A propos Solidarity with the Palestinian Masses: The impasse of the concrete and the immediate
(«Proletarian»;Nr. 5; November 2009)
Our leaflet on Israel has provoked, as usual, various reactions adverse to a class position, these hostile reactions are often «justified» in the name of the necessity of the «concrete» or of «emergency».
Since this kind of criticism recurs regularly, it is perhaps worthwhile to spend a little time here, taking a specific example.
An internet visitor questioned us in these terms: «The International Communist Party talks a lot about the ‘proletarian’ struggle and the glor-r-r-r-rious revolution against global capitalism. But you do not say a single word on what practical measures ‘the proletarians’ can take to help the Palestinians.»
This reaction can be understood: at the sight of the daily bombings and killings, it is natural to want to come to the immediate aid of the victims to the point where evoking a long-term perspective may seem suspect. But immediatism is always the justification for all manner of opportunism, all the deviations which ultimately retard that which they want to accelerate. And indeed our critic continued :
«You do not say a single word about for example a campaign to boycott and protest against the companies/individuals that do business with Israel, the organization of a boycott of Israeli products, to unmask or oppose the Israeli lobby, to organize protests outside the offices and headquarters of specific governments or politicians, or in front of the Israeli consulates/embassies or the residences of ambassadors or consuls, etc.. Your goal seems to be primarily to make publicity for yourself!
There are a whole lot of things that can be done before having the opportunity to overthrow global capitalism. As long as we don’t intend to do anything concrete, your rhetoric is as empty as that of Western and Arab governments (...)».
We see that the « whole lot of things that can be done» would have been absolutely powerless to stop the bombings and killings: no boycott, no protest rally could stop military action decided and planned for months with the agreement of the American imperialist godfathers! These proposals, which give the impression of «doing something» while they represent only a pale substitute for what should be in other circumstances, real proletarian solidarity, ultimately end up diverting energy away from the only terrain on which they will be effective tomorrow, the terrain of the class struggle. By putting forward the objective of putting pressure on interclassist «public opinion» or even state institutions, by advocating a «consumers» action of all classes mixed together and not an action specific to the workers considered as members of the only class capable of frontally opposing capitalism and the bourgeois state, or by wishing to have Israeli «war crimes» condemned by international democratic-imperialist organizations, this genre of orientations show themselves to be a direct obstacle on the path leading to the reconstitution of a proletarian class force.
The sententious claim that it is impossible to do anything, that no proletarian solidarity action is possible, as long as global capitalism has not been overthrown, could only come to mind in those who wish to hide – a guilty indifference vis-à-vis the situation of the proletariat and the masses of the countries under the yoke of the major imperialisms – behind phrases.
But to refuse any classist orientation in the name of «urgency» and the «concrete» can only come from opponents of the anti-capitalist struggle. After all, what our text highlighted is that without the unfailing support of the major imperialist states, the United States of course in the foreground, but also the European states and Russia, and with the implicit support of the most influential Arab States, the State of Israel could not continue its wars, its colonialism and its abuses of all kinds. What can loosen the vice which has crushed the Palestinian masses for decades, are not opinion campaigns, boycotts targeted at companies doing business with Israel or demonstrations outside embassies of these countries, etc. but the development of real and truly anti-capitalist struggles in these states. Before the proletariat finds the strength to threaten the survival of capitalism, it could paralyze the shipment of arms, or to remain with the case of France to organize robust protests against the sending a warship patrolling off the coast of Gaza to assist the Israeli blockade (1), and to agitate in this direction within the military (whereas today the unions take care not to mobilize the workers!), etc.. We may recall the work of the young French CP in the twenties against the war in the Rif (Morocco), which was concretized not only by demonstrations but by a national strike, unrest in the navy, etc. Regardless of the criticisms that may be made as to the course of this action, this is a completely concrete example of what can be done when circumstances permit.
And a genuine action of proletarian solidarity would result in facilitating the rupture not only of the Palestinian but also with the Israeli proletariat with their bourgeoisie by showing that the class struggle is the only way to effectively combat oppression and exploitation.
We’re not there yet? Obviously not. Such a proletarian orientation is not easy to implement? Undoubtedly. Can it not be immediate? Unfortunately not.
But while decades of democratic agitation have had no other effect than to reduce the proletariat and the masses to ever-increasing impotence, there is now no more urgent task in this issue of struggle against imperialism and Zionism, as in others, than to work to prepare for the resumption of the class struggle, on the theoretical, political and organizational levels. To start with this means the ruthless criticism of all the wrong solutions, of all the immediatisms, of all the democratisms, of all the class collaborations...
(Le Prolétaire Nr.492; Feb.-March-April 2009)
(1) On 23 January France dispatched to Gaza a frigate helicopter carrier «Germinal» which crossed from Lebanon as part of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL). According to the official French government source, the ship had to «participate in the struggle against the smuggling of weapons (...) in cooperation with Israel and Egypt.». This direct military participation of France in the blockade of the Gaza Strip has provoked little reaction beyond the pro-Palestinian mileus ...
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