[admin: thread formerly titled 'Israelis take to the street, protesting rising prices!']
A video on the story from The Real News can be found here.
Here's an article on the story from The Independent:
Young Israelis in tent-city protests over rising prices
By Matthew Kalman, in Jerusalem
Friday, 22 July 2011
Israeli consumers, frustrated after years of spiralling food and housing prices, burst on to the streets of Tel Aviv this week with a popular protest that has transformed one of the city's smartest neighbourhoods into a hippie-style campsite.
Students and other demonstrators pitched hundreds of tents along Rothschild Boulevard, more famous for its Unesco-protected Bauhaus-style architecture and European-style cafes, to protest about rising prices that they claim are forcing young people out of the city.
The organisers are demanding government action to calm the inflated housing market that has seen rents rise in Tel Aviv by more than 60 per cent in four years. Protestors have also starting camping out in Jerusalem with other tent cities springing up from Beersheba in the south to Haifa and Kiryat Shemona in the north.
News of the protests spread through social media, echoing a successful Facebook campaign last month when consumers forced down the spiralling price of dairy products.
Critics have accused the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being in thrall to a handful of economic oligarchs who effectively control much of Israel's economy.
"The Israeli public – in all fields – is captive to forces with narrow interests," said an editorial in the daily Maariv newspaper.
In Jerusalem, 40 demonstrators occupied the garden of a home in the exclusive Kfar David neighbourhood. One focus of the protests is the large number of city-centre dwellings built for and bought by wealthy foreigners who leave them empty for most of the year.
A rally on Saturday near the Habima Theatre in Tel Aviv will be the first test of the movement's political muscle. "Israel's government continues to disappoint us, and we feel betrayed," said Daphni Leef, the founder of the protest movement. "The struggle is moving on to the next level. We call on all the tent cities to arrive at Habima Square for a rally that will make the upper echelon shake."
"It's our nation, and it's time to give it back to the people," she added.
Israelis earn on average about 100,000 shekels (£18,000) a year and spend between a half and one-third of their salaries on housing. Food and other costs have also spiralled in recent years, making Tel Aviv the most expensive city in the Middle East.
Many politicians visited the tent cities to show support for the protest but were turned away. Police intervened after one demonstrator poured a bottle of beer over Ron Huldai, the mayor of Tel Aviv. [LOL!! :D]
Though - in my opinion - it's
Though - in my opinion - it's fine to make a thread specifically about this, it should be pointed out that this has been covered, mainly by Mark, in The Tunisia Effect - from this post, put up 4 days ago, onwards. Probably you missed it.
Haaretz: poll shows 87% of
Haaretz: poll shows 87% of Israelis support housing protests
Netanyahu announces emergency housing plan
Wow, will be interesting to
Wow, will be interesting to see how this plays out, both internally in Israel and with the movements going on just over the border.. I thought the second video about the Israelis and Sudanese migrants sleeping in the same tents was touching, racism in Israel is quite stark so it's definitely a good development..
Also thought the woman's (Inbal) comments in the first video were massively revealing about some of the obstacles the movement has to overcome.. saying that the middle class/ashkenazi are the most oppressed and the government only helps the weakest is just madness.
Like everywhere I guess, being middle-class just isn't what it used to be (i.e. a university degree and a while collar job doesn't mean you'll have anything serious to show for it in terms of pay, pensions, security etc). Those who would've been comfortable in the past aren't nearly as much now and this seems to come out in a variety of contradictory ways ("I went to university, why do I have to do low-paid unskilled work?", "We need unity against the government" "Everyone forgets about the white middle class, the weakest get everything" etc).
I got the feeling that this woman seemed to think that Safaradi Jews and migrants have jumped the 'natural' queue (the one she would've been at the front of). Obviously that sentiment has to go but in Israel it's particularly embedded, especially along ethnic lines.
Still a massively interesting development.. cheers for everyone who put thse videos up..
For whatever its worth, I've
For whatever its worth, I've noticed a number of my more-or-less apolitical Israeli friends talking about this on Facebook, and its been nothing but glowingly positive.
Some of my facebook friends,
Some of my facebook friends, the more radical leftist ones, are negative about the main Rothschild Boulevard protest, at least. The main complaint is the current unwillingness of the majority of them to connect with previous, mostly non-Jewish housing struggles.
Update from the +972 site
Update from the +972 site
Netanyahu’s “emergency solution” sends social justice protesters surging into the streets
See? I was just about to post
See? I was just about to post that! I can vouch for the writer, he's somewhat liberal but you can trust his coverage.
Anarkismo has a report here
Anarkismo has a report here on Saturday's demo in Tel Aviv, along with recent AATW actions. I'm not sure it really adds much new about the housing protests though.
Quote: Arab residents set up
Epicure for the housing
Epicure for the housing crisis?
I can't quite find a source
I can't quite find a source for this in English, but an Israeli media watchdog noted that all the weekend newspapers (they come early over there), especially the business press, is calling for more progressive income tax, capital gains tax, etc. The Israeli bourgeoisie must be shitting their pants.
+972: Housing struggle you
+972: Housing struggle you didn’t hear about: The case of Kfar Shalem
Again, can't find a source
Again, can't find a source for this in English, but the Finance and Internal Security Ministries have cut a deal, to be signed next week, raising the wages for starting policemen to NIS 7000 (~$2000). A clear move to strengthen the moral fibre of policemen (and maybe encouraging new recruits) in the face of rising social unrest.
(Link from Israel Broadcast Authority website)
Quote: Netanyahu does not
If there's a war, I'd have
If there's a war, I'd have thought the reasoning behind it would certainly not just be the tent city protests by any means: it'd be part of the global rulers' strategy to divert attention away from class conflict generally, and from the global austerity/social control etc. attacks that the rulers are inflicting on us everywhere. Plus a way of destroying fixed capital and regenerate the economy. Doubt that this war will be a small one: over the next year or sooner it could go nuclear - though bit by bit they'd have to build up the propaganda war, eg about the atrocities of the opponents (how the sides line up is another question) to justify this.
Samotnaf wrote: If there's a
So... there would be war between Israel and Lebanon, say, to divert the attention of the Thai working class from austerity measures? I don't really understand your reasoning here.
Amongst loads of discussions
Amongst loads of discussions over the past months or more, the possibility of a world war or at least something very significant in terms of war has been constantly brought up as a way of diverting the class struggle (your use of the Thai example belittles my comment, since obviously Thailand so far has not had any significant global influence). And I'm not talking about one with Lebanon - Iran is more likely. Or somewhere else. And maybe it'll build up over a longer period than I've suggested, but it's definitely a serious option for the ruling class. Is that hard to understand?
Okay, fine, do you think it
Okay, fine, do you think it will divert the Chinese working class if there's a war between Israel and Iran?
What is hard for me to understand is where you get this idea that world leaders are even able to coordinate their actions in such a Machiavellian manner, or that there is any need for that to explain current events. None of the previous world wars were that well planned out.
I wasn't trying to claim that
I wasn't trying to claim that the rulers have a well-planned strategy (the anarchy of capitalist social relations obviously mitigates against it) - just that war on a grand scale is an option. And clearly some of the world's leaders do co-ordinate. And I didn't mean to imply that if there was a war in the Middle East it would stop there: I'm sure China has an interest in proxy wars - and these could escalate if it seems useful. There are obviously other reasons for war and other things other than war to divert the class struggle (I think Loren Goldner pointed out that the US might consider giving a helping hand to a Chinese Lech Walesa, for example).
But this is getting away from the topic: since Israel has a war every few years ( and is in constant war with the Palestinian territories), now - with the class struggle there beginning to spread, surely the next war they have will have to be more serious than previous ones that had little to do with internal contradictions (btw, just before the war with Lebanon in '82, wasn't there a big "black panther" movement amongst young Sephardi Jews in Israel...? Do you think that that influenced the Israeli state to go to war at that time ?).
Samotnaf wrote: But this is
Inaccurate at best. It has a sort of colonial subcontractor relationship with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and while hostile to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, isn't consistently at all out war with it (although as the article suggests, they do seem to be escalating hostilities lately.
Actually, the Black Panthers had already been mostly coopted into electoral politics in the early '70s, mere years after their outbreak.
Quote: Tens of thousands of
Mass protest again: "150.000
Mass protest again: "150.000 take to the streets" Jerusalem Post
"Masses march for social change", Ynet
"More than "100,000 take to the streets in biggest housing protest yet", Haaretz
Interesting bits of info here and there. For instance, from the Jerusalem Post article, this:
Al Jazeera in English are
Al Jazeera in English are reporting it, but don't feel the need for a live blog, yet. I hear that the police is trying to remove protesters from a main crossing in Tel Aviv, I wonder how much violence they will be willing to apply.
I don't quite know how it is
I don't quite know how it is in British or American or any other country's media, I have seen some scattered things, sometimes through Libcom posters mentioning them... but the Dutch media is saying absolutely nothing about the Israeli protests for a full two weeks. Total silence. Only a little piece on ultra-orthodox Jews attacking Gay Pride - but without mentioning Gay Pride protesters' support for the housing protests...Imagine the reaction to the same kind of protests in, for instance, Turkey, or Italy...
Even worse, left wingers, radicals, revolutionaries are keeping an almost compete silence about thse events as well. Outside of Libcom - almost nothing. A few pieces on WSWS, 9 and 30 July. An article on Dutch Indymedia, reposted from a news site. A thing on Anarkismo. Not much more. Again, imagine these events happening in other countries...
I think libertarian communists should raise an outcry here. The left wing neglect is bordering on scandalous.
Thanks, Mark, for these
Thanks, Mark, for these videos. I understand RT is a Russian, English-language news channel, a kind of Aljazeera or CNN? Anybody knows more about this channel? They seem well-informed, on things that are under-covered in ther media, like these protests.
rooieravotr wrote: Thanks,
I've always wondered about this. When I lived in DC, they would always have pretty good coverage of protests that we had.
rooieravotr wrote: Thanks,
More like Aljazeera than CNN, in the sense that's linked/funded by the national-State.
I wrote Quote: btw, just
Got it wrong then, but wasn't there a massive social movement of non European Sephardi jews in Israel in the months (perhaps as much as 20 months) before the war in Lebanon; I can't believe I imagined it - I know I smoked a lot of wacky backy back then, but I don't think I drifted that far away from reality...Remember speaking to an Israeli about it, late 1982.
That RT video is interesting - particularly the connections being made between Arabs and Jews, but also because of the anticipation/preparation for the rulers' possible moves towards more overt war than usual. Are social movements (strikes, demonstrations etc.) explicitly repressed by legal moves every time there's a war there or is it just down to the "all pull together" ideology?
rooieravotr wrote: I don't
From the +972 site:
So, suddenly Israel isn’t a story anymore?
If you follow the link there's more discussion in the comments below the article.
There's also very little coverage on English language Arab / Middle East blogs. Maybe the story doesn't fit very well with world views sympathetic to Palestinian nationalism.
+972 report and photos from the protests last night
AFP: Israel PM creates task force after prices protests
ynetnews: social activists - the revolution is here
RT's an english-language
RT's an english-language Russian news station that projects the views of Russian imperialism in much the same way, but a little cruder, than foreign language British or American news organisations. It has good domestic reporting and its international coverage can appear quite incisive in that it takes or allows to be expressed, a pro-"radical" point of view against the usually western regime in question.
I would think that the scale of these protests in Israel make the question of war less rather than more likely.
Samotnaf wrote: Got it wrong
I really don't know. Wasn't around back then myself, and most of the lefty "histories" refer to the responses to the war rather than to what came before it: political assassination, Sabra and Shatila, Begin resigning, etc.
Keep in mind that Israel has been under Emegency Rules since its inception (taken almost verbatim from the British Mandate code), so they don't need any specific provisions when a war comes about; however, legal and extra-legal crackdowns on social movements have been on the rise, particularly in the past year or so, before all of this happened. Which goes to show how effective the government is (not).
Quote: There's also very
Yeah, there's hardly any. Some of the stuff I've seen has been along the lines of: their interests is against the Palestinians, so fuck them (3arabawy being one of the proponents of that line). Folks that are all about the wc/labour strikes and have decent analyses all of a sudden revert to nationalism. And it completely fits with the discussions I've had with plenty of leftists from a few Arab countries. Sadly, the idea of Israel has poisoned the minds of even the Arab left; regime propaganda accusing Israel of everything has worked so as to block any possible solidarity between Israelis and nationals of Arab countries (though Palestinians are at least willing to work with Israelis; other Arabs are still on the Khartoum line from 1967). What is really frustrating is that folks in Egypt, e.g., do not see the connection between the regime now accusing protesters of being "foreign agents" (which typically mean Israel and US) and their own views on Israel and Israelis.
It looks to me that what's
It looks to me that what's happening in Israel is 'historic' in the same way that the movements in Egypt, Spain, Greece, etc are. Although there have always been strikes by Israeli workers in defence of their class interests, they have not often been very visible; this movement, while being more heterogeneous in class terms like its 'partners' elsewhere, is a much more obvious piece of evidence that class contrasts do indeed exist in Israel; not only that, it shows that there is a clear link between the aggravation of social conditions for the majority and the state's war policy. On one of the videos linked above it was pointed out that the state is pouring a highly disproportionate amount of money into building up settlements in the occupied territories rather than increasing the housing stock in the rest of Israel. But more generally the Israeli proletariat pays very heavily for the state's war effort.
Equally significant is the beginnings of participation in the protests by Arabs and Jews alongside each other. Obviously there are still huge ideological obstacles against class unity both in Israel and the Arab countries, but the outbreak of the movement gives internationalists a concrete argument against the war propaganda on both sides. In this we can expect no help whatever from the leftists, who are almost unanimously committed to supporting war against Israel.
I agree with Tojiha re the Black Panthers. They were a phenomenon of the 1970s. Delving into my archives I pulled out a copy of Flashpoint, , magazine of the Israel Palestine Socialist Action Group (UK), dated 1971-2. (this was a group which split from left Zionism and then generated a Trotskyist and a libertarian/internationalist wing before breaking up. Obviously I was in the latter wing) The cover shows a demonstration by the Black Panthers and there is an article about them inside. I don't know about any social movements in Israel prior to the Lebanon war in the early 80s, although there was at least one huge demonstration in Tel Aviv against the massacres in the refugee camps which had been supervised by Sharon and co.
I agree with Baboon regarding the link between war and social struggles. Whatever Netanyahu might try in order to divert attention from the social question, this movement can open up a period in which it begins to become increasingly difficult for the Israeli bourgeoisie to mobilise for war.
Would have thought it's well
Would have thought it's well within the bounds of the rulers' considered options to allow or somehow encourage a terrorist atrocity to divert concentration away from these, and other possible, movements. Perhaps not a war, but something so far unpredicted.
I would not discount that.
I would not discount that.
From +972: The real
The real importance of the tent protest
Al Jazeera has an in-depth piece on the protests here. There are more reports on the CrowdVoice site. Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/#search?q=j14
Khawaga: Quote: Some of the
Do you have a specific source? Has he actually said something about the Israeli protest of these days? I know (from my Trotskyist days) that this used to be the analysis: not much to be expected of the Jewish-Israeli workers, because of the advantages the Zionist state gives them; only military defeat and revolutionary upheaval i the Arab world will change that. However, I would 'like' to see them defend that line NOW... The only thing (except from a few WSWS pieces that are not bad, relatively speaking), it is a deep, ominous, almost total, silence from Trotskyist, and generally leftist, circles, some anarchists not excluded. This has to be changed, and this Libcom thread is e delight in that respect, a breath of fresh air.
rooieravotr wrote: only
Some would say that that is exactly what happened. :)
Indeed! But STILL most of
Indeed! :D But STILL most of the left is fast asleep.... However, ROAR MAG, a site dedicatd to the many protests and revolts sweeping many countries - but mainly Spain and Greece - has now a big enthousiastic but not simplistic article on the protests in Israel. And one Dutch newspaper finally published a piece on its website on the protests - first thing I saw in Ducth papers...
Except that for the
Except that for the leftists,the idea of the 'Arab revolution' has always been tied up to the idea of a victorious war over the Zionist state.
With the current movements in the 'Arab' world, there is still a potential for the strengthening of those forces who consider that an 'Arab revolutionary regime' (ie some kind of left government, especially in Egypt) could and should wage war against Israel more effectively than the old regime which was compromised by its ties to America. On the other hand there is also potential for the development of a real movement against war and for international class solidarity.
This would be a good moment for an internationalist statement - ideally one signed by people in Israel and in neighbouring states, although I know how difficult (and perhaps unlikely)that would be.
yes i really think the way
yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'
Found this article, not too
Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,
Yes, unfortunatly, Arbeiten will probably be right in this prediction. Of course, such a 'test' would be ridiculous, it woud make solidarity conditional upon good behaviour of the protesters. Solidarity cannot and must not wait till the moment that any mvement develops the 'crrect'position whatever that might be. These protests are justified AS THEY ARE, and to be supported as such.
Having said that, developing an explicit anti-occupation position, developing solidarity betwee workers of Jewish and Arab background, recognising that the latter are oppressed much more openly and viciously, and that any kind of privileging one group of workers above the other should be opposed - WITHOUT falling in the trap of becoming an addendum to Palestinian struggle, WITHOUT becoming Pelstinian nationalist-by-proxy (as many of the left are) - would strengthen the protests enormously. Without that, the government can much more easy outflank them, use chauvinism against Palestinians to rally Jewish workers around the flag, using excuses to repress themovement using 'security' arguments. 'Anti-imperialism'is not the issue. Solidarity between workers, of whatever background, on whatever side of borders and walls, is.
rooieravotr wrote: Found this
I agree with this and consider it the best position, as difficult as it surely is.
An exemplary case of refusing
An exemplary case of refusing to speak for support of the movement unless it explicitly fights for Palestinian rights. Put here, not because I agree - I understand the sentiment behind it, but I disagree strongly with the conclusion - , but for exemplary educational value, so to speak.
rooieravotr wrote: Having
There are already connections being made with Palestinians and Arabs, both inside Green-Line Israel ("Meanwhile, a Jewish and Palestinian joint camp was set up in the highly sectarian city of Akko..." in Social justice protesters take to the streets, 972 Magazine), as well as in East Jerusalem (ongoing protests of both Jews and Arabs against evictions of the latter from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood), it seems. If this becomes strong enough, it will hopefully be difficult for the Khartoumites to cut the cross-ethnic ties of working-class solidarity.
Yes, I've seen indications of
Yes, I've seen indications of the connection being made as well. Encouraging indeed! By the way, what exactly does "Khartoumites" refer to in this context?
I was referring to Khawaga's
I was referring to Khawaga's comment from earlier, which in turn refers to this:
A more sceptical article
A more sceptical article about the protests from +972:
The tent protest: neither social justice, nor revolution
ynet: thousands to go on strike for social change
The comments are very vague
The comments are very vague tho and no word on palestinians. Perhaps because if there is one they fear being labelled as anti-israel state?
rooie wrote: Do you have a
Here's what Hossam wrote, and in conversations with him I had while living in Egypt he supported the same line. And I've heard lots of others say the same thing.
Khawaga wrote: rooie
what about the Moroccan working class?
Entdichlingung wrote: what
Khawaga... Thanks a lot for
Khawaga... Thanks a lot for this info. That is more horrible than I dared to fear in my nightmares.
May I add that this is, for me as en ex-Trotskyist at least, one of the most enlightening forum threads I have seen on Libcom. Thanks, all : )
Interesting view of Jews Sans
Interesting view of Jews Sans Frontières. One conclusion:
For readers of Spanish -
For readers of Spanish - there seems to be a debate going on in Madrid about whether the 15M movement should actually be supporting the Israeli protests, link here.
The proposal here is that the Israeli protesters should only be supported if they "take a position as a movement on the Palestinian question, denouncing clearly and openly the occupation, the blockade of Gaza and [calling for] the end of the settlements".
One of the responses:
Edited to add: this is also being discussed on alasbarricadas
Press TV, Iranian
Press TV, Iranian english-language news, reports last night that 150,000 municipal workers in Israel were on a one-day strike. It also reported that tens of thousands of protesters were on the streets yesterday.
Reports from elsewhere (French TV) suggest that the Netanyahu government has been taken aback by events, from first of all dismissing protests out of hand a few days ago to now saying words to the effect that they have serious concerns and have sacked a finance minister.
What's the deal here -
What's the deal here - Israeli workers fighting for their own class interests is not positive and they should be supporting UN resolutions and a Palestinian state?
As I said, this is one we
As I said, this is one we have to watch out for. It poses difficult questions. Are we to poop this movement straight away because they haven't woken up out of ideological slumber in an instant? It is really difficult and I don't have the answers. Maybe there will be a gradual realization of shared interest between Israeli workers and palestinians. But it is an ideological uphill struggle. Remember there is strong national consciousness in israel, they all do national service for at least 3 years, the constant coverage of security issues, etc, etc.
I don't know many israelis, but the ones I do no all really dislike Netanyahu and Lieberman. I think the way Likud deals with this is going to be very interesting. If they go in hard (which, as we know, the israeli government likes to) it could really spark something more interesting.
Quote: "Marx believed that
"Worker's Have to Deal With Their Own Reality and that Transforms Them."
Angelus Novus, though I love
Angelus Novus, though I love that quote (I really do think it's great), I think the author gives Marx too much credit. in the rhetorical strategy of 'in other words' Glaberman really makes something that apparently Marx has said into something much better. He is a C L R James contemporary right? C L R James would do that a lot also. Though of course in Capital Marx does say, ‘labour cannot emancipate itself in the white skin where in the black it is branded'. But ya know, anyway that is a side issue, it is a good Glaberman quote!
baboon wrote: have sacked a
I could find no evidence of this. I think a ministry official resigned, but the minister is still in his post. Source?
Meanwhile, Ministers, MKs say W. Bank building can solve rent crisis (JPost), which will certainly force this movement to take some stand on the Occupation, or be polarized by it:
Ditto to this. I was just there a month ago and didn't have a clue what the hell was going on.
Finally, some serious sign of
Finally, some serious sign of thinking on the subject from within the SWP, though, significantly, NOT in the most recent Socialist Worker. Here's Lenin's Tomb, with a somewhat more positive analysis than I had come te fear. Still, it does not quite satisfy me. Any ideas?
baboon wrote: What's the deal
Regarding the discussion in Madrid there's a reference to 'Palestina toma la calle', which seems to be a group involved in Palestinian solidarity work that is trying to make an issue out of a 15M youtube video produced in support of the Israeli protests. This appears to be striking a chord with the usual 'anti-imperialism' of the Spanish left. There are some voices of reason as well though.
Sabot wrote: Ditto to this. I
Well, my exactly was a reference to the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara. But you never see the Morrocan working class being labelled with having their interests squarely aligned with the King. That is always reserved for the Israelis...
rooie wrote: Finally, some
Typical waffle in the end. What got me was this though:
The same could, with minor modifications, be said of Egypt. "Because nationalism still predominates, and because the vast majority of Egyptian workers have not begun to break with Egyptian nationalism, and indeed many could reasonably claim to get some benefit from it, how these social antagonisms work out depends on the regional context". THis should not be lost on anyone who as followed events in Egypt the last few weeks where state propaganda has enabled SCAF to crack down on everyone. While the army evicted the families of the martyrs and activists there to support them from Tahrir, lots of ordinary working class Egyptians were cheering and egging the army on, denouncing the protesters are agents of Israel. Same thing happened with the march on SCAF that was stopped in Abasseya. The local residents had been told that thugs, sponsored by "foreign" elements (and it's always Israel), would come to create havoc. There were residents that fell for this, although the protesters were also supported by other local residents. In any case, this just goes to show how the idea of Israel, as against Egyptian national unity, completely serves the bourgeoisie. And this nationalism is extended to the Army, who apparently has the best interests of Egyptians at heart. Even though the Army has demonstrated that they've been more than willing to beat the shit out of people, imprison and torture them If there hadn't been an Israel or other imperialist boogeyman (built up over decades), it would not have been as easy to squash the protests, at least with as much support as SCAF has now.
Quote: All over the place,
"Pro-Palestinian" activists; the willing idiots of the state. Fuck me.
Quote: The 40 tent
I'm not sure what to make of the idea of settler support for the protests. I don't know how related it is but a while back Haaretz had an article on settlers backing a one state solution. I'm not sure what to make of this either.
Quote: At Levinsky Park in
Khawaga: Quote: The same
On the whole, I tend to agree but I am not absolutely clar on one thing. What is the benefit Egyptian workers could reasonably claim to get from Egyptian nationalism, analogous to the benefits Israeli workers are supposed to get from Israeli nationalism? My question is meant seriously, not in any polemic sense. Four weeks ago I would simply have agreed with Lenin's Tomb on this, I'm afraid, so I need this debate...
Everyone here saying that
Everyone here saying that the Palestinian question should not be brought up has ignored Tojiah's post:
You don't have to be a Palestinian nationalist and to think the Palestine situation should take hierarchical priority over other social issues to still be in favour of bringing this issue up. And it seems a section of Israel's ruling class want to use this issue to divide the movement (which, in a sense, needs to be divided - as far as I understand there are right-wing organisations that are a part of it). Every social movement is contradictory, as is every individual. You don't contribute to changing things by avoding mentioning contradictions, any more than you can make a contribution by contemptuously dismissing a social movement, judging it by dogmatic ideological points of view (eg, there were some people who dismissed the miners strike in the UK because they were in favour of work and had a semi-Stalinist for their leader). Hiding your critique of the occupation (not sure that anybody was explictly suggesting this, but some of the posts have been close to doing so) is just as bad as rubbishing the tent city movement.
Khawaga wrote: Sabot
it is in fact worse, most groups to the left of the Moroccan social democracy (apart from the post-maoists of Annahj Addimocrati, the trotskyist group Al-Mounadhil and the anarchists down there, as far as I know) support the official policy of the moroccan state on this question (stuff which neither Meretz or Rakach does)
Yacov Ben Efrat: The Tent
Yacov Ben Efrat: The Tent Intifada (Challenge)
Summer 2011 Social Protest in
Summer 2011 Social Protest in Israel: Possibilities and Challenges (AIC)
Report on Anarkismo
Report on Anarkismo
Quote: Protesters plan more
On Tojiah's post 65: I heard
On Tojiah's post 65: I heard a number of foreign news stations that night (there was nothing on the British news) and it's possible I misheard this and accept that it could have been a finance ministry official resignation. The main point however was that after initially dismissing the protests as nothing very much the state has been forced to take cogniscence of them.
On Mark's post above: the same day/night that the two Palestinians were killed in Qalandiya by Israeli forces ("for throwing stones") there was a border skirmish with Lebanon where, according to Press TV, a Lebanese guard was injured. It seems to be that at least some of the protesters are aware of such sort of diversions.
It seems like tens of thousand of municipal workers were on a one-day strike - any news on other strikes?
rooie wrote: On the whole, I
well, for starters, more jobs. Plenty of immigrant workers in Egypt, though not massive numbers. So against the Sudanese really. But the point is that there really is no benefit. Apart from the short term, and for very small numbers, there is nothing to gain from nationalism. Things might be hunky dory for a while, but then things will go down. When there are protests, the already existing nationalism is then used to demonize protesters.
Saturday's demo in Tel
Saturday's demo in Tel Aviv
Reports on twitter of fighting between settlers and protesters in Tel Aviv tonight
Man, this stuff just keeps
Man, this stuff just keeps getting more and more interesting.. great to hear that settlers have been told to fuck off and from the video it seems like the list of issues being talked about is getting longer and longer..
You know, there are times when I really am filled with revolutionary enthusiasm.. :)
rooieravotr wrote: Found this
Yeah, roo has put it really well here.
Quote: Israel's first
Anyone know how this panned out?
Chilli, I can't find much but
Chilli, I can't find much but it looks like local government employees went on strike on that day. I found something else that said nothing much happened in the way of strike action. Did also find this amusing headline:
Entdinglichung, interesting finds. And very good to see Arab issues starting to be addressed.. :)
Taxi drivers block main Tel
Taxi drivers block main Tel Aviv road as part of Israeli social protest wave
'Stroller marches' to take place across Israel in fresh round of protests
NY Times: In Israel, the rent is too damn high
Dimi Reider and Aziz Abu Sarah
This is exciting stuff.
This is exciting stuff. Thanks for all the updates. That real news video was good.
Agree with what other people have been saying about the ridiculous response of the left.
I got in a big argument with one of the leading SWP people in my union branch, whose argument was that Israel did not have a working class. I asked her who drove the buses, built the roads, looked after the children, etc and she just dodged the question and ranted about Zionism and the occupation. It's absolutely crazy. And of course none of them would say that the UK didn't have a working class even when we had an empire covering a quarter of the world.
Anyone in AF or SF working on
Anyone in AF or SF working on putting out a statement from a local?
You and your fucking
You and your fucking statements, chilli sauce! You should just make yourself a template that you can reuse every time ;)
Yeah, I think a good,
Yeah, I think a good, in-depth analytical article (or first-hand account) would be more useful than a statement
Quote: Already the media is
Judging by a facebook comment from an Israeli friend of mine I think it was anarchists who challenged the settlers head on. Apparently the organizers sided with the settlers, claiming the slogan 'Sudanese go back to Sudan' is a 'legitimate economic claim'. Anyway this person said they will not be participating in the tent city because of it.
That sounds discouraging - do
That sounds discouraging - do you know if he/she was there yesterday or is relying on 2nd hand or media reports?
Facebook page for tent #48 - the focus of the conflict yesterday
I'm fairly certain they were
I'm fairly certain they were there.
+972: Jewish supremacists
+972: Jewish supremacists visit social justice protests
Housing protest: rightist tent torched - though the report looks dubious and the pic is less dramatic the headline.
I take Steven's point above
I take Steven's point above about the proletariat in Britain during the days of the Empire - a point I take to mean the defence of the working class against the activities of its "own" bourgeoisie. Leftism equates the two but there's been some elements of it on here.
The argument of Steven about the Empire still stands today; the states of America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China... all of them, are up to their necks in the blood of innocents. Israel, just like apatheid South Africa yesterday, is not a "special case" but is absolutely typical of all imperialist nations (and all nations are imperialist). Imperialism is a vital question for the working class but it can only be effectively confronted through class struggle and only as long as that class struggle tends to take an independent and deepening turn. The working class in Israel is no more complicit in the oppression of the Palestian populations than the proletariat in Britain, America, Jordan, France, Egypt and so on.
The question could also be raised about the thousands of Palestinian construction and other workers who work on building work and other stuff in the county, including new settler homes. These are workers and their common interests is in joining the class struggle and not supporting UN resolutions and different factions of the ruling class as in South Africa.
Haaretz: Housing activists
Haaretz: Housing activists hope for record numbers at Saturday protest
One of the contributors to +972 on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/ibnezra
I'm not sure how decisions are being made at the tent protests. I haven't seen any reports of 15M style assemblies of protesters - not that they are necessarily the perfect solution either.
Edit: Haaretz has a report on a meeting to vote for representatives at the main tent protest in Tel Aviv, but I'm still not clear from this how the meetings work.
This from tent48 Quote: Tent
This from tent48
Looks like the question raised in that earlier linked 972 article "How long can the social justice protests go on without defining what “social justice” means?" is slowly being approached.
edit: Anarkismo: Class war within neo-liberal capitalism and the rebellion ignited by the Israeli "middle class"
Pretty good interview here
Pretty good interview here with photos in Vice magazine
I thought this answer from
I thought this answer from the Vice magazine interview was interesting and helps to explain some of the similarities with the 15M movement in Spain - including the claims to be 'non-political' and open to people from the right as well as the left.
From the Commune
Another interesting interview
The social order shakes: Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf on the Israeli social justice movement
Bit I found the most
Bit I found the most interesting (and "prromsing") from the Sheifaz interview:
Tent48 Letter from Tel
Letter from Tel Aviv
Tahrir envy: an
Tahrir envy: an anti-occupation activist’s first thoughts on the tent protests in Israel
Quote: Never has a protest
Actually one thing that has struck me is the similarity to the coverage of the 15M protests by the Spanish media, with the more liberal/left press being largely sympathetic (though often distorting the facts) and varying degrees of hostility from the right. It isn't something unique to Israel.
Edit: This might be more of a stretch, but I think maybe there are also parallels between Israel and Spain in the reactions, ranging from scepticism to outright hostility, of some longstanding activists to the new wave of protests.
AFP: Israel housing activists seek 'critical mass'
Between euphoria and anarchy:
Between euphoria and anarchy: Tel Aviv’s revolutionary festival
Haaretz: Israel protests
Haaretz: Israel protests influenced by Arab world
Quote: Despite their
let's hope that moronic Trotskyists also begin to see this
Tent 1948 Abir Kopty
If you are Palestinian, it will be difficult to find anything to identify with in Tel Aviv's tents’ city, until you reach Tent 1948. My first tour there was a few days ago, when I decided to join Tent 1948. Tent 1948's main message is that social justice should be for all. It brings together Jewish and Palestinian citizens who believe in shared sovereignty in the state of all its citizens.
For me, as Palestinian, I don’t feel part of the July 14 movement, and I’m not there because I feel part, almost every corner of this encampment reminds me that this place does not want me.My first tour there was pretty depressing, I found lots of Israeli flags, a man giving a lecture to youth about his memories from ’48 war’ from a Zionist perspective, another group marching with signs calling for the release of Gilad Shalit, another singing Zionist songs. This is certainly not a place that the 20% of the population would feel belong to. The second day I found Ronen Shuval, from Im Tirtzu, the extreme right wing organization giving a talk full of incitement and hatred to the left and human rights organizations. Settlers already set a tent and were dancing with joy.
The existence of Tent 1948 in the encampment constitutes a challenge to people taking part in the July 14 movement. In the first few days, the tent was attacked by group of rightwing activists, who beat activists in the tent and broke down the Palestinian flag of the tent. Some of the leaders of the July 14 movement have said clearly that raising core issues related to Palestinian community in Israel or the occupation will make the struggle “lose momentum”. They often said the struggle is social, not political, as if there was a difference. They are afraid of losing supporters if they make Palestinian issues bold.
The truth is that this is the truth.
The truth is, this is exactly what might help Netanyahu, if he presses the button of fear, recreates the ‘enemy’ and reproduce the ‘security threat’, he might be able to silence this movement. The problem is not with Netanyahu, he is not the first Israeli leader to rely on this. The main problem is that Israelis are not ready yet to see beyond the walls surrounding them. Yet, one has to admit, something is happening, Israelis are awakening. There is a process; people are coming together, discussing issues. The General Assembly of the encampment decided on Friday that it will not accept any racist messages among its participants. Even to Tent 1948 many Israelis arrived, read the flyers, listened to what Tent 1948 represent and discussed calmly. Perhaps if I was a Jewish Israeli I will be proud of the July 14 movement. But, I am not a Jew, I am not Zionist, I am Palestinian.
I don’t want to beatify the reality, or hide anything for the sake of ‘tactics’ and I will not accept crumbs. I want to speak about historical justice, I want to speak about occupation, I want to speak about discrimination and racism, I want to put everything on the table, and I want to speak about them in the heart of Tel Aviv.
Social justice can’t be divided or categorized. If it is not justice to all including all Palestinians, then it is a fake justice, elite justice or “Justice for Jews only” exactly as the Israeli democracy functions “for Jews only”. July 14 is a great opportunity for Israelis to refuse to allow their state to continue to drown into an apartheid regime.[/quote]
ynet: Israel gears up for
ynet: Israel gears up for mass rally
Noam Sheizaf: http://twitter.com/#!/nsheizaf
RT report (video)
+972: J14 movement holds largest protest in Israel’s history
+972: Over a quarter million, and Israel still isn’t a story
Edit: reports of arrests on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/ibnezra
Photos AJE report
AJE report (video)
According to http://twitter.com/#!/MaxBlumenthal
Guardian video on the Rothschild tent camp
Just read Adam Ford's article
Just read Adam Ford's article from the Commune:
I agree with virtually everything in it. It rejects the habitual leftist view that the class struggle in Israel is of little or no importance and that the starting point must always be the national question. It is also very clear about the historic importance of this movement.
We will publish an article shortly on our website. I will provide a link when it's up.
Alf - it would be good to see
Alf - it would be good to see an analysis of the debate going on in Israel right now between what I'd broadly call J14 sceptics and enthusiasts, some of it on twitter and on sites like +972. This revolves around the movement's stance, or lack of it, on the occupation. For myself I don't really know that much about Israel/Palestine and I suspect there's a lot that I'm missing.
Here's an AJE interview with Joseph Dana, one of the sceptics
And this piece on +972 by enthusiast Noam Sheifaz responding to the article by Abir Kopty who is more of a sceptic.
The fault and the hope of J14
Also this article from +972
Also this article from +972 by J14 enthusiast Dimi Reider
J14 may challenge something even deeper than the occupation
Thanks for posting that Mark.
Thanks for posting that Mark. These articles are very interesting, and despite the liberal sentiments I would agree a lot with the approach. I think this movement has, in embryo at least, 'solved' the dichotomy between the social and the national question. It is in the course of a social struggle that real unity, which can only develop as a class unity with a vision of a stateless human community, can be built and national divisions can be overcome in practice. It is a concrete refutation of all the leftist arguments that 'first we have to solve the national question, then we can have a normal class struggle'.
Alf wrote: very interesting
Along the same lines here's an article on the twitter debate by Mona Kareem
Why do I find the hashtag #ThawretWeladElKalb shameful?
Edit: +972 has a piece on this here.
Angry Arab has a comment here that is pretty bad - particularly as he identifies as an anarchist of sorts.
Quote: From a correspondent
Tojiah "Some of my facebook
"Some of my facebook friends, the more radical leftist ones, are negative about the main Rothschild Boulevard protest, at least. The main complaint is the current unwillingness of the majority of them to connect with previous, mostly non-Jewish housing struggles."
They are probably immature comrades of our Tel Aviv anarchist scene who do not have yet understanding of the contribution of partial/specific struggle within the present system on the revolutionizing of people.
If you look on the way the things changed from a two dozen or so protesting dwelling less than a month ago into state wide including Palestinians for social justice in all the spectrum.
Protesters clearly oppose the neo-liberalism. They prefer direct democracy over older politics... and you better do not question too much the wisdom of those leading it.
It is well known that majority of secular Jews are for end of occupation. Most of them because it cost too much money and blood.
When the strategy is the demand for social justice from the present government, the call for the end of occupation is like striking workers calling/trying to force a capitalist to transform the workplace to a cooperative.
"btw, just before the war with Lebanon in '82, wasn't there a big "black panther" movement amongst young Sephardi Jews in Israel...? Do you think that that influenced the Israeli state to go to war at that time ?"
The Israeli "black panther" movement started from interaction between Israel libertarian Marxist/communist Matzpen youth around stolen musical records by Musrara Mizragi Youth 1970. It developed with our involvement and encouragement... till they were co-opted after few years.
"wasn't there a massive social movement of non European Sephardi jews in Israel in the months (perhaps as much as 20 months) before the war in Lebanon; I can't believe I imagined it - I know I smoked a lot of wacky backy back then, but I don't think I drifted that far away from reality..."
There was not any serious ferment within the Sephardi jews since the "black panther". There were from time to time a localized protest that never collected momentum.
The 1982 war was a mean to disperse the PLO power in Lebanon.
The serious anarchists against the wall initiative (all within the PGA spectrum but not all self labeled anarchists) involve (in parallel to the joint struggles in th 1967 regions) mainly with the Jaffa tent camp and the Lewinsky one.
The last report is there are nearly 1200 tents in the Tel Aviv camps.
Article now on website. It
Article now on website. It owes a lot to the discussions and links posted on this thread
IlanS wrote: Tojiah "Some of
Well, this was a few weeks ago. I think many of them have changed their mind, and they seem to take it more seriously now, so your disparaging remarks are really kind of inappropriate.
You are misattributing this to me; this was by Samotnaf.
Ilan - are you in Israel? PM
Ilan - are you in Israel?
PM me if you don't want to answer here
Mark wrote: Angry Arab has a
Yeah, I saw that one. First time I read about the "Revolution of sons of Dogs". Despicable. The Angry Arab is pretty decent on the Arab world, but on Israel he is lobotimzied. He's a typical lefts that parrots the zionist dictum of Israel being an exception. In Angry Arab's view Palestine always is the exception; he e.g. will frequently say that he hates all flags, all nations, but for Palestine he makes an exception. It becomes quite sickening after awhile, but his blog is still a good source on all other things Arab (especially his commentary on al-Jazeera has been really good during the Arab Spring).
Alf wrote: Article now on
The article seems pretty good to me.
J14 gets Israeli expats to take another look at homeland
“The revolution of the young”: Arab author addresses 300k rally
Thanks Mark. Keep up the good
Thanks Mark. Keep up the good work of providing links and info.
You can read my take on the
You can read my take on the uprising at:
Revolt in Israel - saying no to neoliberalism
Awful statement by Angry
Awful statement by Angry Arab
This is blaming the whole Israeli population for the crimes of their rulers and their predecessors. And it is a call for deportation of a rather large part of the population, to put it mildly. It is horrifying to read.
Maybe we should ignore him
Maybe we should ignore him until he stops working for the State occupying Alta California for the American colonialist government.
Quote: #Tent48 #J14 Updated
J14 facebook page (in English)
More racist nonsense from the
More racist nonsense from the government employee of the American colonial authorities in occupied Alta California:
+972: Why haven’t I pitched a
+972: Why haven’t I pitched a tent?
These videos are from early
These videos are from early last week and so not up to date but are still worth watching.
Mass social protests to take
Mass social protests to take place in 11 Israeli cities on Saturday
Activists hope for biggest protest ever seen in Israel's south
Protests force Israel to confront wealth gap
From Puerto del Sol to Tahrir
From Puerto del Sol to Tahrir Square
Quote: The important strikes
anyone know anything about this union?
I hadn't heard of it before
I hadn't heard of it before but a quick search produced this:
Thanks Mark, but I had seen
Thanks Mark, but I had seen that. I was more interested if anyone had some more "insider" knowledge. Its aims seem pretty darn good for an Israeli union (at least compared to Histadrut), but I want to know how they've been in practice.
The tent protests -
The tent protests - Haifa
+972: 100,000 demonstrate
+972: 100,000 demonstrate across Israel as J14 leaves Tel Aviv
Photos from Beer Sheva
Photo from Jaffa
Haaretz: Tens of thousands take to Israel's streets as social protests move out of Tel Aviv
Israel protests spread to 18 cities
Khawaga wrote: Thanks Mark,
They've come up on libcom before. Here's an informative post by someone who no longer responds here as much.
An activist - third
An activist - third generation in the left margin of the front of the Israeli Communist Party - which never retreated from its support for the establish of Israel 1948:
"Being a radical left activist in Israel is at most times a pretty depressing proposition. We act not out of belief that we can change anything, but rather out of the moral conviction that we cannot do otherwise. Now, suddenly, everything is open, and our activity can make a huge difference. There is something scary about that, but also something very very exciting. Let’s hope it holds."
The more radical activists of the PGA spectrum - including the anarchists against the wall are usually not depressing. As we do not have the urge to organize the working people frustrated.... We do our share to radicalize the people in every subject we have a chance to. We are in the struggle against the separation fence as partners - not as seldom CP leaders who come to give speech. We were with previous dwellers camps. We see in the consensus decision making and hands mode of discussion of the present uprising the underground currents of change we contribute to on the fly.
From +972 Can J14 turn the
Can J14 turn the tables for the progressive cause within Israel?
Arab-Israelis should find an ally in the Israeli tent protests
Yisrael Beiteinu MK: Tent
Yisrael Beiteinu MK: Tent organizers are like Palestinians
Palestinian-baiting. I do hope it will have the opposite effect.
Glenn Beck calls Israel social protesters 'communists'
We can dream, can't we?
+972 Podcast: The tent
+972 Podcast: The tent protests and beyond
The terrorist attacks in
The terrorist attacks in Eilat and Israeli bombardment of Gaza couldn't have come at a worse point. I wonder how this will impact the protest movement...
Khawaga wrote: The terrorist
Speaking of which, what the hell is going on there right now? Gaza Youth Breaks Out is reporting that Egyptian soldiers died in an exchange of fire with Israelis. Also a rumor about exchange of fire on the Syrian-Israel border, and other various rumors circulating. Anyone know whatsup?
Quote: The terrorist attacks
Guardian is reporting that the weekend protest has been cancelled 'to join families in their mourning'.
It looks like the weekend
It looks like the weekend protest is back on.
+972: J14 to hold weekly mass rallies in defiance of attacks
Khawaga wrote: The terrorist
Depends on your point of view - isn't it the 'best' moment for the Israeli ruling class? I couldn't help thinking 'well that was a convenient moment for an attack'.
Predictable development: see
Predictable development: see this July 31st post.
There are various suggestions
There are various suggestions that the terrorist attacks in Eilat were carried out by militants linked to Al Qaida, operating from the Sinai. I don't know whether this is correct or not but as I understand it both Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees have denied responsibility. I don't see the need to look for conspiracies to explain the attacks although the timing is obviously convenient for the government.
Abir Kopty: The boundaries of July 14
Israel’s protests part 2: the revolution inside the revolution
Quote: don't see the need to
agreed - no need, but a conspiracy's possible; still it's a distraction to look for a conspiracy; at the same time, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it's been pretty obvious that Al Qaida would try something significant, and I'd guess we've not seen nothing yet (after from a double negative).
Any response to this from the tent city movement (apart from not knowing which way to turn)?
Quote: Depends on your point
Sure it is, but I try to interpret these things from a class struggle point of view. But the thought did occur to me as well, especially since three (or four) Egyptian soldiers were killed as well. And recently troops moved into Sinai to deal with terroists, Israel demanding temporary control a few miles into Taba etc. and all this occuring at the same time as Mubarak is on trial and the Israeli summer is heating up? Too good to be true, but likely it's an attack perpetrated by militants who have been preparing this for a long long time, before anyone knew of either the trial or that Israelis would even start to protest.
Israel blames the PRC. The
Israel blames the PRC. The PRC deny responsibility...
+972: Who is behind the Eilat terror attack?
The drumbeat of war looks to be heading in Egypt's direction...
Ynet: Let IDF into Sinai
Haggai Matar wrote: Wednesday
re. the Arab riot in
re. the Arab riot in Jerusalem yesterday, which I mentioned:
Re. the tent 1948 called demo for today, which Mark links to; this call was before the recent attacks and cross-border killings - be interesting to see how the tent city demos will take to this call now.
Tent 1948 Quote: #Tent48
Reza Aslan: The coming showdown in Israel
Noam Sheizaf on twitter
Meanwhile in Cairo the Tahrir protesters are targeting the Israeli embassy (also here).
Al Masry Al Youm
I've no idea how this is going to go. Jewish and Palestinian Israelis uniting to oppose a war? Or the first middle east war with tent protesters fighting on opposite sides?
From +972 IDF Spokesperson:
IDF Spokesperson: We DIDN’T say PRC was behind Eilat attack
Arab citizens of Israel increasingly supportive of J14
Various numbers given for the
Various numbers given for the protest in Tel Aviv tonight but 10,000 being reported on twitter.
+972: Photos and report from
+972: Photos and report from last night's protest
Blog post on Egyptian relations with Israel from RadicalArab:
What the Arabs can do
'Olive Revolution': Palestinians to march on Jerusalem on Friday
Edit: from +972
Tomorrow: Palestinian non-violent protesters “knock on Jerusalem doors”
Quote: Yesterday it was the
weddings and bar mitzvah parties as class struggle weapons! wow!!
Yeah, that is fucking cool! 8-)
Report on the Olive
Report on the Olive Revolution - I'm not sure it amounted to much - photos
Edit: According to Abir Kopty
And in another apparent non-event
'Million man' anti-Israel rally in Cairo attracts only hundreds - which is fine by me.
A critical take on J14 from
A critical take on J14 from Joseph Dana and Max Blumenthal on +972
J14: The exclusive revolution
This may be my prejudice but I find some of the comments more interesting than the article itself:
It remains to be seen how much is left of J14 after the security scare of the last 10 days. I haven't seen anything about protests planned for today although I presume plans for marches on 3 September are still on.
That is a very good comment,
That is a very good comment, good thing you pointed to it.
A published response to that article, by Akiva Orr, of the late Matzpen:
Akiva Orr on J14: “The longest journey starts with one small step”
(post itself includes background, and links to an interview with him from last Summer as well as to a documentary about Matzpen (Hebrew w/ English subtitles).
Protests went ahead tonight
Protests went ahead tonight but with much lower numbers than before the Eilat attacks
Edit: +972 -- Photos: low turnout for J14 weekend demonstrations
Aki Orr was also a member of
Aki Orr was also a member of the old Cardan-influenced Solidarity group for several years.
Samotnaf wrote: Aki Orr was
If anyone is interested Aki Orr is answering questions on the comments for that article.
Aki Orr wrote: I know its not
Israeli activists squat empty Jerusalem buildings to protest over costly housing
Social justice activists have embarked on a series of lightning squats of unoccupied buildings as part of a six-week protest against rising rents and house prices in Israel.
The protesters, who aim to "inspire a national squatting movement", unveiled Jerusalem's first "People's House" on Saturday night, occupying an abandoned state-owned building close to prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's official residence, where several thousand demonstrators called for social justice and better living standards.
The four storey building in the city centre has been empty for 15 years, say demonstrators. It is owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which was established by Zionists more than a century ago to buy up land in Palestine. Plans to turn it into a hotel more than a decade ago never came to fruition.
A coalition of activists broke in through a back window on Friday, cleared away rubble and set about transforming the interior in anticipation of Saturday night's launch.
About 200 Israelis came to celebrate the building's occupation on Saturday night, according to the organisers.
The flicker of hundreds of candles lit up poems inspired by the social justice protests which were daubed in white paint on the walls.
Esther Witt, one of the activists behind the initiative, said the political statement was designed to put pressure on the government to deal with state-owned buildings that stand empty and encourage the thousands of foreign owners of "ghost apartments" in Israel to rent them out.
"We're trying to make a point – this building could easily house four families but it has stood empty for 15 years," said Witt, a special needs teaching assistant and mother of two young children.
"We want those people who own apartments in Israel but only come to the country for two weeks a year to feel that if they leave their apartment empty, it'll be squatted, and so it's in everyone's interest if they rent them out instead."
The takeover of the building followed two similar "guerrilla occupations" in Tel Aviv.
Last Monday, dozens of housing protesters occupied a building owned by the Tel Aviv Municipality before being evicted by police the next morning.
And on Friday afternoon, protesters broke into and briefly occupied another mainly empty municipal building in the city, hanging protest signs on its exterior and leaving before police arrived.
Discontent with spiralling rents, high house prices, the exorbitant costs of education and raising children, as well as a range of other social issues, has seen a national social justice movement blossom since the first "tent city" protest in Tel Aviv on 14 July.
Mass rallies have been held in cities and towns across Israel since then, with an estimated 300,000 people taking to the streets on 6 August in the largest demonstrations over social issues seen in the country.
Unimpressed by the government's establishment of a committee of experts to consider the demands, activists are calling for a "million-man" march in 50 cities next Saturday.
However, demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and a handful of other towns and cities on Saturday night saw a markedly lower turnout than in previous protests, with about 20,000 Israelis taking part, according to local media reports.
Protests planned for last weekend were cancelled after terrorist attacks hit the south of the country, and an anticipated Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN threatens to eclipse the sizable media coverage and publicity that the demonstrators have garnered so far.
As can be seen from the
As can be seen from the above, the movement in Israel was not buried by the clashes in Gaza.
The last paragraph of the Guardian article is not strictly correct: demonstrations did go ahead last Saturday and the Saturday just after the bombings. They were smaller but there were real signs of internationalism growing. Below is an attempt to synthesis where things stand at the moment (written just before news of the squatting movement came in)
In the article on the ‘social justice’ movement published on August 7 on ICConline, we wrote that “numerous demonstrators have expressed their frustration with the way the incessant refrain of ‘security’ and of the ‘threat of terrorism’ is used to make people put up with growing economic and social misery. Some have openly warned of the danger that the government could provoke military clashes or even a new war to restore ‘national unity’ and split the protest movement”.
These fears proved to be well-grounded. On August. 18, 80 rockets crashed into Beersheba, Ashdod and elsewhere in southern Israel, killing eight people. There have been doubts about whether the rockets came from Gaza, or whether they were fired by the Popular Resistance Committees or Hamas. Either way, the Israeli government responded in its characteristically brutal manner, with air strikes in Gaza that left a number dead, including members of the PRC but also civilians and several Egyptian border guards.
Whoever initiated this latest spiral of violence, an increase in war tensions can only benefit the nationalists on both sides of the Israel-Arab conflict. It will create major difficulties for the development of the protest movement and will make many hesitate about continuing with the tent cities and demonstrations at a time when there is enormous pressure to maintain ‘national unity’. Calls to cancel the protests came from the like of National Union of Students leader Itzik Shmuli, but a significant core of the protestors rejected this call. On the night of Saturday 20 demonstrations went ahead although they were to be ‘muted’, and were on a far smaller scale than in previous weeks. The same was true for the demonstrations on Saturday 28th August.
And yet what is significant is that these demonstrations did take place, attracting up to 10,000 in Tel Aviv and several thousand in other cities. And there was no shying away from the question of war: on the contrary, the slogans raised on the demos reflected a growing understanding of the need to resist the march to war and for the oppressed of both sides to fight for their common interests: “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies”, “social justice is demanded in Israel and the territories”, “Life in dignity in Gaza and Ashdod”; “No to another war which will bury the protest” . The “Tent 1948” Palestinian-Jewish group on Rothschild issued a statement of its own: “This is the time to show real strength”, the statement read. ”Stay on the streets, condemn the violence and refuse go either home or to the Army to take part in the revenge attack on Gaza.”
A speech by Raja Za’atari in Haifa also expressed the emergence of internationalist ideas, even if still couched in the language of democracy and pacifism: : “At the end of the day, a homeless family is a homeless family, and a hungry child is a hungry child, regardless whether he speaks Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic or Russian. At the end of the day, hunger and humiliation, just like wealth, have no homeland and no language… We are saying: it is time to speak of peace and justice in one breath! Today more than ever, it is obvious to everyone that in order to curb talk of justice, this government might begin another war”. http://onedemocracy.co.uk/news/we-will-be-a-jewish-arab-people/
The fact that these slogans and sentiments should become so much more popular than they were only a year or two ago indicates that something profound is happening in Israel, and especially among the younger generation. We have seen comparable glimmerings of youthful protest against the Islamic status quo in Gaza.
As in Israel, the ‘Gaza youth’ are a small minority and they are weighed down with all kinds of illusions – in particular, Palestinian nationalism. But in a global context of mounting revolt against the existing order, the foundations are being laid for the development of a genuine internationalism based on the class struggle and the perspective of an authentic revolution of the exploited.
Alf wrote: The last
This seems to reflect the reporting within Israel immediately after the Eilat attacks with the 'cancelation' of the demos being widely reported but not the calls for them to go ahead, including by more liberal sections of the media (Haaretz for example) which had previously sounded quite sympathetic to J14.
The facts are mixed up here. There's no doubt that the rockets fired into southern Israel were from Gaza. What isn't clear is who was responsible for the original attacks in Eilat (and the eight deaths), given that the PRC and Hamas denied any responsibility for them, and whether there was really any Gaza connection. +972 magazine has various articles on this.
Yes, the situation was
Yes, the situation was confused, and the Israeli government has no doubt profited from the confusion. Thanks for the clarification.
From +972 J14 takes up cause
J14 takes up cause of Gilad Shalit in a bid to keep momentum
Israeli and international radical left: Time for a divorce
J14 and the rift between Israeli and international activists
Apparently the labor courts
Apparently the labor courts can force you back to work despite giving a month's notice.
State: Interns' Resignation Illegal
(Hebrew sources are more numerous, only this right-wing pirate station had this in English)
Next Saturday's march and the
Next Saturday's march and the future of the tent protests:
In final push, J14 to hold ‘million-person’ march
This doesn't sound particularly encouraging to me.
Quote: NRG is reporting
Mark. wrote: Quote: If this
For people who aren't middle-class activists, this protest hasn't run its course at all. Not from what I've been hearing from tents in the poorer parts of the country. But I guess some people are hearing a political/NGO job calling? (The latter is pure speculation on my part)
Preparations for tomorrow's
Preparations for tomorrow's march
Haaretz, also here
Tojiah wrote: Mark.
According to http://twitter.com/#!/J14ENG
Ynet: A million protesters
Ynet: A million protesters for social justice?
Haaretz: Ahead of the March of the Million, Israel’s social protest leaders are put to the test
I'm not sure in what way they're the leaders or who appointed Itzik Shmuli. Maybe what's needed here is an Israeli kremlinologist to analyse how J14 is making decisions and how that corresponds to the media accounts.
Haven't there been previous
Haven't there been previous descriptions of committees within each of the tents? I am getting the impression that they are "leaders" in the sense that they correspond most directly to what the media expects of a movement leader (because perish the thought that there would be anything non-centralized going on!).
Live blog of the March of a
Live blog of the March of a Million:
None of the other usual live blog venues are carrying it, i.e. Al Jazeera or the Guardian.
(From 972Mag live-blog)
972 liveblog Quote: Wrap up:
Other reports on tonight's
Other reports on tonight's march
The Jerusalem Post contradicts this
AJE who also have a timeline of the protests so far
The media 'leadership'
The media 'leadership' narrative continues...
J14: Initial thoughts on final rally
What’s next for Israel after the ‘March of the Million’
Remember that it was Itzik Shmuli who unilaterally announced the cancellation of protests after the Eilat attacks without the agreement of the rest of J14.
I can't find much coverage in
I can't find much coverage in English, yet, but reports from all four mainstream newspapers seem to suggest that some encampments do not wish to disperse. For example, one encampment in Holon, which houses people who have long been deserving of public housing but were denied it, has been given orders by the city government to disperse, but refuses to:
Folding the Tents? The Homeless in Holon Stay On (Ynet, Hebrew)
There are similar sentiments from several homeless encampments in Jerusalem in that same article.
Here's limited coverage in English from the Jerusalem Post:
Student Union takes down its tent at TA Rothschild campsite
In other news, Israel's
In other news,
Israel's National Labor Court rules medical residents' resignation illegal
If you're getting treated in Israel, note that you are likely getting your care at gunpoint.
Ynet: Tent cities to undergo
Ynet: Tent cities to undergo re-organization
How cold is an Israeli
How cold is an Israeli winter, out of curiosity?
Also, a lot of the current article seems to suggest the activist element of the movement is very student-dominated. How true it this? How are Israeli workers relating to the encampments and the movement in general?
Chilli - I haven't been to
Chilli - I haven't been to Israel in winter but I lived in Athens for a while and I'd guess that winters are similar, with the weather breaking some time in October or November followed by a couple of months of English style cloud and rain and then mostly blue skies but cold from January onwards. I've seen pictures of Jerusalem in the snow but I think that must be pretty unusual.
That last link from Tojiah mentions medical residents taking part in Saturday's march and I think they've been quite involved all along. I haven't seen much else about people taking part as organised workers though I might be missing something. I expect Tojiah could answer this better than me.
Chilli Sauce wrote: How cold
I'm afraid my information is somewhat second hand, as I am no longer around there, but officially (as in through the student union), the students are very dominant, as we have seen in their leader's ability to lower activity unilaterally after the Eilat attack. Nevertheless, I don't think Leef is a student. A lot of the voices you hear there are simply middle-class people feeling dragged down to poverty, so they're no longer students. And, of course, in the less "fancy" encampments, you have workers and unemployed, for which this is very much a housing and social wage issue. Hence their options of simply packing things up and going home aren't very good (as they either have no home or their home is no better than an impromptu tent/cardboard hut). But I am getting this through sources such as 972 and the mainstream Israeli media, so I don't think I'm better informed than you.
Also, Israeli winter is pretty much like an English winter. I think temperatures fall to 15 highs and 10 lows Centigrade, and you get regular rain and thunder. Snow in Jerusalem comes about once every four years for a day or so, it's actually much colder than most of the rest of the country due to elevation.
The hunger strike didn't last
The hunger strike didn't last long:
Residents, interns end hunger strike after one day (JPost.com)
Can't find this in English, but the significant raise that all new police officers were promised turned out to be a scam:
A Revolution in Policemen's Salary? "I Feel Cheated." (Ynet.co.il, Hebrew)
To summarize, it turns out that there are many requirements to be eligible for a pay raise, including getting out to police courses which are back-logged for senior cops as it is. A lot of mid-level officers feel cheated, as well, because they convinced lower-grade officers to stay with this upcoming raise as an argument.
Translation of Daphni Leef's
Translation of Daphni Leef's speech from Saturday night -- (profile here)
Haaretz: Israeli cities pressure activists to take down protest tents
Haaretz: Israel Police raid
Haaretz: Israel Police raid social protest tent encampments in Tel Aviv
Ynet: Tel Aviv Municipality clears out protest tents
Tel Aviv: Social protesters
Tel Aviv: Social protesters clash with police (Ynet)
From +972 Tent protestors
Tent protestors signal growing trend of civil disobedience
September journey part 7: Enter violence
Joint Palestinian-Israeli statement supporting J14, end to occupation
From +972 again Clampdown on
From +972 again
Clampdown on J14: Main camps evicted, at least 40 arrested
Photos: "1000 discussion
Photos: "1000 discussion tables" Tel Aviv
Follow the link for more video clips.
J14 seems to have gone fairly
J14 seems to have gone fairly quiet. It remains to be seen whether it's just a lull or whether the movement is fading away. For a pessimistic view there's this from Haaretz.
Here are some articles I missed before which give a bit more analysis. A couple of them refer to articles on 972 magazine which is currently offline (ibnreza: 'We are having an attack on the site. Not sure if it is political but we will back online soon').
Max Ajl: Social origins of the tent protests in Israel
Abir Kopty: The boundaries of July 14
Jews sans frontières: Dana and Blumenthal do Tel Aviv
Jews sans frontières: Blumenthal's defense
I've been getting the
I've been getting the impression that it is carrying on, it's just that now the media has lost interest (because it's getting more serious socio-economically). Some tents are still being occupied, in Rothschild as well as elsewhere. If I stumble on a new source in English I'll post it. Those are good articles, by the way.
Update: A note to readers on
Update: A note to readers on +972’s outage
No talk of hacking, so perhaps it was really just the rise in volume for their website.
Yacov Ben Efrat: Social
Yacov Ben Efrat: Social protest leaders are losing their way
Quote: Social justice
follow link for videos
Photos fromTel Aviv
Photos fromTel Aviv demo
Daily Kos: Tens of thousands flooded Israel's streets demanding economic justice
Haaretz: Tens of thousands amass for Tel Aviv social protest
Ynet: Over 20,000 demand social justice in Tel Aviv rally
Have you heard about the
Have you heard about the medical residents attempting to resign only to be repeatedly forced back to work under court order? Well, more and more of them are simply not showing up to work, while doctors are tendering their resignations, in solidarity. As far as I understand this is not supported by the Israeli Medical Association, which signed an embarrassing contract with the Ministry of Finance a few months ago.
+972: Attempts to revive J14
+972: Attempts to revive J14 protests
Global Voices: 'Violent
Global Voices: 'Violent protests across Tel Aviv'
(though the actual events sound less dramatic than the title of the article)
+972: Thousands block highway, attack banks in J14 protest
Edit: ainfos adds that
. +972: Amidst hostile media
+972: Amidst hostile media and police violence, J14 finds new voice
Admins: could this thread be given a new title? maybe 'Israeli social justice protests, updates and discussion' or whatever else seems appropriate.
The previous Real News video
The previous Real News video on J14
+972: ‘The future is in the unity of Arab, migrant and Jewish workers’
On May Day this year there
On May Day this year there was an anarchist presence on the march in Tel Aviv organised an anarchist communist group called Ahdut ("Unity") - they have a blog (in Hebrew), and also a youtube channel. Does anyone know if they've been involved in these protests, and regardless, what they (or AAtW) have to say about them?
@jonthom - The Ilan against
@jonthom - The Ilan against the wall blog has a report on the weekend's protests so I take it that AAtW was involved.
Ilan adds that
The recent pogroms against
The recent pogroms against immigrants, fuelled by some unbelievably racist speeches in the Knesset ('these intruders don't understand that Israel is for the White Man....they should be put in camps...they bring disease and crime....etc etc')were deeply depressing but these demos are a sign that there is still a possibility of resistance against capital in Israel
@Alf - Talking about pogroms
@Alf - Talking about pogroms here's a piece from +972 from a few weeks back:
Reports on the deportation of refugees from South Sudan:
I'd compare all this to the government crackdown on immigrants and rise of Golden Dawn in Greece.
And, rather depressingly, from another +972 article
+972: Thousands march in Tel
+972: Thousands march in Tel Aviv; J14 protesters block J'lem light rail
Alf wrote: some unbelievably
Monthly Review: Interview
Monthly Review: Interview with Matan Kaminer on J14 and the Israeli left
From Ilan against the
From Ilan against the wall
From +972 Solidarity vs.
Solidarity vs. militarism: The Zionist contract and the struggle to define J14
Noam Sheizaf writing in
Noam Sheizaf writing in +972
Anarchists: The most important activists on the Jewish Israeli left
Also from +972
From Spain, with love: M-15 activists write to their J14 friends
News reporters on Twitter are
News reporters on Twitter are saying a protester tried to self-immolate with gasoline at the end of the J14 march.
He apparently gave out a leaflet just before saying that he was crushed with debt and couldn't afford bills and food.
English article here:
Translation of the letter:
+972: Group of J14 activists
+972: Group of J14 activists to refuse their military reserve duty
Auto wrote: News reporters
Moshe Silman died on Thursday
Disabled IDF veteran sets
Disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire in Yehud
jonthom wrote: On May Day
In front of the Spanish embassy in Tel Aviv
machine translation of their blog
Beyond Compromise, a new
Beyond Compromise, a new Palestinian site, looks as if it may be worth following. One of the editors identifies as an anarchist. Report here.
A Palestinian view of anti-Zionist Jewish activists
Quote: Beyond Compromise, a
From the Palestine Telegraph
+972: Divided society,
+972: Divided society, divided protests
Another Palestinian anarchist: Budour Hassan ----- on twitter
+972: J14 activists launch
+972: J14 activists launch political party
+972: Palestinians take to
+972: Palestinians take to streets in call for Fayyad to step down
Quote: Thursday, 6
Palestinian protests on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/search/realtime/%23palProtests
Ramallah this morning:
Palestinian demonstrators fed up with high prices and unpaid salaries shuttered shops, halted traffic with burning tires and closed schools throughout the West Bank on Monday in the largest show of popular discontent with the governing Palestinian Authority in its 18-year history...[/quote]
Admins: In the light of the
Admins: In the light of the developing protests against the Palestinian Authority could the name of this thread be changed, maybe to Israel/Palestine social protests, or whatever else seems appropriate. I'm inclined to keep this as one thread. It's one country after all, under the effective control of one state - Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah are only a few miles apart.
Photo from Nablus: Taxis
Photo from Nablus: Taxis spell out "إضراب" (strike)
When referring to the current protests in the West Bank, the following terms must be banned: "Third intifada" and "Palestinian spring"
@Budour48 I get your point, but what should it be called?
@Budour48 weren't all the Arab revolutions that?
Protests in Sudan, yes. But other Arab revos combined demand for social justice with explicit political demands.[/quote]
Budour Hassan wrote: Today
Today at 5pm protest for freedom, dignity & social justice in Ramallah. Qe should NOT soften the rhetorics. Demand downfall of PA out loud
Don't forget prisoners on hunger strike. We must bring them to public discourse. Protest in Ramallah today provides an opportunity
Int'l activists in Ramallah: don't join us as protesters. You're welcome to film & take pics but that's it. Domestic affair [/quote]
More photos from yesterday
Photos from today Budour
Photos from today
Each time we see a glimpse of a protest movement against the PA, it's quelled thanks to donor charity and general lack of perseverance.
Fateh guys tried to hijack demo by chanting against Fayyad,an easy target.They booed as soon as ppl chanted against Abbas/PA
Fayyad is the Palestinian Authority's favourite scapegoat. They have no problem w/sacrificing him to maintain 'control'
As for the demo, it was typical Ramallah. Protesters were outnumbered by journalists & mukhabarat[/quote]
Quote: The Israeli Radio,
Quote: #PA gov't having
Global Voices: Demonstrations against rising living costs continue
Meanwhile on the other side
Meanwhile on the other side of the wall
Activists blocking a main street in Tel Aviv on September 8, 2012 during a protest calling for social justice. We were about 200 participants only, but the police got an order to tolerate us. For about two hours we marched along the Iben Gvirol main street blocking the traffic to the north. from time to time we converged for a while on specific targets like the war minister home, and banks, and occupied for a while the main intersections along the route. Speeches and chants were produced by the participants and loud-speakers.
Edit: there are some really
Edit: there are some really nice photos here as well..
Ooh, new libcom photo
Ooh, new libcom photo gallery.. :)
Some analysis in this opinion
Some analysis in this opinion piece on AJE:
Economic exploitation of Palestinians flourishes under occupation
----- Al Akbar English: US to
Al Akbar English: US to grant Palestinian Authority $200m
+972: An agreement on indefinite occupation: Oslo celebrates 19 years
Ma'an: Activists call for Friday protests against rising prices
Another perspective on
Another perspective on Israeli-Palestinian relations:
Read the interview here
+972 wrote: As if Israel
As if Israel hasn’t been playing the victim long enough, as if it hasn’t exploited the Six Million to the absolute limit, now comes a new weapon: the “Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries.” This has long been an Israeli answer to the Palestinian refugees – that roughly as many Middle Eastern Jews as Palestinians lost their homes because of the 1948 war. This week, though, the government made the issue a major new front in its information war…[/quote]
A response from a group of Iraqi Jews in Israel:
Continue reading here
+972 photo essay:
+972 photo essay: Palestinians protest high prices
So what happened to the
So what happened to the Israeli social justice protests?
Dimi Reider on his
Dimi Reider on his translation of Yehouda Shenhav's book 'Beyond the two state solution: A Jewish Political Essay'
Ma'an: Despite calm,
Ma'an: Despite calm, Palestinian Authority still on brink of collapse
The Ramat Gan Committee now
The Ramat Gan Committee now has a blog.
Palestinian Anarchists on
Palestinian Anarchists on facebook
The Palestinian Revolution - Arab Spring on facebook
Uri Gordon: Anarchist mobilization in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (2010)
A sympathiser of our Spanish
A sympathiser of our Spanish section has written what looks to be a powerful and analytical article about the movement in 'Palestine':
'Protestas masivas en Cisjordania contra el coste de la vida, el paro y la Autoridad Palestina'
Any Spanish speakers here? We are aiming to translate it - any offers of help received gratefully.
I guess I'm not going to
I guess I'm not going to translate it but I've skimmed through and it seems like a reasonable article, though there are things I'd disagree with. Maybe it should be posted up on libcom when you do get it translated.
OK, we will get it done and
OK, we will get it done and put it up when we can...then maybe you can explain what you don't agree with. But it can't be for a week or more, so other offers of help still welcome.....
Alf - did you get anywhere
Alf - did you get anywhere with translating that article?
From factories to farms, labor union champions rights of Palestinians in Israel
Back from an anti-Abbas protest in #Jerusalem where we were beaten and harassed by pro-Abbas thugs as Israeli soldiers gleefully watched.
I will write an article about what happened today in #Jerusalem when I calm down. I'm still a bit shocked, to be honest.[/quote]
Budour Hassan: Palestinian
Budour Hassan: Palestinian protesters harassed, beaten by Abbas supporters in Jerusalem
Finally got the article on
Finally got the article on the west bank protests done: http://en.internationalism.org/worldrevolution/201211/5291/demonstrations-west-bank-jordan
Alf - thanks for the link.
Alf - thanks for the link.
You're welcome. Earlier you
You're welcome. Earlier you mentioned that there were some points you didn't agree with - I'd be interested in hearing what they were.
. +972: West Bank protesters
+972: West Bank protesters show solidarity with Gazans
Alf wrote: Finally got the
I've just read through this again and I can't actually find much to disagree with. I can't remember what I picked up on before so it probably wasn't that important. It would be interesting to get reactions from Palestinians and Israelis but I suspect this kind of discussion now happens on Twitter and Facebook rather than forums like libcom.
The article in full in case
The article in full in case anyone wants to comment...
Massive demonstrations on the West Bank against the cost of living, unemployment, and the Palestinian Authority
In the Middle East, so often on the front pages as a result of military massacres and barbarism, rivalries between different imperialist gangsters who have taken the civil population hostage, and of all sorts of hatreds and nationalist, ethnic, or religious movements (which the ‘democratic’ western powers foment and encourage as it suits their interests); when the bourgeois press has been preoccupied in recent days with the disturbances in the Muslim world caused by films and cartoons caricaturing Mohammed – virtually nothing is being written about the big demonstrations and strikes during the month of September against the effects of the capitalist crisis on the lives of the proletariat and the oppressed strata in the Palestinian territories on the West Bank. And yet these have been the biggest demonstrations for years1 .
In an often desperate situation, the proletariat and the exploited population in the Palestinian territories, subject to military occupation, to blockades and total contempt for their lives and their suffering by the Israeli state, finds it very difficult to escape the influences of nationalism and Islamism, to avoid being dragooned by the various organisations that wage ‘armed resistance’ against Israel – in other words, heading for the sacrificial altar faced with a vastly superior military force. But it is the precisely the struggle against the effects of the profound economic crisis of world capitalism which opens up the possibility of massive proletarian struggles on an international scale, of going beyond sectional, national, ethnic or other divisions within the working class, of breaking out of all kinds of illusions and mystifications (illusions in ‘democracy’ under capitalism, in ‘national liberation’, etc).
Strikes and demonstrations
What unleashed the wave of strikes and demonstrations was the announcement by the government led by Prime Minister Fayyad2 of an increase in the price of basic products like food and petrol. This was the spark which lit the fires of defiance towards the Palestinian Authority. The latter is more and more regarded as a nest of corrupt careerists, protecting a whole caste of Palestinian capitalists of whom Fayyad is the personification. It doesn’t even have a semblance of legitimacy: there has been no electoral circus since 2006 and it’s in conflict with Hamas. It is incapable of solving the least problem of the Palestinian economy which is totally dependent on foreign gifts, which is strangled by the military occupation and Israel’s exhaustive controls over imports and exports, prices, taxes and natural resources (thanks to the Paris accords, the economic annex to the Oslo agreement).
Already during the summer, the malaise gave rise to various protests. For example, at the end of June, a demonstration in Ramallah following the announcement of a meeting between president Abbas and the Israeli Deputy PM, Shauz Mofaz, ended with brutal repression by the Palestinian police.
With massive unemployment (57% according to the UN, and particularly heavy among young people), and a cost of living which means that the majority of population are struggling to eat, and with growing discontent throughout the population (for example, 150,000 government employees are owed back wages), the announcement of the price increases on 1st September was the detonator.
From 4 September massive demonstrations for the improvement of living conditions took place day after day on the West Bank (Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, etc). The demonstrations were also directed against israeli control of the economy of the territories (the Paris accords), but it was clear that the discontent was not limited to an anti-Israeli or nationalist sentiment. The focus of the demonstrations were living and working conditions. In Ramallah the young people cried “Before we were fighting for Palestine, now we are fighting for a bag of flour”3 .
At the beginning of the protests, Abbas, involved in a power struggle with his rival Fayyad, showed sympathy for the “Palestinian spring”. But as the demonstrations developed and the expression of discontent was aimed not only at the Fayyad government or the Paris accords, but against the Palestinian Authority itself, Fatah, which at the beginning had played a certain role in channelling and even organising demonstrations, did everything it could to prevent their radicalisation and extension.
We can say the same about Hamas, which no doubt profited from the mobilisations to try to destabilise the current PA government, but which drew back in the face of the breadth of the movement and the danger of contagion in Gaza.
In Nablus, a demonstrator declared: “We are here to say to the government that enough is enough...we want a government which lives like the people live and eats what the people eat”4 . A placard in the village of Beit Jala put it like this: “We are tired of all the talk of reforms...one government after another...one minister after another...and corruption is still there”5 .
In Jenin, the demonstrators demanded a minimum wage, the creation of jobs for all the unemployed and the reduction of the cost of signing on at university. Prime minister Fayyad announced that he was ready to resign.
The massive demonstrations continued, with road blockades and clashes with the police of the Palestinian authority. On 10 September a general transport strike began on the appeal of the unions. Taxi drivers, truckers, bus drivers participated massively. Many sectors, like the employees of the day nurseries, joined the strike. The movement widened. On the 11th the students and high school pupils struck for 24 hours in solidarity with the general strike.
Workers from all the Palestinian universities, together with the students, called a general strike for September 13.
Faced with this situation, and following a meeting with the trade unions, the government announced that it was postponing the price rises, that it would pay half of the wages owed to public employees since August, and that it would make cuts in the salaries and privileges of the politicians and high officials of the PA.
On the 14th, the transport union cancelled the call for a strike because “constructive negotiations” had begun with the PA.
Thus, the massive protests seemed to have calmed down, at least temporarily, but the social malaise had not gone away. The unions of the public employees and the primary school teachers announced mobilisations and work stoppages for the 17th. The unions in the health sector announced on September 18 that they would also begin movements if their demands (increased staffing, improved mobility and chances of promotion for the workers) were still ignored by the government.
The movements seem to have been limited to the West Bank area controlled by the PA.
The importance of the movement
Apart from the particular, concrete elements of the movement, its whole importance lies in the region in which it is taking place. This is a region of interminable bloody imperialist conflicts, whether directly between states or via various pawns6 . It is the civil population which suffers the consequences of all this7 and has become fertile soil for the development of reactionary nationalist and religious movements. But above all we should stress that the movement is taking place at the same time as similar movements in the region and internationally. Let’s not forget the big mobilisations last summer in Israel against the high cost of living; despite its weaknesses and its democratic illusions, this movement is an important first step towards breaking the ‘national union’ in a highly militarised state like Israel. Let’s not forget the great workers’ strikes in Egypt which were a decisive moment in the fall of the USA’s protégé Mubarak.
The proletariat and the oppressed strata in Palestine, and everywhere else, need to understand that the only hope for living in peace and dignity, which is the real wish of the immense majority of the Palestinian population, lies in the development of massive struggles alongside all the exploited in the region, beyond all national or religious divisions. Breaking the Palestinian ‘national union’, uniting its struggles, firstly with the exploited and the oppressed in Israel and the entire region – that is the only weapon that can weaken and stay the murderous hand of the Israeli state and of other imperialist gangsters. ‘Armed struggle’ means submitting to the interests of the different nationalist or religious groups and can only lead to endless slaughter and suffering and the strengthening of Palestine’s corrupt exploiting class.
The exploited of Palestine and the rest of the world must have no doubt: if they don’t fight for their own class interests against capitalism, if they allow themselves to be dragged into struggles for national or racial ‘liberation’, if they submit to the ‘general interests of the country’, i.e. the general interests of the bourgeoisie and its state, the present and the future which awaits them under the capitalist system is the same that Mandela’s ANC has reserved for its ‘brothers’ and ‘fellow countrymen’ who work in the mines: poverty, exploitation, and death.
Draba 23 September 2012
Thanks for posting this. One
Thanks for posting this. One thing that is crystal clear about the current military escalation is that it will run directly counter to the social movements on both sides of the divide. the Israeli state will use the 'war' to drown any protest about living standards, and Hamas and Fatah will do the same.
IlanS: Palestine-Israel, the
IlanS: Palestine-Israel, the joint struggle and the attack on Gaza
Afed statement on Israel's attack on Gaza in 2009:
World Have Your Say recently
World Have Your Say recently had a discussion between Israelis and Palestinians about the conflict, including input (starts around 10:00 in) from Leehee Rothschild of Anarchists Against the Wall.
Anti-war protest in Tel Aviv
Anti-war protest in Tel Aviv with pro-war counter protest.. the pro-war folk are completely nuts and their rhetoric so plainly fascist ("expel the leftists", "we celebrate the Naqba" etc etc), it's a bit of a shock to watch..
We've produced an article on
We've produced an article on the current conflict, contrasting the dynamic of war with the hope offered by the social movements on both sides. We will also try to produce a more analytical article about why the conflicts in the region have been exacerbating in the recent period.
News of the protests spread
News of the protests spread through social media, echoing a successful Facebook campaign last month when consumers forced down the spiralling price of dairy products.
Sorry, this is the correct
Sorry, this is the correct link - the other one was to a dscussion on our forum
Quote: Munib al-Masri is one
Marking two years since J14,
Marking two years since J14, thousands demonstrate, block Tel Aviv roads
Palestinian anarchists in
Palestinian anarchists in conversation: recalibrating anarchism in a colonized country
Yaser Tineh: Why I oppose political institutions in Palestine
Interesting but....the central issue in "breaking the nationalist habit" is to challenge the division between Irsaeli and Palestinian proletarians. A huge problem on both sides of the divide and probably even harder for Palestinian comrades. The interviewed Palestinian anarchist doesn't deal with the question directly and the second piece identifies Israel as THE problem.
Quote: I understand RT is a
They have some quite good anti-Western features, but of course their coverage of Russian news is almost non-existant.
The entire Persian Gulf, the Caucasus, and much of Central Asia actually belongs to Iran. It would be a superpower but for the opposition of America, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Since this suppression has apparently been successful these nations fondly imagine that they can go still further and actually attack Iran in order to create a convenient enemy for their domestic political agendas. In fact Iran is merely dormant and its right to global superpower status is not simply based on ancient history or the possession of strategic territory.
(Seems like a joke but it really isn't...)
Highlander wrote: Quote: I
according to a friend basically Russian state propaganda (financed by the state) but with some good documentaries on ethnographic, nature, historical stuff
RT's definitely good for more
RT's definitely good for more in-depth (and critical) perspectives on Europe, Israel, and America. To it's credit, it really avoids the soundbite news coverage of most mainstreams media channels.
Just don't expect the same when the topic is Russia.