6 comments on “Nasrallah on Gaza

  1. What do you mean by “Israel’s success as a nation is our success…?” Or rather how do you define “success” or, for that matter, “our?” We, being the workers have no common interests with them, the latter being our bosses, and, hence, our oppressors and exploiters. The same goes for their government, which is a political “extention” of their economic interests. Or as the old saying goes, a nation’s foreign policy is but a reflection of its domestic policy…

    But back to the sweet smell of “success.” Do you mean that a handful of colonialist capitalists, ie, the founding fathers of Zionism, were “successful” in getting Western imperialism to help them ethnically cleanse Palestine and establish an apartheid state there and then “successfully” wage endless aggression against the populations of the region?

    While this “success” certainly benefited them, it didn’t, and still doesn’t benefit the Palestinians…or even the Israeli Jewish workers, who are constantly seeing their wages and living standards driven down by the neo-liberal Zionist regime with its massive military budget and settlement costs.

    Of course, within the framework of capitalist globalization, ie, imperialism, the bourgeois Arab regimes are ruthlessly forcing austerity down the throats of their “own” working classes as well. Therein lies the basis for joint Arab-Israeli working class action…providing the dead end of nationalism is transcended by class politics, ie, Marxism. Only for that to happen, the Israeli workers have got to show the Arab victims of their rulers that they do not support those policies to begin with. Just like white workers need to show Black workers that they oppose white racism here.

    Getting back to the definition of “success,” the “success” of the Zionist state indeed mirrors that of America’s ruling rich in exploiting and oppressing not only working people in the US but all over the rest of the world right down to ethnically cleansing the continent of its original inhabitants and stealing huge swathes of land from its neighbor to the southwest by aggressive warfare. Then there’s the “success” of slavery, segregation and the institutionalized economic racism that persists today regardless of who may be sitting in the Oval Office.

    None of this “success” any longer trickles down to the American working class which is being bled dry to “bailout” Wall Street bankers or fund imperialist wars…or allies like Israel. So I suppose if there is “success” to be celebrated, its by the ruling rich in their “successfully” being able to keep such a scam going for so long. “Success” for our side would entail putting an end to it once and for all.

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  2. RR,

    Sorry to belabor this but… I’m going to. 🙂

    First, I just have to say that I am by no stretch of anyone’s imagination an expert on Middle East politics (or politics in general). Nor am I well versed on Marxist theory other than a little bit of reading. Second, my earlier response was mostly a reaction to erice’s comments about there being no substitute for Marxist revolution.

    Ok, preamble concluded. Now let me just respond to your response. In my understanding the dissolution of the ‘Arab left’ was not a religious or spiritual dissolution but a political one resulting from the collapse of communism and the material change that has occurred in many of those regions as a result. Also I don’t agree with the comparison of medieval Europe and the world of Islam. For one, there is no central quasi-gov’t that oversees all Muslims as there was in Europe. Yes, religion is being manipulated but I would argue it is more a result of regional feudalism than capitalism or imperialism (feudalism that has been taken advantage of by the west but that existed well before the Europeans or Americans ever showed up). If you look at the demographics of the people being manipulated by religious leaders, say in Afghanistan, they aren’t workers and they come from many different class affiliations. In my opinion, material conditions are just as subjective and changeable as ideals (maybe even more so). Therefore if any revolt is to be successful it must be a spiritual one, esp. in the Middle East, one that stresses the unity of people regardless of class or spiritual division (in fact, rejects it utterly). That’s why I think Marxism will and has failed there, it doesn’t address the spiritual aspect of struggle. In fact, it’s usually considered irrelevant.

    And my question about Israel and the US and what they’re supposed to do is more rhetorical, I guess. But it also reflects my frustration with both the government and with individuals. I asked what they’re supposed to do because I really, truly don’t know what the answer is. I hate to sound like a heartless asshole but Palestine is an incredibly important place strategically and in many ways, Israel’s success as a nation is our success (yes, I know, define success). I may be naive but I think our government is an extension of ourselves so we ARE in a position to advise, demand, insist, coerce, inform, investigate, cajole, etc. if we don’t agree.

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  3. weakyknee,

    For me religious ideals like all ideas are subjective and change over time. If we were having this conversation only a few short decades ago we would have only been talking about the “Arab left” . The fact that the Arab left collapsed, particularly after the fall of the USSR and Oslo, is testimony to the transient nature of consciousness. Hamas itself barely existed in the First Intifada. Religious language unites the Arab world about as much as Christianity united Europe.

    The language and symbolism may be the same, but what they mean differ a great deal depending on when and what is going on and to whom. Certainly Lebanon and Iraq are examples of religious language being used for rather diverse purposes of different religious factions…all claiming Islam as their religion. Class is different because it is a material reality. What Marxists ask is that workers unite based on these common material interests.

    The fact that those interests have traveled with capitalism to the regions it exploits is, perhaps, a by-product of imperialism, but it doesn’t negate those realities. Arab workers who chose their class interests may be responding to imperialism, but it isn’t Marxism that developed that, but capitalism. Those interests are as real today in Palestine as when the Palestinian national liberation movement was being led by folks who called themselves Marxists (we didn’t have a workers revolution then either of course, but that is a longer story).

    As for what Israel and the US should do, do we mean their governments? I am not in much of a position to advise either the US or Israel. Demand things, yes, but the only in the process of working outside of and against them.

    RR

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  4. In the second video, Nasrallah points out that there is a tendency to lay responsibility at the feet of the victims, both in the larger Arab world and beyond. I think that highlights one major reason why the potential for a peaceful Marxist workers revolt would be near impossible in Gaza or anywhere else. The Arab world is not tied together by ethnicity (what exactly is an Arab? It’s an arbitrary moniker for any person with vague ancestral roots in the Arabian Peninsula and applies as equally to Janjaweed as to Persian imams), nor are they tied together by class, except loosely. Of course cultures are divergent. The only thing that ties the Arab world together is religion and a religious language. That trumps any possibility of a revolt based on Marxist ideals. That’s how they can get 500,000 people at a funeral but not to strike. Trying to lay Western models of resistance onto the situation in Gaza or anywhere else, to me, is just as imperialistic as putting up a McDonalds or forcing democracy with bombs. The suggestion that only a Marxist worker revolt will do puts the blame right back on to the people who are suffering and ignores the complexity of the situation and culpability. The question for me still remains, what is Israel (and by extension the US) supposed to do?

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  5. What hamas shows me is that their is NO substitution for a marxist anylisis and National liberation based on the class struggle. It also shows that the brave valiant people of Palestine, whose resistance is so inspirational throughout the world will never win their freedom by dying more than others. Watching the fence protests and the actions of The ISM you can see the embryo of where I think the movement need to go not stupid Qassams into Sterdot but A general Sit Down Strike by all of Palestine and their supporters in Israel and the occupid territories at every checkpoint and prison. If Hamas can organize funeral of 500,000 for the martyrs how come not a general strike??
    Eric

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  6. It will be interesting to see how much of the mainstream liberal left “progressive” milleau turns out for the Palestine solidarity demos called for tonight since Palestine is such a touchy issue for them. As we all know by now, the UFPJ types aren’t about to jeopardize their “solidarity” with the Democratic party by displaying any solidarity with the victims of that same Democratic party’s Israeli allies, regardless of how many Palestinians are killed with our tax dollars.

    Back in 2006, when israel was pulverizing Lebanon, very few of the reformists put in appearances at the demos called by either Workers World or ANSWER along with Palestinian groups. Since that was the year they were helping the Democrats “take back Congress” they apparently had their priorities to attend to.

    There was a precedent for this. Back in 2002 they had also refused to hold a joint demonstration with ANSWER and Arab-American groups in DC. This took place when Israel, then under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, was running amuck on the West Bank, laying waste to Jenin. So there were two separate demos across the street from each other at the Washington Monument. One of them made sure that it had nothing to do with what American imperialism’s Israeli allies were up to on the West Bank…even though it was going on at the same time!

    Of course, 2002 was also an election year for Congress. And while some Democrats may be “doves” when it comes to losing wars like the one in Iraq, they’re even more “hawkish” than George Bush when it comes to Israel, US imperialism’s number one ally in the Middle East. Not that the Democrats were opposing Bush’s war drive in 2002 to begin with.

    Now that they’ve not only “taken back” Congress, but the White House as well, you can be sure that the reformists won’t dare do anything that might embarass the incoming Obama/Clinton regime, which is, of course, totally committed to Israel. Indeed, if UFPJ won’t even march on Washington over the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in deference to Obama, can anyone really expect them to do anything against wars waged by Obama’s allies like Israel either?

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