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Submitted by AWL on Thu, 18/07/2013 - 22:28

Hi comrade,

It would be good if you could explain why you think bourgeois democracy in, say, Egypt or Palestine, is "virtually impossible". Isn't that too categorical? Would you also include national independence for Palestine, short of socialist revolution, under this heading?

But even if you judge that, in a particular part of the world, the establishment of bourgeois democracy faces severe barriers or problems - I don't think it follows that we should reject democratic demands.

In his writings on the 1920s Chinese revolution and the 1930s Spanish revolution, Trotsky was analysing on the basis of the theory of "permanent revolution" - that only through the working-class conquest of power were even bourgeois-democratic demands likely to be achieved. Yet he put great emphasis on the mobilising value of such demands for the working class, particularly when the class was not yet ready to create its own workers' democracy, let alone seize power. I'm thinking of demands like a constituent assembly, land for the peasants, national self-determination...

As Trotsky later put in the Transitional Program: "It is impossible merely to reject the democratic program; it is imperative that in the struggle the masses outgrow it."

Even after the workers' revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks did not give up on the idea of self-determination for the nations of the former Czarist empire.

Isn't it necessary for us to have a democratic demand (ie one at least conceivably achievable short of workers' revolution) which can, if not solve, "lead out of" the national conflict, an outline democratic program around which both Israeli and Palestinian workers can mobilise?


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