Israel's military strikes in response to Hamas, its so-called targeted bombardment of the open-air prison that is the Gaza Strip, has provoked hundreds of thousands of people around the world into joining massive demonstrations denouncing the deluge of fire from the Zionist "colonialist oppressor" state launched against the "oppressed Palestinian masses". These demonstrations took place in most European countries, in the United States as well as in Canada, but also in Turkey, Tunisia, Libya and even in Iraq, as well as in Bangladesh, Kenya, Jordan and Japan.
These mobilisations give vent to real indignation about all this barbarism. But they are manipulated in the most shameless way by the bourgeoisie. These are demonstrations which call for a false solidarity on a terrain which is not internationalist and proletarian. On the contrary, this is the terrain of bourgeois nationalism which feeds all imperialist confrontations.
Solidarity with the proletarians in Palestine and Israel does not mean defending a bourgeois camp!
For all the Western governments, led by the United States, even if the denunciation of the war or the bombardments is repeated over and over again, calling on Israel to “show restraint”, the defence of the State of Israel remains a constant in the face of Hamas and its rockets striking Israeli territory indiscriminately. As always, the same crocodile tears are shed in the face of the atrocities of a conflict that has been going on since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and has cost the lives of tens of thousands of people, particularly in the Palestinian territories.
For all the left-wing forces that have called for demonstrations all over the world, the “No to the massacre!” slogan is above all an opportunity, once again, to call for support for the “just Palestinian cause against Israel’s war crimes”! Clearly, behind this "determination" to denounce the war, everywhere in the world, the whole left and the extreme left are calling on the exploited to join a camp, that of Palestinian nationalism, against the oppression of the Palestinian masses by Israeli imperialism. This terrain is that of capital, that of the confrontation between Israeli, Palestinian, European, Iranian and American imperialist powers. All these confrontations, from the backstage of diplomacy to open military offensives, can only lead to Palestinian and Israeli proletarians paying the price in blood to the imperialist Moloch.
Hamas, a bourgeois organisation...
That Israel is a bourgeois military power of the first rank, without any qualms in its domination of territories occupied for decades, despising and provoking permanently a Palestinian population under the yoke, is only too evident. By imposing systematic colonisation and shamelessly expelling Palestinian families, as most recently in East Jerusalem, the spark which lit the fuse, the Zionist state is once again demonstrating its criminal barbarity and its unscrupulous policy towards the Palestinians as well as towards its own Israeli Arab nationals.
But what about the Palestinian bourgeois factions of the PLO, Fatah, Hezbollah or Hamas? What about the jockeying for position between these different factions to regain political legitimacy and to present themselves as the essential interlocutors between the Palestinians and Israel? The most polite bourgeois experts themselves note that the Hamas strategy of firing rockets into Israel, thus fuelling the IDF's response, is clearly a tactic for discussions and negotiations with Israel for vulgar imperialist interests.
... and so are the leftist organisations!
But for the extreme left of capital, the Trotskyists of Lutte Ouvrière (LO) for example, the analysis is much more specious. Thus, even if LO, using as always a falsely radical language, affirms that “The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are leading their peoples into a bloody impasse, with the complicity of the imperialist powers", it hastens, in order to insidiously justify supporting one side (the "weaker" one facing the "stronger" one), to add this: "To place the two sides back to back, while a supposedly democratic and hyper-armed state is bent on destroying an already devastated territory, is to accept the law of the strongest. And above all, it is to turn one's back on the Palestinians' thousand times legitimate revolt! If the Palestinians have the Israeli state as their enemy, they have Hamas as their adversary”.
The libertarian organisations are not to be outdone and are adding another layer. For the Organisation Communiste Libertaire (OCL), “Faced with the outburst of violence orchestrated by an Israeli regime in the midst of a political crisis, led by a Netanyahu at the end of his rope and ready to sacrifice the Palestinians to ensure his continuity in power, timid condemnations (or worse, statements that place Israelis and Palestinians back to back) are not enough. International law must be applied. It could not be clearer!”
This kind of spin calling for “international law” and describing one of these barbaric camps as “the enemy” and the other as “the adversary” or even as a “friend”, clearly expresses their open defence of one imperialist camp against another. The nationalist logic of all the leftist parties is not only expressed in their calls for a false solidarity via the demonstrations, it continues by calling on the working class to struggle, to strike, “to demand together the end of imperialism and the right to self-determination of the Palestinians”, that is to say to divert a workers’ weapon of struggle against the working class itself. Thus we saw the Italian dockers of the port of Livorno refusing to load a ship with arms and explosives bound for Israel. While this action may appear to be what the working class should be doing in the face of war, in reality the unions and the bourgeois left have entirely driven this action with the avowed aim of supporting the "Palestinian cause".
Proletarians have no homeland!
Nationalist ideology is the very antithesis of the proletarian terrain, of the uncompromising defence of internationalism which asserts the solidarity of all the exploited of the whole world. It was exactly the same logic used by social democracy when it betrayed the working class in 1914: rejection of proletarian internationalism and a chauvinistic call for proletarian participation in the First World War against “German militarism” for some, or “Russian autocracy” for others. The 20th century was thus a century of the most atrocious wars in human history. None of them ever served the interests of the workers. The latter were always called upon to be killed by the millions for the interests of their exploiters, in the name of the defence of “the fatherland”, “civilization”, “democracy”, or even “the socialist fatherland” (as some presented the USSR of Stalin and the Gulag).
Since then, all the Trotskyists and official anarchists have continued in the same logic: during the Spanish war, the Second World War, the Algerian war, Vietnam, and many others... In this case, during the multiple conflicts which have ravaged the Middle East for more than 50 years, they have systematically called on the proletarians to fight for the “satisfaction of all the national and democratic rights of the Palestinians” and to allow for a “just solution” to the conflict. As if the decomposition of the capitalist world, its growing chaos every day, its warlike barbarism at all levels, the growing militarism of the great powers and the regional second-raters, all imperialists, could lead to a "just solution"! In this region of the world, which has been plagued by war for decades, as in every war episode throughout the world, there can be no solution within the framework of capitalism!
Where are the interests of the working class, in Israel, Jewish or Arab, in Palestine, in other countries of the world? The Jewish workers exploited in Israel by Jewish bosses, the Palestinian workers exploited by Jewish or Arab bosses experience the same working conditions and have the same enemy: capitalism. Just like the workers of the whole world!
Faced with the warlike madness suffered for decades by the Israeli and Palestinian workers, the proletariat of the “great democracies” must not take the side of one camp against another. The best solidarity they can give them is certainly not to encourage their nationalist illusions but to develop the fight against the capitalist system responsible for all wars. Faced with the growing chaos in the Middle East, the working class can only create a world of peace by overthrowing capitalism through the international struggle of the proletariat.
Against nationalism, against the wars your exploiters want to drag you into:
Proletarians of all countries, unite!
Alfred, 7 June 2021.