Israel/Palestine: Against nationalism! For class solidarity!

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Once again, the Middle East is ablaze, although in truth there has been no real pause in bloody conflicts in this region for over fifty years.

Peace is not possible under capitalism. The ICC has always said this loud and clear. Thus, in October 1993, after the first ‘historic’ handshake between Arafat and Rabin, we wrote:

"there will never be peace in this society…the promises being made to us now in the Middle East will end up the same way as the ‘New World Order’ that the Gulf war was supposed to bring into being: with massacres like the ones in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Georgia, and all the rest" (Revolution Internationale, ICC paper in France, no. 227).

The media are telling us that all this violence is the result of religious fanaticism and the climate of mutual intolerance between two communities; the big powers, we are being led to believe, are doing all they can to bring about peace. What hypocrisy! Under capitalis hypocrisy! Under capitalism, peace is a lie and a fraud, in the Middle East as anywhere else. What the USA is after isn’t peace, but to preserve its imperialist domination over this region. The other big powers aren’t after peace, but the defence of their imperialist interests, which means challenging America’s positions. Once again, it’s the local populations, like in the Balkans or in Africa, who are being taken hostage by the settling of scores between different bourgeoisies. It’s they who are not only the first victims of these killings but are being enrolled into the monstrous machinery of war by the different imperialist and nationalist cliques, and these populations contain important fractions of the working class.

In the Middle East, a tragic lot has been reserved for millions of proletarians. Among these, the workers living in the occupied territories of the West Bank or the Gaza Strip have been subjected to particularly frightful conditions of exploitation in a region where unemployment stands at around 50%. To escape from hunger and keep their families alive, they have to work as migrant workers for derisory wages, and on top of this they are the first to fall victim to the guns of the Israeli soldiers, of the regular sealing off of the territories, of checkpoint controls which compel them to hang around for ages, so that in addition to long hours of travelling and labouring their working day often mounts up to 16 hours, and that’s if they don’t arrive too late to get paid at all. But they are also subjected to exploitation and repression by their own national bourgeoisie in the shape of the Palestinian Authority, which watches over their misery and above all uses them as cannon fodder. From the age of ten the children of these workers are as often as not dying a precocious death after being pulled into the street protests or the armed Palestinian gangs.

These proletarians have absolutely nothing to gain by being mobilised behind their national bourgeoisie for the creation of a Palestinian state that will keep them in the same conditions of ferocious exploitation and repression, and use them again and again as cannon fodder. The struggle for ‘national liberation’ or the ‘Arab cause’ is not their struggle. As for the Israeli proletarians, they must also reject the sacred union with their own bourgeoisie.

Despite the difficulties of this situation, the only way these proletarians can express class solidarity is to reject the capitalist war machine, to refuse to defend one nationalist camp against another. Instead of being led into the slaughter they need to fight tooth and nail for the defence of their living conditions wherever they can.

War has become decadent capitalism’s mode of life and the only future it can offer is one in which more and more regions and populations are plunged into bloody chaos and the barbarity of war. Capitalism has no other way out. Only the proletarian struggle – because it has no country to defend, and has to develop on an international scale – can lead to the abolition of the bourgeois framework of nations and frontiers. It alone can offer a solution to capitalism’s insurmountable contradictions and put an end to national conflicts.

But this perspective will only see the light of day if there is a decisive intervention by the proletariat in the central countries of capitalism. These fractions of the working class have the responsibility of showing the way forward for the proletariat of the whole world, by fighting against the economic attacks being rained on them by their own national bourgeoisies and governments. More than ever the future of humanity depends on the international development of the workers’ struggle.