The Socialist Position on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (October 2023)
War, conflict, and genocide are all consequences of capitalism. Periodically it means indiscriminate massacre of men, women, and children like those recently committed in Israel by the terrorist organisation Hamas. It brings with it retaliatory violence by the Israeli government with air strikes and the shelling of the Northern Gaza Strip which was already a desperate and poverty ridden slum housing some 1.1 million people.
The response by the Israeli government to the Hamas massacre was predictable. Israel drew upon the support of the United States and other western governments to take as much brutal retribution as they saw fit even if it meant killing the elderly and children, displacing millions already in poverty before entering the Gaza strip causing more death and destruction. A biblical “Eye for and Eye”?
Under capitalism there is no safe space from war and violence. Israeli workers cannot find a safe place under capitalism. The novelist Howard Jacobson writing in the OBSERVER (15 10 2023) said that Israel should be considered a lifeboat in a sea of antisemitism picking up those in distress. It is the wrong metaphor. Israel can be likened to an aircraft carrier in a sea of hostile nation states whose landing strip accommodates the interest of US capitalism who considers Israel as a useful buffer in the protection of oil routes against countries like Iran and those states with whom it shares borders.
When Biden visited Israel, it was to show support to a country who is important strategically to the oil interests of the United States. He gave the green light for more death and destruction as did the Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The Labour Party leader and his shadow government also gave support to the Israel government to do what they liked in the Gaza strip even if it meant breaking “international law” and leading to the death of thousands of Palestinian children. Under capitalism the United Nations is impotent to prevent war and “right is might”. And of course, the Labour Party has always been the Party of war.
The Palestinians, on the other hand, drew on support from the capitalist left in the West, Iran, and the Palestinian diaspora. Demonstrations took place supporting Palestine, flags were waved, nationalist fervour displaced class interest and cases of antisemitism increased dramatically.
The conflict in the Middle East, displayed the usual poison and ignorance of nationalism.
Poison because nationalism divides the working class. It pits worker against worker. It nullifies class consciousness and an awareness that the problem is not other workers but capitalism; a world divided into conflicting nation states in which war is a natural outcome of competition for raw materials, trade routes spheres of strategic interest and the private ownership of the means of production, land, raw resource, factories, distribution point communication and transport systems. These are all issues over which the world’s working class has no interest.
And ignorance because while workers wave flags, chant out inane slogans and support the governments of another class, they will not be able to organise politically and democratically to replace the profit system with socialism.
Socialists have solidarity with the working class in Israel and Gaza. This solidarity come out of a shared class interest where workers are exploited as a class and have an urgent necessity to replace capitalism with socialism.
Under capitalism the working class are excluded from access to what they need in order to live lives as human beings. The class struggle and poverty exists in both Israel and in the Gaza strip. According to the National Insurance Institute's 2021 data, 21% of the Israeli population lives in poverty. In Gaza the poverty is worse. According to UNICEF, more than half of Gaza's just over 2 million people live in poverty, and nearly 80 per cent of the youth are unemployed. "This year, humanitarians need US$510 million to provide food, water, sanitation and health services to 1.6 million people.”
Poverty is something associated with being working class, not the wealthy who own the means of production and distribution. We have no interest in the capitalist class of either territory nor the governments who serve their interests. According to Israeli daily business newspaper The Marker, Israel has seventy-one billionaires as of 2021, with one of the highest per capita rates in the world, at 6.7 billionaires for every million people. If the wealthy are well known in Israel, then what of the ruling class which is Hamas? Here is a picture of the Hamas leadership painted by Matthew D’Aancona in the NEW EUROPEAN (19. 10. 2023”):
“Many of the leaders of Hamas live in affluent exile in Qatar. The video clip las week of Ismail Haniyek, the organisation’s political leader, and 12 of his henchmen in their smart suits in his air-conditioned office in Doha, celebrating the murder of children and rape of young Israelis, spoke for itself.”
Hamas will never remove Israel from the Middle East and Israel will never eradicate the violent terrorist response to its occupation. Only the establishment of socialism by a united world working class can guarantee the end of national conflict through the abolition of nation states, removing artificial borders and making the means of production and distribution in common under democratic control. There is no other way.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.