government?

bluebottle

Yes, your objectives are exactly the same as Israel on this issue - Arabs out of Gaza and delegitimisation of Hamas.

Hmm, this is a bit unfair. Firstly, no one hear called for "Arabs out of Gaza", we said that fleeing was a lot smarter than throwing stones at F-16s for Allah and 'your nation'. Its a practical response to being on the wrong side of a bloody conflict, not an ideological policy of transference. Secondly, yeah, I want to delegitimise Hamas and so do Israel but then I also want to delegitimise Israel to Israelis, does that align me back with Hamas?

bluebottle

Your 'immediate end to the atrocities' is rather rhetorical as you reject the legitimacy of the only thing history has shown will end Israeli expansion - enough dead Israelis.

Here your ignoring the fact that my primary concern isn't Israeli expansion, its the material reality of the lives of working class Palestinians. This would be improved by Israel ceasing its carpet-bombing of Gaza, but it won't be improved by Hamas consolidating its power in the area any further. This would lead to the further entrenchment of religious bigots' monopoly of violence in the area.. violence which will be used against the rest of the Gazan working class.

Oh, and angrywhitekid, that's like my favourite Immortal Technique lyric. And it upset me to see it used against me like that.. ;)

Caiman del Barrio

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Caiman del Barrio on January 22, 2009

You can fight for survival by either of those means, actually. Who are we (you) to criticise either option?

I suppose...it's pretty pointless to make 'demands' of a situation where there's no possibility of influencing it. That kinda works both ways though, why sit around and approvingly encourage martyrous acts?

Submitted by Tojiah on January 22, 2009

Bluebottle

Gaza is a war of defence. Those fighting Israel are not just fighting for their nation or their religion (although their slogans may be religious or nationalist) - they are fighting for survival.

You were specifically talking about Hamas. Hamas' response to the Israeli incursion was to fire rockets at Israeli civilian targets. They had a certain limited amount of ammunition, and instead of using it to shoot the Israeli troops lining up around the border with Gaza, and who were therefore pretty much sitting ducks, they shot as far into Israel as they could. How is that fighting for survival? During this massacre Hamas was, as it had before and will in the future, winning as many brownie points by trying to terrorize the Israeli civilian public, as opposed to trying to aid the survival of Palestinians. Their marketing angle is describing this as a conflict between all Jews and all Muslims, same as the Zionists are. I assure you, as an Israeli citizen who opposed this war from its first "humane" air-strikes, that Hamas' response has just made it that much easier for Israelis to turn a blind eye to IDF crimes, and that nobody here (just like nobody sensible anywhere, really) is impressed with Hamas' military prowess, and their actions would not deter further incursions.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 23, 2009

As far as a Gazan is concerned, this is a conflict between Arabs and Jews, cos it's all Jews coming over the hill and all Arabs getting blown up. Of course those of us with a wider perspective on the inner logic of capitalism have an insight into the base causes of this conflict, but I think we can forgive the Arab who falls into religiosity when fighting...for...survival…

I'm not sure Israeli outposts surrounding Gaza can be called civilian. They are the outermost part of Israeli aggression, heavily armed and brimming with the ideology of expansion. Sure, there are families but there are often families in military complexes, do they therefore become civilian?

Besides, this 'targeting civilians' sanctimony is misplaced. When we look at how many Israelis have been killed around Gaza (20) in the past ten years it really shouldn't be the major issue of discussion.

Treeofjudas, it's not correct to say the Hamas response was to fire rockets at ‘civilians’. Some tens (reports vary wildly) of Israeli soldiers were killed and injured. And anyway targeting a civilian population with close to complete support for their ‘defence forces’ bombardment of civilians seems to me a legitimate target.

See your point Alan, but fleeing doesn't need encouragement, it needs support in other ways. Fighting benefits from moral support. Moral support for fighting is not making a demand whereas demanding fleeing instead of fighting clearly is.

The reason we go back to class is because it is the underlying cause of conflict. However, in instances of one state oppressing another state, the issue is more complex, as you have one (arbitrary) working class group oppressing another. As a matter of tactics the oppressor must be expelled before we can start discussing equal pay for equal work and on from there (and Ed, don’t trade unions reflect bourgeois hierarchies?). If that means fighting with/alongside Hamas then I really don't see a problem. You seem to think this will necessarily mean irreversible entrenchment of Hamas dominance even after Israel ceases to advance.

Otherwise we'll be waiting for the miracle of simultaneous global utopia.

The delegitimisation of the state of Israel is currently rhetorical. I'm in favour of ultimately abolishing all states. But at present your 'no state' solution just means no state for Gazans, not anyone else. So you offer exactly the same as Israel with your 'no state' solution - Palestinian refugees in neighbouring Arab states. You may differ on the ideological plane, but the base material reality of what you propose is consistent.

No Beth, the aggressor is not necessarily wrong, but Israel is. Nothing general about that. There's a difference between Israeli aggression and working class struggle which I hope you can spot. And it’s all well and good to go on about self-defence being ‘merely’ bourgeois justice, but if you insult me and in response I savagely beat you to paralysis you may have something to say about how proportionate I was.

I made the point of Hamas not being bourgeois as a minor aside. Of course they are the current rulers, but they are not 'bourgeois' in my understanding of the term as their rule does not come from being the recipients of surplus value from the labour of the working class. Their rule comes from a monopoly on religion, national sentiment, not strictly capital-based power and Fatah’s corruption, among other factors. Peasant militia government perhaps?

Devrim

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on January 23, 2009

bluebottle

The situation in Gaza and indeed most of the Middle East is closer to peasantry than bourgeois-proletarian. In any case - Hamas aren't bourgeois.

bluebottle

Peasant militia government perhaps?

I am not sure what part of the Middle East that you live in, but from the part where I live it doesn't look like you paint it. It would certainly be wrong to characterise Gaza as a peasant society. The CIA world fact book gives these figures for Gaza:

CIA World fact book

Gaza
agriculture: 12%
industry: 18%
services: 70%

12% gives it the same portion of workers involved in agriculture as Greece for example. This, however, is not the percentage of the peasantry, it the percentage working in agriculture, and will also include agricultural workers. I think that it would be fair to say that less than 10% of the labour force in Gaza are peasants. I think that is hardly a peasant society.

To run through some of the surrounding countries;

CIA World fact book

Syria
agriculture: 19.2%
industry: 14.5%
services: 66.3% (2006 est.)

Jordan
agriculture: 5%
industry: 12.5%
services: 82.5% (2001 est.)

Egypt
agriculture: 32%
industry: 17%
services: 51% (2001 est.)

Turkey
agriculture: 35.9%
industry: 22.8%
services: 41.2% (3rd quarter, 2004)

There are no statistics for Lebanon there, but the last ones I saw gave an agricultural sector of 9%.

None of them are what you could call societies dominated by the peasantry. Yes Turkey and Egypt do have relatively high numbers of workers engaged in agriculture, but they are countries dominated by massive concentrations of proletarians, Cairo and Istanbul, and Egypt has a similar number of workers engaged in industrial production as the UK with Turkey having about 20% more:

CIA World fact book

UK
agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 18.2%
services: 80.4% (2006 est.)

The idea of Gaza as a peasant society is a complete myth.

Devrim

Django

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on January 23, 2009

bluebottle

As far as a Gazan is concerned, this is a conflict between Arabs and Jews, cos it's all Jews coming over the hill and all Arabs getting blown up. Of course those of us with a wider perspective on the inner logic of capitalism have an insight into the base causes of this conflict, but I think we can forgive the Arab who falls into religiosity when fighting...for...survival…

Except its not a war of Jews against arabs when its Gazan arabs being shot at by Egyptian border guards, or Hamas mortars blowing up arab building workers in Sderot. Or, expanding the picture, the vast numbers of Palestinians in camps killed by arab regimes

bluebottle

I'm not sure Israeli outposts surrounding Gaza can be called civilian. They are the outermost part of Israeli aggression, heavily armed and brimming with the ideology of expansion. Sure, there are families but there are often families in military complexes, do they therefore become civilian?

This is precisely the same logic which the most extreme right-wing voices in Israel and the US have been using against the population in Gaza – they have voted for “terrorists” and are therefore terrorists themselves, they have sided with the ideology of permanent war with Israel and replacing it with a Caliphate, etc, etc. Do civilians stop being civilians when they believe in something you don’t like? What about the Sderot citizens who campaigned against the war? I take it they can be compared to soldiers too?

bluebottle

And anyway targeting a civilian population with close to complete support for their ‘defence forces’ bombardment of civilians seems to me a legitimate target.

This says it all really. By the same logic the slaughter of American civilians in 2003 would have been perfectly legitimate, so was bombing Hiroshima, etc etc. A civilian population which “supports” the government is a military target. Amazing.

bluebottle

See your point Alan, but fleeing doesn't need encouragement, it needs support in other ways. Fighting benefits from moral support. Moral support for fighting is not making a demand whereas demanding fleeing instead of fighting clearly is.

No one is “demanding” that people flee, if anything the point is to show that arguments that the “brave resistance” of Hamas and the Palestinian people are the same thing, making criticising Hamas beyond the pale, are false. People here are saying that instead of calling on people to be massacred by the IDF in an asymmetrical war from a safe distance, supporting the sensible choice of ordinary Palestinians not to fight is the reasonable thing to do.

Bluebottle

The reason we go back to class is because it is the underlying cause of conflict. However, in instances of one state oppressing another state, the issue is more complex, as you have one (arbitrary) working class group oppressing another. As a matter of tactics the oppressor must be expelled before we can start discussing equal pay for equal work and on from there (and Ed, don’t trade unions reflect bourgeois hierarchies?). If that means fighting with/alongside Hamas then I really don't see a problem. You seem to think this will necessarily mean irreversible entrenchment of Hamas dominance even after Israel ceases to advance

.

So a Hamas functionary in a villa in Lebannon is being oppressed by a supermarket cashier in Tel Aviv? Or is a Chinese chef in Israel oppressing a police chief in Rafah? What does expelling the oppressor mean? Are we talking about the territories or ‘Palestine’ full stop?

There is a serious problem if we are talking about cheerleading on the fight of a “resistance” group that doesn’t stand to give anything to the Palestinian working class. Hamas will not defeat the IDF militarily. The only way that there will be a significant change in the geopolitical makeup of Israel/Palestine is through a change in the imperialist balance of power globally (which would mean other such conflicts elsewhere, just as there are far worse conflicts in the world now). Hamas’ war does not stand to liberate Palestinians through force of arms, but lead to more brutal violence. That is a simple appraisal of reality. And there is a long history of “oppressed” nations behaving exactly as you’d expect on “liberation” – engaging in imperialist wars, savagely oppressing the working class, etc, even if that were a current possibility. So we have to support working class demands irrespective of the precise overlay of national forces, and not pretend those national forces will give anything to the working class.

This idea that we support the “oppressed” state against the “oppressor” until we start thinking about supporting the working class would mean the permanent suspension of class struggle politics, as states are permanently in conflict with one another, and never perfectly balanced. But its ultimately meaningless. Would we have supported Churchill against Hitler when Britain was “oppressed” in 1939, then Hitler when Germany was “oppressed” in 1945?

Hamas have used this war to entrench their power, as forcing the co-operation or having a rationale for eliminating rival factions was one of their motives in seeking its escalation. Just like the Israeli government having a motive in the elections, preventing conflict with the settlers, etc. Hamas are a group with agency and aims of their own, not simply reactive to Israel or the manifestation of the Palestinian spirit of resistance.

Otherwise we'll be waiting for the miracle of simultaneous global utopia.

No, we support working class struggles, and in this case this often means against the local forces of “national liberation” which police the population.

The delegitimisation of the state of Israel is currently rhetorical. I'm in favour of ultimately abolishing all states. But at present your 'no state' solution just means no state for Gazans, not anyone else. So you offer exactly the same as Israel with your 'no state' solution - Palestinian refugees in neighbouring Arab states. You may differ on the ideological plane, but the base material reality of what you propose is consistent.

Who is offering anything else? Will a two state or one state solution become a reality when enough lefties in different countries “demand” it? Hamas do not stand to roll Israel back to the 1967 borders, or 1949 borders, or the Mediterranean through armed struggle. They do offer more brutalisation for the Palestinian working class. The only way significant geopolitical change will come about is through more inter-imperialist struggle, which will mean more bloodshed and war. So we support working class demands, whoever they are against, as part of a coherent communist politics.

petey

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by petey on January 23, 2009

Ed

Just look at how Hamas have acted against the Palestinian working class for a taster:
Palestinian union hit on all sides
Interview with Rasem Al Bayari, Palestinian trade unionist

thanks for that ed, i'd lost track of those links

Django

bluebottle wrote:

I'm not sure Israeli outposts surrounding Gaza can be called civilian. They are the outermost part of Israeli aggression, heavily armed and brimming with the ideology of expansion. Sure, there are families but there are often families in military complexes, do they therefore become civilian?

This is precisely the same logic which the most extreme right-wing voices in Israel and the US have been using against the population in Gaza – they have voted for “terrorists” and are therefore terrorists themselves, they have sided with the ideology of permanent war with Israel and replacing it with a Caliphate, etc, etc.

django exactly characterizes the attitude here in the states. "they" "all" are "guilty" of supporting hamas, so screw 'em. the opposite of this - "they" "all" are imperialists - is just as reasonable.

Tarwater

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tarwater on January 23, 2009

I'm not sure Israeli outposts surrounding Gaza can be called civilian. They are the outermost part of Israeli aggression, heavily armed and brimming with the ideology of expansion. Sure, there are families but there are often families in military complexes, do they therefore become civilian?

This reminds me. I've always wondered why people live fucking there A Hamas firing range doesn't seem like prime real estate to me, what is the actual mindset? Looking at Treeofjudas or someone else on the ground

Tarwater

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tarwater on January 23, 2009

.

.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 23, 2009

Tarwater

I'm not sure Israeli outposts surrounding Gaza can be called civilian. They are the outermost part of Israeli aggression, heavily armed and brimming with the ideology of expansion. Sure, there are families but there are often families in military complexes, do they therefore become civilian?

This reminds me. I've always wondered why people live fucking there A Hamas firing range doesn't seem like prime real estate to me, what is the actual mindset? Looking at Treeofjudas or someone else on the ground

you read a passage describing whole civilian populations - some of whom, like in Sderot have been anti-war - as legitimate military targets, and your reaction is 'yeah, why do they live there anyway?' :confused:

after 9/11 did you ask why people worked in the WTC, which was an obvious target with a history of attacks on it?

fwiw i'm pretty sure the rocket attacks are a relatively new phenomenon, since the wall basically stopped suicide bombings (as well as seizing land etc).

Tarwater

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tarwater on January 23, 2009

yeah, I did. Isn't work a pain enough in the ass without worrying about getting killed before you lunch break.

Why the fuck are you attacking me??

Ex-temp

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ex-temp on January 23, 2009

Yes, I think Joseph maybe thought you had an ulterior emotive other than just curiosity.

Tar - I'm not sure. I know that some live there for ideological reasons, I also know that some are forced to live there through poverty, as they cannot afford decent housing elsewhere. I don't know about relative numbers of these groups, or what other reasons there are.

Khawaga

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on January 23, 2009

fwiw i'm pretty sure the rocket attacks are a relatively new phenomenon, since the wall basically stopped suicide bombings (as well as seizing land etc).

From what I remember rocket attacks are a late 90s phenomenon (and suicide bombing didn't start until right after Oslo).

Re: Arab vs Jews comment from Bluebottle. This is not the way all Gazans sees it. Although Gazans are more prone to conflate Israel with Jews, most will see that there is a difference between a state and its inhabitants. As Django commented, it's not like Israel is the only state that is responsible for the siege of Gaza. Egypt has been just as complicit in this, which has simply dispelled any notions of "Arab" solidarity. If anything, Gazans sees it in terms of national and/or religious identities.

Tarwater

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tarwater on January 23, 2009

I guess it could seem sketchy, what with all of the bullshit anti-semitism on indymedia etc, but it was an honest question.

I know not everyone that lives there is an ideologue, so is it an economic issue or what?

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 23, 2009

Tarwater

yeah, I did. Isn't work a pain enough in the ass without worrying about getting killed before you lunch break.

Why the fuck are you attacking me??

apologies, wasn't intended as an attack. just seemed like an odd question in the context. edited in a part-answer to your question which crossed with your reply.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 23, 2009

Khawaga

From what I remember rocket attacks are a late 90s phenomenon (and suicide bombing didn't start until right after Oslo).

ok, i've got my chronology muddled by the sounds of it

Tarwater

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tarwater on January 23, 2009

thanks for the apology. I can see now how it could seem creepy and weird in context...

Tojiah

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Tojiah on January 23, 2009

Tarwater: Lower housing costs, some of the Kibbutzes around set up ideologically I guess, though mostly in relation to agricultural land use. Sderot was basically a good, peripheral border town to throw the lesser-able immigrants at. You can read all about it in its wikipedia page.

I guess you could ask the same of people living in downtown LA or any violence/war-prone area. Most of them are not ideological per se, although Israel has been using them as fodder ever since its inception, so I guess some of that seeped in.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 24, 2009

A fair amount has been written since I last visited so you'll forgive me if I respond to the major points.

Khawaga - I wasn't saying they have to see it like that, some of them surely don't, I was saying it can be ignored given the circumstances. A Pole during WWII might have taken a strongly anti-German attitude but we wouldn't bash them for their xenophobia. Or maybe you would, I don't know.

Devrim - I did say that it was closer to peasantry but I didn't say it was a purely peasant society. If you read back I said somewhere that I accepted there was a bourgeoisie in Gaza, just that Hamas are not it. In fact Fatah are more closely linked with the owner class there. Indeed 'most of the Middle-East' was a rather sweeping generalisation but the fact is the owner class generally got their positions from being peasants who managed to get rich, not from the exchange-system. And peasant ideology is still dominant.

Django - Yes, it is legitimate if it is necessary and effective and violence is legitimate in the first place. Hiroshima and 9/11 fail this test. The area surrounding Gaza is all the more so given that civilian population is living on conquered land. And I don't know the exact figures but I suspect more Gazans have been killed by the heavily armed, patrolling 'civilian' population surrounding them than they have killed (20) in the past ten years.

It's not correct to say Hamas doesn't offer anything to the working class. Again, they are the only thing that is stopping Israel from their ethnic cleansing campaign, at the moment. That is something. You have to have some kind of existence to enjoy shorter working hours and paid vacation. 'Coherent communist politics' is supporting trade unions but not national liberation?

An oppressor state, in the sense that Marx meant it, is being a state which wields massive economic might over another and works to extract value from that state. It is not mere disparity. The most powerful capitalists on earth are currently behind the Israel and US attempts to end all 'successful defiance' (Chomsky) in the region. Supporting that defiance, even if it isn't quite ideologically in tune with you, means undermining the world's most powerful capitalists. 'Vietnam Syndrome' made clear that the only thing stopping US imperial ambitions was getting sufficiently killed by the Vietcong (and the domestic protests).

"The only way significant geopolitical change will come about is through more inter-imperialist struggle, which will mean more bloodshed and war." This is only correct if you consider mass killing insignificant if workers rights are not also realised.

Hamas doesn't stand to roll back Israel. I never said it does. It does stand to stop further Israeli expansion which is an actually existing real threat. Of course they have their own agenda, but their primary material function is to get rid of that threat.

The one-state solution seems reasonable to me. We can discuss that if you want.

Petey - If the 'us vs them' nationalism of an imperial power stopped, imperialism would be undermined. If the 'us vs them' nationalism of the state subjected to imperialism stopped, then the struggle against imperialism would be undermined. That's the distinction.

Devrim

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on January 24, 2009

Devrim - I did say that it was closer to peasantry but I didn't say it was a purely peasant society. If you read back I said somewhere that I accepted there was a bourgeoisie in Gaza, just that Hamas are not it. In fact Fatah are more closely linked with the owner class there. Indeed 'most of the Middle-East' was a rather sweeping generalisation but the fact is the owner class generally got their positions from being peasants who managed to get rich, not from the exchange-system. And peasant ideology is still dominant.

'The fact is' is not a fact at all. It is an assertion. Maybe some evidence would be nice.

When you said that it was closer to a peasant society, maybe you should have explained that what you meant was that actually less then 10% of people were peasants, and that it was a similar amount to a country like Greece.

Indeed it was a rather sweeping generalisation more particularly so in that it turned out to be untrue.

One has to wonder what you agenda is in denying these facts, and trying to paint a picture of some sort of peasant society that doesn't really exist.

Devrim

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 24, 2009

Haha one has to wonder at my agenda. My agenda is to show that the Western bourgeois-proletariat model doesn't hold perfectly in the Middle-East, as most people behave as peasants even if they are no longer engaged in peasant activity, and the roots of hierarchy in the region have more to do with peasantry than the development of local bourgeois-proletarian relations.

The states in the region never evolved into the class distinction as they did in Europe. In England, for instance, the peasantry naturally died out, while in the Middle East the peasantry were recruited and directed in the creation of all the modern nations. Pre-capitalist modes of production, with no connection to industrialisation, grew dramatically while Europe was developing under bourgeois entrepreneurship. Eventually new modes of production were introduced and a reflection of European capitalism grew, but the power structures in the region of feudalism and agriculture are still felt and the rulers are often a distinct, non-bourgeois class who are more rightly identified as peasants with power.

The Saudi establishment, for instance, were feudal rulers. They are now extremely rich feudal rulers who no longer engage in peasant activity. They cannot be classed as bourgeois. The same is true of the rulers of Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf states.

The Palestinian bourgeoisie have no real access to the free market or ability to trade, hence they don't wield the power they otherwise would. The rulers are in power not for their surplus-value extraction but for other reasons already stated elsewhere.

The Iranian revolution was led by peasants and is now run by peasants. They no longer engage in peasant activity, but they are of peasant stock, think peasant and act peasant and are the rulers because of their recently-ex peasant positions. They are distinct from the bourgeoisie, who may or may not be urbanites. These do not have 'free' access to the global market and as such are have not managed to take monopoly control of the country other, peasant, factors are at play.

Afghanistan - peasants.

Syria - the ruling Ba'th Party are pseudo-socialist and state-bourgeois. Al-tabaqa al-jadida are emerging the closest thing to the European bourgeoisie - the "new class". They are new.

Admittedly Tunisia and Egypt have rather more established bourgeois-proletariat class divisions and are clearly ruled by the bourgeoisie, but then most of them were land-owners, not entrepreneurs, and the rulers in Egypt were kept in check by an influential peasantry (look at the history of peasant uprisings in the country).

The role of petite bourgeois traders is also much more significant in the region than bourgeois activity...

It is a fact that the majority of workers in the Middle East are peasants who have escaped the poverty of peasant life. They are not as such a urbanite working class in the sense that Marxists understand the term. They lack the defining feature of mass solidarity of production that the working class enjoy. There has been no bourgeois revolution, the traditional structures still exist, industrialisation is relatively minor. Much work is not wage labour for the production of commodities but servitude and casual labour. There is no real class consciousness. So, feudalism is still a dominant structure, although the bourgeoisie and their petty counterparts DO have a major role, one I may have indicated I didn't believe exists, so sorry about that.

Assertions can be facts. Facts can be asserted. I was asserting a fact. That you need the evidence to accept my assertion as a fact doesn't make it any less of a fact. I should have provided some, and much more yet, but as I said there was a lot to respond to and this was a minor point of discussion.

Devrim

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on January 24, 2009

most people behave as peasants even if they are no longer engaged in peasant activity
...The Iranian revolution was led by peasants and is now run by peasants. They no longer engage in peasant activity, but they are of peasant stock, think peasant and act peasant and are the rulers because of their recently-ex peasant positions.

Ha this a superbly ludicrous argument. It treats membership of the peasantry as if it is some sort of genetic inheritable disease, not a relationship to the means of production. Apart from being right on Afghanistan, which is a peasant society, you don't seem to have a clue.

The main force in the Iranian revolution by the way was the working class and mass strikes. The Islamic leadership, by the way, came from the Pazar not the peasantry.

Haha one has to wonder at my agenda. My agenda is to show that the Western bourgeois-proletariat model doesn't hold perfectly in the Middle-East,

Well yes, that was very clear. The whole thing was based around showing that the same class relationships that exist in Europe don't exist in the Middle East and that it is then acceptable to support national movements.

And this is your argument to base that assertion on:

It is a fact that the majority of workers in the Middle East are peasants who have escaped the poverty of peasant life.

I would say it is not a fact. It is an assertion that has no factual base. The majority of workers in the Middle East may well be the children or grandchildren, or great grand children of peasants, but I would be very surprised if they were formerly peasants themselves.

And being a part of the peasantry is an economic, not genetic condition.

Devrim

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 24, 2009

Not genetic, but cultural. Feudal/peasant power structures, which are not strictly bourgeois, are still making themselves felt in the region along with capitalist/industrial. Nothing ludicrous about that assertion. This is a material fact born of proximity to land and production.

The wealth in the Iranian establishment comes from the appropriation of capitalist and imperialist land to form bonyadha.

I guess by Pazar you mean Bazar. I think most clerical influence comes from Qom actually. Their popularity is certainly concentrated in rural areas. The leadership in Iran is by no means the bazaries and the revolution was spawned from peasant discontent with the privileged position of the urban proletariat. Khomeini and Khamenei was peasants as were all presidents.

I would still think national liberation should be supported even if it was strictly bourgeois-proletarian.

Submitted by 888 on January 24, 2009

Devrim - I did say that it was closer to peasantry but I didn't say it was a purely peasant society. If you read back I said somewhere that I accepted there was a bourgeoisie in Gaza, just that Hamas are not it. In fact Fatah are more closely linked with the owner class there. Indeed 'most of the Middle-East' was a rather sweeping generalisation but the fact is the owner class generally got their positions from being peasants who managed to get rich, not from the exchange-system. And peasant ideology is still dominant.

Come on dude. He's given you the clear facts. You're just talking out of your arse now.

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 24, 2009

Bluebottle

it is legitimate if it is necessary and effective and violence is legitimate in the first place. Hiroshima and 9/11 fail this test. The area surrounding Gaza is all the more so given that civilian population is living on conquered land.

as Sderot is no more "conquered" than Tel Aviv, presumably you think all Israelis are valid military targets? i'm not being disingenuous, just trying to work out where you stand.

Bluebottle

I don't know the exact figures but I suspect more Gazans have been killed by the heavily armed, patrolling 'civilian' population surrounding them than they have killed (20) in the past ten years.

if we're playing a numbers game - which is always a crude substitute for ethics - then many more Gazans have almost certainly been killed by other Gazans than Sderot residents in the past ten years. there's those killed in interfactional power struggles as well as those who happen to be sex workers who get strung up by hamas, those summarily executed for 'collaboration' (some of whom might have even been guilty) etc.

Bluebottle

The one-state solution seems reasonable to me. We can discuss that if you want.

out of interest, what do people think would happen if refugees fled en mass to Israel (or at least the border checkpoints)? presumably they'd be held there, not massacred? i mean if the immediate goal is a binational state, wouldn't civil rights tactics ('i am a man') etc make more sense that armed struggle? i suppose this depends on how committed you think israel is to "ethnic cleansing."

Bluebottle

My agenda is to show that the Western bourgeois-proletariat model doesn't hold perfectly in the Middle-East

no shit, Gaza doesn't have the same class composition as the UK. to deny the government are part of the local ruling class, and are in fact peasants of some description is a bit nuts though.

Bluebottle

most people behave as peasants even if they are no longer engaged in peasant activity

what does that mean, they practice subistence farming but don't pay their tithes? they pay their tithes but don't practice subsistence farming?

Bluebottle

the power structures in the region of feudalism and agriculture are still felt and the rulers are often a distinct, non-bourgeois class who are more rightly identified as peasants with power.

well surely the ruling class in a peasant society are the landowners (monarchy) and landlords (barons or equivalent)? not "peasants with power"?

Bluebottle

The Saudi establishment, for instance, were feudal rulers. They are now extremely rich feudal rulers who no longer engage in peasant activity. They cannot be classed as bourgeois.

so vast amounts of capital owned by the House of Saud aren't invested in activities which generate a return? they aren't involved in hiring workers for commodity production and sale? (your own narrow definition of bourgeois).

Bluebottle

The Iranian revolution was led by peasants and is now run by peasants. They no longer engage in peasant activity, but they are of peasant stock, think peasant and act peasant

setting aside empirical questions for a moment (like the importance of the bourse-based power of the baazari behind the ulama), this is a really weird conception of class, at odds with your earlier insistence surplus vale extraction defines the bourgeoisie - what has their "stock" got to do with anything? iran is clearly a capitalist state ruled by a bourgeoisie even by your own narrow definition. and anyway, you're wrong about the iranian revolution and ruling class:

Page 32-3 of 'Iran on the Brink' by Andreas Malm & Shora Esmailian

But while the ulama [religious establishment] certainly had accumulated a considerable amount of property during centuries of donations and inheritances, they should not be regarded primarily as a class, in the strict sense of the word. Rather, they were a phalanx uniquely equipped precisely for state-building, that is, for the construction of an undisputed political and social authority. Their first mission was to stamp out the alternative, parallel authority of the shoras [workers/peasants councils that sprung up in the revolution] - and negate its dissolution of power by concentrating it all in the hands of the faqih, the absolute jurisprudent, the Supreme Leader: Ayatollah Khomenei.

Throughout the Islamic Revolution, it was the baazari [small merchant capitalsts] who supplied its socio-economic backbone. They were the first to fill the mosques with their class interests, pushing the ulama to action while maintaining the most intimate relations to Ayatollah Khomenei. Already in his first theological work, published in 1942, he had endorsed the sanctity of private property, naturally earning him the ear of the baazari. During his exile in Najaf, he was financed by the baazari community and outlined his ideas on the velayat al-faqih in baazari mosques. Back in Tehran, he invited an exclusive group to his headquarters once a week to give a speech on recent events, baazari figures were always in the front row.

i don't have sources to hand on the other states you cite, but your accuracy on the class composition of Gaza and Iran doesn't inspire confidence. in Iran (like Gaza it seems) the small capitalists formed the backbone of the islamic movement, against the big ones which were mostly foreign-owned. you say that "The role of petite bourgeois traders is also much more significant in the region than bourgeois activity", as if small capitalists are not capitalists, let alone peasants "no longer engaged in peasant activity" :confused:

Bluebottle

It is a fact that the majority of workers in the Middle East are peasants who have escaped the poverty of peasant life. They are not as such a urbanite working class in the sense that Marxists understand the term.

well i'm no marxist, and i think the general usage of proletarian here is closer to 'the dispossesed' than 'the surplus-value producing urban industrial workers', so this isn't any great revelation. much of the global proletariat fits your description if you consider recent ancestory, particularly in places like china and latin america, but so what, class isn't a heritable condition but a social relation.

Bleubottle

They lack the defining feature of mass solidarity of production that the working class enjoy.

i have to say you have a very stalinist conception of the working class. where is this "mass solidarity of production" in the UK? proles are not defined by production, but dispossession.

Bluebottle

industrialisation is relatively minor. Much work is not wage labour for the production of commodities but servitude and casual labour. There is no real class consciousness. So, feudalism is still a dominant structure, although the bourgeoisie and their petty counterparts DO have a major role, one I may have indicated I didn't believe exists, so sorry about that.

continuing with the example of Iran, the idea "feudalism is still a dominant structure" is just plain wrong. yes there are persistent traditional structures (particularly religious ones) but Iran is an industrialised, capitalist country. it's industrial sector is relatively twice the size of the UK's (agriculture: 10.8%, industry: 44.3%, services: 44.9% - 2008 est.), and there's a history of class struggles, including workers councils (particularly in the north, dating from the revolutionary upsurge of 1905 centred on Russia), class struggles which are ongoing (we've got a load of news here, Aufheben discussed Iran here).

Bluebottle

Assertions can be facts. Facts can be asserted. I was asserting a fact. That you need the evidence to accept my assertion as a fact doesn't make it any less of a fact.

the fact your assertions about the feudal nature of the middle east are demonstrably false however somewhat undermines their truth-value.

Submitted by Tojiah on January 24, 2009

Bluebottle

The area surrounding Gaza is all the more so given that civilian population is living on conquered land.

Not that much more conquered than most of Green-Line Israel, I think.
Bluebottle

And I don't know the exact figures but I suspect more Gazans have been killed by the heavily armed, patrolling 'civilian' population surrounding them

Actually, the population in the surrounding areas is mostly unarmed, and does not involve itself in incursion into the Gaza Strip itself - they leave that to the military. You're confusing border villages with the North-Gaza settlers that were evacuated in 2005.
Bluebottle

than they have killed (20) in the past ten years.

Where do you get that figure from? That might be the death toll from rockets alone, but it ignores suicide bombings and shootings by militants coming from the Gaza strip, for example. You know, those actions that make the siege such an easy sell for the Israeli population.

If you're going to argue from numbers, you might want to get your figures straight.

Django

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Django on January 24, 2009

Bluebottle

Django - Yes, it is legitimate if it is necessary and effective and violence is legitimate in the first place. Hiroshima and 9/11 fail this test

Your rationale for calling Sderot inhabitants "military targets" wasn't that they live on "conquered land" (all states are involve processes of dispossession), but that their populations exibit "close to complete support for their ‘defence forces’ bombardment of civilians", which would easily cover the population of wartime Japan and the support of the US population for the Iraq war.

'Coherent communist politics' is supporting trade unions but not national liberation?

Where have I "supported trade unions"? I don't think that they are working class organs, but think that class struggle by necessity is expressed through them. So I support teachers striking in Gaza for the payment of their wages despite the fact it is organised through a union.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 24, 2009

I trust you would accept that bourgeois power-relations can be present even when production owner-worker relations aren't present (trade unions, for instance). Well, astonishingly, peasant power relations, beyond merely religious, have significant impact on the modern-day Middle East, where they influence and are influenced by capitalism, industrialisation and globalisation.

"well surely the ruling class in a peasant society are the landowners (monarchy) and landlords (barons or equivalent)? not "peasants with power"? - not when the traditional peasant structure is no longer in place. You couldn't call them monarchs or feudal lords, cos they aren't. They are peasants enjoying a privileged position because of their peasant structures, a position which is embroiled with capitalist and other power relations.

Solidarity in production isn't a state of mind, it is the material basis of the interconnectedness of commodity production. Is that a Stalinist statement?

Yes, Latin America and China are also still highly derivative of feudal society. So what indeed, again, it was not a major point and had no real bearing on my argument.

"Presumably you think all Israelis are valid military targets" - if effective yes. Of course I don't think suicide bombings or Qassam rockets are effective in the slightest.

Again, I support Hamas's rejection of Israeli expansion (which I do think is real) not their entire policy. It's not 'all or nothing' - their execution of prostitutes, trade unionists, gays etc. is not something I support but my support for their military struggle isn't affected by this.

"Not that much more conquered than most of Green-Line Israel, I think." Quite.

Submitted by Devrim on January 24, 2009

Bluebottle

Not genetic, but cultural. Feudal/peasant power structures, which are not strictly bourgeois, are still making themselves felt in the region along with capitalist/industrial. Nothing ludicrous about that assertion.

So you have backed down first on the absurd claim that most of the population of the Middle East were peasants, then on your equally non-factual assertion that the majority of workers in the Middle East were ex-peasants, and now you are claiming that they are peasant from some sort of cultural infection.

Actually, my wife's grandparents were Kurdish peasants. Despite the fact that she was born in and has always lived in a city, and despite the fact that her parents were both public sector workers, maybe I should have her examined for some sort of cultural infection.

It is an absolutely ludicrous assertion. People's class is determined by their relationship to the means of production, not by cultural transmission.

Bluebottle

This is a material fact born of proximity to land and production.

I live in in the centre of a reasonably big city, bigger than all European cities except London. As you can imagine that does not leave me very proximate to the land. Are you arguing that say a worker in Manchester, which has a population of less than half a million, is somehow more a cultural part of the peasantry than me. This is ludicrous.

Bluebottle

The wealth in the Iranian establishment comes from the appropriation of capitalist and imperialist land to form bonyadha.

The Bonyadha is a completely capitalist form.

Bluebottle

I guess by Pazar you mean Bazar.

Yes, I spell it properly too.

Bluebottle

I think most clerical influence comes from Qom actually. Their popularity is certainly concentrated in rural areas.

But then the revolution didn't happen in Qom, the centre of it was Tehran, a massive urban industrial centre.

Bluebottle

The leadership in Iran is by no means the bazaries and the revolution was spawned from peasant discontent with the privileged position of the urban proletariat.

I have never heard this one before. Are you suggesting that it wasn't the mass strike of the proletariat that broke the regime. Even Khomeini realised that.

Bluebottle

Khomeini and Khamenei was peasants as were all presidents.

Completely untrue, both of them were clerics as were their fathers.
In Khomeini's case both of his grandfathers were also clerics. How far do you have to go back to find the contaminating germ of peasant culture.

Bluebottle

I would still think national liberation should be supported even if it was strictly bourgeois-proletarian.

Well yes you might, but please don't use such obviously unfactual nonsense to support your arguments.

Devrim

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 24, 2009

Bluebottle

I trust you would accept that bourgeois power-relations can be present even when production owner-worker relations aren't present (trade unions, for instance). Well, astonishingly, peasant power relations, beyond merely religious, have significant impact on the modern-day Middle East, where they influence and are influenced by capitalism, industrialisation and globalisation.

except of course trade unions for instance function as bourgeois forces because they reflect the dominant forces in society. the peasantry and feudal relations do not dominate the middle east, as has been demonstrated at length with sources, to which you respond with more assertion. yes, modern social relations have grown out of prior ones, but the idea the middle east is somewhere that "feudalism is still a dominant structure" is simply wrong. i mean reliance on oil rents is a far more significant deviation from 'normal' capitalism than residual serfdom, but it still takes place in a framework of wage labour and commodity production.

Bluebottle

Solidarity in production isn't a state of mind, it is the material basis of the interconnectedness of commodity production. Is that a Stalinist statement?

saying "the defining feature" of the working class is "mass solidarity of production" is straight out of stalinist production worker affirmation. if by 'solidarity in production' you mean workers share a material position vis capital, that's still unable to take account of unemployed workers (which is why the proletariat should be understood negatively as the dispossessed, not positively as producers). of course industry accounts for 44% of iran's employment compared to 22% in the UK, so by your own crude argument iran's twice as capitalist as the UK.

Bluebottle

my support for their [hamas'] military struggle isn't affected by this.

"Not that much more conquered than most of Green-Line Israel, I think." Quite.

so you think all israelis are legitimate military targets? even hamas have shied away from this, and stated a willingness to accept the 1967 borders. your 'critical' support for hamas actually goes beyond them. amazing.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 25, 2009

Opposition to the Shah began with peasant discontent. Indeed it subsequently spread to the bazaries, working class etc, but it started in the mosques with peasant discontent, beginning with land reforms of the early '70s. The aims achieved through the revolution are consistent with the limited peasant revolution and it is no coincidence that the traditional peasant intellectual - the Mullah - took power. It was not a workers movement, although yes, the workers were instrumental.

I wasn't questioning your spelling there Devrim, no need to be so sensitive, I was merely trying to confirm that Pazar (the Turkish version of the Persian word Bazar) was indeed Bazar and not the place Pazar, Iran.

Your devastating facts and figures have no relevance to what I'm saying. I never said that Iran isn't capitalist, of course it is, I was saying that Iranian and Middle Eastern capitalism is heavily peasant influenced.

The peasantry remains a distinct class even after it enters urban life, for some time, maybe even generations. I may be focusing too heavily on Tehran, where I live, but here peasants continue their modes of consumption, traditions, descent concerns, household structures, reliance on specific authorities, religiosity, aspirations etc. - their ideology, as well as inconsistent links with the market, self-exploitation being rife. That is, the class is born of its social role but exists beyond it. The European working class didn't become a class as such at the very instance of the first labour exchange, it was a process.

I too am from peasant stock, BTW.

"This is a material fact born of proximity to land and production." I'm sorry I meant land and production ownership.

This concept of the dispossessed sounds interesting, I would like to know more.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 25, 2009

Bluebottle

Your devastating facts and figures have no relevance to what I'm saying.

indeed, you can prove anything with facts.

Bluebottle

I was saying that Iranian and Middle Eastern capitalism is heavily peasant influenced.

well actually you said...

Bluebottle

the majority of workers in the Middle East are peasants who have escaped the poverty of peasant life. They are not as such a urbanite working class in the sense that Marxists understand the term (...) industrialisation is relatively minor. Much work is not wage labour for the production of commodities but servitude and casual labour. There is no real class consciousness. So, feudalism is still a dominant structure

so you appear to be moving the goalposts again, as devrim has noted. iran is twice as industrialised as the UK (44% vs 22%) of employment, and arguably has a significantly higer level if class concsiousness too if the recent large, illegal strikes by bus drivers, teachers, factory workers, shipyard workers and others are anything to go by.

Bluebottle

This concept of the dispossessed sounds interesting, I would like to know more.

it's marx, basically. but the famous quote is...

Gilles Dauvé

If one identifies proletarian with factory worker (or even worse: with manual labourer), or with the poor, then one cannot see what is subversive in the proletarian condition. The proletariat is the negation of this society. It is not the collection of the poor, but of those who are desperate, those who have no reserves (les sans-réserves in French, or senza riserve in Italian), 5 who have nothing to lose but their chains; those who are nothing, have nothing, and cannot liberate themselves without destroying the whole social order. The proletariat is the dissolution of present society, because this society deprives it of nearly all its positive aspects. Thus the proletariat is also its own destruction. All theories (either bourgeois, fascist, stalinist, left-wing or "gauchistes") which in any way glorify and praise the proletariat as it is and claim for it the positive role of defending values and regenerating society, are counter-revolutionary. Worship of the proletariat has become one of the most efficient and dangerous weapons of capital. Most proles are low paid, and a lot work in production, yet their emergence as the proletariat derives not from being low paid producers, but from being "cut off", alienated, with no control either over their lives or the meaning of what they have to do to earn a living.

Defining the proletariat has little to do with sociology. Without the possibility of communism, theories of "the proletariat" would be tantamount to metaphysics. Our only vindication is that whenever it autonomously interfered with the running of society, the proletariat has repeatedly acted as negation of the existing order of things, has offered it no positive values or role, and has groped for something else.

i wrote a blog on why such a negative conception of the proletariat is important here.

Bluebottle

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Bluebottle on January 25, 2009

"the majority of workers in the Middle East are peasants who have escaped the poverty of peasant life. They are not as such a urbanite working class in the sense that Marxists understand the term (...) industrialisation is relatively minor. Much work is not wage labour for the production of commodities but servitude and casual labour. There is no real class consciousness. So, feudalism is still a dominant structure."

That IS saying that capitalism is heavily peasant influenced. Majority of workers are first generation peasants or from the urban peasantry, so they cannot be considered the equivalent of the urban European working class, their position is substantially different. And note 'A' dominant structure not 'THE'.

Industry output and employment levels in the industry sector should be differentiated from industrialisation, which is the social result of sufficient industry. You would not contend that Britain is less industrialised than Iran, surely. Your facts prove nothing of relevance.

I don't think the handful of strikers in a nation of something in the region of 70 million people is great evidence of real class consciousness. The teachers strike was impressive but something of an anomaly. Perhaps if you actually worked here you'd get a better idea.

The negative conception of the proletariat seems reasonable, although I suppose those who "cannot liberate themselves without destroying the whole social order" would also apply to the bourgeoisie as theirs is a pseudo-freedom.

Joseph Kay

15 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Joseph Kay on January 25, 2009

Bluebottle

the urban peasantry

explain?

Bluebottle

You would not contend that Britain is less industrialised than Iran, surely. Your facts prove nothing of relevance.

well they prove that employment in industry in iran is twice that of the UK, so even if we define the working class as urban, blue collar wage workers Iran has proportionally twice the working class of the UK.

i mean i'm not trying to claim the process of class formation in iran is identical to the UK, that the industrialisation is not more recent or that particular cultural factors exist and may well impact the self-identity of iranian workers; but both statistically and in terms of visible struggles there's clearly a large working class in iran.

Bluebottle

I don't think the handful of strikers in a nation of something in the region of 70 million people is great evidence of real class consciousness. The teachers strike was impressive but something of an anomaly. Perhaps if you actually worked here you'd get a better idea.

well i do work in the UK, and i know anything of the breadth and militancy of the recent strike movements in iran would represent a major upturn in the class struggle here (a country of 60m+). the teachers strike was only the latest in a long line of industrial unrest featuring the tehran bus drivers, shipyard, textile and factory workers, marked by a tendency for these struggles to link up with each other and also the struggles of women. these tendencies to generalisation of struggles as well as the immediate politicisiation on account of their illegality and the harsh repression they face represent a significant degree of 'class consciousness', seemingly in advance of anything present in the UK at the moment (where cross-sector link ups are an extreme rarity, despite some desire for them in the public sector strikes last summer, thwarted by the unions). we've got some news archived here, but as none of us speak farsi we're reliant on reports that make it into english, so it's likely to be a small sample.

Bluebottle

The negative conception of the proletariat seems reasonable, although I suppose those who "cannot liberate themselves without destroying the whole social order" would also apply to the bourgeoisie as theirs is a pseudo-freedom.

which is what the 'have nothing' and 'have no control' are for, to preclude owners or controllers of capital (of course no-one really controls capital, it controls them - but the alienation of the bourgeoisie - in the face of impersonal market forces - is qualitatively distinct from proletarian alienation - subordination to the boss or the requirements of the state to receive benefits, compelled to sell yourself for a wage to survive).

wnycs

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wnycs on January 10, 2012

an opposition to a Palestinian Nation-State (cuz states r bad) and calls for unity between Israeli and Palestinian people glosses over the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians are *already* divided. They already are two nations of people, one oppressor/one oppressed.

The relationship between working class Israelis and working class Palestinians seems analogous to that of white and black working class ppl in the US. ignoring divisions and power relationships by calling for an artificial unity only doesn't solve the problem (and might make it worse). while i'm certainly not going to bat for Fatah or Hamas, i understand the need for Palestinian autonomy. without autonomy, Palestine will never be in a position to negotiate the terms for unity/reunification on an equal basis with Israel.

Obviously when there's a global revolution things will change, but right now the expression of the need for that autonomy is the fight for a Palestinian State. and btw, any anarchist saying "Palestine shouldn't have a state" better be saying "Israel shouldn't have a state either" just as loudly and "the USA shouldn't have a state" even louder..

Steven.

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 10, 2012

wnycs

The relationship between working class Israelis and working class Palestinians seems analogous to that of white and black working class ppl in the US.

do you support having a separate state for black people in the US?

Khawaga

12 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on January 11, 2012

btw, any anarchist saying "Palestine shouldn't have a state" better be saying "Israel shouldn't have a state either" just as loudly and "the USA shouldn't have a state" even louder..

and you think they don't? and why louder. a state is a state is a state. regardless the colour of their flag they are more than willing to send people to die for them abroad and sacrifice them at the altar of surplus value at home. A Palestinian state will be no different, indeed, the proto-state of PLO and Hamas have shown they are more than willing to repress any dissent, be it of the liberal or radical kind.

They already are two nations of people, one oppressor/one oppressed.

So Israelis can't be opressed at home? I know of plenty of Israelis who are oppressed by the Israeli state. E.g. the anarchist against the wall to start, but also the so-called Israeli-Arabs. Or for that matter the Ethipoian Jews.

I'm sorry but the Israel-Palestine conflict doesn't fit nicely into a black and white framework.

i understand the need for Palestinian autonomy. without autonomy, Palestine will never be in a position to negotiate the terms for unity/reunification on an equal basis with Israel

so what you desire is for the emergence of a Palestinaian bourgeoisie to negotiate with the Israeli one. let me save you a lot of trouble. just start supporting the PLO as they are already doing that.

maomao

11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by maomao on November 19, 2012

Wow. If cops aren't working class, what are they? Investors?

Steven.

7 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on January 31, 2017

Robber, as you can see we already have this text in the library, but it would be great if you could add your PDF to this version

westartfromhere

11 months ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on May 17, 2023

I have read almost all the comments on this page and the first few paragraphs of the article discussed. Not one mention of the great uprising of the core of the Israeli working class (the migrant labour force of the Palestinian territories), except AS AN ASIDE.

My experience of the State of Israel was as a migrant labourer under social peace and an unemployed migrant during the time of insurrection.