WSWS: "A socialist answer to the Gaza crisis" --- Trots being internationalist?

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Tojiah
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Jan 10 2009 17:59
WSWS: "A socialist answer to the Gaza crisis" --- Trots being internationalist?

I was just pointed to an article called A socialist answer to the Gaza crisis, from wsws.org. Aren't Trots usually third-worldist about these things?
I could only specifically find a problem with the following statement:

WSWS wrote:
While it is necessary to defend Hamas against the assassination of its leaders and the vilification of its supporters as "terrorists" by those inflicting state terror against a civilian population,

But even that is directly followed by:

WSWS wrote:
this movement has no perspective for confronting and defeating the conspiracy between the US, Israel and the Arab bourgeois regimes. As an Islamic organization, it rejects the class struggle. Rather than turn to the Arab, Israeli and international working class for support, it is attempting to strike a deal with the Arab regimes and the imperialist powers. This is of a piece with its perspective of increasing pressure on Israel by firing rockets at Israeli villages.

It's weird that they would even expect an Islamic organization to look for the working class for support anyway, but they are admitting that it hasn't done so.

Am I missing anything, or are Trots starting to make the kind of sense they're not supposed to?

Boris Badenov
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Jan 10 2009 18:25

Yeah it is a somewhat decent piece of writing given its source, but still, the "gems" that it is fraught with point to the fact that even clear-thinking Trots are still Trots:

Quote:
It is a tragic irony that the closest parallel to the Israeli onslaught on the encircled population of Gaza is the murderous clearing of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis.
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Joseph Kay
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Jan 10 2009 18:27

indeed, fallujah 2 years ago is a much closer analogy, if less hysterically melodramatic

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Devrim
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Jan 10 2009 19:42
Joseph K. wrote:
indeed, fallujah 2 years ago is a much closer analogy, if less hysterically melodramatic

I think a much close analogy would be with the Shia revolt in southern Iraq after the first Gulf War in that the US encouraged a rising and then sat back and watched them get butchered.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Jan 10 2009 19:44
tojiah wrote:
Am I missing anything, or are Trots starting to make the kind of sense they're not supposed to?

I don't know much about them, but they are anti-union too.

I think they originally come from a split from the UK WRP.

Devrim

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 10 2009 19:47
Devrim wrote:
Joseph K. wrote:
indeed, fallujah 2 years ago is a much closer analogy, if less hysterically melodramatic

I think a much close analogy would be with the Shia revolt in southern Iraq after the first Gulf War in that the US encouraged a rising and then sat back and watched them get butchered.

Devrim

is the US encouraging hamas (as opposed to fatah) in any way?

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Devrim
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Jan 10 2009 19:52
Joseph K. wrote:
is the US encouraging hamas (as opposed to fatah) in any way?

I am not claiming it is. It isn't my analogy. I don't need to defend it.

My point was that those uprisings in Southern Iraq would make a closer analogy to the Warsaw one.

Maybe I expressed myself badly or you misread me.

Devrim

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 10 2009 19:54

oh yeah, southern iraq is better for warsaw, fallujah is better for gaza. crossed purposes methinks.

Leo
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Jan 10 2009 22:46
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It's weird that they would even expect an Islamic organization to look for the working class for support anyway, but they are admitting that it hasn't done so.

While WSWS is more to the "left" of most Trotskyists in the West*, their position condemning Hamas, Hizbullah etc. is not uncommon; there are some more radical Trotskyists groups in Turkey for example who share such positions. This, on the other hand, does not mean that these people are internationalists: while they are more selective regarding the nationalist groups they support and can't bring themselves to support open reactionaries like Hamas, they do support ones that appear more secular or liberal and they do support the idea of a nationalist struggle the third world in theory. Of course their condemnation of groups like Hamas does make it easier to discuss with them.

* WSWS does have more serious problems though, mainly their leader (David North) being the CEO of a 20+ million dollars worth company.

IrrationallyAngry
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Jan 11 2009 00:14

Leo is correct that highly critical positions on Hamas and similar movements are not at all uncommon amongst Trotskyists. The British SWP are in a minority amongst Trotskyist trends when they glorify or whitewash the politics of Hamas, the Sadrists etc.

This does not mean that most Trotskyists have views all that similar to those of Left Communists on the issue.

wrerw
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Jan 11 2009 04:17

Re Gaza and Warsaw: I think they are similar in some limited respects, but I don't think we need to draw out these tenuous analogies to show that this is a horrible massacre. In fact it's likely that this conflict will become the new metric for imperialist bloodshed.

The SEP is one of the most conservative, sectarian Trotskyist "parties" in the US. Not quite Spartacist League/ICL level, but they're up there. This article was representative of the petty, sectarian bs they spew in parts. And it didn't provide a lot of context. For example, it didn't really address the fact that there is a very clear oppressor-oppressed colonial relationship b/t Israel and Palestine. That, and the Gaza strip lacks much productive work to be done at this point. It doesn't make a whole lot sense to talk about working class internationalism etc. when nobody has work.

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Jan 11 2009 13:54

The obsessive use of the Warsaw analogy is pretty weird, and as others have said Fallujah is a much better analogy. But that would mean talking about the fact the the US and UK are responsible for larger crimes which we have a much better chance of putting an end to. Its weird how every antiwar demo gets Palestine tacked onto it by the SWP and co, but theres no comparable tacking of Iraq onto these protests that I've seen. Given that the occupation has led to the deaths of 1,033,000 people in five years, which is equivalent to a large proportion of the population of Gaza, it'd seem obvious that this would happen.

wrearw wrote:
The SEP is one of the most conservative, sectarian Trotskyist "parties" in the US. Not quite Spartacist League/ICL level, but they're up there. This article was representative of the petty, sectarian bs they spew in parts. And it didn't provide a lot of context. For example, it didn't really address the fact that there is a very clear oppressor-oppressed colonial relationship b/t Israel and Palestine. That, and the Gaza strip lacks much productive work to be done at this point. It doesn't make a whole lot sense to talk about working class internationalism etc. when nobody has work.

theres been a lot of internationalist statements written by various groups and individuals hosted on this site, none are Trotskyist but all avoid talking about oppressed and oppressing nations. This is positive I think.

Yes, the Gaza strip is effectively an ghetto whose economy is totally dependent on Israel's and who represent a pool of cheap and desperate labour for employers on the Israeli side of the border when they are allowed to access it. But 'working class' is defined by many as being much broader than those engaged in productive work, and is defined as being those who have nothing to sell but their ability to work for others, as opposed to those who do (those with capital), and those with effective control over the the collective capitalist, the state. This would clearly encompass the vast majority of Gazans outside of Hamas and capitalists. So the point of the internationalist argument is to show that these two groups have nothing in common, and when Hamas call on Palestinians to be slaughtered by Israeli tanks and gunships they are sending working class people to die on their behalf. They, and nationalist ideology have nothing to other but endless rounds of national conflict, even when this is on the part of nations which are seen to be victims of imperialism. This is an important argument to make.

So from this point of view, talking about "nations" doesn't make much sense, including the "oppressed" ones.

wrerw
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Jan 12 2009 06:29
Quote:
theres been a lot of internationalist statements written by various groups and individuals hosted on this site, none are Trotskyist but all avoid talking about oppressed and oppressing nations. This is positive I think.

If it were just a run of the mill conflict between nation states I would be inclined to agree. However the nationalism of one side (Israel) is the institutional basis for an apartheid system. As such, it's important to address Zionism and to emphasize that the apartheid system must be overthrown, while not necessarily advocating palestinian nationalism in its place.

Quote:
So the point of the internationalist argument is to show that these two groups have nothing in common, and when Hamas call on Palestinians to be slaughtered by Israeli tanks and gunships they are sending working class people to die on their behalf.

They were "called on"? Yeah if only the fuckers would just accept every attempt to undermine Palestinian human and civil rights without even the most desperate and ineffective of resistance, Israel wouldn't have to ruthlessly slaughter civilians???

Quote:
They, and nationalist ideology have nothing to other but endless rounds of national conflict, even when this is on the part of nations which are seen to be victims of imperialism.

What Palestinian nationalism has to offer is a democratic government and an end to military occupation. This is precisely why it's important to distinguish between the nationalism of the oppressor and the oppressed. Zionism has always be predicated on colonialism, while Palestinian nationalism, in the widest terms, is simply pushing out the colonial force from palestinian territories. That's all, and that constitutes a very real benefit for Palestinians.

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Jan 12 2009 07:25
wrerw wrote:
What Palestinian nationalism has to offer is a democratic government and an end to military occupation. This is precisely why it's important to distinguish between the nationalism of the oppressor and the oppressed. Zionism has always be predicated on colonialism, while Palestinian nationalism, in the widest terms, is simply pushing out the colonial force from palestinian territories. That's all, and that constitutes a very real benefit for Palestinians.

You are joking, aren't you? At the moment there is absolutely no possibility of the triumph of Palestinian nationalism. In its most optimistic analysis, the victory that HAMAS may claim at the end of this particular round of struggle will be surviving. There is no prospect of a Palestinian state emerging unless it is some sort of Bantustan set up by Israel, in which military occupation would be a permenant threat, and even the idea of 'democratic' government will just be a fantasy.

There can be no change real in the situation in Israel/Palestine without either a massive change in the international balance of power, or massive workers' struggles shaking the entire region.

wrerw wrote:
They were "called on"?

Yes, they are being called on at the moment by all sorts ranging from HAMAS itself to Western leftists such as yourself who seem just as keen to see workers sacrifice themselves for the nation.

Devrim

Angelus Novus
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Jan 12 2009 07:32
wrerw wrote:
However the nationalism of one side (Israel) is the institutional basis for an apartheid system.

Every nation-state is an apartheid system. The "Israel is an apartheid state" argument is just rhetorical bluster, it has no substance.

wrerw
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Jan 13 2009 06:31
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There can be no change real in the situation in Israel/Palestine without either a massive change in the international balance of power, or massive workers' struggles shaking the entire region.

Yes I agree with this. Would never argue otherwise.

Quote:
Yes, they are being called on at the moment by all sorts ranging from HAMAS itself to Western leftists such as yourself who seem just as keen to see workers sacrifice themselves for the nation.

Of course I don't want to see Israel pound Gaza into submission. Didn't I make that clear? I just don't appreciate the hasbara-style spin.

wrerw
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Jan 13 2009 07:32
Angelus Novus wrote:
wrerw wrote:
However the nationalism of one side (Israel) is the institutional basis for an apartheid system.

Every nation-state is an apartheid system. The "Israel is an apartheid state" argument is just rhetorical bluster, it has no substance.

No, you have no substance.

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Devrim
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Jan 13 2009 14:05
Quote:
Quote:
Yes, they are being called on at the moment by all sorts ranging from HAMAS itself to Western leftists such as yourself who seem just as keen to see workers sacrifice themselves for the nation.

Of course I don't want to see Israel pound Gaza into submission. Didn't I make that clear? I just don't appreciate the hasbara-style spin.

Nobody here wants to see Israel continuing to murder people in Gaza. The question is whether calling on workers to die for HAMAS wil stop this. I don't believe it will.

I don't know what 'hasbara' means.

Devrim

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Anarchia
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Jan 13 2009 12:13

Hasbara(h) is a Hebrew word meaning explanation, literally. In this context, Hasbara(h) refers to pro-Zionist propaganda.

From Wiki:

Quote:
The term has been used by the State of Israel and by supporters of Israel to describe their efforts to explain Israeli government policies, and to promote Israel to the world at large.
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Jan 13 2009 13:24

Historical analogies are, well, stupid. The conditions and contexts (to say nothing of the actual agents, actors, and objects) are unique to each situation. Comparisons that are meant to elicit a gut reaction (for example, anything having to do with the nazis) rather than a more objective analysis are not only the marks of rhetorical desperation, but demagoguery. The people who do this know that they're going for emotional reactions and count on the relative ignorance of their target audience. Facile equations of anyone but nazis with nazis, Gaza with the Warsaw Ghetto, stars of David (or the Stars and Stripes) with swastikas... these are all meant to whip up the irrational hatred of villains. Leave that bullshit to the mythologists; I'd rather use my intellect.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 13 2009 14:03
wrerw wrote:
They were "called on"?

On the first day of Israeli airstrikes, the Hamas leader called for "more suicide bomb attacks against Israel". I read it on the BBC, can't be arsed to find the link just now cos I got more important shit to do...

Quote:
Yeah if only the fuckers would just accept every attempt to undermine Palestinian human and civil rights without even the most desperate and ineffective of resistance, Israel wouldn't have to ruthlessly slaughter civilians???

Human and civil rights? Do you work for Amnesty International?

And why egg on "resistance" if you accept it's "desperate and ineffective"? This is people's lives we're talking about here, not Tim Henman's Wimbledon campaigns...

Quote:
What Palestinian nationalism has to offer is a democratic government and an end to military occupation.

Which is funny cos supposedly Hamas were elected according to the rules of bourgeois democracy, yet they've overseen a military occupation of Gaza, not to mention the persecution of workers and union movements, the rounding up of dissidents and a general escalation of the conflict. It's been great for Hamas though (well until this round anyway)...the further polarisation has done their organisation proud.

Quote:
Palestinian nationalism, in the widest terms, is simply pushing out the colonial force from palestinian territories.

And what constitutes Palestinian territories? "From the river to the sea"? Can you not see how this is a completely arbitrary statement? Are you actually a socialist?

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Jan 13 2009 14:08
wrerw wrote:
Of course I don't want to see Israel pound Gaza into submission. Didn't I make that clear? I just don't appreciate the hasbara-style spin.

That is a shocking slander. Please point to one comment I made that was 'to explain Israeli government policies, and to promote Israel to the world at large'.

Devrim

Angelus Novus
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Jan 14 2009 08:30
wrerw wrote:
Angelus Novus wrote:
wrerw wrote:
However the nationalism of one side (Israel) is the institutional basis for an apartheid system.

Every nation-state is an apartheid system. The "Israel is an apartheid state" argument is just rhetorical bluster, it has no substance.

No, you have no substance.

"I know you are, but what am I?"

syndicalist
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Jan 14 2009 18:06

From the WSWS statement:

Quote:
It is a tragic irony that the closest parallel to the Israeli onslaught on the encircled population of Gaza is the murderous clearing of the Warsaw Ghetto by the Nazis.

Are they saying it's an irony that Warsw's Jews were contained in a sealed off ghetto, similiar to the Gaza Strip? That seems clear enough. But are they further saying that the Gaza Strip will be physically liquidated like the Jewish population of the Warsaw Ghetto? Or are they saying that Hamas is engaging in resistance prior to the liquidation of the Gaza Strip, as with the Warsaw Ghetto?

wrerw
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Jan 15 2009 06:42
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
wrerw wrote:
They were "called on"?

On the first day of Israeli airstrikes, the Hamas leader called for "more suicide bomb attacks against Israel". I read it on the BBC, can't be arsed to find the link just now cos I got more important shit to do...

Quote:
Yeah if only the fuckers would just accept every attempt to undermine Palestinian human and civil rights without even the most desperate and ineffective of resistance, Israel wouldn't have to ruthlessly slaughter civilians???

Human and civil rights? Do you work for Amnesty International?

And why egg on "resistance" if you accept it's "desperate and ineffective"? This is people's lives we're talking about here, not Tim Henman's Wimbledon campaigns...

Yes he called for a third intifada. Obviously a third intifada has not broken out, so I don't see how this is relevant. The "calling on" post was presumably implying that Hamas intended to get Gaza bombed to all hell by firing rockets. But even if Hamas hadn't launched those whimpy rockets, Israel had been planning this attack for six months. It was not in response to rockets. And, they apparently rejected Hamas' plea to return to the previous ceasefire (see here: http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45350).

Egg on? What on earth are you talking about? It's not for me to "egg on."

Quote:
Quote:
What Palestinian nationalism has to offer is a democratic government and an end to military occupation.

Which is funny cos supposedly Hamas were elected according to the rules of bourgeois democracy, yet they've overseen a military occupation of Gaza,

It doesn't seem like Israel had the intention of permanently withdrawing from Gaza though.

Quote:
not to mention the persecution of workers and union movements, the rounding up of dissidents and a general escalation of the conflict. It's been great for Hamas though (well until this round anyway)...the further polarisation has done their organisation proud.

And moonbats at the SEP somehow expect a "Socialist federation of the Middle East" to emerge under these circumstances, when it's pretty clear that reactionary political forces like Hamas will prevail as long as Zionism does. Knowing them I'm sure they've also got something about how the issue of israel is "bound up" in socialist revolution and can't be resolved without the triumph of the mighty Vanguard, but I didn't see it.

wrerw
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Jan 15 2009 06:49
Angelus Novus wrote:
wrerw wrote:
Angelus Novus wrote:
wrerw wrote:
However the nationalism of one side (Israel) is the institutional basis for an apartheid system.

Every nation-state is an apartheid system. The "Israel is an apartheid state" argument is just rhetorical bluster, it has no substance.

No, you have no substance.

"I know you are, but what am I?"

Yeah, far be it from me to shrug off such a serious reply.