[Marxism] The alleged anti-semitism of the oppressed

Loupaulsen at sbcglobal.net Loupaulsen at sbcglobal.net
Sun Aug 6 09:14:04 MDT 2006

Bob Gould posted the following politically misguided, false, and defamatory
matter directed at comrade Bustelo:

Maybe we're a bit provincial in Australia, but it's very striking that the
substantial movement of Arab communities against Israeli and US-backed state
terror deliberately and carefully avoids attacks on Jews as such and
concentrates its fire on state terror. In this they display much greater
realism than Joaquin Bustello [sic].

It's bizarre, politically reactionary and counter-productive for Bustello to
be deliberately praising instances of backwardness towards Jews, and even to
talk about condemning the whole Jewish population of Israel. What became of
proletarian internationalism? [...]

Bustello's pandering to anti-Jewish backwardness is unprincipled, very bad
tactical politics and offensive to serious Arab and to Jewish activists on
the left, who have often lost relatives in the Holocaust or survived the
Holocaust themselves, but nevertheless still oppose Israeli policy and
practice. [...]

Bustello is imposing his own reactionary perspectives on a mass movement of
resistance of the Arab peoples, which is quite unlikely to follow the
direction that he would impose on it from his Olympian, self-constructed
anti-imperialist heights.

- - - - - -

Attempting to address this stuff is like attempting to clean the Augean
stables, with the additional disadvantages of (a) not being demigods and (b)
not being able to turn the horses out of the stable first, so that the
accumulation just goes on and on and little progress gets made.  

Comrade Bustelo is not imposing his perspective on any mass movement of
resistance, is not "deliberately praising backwardness toward Jews", is not
"pandering" to anti-Jewish backwardness, and is not condemning the whole
Jewish population of Israel except to state the truth, which is that it is a
settler oppressor nation, like whites in South Africa, Rhodesia, and the
United States. 

Nobody disputes that Arab socialists and internationalists [in addition to
Iranians and those from other nationalities in the broadly-called "Middle
East"] are doing a great and necessary work, both within the solidarity
movements in the imperialist world AND at home, in educating their peoples
about imperialism, internationalism, and the lies of European anti-Semites.
Nobody wants them to stop doing it, for God's sake.  In fact, I am sure that
they are doing such an effective job that white leftists don't have to step
in and take primary responsibility for it.  Nobody is demanding that Bob
sell the "Protocols" to misinformed Arabs or that he not talk with him about
it.  These are all "straw men". 

As for "what became of proletarian internationalism?", proletarian
internationalism begins with the reality that there ARE nations and that
some of them are oppressor nations and others are oppressed nations.
Comrade Bustelo's quotes from Trotsky were absolutely on the mark, and here
is another one: "The worst crime on the part of the revolutionaries would be
to give the smallest concessions to the privileges and prejudices of the
whites.  Whoever gives his little finger to the devil of chauvinism is lost.
The revolutionary party must put bevore every white worker the following
alternative: either with British [read: US] imperialism and with the white
bourgeoisie of South Africa [read: Israel], or with the [B]lack [read: Arab]
workers and peasants against the white feudalists and slave-owners and their
agents in the ranks of the working class."  (All from "Leon Trotsky on Black
Nationalism and Self-Determination", Merit Publishers, 1967, a pamphlet
which has a lot of good stuff by Trotsky although you have to search for it
like nuggets among the SWP dross both ancient and recent)  Not that I
believe in settling arguments by quotations.  I am just saying that anyone
who wants to read Comrade Bustelo out of the communist movement for
"pandering" to the sentiments of the oppressed has to read Trotsky and Lenin
out of the movement along with him.

Comrade Feldman, in his excellent report posted a few minutes ago on an
unfortunate meeting against "anti-Semitism in the left", writes:

"In general, the stance of the speakers was that it is okay (not necessarily
a good idea but not forbidden) to solidarize with the Palestinians as long
as you are very, very, very, very careful to avoid any expressions that
could be interpreted by anyone as anti-Semitic or as approving anti-Semitic
stereotypes. Well, structurally, this clearly gives opposition to
anti-Semitism a POLITICAL PRIORITY over the defense of the Palestinians
against the US and its Jewish-state."

Well, this appears to approximate the stance of some of the writers on this
list as well.  Here we are three weeks into a truly genocidal war against
Lebanon (the displacement, apparently permanent since their villages are
being destroyed behind them, of a million people counts as genocide by
anyone's standard), and anyone reading Marxmail and starts counting posts
will get the impression that what truly interests and excites some people is
the need to condemn supposed Arab "anti-Semites" and anyone who supposedly
"panders" to them!!!  With such "political priorities", is it any wonder
that so many people turn to the Qur'an rather than to Marx?  

Lou Paulsen
member, Workers World Party
blog at www.loupaulsen.blogspot.com

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