Open Letter to 26th Congress of The Struggle in Pakistan

As the 26th congress of The Struggle tendency in Pakistan approaches, the Marxists in Israel send this message of solidarity to the Pakistani comrades.

As the 26th congress of The Struggle tendency in Pakistan approaches, the Marxists in Israel send this message of solidarity to the Pakistani comrades.

To the Marxist comrades of The Struggle,

On the occasion of your 26th national congress, we send our Bolshevik greetings and proletarian solidarity in the form of this letter, in lieu of physical presence. The reactionary Zionist regime maintains an eternal propaganda campaign of racism and bigotry towards the masses in Arab and Muslim states, and its success - which is steadily declining - depends on separating Israeli proletarians from their class brothers in the Middle and Near East. This, however, will not help them for long. Hate towards their social and national oppression will spread like fire, and the prospect of a war with Iran, or a loss in such a war, could only accelerate the process.

Although this is generally not common knowledge, the national question in Israel is incredibly similar to the national question on the South-Asian subcontinent. This becomes especially clear when one examines the formation of the state of Israel and of the state of Pakistan. In both cases, to avert a revolt of the masses, which would transcend lines of ethnicity and creed, British imperialism encouraged the partition of India and Palestine in order to facilitate destructive ethnic hatred, which in the latter case encouraged the Zionists to carry out a campaign of terror which resulted in the murder and expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians. Indeed, there may be no better testament to the dreadful dead end of imperialism, bourgeois nationalism, and the entire capitalist system.

However, not only the imperialists are to blame for the terrible ordeals of the people of the colonial world. It is natural law that the more courageous the masses of an oppressed people are, the more treacherous and cowardly the ruling class is. In Palestine, the so-called leaders of the Palestinian people, handpicked by the British - such as Hajj Amin Al-Husayni, who was chosen by British pro-Zionist high commissioner Herbert Samuel, rightfully certain that he could be used to block any anti-imperialist uprising - were a group of religious, nationalist pro-imperialists, representing the most reactionary elements in Palestinian society - the feudal landowners.

Samuel would not be disappointed in his choice. When the first Intifada broke out in 1936, the Arab Higher Committee, the central political organ of these reactionary elements, did all it could to limit the struggle to a narrow, nationalist struggle against Jewish immigration. A class struggle against imperialism and Zionism in solidarity with Jewish workers could have brought British imperialism to its knees, but this was inimical to the interests of these pro-imperialists. In 1939, the same committee stopped the revolt completely in order to be able to assist the British imperialist war effort in WWII, though a certain part decided to support Germany against Britain (Al-Husayni took this position, and later assisted Hitler in recruiting Muslim soldiers from the Balkans to the campaign against the Soviet Union).

But the main reason for the barbaric bloodbath of 1947-8 was the national-reformist degeneration of the Communist Parties of the world, predicted more than a decade earlier by Trotsky. The policy of the Stalinist parties was not dictated by the interests of the world working class, but, as we know, by those of the Stalinist bureaucracy. The Menshevik-Stalinist two stage theory of the revolution in the colonial countries led the Stalinists to seek alliances with the more 'progressive' talking part of the ruling class.

In Palestine, where the ruling class did not even have such a wing, such as the Gandhi wing of the Indian bourgeoisie, the Stalinists had no choice but to trail Al-Husayni and the other reactionaries of the Arab Higher Committee. This led to them lending their support to attacks on Jews that had no progressive content, such as the 1929 massacre in Hebron (Al-Khalil). This continued until the eve of the partition, when the leaders of the Palestinian Communist Party were forced by the Soviet Stalinists to change their position from opposition to partition to support of it. Indeed, the paper in which the party states its changed position as if it had always held it, despite writing in the paper of the day before that partition would lead to disaster, makes an interesting read.

At this point, the CP split along national lines and was, for all intents and purposes, defunct. The Jewish members of the party pursued a pro-Zionist line and joined the Zionists in their fight against the Palestinians, ridiculously claiming that they were only "defending the decisions of the UN!" (a task of proletarian revolutionists indeed!). The Arab members formed the National Liberation League, which pursued an Arab nationalist, pro-Soviet line.

Last but not least, one must not forget the betrayal of the Arab ruling class of the Palestinian struggle. After WWII, the entire Middle East was experiencing a revolutionary movement of the masses. In Egypt, the revolt of the peasants, workers, and students, encouraged the rise to power of Nasser in 1952. Qasim came to power in Iraq in a similar way in 1958. In the 1960s, Ba'athist officers came to power in Syria and transformed it for a certain period into a proletarian bonapartist state. Yet even though these regimes had clear progressive features, none fared any better than the ancient semi-feudal reactionary rulers in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states in helping the Palestinian struggle. All of them ended up either becoming pro-imperialist, or were deposed by the right wing of their movements due to their oppressive regimes which dwindled their mass support. In this way, Saddam Hussein, while using much pro-Palestinian rhetoric, had no qualms about fighting wars in the name of American imperialist oil interests, and Sadat ended up selling out the Arab struggle by signing a peace agreement with Israel, which allowed it to attack Lebanon and murder the Palestinian refugees in the war of 1982, in which the massacres of Sabra and Shatila took place.

The legacy of imperialism in the colonial world is a record of bloody massacres and ethnic conflicts. The Zionists, who began as a colonialist, reactionary pro-imperialist movement, transformed themselves into a movement at the head of an imperialist state, using the wealth from the expropriation of the Palestinian people and the reparations from Germany, which the Adenauer administration gave in return for the Zionists' silence about the presence of Nazis in the government. Not for the first time, and definitely not for the last time, the Zionists betrayed and sold out the Jewish and Israeli masses in order to further their own interests.

The nature of Zionism - a foreign colonialist movement - made it harder for Marxists to work in Israel. This, coupled with the highly developed welfare state, which was left untouched until the early 1980s, and the severe persecution of the left under Mapai social-democratic governments, delayed the development of a genuine Marxist tendency in Israel, so much that only very recently has this tendency had come into being. However, the Israel of last year is not the Israel of three years ago, and the Israel of today is not the Israel of last year. The ever deteriorating economic status of the masses, the growing brutality of Zionism, the corruption and senile stupidity of the ruling class, coupled with the unprecedented defeat in the Second Lebanese War, has unleashed forces that Zionism could not hope to control.

Last week, a general strike was called - although, of course, the trade union bureaucrats have done all in their power to ensure its failure - to demand the payment of the wages of municipal workers, some of whom had not received a paycheck in two years. This is the second general strike in the last six months, and the second time that a general strike had been called this month. Last time, the strike was called off because, as Ofer Eini, head of the Histadrut (Israeli trade union confederation) explained, "Olmert promised to intervene!" Any major conflict - for example, with Iran - could lead to a major movement of Israeli workers against the government of Zionist exploiters and hangmen. In such a movement, the Marxists would play a key role, offering a revolutionary programme and perspective, with the aim of setting up of a socialist federation of the Middle East, where all ethnic groups, including Arabs and Israeli Jews, would be equal.

In our struggle to unite Israeli and Palestinian workers under the banner of proletarian internationalism, the successes of the comrades of The Struggle, who, through their diligent work and immaculate organization, have grown from a tiny propaganda organization into the most significant force on the Pakistani left, will continue to be an inspiration to us, and will serve as the best answer to the Stalinist and reformist cynics who claim that there could never be a proletarian revolution in Israel (a prophecy that they make every effort to ensure comes true).

From the heartland of racism and nationalism, we send you this message of internationalist solidarity; from the belly of the beast of ethnocracy and religious bigotry, we send you this message of righteous, secular struggle of the masses; from the state of Zionist backstabbers and imperialist interlopers, we send you this message of revolutionary loyalty and brotherhood.

  • Against imperialist oppression of the former colonial countries!
  • Against imperialist oppression of the world working class!
  • For the socialist revolution in Pakistan, in Israel, and in the entire world!