Saturday, March 30, 2019

Trump in Wonderland

Donald Trump, the US president, has signed a declaration recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights seized from Syria during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967. At a joint press conference in Washington with Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the chief American war-lord hailed what he called the “powerful” relationship between the USA and Israel, whilst Netanyahu called the signing “historic justice” and a “diplomatic victory”.
This pointless and meaningless gesture was in fact neither “historic” nor a “victory”. It may garner a few more votes for Netanyahu in the Israeli elections next month but it does nothing to change the status of the Heights, which is the home to 27,000 Syrians.
The United Nations has long ruled that Israel’s unilateral annexation in 1981 was “null and void” and the Arab League says: “The American announcement does not change the legal status of the Golan in any way.” Not one of Trump’s European allies has backed the Americans over the Golan Heights. It was even too much for America’s feudal Arab clients to swallow; Qatar and Kuwait have condemned Trump’s action together with the Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Donald Trump may have shocked the world by winning the US presidential race in 2016 but what has he achieved since then?
Congressional opposition has thwarted his plans to tear up Medicare, the American national health insurance programme, and blocked funding for ‘Trump’s Wall’ that he vowed to build to keep out illegal immigrants. He did get the promised tax-breaks for the big corporations and the elite through, but only because that was the only thing that unites the two major bourgeois parties in the American legislature.
Trump’s band of followers make no secret of their leader’s lust for glory. He claims to be a great negotiator. He wants a Nobel Peace Prize. But he’s achieved nothing in the international arena.
Like a lot of other vain men, Trump assumes everyone is as stupid as himself. He therefore cannot understand why he came back empty-handed from the last summit with Democratic Korean leader Kim Jong Un nor why his crude attempts to replace the Venezuelan leader with a craven puppet of his own have come to nothing.
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and White House senior adviser, has spent the last two years trying to cajole the feudal Arab oil princes into supporting a Middle East “peace plan” that Trump calls the “deal of the century”. Although nothing has been published, leaked details suggest that it will give nothing of any substance to the Palestinians apart from some monetary compensation that the Saudis were expected to provide. Now even that may not be forthcoming.
The US decision to recognise Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights has been condemned by the Speaker of the Russian Duma. “All members of the international community should voice their stand on the matter,” Vyacheslav Volodin said during the meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun in the Kremlin this week. Such a development could lead to a situation where “everyone is fighting each other”, he said. “The rule of force would dominate. This is a highway to war.”
Trump’s stance on the Golan Heights, like his earlier recognition of Israel’s annexation of Arab Jerusalem, is a threat to world peace. It is an illegal, criminal act. Arab land belongs the Arab people. It is not Trump’s to give.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Zionism serves imperialism

Throughout its history Zionist leaders have licked the boots of whatever capitalist Great Power seemed to serve their interests. The tail does not wag the dog, and Israel and the American ‘Zionist lobby’ do not dictate American foreign policy. They serve it. They provided US imperialism with a convenient alibi to play the role of ‘honest broker’ in the Middle East. They enable the feudal Arab oil princes, whose thrones are propped up by imperialist bayonets, to claim that the Arabs’ enemy is not imperialism as such but Israel and this supposedly all-powerful ‘Zionist lobby’, which pulls the strings in the USA. The 1979 entry for Zionism in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia spells this out in detail.

The most reactionary variety of Jewish bourgeois nationalism. Zionism became widespread during the 20th century amongst the Jews in the capitalist countries. Today it is a nationalistic ideology, represented by a ramified system of organisations and a policy expressing the interests of the Jewish big bourgeoisie, which is closely linked with the monopolistic bourgeoisie of the imperialist states. Modern Zionism is militantly chauvinist, racist, anti-communist and anti-Soviet.
Zionism emerged as a political trend in the late 19th century. Its function was to distract the Jewish toiling masses from the revolutionary struggle and to maintain bourgeois dominance over them. To attain these aims, the Zionist ideologists advanced plans for solving the ‘Jewish question’ by creating a ‘Jew state’ with the aid of the great powers. This idea was set forth in Der Judenstaat (The Jews’ State; 1896), published by the Austrian journalist Theodor Herzl, a Zionist ideologist. At the first Zionist Congress, held in Basel in 1897, the World Zionist Organisation (WZO) was founded. It proclaimed that the official goal of Zionism was to “create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine secured by public law”.
The ideology of Zionism is highly eclectic. It utilises many dogmas of Judaism but also includes theories of bourgeois nationalism and social chauvinism, transformed by Zionist ideologists. Zionist ideology maintains that the Jews in various countries constitute an extraterritorial “single worldwide Jewish nation”. The Jews are a “distinctive”, “unique” people, a people “chosen by god”. All peoples amongst whom the Jews live are in one way or another anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism is a “permanent” phenomenon and assimilation, or the merging of Jews with the surrounding population, is “unnatural and sinful”. The Jews have “historical rights” to the “lands of their Biblical ancestors” (Palestine and its adjoining regions), where they must gather and build a “purely Jewish” and “egalitarian state”.
Zionist ideologists seek to prove the “unbreakable bond of Jews throughout the world” with Zionism, to which they must subordinate their own interests, wherever they may be. The politicised dogmas of Judaism state that the Jews are “chosen by god” and have a messianic task to fulfil. These dogmas, and Judaism’s mythical thesis of the Jews’ “uniqueness”, are constituents of the extreme nationalism, chauvinism and racism inherent in Zionist ideology and practice.
The ideologists of Zionism maintain that the “Jewish question” is “eternal”, “unique” and beyond class considerations. Zionists utilise every means to propagandise the false idea of class peace between toiling Jews and the Jewish bourgeoisie (“all Jews are brothers”). All forms of class struggle amongst Jews are proclaimed to be national treason. The Zionists have always made use of demagogy and tactical manoeuvres in their efforts to conceal the anti-popular, reactionary essence of Zionism, alleging that Zionism is the “national liberation movement of Jews throughout the world”.
After the state of Israel was formed in 1948 on part of Palestine’s territory by a resolution of the United Nations, Zionism became Israel’s official ideology. Its main goals are to secure the unconditional support of Israel by the world’s Jews, to gather the world’s Jews in Israel and to inculcate a Zionist spirit amongst Jews in various countries. Zionism seeks to expand Israel to the boundaries of the “Greater Land of Israel”. To this end, Zionists evoke the thesis of “eternal anti-Semitism”, a situation that they often deliberately instigate.
Zionism is the basis of Israel’s government policy. Zionists have proclaimed the state of Israel to be the homeland of all Jews, wherever they live and whatever their attitude towards Zionism. The 28th World Zionist Congress, held in Jerusalem in 1972, adopted, in violation of international law, a resolution on the collective obligation of all national [Zionist and pro-Zionist] organisations to aid the Jewish state under any circumstances and conditions, even if this means opposing the respective authorities of the countries with a Jewish population.
Zionism’s main policy has always been one of struggle, both open and covert, against socialism, the international communist and national liberation movements, and the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. Immediately after the victory of the October Revolution of 1917 in Russia, Zionism unleashed an active struggle against the new Soviet state. After the Second World War (1939–45), amidst a further intensification of the overall crisis of capitalism, the anti-communism and anti-Sovietism of international Zionism assumed still broader dimensions. The shift in the alignment of forces in the world in favour of socialism, the successful resolution of the national question (including the Jewish question) in the USSR, and the Soviet Union’s consistent support of the national liberation struggle of the Arab peoples, have given rise to intensified anti-Soviet and anti-communist Zionist propaganda and activity.
International Zionism strives to undermine the moral and political unity of the peoples of the socialist countries, and to prevent citizens of Jewish nationality from participation in building socialism and communism. Zionism seeks to subvert the relaxation of international tension and in particular the incipient normalisation of Soviet–American relations. As a shock detachment of imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism, international Zionism opposes the national liberation movement of the peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
In the Near East, the Zionist ruling circles of Israel conduct a policy of aggression and of continuous territorial expansion at the expense of the Arab peoples, particularly the Arab people of Palestine. This policy made Israel an imperialist gendarme in the Near East and was the main cause of the Arab–Israeli military conflicts of 1948–49, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Zionism became one of imperialism’s chief allies in its global struggle against the world liberation movement.
Zionism’s ideological concepts and political plans are implemented by a far-flung, highly centralised system of Zionist and pro-Zionist organisations, directed by centres in the USA and Israel. The administrating and co-ordinating centre of international Zionism – the WZO system – is the Jewish Agency for Israel. The Jewish Agency deals mainly with the immigration of Jews into Israel and acts as the representative of the WZO to the Israeli government. The World Zionist Congress is the de jure highest body of the WZO, which is directed by a group of leaders with close ties to certain imperialist circles in the USA. The executive committee of the WZO has two branches, one in New York and one in Jerusalem.
The WZO directs and controls Zionist organisations in more than 60 capitalist countries. The largest are the Women’s International Zionist Organisation, the World Confederation of United Zionists, the World Labour Zionist Movement, and the Zionist Organization of America. The formally non-Zionist World Jewish Congress (founded 1936), with organisations in 67 capitalist countries, is under the de facto control of the WZO. Directly or indirectly affiliated with these major organisations are a multitude of local Zionist and pro-Zionist organisations, societies and committees, which constitute a unified system of international Zionism. The WZO possesses large financial resources, mainly contributed by Jewish monopolists; some funds are collected by levying substantial dues, which are sometimes compulsory, on the Jewish population.
Many means of mass information are controlled or influenced by Zionist organisations, including many publishing houses and radio, television and film companies in the USA, Western Europe, Latin America, Africa and Australia. International Zionism has always included a variety of ideological currents, political factions and groups: Zionist socialists, political Zionists, spiritual Zionists, religious Zionists, general Zionists and revisionist Zionists (today’s fascist Herut Party and kindred groups). This variety merely reflects the interests of different strata of the Jewish bourgeoisie and does not alter but only masks Zionism’s basically imperialist nature.
Essentially, the differences amongst the various orientations of Zionism do not go beyond disputes over tactics and often reflect the struggle within the Zionist elite for positions of influence.
Marxists have always repudiated the theory and practice of Zionism. VI Lenin revealed the reactionary essence of Zionism, emphasising that its dogmas are reactionary, false and contrary to the interests of the Jewish proletariat. He criticised the Zionists’ theses concerning the unique nature of the Jewish people, the alleged absence of class differences amongst the Jews and the imaginary communality of their interests, explaining that such assertions aimed to distract the Jewish toiling masses from the proletariat’s common class struggle.
The international communist movement denounces the anti-popular, reactionary character of Zionism and Zionist activity in all countries. The document adopted by the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties in 1969 appealed for “the launching of the broadest movement of protest … against racial and national discrimination, Zionism, and anti-Semitism, which are incited by capitalist reactionary forces and exploited by them to disorient the masses politically”.
A consistent struggle against Zionism is waged in particular by the Communist Party of Israel (CPI). The CPI proves convincingly that Zionism has always been exploited by the forces of extreme reaction and imperialism, and that the ideology and practices of Zionism are contrary to the interests of Jewish toilers throughout the world and the national interests of the people of Israel. The CPI has shown that the struggle against Zionism is a vital necessity for the people of Israel and for all progressive forces. Denouncing the allegedly classless approach of the Zionists to the ‘Jewish question’ the CPI proves that this question can be resolved only with the victory of democracy and socialism, as evidenced by the experience of the USSR and the other socialist countries. The CPI advocates the brotherhood and friendship of the toilers of all countries, and opposes the anti-Soviet slanderous propaganda and subversive activity of the Zionist leaders and rulers of Israel.
As the overall crisis of capitalism intensifies, the crisis of Zionist ideology and the untenability of all its concepts become increasingly obvious: the overwhelming majority of Jews reject Zionist dogmas. With rare exceptions, the Jewish population of the USSR, like all the peoples of the Soviet Union and the world’s progressive forces, resolutely condemns the aggressive political course of the Zionist ruling clique of Israel. The 30th session of the United Nations General Assembly (November 1975) classified Zionism as a form of racism and racial discrimination.
The natural and objective process of the assimilation of the Jews is gaining strength throughout the world. In the Jewish communities of the countries of the West and amongst the population of Israel there is an increasing comprehension that the Zionist policies of Israel’s ruling circles may lead the population of Israel to a real national catastrophe.

White Gold: A not so golden age

by Ben Soton

White Gold. BBC2, also available on BBC iPlayer.
Creator: Damon Beesley. Stars: Ed Westwick, James Buckley, Joe Thomas.

The 1980s were a dreadful decade. After the rather promising 1970s they saw massive defeats for the working class both in Britain and internationally.
At home we witnessed the defeat of the miners and print workers. Internationally we saw progressive governments under siege in Afghanistan, Nicaragua and Angola. The decade ended with the counter-revolutions resulting from the treacherous policies of Mikhail Gorbachov.
Unfortunately, the 1980s had no redeeming features. In terms of film and television the decade was noted for a string of dreadful teen movies and we also saw the Australian soap opera Neighbours came to Britain. For music buffs the most prominent artist of the decade was Madonna. Even the clothes were bad; they resembled a cross between Alan Partridge’s Sports Casual Wear and prison uniforms.
The period was also noted for the myth that you could make large amounts of money knocking on people’s doors selling products such as life insurance, double glazing and various other home improvements.
Home improvements were a growth industry as home owners were encouraged to spend hard earned (often through overtime) money in DIY stores. The so-called home-improvement boom was partly encouraged by the sale of council houses at knock-down prices. This is the basis for the BBC2 Wednesday night black comedy White Gold; a programme, now in its second series, centring around a fictional double-glazing firm called Cachet based in early 1980s Essex.
The lead character in White Gold is head salesman Vincent Swan. Swan is as a wide-boy and social-climber who uses dishonest and probably illegal tactics to sell double glazing and now conservatories. In many ways the ultimate anti-hero.
Played by Ed Westwick, Swan regularly breaks the fourth wall by interrupting the script to talk directly to the audience. This is intended to give the audience an insight both to the plot and to explain Swan’s highly individualistic world view. He runs a team of social misfits and drop-outs who lack the competence to run a school tuck shop.
In the first series Swan had an extra-marital affair with his child’s primary school teacher whilst his wife became involved with a member of his sales team – a plot-line that may re-emerge in this series.
In episode two of the second series (13 March 2019) Cachet attempts to use a Page Three model to promote their business only to find themselves, through a series of mishaps, with the snooker player Steve Davis – a man not known for being exciting.
The series is worth watching, if only as an epitaph to a particularly unpleasant decade.
The programme raises the issue of organised crime’s involvement in the so-called enterprise culture of the 1980s. At the end of the first series Cachet was bought by an Essex gangster. Was this something the Thatcher government tolerated? It was after all a time when the police were needed elsewhere. Did the Tory government turn a blind eye to what was effectively money laundering?
In a television interview Thatcher admitted turning a blind eye to the black economy, where people often worked and claimed benefits at the same time. Allowing people to get away with what was technically fraud acted as a safety valve limiting potential opposition, although this was an improvement on today’s benefits system where claimants are sanctioned at the drop of a hat.
On a personal note, I was at school for most of the 1980s. In the early 1990s I found myself working for a company selling fitted kitchens door to door. In the two or so weeks before my somewhat heated resignation I earned less than £100. Myself and the other young people would be driven to random parts of Southern England and were given pep-talks telling us that our lack of motivation and drive were the only things blocking us from acquiring unlimited wealth.
I was told by a fellow employee that our employer, who bore sticking similarities to Vincent Swan, offered to pay him his sales commission in marijuana. Further proof that the ‘enterprise culture’ was nothing but a cover for crime and degenerate behaviour.