Direct action against Israeli attacks

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Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 27 2006 18:05
Direct action against Israeli attacks

Here's some info I just got in an email

----

// EMERGENCY ASSEMBLY CALLED TO PLAN DIRECT ACTION AGAINST ISREALI INVASION OF LEBANON AND PALESTINE!

// TUESDAY 1ST AUGUST

// ROOM, H216, CONNAUGHT HOUSE, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS

In response to the actions of last Tuesday and Saturday it has become clear that there is an overwhelming desire to do more than peacefuly protest the masacre happening in Lebanon and Palestine. Currently over 300 Lebanese have been killed while the governments and populations of the world watch. At the same time the media is speaking about balance, to try to fool us into their 'neutral' coverage. The systems of power are attempting to silence any form of unconventional dissent. Once again, demonstrations have been called in which people march along prescribed routes and listen to planned, boring speeches. We've seen this play before with the run up to the Iraq war. We now know that peaceful demonstrations alone are not sufficient to halt the war machine.

To combat this, we are putting a call-out for an emergency assembly to plan direct action against the Isreali invasion of Lebanon and Palestine. The assembly will take place on Tuesday, 1st of August at 18:30.

Venue: room H216, on the second floor of Connaught House, London School of Economics. Connaught House is on Aldwych; for a map and directions see

www.lse.ac.uk/resources/mapsAndDirections/Default.htm

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 27 2006 22:43

You don't live in israel though, so whats the point. How could this be effective or useful?

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ginger
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Jul 27 2006 22:50

I assume that any direct action / kicking up shit would be aimed at raising awareness of whats going on, making us feel better that we're not the sort of people that watch whats going on and do nothing, and hope against hope pressure the UK government to start doing something about it.

I partially agree with a cynical view that it won't make any difference. However I don't think that inevitable.

Its very easy to say "Of course I'd be doing something if I was in Israel but I'm not so there's no point" but that only holds water if you're active against the Iraq etc war.

Also being active here, in an intelligent way, can support Israeli activists who are in a very vulnerable position. (Obviously not as vulnerable as the poor buggers in Southern Lebannon)

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jef costello
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Jul 28 2006 00:00
Quote:
Its very easy to say "Of course I'd be doing something if I was in Israel but I'm not so there's no point" but that only holds water if you're active against the Iraq etc war.

I don;t understand.
I don't see how this can do anything other than a symbolic action, and I can't see how that would work as the only that can stop Israel is America tightening the purse strings.

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gav
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Jul 28 2006 08:00
ginger wrote:
I assume that any direct action / kicking up shit would be aimed at raising awareness of whats going on, making us feel better that we're not the sort of people that watch whats going on and do nothing, and hope against hope pressure the UK government to start doing something about it.

thats not direct action, thats called lobbying.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 28 2006 09:19
jef costello wrote:
I don;t understand.

Well maybe you'd find out if you went to the meeting.

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 28 2006 09:26
ginger wrote:
I assume that any direct action / kicking up shit would be aimed at raising awareness of whats going on

Well it doesn't put your views forward, it just creates a media spectacle. You cold be saying iran, hezbollah and israel are all advancing their own economic interests and that the working class shouldn't be dying for any of them, but all the media will report is that a couple of idiots barracaded themselves to the israeli embassy and so must be just a random anti-semite.

Quote:
making us feel better

right...

Quote:
and hope against hope pressure the UK government to start doing something about it.

All the UK govt will do is point a few fingers at america, as margaret becket has been doing quite well recently.

Quote:
Its very easy to say "Of course I'd be doing something if I was in Israel but I'm not so there's no point" but that only holds water if you're active against the Iraq etc war.

Yeah i was active against the iraq war as it happens.

Quote:
Also being active here, in an intelligent way, can support Israeli activists who are in a very vulnerable position. (Obviously not as vulnerable as the poor buggers in Southern Lebannon)

If you want to hold a solidairty action with israeli, lebanese and palestinain peace groups then go for it, but the subject for debate is ''direct action against israels invasion'', which as gav points out translates as, ''lobbying against israel'', which is not only useless activstoid nonsense, but also seems to miss the point of calling for peace and a solution and instead simply calls for israel to be armed a bit less.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 28 2006 09:31
cantdocartwheels wrote:
the subject for debate is ''direct action against israels invasion'', which as gav points out translates as, ''lobbying against israel'', which is not only useless activstoid nonsense, but also seems to miss the point of calling for peace and a solution and instead simply calls for israel to be armed a bit less.

I agree with gav's point about the lobbying - to be direct action against the invasion people would have to target, for example, a shipment of supplies heading for the IDF, or something similar.

However, if people want to raise the issue and put pressure on UK/US/Israel I don't see why this should be particularly futile. protests do sometimes have an effect, even if just on the people who see them happen.

not sure about your point about 'calling' for this or that. Are you worried that the putative protestors might not be raising the right 'line'?

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Jul 28 2006 13:40

ICC comrades who gave out our statement on the war at last week’s demo said that they had never felt so strongly that this so-called ‘anti-war’ march was in fact a direct mobilisation for war. Not surprising given the strong presence of Hizbollah, PLO, and their leftist touts. Far more openly than with the Iraq war, when its pacifist mask covered more of its real face, the Stop the War Coalition is organising people to take sides in an imperialist war.

The problem with this kind of ‘pacifism’ is not that it doesn’t do anything, or that it generates a lot of boring speeches. The problem is that it is bourgeois, anti-working class, and pro-war, even if it attracts people who genuinely want to oppose war (it is after all its principal function for capital to pull such people into its trap).

The solution to this problem does not lie in devising a ‘direct action’ version of the same political stance. The meeting being called next week talks about direct action against Israeli bombing; it doesn’t say anything about opposing Hizbollah directing missiles against civilians in Israel. It therefore falls into the same approach as the Stop the War Coalition, even if its starting point may be different.

The starting point for a real opposition to this war has to be a clear rejection of the fake bourgeois opposition and the definition of an internationalist position - a ‘line’ if you like. That means a serious discussion as a precondition for any serious activity.

martinh
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Jul 28 2006 14:12

I think part of the problem here is that people see the appalling suffering caused by the war and want to do something about it. It follows that as there is very little anyone here can do about Hizbollah, and the British govt has backed Israel, it is reasonable to think about what can be done here to undermine that backing and hopefully shorten the war. I do think that's quite a leap, though I think it's important to take sides - the side of class war against nationalism and imperialism.

However, I think Alf's point about being against Hizbollah as well is important. They're all dodgy and should all be condemned, no matter that one is more powerful than the other or backed by the US.

What we can meaningfully do about them is another matter.

Regards,

Martin

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Jul 28 2006 14:53

I want to make it clear that I am not opposed to the idea of organising an 'assembly' to talk about what a real struggle against capitalist war means today. I would be prepared to go to this meeting next week and argue for such an assembly, conference, whatever you want to call it. But I think it would be a serious mistake to rush off into any kind of 'action' without first establishing very clearly what your goals and methods should be. From both the political and security points of view.
If anyone agrees with any of this, I would appreciate some back up at the meeting, of course

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 28 2006 15:09

I agree that many of the 'anti-war' leaders simply want to pull people into taking sides with the Islamists and nationalists. I'm totally against giving the kind of lip service to Hezbollah/Hamas that Galloway and others have. However, I think it's important to recognise that the people of Gaza and Lebanon are going to be attracted to Hezb, if they think this is the only force that can oppose Israel.

So effective opposition to Israel is one of the best ways to undermine the islamists. Another way is to support the secular grassroots foces in Lebanon, who the religious groups would like to crush.

Here's an appeal from some Beirut activists who have set up a relief centre. I think they're libertarians involved with Beirut Indymedia.

------------------------------------------------------------
URGENT APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY WITH LEBANESE CIVIL SOCIETY

The Israeli offensive against Lebanon is an act of aggression against the
whole Lebanese people. The IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) claims to be
attacking an “infrastructure of terror”, but the attacks on bridges,
roads, airports and ships are cutting the country into pieces, threatening
to create a disastrous situation by impeding the transportation of food
and medicines, and terrorizing everyone. Besides the hundreds killed and
injured, thousands of people are fleeing the country, and thousands of
people are fleeing from the areas where the bombing is heaviest into
central Beirut. Even here in the “safe” parts of the city we can hear the
bombs throughout the day and night, and electrical and water supplies are
tenuous.

Political and civil society organizations here are organizing to help
people deal with the effects of the invasion, but there is only so much we
can do on our own. We are calling on our brothers and sisters in the rest
of the world to do two things to help us.

First we call on you to protest at Israeli embassies and consulates, as we
hear some groups are already doing. The Israeli government must be held
accountable for its criminal and terroristic actions here and in
Palestine. We also ask you to send us information about any such protests
you carry out.

Secondly we are asking you to help us with our work with displaced
people here in Beirut. The group we are part of, the Relief Center -
Spears, is working in 23 schools in the central areas of Beirut, which were housing more than 5,000 people as of the night of July 15th (we don’t know how many thousands more are in other areas). People there are sleeping 10 or 15 to a room without enough mattresses, and they are only receiving food and water irregularly from the government. Many are children or elderly, and except for trauma centers the only medical care is being provided by volunteers organized by the Relief Center. These volunteers are lacking the medicines and other supplies they need to care for people. Media activists here will shortly be distributing videos documenting the situation in these schools, which will only get worse if nothing is done.

Besides the humanitarian aspect of the situation, helping displaced
people is crucial to the reconstruction of Lebanon after this crisis
ends. One
aspect of the Israeli offensive is an attempt to foment tensions between
different cultural groups in Lebanon. This is the only way they can hope
to achieve their goals without an all-out war, but in the end it would do
more damage to Lebanese society than any amount of physical destruction. A
broad relief effort is an essential part of avoiding such a disaster.

We urgently need money to buy the supplies we need to help the
internally displaced population here. We ask everyone who can to send
donations, however small, the Relief Committee – Spears in the care of the
following two people by bank transfer.

Please contact your bank to find out how to do this and please send an
email to sanayeh.center@gmail.com letting us know about your donation and
amount (we are using the account of Greenline Association as a care-taker
account)!

CLIENT NAME: GREENLINE ASSOCIATION
ACCOUNT NMBR: 6189003
BANK: BANK OF KUWAIT AND THE ARAB WORLD
SWIFT: BKAWLBBE

Greenline Association address:
3rd floor, Yamout building, Spears 174,
Sanayeh, Beirut, Lebanon
Telefax: (+961 1) 746 215 or (+961 1) 752 142
E-mail greenline@greenline.org.lb

These are difficult days for everyone in Lebanon, but we are confident
that with your support we can overcome this situation as we have others
before.

Sanayeh Relief Center
http://sanayehreliefcenter.blogspot.com/

-----------------------------------------

An Open Letter From Naomi Klein

I urge all who are horrified by the Israeli government's inflicting of
collective punishment on the people of Lebanon to join me in supporting
the Sanayeh Relief Center. It is a remarkable coalition of a grassroots
activists in Beirut who have rapidly joined together to provide emergency
relief to many victims of this human-created disaster. I have researched
their work and feel confident that all support we send is going to the
urgent task of distributing basic supplies such as food and medicine to
people suffering under the Israeli bombing, including thousands of
internally displaced refugees being housed in 32 displacement centers.

Virtually the only response from western governments to Israel's
sickening decision to wage all out war on the people of Lebanon has been
to send helicopters and boats to rescue their own citizens. Millions of
people without such precious passports are left behind without aid,
trapped by Israeli bombs that have systematically targeted roads, bridges
and the airport.

There is no "international community" that is coming to save the day, only
our own anti-war networks that we have built in our communities and
online. So at the same time as we raise our voices to demand an immediate
end to Israeli aggression, we must also offer our financial support to
trustworthy, on-the-ground activists like those at the Sanayeh Relief
Center. In a world increasingly governed by brute force and indifference,
the Sanayeh Relief Center is a beacon of humanity and mutual aid, please
do what you can to increase its strength. It is a concrete act of peace.

Naomi Klein
Wednesday, July 19th

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 28 2006 15:32

And here's a link where you can donate money to Lebanese trade unions http://www.labourstart.org/docs/en/000351.html

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Jul 29 2006 13:54

I'm surprised that there have been no responses to this. Isn't this the consequence of succumbing to 'we must do something right now' type activism? That you end up tailending the leftists? In this case, in the shape of Naomi Klein's bourgeois 'anti-capitalism'?
In saying this I am not criticising what people are doing on the ground in Lebanon, whether they see themselves as activists or volunteers or are just doing their jobs as nurses, firefighters, doctors, or whether they are just local people trying to dig their neighbours or family members out of ruined buildings and get them to hospital.
But are we not talking about a response from revolutionaries, a political response which has to look further and wider than the immediate situation? Are we not talking about activities aimed at developing and spreading an understanding of what's really going on, and what the solution is?

ffaker
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Jul 29 2006 16:06

Direct action in London against the Israeli agression in Lebanon and Gaza may or may not be possible, I don't know.

It certainly is possible in Glasgow. This from Beirut Indymedia:

http://beirut.indymedia.org/ar/2006/07/4783.shtml

Quote:
from Telegraph + Henk Ruyssenaars - 26.07.2006 14:39

Like the US - Blair's Britain supports the London War Lords and the Israeli genocide this time in Lebanon, with major shipments of bunker-busting bombs and other weaponry from America to Israel. The US, UK, The Netherlands, Germany and Israel have nuclear bombs at the ready - link below.

And all this drawing of equivalencies between Hizbullah and Israel is bullshit. Israel started this war in Gaza and continued it in Lebanon by initiating the bombings of civillian areas. Note also the ratio of civillian to military casualties on either side.

Of course people gonna support them - they are the only thing keeping Israeli troops out of Beirut right now. During the blitz was or was there not popular support for the bombings of German civillians?

My blog. With photos and reports from Palestine

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Jul 29 2006 17:13

I repeat: it is absolutely vital to discuss the basics of internationalism. Popular support for an imperialist war does not make it any less an imperialist war. In World War Two internationalists denounced the terror bombing of Germany even though it had a certain amount of support from a population which had received the same barbaric treatment themselves. However, there was also a point where questions began to be asked about this within the population. This is why Churchill, who had been an ardent advocate of 'area bombing', dispensed with the services of 'Bomber' Harris.

afraser
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Jul 29 2006 17:37

Hizbullah are the aggressors in the Israel-Hizbullah war, having launched an unprovoked attack on Israel killing 10 Israeli soldiers and capturing two more. Having said that, the Israelis have used the Hizbullah attack as an excuse to launch an obviously pre-planned bombing campaign against Lebanon as a whole, including both civilian and/or non-Hizbullah targets. Hizbullah must be very pleased with the way their war is going, stupid Israelis seem to be playing right into their hands, so far.

Hizbullah and the IDF have the right to go kill each other forever if that is what rocks their particular boats. But here both sides are also (more so) killing and punishing civilians, which is a different story. Israel is doing very much more of this than Hizbullah is, so there is a justification for singling out Israel. Still I agree with Alf and others that the danger of turning into pro-Hizbullah cheerleaders is real. Also I worry about activistoidism, especially with Britain currently waging a similar (albeit smaller) war against Hizbullah’s Iraqi equivalents. See http://libcom.org.uk/node/8593 on that.

For direct action, EDO in Brighton supposedly supplies parts for the Hellfire missile release/coupling mechanisms used by the IDF, and Prestwick airport has been used as a stopover for US-Israeli military supply flights. But that seems pretty small beer considering this war as a whole.

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Jul 29 2006 20:53

Some more companies involved are named here. Apparently there was a parliamentary disclosure, i'm not sure where the full list is though.

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Jul 29 2006 21:11
afraser wrote:
Hizbullah are the aggressors in the Israel-Hizbullah war, having launched an unprovoked attack on Israel killing 10 Israeli soldiers and capturing two more.

Well that isn't strictly true as Israel never stopped punitive action against palestinians. Shalit may have been captured but how many Palestinians are in Jail? The Israelis immediately launched vicious attacks on the civilian population. A pattern that they have continued in Lebanon. The state of Israel reacts as viciously as it likes in response to anything it considers an attack while refusing to accept that any such action by the other side is anything other than terrorism that must be punished.

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Jul 29 2006 21:30
revol68 wrote:
The rocket attacks (which in media the seem to be the "justification" in the media) only began after the bombing of Lebanon.

Absolutely. The way this has crept in, and is now the received wisdom, is mind-boggling. It isn't even questioned by interviewers whenever it's wheeled out by commentators.

Has anyone tried challenging a news programme on this? I have; you get incomprehension.

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Jul 30 2006 18:34

Where is everyone? On holiday? Crushed by the heat?

Well, I will go to the 'assembly' with one or two other ICC comrades. But I think others from libcom should come. This will shed light on the discussion about 'activistoidism', and even more importantly, what we mean by internationalism and revolutionary opposition to war.

I still defend the slogan 'No war but the class war!', by the way. Now more than ever this needs to be said loud and clear.

As Tony Blair is now experiencing, there is enormous pressure from large elements of the ruling class in this country to pursue a more indepedent line vis-a-vis the USA. The vast campaign of hypocrisy towards Israel in particular is part of this. Revolutionary denunciation of the crimes of the Israeli state has nothing in common with the way these crimes are currently being 'criticised' in the media. We need to be clear about this distinction, because it is obvious from this thread that the bourgeoisie's campaign, which has the aim of a reorientation in world imperialist alignments, is deeply affecting the 'subversive' fringe. On this thread we have had open avowal of the leftist pro-Hizbollah position and only a limited response from elements on libcom who usually strive to adopt the internationalist stance.

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Jul 30 2006 19:01

By the way, I welcome Afraser's post which agrees with mine on the need to reject any support for the 'Resistance' in the Lebanon (the same obviously goes for the 'Resistance' in Iraq).
I do not think it is correct to describe Hizbollah as the aggressor. Israel was obviously waiting for a pretext to launch this offensive at the first opportunity. It was already on the offensive in Gaza.
The point in any case is that we have to oppose the whole game of 'they attacked first', 'they are the aggressor', because it gets us trapped in taking sides for one or the other. Imperialist states and proto-states are all aggressors - against each other and above all against the proletariat and humanity.

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Jul 30 2006 19:49

Hi

Quote:
The point in any case is that we have to oppose the whole game of 'they attacked first', 'they are the aggressor'

Agreed. Automatically supporting the militarily weakest side is also reactionary. I think it’s OK to support one side on the grounds that they’re likely to “win” though. It provides an excellent opportunity for a celebration when the inevitable unfolds.

Love

LR

afraser
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Jul 30 2006 20:00

Direct(-ish) action success - it led Radio Clyde news today with opposition politicians attending the demo and getting interviews broadcast, could be the end of Prestwick as a stopover for US-Israeli arms supplies for the short term future:

Quote:
Anti-war activists in airport demo

Anti-war protesters have descended on a UK airport being used by planes supplying weapons to Israel.

The group, numbering about 150 people, gathered at Prestwick airport in Ayrshire, which has been a re-fuelling stop-over for US military and cargo planes carrying bombs and other "hazardous" loads to Tel Aviv.

Peace campaigners fear they are being delivered to the Israeli armed forces for the country's offensive against Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, mainly as a result of Israeli bombing raids.
http://icscotland.icnetwork.co.uk/news/sc
ottish/tm_objectid=17474553&method=full&siteid=50141&headline=anti-war-activists-in-airpo
rt-demo-name_page.html

Revol - I don't know enough to be sure so could well be wrong but thought the Hizbullah attack was not in Shaba farms but inside undisputed Israel

Quote:
On July 12, 2006 members of Hizballah infiltrated the Lebanese-Israeli border near Shtula, an Israeli farming village, and claimed responsibility for an ambush conducted on two Israeli Army Hummvees. The attack resulted in the capture of two Israeli soldiers and the deaths of three others. Five more Israeli soldiers were killed in the ensuing pursuit of Hizballah members into Lebanese territory.
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/para/hizballah.htm

Israel certainly was the agressor in Gaza with apparent shelling of a beach full of civilians. But Gaza is not Lebanon.

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Jul 30 2006 20:12

If something practical can be done at Prestwick, fine. It's probably not gonna stop the bombs being delivered, but it could act as a catalyst for other forms of resistance to grow. There are workers at Prestwick airport who can be contacted face to face, leafletted etc.
And I agree we don't need to hear any more from bourgeois reformists like Naomi Klein, her agenda is no more than a celebrity career as spokesperson calling for a 'nicer' more humanitarian capitalism that only has wars for the 'right' moral reasons.
If Hizbolla is being seen as the lesser evil by some, defender of the oppressed etc - kiss your thin veneer of internationalism goodbye, you 'radicals'. Is your internationalism real and consistent or not? Are Hizbollah anything but another bunch of anti-working class murderous statist gangsters?
But Alf, your conclusions are perhaps too generalised, implying a general apathy - I'd guess that, like me, most posters with an internationalist/anti-nationalist view feel little need to abstractly post their support of a standard line already expressed 100's of times on here. This thread was originally about direct action against the war. Some probably token actions don't inspire people, but neither does sloganeering that never looks for a real practice - they're 2 sides of the same coin. You say it's imperative to discuss the war - but if the war is to be anything more than some depressing external event that makes us feel more impotent then we are obliged to look for ways of relating to it in a subversive way beyond both safe 'correct' sloganeering and knee-jerk predictable activism. If that means trying and failing in certain activities, then - nothing ventured, nothing gained, or learned. If no one is willing to risk anything for fear of failing or betraying the purity of their position, then you're already defeated.
The ICC always argues for "a serious discussion as a precondition for any serious activity" but any effective movement does not privilege one aspect over the other - they should be part of the same process. In No War But The Class War meetings in past years the ICC has come along and argued their line, which was little different from those of other participants - so no great revelation - and all you have ever called for was 'the primacy of political discussion' - i.e. getting people to attend another meeting (an endless 'precondition'). If that is again all you intend to contribute, again without even a desire for finding any valid practice, you might as well stay at home. Similar criticisms could also be made of the non-ICC majority of those who participated in NWBTCW, so this is not only applicable to the ICC.

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Jul 30 2006 21:14

Revol, come on. Was I really just trying to say that no one else is internationalist? I am saying that a bit more solidarity between internationalists would be a good thing.
Ret: I agree with your points about hizbollah, but i don't agree that saying such things is some kind of tedious chore. I have just been speaking to a cousin in Israel who can see perfectly well that what Israel is doing in Lebanon is barbaric and yet feels he has no choice but to support the war, because the 'other side' wants to destroy all Israeli Jews (which, in the case of Hizbollah, etc , is true). Internationalism is not easy to defend. Those who stand for it explicitly and coherently are a tiny minority of the world's population.

It's not true that the ICC simply put forward the need for discussion in NWBTCW. We attempted to put forward various practical proposals for the demos as well. But there was a primacy for political discussion, for clarification because NWBTCW was very confused about what it should be doing, not least at the demos.

Today more than ever there's a need for discussion, for thought, for deciding what we really have in common as a basis for acting in common.

You said:
"we are obliged to look for ways of relating to it in a subversive way beyond both safe 'correct' sloganeering and knee-jerk predictable activism. If that means trying and failing in certain activities, then - nothing ventured, nothing gained, or learned. If no one is willing to risk anything for fear of failing or betraying the purity of their position, then you're already defeated"

What kinds of activities do you have in mind? Are you thinking of proposing them at this 'assembly'?

I notice that Stop the War are doing another demo on Saturday.

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Jul 30 2006 21:37

However much people are horrified by what is going on in Lebanon, for revolutionaries an understanding of the situation is most important. Ret seems to think that this is taken as granted, but I tend to wonder whether it is, or not.

I was out earlier in the evening chatting with a guy from work, and he was saying that he had been talking about it with people today. When he agreed with what those people were saying about Israel, but also mentioned that Turkish troops are now in Iraq again he was told that 'that is different. They are fighting terrorists (i.e. the PKK).

There is a tendency to back the 'weaker' side especially in the Middle east against Israel for obvious reasons.

The fact is that at the moment the working class is too week to make its voice heard as a class, and can get drawn into supporting all sorts of nationalist nonsense in the name of supporting the 'oppressed'.

The humanitarian work that people are doing on the ground in Lebanon, however necessary it is, is only humanitarian work, and does not carry a revolutionary perspective.

Let's be very clear about this, whatever substitusionist actions people run around doing in the West is to save their own conscious, and nothing more than that.

When the ICC are accused of only wanting to talk about things, it should be realised that we are in a situation where we can do little else. Unless you see, as I don't, a mass class based opposition to the war developing, the best thing that we can do here in Turkey is argue with people that all capitalist states act in the same way, that the whole campaign against terrorism is a lie, and that workers need to struggle for their own interests against any idea of 'national unity' whatever name it calls itself; Islam, human rights, anti-imperialism...

My workmate was right to argue what he did. His politics are actually centre right, but he had hit the nail on the head on this issue. What revolutionaries should be arguing is that the working class has no side to take in this war, and that the way to weaken the war machine is for workers to struggle in defence of their own living standards at home.

That may seem very abstract, but it is the first step towards the working class becoming 'a class for itself'. It also may seem very banal, but that doesn't make it any the less true. The fact is that we can not stop this war, but we shouldn't be pulled into supporting the 'underdogs'.

Devrim

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Jul 30 2006 21:46

Alf, we'll have to agree to radically differ on what happened in NWBTCW. But the only reference I remember to demos by the ICC was not to go on them cos they were 'leftist'. NWBTCW was not confused about the demos, it just didn't agree with ICC's line on them. What was crippling about NWBTCW was it's clinging to discussion for the main purpose of avoiding falling in to the possible sin of 'activism' by taking the risk of doing something. Ironically, this is an easy victory for activist ideology, if it can so easily paralyse radicals.

As to what is to be done, one of the best things NWBTCW ever did was to go and picket some oil depots in London (during 1st Gulf War, I think) - we leafletted workers and talked to them. Didn't lead to much, but still worth doing. As I said, it would be worth trying at places like Prestwick. But I'm not going to write your interventionist meeting 'line' for you!

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Red Marriott
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Jul 30 2006 22:25

Dev; didn't see your post before I did my last one - I don't think internationalism is taken for granted, that's why I criticised earlier those who may give critical or whatever support to Hizbollah. But I agree with revol the ICC don't need to imply that we are obliged to all issue statements of our 'position' on every topic. That's a leftist mentality, IMO.

But as I said, if we are to bother meeting to discuss the war there should be some desire to move beyond just talking. I think it's a cop out to say we should submit to the perceived passivity of the majority - it is peculiarly democratic thinking for left comms (if that is your view) and implies a separation between 'us' and the rest of the class in so far as if we come together to do things it's not the same as 'the class' doing it. There may be other minorities we can find through the process of doing something; and movements always start somewhere (not that I have grandiose ideas of an emerging movement). And our own theory only develops by being put to the test. "Man must prove the truth, i.e. the reality and power, the this-sidedness of his thinking in practice. The dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking that is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question."(Marx) I share your feelings of scepticism, but beyond a certain point they are only a self-fulfilling prophecy. I thought left comms. approved of minority actions if the majority is trapped in passivity? If we act for ourselves and our own needs, it's not substitutionism, unless we claim to represent or speak for others.

Leo
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Jul 30 2006 22:47

A very interesting discussion going on...

Alf wrote:
ICC comrades who gave out our statement on the war at last week’s demo said that they had never felt so strongly that this so-called ‘anti-war’ march was in fact a direct mobilisation for war. Not surprising given the strong presence of Hizbollah, PLO, and their leftist touts. Far more openly than with the Iraq war, when its pacifist mask covered more of its real face, the Stop the War Coalition is organising people to take sides in an imperialist war.

The problem with this kind of ‘pacifism’ is not that it doesn’t do anything, or that it generates a lot of boring speeches. The problem is that it is bourgeois, anti-working class, and pro-war, even if it attracts people who genuinely want to oppose war (it is after all its principal function for capital to pull such people into its trap).

I think ICC got it right on pacifism... There is another point I'd like to make on the so-called ‘anti-war’ marches, and it is that those marches are not only in fact supporting the war (unconsciously for some fellows with good intentions), but such marches are also supprting the current global system. They are 'reformistic' but they are not even classical reformists who try (and almost always fail) to get 'better deals' for the workers. Anti-war marches usually have one message they send: "stop the war and then we will be your slaves again". Just like classical reformists, the message pacifist reformists send to the proletariat is "don't make a revolution, reform works". What anti-war pacifists are trying to give is a counter revolutionary message to its core.

Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
I agree that many of the 'anti-war' leaders simply want to pull people into taking sides with the Islamists and nationalists. I'm totally against giving the kind of lip service to Hezbollah/Hamas that Galloway and others have. However, I think it's important to recognise that the people of Gaza and Lebanon are going to be attracted to Hezb, if they think this is the only force that can oppose Israel.

I'm sure this is true, many helpless people get attracted to reactionaries when they think the specific group or party is
the only force that can solve their problems.

Revolutions happen when the workers realize that they are the only force that can solve their problems.

Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
So effective opposition to Israel is one of the best ways to undermine the islamists.

Israel should be opposed as any nation-state, but as for opposing it being helpful to undermine the islamists, I don't think it'll work. We are not the ones who are being killed, we are not the ones who will appear to them as 'Holy Saviours' or whatever.

Devrim wrote:
Let's be very clear about this, whatever substitusionist actions people run around doing in the West is to save their own conscious, and nothing more than that.

When the ICC are accused of only wanting to talk about things, it should be realised that we are in a situation where we can do little else. Unless you see, as I don't, a mass class based opposition to the war developing, the best thing that we can do here in Turkey is argue with people that all capitalist states act in the same way, that the whole campaign against terrorism is a lie, and that workers need to struggle for their own interests against any idea of 'national unity' whatever name it calls itself; Islam, human rights, anti-imperialism...

A very good point. If people in the west want direct action against the war, not just the war in Lebannon but also imperialist war as a concept, they should not ask or demand or beg their goverments to stop the war. Even if you manage to stop a war you lose. Oppositions always lose against capitalism unless they are revolutionary. What can be done against the war from the outside? The only thing that would be helpful would be actually working for a revolution in where you live if you can, or talking and discussing about it if you can't. We might not see a proletarian revolution in our lifetimes, but what we do should be aimed at that direction, and it starts from talking.

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Alf
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Jul 31 2006 10:42

That's a thoughtful post, Leo. I agree with most of it. The only thing I would take issue is in the last paragraph where you could be interpreted as saying that there can't be any defensive struggles by the working class. However, it's quite true, as we saw in 1917-18, that any class movement against war tends to take on a revolutionary character very quickly.
I have no objection at all to what Ret described as an action against war - leafleting and discussing with workers. But there has to be a prior discussion about what the leaflet says.
On the other hand there is a profoundly substitutionist element in the approach of those activists who think that by themselves they can do things like block the war's supply lines. This is realistic only through mass working class action and it is not yet on the agenda. Those who argue that it can be done oustide the context of a real class movement are succumbing to adventurism, and that has all kinds of dangerous consequences.

Ret wrote:
"I thought left comms. approved of minority actions if the majority is trapped in passivity? If we act for ourselves and our own needs, it's not substitutionism, unless we claim to represent or speak for others".

What left communists are you thinking about here? I think the KAPD made a number of errors on this score in 1920-21, trying to compensate for the retreat in the revolution by organising 'party actions'. Its low point came when party members (reportedly at least) physically attacked workers who didn't follow their call to join the March Action. On the whole I would say that left communists have made a fairly clear critique of 'exemplary actions' of various kinds.

Revol asked whether I believe that elements like Hizbollah want to destroy the Israeli Jews. The insane logic of this war is breeding ideologies like this on both sides. In general, radical Islamism has abandoned the old leftist sophistry against opposing Zionism rather than Jews, and has openly espoused the most violent anti-semitic pornography (like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion). There is a clear genocidal logic in this - as there is among the rabid Jewish gangs who talk about making Israel 'Arab free'.