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(en) US, Oakland, The Dawn* #2, Aug. 2004, Tanks & Ostriches by Bill Templar

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 5 Aug 2004 09:01:44 +0200 (CEST)

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"It is up to us to change our ways of changing." Bruno Latour[1]
"To smother all resistance to the Israeli version of
what a solution must be.'Palestinians remain dismayed
why what seems so obvious to them their subjugation, their
expropriation, their humiliation, their long chronicle
of multiple victimization for over half a century
is not perceived as such outside the Arab and Muslim
world. This has been underscored again by reaction inside
the Israeli-Jewish public sphere during the abominations
of the week of May 17, 2004 in Rafah camp.

As the geographer Ghazi-Walid Falah noted in a broader
frame: "these atrocities continue and now have touched
the very household, the most intimate scale in space and
geopolitics, of almost each individual and neighborhood,
I am more convinced than ever that the ultimate agenda of
Israel's political and military class is to break down
the morale of the entire Palestinian society, to suffocate
it into total submission. To smother all resistance to
the Israeli version of what a solution must be.'[2]

The insanity of the ihtilal has developed a kind of
"Zionist Gothic' in its war on children and the
utter absurdity of its wantonness and destruction. The
geopolitics of scale of the military machinery of medinat
Yisrael is predicated on the total invasion of Palestinian
private space and smashing, grinding down of all vestiges
of its public space.

Beside all the bodies of the innocent among the rubble
in Rafah, there was one episode in the rampage of the
IDF that embodies the carnage and the war on children in
a kind of shattering emblem of the utter monstrosity of
Israeli military tactics: the destruction in the al-Brazil
neighborhood of the small zoo that had been laboriously and
lovingly constructed over a decade as a source of diversion
and pleasure for the beleaguered families there, and
especially their children. The zoo's co-owner Mohammed
Ahmed Juma told the Guardian: "People are more important
than animals. But the zoo is the only place in Rafah that
children could escape the tense atmosphere. There were
slides and games for children. We had a small swimming
pool. I know it's hard to believe, looking at it now,
but it was beautiful. Why would they destroy that? Because
they want to destroy everything about us.'[3]

The Apartheid WallIn ten insane minutes, IDF tanks
(supposedly "diverted from the main road by the fear of
booby-trapped explosives' according to an IDF spokesman)
demolished that zoo, killing its ostriches, crushing its
giant tortoises, sending its monkeys into the wild of the
gaping Rafah wilderness, scattering its precious birds,
its rare African parrots taken perhaps as "trophies'
by the Israeli marauders. Smashing what had been the sole
source of animal dreams of a whole younger generation
of Palestinian kids. The dead ostrich rotting in the
twisted ruins of that zoo is perhaps a fitting emblem of
the "ostrich mentality' in which the Jewish Israeli
public and its war machinery are locked.

Tolstoy once wrote in a powerful apothegm: "government is
violence.' If Jewish Israelis and Jewish world opinion
could awaken from its "bubble,' they would see the
stark truth of that in the behavior of an army pursuing
policies driven by an ideology of settlement and conquest
that is the dark engine of the enterprise of the Jewish
state. As Ghada Karmi reminds us: "As a Zionist, Ariel
Sharon is as faithful and committed a servant as the Jewish
state could ever have hoped for. He has merely followed
the tenets of Zionism to their logical conclusion. It is
not he who should be castigated but the ideology he and
the state of Israel espouses.'[4]

We need an exploratory network and political space for
socialists who believe that transformation will come
from workers and oppressed people self-organizing from
below and not from the top down organizing of any state,
party or union bureaucracy.To dismantle that state and its
apartheid, to begin to change hearts and minds and move
toward a Cooperative Commonwealth of Jerusalem/al-Quds,
an alternative agenda is imperative. Our conceptions of
"statehood' in any conventional sense as a solution
in Israel/Palestine are a kind of frozen sea within
us that must be cracked open. I have argued in detail
elsewhere[5]for the need for a Zapatismo-like movement
to capture the imagination of ordinary Israelis and
Palestinians, teaching through struggle the possibilities
for a new mosaic of ta'ayush as people quite literally
"regain the commons' from the politicians and the
economic elites that misrule their lives. We need an
exploratory network and political space for socialists
who believe that transformation will come from workers
and oppressed people self-organizing from below and
not from the top down organizing of any state, party or
union bureaucracy. Direct democracy has become a major
component of the anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian
struggle across the planet challenging hierarchical
Power. What might it begin to look like in the context of
a mass anti-authoritarian movement for people's politics
throughout Falastin?

One such communitarian blueprint for learning how to change
our ways of changing in reinventing political and community
and economic institutions is James Herod'sGetting
Free.[6]It needs to be translated into Arabic and Hebrew
and made available widely throughout Palestine and the
Israeli state. Another is the vision of the Alliance for
Freedom and Direct Democracy, founded two years ago in
the U. S. (see itsManifesto >http://www.afadd.org). What
AFADD envisions for social and political transformation
can be creatively applied as people move forward toward
a new conception of what political life could be and
a unitary Arab-Jewish commonwealth far beyond present
forms of the neoliberal capitalist nation-state. The
collective forming around the new periodicalMomentum
Journal >http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/view/113is another
new forum from which to learn.

We need to build on that sense of the way forward
to a single state – and then perhaps beyond –
projecting visions of direct democracy and radical
mutualism that overturn and transmute the conventional
political imagination of the capitalist "democratic
nation-state,' hollowing it out from within. Even Noam
Chomsky, who opposes a one-state solution for basically
"pragmatic' reasons, recently stated his long support
for the conception of a binational state: "As to its
desirability, I have believed that from childhood and
still do. At times it has also been realistic. From
1967 to 1973, I wrote about it quite a lot because
during those years it was quite feasible. "Perhaps
in the longer term, as hostility and fear subside and
relations are more firmly developed along non-national
lines, there will be a possibility of moving towards
a federal version of binationalism, then perhaps on to
closer integration, perhaps even to a democratic secular
state.'[7]Chomsky offers no notion whatsoever here of
what "developing relations along non-national lines'
might entail, no political vision of a movement for radical
transformation. His comments are totally "diagnostic.'

The cumulative effect of Intifadatal-Aqsa, the continued
Occupation and its monstrosities, and the implosion of
internationally engineered "peace processes,' has been
system-shattering, at multiple scales. Opposition to the
Apartheid Wall, including direct action by new groups such
as Anarchists Against the Wall in Israel, the ISM and the
grassroots Palestinian resistance initiativeStop the Wall

>>http://stopthewall.org, may signal a qualitative change

in the struggle.

A major part of what we need to generate a movement of
transformation for a new politics of grassroots anti-Power
is massive non-violent civil disobedience. Jalal Ghazi has
observed that "using civil disobedience and not suicide
bombs, a non-violent Palestinian struggle for freedom
might reinvigorate the Israeli peace movement.'[8]Such
traditions of non-violence, still marginalized, are
exemplified in the work of Rapprochement in Beit Sahour,
the ISM, Stop the Wall, Ta'yush, Bat Shalom and other
groups, including the new organization MEND (Middle
East Nonviolence and Democracy, http://mend-pal.org),
which is using techniques such as "participatory
video.' They will need to become a more central tool
for changing civil society in the decade to come, what
Sonti calls a "non-violence non-cooperation movement'
in Palestinian (and Jewish) life, from the neighborhoods
up.[9]One organization inside the belly of the Israeli
Leviathan dedicated to such radical social transformation
and the dismantling of the Zionist state, its entrenched
militarism and authoritarianism, isOne Struggle/Ma'vak
Ehad >http://www.onestruggle.org. Aspects of their
analysis are becoming more widely known through their
central participation in Anarchists Against the Wall.

Fearing the Gandhian potential of Mubarak
Awad's[10]ideas, the Israeli authorities deported him
years ago. Inside the Israeli ethnocracy, new forms
of non-violent resistance on a massive scale against
hierarchical power can be applied by Israel's Arab
citizens here and now to press for full equality. This is a
politics of the body at scales from the house and community
to international issues such as refugee repatriation. The
militant non-violent antipode to the geopolitics of
body martyrdom of Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Brigades. The
Zapatista EZNL has evolved over the past decade into a
peasant "army of non-violence,' a prototype for mass
struggle in what Subcomandante Marcos calls the "Fourth
World War.'[11]

In laying the groundwork now for a political practice
leading to direct democracy and communalism, a hundred
flowers can bloom in this pluralistic imaginary – its
very eclecticism a necessary amplitude at this juncture,
as the manifesto of One Struggle stresses. Collectives
beginning to crystallize around opposition to the Apartheid
Wall can with input evolve in the Zapatista spirit of
the Ya basta! (Enough is Enough!) movements in Italy
and New York and elsewhere, termed perhaps in Hebrew &
Arabic Khalas! They could establish a network of ateneos
(self-managed social, cultural and educational centers)
to raise, defend and promote libertarian ideas for
change. Remembering that organization grows out of
struggle, not vice versa.


1. Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern, Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1993.

2. Falah, Ghazi-Walid. "Truth at War and Naming the
Intolerable in Palestine,' Antipode, forthcoming.

3. "The Day the Tanks Arrived at Rafah Zoo,' The
Guardian, May 22, 2004, retrieved May 26, 2004.

4. Karmi, Ghada. "It's the Nature of Zionist Ideology:
Sharon is not the Problem,' Counterpunch, 20 February
2004, retrieved 26 May 2004.

5. Templer, Bill. "From Mutual Struggle to Mutual Aid:
Moving Beyond the Statist Impasse in Israel/Palestine,'
borderlands ejournal, Vol. 2, No. 3 [2003]

6. Herod, James. Getting Free: A Sketch of an Association
of Democratic Autonomous Neighborhhods and How to Create
It. 4th rev. ed., 2004, retrieved May 26, 2004.

7. Podor, J. and Shalom, S.R. "Justice for Palestine:
An Interview with Noam Chomsky,' Z Magazine 17(5)
[May 2004].

8. Ghazi, J. "True Democracy: Palestinians Must Reject
Separate State and Change Israel,' 2002.

9. Sonti, V. R. "A Non-Violence Movement?,' 2002,
retrieved 27 May 2004.

10. Meir, A. "Non-Violence in the Middle East: a Talk
with Mubarak Awad,' Peace Magazine, October/December
2000, retrieved 26 May 2004.

11. Midnight Notes Collective. Auroras of the Zapatistas:
Local and Global Struggles of the Fourth World
War. Autonomedia, 2001.
* [Ed. Note: The Dawn is an Anarcho-Communist journal]

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