Proletarian vehemence versus bourgeois brutality

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 10, 2023

A workmate and I discussed the bourgeois war in Palestine yesterday. My workmate expressed her ignorance as to the events that had occurred in the region and asked me for clarification as she knew that I had lived just one mile from Gaza City. She expressed the question, Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

The best way I can explain it is to contrast the proletarian violence of what is colloquially known as the intifada with the brutality of the recent and presumably ongoing bourgeois destruction of life and limb reported through the media channels.

Can anyone provide elaboration to our expression/explanation?

westartfromhere

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 10, 2023

In abject absence of any response to the massacres being carried out by the forces of order in the region of Palestine (State of Israel) I will have to take the leap myself.

The first thing we need to affirm is the context in which these massacres are occurring. Both inside Israel proper and within the occupied territories there has been a growing militancy from all sections of the working class in recent months and years, from football fans chanting, "neo-Nazis", at Israeli police officers (Tel Aviv, 26/9/23), through mass demonstrations against illegal law reform, to most violent confrontations against Israeli State mercenaries by Eritrean migrant workers (Tel Aviv, 2/9/23). This alongside the continuing struggle of Israel's own migrant workforce from Gaza and the West Bank. These are but a few of the actions of the proletariat within the State of Israel. The reaction by the bourgeoisie follows this.

The reaction by the forces of order also serves to counteract the growing working class militancy exhibited further afield and attempts to redirect this militancy into inter-bourgeois conflict. Ultimately, this attempt is doomed to failure but it is the working class that will shed its blood in sacrifice to a cause not its own.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 10, 2023

A workmate and I discussed the bourgeois war in Palestine yesterday. My workmate expressed her ignorance as to the events that had occurred in the region and asked me for clarification as she knew that I had lived just one mile from Gaza City. She expressed the question, Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

The best way I can explain it is to contrast the proletarian violence of what is colloquially known as the intifada with the brutality of the recent and presumably ongoing bourgeois destruction of life and limb reported through the media channels.

Can anyone provide elaboration to our expression/explanation?

. . . with the brutality of the recent and presumably ongoing bourgeois destruction of life and limb reported through the media channels.

Who are you referring to here? Hamas or Israel?

If you're suggesting that the last two Intifadas were characterized by some kind of socialist consciousness among Palestinians, in contrast to the Palestinian leadership, then that's simply not the case. There has certainly been Palestinian opposition to the Palestinian Authority following its creation out of the Oslo Accords, as well as various factional conflicts (e.g. between Hamas and Fatah), but one cannot really separate the last two Intifadas from the "bourgeois" representatives of Palestinians, who the Palestinians themselves have often put in positions of power. These groups/representatives actually have varying degrees of support among Palestinians and are not simply imposing themselves on them.

If I also recall correctly, the First Intifada developed organically but then quickly came under the control of the Unified National Leadership. The Second Intifada, sparked by Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, was similarly heavily influenced by various Palestinian groups (e.g. Hamas-orchestrated suicide bombings), even if it also developed spontaneously at first. Israel, of course, responded with disproportionate violence in both uprisings, as it is currently doing now by indiscriminately bombing Gaza in response to the Hamas attacks.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 11, 2023

A workmate and I discussed the bourgeois war in Palestine yesterday. My workmate expressed her ignorance as to the events that had occurred in the region and asked me for clarification as she knew that I had lived just one mile from Gaza City. She expressed the question, Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

In terms of "who the good guys are," I think it's obvious that it's the Palestinians themselves, who have endured over a century of Zionist, and then Israeli (i.e. following the Nakba/"catastrophe," or the founding of Israel in 1948), expulsion and violence. Israel also has no right to the territories it has been occupying and settling since the 1967 War, as is the internationally recognized opinion. One can certainly sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians themselves, against the annexationist ambitions of the Israeli state, while also condemning groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

It's also worth noting that there's a tremendous amount of Israeli propaganda concerning the Hamas attacks at the moment. The violence committed by Hamas, while certainly tragic in terms of the civilian casualties, pales in comparison to the violence typically perpetrated by Israel in other conflicts, which received much less international attention and condemnation (e.g. Israel's bombing of Gaza in 2014). The right-wing Netanyahu government is already planning on using the Hamas attacks (Israel's so-called "9/11") as an excuse for cracking down on Hamas and killing Palestinians. The Israeli response will, as it normally does, likely result in far greater Palestinian civilian casualties. Part of the reason why Palestinians threw stones during the First and Second Intifadas was to draw international attention to the savagery of the Israeli military, which often met stone-throwing with live ammunition.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 11, 2023

I refer you to our publication. It should address your questions and refute your assertions:

https://libcom.org/article/worldwide-intifada-1

Which assertions? That the First Intifada was not characterized by some kind of socialist consciousness among Palestinians? That groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad actually have a fair amount of support in places like Gaza (and in fact grew in popularity during the First Intifada)?

The aim of the Palestinian bourgeoisie is to portray the intifada as a movement for national liberation. The bourgeois press have obliged the world over. The Palestinian bourgeoisie needs a state; it needs the intifada as long as it provides it with enough corpses to keep that possibility on the agenda in the UN. It has its own police, its own terror gangs, its own prison camps; it just requires official recognition in the international bourgeois family – the UN.

What do you mean "our publication"? It wouldn't surprise me if you did have a hand in writing this pamphlet, as it's quite bad, especially the idea that the First Intifada was not a movement for Palestinian national liberation. It seems like the authors are just projecting their own politics onto the uprising without ever consulting the opinions of the Palestinians themselves (with the exception of the one book that's referenced, which doesn't prove much of anything). What do you think the First Intifada was "really about" if not ending the Israeli occupation and creating a Palestinian state? Palestinians could have just ignored the Unified National Leadership if they felt that it did not actually represent them, but they did the exact opposite.

Analysing the intifada at the beginning of 1988 it was easy to see it as a homogenous proletarian movement against the poverty of everyday life; a violent attack on the natural, immediate enemy – the bourgeoisie.

The intifada began as a totally autonomous struggle. It [sic] the boundaries the Palestinian bourgeoisie had set and began with an open hostility to all bourgeois factions. It was sparked off by class polarisation, not racial polarisation. Between 1977 and 1985 the PLO had pumped half a billion dollars into the territories; workers had seen their bourgeois neighbours – the mayors, entrepreneurs, and self-styled leaders – get rich from this bribery.

The authors are correct about the First Intifada having at first been a spontaneous uprising, as I described, but I'm pretty sure that if you asked the average Palestinian protester in 1988 what they were rebelling against, it would not be "the bourgeoisie."

westartfromhere

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 11, 2023

Thanks for your feedback Adz. I am happy that we agree that the intifada started as "a spontaneous uprising" by the working class and that it was overcome by nationalist/Islamist, i.e. bourgeois, forces.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 12, 2023

Thanks for your feedback Adz. I am happy that we agree that the intifada started as "a spontaneous uprising" by the working class and that it was overcome by nationalist/Islamist, i.e. bourgeois, forces.

I don't think we really do agree there. The First Intifada was not "overcome" by nationalist/Islamist forces in the sense that the PLO and other Palestinian groups imposed themselves on the uprising's participants. There were of course exceptions, such as the UNL threatening people who broke strikes, but Palestinians themselves mostly shared or accepted the views and objectives of these various groups. One should also not ignore how Hamas forced women to wear the hijab and attempted to restrict women's participation in the uprising, which were obviously forms of coercion. However, there was plenty of PLO flag-waving during the First Intifada, and as I said, Palestinians could have just ignored the Unified National Leadership if they actually felt that its objectives were so different from their own.

westartfromhere

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 13, 2023

I agree that we cannot ignore the terrorising reaction PLO/Hamas/Fatah and the Israeli Defence Force has had to the autonomous, spontaneous attempt to "shake off" (intifada) its yoke.

I disagree that we can use the blanket term "Palestinians" as if Bashar Masri and the migrant day labour force of Israel are one body. It is meaningless in the context in which you use it:

Palestinians themselves mostly shared or accepted the views and objectives of these various groups... Palestinians could have just ignored the Unified National Leadership if they actually felt that its objectives were so different from their own.

I would expect communists to distinguish between the working class of Palestine and Israel and their bourgeoisie. Hamas was created as a reactionary force against the intifada in order to aid the State of Israel's suppresion of that movement. It was financially aided heavily by foreign benefactors, if not Israel itself. Since its foundation it has acted to terrorise the Palestinian working class more than anyone else. You can rest assured that it is not popular. Perhaps one can cite its election victories as a sign of its popularity but working class voters are a strange beast. Many workers voted for Brexit but many, if not most, will tell you if you ask them that it was a regretable act.

As to the Unified National Leadership, it WAS ignored by the working class of Palestine but sadly not violently suppressed. This is also regretable but it is not the working class that should be blamed. Our backs were against the wall, metaphorically speaking, and now in actual fact.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 13, 2023

I agree that we cannot ignore the terrorising reaction PLO/Hamas/Fatah and the Israeli Defence Force has had to the autonomous, spontaneous attempt to "shake off" (intifada) its yoke.

You're still not understanding that the PLO and UNL actually had popular support during the First Intifada, otherwise people would have just ignored them. I'm also not sure what you are referring to when you say the "terrorising reaction" by the PLO and Fatah. Do you think the PLO "terrorized" Palestinians into waving the organization's flag during the uprising, or that they "terrorized" the majority of Palestinians into striking and boycotting Israeli goods?

I would expect communists to distinguish between the working class of Palestine and Israel and their bourgeoisie.

Whoever said that I do not distinguish between Palestinians?

Hamas was created as a reactionary force against the intifada in order to aid the State of Israel's suppresion of that movement. It was financially aided heavily by foreign benefactors, if not Israel itself. Since its foundation it has acted to terrorise the Palestinian working class more than anyone else. You can rest assured that it is not popular. Perhaps one can cite its election victories as a sign of its popularity but working class voters are a strange beast. Many workers voted for Brexit but many, if not most, will tell you if you ask them that it was a regretable act.

You're a bit confused there. Israel supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza in order to draw people away from the more secular Palestine Liberation Organization (which was/is just an organization of various Palestinian groups). Hamas and Islamic Jihad were militant Islamic groups that emerged out of the Brotherhood. Israel never supported Hamas or Islamic Jihad themselves during the First Intifada—especially considering how these groups were calling for Israel's destruction!

I also never claimed that Hamas had overwhelming support at the time of the First Intifada, but they did grow in popularity during and after the uprising. A number of Palestinians began sympathizing with these more religiously-inspired groups owing to their disillusionment with the PLO and its remoteness from Palestinian struggles (e.g. the PLO had moved its headquarters to Tunis following the 1982 Lebanese War).

As to the Unified National Leadership, it WAS ignored by the working class of Palestine but sadly not violently suppressed. This is also regretable but it is not the working class that should be blamed. Our backs were against the wall, metaphorically speaking, and now in actual fact.

Can you name a single serious source (i.e. not the ideologically-driven pamphlet that you cited above) that supports the claim that the Unified National Leadership was mostly ignored by Palestinians during the First Intifada? I can produce a number of sources that argue the exact opposite if you would like. Let's just take a couple excerpts from F. Robert Hunter's scholarly book (The Palestinian Uprising: A War by Other Means) on the First Intifada,

Hunter wrote: This was how it began, in Gaza, perpetually on the verge of an uprising, where people are packed so closely together that the mere raising of a PLO flag or the throwing of a stone is enough to start a demonstration (Hunter 59).

Hunter wrote: The emergence of the UNL and the willingness of West Bankers and Gazans to follow it reflected the vast support which the PLO enjoyed in the occupied territories. The PLO had become a household word, and its presence was constant and concrete. Youthful protesters who went off to jail thought of themselves as PLO even though they were not members or followers of one of its factions. As we have seen, the PLO was an extra-territorial organization that represented the interests of Palestinians throughout the world (Hunter 65).

westartfromhere

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 14, 2023

The source for the motivation of insurgents was not our bulletin. It was from IDF interviews with prisoners, if I remember correctly. The IDF is not motivated by ideology, and neither are we proletarians, but by the practical job of suppressing the proletariat.

Scholars have to appease the market place. I don't.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 14, 2023

The source for the motivation of insurgents was not our bulletin. It was from IDF interviews with prisoners, if I remember correctly. The IDF is not motivated by ideology, and neither are we proletarians, but by the practical job of suppressing the proletariat.

Scholars have to appease the market place. I don't.

Worldwide Intifada wrote: The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) interrogated the first hundred rioters they arrested; the findings shocked the world bourgeoisie:

'…hardly any of the detainees were familiar with the clauses of the Palestinian National Council or knew of its existence. They were unable to repeat the most common slogans used in the PLO’s routine propaganda and even the central concept of the Palestinian struggle – the right to self-determination – was completely alien to them. . . .'

Did you really write this pamphlet?

Another thing here, if I were affiliated with the PLO during the First Intifada, and then detained by the IDF, I wouldn't know anything either... (i.e. do you really think detainees are going to go blurting out information that could potentially undermine the uprising?).

This hypothetical is of course beside the point, since we actually know that the UNL and PLO had massive support among Palestinians during the First Intifada, regardless of what some pamphlet says.

adri

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by adri on October 14, 2023

The IDF is not motivated by ideology, and neither are we proletarians, but by the practical job of suppressing the proletariat.

The Israeli Defense Forces is not motivated by ideology?! Oh my.

westartfromhere

4 months 3 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 14, 2023

You don't think the state is motivated by its material interests and produces ideology to justify those interests? Fair enough. I'm a vulgar materialist myself because it serves my interests.

Why do you assume that the interests of the PLO/Hamas/Fatah align with the insurgent proletariat? All signals point to no.

noslavery

4 months 2 weeks ago

Submitted by noslavery on October 17, 2023

Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?

Bad guys are authoritarians in Israel, West Bank and Gaza. Good guys are those who are against authoritarianism. Well, if I am correct, then who are the good guys? PLO? No. Hamas? No. Fatah? No. In Israel, which party? No good party. However, there are anarchists in Israel who I consider as good potential. I couldn't find any anarchist movement in Palestinians' area, which I can guess why.

westartfromhere

4 months 2 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 17, 2023

I don't consider the state to have any authority. Its power rests on brutality, hidden and open.

When I worked in Israel in 1989, I worked alongside Palestinians and Israelis in the same field, although not on the same machine. All we workers held authority in the sense that we were the authors, originators of the wealth that we produced.

I know that there were anarchists amongst us but from whence they came I could not say. The evidence of the party of anarchy was written on the wall of a bridge I saw:

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY BUT ONESELF

westartfromhere

4 months 2 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 18, 2023

[Proletarian] protesters opposed to the [bourgeois] rule of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) clashed with Palestinian security forces. Ramallah, West Bank, 18 October 2023

Source: Agence France-Presse

noslavery

4 months 2 weeks ago

Submitted by noslavery on October 18, 2023

The word "proletarian", sound mystical, the same with the word "Capital". Marxists says capital do this and do that. Also, they say communist revolution is inevitable, or, communist society will necessarily will come. I don't like these wording and expressions, they sound superstitious.
I say "workers", "capitalism", communist relations will come if workers become aware of the their cultural evolution AND if they decide to do something about it.
Protests against PA could be from some political ideas which are completely against class interests of participants. Economic situation doesn't determine the way workers think, the way workers think, comes from what they have learned.

westartfromhere

4 months 2 weeks ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on October 18, 2023

Comment amended as per comment immediately above with date of insurgency corrected:

[Working class] protesters opposed to the [mercantile] rule of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) clashed with Palestinian security forces. Ramallah, West Bank, 17 October 2023

Source: Agence France-Presse

There is no mystery about my use of the word proletariat. There are plenty of working class people that have never had any work, any wage labour, in their entire life.

As for capital, this is universally understood in its economic sense, although definitions vary from specific, detailed definitions to the downright vague. The bourgeoisie, the middle class historically, are the class of capital, its personification.

westartfromhere

1 month ago

Submitted by westartfromhere on January 29, 2024

Proletarians with and without uniform, let’s organize together against the capitalist system of exploitation of human labour that lies at the root of all the misery, all the State oppression and all the wars!

Let’s turn this war into class war for the global communist revolution!

Class War – October 8th, 2023