The Poverty of the Left and Freedom for Palestine
There is an underlying current among the left, no matter where you go, no matter who is your president. A perverse sense of liberalism within the current system, within the current dynamic of society. The free world, the great nation, the democracy. An ideology permeating through the minds of many, and despite the rhetoric and promotion of social justice, even far left suffer from the poverty of the system.
The system I am talking about is Capitalism. A system based on commodity production, which organises itself on the accumulation of profits. Despite the constantly revolutionised technology and industry, the system of Capitalism to this day does not, nor can it, provide for all. And yes, for a time, Capitalism promised providing for all, “Believe in Capitalism, and you will be wealthy!” And yet wealth is concentrated in the hands of a small minority, while the remainder are either scraping by or so impoverished that they can barely afford clean drinking water.
Imperialism, a necessary outcome of Capitalism, has rocked the world since the turn of the 20th century. As Capitalism grew, through the competitive market, the amount of competitors decreased. Ponds that once had many small fish had become ponds holding very few fat and bloated fish. Markets within nations are swallowed up and monopolised leaving nowhere else for the Capitalist to accumulate his or her profits. So it becomes necessary, with the help of the Capitalist State to go into competition with other nation states. To open new markets through Imperialist wars. World War I and II saw the most extreme in these inter-nation competitions. The results of which were a re-carving of the world into major Capitalist blocs, dominated by one power or another - be it through military force or economic treaties. The biggest of these major blocs,
and by far the most powerful is the United States of America. And it is no wonder then why every major war since the Second World War has been provoked/instigated by the U.S.A.
One of the ways in which the United States established its dominance was to seek 'watchdogs' across the world. Nations who would be willing to trade off with the United States. Mutual interests so-to-speak. Australia, formerly a close friend of the United Kingdom, quickly became one of these friends post Vietnam. Another of these watchdogs was the State of Israel. Israel, which was formed in 1948 with the aid of the British Government, had grown considerably. Through military expansion, it had progressively ostracised Palestinians and broken down the borders of Palestine, until Palestine was no more than isolated settlements within Israel. However, it was not till the bombing of Libya by the United States that Israel got on board with the U.S's Imperial project. Israel bent over for the U.S., begging for a trade off. Israel was to become another Watchdog of the United States. The trade was simple. The United States was to give aid to Israel, and arm Israel to allow it to become the strongest nation in its region, to have the most powerfully armed ruling class in its region and to finally have the means to easily squash Palestine once and for all, to ensure Israeli hegemony. In return Israel would put down any and all dissent toward the U.S from its neighbours and in doing so, ensure the U.S had a stake in the massive reserves of Oil. Oil, under Capitalism, is by far the most important commodity. Every economy in the world relies on Oil, to fuel their machines, to run their automobiles.
“We must become owners, or at any rate the controllers at the source ... of supply ... of oil.” - Winston Churchill.
Not only did the U.S want a stake, it needed a stake. This strategic alliance with Israel would not only mean a control over resources U.S Capitalism needed, but also inhibit the ability of lesser powers, such as the United Kingdom and Russia, from being able to use it to their advantage. And so it was set in stone. Israel and the United States became the best of friends, and Israel did not disappoint.
As I briefed above, Israel has always been the Apartheid state that we know and loath today, from its very creation. Its birth was one of apartheid agenda, to turn arabs into second-class citizens, deliberately impoverish and ostracise them wherever possible, to so severely undermine them that Palestine would no longer be remembered. In its place would be Israel, and only Israel. Its birth and its continued existence was justified with Zionism and Racism. Dirty arabs, long live Israel! And to back up the things I am saying, I will add the following quotes:
“In Palestine we do not propose to even go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants ... The Four Powers are committed to Zionism.” - Lord Balfour 1919 (Prior to the formation of Israel)
“If we dig in here, England will come to our aid. It is not the Arabs who the English will pick to ... colonise Palestine, it is we.” - Golda Meir 1921
Zionism, which once represented the idea of Israel, of the Jewish homeland, was becoming the idea of sovereignty to colonial powers. And not too long after, with the formation of Israel in 1948, Zionism would be transformed. No longer did it require religious connotation. Zionism was now all about the State of Israel itself and its right to exist on the shoulders of the Palestinians.
Some more quotes to further show Israel's position in regards to its brutality and resistance groups:
“Behind the official excuse of we shall not tolerate shelling or terrorist reactions' lies a strategic view which holds that the physical annihilation of the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organisation] has to be achieved. That is, not only must its fingers and hands in the West Bank be amputated (as is now being done with an iron fist), but its heart and head in Beirut must be dealt with. As Israel does not want the PLO as a partner for talks or as an interlocutor for any solution in the West Bank, the supporters of confrontation with the PLO hold that the logical continuation of the struggle with the PLO in the territories is in Lebanon. With the loss of its physical strength, in their opinion, the PLO will lose not only its hold over the territories but also its growing international status.” - Ha'aretz 1982.
“We have no solution... You [Palestinians] shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads.” - Moshe Dayan, Chief of Staff of the IDF, early 1970s.
“When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged roaches in a bottle.” - Rafael Eitan, Chief of Staff of the IDF, 1983.
“The significance of the [Gaza Strip disengagement] plan is the freezing of the peace process, It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians ... When you freeze [the peace] process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the [Palestinian] refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. ... Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. ... And all this with authority and permission. All with a [US] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.” - Dov Weisglass, Advisor to the Israel Prime Minister, 2004.
“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet but not to make them die of hunger." - Dov Weisglass, Advisor to the Israel Prime Minister, 2006.
“The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger 'shoah' [Holocaust] because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” - Matan Vilnai, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, 2008.
The above should correct any uncertainties you (the readers) had, if not, I will address them later. The bloody history of Palestine since the turn of the 20th century has been, absolutely upon the shoulders of giants. The United Kingdom, the United States and Israel. Israel's other mode of justification is 'protection.' The same excuses the United States used against Stalinist/Maoist-Communism during the Vietnam war and the Cold war, the same excuses the United States used against Iraq and Afghanistan. Claiming protection, defense, when it is they who are the instigators of the violence. When it is they who created the reacting terrorist factions. When it is they who oppressed and butchered so many middle-easterners that they had no where to turn other than to Terrorism or Arab-Nationalism.
I wont spend too much time on this point. It needs not much more than this. To be final and clear: Israel, the United States and the United Kingdom are all responsible for the turmoil in the Middle-east, and it is they who are the terrorist states. It is they who callously murder and pillage for their precious Capitalism.
The Left and Terrorism
I find it peculiar, the state of the Left on Terrorism. They can barely keep their hats on at the first sight of it. What do we do? What do we say? Are they right? Are they wrong? 'They must be wrong! ' They say in the end. 'Because our governments don't strap bombs to children! Our governments don't use suicide bombers! And they don't kill civilians and terrorise them!”
Obviously, this is far from entirely true. First of all, rather than strapping bombs to children, governments such as Israel, the U.S and the U.K bomb them. Over 400 of the dead in Gaza in the past days are children. (Also, I have yet to see a substantiated claim about bombs strapped to children by Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah or any group of the like.) 'Our' governments don't use suicide bombers, but they have no problem with sending thousands, often hundreds of thousands, of young working people, good people, to war to die. It might not be suicide bombing, but it is most certainly for many of them forced suicide. And finally, as I have already shown, 'our' governments do kill civilians and terrorise them. And by all stretches of the imagination, disproportionately. 3000 (approx.) dead in the World Trade Center bombings in 2001, 1.2 Million dead (conservative estimate) in Afghanistan alone by Coalition forces (Australia, United States, United Kingdom and several other smaller nations). 1 Dead due to rocket fire from Hamas into Israel, 1200 dead from bombings and ground occupation in Gaza by Israel.
Proportionate or not, the acts are still wrong. They are not for 'defense' but rather for dominion. They are the result of ruling classes fighting other ruling classes at our expense. And no, let's be clear on this, no Imperialist state will willingly agree to end its hostilities. They cannot. The foundations of a superpower lie in Imperialism itself. The foundations of those Imperialist states lie in the oppression and exploitation of their people. None of these states seek peace. And for any of the left to assume peace can be achieved through the likes of presidents such as Obama, is living a pipe dream. (Obama in early 2008 voiced that he thought Australia ought to send 20,000 troops to Afghanistan, has made clear he intends to boost troops in Afghanistan, and has not taken Iran off the table of possible invasion.)
All 'democratic' reasoning with the state of Israel, of the U.S, is met with utter callousness.
What to do?
What must be done is mobilise. The only way to achieve peace in the middle-east, or indeed anywhere, including at home, is to show that neither you, or your friends, brothers or sisters, will lie down and accept what you are told. Millions across the world already have, and those numbers are growing with no signs of stopping yet. Average working people across the world are an amazingly powerful social force, one which can bring to a stand still Capitalism, warmongering States and the like.
It is a case of poverty on the left, that very few recognise this beyond a spur of the moment outrage. We, who are supposed to be more aware, more analysing, more astute in the politics, should be setting the example, acting out, acting now, and acting relentlessly. However, the left is not. Groups on the far left have done exceedingly well, as have the Arab and Palestinian and Muslim populations across the world. The remainder of the left however have been utterly slack, and rather disgusting in their actions.
We have lefties who have stated they need to 'deepen the politics' by holding 'public meetings' which will 'educate' people in the struggle and 'appeal to the wider audience.' This idea is a few things, first and foremost, its a farce. To say that the politics were not already deep is arrogant and outright wrong. It assumes the people turning up to demonstrations are stupid, and that they know very little, when it is all too clear - the people turning up by and large know more about middle eastern politics and what needs to be done than the majority of the left. Public meetings also deter from mobilisation of the people, and essentially stagnate movements, and themselves. It is not public meetings that build movements, it is action that builds movements. The idea of having to educate the masses is essentially elitist, but elitism aside, is also racist. Acting as if you have to appeal to everyone but Arabs and Palestinians is ridiculous, and expecting Arabs and Muslims to be subject to the whims of backwards elements of white society is clearly wrong. I need not say more on that.
I have heard claims, 'the movement is tiring.' Which is outrageous, as all signs point to it growing stronger. Numbers across the board have increased astronomically since the beginning of the attacks on Gaza. This statement has no basis in the reality of the movement.
I have heard claims that education and lobbying should be the focus, as that is the only way to get things done. This is so poor an idea I almost cannot bare to have to repeat it to you all. Lobbying? Who needs a lobby when you have 1.5 million people on the streets? That was the number in Turkey. Who needs a lobby when you have 150,000 people on the streets, or 100,000 people on the streets? (Paris, London) Education is fundamental, yes, but it does not take priority over activism. It is impossible to educate the masses if you do not make yourself relevant to them, and the majority of people requiring education are people who honestly do not care about the issue, and quite often hold very racist ideas toward Muslims and Arabs. Again, Palestine has not the time to waste waiting for the white left to get their people educated, and Arabs should not have to sit around and wait for us to work ourselves out. Rather - They lead, we should support, and in doing so educate. Activism and Education go hand in hand, and through that, agitation to mobilise comes. We should not be seeking the backwards elements, or the Parliament to fix the problem, but rather the billions across the world who are angry, who are outraged at these war crimes, who want to see justice!
Back to Palestine...
Palestine has come under massive attack, both ideologically and physically. It is backed into a corner, but never the less is fighting. Just as the Warsaw resisting Jews did, so too will the Palestinians. It so happens at this time that Hamas are the only organised resisting force in the Gaza Strip, and it so happens that Palestinians look toward Hamas as a result of this. Never the less, to quickly cut through the fat, Hamas are neither the problem, nor the instigators of the current issue. Hamas is merely the product of decades of repression and brutality.
So I say simply, remove the apartheid and Hamas will have no justification for its existence. Replace Israel with a single, secular, democratic state, and Hamas will be further undermined. And that is all I will say on Hamas.
As for the Apartheid State of Israel. Just as South Africa's Apartheid had not the right exist, neither does Israel. There is no room for brutality and repression of this nature in today's 'free world.' The two state solution, which so many are trying to revive, already exists. What we have today is the result of the two party solution. So long as Israel continues its existence, it will continue to smash to pieces the Arab population of Palestine. That is why I say the One State Solution is the only viable option left.
But how? The One State Solution would be a radical change from the current regime, it would not be either Arab-Nationalist, nor Zionist. All Jews, all Arabs would have equal rights, be recognised as equal citizens. It would ensure that the U.S and the U.K can no longer exact that Imperialist agenda in the region to the same levels they had been in the past, and it would effectively undermine the regimes in its neighbours countries. How can this come about? The broader layer of people, of course. They say “The road to Jerusalem runs through Cairo.” In other words, the working people, the average people, of nations such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria etc, will have to work in solidarity with the resisting Palestinians. Opposing their own government complacency toward Israel and the U.S. Strike waves, mass demonstrations - these things are their tools - and they have used them before. It will take working, average people from other nations also, in the western blocs especially, to oppose Imperialism in their own countries.
This world is not stagnant. This world is constantly in flux, and constantly pushing people to resist. The question is, what will we do when people do resist? Will we work together and point the way forward? Or will be stay away, within our own sects, our niches? Well, those are my thoughts on how.
Second Life and the Justice for Palestine Coalition
Among some of the things I have been doing recently, which include Branch meetings RL, Organising meetings for Pro Palestine rallies RL, Stalls RL, Demonstrations every week RL, Speakouts RL and Media stunts RL, I've also been trying to work at the same ends within Second Life. I, with a handful of others which include not only members of the broader left, but also Arab and Palestinian people, created a group named “The Justice for Palestine Coalition.” It was intended to be a broad coalition of tendencies and groups and people working toward one goal: Justice and Freedom for Palestine. From day one, the SL Internationalist Socialists have participated, pushing motions such as involving more Muslim, Arabic and Palestinian involvement, pushing for a concise charter in support of the One State solution an end to the blockade as well as several other organisational things in regards to how we conduct ourselves when out in public for demonstrations etc. Now I can say rather confidently, none of these motions were met with a happy face by everyone. In fact, so far, the only frowny faces have been by the 'broad left' within the group, and one or two Muslims who consider themselves Liberal, and without attacking them, do not have anymore sense of the situation in Gaza than most of the lefties do. It just so happens that activities with the JFPC, particularly organising meetings, have been predominantly these people, and not a single Arab or Palestinian present. Anarchist tendencies had the louder opposition to my motions ( due to the politics of Anarchism - which did not surprise me, and I am not attacking those politics, I am merely giving the reason ). However, to be honest, nothing was achieved much at all. Slowly, JFPC land has been transformed, religious symbols sprouting everywhere, along with commandments from the Torah, despite the fact that this is not an issue between religious doctrines.
Some clashes came shortly after, and I was expelled from the JFPC.
Demonstrations however were held, and were, in my opinion successful. We had issues with Pro-Israel and Anti-semite griefers on occasion, however overall, the dialogue was constructive. A fair amount of racist and sexist comments were flung toward the protestors by presumably very devout Zionists. At one stage I was called a bitch, a terrorist, a nazi and an anti-semite - despite there being nothing in support of those statements. So yes, you can see there was some hostility.
But I can say this clearly: The SL Internationalist Socialists at no point correlated Judaism to Zionism, rather, we pointed out the Zionist philosophy as a justification for Israel's continued existence. I will say that none of us should be afraid of the term “Zionist.” That we should merely be sure to understand what the word means. At no point did the SL Internationalist Socialists attempt to push Trotskyism or Socialism on any of the people we spoke to. At no point did we put Bolshevism before the struggle for Palestine. Those are unsubstantiated claims. Everything I have argued in this article I had argued at the demos and meetings. No more, no less. Support Palestine, and do not break off into sects. That was and is my agenda.
Overall, dialogue has been excellent with those I have spoken to by and large. The SL Internationalist Socialists have managed to stay in contact with many Arab and Muslim SL users, and many are keen to be involved in activism and educationals with the JFPC.
To reiterate though, these people were approached by the JFPC, not by the SLIS tags.
My final thoughts on this are that the movement in Second Life should not be considered separate from the movement in the real world. That we are but another part of the broader movement. And it is for that reason I believe we should do more than pretend to be different, it is for that reason I think we should have opposed Zionism from the start.
The JFPC, unfortunately, has become something of a vanity club to the people who run it. Never the less to the broader membership it is not. And the broader membership seem to agree more is needed. And I agree. Palestine will not rest, and neither should we. Act now, before its too late.
Final thoughts on the Poverty of the Left...
What the left in the real world, and in Second Life, have become is nothing more than a hands tied, rag tag bundle of people. Very few of whom actually intend to create fundamental change to the way society runs. I understand the conditions in which people grow these ideas, so this is not an attempt to chastise or belittle. But I believe we should all understand. True power does not lie in the media spotlight, or how the media portrays a movement. True power does not lie in Parliament with the Obamas, the Rudds etc. True power does not lie in the hands of the Bosses. True power, that is social power, that is the power to change the world, lies in the hands of the 'consumer,' the working person, the 'little people.' So to see things change for the better we must be willing to assert that power, and to do away with those who would see us belittle ourselves to mere 'voters' or to mere 'consumers.'
There is more that we can do in Second Life. I do not doubt it for even a moment. And though I have not always been the most amicable person, I can promise every single one of you that I will not give up on my goals. Activism, Education, Agitation. I believe that if we all act, as one coherent force, that we can achieve something unfathomable. We wont achieve that, however, so long as people are encouraged to stand idle, to think within the confines of Capitalism and its 'democracy.'
If you would like to speak to me in world, my screen name is Abel Koskinen.
For more on Palestine's struggle:
“Israel: Hijack State - America's Watchdog in the Middle East” - http://www.marxists.de/middleast/rose/index.htm
“Its a Lie!: There is no Israeli Ceasefire in Gaza” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1878&Itemid=66
“Gaza slaughter an indictment of the system...” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1879&Itemid=66
“No Compromise - Only mass struggle can free Palestine” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1880&Itemid=66
“They're wiping out entire families...” - http://socialistworker.org/2009/01/12/theyre-wiping-out-entire-families
“Dispatches - the Killing Zone” - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5863204188744026936
“Clashes follow Israeli 'cessation'” - http://english.aljazeera.net//news/middleeast/2009/01/200911834825963827.html
“Gaza doctors tragedy caught on Israeli TV” - http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/01/200911715289337400.html
“Take a walk through Gaza” - http://youngfoxredux.blogspot.com/2009/01/take-walk-through-gaza.html (Warning, very graphic.)
“Powerless in Gaza” - http://www.marxists.de/middleast/alexander/gaza.htm
For more on my own politics:
“The Socialist Movement: Our History” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72&Itemid=124
“There is a Power in Every Land: The Modern Working Class” - http://www.sa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=79&Itemid=124
“The Meaning of Marxism” - http://socialistworker.org/Featured/MeaningOfMarxism.shtml