Drawing Conclusions – and the Change in Direction that They Dictate
Statement of the International Socialist League (ISL) the RCIT’s Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the first Land Day (1976),www.the-isleague.com and www.thecommunists.net
The 30th of March – Land Day – has become a symbol for the mass struggle of the Palestinians, citizens of the apartheid Zionist state, against dispossession and oppression. The key question before political activists who oppose both oppression and the regime’s attacks upon their standard of living and democratic rights is how to turn this vital symbol into a winnable struggle. To do so, we must first draw revolutionary conclusions about the political situation throughout the world, across our region, and locally at home. If we won’t reach such conclusions and then act according to what they dictate, Land Day will be relegated to remaining nothing more than a symbolic struggle.
Last year, on Land Day of 2013, we warned that the heroic struggles for democratic rights occurring across the globe must be transformed into a struggle for a socialist revolution under the leadership of revolutionary workers’ parties; that if this will not occur, bourgeois imperialism and its lackeys will respond by establishing totalitarian and even fascist regimes which will endanger the future existence of humanity.
In response to what we wrote, we were told that we are dreamers, that we are detached from reality, and that the correct path dictates a struggle in stages: first of all, our critics replied, there needs to be a worldwide democratic revolution and only in the next historical period, maybe a socialist revolution will be possible. This year it’s even clearer than before just how right we were when we wrote what we did last year. In Egypt, the heart of the Arab world, the democratic revolution in which millions of people participated, demanding bread and democracy, has reached a dead end. The government of the Muslim Brotherhood which was an obstacle to a democratic revolution was toppled in a military coûp d’état and now, in its place, is a regime of blood-thirsty, pro-imperialist generals who have returned Egypt to the period of Mubarak. In Syria, the murderous regime of Assad continues the slaughter of its own people.
Not in one country has a democratic revolution been victorious. The reason for this is simple – as capitalism declines, the weak bourgeois classes of countries where there never has been a democratic revolution are deathly afraid of the possibility that the mass struggle will get out of control and move forward to a socialist revolution. Their fear of such a scenario is immeasurably greater than their apprehension of imperialistic control of their own country, because at least the imperialists will throw them some crumbs from the super-exploitation of the working masses of their fellow countrymen and women.
Another example which clearly attests to the nature of the historical period during which we are living is provided by recent events in the Ukraine. There, a fascistic government came to power with the support of western imperialism under the leadership of the United States. At the same time, Puttin’s imperialistic Russia has taken control of Crimea. As a result of the increasingly acute contradictions between the various imperialists, there is a danger that the conflicts of interests between the imperialist powers in their struggle for control of markets, raw materials, and super-exploited workforces will, in the final analysis, lead to the outbreak of the Third World War. In retrospect, we can see that the pulverizing of the USSR by the corrupt Stalinist leadership, and the absence of a truly revolutionary leadership in the Soviet Union, opened the door to the rise of a fascistic government in the Ukraine and to the strengthening of extreme right parties not only in Eastern Europe but in Western Europe as well, like, for example, Greece.
The Condition of the Left in our Region
The various leftist movements in this region also bear their share of the responsibility for the failure of the revolutions. In Egypt, movements and parties of the left refused to put into action a program that would prevent the co-opting and kidnapping of the revolutions we have described above, even though developments ultimately confirmed the validity of the theory of the permanent revolution put forth by Leon Trotsky, revolutionary and one of the leaders of the Bolshevik Revolution. Instead, these Egyptian leftists fell in line behind the forces of the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie, rather than struggle for the establishment of a revolutionary workers’ party which would fight for a socialist revolution.
In Syria, the Communist Party subdued the working class, subjugated it to the Syrian regime, and prevented it from getting organized as an independent revolutionary force. The Syrian CP continues in this policy, supporting Assad’s bloodthirsty regime, while contending that the president and his supporters are struggling against imperialism. All of this while Assad enjoys the full support of Russian and Chinese imperialism and, at the same time, the West refuses to arm the mostly Islamist resistance movement, thereby only strengthening Assad’s hand. Other leftist groups refuse to form a military front with the Islamists on the grounds that they are reactionary. No one denies that the Islamist leadership is reactionary, but the more dangerous enemy today is Assad’s regime. An authentically revolutionary left would participate in the military struggle against Assad, while struggling for the leadership of the movement, as part and parcel of the unfinished democratic revolution, with the goal of completing it as a socialist revolution.
Despite these setbacks, the rage of the masses throughout the world can yet be reignited at even a higher level of intensity. We must prepare ourselves for such developments and, while participating in every struggle however localized and specific, tirelessly explain that the only way to crush fascism and prevent a Third World War is by fomenting socialist revolution. Contrary to leftist groups which mistakenly support either Russia on the one hand or the fascistic Ukrainian government on the other, the working class has absolutely no interest in supporting either a fascistic regime or an imperialistic one. Rather, we must oppose both such reactionary forces on the basis of a revolutionary program for a socialist Ukraine as part of a socialist federation of all Europe, which in turn will be part of the worldwide revolution.
The Right’s Gaining Strength Essentially Means that Israel is Getting Weaker
At the same time, today we are witness to the continuous strengthening of the political right in Israel, reactionary forces who seek to eliminate all expressions of criticism for the crimes Israel perpetuates against the Palestinian people in the occupied territories. However, Israel is also exacerbating the political oppression of the Palestinian people residing within her 1967 borders, a prominent victim of which is the Member of the Knesset Muhammed Barake, from the Communist Party of Israel. This past week Barake was convicted of assault which he allegedly committed over seven and a half years ago while coming to the defence of the leftist activist Uri Avneri during a demonstration against Israel’s Second Lebanon War. In general, Israel continues her wholesale killing of opponents of the Occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, at will heats up her borders with Lebanon and Syria, and repeats her mantra of war threats against Iran. Israel’s increased suppression of the Palestinians is a product of her mounting isolation throughout the world. Today, the rulers of Israel can only turn for support to the world’s rightist Islamophobes, who openly accept as self-evident the Zionists’ need to maintain the suppression of the Palestinian people.
The deepening isolation of Israel manifests itself not only in academic boycotts against the state by various universities around the world and in boycotts maintained by trade unions. It has also been reported that the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva is about to vote on five proposed anti-Israel condemnations, one of which includes a call for the imposition of a boycott of and divestment of investments in West Bank settlements. We shouldn’t rely too much on the implementation of such a condemnation, as the UN is an arm of imperialism which, despite the criticism occasionally heard, supports a strong Israel armed to the teeth.
However, the very possibility that this body may condemn Israel reflects the fact that Israel is in a very similar situation to that in which the apartheid regime in South Africa found itself at the end of the 1980s. It is this isolation which leads to a certain amount of tension between the US of Obama and Israel, as the Obama administration, which basically supports Israel, understands that it must distance itself somewhat from the latter in order to maintain its hegemony in the region and continue to control the area’s natural resources, primarily oil, while maintaining its strategic superiority relative to Russian and Chinese imperialism. As a result of this American ambivalence, Israel’s plan to initiate war, with US support, against Iran received a critical blow, as today the US is interested in a rapprochement of sorts with the Iranian regime precisely, among other reasons, because of Israel’s increasing weakness.
Whither the Palestinian Struggle?
Those who hope that the United States will force Israel to establish a Palestinian mini-state in the territories occupied in 1967, and in this way the oppression of the Palestinian people will come to an end, are totally detached from political dynamics as they are actually dictated in our world by class-based material interests. The United States, like all imperialistic powers, is the enemy of the working class and masses, who in turn are the only social forces who possess the potential of changing the course of history. The deepening contradiction of the capitalist system and the many dangers inherent to the present situation together with, regardless of the setbacks, the still existing revolutionary possibilities, demand of us to focus on a most fundament question: How can we prepare for and get organized to launch an authentic, winnable mass struggle as an integral part of that of the Palestinian people, who reside in all of the territories in which de facto apartheid exists between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea?
The fight of the Palestinian people for its freedom is a heroic struggle waged opposite the mighty military power of Israel. The collaboration of the Palestinian Authority (PA) with the Zionist oppressor is not only exacerbating the oppression by Israel, but is bringing ever closer the possibility that the PA will collapse, as it becomes clear to more and more Palestinians that all the talk about “two states for two peoples” is not a real option but only allows Israel to continue its dispossession and oppression with the assistance of the PA.
For more and more Palestinians, it is clear that no solution exists other than one in which a single democratic state will replace the Zionist apartheid state currently controlling all the territory from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. This can only be initiated by bringing about the eruption of a new popular Intifada, waged as a struggle for national liberation. However, once it has broken out, this struggle can only be winnable if it is transformed from a struggle for national liberation into a revolutionary struggle the goal of which is the establishment of a workers’ state from the river to the sea. In this context, it is worth remembering that the authentic achievements of the Palestinian people, including the recognition of their very existence as a people entitled to self determination in their own land, were the results of the popular struggle conducted during the years of the First Intifada. But, at the same time, let us not forget that these achievements were ultimately neutered by the Oslo Agreements which established the Palestinian Authority with the aim of turning the PLO into Israel’s collaborator and lackey.
Today, world public opinion is on the side of independence for the Palestinian people. However, the rulers of Israel repeatedly do all they can to frustrate this right of self determination for the Palestinians, even in the framework of a mini-state lacking any real independence, because they want to retain Israel’s control of all the territory between the river and the sea. These intentions are made crystal clear by Israel’s massive building project in the lands she has occupied since 1967. For this reason, all the talk about the realization of the Palestinian self determination in the framework of “two states for two peoples” is a nothing more than a dangerous delusion aimed at weakening the Palestinian people’s resistance to its own oppression and displacement. As long as Israel continues to exist as an ethnically-based state for the benefit of the Jewish people alone, the Palestinians will continue to be oppressed.
The government of Israel, with the goal of perpetuating its conquests of 1948 and 1967, is transparently attempting to put a spin on the negotiations by demanding not only that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel, but that they explicitly recognize her as a Jewish state; in other words, that Israel is the state of all the Jews throughout the world. This demand not only negates the democratic rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, but aims at ensuring that the Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their country will never return. This spin makes evident the extent to which the slogan of Israel’s being “a Jewish and democratic state” (as Israel likes to see herself) is an inherently anti-democratic slogan, and to what extent Israel’s demand to be recognized as such by the Palestinians is really aimed at preventing the founding of even a Bantustan-like state for the Palestinians on 20% of territory between the river and the sea, while at the same time shifting the blame for the failure of the negotiations to the Palestinians who, ostensibly, do not want peace. If the United States were to declare herself “a Christian and democratic state,” Jewish citizens of the US, like all other persons espousing democratic values, would justifiably respond that this is an anti-democratic act which negates the equal status of all US citizens who are not Christians.
It’s only a question of time before a new Intifada breaks out, one that will be directed not only against the Israeli rulers, but also against the Palestinian Authority which is so clearly collaborating with the imperialists, including Israel. The real danger is that this new Intifada will erupt prematurely, before the Palestinians are truly prepared and organized, and will thus be brutally repressed and defeated.
The new Intifada will be victorious if it will have learned the lessons of the previous intifadas – it must include all sections of oppressed Palestinian society: workers, peasants, small business persons, women, youth, and unemployed, as well as Jewish supporters of the Palestinians who recognize that the only road that leads out of the hell created by the Zionist state and its servants, is one of support for an authentically revolutionary Palestinian struggle. In Israel, a call must be directed to the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab citizens: “Enough symbolic protests! Mobilize the masses for a real struggle!” What is a real struggle? – One which begins from a regional perspective and which ties the Palestinian struggle with the unfinished Arab revolution. A determined, serious Palestinian struggle will reignite revolution throughout the Arab world, but the latter can only be winnable if it will become a revolutionary struggle with the working class in its forefront and under the leadership of a revolutionary workers’ party.
The goal of a revolution in this country must be the founding of a multi-national workers’ state controlling all the territory between the river and the sea, with the national character of this state reflecting its being composed of a Palestinian majority, including the refugees. Within this new state, the Israeli masses will enjoy equal rights and the Jewish workers who will fight alongside the Palestinian workers will be part of the new ruling class. Only in this fashion will it be possible to get out of the blood-drenched swamp which threatens to totally inundate not only the Palestinians but the Israelis, who are living in a death trap whose days are numbered. Israel, like the United States, is getting weaker, and it’s only a matter of time before Israel reels from a catastrophic military defeat in one of her future wars, wars which the Zionist state has no choice but to initiate.
On this, Land Day of 2014, we once again make the following calls:
* Release all Palestinian political prisoners!
* Stop the Judaization of Palestinian neighbourhoods, house demolitions, and ethnic cleansing!
* Rescind Israel’s Land Law, Citizenship Law, Law of Return, and all of the 60 racist laws (reported by the NGO Adalah) the goal of which is to oppress the Palestinians and to ethnically cleanse them from Palestine!
* For the full right of return for all Palestinian refugees to their homeland!
* For the founding of a network of democratic defence committees against Zionist programs and physical assault against Palestinians and migrant workers!
* For the founding of a network of democratic action committees in the neighbourhoods, in cities, villages, places of work, and educational institutions!
* Expropriation of factories and banks, without remuneration, to be placed under the democratic supervision of the workers!
* For a single democratic state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea!
* For a workers’ government between the river and the sea!
* For a workers’ state between the river and the sea as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East!
* For a new Communist International – The Fifth International!