The last week or so has seen a sudden change in the political atmosphere in Europe (including the UK) on migrants and refugees. A progressive shift seems to have happened, originating in part from below.
The bloody dead end of the Syrian Civil War, with both main forces, that of Assad and of Islamic State, engaging in atrocities and scaring the hell out of much of the civilian population, has augmented the already large numbers fleeing from Libya, bloody local dictatorships such as Eritrea, as well as other conflict zones derived from imperialism’s wars such as Afghanistan and Iraq and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Other major refugee flows around the world include the flight of Rohingya Muslims from racist/religious persecution in Theravada Buddhist Myanmar; though this is perhaps somewhat remote from immediate mass interest in Europe.
This is reblogged from Socialist Fight‘ s website:
“The Jewish bourgeois were exceptionally well-suited for capitalist success because the social role of Jews as commodity-traders, and later money-traders and lenders: a ‘people-class’ in the phrase of Abram Leon, the great Belgian-Jewish Marxist theorist of the Jewish question, in medieval Europe prior to the emergence of capitalism, gave them the cultural advantage of a much older tradition in commodity economy than the ‘native’ ruling classes.”
Zionism is the cutting edge of bourgeois reaction today. It is not simply a Middle Eastern matter, but plays a major role in the politics of advanced capitalist countries with much larger populations and formal social and economic weight than Israel. It is not possible for political people not to notice this today; those who do downplay its significance act from social conditioning, not addressing the real world.
The Middle East, Zionism and the Jewish Question
The following is the second reply to the RCIT referred to in the introduction to ‘Party, Programme and Practice’ earlier. The letter from the RCIT being replied to is again included as an addendum.
Thank you for your letter on Israel and the Jewish Question, and my apologies for not replying to you earlier. I replied to you on other matters earlier, and hopefully we can discuss those matters and indeed these when the opportunity arises, …
I do appreciate your anti-Zionist positions and had no intentions of saying anything against them. [Particularly your position] on the nature of Israel in denying that it can be called a real nation, despite some features in common with nations in the classic sense, because of its denial of its own nationhood. That seems to me to be correct.
Reply to the RCIT – 1
Correcting Errors Trotskyism inherited from the Third International
The following is the first of two replies to comrades from the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, a international grouping of Trotskyists from various traditions, which is a split from the international tendency around the British Workers Power Group, the League for the Fifth International. This tendency has also the adherence of an Israeli grouping, the International Socialist League, whose main leader, Yossi, has a long and complex history of associations, including with the Spartacists, the Grant/Woods tendency, and the US League for the Revolutionary Party.
This first item tries to address, among other things, the flaws in contemporary communism that have led to such a dazzling array of splits, which itself is deeply damaging to the left. The second item takes up some of their positions on Israel and its relationship with US imperialism and its other imperialist allies, and has particular relevance to the views of their Israeli group.
In his presentation and summary to the day-school of Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) last Saturday afternoon (30 May), broadly devoted to the negotiations between Iran and the United States and the continuing possibility of an attack on Iran by Israel and the United States, Moshe Machover, the would-be Marxist Israeli professor and supporter of the Communist Platform of Left Unity, was compelled to make significant concessions to the analysis of the Jewish Question put forward by Communist Explorations.
Machover was engaged in a polemic against those who ostensibly believe in the so-called “tail wagging the dog” thesis regarding the power and influence of Israel over United States policy in the Middle East. He criticised Professors Mearsheimer and Walt, authors of the famous book on the Israel Lobby, as well as the left-wing author James Petras, for their arguments for the idea that the level of Israeli influence on American foreign policy and its actions contradicted some way actual US interests in a bourgeois sense. It has long been the contention of some on the left like Machover, who wish to avoid a concrete debate on this question, that these contentions amount to some kind of bizarre ‘conspiracy theory’ and thereby transcend rationality, if they do not actually amount to ‘anti-semitism’.
The following leaflet was distributed at a London dayschool of HOPI this afternoon. A fuller report of some of the discussions at this meeting will be posted when time allows. But this content of the leaflet speaks for itself in terms of the politics of HOPI’s initators, the Communist Party of Great Britain/Weekly Worker.
This day-school of Hands off the People of Iran (HOPI) epitomises the politics of its initiators, the CPGB/Weekly Worker. A body dedicated to solidarity with the working class in Iran is in principle a good, if narrow, project.
The working class of the entire Middle East needs solidarity in many ways, against imperialist aggression and despotic and dictatorial regimes, pro-Western and ‘radical’. That Iran, not even its working class, but its ‘people’ is singled out as more deserving than elsewhere, reflects the CPGB’s ‘third camp’ ideology that treats ‘radical’ bourgeois regimes targeted by imperialism as co-equal with the imperialists themselves.
I am taking the liberty of republishing this, not because I agree with everything in it, but because it contains a great deal of profound material that Marxist critics of Zionism and its supporters, Jewish and non-Jewish, in the advanced capitalist world, ought to find invaluable.
This is despite Atzmon’s jaundiced view of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia and his erroneous belief that it had something in common with the crimes of Israel and Zionism today. This is a serious flaw in his often very sharp and perceptive understanding of the crippling of Palestinian solidarity by Jewish chauvinism and capitulation to Zionism. In my view Atzmon’s prejudice against Bolshevism is most likely derived from a narrow reading of a very disgraceful history in which pseudo-radical left-Zionist currents, many of which indeed had their origins in currents derived tangentially from the Russian Revolution, played a barbaric role in the Naqba while continuing to preach about working class unity and speak a debased form of pseudo-internationalist language. Continue reading
The following statement was issued by Left Unity in support of the candidacy of Rabina Khan for the position of elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in the upcoming mayoral election, which takes place in less-than-democratic conditions in the context of what amounts to a racist coup against the elected Mayor and council of Tower Hamlets, led by the Tory/Zionist minister Eric Pickles.
Some political background on this anti-democratic coup can be found in the recent Communist Explorations leaflet on this, and further useful material is to be found in this article by the Trotskyist group Socialist Fight on the same events.
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).