The situation in Palestine proves democracy ain’t what it used to be. Of course, as any anarchist can tell you, democracy has never been “what it used to be.”
As the self-appointed spokesperson for democracy, the United States promotes the false idea that Israel is the only “successful democracy” in their region. This is absolutely true so long as “successful democracy” equates with being a top-five human rights abuser, or so long as “successful democracy” means a social and political system based on apartheid.
By that definition, South Africa in the 1980s was a “successful democracy,” and so was Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia.
Israel, the “successful democracy,” relegates second-class citizenship to Palestinians– a second-class citizenship that includes a policy of providing lesser water rations to Palestinians than to Jews. This second-class citizenship also confines the majority of Palestinians to open-air concentration camps called the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. These are very reminiscent of the so-called “Bantu-stans” across South Africa, the impoverished village ghettos to keep blacks confined and controlled.
This is the foundation for Israeli “democracy.”
It’s really not much of a surprise that the United States provides millions of dollars a day in aid to Israel, given that the United States itself was founded upon a racially-based extermination and theft of land. It would seem that Israel’s conduct crosses no moral boundary in the average American mind, since Israel does nothing to the Palestinian that the United States didn’t already do to the Native Americans. There is a particular pathology, a kind of mental illness, underlying the logic of colonization, occupation, and genocide– a pathology shared most-intimately by the colonizer state of Israel and its colonizing predecessor, the United States.
Most recently, the U.S. formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and now intends to move the U.S. embassy there– seemingly oblivious to the fact that the geographic space called Jerusalem has been forcibly taken at gunpoint from the Palestinian people, and that U.S. recognition of that space, not just as Israeli territory, but as an Israeli state capital, implies recognition of the legal legitimacy of that theft.
Mind over matter: Israel doesn’t mind; Palestinians don’t matter.
Israel and the U.S. naturally perceive the Palestinians as the source of the problem, just like the Native Americans were the source of the problem in the U.S.
The Palestinians have had the audacity, over this duration of time, this war of attrition waged against their very existence, to increasingly support the more radical elements. Somehow, when the process of democracy produces a result the U.S. or Israel doesn’t like, the process of democracy is illegitimate– like when Hamas was elected as the government of Palestine.
Time is, as it always has been, on the side of the colonizer– as another and yet another Israeli settlement pops up on Palestinian land, a steady march of obliteration, erasing Palestinian existence.
Recently, Hamas has called for a third Intifada, a mobilized resistance against the colonizer. In previous Intifadas, Palestinians suffered overwhelming losses, so a call for a third Intifada might appear to be an act of desperation, the logic of those who seek to do something rather than nothing.
I would suggest that if we do nothing, you and me, then we become accomplices to the status quo. We are then contributing to that inertia pushing Palestinians out of existence.
What we need to devise, in our own local spaces, is a global Intifada. A collective resistance where, each of us, in our own immediate circumstances, do what we can to disrupt the larger system, the colonizer machine. The fact of the matter is, given the millions of dollars a day that the U.S. sends to Israel, you can impact conditions in the Gaza Strip by shutting down Oakland or disrupting production in Chicago, or pulling fire alarms in Cleveland. And if only we can maintain disruptions and blockages in our own local situations, those events send out ripples of disruption elsewhere, while inspiring others to imagine their own capacities.
Palestinians are about to struggle and to die, and if we do nothing then we are dooming them. We are leaving them to struggle in isolation and without hope of success, struggling because it is better to die than to live as slaves.
During Occupy, rebels wrote their lawyers’ phone numbers on their arms. In Egypt during the Arab Spring, rebels wrote their blood types on their arms. In this next Intifada, with rock-throwing children against American-financed guns and tanks, rebels will simply write their names.
It isn’t enough for Palestinians to resist the colonizer State of Israel. For that to succeed, we need to resist Israel’s benefactor, the United States.
To paraphrase Ward Churchill, we don’t want the United States out of the affairs of the middle east… we want the United States out of North America, off the planet, out of existence. If that’s not our goal, and if we’re not actively pursuing it, then we are, in a very real sense, leaving Palestinians to their slaughter with the eyes of the world watching.
Here’s to a global Intifada, a dumpster-fire to end all dumpster fires. It starts, and ends, with you and me.
This is Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Corruptional in Lebanon, Ohio. If you’re preparing for the next Intifada, you ARE the resistance…
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