[Marxism] Israel, South Africa and the single state non-solution

James Holstun jamesholstun at hotmail.com
Wed Jul 28 12:08:30 MDT 2010

I don’t think this addresses the ethnic
cleansing and occupation of Palestine very helpfully. Louis is addressing what
amounts to the key problem of colonized peoples. It has been addressed by Mao,
in his discussion of primary and secondary contradictions—his argument that it
might be necessary to align with the KMT to fight the Japanese invasion of
China, putting the class war temporarily on hold. It has been addressed from another
perspective by the great Palestinian Marxist novelist and theorist Ghassan
Kanafani, whose THE 1936-39 REVOLT IN PALESTINE (available at http://www.newjerseysolidarity.org/resources/kanafani/kanafani4.html)
argues that this “First Intifada,” as it has been called, failed because of the
failure of the Palestinian ruling class (the “notables”) to maintain solidarity
with each other and the with the Palestinian working class and peasantry. 


But Louis is mixing up this perennial
problem, which has to be addressed in the context of particular struggles, not
a priori or from above, with an attack on the one-state solution. All the stuff
at the end about the loathsome David Trimble is beside the point. Abunimah isn’t
holding Trimble up as any sort of model—quite the opposite—so this digression
is confusing at best.  


Louis doesn’t even bother to look at the
sort of “two-state solution” now being established day by day in capitalist
Ramallah and elsewhere. There, with the connivance of Israel and the US, we see
emerging a nouveau riche class of Palestinian capitalists under the PA umbrella,
with little or nothing said about or done for the millions of Palestinian
refugees and émigrés. It is precisely the one-state solution (or at least some
versions of it—Abunimah’s, for instance, and that of Al Awda, the Palestinian
Right to Return Coalition) that holds out the possibility of the right of
return for these ignored Palestinians. 


The key question to
address is which model (one-state or two states) holds out the best prospect of
an egalitarian revolutionary praxis that will build in Palestinian poor and
working people from the very beginning. And from everything I’ve seen, the
one-state model wins this contest, hands down. Only a one-state solution offers
up a Palestinian revolution that isn’t based on fratricidal forgetting of the


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