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Call for An Anarchist Manifesto about Palestine

category mashriq / arabia / iraq | imperialism / war | opinion / analysis author Tuesday April 20, 2010 20:20author by Mazen Kamalmazauthor email mazen2190 at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Anarchist ideas and politics had gained a foothold in middle east region, but we need to assure that these ideas and politics will be translated into what they are supposed to be: a revolutionary programme of social change towards free self-managed society.
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Anarchist ideas and politics had gained a foothold in middle east region, but still we are totally absorbed in promoting these ideas and politics while the heat of social struggle is escalating everywhere.

These ideas were created by the oppressed masses as the core of the revolutionary programme of their struggle; this means that we are facing an urgent need to formulate an ANARCHIST analysis and criticism of the current situation and the prevailing power and production relationships in our societies, to assure that these ideas and politics will be translated into what they are supposed to be: a revolutionary programme of social change towards free self-managed society.

I assume that an anarchist manifesto about Palestine will be in a way or another a manifesto (and a critical analysis) of the situation of our societies in general; and a necessary introduction of an anarchist manifesto of the middle east and Arab and Muslim world. I think that the Jordanian comrades, and the Israeli ones, and the activists of Anarchists Against the Wall are in a position to put down the preliminary ideas about such a manifesto, which must be discussed widely afterwards by every interested anarchist organisation and individual.

This is not a process to create a final infallible anarchist analysis and programme about Palestine, this is a process of formulating a suggested anarchist analysis and programme that will not help only to stimulate free discussion about the issue among anarchists themselves, but also to stimulate the Palestinian, Israeli, Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese and other masses to take the initiative about their own present and future, and to be part of a wider discussion among the oppressed masses about the best way to their freedom .

Mazen Kamalmaz
Syrian Anarchist

author by hhhpublication date Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Appel pour un manifeste anarchiste à propos de la Palestine
category mashriq / arabia / iraq | imperialism / war | opinion/analysis author Wednesday April 21, 2010 04:37author by by Mazen Kamalmaz

Les idées et positions anarchistes ont pris racine dans la région du Moyen-Orient, mais nous devons nous assurer que ces idées et positions se traduiront par ce qu’elles sont sensées être : un programme révolutionnaire pour le changement social vers une société libre et autogérée.

Ces idées ont été créées par les masses opprimées comme le cœur du programme révolutionnaire de leur lutte; ceci signifie que nous faisons face à un urgent besoin de formuler une analyse et une critique ANARCHISTE de la situation actuelle et des rapports de pouvoir et de production prévalant dans nos sociétés, d’assurer que ces idées et positions se traduiront par ce qu’elles sont sensées être : un programme révolutionnaire pour le changement social vers une société libre et autogérée.

J’assume qu’un manifeste anarchiste à propos de la Palestine sera d’une manière ou d’une autre un manifeste (et une analyse critique) de la situation de nos sociétés en général; et une nécessaire introduction d’un manifeste anarchiste du Moyen-Orient et du monde Arabe et musulman. Je pense que les camarades jordanien-ne-s, ceux et celles israélien-ne-s, et les Anarchistes contre le Mur sont en position pour jeter les idées préliminaires d’un tel manifeste, qui doit être discuté largement par la suite dans toutes les organisations anarchistes intéressées et par des individus.

Ceci n’est pas un processus vers la création d’un programme et d’une analyse anarchiste infaillible à propos de la Palestine, ceci est un processus de formulation d’un programme et d’une analyse anarchiste qui n’aidera pas seulement à stimuler la discussion sur la question parmi les anarchistes, mais aussi à stimuler les masses palestiniennes, israéliennes, égyptiennes, syriennes, jordaniennes, libanaises et autres, à s’organiser pour leur propre présent et futur, et à faire parti d’une discussion plus large parmi les masses opprimées à propos du meilleur chemin vers leur liberté.

Mazen Kamalmaz
Anarchiste syrien

author by marcinsenpublication date Fri Apr 23, 2010 16:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good idea. I think it would be great advantage to contact Noam Chomsky about it, since he is expert in the Middle East topics, and shares anarchist ideals.

author by Ilan S. - Anarchists Against the Wallpublication date Sun May 16, 2010 18:53author address Tel Avivauthor phone Report this post to the editors

The expectation to get help from Noam Chomsky is ridiculous. A person who contemplated to join an Israeli Zionist commune in his young adulthood and do not criticize the whole project when converted to his strain of anarchism is ridiculous.

Even few years ago when ex-Israeli libertarian communists asked him to join/support the BDS (Boicott Divest Izrael) he claimed: "it is too early".

I never heard from him a clear statement that the whole idea of Zionism - even its most leftist version, was reactionary to begins with (just the same as other settler colonialist projects of Europeans in America, Australia, and Africa.

(You do not have to justify any settler colonialist project like the US, Brazil, Australia, and Israel to treat the people living in these countries as common human beings.)

author by ghibmmmpublication date Mon May 17, 2010 04:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Israel's occupation of Palestine lands is an injustice to begin with, no different than European invasions of North America or any other historical motivation. The goal is more power and more wealth for one group of people, at the expense of another, less powerful, defenseless group of people (indeed, their inability to defend themselves is precisely why they're exploited). Anybody who advocates a system of governance, or lack thereof, that results in a more unequal, exploitative situation than other systems is as "immoral" as somebody can be. If one professes any empathy for mankind as a whole, their conscience and integrity require them to recognize and defend the idea that this conflict is illegitimate and harmful.
Without getting into the specifics of the "Holocaust" story, as most understand it, it suffices to say that the idea of America emerging victorious from World War Two, at the heroic defense of the Jewish people, against the horrible oppressors of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini, is a myth. In reality, both sides of the war were competing to be the center of worldwide domination. The same corporations profited from the war itself (IBM, IG Farben, countless oil companies, etc.) on both sides of the battlefields. The American internment of Japanese civilians is almost perfectly analogous to the Nazi interment of Jewish people - both of them ganged up on a minority during war time and committed atrocities against them, and spread propaganda accusing that group of somehow corrupting the country. The evidence supporting large-scale extermination programs is thin upon examination - most of the deaths observed in concentration camps (absolutely not 6 million) can be attributed to military disruptions of supply lines and disease. I know people will be eager to contest this - please, spare me, and go do your own research - I've done mine. The Nazis were so demonized for so long that it was impossible to conduct an impartial study of the camps - indeed, one of the last people who tried to take soil samples from the camps to verify the number of deaths was arrested and imprisoned.

This happens whenever one people consumes another. The culture of the destroyed culture disappears or disintegrates into the invading culture, horrible atrocities are attributed to the conquered party, so that the war is made to seem 'just.' It takes many, many years to erase this propaganda - we are only now really uncovering what happened to Native Americans, and as a society, we are really still blocking out what happened during the imperialist era of the early 1900s, for lack of a clear understanding of why it happened. It is no surprise at all that the steadfast supporters of Israeli invasions into Palestine are utterly convinced that their destruction is justified on the basis of self-defense and widespread antisemitism - whatever can be generated to justify a war that is most easily believed is what becomes the popular understanding of the truth.

Without question, though, the phenomena was the same on both sides - a message driven into the minds of the country that the state, and its leader, were the force of absolute good, fighting for some invisible ideal (the 'freedom' routinely denied to political extremists before, during and after WWII in both countries, or some notion of 'racial purity') at an extreme cost in human lives. Both sides fought against each other with immense, comparable casualties - both were at similar levels of military technology (until the nuclear bomb, of course), and both wreaked complete destruction upon the lands they invaded. Both sides thought they were fighting for something pure, but in fighting could only destroy. Both sides experienced tremendous growth in government prior and during the war, and as always, the victor was much more powerful at the end.

No war is "just," simply put. It is always a game of expansion of power and lies. In indiscriminately murdering so many Palestinian civilians, the difference between Israel and Nazi Germany is only in genetics, name, location and time. Those in the Israeli government see themselves as a superior race (or support that myth, without believing it), and feel that their wellbeing may come at the expense of groups of people they consider inferior, which time and time again is simply a moral atrocity. It is up to citizens not only of Palestine or Israel, but of the entire world, to oppose moral atrocities such as this, however it is feasible to do so.

Those who are not convinced that Palestine is incapable of scratching Israel when compared to the retaliation Israel gives to them, or vice versa - you need to observe only the military budget of Israel, but the amount of nuclear weapons (I read an estimate at 130) that they possess, compared to the amount of nuclear weapons Palestine possesses (estimated at 0). It is not important, however, to point fingers. It is important to stop fighting, because only then will the misery stop. Whenever you are bulldozing protesters, you are doing something seriously wrong, and the consequences are your own to bear.

author by Tristan Kleinpublication date Mon Jun 21, 2010 02:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On the issue you can read, the related link...

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author by Griffin - Zabalaza Books [ZACF]publication date Wed Jun 23, 2010 01:09author email griffin at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This text, along with the Interview with Mazen Kamalmaz, are now available as a double-sided A4 flyer for download from:

Salud y Anarquia
for ZB

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author by Nick - Anarchistpublication date Fri Jul 15, 2011 08:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I dont think that Israel can quite be compared to Nazi Germany. They are ethnically cleansing parts of their land, but not to the point of genocide. They are stealing land and homes that were in possession by others, but they are not hellbent on world domination. They are somewhat Imperialist. In some ways they are more similar to Apartheid, but Israel is actually fairly democratic if you happen to be Jewish.....Palestinians are treated vastly differently depending on which side of a border they are on.

Israel is hypocritical. They fail to see the inherent contradiction in claiming they had every right to live peacefully in Germany....and most Anarchist as internationalists or anti-nationalists would agree that they had every such right.....and the contradictory position that the people of Israel need a homeland where they can secure a majority by any means necessary....This is hypocrisy in the truest sense. They have one standard for Germany and another for themselves.....though I dont believe they are on the same scale as Nazi Germany who was a global threat. Israel is a regional threat, and is not committing genocide so much as ethnic cleansing......I am just being academic in that distinction. Killing people other than in defense against tyranny and aggression is immoral. Whether you kill millions or thousands you are a mass murdering tyrant.

I think special care needs to be paid to Islamic customs. The movement itself should be secular and respect people of all religions equally.....The Enlightenment era of Europe was quite different, and if you start preaching Atheism I dont think the message would be heard appropriately by the majority.....but secularism in politics and cooperation between different religions and sects is possible though.

Especially for the refugees, I think a critical look at private property and capitalism needs to be addressed by a healthy analysis of Collectivist, Mutualist, and Communal Anarchist property and economic models. It is impossible to have Anarchism in the true sense of the word unless it is rooted in anti-capitalism.

Also, Anarchism does not mean chaos. Anarchists do not reject social organization or horizontalist social institutions. Anarchists want a peer based society where no human beings are dominated or exploited by other humans. Equality of men and women is an essential concept that must be introduced and cannot be compromised.

The refugees should be self governing and autonomous, and their communities should be enriched and empowered so that they are no longer living as third class citizens but as fully empowered models of the human potential to overcome all obstacles.

author by José Antonio Gutiérrezpublication date Fri Jul 15, 2011 18:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just want to drop a couple of quick notes on the last comment. I agree with a lot of what you say, but want to contribute to qualify some remarks, and I will comment on what I don't agree. If Israel can be compared to Nazi Germany is something that can be debatable as a whole, but certainly there are parallels, and it is no coincidence that those who started making those parallels were anti-zionist Jewish people, as for instance comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Also, it is no coincidence that our Israeli anarchist comrades use the expression "Nazionist", certainly provocative, but not groundless.

"They are ethnically cleansing parts of their land, but not to the point of genocide."

Genocide, according to the Oxford dictionary is "the deliberate killing of a very large number of people from a particular ethnic group or nation". That sounds pretty much to what Israel has done to the Palestinians. Some people, wrongly seems to understand genocide as killing everyone of a certain group, but that certainly is inaccurate. And, in any case, neither did the Nazis seem to have been, beyond rhetoric, bent on murdering even the last Jewish from the face of earth: they segregated, discriminated, persecutes, locked up in inhuman conditions the vast majority of Jewish people in the lands they occupied, but the large and demential slaughter of every single Jewish person started in 1942, when they saw the war was lost. In fact, they could go into agreements with Lehi, the Stern Gang, to fight British Imperialism in the Palestinian mandate. Oddly enough, the Nazis did seem to have a common cause with Lehi in creating a ghetto-state in the Middle East where all the Jewish simply could just go and not mix with the rest of the world. It seems an irony of history, that the ghetto state was created in the end after the Nazis lost....

"They are stealing land and homes that were in possession by others, but they are not hellbent on world domination."

Were the Nazis bent on world domination? Not anymore than the US was. Certainly they were interested in taking over Europe and some colonies in Africa and the Middle East. But were quite happy to leave Asia for the Japanese.

"In some ways they are more similar to Apartheid,"

The comparison with Apartheid is also revealing, because Apartheid, as you may know, is a system actually based on fascism but in African conditions, where the master race were a minority. While the Germans could get rid of the Jewish theoretically (what was not their plan first, but to use them for forced labour), a minority after all, the South Africans needed the black as semi slave labour. This is similar to the Israeli need of Palestinians.

"but Israel is actually fairly democratic if you happen to be Jewish....."

I would qualify that remark -if you are a Zionist Jewish who don't question authority or the system at all. The anarchistsa comrades in Isrtael can tell you lots about the democratic right to protest against the apartheid wall, or about the democratic exercise of objecting the military service, etc. It is funny that even Haaretzs has published yesterday or the day before an article saying that the current ultranationalist fever in the Knesset resembles some form of demential paranoia. A while back I went to a talk by Gideon Levy and he said something very enlightened: if a society is able to do what we do to the Palestinians, eventually it will come back home and we will start doing the same to ourselves, the erosion of democracy for Jewish people is only the unavoidable result of a system that is very rotten at heart.

"though I dont believe they are on the same scale as Nazi Germany who was a global threat."

Israel supports every tyranny in the world. It is supporting handsomely the dirty war against the people in Colombia, it supported the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and it supported Apartheid and the contras in Mozambique and Angola. It is clearly a global threat as well.

Now, a more qualified debate on fascism is necessary. The works of Guerin and Poulantzas on the subject are useful because they deal with the issue of fascism not from an emotional point of view, nor from its most barbaric and atrocious actions, but as how the system worked. It was a capitalist regime of exception, where the military played an ideological role, but where the dominant aparatus of repression was the political police (what distinguished it from a military dictatorship such as those we knew in Latin America). Now, I don't know if Mossad is the dominant apparatus of the Israeli State but would be worthwhile cheking out. And on an ideological level, though Israelis don't talk about the master race (because they are not an ethnic group), they do talk about that mumbo jumbo of being the "Chosen People", a lunatic claim based in a fairy tale book written 3,000 years ago or so, that supposedly puts them above international humanitarian law and beyond good and evil. And gives them exclusive rights over a piece of land they conquered through brute force, in pure Biblical fadshion, scarcely 60 years ago.

author by Ilan S. - AAtW, A-infos, Matzpenpublication date Sat Jul 30, 2011 05:36author email ilan at shalif dot comauthor address Tel Avivauthor phone Report this post to the editors

The atrocities of the Zionist colonialist settlement in Palestine is not different on principle than the colonialist settlement of the Europeans in most parts of America. The fact that the Zionists failed to exterminate or marginalize the indigenous people is because of geographic and historic limitation. They transferred as they could and occupied and suppressed the rest.

It is clearly not equivalent to the Southern African apartheid as the employment of the Palestinians was marginal to its economy and when they seen it appropriate Israel replaced the Palestinians with guest workers.

The Israeli Libertarian Communist Matzpen predicted that only social revolution of the whole region will be able to solve national problems and these of the working people and put end to Zionist settler colonialism and conflicts around national and religious differences.

It is probable that the B.D.S. and international pressure will force Israel to end the 1967 occupation. Together with internal struggle Israel may have to treat the Palestinian citizens as nearly equal.

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