No state solution in Gaza

No state solution in Gaza

Statement distributed by the Manchester and Sheffield Anarchist Federation groups on the conflict in Gaza, in solidarity with the victims of the conflict, and for internationalism.

One thing is absolutely clear about the current situation in Gaza: the Israeli state is committing atrocities which must end immediately. With hundreds dead and thousands wounded, it has become increasingly clear that the aim of the military operation, which has been in the planning stages since the signing of the original ceasefire in June, is to break Hamas completely. The attack follows the crippling blockade throughout the supposed ‘ceasefire’, which has destroyed the livelihoods of Gazans, ruined the civilian infrastructure and created a humanitarian disaster which anyone with an ounce of humanity would seek an end to.

But that's not all there is to say about the situation. On both sides of the conflict, the idea that opposing Israel has to mean supporting Hamas and its ‘resistance’ movement is worryingly common. We totally reject this argument. Just like any other set of rulers, Hamas, like all the other major Palestinian factions, are happy and willing to sacrifice ordinary Palestinians to increase their power. This isn’t some vague theoretical point – for a period recently most deaths in Gaza were a result of fighting between Hamas and Fatah. The ‘choices’ offered to ordinary Palestinian people are between Islamist gangsters (Hamas, Islamic Jihad) or nationalist gangsters (Fatah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigades). These groups have shown their willingness to attack working-class attempts to improve their living conditions, seizing union offices, kidnapping prominent trade unionists, and breaking strikes. One spectacular example is the attack on Palestine Workers Radio by Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, for “stoking internal conflicts”. Clearly, a “free Palestine” under the control of any of these groups would be nothing of the sort.

As anarchists, we are internationalists, opposing the idea that the rulers and ruled within a nation have any interests in common. Therefore, anarchists reject Palestinian nationalism just as we reject Israeli nationalism (Zionism). Ethnicity does not grant “rights” to lands, which require the state to enforce them. People, on the other hand, have a right to having their human needs met, and should be able to live where they choose, freely.

Therefore, against the divisions and false choices set up by nationalism, we fully support the ordinary inhabitants of Gaza and Israel against state warfare – not because of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion, but simply because they're real living, feeling, thinking, suffering, struggling human beings. And this support has to mean total hostility to all those who would oppress and exploit them –the Israeli state and the Western governments and corporations that supply it with weapons, but also any other capitalist factions who seek to use ordinary working-class Palestinians as pawns in their power struggles. The only real solution is one which is collective, based on the fact that as a class, globally, we ultimately have nothing but our ability to work for others, and everything to gain in ending this system – capitalism – and the states and wars it needs .

That this seems like a “difficult” solution does not stop it from being the right one. Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support. As do those in Israel who refuse to fight, and who resist the war. But not the groups who call on Palestinians to be slaughtered on their behalf by one of the most advanced armies in the world, and who wilfully attack civilians on the other side of the border.

Neither one state nor two states, but no states

Whoever dies, Hamas and the Israeli state win

Pdf available for distribution here

Posted By

Django
Jan 8 2009 20:50

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Jason Cortez
Jan 9 2009 09:28

The pdf link is not working.

nastyned
Jan 9 2009 10:41
barog
Jan 9 2009 11:21
Quote:
Any “solution” that means endless cycles of conflict, which is what nationalism represents, is no solution at all. And if that is the case, the fact that it is “easier” is irrelevant. There are sectors of Palestinian society which are not dominated by the would-be rulers – protests organised by village committees in the West Bank for instance. These deserve our support

are you going there for an agitation rally or educ/prop rally?

Joseph Kay
Jan 9 2009 11:29
barog wrote:
are you going there for an agitation rally or educ/prop rally?

are these things mutually exclusive? surely agitiation does not imply ignorance, and education does not imply passivity.

Django
Jan 10 2009 09:34

As Knightrose pointed out on the thread in the AF forum, the core of the statement produced by the Manchester branch came from what comrades in Sheffield have written, which can be seen here.

Rob Ray
Jan 10 2009 09:45

Think I'll lift this for Freedom actually.

Bluebottle
Jan 21 2009 18:22

Interesting corrective to blind leftist support for anything 'anti-imperialist', but what are you actually proposing? Hamas managed to ensure that Israeli troops didn't enter Gaza and move closer to their objective of ethnic cleansing. What part did the genuinely noble ideal of 'no states' play in the number of people killed and injured? What would the concept of 'no states' even mean to a hungry, battered and humiliated Gazan right now?

The easy way out is surely to just say 'they're all hierarchical, so we reject them all', cos then you can just wallow in self-righteous more radical than thouism. Trying to find potentials for genuine freedom in actually existing struggles is far more of a challenge.

Ed
Jan 21 2009 19:48

Hey Bluebottle, without wanting to sound sarky, I'd ask you the same question: What would the concept of a (Hamas-controlled?) state offer to hungry, battered and humiliated Gazans right now? Surely just more working class people going up against one of the most well-equipped armies in the world and (most probably) dying for a cause (nationalism) which would only lead to further bloodshed (of working class people for their respective ruling classes, naturally..).

Obviously what Israel is doing is a tragic and barbaric injustice, but simply cheerleading whichever set of bigots happens to be resisting it doesn't count as "trying to find potentials for genuine freedom in actually existing struggles". Its not backing anti-imperialists, its backing rival, poorly armed and weaker imperialists.

I disagree when you say "Hamas managed to ensure that Israeli troops didn't enter Gaza" as 1) Israeli troops did enter Gaza, 2) Israeli troops absolutely destroyed Gaza and 3) All Hamas did was encourage working class Palestinians to die in an ethno-religious struggle to set up a state for an abstract national entity. Its not "self-righteous more radical than thouism", its a practical examination of what's going on from a class-oriented perspective.

As has been said elsewhere, the thousands of Gazans who've refused to fight and die for their ruling class better reflect the internationalists' position than any 'national resistance' movement. Indeed, if I found myself in Gaza I'd spend my time organising escape routes for families trying to flee the conflict rather than get young men and women to get to the front line of it.

I don't think this is radical posturing, I think this is a practical response to a horrific event. If anything, I think cheerleading involvement (from a safe distance) in such a conflict is much more radical posturing..

Bluebottle
Jan 21 2009 23:12

So if you found yourself in Gaza you would simply support the Israeli objective of ridding the land of Palestinians.

The IDF sought to enter a decisive ground war with Hamas, but Hamas ensured this was not possible through staunch resistance. Israeli troops were physically in Gaza, but they didn't 'enter Gaza' in the sense of launching a ground offensive.

Gaza is of course decidedly f*cked, but when fighting against an infinitely superior enemy victory is not in having fewer casualties or less damage than the other side, but preventing them from reaching their objectives. That is why we can say that Vietnam defeated the US despite the enormous disparity of damage between the two sides. Gaza is not as 'absolutely destroyed' as it would have been had Israel had its way.

As far as what Hamas could offer Gazans, the Hezbollah model of preventing Israeli objectives and so saving Lebanon from occupation is an ideal to work towards. Sure, Hamas' weak position means that their fighters will 'most probably' die, but if someone was good enough to give them reasonable weapons, they might actually succeed in securing a little plot of land to call home.

I ask again - what is exactly being proposed here? How is yours a 'practical response'? What does 'no state' mean for a Gazan right now? Would the realisation that we're all living in an alienated world and that the Israeli working class are living equally administered lives (albeit more comfortable ones) actually have any relevance to someone in Gaza? Or would getting the Israeli (working class) aggressor the f*ck out of their neighbourhood be a more relevant struggle?

Of course 'the workers have no country', but it is a matter of tactics to support an oppressed nation against an oppressor nation, as Marx noted with Ireland. I agree that nationalism should be overcome in favour of class solidarity. But simply saying 'hey we're all working class, man' has no relevance to me when I'm getting pounded by a working class cop, or to a Gazan getting pounded by a working class Israeli soldier. Working class support (no, not just 'cheerleading', practical support which can be discussed) for the struggle against the aggressor state actually undermines the structure of the domestic hierarchy.

Finally, how do you come to deem Hamas imperialist? Almost as absurd as calling them bourgeois.

Tarwater
Jan 22 2009 00:33

Cops aren't working class.

Joseph Kay
Jan 22 2009 08:10
Bluebottle wrote:
their objective of ethnic cleansing (...) victory is not in having fewer casualties or less damage than the other side, but preventing them from reaching their objectives.

how did you conclude Israel's objectives were to ethnically cleanse Gaza? I find it highly unlikely, given their total air supremacy, that they were prevented from killing more palestinians indiscrimnately by Hamas if that was actually their objective.

of course even if it was a genocide scenario where the israelis were systematically emptying apartment blocks, lining the residents up against the wall, shooting them and dumping them in mass graves (you know, what actual ethnic cleansing looks like), this wouldn't justify political support for hamas per se - you could say something like 'we support people facing extermination taking up arms in order to survive.' that's the great thing about words, you can be as precise as you want. i don't know what "practical" support you can offer Hamas, unless you're going to try and smuggle them arms and cash - and if you're prepared to risk charges of 'aiding terrorists' you'd be better off burning down an arms factory or something.

Bluebottle wrote:
Gaza is not as 'absolutely destroyed' as it would have been had Israel had its way.

again, Israel had total air supremacy and the whole of Gaza within artillery range. They could destroy anything they want. The fact they bombed the UN shows they were prepared to do so.

Bluebottle wrote:
The IDF sought to enter a decisive ground war with Hamas, but Hamas ensured this was not possible through staunch resistance. Israeli troops were physically in Gaza, but they didn't 'enter Gaza' in the sense of launching a ground offensive.

again, what evidence do you have of Israeli objectives? are you privy to something we're not? first world armies are generally loathe to enter street-by-street urban warfare with guerrilla groups as this is the one area where they don't have clear-cut military supremacy. it looks like the ground troops secured the perimeter of the urban areas while air strikes and artillery did the damage from a safe distance - what grounds do you have for thinking that wasn't the plan?

Bleubottle wrote:
I ask again - what is exactly being proposed here? How is yours a 'practical response'?

well many more Gazans chose to run the fuck away than martyr themselves for their 'nation', that seems pretty practical to me. Ed was explicit in what he proposes:

Ed wrote:
if I found myself in Gaza I'd spend my time organising escape routes for families trying to flee the conflict rather than get young men and women to get to the front line of it.

again, practical as fuck. in fact i'm sure many Gazans did this. their faces won't appear on posters all over town. we will never know their names. spielberg will never make an oscar-winning epic about their courage and lefties will never cum in their pants over their "brave resistance." but that doesn't make such acts any less practical or worthwhile.

Bluebottle wrote:
But simply saying 'hey we're all working class, man'

who said this? quote? is it not important that Hamas are also willing to murder palestinians when it suits them? (Please don't point out the disparity in numbers murdered, as if summarily executing prostitutes is ethically superior to bombing civilians).

Blebottle wrote:
Finally, how do you come to deem Hamas imperialist? Almost as absurd as calling them bourgeois.

i'm not sure who said this, but to think Hamas are not part of the imperial ambitions of their sponsors is niave. as to calling them bourgeois, they're the fucking Gazan government, with their own cops, military and large amounts of capital (how else do they afford all that?). not sure if - like hezbollah - they raise it through taxation, but as a government i wouldn't be surprised. brown people can be bourgeois too (this isn't a sociological claim about the make-up of their military - of course their fighters are overwhelmingly proles, as are the IDF, that's precisely why war is so shit. we die for their gain. hence your cop example is also misplaced; the police are a bourgeois force even if most coppers are working class 'in itself' - footsoldiers usually are). Hamas are also very keen to become a respectable member of the international (bourgeois) community.

Joseph Kay
Jan 22 2009 12:50

As to bourgeois in Gaza, i don't know if you'd claim it, but a common argument against proletarian internationalism on Indymedia has been to claim that Gaza is a classless society because they're all poor. this is obviously bollocks, but i've just seen another example.

BBC wrote:
on Thursday, one tunnel owner told Reuters: "Soon it will be operational, I will not bring drugs or weapons, I plan to use it to bring in what people need most - food and fuel, and that is very profitable."

the idea a mercantile society of 1.5m people exists without capital accumulation (and hence classes) is niave at best and noble savage racism at worst.

Bluebottle
Jan 22 2009 16:04

I am a ‘brown’ person and live in a brown person country so perhaps I am indeed privy to something that hasn’t made itself known to those of you in Crawley or Seaford or wherever you are. It certainly appears so.

Given that Israel has implemented a policy, since the second Intifada, of ensuring life in Gaza is unbearable (with regular incursions, killings, humiliations, destruction of the means of production and survival while denying Gazans the right to travel for work etc), long before Qassam rockets were fired into occupied territory, furthered by Sharon’s ingenious ‘disengagement’ policy, while persistently provoking Hamas and retaliating with devastation, it seems quite clear that the objective is to force Arabs out of Gaza.

It is an established Israeli tactic to provoke radicalism to justify a ‘response’ that would facilitate mass exodus by making life so intolerable that they’d have to leave (and a common Israeli justification for the oppression of Gazans and all Palestinians is of course ‘they’re Arabs and they can fuck off to Jordan or Syria or wherever’).

This, funnily enough, is exactly your radical internationalist proletarian-solidarity anarcho-syndicalist neo-Marxist post-Situationist libertarian communist practical solution; make like brave Sir Robin and run away. Your no-state solution is run to the protection of another state, one which has less chance of being attacked by Israel, because they have some fire-power. If Hamas had that fire power, running away wouldn’t be necessary.

Run away, because fighting Israel = unconditional support for Hamas. And this is the second point of convergence of your positions – make the local population rebel against their leaders, who happen to be the only people who can foster any kind of opposition to Israel’s expansionist ambition at present.

So you have exactly the same solutions as Israel, and you wonder why your little organisation provokes the wrath of pro-Palestinian groups. Do you actually go to demonstrations and chant ‘RUN AWAY’, or do you just hand out convoluted pamphlets suggesting as much?

It’s naïve and just plain inaccurate to buy the Zionist line that Hamas’s backers (by which I assume you refer to Iran and Syria) have imperial ambition. And how exactly are Hamas being backed? If they actually have any money why are they launching worthless chunks of metal instead of something a little more sophisticated? What is this ‘all that’ to which you refer? I was responding to Ed’s characterisation of Hamas as ‘poorly armed and weaker imperialists.’

I didn’t say there was no bourgeois class in Gaza, I said it ain’t Hamas. Having cops, capital (what capital?), a ‘military’ and being ‘the fucking Gazan government’ has nothing to do with what class they are. My understanding of the term bourgeoisie is the class that, through ownership of the means of production and trade, extracts the surplus value from a working class majority through wage labour. The petit bourgeois trader class is the dominant there, from my understanding.

I’m not advocating unconditional and eternal support for Hamas – I’m saying at present they are the only thing breaking the link between what Israel wants and what Israel can get. I would say it is an empirical fact that they had done a reasonable job of supporting Gazan living standards (that may not mean a lot to you over in cushy Brighton & Hove) plus they never posed a threat to Israel and presented Israel with numerous opportunities for an end to violent conflict.

The reason Israel didn’t enter Gazan for troop-to-troop fighting was because Hamas showed an Israeli victory would come at a price. If Hamas hadn’t shown that capability, then they would have been removed and a puppet government imposed (Fatah).

And besides all this, not all Gazans fighting against Israel are even members of Hamas. I don’t think someone who has lost members of their family needs much persuading to join the resistance.

Might I suggest you look for other sources of information than the pissing BBC? If you want to stick with the spectacular media agencies Al Jazeera and Press TV are far superior, especially regarding Gaza as they are the only ones to give it any reasonable coverage.

yoshomon
Jan 22 2009 16:07
Quote:
Hamas still has enough power and influence here that few will criticise the Islamist movement openly.

But when Hamas called for a rally to celebrate what it has been calling a historic victory over the Israelis, the citizens of Gaza voted with their feet - they stayed at home.

In the past Hamas could easily call tens of thousands into the streets, but this time only party stalwarts could look around the devastation and believe this could be victory...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7843633.stm

Joseph Kay
Jan 22 2009 16:34
Bluebottle wrote:
Given that Israel has implemented a policy, since the second Intifada, of ensuring life in Gaza is unbearable

yes it has. armed 'resistance' has done fuck all to change that, and a lot to entrench the power of the armed factions over the population, as well as providing Israel with an excuse, which as you say, it needs enough to provoke...

Bluebottle wrote:
It is an established Israeli tactic to provoke radicalism to justify a ‘response’

so the 'radicalism' of Hamas et al serves the Israeli state's interests. remind me again why we shouldn't oppose it as we do Israel?

Bluebottle wrote:
This, funnily enough, is exactly your radical internationalist proletarian-solidarity anarcho-syndicalist neo-Marxist post-Situationist libertarian communist practical solution; make like brave Sir Robin and run away. Your no-state solution is run to the protection of another state, one which has less chance of being attacked by Israel, because they have some fire-power.

it may have escaped your notice that running away isn't "my solution", it's the chosen option of tens of thousands of ordinary Gazans. if you think they're not "brave" enough i suggest you take it up with them. i've never been in a warzone, i'm certainly not going to follow your example and imply refugees are cowards from a safe distance.

Bluebottle wrote:
The reason Israel didn’t enter Gazan for troop-to-troop fighting was because Hamas showed an Israeli victory would come at a price. If Hamas hadn’t shown that capability, then they would have been removed and a puppet government imposed (Fatah).

so what is it, is Israel trying to ethnically cleanse the population or install a friendly regime? these are quite different things. unless you think fatah's going to ethnically cleanse gaza? i'm certainly not going to suggest people take up arms to defend any government, elected or not.

Bluebottle wrote:
I didn’t say there was no bourgeois class in Gaza

fair enough

Bluebottle wrote:
I said it ain’t Hamas. Having cops, capital (what capital?), a ‘military’ and being ‘the fucking Gazan government’ has nothing to do with what class they are. My understanding of the term bourgeoisie is the class that, through ownership of the means of production and trade, extracts the surplus value from a working class majority through wage labour.

well i'm not sure how you maintain an army and a police force without having significant amounts of capital (in the accounting sense). clearly Hamas are not an impoverished organisation relative to the general population. furthermore generally speaking governments are considered ruling class. you know, what with ruling and all. gordon brown would be bourgeois even if he owns no shares.

Bluebottle wrote:
And besides all this, not all Gazans fighting against Israel are even members of Hamas. I don’t think someone who has lost members of their family needs much persuading to join the resistance.

of course. although tens of thousands of Gazans did the sensible thing and ran the fuck away. i'm sorry you don't consider them as brave as yourself. an immediate thirst for vengeance is hardly a counter argument to dying for the nation is it?

Joseph Kay
Jan 22 2009 16:41
Bluebottle wrote:
you have exactly the same solutions as Israel, and you wonder why your little organisation provokes the wrath of pro-Palestinian groups. Do you actually go to demonstrations and chant ‘RUN AWAY’, or do you just hand out convoluted pamphlets suggesting as much?

what, the abolition of Israel and an immediate end to the atrocities is "exactly the same solutions as Israel" ? confused

'you're either with us, or you're with the zionists', right? i encountered no wrath giving out these leaflets on demos, and at times had people queuing up to take them. nobody subsequently came up to complain or take offence, and a couple of people came up to compliment the politics (and correct a typo!). you can belittle refugees all you like from the safety of wherever you are, i can only repeat...

Joseph K. wrote:
i'm sure many Gazans did this. their faces won't appear on posters all over town. we will never know their names. spielberg will never make an oscar-winning epic about their courage and lefties will never cum in their pants over their "brave resistance." but that doesn't make such acts any less practical or worthwhile.
Joseph Kay
Jan 22 2009 16:47
Bluebottle wrote:
I’m not advocating unconditional and eternal support for Hamas

no-one said you are. the leaflet opposes the secular nationalist gangsters too.

Bluebottle wrote:
I would say it is an empirical fact that they had done a reasonable job of supporting Gazan living standards (that may not mean a lot to you over in cushy Brighton & Hove)

your third-worldist guilt tripping would be more convincing if you weren't mocking the lack of bravery of tens of thousands of Gazan refugees. must try harder. of course every social democrat ever does a "reasonable job of supporting living standards", we don't just line up behind them, especially if they're well prepared to murder us as and when it suits them.

Bluebottle wrote:
plus they never posed a threat to Israel

the leaflet objects to hamas (and the secular nationalists) as much for their treatment of the civilian population in Gaza as their targetting of israeli civilians.

Steven.
Jan 22 2009 18:02
Quote:
Quote:
Bluebottle wrote:
I would say it is an empirical fact that they had done a reasonable job of supporting Gazan living standards (that may not mean a lot to you over in cushy Brighton & Hove)

your third-worldist guilt tripping would be more convincing if you weren't mocking the lack of bravery of tens of thousands of Gazan refugees. must try harder. of course every social democrat ever does a "reasonable job of supporting living standards", we don't just line up behind them, especially if they're well prepared to murder us as and when it suits them.

The welfare state of "my" UK government does a "reasonable job of supporting... living standards" here. But still I managed to resist the temptation to go and fight and possibly die for them in Iraq or Afghanistan after the terror attacks on us.

Bluebottle
Jan 22 2009 18:03

You are mistaken, I was mocking YOU for your support of the run-away solution and condemnation of those who might oppose Israeli aggression. I may well have run away too, and I wouldn't condemn anybody for doing so, but suggesting that the only option a lefty could legitimately support is the fleeing to a state with a military force that Israel wouldn't want to mess with instead of supporting the military group in the place they are running away from... is silly.

When a social democrat is the only thing between me and an imperial power, sure I'll support them, like I would have fought against the Nazis under the command of the British.

'Third-worldist guilt tripping' - I wasn't trying to invoke any guilt, that may just be your guilty conscience playing up. I was pointing out the ease with which you can dismiss any minor social improvement which doesn't conform to your vision of social progress because you don't live in a shit-hole, you live in a nice seaside resort. Don't feel guilty by any means.

A ruler is not necessarily bourgeois - there are many kinds of rulers. Gordon Brown would be bourgeois if he didn't have any shares because Britain is ruled by the bourgeoisie. The situation in Gaza and indeed most of the Middle East is closer to peasantry than bourgeois-proletarian. In any case - Hamas aren't bourgeois.

I'm sorry, I had read one of the accounts of leafleting some Palestine Solidarity Campaigners were said to have done their usual aggressive rejection or something. Can't quite remember where it was - should have tried harder there.

Yes, your objectives are exactly the same as Israel on this issue - Arabs out of Gaza and delegitimisation of Hamas. Your 'immediate end to the atrocities' is rather rhetorical as you reject the legitimacy of the only thing history has shown will end Israeli expansion - enough dead Israelis. Your end to the state of Israel is similarly meaningless as its condition is the small matter of the end of all states, which with the amount of bickering on leftist websites seems most unlikely any time soon...

Installing a puppet government and ridding the land of Arabs are not contradictory - they are different stages in a clear objective. I can't give you a full history lesson of Israeli expansionism, maybe look into what the Zionist agenda is and has always been.

I don't get excited by Hamas or fetishise them in the slightest - I just think their opposition to Israel is legitimate. I would not have been ideologically aligned with the Vietcong, but I'd think what they were doing was worthy of support. And actually if I was fighting in Gaza now, if I had the balls, I'd be most encouraged by seeing people around the world (assuming I had access to some means of seeing them) supporting my fight against such incredible odds.

Bluebottle
Jan 22 2009 18:17

Steven, your analogy is misjudged. Iraq/Afghanistan are wars of aggression. Gaza is a war of defence. Those fighting Israel are not just fighting for their nation or their religion (although their slogans may be religious or nationalist) - they are fighting for survival. I hope you see the difference.

A lever can be applied in Gaza.

Caiman del Barrio
Jan 22 2009 19:03
Quote:
Those fighting Israel are not just fighting for their nation or their religion (although their slogans may be religious or nationalist) - they are fighting for survival.

Peter Sellars would have blushed at such an absurdly paradoxical beating of the war drum.

You "fight" for survival by involuntarily adopting refugee status and avoiding bullets, bombs and white phosphorus. You don't "fight" for survival by turning yourself into a combatant, returning fire and aiming rockets on civilian neighbourhoods.

Bluebottle
Jan 22 2009 19:38

You can fight for survival by either of those means, actually. Who are we (you) to criticise either option?

The aiming of rockets on 'civilian' neighbourhoods may indeed be worthy of condemnation. As Robert Fisk states, 'twenty Israelis dead in 10 years around Gaza is a grim figure indeed.' Not really one of the major issues of discussion though.

angrywhitekid
Jan 22 2009 19:57

While my views certainly aren't popular on this forum, and will probably be limited to this one comment, I have to express support for Bluebottle. I think the AF declaration is simplistic and really doesn't offer any helpful plan of action or strategy, aside from supporting West Bank demos.

I think the trend in anarchism towards a kneejerk rejection of all nationalisms is dangerous and unsophisticated. Nationalisms are nuanced and context-dependent, and while may not merit acceptance at least merit consideration.

This statement also misses that Israel is a genocidal state premised in part on the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. This war (in the broader, late-1800s-on context) was inflicted upon the Palestinians, they did not choose it. Even if Hamas, Fatah, or any other group didn't exist, Israel would still be at war with the Palestinian people. Many of those fighting and dying do not belong to Hamas or any other group. They are simply fighting their aggressor. To equate Hamas with Israel or Zionism with Palestinian nationalism is quite absurd.

It's a cliche move, I know, but I do like this quote from Immortal Technique about occupation (of Iraq, while Saddam was alive, but still relevant and applicable to Palestine). Though I'm sure it will be called "nationalist" because he says "my people."

They say the rebels in Iraq still fight for Saddam
But I’ll show you why that’s totally wrong
Because if another country invaded the hood tonight
There’d be warfare through Harlem and Washington Heights
I wouldn’t be fighting for Bush or White America’s Dream
I’d be fighting for my people's survival and self-esteem
I wouldn’t be fighting for racist churches from the South
I’d be fighting to keep the occupation out

Beth Giles
Jan 22 2009 20:02
Bluebottle wrote:
You are mistaken, I was mocking YOU for your support of the run-away solution and condemnation of those who might oppose Israeli aggression.

The aggressor is not necessarily wrong. What happens when the proletariat becomes the aggressor? Do you swap sides to the bourgeoisie in order to maintain arbitrary support for the under-dog?

radicalgraffiti
Jan 22 2009 20:29
angrywhitekid wrote:
I think the trend in anarchism towards a kneejerk rejection of all nationalisms is dangerous and unsophisticated. Nationalisms are nuanced and context-dependent, and while may not merit acceptance at least merit consideration.

anarchism is inherently incompatible with nationalism, rejecting them all is the only coherent anarchist position.

Bluebottle wrote:
You can fight for survival by either of those means, actually. Who are we (you) to criticise either option?

how can attacks on civilians be self defense? and everyone has a right to criticize them.

Beth Giles
Jan 22 2009 20:53

The significance of an act being in self-defence, and for that matter “proportionate responses” and so on, is merely a question of bourgeois justice. Communists can hardly take a general position against oppression or for freedom when the proletariat must by necessity oppress and curtail the freedom of other social classes.

Ed
Jan 22 2009 21:17
bluebottle wrote:
You are mistaken, I was mocking YOU for your support of the run-away solution and condemnation of those who might oppose Israeli aggression. I may well have run away too, and I wouldn't condemn anybody for doing so, but suggesting that the only option a lefty could legitimately support is the fleeing to a state with a military force that Israel wouldn't want to mess with instead of supporting the military group in the place they are running away from... is silly.

Mate, don't get me wrong, I'd be all about people resisting Israeli aggression but the reality of the situation is that any resistance in Gaza is most likely to be part and parcel of Hamas' state-building project, and this project is one that is against the interests not just of the 'world proletariat' but the Palestinian one as well. Just look at how Hamas have acted against the Palestinian working class for a taster:
Palestinian union hit on all sides
Interview with Rasem Al Bayari, Palestinian trade unionist
A Hamas victory might beat back the tyranny of Israeli imperialism, but you seem to ignore that the vacuum in Gaza would be filled by anti-working class fundamentalists bigots who will just as readily attack those who oppose them in Gaza City as they would those in Sderot. As such, to call for Hamas victory, in my opinion, is really short sighted..

bluebottle wrote:
A ruler is not necessarily bourgeois - there are many kinds of rulers. Gordon Brown would be bourgeois if he didn't have any shares because Britain is ruled by the bourgeoisie. The situation in Gaza and indeed most of the Middle East is closer to peasantry than bourgeois-proletarian. In any case - Hamas aren't bourgeois.

Even if I agreed with your analysis of class relations in Palestine, then this still puts Hamas as the ruling class. Or I've missed something. But what would you say the class that runs the government is called? Is Gaza run by a peasant government?

bluebottle wrote:
Yes, your objectives are exactly the same as Israel on this issue - Arabs out of Gaza and delegitimisation of Hamas.

Hmm, this is a bit unfair. Firstly, no one hear called for "Arabs out of Gaza", we said that fleeing was a lot smarter than throwing stones at F-16s for Allah and 'your nation'. Its a practical response to being on the wrong side of a bloody conflict, not an ideological policy of transference. Secondly, yeah, I want to delegitimise Hamas and so do Israel but then I also want to delegitimise Israel to Israelis, does that align me back with Hamas?

bluebottle wrote:
Your 'immediate end to the atrocities' is rather rhetorical as you reject the legitimacy of the only thing history has shown will end Israeli expansion - enough dead Israelis.

Here your ignoring the fact that my primary concern isn't Israeli expansion, its the material reality of the lives of working class Palestinians. This would be improved by Israel ceasing its carpet-bombing of Gaza, but it won't be improved by Hamas consolidating its power in the area any further. This would lead to the further entrenchment of religious bigots' monopoly of violence in the area.. violence which will be used against the rest of the Gazan working class.

Oh, and angrywhitekid, that's like my favourite Immortal Technique lyric. And it upset me to see it used against me like that.. wink

Caiman del Barrio
Jan 22 2009 21:51
Quote:
You can fight for survival by either of those means, actually. Who are we (you) to criticise either option?

I suppose...it's pretty pointless to make 'demands' of a situation where there's no possibility of influencing it. That kinda works both ways though, why sit around and approvingly encourage martyrous acts?

Tojiah
Jan 22 2009 23:42
Bluebottle wrote:
Gaza is a war of defence. Those fighting Israel are not just fighting for their nation or their religion (although their slogans may be religious or nationalist) - they are fighting for survival.

You were specifically talking about Hamas. Hamas' response to the Israeli incursion was to fire rockets at Israeli civilian targets. They had a certain limited amount of ammunition, and instead of using it to shoot the Israeli troops lining up around the border with Gaza, and who were therefore pretty much sitting ducks, they shot as far into Israel as they could. How is that fighting for survival? During this massacre Hamas was, as it had before and will in the future, winning as many brownie points by trying to terrorize the Israeli civilian public, as opposed to trying to aid the survival of Palestinians. Their marketing angle is describing this as a conflict between all Jews and all Muslims, same as the Zionists are. I assure you, as an Israeli citizen who opposed this war from its first "humane" air-strikes, that Hamas' response has just made it that much easier for Israelis to turn a blind eye to IDF crimes, and that nobody here (just like nobody sensible anywhere, really) is impressed with Hamas' military prowess, and their actions would not deter further incursions.

Bluebottle
Jan 23 2009 08:29

As far as a Gazan is concerned, this is a conflict between Arabs and Jews, cos it's all Jews coming over the hill and all Arabs getting blown up. Of course those of us with a wider perspective on the inner logic of capitalism have an insight into the base causes of this conflict, but I think we can forgive the Arab who falls into religiosity when fighting...for...survival…

I'm not sure Israeli outposts surrounding Gaza can be called civilian. They are the outermost part of Israeli aggression, heavily armed and brimming with the ideology of expansion. Sure, there are families but there are often families in military complexes, do they therefore become civilian?

Besides, this 'targeting civilians' sanctimony is misplaced. When we look at how many Israelis have been killed around Gaza (20) in the past ten years it really shouldn't be the major issue of discussion.

Treeofjudas, it's not correct to say the Hamas response was to fire rockets at ‘civilians’. Some tens (reports vary wildly) of Israeli soldiers were killed and injured. And anyway targeting a civilian population with close to complete support for their ‘defence forces’ bombardment of civilians seems to me a legitimate target.

See your point Alan, but fleeing doesn't need encouragement, it needs support in other ways. Fighting benefits from moral support. Moral support for fighting is not making a demand whereas demanding fleeing instead of fighting clearly is.

The reason we go back to class is because it is the underlying cause of conflict. However, in instances of one state oppressing another state, the issue is more complex, as you have one (arbitrary) working class group oppressing another. As a matter of tactics the oppressor must be expelled before we can start discussing equal pay for equal work and on from there (and Ed, don’t trade unions reflect bourgeois hierarchies?). If that means fighting with/alongside Hamas then I really don't see a problem. You seem to think this will necessarily mean irreversible entrenchment of Hamas dominance even after Israel ceases to advance.

Otherwise we'll be waiting for the miracle of simultaneous global utopia.

The delegitimisation of the state of Israel is currently rhetorical. I'm in favour of ultimately abolishing all states. But at present your 'no state' solution just means no state for Gazans, not anyone else. So you offer exactly the same as Israel with your 'no state' solution - Palestinian refugees in neighbouring Arab states. You may differ on the ideological plane, but the base material reality of what you propose is consistent.

No Beth, the aggressor is not necessarily wrong, but Israel is. Nothing general about that. There's a difference between Israeli aggression and working class struggle which I hope you can spot. And it’s all well and good to go on about self-defence being ‘merely’ bourgeois justice, but if you insult me and in response I savagely beat you to paralysis you may have something to say about how proportionate I was.

I made the point of Hamas not being bourgeois as a minor aside. Of course they are the current rulers, but they are not 'bourgeois' in my understanding of the term as their rule does not come from being the recipients of surplus value from the labour of the working class. Their rule comes from a monopoly on religion, national sentiment, not strictly capital-based power and Fatah’s corruption, among other factors. Peasant militia government perhaps?