Against Israel, for a Workers’ Republic in the Middle East

Donald Trump’s attack on the people of Palestine is an expression of the systematic imperialism at the core of US dominated global capitalism. Only a revolution beyond national and ethnic boundaries can liberate the people of Palestine. The views here express the general position of CLT’s membership. 

The Communist League of Tampa opposes the recent decision by Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. This is a clear attack on the Palestinian people’s struggle against the settler-colonial state of Israel and furthers the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. While the Communist League opposes nationalism as such in favor of international solidarity among the working classes of the world, we recognize that not all nations are created equal. In global systems of imperialism, there is a clear and inherent divide between nations – those which benefit on the degradation, occupation, and subjugation of others, and those which are degraded, occupied, and subjugated themselves. Through this subjugation, the capacity for development in the oppressed nation is deprived through the denial of basic democratic rights, and its people are left to rely upon the oppressing nations for the most basic dignity – a dignity that is so often kept from them. In the case of Palestine and Israel, this division is clear. For any socialist who believes in universal human dignity, support for Palestinian liberation is the only way. But how will the Palestinian’s achieve their liberation?

The members of the Communist League are neither nationalists nor chauvinist pseudo-“internationalists”, but principled internationalists who believe in need for unity among the working classes of all nations against their common foe – the bourgeoisie and the system of capitalism. However, we understand that building this unity requires the overthrow of such systems which privilege one nation over another and pit their working classes against each other. We reject the proposals of nationalists who believe the only path to liberation is the balkanization of all nations into their own self-governed plots of land. We reject this as a reactionary position, which turns away from the need to organize along the lines of class towards organization along the lines of “nations”. We also reject those proposals made by the chauvinist “internationalist” who call upon the people of oppressed nations to wait on the “global communist revolution” to fight against their subjugation. While they await the “global communist revolution,” are they to simply sit by and allow violence against them to continue? This proposal merely places reliance upon revolution in the oppressing nation to “trickle-down” to the oppressed nation. Palestinians have a right to defend themselves, and should break from the reactionary nationalist and theocratic leadership of Hamas and Hezbollah, which holds back the development of the class struggle in the Middle East, and therefore the struggle against settler-colonialism itself.  

How are these principles to be applied to the case of Palestine? Instead of a two state or one state solution we advocate for liberation through a workers republic in the Middle East that unites the region beyond all national, ethnic, religious and gender divides through class interest. This is not to be done as an end in itself, but rather a means to the end of international workers revolution.  We also condemn the equivocation of Israel and Palestine, which ignores the objective political oppression caused by Settler-Colonialism, advanced as radical internationalism, but actually a liberal centrist position of imperial colorblindness.

We understand that in a class society, there is a limit to our capacity to struggle against oppressive social relations. This limit is conditioned by the very nature of class society, and in the case of capitalism, the bifurcation of humanity into the proletarian and bourgeois classes. Moreover, it is this bifurcation which gives communists our greatest tool: our common struggle fought along the lines of class. The challenge in building this common struggle, though, is in the differential development of certain elements of the class over others. For the Palestinians, this difference is clear. While our ideal situation would be for a unification between the Palestinian people and Israeli workers, their unity is reliant on a rejection of Zionism from the Israeli working class. Zionism sets the interests of Israeli workers along national lines, pitting them against Palestinians who are frequently left to work among the massive informal sector in Gaza and the West Bank. The obstacle of divided interests along national boundaries requires that Israeli workers break from Zionism. Israeli workers cannot truly struggle as a class if they do not see the Palestinian people as their comrades. This requires a hard break with current paradigms of Israeli labor and the formation of new organs to wage the class struggle. To paraphrase Moshe Machover, the vanguard of the Israeli proletariat will most likely come from youth and arab workers.

The “two-state” solution which is frequently proposed by liberals must be rejected. The project would be a failure from the outset because of the uneven power relations between the two nations, and the US backed Israel would immediately hold hegemony over a Palestinian state. The overthrow of the state of Israel is necessary. Furthermore, this solution rejects the necessity for revolutionary integrationism and only reproduces the belief that nations are to be kept separate and independent from one another. Revolutionary integrationism argues for the radical integration of nations under a multinational worker’s republic with full rights and equality of outcome for all citizens regardless of ethnic background. Such a revolution could not be isolated within a single state, but rather requires the cooperation between the working class across the Middle East and the entire world. As a long term programmatic aim for the world proletariat, we advocate for a Middle Eastern Workers Republic.

For citizens of the United States, our contribution to fighting Settler-colonialism will not come from cheerleading for Hamas, but weakening the imperialist hegemon from within through political and economic struggle against the bourgeois state and its allies. Israel is essentially a base of operation of the USA’s Empire of free trade, an extension of US imperialist hegemony. The military industrial complex in the USA makes massive profits from trade with the Israeli military and the need for a “base of operations” in the Middle East makes Israel a pawn of the US empire, not the other way around as anti-semitic conspiracy theorists would have it. As communists it is our duty to fight anti-semitism in the Palestinian Solidarity movement when it manifests, which means challenging the notion that Zionism is a expression of Judaism.

Only through the complete destruction of class society can end the oppression of the Palestinians. This doesn’t mean instantaneous world revolution, but it does require the organization of workers across national and ethnic boundaries prior to revolution occurring. Nationalist tensions in the Middle East are not limited to Israel and Palestine, as Palestinians face discrimination from other Arabs. It only through the axis of class unity that the Middle East can unite to challenge the rule of imperialism and the ruling classes in their own countries. Therefore organizing a pan-middle eastern communist party that aims for a revolution in the entire region and beyond is a potential way forward for the global class war.

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