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Revolt in Israel - saying no to neoliberalism
mashriq / arabia / iraq | community struggles | feature Tuesday August 09, 2011 01:27 by Ilan Shalif - Anarchists Against the Wall; Matzpen; A-Infos ilan at shalif dot com Tel Aviv
Increases in rents and cottage cheese spark off a popular revolt
In the first demo, two weeks ago, about 30,000 participated in Tel Aviv; in the second, last week, there were nearly 100,000 in Tel Aviv and about 40,000 in the rest of the country. In the third, this Saturday, there were about 250,000 in Tel Aviv - the largest ever in Israel, and about 70,000 all over the country. Who knows how many will come for next Saturday's demos. The call "Revolution!" was second only to "Social justice!"The main demands are: free education from the age of 3 months, a reduction of sales taxes and an increase in the direct taxes that the rich pay; the provision of low-cost housing to buy and rent by stopping State and municipal speculation on public land and by building small apartments and public housing; an overhaul of the public health system which the doctors' union has been demanding for several months; a stop to the precarization of workers using manpower companies; and the recruitment of 500 inspectors to enforce employer legislation regulating work - especially with regard to minimum wages.
Revolt in Israel - saying no to neoliberalism
Class war within neo-liberal capitalism and the rebellion ignited by the Israeli "middle class"The class war between the capitalist class and the working class within the capitalist system is mainly about the cost of the reproduction of working power. The smaller the cost of the reproduction of working power (wages and social services covered in part by taxes levied on capitalists), the larger the part of the fruits of labour that remain as profits (surplus value) in the coffers of the capitalists.
Within the capitalist system the main struggle between the working class and the capitalist-class employers is about the wages that workers get (actual wages, health insurance and pensions mainly) and in a smaller measure about the taxes that workers pay and the quality of social services.
Lately, due to the gradual constriction of the welfare state under neo-liberalism and the recent austerity measures (including taxes) by States to cover the losses of finance capitalists due to the latest crash, the attention of exploited people has shifted from their employers to the State's activity relating to the constriction of social services and "social wages" (healthcare, education, housing, unemployment support and pensions mainly).
We have seen the mounting struggle by the working class following measures to cover the crash losses in Europe - mainly in Greece and Spain. Now, the struggle has exploded in Israel too, though its financial capital has not suffered serious losses as a result of the crash, and the State has not introduced emergency austerity measures... It started because wages and, even more so, the social wage of the "middle class" strata of the working class have gradually been decimated and become unbearable. The success of the ferocious neo-liberalist form of the piggish capitalism consisting of privatization and diminishing public services, has advanced in Israel more than in other developed countries.
The straw that broke the camel's back, leading to the summer revolt was the successful internet-based consumers' revolt two months ago, following an increase in the cost of cottage cheese by the monopolies.
It exploded this month as the cost of rents has increased significantly over the last few months, due to market failure.
Though most of the activists involved have not put it forward as a factor, most people resent the allocation of a huge part of the State's resources to the settler colonialist project and to the non-productive orthodox community.
It started as an internet call for a tent camp to protest the jump in rent prices. It materialized at first as a dozen participants in a tent camp near the national theater building (on Rothschild boulevard). It took just two weeks to expand to include a few hundred tents along the whole length of the boulevard, with thousands of dwellers and with a wider spectrum of grievances, reaching the point of the mobilization of about 2.5% of the Israeli population for the Saturday 30-7-11 demonstration (150,000 out of about 7 million).
The main demands are: free education from the age of 3 months, a reduction of the sales taxes that all pay and an increase in the direct taxes that the rich pay; the provision of low-cost housing (both to buy and rent) by stopping State and municipal speculation on public land and by building small apartments and public housing; an overhaul of the public health system which the MDs union (mostly hospital doctors) have been demanding for several months with their selective strike; a stop to the precarization of workers using manpower companies (already 10% of the workforce); the recruitment of 500 inspectors to enforce employer legislation regulating work - especially with regard to minimum wages.
It has taken 4 weeks since the tent camp was started by a dozen activists to get to the point where the government has agreed to massive changes, but the bargaining may take its time.
(Some bureaucrats are kicking themselves for not destroying the tent camp on the first day or the seccond, before it collected momentum.)
Chatter on the left/right united struggle in the Israeli struggle for social justiceIn and around the present uprising in Israel there has been no shortage of chattering by the ignorant and idiotic... but there has also been plenty of chattering among scholars, all of whom agree that the current uprising is a united front between the right and the left. As proof, they point to the fact that the Kahanist nazi Israeli settlers have joined the tent camp protest in a tactical move.
The struggle in the workplace for wage rises by itself does not challenge the capitalist order, and neither does the current uprising against piggish capitalism and for a return to welfare capitalism in Israel.
The purpose of the struggle for wage rises is for a better distribution of the fruits of labour within the capitalist system, just as the struggle for welfare capitalism is one for the better distribution of the fruits of labour in the capitalist State as a whole.
But in Israel, distribution of the fruits of labour is not just a matter for the local ruling elite/capitalist exploiting class and the working class. In Israel, a large part of the resources are invested in colonialist settlements in the occupied territories, in the army that serves the occupation, and in bribing the orthodox Jewish communities (who are mostly non-Zionist) in order to enlist their support for the continuation of the occupation. Thus, the struggle here is political from day one.
The leftist aspect of the struggle is due to the fact that the struggle against neo-liberalism (like the struggle for wage increases) contributes to the development of anti-capitalism. It is also so among those who previously provided ardent support for investment in Zionist enterprises - such as the Nationalist Right - that increasing numbers from this tendency are refusing to pay so much for any longer. (This is not about black and white, though, but a continuum. Within the Jewish community, there are not many who do not want to pay anything for Zionist enterprises. The rest are along the continuum, between those who are willing to pay almost anything and those willing to pay just a little.)
Many psychological reasons are at work in the minds of those who support the Zionist project but are not willing to pay so much for it any longer, but most of them prefer not to talk about their increasing refusal... For them, it is easier to demand social justice, as if the extreme neo-liberalist model were not essential for recruiting agreement from the top capitalist elite to pay so much for the occupation and settler colonialism.
But even ignoring the degree of willingness to invest in Zionist enterprises still, there is a considerable degree of resistance to the variety of capitalist system present in Israel, which is moving to the right and is nearly as extreme as neo-liberal piggish capitalism in USA.
Thus, the cut-off point between those who support the economic policy of the State and those who oppose it has shifted gradually to the right - even if the "rightists" who join will not admit that it will diminish the funds available for the Zionist project.
Radical activists are disappointed about the "non-political" aspect of the struggle and the absence of a clear refutation of the various aspects of the Zionist project. They do not understand that the politicization of those people who are engaged in social struggle intensifies during the struggle. Just as the "pure" economic struggle in the workplace to raise wages gradually contributes to the rejection of capitalism, so does joining the present struggle within Israel, that is clearly questioning neo-liberalism and demanding change in the allocation of State resources.
The refusal to pay so much for settler colonialism - even if not talked about - will contribute to the questioning and later even a rejection of settler colonialism.
Like in sales psychology, when you refuse to pay for something, the cognitive dissonance will cause a diminishing will to have it. (Like the story about the fox who decided to refrain from sneaking once more into the vineyard through a narrow hole in the fence, claiming that the grapes were sour.)
In the first demo, two weeks ago, about 30,000 participated in Tel Aviv; in the second, last week, there were nearly 100,000 in Tel Aviv and about 40,000 in the rest of the country. In the third, this Saturday, there were about 250,000 in Tel Aviv - the largest ever in Israel, and about 70,000 all over the country. I wonder how many will come for next Saturday's demos. The call "Revolution!" was second only to "Social justice!"
They are afraid. They are really afraid. Miri Regev of the ruling party (Likud) leadership assembled 500 members of the center assembly of the party and demanded (in so many words) the return of the welfare model instead of the present neo-liberalist one the prime minister leads.
Tue 21 Oct, 20:05
Palestine-Israel - a struggle that never ends between Zionist settler colonialism and the indigenous... 15:25 Sun 20 Jul 0 comments
The war on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip continues for the 13th day. Demonstrations against Israeli warmongering continue both in Israel and throughout the world. All that Israel wants in this war that it has initiated is to thwart a Palestinian unity government and curb the peace agreements it might speed up. The danger of Hamas' surrender to the Palestinian Authority in the heels of its economic crisis has resulted from the actions of the new Egyptian government, which seriously threatens the project of splitting the Palestinians, something that Israel has invested extraordinary efforts in. Only the total collapse of Hamas rule in Gaza scares Israel more than that. However, due to internal problems among the Israel political elite and public opinion, the government refrained from revealing the true nature of the war, which is to stabilize independent Hamas rule in Gaza and prevent the need for Hamas to surrender to the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank. So, instead the Israeli government has exaggerated the reports about attacks against Hamas and is hiding the real agenda - the obstruction of Palestinian unity. [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel, Turmoiled weeks that backfired Israeli efforts to ignite a third armed Intifada in... 01:59 Mon 07 Jul 0 comments
When the European pressure on Israel to compromise with the Palestinian elite collected momentum - already diminishing exports, Israel tried to take advanced of the kidnapped three settlers youth applying "plans from the drawer" trying to ignite armed Intifada. Nearly three weeks of propaganda based on lies (as if they are searching for the already known to them to be dead three youth) was all over the media. When lastly the bodies were "found", lies were exposed, and the harassments failed to ignite Intifada. The mounted hate crimes of the Israeli extreme right and murder of a Palestinian youth of the annexed East Jerusalem ignited an extreme response there and within the Palestinian regions within the 1948 borders. Vicious harassment of US-Palestinian youth - cousin of the murdered youth which was video typed became together with the video of the kidnapped cousin became viral all over the world and ignited solidarity demos all over the world. [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel: In the Beitunia murder, the joint struggle again highlights the most important asp... 21:47 Wed 28 May 0 comments
Many objections were raised about the participation of Israelis in the non-armed struggle in the areas of Palestine occupied in the 1967 war. Some, mostly Palestinians, regarded it as a contribution to so called "normalization". Others claimed that Israeli activists should do their struggle within the Israeli population of the 1948 borders. Many anarchists raised reservations as the Palestinian popular struggle is a kind of capitalist "national independence struggle" for the self-determination of the Palestinian capitalist elite to monopolize the option for the exploitation of the Palestinian working masses - they just ignore the fact that most Palestinians wish for a bi-national democratic whole Palestine and not for a national Palestinian State. Others just do not take upon themselves the obligation to serve as a life-saving shield, as Israeli policy officially forbids the state forces to shoot to kill when Israelis are supposed to be among the demonstrators. Indigenous people struggle against settler colonialist transfer and marginalization is NOT the same as a national Bourgeoisie for "national independence" or "national self-determination". [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle activists insist in the efforts to change the world* 22:02 Mon 19 May 0 comments
Week after week, on weekend and in the week-days to anarchists and other activists insist of leaning our Shoulders on the wheels of history that revolve too slow and push them as much as we can. There is not much of energy in the masses and many activists lost the urge to participate, but still many of us persist and join the meager efforts of the Palestinians who resist the advancing transfer efforts of the Israeli Zionist project and its state forces. The international solidarity activists who join us bring with them the echoes of world wide expanding support and the message that our struggle contribute a lot to it. The frustrated Israeli state forces continue their murderous efforts to extinguish the popular struggle adding live ammunition from time to time like the last week at the demo in Bitunia (near the Ofer concentration camp) but retreat under mounting international pressure. [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel, The moment of truth is nearing, but short time considerations still block it* 04:25 Wed 07 May 0 comments
The mounting pressure of world imperial powers seems to cause a section of Israel capitalist elite to accept the compromise offered by the Palestinian elite. Another section still want to delay the deal either to enjoy the short term gains or to improve the deal. They think that they can delay the settlement till the November election in the US with out any risk. Mean time the creeping transfer efforts continue mainly in the C areas of the occupied west bank and the suppression of Palestinian popular rebellion. The popular struggle continue both to slow the creeping transfer and to recruit international pressure to quicken the end of occupation. The joint struggle in the south Hebron hill help the Palestinian farmers Tsumud (persistence), in he Sheik Jarakh it help to curb the transfer in the East of Jerusalem. In Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Qaddum, and Ma'asara it help to freeze the murderous suppression of the popular struggle at large.
Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle on the background of Israel preparation for withdrawal* 00:03 Wed 30 Apr 0 comments
The Israeli Zionist-capitalist elite start to feel that the point of a showdown is nearing fast. They already realized the total backup of the US is diminishing due to the change in its global interests and diminishing of its power... but it still gambling that dragging time may increase their gains in the sphere of lands grabbing and domination on the future Palestinian state. However, the painful understanding that they will not get all that they demanded all the time since the Oslo agreement is already here. The Palestinian ruling elites in the west bank and in Gaza too are on their compromising road as the Fatah old guard and the Hamas are now contemplating sharing the spoils. The joint struggle which contribute its share to the world wide mounting pressure on Israel to compromise continue in spite of the increasing pressure of Israel to put end to it.
Palestine-Israel, Though it seems lot of things are going to change soon - it is in a slow motion* 04:26 Wed 23 Apr 0 comments
The prolonged status quo between the Israeli ruling elite and the Palestinian elite reach a climax. Changes in the balances of power within the Israeli capitalist elite is still in slow motion, but you can feel the vibrations. The joint struggle of the Palestinian grass root activists and the Israeli radicals is not expanding, but the new wave of total refusnic military service of Israeli youth - which already passed the hundred seems promising. The joint struggle in Bil'in, Ni'ilin, Nabi Saleh, Qaddum, Sheikh Jarah, South Hebron Hills, Arkib (within Israel) and other places from time to time keep the flame in spite of the harsh repression. The involvement of Israeli Jews and to a lesser measure international activists still prevent a massive bloody massacre of the unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel The struggle and the joint struggle continue in spite of the stand still* 13:34 Mon 14 Apr 0 comments
May be it is because the Arabic Spring and the wave in the developed countries raised too much the hopes for change followed by disillusions. May be it was (like the big wave in Israel that mobilized about 10% of the population) a kind of releasing pressure valve... The struggle still continue, but the number of participants diminished and the moral of those who continue is not high. The smaller flame of hope for a radical change in our tortured home land is nourished by the change in the imperial power balance, the gradual withdrawal of the US from the region and the increasing pressure for change by Europe with the B.D.S. at its front. But, the joint struggle continue, and the gradual bunt out of many of the old timer activists of the anarchists against the wall is partly replaced by the new wave of total refusnics of mandatory military service for high school graduates and the activists of the anarchist-communist Ahdut. [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel, The joint popular struggle continues to backdrop of "talks" that change nothing 18:23 Fri 04 Apr 0 comments
The joint struggle continues; even many activists have been "burned out" while waiting for short-term gains and victories. The advances in the international arena are paradoxically reducing the flame of most people in spite of the increase in suppression efforts by the anxious settlers and the Israeli authorities. The hard core of the activists continue their struggle in spite of the increased suppression, encouraged by every small success, by every tear grenade returned to the harassers, by every failure to cut a demonstration short. Bil'in, Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh, Ma'sara, the South Hebron Hills, and Sheikh Jarrah continue the weekly demonstrations in a stubborn mood of "tsumud" (persistence) - the long, long refusal to yield to the expulsion-transfer of the Zionist settler project. [Italiano]
Palestine-Israel, The joint struggle continue on back ground of an immanent crash of "negotiations* 02:35 Thu 20 Mar 0 comments
The political negotiations intended to prevent the involvement of international forums by the Palestinian ruling elite do not stop the joint struggle of popular movement which invigorate the B.D.S. efforts and the local non armed struggle. The increased suppression of the struggling communities and the transfer efforts in a choice location do not extinguish the flames of struggle and the persistent of the "Tsumud". Night raids in Ni'ilin, Bil'in, Nabi Saleh, and Qaddum, and arrests increase. The threats of dispersing the Friday demos with live ammunition towards the stone throwing Shabab is expressed from time to time by shots at youth legs. In Bil'in, the members of the Israeli anarcho-communist organization start to fill the gap resulted from the diminishing participation of the anarchists against the wall initiative. Our black and redNblack flags are accepted in a friendly mode. [Italiano]more >>
Horizons for the Syrian revolution May 23 0 comments
The main features of the Syrian revolution are its youthful, spontaneous aspect, and the fact that it was created on the streets and is linked directly to the people. It is a revolution without centralized control, led by insurgent individuals. Consequently, no-one can claim to govern it or lead and the reason is simple: the young insurgents rose up spontaneously and there are no signs of participation by religious elements, whose ideas are extremely reactionary, or indeed by any other tendency. [العربية ]
Blood-baath in Syria and proletarian direct action Feb 15 Class War Group 0 comments
Greetings to proletarians in struggle in Syria, Egypt, Tunisia... and all over the world!
Italian speaking tour of an Anarchist Against the Wall Apr 07 Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici 0 comments
From 5-15 April 2009, a member of Anarchists Against the Wall, Haggai Matar (well-known also for his anti-militarist work, since he was one of the first of the new wave of political objectors to military service), will be in Italy for a speaking tour with the dual aim of providing updates on the current situation in the struggle against the wall and the occupation, and of collecting funds for the activities of AAtW. If you can, please come to one of the events below. If you are unable to attend but you want to contribute to the work of AAtW, please log on to http://awalls.org/donations for details on how to do so. [Italian]
Anarchists Against the Wall and the Bil'in Popular Committee exemplify the nonviolent resistance to the Israeli-built "Separation Wall" on Palestinian land, as well as steadfastness in the diverse grass-root campaigns against the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel-Palestine: The murder of Ahmad Husam Yousef Mousa Jul 30 0 comments
Ahmad Husam Yousef Mousa, 10 years old, was murdered yesterday as he demonstrated together with his friends against the separation wall which is being constructed on the lands of his village Ni'ilin. When Ahmad and his friends reached the construction site the soldiers shot rubber bullets at them and they began to