Members of Marxist Left (the Brazilian section of the IMT) and the Brazilian Communist Party – Revolutionary Reconstruction met on the afternoon of Thursday 2 November 2 at the “Rally against imperialist wars – Ukraine and Palestine”, hosted jointly by both organisations. 200 people attended, including members and guests, with political reports delivered by Jorge Martín, representing the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), Gabriel Lazzari, representing the PCB-RR, and Serge Goulart, representing the Marxist Left.
In his opening speech, Jorge Martín paraphrased Lenin, who said that capitalism is horror without end. What we are currently seeing in Palestine underlines this point well. As Jorge commented in his political report:
“Thousands of people have been killed. People have been forced to leave their homes; hospitals, mosques, schools and other buildings are bombed daily. Access to basic necessities such as water, electricity, telecommunications and food has been cut off. What we are seeing, comrades, is not a war or a conflict. We are witnessing a massacre; a whole people is under siege, subjected to incessant bombings.”
Jorge continued his report by addressing the situation of the Ukrainian war, which has now lasted for more than 600 days. In his speech, he denounced the reactionary role of the Russian and Ukrainian governments, which only defend the economic interests of their own ruling classes in this war.
“Russia, the United States and NATO defend bourgeois interests. It is disgusting hypocrisy,” he explained. The position of the communists in this scenario can be summed up in the words of Karl Liebknecht as: “the main enemy of the working class is at home.”
In concluding his speech, the comrade argued that the ‘two-state solution’ cannot resolve the situation in Palestine. He explained that the state of Israel defends the economic and political interests of imperialism in the region, and posed an uprising of the Palestinian workers and the workers of the entire region as the only solution. That is why communists defend the slogan, “intifada until victory”, and the need for a free Palestine within the framework of a Socialist Federation of the Middle East.
Gabriel Lazzari was the second speaker at the event and began by talking about the urgency for leftist movements to understand what imperialism really is:
“Hamas is not left-wing, it is not socialist, and it is not a revolutionary organisation. But it is one of the expressions of resistance in Palestine, and it has this characteristic because there has been strong imperialist and bourgeois pressure against working-class traditions in the region.”
Gabriel then explained the need to defend internationalism in the workers’ struggle, and for workers to take direct action against the war.
In his speech, Lazzari discussed how it is common for some sectors of the left to defend the idea of ‘multipolarity’, but that it is necessary to combat these ideas in the labour movement:
“The reformist perspective is full of illusions, specifically when they talk about the ‘two-state solution’ on the question of Palestine. We, as revolutionary organisations, as the working class, have to put an end to these illusions. Bourgeois ‘multipolarity’ will not solve the war in Ukraine or the massacre in Palestine. This is not the way to achieve lasting peace. On the contrary, it is the way to develop new cycles of war, of global military conflicts. Only the international struggle of the working class can overthrow the bourgeoisie, linking up their efforts to build organisations and to build the revolution.”
Comrade Serge Goulart, speaking on behalf of the Marxist Left, closed the first part of the event with a speech in which he criticised those sectors of the left that defend the ‘two-state solution’ and capitulate to the imperialist bourgeoisie. He also spoke about the so-called ‘democracy’ of Israel, which does not even guarantee basic political rights to a sector of the population.
Serge highlighted the importance of mobilisations around the world in support of the struggle in Palestine and ended by insisting on the need for revolution as the only solution to the Palestinian question: “Only the mobilisation of workers and the organisation of communists can lead to the liberation of Palestine and the end of imperialist wars.”
In the second part of the rally against imperialist war, the comrades gave speeches that demonstrated their will to fight against imperialism and for the class struggle. There was also a moment in solidarity with Boris Kagarlitsky and all 600 political prisoners in Russia who have taken a stand against the war.
In conclusion, the spirit of the event can be summarised in the words of Jorge Martín’s final comment: “We are not pacifists, we are revolutionaries. If you want peace, you must fight for socialism.”
Intervention by Jorge Martín of the International Marxist Tendency
Comrades, it is a pleasure to be here with all of you. It is a particular pleasure to be with the comrades of the PCB-RR, who have just waged a campaign in defence of proletarian internationalism. The war puts all tendencies of the labour movement to the test. And that is why true communists find ourselves on the same side of the barricade.
Lenin said: “capitalism is horror without”, and what we are seeing in Gaza is certainly “endless horror.” More than 8,500 have now been killed by Israel's bombardment. Almost half of them are children. Hundreds of thousands of houses have been destroyed. 1.4 million have been displaced from their homes. Hospitals, mosques, schools, United Nations buildings – they are all ‘legitimate targets’ for the terrorist state of Israel. They have cut off water, food, fuel, electricity, and communications. It is not a war, it is not a conflict, it is a massacre.
The war in Ukraine has also caused tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of injuries, and has displaced millions of people.
As human beings, we feel pain, anger and helplessness in the face of these events. But we must go further. Lenin, during the First World War, was told: “war is a terrible thing”, to which he responded: “yes, war is terrible… terribly profitable.” As communists we must go beyond indignation and understand what the reasons for the war are and how we can put an end to this barbarity.
The first thing to point out is the disgusting hypocrisy of imperialism. When Russia invaded Ukraine everyone screamed, “This is against international law”, “Russia violates humanitarian laws”, “These are war crimes”. And they sent Putin to the International Criminal Court. What hypocrisy!
By the way, the US has not ratified the International Criminal Court! Not only that, in 2002 the US passed a law authorising it “to use military force to release US and allied personnel from ICC custody”. The law is commonly known as the “Hague invasion law”, after the city where the ICC is located.
But where are the hysterical screeches of international rulers regarding Gaza? Where is the International Criminal Court? Oh no, now everyone – Biden, Macron, Sunak, Scholz, that horrible creature Von der Leyen – everyone is quick to proclaim “Israel’s right to defend itself”.
No, ‘international law’ is a farce. The UN Security Council is a “thieves' kitchen” as Lenin described the League of Nations. There they divide the loot. When they can use the UN to cover up their imperialist interests, that’s what they do. When the UN votes against them, they completely ignore it.
We communists will always be on the side of the oppressed against the oppressors. There is talk of terrorism. But who are the terrorists? If we look at the dictionary we will see that terrorism is “the use of terror to achieve political ends”. That exactly describes the actions of US imperialism in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places, without going back further (to Vietnam, etc.). Invasions, massacres, coups d'état, torture, not to mention sanctions and economic warfare: these are the true face of capitalist ‘democracy’ and of the ‘rules-based world order’ that they talk about.
What is the nature of the conflict in Ukraine? It is an inter-imperialist conflict between the US and Russia, in which Ukraine is used as cannon fodder. Since the fall of the USSR, NATO followed a policy of eastward expansion. At first, Russian capitalists were pro-western under Yeltsin, but there came a time when they began defending their own interests, which led them to come into conflict with western imperialism.
The main responsibility for this war falls on Yankee imperialism. The US supported the Maidan coup in 2014 that installed a reactionary nationalist regime, incorporating fascist gangs into the state apparatus, and taking as a political point of reference the Nazi collaborators of the Second World War. We already saw how they applauded an SS Galicia veteran at the Canadian parliament.
The installation of that pro-Western government of Ukraine inevitably led to an uprising in the east of the country, and the use of the army against the civilian population. At that time no one raised their voice for the democratic rights of the Donbas or against the massacre. Nobody in the mainstream bourgeois media, of course. We communists were completely on the side of the anti-fascist resistance in Ukraine, and there was a joint campaign between the Esquerda Marxista and the then-PCB.
The US motives in this war are completely imperialistic and reactionary: to weaken Russia; to increase their control over the EU, and force them into a rearmament programme; to recover prestige after the Afghanistan debacle.
But what are Russia’s interests in this conflict? Putin cynically uses the memory of the fight against Nazism in the Second World War. But he uses Nazi elements on his side. And he also says it quite clearly: his model is the Tsarist Empire. He blames Lenin and the Bolsheviks for the creation of Ukraine.
A Ukrainian communist once told me: “Lenin created Ukraine, Ukrainian nationalists have destroyed it.” Well, it is not entirely true that Lenin created Ukraine, but what is certain is that the Bolsheviks gave freedom to the nations oppressed by the Tsarist Empire, and from there emerged the independent Ukraine that later joined the USSR on an equal footing.
In this war, Putin represents the interests of the Russian capitalists. These interests are also reactionary. The fight for markets and spheres of influence in Russia’s neighbouring regions (in Central Asia, the Caucasus region, Ukraine) but also beyond (Syria, Africa).
The position of the communists must therefore be the position of Lenin in the First World War, which can be summarised with Karl Liebknecht’s phrase: “the main enemy of the working class is at home.” Our main task is to unmask the propaganda of ‘our’ imperialists and combat the interests of ‘our’ own imperialist ruling class.
The task of overthrowing Putin’s reactionary regime is the task of the Russian working class. And the task of the Ukrainian working class is to fight against its own reactionary and imperialist puppet government. This is not a war for the defence of Ukraine’s sovereignty. What sovereignty does a country that is totally dependent on military and economic aid from NATO have?
We are also going to talk about Palestine. Palestine is a conflict that goes back decades. At its origin is the policy of British imperialism of ‘divide and rule’, a policy that they used first in Ireland, but that they have perfected throughout their colonial Empire. Thus, they promised Palestine to both the Arabs and the Jews for their own cynical reasons.
The revolutionary labour movement has always opposed Zionism. Zionism, that is, the idea of creating a homeland for the Jews in “the land promised by God” was from the beginning a reactionary movement. Lenin and the Bolsheviks fought against antisemitism and the pogroms that Tsarism used to divide the working class. But they opposed Zionism and proposed the solution to the oppression of the Jews through the united struggle of the working class against Tsarism and capitalism.
Of course, Zionism was strengthened by the Nazi Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated looking for a safe home. Even then, Trotsky warned that the attempt to create a homeland for the Jews in Palestine would be a “bloody trap”, not a safe home.
The state of Israel is founded on the dispossession of millions of Palestinian Arabs and persists on the basis of their constant oppression. By the way, this dispossession was carried out by terrorist means. One of the Zionist terrorist organisations was the Irgun, which is the direct predecessor of the present-day Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu’s party.
The story does not begin on 7 October. Really, we cannot be surprised by the Hamas attack that day. The two-state solution has been a failure. The Oslo Agreements were revealed to be a farce. Instead of a Palestinian state alongside the state of Israel, what we have is a powerless ‘Palestinian Authority’, acting as Israel’s police to control the Palestinians.
The West Bank today contains 243 Jewish enclaves connected by roads, protected by the Israeli army, which prevents Palestinians from travelling from one town to the next. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlers have increased their settlements in territories assumed to be under Palestinian jurisdiction. Netanyahu’s government is in coalition with openly fascist elements.
In addition to that, we have the so-called normalisation process. That is, the reestablishment of normal relations between Israel and the Arab countries. There was already talk of the last step of the process: normalising relations with Saudi Arabia.
And to make it clear what his plan entailed, Netanyahu went to the UN and presented a map of what normalisation means in the Middle East. And on that map, Israel contains all of Palestine, including the Territories Occupied in 1967, including the West Bank and Gaza. That is, a map in which Palestine does not exist. It is completely erased from the map.
As I say, we cannot be surprised by the Hamas attack on 7 October.
All those demanding that we condemn Hamas are those who support Israel’s terrorism. We don’t fall into that trap. We are communists and our methods and programme have nothing to do with those of Hamas. But what we are dealing with here is an oppressed people against a first-rate military power. And we are firmly on the side of the oppressed.
This is an important fight, very important. The imperialists know it. In all imperialist countries they have launched a campaign of propaganda and repression against those who defend the Palestinian cause.
In France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, they have banned demonstrations. In Great Britain, Switzerland and Austria we have been banned from holding public meetings in universities. Anyone who expresses solidarity with Palestine, or even calls for a ceasefire, is accused of being a terrorist, a ‘Hamas sympathiser’, etc. This is the real content of capitalist ‘democracy’. Our own organisation, the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), in Germany, in Sweden, in Switzerland, in Austria, in Great Britain, has suffered these attacks. They say that our slogan “Intifada until victory” is incitement to violence!
How can we support the struggle of the Palestinian people? First of all we must organise international solidarity and the fight against our own imperialist governments that finance and arm Israel. This struggle involves mass mobilisations like the ones we have seen, with half a million in London last Saturday.
But it also means taking the fight to the labour movement: organise a workers’ boycott of the state of Israel; stop the shipment of weapons. The working class, organised and conscious, has that power. On other occasions (for example in South Africa), dockers have already refused to transport weapons destined for the Zionist terrorist state.
Some will say that whilst the Palestinians have been fighting heroically for decades, they have not advanced – quite the opposite. And therefore the question arises, given that they face a modern capitalist state armed to the teeth (including with nuclear weapons) – how is it possible to defeat him?
For us, the Palestinian people’s path to victory lies through an Intifada: a revolutionary mass uprising against oppression, involving all Palestinians, those in the occupied territories and those in the current state of Israel, as we saw in the unified struggle of the 2021 general strike. But in addition, this struggle must extend to all the countries of the region: to Egypt, to Lebanon, to Jordan, to all the corrupt reactionary monarchies in the region. The revolutionary overthrow of these regimes would strengthen the Palestinian resistance. This means the seizure of power by the working class and the poor masses in those countries.
Such a movement is the only one that can begin to break down the state of Israel along class lines. The Palestinian national struggle is therefore closely linked to the fight against imperialism and for the abolition of capitalism throughout the region.
That’s why we say, loud and clear:
Intifada until victory!
Solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people!
Down with the Zionist state of Israel!
For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!
Workers of the world, unite!