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WSA: Class Struggle Anarchist Statement on Gaza

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syndicalist
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Jan 16 2009 04:24
WSA: Class Struggle Anarchist Statement on Gaza

Gaza is in flames. Its population terrorized by the incessant bombing of Israeli
warplanes against its public and residential districts and even its schools (3).
Countless of the Gaza Strip's mostly impoverished residents are dead, many of
these children, woman and the elderly. Many more Palestinians have lost loved
ones, have maimed, both physically and psychologically, and all are living
without access to basic necessities, water, food, medical care, etc. All of
this as the consequence of the largest military assault (codename: "Operation
Cast Lead") waged by Israeli armed forces since 1967 War against the Gaza Strip
and its approximately 1.5 million residents.

The leaders of the Israel and the Western nations, of whom the
United States is the largest and most vocally supportive, erroneously
claim that it is the Palestinians who are the aggressors in this conflict,
this despite the fact that for more then half a century the state of
Israel, and its Western equipped military, has steadily squeezed the
Palestinian population into smaller and smaller enclaves. Within these
enclaves Palestinians are forced to live surrounded by fortified concrete
barriers under the occupation of heavily armed Israeli troops.

It has been stated that Israel is but responding to the
rocket attacks on Israeli cities by Hamas, that these rocket attacks
legitimize what amounts to the collective punishment of Gaza and the
murder of Palestinian civilians on the part of the Israeli state. To which
we respond that one must consider not only the foregone conclusion that
the Israeli state has treated the basic humanity of the Palestinian
population with a near total disregard for over 60 years, but also that
within days of the initial assault by Israeli forces the death toll among
the Palestinian population climbed well into the hundreds, in fact, as
noted by Aljazeera news (2), approximately 350 Palestinian lives as of
December 30th, 2008, a figure that has climbed significantly after more
then ten days of near constant bombardment by Israeli forces against a
region with a population density of over 10 thousand inhabitants per sq
MI. While on the other hand, over the past 8 years the number of Israeli's
killed due to Hamas rocket attacks has been recorded as being 28 as of
January, 4th 2009.(1)

Considering the vast discrepancy in casualties between the relatively
small number of Israeli citizens killed over a period of eight years by
Hamas rockets, and the huge number of Palestinian killed in less then a
Week, it is difficult to see how anyone could consider the latest Israeli
military response as being anything even approximating a proportional
response.

Yes, this is a very disproportioned struggle, with the Palestinian
population of Gaza suffering the greatest misery and outrages by far. But
from accounts given by the capitalist controlled media in the West,
including that of the United States, one could scarcely be aware of this
vast discrepancy. One might in fact be mislead into supporting the notion
that the Israeli's are the main victims of the latest conflict when the
statistical data and the history behind the conflict betray any such
notion.

Through word and deed, not only the U.S. media establishment, but also
U.S. statesmen have taken the stance that the lives of impoverished
Palestinians is a virtual non-consideration when it comes to supporting
the expansionist policies of it's most valuable Geopolitical ally in the
region, the Israeli state. Thus the Israeli state is used as pro-western
bulwark for the expansion of U.S. hegemony in the oil rich lands of the
Middle East. The so-called "War on terror" serves as useful pretext for
continuing support of the Israeli state and other pro-western Middle
Eastern governments. Thus the United States Government will be giving an
unprecedented $30 billion in military aid to Israel between the years 2008
and 2017.

Jumping aboard, right beside U.S. leaders in both media and politics, in
aiding and supporting the aggression of the Israeli state has been the
U.S. based arms dealers who have consistently supplied the Israeli armed
forces with some of the most modern and destructive high-tech weaponry in
existence. For example, the Chicago based Boeing corporation has recently
delivered a hundreds of the most modern and deadly jet aircraft and
assault helicopters, bunker busting munitions and sophisticated rocket
systems to Israeli armed forces. At one point during the Israeli offensive
against Gaza shares in Boeing were reported to have climbed 1.6% within 24
hours!(4) Thus even as Gaza smolders and its civilian population lives in
constant terror of aerial bombardment U.S. arms dealers make fortunes.

Not only the United States but also the nations of Europe have
supplied Israel with sophisticated armament. As the statement by the
Italian Federation of Anarchist-Communists (FdCA) "The Gaza slaughter:
Europe's hand is bloodied too"(5) notes, a variety of modern weaponry supplied
to Israel by European arms dealers is currently being used by Israeli troops in
Gaza. As with the United States, the various nations of Europe hope to influence
this global imperialistic struggle in a direction favorable to their own Geopolitical
interests. This in the hopes of gaining some control of the regions valuable marketable
resources, namely petroleum and natural gas, both for the economic benefit of their
own capitalist class and to enhance the hegemony of their own nation-state within the
international sphere.

Geopolitical and economic profits aside, seemingly the only other
possible reasons for such duality of opinion when it comes to a greater
outrage for the lost lives of a few dozen Israelis over that of the lost
lives of many hundreds of Palestinians must be attributed to either a
virulent racism, nationalistic and ethnic chauvinism, or, as in the case
of certain right-wing Christian fundamentalists in the U.S., religious
dogmatism of a type befitting the religious traditions of the Middle Ages.
These Fundamentalists, hoping that Armageddon is right around the corner,
believe that the necessary prerequisite of such is the existence of a
Zionist state.

For all sincere class-struggle anarchists the death or suffering of any
member of the working class, of whatever nationality or ethnicity, is a
cause for great and equal concern. Unlike the politicians, the
capitalists, the armed forces, and the religious hierarchy that play some
role in upholding the global system of viciously competing nation-states,
there is no acceptable idea of national or religious exceptionalism,
chauvinism, or competition for land and other vital resources among class
struggle anarchists. We are internationalists in the fullest sense of the
word. We recognize that all of humanity has the same basic biological
needs and that the earth is the natural habitat which we share in common.
We recognize the reality of the class war that the economic and political
elite are constantly waging against the worlds working masses as means to
serve their own narrow aspirations. We recognize the primacy of the
struggle between the ruling class and the working class of every land,
that an understanding of the nature of this struggle, and its successful
persecution by the worlds working-class, is vital to securing the
liberation, freedom, and well-being of all humanity.

One point that must be made clear is that class-struggle anarchists do not
support any form of antisemitism. Instead, what we are opposed to is the
displacement of one population from their homelands in order to make room
for another population, a form of displacement that has long been the
hallmark of Israeli settler expansion in Palestine. We oppose all forms of
settler colonialism, be it that perpetrated by the Israeli state, or that
perpetrated by others.

Instead of settler colonialism, instead of global system of nation-states,
in which the hateful sentiments of chauvinism, racism, and religious
bigotry are constantly aroused among the working-class, this in order to
get them to support whatever atrocity the leaders deem vital to national
interests, what we class-struggle anarchists aspire to instead is the
creation of an international federation of self-managed working class
organizations and autonomous communities that transcends all national
borders and all walls of separation.

If you agree with this statement, we encourage you to sign on.

Workers Solidarity Alliance (WSA)
wsany@hotmail.com.
http://www.workersolidarity.org.

1.Lunch Exposes pro-Zionist Media Lies over Israeli Atrocities
http://mwcnews.net/content/view/27683&Itemid=1

2. In the US, Gaza is a different war
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/war_ ... 04690.html

3. Israel kills dozens at Gaza school
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middl ... 08851.html

4. Bristol To Gaza
http://raytheonout.wordpress.com/2008/1 ... l-to-gaza/

5. The Gaza slaughter: Europe's hand is bloodied too
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/11133

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Tojiah
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Jan 16 2009 09:08

I don't see any criticism of Hamas, their boisterous claims of imminent victory and their shooting down of refugees, or of Fatah with their heavy cracking down on Palestinian protestors against the operation inside the West Bank, or of the Egyptian army's and/or Hamas's barring of Palestinian escape through the Rafah pass, of the various Arab regime's turning a blind eye due to their own internal squabbling, or any mention of Iran or any other imperialist, etc.

It reads like any other anti-American position paper, really. Show me the class struggle.

jack white
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Jan 16 2009 11:34

Hi ToJ , do you have any links for Hamas shooting refugees?

syndicalist
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Jan 16 2009 14:11

WSA stands forthsquare against Hamas, PA and all governments, governments in waiting and fundametalists....but the point is against the heavy handed and disproportional Israeli reply and the horrendous civilian causualities. If your claim is we are pro-Hamas, etc., you're barking up the wrong tree.

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Devrim
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Jan 16 2009 20:56

It is a long statement, maybe two or three pages of A4, to say nothing about HAMAS or Palestinian nationalism, or how it is used by the regional powers though.

To be honest, apart from the bit tacked on at the end about anarchism and autonomous communities etc, I could read the same analysis in our national daily newspapers.

You have to agree with ToJ really:

ToJ wrote:
It reads like any other anti-American position paper, really. Show me the class struggle.

Devrim

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Tojiah
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Jan 17 2009 00:22
jack white wrote:
Hi ToJ , do you have any links for Hamas shooting refugees?

Apparently it's just an unsubstantiated rumor, so I'll have to retract it.

Black Badger
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Jan 17 2009 01:17

And not to be too nit-picky, but using the term "Palestine" uncritically, as if there were such a universally recognized nation(-state) with a particular territory under its sovereignty, is another sop to national liberationism. Seems unfortunately like pretty typical generic leftism, with some lip service paid to a couple of standard anarchist slogans.

syndicalist
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Jan 17 2009 01:42

Thank you all for your comments.

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Khawaga
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Jan 17 2009 03:07
Quote:
And not to be too nit-picky, but using the term "Palestine" uncritically, as if there were such a universally recognized nation(-state) with a particular territory under its sovereignty, is another sop to national liberationism. Seems unfortunately like pretty typical generic leftism, with some lip service paid to a couple of standard anarchist slogans.

Using Palestine makes perfect sense. With statements you want to communicate something to someone. Using a shared vocab makes sense. What would you use instead? Transjordan? Israel? West Bank and Gaza? What about when you refer to other nations? Should I stop referring to Egypt when writing about it as this would be a sop to the nation-state?

Black Badger
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Jan 17 2009 05:19

Well there's Gaza, which has an elected government dominated by Hamas; then there's the West Bank (of the Jordan), which has an elected government dominated by Fatah. Hamas expelled Fatah from Gaza last year in a semi-coup/semi-civil war. "Palestine" is usually used to describe both Gaza and the West Bank, which doesn't make much sense in the context of discussing states since these two parcels are neither contiguous nor governed by the same polity. For all intents and purposes they are two completely separate entities (tied together only by ethnicity), so why the implicitly cross-class description of both areas as if they were a singular nation-state? By saying "Palestine" the speaker/writer is promoting the furtherance of a unified polity where there are at least two, so it is not a descriptive term in the way "the US" is both descriptive and definitive.

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Khawaga
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Jan 17 2009 06:07

Palestine is pretty descriptive, people know what you're talking about. The area (not the a state/nation) has been called Palestine for quite some time. What you're writing is correct to some extent, but for the purposes of a statement it doesn't make any sense what so ever.

Black Badger
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Jan 17 2009 06:58

Unless you're trying to make a coherent statement...

I for one, don't actually know what people mean when they use that term. "Palestine" historically meant the entire area south of the Litani River in the north, down the Mediterranean coast to the line between Gaza to Aqaba, and back up the Jordan River to the north of Lake Tiberias. If you say "Palestine" today it can mean that same area, which is currently upwards of 78% occupied by the State of Israel, or the 22% that is not directly occupied by the State of Israel (Gaza and the West Bank). Most pro-Palestinian/anti-zionist folks use "Palestine" for the entirety of the region (rhymes with Judenrein), while those engaged in discussions of some bullshit "peace process" mean the 22%. Where you stand on a certain issue is indicated by the terminology you use. When there is such ambiguity, as there is with the term "Palestine," there has to be an explanation of how and why the term is being used; otherwise the particular prejudices of the reader will fill in the blanks. That is exactly not descriptive or definitive.

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Khawaga
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Jan 17 2009 07:59

Well, most newspapers and TV news refer to it as Palestine and Palestinians, so it's pretty straightforward IMO. It's not brain surgery really.

Black Badger
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Jan 17 2009 16:08

Now you're going to accept the common usage perpetrated by mainstream media?! WTF?! Saying Palestinians is one thing (even though it's historically muddled), but casually saying "Palestine" is another level of confusion altogether. Do as you like, though. I only wanted to point out the implicit incoherence of using the very loaded and historically inaccurate term in an anarchist declaration.

syndicalist
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Jan 17 2009 17:22

I guess the WSA statement was meant for public use. We tried to use language that most non-political people might undertand. Most folks understand "Palestinian". As anarchists, yes, we can debate certain certain terms and nuances. Again, this wasn't written for the anarchist community.

Black Badger
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Jan 17 2009 18:02

My objection was not to the use of Palestinian but Palestine.

syndicalist
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Jan 17 2009 18:06

Fair point comrade.

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Devrim
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Jan 17 2009 18:48
syndicalist wrote:
I guess the WSA statement was meant for public use. We tried to use language that most non-political people might undertand. Most folks understand "Palestinian". As anarchists, yes, we can debate certain certain terms and nuances. Again, this wasn't written for the anarchist community.

I don't think that the problem with the WSA statement is that it doesn't address these points about what names you use to refer to what I would refer to as Palestine.

It is about the fact that a part from a little sloganerring at the end it is exactly the same politics as you could hear from many bourgeois states.

Devrim

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Khawaga
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Jan 17 2009 19:34
Quote:
Now you're going to accept the common usage perpetrated by mainstream media?! WTF?! Saying Palestinians is one thing (even though it's historically muddled), but casually saying "Palestine" is another level of confusion altogether.

Palestinians = people from Palestine. If it's ok to use Palestinians, it's ok to use Palestine. You could just use "Arabs" instead, or "those other semites". I really don't see what you're getting at. Use lay language for public statements, it's pretty fucking straightforward.

petey
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Jan 17 2009 19:46
Devrim wrote:
a part from a little sloganerring at the end it is exactly the same politics as you could hear from many bourgeois states.

not the one syndicalist and i live in, tho'.

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Devrim
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Jan 17 2009 19:58
petey wrote:
Devrim wrote:
a part from a little sloganerring at the end it is exactly the same politics as you could hear from many bourgeois states.

not the one syndicalist and i live in, tho'.

No, I can understand that. However, in the state that I live in it is very similar to the argument of nearly every bourgeois party.

Over the period of the massacre I have watched news programmes in Turkish, Arabic, and English (British and US), and to be quite honest I have heard very similar arguments to this leaflet on all of them.

I find it strange that in a long statement there is no attempt to address anything more than a criticism of Israel.

Yes, it is necessary to criticise Israel, but I also expect more in the terms of analysis from anarchist organisation than from 24 hour network news.

Devrim

syndicalist
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Jan 17 2009 23:53

Perhaps a longer analysis may be forthcoming.

As I said, our objective was to conedmn the senseless violence in a way and manner that non-political folks might understand. Perhaps these sort of statements shouldn't be posted here because they lack the depth and political language and arugments anarchists expect to read on this list. Maybe it would be cool if anarchists had a 24 hour news network, but we don't.

We'll be happy to listen to all comradely criticisms and suggestions.

Black Badger
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Jan 18 2009 06:40
Quote:
Palestinians = people from Palestine. If it's ok to use Palestinians, it's ok to use Palestine. You could just use "Arabs" instead, or "those other semites". I really don't see what you're getting at. Use lay language for public statements, it's pretty fucking straightforward.

Your logic is statist. The term Palestinian has undergone several changes over the past 90 years or so. From 1919 until 1948 it meant all residents of the area under the British Mandate for Palestine: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Druze, and unaffiliated, Arabs as well as non-Arabs. After 1949 it meant nothing, since "Palestine" had been wiped off the map. The State of Israel controlled even more of the land designated for a Jewish state by the UN Partition Plan of 1947, the West Bank was under Jordanian control, and Gaza was administered by Egypt. "Palestinians" were those living in refugee camps scattered along the Arab states bordering of the State of Israel and in a few other countries. They were a non-state people. Other examples of non-state people:

People refer to Roma ("Gypsies"), but not to any polity known as Romastan. People refer to Kurds, but there's no sovereign Kurdistan.
People referred to Armenians, but there was no Armenia until recently.

Sure, most people will understand your point, but you're confusing the issue, since it's not as straightforward as you'd prefer. You're perpetuating needless confusion.

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Khawaga
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Jan 18 2009 07:17

I wasn't using logic. You don't seem to get that I am referring to the usage in public literature. And again I have to ask you: how do you refer to people for example living in Norway? Language is for communication if you didn't know. You're the one confusing states and nations.

Quote:
The term Palestinian has undergone several changes over the past 90 years or so. From 1919 until 1948 it meant all residents of the area under the British Mandate for Palestine: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Druze, and unaffiliated, Arabs as well as non-Arabs. After 1949 it meant nothing, since "Palestine" had been wiped off the map.

You should know that it was the British and the Jewish diaspora that referred to the area as Palestine, not the Arabs (and for that matter the Druze and the Jews there). They (and others in the Middle East) referred to the area as Shams and saw themselves first and foremost as Arabs, not Palestinians. They only started using Palestinians sometime after the Nakba.

Quote:
You're perpetuating needless confusion.

You're the who is confused and start needless discussions.

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Ed
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Jan 18 2009 14:27

I'd just like to echo what Jack's saying here.. a lot of people I've spoken to about what's going on in Gaza have said things which amount to basically apologising for not supporting Israel. "I know they're being attacked by everyone around them [sic] but what's going on in Gaza is mad.." sort of thing. I've found that when I've put forward the internationalist argument and outright condemned Hamas as well as Israel, these people have been really responsive. It's only my mad lefty mum who just outright supports Hamas! wink

Seriously though, I think a lot of the time when people see international conflict they feel they're supposed to pick a side (like one side probably has more 'right' to do what they're doing than the other) and when its a highly developed and fairly secular/Westernised state bombing the shit out of shanty towns being 'defended' by Islamists, I think it throws up some moral dilemmas (in the West, that is). Having a clear anti-war statement that opposes Hamas, I've found, can free people of the guilt that a lot of people have when opposing Israel..