Israel/Palestine social protests

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baboon
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Jul 31 2011 11:27

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.

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Tojiah
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Jul 31 2011 15:43
Samotnaf wrote:
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.

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.

Samotnaf wrote:
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?

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).

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Khawaga
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Jul 31 2011 17:49
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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.

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.

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Alf
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Jul 31 2011 19:37

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.

Samotnaf
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Jul 31 2011 19:59

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.

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Alf
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Jul 31 2011 20:26

I would not discount that.

Mark.
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Jul 31 2011 21:16

From +972:

The real importance of the tent protest

Quote:
Last week, my colleagues Joseph Dana and Mairav Zonszein reported about the harsh treatment some of protesters got from the hand of the police following the previous social justice rally in Tel Aviv. While I don’t ignore the importance of such incidents, they might make one miss the essence of the tent protest.

Unlike in Syria or Libya, where dictators slaughter their own citizens by the hundreds, it was never oppression that held the social order in Israel together, as far as the Jewish society was concerned. It was indoctrination – a dominant ideology, to use a term preferred by critical theorists. And it was this cultural order that was dented in this round of protests. For the first time, a major part of the Jewish middle class—it’s too early to estimate how large is this group—recognized their problem not with other Israelis, or with the Arabs, or with a certain politician, but with the entire social order. With the entire system. In this sense, it’s a unique event in Israel’s history.

This is why this protest has such tremendous potential. This is also the reason that we shouldn’t just watch for the immediate political fallout—I don’t think we will see the government fall any time soon—but for the long term consequences, the undercurrent, which is sure to arrive.

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

rooieravotr
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Jul 31 2011 22:05

Khawaga:

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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).

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.

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Tojiah
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Jul 31 2011 22:26
rooieravotr wrote:
only military defeat and revolutionary upheaval i the Arab world will change that.

Some would say that that is exactly what happened. smile

rooieravotr
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Jul 31 2011 23:15

Indeed! grin 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...

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Alf
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Jul 31 2011 23:19

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.

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Jul 31 2011 23:32

yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'

rooieravotr
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Aug 1 2011 00:40

Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,

Quote:
yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'
.

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.

Valeriano Orobó...
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Aug 1 2011 01:55
rooieravotr wrote:
Found this article, not too bad, considering its source, Green Left in Australia.
As for Arbeitens remark,
Quote:
yes i really think the way the left reply to this uprising is going to be some sort of litmus test for 'anti-imperialism'
.

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.

I agree with this and consider it the best position, as difficult as it surely is.

rooieravotr
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Aug 1 2011 03:17

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.

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Tojiah
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Aug 1 2011 03:21
rooieravotr wrote:

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.

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.

rooieravotr
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Aug 1 2011 04:22

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?

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Tojiah
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Aug 1 2011 04:35

I was referring to Khawaga's comment from earlier, which in turn refers to this:

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The Khartoum Resolution of September 1, 1967 was issued at the conclusion of an Arab League summit in the wake of the Six-Day War. The resolution, which formed a basis of the policies of these governments toward Israel until the 1973 Yom Kippur War, called for: a continued state of belligerency with Israel, ending the Arab oil boycott declared during the Six-Day War, an end to the North Yemen Civil War, and economic assistance for Egypt and Jordan. It is famous for containing (in the third paragraph) what became known as the "Three 'No's": "no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.
Mark.
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Aug 1 2011 10:59

A more sceptical article about the protests from +972:

The tent protest: neither social justice, nor revolution

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ynet: thousands to go on strike for social change

Quote:
Israel's first Facebook-organized general strike is expected to take place Monday, with over 23,500 people who virtually announced that they will not come to work in demand for "social justice."

The strikers are to gather at Tel Aviv's Yarkon Park and "organize a 'Hyde Park' of opinions". "We will sit and talk about social justice," the event's initiator, Tzvika Besor, said, adding that "If any employer fires someone, he'll have to deal with 22,000 people. I hope everyone goes on strike."

-----

Valeriano Orobó...
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Aug 1 2011 11:24

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?

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Aug 1 2011 16:39
rooie wrote:
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.

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.

3arabawy wrote:
Israeli students can protest high prices of housing rent. Israeli doctors can go on strike over work conditions. But not a single sector in the Israeli labor and student movements would voice criticism of what their state is doing to the Palestinians few kilometers away from where they are. The Israeli working class is a hopeless case. It’s totally under the control of Zionism from the inception of the state of the Israel. Forget about a “revolution” in apartheid Israel. Yes, they are engaged in class struggle, but all Israelis are united at the end of the day in their material, economic, political interests versus the Palestinians.

This apartheid state must be dismantled. And the Egyptian working class holds the key to liberation…

Source.

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Aug 1 2011 17:51
Khawaga wrote:
rooie wrote:
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.

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.

3arabawy wrote:
Israeli students can protest high prices of housing rent. Israeli doctors can go on strike over work conditions. But not a single sector in the Israeli labor and student movements would voice criticism of what their state is doing to the Palestinians few kilometers away from where they are. The Israeli working class is a hopeless case. It’s totally under the control of Zionism from the inception of the state of the Israel. Forget about a “revolution” in apartheid Israel. Yes, they are engaged in class struggle, but all Israelis are united at the end of the day in their material, economic, political interests versus the Palestinians.

This apartheid state must be dismantled. And the Egyptian working class holds the key to liberation…

Source.

what about the Moroccan working class?

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Aug 1 2011 18:05
Entdichlingung wrote:
what about the Moroccan working class?

Exactly...

rooieravotr
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Aug 1 2011 21:38

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 : )

rooieravotr
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Aug 1 2011 23:25

Interesting view of Jews Sans Frontières. One conclusion:

Quote:
Even though at this stage it seems that it has neither the language, nor the social consciousness, to challenge apartheid, this protest movement challenges for the first time the deeper dimension of power that makes apartheid both necessary and possible. Any victory that it will have will therefore lead to more favorable conditions for challenging Israeli apartheid.

Mark.
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Aug 2 2011 09:13

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.

Quote:
Ayer estuvimos en la asamblea general de Sol y se aprobó nuestra propuesta de llevar a los barrios el debate sobre nuestra postura como movimiento en apoyo a la creación del Estado Palestino y el apoyo a su lucha, denunciando la ocupación y el bloqueo de Gaza, la violación de los derechos humanos y el incumplimiento por parte de Israel de las resoluciones de la ONU.

Por otra parte también se aprobó que se lleve a los barrios el debate sobre el apoyo a los indignados de Tel Aviiv y que solo sean apoyados por el movimiento 15M si abren un debate en sus asambleas y toman una postura como movimiento sobre la cuestion palestina, denunciando clara y abiertamente la ocupación, el bloqueo a Gaza y el fin de los asentamientos … Solo en estas condiciones el movimiento 15M podría apoyarles …

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:

Quote:
Sobre los comentarios:
Bueno, la verdad es que la manipulación discreta viene a ser una constante del movimiento..¿Por qué hay que apoyar a Palestina, si se supone que no arriamos banderas y eso va en contra del “ideario” del 15-m? ¿Palestina, un estado corrupto gobernada por fundamentalistas religiosos, no viola los derechos humanos ni mata civiles inocentes? ¿No sería más apropiado y más conforme con el “ideario” criticar a ambas partes, poniendo mayor enfasis, eso sí, en Israel y su política genocida?

En fin, una pena que los tics del izquierdismo rancio se hayan apropiado del discurso..Ahora a los indignados israelíes, les queremos adoctrinar en lo que tienen ellos que estar indignados….¿Tendremos nosotros que hacer ahora caso a los fachas que nos conminan a que condenemos a Bildu?…Inaúdito

Edited to add: this is also being discussed on alasbarricadas

baboon
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Aug 2 2011 11:02

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.

baboon
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Aug 2 2011 11:07

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?

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Aug 2 2011 11:32

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.

Angelus Novus
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Aug 2 2011 12:19
Quote:
"Marx believed that the conditions of life and work of the proletariat would force the working class to behave in ways that would ultimately transform society. In other words, what Marx said was: We’re not talking about going door-to-door and making workers into ideal socialists. You’ve got to take workers as they are, with all their contradictions, with all their nonsense. But the fact that society forces them to struggle begins to transform the working class. If white workers realize they can’t organize steel unless they organize black workers, that doesn’t mean they’re not racist. It means that they have to deal with their own reality, and that transforms them. Who were the workers who made the Russian Revolution? Sexists, nationalists, half of them illiterate. Who were the workers in Polish Solidarity? Anti-Semitic, whatever. That kind of struggle begins to transform people."

"Worker's Have to Deal With Their Own Reality and that Transforms Them."