|Fourth International, May
The Trotskyist Position in
The following editorial is translated
from the Kol Ham'amad
(Voice of the Class), Hebrew organ of the Revolutionary Communist
of Palestine, Section of the Fourth International. It exposes the
role of the United Nations' partition plan, which stifles the rising
of class struggle in Palestine, blurs class lines and creates an
of antagonistic "national unity" in both of the national communities in
Palestine. As we can see from the editorial, the CP of Palestine has
escaped the nationalist hysteria in both camps, and has split into two
Only the Palestinian Trotskyists have
maintained the Socialist position
by calling upon Jewish and Arab workers to break away from the class
within their ranks and conduct their independent struggle against
Despite the present high tide of chauvinism accompanying the new
state set up by Hagana arms on one side, and the invasion of the Arab
army on the other, the internationalist working class program put
by the Trotskyists will alone provide the means of solving the
problem. - Ed. [of Fourth International]
Politicians and diplomats are still
trying to find a formula for the
disastrous situation into which Palestine has been plunged by the UNO
upon partition. Is this a "breach of international peace" or are we
with merely "hostile acts"? As far as we are concerned there is no
in this distinction. We are daily witnessing the killing or maiming of
men and women, old and young, Jew or Arab. As always, the working
and the poor suffer most.
Not so very long ago the Arab and Jewish
workers were united in strikes
against a foreign oppressor. This common struggle has been put to an
Today the workers are being incited to kill each other. The inciters
"The British want to frustrate partition
by means of Arab terrorism,"
explain the Zionists. As if this communal strife were not the very
by which partition is brought about! It was easy for the imperialists
foresee that and well may they be satisfied with the course of events.
WHAT AXE HAVE BEVIN-CHURCHILL TO
Britain was a loser in the last world war. She has lost
the bulk of her foreign assets. Her industry is lagging behind.
up her productive apparatus requires dollars and manpower.
"Keeping order" in Palestine costs
England over 35 million Pounds a
year, an amount which exceeds the profit she can extort from this
Partition will release her from her financial obligations, enable her
employ her soldiers in the productive process while her source of
will remain intact. - But this is not all. By partition a wedge is
between the Arab and Jewish worker. The Zionist state with its
lines of demarcation will bring about the blossoming forth of
(revenge) movements on either side, there will be fighting for an "Arab
Palestine" and for a Jewish state within the historic frontiers of
Israel (Israel's Land)." As a result the chauvinistic atmosphere
thus will poison the Arab world in the Middle East and throttle the
fight of the masses, while Zionists and Arab feudalists will vie for
The price Britain has to pay for the
advantages gained by partition
is to renounce her ruling monopoly in this country. On the other hand,
Wall Street has to come out into the open and contribute its share
the foul business of safeguarding imperialist positions. This, of
blackens the "democratic" reputation of the dollar state while at the
time it addes to the prestige of Great Britain. Partition, therefore,
a compromise between the imperialist robbers arising from a changed
THE FUNCTION OF THE UNO
If the Anglo-American imperialists had forced this "solution" on
Palestine of their own, the rotten game would have been patent in the
Arab East. However, they dodged - the problem was passed on to the UNO.
The function of the UNO was to sweeten the bitter dish cooked in the
cuisine, dressing it, in Bevin's words, with the twaddle of the
of the world that has passed judgement." Exactly. And the diplomats of
the lesser countries danced to the tune of the dollar flute,
the "public opinion of the world." And the peculiar casts in this
enables Great Britain to appear as the Guardian Angel overflowing with
sympathy for either side.
And the Soviet Union? Why did not her
representative call the UNO game
the swindle it really is? - Apparently the present foreign policy of
SU is not concerned with the fighting of the colonial masses. And as
Palestine question is a second-rate affair for the "Big," the Soviet
saw fit to dwell upon what Stalin had said about the "the Soviet Union
being ready to meet America and Britain halfway, economic and social
This is how the UNO has "solved" the
Palestinian problem. Yet it is
the same unsavory dish that has been set for India, Greece and
WHAT DO JEWS STAND TO GAIN BY
The Zionists were overcome with a sense
of triumph when offered the bone by the UNO cooks. "Our work, our
cause have won... before the forum of the nations."
The Zionists have been in the habit of
asking "justice" from the enemies
of the Jewish people ever since Herzl: from the Tsar, the German
the British Imperialists, Wall Street. Now they saw their chance. Wall
Street is distributing loans and "political independence". Of course,
for nothing. The price has to be paid in blood.
The Jewish state, this gift of Truman's
and Bevin's, give the capitalist
economy of the Zionists a respite. This economy rests on very flimsy
Its products cannot compete on the world market. Its only hope is the
market from which the Arab goods are debarred. Thus the problem of
immigration has come to be a problem of live or die. The continuous
of immigrants who would come with the remnants of their possessions is
apt to increase the circulation of goods, will allow the bourgeois
to dispose of their expensive wares. Mass immigration would also be
useful as a means to force down wages which "weigh so heavily" on the
industry. A state engaged in inevitable military conflicts would mean
from the "Hebrew Army," a source of "Hebrew" profits not to be
at all. A state would mean thousands of snug berths for Zionist veteran
WHO IS GOING TO FOOT THE BILL?
The workers and the poor. They will have to pay the stiff
prices following the ban on Arab goods. They will break down under the
yoke of numberless taxes, direct and indirect. They will have to cover
the deficit of the Jewish state. They are living in the open, having no
roof over their heads, while their institutions have "more important
to attend to.
The Jewish worker having been separated
from his Arab colleague and
prevented from fighting a common class struggle will be at the mercy of
his class enemies, imperialism and the Zionist bourgeoisie. It will be
easy to arouse him against his proletarian ally, the Arab worker, "who
is depriving him of jobs and depressing the level of wages" (a method
has not failed in the past!). Not in vain has Weitzmann said that "the
Jewish state will stem Communist influence." As a compensation the
worker is bestowed with the privilege of dying a hero's death on the
of the Hebrew state.
And what promises does the Jewish state
hold out? Does it really mean
a step forward toward the solution of the Jewish problem?
The partition was not meant to solve
Jewish misery nor is it likely
to do so. This dwarf of a state which is too small to absorb the Jewish
masses cannot even solve the problems of its citizens. The Hebrew state
can only infest the Arab East with anti-Semitism and may well turn out
- as Trotsky said - a bloody trap for hundreds of thousands of Jews.
PARTITION IS GRIST IN THE MILL
OF THE ARAB REACTIONARIES
The leaders of the Arab League reacted to the decision on partition
with speeches full of threats and enthusiasm. As a matter of fact, a
state is to them a godsend from Allah. Calling up the worker and fellah
for the "holy war to save Palestine" is supposed to stifle their cries
for bread, land and freedom. Another time-honored method of diverting
embittered people against the Jewish and communist danger.
In Palestine the feudal rule has of late
begun to lose ground. During
the war the Arab working class has grown in numbers and political
Jewish and Arab workers stood up against the foreign oppressor, against
whom they together went on strikes. A strong leftist trade union had
into existence; and the "Workers Asssociation of the Arabs of
had been well on the way of freeing itself from the influence of the
The murder of its leader, Sami Taha, committed by hirelings of the Arab
High Committee could not restrain this development. But where the
failed, the decision of the imperialist agency, the UNO succeeded. The
partition decision stifled the class struggle of the Palestine workers.
The prospect of being at the hands of the Zionist "conquerors of soil
labor" is arousing fear and anxiety among the Arab workers and fellahs.
nationalist war slogans fall on fertile soil. And feudal murderers see
their chance. Thus the policy of partition enables the feudalists to
back the wheels of history.
A FIRST SUMMARY
The early crop of partition policy: Jews and Arabs are
drowned in a sea of chauvinist enthusiasm. Triumph on the one hand,
and exasperation on the other. Communists are being murdered. Pogroms
Jews instigated. A tit for tat of murder and provocation. The "strafing
expeditions" of the Haganah are oil for the propaganda machine of the
patriots in their campaign to enlist the masses for more bloodshed. The
military conflict and the smashing to pieces of the workers' movements
are a boon to the chauvinist extremists in either camp.
WHAT ABOUT THE JEWISH
The patriotic wave makes sitting on the fence very uncomfortable.
The Zionist "Socialist" parties soon "corrected" their anti-imperialist
phrases and stubborn "resistance" against "cutting up the country to
and gave way to full and enthusiastic support of the imperialist
policy. That was a trifling matter, a question of merely changing
Yet the Communist Party of Palestine
might have been expected to take
up a different position. Have they no repeatedly warned against the
results bound to come with the establishment of a Jewish state?
must needs be disastrous for Jew and Arab alike ... partition is an
scheme intended to give British rule a new lease on life..." (evidence
given by the PCP before the Anglo-American Commission of Enquiry on
25, 1946). The secretary of the party loyally stuck to this attitude as
late as July 1947 when he said before the UNO commission: "We refuse
partition scheme pointblank, as this scheme is detrimental to the
of the two peoples." However, after this scheme had been pulled off
the support of the Soviet representatives, Kol Ha'Am
Stalinist central organ) hastened to declare that "democracy and
have won the day (!)." And overnight there appeaed a newly baptized
the name of Communist Party of Palestine was changed to Communist Party
of Eretz Israel (Communist Party of the Hebrew Land). Thus even the
vestige of contact with the Arab population was broken off. The gap
still separated them from Zionism was finally bridged. Instead of being
the vanguard of the anti-imperialist struggle of the Arab and Jewish
the Palestine Communist Party became the "Communist" tail of the "left"
Zionists. Precisely in an hour when Zionism shows to everyone its
face, its blatant servility to imperialism. Thus the Communist Party
held up all its former exposure of imperialist and Zionist deceoptions
Why have they gone bankrupt?
The policy of the Palestine Communist
Party lacks a continuous line.
The policy of the P.C.P. reflects both the needs deriving from the
war of the Jewish worker in Palestine and the needs of Soviet foreign
The needs of class war, however, require a consistent international
the negation of Zionism, of its discrimination beween Arab and Jew. On
the other hand, the need to adjust the party line to the diplomatic
of the S.U. calls for an "elastic" policy, one that lacks backbone. As
a result we find the notorious shilly-shallying and zigzagging, which
harnessed the PCP now to the Zionist wagon. The fifth wheel!
AND THE ARAB "COMMUNISTS"?
The Arab Stalinists, the "National Liberation League," did not fare
better than their Jewish counterparts. They were in a pretty fix having
to justify the Russian support of the Jewish state. The Arab workers
not be expected to accept this line. Not by a long shot. They knew the
meddling of Soviet diplomacy for what it was: breaking up the Palestine
workers' unity and a treacherous blow. After the pro-partition
of Zarapkin, the National Liberation League people found themselves
by scorn and hostility.
The policy of the Soviet Union has
undermined the position of the League
among the Arab toilers. Thus it opened a door to the reactionary,
campaign against the "red danger". At present, the National Liberation
League stands for peace and it is busy exposing the provocative role
by the British government. But since it had cried out for "national
(with the feudal Husseinis, the present war instigators during the past
years), its present atitude fails to convince. But the National
League did convince the Arab workers that the driving force
its policy is not the interest of the Palestine proletariat, but that
A WAR OF DEFENSE?
The two camps today mobilize the masses under the mask of
"We have been attacked, let us defend ourselves!"- say the the
"Let us ward off the danger of a Jewish conquest!" - declares the Arab
Higher Committee. Where does the truth lie?
War is the continuation of politics by
other means. The war led by the
Arab feudalists is but the continuation of their reactionary war on the
worker and the fellah who are striving to shake off oppression and
For the feudal effendis "Salvation of Palestine" means safeguarding
revenues at the expense of the fellahin, maintaining their autocratic
in town and country, smashing the proletarian organizations and
The war waged by the Zionists is the
continuation of their expansionist
policy based on discrimination between the two peoples: they defend kibbush
avoda (ousting of Arab labor), kibbush adama
of the fellah), boycott of Arab goods, "Hebrew rule." The military
is a direct result of the Zionist conquerors.
This war on neither side be said to bear
a progressive character. The
war does not release progressive forces or do away with social and
obstacles in the path of the development of the two nations. Quite the
opposite is true. It is apt to obscure the class antagonism and to open
the gate for nationalist excesses. It weakens the proletariat
strengthens imperialism in both camps.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
Each side is "anti-imperialist" to the bone, busy detecting
the reactionary - in the opposite camp. And imperialism is always seen
- helping the other side. But this kind of exposure is oil on the
fire. For the inveigling policy of imperialism is based upon agents and
agencies within both camps. Therefore, we say to the Palestinian
in reply to the patriotic warmongers: Make this war between Jews
and Arabs, which serves the end of imperialism, the common war of both
nations against imperialism!
This is the only solution guaranteeing a
real peace. This must be our
goal which must be achieved without concessions to the chauvinist mood
prevailing at present among the masses.
How can that be done?
"The main enemy is in our own country!"
- this was what Karl Liebknecht
had to say to the workers when imperialists and social democrats were
them to the slaughter of their fellow workers in other countries. In
spirit we say to the Jewish and Arab workers: the enemy is in your own
Jewish workers! Get rid of the Zionist
provocateurs who tell you to
sacrifice yourself on the altar of the state!
Arab worker and fellah! Get rid of the
chauvinist provocateurs who are
getting you into a mess of blood for their own sake and pocket.
Workers of the two peoples, unite
in a common front against imperialism
and its agents!
The problem worrying all in these days
is the problem of security. Jewish
workers ask: "How to protect our lives? Should we not support the
And the Arab workers and fellahin ask: "Ought we not to join the
‘Futuwa' to defend ourselves against the Zionists' attacks?
A distinction must be made between the
practical and political sides
of this question. We cannot thwart mobilizations and do not therefore
workers to refuse to mobilize. But it is our duty to denounce the
character of the chauvinist organizations, even in their own house. The
only way to peace between the two peoples of this country is turning
guns against the instigators of murder in both camps.
Instead of the abstract
"anti-imperialist" phrases of the social-patriots
which cover up their servility to imperialism, we are showing a
way to fight against the foreign oppressor: unmasking its local agents,
undermining their influence; so that the Arab worker and fellah will
that the military campaign against the Jews helps to bring about
and helps only the feudalists and imperialists, while it is fought on
back and paid for with his blood; so that the Jewish worker recognizes
at last the illusion of Zionism and understands that he will not be
and safe as long as he has not done away with national discrimination,
isolationism and imperialist loyalty.
We have to keep up contact between the
workers of both peoples at whatever
place of work that this can still be done in order to prevent
acts and to safeguard the lives of the workers at work and on the
Let us forge revolutionary cadres. In this burning hell of chauvinism
have to hold up the banner of international brotherhood.
AGAINST THE STREAM!
World capitalism being on the downgrade
tries to endure by inflating imaginary national conflicts, trampling
the masses and brutalizing them. In the long run that remedy will fail.
The masses will have learned their lesson through suffering. They will
get to know their enemy: monopolistic capitalism that is hiding behind
its local ruling agency. With the class struggle getting more intensive
all over the world and in particular in the Arab countries, the end of
the fratricidal war in this country is bound to come.
The patriotic wave today sweeps
everyone lacking the principles
of international communism off his feet. Revolutionary activity at this
juncture requires patience, persistence and far-sightedness. It is a
full of danger and difficulties. But it is the only way out of this
mire. Well may we remember the words of Lenin which, spoken in a
situation, apply also to ours:
"We are not charlatans ... We
must base ourselves on the consciousness
of the masses. Even if it is necessary to remain in a minority, be it
so. We must not be afraid to be in a minority.
We will carry
on the work of criticism in order to free the masses from deceit ...
line will prove right ... All the oppressed will come to us. They have
no other way out."