[Marxism] The policing bureaucracy in Israel

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Sat Feb 14 17:54:24 MST 2004

(If you're interested in what's happening in Israel, it's worth keeping an
eye on Ha'aretz, it's in some respects like the Israeli equivalent of the
British "Guardian" newspaper. Personally, I think there will be much more
progress in Israel/Palestina, if leftwing and libertarian Jews and Arabs can
unite politically against bureaucracy, plutocracy, conservatism, imperialism
and the police state. The knee-jerk reaction of a Zionist is typically,
"remember the holocaust, we must fight and assert ourselves, and anyway we
own Israel, because it says so in the fine print of the Bible", which is of
course very profitable for the weapons industry, but a socialist inspired by
Marx has to concern himself with what the fighting is really about, and
here, Ha'aretz often has useful insights and stories (an excerpt from Marx
below). Take, for example, this article by Lily Galili on the jungle of
permit insanity which Palestinians have to cope with every day - JB).

Seamier and seamier, this seam-line

By Lily Galili

Just to sleep in their own beds, some 6,000 Palestinian residents of the
seam-line expanse require permits. And visitors cannot enter, businesses are
folding, farmland has dried up and houses are being demolished.

With a bit of positive thinking, it's possible to see the patterns of life
that have been forced upon the Palestinians within the so-called expanse of
the seam line as a kind of compliment. If the prolonged occupation has
mainly necessitated a talent for survival, then the "regime of permits" - as
the new procedures in the area were defined by the High Court of Justice
this week (in reference to the petition of the HaMoked Center for the
Defense of the Individual and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel) -
could be considered an expression of admiration for the Palestinians'

Your average Israeli, who collapses under the burden of filling out an
income tax form, would not survive for a single day in the thicket of
permits, 11 in total, that Palestinians need in order to exist in this area.
The prevailing assumption among the Palestinians is that the purpose of
making life in the area impossible is to bring about pressure for voluntary
transfer, to enable the annexation to Israel of territories close to the
Green Line (pre-Six-Day War border).

It's an interesting term, "the seam-line expanse." The word "expanse"
suggests some sort of openness; "seam line" could be perceived as an
interesting connection between two experiences. In fact, these are people
who are imprisoned in an area located between the Green Line and the separat
ion fence. Trapped in this area are more than 6,000 Palestinians, who are in
fact living in a closed military zone, under what is called in military
language "The Declaration of Closing of Territory No. 2/03 C. (Seam-Line
Expanse) - 2003."

Complete text of article at http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/393810.html

We do not try dogmatically to prefigure the future, but want to find the new
world only through criticism of the old. But if the designing of the future
and the proclamations of ready-made solutions for all time is not our
affair, then we realize all the more clearly what we have to accomplish in
the present - I am speaking of a ruthless criticism of everything existing,
ruthless in two senses: The criticism must not be afraid of its own
conclusions, nor of conflict with the powers that be.

I am therefore not in favor of setting up any dogmatic flag. On the
contrary, we must try to help the dogmatics to clarify to themselves the
meaning of their own positions.

Nothing prevents us, then, from tying our criticism to the criticism of
politics and to a definite party position in politics, and hence from
identifying our criticism with real struggles. Then we shall confront the
world not as doctrinaires with a new principle: "Here is the truth, bow down
before it!" We develop new principles to the world out of its old
principles. We do not say to the world: "Stop fighting, your struggle is of
no account. We want to shout the true slogan of the struggle at you." We
only show the world what it is fighting for, and consciousness is something
that the world must acquire, like it or not.

The reform of consciousness consists only in enabling the world to clarify
its consciousness, in waking it from its dream about itself, in explaining
to it the meaning of its own actions. Our whole task can consist only in
putting religious and political questions into self- conscious human form.
Our motto must therefore be: Reform of consciousness not through dogmas, but
through analyzing the mystical consciousness, the consciousness which is
unclear to itself, whether it appears in religious or political form. Then
it will transpire that the world has long been dreaming of something that it
can acquire if only it becomes conscious of it. It will transpire that it is
not a matter of drawing a great dividing line between past and future, but
of carrying out the thoughts of the past. And finally it will transpire that
mankind begins no new work, but consciously accomplishes its old work.

The work of our time is to clarify to itself the meaning of its own struggle
and its own desires. This is work for the world, and for us.
It can only be the work of joint forces. It is a matter of confession, no
more. To have its sins forgiven, mankind has only to declare them to be what
they really are." (Karl Marx, Letter to Arnold Ruge, 1843).

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