Workers or settlers? Zionism, Apartheid, and the Israeli working class
“Israel is a settler-colonial state” is a statement we hear a lot at the moment – as parts of the International Socialist Tendency, we agree with this analysis. But what does that actually mean and what implications does it have on perspectives for Palestinian liberation?
Besides standing in full solidarity with the legitimate struggle for national liberation of the Palestinian people, and thus the dismantling Israel, understanding the Israeli state as a settler-colony has important implications for who can be part of the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Some left groups, especially reformist social democrats, view Israel as “just another state that does bad things”. Even some other Marxist groups place hopes on the Israeli working class as a revolutionary subject and give legitimacy to the existence of the Israeli state. As International Socialists and Marxists we view the working class as the agent of revolutionary change, as the class with an objective interest in smashing the capitalist state and building socialism.
However, our assessment of the working-class changes when it comes to setter-colonial states. While it is correct that most Israelis have undergone a mandatory military service period, and that they are deeply indoctrinated with racist ideas, this alone does not turn them into a counter-revolutionary force. Instead we see that in such projects, the working class relates to the state in a fundamentally different way. In settler-colonies the working class is subordinated to the nation building project, and loses its class interest in the shared liberation of the indigenous population and the destruction of the colonial state. Instead, institutions of the working class get bent and deformed to secure privileges of the colonial project and enable a quasi-truce between the occupying working, and ruling class.
In this meeting we will take a look at the history of the working class in the Zionist project, its complicity in the occupation and colonisation of Palestine, and our perspectives for what it takes to liberate Palestine.
- The discussion will be introduced by Max Pogrzeba of the International Socialists.
- The meeting will be in English. Contributions in Dutch are welcome and will be translated.
Location: to be announced