By Yossi Schwartz (Member of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency [RCIT] and Central-Israel Branch of Balad), 1 February 2017, http://the-isleague.com/
If in our previous article, on the cold blooded murder of Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan in Um al Hiran, we thought that the police murdered this teacher, by now it has been confirmed that he was driving his car slowly and cautiously until bursts of gunfire were fired by the police. He was injured in his knee and his chest and lost control over the car. After the shooting the car accelerated down the steep slope and hit the police. He bled to death while the police prevented any medical care.
Thus, this case is even worse than the one of Elor Azaria who murdered Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, in cold blood and as he lay overpowered on the ground, after he tried to stab some Israeli soldiers in Hebron. The case was filmed by activists from the Israeli B'Tselem human rights group. Azaria was found guilty of manslaughter by the military court and he is likely to receive three to five years instead of twenty reserved for Arabs who kill Jews. However, calls by leaders from both left and right wing of the Zionist spectrum to pardon Azaria, might mean that he would be released altogether.
This lack of any moral compass, political or any other, this brutal disregard of basic rights, this profoundness of racial hatred, of institutionalized racial hierarchy of discrimination, leads Palestinians as well as many other supporters of democracy and social justice in the world to use the term Fascist, when they refer to the Israeli state or regime. While we have deep sympathy for those who use this term, we see it as both inaccurate and disorienting.
What is Fascism?
Liberals and even some people who consider themselves Marxists, have developed a habit of using the word fascist very loosely. They use it as an epithet and political swearword against right-wing figures whom they particularly despise, or against reactionaries in general. The liberals describe fascism as a dictatorship, mass neurosis, anti-Semitism, unscrupulous propaganda, the hypnotic effect of a mad-genius orator on the masses. As a matter of fact the same description is used by the Social Democrats, the Stalinists and the former Stalinists who had a lot of influence in the 1930s.
Fascism is not simply the use of brutal force by nationalists and racists. It is a specific phenomenon that should be understood scientifically in order to know how to fight it and destroy it. Fascism in power has the capacity to atomize the labor movement. Something no other repressive regime can do. We can see the difference in Egypt under Sisi . It is a cruel, reactionary dictatorship, that serves the imperialists and Israel, yet this is not a fascist regime, as it is unable to atomize the working class movement.
Italian and German Fascism
It is necessary to study the Italian and German fascism in order to understand what is fascism and how to fight it.
Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922. It was a revolutionary period. The bourgeois dictatorship, using their parliamentary method, no longer could hold society in a state of equilibrium as it could not provide the minimum necessities of life. The sharp class struggle was openly on the rise. The working class was ready to carry out a socialist revolution and a spontaneous movement occupied factories in 1920.
What was missing was a revolutionary leadership of the working class to take power. However, the leaders of the Social Democrats were afraid of losing their privileges, the crumbs thrown to them by the imperialists from the robbery of the colonies, so they blocked the revolution. The fascists mobilized the masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of the lumpen-proletariat whom finance capital itself led to despair and frenzy against the organized working class.
They began their terror in Bologna, on November 21, 1920. The social-democratic councilmen, victorious in the municipal elections, came out from city hall to present the new mayor, the fascist opened fire killing 10 wounding and 100. The fascists continued with the killing in the countryside. The Black shirts in vehicles supplied by big landowners, took over villages, beating and killing leftist peasants and labor leaders, wrecking radical headquarters, and terrorizing the populace. Then after they did the same in the big cities. Instead of organizing the working class to defend itself and smash the fascists, the social democrats did their best to prevent the workers from defending themselves telling them to rely on the capitalist state and the king to defend them. This opened the road for Mussolini, who marched on Rome.
In Germany the working class was ready to carry out socialist revolutions in 1918-1919 in 1921 and in 1923. The betrayal of the leaders of the Social Democrats and the mistakes of the German Communist party under the directions of Zinoviev, who was afraid of the revolution already in 1917, led to defeat. Following the defeat Hitler tried to organize a coup d'etat but failed, because most of the capitalist class was not ready to support him in such a situation when it did not fear an immediate revolution.
During the economic crisis that began in 1929 the Stalinist bureaucratic ultra-left policy of branding everyone else as fascists, proved unable to forge a united front with the Social Democrats, whom they called Social Fascist, against the German fascist movement. This allowed Hitler to take power in 1933. Once in power the Nazi party, relying on the Plebeian masses, was able to atomize the working class movement. Once in power, it was impossible to organize mass résistance to the Nazis, who will remain in power for 12 years until they were defeated, mostly by the Soviet army.
The capitalists do not like the Nazis, as there was a price to pay for saving the capitalist from a socialist revolution. However, they were ready to support them in order to crush a socialist revolution. Thus, fascism is coming from below, from the mobilized masses of the crazed petty bourgeoisie and the bands of the lumpen-proletariat organized by the Nazis.
Right Wing Populism and Fascism
The racist, nationalist government of Israel is a right wing populist government. It is not a fascist government. While it works hard to instill hatred into the Jewish population against the Arabs, mainly to manipulate its voting patterns, it is the Israeli army and police who are doing most of the oppression. They are acting according to the nature of Israel as a society of settler colonialists who subdue the native population - the Palestinians. White settler colonialists have done this in America against the natives and the black slaves, in Australia against the aboriginals, in New Zealand against the Maoris, in South Africa against the Africans.
While it is possible to smash the Israeli fascist gangs whenever they approach an Arab populated area, the Israeli state will continue to murder Arabs with the support of most Israelis. The only way out is through a socialist revolution that must sweep the entire region. However, in this region, where the bourgeois democratic revolution remains incomplete, it would most likely begin as popular revolution based on democratic demands (similar to the Arab Spring).
Today the ‘48 Palestinian leadership is calling for a professional committee of investigation into the murder of Yacoub Abu al-Qiyan.
What does this mean? Who will constitute such a committee that we can trust? History has shown that the role of investigation committees is to whitewash the actual crimes rather than expose them and punish the perpetrators. Think about the committee that investigated Sharon’s crimes in Sabra and Shatila. When Begin promised to conduct such an investigation, it was in order end the protest movement against the criminal war in Lebanon. Even in the case of the Or commission, which brought reasonable findings, it led to nothing.
The real answer is to organize popular committees in each Palestinian village and in each neighborhood. The elected leadership of each committee would then elect the Palestinian national leadership. The reason that the idea of popular committees is not popular today is because the Palestinians do not see the importance of such organization. There is a crisis of mistrust in the existing leadership and the popular committees seemed as another tool for the leadership. However, the idea that these committees will democratically form the leadership of the Palestinian people in its struggle against Zionist apartheid, might prove to be a powerful tool to organize and mobilize in the most democratic way the majority of the Palestinians.
Right now, we can of course demand to prosecute the police officer who was in charge and gave the order to shoot. At the same time we must explain that it is unlikely to happen because of the nature of the Israeli state. The value of such a demand is to help those who still have illusions in the possibility of Zionist justice to come to terms with reality. We can of course demand to prosecute the Israeli minister of internal security for the same reason and even Prime Minister Netanyahu, as long as we do not have any illusions in the outcome.