November 24 2007
MIM is coming under criticism, so it would do well to recall why MIM said colonialism is a factor with Palestine. We already explained that it is our past published line that South Africa had an advance by finally giving citizenship rights to Blacks; even though, South Africa was still capitalist.
If Palestine is already a neo-colony, then MIM is making a mistake to support the two-state process. We would be getting swept up in a fad. The argument in favor of our critics is that there is already a Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, everyone knows that the PA is not official for international purposes yet, so this question needs closer examination.
The colonial residues can be seen as follows:
1) When Jimmy Carter goes to monitor supposedly Palestinian elections, he has to ask I$raeli officials to let East Jerusalem Arabs to vote, and I$raelis have in the past effectively decided the question for most voters; Carter also has to ask I$raeli officials to open roadblocks to let other Palestinians vote.
2) I$rael has Palestine's tax revenue.
3) I$rael holds many Palestinian prisoners.
4) What many may not realize is that Gaza and West Bank people do not vote in I$rael.
5) I$rael restricts Palestinian and foreigner travel along Gaza's coast and other incipient Palestinian borders and also holds the Palestinian economy under a partial blockade.
We should add that according to one I$raeli professor in favor of keeping the colony, the Palestinian Authority only remains alive because I$rael conducts "counter-terrorism" operations in the West Bank.(1) Certainly this adds to the picture that Abbas is like a county official in authority, subordinate to I$rael, the direct ruler that carries out military operations when it wants to in Palestinian territory.
The situation of Gaza and West Bank people has to be carefully distinguished from Arab I$raelis, who are more like U.$. Blacks. They face some discrimination and do not have the same attitudes toward military service as Jews do.
The distinguishing feature of colonialism is direct rule by the mother country. In this example, I$rael is the mother country whose officials decide things for Palestine.
Part of the problem with Palestine is that some Jews are not entirely sure a two-state solution would be better than a one-state solution. The important thing is not to be paralyzed, to push for either the vote for Palestinians or a two-state solution now. Because 80% of Zionists do not consider themselves "secular,"(2) the two-state solution is the way to go.
There is not really an I$raeli Left in the old sense, only a little bit. Peace Now is not thronging the streets stirring up sedition. When MIM says "Zionist Right," we are referring to people who want neither to grant the right to vote nor to withdraw from the colonies. Since MIM sees the task as ending colonialism, we have defined "Left" and "Right" in that context. The ability to settle into a routine where I$rael cannot let go or give out the vote is what we call "Right" or right-wing for today's I$rael context.
If MIM has fallen for a fad with regard to the anti-colonial theory, then of course the theory of "Left" and "Right" would also be wrong. If our goal were socialism in I$rael, then our "left" and "right" definitions would have to change. However, it is MIM's position that socialism is not on the short-term horizon for I$rael. It is just that an imperialist brokered peace can do better than what it has so far, because no other rich country has the same or worse problem internally.
The I$raeli Right does not want its votes overwhelmed by Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza in a one-state solution. There is also a huge class gap guaranteeing political friction. We contend that in the rich countries, there is no face-off like we see in Palestine with I$rael, now that Blacks have the vote in South Africa and the Irish have been bought off. The French rebellion of migrant and immigrant youth was the closest thing.(3) It was similar to previous Black rebellions say in Watts or after the Rodney King case in Los Angeles. Yet, these rebellions are still a few notches down from the armed struggle carried out by revolutionary Palestinian nationalists and their Arab supporters.
So there are two ways to be done with colonialism: 1) Give a people citizenship rights, so that they are not directly ruled by others. 2) Withdraw mother country officials and allow neo-colonial lackeys or puppets to take over.
All First Nations within U.$. borders are composed of people offered U.$. citizenship and so the argument is that there is no direct rule. The most radical Mohawks will still receive Social Security checks from the U.$. government. Within U.$. borders, the most borderline situation is with migrants with no legal citizenship rights.
Puerto Ricans are in a yet more colonial situation, because if they do not leave the island, they go into a no-man's land of mixed local government and U.$. government without citizenship rights. Most Amerikans do not know this, because the economics of Puerto Rico has been depoliticized, something I$raelis and today's U.$. imperialists could learn from when looking at Palestine.
Within U.$. borders of course First Nations face a hellish tyranny of the Amerikkkan majority. Still it is neo-colonial rule. Drawing a distinction between Palestine and First Nations inside U.$. borders is not divide-and-conquer, but drawing a distinction among neo-colonies would be.
To sum up politically, there are various schools of ultra-left thought confusing people about Palestine: 1) There is the idea that Palestine is already a neo-colony, thus completely in denial that Palestinians have not the citizenship rights of a one-state solution nor the independence of a two-state solution. 2) There is the old Trotskyist idea that the national question does not matter, because the Palestinian and I$raeli exploited are about to rise up together at any minute in the most watered down version of simultaneous revolution theory or rise up together in all countries internationally in the maximum purity Trotskyist theory or even worse, that oh-so-advanced I$raeli workers will rise up and free the Islamic colonies. 3) There is the crypto- Trotskyist reading of Stalin that says the national question and economic question do not overlap because there is no longer an agrarian question in need of bourgeois revolution. This completely denies MIM's thesis that there is a new overlap of the national question with economic questions, the super-exploitation question by virtue of the fact that I$rael lacks the proletariat to carry out Trotskyist and crypto-Trotskyist fantasies. 4) There is a strange kind of imperialist ultra-leftism originating perhaps from Trotskyist culture, which holds that Palestinians should recognize I$rael for considerably less independence than Kim Il Sung obtained from his armistice in the Korean War. Even by standards of bourgeois diplomacy it is hard to see what these people are thinking.
All these schools of thought get ahead of conditions into a nice and fanciful future. It is not for MIM to say that no Palestinians should hold such views, but we believe that few do. If Palestine is a neo- colony or if Palestine is really only concerned about going into socialism, then there is probably nothing the imperialists can further offer the Palestinians in Annapolis and the beyond. Somehow that will be up to the Palestinians to decide. Our professional analysis is that Palestinians will accept a better offer from the imperialists, because there is room for improvement. True, if Palestine is completely bourgeoisified, at that point, its improvement will be at the expense of neo-colonies. Thus far, potential gains are at the expense of colonialism. If the imperialists decide to make Palestinians exploiters like the I$raelis, there is probably not much we revolutionaries can do about it. Such Palestinians will still be in- between allies like bourgeois Blacks, thanks to historical memories and sympathies for the Third World.
Regarding the diplomatic meeting on the Mideast in Annapolis coming up, we do not blame anyone who sees it as a photo-op. It looks like Arab lackey regimes are coming to recognize I$rael, just because Bush turned the screws. We will predict that something will come of Annapolis and it will be a step toward peace, even as Abbas does nothing that Hamas would attack as selling out. If we turn out wrong, then of course readers will be right to ignore us and say they told us so. We believe the Mideast can be arranged a little better than imperialism has done so far.
1. "For Israel, containing terrorism and waiting patiently for better times is probably the best course of action." "The Great American Delusion,"
3. We concur with Time Magazine: "French jihad? Algeria's revenge? Intifada-sur-Seine? Forget all that. The riots currently rocking France have far more in common with the violence that shook Watts, Cleveland, and Harlem in the mid-1960s than they do with the Islamist extremism behind 9/11 or the attacks in Madrid and London." http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1127429,00.html