Submitted by ajjohnstone on May 14, 2021

Surprised that no mention of the current Palestinian flare-up has been made.

Is it because we have been here many times before?

My view from our blog

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2021/05/comments-on-current-palestinian-israeli.html

I don't claim it as definitive, just as snap-shot

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Since no-one as yet seems to wish to place their own views, i'll add another of mine

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2021/05/war-without-end.html

Alf

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From the ICC

https://en.internationalism.org/content/17016/wars-and-pogroms-future-capitalism-offers-us

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A worthy analysis by ICC.

Again, i see others noting the significant development of Palestinian-Israelis now participating more fully in the resistance. After all, it is the apartheid-like laws being applied in Sheikh Jarrah and attacks on the main mosque that triggered the present unrest.

Hamas certainly has to be held accountable for its futile armed struggle strategy which invites only pain and injury being inflicted upon the people of Gaza.

It at times like this i once again feel the bitter frustration of being a part of a miniscule ineffectual socialist movement with no influence on world events.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jonathan Cook has in some ways taken over from Robert Fisk as the go-to foreign correspondent for the region

https://dissidentvoice.org/2021/05/palestinians-in-israel-now-face-far-right-mob-violence-backed-by-the-state/

Alf

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What do you mean by "the significant development of Palestinian-Israelis now participating more fully in the resistance"?

Our article talks about the growing pogrom atmosphere in Israel, not resistance. The street actions in Israel/Palestine, setting Jews against Arabs, are the polar opposite of any internationalist opposition to imperialist war in the Middle East. Like the big "Free Palestine" demo in London yesterday, these are mobilisations in favour of war, whichever camp they support.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The pogrom by Jewish-Israeli extremists wasn't sparked by the Hamas rockets but by the protests in Sheikh Jarrah and to protect the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The Zionists now realise what they perceive as a "fifth column" inside Israel, not a subdued submissive citizenry. They now have to behave like the KKK to maintain their version of Jim Crow laws.

If such Palestinian-Israeli anti-discrimination movement grows and begin to exert the political power outside of the Knesset, i can only view it as a positive turn of events to undermine the influence of the Zionist ruling ideology.

On the other hand economic security may mean more to Palestinian-Israelis and the militancy may fizzle-out and the Palestinian people will eventually become a "non-people" in the sense that the Roma are. That is my personal worse-case scenario.

sherbu-kteer

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anarchists in Oceania put out this statement:

https://www.redblacknotes.com/2021/05/14/freedom-for-palestine-statement-from-anarchist-communist-groups-in-oceania/

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just bring statements together, from elsewhere on Libcom

https://libcom.org/forums/north-america/wsa-solidarity-committee-stop-israeli-attacks-gaza-joint-struggle-against-r#new

https://libcom.org/news/awsm-statement-solidarity-people-palestine-16052021

R Totale

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apparently there's now a general strike call for tomorrow: https://samidoun.net/2021/05/day-of-action-in-solidarity-with-the-palestinian-uprising-and-general-strike-tuesday-may-18/

Alf

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This appeal for a "general strike" remains on the same terrain as the Palestine demo in London, the terrain of the drive towards war, given a justification from the left, via the ideology of national liberation.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

“For the very first time there is only one Palestinian people. From the North to the South, from Gaza to the West Bank, in Jerusalem and the rest of our land we are one.”

https://www.france24.com/en/middle-east/20210519-for-first-time-there-is-one-palestinian-people-from-gaza-to-west-bank-to-jerusalem

I think i have come to accept the analysis offered on Libcom that the purpose of the militarisation of the resistance is to ensure for Hamas that it doesn't lose its raison d'etre and have to yield political leadership and influence to others, not the PA and not necessary the Joint List in the Knesset but but perhaps those Israeli-Palestinians in the streets at the moment.

But it is a work in progress and we'll wait the outcome.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any eye-witness reports from yesterday's 'Free Palestine" demonstration.

My latest comment on our own forum.

I’m finding it frustrating that many are endorsing armed struggle by Hamas as justified. A common refrain online is it is not for us to determine the methods of resistance but the Palestinians themselves and they have chosen Hamas as their representatives.

Has it ended the siege? Has it provoked Israel to send in the army to suffer high casualties? Has it undermined Israel’s security with several hundred rockets fizzling out before even reaching Israeli territory and those that do, 90% shot down by Iron Dome? Has “self-defence” been a financial cost with the USA paying the bills?

It distracted from East Jerusalem and the Palestinian-Israeli protests and propped up Hamas efforts to control events.

It was a power-play by Hamas, not solidarity. They want to portray themselves as the leadership of the Israeli-Palestinians and not just over Gazans.

Hamas could so easily have revived the March of Return to the fences and if the Israeli snipers shot, it would expose once more who is the aggressor. They wanted a media event of Israeli bombing and Israel gave it to them, knowing in a few months it will all be old news and the stand-off status quo returned to with Gazans held as hostages.

Alf

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A question for comrade ajj; is your view that there is a "resistance" movement currently on the streets in Israel/Palestine, the view of the SPGB as a whole?

Steven.

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

Hamas could so easily have revived the March of Return to the fences and if the Israeli snipers shot, it would expose once more who is the aggressor. They wanted a media event of Israeli bombing and Israel gave it to them, knowing in a few months it will all be old news and the stand-off status quo returned to with Gazans held as hostages.

First off I think it's very clear who the aggressor is to pretty much anyone who isn't irredeemably anti-Palestinian (or pro-Israel). Secondly, this then appears to be a call for Hamas to organise a suicidal protest in order for Palestinians to get themselves killed. Or am I misinterpreting it?
Finally, I don't mean this as an attack, but isn't the general policy of the SPGB to oppose direct action and reforms within capitalist society? Isn't the view of the SPGB that workers wherever should just vote for the SPGB, who will then bring in socialism when they have a majority?
Again if this is a misinterpretation or if something has changed then I'm happy to be corrected.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Or am I misinterpreting it?

I was offering it as a non-violent alternative to the very clear suicidal strategy of armed struggle. Simply reminding that even that tactic is not without a likely cost in lives from past experience

And, Steven, you are sharing a common misconception of the SPGB.

We do not advocate passive docility and have always supported resisting in the class war. We simply always add the caveat that it does not lead to permanent answers and any beneficial reform can be later repealed, (as we often see) and that despite the slogan, workers united cannot be defeated, victory is not guaranteed, especially in the workers' choice of "friends". And we understand fully our own present insignificance that there is no question of our party substituting itself for our class.

is your view that there is a "resistance" movement currently on the streets in Israel/Palestine, the view of the SPGB as a whole?

Alf, I have previously drawn attention to the Bedouin evictions in Israel a few years back in the Standard so we have not been uninterested in developments there.

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2019/no-1375-march-2019/material-world-ethnic-cleansing-the-desert/

On today's problems, our discussion forum and those participating are supportive particularly of the Palestinian-Israeli potential for a campaign based more upon class

There was a positive exchange regards this recommended podcast talk on that topic
https://cosmonautmag.com/2021/03/class-and-race-in-israel-palestine-with-emmanuel-farjoun/

Our position is still no two-state, no one-state but no-states but acknowledge the impracticality of that actually happening with the present lack of consciousness. In fact, all those options are perhaps unrealisable. This tragedy appears not to have any end.

My latest blog centres on Hamas and the free ride it gets from the left.

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2021/05/thoughts-on-hamas.html

Steven.

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

Or am I misinterpreting it?

I was offering it as a non-violent alternative to the very clear suicidal strategy of armed struggle. Simply reminding that even that tactic is not without a likely cost in lives from past experience

And, Steven, you are sharing a common misconception of the SPGB.

We do not advocate passive docility and have always supported resisting in the class war. We simply always add the caveat that it does not lead to permanent answers and any beneficial reform can be later repealed, (as we often see) and that despite the slogan, workers united cannot be defeated, victory is not guaranteed, especially in the workers' choice of "friends". And we understand fully our own present insignificance that there is no question of our party substituting itself for our class.

Fair enough. I do remember though where I got my perception from, it was from multiple lengthy discussions I had, albeit with a single member of the SPGB probably about 18 years ago. And specifically argued against any type of direct action, because he said that any improvements won by the working class under capitalism would essentially mean that it would convince workers of the need for socialism.
But appreciate that this is not representative of the views of your group today (or possibly even then).
Anyway don't wish to derail the discussion any further. Thanks.

Alf

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for sending the links Ajj. But my question wasn't really whether the SPGB has shown interest in developments in Israel/Palestine, but whether or not it sees the current street mobilisations in Israel/Palestine as a form of "resistance in the class war". For us, these actions are entirely integrated into the imperialist war fronts. Neither is the issue whether or not they as based on "direct action" as opposed to electoralism, or whether they are organised on a "grass roots" level, or whether they are non-violent or resort to "armed struggle". Their essential reality is that exacerbate the divisions within the proletariat and the oppressed, pushing them to take sides in a capitalist war.

Steven.

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

Thanks for sending the links Ajj. But my question wasn't really whether the SPGB has shown interest in developments in Israel/Palestine, but whether or not it sees the current street mobilisations in Israel/Palestine as a form of "resistance in the class war". For us, these actions are entirely integrated into the imperialist war fronts. Neither is the issue whether or not they as based on "direct action" as opposed to electoralism, or whether they are organised on a "grass roots" level, or whether they are non-violent or resort to "armed struggle". Their essential reality is that exacerbate the divisions within the proletariat and the oppressed, pushing them to take sides in a capitalist war.

Alf, so do you see resistance to "evictions" (really: ethnic cleansing) by Palestinians from their homes as "taking sides in a capitalist war" or "exacerbating divisions within the proletariat"?

R Totale

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And all forms of "resistance" as being exactly the same, so there's no difference worth commenting on or analysing between, say, firing rockets and taking part in a general strike? (Which is, ironically, not that from the position of those trots and other leftists who uncritically support all such "resistance".)

Alf

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The situation is so stacked against the proletariat in Israel/Palestine, above all in times of open war, that even the opposition to the evictions, which may have been spontaneous for a moment, was indeed immediately recuperated by nationalism and Islamism, ie incorporated into the war fronts

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf, I think and i can only speak as an individual member right now over the question raised by the two others of the legitimacy of specific resistance. But we can determine our attitude from past experiences.

National aspirations are something not only we do never endorse but other groups of the Thin Red Line have also critiqued with their statements. And we have also argued against, as others, of making religious differences the issue, even if we acknowledge the bigotry and sectarianism that exist (on both sides.)

I and others are sympathetic to what seems to be a new expression of the conflict. That the problem is being more and more identified as one of the apartheid nature of Israel's society and of the Palestinian-Israelis growing more demanding of equality with a small radical Jewish-Israeli element being supportive. This is perhaps not fully developed as yet, but remains the most important possibility of working-class power being exercised, by the general strike and civil disobedience rather than the militarisation of the resistance. (I have argued on our blog that it was the turning point of the Syrian Arab Spring was the Syria Free Army arising that led to the intervention of foreign powers and the ensuing civil war)

Too often we all also hear that BDS is the peaceful alternative and the analogy with the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Was it the consumer and cultural boycotts or the disinvestment of global capitalism which was the more significant? If the latter, is there any likelihood of the capitalist class causing economic damage to Israel's economy to force reforms with trading sanctions? I don't believe so. In fact, Israel's relationships with foreign nations have grown stronger, not weaker.

The only factor with that power is the Palestinians-Israelis who are deeply integrated in the economy than say the orthodox Jewish Haredi who are religious parasites on the rest of Israelis.

However, I have only a shallow superficial knowledge of the Palestinian-Israeli political parties such as the Joint List and from what I have noted that too is riven with conservative-minded politicians. A whole new class-based resistance movement has to be built. There is an opportunity for that to happen but equally religio-ethnic nationalists such as Hamas might assume leadership which you suggest could occur or the equivalent of the collaborative Abbas (wasn't there the case of such a breakaway led by yet another Abbas)

I have blethered too long. I expressed my pessimistic personal view in a title of a blog - 'the war without end' - and it will need to be the accomplishments of the worldwide socialists that will bring influence to bear and not the political evolution of consciousness in the region which is what we all hope for.

We can only enjoy the brief moment of respite and hope for better times.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/24/a-war-declaration-palestinians-in-israel-decry-mass-arrests

I think real fear has resulted in a back-lash. It may prove to be a serious error of judgement to exacerbate the anger and rage of Israeli-Palestinians as internment did to the Catholic community in Northern Ireland

Israeli police announced they will arrest hundreds of Palestinian citizens of Israel over the coming days for their participation in recent sit-ins in support of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israeli police said some 1,550 people have already been arrested since May 9 and the campaign is a “continuation” that aims to “prosecute” demonstrators who have over the past two weeks taken to the streets in towns and cities across Israel.

Hassan Jabareen, the general director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, declared is a “militarised war against Palestinian citizens of Israel,”

Once more a "truce" is being selectively practiced.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry for dominating the discussion but I forgot an article I wrote a while back about the Bundist anti-Zionist movement.

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2018/no-1366-june-2018/was-jewish-bund-anti-semitic/

There is no doubt that The Holocaust and the creation of Israel were the reasons for its demise but on a positive note, it demonstrates Jewishness doe not always equate with Judaism or national identity. (I know the Bundist ideology was more complex than I presented it and much more can be said for and against it)

As the horrors of the extermination camps fade from memory and becomes history for future generations and as Israel increasingly loses its emotional connection to the diaspora, perhaps we can be hopeful for a resurgent radical movement that will be receptive to our ideas.

Black Badger

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

uh, i'm pretty sure that Lenin's turn against the Bund had something to do with its demise decades prior to the Shoah...

Steven.

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alf

The situation is so stacked against the proletariat in Israel/Palestine, above all in times of open war, that even the opposition to the evictions, which may have been spontaneous for a moment, was indeed immediately recuperated by nationalism and Islamism, ie incorporated into the war fronts

I really don't understand this logic. On a very real level, struggles against eviction are in workers' immediate economic interest. There are always bigger forces at play in any country which will normally dwarf any small economic struggles, but your group size and weight typically supports these kinds of struggles.
Does this mean that you would also see a strike by, say, Israeli transport workers as taking sides in a capitalist war? Or would that be something which could be supported?

R Totale

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Angry Workers statement here: https://www.angryworkers.org/2021/05/25/editorial-3-palestine-israel/

Fwiw, they're also very sharply critical of the general strike.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It doesn't help one's credibility to get some basic facts wrong because it diminishes very important points the article does raise. The Angry Workers maintains Hamas is sustained by Iran and Syria. Maybe in the past but not for many years

Qatar is the main prop for Hamas.

Assad of Syria has called Hamas traitors for supporting the Muslim Brotherhood against him.

https://www.juancole.com/2015/04/assad-relation-hamas.html

The inactivity and silence of Hezbollah during the recent war was noted by some commentators.

I have read that the more recent effective rockets used were Iranian. Supplied officially or unofficially, I have no idea.

So far neither I nor others have made reference to the Abrahamic Accords.

Morocco already had friendly relations with Israel.

Back in 2018, our blog mentions that 50,000 Israelis Morocco, (whose origins were from that country) every year. 110 synagogues have been refurbished there. Morocco also issues hundreds of passports each year to Israeli Jews of Moroccan descent, of whom there are almost half a million live in Israel —“the better to travel in the Arab world,” says a recent recipient. It takes a month, no security questions asked. The reward of formally recognising Israel is that Morocco's claim to Western Sahara is now officially recognised by the USA. A blow to those other national liberationists such as Polisario and Algeria

The Gulf States new friendship with Israel is very much centred around being anti-Iranian.

The main bridge between us and these struggles will be the collaboration with local groups and comrades who know the score, are rooted in the class, and act with communist attitude

Is it for security reasons that we are not told who these local groups and comrades are?

Perhaps they should be cited.

All I got is after the briefest of googling
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_in_Israel#Contemporary_anarchist_movement

Unless Meretz is included

R Totale

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

The main bridge between us and these struggles will be the collaboration with local groups and comrades who know the score, are rooted in the class, and act with communist attitude

Is it for security reasons that we are not told who these local groups and comrades are?

Perhaps they should be cited.

All I got is after the briefest of googling
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_in_Israel#Contemporary_anarchist_movement

Unless Meretz is included

I mean, as with most AW stuff, I read that more as a suggestion/invitation for readers to get involved and help make such links, rather than them claiming that those connections already exist. I think there's stuff to debate around their characterisation of the general strike as well - perhaps it's a useful counter-balance against those comrades, myself included, who might tend to get a bit giddily excited at the words "general strike", but I think it's fair to ask, for instance, how far the strike being spread across three different territories affected the ability of any one actor to control it, or the difference between a strike call initiated by political parties vs one that's endorsed by political parties once it's already gone out.

Fwiw, here's the IWA-AIT statement: https://iwa-ait.org/content/stop-war-palestine

And this from KRAS: https://aitrus.info/node/5701

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cheers for the clarification and those links, R Totale

From reading all those statements over the past few days, I'm struck by the overall agreement of them on what attitude to hold, despite sometimes the occasional choice of particular words.

At least on some issues, I perceive that the Thin Red Line can be seen as a unified current, very separate and in opposition to the usual left-wing.

We can in no way nor wish to direct the actions of the Palestinians other than offering our perspective which I doubt will receive little audience but for some who do read what we say, especially if it coalesces together as a general viewpoint, it may well resonate.

I only have the media and it wasn't particularly detailed on the general strike, but we are well aware that there is a whole collection of vested interests waiting in the wings to assume leadership and will manipulate events to their advantage.

So I agree with AW we need to get access to information on the ground and in all quarters.

R Totale

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A lot of people with Palestine flags in their usernames getting really pissed off at that AW piece on twitter right now, btw. As you say, a bit of a shame it wasn't more rigourously waterproof - Hamas is hardly any less a part of imperalism for now being aligned with Turkey/Qatar more than Iran/Syria.

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The truth hurts. People resent being told they have been deluded.

We should remember that saying, "it's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled"

The ‘choices’ offered to working-class Palestinian people has between Islamist gangsters (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) or nationalist gangsters (Fatah,)

I doubt many of those leftists are aware that Mossad purposefully turned a blind eye to the rise of Hamas because they believed an Islamist movement would undermine those secular "Marxist" popular liberation fronts which were once prevalent and when plane hi-jacker Leila Khaled was the leftist's favourite pin-up girl. Now they are being told that Hamas wages come to them courtesy of Israel's acquiescence.

Many activists are very willing to accept that Abbas and the PA act against the interests of the Palestinians but a group that actually invites destruction gets a free pass from them. We've been here previously when we explained how Ho Chi Minh collaborated with the British to put down the Trotskyist Saigon Commune.

Despite all the evidence that the National Liberation Front model changed nothing but the master, I still find its proponents on the internet.

The Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, still operates in Gaza probably because the NGOs insist upon it.

Back in the Arab Spring days - "fuck the lot of them" on Facebook

https://socialismoryourmoneyback.blogspot.com/2011/01/gaza-youths-manifesto-for-change.html

I took the story on trust but it could easily have been a black psy-ops plant.

I wish I had recent data on the class divide. We are presented with the London Blitz narrative.

From 2010
Sarah Leppert, FAO’s communications adviser for the West Bank and Gaza Strip explained “There is a diverse range of foods available in Gaza; the problem is people do not have the means to purchase the food..." The wealthy and Hamas officials suffer little deprivation as they will have the necessary wherewithal.

I'll make my next project to trawl the internet for more evidence of Hamas privileges.

And it is useful to remind the pro-Israeli lobby of Zionism's sordid history pre-Holocaust days

Rabbi Wise, the principal spokesperson for Zionism in the USA, opposed any rescue plan. He refused to support changes to the American immigration laws, preferring to pressure the British to change Palestine’s immigration restrictions.

For the Zionists, the settlement of Palestine was above and beyond everything. It superseded any other purpose, even the rescue of lives of the German Jews, which had value only to the extent of fulfilling the Zionist goal… Yitzak Gruenbaum, the chairperson of the Zionist committee, between “the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe” and “the redemption of the land – I vote, without the second thought, for the redemption of the land.”

No revisionist historian but the Times of Israel
~https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/german-zionism-and-the-german-jews/

David Ben Gurion, “if I knew it was possible to save all [Jewish] children in Germany by their transfer to England and only half of them by transferring them to Eretz-Yisrael [Palestine], I would choose the latter.”

Dyjbas

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

A lot of people with Palestine flags in their usernames getting really pissed off at that AW piece on twitter right now, btw.

Same happened to the ICT statement (over 200 quote tweets). Seems it's mostly annoyed the right people (Stalinists accusing internationalists of "fascism" etc. has a long history!).

ajjohnstone

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Being well-accustomed to holding unpopular political positions with the 'progressives', liberals and leftists, I think you should look upon such criticism as a badge of honour. The more vitriol against you the better as it is also evidence that your message is circulating. We suffer from the opposite. Silence.

A useful tactic is to make a record of such disagreements and when events prove the worth of your analysis, as they surely will, the come-back is 'we told you so', rub their proverbial noses in it.

I'm not depreciating the many sincere individuals appalled by the atrocities but those organised groups who contribute to the misinformation and the disinformation that creates misleading beliefs which contribute to the continuance of civilian cannon-fodder.

R Totale

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Has anyone had any experiences of trying to give out internationalist statements, or carrying banners etc, in real life in the most recent round of demos, or has it all been online?

Dyjbas

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Agreed ajjohnstone, although I think most people are not very receptive to being told "we told you so" either!

R Totale, the ICT distributed leaflets at demos in a couple countries. No problems that I heard of so far.

sherbu-kteer

1 year 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't know if you'd consider our statement internationalist in the same vein as the ICT's or AWW's, but we handed out our anarchists in Oceania statement with no issues. We have much fewer Twitter followers though

Spikymike

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A useful short addition I thought from the USA to the 'one state, two states, no states' arguments and the non exception of Israel's 'ethnic cleansing' to that of other nation states historically and today:
https://brooklynrail.org/2021/06/field-notes/Both-Sides-Now

ajjohnstone

1 year ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Patrick Cockburn

‘...Pursuit of a chimerical Palestinian state that, in any foreseeable political situation, is not going to be more than a collection of beleaguered Bantustans, has become a culpable diversion from seeking equal civil rights and personal security for Palestinians... Prolonged peaceful mobilisation of millions of Palestinians on the streets, wherever those streets may be, is their most powerful card and one which Israel would find it difficult to counter...As for the Palestinians, there are opportunities in the current turmoil, hobbled though they are by their useless leadership. This is not going to be displaced or relax its grip on formal power any time soon, but it could be bypassed. The best way forward for the Palestinians would be to establish a broad-based civil rights movement to mobilise their communities everywhere, using their great numbers to challenge systemic oppression and prevent further erosion of their rights’

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/06/08/forget-the-peace-process-the-focus-now-should-be-on-restoring-civil-rights-to-palestinians/

Alf

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ICC article which takes this thread as its point of departure

https://en.internationalism.org/content/17033/internationalism-means-rejection-both-imperialist-camps

ajjohnstone

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wrote an article in this month's issue of the Socialist Standard, hopefully dispelling any illusions some people might hold about Hamas.

https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020s/2021/no-1403-july-2021/material-world-11/

As regards the Palestinian problem as a whole, the SPGB holds to a 'peace policy' that any compromise or concession that ends or substantially reduces the deaths of our fellow workers is to be welcomed, even if that means accepting the two-state or one-state option rather than waiting for the no-state answer, and if it means leaving the window open for any nationalist to climb through, so be it.

As an aside, I have always held that Hezbollah claim to be a national liberation organisation because of the occupied Shebaa Farms, an area of only several square miles, is fraudulent. No little patch of dirt is worth any war. Hezbollah exists as a political party militia more interested in threatening the Lebanese army and challenging the coalition Lebanese government.

sherbu-kteer

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

Hezbollah exists as a political party militia more interested in threatening the Lebanese army and challenging the coalition Lebanese government.

To be clear, Hezbollah is part of the coalition Lebanese government and has on a number of instances worked alongside the Lebanese army.

ajjohnstone

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lebanese politics is a complicated affair and Hezbollah is as you say a minority "partner" in government.

Yet it remains an independent military organisation that refuses to integrate itself into Lebanon's government army, denying that it is a militia but rather a "resistance" force, which is the point I was making.

It probably out-guns the official Lebanese army.

This recent Al-Jazeera article describes the dire precarious position of the government army despite substantial US/UK/EU aid (with the caveat that Al-Jazeera is Qatari controlled and no friend of Hezbollah)

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/7/2/what-would-the-collapse-of-lebanons-army-mean

Hezbollah is involved in foreign intervention in Syria's civil war and not merely against encroachments of Islamists into Lebanese territory but as Iranian proxies.

sherbu-kteer

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Correct. But Hezbollah doesn't posture this way for no reason, it's because the Ta'if peace accords that put the civil war on ice declared that all militias were to be disarmed, except those fighting the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon. As Hezb was doing this, they were officially allowed to keep their guns (most of the other political factions still have armed militias, only semi-openly or secretly). Even though Israel effectively withdrew in the main, Hezb still claim their guns are legal on the grounds that there's still remaining land occupied, and that Hezb are the most credible defence if Israel invades again, as in 2006.

This is relevant for because it reveals the odd dynamic Hezb have towards the Lebanese state, where they posture to outwardly respect its legitimacy whilst simultaneously ensuring they have considerable power independent of it. Their intention is not to take over the whole country and run it as an Islamic theocracy, but to essentially have that role over the Shia community.

The situation in Lebanon would not be improved one bit if Hezbollah disarmed and dissolved into the national army. This is the fantasyland solution promoted by the anti-Hezb political factions in Lebanon, and you see it in the AJ article: the Lebanese army is this independent force, respected by everyone regardless of sect, the symbol of national unity. All total horseshit, naturally. It's an attempt to position Lebanese nationalism as a cure to Lebanese sectarianism, without acknowledging that Lebanese nationalism was born out of sectarianism and can't be imagined to be independent from it.

Hezb does Iran's bidding, but this is sort of a moot point in Lebanon where every political faction is the servant of one or another regional power (it's telling that in the AJE article, when the army chief needed funds, he went to France). Some of the secular liberal types want Lebanon to become like Switzerland, neutral and aloof from regional power blocs, but I don't think they even understand what it is they're saying.

My point is that we can't conceive of a way forward for the working class in Lebanon without having to confront the question of Lebanon itself as a primary issue, much more acutely than is the case in, say, the UK. Hezb is an enemy of the workers for sure, but so is the Lebanese state itself - and it will always be that way. The only way forward is via practically overcoming the national boundaries by linking the struggles of workers in Lebanon with the other regional workers' struggles, like in Syria, Egypt, Palestine, etc, and figuring out how to oppose both the regional states and non-state forces like Hezb.

ajjohnstone

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

all militias were to be disarmed, except those fighting the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon... Hezb still claim their guns are legal on the grounds that there's still remaining land occupied

Again that was my original point. The only remaining occupied territory is Shebaa Farms, 7 x 2 sq. miles, not worth the spilling of any blood by any reasonable standard. And it is technically not Lebanon but Syria, so even that justification is erroneous.

I think we actually agree even if it appears we aren't.

I was really trying to equate Hezbollah with Hamas being exactly as you say anti-working class and they are claiming a legitimacy it is not entitled to ( I was after all drawing attention to my Socialist Standard article.)

Like religion, nationalism is an ideology that has so far effectively thwarted the case for socialism and I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments:
'The only way forward is via practically overcoming the national boundaries by linking the struggles of workers in Lebanon with the other regional workers' struggles, like in Syria, Egypt, Palestine, etc, and figuring out how to oppose both the regional states and non-state forces like Hezb'.

But I will be honest, I don't know exactly how we can do that. But as a stop-gap, as I said I will sympathise with any treaty that reduces the price in human lives and cost in their quality of life.

Then perhaps people will view one another as fellow-workers and not enemy combatants. Noticeable was Hezbollah's inaction during the Gaza bombing.

Lebanon's present economic woes surely is a place to start a process of reconciliation where I think trust in all political parties is diminishing, and that it has to be multi-national as well Lebanon being home now to not only large numbers of Palestinian refugees but also Syrians.

sherbu-kteer

12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's fair, I wasn't trying to disagree strongly but maybe I didn't get the tone right with my original comment.

Whilst I sympathise with the desire for a peace deal, there's been over thirty years since the Ta'if accords and sectarianism hasn't broken down to a great extent. I can't see any peace deal happening that isn't some kind of a sham that just kicks the can down the road. That is, unless there is some kind of popular movement from below that shuffles the deck. I thought the recent wave of protests might be that, but they've been sluggish in moving past nationalism and middle-class liberalism. We'll see...