[Marxism] self determination for oppressors

Marv Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Sun Oct 18 07:49:05 MDT 2009

Dennis Brasky writes:

If the Israeli Jews are offered self determination after the coming
socialist revolution, what form will that take? Won't it be a Jewish state
in Palestine - where the Palestinians would want their state? But the Jews
already have such a state, so why do they need a revolution? This would do
nothing to break away the Jewish working class from Zionism. On the
contrary, it is an unprincipled concession to it, one that the Palestinians
could never support. Any leftists advocating it would earn for themselves
It's not possible to conceive of a socialist revolution in Palestine/Israel
which would not involve the participation of the Jewish masses, and if such
were to come to pass, the question of a "Jewish state", especially in terms
of what it has come to represent, would be moot. It's very unlikely that
Hebrew-speaking revolutionaries, having shed their blood with
Arabic-speaking Palestinians against the Zionists and the Zionist idea,
would be asking, if anything, for more than the new state's support for the
preservation of their language and culture.

Crucially, however, your stance avoids the question of how to respond to the
actual political situation as it exists today. The only discernible movement
is in the direction of two rigidly segregated states, with the subordinated
Palestinian entity hardly warranting being called such. Fatah and the rest
of the world with few exceptions accept the continuation of an Israeli state
de jure and Hamas and it's allies are reluctantly compelled to do so de

In this context, it's almost utopian to even envisage a federation of two
Palestinian and Israeli states as a transitional measure, much less a
socialist revolution which dissolves these boundries, but at least the
former is something which leftish forces in each society have contemplated
as more realizable at the outside, and a possible basis for united action.
You invoked Lenin, but neglected to mention or are perhaps unaware that the
Bolshevik notion of self-determination allowed for such voluntary
federations, perceived as an interim measure accompanying progress towards
socialism at the economic level, so it it would not be unprincipled for
someone such as yourself to support such a temporary political arrangement
in the Middle East as consistent with that tradition.

On the other hand, it seems clear that if there is any program at the
present time which most Arabic-speaking Palestinians, let alone the
overwhelming majority of Hebrew-speakers, "could never support", it is
placing a revolutionary socialist agenda ahead of their national
aspirations, and that "any leftists advocating it would earn for themselves
distrust" from both sides.

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