CWI, Israel and the Palestinians

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Sun Feb 18 20:04:06 MST 2001

Re the exchange between Xxxx Xxxxxx and Nestor:

>> but for reasons very different than those imagined by MS. Because their
>> condescension towards the Palestinians makes them reduce "their struggle for
>> genuine independence" to the above chart of economic, social, rights.
>> independence, for the Palestinians, includes FIRST AND FOREMOST their
>>right to
>> to establish their own kind of social justice,

>On the contrary, I think you are demonstrating a liberal condescension by
>arguing that Palestinians have a different type of social justice from
>everyone else. This is the same sort of thinking that excuses the oppression
>of women in certain countries on the grounds of cultural identity.
>Socialists don't believe in the social justice of the international working
>class and do not condescend or pander to cultural differences by implying
>that, somehow, Palestinians or Hindus or First Nations are somehow
>culturally programmed to except their "own kind" of justice.

Xxxx, although I think the trend you refer to here certainly does exist
(USec and US SWP being classic sinners), if you have read any cross-section
of Nestor's posts over the last few years, you should be aware that this
criticism of him is totally misplaced.

He has never adopted the position of "pandering to cultural differences".

His point is quite different.  It is that the CWI statement is essentially
chauvinist, a point I thoroughly agree with, for reasons outlined in my
post just before this one.

Andyo to Nestor:
>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.

How is an Arab revolution - ie a revolution encompassing most of North
Africa, the Middle East and part of Asia - "narrow ethnic nationalism"?

>Your argument that a Marxist has no right to criticise the leadership of
>other groups smacks of this same liberal condescension as well as the US
>SWP/USFI syndrome of "uncritical support" for whoever happens to be leading
>a given national struggle, no matter how rotten the leadership. This has led
>the USFI and SWP to simply tail the IRA, PLO, ANC etc. You're making the
>same unMarxist error.

But Nestor has never, ever, on this list argued that Marxists should not
criticise other leaderships.  His point is that the right to criticism is
*earned*, although many Trotskyists seem to think it comes with the
software package.

What is the CWI section doing *within Israel* to help destroy the Israeli
state, that they have won their spurs and earned the right to criticise the
Palestinian movement.  Now, I'm not paryicularly bothered about the CWIers
criticising the Arafat leadership (and Nestor is probably not bothered
either) - I've done it myself on this list, quite scathingly - but about
their condescension in telling the Palestinian masses what they should do.
Moreover, why should any Palestinian, oppressed by Israel, listen to people
who want Israel to continue to exist - albeit a 'socialist' Israel.  The
Palestinians, rightly enough, have had enough of *any* Israel!

>The Israeli and Palestinian economies are greatly
>integrated as are Arab and Jewish populations. It's far more realistic to
>call for these two working classes to unite and overthrow their bourgeois
>leadership then it is to expect the Palestinian working class to wait until
>the working class (to the extent that it exists) of the rest of the Arab
>world to become revolutionary and link up with a Palestinian working class
>they are largely disengaged from.

1. Given that the Palestinian and Israeli economies are so integrated, the
CWI's call for two separate states is absurd.

2. While attacking the notion that the Palestinians should wait for the
rest of the Arab working class - "to the extent that it exists" - to catch
up, you seem to think it an eminently practical proposal that the
Palestinains wait for the Israeli working class which, apparently, is more
of a starter than the Arab working class.  If I was a Palestinian, I might
reasonably draw the conclusion that the millios upon millions of Arab
workers - and millions more impoverished Arab peasants across a dozen
countries - were a better bet than the Israeli working class.   But since
I'm one of those people who believe the working class shoud have its cake
and eat it too, my attitude, if I was a Palestinian, would be to go for
unity with both the Arab working class, which is a very significant social
force, and the Israeli working class.  In oreder to forge such unitym
however, the Israeli working class would have to gain some real political
consciousness and understand that there could be no Israel - of any sort -
and that, just like white South African workers, they would have to accept
being a minority in a new, much larger country.  Ultimately, the only hope
for the Israeli working class is to understand this.


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