re-ISO and Hamas

Bruce Buchan bruceb at
Mon Feb 19 01:19:09 MST 1996


While I sympathise with your desire to align yourself with the
anti-imperialists, I'm not convinced that Hamas 'fits the bill' any better
than Fatah/PLO. The Problem as I see it is that being an anti-imperialist is
not necessarily a self-sufficient virtue.  Imperialism may be fought by
those who merely desire to establish their own power over domestic

Though I am not well versed in contemporary Palestinian politics, it seems
to me that Hamas is trying to establish itself as a 'state within a state'
(an interesting example of what Charles Tilly has called 'multiple
sovereignty') by sponsoring and organising various 'community' or civic
projects which the Arafat government is unable or unwilling to provide.

While you acknowledge that anti-imperialism on its own is not enough for you
to declare your whole-hearted support for Hamas' 'politics' (whatever that
means), I suspect that you then go on to confuse (or conflate)
anti-imperialism with socialism when you conclude:
>I always side with the people resisting Imperialism.
>However, this does not mean I support the politics of any faction of the PLO,
>or of Hamas. I do not think that allying with the rich, corrupt rulers of any
>other Middle Eastern regime, whether it be Iran,Syria,Libya,Jordan or wherever,
>helps the Palestinian cause. A successful fight against Imperialism can only
>come from the powerful working class across the middle east directed against
>those rulers and their Imperialist backers.

It is not clear to me that the interests of the working class or of any
oppressed group is best served by establishment of a state which becomes the
vehicle for new forms of oppression and exploitation.  Moreover, I more than
suspect that a state founded upon the sort of restrictive Islamic doctrines
that Hamas seems to favour offers few prospects for an enduring and
substantial liberation for the working class - inter alia!

Best Wishes,

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