Nationalism of oppressed countries, again! (was Re: MSStatement on > the Intifada

Xxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxx at xxxxxx.xx
Sat Feb 17 22:53:51 MST 2001

 Nestor "Gorojovsky" <Gorojovsky at> wrote:

> Cdes. and friends,
> On the e-mail that Xxxx has answered with lengthy quotations, I stated
>>> Well, this is all I have to say on this kind of Tzahal Socialism.

I'm sorry, I don't understand this term. Please explain it (though I suspect
I'll regret asking you to do so:)

> I promise I will keep this decission firm.
> Now, I am just replying to what lies at the core of MS's (and Xxxx's, so it
> seems) ideas. The reflections and refractions of this basic mistake bounce and
> rebound all over their positions, so I will leave it to our intelligent fellow
> list members to trace it back, if they wish, throughout both the declaration
> by
> MS and Xxxx's well meant but mislead defense of it. This last I say with
> respect, since I have always liked people who defended their friends. Honest.
> En relación a Re: MS Statement on the Intifada,
> el 17 Feb 01, a las 22:16, Xxxx Xxxxxx dijo:
> 1.
>> Well, it's interesting that you call MS, who raise the call for Palestinian
>> and Jewish working class unity against capitalism "great nation socialists"
>> when you revert to a call for narrow ethnic nationalism with your call
>> insistance that only a national Arab revolution (by your context, I assume
>> you mean a Pan-Arab nationalist revolution) can liberate the Palestinians.
> For Xxxx, calling for the nationalism of an oppressed country against the
> nationalism of an imperialist state is "narrow ethnic nationalism".  Of
> course,
> he also believes that "a national Arab revolution" is an ethnocentric
> "Pan-Arab
> nationalist revolution". I skip his derision of the oppressed non-proletarian
> masses in the Arab world, and of course I skip his derogatory reference to the
> assumed inability of Arab workers to understand the basic issues of Arab
> national unity.

You're reading quite a lot into what I said. I was not deriding the
non-proletarian masses in the Arab world, rather, I was simply making the
point that these countries have a very small working class and thus the
potential for socialist revolution is greater if the Palestinian working
class links up with the Jewish working class than if it attempts to link up
with the working class in the rest of the Arab world. I also made the point
that the Palestinian and Israeli economies are greatly integrated (though
not on an equal basis) and therefore the prospects for socialist revolution
are, again, greater if the Israeli and Palestinian working classes struggle
together than if the Palestinian working class tries to link up with the
working class in the rest of the Arab world. This is not a matter of
deriding Arab workers or non-workers outside of Palestine but it's simply a
recognition of fact.

Incidentally, I'm sorry you haven't tried to answer my variation of your
Ireland analogy.

 Andy believes that all this implies support to some kind of
> "ethnocentric nationalism" (yes, the nationalism of the Third World is always
> ethnocentric for the very universalist citizens of the First World!).

All nationalism is ethnocentric by definition whether first world or third.
Again, you're making untrue insinuations about my argument.

 >I will
> just confront this with the position of MS which sanctifies the coexistence of
> TWO states, on ethnic principles (because this is the only possibility for an
> independent Israel, even an independent "socialist" Israel).

You've forgotten about the advocacy of a socialist confederation of the two
states and ultimately of the middle east. You also forget that a single
state would mean a Jewish majority (albeit a reduced one).

> The word "imperialism" hovers above his head as high as a condor above the
> Andean heights. It would be very good for Andy if he tried hard to have that
> condor land on his skull, if he wants to become a Leninist, that is. (Sorry,
> Andy, you seem to be a great guy and a good friend of your friends. You may
> even be a Marxist. I do not know you in person. But, certainly, you are not a
> Leninist.)

Does imperialism mean that the Israeli working class are incapable of
playing a progressive or revolutionary role? This assumption seems to be the
underpinning of your argument and its one I disagree with. If this were true
then we should give up on the American working class (at least the white
component of it) as well as the working class in western Europe. Lenin never
did this however. Even at the height of the British Empire he, like Marx
before him, had great hopes for the English working class despite the fact
that their bourgeoisie was imperialist. Yet, because the Israeli working
class belongs to a bourgeois state which is either imperialist or the tool
of imperialists you write them off entirely as being at all capable of being
revolutionary or of linking up with the Palestinian working class. Why? And
how is your assumption about the Israeli working class at all Leninist?

> 2.
> Ah, and just for the record. Andy says that I argue that
>> Palestinians have a different type of social justice from
>> everyone else.
> and links me with the worst kind of reactionaries. I did not say that,
> I only said (and I repeat it) that no people can allow itself to be deprived
> of the right to attain social justice by their own means and being _the
> subject_
> of their own history. This is quite different from pandering that
>> Palestinians or Hindus or First Nations are somehow culturally programmed to
>> except their "own kind" of justice.
> Andy's confusion is more revealing of his own abstract internationalism than
> of
> my reactionary liberalism, indeed.
> In this sense, Andy's
>> Your argument that a
>> Marxist has no right to criticise the leadership of other groups...
> and so on, well, er, is just blah blah blah. If I belong to these lists it is
> because I relish in such kind of criticisms. Only that I do not accept people
> who sell a Leninist face and provide Zimmerwaldian (at best) policies.

Lenin did not  declining to critique the leadership of oppressed groups
simply because they were oppressed. If he did he never would have criticised
the Bund. You did make the argument that MS has no place daring to criticise
the Palestinian leadership. A criticism Lenin never would have made.


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