Saturday’s socialist speak out
There is a ceasefire. It doesn’t, won’t and can’t address the fundamental issue – the fact that the logic and practice of Zionism and the state of Israel is the genocide of the Palestinian people.
The settlements, the concentration camp that is Gaza, the militarisation of the country, its massive weaponry, its incursions into and invasion of neighbouring countries, are all in the end driving by the logic of its expansionism and the need to drive the Palestinians off their land. Add in the desire of the US to have an attack dog in the most strategically important region on the globe for the US to both protect its interests and to destabilise the whole area and you have a powerful state armed to the teeth with an ideology of genocide. This means there can be no peace.
Peace can be found, not in agreements between the oppressor and the oppressed that leave the oppressor in control, but in the overthrow of the oppressor. That is not going to happen with a few rockets into Israel from Gaza. It is not going to happen with bits of paper about a ceasefire or even peace in our time.
As Matthijs Krul said in a post I published on the logic of Israel as a settler state, and drawing inspiration for the first stage of the Arab Spring, a revolution which has just begun and has many miles and roads to travel yet:
A single Palestine on the basis of secularism, democracy, and socialism would be transformed from a cornerstone of the capitalist-imperialist world order into a cornerstone of an emancipatory one. The prerequisite for this possibility is the defeat of Israel as a Zionist entity, the defeat of its inherent settler logic (and Zionism is historically just one example of settlerist ideology), and thereby the dissolution of its current social formation into one that is not irredeemably anti-emancipatory. There can be no ‘Zionist left’, no ‘liberal Zionism’, and so forth, for such propositions are incompatible with the practical logic of the settler state. The concept of Israel must die so that a Palestine may live for Jews and Arabs, Druze and Bedouin alike.
Pipe dream? Maybe. But look at the Arab Spring. Developments in Egypt, the mass of the people overthrowing Mubarak, the fracturing of the oppositon along variegated class lines, the demonstrations for Palestine, the demands being made on Morsi about support for Israel and opening the borders, the strikes, all point to a possible deepening of the revolution in Egypt. It is very early days yet but let us hope that one day we may be able to say that the road to Jerusalem did indeed run through Cairo.
In Australia, Julia Gillard continues to be dogged by questions about her past as a solicitor and sitting up a union fund for her then boyfriend. I had thought initially this was a beat up form News Ltd but now the ABC and Fairfax have joined in. I am still inclined to the view it is an attempt by Murdoch to undermine possible growing support for Labor and Gillard.
That growing support however appears to have stabilised at around 34% of the vote for Labor. That is much better than its previous low not so long ago of 26%, but still apparently a long way from government. The latest two party preferred vote gives the Coalition a 53% to 47% lead over Labor.
One of the reasons Labor is behind is its ‘me too’ policies. It is not surprising that on economics both Labor and the Opposition have near identical policies, with massive and manufactured debates over slight differences.
The history of Labor and its very nature is to adopt the dominant economic ideology of the time, in this case neoliberalism. This economic infestation has consequences for Labor’s social policy, and one fo the most obvious examples of this is in refugee policy.
Labor’s solution of sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island was bankrupt policy and is now being shown to be bankrupt practice.
The brave concentration camp detainees on Nauru have ended their hunger strike, but not before Amnesty International condemned the facilities and treatment at the detention centre.
Correction. The hunger strikes have resumed. In news just in from the Refugee Action Coalition NSW:
Nauru asylum seekers have renewed their hunger strike protest after rejecting the Nauru Foreign Minister’s proposal to begin initial interviews for the asylum seekers. More than 40 people in the last two days have joined the hunger strike from all the nationalities represented on Nauru –Iranian, Iraqi, Pakistani, Afghan and Sri Lankan.
Treating refugees badly is the whole point from the Australian government point of view; the badder the better in fact.
The failure of Nauru and Manus Island to stop the boats means the next step in this disgraceful saga is Labor out-Howarding Howard in its treatment of asylum seekers with the adoption of 5 year bridging visas with no rights to work, and relying on the community alone for support.
None of this will stop the boats because people are fleeing genocide, murder, rape, torture and war. And it won’t make Labor more electable to those who want the ‘real thing’ – a Liberal Government – in power to ‘tun back the boats’. Why have a carbon copy when you can have the original?
All the time of course, while some workers are working themselves up in a lather over asylum seekers, the bosses and government are keeping them less well paid, working longer hours and more stressed.
That is, if they have a job.
Unemployment looks as if it is rising as the global economy refuses to burst into life despite all the trashing of the economy – yes, strange logic isn’t it? – in Europe and the US. China’s slow down is beginning to ring alarm bells here in Australia and the debate about the Asian Century and our role in it is one wider aspect of the search of the 1% in Australia for a secure and profitable place at the table of the global band of hostile brothers and robber barons.
Queensland is the mainland Australian state with the highest unemployment. Campbell Newman’s cutting and burning has worked a treat hasn’t it?
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