The so-called “Al-Aqsa Flood” offensive launched from Gaza, the Israeli counter-offensive on Gaza, and the reactionary propaganda and repression offensive in Europe jointly create a complex situation that has raised several questions in the revolutionary left.
The revolutionary left must have its own position, inscribed in its own situation, in its own historical and social conditions, linked to its own revolutionary perspectives. To do this, we must avoid two pitfalls:
– making judgements, awarding good or bad points according to eurocentrist criteria,
– renouncing any analysis of our own and contenting ourselves with a position of unconditional support.
Internationalism is first and foremost the ability to link different situations in a common perspective.
It is in this spirit of clarification that the RHI secretariat declares:
The RHI is an organisation of the revolutionary left and as such supports all peoples in resistance against colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism. Historical experience has shown that victory over colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism often comes through an episode of armed resistance. Any support for an oppressed people that denies them the right to armed resistance is hypocrisy.
The RHI recognises the right of peoples to self-determination even if their national liberation movement lacks progressive leadership. The fact that the Islamists have the political leadership in Gaza, or that the pro-Westerners have the political leadership in the West Bank, does not change the right of the Palestinian people to resistance against occupation, colonisation and apartheid.
As a matter of principle and historical experience, the revolutionary left is hostile to any theocratic political project, and therefore to Islamism. The RHI supports the forces of the Palestinian left which defend the initial project of the Palestinian revolution, not a Palestine divided between a Jewish state and a Muslim state, not a unified Islamic Palestine, but a free, secular and democratic Palestine from the Jordan to the Sea, open to all peoples. A Palestine where citizens would have equal rights regardless of their origin or religion. A Palestine where historical injustices would be redressed, in other words, a Palestine that would allow the return of the descendants of the 1948 and 1967 refugees.
The brutality of certain aspects of the Hamas offensive cannot be isolated from the general situation in which it is taking place. When Hamas organised the “March of Return” with thousands of unarmed demonstrators on the Gaza border in 2018, Israeli forces opened fire on numerous occasions, killing 253 unarmed demonstrators and shooting and wounding 5866 others.
History shows us that the wars of decolonisation are wars of extreme brutality. The most emblematic of these wars, the Algerian war, was riddled with massacres of colonists and colonised people. It is not a question of “approving” or “condemning”. It is simply a matter of noting that the colonial abomination gave rise to the harshest forms of resistance and repression.
We salute the ability of left-wing resistance forces, such as the PFLP, to stick to targeted armed actions against the military, senior Israeli officials and the outposts of colonisation in the occupied territories. This ability demonstrates a high level of political and ideological awareness on the part of its militants and fighters. But it is not surprising that this capacity is not to be found in the ranks of the other forces of Palestinian resistance.
Supporting the left-wing forces of the Palestinian resistance also means accepting the tactical and strategic choices they feel they have to make. The alliances that the forces of the Palestinian left may form with certain reactionary forces should not surprise us. Such alliances almost always arise when the struggle against national oppression suffocates and martyrs a people to the point of making all other contradictions appear non-priority. The alliances formed between the various forces of the Palestinian resistance are a direct expression of the oppression suffered by the Palestinian people.
This creates difficult and complex situations, but if the European revolutionary left wants to transform realities and not just express moral positions, it must learn to position itself in confused and changing situations.
This is all the more true given that, for several decades now, the ideological values and political theses of the Left have been receding from social consciousness in Europe. And as class contradictions continue to worsen, the result, in Europe itself, is movements of struggle with unusual forms and sometimes confused or multiple expressions, such as the Gilets Jaunes, the resistance to official policies against COVID, or the revolts in the suburbs.
As a force of the revolutionary left, we need to learn how to take part in these offensive popular movements that do not have our political and ideological references, by promoting our analyses and our projects.
This ability to take a practical stand is made both more difficult and more necessary by the extraordinary violence of the political-ideological offensive of the reaction. We have already seen the first manifestations of this, when any criticism of official health policies was stigmatised, and when the slightest criticism of the position of Ukraine or NATO in the genesis of the war in Ukraine was condemned as “support for Putin’s aggression“.
The ease and force with which the right has imposed a single, unconditionally pro-Israel discourse must be analysed, especially as this political-ideological offensive is followed by a police-judicial offensive, with bans and trials.
Today, Israel’s war crimes in Gaza are giving new impetus to public support for the Palestinian cause. But we need to reflect on this moment of stupefaction when many forces remained silent, or worse, disassociated themselves from the Palestinian cause, for fear of being perceived as “pro-Hamas”. There was a weakness there that we need to reflect on, because this kind of weakness can only encourage the right to go even further.
For all these reasons, the RHI calls for a strengthening of solidarity with the Palestinian people, with the Palestinian armed resistance, for a denunciation of the state of Israel based on colonisation and apartheid, for the adoption of the objective of a liberated Palestine from the Sea to the Jordan, and for practical solidarity with the structures of the Palestinian revolutionary left persecuted in Europe, starting with the Samidoun network.
Down with colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism!
Long live the armed resistance of the Palestinian people!
For a free, secular and democratic Palestine from the River to the Sea!
Secretariat of the Red Help International
25 October 2023