What place has the utopian idealist in the dim hallway of reclusive fears and suspicions when societies pinnacle is a fresh teenage pussy, stuffed to the brim with images of Washington and Lincoln? The endless moans of deranged enlightenment echo throughout the hours as the night sky begins to lose its integrity. The green morning light, and its loyal henchmen of divine sanity serve as the only reminder of delightful solitude in the hollow prism of individual existence. To rise early in a misguided attempt to rediscover the treasures of conceptualised self interest only bring the reality of twisted playfulness of dusk to the forefront. The brutality of the A.M who listens but never speaks, carefully planning the course of history so has to segregate God’s lonely man from harmful social interference. The glorious Untermensch segregated not in material or flesh but ethnically cleansed from the essence of the human species. Words of Babylon, crumble under the theocratic boot of sharply dressed prophets, each in servitude to the merciful and most compassionate means of exchange.
Sentences fail to materialise, truth is on the genocide list, hunted down and gassed into extinction. Crowds of believers scramble to find their own Gods, each graced with lush locks of insincerity and hidden insecurity. Eyes with the will to plunge devout zealots into the past, carelessly pulling the rest of humanity under with them. The everyday Jesus is the prophet of an eternal sigh of prescribed boredom, doomed to wander in false nostalgia while feeding on societies own sense of lost fantasy. Words and ideas, while previously scarce resources and centres of brutality have now been confiscated and privatised from public thought. Letters relay history and fiction, a reminder of pre-post humanities ignorant delusions.
How does one sleep in silence when even the monotonous moans of enlightened self interest demand your continuous attention. Evolutionary instincts collapse into the barrel of medieval emotions while a replicated and pure form of fabricated affection rises to dominance. The thick walls of the skin altar serve as the only illusionary reminder to a reality rooted in material existence. Even the orgasm, just like our beloved green swastika, has become a fictitious value.
Failing to accomplish the aims and remain faithfully married to the Ubermensch ideal, condemns one to the only existing institution with the ability to provoke essences of natural reaction. The open air prison of post-modernism. Metal bars are stripped down and replaced with societies irrelevance and individual apathy. The elitist utopian, failing to plunge into pre-humanism is left sinking in unread poetry, drowning in insincere ink of hopeless political fetishisms.
For all this, a man is taught to have ambition, to strive endlessly to achieve a non-existent sense of self fulfilment. Yet his only option is to done the black uniform and ruthlessly strike into a selfless crusade against the remnants of old humanity, while mindlessly pursing the accumulation of dead presidents, all for the good of his family. One could still hope for the second coming, the everyday prophet with a red rose, bursting out a clenched fist and a heart shaped bomb strapped to his chest. A desperate explosion, complete and humanely devastating, not in vain but in determination. An action with an idea. The last act of the human being.
It appears our idiocy, apathy and complete disregard of logic has no bounds. We truly live in a dark age where conformity to the status-quo is commended while any resistance, any show of bravery in the face of injustice is condemned as extremism. The most recent incident in the Middle East with the Israeli attack on a humanitarian vessel and the media bias following the incident only serves to prove that we are living in the age of madness. An age where men in uniform are more valuable than ordinary people, an age where we twist logical and reality and serve our apathetic, middle class lifestyles.
Following the Israeli raid on the Turkish humanitarian vessel, the Mavi Marmara, a music video was released by the Israeli government press office which attempted to demonise the activists on board, creating a fictional link between Al-Qaeda and the free Gaza movement. In went on claiming there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza: "We must go on, pretending day by day, that in Gaza there is crisis, hunger and plague". I feel there is no point even trying to make an argument against such an obscene disregard for reality. Let’s dissect the history of the situation and analyse why Gaza is under siege in the first place.
Following the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, the Islamic party Hamas, achieved 44% of the popular vote, emerging as the largest party in the in the national authority. It subsequently renounced its calls for the destruction of Israel and replaced it with the creation of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital (the exact same position as the Fatah movement). Immediately following the results, Israel refused to recognise the election results while the United States under the direction of the former secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, planned a covert operation to remove the Hamas government. At the same time, the Quartet on the Middle East threatened to cut funds to the Palestinian authority, all for participating in a system the United States claims to fight for, resulting in the deaths of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan; Democracy. The covert operation failed and spiralled into an armed conflict which resulted in Fatah retreating from Gaza, leaving Palestine divided into two mutually hostile camps. Following economic sanctions against the PA, Israel and Egypt commenced a merciless siege on Gaza, reducing the region to a large, open air prison.
Whatever one feels about the politics of the situation, it is clear the siege is nothing short of collective punishment, intended to starve off the 1.5 million residents of Gaza. On 7th march 2008, several international aid groups including amnesty international and Oxfam described the siege as “collective punishment”, reporting that the humanitarian situation in Gaza has reached its most acute point since the beginning of the Israeli occupation. According to the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs: “everything from wheelchairs, dry food items, and crayons, to stationary, soccer balls, and musical instruments is being stopped”. There is a blanket ban on construction materials and basic food produce, and situation reached critical levels just before the 2009 conflict where the government of Gaza could no longer provide access to adequate food supplies, clean water and medical services. The United Nations Human Rights council issued 15 separate statements in a two year period calling for the lift of the siege to allow basic humanitarian aid into Gaza. Of course this was boycotted by the United States every time. Driven to desperate measures, Palestinian militants began launching raids and rocket attacks into Israel, triggering the 2009 war on Gaza. The situation continues to deteriorate while only 20% of the needed humanitarian aid according to the UN is allowed in by Egypt and Israel.
Now that we’ve established the fact that there is, indeed a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, let’s deal with the accusations that the flotilla was not trying to deliver aid, but make a political statement. I have a problem with this view. What exactly is wrong in highlighting the complete injustice and barbarity of the situation? Aid is only limited and its effects aren’t enough to alleviate the mass suffering Gazan’s deal with on a daily basis. The true evil, in my opinion, would be to strip the movement from any political goal and have it as a purely humanitarian effort. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if aid ships were sent to apartheid era South Africa to deliver supplies to impoverished Black communities without even acknowledging that the poverty is largely a result of the existence of a brutal, racist regime?
So we’ve established that there is a clear political issue going on is Gaza. What about the violence displayed by the extremists on board? What about the IDF videos which show Israeli commandoes being attacked with metal rods while boarding the vessel? That fact that this is an issue to so many people is simply depressing. First Israel imposes a brutal siege on Gaza intending to brutally punish a population enclosed in a small area, completely disregarding any notion of human rights. A humanitarian vessel arrives in International waters to break an illegal siege and deliver much needed supplies. It is threatened by Israeli warships, bombarded by tear gas and sound bombs, and then boarded by Israeli commandoes. So defending an aid ship against naked piracy becomes a terrorist activity?
Yet Israel continues to insist it’s compliance with international law. It made a statement calling on aid flotillas to deliver their goods to Israel and Egypt for inspection which would then be delivered to Gaza. I don’t even have to bother explaining why the aid will never reach Gaza for the reasons above. Handing the aid over to Egypt and Israel is as futile as dumping it all in the sea, all essential items will be banned and the issue will never receive international attention, exposing the reality of the situation. The tragedy of the situation is that the freedom flotilla has to be defending against the bias shown in the media which continues to portray activists as violent supports of terrorism.
Posted by Aaron Bezem
As a human rights activist, my strong condemnation of modern charity, at first, seems paradoxical and illogical. Many more would dismiss my arguments as a relic of an outdated ideological movement, totally removed from the reality of our post-modern, individualist age. I would, however, like to present my argument in full, which I believe raises serious question, not only regarding neo-liberal capitalism but also our modern ethics and values under liberal democracies.
Late capitalism has collapsed into itself. Following the Thatcher/Reagan era, even moderate social-democratic discourse within the free market framework has been discarded. Individualism has triumphed; we are now families and individual agents, free from the treachery of society and state, free to make our own economic decisions and accumulate wealth to our hearts content. The greatest irony, however, seems to be our acknowledgement of the growing divide between rich and poor, the privatisation of warfare, and the growth of Imperialism throughout the world. Even the most apathetic of us can’t be blind to the constant bombardment of images in the media of world poverty, especially in Africa. Of course, our “concern” for the lesser off in the world is completely divorced from any rationality, especially regarding the consequences of globalisation and neo-liberal capitalism. In the absence of any alternative viewpoints which (god forbid) have no relationship to anti-capitalist discourse, we have been forced to justify our own individualism.
In soft, decentralised, liberal democracies, it has become commendable to pay lip service to the idea of equality, freedom and basic human rights, without actually challenging the fundamental factors which violate the rights of millions living in poverty. In the face of this moral dilemma, the method we use to redeem ourselves, I believe, is charity. Slovenian philosopher, Slajov Zizek, uses the analogy of the “chocolate laxative” to describe our attitudes to late capitalism and charity. We essentially want capitalism with a human face, the possibility of endless accumulation of wealth without mass poverty and exploitation. This does explain why companies such as Starbucks and McDonalds spend time associating themselves with fair trade, while actively engaging in destructive, exploitative activities, as well as supporting Zionist imperialism.
When has charity, in this form, ever reversed or even halted poverty? At best it has only slowed down the inevitably. Fair-trade, upon becoming mainstream, has simply become a label which allows us to shop, guilt free while the organisation itself continues to work with mass retailers and multi-national corporations rather than use its influence to develop a fairer, autonomous trading system. Modern charity is weak and hypocritical, because it is removed from the politics of the oppression.
Rather than being a wake-up call to the reality of mass exploitation under capitalism, the world’s poor have become distant objects which we pity, throwing coins at in a desperate hope that the beggar in the street will go disappear. The truth is, however, that people don’t choose to be poor. It has nothing to do with circumstance, fate or God. Poverty is part of the system we shamelessly serve. The real horror comes at the futility of our efforts. During comic relief, crowds cheer enthusiastically while funds are raised and sent to the same communities in Africa where British and American companies as well as the World Bank demand the privatisation of services, diminishing any hopes of education and healthcare among effected communities. The war on terror, has also led to the opening of a military front in Africa, “The United States Africa military command”. Corrupt governments are armed and rearmed, new and improved ways of crushing dissent in the name of “combating terrorism” are devised, allowing such corruption to run unchallenged. As long as such a system continues to operate, we can throw as many dollars as we wish on the poor, and the situation will remain static.
Of course, the point of our charity isn’t to alleviate the suffering of our fellow man, merely to manipulate him as a tool for our own redemption. Friedrich Nietzsche identified the futility of modern charity as part of, what he called, “the ethics of pity” in which he singled out pity as a fundamental “anti-life” instinct which leads to nihilism, neither helping the object of our pity or empowering ourselves. This is not, however, egotistical individualism or a social Darwinist idea. Oscar Wilde’s famous text, “The soul of the man under socialism” expressed a desire for a system in which there would be no poor, so we could live life as a guilt free individual: “With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Oscar Wilde.
There is obviously a clear danger in de-politicising charity and human rights. Our current ethical system under liberalism needs serious revision. If simply giving to charity was enough to reverse poverty, then billionaires such as Bill Gates would be humanitarian heroes for giving millions of dollars away while actively engaging in the very system which enslaves and dooms people to poverty in the first place. We must clearly identify why poverty exists and ceaselessly fight the system if we are ever to exist as true, healthy, free individuals.
Posted by Aaron Bezem
Favouring those most that reject any conception of blessed abasement.
Abasement, treated with a shot of ill-fated absinthe, accompanying artificial, caffeine regulated purges.
Those who dismiss such watered down objections, thankfully, occupy the mass of the reformatory population.
Plenty of Virgins, lost in the corpses of pure complacency, fit for a ritualised immolation.
The actors know best how to screw circumvent nails into enamoured teenage casualties.
All acceptable losses,
Each year, spermatic fluids slowly brimming over abandoned vodka bottles,
Withering away into indolent stains during the pre-mature abortion.
A few million genetically subordinate idiots,
Too deplorable for insignificance, Untermenschs sentenced to immortality.
Forcefully occupying intoxicated space in the test of abnegation,
Engaged in dauntless self mutilation, severed cocks latched onto an born again Christ,
Spreading the reach of the holy fountain, suffocating displaced niggers in their own fraud.
Exotic and strange, yet dysfunctional, in need of surgical intervention.
Join the line of possessed bitches grasping bloated bellies.
Caressing their Coca Cola wombs, factory owners crowd round and ally with the commodity.
Disposable adolescents, banners of ever returning neutrality, drenched in their own duplicity.
For the simple sake of humanity, the widow should reach for the erect surgical scimitar and cut out the bland monotonous vampire oppressing the womb.
All the president’s men panic at the sight of her,
She has nothing to lose but her humanity,
The unconditional price of true freedom.
Posted by Aaron Bezem
Early September, the WIltern theatre in Los Angeles provided the stage for one of the most historical, tear-shedding moments in the alternative music scene. Industrial rock band, Nine Inch Nails performed their last explosive concert, faithfully executing thirty seven songs which spanned; Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor’s, two decade career. The last incarnation of the band, composed of Robin Finck, Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Ilan Rubin maintained and brought a new dimension to the ferocity and viciousness which defined the band from the beginning. Leaving only three hours and thirteen minutes for the world to remember what has proven to be the most influential band on alternative music, Nine Inch Nails vigorously displayed how far the boundaries of musician radicalism can be pushed; defining, smashing up and redefining the madness of the postmodern world and the inevitably hatred and angst of millions of fans. The concert itself was immortalised with the presence of many special guests who have worked with the band throughout the last two decades including Synth-pop legend Gary Numan, Jane’s Addiction guitarist, Dave Navarro and the Dillinger Escape plan who single-handedly, annihilated the entire stage, leaving nothing but the corpse of dismantled drum kits and broken lighting equipment. The industrial wrecking ball was brought to a final conclusion with a heart-aching performance of “Hurt” (famously reproduced by Johnny Cash) and “In This Twilight” where Trent left the audience with the final lyrics of the song.
“And the longing that you feel
You know none of this is real
We will find a better place
In this twilight”
Despite the hurt many have felt by this emotional goodbye, this was indeed not a final goodbye for Nine Inch Nails, merely an end to touring for the “foreseeable future”. Trent Reznor has continued with the same musical innovation which brought Nine Inch Nails to popularity in the form of a variety of new projects. Nevertheless, Nine Inch Nails last performance was largely ignored, even by the alternative musical scene whose lights constantly shine on the latest boy band’s in disguise, a definite sign of the deteriorating musical standards in the twenty first century. For those who followed Nine Inch Nails “Wave goodbye tour”, one couldn’t help but feel the major significance and impact the band has made on the lives of so many. More importantly, however, the band should be remembered not only because of its innovative musical style but its revolutionary methods of communicating with fans, its constant criticism of the corporate side of the music industry and its sociological impact, which paved the way for radical “shock” musicians to take the stage.
Nine Inch Nails entered the music scene in 1989 with the album “Pretty Hate Machine” which introduced an Industrial noise within the traditional pop framework. The musical direction changed radically with the release of the EP “Broken” in 1992 which fleshed out a barbaric Industrial-metal element, accompanying the release of a banned movie of the same name following the kidnapping, torturing and killing on an unknown individual who is forced to watch Nine Inch Nails Videos. It was, however, the release of “The Downward Spiral” in 1994 which brought the nihilistic, destructive power of Industrial rock to the masses. Acquiring inspiration from David Bowie and Pink Floyd, the album reached widespread popularity with the release of the bands two most famous songs, “Closer” and “Hurt”. Trent had created a new dimension for music to exist in the postmodern world where the angst of thousands had yet to be defined artistically. “The Downward Spiral” essentially paved the way for artists such as Marilyn Manson (whose earlier albums were produced by Reznor) to take the stage and shock the world further.
The band suffered from the dictation of its corporate label, “Interscope records” on several occasions throughout Reznors career. “The Fragile” (largely considered his best work) which was released in 1999 was largely ignored by both the mainstream and alternative audience. Although striking back with “With Teeth” in 2005 and “Year Zero” in 2007, Reznors constant battle with Interscope records reached its final peak for their pricing and distribution plans for “Year Zero”. Reznor described their plans as “absurd” and urged his fans to steal his music online instead of purchasing it legally. Nine Inch Nails has now revolutionized the path for radical musicians to take, avoiding corporate labels, assisting musicians such as Saul Williams by offering the music for free while urging fans to buy the music in order to support aspiring artists. Nine Inch nails latest two albums were released in such a fashion with “Ghosts” (the first nine songs being free for download) and “The Slip” which was available for free download in its entirety.
These are simply few of the battles Nine Inch Nails has fought against corporatism from its freedom to include radical politics within its music on a live stage, several battles with fox News, and incorporating revolutionary methods of interacting with fans bypassing the common advertising “sell-out” methods to its most recent campaign against Guantanamo Bay following the use of Reznor’s music to torture detainees. More so, however, Nine Inch Nails reminds us of the constant need for art to be a relevant force in today’s world. While most artists today shy away from politics and sociological issues in an attempt to avoid controversy, it is always the artists with the greatest sincerity and self conviction that will give the powers that be the middle finger and a loud, resounding “Fuck you”.
Darkness on the shores of Beirut. The luminous, eerie, animated sea is revealed only by three flares in the sky which unveil another three products of the same destructive force. An Israeli trio emerge from blackened sea and float in an almost dreamlike fashion to the beach. The one nearest to me turns his head and presents a set of lost, tortured features, far removed from the usual brutal indifferent masks which IDF soldiers done far too often. The face isn’t completely new though, I’ve gazed upon it before with curiosity, often taking the words of others on whether it should be dismissed or given a chance to flourish. Standing in hmv, grudgingly getting by doing what little Christmas shopping actually needs to be done, I enjoy the chance to be obliterated by my own thoughts while I gaze upon the graphic novel version of the Israeli animation film, “Waltz with Bashir”.
I first heard of the film on a special coverage on Al Jazeera which described it as an anti-war film with an alternative Israeli view on the Israeli defence force and its long and forgotten involvement in the massacres in Sabra and Shatila during the 1982 Lebanon war. I enquired about the film with a few friends who mostly attacked the production with negative criticism, mainly recurring around the supposed “positive” picture it presented of the IDF and its involvement in Lebanon. I left it at that for a while until I approached the graphic novel version, deciding to curiously glance through it. The animation was simply stunning, all encompassing a dark, barely lit atmosphere as if those three flares on the cover provided the only light for the whole movie. I didn’t grasp much of the story since that would require reading the entire novel which I had neither the time nor energy to do. I skipped to the last page where I was reunited with the same tortured face on the cover, gazing hopelessly into the future, coming to terms at being stuck in a world he didn’t know existed, his world. Rows of dead expand down a narrow alley and on the next screen it switched from animation to reveal the real pictures of the massacre. Dead Palestinian men, women and children, buried in the rubble in the middle of a refugee camp.
That last page was enough to change my mind, the film may be biased, itself being from an Israeli viewpoint but there was no way it could be described as a positive depiction of the IDF. I didn’t purchase the novel but watched the original film in its entirety and was very much benumbed with the results. From a purely artistic point of view, the film is simply gorgeous. Often surreal and hallucinatory at times, the viewer often feels himself being drifted along, interrupted by brief, temporary moments of Satori before the concluding brutal withdrawal. Politically, analysis on the film proves to be a far more complex task. The IDF is never portrayed in a positive light but is certainly humanised. Much like the actions of American soldiers during the My Lai Massacre, much of the atrocities committed by Israeli soldiers in the film were rooted down to fear. Upon landing on a beach, soldiers open fire at anything that moves including a civilian car, killing the family itself. While this is certainly no justification for killing civilians, it certainly does explain the numerous accounts in the modern world, where well disciplined troops break down and inevitably commit atrocities due, primarily to fear. My main criticism on the film is that it never portrays any intentional acts of violence of the IDF towards civilians in which there were plenty. It often hints on the barbarity of the army, indiscriminately bombing Lebanese cities, but these are removed and attention is focused mainly on Israeli fear and carelessness. It should, however, be understood that the story is told from the perspective of an Israeli soldier. Like most soldiers of an occupying force, they have little understanding of the political situation beyond the concept of a dehumanised enemy which the state constantly beats into their heads. Even then, however, the “enemy” is almost nonexistent in the film. Soldiers spend most of their time firing into thin air, bombing cities and destroying cars and flats. Despite this, the film is revolutionary in its sharp defiance of the blind patriotic, expansionist policies of the Israeli state and of the rising right wing views of the public.
Aljazeera reported that the Israeli government officially approved of the film since it clarified that Israeli soldiers didn’t carry out the massacres in Lebanon, as if that somehow cleared the blame from the shameless barbarity of the Israeli state and military. In fact, if anything, the film clarifies Israel’s direct involvement in the massacres. The IDF provided cover for the Phalange militia, fired flares at night in order to aim they carry out the atrocity and simply sat back and let it happen until morning where thousands had already been killed. There is a deep psychological explanation behind this presentation with soldiers in the film describing the camp as identical to the Warsaw ghetto. The film is directed and based upon Ari Folman, who had relatives in Auschwitz, presents his experience in the camps in the shadow of the holocaust, taking the metaphorical role of a Nazi, drawing comparisons with SS behaviour in the concentration camps and IDF behaviour during the massacres. Commentary, an American-Jewish magazine commented;
“As vilely anti-Semitic as it is to compare Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis, it is perfectly natural for Israelis to think of the Holocaust in certain situations, because they, unlike other peoples, still live in the Holocaust’s shadow."
I would agree that it is completely natural for Israelis to compare their experiences with that of the holocaust. The holocaust itself was the very least, a brutally soul-destroying event signifying the destruction of humanity in the blitz of the madness which defined the twentieth century. Comparing the actions, however, of the Israeli state and army to the Nazis as Anti-Semitic? A state founded upon the principle of a militaristic and expansionist ideology, created by immigrants with no historical connection to the land other than an abstract religious concept, excluding members of any other religious and ethnic group and routinely carries out ethnic cleansing and acts of brutality isn’t at all similar to the action of the Nazis? Sure, it’s not to the same scale but in essence, it’s the same thing. Does the history of brutal treatment towards the Jewish people render Israel immune from criticism?
Indeed, I’m more inclined to agree with the review by Haaretz which described the film as;
“Stylish, sophisticated, gifted and tasteful - but propaganda for portraying Israel and the IDF in a too positive light”
Politically, the film isn’t perfect, however if looked upon in context of the story, it does little to take the blame away from the behaviour of the Israeli military in Lebanon. Overall, it’s a piece of Israeli cinema history. Beautifully animated, humanely heartbreaking and in the end, further hope that ordinary Israelis may one day recognise the injustice of their government and realise that coexistence with the Palestinians is the only solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a world where the nation state has come to represent the most repressive form of cohesive authority, most left-libertarian and anarchist groups have taken a firm stance against statism and the establishment of states, most noticeably their criticism of national liberation movements. The main argument is that, far from strengthening the position of the working class in an independent nation, power is shifted from the imperialist warmongers to local elites who in turn exploit their own population and exercise a monopoly over the country’s wealth. This is certainly true to a certain degree. One only needs to look to the examples of Algeria and Vietnam who both led a vicious struggle against imperialism only to fall under the tyranny of a repressive state. Despite this, one has to ask himself under what conditions can and should anarchists support the self-determination of an oppressed people. Although the end result should be no borders, no states, the path to freedom is a long one and under the right circumstances, people may have to endure several changes within their country’s before a legitimate form of governance can exist.
Let’s consider the Palestinian case as an example. Most anarchists would oppose the efforts of national liberation movements such as Hamas or the popular front due to the corruption which ordinary Palestinians put up with under these groups. Hamas has been accused on forcibly shutting down trade unions as well as brutally silencing political opposition and same can be said about Fatah. Most would look to the solidarity between underclass Israelis and Palestinians and a long struggle to remove the state of Israel and a possible Palestinian state. While this is certainly a favourable solution, the problem is that is simply doesn’t consider the reality of the situation. The first problem is that while there is a growing Israeli underclass, only minority show sympathy with the Palestinians and even a smaller amount take part in any serious solidarity work. Israeli peace groups, often described as part of a “lunatic fringe” by mainstream Israeli media mainly campaign for a two-state solution. The Palestinian Liberation organisation rejected the possibility of a federalist solution, instead blinded the western myth that statehood is the only path to justice. There simply isn’t any motivation among ordinary Palestinians and Israelis for the favourable solution. More so, the situation in Palestine is that of apartheid and military occupation. Uri Gordon, an Israeli anarchist and activist presents two possible solutions in this situation. To oppose the possibility of an independent Palestinian state and work instead of overthrowing the Israeli state which would inevitably delay the end of the occupation until such a goal is achieved. Alternatively, anarchists could support a temporary state which would relieve Palestinians from the ruthless occupation while activists in both countries advocate the possibility of a fairer society.
Indeed, I was completely opposed to the idea of an independent Palestinian state, not only in opposition to the concept of statism but also considering the fact that Palestinian refugees would be denied any claim to their original homes in modern day Israel as well acknowledging the existence of a state based exclusively on religion. However, in a recent lecture by renowned political scientist and linguist, Noam Chomsky, entitled “Palestine and the region in the Obama era”, Chomsky provides an alternative to a push for a one state solution. While acknowledging that a Palestinian state would temporarily allow the Palestinians to recover from decades of brutal occupation, he highlighted that the process wouldn’t end two states living side by side. In fact, because the West bank, Gaza and Modern day Israel and so interconnected, geographically, economically and culturally, it will be virtually impossible to separate them. Over the years, cultural and economic ties will prompt both parties to move to federalism with the west bank and Gaza existing as autonomous areas as opposed to independent states. Whether this would then evolve to a one-state solution or even better, a no state solution is irrelevant at this point. The point is that national liberation for an oppressed people can sometimes be justified.
Another prominent example could include the efforts of the PKK (Kurdistan’s Workers Party) in the liberation of Kurdish people from the oppressive nature of the Turkish government. Indeed, Kurdish people in Turkey suffer widespread poverty due to neglect from both the nationalists and AKP. Until recently, the use of the Kurdish language was banned and even to identify as a Kurd was a form of treason. The Turkish military routinely carries out attacks on Kurdish areas, ethnically cleansing Kurdish villages, arresting hundreds of youths and detaining them without trial and brutally crushing any resistance to the racist policies of Turkish government. Similar policies in neighbouring countries mean that Kurds have formed the bulk on the underclass and even the wealthiest area of Kurdistan is the poorest of Iran. Imperial Britain, as always, had a hand in the repression of the Kurds, first offering the prospect of an independent Kurdistan in order to fight the Ottomans, then carrying out bombing campaigns in Kurdish villages to prevent a revolution that could threaten Britain’s monopoly of power in the region. For this reason, the PKK was formed to carry out an insurgency in Kurdistan, mainly against Turkish forces. The PKK is a grassroots, working class organisation fiercely opposed to the liberal independence movements in Iraq, led by tribal leaders and other elites seeking their share of power. A no state solution would simply be unrealistic at this time since it would require the overthrow of the Turkish, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian governments. Could this neigh-impossible task ever be accomplished before another atrocity is committed against the Kurdish people?
The problem I see with most anarchists is they look upon the world from a euro-centric perspective, analysing political situations in the Middle East through the lens of western politics. This is a very dangerous way of approaching the world since anarchists will consistently fail to have an impact on the Middle East, and other cultures since they make little effort to understand the differences that exist. What is needed is a rethinking of common anarchist polices towards these issues and a serious effort to strive to understand different cultures and apply this knowledge to our political views.