Lebanon/Hezbollah etc

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butchersapron
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Aug 14 2006 15:10
Lebanon/Hezbollah etc

What do people think of this as a starting point for developing our position on the current events - remember this is designed as a short, aggressive polemical piece to be used for leaflets (already been used as the core of one in edinburgh)or other propaganda of that type, to highlight where and what the gap is between us and the leftists/nationalists/etc - it's not a fully developed analysis, that's on the way. What other points need to be included, or emphasied more? What's missing?

Class or nation? Class or Religion?

The last month has seen the sparking back into life of the persistent Israeli-Lebanese conflict with civilian deaths now in the thousands, with long range rocket attacks on cities in both countries and with Israel beginning an invasion of the south of Lebanon facing fierce military opposition from Hezbollah and it’s allies. It has also seen the international left and it’s liberal/nationalist co-religionists adopt it’s now traditional head-in-the-sand suicidal logic to the situation, rallying behind the slogan ‘We are all Hezbollah’.

Well, we are not Hezbollah! - we are revolutionary internationalists who are unafraid to argue the consistent revolutionary position that the working class should not be prepared to sacrifice itself for the particular state, party or national interests of the ruling classes of Lebanon, Syria, Iran or Israel! That they should turn their guns on the ruling classes of all states - including the state faction of the Lebanese ruling class known as Hezbollah.

It is irrelevant to us whether Hezbollah is the Islamist terrorist organisation that Israel and it’s allies paint it as, or if it is simply a bourgeois party of national liberation as the Lebanese establishment paint it - it’s objective position is anti-working class in either case. The logic of August 4th 1914 when the Marxists of the 2nd International voted to send millions of working class people to their deaths in pursuit of state interests raises its head on the left once more.

The wider situation is one in which the competing groups logic is increasingly converging - and to the detriment of the working class. Hezbollah wanted to shore up its more militant support since becoming part of the Lebanese government and abandoning much of it’s original Islamist agenda, and Israel wanted to both shore up its borders and send a little reminder to neighbouring countries of just how far it’s prepared to go - and in a country where politicians need military action to sustain public credibility this will have suited a number of them on a personal level. They now both have what they wanted, and will meet at the negotiating table over the bodies of countless dead working class people. And all of this taking place within a context of behind-the-scenes string pulling by the Iranian Theocracy and US.

A military defeat of Israel by an Iranian and Syrian supplied Hezbollah will not end this situation, and will at best only ever be temporary given the reality of US military and financial support for Israel - only a struggle by the working class of both these countries, a struggle that can only be against the anti-working class forces of both states can do this.

To rally behind one state or nation in such a situation is to make a sacrifice of working class lives for the interests of capital, to say to people that they must rally around ‘their nation’ is a sell out of the most elementary positions of revolutionary internationalism and to prostitute yourself and your politics for those of one state or another. We call on the working class of the middle east to turn instead against all the ruling classes, in whatever state they’re in - Israel, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Lebanon and we once more take up the slogan that has been trampled in the dirt by the leftists:

NO WAR BUT THE CLASS WAR!

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 14 2006 15:22

Hi Butchers

It's fine, but aside from developing a position, what is it you're trying to achieve? What is the purpose of this position? To show everybody what fine folks you are, to allow you to sleep easier at night, or something else?

(whoops just realised this was on your board, hope you don't mind).

Love

LR

butchersapron
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Aug 14 2006 15:26

To make clear to people on various demos and who are asking themselves why 'are we all hezbollah'? that there are alternative viewpoints on the current situation than those offered by the standard left, and that here's some people who are trying to help develop them.

An yes, of course to make us feel better about ourselves and our puny 9 pound lives.

What was your hoping to achieve by that post? What is the purpose of that post? To make me suddenly see the error of my ways or to demonstrate the correctness of yours? or something else?

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 14 2006 15:58

Hi

Quote:
To make clear to people on various demos and who are asking themselves why 'are we all hezbollah'? that there are alternative viewpoints on the current situation than those offered by the standard left, and that here's some people who are trying to help develop them.

Superb. At last a clear objective.

Quote:
What is the purpose of that post?

1.
To show support for your efforts.

2.
To ascertain what criteria should be used to judge the “starting point for developing our position on the current events”.

3.
To assure you of the high personal regard in which I hold whatever human being is behind your electronic persona.

Love

LR

butchersapron
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Aug 14 2006 16:02

okey dokey tongue

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Lazy Riser
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Aug 14 2006 16:07

Hi

Quote:
to highlight where and what the gap is between us and the leftists/nationalists/etc

Quote:
here's some people who are trying to help develop them.

Does explaining the difference between your faction and their faction make you more attractive?

Quote:
What other points need to be included, or emphasied more?

You are in danger of addressing “the left” as opposed to the non-activist working class at large who are wondering what to make of the situation and what it actually means to them.

It's fine to do a leaflet for demo's, but say you did one that the people on demo's could take home, photocopy and hand out to family, friends and colleagues without looking like a lefty whiner.

Love

LR

butchersapron
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Aug 14 2006 16:15

It's perfectly possible to do different sorts of leaflets, even leaflets that are targetted at different groups - including the left (those ones with friends and family as well!)- this one was specifically attempting to drive a polemical wedge between those who have a nationalist/religious/etc basis for their positions and those who have an internationalist position, and so yes, it was at least in part aimed at the left, at those confused by the current situation and unsure of how acceptable it is not to go along with the more mainstream positions that is being portrayed as the defualt postion. Others can and should try and produce others with a different emphasis/style/content.

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rat
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Aug 14 2006 16:27

It’s so great to see that the initiative has been taken to put over a revolutionary perspective on these awful events.

My only suggestion is maybe an extra sentence to make this bit clearer?

“The logic of August 4th 1914 when the Marxists of the 2nd International voted…”

But if it’s aimed at the Left then maybe they know about their own history.

Beltov
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Aug 14 2006 19:05

Hi,

The statement's not all bad but is it really necessary to say,

butchersapron wrote:
The logic of August 4th 1914 when the Marxists of the 2nd International voted to send millions of working class people to their deaths in pursuit of state interests raises its head on the left once more.

I can understand the AF wanting to distinguish themselves from the SWP but there are two fundamental flaws in this statement:
1. Not all of the parties within the Second International voted for war credits - only those dominated by the opportunist right-wing. Indeed, it was the left-wing Marxist fractions within the parties of the Second International (Bolsheviks, Spartacists, Tribunists, Workers' Dreadnought) that went on to form the backbone of the anti-war movement, participate in the revolutionary wave that brought the First World War to and end, and work for the creation of the Third International. I won't mention the anarchists who DID support national defence, like Kropotkin. Doh! I just did...
2. The SWP are not Marxists: they are the far-left wing of the ruling class. In this respect there is a certian logic. The SWP *are* in continuity with their their predecessors Noske and Scheidemann, who organised the assasination of the great internationalists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Maybe it would be better to point the latter out than alienate internationalists who are also Marxists. Or is this one of your aims?

Beltov.

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Devrim
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Aug 14 2006 19:38

A few points that we have been talking about in Ankara that might be of interest:
*The spiral of nationalism/sectarianism in the Middle East
We think that the whole region is becoming increasingly nationalist, and sectarian. The pull of nationalism is becoming so strong across the whole region that the working class is in danger of being unable of acting in its own interests. Certainly in Turkey, the ethnic divide between Turks, and Kurds is becoming deeper. The only answer to this is class struggle, and workers fighting to defend their own interests.
* The Palestinian working class is the most defeated in the entire region.
There is a big leftist lie about the Palestinians being undefeated. It may apply to the nationalist movement, but it does not apply to the working class there. The Palestinian working class is so tied to nationalism that it is nearly completely unable to act for itself. The fact that there is struggle doesn't mean that it is class struggle. leftists seem to get carried away by any nationalist waving a red flag.
*What workers can do to oppose war.
There is no immediate solution to the cycle of wars across the region. The only thing that revolutionaries can do is to continue to be involved in workers struggle to defend their own living standards, and argue for class autonomy against all forms of nationalism. A class that is capable of defending its own interests is not one that will be dragged into a war behind nationalist ideology.

Devrim

butchersapron
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Aug 14 2006 20:00
Beltov wrote:
Hi,

The statement's not all bad but is it really necessary to say,

butchersapron wrote:
The logic of August 4th 1914 when the Marxists of the 2nd International voted to send millions of working class people to their deaths in pursuit of state interests raises its head on the left once more.

I can understand the AF wanting to distinguish themselves from the SWP but there are two fundamental flaws in this statement:
1. Not all of the parties within the Second International voted for war credits - only those dominated by the opportunist right-wing. Indeed, it was the left-wing Marxist fractions within the parties of the Second International (Bolsheviks, Spartacists, Tribunists, Workers' Dreadnought) that went on to form the backbone of the anti-war movement, participate in the revolutionary wave that brought the First World War to and end, and work for the creation of the Third International. I won't mention the anarchists who DID support national defence, like Kropotkin. Doh! I just did...
2. The SWP are not Marxists: they are the far-left wing of the ruling class. In this respect there is a certian logic. The SWP *are* in continuity with their their predecessors Noske and Scheidemann, who organised the assasination of the great internationalists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Maybe it would be better to point the latter out than alienate internationalists who are also Marxists. Or is this one of your aims?

Beltov.

No, that's not of of my aims at all. I'm happy to take on board your points, and agree that it needs some further clarification - maybe a broader term that includes all those who acted in that way, inside and out of the 2nd International - but i'm not using something like 'social-chuavanist'.

1) On the whole the 2nd international did line up and vote for war credits in 1914. Yes, there were honourable exceptions, but they could only go forward on the basis of declaring the 2nd International dead and the need for a Third. So strictly speaking, those elements were no longer in the 2nd international at the point that they were able to move forward. Not really a major point at the minute though.

2) Fair enough, i'm more than aware of what the SWP are and what relation they hold to other Marxisms, and yes, i fully agree that they're in continuity with the traditions and logic of the 2nd international.

Devrim - thanks for those thoughts, some interesting points there - i have to admit to seeing things in a similiar way. I'd be interested if this new nationalism is displacing religious motivations, fusing with them or simply appealling to people who were never particularly bothered one way or the other before.

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Devrim
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Aug 14 2006 21:29
butchersapron wrote:
Devrim - thanks for those thoughts, some interesting points there - i have to admit to seeing things in a similiar way. I'd be interested if this new nationalism is displacing religious motivations, fusing with them or simply appealling to people who were never particularly bothered one way or the other before.

I wasn't just referring to nationalism. I did write nationalism/sectarianism.
In Turkey for example there are two big minority groups. The Kurds, and the Alevi( a religious minority). Both are about 20% of the population. There is some crossover, but not that much. Of course there are other minority groups. Turkey has always been a very nationalistic country, but it is getting more so. I saw a TKP front poster today, Yurtsever Cephe (Patriotic front literally 'nation lovers front') which said ABD defol. Bu memletket bizim (USA get out This country is ours. It is just an example of how much nationalism pervades society. This is the so-called communist party, for God’s sake. Last year some Kurdish children burnt a Turkish flag at Nevruz. The wave of nationalism it unleashed was appalling. The religious thing here is involved in the Secular/religious split. most Alevis see the state as a defender of secularism, and a defender of their rights against fundamentalism.
In Lebanon there are 17 different denominational groups, and their political system has been built on confessional division. It is true that there have been recent appeals to 'Lebanese' nationalism from all sides, but the two main factions have been using it to further their own sectarian interests. Hizbullah are allied with the Aoun led "Free Patriotic Movement" at the moment.
The Shia/Sunni split is also important in lots of countries. It is one of the reasons why the idea of a 'Shiaistan' in Iraq scares the Saudis so much. There is a Shia minority there, and it is in the main oil producing regions. A lot of the small oil emirates have substantial Shia minorities too.

To sum up, it is not just nationalism, but a combination of nationalism, and ethnic, and religious division.

Devrim