Free Palestine from Zionist Supremacist Tyranny and Imperialist Domination!6
28/01/2018 by socialistfight
This Socialist Fight leaflet was distributed at the AGM of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in London on 27 January.
Operation Protective Edge August 2014 – Palestinians 2,251 killed, Israeli 67 invading Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians, the initial claimed reason for the slaughter.
Socalist Fight supports the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and all other political initiatives aimed at delivering solidarity with the Palestinian people’s struggle against dispossession and the racist regime of Israel, which is built entirely on land stolen by force by European Jewish settlers with the backing of various imperialist powers.
Firstly with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, where British and US imperialism sought to solidify the support of wealthy American Jews in particular for the war against the Kaiser’s Germany by offering Palestine, a land inhabited for many centuries by Palestinian Arabs: Muslims, Christians and some Jews, to Jews internationally as a ‘homeland’. This was a historic crime, as Palestine legitimately only belonged to its people. British imperialism had no right to give its land to anyone.
This led to gradual colonisation, and finally, a reactionary rebellion by Jewish settlers against the British after World War II, with refugees from the Nazi Genocide used as a battering ram to deprive the Palestinian people of their homeland.
Two-thirds of the Arab population of Palestine were expelled in the 1947-49 Naqba, as the new state of Israel was created. In democratic terms, since it expelled a clear majority of the indigenous population by force, this state has no legitimacy, whatever the ideologues of capitalist ‘democracy’ in the West say.
This aggressive settler state consolidated itself in the 1967 war, where it conquered the West Bank and Gaza, those parts of Palestine it had failed to seize at its foundation, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and Sinai. It later had to give back Sinai as part of a treacherous peace deal with the Egyptian military, which still rules Egypt as an Israeli-US client today. In doing so it secured itself a strategic alliance with US imperialism, particularly bolstered by the growing power and respectability of a layer of Jewish ethnic nationalists in the US ruling class, the same layer that Balfour sought hard to get on side in 1917.
Since then Zionism has grown in its power to dominate and dictate imperialist policy in the Middle East. The collapse of Stalinism seemed for a while to have created a unipolar world, with only one unchallengeable superpower, the USA, which would effortlessly dominate the globe. In the Middle East, however, the US has engaged in wars which have bolstered Israel and left chaos with which the US superpower has struggled.
A key purpose of imperialism’s wars in the Middle East has been to crush any state capable in any way of standing up for Arabs against Israel, even if the result is chaos, instability and rampant anarchy, as seen in Iraq, Libya and Syria. Israel is too weak to impose the kind of ‘order’ a more territorially rooted imperialism would generally prefer; so chaos, anarchy and Arab (and indeed American) impotence are its preferred lesser evil.
A Class Asset for Capital
There is a potential contradiction here between Israel and the United States, its current great-power sponsor. But this contradiction is suppressed in practice by the powerful Zionist component of the US ruling class. This is bolstered by numerous Christian Zionists, now symbolised by Vice President Pence, whose mangled variant of Christian theology now demands a Jewish state in the Levant to lay the basis for Jesus’s return. Or so they claim.
Marxists, however, consider that this ideology is pragmatically concocted to express class interests. In particular, part of the ruling class sees the disproportionately large Jewish ethnic nationalist (Zionist) billionaire capitalist component in the US (and to a lesser extent in Europe) as a particularly class conscious layer of the capitalist class and an important asset of capital itself. This is a huge turnabout from the 1930s, when capitalist anti-Semitic paranoia meant that even Jewish magnates were often suspected of communist sympathies, as attested by the ‘shocking’ (to current sensibilities) old film of Elizabeth Windsor, as a young girl, doing the Hitler salute along with her parents.
We in Socialist Fight are Leninist-Trotskyists and the firmest opponents of US imperialism and its Israeli allies, and the firmest defender of the peoples of the semi-colonial world against imperialism and Zionism. Thus we defended Iraq against the wars of imperialism culminating in 2003. We defend all armed resistance to imperialism and its various proxies in the various wars since, including those in Libya and Syria that flowed from imperialist exploitation of the Arab Spring revolts against despotism. We defend Iran against the threat of attack from Israel and the USA
We consider even Arab bourgeois despots like Gaddafi and Assad to be a lesser evil to conquest by US imperialism, Zionism and their proxies, which have even included ISIS at least partially. Thus we denounced the imperialist overthrow of Gaddafi, and strongly backed the liberation of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies against the US/Israeli backed Islamist forces that at one time held this strategic city.
We are also the most consistent opponents of Zionism. We denounce what is specific about this reactionary movement; while it has always sought Great Power sponsorship for its objectives of a Jewish state in the Middle East, it is an independent force whose real programme was the creation of a state for the Jewish bourgeoisie of the imperialist countries to possess as their second homeland, from the point of view of their ideology, in case of some disaster at the hand of supposedly inevitable anti-Jewish movements in the countries where Jews live.
14-year-old Ahed Tamimi struggling along with other women against an armed Israeli soldier to free her 12-year-old brother.
Oppressor People or Victims?
This aura of victimhood that justifies this programme today is utterly fake. Jews are no longer oppressed; insofar as they organise in support of Israel, they act as an oppressor people in their political-communal activities, and not just in Israel. Jewish-Zionist bourgeois, for profound reasons connected with Jewish history, are represented among the capitalist classes of the West, particularly the USA but also here also to a real extent, in far greater numbers than those of Jewish people among the general population.
This gives the Zionists among them, who are the clear overwhelming majority of such super-rich of Jewish origin, considerable social power in Western society that is exerted on behalf of hard-line pro-Israeli policies.
This layer of the bourgeois in the West clearly is a major part of the Zionist project, and by the power they wield as a coherent group, punch well above their weight in determining policy and thus bring to bear enormous Western military and economic power in support of Israel against the Palestinians. They are just as much oppressors of the Palestinians as the Israeli ruling class itself, with whom they interpenetrate, as reciprocally do the Israeli ruling class with the Western ruling classes.
We must expose the racism of this Zionist layer and its ethnic nationalist core in the Western ruling classes. Their racism, in the aftermath of the Nazi genocide, is the only form of racism that it still intellectually and socially acceptable.
The notion that is hegemonic in bourgeois politics, that the crimes of the Nazis against the Jewish people somehow justify what has been done to the Palestinians, needs to be denounced. That idea, which amounts to Jewish supremacism, is just as pernicious today, with the unremitting suffering of the Palestinians for 70 years and more, as that of white supremacy and the pre-war anti-Semitism that led to the Holocaust.
There needs to be as strong and sharp campaign against Jewish racism today as there has ever been against anti-Semitism and white supremacism in the past. The core of this in the West is the powerful Jewish–Zionist caste in the ruling class, who consider Israel to be their state along with the one they live in. As Marxists we do not take sides in conflicts and potential conflicts between different layers of the imperialist bourgeoisie. That is not our strategy.
However, since the struggle against Jewish supremacism and Jewish-Zionist racism in the West has not even been embarked upon as yet, we can say this. Revolutionary advances are often preceded by the introduction of divisions into the camp of the class enemy. A firm taking on, by the working class and Palestine solidarity movement, of the task of exposing this caste, could conceivably open up latent and potentially severe divisions in the Western ruling classes about the wisdom of pandering to Zionism and Israel’s foreign legion. Such divisions would benefit Palestinians, who at times, particularly now, seem to be fighting an enormously powerful and monolithic enemy.
Some capitulators to Zionism, particularly in the soft Labour left, consider this policy to be in some way anti-Jewish. It is nothing of the sort. It is the only consistently anti-racist policy confronted by the concrete reality of Zionism today.
For a Palestinian Workers State From the River To the Sea!
For a socialist Middle East!
All ‘Israel’ is occupied territory!
Fight all imperialist racism – including Jewish racism!
Stop the right-wing witchhunt in Labour: Fight Zionist Interference in Working-Class Politics!
Many good points are made in the above leaflet. It is great that “Israel” is correctly put in quote marks in the slogans; it would be even better if this was done consistently in the article text. There is no such place as “Israel”; as the article states, it is all stolen Palestinian land.
The denunciation of Jewish influence around the world supporting the Zionist occupation is bravely done – far too many ‘lefts’ run away in fear of the bogus “anti-Semitism” smear.
Where the article is weak is in highlighting what perspective there is for the defeat of the US Empire, all imperialism and the defeat of Zionism and the eradication of the Jewish armed camp on Palestinian land.
That perspective is the deepening war-slump crisis of global monopoly-capitalism’s over-production of surplus capital, as opposed to the impoverishment and growing despair and anger of the world’s masses, and their level of sophistication and technical ability.
This contradiction is undermining the decaying US Empire, the EU, Saudi Arabia, the ability of all bourgeois dictatorships and client states to stay on top etc. Washington needs war as the great diversion and as the means by sheer destruction to eventually redivide the planet (with the US staying top dog, it hopes) and get profitable expansion going again. Vicious trade war in all commodities and moves towards World War Three are breaking out, but will instead cause socialist revolution to break out all over the world.
In the Middle East, new “Arab Springs” will burst out; the recognition of Jerusalem as Zionland’s capital inflames matters, destroys the standing of the Palestinian compromisers such as Abbas and the lying, impossible ‘two-state solution’, the Egyptian masses are further provoked.
The Palestinians will eventually gain leadership understanding far closer to Leninism. Their Egyptian brothers and sisters will be looking to join them in revolt.
In the UK, the best form of solidarity is to fight for the revolution in our own country, and for the revolutionary line in all countries without exception.
But the day will not be won by Leninism-Trotskyism – just Leninism. Trotskyism keeps exposing itself to the world’s masses as the ‘left-wing’ dressing-up of the worst kind of middle-class hatred of the dictatorship of the proletariat, expressed in its adherents’ virulent hatred of the Soviet Union, the Eastern European workers states and China.
In the extremely worthwhile polemics taking place on the Socialist Fight website, the counter-arguments to my efforts to explain this point are always directed against the Soviet STATE and its administrators (as if they were a new “ruling class” independent of the working class), rather than being more accurate exposures of the bad policies of the Moscow and Beijing revisionist leaderships (which is what would always be useful and required).
As Lenin says: “Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested.”
We put ‘Israel’ in quotes in the slogan as an extra emphasis on the anti-democratic nature of this state at its formation.
But the slogan with or without the quote marks says this state is illegitimate. “All Israel is Occupied Territory” is just as hard. Only a nuance to emphasise a point about democracy. But democratic demands are not Stalinism’s strength. You cannot change reality by tweaking the language.
Our polemic over Stalinism is against the bureaucratic caste, not class, that exterminated the Bolshevik cadre and eventually undermined the revolution completely. This caste is analogous to a trade union bureaucracy. That is also a caste – a part of a class, but with some separate interests that put it at odds with the bulk of the class.
It is rather obvious if you look at the state of trade unions around the world that their bueaucratic caste plays a ruinous role. The same is true for the deformed workers states. The bureaucratic caste is a political agent of imperialism within such a workers state, just as the trade union bureaucracy is a political agent of the bosses.
This is not about wrong ‘policies’. Its about material privileges giving rise to class treachery. Confusion about the nature of these bureaucracies has been a major source of splintering on the left, including many who claim the banner of Trotskyism. Some have succumbed to Stalinophobia, which can indeed lead to anti-communism. What anti-communists have in common with yourself is that they both equate the gains of the revolution with the caste that betrays and undermines it.
You put a positive interpretation on this. They regard it negatively. Both equate the social gains of the revolution with the bureaucracy. But you cannot get around the fact that the bureaucracy was the force that reintroduced the rule of capital in the main deformed workers states, in Russia, China, in Vietnam through ‘doi moi’, etc to the point that only North Korea and Cuba remain. That’s what happens if you reject world revolution and permanent revolution. You end up rejecting socialism itself.
The use of the word caste to pretend that a new class is not being invented is just a sleight of hand that should not fool a dead cat.
The Trotskyist line also completely flies in the face of all Lenin’s views about building a strong socialist state. If Lenin wanted the state to be just amateurish bunches of militia why did he set up an all-powerful Cheka (forerunner of the KGB)? Why was Trotsky himself charged with building up a mighty Red Army?
How would comrade Ian distinguish his views from anti-leadership, anti-state anarchism – one of the worst historic enemies of Marxism?
There is no such thing as a “semi-state”. In Marxist understanding (Marx and Engels, then Lenin) the state is defined as “bodies of armed men and women”. Nor is there such a thing as a “deformed workers state”.
That would mean a state where the people or the guns or the tanks were only half-built or always deformed with bent gun barrels and can’t shoot straight. It is a nonsense.
The early Bolshevik state under Lenin was in a feeble condition with a lack of all manner of things – trained men, weaponry, food etc. They still won the Russian Civil War under terrible circumstances of 14 armies invading from the West and East, and constant betrayals from their own ranks, anarchists, freed POWs, Czech army etc – see Evan Maudsley’s excellent (if non-communist) book on the subject.
After Lenin’s death, the Stalin regime saw off the “Left” and Right Opposition factionalising and got on with industrialising Russia. They built up the workers state and despite their popular-frontist confusions and other revisionist weaknesses got on with building socialism.
Once Trotsky was kicked out of Russia he SUBJECTIVELY turned against the Bolshevik leadership even more.
Lenin wrote reams against the non-Bolshevik Trotsky before the revolution, and reams afterwards, whenever Trotsky lapsed into factionalising, “revolutionary” phrase-mongering or bureaucratic thinking. See Lenin vs Trotsky books from Progress or Lenin’s Collected Works.
Lenin, even using NEP, was all for building socialism in one country, and specifically ridicules Trotsky’s pre-October 1917 slogan of “For a United Socialist States of Europe” precisely because it would appear to rule out making the socialist revolution in ONE COUNTRY first.
Lenin also castigated Trotsky’s “Permanent Revolution” theory for Trotsky’s slogan (alongside Parvus) of “No Tsar but a Workers Government” which Lenin explained would dangerously ignore the revolutionary role of the poor peasantry and weaken the revolutionary forces.
Get acquainted with Lenin’s works in the battles with the Mensheviks, and you will constantly see Lenin referring to Trotsky as a poseur, a charlatan and an opportunist.
Trotsky did some good work UNDER LENIN, but his ego and conceit just would not let him work as a team player within the Stalin regime, and the split that Lenin feared in his Last Testament occurred.
The Stalin group’s revisionism – best defined as retreats from Leninism – was very damaging to the USSR, and did directly lead to the Gorbachev liquidation in the end.
But to critique this tragedy you need to read lots of Lenin on the building of socialism and on the trouble with the need to build up state administration, which is bound to result in bureaucratic practices.
But Lenin is utterly scathing about those, in particular Trotsky, who say that the problems of bureaucracy can be stopped overnight. These evils will be with us for years to come and whoever says differently is a charlatan, Lenin explains. See the CPSU trade union debate of 1922.
No, the use of caste as an analogy is quite defensible in Marxist terms. What, then is the trade union bureaucracy? It is no accident also that the Stalinised CPs in the West tended to merge with the trade union bureaucracy. They are similar in so many ways.
Chris really should read Lenin’s State and Revolution, written just prior to the revolution but published in 1918, to discover Lenin’s strategic views on the state.
The standing Red Army was regarded by the Bolsheviks as a necessity given Russia’s backwardness and peasant majority. It was not the norm. The bridge to the norm was the world revolution.
One important element of Stalinist cultism is their cult of Lenin. Manufactured by hacks after Lenin’s death so Lenin had no choice. Lenin apparently was always right. Well actually, there are some important things he was wrong about.
One important one was the character of the revolution itself. Trotsky was clear in 1905 that the revolution could only triumph as the dictatorship of the proletariat, supported by the peasantry, which would depend on the revolution in Europe to ensure its survival
Lenin’s position prior to 1917 was that the dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia was impossible without the aid of the European revolution. Instead he called for the Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry, which would not expropriate capital but would rather act similarly to the Jacobins in laying the basis for a real, vigorous Russian capitalism. For Lenin prior to 1917, only the world revolution would cause the revolution to ‘grow over’ into a proletarian dictatorship. He also hypothesised that international revolution could be sparked by the ‘democratic revolution’ he hypothesised, but in the 1917 revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat was clearly established. It was a socialist, not a bourgeois-democratic, revolution.
The underlying reason for the antagonism between Lenin and Trotsky was because of this difference. Lenin built a highly efficient combat party but because of his position on the nature of the revolution itself, some suspected that Lenin’s real politics were that of a Jacobin leader per se, and therefore his centralised party could even turn against the working class.
Only when Lenin changed his view on the revolution itself, after the February revolution, did Trotsky fully understand the value of the party Lenin led, for the revolution. Whereas Stalin, Kamenev and later Zinoviev resisted the change in favour of the old position, and sought to hold back the October revolution.
That was the basis for the principled bloc between Lenin and Trotsky that led the October revolution.
‘Reading Lenin’ as interpreted by Stalinists is an abuse of Lenin. If Lenin had avoided Fanny Kaplan’s bullets and lived longer, it is certain that he would have been regarded by Stalin as an enemy just as Trotsky was.
Stalin never led a revolution but he murdered many revolutionaries.
The idea that Lenin had to learn Leninism from Trotsky is ludicrous. The idea that Lenin was NOT a socialist revolutionary prior to re-reading Trotsky’s Permanent Revolution – a work that Lenin had scorned repeatedly – defies belief.
But this is the “logical” assertion that flows out of Trotskyism – that the real genius of the Russian Revolution was Leon Trotsky – and is, of course, asserted by the conceited subjective fraud Trotsky himself.
But let Lenin speak for himself, writing in 1915 against Trotsky’s slogan “For a United States of Europe”: “[this is incorrect] because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible…uneven economic and political development is an absolute law of capitalism.”
Also in November 1915 in his article “Two Lines in the Revolution”, Lenin argues against Trotsky’s line of “No Tsar but a Workers Government” and Trotsky’s article of 1915, “The Struggle for Power”.
Lenin: “Trotsky is in fact helping the liberal labour politicians in Russia who by ‘denial’ of the role of the peasantry mean refusal to rouse the peasants to revolution.”
But way back in July 1905 in the famous “Two Tactics” article, Lenin showed his Marxist understanding of uninterrupted revolution: “The proletariat must carry to completion the democratic revolution by allying to itself the mass of the peasantry in order to crush by force the resistance of the autocracy and to paralyse the instability of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat must accomplish the socialist revolution by allying to itself the mass of the semi-proletarian elements of the population in order to crush by force the resistance of the bourgeoisie and to paralyse the instability of the peasantry and the petty bourgeoisie.”
In September 1905 in his article “Attitude Towards the Peasant Movement”, Lenin writes: “From the democratic revolution we shall at once…in accordance with…the strength of the..organised proletariat, begin to pass to the socialist revolution. We stand for uninterrupted revolution. We shall not stop half way.”
This and much more material about Lenin’s battles with Trotsky, Trotsky’s damaging factionalising that caused party splits, and most of all his anarchistic views on the Soviet state, especially after Lenin was paralysed by a stroke and Trotsky made a grab for power in his New Course pamphlet are gathered together in the EPSR book “Lenin’s arguments for a strong socialist state against Trotsky’s Permanent Counter-revolution.”
This understanding needs to be battled with much more. And I am not and have never been a Stalinist. I started out as a Trotskyist.
“Marxists are absolutely convinced of the bourgeois character of the Russian revolution. What does this mean? It means that the democratic reforms in the political system and the social and economic reforms, which have become a necessity for Russia, do not in themselves imply the undermining of capitalism, the undermining of bourgeois rule; on the contrary, they will, for the first time, really clear the ground for a wide and rapid, European, and not Asiatic, development of capitalism; they will, for the first time, make it possible for the bourgeoisie to rule as a class. The Socialist-Revolutionaries cannot grasp this idea, for they are ignorant of the rudiments of the laws of development of commodity and capitalist production; they fail to see that even the complete success of a peasant insurrection, even the redistribution of the whole of the land for the benefit of the peasants and in accordance with their desires (“Black Redistribution” or something of that kind), will not destroy capitalism at all, but will, on the contrary, give an impetus to its development and hasten the class disintegration of the peasantry itself. The failure to grasp this truth makes the Socialist-Revolutionaries unconscious ideologists of the petty bourgeoisie. Insistence on this truth is of enormous importance for Social-Democracy, not only from the theoretical standpoint but also from the standpoint of practical politics, for from it follows that the complete class independence of the party of the proletariat in the present “general democratic” movement is obligatory.”
Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution, chapter 6, 1905
This was the strategic conception of the Russian Revolution held by Lenin prior to the April Theses in 1917. I don’t see how anyone who reads this can deny that Lenin’s view was that the outcome of the Russian revolution would be a prolonged period of capitalist development, after the democratic/agrarian revolution, to lay the basis for a later struggle for socialism.
The pre-1917 Bolsheviks believed that the bourgeoisie were incapable of carrying out this revolution, and that the proletariat and peasantry would be forced to carry it out against the will of the bourgeoisie through a democratic, not socialist, dictatorship.
Lenin’s concept of uninterrupted revolution was in contradiction to this strategic conception. A ‘growing over’ from such a regime to a socialist revolution has to depend on an impetus from revolution elsewhere. The concept that a revolution in Russia that set itself the kind of bourgeois objectives described above would trigger off a socialist revolution in Europe was a weak and incoherent perspective. There is as is clear above, a whole era of capitalist development between Lenin’s original democratic revolution concept and the dictatorship of the proletariat.
It was always going to take a socialist overturn in Russia to create the conditions for a working class upheaval in Europe, which is what happened in 1917.
It was always the case also, that were the proletariat to take political power for non-socialist, bourgeois democratic purposes as Lenin advocated, it would inevitably seek social reforms which the bourgeoisie would resist. It would therefore be forced to attack the bourgeoisie by expropriation, or to lose power. Trotsky pointed out this contradiction in 1906, in Results and Prospects.
Lenin did not denounce Trotsky’s work Permanent Revolution before 1917. This work was written in 1929. Trotsky’s basic work was Results and Prospects and there is no polemic by Lenin against it or even evidence that he read it. Nor did Trotsky ever call for ‘No Tsar, but a workers government’. Thus slogan came from Parvus, not Trotsky – it is not to be found in Trotsky’s works on this subject, the main ones being Results and Prospects and Trotsky’s book 1905.
And no, Trotskyists have never claimed Lenin learned Permanent Revolution from Trotsky. On the contrary, Lenin independently moved to the left in 1917 under the impact of the class configurations that emerged as a result of the overthrow of Tsarism. His April Theses clearly call for establishing a proletarian dictatorship as the means of resolving the agrarian question and the questions of oppressed nations, which were the key obstacles to capitalist development that were supposed to be resolved by the democratic revolution. Not to forget the war itself. Now these were to be resolved by the dictatorship of the proletariat and the world revolution. Which was the same as Trotsky fought for from 1905. A workers state where the peasant masses supported the rise of the proletariat to power to act as their emancipator.
It is simply a fact that Stalin and Kamenev, and then Zinoviev, resisted this leftward move within the party and continued to defend the previous perspective. It is well known that Zinoviev and Kamenev vocally opposed the October uprising and Stalin played no role. Trotsky, however was at the head of the Petrograd Soviet’s armed forces that won the uprising in October, just as he was at the head of the Soviet in 1905.
That was the basis of a principled bloc and fusion of Lenin and Trotsky in political terms in 1917.
Incidentally, differences on the formulation of the slogan of the United States of Europe have no necessary connection to the Russian revolution per se. Particularly in a period when Lenin himself, prior to 1917, as is well known and often quoted, did not believe he would live to see the revolution he was working for. A year later he was in power at the head of the first workers state.
A real turnaround because as the passage I quoted above makes clear, the ‘Democratic Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Peasantry’ was no workers state.
You are currently arguing Stalinist views. And you arrived at them through Roy Bull’s tendency that splintered away from Healy’s terribly deformed organisation with its Stalinist-like functioning and embraced key elements of Stalinism ideologically. That was a disastrous wrong turn.