Long Live Land Day!
Long Live the Struggle of the Masses in the Middle East!
The Middle East is on fire. In every country in our region, the masses are struggling to overthrow the tyrannical oppressive regimes they have been suffering under for decades. In Egypt, the epicenter of the modern day revolutionary struggle in the Middle East, the masses have overthrown the rotten Mubarak regime, which collaborated with the Zionists in the oppression of the Palestinians in the Gaza ghetto. In Jordan, the mass struggle forced the king to sack his government. In Libya, the rebel army is fighting against Qaddafi’s forces, and the imperialists are taking advantage of the disorder in order to intervene in the struggle and subordinate it to their interests. In Tunisia, the mass struggle forced Ben-Ali, the corrupt ally of the Zionists, to flee the country and leave his former partners in power. Similar struggles broke out in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Morocco and Algeria.
Everywhere – except in Israel. If in the 1967 territories, the demonstrations for solidarity with the protestors were suppressed by Hamas and Fatah, in Israel demonstrations were few and small, and participation by Jewish workers was limited to the brave few as usual. The reason for this is the colonialist nature of the Israeli society, which holds in its grip of death not only the Palestinians, but the Jewish working class as well, which receives privileges from it and hence, the majority of the Jewish workers find it extremely hard to struggle against for its overthrow.
Land Day was born as a day of struggle against racist Zionist colonialism. Land Day is not only a memorial for the protestors murdered in 1976 by the Zionist state as part of Zionist colonization, but also a day of struggle against the systematic discrimination of the Palestinian residents of Israel: against the exploitation, poverty, inequality in services, rising unemployment and political oppression of the Palestinian masses. It is also an expression of continuing struggle against the occupation of 1967, and for the right of return for the refugees expelled in 1947-8. Like Apartheid-era South Africa, the Zionist Apartheid state stole the majority of Palestinian land. This land theft did not start in 1967, as the Zionist and pro-Zionist left claims, since all of Israel is built on land stolen in 1948.
The most important question in this historical moment is how to ensure that new corrupt dictators won’t replace the old ones as the masses continue to suffer exploitation and oppression. The answer is supplied by Trotsky’s theory and strategy of permanent revolution. This strategy flows from the fact that in countries that haven’t been through the bourgeois-democratic revolution yet, the local bourgeoisie is scared of a working class revolution, and therefore seeks to collaborate with imperialism against the workers, peasants and poor.
But the imperialists are also afraid. Their fear of a proletarian revolution is expressed in the increase in Israel’s “security” budget and in the White House’s stand against revolutions, insisting on only reforming the existing regimes at best. Therefore, the tasks of the democratic revolution – expelling imperialism, uniting the region, the agrarian revolution, industrialization, ensuring equality before the law – lie on the shoulders of the working class.
The struggle of the working class in Tunisia and Egypt is the key to the revolution in the region. But the fact that the soldiers in these countries were on the side of the working class was key to their success. This fraternization has a basis in reality: the bourgeois army in Egypt and elsewhere suffers from an internal contradiction. While the simple soldiers are sons of workers and peasants, the officer casts comes from the bourgeoisie. In order for the revolution to be victorious, the army must be split, with the soldiers supporting the proletarian uprising. To that end, revolutionaries must work in the army and raise demands such as full pay, the right to organize, and the right to elect officers, and tie these demands with the revolutionary struggle for a workers’ state.
A victorious uprising of the working class at the head of the masses of peasants and soldiers will lead to the crushing of the bourgeois state apparatus and its replacement with a workers’ state apparatus. The working class in powers will carry out the tasks of the democratic revolution and will continue with the socialist ones, in accordance with the development of the world revolution. The victory of this heroic struggle against the local bourgeoisie and its imperialist masters will also lead to the victory of the heroic Palestinian struggle, the downfall of the Zionist state and the solution of the Palestinian national question by creating a Palestinian workers’ state from the Jordan to the Sea, as part of a socialist federation of the Middle East. Jewish citizens of the Palestinian workers’ state will be able to live free from any ethnic or religious discrimination.
The Palestinian people needs a revolutionary working class leadership, as the existing Palestinian Authority leadership has proven that it is willing to stand by Israel while it attacks the Gaza masses, and the populist Hamas can offer no way forward as it looks for a place in the existing imperialist order.
As a strategic step in the revolutionary struggle, the demand for a constituent assembly is correct in both the Arab countries and in Palestinian (where amongst its voters will be the refugees), but it cannot replace councils of workers, peasants and soldiers, or a workers and peasants government based on the armed working class masses.
Left-wing groups in Israel treat the mass struggle in the region as if it expresses a change of regime alone. MAKI and Hadash only raise democratic-bourgeois slogans, and the CWI does not raise demands clashing with the structure of capitalism like splitting the Egyptian army along class lines. It also ignores the fact that the majority of Israeli workers are unable to participate in the struggle due to the colonialist nature of Israeli society. Unlike them, we say openly that the only solution is socialist revolution.
Down with imperialism and its servants!
For a socialist federation of the Middle East as part of a world socialist revolution!