Red Rosa versus Red-Pink Nadine
The vast majority of the Left, including communists, agrees in supporting the people of Gaza against Israeli aggression, but refuses to support its political expressions such as Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Left not only refuses to support them, but also denounces them and fights against them.I'd like to think that Nadine is right about that, that it is only a handful of deranged faux "anti-imperialists" who support Islamist politics, given that Islamism goes against the core principles of the historical left - social justice, human emancipation, democracy. Indeed, when I make sweeping generalisations about "the left" as pro-Hamas, I am gently reminded by comrades like Dave that it is only a marginal segment of the left who follow that line.
However, Snoopy follows on from Nadine's article to the call she has initiated for the EU to remove Hamas from its list of proscribed terrorist outfits. Such a call is, I think, wrong, but not insane. However, it goes on to demand "that they acknowledge the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and, by so doing, recognise, Hamas as a legitimate voice for the Palestinian people's aspirations for national liberation." Rosa Luxembourg would be turning in her grave to see what "communism" has descended to.
Rather belying Nadine's claim that "the Left" refuses to support Hamas, the signatories include a range of important leftists. There's Augusto Boal, someone I greatly admire; there's various Green MPs and Senators, as well as usual suspects like Jose Saramago, Tariq Ali and the disgusting antisemite James Petras. The UK signatories include Gilad Atzmon (of course), the IT manager of Pluto Press, famously "moderate" Tariq Ramadan, famously immoderate John Hutnyk and a number of other academics, "mad hatter" Mark Barrett, etc.
What's wrong with the demand? As Transpontine said in a recent comment here,
Can we develop a kind of solidarity with civilians who happen to be Palestian (rather than 'the Palestinian People') that recognises and opposes their suffering at the hands of war machines without all the baggage of making them into a unique case?To repeat something I've said before, those who talk most of The People are those who care least for real people, including real Palestinians. Or, as Rosa Luxemburg said,
the famous 'right of self-determination of nations' is nothing but hollow, bourgeois phraseology and humbug... [When it has been achieved,] it was really not the "people" who engaged in these reactionary policies, but only the bourgeois and petit bourgeois classes, who - in sharpest opposition to their own proletarian masses - perverted the 'national right of self-determination' into an instrument of their counter-revolutionary class policies. But - and here we come to the very heart of the question - it is in this that the utopian, petit bourgeois character of this nationalistic slogan resides: that in the midst of the crude realities of class society, especially when class antagonisms are sharpened to the uttermost, it is simply converted into a means of bourgeois class rule.One of the few things worse than nationalism, in my view, is what Maurice Brinton of Solidarity called "vicarious" nationalism: the easy, exoticised celebration of the nationalisms of distant national elites, however reactionary, in lieu of the harder work of genuine solidarity with the common folk of those places.
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