The following letter is in reply to a question about the nature of Israel from a comrade who is a serious Marxist.
Regarding your question about whether Israel is an imperialist country (or not), there is nothing synthetic available about this that I know of. But the logic is inescapable when you look at the alternative to Israel being an imperialist power.
I will deal with the theoretical aspect of this, and then bring together evidence to back it up, from a number of sources.
The following exchange of views, on Twitter, between myself and the comrade who uses the name Southpawpunch, is worth reproducing as it illustrates how even some of the most revolutionary-minded elements on the existing left have crucial political blindspots and preconceptions about political events, that prevent them from seeing the obvious when it is before them.
Southpawpunch objects violently to my headline describing the removal from office of Lutfur Rahman, the elected mayor of Tower Hamlets, as a “Neocon/Zionist coup” and argues that to make such a characterisation is a sign of ‘leaving the left’ on behalf of the person who made it (i.e. myself).
The following leaflet was distributed at the ‘Reclaim Brixton’ event on 25 April
Ten years ago, the working class and oppressed of Tower Hamlets, including many of Muslim/South Asian migrant descent or background, struck an important political blow at imperialism and the Iraq War. They did this by electing George Galloway as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in the 2005 General Election, for the left-wing anti-war RESPECT party.
That was very alarming to the rulers of this country, because Galloway had been expelled from Labour for taking a heroic position on the Iraq War, effectively calling for the Arab world to resist the Bush/Blair-led imperialist invasion by force.
The current General Election is taking place in conditions where British politics is in a state of more flux and fragmentation than not only in the lifetimes of those generations alive today, but also of previous generations. In some ways it is unprecedented: there are no apposite comparisons in the history of British capitalism. Both major parties, the Conservatives and Labour, are at such historically low levels of popularity that it is hard to imagine that either of them are likely to be able to achieve an overall majority in parliament even though we have an undemocratic first-past-the-post system that is biased to giving the party with a plurality of votes a crushing, undemocratic overall majority in parliament. It could not be absolutely ruled out that either party might just make it as a result of some event stampeding voters in either direction, but it is not something most people would like to take a bet on.
Reproduced below are two letters from myself that were recently published in the Weekly Worker. These are published, in this particular case, without any intention of either praising or blaming the editors of that publication, but simply because there is material in those two letters that readers here might have missed. This material is worthwhile in addressing contentious questions relating to the Middle East and the Jewish Question, and making some observations about the progress of discussions on these questions.
The first item was published in the 5th March issue. It is worth noting, since the letter is a reply to a previous invective-filled letter from Tony Greenstein, that it is published alongside a further letter from the same author, mainly addressing in a moderately interesting and thoughtful manner some aspects of analysis concerning ISIS. However, at the conclusion of his letter, Greenstein makes the following remarks about previous exchanges between us:
“On another topic – the recent exchanges with Ian Donovan – I have informed the editor of the Weekly Worker that I have no intention of responding to any further letters which indulge in ad hominem attacks, as I don’t wish to feed what is clearly a personal obsession.”
In a recent discussion on the left blog Socialist Unity, about the events surrounding George Galloway’s February appearance on BBC Question Time, its initiator Andy Newman made an important political point. Galloway’s appearance was the occasion for a blatant attempt by Zionists to attack the right of an elected Member of Parliament to propagate his views and those of the Respect Party in a national, televised forum.
During the Socialist Unity discussion, the question of Galloway’s interview and political engagement with Gilad Atzmon, the ex-Israeli Jazz Musician and outspoken critic of Israeli racism and ‘Jewish ideology’ was also discussed. It should be noted that, unlike many others on the left, Socialist Unity do not go along with the Zionist demonisation of Galloway and its mainstream trend are virtually uncritical supporters for some of his weaker sides politically, i.e. his left reformist politics. However, the positive side of this is that the poisonous Zionist-influenced hysteria against Galloway and Respect is absent.
Reprinted below is a circular from the Zionist-dominated ‘Anti-Racist’ campaigning organisation Hope not Hate, to its contacts and supporters. The circular effectively attacks Theresa May’s Home Office for being too soft on ‘Muslim terrorism’, in failing to jail Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the now banned Islamist radical group Al Mujaharoun, who, though the organisation has been made illegal, makes no secret that he still shares and expounds the kind of views that he used to advocate before the ban.
The problem is that Choudary has not been convicted of any crime, even though he has been routinely arrested whenever there is any kind of panic over likely acts of terrorism. He has never been shown to have been actively involved in any illegal acts. Hope not Hate does not seem to care about this; it is a thinly-veiled call for an individual to be jailed simply for his political views.
The new phenonemon represented by the SYRIZA/ANEL (Independent Greeks) coalition has not been theorised by the left as yet. The question of the coalition with the Independent Greeks is something of crucial importance, which has to be addressed theoretically and programatically.
My strong suspicion is that even those who are most enthusiastic about the politics of SYRIZA are uneasy about it. Various people have expressed real reservations about it, saying it is a bad sign, that it will not last long, etc, and they may well prove to be right about that. But no one has offered a theorisation of what is going on here.
Lets be very clear. This is a popular front government, and the situation is very dangerous. It could be just as dangerous as the Chilean Popular Unity experience for the working class. Though that is not certain; there are some complexities and differences also.
The following exchange illustrates the pointless and self-defeating effect of political dishonesty in communist politics. In bourgeois, i.e. capitalist politics, the point of political activity is to bolster and defend the position of a small, exploiting minority, the owners of capitalist property, against the great mass of the population who have no such wealth. It is obvious that this kind of politics would necessarily be replete with corruption and mendacity, since the maintenance of injustice and social and economic inequality requires fooling the mass of the population to acquiesce in their own victimisation and exploitation. The only way to do this is by systematic lying, in order to create and promote myths, and also to create and maintain divisions among the working-class majority.
Communist politics, on the other hand, has truth as its only weapon. In order to understand the real situation, the mass of the population need to have a accurate picture of political, social and economic relations, which can only be developed over a long period by a political leadership that uses truth as its main weapon. Such a politics is fundamentally different from bourgeois politics. Whereas bourgeois politics promotes mystification and lies in the interest of a minority, communist politics must ruthlessly tear away mystification and expose all social lies. If a would-be communist organisation begins to engage in lying itself, it digs its own political grave, since the only basis on which it can garner and keep support on a healthy basis is through this process of exposing difficult truths.
A shortened version of the letter below was published in the Weekly Worker of 22nd Jan. Given the evasive response of Peter Manson, and the furious but even more evasive (and apolitical) response from Tony Greenstein in this week’s paper, I reproduce the original here. As people will see, it was radically cut, despite being solicited in this form by the editor of the paper himself. Which is of course the editor’s prerogative, in a way. Though one slightly unsavoury aspect of the way the paper is put together is that material is sometimes trimmed in a way as to blunt or distort their political content, and a ‘reply’ is then put together that exploits the problems caused by the editing.
Be that as it may, a reply will be sent to Manson’s evasiveness on the main point: the contradiction between claiming to stand for the Palestinian ‘right of return’, and the demand for the ‘right of self-determination’ of Israeli Jews, i.e. their right to maintain a state created by the exclusion of the Palestinian majority from their own country. It is not possible for even the most evasive centrist confusionists to do both in the real world.