Summary of the Program of the Internationalist Socialist League
- The Internationalist Socialist League (ISL) is a Palestinian-Jewish revolutionary communist organization active in Israel (Occupied Palestine). The ISL is the local branch of the worldwide Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT). The goal of our organization is to found a revolutionary workers’ party in all parts of what was formerly Mandatory Palestine (from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea) which will lead the workers to power through revolution. Following the revolution, our workers’ state will join a socialist federation of all Middle Eastern workers’ states, as we march relentlessly towards the establishment of a worldwide socialist federation.A socialist society is one in which all means of production are owned and managed democratically by the working class. This type of society will gradually develop into a communistic society. The essential difference between these two types of societies is, while in a socialist society each worker will receive his or her pay according to the number of hours invested (i.e., the relative proportion of labor invested by this worker in the overall production of society), in a communistic society, in which all material want will disappear, each worker will receive payment according to his or her needs, and everyone will be able to develop their own talents and uniqueness.
Contrary to the popular claim disseminated by many bourgeois pundits that the former Soviet Union and her Eastern European satellites were, and China, and Cuba still are, communist states, in reality they all were and are degenerated workers’ states in which the bourgeoisie was temporarily liquidated as a social class and the economy was nationalized. However, in each of these countries the control of the state machinery was in the hands of the bureaucracy which blocked the path to a socialist society and opened the road to the restoration of capitalism. The new bourgeoisie in these states sprang from the former bureaucracy. The Soviet Union was the only state in history in which political control was (during the leadership of Lenin) in the hands of the working class. The reason that the bourgeoisie depicts these states as communistic is to discourage the working class from undertaking conscious revolutionary activism.
- The historical period in which we are living is a revolutionary period occurring on the background of the decline of the worldwide capitalist system. The capitalistic relations of production during the period of monopolies and tycoons have become an obstacle which only retards the development of the forces of production. We are living in a situation of severe crisis for the decaying worldwide capitalistic system, which commenced with the financial crises of 2008. Despite instances of partial recovery, the capitalists are not successful in ending this crisis, and production drops downward after every period of recovery. As a result, unemployment is rising, the standard of living of the masses of workers is decreasing, and social inequality is becoming less and less tolerable, as more and more people are able to achieve sustenance with difficulty. This is a period in which socialist revolution is not only possible but necessary.
- The United States is a declining power. This decline is intensifying the struggles between the imperialistic states, including Russia and China, for spheres of influence and the exploitation of workers, especially in semi-colonial states (the commonly called “Third World Countries”). The tension between the imperialistic states can readily lead to a Third World War, and the only way of preventing this is by means of a socialist revolution.
- We are living during the capitalist era called the Age of Imperialism, also commonly referred to as “Globalization.” This is the stage of capitalism during which there is tight integration between international monopolies and tycoons and finance capital (i.e., banks), and during which the imperialistic states provide these parties with military and political support. During this period, the states of the world are divided into two – one group is the imperialistic states which exploit, to a particularly intensive degree (“super-exploitation”), the nations that constitute the second group of states – the “Third World Countries” or the semi-colonial states. Imperialistic rule obstructs the economic, social, and cultural development of the semi-colonial states. Accordingly, for revolutionaries, the mass struggle against imperialistic control is a progressive one, and as such should be supported without regard to who is leading it. At the same time, revolutionaries must not grant any political support to the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaderships of this struggle. For example, we do not support the establishment of a bourgeois government as a step forward, seeing how progressive struggles both today and in the future will either be won under the leadership of the working class, or the semi-colonial states will continue to be exploited by imperialists. The experience of all such struggles since the end of the Second World War demonstrates this.
- Israel is a state characterized by the capitalistic means of production, and is considered part of the bloc of the world’s imperialistic states. This state was founded by the “Zionist movement” – a movement of European colonial settlers who took control of all of Mandatory Palestine. The claim of the Zionists that they returned to the country from which they were exiled 2,000 years ago is not authentic history but political mythos. This claim of the “People of the Bible to whom this land was promised” is the same claim made by the Europeans who dispossessed the Indians in America and the blacks in South Africa.The contention that the State of Israel was established in response to the genocide perpetrated against the Jews is also not true. One has to believe in fairy tales in order to think that the Stalinists who controlled the Soviet Union, or the Imperialist Powers (with the US at their head) who supported the founding of a Jewish state in territory populated by an Arab majority, that these powers, most of whom didn’t lift a finger to save the Jews during their plight, and some of whom even actively closed their gates to Jewish refugees during WWII, were looking out for the interests of the Jews. The idea of a Jewish state in an Arab region was intended to strengthen the grip of the imperialists in the area and to prevent a socialist revolution. While the historical figure identified as the founding father of the Zionist idea is that of Herzl, in reality, this idea was already brought up during the nineteenth century by the British imperialists as a means of defending the Suez Canal, the building of which shorted the sea-route to India, the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. The same idea was raised even earlier by Napoleon Bonaparte when he attempted to conquer Palestine at the end of the eighteenth century and sought to mobilize Jewish support for his campaign.
- While there are, in fact, discernable elements attesting to the existence of an Israeli people (such as a unified economy, language, shared social-psychology, etc.) separate from world Jewry, the Israelis themselves lack the vital element of consciousness – they do not see themselves as a separate people, but rather as part of the Jewish people throughout the world. The rulers of the State of Israel, for example, demand from the representatives of the Palestinian people (whether they in fact represent them or not) to recognize Israel as the state of all the Jews; the Israeli supreme court, considered both by its supporters and opponents as liberal and progressive, rejected a plea to recognize the existence of a separate Israeli people. In Israeli identity cards, one cannot be registered as having the nationality “Israeli,” and most of the Jews living in the country do not object to this restriction. Contrary to the Zionist claim that there is such a thing as the worldwide Jewish people, there is no such thing as a worldwide people.During modern history, the idea of a “people” is inseparably linked to the successful founding of nation states or the attempts of others struggling to be created. This is a phenomenon tied to the rise of the bourgeoisie and this class’s need to unify local markets.
- The Zionist movement took control of Palestine in three stages: During the first stage, under the auspices of British imperialism that promised the Zionists a “national home,” this movement gained control of 5% of the country, while dispossessing indigenous Arab peasants (“fellahin”) from their lands and excluding Palestinian workers from industrial plants which were part of the Zionist economy. This was done under three different slogans: “Hebrew Labor,” “Hebrew Production,” and “Redemption of the Land.” At the time of the Palestinian uprising of 1936-39 against the imperialist control of Britain, the Zionists took part in the repression of the rebellion alongside the British.The second stage of the Zionist takeover of Palestine took place in 1948 with the establishment of the State of Israel in conjunction with the dispossession and expulsion of most of the Palestinians from the territories conquered by the Jewish state, as well as numerous documented massacres. (Collectively, these events are known by the Palestinians and their supporters of their struggle as the “Nakba.”) The Palestinians who remained in the State of Israel are what is usually called “second class citizens,” discriminated against in dozens of different ways related to all aspects of life. Among them, too, were victims of massacres perpetrated by the state – the Kafer Qasem massacre in 1956, the first Land Day massacre in 1976, and the massacre of protesters in October 2000, as well as massacres perpetrated by individual Zionists like Baruch Goldstein and Nathan Zada.
During the third stage of conquest, Israel occupied the remainder of Mandatory Palestine in 1967, and till today the state continues the everyday dispossession of Palestinians under its control in what is referred to as “Area C” in the West Bank by expropriating lands and establishing settlements. At will, Israel enters and exits the territories formally controlled by the Palestinian Authority, “Area A,” in order to kill or arrest, without due process of law, individuals suspected of actively resisting the occupation, regardless of whether the targets of such operations are armed or simply political. Israel has imposed a cruel siege on all the territory of the Gaza Strip, today formally under the control of Hamas, and has transformed this territory into a massive ghetto. But Israel was not satisfied with this alone, and summarily liquidated hundreds of Palestinian civilians during her attack upon Gaza at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, an operation that was dubbed “Cast Lead.” Without doubt, the rulers of Israel aim to perpetuate the Apartheid state in all of Palestine, and they use all means to do so.
Israel, the state which today effectively controls all of Mandatory Palestine, is governed by and for Jews, even though today this group constitutes a minority of the population in the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Political rule of this type by an ethnic minority is today generically called “Apartheid,” after the name of the policy of the white minority in South Africa until 1994.
However, the essential difference between these two examples of Apartheid rule is that, while under the rule of the whites in South Africa, the blacks were dispossessed and became a source of cheap, super-exploited labor, for the Zionist movement, the aim was and continues to be the consolidation of an ethnically-based state with a Jewish majority throughout all of Mandatory Palestine, with the concomitant expulsion of the as many of the indigenous Palestinians as is politically expedient.
- The Palestinian people are an occupied and dispossessed people struggling for its freedom. The Palestinians arose as a people separate from the other Arabic peoples, in the context of the struggle against the dispossessing colonialist Zionist movement and the British Mandate. We see their struggle as a progressive one, whose beginning is for a democratic revolution towards national liberation, but which is “stuck” and can only be victorious in the framework of a successful workers’ revolution. In contrast to the State of Israel, alien to the Middle East, the “strategic asset of the West” as Israeli politicians like to brag, the Palestinian people is an integral part of the Arab masses of the region, and its revolution is part of the same revolutionary struggle of these masses in the region that was artificially divided up by Britain and France.
- In 2011, there began in the Middle East a social revolution against the decadent Arab regimes operating as agents for imperialism. In Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, and Egypt, long standing dictatorships were toppled, but this revolutionary struggle encountered great difficulties in overcoming the forces of counter-revolution: over the struggle in Libya, which began as a revolutionary movement, counter-revolutionaries took control with the aid of the bombs of the imperialist armies, and today the revolution is disintegrating into a situation of chaos; in Syria, the Assad dictatorship continues to hold onto power while continuing to slaughter masses of the Syrian people.Nonetheless, we are already witnessing the renewal of the struggle against the military dictatorship in Egypt, the heart of the entire region. Even though the Egyptian working class has led the struggles in that country, it has no revolutionary party that can lead a victorious revolutionary struggle headed by this class, and supported by the fellahin and suffering and oppressed layers of society, including the women and youth.
The leftist organizations in Egypt like the reformist Communist Party and the centrist Revolutionary Socialists (RS) proved that they are incapable of providing revolutionary leadership when they supported the military coup on and after July 3, 2013. While the Revolutionary Socialists subsequently disassociated themselves from their position supporting the army, they also previously disassociated themselves from their earlier position supporting Morsi in the presidential elections, as the lesser of evils. This shifting of positions proves that, in spite of their having among them dedicated persons of good will, they are not capable of building a revolutionary party, because they are continually dragged to positions of the bourgeoisie, instead of putting forth a program with a revolutionary perspective.
- The Palestinian people have been waging a heroic struggle against their oppression for decades. However, at this stage, based on their own strength, they are not able to defeat militarily powerful Israel. Their only chance for success is in the victories of workers’ revolutions throughout the region. An overwhelming military defeat for Israel would also assist the victory of revolutions in the region, including the revolution of the Palestinian people. However, revolutionary communists do not wait for a socialist revolution made by others. Therefore, we support and participate in all of the progressive struggles of the masses. This policy even includes support for the social movement struggle in Israel, where we disseminate the message that this movement can only be victorious if it links itself to the revolutionary struggle of the Palestinian people and the masses in the region.The tactic that led the petty-bourgeois leaders of the Palestinians, even in the name of the Red Flag, to adopt guerrilla warfare and acts of terror, has never proved itself as an efficient road to liberation, and only has helped Israel gain legitimization in world public opinion for the use of extensive state terror. The idea of the pacifistic struggle, à la Gandhi, to which part of the Palestinian masses have nowadays been driven out of despair in the wake of the failure of the Second Intifada, can also not be victorious. The claim that Britain left India due to the pacifistic struggle led by the Congress Party is an out and out mythos. The facts indicate that the Second Imperialistic World War severely weakened Britain. She, like France and other countries, was forced to abandon all of her colonies, while the American imperialists took their place.
A victorious struggle by the Palestinians can only be achieved by means of a mass, armed uprising, under revolutionary leadership that will know how to split the masses of Israelis from Zionism and draw as many Israelis as possible to the side of the revolution in which the essence and the tone will be set by the Palestinian working class. It is no coincidence that the only real split in the Zionist movement took place in response to the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917. It was then that the Palestinian Communist Party was founded, a party that was authentically revolutionary at its beginning. This party became centrist in the years after Lenin’s death, and became reformist in 1936 when it supported the popular front that brought about downfalls in France and Spain.
- As mentioned, the State of Israel is a capitalistic state in which the capitalists also exploit the Israeli workers and in which social inequality is spreading and deepening. Revolutionaries support every struggle for the improvement of worker’s conditions as long as this struggle is not directed against a different group of workers. However, in contrast to workers in all other places on earth, the Israeli working class is not able to develop a revolutionary consciousness on the basis of economic struggles. The reason for this is that instead of seeing the State of Israel as an instrument of the ruling class, Israeli workers see it as a tool that defends their own privileges relative to the Palestinians and the other peoples of the region. Rather than see the capitalists as enemies, they see them as a part of the crew of a single ship which must not be rocked too strenuously. This perspective is inherent to the Israel’s character as a state of colonial settlers. As a result, the rulers of Israel can always readily block social struggles by means of the “security card.”The middle class in Israel, which until now has led the social struggles, has proved at home and throughout the entire world that it is not a class that can lead a struggle to victory. The social moment has failed until now because it hasn’t linked the social struggles to the struggle for the democratic rights of the Palestinian people, and it collapsed as a movement when the government initiated yet another round of hostilities in Gaza. Similarly, this movement has accepted the demand for “equally sharing the burden” that was directed against the Arabs and ultra-Orthodox, and parts of it even voted for the rightist party of Yair Lapid, which regularly lashes out against these two segments of the population. Until now, the social struggle has enabled prominent activists from the middle class to be integrated into the establishment and Zionist parties while advancing their private interests. Food prices decreased for a short time, but subsequently went back up considerably, and are significantly higher than in other western states.
- The Histadruth is a trade union acting in the service of the State of Israel, and as such binds the Israeli workers to the capitalists who control the country. Before the founding of Israel, this trade union served as part of the pre-state state and subsequently it has always acted in the service of the state. For example, the Histadruth acts as a propaganda organ for Israel among the professional trade unions around the world. In the last few years, a new, more militant trade union named “Koach LeOvdim” (Power to the Workers) has been founded which accepts Arab members without discrimination, but which entirely lacks a program capable of fomenting a victorious struggle for the working class.Revolutionary communists should be active within the Histadruth and Koach LeOvdim. From within these organizations they should found factions that struggle for a revolutionary program via united fronts, pressuring the bureaucratic leadership to organize struggles including general strikes, while not sparing the leadership from criticism for their failures and bureaucratic betrayals. The program for the trade unions should be the Transitional Program which ties the ongoing labor struggles to the long-term revolutionary struggle aimed at founding a multi-national workers’ state. This program includes: taking over of factories and their placement under the democratic supervision of the workers; the national liberation struggle of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian working class; self defense against regime violence; opening the books of companies and banks to their workers’ purview; incrementing salaries based on the cost of living index; shortening the work week without decreasing salaries or accompanying benefits; employing the jobless in public projects supervised by the workers, thereby linking the unemployed to the working class; cheap credit for small business owners; opposition to all oppression of women, youth, and sexual minorities; and the founding of a multi-national workers’ government supported by the peasantry (fellahin) and grass route layers of the population.
- The Palestinian trade unions and leftist movements like the “People’s Party,” the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” and the “Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine,” are subservient to the leadership of the Palestinian Authority which collaborates with Israel and the United States against the aspirations for national and social liberation of the Palestinian people. Masses of the Palestinian people find themselves today without any worthy leadership capable of standing at the forefront of a mass revolutionary intifada. Israel, which lives in fear of popular revolutionary outbreaks, is attempting to provoke a premature, small-scale eruption that will be forcefully repressed in order to prove to the United States that “there’s no partner for peace,” and therefore the US can only rely on Israel, and that the settlements in fact strengthen the control of Israel in the occupied territories and are therefore in the interests of the West, and in particular the US itself. This position is not accepted by US policy under Obama, which understands that Israel is getting weaker, and which has therefore initiated a rapprochement between the US, Europe, and Iran, the latter being the regional power with influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
- Hamas is a reactionary populist movement that tries to appear more militant than it actually is, seeing as it is even prepared to reach agreements with Israel, agreements in which the latter has no interest. Hamas has proved that it is not capable of leading a popular revolutionary struggle. Regardless, in any war against the Palestinian people in Gaza (or the West Bank), under any leadership whatsoever, including that of Hamas, revolutionaries stand against the State of Israel and for the Palestinians, but refrain from giving any political support to Islamist or secular petty bourgeois organizations, which sooner or later betray the struggle. This position of revolutionaries is derived from the tactic of the united front in countries in which oppressed peoples live, similar to the united front tactic of workers’ organizations in imperialistic countries. This is the tactic adopted by revolutionaries wherever they are not currently in the position to lead the struggle of the working class. Examples of united fronts are trade unions and even workers’ councils that spring up in revolutionary situations. This tactic is aimed at achieving as much popular support as possible for the struggle without sacrificing the revolutionary position at the center of which is the independence of the working class.
- Since Marx, revolutionaries support the right of self determination only for oppressed peoples. While the Palestinians are an oppressed people, the Israelis are an oppressing population. As Marx and Engels said “a people that oppresses another people cannot itself be free.” If Marx would have supported the right of self determination for everyone, he would have supported the demands for the southern United States to establish an independent confederation during the American Civil War. However, he supported only the north, because the south was economically based on slavery. Lenin also supported self determination only for oppressed peoples, as is clear from his argument with Rosa Luxemburg who rejected the struggle for the national liberation of oppressed peoples. Trotsky, who when addressing the issue of South Africa in 1935, called for a black republic and not for two states. Leftist organizations which support self determination for all peoples, without regard to their stage of development, quickly discover how far they are from Marxism. In order to clarify this point, we suggest the example of France which, during the Second World War, was an imperialistic country that was partially occupied by imperialistic Germany. The French Communist Party supported the struggle of de Gaulle who represented the part of the French bourgeoisie that wanted to reestablish its own independence so that it could continue ruling the French colonies like Viet Nam and Algeria. Its slogan was “a good German is a dead German.” Revolutionaries could not support this position, which was de facto support for the exploitation and oppression of the French colonies by French imperialism. Rather, their obligation was to struggle for a socialist revolution, thereby transforming the struggle against the German occupation into a revolutionary struggle of the working class for a workers’ state.
- Israel makes use of super-exploited migrant workers and cruelly mistreats political asylum seekers in the country, particularly refugees from Africa. Revolutionaries support the just demands of migrant workers and refugees, including the demand to grant refugees recognition as such and to provide migrant workers with the same employment conditions as all other workers in Israel. We can understand the leaders of the refugee struggle, clinging as they do to the Zionist left and refraining from demanding citizenship for anyone who requests it. However, revolutionaries do not stop with the simple demand for recognition of refugees as refugees, but raise the demand for granting of citizenship to all those in Israel who request political asylum. In the US, this is Obama’s policy which makes it possible for refugees and migrant workers to obtain citizenship. But, in contrast to Obama, revolutionaries oppose the closing of borders of imperialistic countries like Israel which, like the other imperialistic states, participates in the brutal super exploitation of the semi-colonial countries, which in large part creates the phenomenon of migrant workers and refugees from Africa. The contention of the Zionists that Jews deserve a state because they themselves were persecuted as refugees is nothing more than cynicism when Israel treats the refugees from Africa as other countries previously treated the Jews. Revolutionaries link the struggle of migrant workers and refugees with the struggle for Palestinian national and social liberation and with the struggle of workers in Israel, while at the same time putting forth the revolutionary position for a multinational workers’ government including migrant workers and refugees.
- Israel has always been a racist country, discriminating not only against Arabs but also against the oriental Jewish communities. Today, Israel is particularly racist towards the Ethiopian community. Revolutionaries support the just demands of the Ethiopian community including the demand for unification of families, cessation of snatching of Ethiopian babies and their placement in orphanages and the end of all forms of discrimination against the Ethiopian community. Revolutionary activists from the Ethiopian community participate in all of the just struggles and support all of the just demands, but at the same time they fight to link the struggle of the Ethiopian community with the revolutionary struggle. Revolutionaries understand the concern of Palestinians created by the demand for the unification of families in the Ethiopian community, whose sons serve in the Israeli army and police force and thereby oppress the Palestinians. However, the correct and winnable path is to tie the struggle for the unification of Ethiopian and Palestinian families as much as it is to link the right of return of Palestinian refugees with a common revolutionary struggle.
- A large part of the women in Israel, Jewish but in particular Arab, are systematically discriminated against. This discrimination is inherent to Israel’s nature as a racist capitalist country. Revolutionaries support all demands for the equality of women, but do not accept the feminist ideology, with all its variations as such, since women neither form a separate class, nor do men constitute the class enemy. Bourgeois women participate in the exploitation and oppression of women from the working class and the middle levels of society. Women’s liberation is, therefore, part of society’s liberation from the capitalistic system itself and its replacement by communism.
- Broad layers of youth, and in particular young people from working class families, the Arab population, Ethiopians, and migrant workers, are oppressed and deeply exploited, and the struggles of the youth from these layers is a progressive one. But for their struggle to be victorious, it must be part of the revolutionary struggle.
- Israel takes part in ecological destruction, and this needs to be addressed within the context of the struggle to expropriate factories owned by capitalists who are polluting the environment. The central demands here must be the expropriation of factories and banks without any compensation, and their democratic supervision by workers, with the transition to non-polluting sources of energy.
- The imperialistic “peace plans” and the Oslo accords, the road map, and the new agreement towards which the US is driving do not represent peace between Israelis and Palestinians but rather support for Israel and a certain degree of support for the Palestinian Authority, as part of an imperialistic strategy, a “Pax Americana” against the peoples of the region, including the Palestinian people. Revolutionaries reject this “peace,” insofar as real peace can only be achieved following the elimination of imperialistic control of the region and the establishment of a multinational workers’ state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River as part of a socialist federation of the entire region that will function for the welfare of the inhabitants, the working class and middle layers of society, as part of the struggle for a socialist society.
- In light of the fact that Israel is an imperialistic settler state, in any war against the Arab peoples residing in semi-colonial states, the revolutionary position is to stand alongside the Arab peoples during the military conflict, without granting any political support to the Arab bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. Revolutionaries in Arab states will not call for an end to the class struggle during any war with Israel, and will do everything to bring about, as soon as possible, the working class’ coming to power by means of a mass armed uprising; a revolution that will transform the war to a revolutionary war of the working class. At the same time this revolution will call upon the Jewish workers to abandon Zionism and to participate in the building of a socialist society in the region and throughout the world. The State of Israel is not only the oppressor of the Palestinians and the Arabs in general in its wars, for example, against Lebanon or in the further past against Nasser’s Egypt, but it is a death trap for the Jews. This is because Israel has transformed the political struggle into a religious struggle against the Moslems constituting about a billion persons, and sooner or later Israel will suffer a military defeat. The Jews in this country only have a future together with the Palestinian refugees and the masses of the Palestinian people, just as the migrant workers and other refugees only have a future here in the context of a socialist society.
- The revolutionary position regarding military service in Israel is support for the Arab resistance to serving in the Israeli army and defense for the Jews refusing to serve for reasons of conscience. At the same time, young revolutionary Jews can work within the army in order to reach regular soldiers and to turn them against their officers. Without splitting the army along class lines, the revolution will not succeed. Jewish revolutionaries serving in the army can shoot in the air thereby refraining from any action that oppresses the Palestinians. In addition, the working class needs to learn how to use weapons which will eventually be turned against the exploiters. Naturally, revolutionaries do not support military service not undertaken for these goals. Whether to serve in the army or not is a tactical question whose answer will be determined by the ongoing situation and the needs of the revolutionary movement.
- While revolutionaries do not adhere to religions, they respect those who do believe and understand the psychological need for belief is the result of a sense of insecurity common to the masses. Revolutionaries desire to unify the struggle of the religious and non-religious, and for this reason they oppose any oppression of believers by the bourgeois state; for example, the oppression of Moslems by Israel or of religious Moslem immigrants to Europe, or the campaign in Israel inciting against ultra-Orthodox Jews as parasites. At the same time, revolutionaries demand, among other things, the separation of religion and state, and oppose the funding of yeshiva students by the state. While this is a simple democratic demand, there is absolutely no chance that this will be implemented without a socialist revolution, inasmuch as the Zionists need the Jewish religion as their justification for dispossessing the Palestinians and their colonial settlement of Palestine. A revolutionary political party accepts religiously observant workers to its ranks on the basis of a revolutionary program, while religious belief remains the personal business of the believer. At the same time, this does not prevent revolutionaries from disseminating the scientific perspective of the role of the working class – Marxism based on historical and dialectical materialism.
- Due to its systematic oppression of the Palestinian people, Israel’s isolation throughout the world is increasing. Revolutionaries in Israel support the boycotting of state institutions, universities, companies supporting the settlements, products from the settlements, and Israel’s cultural, artistic, and sport institutions. At the same time, revolutionaries do not call for the total boycotting of all citizens of the State of Israel. We also do not support calls for imperialistic states to boycott Israel. Revolutionaries support broad-based, popular boycott movements but not boycotting by imperialistic rulers who are no better than Israel. The call for other imperialistic countries to boycott Israel only spreads illusions about the nature of these other states. Boycotting by states is a step towards war, and in wars between imperialistic states the revolutionary position is one of revolutionary defeatism for all sides, and in all imperialistic countries revolutionaries should see “their” own bourgeoisie as the most dangerous enemy. The most effective means of boycotting official Israel is the refusal of trade unions throughout the world of loading or unloading cargoes such as weapons, diamonds, and settlement products to and from Israel.
- The program calling for two states, one a demilitarized mini-Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 living in peace alongside the latter, is an unrealistic and reactionary idea, something attested to by the support it receives from the US and Europe. Alas, not everything that imperialists support do revolutionaries oppose, but in the present case the idea of two states is intended to serve the imperialistic rule of the region. The proposed mini-Palestinian state is no different than the Bantustans that were established in South Africa, or the Indian reservations in North America, and denies, among other things, the right of return for Palestinians to their country. Even the Palestinian Authority collaborates with the US on this matter, and Israel is obligated to oppose it, at least out loud. Israel will do everything to prevent the return of the Palestinian refugees which is the heart and core of the conflict. Not only this, but Israel is today continuing to expand the settlements with the intention of preventing the founding of a mini-Palestinian state. If such a mini-Palestinian state would be established, the Palestinian citizens of Israel would be expelled to it under the guise of land swaps: the “triangle” region for the settlement areas.
- Revolutionaries support the demand for the establishment of a democratic state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River with equal rights for the masses of Arabs and Jews. However, a democratic state can hypothetically be either bourgeois under the combined rule of the Israeli and Palestinian bourgeoisies, or a democratic workers’ state which is simultaneously the dictatorship of the workers against the bourgeoisie. Any state is a dictatorship; the question is by whom and for whom. Democratic Athens was a dictatorship for the slaves. Capitalism is a dictatorship against the workers. A workers’ state in this country will be a state in which the Palestinian workers will rule with the support of a certain part of the Israeli workers as well as migrant workers and refugees, all of whom will prevent the bourgeoisie from retaking power. A combined bourgeois democratic state is a pipedream, seeing as there is no chance that the Zionist bourgeoisie will agree to a bourgeois state with equal rights for all, and will do everything to prevent this. The mechanism of the state is never a neutral institution standing over all classes as liberals believe, but rather is an instrument for the control of the ruling class (by means of the army, police, legislature, courts, prisons, etc.). Hypothetically, the founding of a common bourgeois state was possible in 1947. However, this idea was toppled by western imperialism and Stalinism for the sake of the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, when it was nearly certain to all concerned that the Arab state that was also supposed to be established would not be, and instead, there would be a mass expulsion of Palestinians and Mandatory Palestine would henceforth be divided between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. If the idea of two states were realistic, it would have come about a long time ago. In practice, the idea of two states is nothing more than a smokescreen that permits Israel to continue to steal the Palestinian lands. It is conceivable that the Soviet Stalinists and their parties throughout the world supported the establishment of Israel in order to get the British out of the country, but after the Second World War the center of imperialism was no longer Britain but the US. In this way, the Stalinists unwittingly assisted the Americans. If we believe communist parties, like that of Israel (CPI), at their word that their support for the founding of Israel was based on their opposition to the British presence, essentially they are admitting to not understanding the world in which they live. The truth is that the reformist communist parties are not mistaken in their analysis, but rather their position is derived from their policy of subordinating the working class to the bourgeoisie. Their continued support for the establishment of the State of Israel is the position behind their support today for the plan of the Arab League, which in turn supports the US plan. Similarly, their position regarding Egypt today is the support of the pre-imperialistic military dictatorship. The Israeli group “Ma’avak Socialisti” (Socialist Struggle) which also supports two “socialist” states, also essentially supports the right of self determination for the oppressors, and the fact that they choose to call the two states “socialist” does not change this basic fact. The approach of this organization (the local branch of the CWI) reflects their surrender to the chauvinistic mood and discourse of the Jewish workers in this country. These “socialists” should be asked whether the solution in South Africa should have been two “socialist” states, one for the racist whites and the other for the blacks, in order to get the support of the white workers. The Da’am party of Israel is no different from this point-of-view even though recently their position has become that the solution can be either two states or one. At the same time, Da’am is not currently prepared to struggle for a single workers’ state as part of a socialist federation throughout the region.
- The establishment of a single democratic state is contrary to the Zionist position regarding a Jewish and “democratic” state – i.e., one with a Jewish majority under a parliamentary regime which oppresses and discriminates against Arabs. However, even if it were possible for the Zionist bourgeoisie to accept the notion of a single democratic state, it would still continue to be the hegemonic power in this state, while continuing to oppress the Palestinian people and exploit the workers. Witness, for example, how much the democratic bourgeois state continues the mass exploitation of blacks in South Africa, while a thin layer of black bourgeoisie, assisted by the ANC and by the local Communist Party, has joined the white bourgeoisie and perpetuates the exploitation. Beyond this, it is possible that the establishment of a single democratic state is only possible under revolutionary circumstances, and that the founding of a single bourgeois state in place of revolutionary workers’ state will be merely be a kind of counter-revolution in a democratic guise as happened in South Africa during the revolutionary circumstances of 1994, when it was conceivable to have established a workers’ state in South Africa, had there been a revolutionary, proletarian leadership.
- The class enemy cannot be defeated without the establishment of a revolutionary party of the working class. This party will be led by the workers and will express the highest revolutionary consciousness of this class. It will utilize the tactic of the united front composed of all workers’ and leftist organizations, alongside Palestinian organizations fighting against oppression. The Internationalist Socialist League is the kernel for the founding of such a revolutionary party in Palestine, as part of the founding of the Fifth International.