The situation in Gaza

We echo the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group (MACG) in calling for the intervention of all ‘workers and soldiers in a position to prevent’ the impending genocidal ground invasion of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF.) The complete blockade and bombing of Gaza and ordered evacuation of north Gaza by the IDF represents a dramatic escalation of the project of the Israeli apartheid-state, which has aggressively oppressed, displaced and sought to eradicate Palestinian Arabs since its inception in 1948 which occurred through the colonisation of Palestine.

This escalation of the conflict in which Israel is the dominant aggressor due to its status as a settler-colonial state requires international solidarity with the resistance of the Palestinian working class. It must also be acknowledged by all who strive for the freedom of the Palestinian working class that Hamas, being a reactionary Islamist organisation (suppressors of workers struggle in Gaza and in league with repressive governments in the region such as Iran) will never be able to ensure their liberation. As libertarian communists, we are opposed to the Israeli state as we are also opposed to Hamas as both are entities that ultimately stand in the way of the liberation of the Palestinian working class and the class unity of all workers in the region. Whilst we acknowledge that the existence of Hamas arose as a result of Israeli aggression and thus their actions must be situated in the context of provocation by the Israeli settler-state, we believe that this acknowledgement can exist simultaneously with a rejection of the organisation as an entity which can bring liberation to Palestinians. This distinction is addressed to all who sympathise with the cause of the Palestinian people, who can only be free as can all people, through internationalist class-struggle.

The working class of Gaza, and Palestine more generally occupy a unique position in the political economy of Israel. As colonial subjects who are racialised and dehumanised by the state of Israel (driven by the ethno-religious-nationalist ideology of Zionism) in order to justify its presence in the land to which they are indigenous, they represent the most oppressed section of the working class. This status is used as a corollary to their exploitation by the capitalist class of Israel, which is reliant upon on the devaluation of their labour in order to obtain profits, and keep the Israeli proletariat invested in the Israeli state. There is a long history of industrial action by Palestinian Arabs, and on the 16th of October, Palestinian trade unions united to call for international workers solidarity in opposition to the arming of Israel. Most significantly, as we quoted from +972 Magazine in an article on the 2021 conflict, there is strong political awareness among the Palestinian working class: ‘An extraordinary feature of the demonstrations is that they are primarily being organized not by political parties or figures, but by young Palestinian activists, neighborhood committees, and grassroots collectives. Indeed, some of these activists explicitly reject the involvement of political elites in their protests, viewing their ideas and institutions — from the Palestinian Authority to the Joint List — as domesticated and obsolete.’ However, this potential is crushed by the violence of the Israeli state, who in attacking Gaza attack a population which has a median age of 18, the overwhelming majority of which suffer from PTSD or other mental-health conditions. These conditions are of course caused by the history of Israeli occupation, which sees Palestinian Arabs as a population which is inconvenient and undesirable to its aim of maintaining the Israeli state.

Trade-unions within Israel have traditionally been exclusionary of Palestinian workers, with the main trade union centre Histadrut excluding Arab workers and contributing to their exploitation as a method of improving the material advancement of the Israeli workers they represent. There is thus a hierarchy within the Israeli Jewish/Palestinian-Arab working class in which the racialised Palestinian Arab working-class occupy the lowest position. This racialisation is also played out within Israeli Jewish society, with Mizrahi (those of Middle-Eastern, North African or West and Central Asian ancestry; this label being created with the state of Israel) Jews generally being markedly poorer than their Ashkenazi counterparts, a factor which has led to them comprising a ‘​​large proportion of the lifestyle settlers — those receiving economic inducements to settle on Palestinian land’. This racialisation enacted by the Israeli state which functions in order to stratify the working class with the aim of preventing its unity is a prime example of how colonial ideology both perpetuates and relies upon capitalism. Furthermore, it signifies the limits of nationalism and trade-unionism, demonstrating that the nation state necessarily relies upon the exclusion and exploitation of certain groups in the working class. 

We thus see support of the resistance of the Palestinian working class to the Israeli state as a prerequisite to a revolutionary movement in the region and believe that such a movement will require the Israeli working class to reject an alignment with the Israeli state in favour of class solidarity with Palestinians and the working classes of surrounding nations. However, currently this is unlikely due to the chauvinism of the Israeli Jewish working class, which arises from its materially privileged status over the Palestinian working class. In complicity with this dynamic the Israeli Jewish working-class are shamefully complicit with the oppression of the Palestinian proletariat, with whom in reality they have far more in common than their Israeli bosses.

The organisation of Hamas operates in the context of terror and repression enforced on the Palestinian working class by the state of Israel. Their rise in popularity speaks to the suppression of working class Palestinian organisation, both by Israel and Hamas itself. The situation in Gaza is one of material deprivation and political and state violence resulting in extreme fear and heightened emotion: a climate in which reactionary groups such as Hamas can spread their influence and authority.  This must be stated clearly in order to understand that the context of the conflict which is occurring today is a manifestation of the level of violence to which the population of Gaza has been historically subject to by the Israeli state. This allows us to understand that the cessation, not an escalation of violence by the Israeli state, is required in order to create the conditions under which Hamas can lose influence. 

We affirm the right and necessity of the Palestinian working class to resist the Israeli state, including through the method of revolutionary struggle. The priority is first armed self-defence and the building of a revolutionary workers movement which can distinguish itself from the nationalist forces.This affirmation exists alongside a condemnation of a deliberate targeting of civilians by Hamas, which obscures the terms of resistance and does not advance the struggle. We believe that any proposed solutions which rest upon the existence of a state or states will ultimately perpetuate oppressive class societies. It is for this reason that we reject the idea of liberation under a national banner and thus call upon the international working class to organise in support and defence of their Palestinian counterparts.

Palestine Action is a group which organises direct-action against Israeli weapons factories in Britain.