The ACG takes another step towards supporting the nationalist war campaign

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The intransigent defence of internationalism faced with imperialist war is a fundamental duty of a communist organisation. Revolutionaries have to be able to navigate against the stream of bourgeoise propaganda aimed at dragooning the proletariat behind one imperialist gang or another. This is particularly the case faced with the orgy of nationalist and militarist hysteria surrounding the war in the Middle East.

In the previous issue of WR, we warned of the danger of the Anarchist Communist Group’s concessions towards lining up behind the Palestinian bourgeoisie. Initially, we had welcomed the fact that the ACG  defended an internationalist position by denouncing both sides in this war[1].But subsequently, we pointed to its concessions to the idea of the “liberation” of Palestinian workers:  “the position defended by the ACG in this article is very dangerous because, at first glance, it seems indeed to be based on proletarian internationalism. But that is only in appearance. Because if you read it carefully, the opposite is the case. The article does not straightforwardly and openly defend Palestinian nationalism, but its logic, its whole reasoning points in that direction. It is a very sophisticated exposition of the national liberation ideology[2].

This ‘sophisticated’ defence of nationalism has now become less subtle. In a recent article[3], unlike the previous article, the ACG makes no clear denunciation of the war as imperialist, of the links between the Palestinian “resistance” groups and various imperialist powers. Instead, the article presents the Israeli state as the only perpetrator of this war.  The ACG does say that it is:  “the already dispossessed and those who are always the greatest victims of inter-imperialist wars, of colonialism and exploitation: the working class”. But without a clear statement of the imperialist nature of both sides this statement remains at best ambiguous. It certainly does not warn the working class about the danger of lining up behind either side.

Hamas deliberately provoked Israeli imperialism through its massacre in southern Israel on the 7th October, in a suicidal scorched earth strategy to undermine the developing relations between the Israeli state and some other Middle East states. Hamas knew full well the bloodbath its attack would unleash. However, for the ACG (in this article at least), as with the left of capital, the Israeli state is the enemy. Hamas is silently relieved of its terrorist role in this nightmare!

There is no explanation of the contradiction between this article and the previous one.

This apparent abandoning of internationalism leads the radical anti-state, anti-authoritarian, anti-imperialist  ACG to making the bizarre demand that other imperialist states should ally themselves with ‘ordinary peoples’ anger  “.. Israel is able to do this (to wage war) because, for all the anger and opposition its genocidal actions are creating amongst ordinary people, there are not, so far, any allies amongst the nation states of the world, notwithstanding South Africa’s filing a case of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice, that might intervene meaningfully on their behalf”. What intervention does the ACG think these nations states should make?

A hint is given in the following sentence: “Iran and their Hezbollah allies have refrained from any full-blooded commitment, despite provocation from Israel, because they know the consequences of an escalation”. Does the ACG think that these two imperialist gangs should make a “full-blooded commitment” to war against Israel? What would such a commitment entail if not a military intervention ie the slaughter of workers in Israel, whether or not conscripted into the IDF? The comrades of the ACG really need to clarify what they mean.

The ACG appear to believe that the working class should look to “nation states” -ie imperialist states- as allies. Maybe the proletariat should support US imperialism, which has been trying to restrain Israel’s murderous offensive in Gaza?

In order to pursue its support for the liberation of the Palestinian proletariat from the Israeli oppression, the ACG also  advocates workers  participating in the campaign by the openly pro-Palestinian, leftist Workers’ for a Free Palestine, that calls for:  “an end to arms sales to Israel and for the UK government to support a permanent ceasefire”.  Does this mean that the capitalist state and its democratic facade is no longer the enemy of the proletariat? Should the proletariat fall on its knees and beg British imperialism to support a peace agreement? One can only assume the ACG is celebrating British imperialism’s current support for a ceasefire. A support determined of course by what British imperialism believes is in its best national interest.


Nationalist campaigns against the revival of class struggle

Another part of the national interest of the British state is to undermine the proletariat’s growing renewed confidence in itself. In 2022, in the midst of the war in Ukraine, the proletariat in Britain placed its class interests first by raising its class demands in a wave of strikes. This placed the class back on the social terrain, after decades of being mired in demoralisation, a loss of vision of itself as a class with the strength to defend its own interests. The ruling class had wanted to further demoralise the proletariat through making it feel helpless faced with the Ukraine war. This did not happen. The acceleration of the economic crisis, partially due to the war, brought a deep well of discontent bubbling to the surface.

The British bourgeoisie, along with the rest of the world ruling class, however, has used the Gaza war to generate important divisions in the class. Week after week the bourgeoisie has done all it can to promote and enable the pro-Palestinian nationalist demonstrations which mobilised hundreds of thousands. The constant media attacks about the anti-Semitism, pro-Hamas nature of these demonstrations have further served to increase the divisions in the class

Instead of warning the proletariat of the danger of these nationalist parades, the ACG presents them as something positive: “The demonstrations across the world continue with hundreds of thousands on the streets every weekend in cities and towns, big and small. They have, in many places, become angrier, more desperate as Israel’s armed forces continue to murder with immunity”.

Reading this article, one is left wondering whether the ACG still defends its own Aims and Principles, which include a rejection of nationalism: “We reject all forms of nationalism, as this only serves to redefine divisions in the international working class. The working class has no country and national boundaries must be eliminated”.

The workers have no country – but the ACG sees something positive in demonstrations against Israeli state terrorism and thus in favour of a “Free Palestine”. If the ACG was serious about the elimination of national boundaries it would oppose this slogan with all its might.

The ICC takes no pleasure in seeing its warnings about the ACG’s concessions to national liberation and leftism so starkly confirmed. This is precisely why we have sought to expose these concessions and warn the comrades of the ACG, and those influenced by it, of the dangers they face.

The ACG is at a crossroads. Either it begins to resist the growing influence of leftism on it, which means addressing its underlying source - its rejection of marxism and its contemporary vanguard, the tradition of the Communist Left. The alternative is to be increasingly swept up into leftism.





The ambiguities of internationalist anarchism