Archive for the ‘Democracy movements’ Category

An Israeli sniper aiming at Palestinian protestors with live ammunition during confrontations following a protest against the occupation and in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners hunger strike, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, 26 May. Two weeks earlier in Nabi Saleh a protestor was shot and killed with the same type of weapon. Photo: Haidi MotolaActiveStills

 

One of the most disturbing aspects about the reality in Palestine is its normalcy.

It has become normal to see Palestinians shot and killed, even children. The faces of young Palestinians showing up daily on social media, boys and girls shot by soldiers, accused falsely of attempting to stab a soldier.

It has become normal to see Israeli soldiers shooting skunk water and tear gas, and snipers using live ammunition at unarmed protesters who want the land that was once theirs and the freedom they never had.

And it has become normal for us to engage in the endless, fruitless debate on whether Palestinians throwing stones at armed Israeli soldiers who invade their homes constitutes violence, or whether or not Zionism – which produced this violence – is a racist ideology. And all the while the suffering and the oppression of millions of Palestinians go on almost uninterrupted.

It is no secret that Israelis and Palestinians live two separate realities.

Even when we privileged Israelis go to the village of Nabi Saleh on a Friday to participate in the weekly protest, at the end of the day we are free to leave the village, leave the occupation and return to our safe, clean, well-paved spheres. Unlike the Palestinians we leave behind, our homes will not be raided, our roads will not be blocked and our children will not have to hide for days or weeks from the threat of being shot, arrested and tortured.

We return home sweaty and tired, covered in tear gas and skunk water and we feel we did our bit. But what bit did we do? What is the role of the privileged Israeli activists within the resistance and why are we accomplishing so little?

To begin with we need to admit that this is resistance and ask whether we are willing to take part.

On any given Friday there may be about 10 Israeli activists, be it in Nabi Saleh or Bilin, currently the two main locations for Friday protests in the occupied West Bank. Some Israelis walk in the back, some in the front.

Shadows?

Some like to say they are merely documenting. Most, like shadows, don’t seem like they know their place and don’t want to interfere. Few confront the Israeli forces. So the question that begs to be asked is, what are we accomplishing?

If we don’t use our privilege to push the envelope and to confront the Israeli authorities, then we are indeed mere (more…)

Today, June 5, marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the 1967 Six Days War.  The war saw Israel take over the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the West Bank, as well as Sinai.

by Moshe Machover

Much has been written about the sequence of events leading to the June 1967 Six-Day War: the series of missteps through which Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel Nasser stumbled into the fatal trap of a war he had not intend to fight.1 The course of the war is also well documented: the crushing defeat of Egypt – sealed in the first few hours of the war, when virtually the entire Egyptian airforce was destroyed on the ground, like a badling of sitting ducks – followed by the defeat of Jordan and Syria, which subsequently got sucked into the war.2

As for the consequences of the war, to say that it “was a watershed moment in the history of the modern Middle East”3is, like most clichés, evidently true. (This also applies to the cliché ‘most clichés are true’…) Secular Arab nationalism was dealt a blow from which it has not recovered, while Israel emerged as a regional strongman, America’s local enforcer. Indeed, due to the geopolitical and strategic centrality of the Middle East, the outcome of the war had a considerable global effect: the defeat of the USSR’s main regional allies was a severe blow to its standing as a world power, contributed to its decline and presaged its demise.

In this, the 50th anniversary, much more is and will no doubt be written about all this: the lead-up to the war, its battles and aftermath. But here I would like to consider another aspect of that history: the pre-war roots of trends and developments that became manifest after June 1967. Like every major political crisis, the war was a moment of historical discontinuity: local, regional and to some extent even global reality took an abrupt turn. Yet, like every such crisis, it was also a juncture that amplified some pre-existing tendencies. That these were discernable in the preceding period – at least since 1956 – does not necessarily imply that the post-war shape of things could have been predicted with certainty. Rather, of the various alternatives that seemed possible before June 1967, the war selected some and suppressed others.

Global and regional roots

I cannot dwell here on the pre-1967 indications that the Soviet Union had entered a downward trend – which was to be its terminal decline – internally and internationally. Let me just mention the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, when Nikita Khrushchev was forced into a humiliating climbdown. The Brezhnev era, which started two years later, is generally recognised as one of stagnation, presaging ultimate collapse. Given this background, it could come as no surprise that the Soviet Union had to look on impotently, as its two Arab allies were thoroughly routed and their Soviet military hardware destroyed. This led directly within a few years to Egypt, the leading Arab country, leaving the Soviet orbit and becoming a US client.

While for the Soviet Union the war was but one in a series of steps, midway along its downhill slide, for the Arab world it was a (more…)

The Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat has released a new statement from imprisoned Palestinian leader Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, on the suspension of the Strike of Freedom and Dignity. The statement is republished below: 

Statement by the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Ahmad Sa’adat

The prisoners have made a new epic from their will and determination and have proven that their rights must be taken and not pleaded for

To the masses of the Palestinian people, the Arab nation, and the forces of freedom in the world…

The striking prisoners mustered their steadfastness, will and resolve to thwart and resist all attempts to abort and dismantle the strike. No oppression has been spared against the strikers, which has contributed to the deterioration of the prisoners’ health through repressive policies and measures against the strikers, especially the policy of arbitrary transfer which did not cease until the last moment, apart from the occupation’s attempts to spread lies, rumors and misinformation. The heroic prisoners have confronted all of these policies and practices and have, for 41 days, made of their own will of steel a new epic in confrontation of the occupation, adding to the historic landmarks of the struggles of our people in the national liberation movement.

To our Palestinian masses…

This victory was the (more…)

The following statement was issued by the leadership of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine branch in Israeli prisons, and read over Al-Mayadeen Arab TV satellite channel on May 11:

To the masses of the Palestinian people, the Arab nation, and the forces of freedom in the world…

Today, the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is locked in the battle of freedom and dignity for the 25th day, with ever more determination to continue until the achievement of its goals. It is armed with the weapon of its will, the unity of the prisoners’ movement and the justice of our cause, with the support and embrace of the masses of the Palestinian people, the Arab nation and the forces of freedom in the world. The prisoners face, after their declaration of the battle of the strike, a bloody war and ferocious Zionist repression that has intensified in recent days and in various prisons.

Dozens of leaders are isolated for participating (more…)

Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, the imprisoned General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, delivered a special message from prison via the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adatto the forces and movements of the Left in the world on the occasion of International Workers’ Day, marking a renewed landmark of revolutionary struggle against imperialism, Zionism and fascism and the forces of class and social exploitation. Sa’adat said in the statement that the open-ended hunger strike being waged currently by the Palestinian prisoners’ movement is the most prominent national site of confrontation with the Zionist occupation and its racist settler-colonial laws. He urges the expansion of the campaign for boycott and the isolation of the occupation at an international level.

Comrades and friends

Revolutionary greetings,
Greetings of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine,
Greetings to the strugglers for justice, freedom, equality and progress everywhere.

Greetings to you from inside the prisons and cells of Zionism, and salutes to all those who celebrate today, who march and participate in this day, in the lighting of the flame of this immortal, human, day, the first of May, the day of workers, the people, and the struggling classes. This is the day in which we together renew our primary commitment to defend the rights and interests of the impoverished and struggling classes with a fundamental interest in progress and change, the classes that were and still are the front line of the revolution, standing against the savage forces of capitalism, occupation, colonialism and racism.

Greetings from the camps of our people in the homeland and in the Diaspora, these Palestinian camps that were and still are strongholds of resistance, popular resistance and revolution, the birth of the front of popular classes, struggling workers, poor revolutionaries and revolutionary intellectuals. Our (more…)

The following statement was released by the PFLP on May 15:

On the 69th anniversary of the Nakba, we mark the uprooting of the Palestinian people, forcing them to seek refuge and asylum in all corners of the earth, in a massive colonial crime of the twentieth century. The Zionist movement, with the support of the Western colonial powers, established its “statehood” on the ruins of 480 Palestinian destroyed villages, their people uprooted and displace, through the exercise of the worst forms of terror, torture and massacre.

The ongoing Nakba committed against the Palestinian people and their homeland is an ongoing crime, as is evident in the continued occupation practices and policies to suppress and terrorize the Palestinian people, refusing to recognize their most basic national rights and human rights. This confirms the continuation of the Zionist project in pursuit of its objectives, for which it was established and supported by the colonial and imperialist powers. First and foremost, it sought control of Palestine, as a mechanism of control over the Arab world, its ports and strategic crossing, and to ensure the continued fragmentation and subjugation of the Arab people. Today, it seems the Arab reality reflects this now more than ever. We are witnessing (more…)

Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott written 18 April 2017

1. A quintessentially liberal cycle: from smugness to despair, from despair to hope and from hope to smugness

The initial blow

Trump’s election victory left the liberals reeling with shock and incomprehension. Detached from the poverty and discontent around them, and supremely confident in the Democratic Party’s electoral machine, they saw Hillary Clinton as unassailable. Her defeat did little to diminish their disdain for ordinary working people, or to improve their grasp of US realities.download

Rather than consider the socio-economic forces that brought Trump into office, the liberals focused almost exclusively on his personality, his egocentric greed for power, money and fame. Some went so far as to detect the sinister hand of Moscow at work. When asked how he viewed Trump’s relationship with Russia, Bernie Sanders, always hovering between radical liberalism and mild social-democracy, replied:

‘The American people are astounded that when you have an authoritarian like Putin who is moving Russia more and more towards an authoritarian society, President Trump has only positive things to say about this authoritarian figure. What hold does Russia have over the President? We know that Russian oligarchs lent Trump and his associates money. Does that have anything to do with Trump’s relationship with Russia?’ (CNN News, 30/3/2017)

From the start of the election campaign, liberals viewed Trump as an impulsive maverick, a right-wing bigot who has little regard for civilized norms of behaviour. Only by pandering to the worst prejudices of disaffected Americans, they maintained, would he succeed in capturing the presidency. The great unknown was how this relative new-comer to politics would behave once in office. Would he adapt his election pledges to political reality or would he pursue his outlandish agenda to the bitter end? That was the question on the minds of liberal commentators as Trump assumed the position of the 45th president of the US.

In no time at all the liberals gave vent to their despair. Maggie Lake, CNN commentator and political analyst, bewailed: ‘He hasn’t changed. There was the expectation that the office changes the man but we have not seen this with Donald Trump.’ (CNN News, 23/3/2017) Not long after, The Los Angeles Times, a prominent liberal organ, delivered the following lamentation:

‘Like millions of other Americans, we clung to a slim hope that the new president would turn out to be all noise and bluster, or that the people around him in the White House would act as a check on his worst instincts, or that he would be sobered and transformed by the awesome responsibilities of office. Instead … it is increasingly clear that those hopes were misplaced.’ (4/4/2017) (more…)