Sunday, August 24, 2014

From Palestine to Ferguson


1) The brutal bombardment of Gaza by the illegitimate colonial-settler state of Israel has been authorized by U.S. imperialism and in particular by the Democratic Party leadership in order to prevent the Palestinian masses from launching the next intifada. Such an uprising is both the logical and a pragmatic step by the Arab masses toward uniting the workers and oppressed across MENA in struggle. Inevitably the struggle to accomplish the unfinished tasks of the national democratic Arab revolution come up against the restraints of the imperialist order and the emerging proxy war that traps the toiling masses between the dominant USA/EU imperialist bloc and the emergent China/Russia bloc. The Arab Spring, the Syrian revolution, the spread of the counterrevolutionary ISIL across Syria and Iraq and the massive mobilizations today in Pakistan are products of the unresolved contradictions of imperialist domination of the Near East. 

The US is facing defeats on all fronts abroad because of the unpopularity of these failed adventures in the military occupation and oppression of the masses abroad to solve the US crisis of overproduction. This proves that imperialism cannot project the class war with impunity abroad without exacerbating the class contradiction at home.The militarisation of US imperialism is now being used to subdue its domestic population. The police in Ferguson are outfitted with army surplus gear and its high command is trained in Israel. Zionist Israel is the child of its imperialist master and its existential crisis foreshadows that of its master. The defeat of Israel is political, as its democracy is run by the military and war resisters are thrown in jail. Its legitimacy as a capitalist democracy is blown apart with the bodies of the children of Gaza. It is no accident that the global refrain “we are all Palestinians” is now one of the chants of the mass protests in Ferguson. Just as the Palestinians refuse to negotiate their submission to a colonial settler state, the black working class masses in the US are not prepared to submit to curfews and executions.

2) Long ago pacifist leader Martin Luther King observed that the USA could not maintain a militarist foreign policy without that same violence coming home and exploding in the cities of the USA. Today the unresolved and unfinished tasks of the American democratic revolution are exploding in Ferguson and the internationalist connection is not lost on the youth, on the African-American community, on the Palestine solidarity movement and even on foreign governments (even the brutal Egyptian dictatorship weighs in against the American racist brutality-obviously to cover for its own murderous suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.) We see the international economic crisis exploding in brutal police repression of marginalized and disenfranchised communities of black and brown people across the United States. The Malcolm X grass roots movement has taken the lead in cataloging and popularizing the fact that every 28 hours American Police kill a black or brown person somewhere in the “home of the free”! This level of special oppression is required by the capitalists to keep the black and brown population in check. Every objective analysis of the conditions of the oppressed in the ghettos, in the devastated urban centers like Detroit, and increasingly in the suburbs where affordable housing can be found, catalog the predictable results of decades of declining educational opportunities, pauperization, de-industrialization, criminalization of entire populations (including immigrant children and families), the profitable growth of the private prison industry populated by victims of the capitalist crisis and fed via an attack on public education and unionization both in public and private industry. 

It is no surprise that Ferguson has exploded!   The ruling class had their warning after Oscar Grant’s murder at the Fruitvale BART Station. The political class and their police skated by after the response to the murder of Trayvon Martin was pacified by time and a Teflon racist criminal justice system tied to the corporate media and acting as an integral tool in the ruling class system of defusing public outrage while slandering the victims and violating their human rights by regularly portraying the victim as a criminal and protecting and excusing the armed thugs of the state. So in the immediate aftermath of the police murder of Michael Brown a police-edited videotape was broadcast on all major corporate media purporting to show Michael Brown robbing a convenience store. The Purpose of this racist hatchet job was as always to taint all possible jury pools in favor of the police lies, thereby making impossible the bringing of murder charges against any cop by any Grand Jury. This is an old police trick dating from before the electronic age.

After the Occupy Movement of 2011/2012 and the response to Trayvon Martin in 2013 we witnessed the enhanced proliferation of military hardware, moving from the stockpiles of Iraq to the inner cities in the USA. This is nothing less than a Bonapartist preparation to suppress the righteous uprisings of the masses and we watch them spread from Fallujah to Aleppo, to Gaza, and now to Ferguson.

3) The ruling class long ago understood that in order to delegitimize the claims to, and righteous demands for social-economic justice and equality for the black and brown community, black and brown leaders would need to be “whitewashed” and turned into their imperialist puppets and tools. The “Post Racial” America had to be declared and feted just a little more quickly than the “Post Misogynist” America in order to maintain the status quo in the face of what was about to unfold in the economic realm. For ruling class media, political elites and even among left and “culturalist” academics the “class question” was put to rest as the “End of History” was feted in 1989. Yet with the black and brown population still oppressed and drowning at the bottom end of the economy and with economic collapse on the not so “distant” horizon (as the “irrational exuberance” and reified Ayn Randism was collapsed by the concrete reality of the crisis of overproduction of capital and the implications of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall.) A heavy hand would be required by imperialism both at home and abroad to smash the uprisings of the workers and oppressed. The capitalist class saw the writing on the wall.   Their most astute observers knew economic crisis would quickly deflate the speculative party and Obama was elevated mid stream over Hillary. Post Racialism became the order of the day! And today in “post racial” America the class contradictions are exploding in what look like revolution and counter-revolution in the “show me” state! We remember Dred Scott! We remember John Brown! We have no illusions in the fake post racial America. We know it is a construction of the ruling class and another one of their myriad tools of pacification.

4) The ruling class has known for decades the day of the black President would be necessary. The black “true patriot” (imperialist Colin Powell) and “black conservative justice” (misogynist Clarence Thomas) were elevated in the post- 60’s backlash period both as a counter to the legacy of former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and the anti-imperialism of the Black Panthers, Brown Berets, League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and the various “movement” and working class anti-imperialists. Clarence Thomas was elevated to their top court to further denigrate and disempower the women’s liberation movement (and in particular to attack it where it overlapped with the working class and Black movements). But the elevation of model conservative black politicians to positions of power did not change the actual material conditions. The Clinton administration brought about the “end of welfare as we know it” and the brutal attack on the condition of poor and black and brown women with the odious (and sometimes even fatal) requirements of the “welfare to work” programs. Millions of black and brown men were relegated to prison labor for pennies an hour, increasingly for private prison-industrial complexes, one of this depression’s few growth industries. Meanwhile black and brown women were chased off welfare into poverty and menial work in order to qualify for the minimally available social assistance.   All the while, the class of model ’Negroes’, those trained to talk standard corporate dialect and endorse and abide the parameters of the capitalist rule, those referred to by pre-eminent black intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois as the Black Bourgeoisie, were prepared and elevated to catch the flack and defuse the situation when the inevitable fightback hit the streets.

5) This layer contains the most commercial spokespersons, the most renowned moralists, as well as countless preachers, poverty-agency operatives and hack politicians who know how to ride a wave. Today they are tasked with defusing Ferguson. At the executive level arch-hypocrite Obama says we will go to any lengths to bring to justice anyone who kills Americans, yet the Ferguson police department escorted Michael Brown’s murderer out of town to a safe undisclosed hideout. We watch what looks like an occupying army standing in formation with guns aimed at masses of unarmed civilians, many with arms in the air. No doubt ‘whitewashed’ black commentators will accuse some outside agitators of using them as human shields while they created mayhem!   The governor stepped in and sent the state police with a black chief spokesperson, but his credibility faded quickly…..then the National Guard was sent in but they were not tasked with protecting the people, but only with protecting the police command headquarters.   We call upon all worker militants on the scene to fraternize with the National Guard enlisted ranks to convince them not to follow any orders to commit state violence and to revolt should they be given. Back to the barracks and home!

Then the FBI showed up with all the authority of the Obama White House, but contrary to all logic the fact of 6 bullet wounds, two to the head, has not resulted in the immediate arrest of the murdering cop. So the FBI stands around with no real role other than to be the token serious Federal interest in the case, and the protests just get bigger naturally enough. So now Attorney General Holder is sent in to promise a “thorough and independent investigation.” We would like to know how there can be an independent state investigation of the state. The bench is getting thin and folks can see through it. The bourgeoisie increasingly sees no way out except crushing the suburban uprising. Crushing this uprising before it becomes a St. Louis uprising or even the Mississippi River uprising.   Even the black President cannot put Humpty Dumpty together again. So the “Post Racial” era comes to an end. We knew it had never been initiated, that there were clues along the way (every 28 hours!) but now the brave youth of Ferguson have stood up and say NO MORE! The Communist Workers Group stands with them!

6) While it is clear to revolutionary Marxism that the daily slaughter of workers and oppressed is the consequence and cost of decaying capitalism, that the systemic problem is not the fault of any one individual or group of individuals who can be identified and replaced, and that the open defenders of this decaying class system are little more than puppets acting with limited independence from their puppet masters to enforce the right of the 0.1% to own and control the wealth of the planet, there are layers of enforcers among the communities of the oppressed and working classes that are more insidious than the likes of Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Barack Obama and Eric Holder.   There are those who evoke Martin Luther King and tell us to back down and turn the other cheek. But we put our arms in the air and they shoot at us. What do you expect? We have black state police officers who admonish the youth for provoking violence with looting and Molotov cocktails, conveniently forgetting that only a week ago “Big Mike” was shot down, unarmed with his arms in the air! The political class, the moralists, the pacifists, all want to gather you inside the church and get you back off the street and back into the bourgeois political process in order to make good the deal with Hillary that she would be next in 2016, under the threat of an even worse Republican boogey man. 

Among this layer of operatives, moralists and pacifists are the very “socialists” who help to maintain the rule of the capitalist class by elevating the capitalist Democratic Party to the level of the essential and only pragmatic solution and road forward and away from reaction in every election cycle. The Communist Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, through and alongside the Trade Union bureaucracies, construct the American popular front in which the political independence of the working class and oppressed is subordinated to imperialism with a promise of a seat at the table. Thus we see the International Socialist Organization calling upon all workers in their orbit to follow the Reverend Al Sharpton and the New York Labor bureaucracy in a “We Will Not Go Back March” exactly to canalize and dam up worker frustration with murderous police tactics. Irrespective of the nominal intentions of Messrs. “Socialists”, Sharpton and the bureaucrats are stone Democrats and identify their interests with bourgeois class rule. Where workers live in the lower-rent suburbs the “seat at the table” is in the last row of the waiting room at the unemployment office!

7) The leaderships that hide the workers’ historic program for socialism from the masses do the work of the ruling class. What the uprising in Ferguson shows us is that decaying capitalist imperialism will have to take up arms against the oppressed not only in Fallujah, Rio de Janeiro, Gaza, Aleppo and Donetsk, but that not even the USA can resolve the crisis at home without unleashing class war. The leaders of the workers movement who talk socialism and workers power and Black Nationalism and women’s liberation on Sunday and on Holidays, on the morrow tell you not to organize your fighting workers/labor party, not to organize your own community assemblies, not to organize your own collective self-defense, and not to organize class struggle caucuses to revive your unions! No, they tell you to elect a new crop of ‘white washed’ progressive Democrats. Take Seattle, Washington where fake socialist Kshama Sawant tells workers that the police are workers too and endorses the new police chief as a progressive! Take Richmond, California where fake socialist mayoral candidate Mike Parker withdraws from the campaign, telling workers they have no need for political independence and should vote for the capitalist Democratic “progressive” candidate Tom Butt. There are already many preachers out on the street trying to contain the masses and bring them back to the fold, but that system is broken. Occupy may have withered away from misleadership, but the contradiction of decaying capitalism drives the masses into the streets out of sheer necessity.

8) The solution that is missing is the coalescence of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic revolutionary workers’ party that charts a course for independent working class political action, which forms up the popular democracy in every workplace, community and school and which will develop and assert the workers’ historic program through mobilizations, strikes, occupations, and direct challenges for power, as the power of the capitalists to rule effectively becomes increasingly less tenable and more and more dependent on the overt violence of the state.
9) So while the world is in flames and the CWG comrades participate in their trade unions and community organizations, they have marched on the Ports of Oakland against the Zionist slaughter, they organize against those in the union who deny workers their independent party, they have mobilized in the anti-fascist and anti-Klan actions, they have stood with the workers and oppressed of Brazil, Korea, the Ukraine, Syria and Egypt as they have had to rise up against the imperialists over the last year. And again today in the USA we take our program of political independence and working class labor-black-brown self defense to the beleaguered and oppressed communities who daily suffer the violence of the state. We say there can be no end to police brutality under capitalism. Thus we oppose the advocacy of civilian police review boards; they are not a solution. When, in the 1960’s, these review boards were demanded by the Black Panther Party and SDS, this represented for them a break to the left away from liberalism, although not a qualitative one as is usual with the ultra-left. Today, after the experience the working class had with such “independent” review boards such as John Lindsay’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, the raising of this demand by the Freedom Socialist Party, the Chicago Socialist Campaign, and Sawant’s Socialist Alternative, amount to a sop to liberalism and an assurance to the bourgeoisie of the utterly pacifist intentions of these groupings. The bourgeois state killers in blue cannot be made accountable to any other class but the capitalists. To think otherwise is to invite bloodshed on our side of the class line, until pacifist illusions can no longer be held.

We oppose the police unions being considered part of the labor movement; police are not workers and we do not defend them or welcome them as any part of the solution. We explain the police “protect and serve” big capital at your expense. They do not arrest Chevron for poisoning your air, they do not arrest BP for spoiling the Gulf and killing workers, they do not arrest the fossil fuel industry or the bankers who are poisoning the planet and they certainly do not arrest their own for killing you! In fact to end the rule of the capitalist class, the police and national security state must be arrested and only the mobilized masses of the workers and oppressed can do that.

Drop the charges against arrested protestors! We know who the real criminals are! 

300 dead black and brown workers a year and no cops arrested and punished. This capitalist system has no intention of seeking justice. We do demand the arrest of killer cops, However this is a transitional demand, because only popular tribunals of the workers and oppressed which organize their own defense guards can “Jail Killer Cops” and bring justice to the workers and oppressed.   

No faith in the bosses’ courts! Build organizations of labor and the oppressed to enforce justice!

Communist Workers Group/USA. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Down with Capital’s FIFA!

Down with Capital's FIFA! 
Defeat the Popular Front! Down with the union bureaucracy!
No illusions in bourgeois elections!
We will not pay the debt for the World Cup!
We demand freedom for political prisoners arrested in #NaoVaiTerCopa and #NaoVaiTerFinal demonstrations and in the workers' strikes!  
For the independent organization of the working class!
Build the base for the General Strike!

The following was written by a Brazilian Supporter of the Liaison Committee of Communists (LCC). It has been edited for the English translation.


Combating the Cup is the struggle against the capitalist crisis in Brazil. We live in the deepest economic crisis since 1929 and the largest uprising of the masses in four decades. In Brazil, the uprising was a response to the call of the youth combating the increase in public transport fares and for better health and education. The June days, the demonstrations during the FIFA Confederations Cup, the emergence of the #NaoVaiTerCopa[1] movement is fuelling every fight against expropriation of dwellings, every fight for each occupation, every demonstration in the slums, and in every strike of workers! The struggle against the capitalist crisis was built in every manifestation that the youth and #NaoVaiTerCopa organized.

Even the “spontaneous” working class movements started from a basis of consciousness. The awareness that the Brazilian masses took to the streets in June, 2013 is an informed consciousness built upon an 11-year experience with a Popular Front government which they believed would be different, but which they soon enough saw following the neo-liberal policies of the previous, usual right wing government. The movement of the masses in Brazil is today making a break with the Popular Front government. The rising of the masses comes without the call of the traditional workers’ organizations; the class is rising above them.

The June days were a great experience of a fight against the government. A government which defends major corporations and international capitalism in its crisis, a government that doesn’t have the ability to make concessions and instead attacks the rights of the working class and the poor. It was also an important experience with the leftist organizations that are outside the government, such as the Unified Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado- PSTU)[2] and the Socialism and Freedom Party (Partido Socialismo e Liberdade- PSOL).[3] 

Since Day one of the June days, these parties have had a policy of defending retreats and “negotiation” and they have repeatedly taken actions to divide the masses when they saw they could not control them. These opportunistic organizations were rejected by the movement of June and claimed they were being attacked by fascists, but in fact it was the youth who did not allow themselves to be controlled and who would not let these organizations use their demonstrations as a soapbox. To discredit the mass movement and the youth, the opportunists’ main argument was that “there were no workers” in the demonstrations and that “it was not an organized movement.”

But the working class had ​​their experience back in June that inevitably brought forward and developed consciousness and organization. After the June days, a number of fronts, organizations, collectives and youth groups, social movements and working class groupings of various kinds emerged; rejecting not only the ruling parties and the traditional right wing, but also the reformist left PSTU and PSOL. These are the new organizations that have launched the demonstrations against the World Cup and for better living conditions, health and education. These are the new groups that appeared in the teacher’s strike of 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, and who in 2014 were an example of struggle that invigorated the strike over the heads of the union bureaucracy headed by the leftist PSTU and PSOL. 

The strike movement of the working class, which was already happening before the June Days, including teachers, civil construction, oil transporters and bus drivers certainly gained strength in fighting the World Cup; indeed the workers and strikers were the protagonists! In 2014 we had a great wave of strikes that have intensified up to the eve of the World Cup. They had great success by going over the heads of the union bureaucracy, which is linked to the government and the employers.

The same way that the working class had their experience in June, the government, the bourgeoisie and the bureaucracy that had previously been caught by “surprise” by the rapidly unfolding events, are now better prepared. Rousseff Dilma promised a large military contingent and fulfilled her promise! Demonstrations and strikes are being violently suppressed. Since the #NaoVaiTerCopa demonstrations at the beginning of the year, the government has illustrated that it is determined not to allow the events and launched its massive offensive of repression that culminated in the death of a TV cameraman and a pervasive media campaign against the movement. The courts, in turn, fulfill their role as a bourgeois institution by criminalizing activists and strikers. Lots of activists and strikers were prosecuted, fired, arrested, threatened and assaulted. 


The leftist organizations that call themselves revolutionary acted the same way as the government and the bourgeoisie; they worked to stop the mass movement and prevent the unity of the youth and workers. After large protests had been organized in June, the actually reformist left, the PSTU and PSOL delegitimized the General Strike plans and called instead for a “Day of Mobilization”, exactly to stop the movement, and they did this in complete harmony and unity with the central-government and the employers. Through the “espaço de unidade de ação,” which is a popular front of the PSTU and the Unified Workers’ Central (Central Única dos Trabalhadores- CUT)[4] with the unions, they organized the movement around the slogan “Take the fight into the cup,” trying to co-opt the #NaoVaiTerCopa movement. 

But the left bureaucracy could not co-opt the movement of June, nor the #NaoVaiTerCopa, therefore they used the policy of criminalization of the radicalized youth and the “Black Bloc” in order to isolate them from the broader masses of youth and the workers. They had a sectarian approach to divide the movement by boycotting all of the fronts and independent organizations which had shown in June that they would not allow themselves to be controlled. The reformists succeeded in controlling a major sector of the working class by ending several strikes under the guise of “Unity.”

Thus they provided left cover for the ruling Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores- PT),[5] the Communist Party of Brazil (Partido Comunista do Brasil- PCdoB)[6] and the right-wing parties such as Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (Partido do Movimento Democrático Brasileiro- PMDB)[7] and the Democratic Labour Party (Partido Democrático Trabalhista- PDT).[8]  Through its popular front in the unions, and their economistic agenda in the strikes, they prevented the strikes from adopting the #NaoVaiTerCopa slogans and demands and instead blocked unity with the popular and youth movements which were already on the streets and had maintained a strong mobilized presence despite being under heavy state repression.

In the Sao Paulo subway, at the same time that the PSTU boycotted the popular movement and youth of #NaoVaiTerCopa, they blocked #NaoVaiTerCopa’s demands and slogans from being taken up as the agenda of workers. They similarly blocked organizational unity in action with the striking bus drivers.  The PSTU united with the PCdoB and with the “support” of the General Union of Workers (UGT) the strikers remained isolated by their limited economistic agenda, leaving the movement politically disarmed and incapable of facing what was coming. The government then fired 42 workers and the union ended the strike, leaving their comrades behind. The bus drivers of Rio de Janeiro passed over the union leadership to take action, but were barred by the PSTU in the strike committee by bureaucratic manoeuvres that prevented the formal vote for the strike, setting the striking drivers up for defeat. 

The Rio de Janeiro teachers’ strike was the first one which went over the heads of the PSTU and PSOL controlled unions. This layer of educational workers already had the experience of their own strike being betrayed in 2013 by this union leadership. They remained on strike during the World Cup, even after lay-offs and persecution of strikers and even as the PSTU joined with the PT and advocated the end of the movement. These education workers did not accept the defeat and decided to continue even without the support of the union! With a bureaucratic manoeuvre, the PSTU and PSOL in unity with the PT, the PCdoB, and the PDT called an extraordinary deliberation council and an early meeting at which they successfully ended the strike.

The PSOL and the PSTU also imposed an economistic agenda in the federal public workers sector unions, despite the workers there having run their own strikes for years. Their only slogan was “negotiate Dilma!” The government is imposing the neo-liberal plan and is not willing to trade it, so this slogan only creates illusions. Instead of leading real class struggle they limited the workers to begging Dilma to negotiate, thus demoralizing the movement and weakening the workers’ resolve.

Thus, with the security forces of the state acting at the behest of the PT and with the offensive of the bourgeoisie and the media, the sabotaged strikes and the betrayal by the left bureaucracy, the movement against the World Cup has been “different” from June. After the strike movement of workers bypassed the bureaucracies of the CUT, Union Force Trade (Força Sindical- FS),[9] UGT, etc., it ended up being blocked by the left bureaucracy, the strike committees and by the unions they control. The defeat of the Sao Paulo subway workers strike also contained the process of building the General Strike, which was being hotly debated inside the mass movement.

Not only is the bureaucracy in the union movement a hindrance to the workers’ fight, but it is in the struggles of the broader social movement as well. The leadership of the Homeless Workers Movement (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto- MTST)[10] capitulated to the government and the popular front by cancelling the demonstrations that were planned for Brazil’s friendly match before the World Cup in Sao Paulo, even while there was a strike by subway workers that stopped the city! At the moment the MTST was mobilizing 20 thousand people for actions, they cancelled the actions and dropped the fight against the Cup, claiming to have “negotiated” with the government. The promise of the government was the “Minha Casa Minha Vida” program of the federal government, which for years has been transferring public money to big construction companies fuelling the speculation and horrible housing conditions and the promise of a master plan (Director Plan- a new law on urban replanning), the same plan that has been adopted in recent years to serve the interests of large developers and to generate foreclosures and evictions.

The World Cup in Brazil was not what the government and the bourgeoisie hoped. The expected nationalist wave of emotion was substituted with popular protest, many of the public works promised by the government were not completed and the “stimulation” of the economy did not happen as expected.  The budget deficit and rate of inflation increased, and the living conditions of the working class are still under attack.  The struggle against the Cup is the struggle against capital and it will continue after the World Cup final against the popular front government that continues to defend capitalism in crisis and tries to make the workers pay the bill. 

Organizations claiming to be revolutionary Trotskyists must say “no” to any alliance with the ruling bureaucracy in the unions, and fight union attempts to stop the unity of the mass movement and workers from joining the working class youth and popular movement. It is the new fronts and organizations that arise in the experience of struggle against the government and against capitalism in its crisis that are strengthening the united front against the Popular Front.

The parties of the left united with the ruling bureaucracy to end the strikes and mobilized extensively to build their coalitions and political campaigns for the October elections, making their priority clear. The mobilization of workers must continue with the consciousness that they must fight the government, the bourgeoisie and the trade union bureaucracy, following the example of the education workers of Rio de Janeiro, which already are working in rank and file organizing committees to keep fighting the threats and dismissals. 

The demonstrations against the World Cup, despite facing great repression, are being continued by the social movement and the youth. We also need to generalize the self-organization of workers on a democratic basis. The agenda of workers for better working conditions and wages must be united in the struggle against the government and capitalism in crisis, denouncing and fighting the false democracy of bourgeois elections, rescuing the flags of the socialist revolution and building the revolutionary party!


July 3, 2014  written by a supporter of the LCC in Brazil Any mistakes in translation are the responsibility of the CWG/USA

Sunday, July 13, 2014


The events of the last weeks that saw a renewal of open hostilities between Israel and Hamas have an element of deja vu in them. Once more the Zionist state steps up its oppression of the West Bank and Gaza using as a pretext the killing of three Israeli youths. Once more the Palestinian masses rise up in resistance as Arab youth are killed and hundreds arrested. Yet we are not taken in by the arguments for or against renewed hostilities; they are a ritual exchange between the Zionist ruling class and the Palestinian bourgeois factions Hamas and Fatah to negotiate the division of Palestine. The two factions are using the Palestinian masses as no more than expendable pawns in their battle for supremacy. Lost in this exchange is the truth of what underlies this conflict between the Zionist oppressor state, and an oppressed occupied state. While both regimes negotiate with missiles the Palestinian masses pay the price in blood. Their leaders continue to sell out to Israel. In selling out they prevent the Palestinian struggle for self-determination from arming independent militias and uniting their forces with other armed struggles in the surrounding Arab states. We are for a revolutionary party and program for the defeat of the Zionist state and for a Socialist Palestine in a United Socialist States of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)!

1) Down with the Zionist State!

Israel is a settler state that came into existence after United Nations (UN) resolution 181 in 1947 which was a fig-leaf for British and US imperialist backing of the Zionist colonisation of Palestine and its partition into two legitimate states. This was followed by a series of wars starting with the civil war followed by the First Arab-Israeli war in 1948, together called al-Nakba by the Arabs, that led to defeat of Arab forces and drove Arabs off their land to the point that today all of Palestine is either settled by Israelis or controlled by the Israeli military. Those parts of the West Bank and Gaza that are not permanently occupied by the military are no more than prison camps much as are the refugee camps that house millions of displaced Palestinians in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Israel justifies it’s right to occupy Palestine in terms of its Zionist claims to the ancient land of Israel. It is pre-occupied with completing its Zionist program of reclaiming its historic homeland which would not be possible without a massive military subsidy from the US. (See ‘Zionism: A Road Map to Hell’).

Israel is therefore not an imperialist economic power and only exists on the basis of US and EU imperialist support. It might be called ‘sub-imperialist’ in the sense of “sub-contracted to US imperialism”. It is an armed settler state with a theocratic Zionist regime no less ‘fundamentalist’ than its rival Islamic Republic of Iran, or the upstart rival Sunni Islamic State (ISIS), and certainly a nuclear armed ‘terrorist’ state. It is an affront not only to the Palestinians, but to Jews and to humanity as a whole that Zionist Israel exists, and so must be destroyed. (see Against Zionism).

Writing on The Jewish Problem in 1937, Trotsky foresaw the tragedy of Zionism as a reactionary solution to the national rights of Jews:

"But the facts of every passing day demonstrate to us that Zionism is incapable of resolving the Jewish question. The conflict between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine acquires a more and more tragic and more and more menacing character. I do not at all believe that the Jewish question can be resolved within the framework of rotting capitalism and under the control of British imperialism. And how, you ask me, can socialism solve this question? On this point I can but offer hypotheses. Once socialism has become master of our planet or at least of its most important sections, it will have unimaginable resources in all domains. Human history has witnessed the epoch of great migrations on the basis of barbarism. Socialism will open the possibility of great migrations on the basis of the most developed technique and culture. It goes without saying that what is here involved is not compulsory displacements, that is, the creation of new ghettos for certain nationalities, but displacements freely consented to, or rather demanded by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community will find a sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered nations. National topography will become a part of the planned economy. This is the grand historical perspective that I envisage. To work for international socialism means also to work for the solution of the Jewish question.”
2) Palestinian National Liberation

The struggle of the Palestinian masses against Israeli occupation is a national liberation struggle. To achieve Palestinian liberation the Zionist state must be destroyed. National liberation does not mean recognition of the state of Israel as legitimate nor the acceptance of a two-state solution. This is the position of one faction of the Palestinian bourgeoisie –Fatah. Nor does it mean the opportunist policy of the other bourgeois faction Hamas, i.e. military confrontation to recognise the de facto right for Israel to exist until it can be replaced by a theocratic Islamic State of Palestine. Between these two factions’ policies of dividing up Palestine with the Zionists there is no essential difference. Both are “bloody traps” for the Arab masses manipulated as pawns of the rival factions of the Palestinian bourgeoisie.

Much of the Western left also buys into a negotiated ‘peaceful’ solution such as the claim that Israel is an ‘apartheid’ state which can be reformed by pressure of international public opinion and more UN resolutions to go back to the partition of 1947. This is based on the belief that Jews have national rights in Palestine that can be peacefully resolved by recognising both Palestinian and Jewish rights. This is making Palestine liberation conditional on Jewish national rights as if they have an equal claim to living in Palestine. Not so. Trotsky argued that in the 1930s that Jews could claim national rights as an oppressed nation, but not at the expense of occupying Palestine.

“The attempt to solve the Jewish question through the migration of Jews to Palestine can now be seen for what it is, a tragic mockery of the Jewish people. Interested in winning the sympathies of the Arabs who are more numerous than the Jews, the British government has sharply altered its policy toward the Jews, and has actually renounced its promise to help them found their “own home” in a foreign land. The future development of military events may well transform Palestine into a bloody trap for several hundred thousand Jews. Never was it so clear as it is today that the salvation of the Jewish people is bound up inseparably with the overthrow of the capitalist system.” On the Jewish Problem.

The National rights of Jews therefore cannot be at the expense of the Palestinians. So the national liberation of Palestine means the defeat of Israel and the re-occupation of Palestine by the armed people of Palestine, with or without the support of militant Jews, and necessarily in conjunction with the popular revolutions that have begun in the other Arab states. The national rights of Jews will be realised in a democratic, socialist, multi-ethnic workers’ state in Palestine.

3) The Arab Revolution

Since 1948 the Palestinian revolution has been isolated (in effect quarantined) by the Arab states whose regimes professed support for Palestinian rights, but stopped short at limited wars to weakly contest the expanding borders of Israel. The surrounding Arab states condemned the Israeli state but in practice put their own separate interests before the defence of Palestine. They were rivals for leadership of the Arab states and could never agree on a unified strategy. In 1948 King Abdullar of Jordan backed by Britain, schemed with the Zionists to incorporate the US mandated Palestine into Jordan but was opposed by Egypt and Syria who had their own plans to annex Palestine. The outcome of the war was a victory for Israel and its expansion well beyond the UN partition borders (see map). 

The 1967 “Third Arab-Israeli war” between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan also led to an outright Israeli victory and further incursions into Palestinian territory. Since that time the Arab states have collaborated with Israel. Egypt and Israel struck and agreement over Gaza. In Syria, the secular Baathist regime of Assad, father and son, co-existed with the theocratic Zionist state just as much as it collaborated with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Arab and Israeli ruling classes were in agreement on their fundamental interest of keeping the Arab revolution divided and quarantined.

The Arab Spring changed that. Since 2011 the uprisings from Tunisia to Syria have forced the Arab regimes to actively suppress or co-opt the spread and synchronisation of these popular uprisings. In Syria Assad has starved and bombed the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk because the different leadership factions including Hamas that ruled the camp could not suppress the solidarity of the Palestinian masses with the Syrian Revolution. Moreover the revolutions continue in Libya and Syria where the armed resistance continues to fight the regime. The outbreak of a popular war against the Maliki regime in Iraq puts on the agenda not only the defeat of imperialism in MENA but also the defeat of imperialism’s puppet regimes in Iraq and Syria their Islamic State rivals. For the first time a Palestinian popular uprising has the potential to join forces with the Egyptian, Syrian and Iraqi revolutions and to link up the Palestinian masses in Lebanon and Jordan in a wider Arab revolution to overthrow imperialism and its national bourgeois puppets.

4) Role of Imperialism

There are no imperialist powers in the MENA. Israel and all the Arab regimes are semi-colonies of imperialism including the oil-rich Gulf States (and the non-Arab Iran). In the last analysis, Israel’s existence is not about land grabbing in the name of God, but its military role as the mercenary of US and EU imperialism in defending their interests in MENA against the emergence of the rival imperialist bloc of Russia and China. The Arab regimes act as agents of one or other, or both imperialist blocs, as they compete to win their favour and increase their share of the oil wealth exploited by imperialism. There can be no Arab Revolution unless it breaks with both imperialism and all the national bourgeois factions that rule over the masses on its behalf.

It is not possible to complete the national revolutions to defeat imperialism without overthrowing the national bourgeois factions that rule on behalf of imperialism. Hamas and Fatah in Palestine use the masses as military pawns to negotiate better terms with Israel for dividing Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and in Syria compete with the military al Sisi and Assad regimes, and secular bourgeois factions such as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), for popular support to win the backing of the US and/or China/Russia. All compete to prove they can contain the Arab Revolution and that it is not they but their rivals that are the ‘terrorists’ that must be smashed. Against such brutal regimes, the Arab revolution that is historically centred on Palestine must declare its political independence from all bourgeois factions and build popular armed militias based on the workers and oppressed. See “The Arab Revolution meets NATO/Zionism”.

5) For Permanent Revolution

The struggle for an independent, secular Arab revolution has to contend with a history in which the revolutionary Marxist party has been betrayed by Stalinist popular front politics. That is, Communist Parties in MENA have historically collaborated with ‘progressive’ national bourgeois factions such as Fatah and the Baath Party purportedly against imperialism. But such collaboration has never led to national independence only to the defeat of the masses. The Arab revolution has made important advances against such historic betrayals only by taking up the armed and independent struggle against imperialism and it bourgeois lackeys. The fighting masses need to take the leadership of the anti-imperialist struggle out of the hands of the national bourgeoisie and embarking on the road to socialist revolution.

So the Palestinian Intifadas threatened to break the masses from the control of Fatah and Hamas and the threat of popular revolution forced these bourgeois lackeys to negotiate with Israel to contain the revolution. In Libya the armed militias retain a dual power against the pro-imperialist post-Gaddafi regime despite the current US attempt led by its henchman General Khalifa Hifter to disarm the militias. In Syria the secular armed revolution is holding out despite terrible odds against both the regime and the Islamic State. In Egypt, the masses are now facing a military dictatorship that strips away all illusions that the military is ‘progressive’. What is lacking is the Marxist party and program for Permanent Revolution that spells out the necessity for the armed, independent struggle for socialist republics within a wider Federation of Socialist Republics of MENA .

6) Revolutionary Party and Program

Only a revolutionary Marxist party and program is capable of addressing the Palestinian revolution as part of the Permanent Arab Revolution and as part of a global revolution. This is because as we said above the Zionist state is a military settler state funded by US and EU imperialism as its mercenary in MENA. It is the key to US and NATO control of its MENA ‘assets’ both political and economic which is today a vital defence of the US blocs oil assets against those of its rival Russia/China bloc. It is also imperialism’s weakest link in MENA because its role as imperialist gendarme forces it to militarise its settler population. This means that all Zionism’s claims to national rights and democratic legitimacy are constantly exposed as extreme hypocrisy turning the oppression of the Palestinian people the flaming beacon of the Arab Revolution. The cry “We are all Palestinians” means that while the Palestinians are not free, no-one is free!

That is why the struggle against imperialism in the MENA cannot succeed without the defeat of Israel and the smashing of the Zionist state. While it exists it will play the role it has played since 1948 as the armed mercenary of US imperialism in MENA. Just as the US imperialism can only prevent its decline as the No 1 imperialist power, so Israel’s fate is dependent on its role of protecting its master in MENA. Only the revolutionary Leninist/Trotskyist Party can cut through the pacifist liberal confusion that holds out the possibility of a negotiated peace in Palestine and in the wider MENA. Revolutionary Marxism is uncompromising in leading such a revolution because it refuses to legitimise the Zionist state!

In response to the left-liberal cry ‘victory for the Intifada’ we say victory can only be the victory of a revolutionary war of national liberation that (1) overthrows the Zionist IDF, (2) defeats all intervention by imperialism or its proxies, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Iran and Turkey, and (3) exposes and defeats the treacherous leadership of the national bourgeois agents of imperialism in Palestine, Hamas and Fatah!

We agree with Trotsky. In 1998 we wrote:

“A democratic multi-ethnic Palestine could only be achieved as a result of a socialist revolution based on workers councils and militias. It would also be part of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East. In that context not only Palestinians would have the right to return but also Arab Jews would have the right to return to Syria, Morocco, Iraq and other Arab countries. Kurds, Assyrian and other nationalities would achieve self-determination and equal rights.” Against Zionism.   

  • That is why our program calls for the Egyptian working masses to build workers councils and militias to overthrow al Sisi and the military dictatorship, and to form a popular militia able to break down the walls and open the borders of Gaza to unite its people with the West Bank and Jordan! 
  •  We call on the Palestinian masses in occupied Palestine and in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon to unite with the Syrian revolution to build workers councils and militias to smash both the Assad regime and the Islamic State (ISIS) and its allies Hezbollah and Iranian fighters.  
  •  We condemn all self-proclaimed revolutionaries in the imperialist countries for failing in their duty to take action against their own imperialist ruling classes, whose defeat ultimately will enable the permanent revolution in MENA to be victorious. 
  • We oppose all pacifist, individualist boycotts and appeals to United Nations negotiations as continuing the legitimation of imperialist rule in MENA and as barriers to the armed, independence of the Arab masses. 
  •  We call on Israeli workers to take the side of Palestinian liberation, form workers councils and strike for the release of Palestinian political prisoners! 
  •  We call on Israel conscripts in the military to refuse to obey orders to shoot or otherwise oppress Palestinians! 
  • Defeat Zionism! We refuse to demand that the Zionist state frees its political prisoners, pulls down its walls and grants the right of return. We do not create illusions in Israel as we do not recognise its right to exist. The right of return will be enforced by Zionism’s defeat! 
  •  We call on workers in the imperialist countries to mobilise in their unions to enforce bans on all diplomatic, military and trade relations with Israel! 
  •  We call on the ranks of the military to mobilise against all imperialist occupation and intervention in the Arab states! 
  •  We call on the unions to make political strikes against the US funding of Israeli occupation! We call on workers to build international brigades to fight alongside the armed, independent militias in Palestine, Syria and Iraq, and for weapons and medical aid to the Palestinian struggle! 
  •  For a Socialist Palestine within a Federation of Socialist Republics of MENA!

Share it