One comment on “Ireland and Palestine Solidarity

  1. John’s overall analysis is as relevant to the anti-war and Palestine solidarity movements here in the US as it is to Ireland. As most readers of this site well know, the US left has long been dominated by the “Popular Front,” ie, class collaborationist, approach, courtesy of two generations of Stalinism. There is, of course, the geriatric remnants of the 1930s Moscow loyal CP and its social democratized spin-off, the COC. They have been pushing “fight the right,” “lesser evil” Popular Front reformism since Uncle Joe was calling the shots in the Kremlin and Earl Browder was carrying out his orders here. Then there are their once youthful reinforcements from the burned-out baby boomers of the 1960s “New Left.” They made their peace with the “revisionists” they once scorned by way of Stalin and Dimitrov when they couldn’t find anything in Mao’s Little Red Book to cope with Reaganism and had to fall back on the Popular Front for guidance.

    These two groupings have a common home within the UFPJ, which, unfortunately, remains the main anti-war umbrella organization in the US. It’s main, if not only, role, within the left and the “mass movements” is to keep them united…with the Democratic Party, even though the later barely differs with its Republican rivals on issues relating to the wars and occupations in the Middle East. Indeed, UFPJ only came into being when the reformists saw the anti-imperialist ANSWER coalition, then dominated by the Workers World Party, along with the Maoist run “Not in Our Name” drawing hundreds of thousands of protesters to the antiwar demonstrations that they organized in the period from after “9/11” through the start of the Iraq war. With the “most important election ever” just around the corner, the reformists were not taking any chances of leaving the antiwar movement in unrealible hands.

    UFPJ proceeded to put the anti-war movement on the back burners during the run-up to the 2004 presidential election under the banner of “Anybody But Bush,” even though the “anybody” was the pro-war John Kerry. They continued to do so in 2006 under the guise of “Taking Back Congress” for the Democrats. When the later took back Congress, they promptly gave Bush all the money he asked for to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as to keep Israel well funded. Needless to say, in 2008 they all lined up behind Obama, who was one of those doing the funding in the Senate. Now they are trying their best to continue keeping people off the streets, even though Obama has kept Bush’s war minister and generals on board as he escalates the war in Afghanistan and continues to stand firmly behind Israel.

    Palestine, of course, has always been a touchy subject with the reformists. To begin with there are not a few liberal and social democratic Zionists within UFPJ whose “liberalism” and “socialism” doesn’t extend to the victims of Israeli apartheid and expansionism, at least those who dare to fight back against it. But more importantly for UFPJ, Israel is the main ally of US imperialism in the Middle East. Since the Democrats, as a partner party of America’s ruling rich, are as committed to its upkeep as the Republicans are, criticisms of it are not a welcome addition to their laundry list of demands.

    Why not? As good reformists, UFPJ believes that the only way that progressive social change will ever come to the US is through the efforts of “our elected representatives” in Washington and elsewhere. They may, on occasion, need to be “pressured” from below. But only so gently, as that may disrupt putting (or keeping) the Democrats in office, and, of course, plays into the hands of the Republican “right.” Therefore anything associated with Palestine is to be avoided like the plague…even if Israel is engaging in a massacre, like a week or so ago in Gaza, or in Lebanon in 2006, or in Jenin and on the West Bank as a whole in 2002. Especially if it’s during an election year like in 2006. Then they’ve got priorities to adhere to.

    So all the major demonstrations in NYC in solidarity with Gaza and against Israeli aggression were, in effect, boycotted by UFPJ. The fact that they were called by their rivals, the anti-imperialist ANSWER coalition and various Arab-American groups, didn’t help either insofar as UFPJ was concerned. In the past UFPJ has consistently stayed away from ANSWER anti-war rallies as well. UFPJ also endorsed a UN resolution which explictly avoided calling for Israel to withdraw from Gaza and was mainly aimed at keeping the Palestinians there unarmed and at the mercy of the Zionists or their Egyptian stand-ins..

    Of course, the uninitiated might inquire as to why ostensible opponents of the war, like UFPJ, would want to keep away tens of thousands of Arab-Americans, who would certainly bolster the ranks of a dwindling and declining antiwar movement. Dwindling and declining, that is, because of UFPJ’s putting it out to pasture, not because the American people supported the war. Far from it as we all know. Surely the Israel-Palestine conflict has some relation to what’s going on in the Middle East as a whole. The imperialists and the Zionists certainly think it does.

    The answer, no pun intended, is simple. The Popular Frontists prefer a united front with a handful of Democratic party politicians to one with tens of thousands of Arab Americans and anti-imperialists, because to them, another world is not possible. To those of us who still think it is, solidarity with the Palestinians and opposition to Israeli apartheid and aggression, like opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is part and parcel of the same struggle against the same enemy.

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