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Vol. 75/No. 31      September 5, 2011

Israel not exempt from class politics

Widespread demonstrations against sky-high rents and deteriorating living conditions that have shaken Israel since mid-July expose just how false is the notion that—unlike other countries, including in the Middle East—Israel is somehow exempt from the laws of the class struggle. That Arab and Jewish workers in Israel and the region have no basis for united action against the capitalist rulers and their government in Tel Aviv.

The huge outpourings show that Israel is not isolated from the consequences of the capitalist crisis wracking the lives of hundreds of millions of working people worldwide. That social catastrophe fueled aspirations among workers and youth to throw off tyranny and win freedoms to organize and act that bore fruit in the toppling of oppressive regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and are right now rocking Libya and Syria to their foundations.

Working people of different nationalities and convictions have been impelled into the streets—Jews, Muslims, Christians, those with no religious beliefs; Arabs, Kurds, Berbers, and more. Bourgeois rulers, with imperialist backing, pit toilers against each other in order to stay in power and preserve their privileged lives.

In Israel, during the recent actions, signs in both Hebrew and Arabic decorated a tent called “48,” which was part of the protest encampment in Tel Aviv. “48” stands for 1948, the year the State of Israel was founded and Palestinians dispossessed of a homeland.

The events in Israel are an affirmation of the power of the struggle for a democratic secular Palestine. That struggle will emerge over time out of battles for land and water rights; an end to religious tests for jobs, services, or other aspects of social and political life; decent wages and conditions; women’s equality; and an end to brutal operations by Tel Aviv’s cops, troops, and commandos.

The reality that class battles in Israel will be waged by both Jewish and Palestinian working people can now be seen more clearly. It is along this line of march that the forces of a revolutionary struggle for workers power will be forged and capitalist rule ended in Israel.

As elsewhere in the world, the working class in the Middle East—from Israel and the occupied territories, to Libya, Syria, and beyond—confronts a political crisis of revolutionary proletarian leadership. But working people can welcome developments across the region this year. They are harbingers of small but important steps toward opening the political space in which workers and farmers can organize and act to fight for their common class interests.
Related articles:
Rebel forces take Tripoli in Libyan civil war
Demonstrations shake Israel … along with illusions about it
Protesters in Syria defy murderous regime  
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