Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Glotzer and Immigration

This article is in reply to the article by Albert Glotzer on the Alliance for Workers Liberty website here

Glotzer Israel and Immigration

“Some of our readers may be aware that one of the main differences between us and the official Fourth International and the SWP is on the question of the right of the Jews to free immigration to Palestine. In advocating the right of free immigration to all countries, and in the first place to the United States, we advocate, at the same time, that democratic right for Palestine. The Fourth International and its adherents, however, are in favour of free immigration of Jews to all countries, the United States, Great Britain, France, Australia, etc., but ... not to Palestine — the one country to which they want to go! Mandel’s article seeks to give the theoretical and historical justification for this obviously contradictory position.”

Socialists are opposed to immigration controls by bourgeois states. We are opposed to them for specific reasons. They seek to place responsibility for the problems of those states at the door of foreigners – immigrants – and thereby not only divert attention from the real source of the problems – capitalism – but do so by engendering nationalistic and racist sentiments. Yet in opposing Immigration controls we do not simply take this handed down principal as some talisman to use unthinkingly. Nor can we deny that the right to defend its borders by whatever means is an integral aspect of a state’s right of self-determination. In determining our attitude to Immigation Controls in any specific instance we have to follow Trotsky’s advice and “Learn to think” rather than simply repeat formulae.

Consequently, if we look at the question of the implementation of Immigration Controls by say the US or Britain we can unequivocably oppose them, there is no real threat to the state’s integrity, however, much people like Thatcher might have talked about the native culture being “swamped”. But was that true of say the Falkland Islanders, whose tiny population could have been physicallyswamped by an organised immigration by Argentina? Is it true today of Israel were it to agree to an unrestricted right of return for Palestinians? Clearly, these are different situations where anyone that thinks about the reality must adopt their arguments accordingly. But similarly, this argument applied to a tiny Palestinian population that could just as easily be overwhelmed by an organised Jewish immigration in to Palestine.

Was mandel right then to consider this possibility, just as today we consider the right of Israel against an unrestricted right of return? I think undoubtedly. Indeed, the past 60 years have proved the point haven’t they? The Palestinian population were overwhelmed and forced out. The establishment of a separate state did not lead to integration or cordial relations, and form the basis of closer co-operation between the workers of the two communities, precisely the opposite.

Glotzer’s position is just a Left cover for Zionism here. It is completely different to the position we are in now, of defending the right of Israel to exist as a state which is an established fact.

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