No to war, no to nationalism, no to fascism

03Mar09

In light of Antifa‘s criticism of my post on their participation in the January 10 anti-Israel/pro-Hamas march in London, I found this from the ultra-left ICC:

Those attending the demonstrations against the recent massacres in Gaza, because they wanted to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people or with humanity in general, needed more than a warm coat, hat and scarf to participate. A strong constitution was also required to stomach what turned out to be an orgy of nationalism.

Alongside bloodied dolls and gory photos depicting the murdered children of Gaza, banners equating Nazism with Israel, and chants in defence of Hamas and the Palestinian ‘state’ were flags, thousands of them, big and small, representing every bourgeois faction involved in the conflict and many that aren’t. Even the Union Jack was present on banners proclaiming ‘Brits for Palestine’.

Despite the bourgeoisie’s claims about the supposed diversity and humanitarianism of these demos, these displays of nationalism show that demonstrations like these are never the peace rallies they claim to be. They are a call to arms, a rallying point in defence of the nation state and against the working class organising for its own interests.

Nowhere is the pro-war stance clearer than with the leftist groups that never fail to choose one imperialist camp over another. Such groups offer their ‘unique’ insights on the struggle, all of which, effectively, mean the defence of the ‘lesser evil’. Workers are required to choose a side and support, sometimes ‘critically’, sometimes not, the ‘oppressed’ against the ‘oppressor’.

For the Spartacist League this requires some Orwellian doublethink: “it is vital for the international proletariat to stand for the military defence of Hamas against Israel without giving that reactionary Islamic fundamentalist outfit any political support” (Workers Vanguard No 928). The SWP are less convoluted in their support for Hamas: “resistance to occupation and to collective punishment is not a crime – it is a right. Hamas was democratically elected and is the voice of an oppressed people” (Socialist Worker No 2135).

Even those on the left who say that there is no national solution to the conflict echo the same basic sentiments. The Socialist Equality Party may recognise that the solution to the conflict “is inseparably bound up with the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism all over the world” but still state that “it is necessary to defend Hamas against the assassination of its leaders and the vilification of its supporters as terrorists” (wsws.org).

Leftist groups distort the real meaning of internationalism. Solidarity with the dispossessed around the world doesn’t mean supporting the weaker nation against the stronger. It means rejecting the myth of the lesser evil and developing the class struggle against all nations, all exploiters, big and small. This is why, although still a minority, internationalists must continue to be present at these demonstrations to defend a real perspective for the future, a communist perspective that goes beyond the stifling bonds of the nation.

I have nothing really to add to that, except to reiterate that Hamas is not only nationalist, it is fascist. It is fascist in its political heritage, born out of both the Muslim Brotherhood, which sought to translate classical European “generic fascism” into an Islamic idiom, and of the native Palestinian variant of Islamism, led by the Mufti Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, which was closely connected with Hitler. Its charter repeats almost every element of Nazi-style fascism.



3 Responses to “No to war, no to nationalism, no to fascism”

  1. Something needs to be said here. the antifa took part as a part of the black block, alongside and among them were members of the AF, who distributed the ‘no state’ leaflet that you yourself have praised. The ICC were also on the demonstration distributing their critique, should they be condemned also?
    Antifa is a composite group. it has no set line on Israel/palestine, and its members hold a variety of views on the conflict. The Black Block was organised to allow people to protest at the brutal attack on Gaza without becoming a integral part of the Islamist agenda of the STWC.
    protesting against the war is not the same as giving support to Hamas.
    One snarky comment shouldn’t cause you to launch a Fatwa against an overwhelmingly sound group.

  2. 2 antigerman

    I’m going to paste Darren’s comment, and then reply to it, at the post where I raised the criticism, to keep the thread coherent, and in case the comrade from Antifa who commented there is still around.

  3. thanks antigerman, I think that it is worth saying that there are all kinds of different positions within ANtifa- not least of course, the AD Antifa. I personally was not on the demo, like a number of my comrades I decided that mixing with the Islamists and their liberal shills wasn’t my idea of a good day out. However the Anarchists who did take part in the demo did try to draw a line between expressing genuine opposition to the actions of the Israeli state AND the Hamas quasi state and the uncritical hamas arse kissing of the STWC and outright anti semitism of the PSC.
    The wearing of the black? Well I am unable to comment on the sartorial choices of my comrades, but as you say it is mostly fashion- in class war we have on the whole tended to spurn the crusty anarcho punk image, which was felt to be more of a barrier to reaching the rest of the class, ( we also have had a ban on facial hair- to prevent any nineteenth century dead germans infiltrating our rank(s)). but each to their own.
    I do tend to wear black- however this has more to do with its well known slimming qualities than any attempt at anarcho purity.


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