Manchester AF on Gaza

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Django's picture
Django
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Jan 8 2009 12:32
Manchester AF on Gaza

NEITHER ONE STATE NOR TWO STATES, BUT NO STATES

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

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

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

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

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

WHOEVER DIES, HAMAS AND THE ISRAELI STATE WIN

We'll be distributing this in leaflet form at demos in the city.

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Jan 8 2009 12:45

Very good leaflet, but I reacted a bit about this

Quote:
This isn’t some vague theoretical point – until recently most deaths in Gaza were a result of fighting between Hamas and Fatah.

How factual is this, and what do you mean by recent? For a period it is true that most deaths were because of Hamas-Fatah clashes, but I am not sure that has been the case for some time.

Anyway, it's just nit picking on a very good leaflet.

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Django
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Jan 8 2009 12:55

Yeah, it would make more sense as "for a period recently", referring to the Fatah-Hamas conflict.

qwertz
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Jan 8 2009 13:14

Have you got a pdf version of this? Could you make it available?

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Django
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Jan 8 2009 13:19

Yeah, should be available soon.

bouncingsoul
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Jan 8 2009 13:40

absolutely excellent. An issue ive been tossing over a lot recently, and with the help of the analyses given on libcom, i feel i have reached consistent conclusions. Hopefully I will be able to get other comrades at uni on side for giving this out at the local demonstration next monday.

nice one.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 8 2009 14:02

great leaflet, well pitched too (starting with the obvious but necessary point that what israel's doing is barbaric and we oppose it).

there's a demo in brighton on sunday organised by the PSC and i quote 'the local palestinian community' - i'll forward this leaflet to the brighton solfed list and see if there's any appetite for distro-ing it at what will be a flag-waving festival no doubt.

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Django
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Jan 8 2009 15:13

Cheers for the comments. To be clear, I wasn't solely responsible for writing this. It'd be great if others were interested in distributing this elsewhere.

Theres a pdf available of the text, with the point about the Hamas-Fatah comment clarified as per Khawaga's comment. It'll be on the AF North website shortly, but if anyone needs it urgently they can PM me.

nastyned
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Jan 8 2009 16:02

That is the anarchist postion though.

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oisleep
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Jan 8 2009 16:24
Jack wrote:
Really good, but the title is awful, it sounds like someone taking the piss out of anarchists for having simplistic analysis.

definately, wouldn't be surprised if most folk didn't make it past the title (i nearly didn't)

knightrose
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Jan 8 2009 18:02

It's available now as a pdf on www.af-north.org. Just go to the homepage, it's right there, or if you prefer straight to the pdf page http://www.af-north.org/palestine/gaza%20leaflet%202-1.pdf.

The text was a result of extensive discussion on our own forums, on this forum and on anarkismo.net, plus lengthy face to face ones at our group meetings. So thanks to all who contributed!

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Django
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Jan 8 2009 18:40
oisleep wrote:
Jack wrote:
Really good, but the title is awful, it sounds like someone taking the piss out of anarchists for having simplistic analysis.

definately, wouldn't be surprised if most folk didn't make it past the title (i nearly didn't)

I see the point. If people want to make use of the text they can of course change it.

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Jan 8 2009 19:17

Good article, nice one. You should put it in the library here, we could make it front-page story for now. If you are having the same problem others are uploading images then just post it up without one and I'll find a picture.

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Jan 8 2009 19:19

To get around the problem of the title, in the library maybe it could be called something like "no state solution to Gaza crisis" or something - just using a double meaning of no state solution in the sense that no state will be able to solve the problem.

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Jan 8 2009 20:52

OK, I've done this (nice title by the way, with I'd thought of it). The image disappeared along with the image box when I uploaded it.

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Jan 8 2009 23:06

A few London AF are going to a demo on Saturday starting at Speakers Corner.

We'll be joining anarchist comrades in a red and black group, meeting at Speaker's Corner at 12:30.

Has the text now got a new title? And is there a new PDF?

Dan.

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Choccy
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Jan 8 2009 23:55

Some of Organise! will be going to the Belfast protest on Saturday and bringing a slightly adapted version of the Manc AF statement, hope that's cool.

knightrose
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Jan 9 2009 06:35

If Django changes it, I can upload it this evening at about 8pm. Otherwise you'll have to use the one we did.

btw We should mention that half the leaflet was written by Sheffield AF.

And it's great that Organise are distributing a version of it. Can you send us a copy - manchester@af-north.org - I'll circulate your version for others to see.

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quint
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Jan 9 2009 08:50

Very nice. I second Joe K's point about starting out with the obvious point and moving on. It almost makes me willing to go back to another one of the big demos outside the israeli consulate in Montreal and try to hand it to people chanting "With our blood. With our souls. We will avenge gaza!"

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Jan 9 2009 09:07
nastyned wrote:
That is the anarchist postion though.

well, not really. our position on the public sector pay disputes isn't 'abolish the state' is it? while we recognise that there is no state solution, and therefore enourage the working class of the region to struggle in their own concrete interests. at least one solfed comrade's going to the london demo and intends to distribute this, probably co-signed by a solfed local. in brighton we're considering how to approach the local demo on sunday where galloway's speaking.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 9 2009 09:42

The link on the front page/library for the pdf, isn't working.

nastyned
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Jan 9 2009 09:59
Joseph K. wrote:
nastyned wrote:
That is the anarchist postion though.

well, not really. our position on the public sector pay disputes isn't 'abolish the state' is it? while we recognise that there is no state solution, and therefore enourage the working class of the region to struggle in their own concrete interests. at least one solfed comrade's going to the london demo and intends to distribute this, probably co-signed by a solfed local. in brighton we're considering how to approach the local demo on sunday where galloway's speaking.

Yeah, you're right "we recognise that there is no state solution, and therefore enourage the working class of the region to struggle in their own concrete interests." is much snappier wink

Actually, I like the 'no state solution' idea as it's got a bit of wit about it.

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Jan 9 2009 10:05

yeah Steven's suggestion is a better title, enough amiguity that we don't sound like 'revolution NOW!' mentals, without compromising on what we actually believe

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Jan 9 2009 10:14

Thank you, thank you. My anarchist PR consultancy services are available for a short time for a discounted rate. Send me a private message for booking. wink

yoshomon
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Jan 9 2009 16:40
Django wrote:
WHOEVER DIES, HAMAS AND THE ISRAELI STATE WIN

Is that true? It seems like both Israel and Hamas could potentially be losers in this conflict. If, for example, Hamas is removed from power at the end of this, they certainly would be losers. The Israeli state could also 'lose' if this fight ends up like the debacle in Lebanon. There are a lot of other possible scenarios that involve either or both states losing.

I would say - "No Matter Which State Wins, The Working Class Loses"

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Jan 9 2009 14:29

"No matter who wins, the working class loses" is good (don't want to let the would-be state gangsters off the hook)

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Jan 9 2009 17:02
knightrose wrote:
If Django changes it, I can upload it this evening at about 8pm. Otherwise you'll have to use the one we did.

btw We should mention that half the leaflet was written by Sheffield AF.

And it's great that Organise are distributing a version of it. Can you send us a copy - manchester@af-north.org - I'll circulate your version for others to see.

Ah crap I credited it to Manc AF cos of thread title, will change it, cheers.
Anyway I mailed you ouyr adaptred version, but sent it to the email I'd been in contact with you via before wink

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Tojiah
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Jan 9 2009 17:07

I think Joseph K's suggestion should be incorporated. Not sure I'll be distributing this at any demos, but I would like to link to the final version in some fb groups for now. It'll be good as an additional point of departure.

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Django
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Jan 9 2009 19:16

We distributed these at a Palestine solidarity vigil in town tonight. The response was pretty good, everyone I gave one to read it through despite the title and I had a few people chasing me up for copies after I'd given them to their mates. Admittedly the crowd had a pretty humanist vibe to it, a comrade said earlier ones had been more nationalist and pro-Hamas.

I think the criticism on here makes sense, and I agree with it. Its something to incorporate into future efforts, so cheers.

Good luck to Solfed and Organise comrades distributing versions of this tomorrow(or anyone giving out anything internationalist for that matter) .

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 9 2009 19:35

i'd just like to say to the AF comrades involved not only well done on producing a solid statement but also on the manner of the public discussion of it to make it stronger. if as you say discussions on here played a part in its compostion, and now other groups which use the boards are adapting it, this is a nice example of what libcom can be.[/end group hug mode]

knightrose
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Jan 9 2009 20:44

The revised pdf is now on the site: http://www.af-north.org/palestine/gaza%20leaflet%202-1.pdf

I've been away from Libcom for a while. The atmosphere now is much more comradely. I've enjoyed the discussion - if that's the right word - and have found it all very useful.