These Draft Theses were produced by the International Secretariat of the Fourth International in January 1947, and probably written by Ernest Mandel. The first part summarises the historical analyses of Jewry and anti-semitism developed by Abram Leon in his book The Jewish Question, and assesses Zionism and anti-semitism in 1946-7.
Forty years of hindsight reveal many flaws in the document. It underestimates capitalism’s ability to revive; it overestimates the force of Arab nationalism; it underestimates the strength of the Zionist drive for a Jewish state. But on many questions of basic attitude and approach the document is a valuable check on today’s debates on the left.
What is striking is not what it has in common with today’s “left”, but how radically it differs. The document opposes Zionism. But its arguments are entirely different from those used by typical kitsch-left anti-Zionists today .
The Jewish question in the capitalist world
1. As a trading people, whose survival in the midst of other peoples has been rooted in a particular social function, the Jews have seen their fate determined across the ages by the general evolution of society, an evolution which changed their relations with the different classes.
The bourgeois revolution in Western Europe opened the gates of the ghettoes and integrated the Jewish masses into the society around them. The assimilation of the Jews seemed to be decided. But the countries of central and eastern Europe, the greatest reservoirs of Jews who had been pigeon-holed for centuries in the role of economic intermediaries, entered on the path of capitalist development at the same time as world capitalism had already entered its imperialist phase.
While the old relations of exchange and production were rapidly overturned, taking away from the Jews the material basis of their existence, there was no massive industrialisation allowing these millions of intermediaries who had become redundant to become integrated into the proletariat. The social differentiation of the Jewish masses was thus hindered. Only a small part of the Jews became capitalist or proletarian; a bigger part emigrated, thus counteracting the tendency towards complete assimilation which was operating in the western countries. The great majority remained in a miserable condition as small traders, “crushed between feudalism and capitalism, the decay of one augmenting the decay of the other” (A. Leon).
2. The anti-semitic movements of the past always had a direct or indirect social base. They were movements of different social classes whose interests came successively into conflict with the social function of the Jew. It was the same with the revival which anti-semitism experienced around the beginning of the 20th century.
a) In the underdeveloped countries of Eastern Europe, reactionary political forces succeeded in diverting the discontent and despair of the masses towards periodic pogroms because the hatred of the poor towards the Jewish small moneylender, pawnbroker, small trader and inn-keeper was an undeniable social reality.
b) In the countries of central Europe, anti-semitic movements like that of mayor Lüger in Vienna found their social roots in the sharpening of the competition within the commercial and professional middle classes which were submerged by a tide of Jewish immigrants.
c) In France, the anti-semitic movement which was unleashed at the time of the Dreyfus affair found its social origin in the hatred of the aristocracy for the Jewish bankers who bought up their chateaux, and of the aristocrats’ sons who saw the careers which until then had been ‘reserved’ for them occupied by these dangerous competitors.
These social layers succeeded in directing against the Jews, for a certain period, the embittered nationalist feelings of a large part of the petty bourgeoisie.
Having their roots in determinate social conflicts, these different anti-semitic movements appeared with very diverse manifestations, from phenomena of the crudest barbarism (the Russian pogroms) to the formulation of ‘refined’ nationalist theories characteristic of the imperialist epoch (Charles Maurras).
3. The social possibilities of the assimilation of Jews in Western Europe had created a powerful ideological movement towards total assimilation.
The impossibility of a massive assimilation of Jews in Eastern Europe gave rise to a powerful current in favour of a national renaissance and the conservation of national peculiarities. In the midst of strong concentrations of Jewish people, in Poland, in Lithuania, in western Russia, in Hungary, in Romania, and in Slovakia, there developed a new literature in Yiddish, a new folklore, an intense cultural life and even an autonomous political life (the “Bund” in the workers’ movement).
To the extent that the Jewish masses who had emigrated to the United States found themselves socially pigeon-holed in determinate sectors of economic life, and geographically concentrated, this movement was extended to that country.
Lenin, who alone in the Second International knew how to apply a Marxist strategy to the national question, rejected all pedantry in his assessment of this current. He started from the viewpoint that the task of the revolutionary party was to integrate into the movement of proletarian emancipation all the currents of national and cultural autonomy which corresponded to the genuine aspirations of the working masses. That is why he recognised the legitimacy, from a socialist point of view, of this Jewish movement as much as of the Polish or Czech movement.
The task of the Jewish workers was to fight side by side with the workers of the countries where they lived, for the overthrow of capitalism, after which complete liberty would be granted to them to organise things for their national and cultural autonomy according to their choice.
4. The epoch of decaying capitalism is also the epoch of the aggravated crisis of the Jewish problem. Inflation, increased pressure from banking capital, and then the great economic crisis, ruin millions of small tradespeople and shopkeepers, and raise their hatred against Jewish competitors to extremes. The terrible unemployment among intellectual workers, and the increased poverty of the liberal professions in central and eastern Europe, create a particularly favourable climate for the appearance of huge mass petty bourgeois movements, which make anti-semitism one of their ideological weapons.
In the countries of Eastern Europe, these movements reflect an extremely profound popular current, which expresses itself in numerous bloody explosions.
In Germany the state power, which had fallen into the hands of the Nazi leaders, organised from above the persecution and, later, the extermination of the Jews. In this sense it was decaying capitalism which consciously put power into the hands of a band of bloody criminals, and is fully responsible for the terrible fate of the Jewish masses in Europe during the war.
The extermination of the European Jews by German imperialism is a warning for all the other peoples, showing them the fate which awaits them if present-day society continues to rot.
5. Zionism was born in the Jewish petty bourgeoisie of Central Europe, as a reaction to the rise of anti-semitism at the beginning of the 20th century.
It was a typically petty-bourgeois movement, and for a long time it remained without aid from the Jewish bourgeoisie and isolated from the popular masses. In the course of the First World War, British imperialism, wanting to use Zionism as an instrument to install itself in Palestine, seemed to give it the possibility of becoming a reality, through the Balfour Declaration. After that, a slight inflow of capital and immigration began.
It was not until after Hitler’s coming to power, and the rapid descent into the abyss of all European Jewry, that these two flows accelerated, though at the same time they were hindered by Arab nationalist explosions and by the policy of British imperialism, which was erecting more and more barriers to Jewish penetration in Palestine.
For the revolutionary proletariat, Zionism should be considered as both an utopian and a reactionary movement.
a) Because it considers possible a “harmonious” development of the productive forces in a “closed economy” in Palestine, in the middle of a capitalist world which is subject to greater and greater economic convulsions. The tremendous development of the Palestinian economy which would be necessary to allow the absorption of several million immigrants is unrealisable in the framework of the present-day world capitalist economy.
b) Because it considers possible the creation of a Jewish (or binational) state in the midst of the avowed hostility of 50 million Arabs, although Jewish immigration and the progressive industrialisation of the country develop the Arab population in the same proportion.
c) Because it hopes to obtain this result by relying on manoeuvres between the great powers, which in reality all only want to use the Zionist movement as a pawn in their power politics in the Arab world.
d) Because it thinks it can neutralise anti-semitism in the world just by granting a nationality to the Jews, although this anti-semitism has deep social, historical and ideological roots, which will be all the more difficult to tear up as the agony of capitalism prolongs itself.
a) Because it serves as a support for British imperialist domination, giving imperialism the pretext of serving as an “arbiter” of the Jewish Arab disputes, itself demanding the maintenance of the British mandate, and developing a miniature “closed” Jewish economy whose working masses have a much higher standard of living than, and different immediate interests from, the Arab working masses.
b) Because it provokes a nationalist reaction on the part of the Arab masses, causes a racial division in the workers’ movement, reinforces the “holy alliance” of classes among both Jews and Arabs, and thus allows imperialism to perpetuate this conflict, as a means to perpetuate the presence of troops in Palestine.
c) Because it slows down the movement for agrarian revolution by buying land from the Arab landowners and developing it, thanks to foreign subsidies, as “closed” Jewish agriculture in the midst of Palestinian Arab agriculture. Thus the position of the landowners is somewhat reinforced, land is taken away from the Arab peasants, and, most important, the Jewish masses of Palestine have no interest in fighting for the division of the land of the “effendis” among the Arab peasants, because such division would mean the end of their land purchases.
d) Because it puts a brake on the participation of the Jewish working-class masses in the class struggle in the rest of the world, gives them autonomous aims to achieve, and creates illusions in the possibility of improving their condition in the framework of decaying world capitalism.
For all these reasons, the revolutionary workers’ movement has always waged a sharp struggle against Zionist ideology and practice. The arguments that the “socialist” representatives of Zionism advance in favour of their case are either classic reformist arguments (“the possibility of improving the situation of the Jewish masses bit by bit...”) or social-patriotic arguments (“the national question for all Jews must first be resolved before undertaking the solution of social problems for the Jewish workers”), or the classic arguments of defenders of imperialism (“the penetration of Jews in Palestine has not only developed industry, but also the workers’ movement, the general culture of the masses, their standard of living, etc”.), arguments advanced by the defenders of colonialism in every country.
How the Jewish question presents itself in the world today
6. After the Second World War, the particularly tragic situation of the Jews seems to be a symbol for the whole tragedy of humanity sliding towards barbarism.
After the terrible catastrophe of European Jewry, the Jews everywhere face a renewal of popular hostility towards them.
a) In Europe, two years after the “liberation”, more than 100,000 Jews continue to suffer the most infamous regime in the camps; the imperialist masters who in the course of their military operations managed to move millions of people in a few days, have not been able to find any refuge for these unfortunate survivors of the Nazi camps after 20 months of searching. In the rest of the continent, there are scarcely a million Jews remaining.
b) In Palestine, 700,000 Jews face an Arab world in ferment. The development of Egyptian and Syrian capitalism adds the factor of economic competition to the multiple causes of militant anti-Zionism. British imperialism and the Arab feudalists and bourgeois, for their part, will do all they can to divert the hatred of the oppressed Arab masses against the Jewish scapegoat. Thus the Palestinian Jews risk being exterminated in the general explosion which is brewing in the Middle East.
c) In the USSR, the bureaucracy used in its struggle against the opposition the anti-semitism which remained latent in the peasant masses and the backward sections of the working class. In western Russia they make up the part of the bureaucracy which is most directly in contact with the oppressed masses, and thus the masses’ hatred against the parasites and profiteers of the regime is largely focused on them.
The bloody pogroms unleashed by the indigenous population at the time of the German invasion are very clear indices of the sharpening of this hatred (70,000 Jews killed in Kiev within 24 hours). A sharpening of the social crisis in Russia, and the purging of civil war, will certainly mean the extermination of the Jewish masses if the counter-revolution triumphs.
d) Finally, in the United States, the pigeon-holing of Jews into determinate sectors of the trades, commerce, and liberal professions, will create at the next violent economic crisis the sharpening of competition which will give a powerful material base to anti-semitism, which is already present in latent form.
The fate of the Jews in the United States is intimately linked to the outcome of the gigantic struggle of the American working class and the Yankee bourgeoisie. A victory of the latter, through the establishment of a dictatorship, will mean, in the short term, a catastrophe comparable only to the catastrophe which Hitler’s coming to power was for the Jews of Europe.
7. The interminable series of sufferings through which the Jewish masses of Europe have passed have without doubt sharpened the development of a national consciousness, both among the survivors and among the Jewish masses of America and Palestine who feel most closely tied to the fate of their brothers in Europe.
This national consciousness expresses itself in the following way:
a) The Jewish masses in general now wish to affirm their own nationality as against other peoples. A violent Jewish nationalism responds to the violence of persecutions and anti-semitism.
b) The Jewish masses in Europe have their eyes turned towards emigration. Given the hermetic closure of all frontiers, following from general world conditions postwar, and in line with the wave of nationalism which carries them away, this wish to leave the continent of Europe, which for them is just a huge cemetery, expresses itself above all in a Zionist drive to go to Palestine.
c) Inside the Zionist movement the struggle for “the Jewish state”, formerly waged exclusively by the far right (“the revisionists”), is now taken up by all the parties (“Biltmore Programme”) except the centrist party Hashomer Hatzair.
The rebirth of the national consciousness of the masses is a result of the decay of capitalism, which is putting into question once again all the problems solved in its period of upswing. Basing itself firmly on its programme and on a scientific analysis of the situation in Palestine, but considering at the same time the real state of the consciousness of the Jewish masses, the Fourth International should recognise as legitimate their wish to develop their own national existence. It should show concretely that gaining this national existence is unrealisable in decaying capitalist society, and especially unrealisable and reactionary in Palestine. It should show that for the Jews as for all the other peoples of the world, the defence or the definitive conquest of their own nationality cannot be got by means of the construction of “closed” states and economies, but that the planned socialist world economy constitutes the only realistic framework in which a free and undistorted development of peoples is now possible. The Fourth International should make the Jewish masses aware of the terrible catastrophes awaiting them if the decay of capitalism continues. Only the integration of the movement for Jewish emancipation into the world workers’ movement will allow a harmonious solution of the Jewish question. Socialist planning “turning the topography of the world upside down” (Trotsky) will guarantee all those who want it a special national existence in the framework of the United States of the World.
8. But the Fourth International will never win a decisive Influence among the Jewish masses just by preaching the necessity of the socialist revolution for their emancipation.
Only by taking the lead in a vast world movement of solidarity by the proletariat for the victims of imperialist and fascist persecution; only in showing the Jews in practice that the solutions proposed by the revolutionary movement are more favourable and more realistic than the Zionist “solution”, will the Fourth International succeed, at the next turn of events, in bringing the Jewish masses into the world anti-imperialist struggle. To go against the Zionist current now; to counterpose to it another immediate and concrete way out: such are the two indispensable elements to prepare for the next stage: when the Jewish masses have gone through the experience of being deceived by Zionism, when they have understood the pointlessness of their efforts and their sacrifices, they will turn towards us on condition that we are able as from now to offer them our solutions as well as an implacable criticism of Zionism.
a) All sections of the Fourth International should put forward the slogan, “Open the gates of all countries to the Jewish refugees!”, “Abolition of all immigration controls”. This slogan should be defended most specially by the SWP of the United States on the one hand, and by our British, Canadian, French and all Latin American sections on the other. These latter, as well as our Australian section, and in particular the sections of Argentina and Brazil, should add to these slogans the demand: “Abolition of all racial and religious discrimination in immigration laws”.
Every concrete opportunity (complaints about the lack of labour and the decline of the population; partial opening of the country for certain categories of immigrants; acts of commemoration for the victims of fascism...) should be used to arouse the working-class public opinion of the country and to demand the launching of concrete actions with a view to getting immediate results. It is only to the extent that our sections are able to prove to the Jews that they are really and effectively struggling for the opening of their own countries to immigration that they will be able to get them to prefer immigration to those countries to immigration to Palestine, which is harder to achieve and also constitutes an act contrary to the vital interests of the anti-imperialist masses of the Middle East.
b) All the sections of the Fourth International should seriously set about the task of fighting the rot of anti-semitism which remains or is developing in large sections of the population in all countries.
At every concrete opportunity, our sections should destroy the fascist lies about “Jewish capitalism” or “Jewish monopolists”. They should systematically rouse up the mass proletarian organisations against every attempt to reconstruct the anti-semitic organisations. Using the tragic examples of recent years, they should imbue the consciousness of the masses with this fundamental truth, that their own fate is at stake in the struggle against anti-semitic gangsterism.
It is only to the extent that our sections get this truth absorbed by the masses and translated by them into action that they will convince the Jews that only the integration of their movement of emancipation into the world workers’ movement will put them in a position to defend themselves effectively against new waves of anti-semitism.
c) All sections of the Fourth lnternational that confront an organised fascist movement thoroughly using anti-semitic demagogy and going over to terrorist actions against the Jews, should try to mobilise the working class in armed formations (militias ... ) for the defence of the Jews. Where the Jewish population is concentrated in Jewish quarters, they should propose and favour the creation of armed self-defence militias while trying to fuse them with the workers’ militias. They should explain to the Jewish masses that only this fusion in armed struggle can guarantee effective defence; but at the same time they should warn the workers that only an armed defence of the Jews will prevent the same fascist armies crushing the whole workers’ movement at a later stage.
The Palestine problem today
9. The Palestine problem has gained a new and special importance since the end of the Second World War as a result of a series of “new factors” which are changing its face profoundly.
a) The industrialisation of the Near and Middle East has to a certain extent bolstered up the native Arab bourgeoisies in Egypt, in Palestine itself, in Syria, in Lebanon, and to a lesser extent in other Arab countries. The social differentiation of the old feudal and patriarchal Arab society has accelerated. An Arab proletariat, much more powerful numerically and already conscious politically, has appeared on the political scene in several countries of the Middle East (strikes in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Iran and Iraq).
Arab nationalism is being differentiated in the same way. Alongside feudal and reactionary pan-Islamism, there now appears a progressive pan-Arab current which sees the creation of a Union of the Arab countries of the Middle East as the only real framework for the development of the productive forces and for the constitution of an Arab nation. The bourgeoisie can only defend this idea in a hesitant way on the ideological level, to the extent that it wants an expansion of the market for its industry which, since the end of the war, has been plunged into a profound crisis. The only force capable of realising this programme of the national democratic revolution of the Arab world is the proletariat, which alone is capable of pushing through, by the mechanism of the permanent revolution, the struggle against feudalism for agrarian reform, for the emancipation of the Arab world from imperialist intervention, and for the constitution of the unity of the Arab world.
b) The transformation of Palestine into the cornerstone of the system of imperial defence in the Eastern Mediterranean. After the withdrawal of British troops from Egypt, Palestine will be the main base for the British fleet, airforce, army and secret services in the Eastern Mediterranean, the cornerstone of the defence of the Suez Canal and the imperial route to India. The strong concentrations of British troops in Palestine just use the terrorist troubles as a pretext. In reality, for British imperialism it is a matter of constructing a durable base with a view to future military conflicts and the defence of the Empire.
c) The transformation of the Middle East into one of the main items at stake between the “three big powers”. Before the war the Middle East was the sector of the world where the predominant influence of British imperialism was least threatened. Since then, Rommel’s advance to El Alamein, the installation of American “observers” in the kingdom of Ibn Saud, the unleashing of the Anglo-American dispute over Iranian oil, the penetration of the Orthodox Church throughout the Middle East as a major agency of Kremlin diplomacy — all these developments have put exclusive British domination in question in, this part of the world and transformed it into an area of constant conflicts between the great powers. Since, besides, the Middle East has the world’s most untapped and greatest oil reserves, it is also becoming, in the present period, the main area of dispute in the world struggle for this strategic raw material, of which the US’s and the USSR’s reserves are severely reduced. The various “tactical” moves of American and Soviet diplomacy in relation to the Zionist movement should be seen essentially as elements of their intrigues aiming to replace British domination in the Arab world.
d) The demand for immigration to Palestine is put forward by the mass of Jewish refugees in Europe, and supported by a powerful protest movement by American Zionism, culminating in the “peaceful” actions undertaken by the Haganah in Palestine, as well as the terrorism of the “Irgun Zvei Leumi” and “Stern” gangs.
10. The starting point of the position of the Fourth International on the Palestine problem must be the understanding of the necessity of the anti-imperialist struggle waged by the Arabs, to which it gives the objective of the constitution of the Union of the Arab countries of the Middle East.
It is the Arab masses, the workers and the poor peasants, who constitute the revolutionary force in the Middle East and also in Palestine, thanks to their numbers, their social conditions, and their materiai life, which puts them directly in conflict with imperialism. The revolutionary party must base itself in the first place on the dynamics of the class struggle, waged for the defence of their interests. Developing as the Arab proletariat grows and becomes stronger, the Middle East section of the Fourth International constituted on the basis of the existing nuclei in Palestine and Egypt, should lead the actions of the masses for the defence of their daily interests, raise working-class consciousness to an understanding of the necessity of political action, and work to forge an alliance of all the exploited around the revolutionary proletariat through the struggle for the following four basic demands:
a) Immediate withdrawal of British troops. Complete independence for Palestine.
b) Immediate convocation of a single sovereign Constituent Assembly.
c) Expropriation of the land of the effendis and administration of the expropriated land by committees of poor peasants.
d) Expropriation of all enterprises owned by foreign capital, and workers’ management of nationalised enterprises.
It is through the struggle for these four main central objectives that the revolutionary party will educate the masses on the necessity of more and more opposition to the Arab bourgeoisie, which is closely tied to the effendis. When the mass struggle reaches its climax, when worker and peasant committees cover the Middle East and the question of the seizure of power by the Arab proletariat is on the agenda, the revolutionary party will have educated the masses sufficiently to lead them also to the expropriation of the “national” bourgeoisie.
11. Can these four objectives be realised at the present stage in a common struggle by the Arab masses and the Jewish working class masses?
To reply to this question, one must start not from abstract schemas, but from the social and ideological reality of Jewish life in Palestine. Apart from a few thousand Jewish workers employed on the railways, in the IPC, at the refinery and in the docks, the whole Jewish industrial and agricultural proletariat is employed in closed Jewish industry, working with constant inflows of foreign capital and guaranteeing the Jewish workers a much higher standard of living than the Arab workers. Besides, the Jewish community in Palestine lives in constant fear of an Arab uprising and in face of this danger puts all its hopes in continual immigration and in the maintenance of the British occupation. We can thus observe more particularly:
a) Far from wanting the immediate withdrawal of the British forces of occupation, the Jewish masses, on the contrary, want them to stay in the country. The only thing that the Zionist leaders, bourgeois and worker alike, do demand is concessions on immigration and the setting-up of a Jewish state. But the overwhelming majority of the Jews of Palestine (in the first place, the “Haganah”) are ready to “act” against imperialism onty to the extent that such “action” does not endanger the fundamental “security” of the Jewish community in relation to the Arab world. That is why an armed struggle, or even widespread sabotage action, undertaken by the Jewish masses is more or less excluded at the present stage. The aim of the current Zionist action is only to apply pressure on British imperialism to get concessions, and not to push for its expulsion from Palestine.
The terrorist movement and the so-called “Hebrew committee of national liberation” do pose the objective of the expulsion of British imperialism from Palestine. But they can conceive of this expulsion only in the form of a general arming of the Jews of Palestine, who would hold the Arab world in check until such time as massive immigration by Jews would make them militarily capable of opposing the “Arab threat”. Quite apart from the utterly utopian character of these views, they are ultra-reactionary and can only further widen the gulf which separates the Jewish and Arab workers in Palestine.
b) All the Jews of Palestine oppose the immediate convocation of a Constituent Assembly which would put power into the hands of the majority of the population, which is Arab.
The terrorists claim to fight for a free, independent and democratic Palestine. But, being the most fervent partisans of a “Jewish state”, they too must find a subterfuge to deny sovereignty to the majority of the population of the country.
c) The Jews have no interest in the expropriation of the effendis, since this expropriation would in practice deny them any possibility of buying new land and expanding their “closed Jewish economy” in Palestine.
d) They are even more bitterly opposed to the expropriation of the enterprises built with foreign capital and to the closing of the country to the import of capital, because this would be a mortal blow to their Jewish economy All this leads to the conclusion that at the present stage the Jewish masses of Palestine, as a whole, are not an anti-imperialist force, and that the constitution of a Jewish-Arab anti-imperialist bloc cannot be a slogan for immediate agitation.
12. The question of Jewish immigration in Palestine must be looked at in the light of these considerations. As long as the two economies, Jewish and Arab, are separate economies in Palestine, the Arab working population will consider each new influx of Jewish immigrants as an act of open hostility. When the whole population of Palestine lives with the perspective of the explosion of a bloody conflict in the Middle East, the Arab masses are bound to consider the arrival of new immigrants as the arrival of enemy soldiers, and besides that is confirmed by the way the Jewish masses see this immigration. That is why it is necessary to be aware of the fact that the continuation of Jewish immigration in Palestine widens the gulf between Jewish and Arab workers, strengthens the position and perpetuates the presence of British imperialism, and can only pave the way for the complete extermination of the Jewish minority at the next stage, in the Arab uprising.
If, therefore, the Fourth International should do all it can to warn Jewish refugees against emigration to Palestine; if, in the framework of a world movement of solidarity, it should try to get the doors of other countries opened to them, and warn them that Palestine is a veritable death-trap for them, in its concrete propaganda on the question of Jewish immigration it should start from the question of the sovereignty of the Arab population. Only this Arab population has the right to determine whether or not immigration to Palestine should be open or closed to Jews. The question of immigration should be decided by the Constituent Assembly, elected by all the inhabitants of the country aged 18 and over. Such is the only democratic position on this problem, a position which also fits into the framework of the general strategy of the revolution in the Mid East.
In consequence, the Fourth International should condemn and fight British repression of Jewish immigration, denounce all the police measures, and counterpose concretely on each occasion the demand for the immediate withdrawal of the British troops. It is not difficult to explain to the Arab masses that this limited imperialist repression against the Jews is only preparation for much more violent repression against future Arab movements.
Likewise the Fourth International should oppose all the “solutions” which imperialism is proposing and may implement with or without the aid of its agents in the Jewish Agency. These solutions, such as the partition of Palestine, limited immigration of 100,000 Jews, or the handing-over of the mandate to the UN, all have the aim of perpetuating the presence of British troops in the country and still deny to the majority of the population its right to decide its own future.
13. At the present stage, general unity between Jews and Arabs in Palestine is unrealisable: only on a very limited scale, and to the extent that a section of the Jewish workers is employed outside the “closed” Jewish economy, have Jewish-Arab strikes like those of the last year been able to happen.
But that does not mean that this unity is ruled out for all time. At present the Jewish population of Palestine has bent all its efforts towards the strengthening of its autonomous economic and political positions.
The current wave of terrorism by the “Irgun Zwei Leumi” and “Stern” gangs constitutes acts of despair by this minority, used and then abandoned by the bourgeois leaders of the Zionist movement, and coming from the impasse into which the whole movement has strayed. Of course, this terrorism of despair does not in itself constitute the path to a solution to the Palestine problem. Quite the contrary. In the face of the terrorism, the Arab feudalists and bourgeois can manage to create an atmosphere of artificial “solidarity” between the masses and imperialism, and sharpen the hostility between Arab and Jewish workers. From the military point of view, these acts can only accelerate the establishment of an alien British police force in Palestine, which is the aim of the whole post-war imperial policy.
Eventual unity between Jews and Arabs should first come through the abolition of all racist ideology and practice on the part of the Jews.
* Down with exclusively Jewish enterprises! For the hiring of Arab workers in all the industry of the country!
* Down with separate Jewish and Arab trade unions! For the setting up of Jewish-Arab trade unions!
* Down with the camouflaged boycott of Arab or Jewish products. Down with the “closed Jewish economy”! For the mutual integration of the Jewish and Arab economies.
* Down with the idea of a “Jewish state” imposed on the majority of the population of the country! For the elimination of Zionist ideas from the workers’ movement! For the integration of the Jewish workers into the movement of the national-democratic revolution of the Arab masses.
* For a break by the Jewish trade unions and workers’ organisations from the Jewish Agency, and the full publication of all the secret minutes of this organism.
* For a break by the Arab trade unions and workers’ organisations from the Arab League and the Arab High Committee for Palestine, and the full publication of all the secret minutes of these organisms.
All these slogans, which can only be defended at present as slogans of general propaganda, necessarily come up against bitter opposition from the Zionists, not only for ideological reasons but also and above all because the privileged material situation of the Jews in relation to the Arabs is thereby put in question. But to the extent that the collapse of Zionism becomes more and more evident in the eyes of the masses, to the extent that immigration slows down and the extreme danger of the Arab explosion comes closer; to the extent that our propaganda helps the masses to realise that it is a question of life and death for them to find a basis of agreement with the Arab masses, even at the cost of a temporary abandonment of certain privileges — our slogans will be able to go from the propagandist level to the level of agitation, and will be able to encourage a split between the workers’ movement and Zionism. That is the condition sine qua non for achieving Jewish-Arab unity of action against imperialism, and it is the only way to stop the Arab revolution in the Middle East proceeding over the corpse of Palestinian Jewry. Here, as among the Jewish masses in the rest of the world, a firm position against the current at the present stage is the only way to prepare a reversing of the current at the next stage.
It also implies the need for the sections of the Fourth International to carry on preparatory propagaiida work inside the far-left Zionist organisations. By showing that the slogan of a “bi-national state” is a nationalist and anti-democratic slogan, going against both the right of peoples to self-deterriiination and the immediate needs of the anti-imperialist struggle in Palestine, our militants should at the same time put on the agenda, on each occasion, the question of the concrete realisation of the slogan of Jewish-Arab unity. They should put the centrist leaders up against their responsibilities, put on the agenda the adoption of the anti-racial programme detailed above, and thus accelerate the development of the Jewish working-class vanguard beyond Zionism.