This is a translation of 팔레스타인 해방과 ‘사회애국주의’
Palestinian Liberation and ‘Social Patriotism’
Down with Zionism! For the Palestinian’s Anti-Imperialist Liberation Struggle!
Founding of Israel as a Bridgehead of Anglo-American Imperialism and the Beginning of the Palestinian Arab Tragedy
The mass migration of Jews to Palestine and the establishment of Israel were strategic project of British and American imperialism to seize the Middle East in oil repositories. Since the founding of Israel in 1948, Arab ethnic cleansing has never ceased in Palestine. All four wars against Israel by the Palestinian Arab and neighboring Arab countries ended in disastrous defeats. Palestinian Arabs were driven out of their ancestral lands and into Gaza-West Bank and Jordan-Lebanon refugee camps. The enraged Palestinian Arabs fought tooth and nail, organizing militants. They fought by all means such as guerrilla warfare, hostage-taking, missile attacks and suicide bombings. Israel retaliated by killing 100 Arabs with superior firepower fueled by imperial support when one Jew died. Mossad, a secret police officer, rose to notoriety as it relentlessly killed Palestinian militants and antagonists. Today, Israeli forces are relentless enough to bomb Gaza-West Bank, Syria and Lebanon from time to time and threaten Iran with war.
The majority of Israel’s Jews have deep-rooted racist sentiments against Arabs. According to a 2007 survey, more than half of Israel’s Jews considered marriage to Arabs as a “traitor” to the people. The 2018 Jewish National Act stripped Arabic of its official language status.
Since 2000, at least 8,000 Arab children have been handed over to military trials. The Gaza-West Bank has become a weapons test site for Israeli military capital and supplies low-wage workers without rights. There are even Jews who go on picnics on hills with a panoramic view of Arab enclaves and watch the bombing. Jewish settlements, spearheading ethnic cleansing, are expanding as the Arab villages in the Gaza-West Bank are being torn down. After the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017, the city’s deportation of Arabs has accelerated.
Israel’s Ethnic Cleansing to Continue in 2021
In 2021, the Israeli government blocked the entry of vaccines into the Gaza-West Bank despite the overflow of vaccines in its own country. People in this area are subject to removal, so it doesn’t care about the damage caused by COVID-19. By April this year, a total of 4,323 Arabs had been jailed in the West Bank alone under the name of a “security threat,” and a number of East Jerusalem Arab residents were ordered to be deported.
Israeli police sealed off the door to Damascus, where Palestinian Arabs gathered every year, when the Islamic holiday Ramadan began on April 12. More than 100 people were injured when angry Arabs clashed with police. A video of a Palestinian Arab teenager slapping a Jew in the face was posted on TikTok on the 15th. In retaliation, Arab lynchings were carried out throughout Israel, and more than 300 members of the far-right group Lehava marched through Jerusalem on the 22nd, shouting “Let’s kill Arabs!” As Arab citizens tried to drive them away, Israeli police, along with Lehava, violently dispersed the citizens, wounding more than 100 people.
On Sunday, protests broke out across Jerusalem and Gaza and the West Bank, and Hamas, unlike Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, a Muslim Brotherhood Palestinian militant group, fired a missle to Israel. As always, Israeli troops mobilized military and police to break up protests and bomb Gaza to slaughter civilians. In retaliation, Hamas fired more than 200 missiles at Israel on May 10. However, the Iron Dome interceptor intercepted most of Hamas’ crude missiles and dropped them. The Israeli army, which neutralized Hamas’ counterattack, bombed Gaza with confidence, killing hundreds of civilians and Hamas commanders.
President Joe Biden spoke on the phone with Netanyahu on Wednesday, the day after the missile attack. On the same day, White House spokesman announced that the president condemned the missile attack by the “terrorist” group Hamas and supported Israel’s right to self-defense. Secretary of State Tony Blinkan condemned Hamas and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin promised “tough support” for Israel. American imperialism stood by Israel as always.
The two sides announced on 21 May that they had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire. However, the conflict cannot be extinguished unless the US-centered imperialist Middle East strategy, Israel as a flesh-tipped imperialist claw in Middle East, and Israel’s Palestinian Arab ethnic cleansing policy are ended. A truce is literally just a short break for the next war. On the 23rd, just two days after the cease-fire was announced, Israel said it had arrested 1,550 anti-Israeli protesters in a “law-and-order operation” involving security forces and conducting house searches.
The Nature of Zionism and the Betrayal of the Spartacus(iSt)
Comintern correctly saw that the construction of a Jewish state helped British colonial rule.
“The Zionists’ Palestine affair can be characterised as a gross example of the deception of the working classes of that oppressed nation by Entente imperialism and the bourgeoisie of the country in question pooling their efforts (in the same way that Zionism in general actually delivers the Arab working population of Palestine, where Jewish workers only form a minority, to exploitation by England, under the cloak of the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine).”―Communist International 1920 Theses on the national and colonial question
Overpowering a large number of local people through a small number of privileged people who share interests with imperialism is a typical way of establishing an imperial colonial system. Mainly the people who moved from their home countries to colonies become the privileged minority who carry out imperial interests, but another ethnic group mobilized locally or externally is also used. Northern Ireland, Palestine, Rhodesia(Zimbabwe), South Africa and Myanmar are examples.
White regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa were bastions of Anglo-American imperialism that suppressed the communist revolution and national liberation in South Africa. And Israel is a stronghold of imperialism to carry out the interests of Anglo-American financial capital in the Arab region. Using this fortress as its base, Anglo-American imperialism has subdued the national liberation and communist movements of the Arab working people who challenge it, and expanded its interests.
Zionism is an instrument of imperialism. It is unacceptable and should be overthrown. However, the International Spartacus Tendency (iSt), which claimed to be Trotsky's sole successor, first described the Palestinian issue in 1968.
“For example, in 1948 the central issue in dispute was for the right of the Hebrew nation to exist. Therefore, while maintaining the utmost hostility to Zionism as a solution to the “Jewish question,” Marxists were compelled to support the right of the state of Israel to exist, despite their advocacy and struggle for a bi-national state.”―Turn the Guns the Other Way, Spartacist March-April 1968
At the same time, the third Middle East war in 1967 was analyzed as follows.
“However, by continuing to whip up their people into frenzies of nationalism and racism, the ruling class of each country has been able to avoid the consequences of these crises.”―ibid.
iSt regarded the nationalism of Palestinian Arab who had been expelled from their homeland as the same as Zionism, which emerged as the imperial ambitions of British and American invaders. This opportunistic false balance has developed into racism, which worries about the possibility of a massacre of Jews, the sophistry that Israel is not a servant of the United States, ignoring the Arab people who are being slaughtered.
“The Israelis are today a client state solely of the American imperialists, but not the sole Near Eastern client of the Americans (others include Jordan and Iran).”
“The Israelis could conceivably become simple puppets of the Americans, but that is not the case now, as can be clearly seen by the differences in relationship of the Golda Meir government vis-a-vis its own people and Washington as against, say, the Thieu regime in South Vietnam.”―Letter from James Robertson to Edmund Samarakkody, 27 October 1973
By arguing that Jordan and Iran are also U.S. imperialist protectors, they tried to muddy the waters Israel’s role as an invader and imperialist tool. Furthermore, by comparing Israel with the Tiu regime, they inwardly supported Israel, saying, “It is better than that, isn’t it?”
“We can draw no other conclusion than that in the 1967 and 1973 wars, an Arab states’ victory would have led to (1) a reversal of the terms of oppression, this time aimed against the Israeli population.”
“The point has sometimes been made by the revisionists of the SWP that all other considerations are immaterial because Israel is a settler colony and therefore presumably richly deserves the same fate, for example, as the million Europeans that used to be in Algeria and that presumably should be visited upon the three million Europeans of South Africa. This is but irrelevant demagoguery. At one point or another, all peoples are settlers and colonists. Race wars and forced population transfers are invariably a reactionary and, as the Bihari Moslems can testify, generally a socially tragic solution.”―ibid.
The iSt leader was worried that the victory of the Arab people’s anti-imperialist struggle could threaten the safety of the invaders and their servants. According to iSt, who is truly concerned about the safety of oppressors, the struggle of the Arab working people against Zionism must be postponed until after the socialist revolution.
“Only the proletariat in power in one or more of the neighboring Arab states would have, in the most elementary sense, the capacity to conduct a progressive war against the Israeli Zionist state.”―ibid.
Both Lenin and Trotsky distinguished nationalism of oppressive people from that of oppressed people, and repeatedly criticized socialists who refused to do so as those on the side of imperialism. However, the Spartacus League, which equates Jewish nationalism, an oppressive people and imperial servant, with the oppressed Arab nationalism, betrayed Lenin and Trotsky’s teachings. They rather hypocritically side with Zionism, preaching that Arab workers should not engage in more than passive self-defense until the socialist revolution. Thus, the iSt tradition is on the side of imperialism and plays a role in misleading Palestine and the world’s working class.
The iSt’s opportunism in national affairs was not confined to Palestine. They denied the right to self-determination firstly from of black Americans to in Bangladesh, Quebec, Northern Ireland, Lebanon and Basque-Catalunya. Then, “interpenetrated people” theory was invented that the oppressed people should give up separation and wait for the socialist revolution because they were “interpenetrated” in same land, in order to justify their opportunist program.
Reactionary Nature of the “Interpenetrated People” Theory Believed by the IBT and the BT et al
The treacherous position taken by the Spartacus League in Palestine is actively inherited by the iSt traditions of ICL, IBT, IG and BT. On 22 March, the IBT published “Israel-Palestine: Apartheid, Imperialism & Class.” The BT, meanwhile, posted its 2003 document, “Defend the Palestinians!: Not Jew Against Arab, But Class Against Class!,” on their Facebook again.
IBT, BT, ICL and IG are all about the same on the Israel-Palestinian issue. Therefore, the following critical assessment of the most recent IBT article is also an assessment of the iSt opportunism general who caved in to Anglo-chauvinism.
“① The root of the conflict lies in the fact that Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are interspersed throughout a single geographic territory to which they both lay claim. In cases of “interpenetrated peoples” such as these, revolutionaries argue that:
“simply advocating the right of self-determination in such situations does not resolve the problem, because two (or more) hostile populations cannot both self-determine themselves on the same piece of land. ② Under capitalism the exercise of the legitimate right of self-determination by either population can only come at the expense of the other. Such a ‘solution’ can only result in maintaining or inverting the existing relations of oppression.”—In Defense of the Trotskyist Program, Trotskyist Bulletin No.3
“③ The only historically progressive solution to this seemingly intractable problem lies through joint Arab/Jewish working-class struggle to smash Zionism from within while seeking to establish a bi-national workers’ state as part of a larger socialist federation of the Middle East. A voluntary socialist federation, led by a class-conscious proletariat rooted in the region’s diverse national, ethnic and religious communities, is the only political framework capable of equitably resolving the competing territorial and national claims.”―Israel-Palestine: Apartheid, Imperialism & Class, 22 March 2021 (numbering is ours)
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“① ⒜ The root of the conflict lies in ⒝ the fact that Jewish Israelis and Palestinian Arabs are interspersed throughout a single geographic territory to which they both lay claim.
IBT is saying that “⒜＝⒝.” No, it is not. ⒝ is not ⒜ but only the result. “the root of the conflict” is imperialism, especially that of Britain and the United States, before and after World War II. British and American imperialism organized the migration of Jewish mass to control the Middle East and founded Israel. Jews, meanwhile, have benefited from Anglo-American imperialism and, at the same time, have become the realizers of the imperialist project and have been bent on expanding their own interests. As with all colonies, the existing native Palestinian Arab people have become second-class citizens and have been victimized by all kinds of inequality, slaughter, and injustice.
Refering the phenomenon as the result to the root of it is just an act to hide the true root, imperialism.
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“② Under capitalism the exercise of the legitimate right of self-determination by either population can only come at the expense of the other. Such a ‘solution’ can only result in maintaining or inverting the existing relations of oppression.”
Imperialism causes ethnic conflict by moving the people of the country to the occupied area or favoring certain races in the occupied area to establish a colonial regime. Thus, when colonial rule is long established, the privileged population benefiting from the imperial rule and serving as its maintenance becomes a significant part of the colonial society. They are not just “interpenetrated.” Like the relationship between the capitalist and the proletariat, it is the oppressed and the oppressing relationship. The exploitation of capitalism in the imperialist epoch is expressed as not only class conflict, but also the conflict between ethnic groups and races.
However, iSt traditions describe them as “interpenetrated peoples,” blurring the oppressed and the oppressing relationship between national groups and races. They tried quietly to lead us that attentioning to ethnic conflict or national question is backwardness. In this way, they cover up the issue of imperialism.
For example, in colonies such as Algeria, South Africa, and the Korean Peninsula, a considerable number of French, British, and Japanese were living under the benefits of the imperialist regime and at the same time serving as the maintenance of the system. They lived in the same space. If iSt logic is followed, the anti-imperialist national liberation struggle of the oppressed people of Algeria, South Africa and the Korean Peninsula will be negative, which “can only come at the expense of the other. (and) can only result in maintaining or inverting the existing relations of oppression(ibid.)”
The working class in imperialist countries is in a dual position in the global capitalist system. In other words, they fall victim to capitalist exploitation and all kinds of evils, while, on the other hand, they share their imperialist super profits. They reign over people of color, including black and Asian, and enjoy considerable privileges in wages, employment and social position.
Victims of capitalist exploitation and all sorts of pathological phenomena, they become disillusioned with the capitalist system, resist, and engage in the socialist struggle. But they, privileged by imperialist super profits, stop once the socialist struggle infringes on their privileges. And now they slip back. Then, finally, they support their own imperialism. It is the background of “social patriotism,” also known as social chauvinism.
While claiming Trotskyism, the iSt tradition looks at the world with the eyes of imperialist labor aristocracy. Not as much as Tony Cliff’s International Socialist(IS), but it is highly contaminated. Enough to confuse the world working class. They are particularly concerned about the safety of the oppressor or its subordinate privileged class. Therefore, they use the reactionary logic that the struggle for national liberation should be put on hold until after the establishment of socialism. This is because they are contaminated with the emotions of the imperialist labor aristocracy who fear the rebellion of the underlings. So they take a passive or negative attitude towards black liberation or national liberation struggles and cover imperialism in that way.
Being a tribune to all oppressed people, the socialist-oriented world working class will never tolerate the sacrifice of innocent people. However, if the people who serve as supporters of imperialism confront the anti-imperialist national liberation struggle, we recognize that the retribution against them is justified. Only the working people in oppressing countries, actively fighting for the liberation of the oppressed people against their own invader government, would be considered on the same side. We consider them the only innocent citizens who have nothing to do with imperialism. Only they can be granted the right to live in peace and safety.
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“③ The only historically progressive solution to this seemingly intractable problem lies through joint Arab/Jewish working-class struggle to smash Zionism from within while seeking to establish a bi-national workers’ state as part of a larger socialist federation of the Middle East.”
As the incarnation of social patriotism, they insist on reserving national self-determination after the establishment of socialism. In the end, it denies the liberation of the oppressed people.
Lenin likened the right to self-determination to the right to divorce. In other words, the right to self-determination is the right to secede from unequal, undemocratic and violent relations. The iSt tradition, including the IBT and BT, is well aware of how unequal and violent the relationship between Israel and Palestine is. They point out this and that examples until just before the reactionary conclusion. But when the underlings reach the right to rise up to sever unequal and violent relationships, they change their attitude. It argues that the right to self-determination should be reserved after socialism.
Arab people in the Palestinian region have experienced tremendous violence and anger in their daily lives since the establishment of Israel. Saying them to endure such a break from life until after socialism is to look at the problem on the side of the invaders and oppressors and side with them. Shamelessly they wrap the reactionary argument in Marxism.
There is no reason why the right to self-determination should be reserved to socialism. The right to escape from unwanted relationships, such as the right to divorce and the right to self-determination, is not a possible right only if private ownership is abolished. It is a bourgeois (in the sense of anti-feudalism) and a democratic right to escape violent and unjust relationships. Without the guarantee and active support of this right, a socialist shall not be a tribune to the people. Those who deny that right are those who side with the exploiter.
Atmosphere of imperialist labor aristocrats who were sacrificed by the capitalist system on the one hand, enjoyed privileges due to their imperialism on the other, and abandoned the cause of the world’s working classes in defense of their privileges was already formed in the early 1900s. Some of them posed also as Marxists at the time. Of course, they were Marxist until the real cause of Marxism conflicts with the fundamental interests of imperialism that overlap with their own.
Lenin rightly called those people social patriots, social chauvinists, and traitors of the working class.
“However, five, ten and even more years may pass before the socialist revolution begins. In that case, the task will be to educate the masses in a revolutionary spirit so as to make it impossible for Socialist chauvinists and opportunists to belong to the workers’ party and to achieve a victory similar to that of 1914-16. It will be the duty of the Socialists to explain to the masses that English Socialists who fail to demand the freedom of secession for the colonies and for Ireland; that German Socialists who fail to demand the freedom of secession for the colonies, for the Alsatians, for the Danes and for the Poles, and who fail to carry direct revolutionary propaganda and revolutionary mass action to the field of struggle against national oppression, who fail to take advantage of cases like the Zabern incident to conduct widespread underground propaganda among the proletariat of the oppressing nation, to organize street demonstrations and revolutionary mass actions; that Russian Socialists who fail to demand freedom of secession for Finland, Poland, the Ukraine, etc., etc.—are behaving like chauvinists, like lackeys of the blood-and-mud-stained imperialist monarchies and the imperialist bourgeoisie.”―The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination, 1916
Defending Lenin and Trotsky’s great ideas from nasty “social chauvinism” is our duty to serve only for the final victory of the working class.
May 26, 2021