02 August 2008
Stating the obvious: why the left supports resistence movements
The Respect MP George Galloway has just taken Jcom Radio to the cleaners to the tune of £15,000 over the latter's claim that Galloway is anti-semitic. I doubt if he reads this blog, but in the unlikely event that he does, good for you, George.
Harry's Place has an interesting piece by David T on the whole matter, and Dave - who can write well when he chooses - makes this obviously heartfelt point:
. . .Why, for example does Galloway’s section of the Left deny the right of self determination only to Israelis - and to nobody else - which they support for Palestinians? Why do they promote a one state “solution” for Palestine which they must know would result in the expulsion and massacre of persons who are the descendants of Jewish refugees from Middle Eastern and European lands? What does it mean for a politician to form a party with people who do express openly racist and conspiracist views, or to speak on the same platform as Hamas and Hezbollah activists, and to glorify them?There are three issues here which are all interrelated. The first is why do socialists not support the right of self-determination for Israelis? The answer to that is that we didn't support it for Southern Rhodesians or French Algerians, so why should we break the principle now? Israel is, and Rhodesia and Algeria were, creole polities that were originally created by imperialism to further the interests of capitalism.
Secondly, as to what happens to the creoles after independence, that was not something that the left thought very much about in the past, so, again, why should we start now? As far as I was concerned in the 1970s, the issue was not that Zimbabwe would be run well or run badly under local rule; it was that British Rhodesia had to get the chop , thus to help undermine the morale of the class enemy at home. What happened to Zimbabwe after independence in 1980 is something that I have taken only a small amount of interest in, and my only concern at the moment is that London is rapidly becoming a kind of Harare North. Sorry, folks, but Zimbabwe is now your shithole and you can do with it as you wish - now can I have my capital city back, please?
Finally, the left accepts that all guerrilla wars are brutal and unpleasant, with atrocity and counter atrocity the order of the day. The Algerian FLN planted bombs that killed civilian creoles, and the Zimbabwean guerrillas shot down two civilian airliners and then massacred the survivors on the ground. A commander was asked why they had killed the children and he replied, in words that I will never forget, that "little snakes grow into big snakes, so we crush their heads before that happens."
Given that the left was quite happy to share platforms with both the FLN and the Zimbabweans, why is Dave so puzzled when we do the same with Hamas and Hezbollah? We have remained consistent in our view that opposition to colonialism is an integral part of the socialist ideology.
To conclude, and at the risk of labouring the point, we have little or no interest in these territories after they become independent. We are not hand-wringing liberals who bleat that Mugabe et al are evil and wicked. We just accept that as read and are pleased to have played a small part in helping to provide a defeat for the class at home that we despise so much.