Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Marxism, Zionism and the National Question - Voluntary Federation, and Workers Self-Activity (3/3)

Marxism, Zionism and the National Question

Voluntary Federation, and Workers Self-Activity (3/3)

Marxists have to deal with this reality, not some moralistic schemas of how things might be, which is both what the demand for a secular democratic state of Palestine, as well as the demand for a two state solution amount to in their own different ways. The reality is, therefore, that Marxists have to focus on a united struggle for Palestinian rights and freedoms across the whole of Israel-Palestine. The obvious framework within which such a struggle should be conducted is for a secular, federal state of Israel and Palestine. Within that structure, of a single federal state, both Jews and Palestinians would have equal political rights and freedoms. A federal solution would mean that there would be administrative autonomy in both majority Jewish and majority Palestinian areas. It simply takes what exists de facto on the ground, of a single Israeli state, and applies consistent democracy to it. This is the culminating demand of a series of political demands for Palestinian rights and freedoms that Palestinian and Jewish workers could fight for immediately.

Of course, its true that, if such a federal solution were established, the Palestinians might still then demand separation. Palestinians socialists, in line with Lenin's argument above, would oppose such a separation, whilst Jewish socialists would emphasise their right to do so. As Lenin describes, any demand for the separation of the Jewish areas, would amount to nothing more than a reactionary demand for “defence of the fatherland”, by the oppressor nation, and should, therefore, be opposed by all.

“The right of nations freely to secede must not be confused with the advisability of secession by a given nation at a given moment. The party of the proletariat must decide the latter question quite independently in each particular case, having regard to the interests of social development as a whole and the interests of the class struggle of the proletariat for socialism.

The Party demands broad regional autonomy, the abolition of supervision from above, the abolition of a compulsory official language, and the fixing of the boundaries of the self-governing and autonomous regions in accordance with the economic and social conditions, the national composition of the population, and so forth, as assessed by the local population itself...

The party demands that a fundamental law be embodied in the constitution annulling all privileges enjoyed by any one nation and all infringements of the rights of national minorities.”

This is no different to the way that English socialists should emphasise the right of Scotland to separate, whilst Scottish socialists should emphasise the need to remain united, and in the same way that British socialists should argue against Brexit. But, at least, the best conditions are created for such separation, as with Norway and Sweden. Indeed, not only would Palestinian socialists argue against such separation, but both Palestinian and Jewish workers would argue the need for a much broader voluntary association of states across MENA, as the most rational and progressive means of developing the productive forces, and building the unity of the working-class required for the progress towards Socialism.

“The proletarian party strives to create as large a state as possible, for this is to the advantage of the working people; it strives to draw nations closer together, and bring about their further fusion; but it desires to achieve this aim not by violence, but exclusively through a free fraternal union of the workers and the working people of all nations.”

The fact that such a wider federation is required does not, however, prevent its advocacy in Israel-Palestine, just as the EEC began with just 6 members, and just as the need to build a global federation of states does not prevent support for smaller federations on the road towards it.

“7) Federation is a transitional form to the complete unity of the working people of different nations. The feasibility of federation has already been demonstrated in practice both by the relations between the R.S.F.S.R. and other Soviet Republics (the Hungarian, Finnish and Latvian in the past, and the Azerbaijan and Ukrainian at present), and by the relations within the R.S.F.S.R. in respect of nationalities which formerly enjoyed neither statehood nor autonomy (e.g., the Bashkir and Tatar autonomous republics in the R.S.F.S.R., founded in 1919 and 1920 respectively).”

(Lenin – Draft Theses On The National and Colonial Questions)

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