Ultra-Leftism and the Destruction of the Israeli State - A Reply to the Argentinean COR

By Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 27.7.2014, www.thecommunists.net


The Argentinean group Corriente Obrera Revolucionaria (COR) recently published a statement on the Gaza war in Spanish and English. (1) It contains a general statement expressing the anti-Zionist position of this organization, their siding with the Palestinian resistance against Israel and the outline of a socialist perspective. Unfortunately the authors mix this generally correct approach with ultra-left nonsense. They attack our international tendency for its supposed softness in the struggle against the Zionist state. Such they wrote: “… the RCIT that has a section in what they call ‘Israel/Occupied Palestine’, refuse to advance the destruction of the State of Israel. Instead they pose the entelechy of ‘down with Israel’s assassin wars’, of course, they concede the Palestinian people the right to self-defense.

Either the COR leaders have not read the RCIT documents on Palestine or they deliberately distort our position. Both possibilities speak against them. There is hardly a single statement or article of the RCIT or its section in Israel / Occupied Palestine in which we don’t state the inherently reactionary nature of the Israeli state as a Jewish state, and our goal of abolishing it and replacing it with a single workers’ and peasants’ republic in the whole of historic Palestine (summarized in our agitational slogan “For a free, red Palestine!”).

In our statement at the beginning of the present Gaza war the RCIT and its section in Israel / Occupied Palestine stated: “A Jewish state in Palestine can only survive as long as the ongoing forced exile of the Palestinians continues to exist. A "two-state solution" would deny the Palestinians the right of return. Likewise, a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza would be reduced to a Bantustan, a dependent de-facto colony of the much richer and more powerful Israel. We therefore reject the so-called "two-state solution" which is promoted by the Fatah leadership as well as by numerous Stalinist, social democratic, and centrist forces both in Israel as well as around the world. Instead we struggle to achieve a single state in the whole of Palestine in which the Palestinians would naturally constitute the majority. In this reality, the State of Israel will be replaced by a Democratic, Palestinian, Multinational and Socialist Workers and Fallahin Republic from the River to the Sea.” (2)

In another statement, published at the beginning of the last Gaza war in November 2012, we wrote:

The State of Israel must be destroyed and be replaced by a secular, Arab-Jewish workers' republic in the whole of Palestine. In such a state, the Palestinians and the Jews, who accept the elimination of the privileges of the apartheid state of Israel, can live together equally and peacefully. We combine this perspective with the struggle for a socialist federation of the people in the Middle East.” (3)

And in The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto – the RCIT’s program – we wrote: “Therefore, the national oppression can only be overcome when the Palestinian refugees are given the full right of return, get their land back or receive proper compensation and if the State of Israel is destroyed.” (4)

In the appendix to this article we give several more examples. (5) It is therefore obvious that the COR leaders hope that the readers of their statement are not aware of the real positions of the RCIT and its section in Israel / Occupied Palestine.

The accusations by COR are particularly pathetic since Johannes Wiener, one of the leading comrades of our Austrian section, was threatened by the bourgeois state with jail because of so-called “sedition”. This “sedition” was that he called in a speech at a public rally during the Gaza war in November 2012 for the “destruction of Israel”! The COR leaders must know about this not only because we published several reports on this event but also because they at that time send us a message in solidarity with our comrade! (6)

Behind this nonsensical distortion of our position is not just the COR leaders desire to discredit the RCIT. It also reflects their infantile “anti-Zionism.” This becomes obvious from their objection when we speak about “Israel / Occupied Palestine.” Probably it is because COR characterize Israel as an “entity (because it is not based on national classes we don’t consider it a proper State)”. Unfortunately the COR leaders fail to explain this, let us put it diplomatically, originally idea. If the Israeli state is not based on national classes, on what else is it based? Does COR deny the existence of an Israeli bourgeoisie, indeed even a class of monopoly capital as we have shown in a recent study? For example there are a number of Israeli multinational corporations. According to the Forbes Global 2000 – a ranking of the biggest, most powerful companies in the world – 10 multinational corporations from Israel are listed. This is similar to other smaller imperialist countries which have a much longer history of imperialist development like Austria or Belgium (each 11 corporations) or Finland (12). (7) Where do the Israeli capitalists derive their profits if not by exploiting the Jewish workers as well as the Arab and migrant working class in Israel (in addition to their extra-profits from foreign operations)?! Do the COR leaders want to deny the existence of an Israeli-Jewish working class (which of course is very privileged, relative to Palestinians and migrant workers, and contains larger proportion of labor aristocrats)?! Needless to say, there is also an Israeli-Jewish middle class. So which national classes do not exist in Israel according to the COR leaders?

In addition it should be unnecessary to add that Israel is not only a state but also a very powerful, militarized state. It is the eighth largest nuclear power in the world, and ranks tenth among the world’s arms exporters. (8)

The COR leaders might object that Israel is based on the support of the imperialist powers. There is no doubt that Israel receives an important amount of financial and military assistance as we – and many other supporters of the Palestinian liberation struggle – have pointed out many times. But this imperialist aid does not deny the basic fact that the production of surplus value takes place in Israel based on the exploitation of its working class. Neither does it negate the fact that the Israeli bourgeoisie has its own imperialist interests, or that it is not simply an underling of US imperialism. Israel has always been a colonial settler state which, with time, developed into a powerful, small imperialist state. It continues to exist as a colonialist settler state, since its entire existence is based on the theft of land and the expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian people, a process which is being continued by the ever-expanding settler activities in the West Bank.

Little children hope to deny ugly realities by closing their eyes. The COR leaders hope to deny the real existence of the powerful Israeli state by claiming that it does not exist. Marxists and adults in general should know that such methods of denial are pretty useless when searching for the correct orientation in politics and life in general.



(1) Corriente Obrera Revolucionaria: “Derrotemos la ofensiva sionista! Destrucción del Estado de Israel!” respectively “Let’s defeat the Zionist offensive! Destruction of the State of Israel!” 9.7.2014, http://www.cor-digital.org/

(2) RCIT and ISL: Palestine: Forward to the Third Intifada! 7.7.2014, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/victory-to-palestinian-uprising/

(3) RCIT: New Wave of Israeli terror against Gaza: Support the Palestinian Resistance! Defeat the Zionist killing machine! 15.11.2012, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/defend-gaza/

(4) RCIT: The Revolutionary Communist Manifesto, 2012, p. 49, http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit-manifesto/support-the-national-liberation-struggles/

(5) See e.g.: “Peace will only be built in the region when all injustice is overthrown. In Palestine, that means the end of the state of Israel, which can only rule by apartheid discrimination and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians inside its borders and permanent war with the Palestinians and their allies beyond. It means the full right of return of all the Palestinian refugees to one democratic state, from the river to the sea. Because such a democratic state would be dedicated to overcoming the national oppression of the Palestinian people, we believe its national character would naturally be determined by the Palestinian masses, who would be its overwhelming majority. Israel’s Jews should have full civil rights as a minority in such a state and thus be able to live free of any form of religious or racial persecution. But Zionists must be denied any right to keep stolen land or property or continue their apartheid rule.” (ISL: The Zionist State Tries to Break Gaza Again – and Fails Again, November 2012, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/isl-statement-on-gaza-war/)

We in the Internationalist Socialist League, Arabs and Jews, fight for such a working class leadership. We offer against the Zionist nightmare of an apartheid state from the river to the sea a revolutionary perspective of a democratic Palestinian state from the river to the sea, that in its class contents will be a multi-national workers state supported by the Fallahin from the river to the sea.” (ISL: The Nakba Day 2013, 5.4.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/nakba-day-2013/)

The slogan of a single ‘Democratic State in the whole of Palestine’ is a historic and progressive one. It expresses the desire of the Palestinians and all progressive Jews to smash the Zionist state and to replace it with a single state. In this state all privileges for the Israeli Jewish oppressor nation – which they automatically have in the present Apartheid State – will be abolished. All Palestinian refugees will have the right to return and will – given the fact that they form a 2:1 majority and that it is their historic homeland – shape the character of the future state.” (Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine, May 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/permanent-revolution-in-palestine/)

We stand for the victory of the Palestinian resistance and the destruction of the imperialist apartheid state of Israel.” (http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/rally-for-palestine-9-7-2014/, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/rally-for-palestine-13-7-2014/, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/demo-for-palestine-20-7-2014/)

The RCIT calls for the destruction of the Israeli Apartheid state.“ (http://www.thecommunists.net/publications/editorial-revcom-7/)

(6) We have reported about the threats against comrade Johannes Wiener here: RKOB: Austria: Pro-Israeli War-Mongers try to throw 20-year old Palestine Solidarity Activist into Prison. RKOB spokesperson Johannes Wiener is accused of „sedition” because of a Pro-Palestine speech during the Gaza War, 13.12.2012, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/no-to-criminalization-of-rcit-activist/; RKOB: Victory! The Charge against RKOB Spokesperson and Palestine Solidarity Activist Johannes Wiener has been dropped! Austria: Israelite Cultus Community suffers defeat in its attack on Free Speech and Palestine Solidarity, 10.1.2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/solidarity-with-wiener-won/. For the international solidarity campaign including the COR’s message of solidarity see: Statements in Solidarity with RCIT Activist Johannes Wiener, http://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/solidarity-with-johannes-wiener/

(7) The World‘s Biggest Companies, The Forbes Magazine, 18.4.2012, http://www.forbes.com/global2000; We also refer readers to our study by Michael Pröbsting: On some Questions of the Zionist Oppression and the Permanent Revolution in Palestine. Thoughts on some exceptionalities of the Israeli state, the national oppression of the Palestinian people and its consequences for the program of the Bolshevik-Communists in Palestine, May 2013, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/permanent-revolution-in-palestine/

(8) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, 2012, Summary, pp. 13-14