Neither Trade Talks nor Peace Talks: VII, VIII & Endnotes.

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at tao.ca
Fri Jul 4 03:35:09 MDT 2003


VII: Palestine: What Kind Of World Are We Struggling For?



    The Palestinian situation has not yet been properly understood by too
many sections of the anti-war movement, in all the tendencies and classes
within the composition of our forces. The basic arguments for the
Palestinian cause do not need to be written out yet again. However,
Palestine offers an opportunity for our movement to converge on an issue
that brings us together: social democrat, 'anti glob' and antiwar,
revolutionary and reformist, from across the imperialist world and within
the neo-colonies. It is well known that the South African struggle against
apartheid -and how people saw themselves in relation to it- was a clear
litmus test for progressives the world over. The fact needs to be
understood: the rights and demands being raised by Palestinian supporters
are not 'extreme' nor are they asking for special 'Palestinian rights'. The
current Roadmap, like the Oslo Process and all the other 'missed
opportunities for peace' before, is out to find a way out of what stares
Israel in the face: Apartheid can not be given a partner for peace. No
two-state solution can address the full-human rights of Palestine or the
anti-racist nature of the anti-apartheid II movement. The situation in
Palestine needs to go in a radically new direction and the social justice
movements need to speak of a new world fit for human beings. Nothing less
than full human dignity is on the agenda of today, and that includes true
equality. Zionism cannot deliver that and must not be tolerated even in
abridged form. To defeat the South African apartheid regime, trade unions
helped coordinate massive 'isolation' campaigns for decades. This effort was
instrumental in bringing down the Afrikaner state, just as was the
righteousness of opposition to the Bantustan 'solution' by the worldwide
solidarity movement. Boycotts of all aspects of South African society, right
down to the professors in the universities, helped draw the line thusly:
Your colonial-settler and racial supremacist project has numbered days. It
is not enough for us to be 'against the Occupation'. Millions of refugees
are not a bargaining chip that can be traded and waved about. The Right of
Return for Palestinian refugees does indeed challenge the 'Jewish nature' of
the state of Israel. The only way out of the ongoing suffering of the people
of Palestine, Jewish, Christian and Muslim, Arab and European, is full
rights without regards to race or religion. No racial definitions of
citizenship for two separate states but one state of equal peoples. However,
European Settlers on stolen land can have no rights. There is an
anti-Zionist Jewish singer named David Rovics who has a song about refugees
from both Iraq and Haifa coming to live on the same property. It contains
the lines:

In one world

In one village

In one home

Let us live together[17]



       And please allow me to add: In one-state. Nothing else is really
worth struggling for. Further, the only way this can work is a global
coordinated battle to force a similar climb down by the Zionists in Tel Aviv
as happened a decade ago to the Afrikaners in Pretoria. Such a project
undermines any notion that the Right of Return for Palestinian Refugees is a
"special case". Rather, it becomes a demand for the recognition of
individual rights regardless of the racial, ethnic or religious composition
of the aggrieved or the aggressor. Zionism is the last European colonial
settler project and will suffer the same fate.

        Palestine remains at the heart of American imperial designs on the
region. The ideology of the American Junta is decidedly Christian-Zionist,
with a religious fundamentalism emanating from the Christian far right
across the United States that is more powerful in both propaganda and
influence than South Africa ever was. Israel is also far more strategically
important to the Empire than was Apartheid South Africa. Israel is not a
mere bulwark against communism in the Mid East, it is a junior partner in
imperialism, part independent and wholly dependant at the same time on the
imperialist world order. Apartheid cannot be made democratic; it can only be
made to disappear. To defeat Zionism is to undermine the entire imperial
project in the region, to promote an end to racist regimes and to stand in
the light of a dawning new world. The International Solidarity Movement
exemplify the best contribution to the struggle from outside Palestine[18].
They use the tactics of the 'youth' of today in demonstrating solidarity to
levels seen rarely before from North American anti-racists. People like
Rachel Corrie speak of the best that the North American continent has to
offer, and converging on Palestine is very similar to two movements for
humanity: one, the 'anti-globalization' movement: the ISM in Palestine
operates on the basis of consensus decision making, using non-violent direct
actions to confront the Occupation of Palestine with similar tactics to
those designed by the Ruckus Society. It is also reminiscent of the Abraham
Lincoln and Mackenzie-Papineau Brigades in the Spanish Civil War by
gathering revolutionaries from around the world to defend a people from an
overwhelmingly more powerful aggressor. The ISM encapsulates much of what
the movements of today need to emulate across the First World: They lead by
the inspiration of their example and, by acting, create the political space
for further actions to oppose the ongoing slow elimination of an entire
people.

            On so many levels-Inspiration, taking anti-racist work
seriously, slowing down the march of the Christian-Zionist Empire and in
demonstrating a real understanding of solidarity- working for one,
non-racial Palestine "Free and secular from the Jordan river to the
Mediterranean sea" is the dividing line for the current social consciousness
the world over. Do we stand for something less fascistic and racist or do we
stand for a world free of racism and for equality? 'Anti-Globalization' and
Anti-war must become anti-Zionist, because anti-Zionism is anti-racism and
anti-imperialism. Separate but equal is no vision to struggle for, it is
something to be struggled against. Palestine must not only be put on the
agenda, it must be raised to the forefront of our struggle. There was a show
that used to run on HBO called "Oz". It was about American prison life, and
in one episode, a riot breaks out. There is this liberal-minded fellow who
runs the prison and is talking to a leader of the rioting prisoners. He
states that the riot [much like the Al-Aqsa Intifada] has brought the prison
to the brink of disaster and on the verge of something horrible and
catastrophic. He cannot perceive of a world without prisons. But the other
character, a Muslim leader who is incarcerated in the prison, responds to
him that the resistance will continue:

"Because even the best prison wouldn't be good enough. [...] They are not
here because of the crimes they committed, but because of the color of their
skin, their lack of education .because of the fact that they are poor. [The
riot] is about society taking responsibility, its about the whole horrid
judicial system. We don't need better prisons, we need better justice. [...]
You want to save this place, and I want to destroy it. Brick by hypocritical
brick."[19]

No situation begs for creative, new thinking and vision more than Palestine.
We have, in Gaza and the West Bank, the World's largest open-air prison. Let
's tear down the prison walls, starting with the Apartheid Wall stealing
even more land for the European Settler colonies. Brick by hypocritical
brick.


VIII: An End To Shame & A New Beginning


I believe one of the worst human emotions is shame. Shame is bred and built
in this wretched, murderous system. We who demand a better world have to no
longer feel any shame about that demand. It is indeed the one thing we need
to be most proud of. And how dare they tell us to feel shame about wanting
better than this annihilation of our spirits! Only we speak for democracy,
dignity and true self-determination, but in down times like the present we
tend to forget this and mumble our principles. All this economic order has
for us is slow motion murder, ever-expanding escalation of hot wars and
radiating air, yet we measure our words as if they could somehow be the
greater shame. Let those who would kill our very means of existence for
their class aims be the ones who wallow in shame! In our period of temporary
retreat we must remind ourselves that no social movements have ever had the
scope of the last few years, from 'Anti-Globalization' to Anti-war. Our
numbers and geographical locations have been unprecedented-but some of our
analyses have been superficial. As we develop a deeper critique of the
society around us we can and must maintain the global nature of our
movement. When we identify with the upsurges in places like Argentina we
begin to take on the politics of true internationalism. When we act to
defend Palestine we defend the human race in every single meaning of the
word. And when we practice real solidarity we start to become invincible!
That's when they'll come for us of course. The ruling class knows their
order is built on sand; their weakness causes the need for the PATRIOT Act
and similar measures against our civil liberties throughout the first world.
It is also why the global Junta resorts to more naked power and aggression
than ever before: it is all they have left. We, on the other hand, have a
vision for a new world and we are living it every day. The system breeds
nothing but murder, death and plunder and a rapid escalation into the abyss,
by war or famine. Such a system can no longer be permitted to function. No
more anguish on the face of the human family. We will stand to our historic
role for one reason only: We have no choice. And what a beautiful choice it
is.



We do not speak for democracy-when we act, we are democracy. Let us all act
now. We have nothing to lose but our shame.





--For Mark Jones, departed cyber-teacher, comrade and Welsh Miner's son from
Maerdy, Rhondda Valley. His was a constant struggle to find a new way out of
this mess. So, I hope, is this.





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[1] Billy Bragg "North Sea Bubble" from the album Don't Try This At Home,
released 1991.

[2] British historian EP Thompson first used "Exterminism" as a political
term in 1980. Describing much the same process as I am intending to here,
Thompson referred to the annihilation of all life as our final 'dysfunction'
. See: Thompson, E. P. (1980) 'Notes on exterminism, the last stage of
civilization'. New Left Review 121.



[3] For more on the coming oil collapse, see: www.dieoff.com.



[4] Mark Jones:
http://lists.econ.utah.edu/pipermail/a-list/2002-December/022156.html This
entire posting to the "A List" is worth a read.



[5] http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm



[6] http://www.usembassy.uz/2002/myersbio.htm

[7] From the NYTimes on the web,
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/04/national/04TRIB.html?hp

[8] "The Nightmare Scenario Is Here - Computer Voting With No Paper Trail",
Lynn Landes. http://www.commondreams.org/views02/0805-07.htm



[9] workerism essentially is "whatever the workers say or do is great". It
is often associated with a white straight male, hardhat wearing and in a
trade union. Workerism quite often leads to following the political lead of
Trade Union Bureaucrats uncritically. A decent definition can be found here:

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Lobby/3909/our80s90s/workerism.html



[10] Quoted in Abbie Hoffman, "Revolution For The Hell Of It" (Pocket Books,
1970) p14.



[11] Editorial Collective of Canadian Dimension, v37 #3, May-June 2003,
Canadian Dimension p.40.



[12] http://www.monbiot.org/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=588. To see Monbiot's
previously excellent articles on the rising social justice movements, see:
http://www.monbiot.org/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=502

and also: http://www.monbiot.org/dsp_article.cfm?article_id=560



[14] I use the term "lifestyles" here to mean class based habits indicative
of a petty-bourgeois consciousness such as SUV driving, gasoline consumption
or vacationing in time share condos in the South Pacific in the same places
as the old white families who own our living space. In Greater Vancouver,
many TUB's live in what's called the North Shore area such as Jack Munro,
who after selling out the move towards a general strike by grassroots
organizations in BC to the Socred government for less than mere crumbs
stated, "What did you want, a revolution?" betraying a deep allegiance to a
system that had built him up. Munro lives in the West Vancouver neighborhood
that is among the wealthiest territory in the entire country. I speak of
this house because I have been to it while working as a canvasser. His is
not the only person in West Van from a Canadian TUB background. For more on
the Solidarity Movement in BC, check the excellently written: "Solidarity:
The Rise And Fall Of An Opposition In British Columbia" by Bryan D. Palmer,
New Star Books, 1987, Vancouver. ISBN: 0-919573-65-7.

[15] knowing they were in all likelihood to be strip-searched, these women
painted anti-war slogans on their private parts. I wish we had thought of
that ourselves.



[16] Thomas Friedman, "The Lexus and the Olive Tree", published by Anchor
books, 2000. ISBN: 0385499345.

[17] David Rovics, "In One World", from the album: Hang A Flag In The
Window, released 2002.

[18] http://www.palsolidarity.org for more information about the
International Solidarity Movement [ISM]. In Vancouver, see:
http://www.ism-vancouver.org

[19] "A Game of Checkers." Oz. HBO. Season 1, Episode 8. 1997.
http://www.hbo.com/oz/episode/season1/08_checkers.shtml





-------------------------------------------
Macdonald Stainsby
http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/rad-green
http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/leninist-international
--
In the contradiction lies the hope.
                                     --Bertholt Brecht





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