The current war reveals the changes in the relation between the Great Powers
Joint Statement of the Liaison Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and Convergencia Socialista (Argentina), 22 May 2021, https://convergenciadecombate.blogspot.com/ and www.thecommunists.net
Introduction: The document at hand is the result of discussions between leadings comrades of RCIT and CS since the beginning of the Fourth Gaza War. Its purpose is not to provide a comprehensive analysis of all features of the world situation. Rather, the document focuses on the consequences of the war for the Middle East and the world situation and on the tasks for revolutionaries following from these. In order to keep the document as short as possible, we will limit ourselves to a condensed presentation of theses – even more so as many issues have been already elaborated in more detail somewhere else.
Furthermore, we want to draw attention to the fact that this statement was elaborated and discussed when the war was still going on, i.e. before the ceasefire was implemented on 21 May. We have dealt with the ceasefire and its meaning in a separate joint statement (The Fourth Gaza War Ended in a Historic Victory for the Palestinians! // David venció a Goliat en Gaza, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/the-fourth-gaza-war-ended-in-a-historic-victory-for-the-palestinians and https://convergenciadecombate.blogspot.com/2021/05/david-vencio-goliat-en-gaza-declaracion.html) In any case, the character of the ceasefire fully confirms the analysis elaborated in the present document.)
Finally, we refer to an article by comrade Damián Quevedo, a leading member of Convergencia Socialista. The article deals with important contradictions in the capitalist world economy, an issue which is only briefly mentioned but not elaborated in more detail in the present document. This article is attached in the Appendix in Spanish and English language.
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1. As we are writing these lines, the Fourth Gaza War is still going on and, hence, its concrete outcome unknown. However, already now there can be no doubt that this is a historic event with important consequences both for the Middle East as well as for the world situation.
2. First, the beginning of the Third Intifada represents not only a new upswing of the Palestinian liberation struggle. It also represents a struggle on a higher level than the past Intifadas (which began in 1987 respectively in 2000) because it is not limited to the Westbank and Gaza but also includes the Palestinians in the ’48 areas, i.e. those living inside the Israeli Apartheid state, and East Jerusalem. This new unity has been reflected, among others, in the historic general strike on 18 May.
3. Secondly, while the war is still going on, it looks very unlikely that the Zionist state will be capable of defeating the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. Quite the opposite, the massive and far-reaching missile strikes of Hamas and other factions demonstrated that the resistance is even stronger than it was in the three previous wars when Israel was also incapable of defeating the Palestinians (in 2008/09, 2012 and 2014).
4. Thirdly, the repeated demonstrations at Israel’s borders (both with Jordan as well as Lebanon), the burning of (unmanned) Israeli border posts, the attempts of militants to cross the border into Israel, the repeated firing of rockets against Israel from the south of Lebanon – all these demonstrates that the Palestinian uprising is provoking mass solidarity in the neighboring countries. Not only this, it also shows that the Zionist state comes under attack on all fronts.
5. The very fact of these two important events taking place at the same time – the Third Intifada in all parts of historic Palestine and the Fourth Gaza War resulting (most likely) in another failure of Israel to crush the resistance – reflects a fundamental change in the relation of forces in favor of the oppressed people!
6. It is already clear by now that the Israeli settler state is now weaker than ever before. This is reflected not only in the paralysis of the country’s government since more than two years as four elections have failed to produce any stable government. It is also reflected in the fact that long-time Prime Minister Netanyahu has to provoke one crisis after the other … in order to avoid jail because of his numerous corruption scandals. In general, the Zionist ruling class is deeply divided and shifts more and more to the right, provoking the growth of fascist forces like Kach. This development is not only a threat for the Palestinians but also deepen the divisions within the Israeli-Jewish society itself (e.g. with the Orthodox Jews, with liberal Zionists, etc.). In short, the decline of the Zionist state results both in a radicalization of its militarist, racist and fascist features and, at the same time, weakens its fundament of existence as a settler state in foreign territory.
7. The war and the new Intifada have provoked a massive international solidarity movement resulting in numerous mass mobilizations all over the world. In the port of Livorno/Italy, militant unionists even stopped the shipment of arms to Israel. At the same time, Israel is more isolated than ever. True there have been some shameful symbolic actions of support by imperialist governments in Europe (like Austria’s Chancellor Kurz hissing the flag of Israel at the roof of his office). But when it comes to concrete political support, Israel is isolated as the current diplomatic negotiations in the UN Security Council demonstrate where China and others push for a statement strongly calling for an immediate ceasefire.
8. Growing isolation of Israel is most importantly reflected in the fact that its support by the White House is weaker than ever before. While Biden makes general declarations of sympathy with Israel’s “right of self-defense”, it is obvious to every observer that support for Israel in the U.S. – among the masses, among American Jews, even among the Democrat (and even Republican) lawmakers in Congress – is weaker than at any time before. This is reflected in open political criticism against Israel by the bourgeois public (it has been called an “Apartheid state” within the venerable halls of the Congress for the first time!) and the more and more determined calls by leading Senators for an immediate ceasefire.
9. Weak support of Washington for Israel is not because of any “progressive” nature of the Biden Administration. It rather reflects the decline of U.S. imperialism itself which was the long-time hegemon after 1945. However, the decay of global capitalism has also resulted in the inevitable decline of its hegemon. For this reason, the ruling class of the U.S. is more divided than ever and in the field of foreign policy, it has to retreat and to focus its political, economic and military forces against its imperialist rivals (like China, Russia and the EU). For this reason, the U.S. is no longer in a position to dominate the Middle East and to lend strong and unconditional support to its traditional allies (Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, etc.). Such retreat has been reflected in the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, the preparation of such withdrawal from Iraq, the failure to forcefully defend Saudi Arabia from missile and drone attacks (by Iran, Houthis, etc.) and, at the same time, in the fact that traditional allies – like the dictators of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE – are looking for alternatives and build closer relations with China and Russia.
10. Of course, the retreat of the U.S. from the Middle East is not a total retreat. But it is a step back, being no longer the unchallenged and strongest force. There is no other Great Power which could replace the U.S. as the hegemon. (By the way, the same is true for the whole world situation as there can be no new imperialist hegemon without a new world war). In fact, the next years will be characterized by accelerating rivalry between powers and the lack of any hegemon. As a result, the Middle East will become an even more instable region with several imperialist powers as well as regional powers trying to expand their influence at the cost of their rivals. And all this takes place at a time of the Greatest Depression of the capitalist world economy since 1929. Hence, in the coming years the Middle East will inevitably constitute a crucial trouble spot of the world situation – characterized by deep domestic political crisis, foreign military adventures, revolutionary as well as counterrevolutionary situations and wars.
11. Given the fact, that the Fourth Gaza War is in the center of global public, Israel’s failure to defeat Gaza and the refusal of the U.S. to energetically support its most important ally in the Middle East will have decisive consequences for politics in the Middle East and the world. It shows everyone that Israel is an aggressive but wounded animal, weaker than ever before. Equally, it shows the world that the U.S. does no longer call the shots. And it shows Washington allies that the U.S. can not provide them with a safety net – hence, they better look for alternative Great Powers for support. In short, the current events in Palestine can not but encourage the masses to revolt against U.S. and Israeli imperialism. Likewise, it will inevitable make regional and global rivals of Washington and Tel Aviv bolder and more aggressive (most importantly China and Russia but also Europe).
12. Historically, the Palestinian liberation struggle has always been part of the struggle of the Arab popular masses against Zionism, imperialist Great Powers and domestic tyrants. However, while there were always mass actions in Arab (and Muslim) countries demonstrating strong support for the Palestinian cause as well as demonstrations of Palestinians in solidarity with the Syrian Revolution, there has been no unified mass struggle. The current Third Intifada has the potential to change this situation and to create a new and historic development: a united Intifada in Maghreb and Mashreq – uniting the Palestinian liberation struggle against the Zionist state with the ongoing Syrian Revolution against the butcher Assad, the popular struggle against Egypt’s military dictatorship of General Sisi, the mass mobilizations in Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, the national liberation struggle of the Yemeni people against the Saudi-led invasion, etc.
13. Furthermore, the Palestinian Intifada adds another important struggle to crucial popular uprisings outside the Arab world like those in Myanmar and Colombia. Hence, we see an important change in the world situation. From summer 2019 to early 2020 we saw a global wave of popular uprising – an unprecedented event since the period of 1968-76. The COVID-19 Counterrevolution – launched by the ruling class in spring 2020 under the pretext of the pandemic – was a reaction by the monopoly bourgeoisie in order to pacify this revolutionary wave. While they temporarily succeeded in pushing back and confusing the masses, the workers and oppressed regrouped. A first important answer was the Black Live Matters uprising in the U.S. It is indeed the Black Lives Matter movement that also enabled a shift in the class struggle of the United States, not only making anti-racism but in consequence also Anti-Zionism more popular than ever before. However, the current events in Palestine and their electrifying effects in the Middle East and globally represent a powerful revolutionary strike back of the workers and oppressed against the counterrevolutionary offensive of the ruling class.
14. These contradictors developments reflect an important feature of the current world situation. The ruling class has launched a counterrevolutionary offensive characterized by attacks on democracy, chauvinism and racism, a shift to bonapartism, wars, etc. However, this is the offensive of a class in decay. Hence, it is a counterrevolutionary offensive which results first and foremost in instability and chaos, which deepens the divisions within the ruling class and between the capitalist states, which does not achieve its key goals and which provokes massive resistance of the masses. As a result, we see an instable counterrevolutionary offensive and an instable bonapartism. This is a phenomenon which the late Argentinean Trotskyist Nahuel Moreno has called the “mad fireman’s law”, trying to extinguish fire with fuel.
15. In summary, the current events in Palestine have important implications for the world situation.
* They decisively weaken U.S. imperialism as well as Israel and accelerate the rivalry with other powers both on a regional as well as global scale.
* They encourage the struggle of the Arab masses against Zionism, imperialist powers as well as domestic dictatorships.
* They can result in a third wave of the Arab Revolution – more powerful than those in 2011 and 2019. Such a development would have massive and inspiring consequences for the workers and oppressed all over the world.
In other words, the current events will result in more political crisis, militaristic threats and wars, revolutionary and counterrevolutionary situations. They massively destabilize the regional and global equilibrium, provoke a revolutionary offensive of the masses, and lay the fundament for a possible world revolutionary situation.
16. Considering these developments and prospects the Liaison Committee of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and Convergencia Socialista (Argentina) identify the following tasks as crucial for revolutionaries.
* Full and unconditional support for the Palestinian liberation struggle. The workers and popular mass organizations must build a global boycott movement against Israel. Sabotage all forms of military support for Israel. In Arab and Muslim countries as well as other semi-colonial countries we call for the rupture of all relations with Israel.
* Spread the Intifada to the whole Middle East! Link the Palestinian liberation struggle with the ongoing Syrian Revolution defending the last trenches in Idlib, with the mass mobilizations in Iraq and Lebanon, with the popular resistance against Egypt’s dictatorship, etc.
* We fight for the destruction of the Zionist state and a single democratic and red Palestine from the River to the Sea (i.e. a workers and poor peasant republics in historic Palestine). Similarly, we fight for permanent revolution in all countries of the region – i.e. combining the tasks of the democratic with the those of the socialist revolution – and for a socialist federation of the Middle East.
* In wars between oppressor and oppressed, revolutionaries stand for the military victory of the latter without lending political support for their political leadership. When imperialist powers or reactionary powers attack oppressed peoples, or if reactionary dictators suppress their own people, we side with the latter (e.g. with the Syrian people against Russia and Iran, the Houthi-led resistance in Yemen against the Saudi invasion, the Kurds against the Turkish army, etc.). Likewise, we would defend Iran – despite its reactionary Mullah regime – against any military attack by the U.S. or Israel.
* We defend bourgeois democracy against all forms of dictatorship (hence we opposed the military coup in Egypt in July 2013) but we stand for workers democracy as a higher form of democracy.
* In the same spirit we call the masses to fight against the COVID-19 Counterrevolution, to reject the hysteric fear-mongering of the bourgeois media and their allies among the reformist and centrist left, to oppose the Lockdown policy, mass curfews, and all other attacks against democratic rights. Likewise, all laws strengthening the power of police must be fought. Furthermore, it is essential to fight against the ferocious economic attacks against the working class and poor as the bourgeois tries to upload the costs of the depression on the popular masses.
* A decisive task in Palestine, in the Arab world and in all other mass struggles around the globe is to aid the workers and oppressed in building councils of actions (i.e. soviets like in Russia 1917) as well as militias in order to organize their struggle as well as to overthrow the ruling class and build their own power.
* Most importantly, we call revolutionaries to join our Liaison Committee and to build a Revolutionary World Party. Only such a party will be able to remove the existing bureaucratic leaderships of reformism, Stalinism, Bolivarianism, and their centrist appendix as well as various petty-bourgeois democrats, nationalists and Islamists.
17. The very next task of authentic revolutionaries is to help the best elements of the vanguard to find a correct orientation in a complex world situation characterized by several axes of contradictions.
* The relentless counterrevolutionary offensive of the ruling class and its shift towards chauvinist state bonapartism. (COVID-19, expansion of the police and surveillance state, racism, austerity policy, etc.)
* The acceleration of inner-imperialist rivalry between the Great Powers (U.S., China, EU, Russia and Japan).
* The heroic popular uprisings of the masses in Palestine and the Arab world, in Myanmar, in Colombia, etc.
Such political work requires also, by definition, the task to demask the treacherous character of various reformist and centrist forces which capitulate to the Lockdown policy, take a neutral position in liberation struggles or even side with reactionary butchers like Assad, Gaddafi or Sisi, or which opportunistically adapt to one or the other wing of the bourgeoise. It is impossible to build a revolutionary party and International without a decisive rupture of the vanguard with such forces! The RCIT and CS are fighting for such a perspective.
18. From this follow two tasks:
* To unite those revolutionary elements which join us in taking a principled stand on these key axes in world politics – revolutionary defense of democracy against the COVID-19 Counterrevolution, internationalist anti-imperialism against all Great Powers, unconditional defense of all struggles of the workers and oppressed and fighting for a soviet strategy.
* To relate to the fighting masses instead of abstract commenting on the sidelines. Any revolutionary force must relate to the fighting masses – even if their consciousness if “raw” – instead of standing on the sidelines. It is characteristic for most opportunist forces that they prefer to relate to the more privileged sectors of the working class and the labor bureaucracy instead of fighting and living side-by-side with the lower strata of the workers and oppressed!
Join the RCIT and CS in fighting for the construction of a Revolutionary World Party!