Wednesday 20 August 2014

Palestine, 'Israel' and Justice

Israeli racism and violence should obviously be condemned, but land theft is the key question. Consider this: on what basis should the slaughter by Europeans of Jews before 1945 result in the allocation of Palestinian land to Zionist settlers by imperialist powers in 1948? It is not only the post-1967 land grab by Israel that is a crime. The Israeli state is illegitimate and a result of imperialism in the region.

The term 'apartheid' to describe the Israeli system is also incorrect. Israel far prefers to kill Palestinians and steal their land, which is not the same process as formerly in South Africa. For example, Gaza is not Israel's Bantustan for the disenfranchised and exploited; it is a prison in which the inmates are expected to die. That much should be evident from Israel's actions over many years.

Fundamental injustice leads to resistance by Palestinians, a resistance that should hearten, and be supported by, anyone with a conscience. Calling for a 'Two-state solution', or 'peace', or 'negotiation' between the thieves and their victims only legitimises the prevailing injustice.

Tony Norfield, 20 August 2014

Saturday 16 August 2014

The Scotland Debate

The irony of the British establishment's attempt to keep Scotland within the UK from an economic perspective is that it is also an argument why the 'rest of the UK' should get rid of Scotland as an economic burden on the rest of the UK! Whether they note how population trends in Scotland make pensions less affordable, or the risk of North Sea oil revenues running low, or being volatile, or the fact that public spending per head is 10% higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. This might backfire, except that the rest of the UK does not have a vote on getting rid of Scotland.
My guess is that Scotland will vote for keeping the union with the UK they have benefited from. This is not such a brave gambit, given that polls in Scotland still suggest a majority in favour of maintaining the status quo, although there are plenty of 'undecideds'. The brief period when the British establishment went for intimidation and threats to the Scottish nationalists is over. Instead there are promises of more goodies to win over those who are recalcitrant. They will benefit more from extra policy autonomy from the London-based regime and do not have to answer for the local, professional prejudice against outsiders if they stay inside the club. A wild card is the vote of those aged 16-18, whose opinions appear to be less carefully tracked by the regular pollsters, and who may know what they don't like (London rule), but are unsure what might happen at the start of their real lives under a fishy Salmond regime.
When all is said and done, for 'auld lang syne', it comes down to the status of the UK as a world power. Losing 8% of the UK population in Scotland might be a misfortune, as Oscar Wilde might have said, but losing part of an internal market, territory that includes mineral rights, a nuclear base and a ready supply of aggressives for external combat (the internal requirement having long been redundant) will look like carelessness in the eyes of other major powers. This is the basis of the countervailing offer by London.
A Scottish 'Yes' vote (in favour of separation from the UK) can hardly be characterised as a vote against British imperialism, even if it would cause the British ruling class some problems of management. The Scots are part of the privileged imperialist elite, and the demand for 'independence' is essentially a demand for privileges to be improved, not really independence. That is why the 'Yes' campaign wants to keep the Queen, the pound sterling, etc, etc. The 'Better Together' campaign argues that the structure of privileges will be more secure with a 'No' (continued union) vote, because they are backed up by a united, British power. That is the referendum debate, and it is a mistake to try and give the 'Yes' side a progressive veneer, as do some misguided radicals, both in Scotland and without.

Tony Norfield, 16 August 2014

(resubmitted after some amendments)

Friday 8 August 2014

The Moon Dog Cannot Bark

Nobody with any critical acumen would expect the Secretary General of the United Nations to take any action that is against the interests of the major powers, in particular those of the US. Still less would anyone expect this of the career diplomat nondescript, Ban Ki-Moon. However, it is unusual for evidence of craven grovelling before imperial definitions of what is a crime, and what is not, to become public.

Here is evidence of how an earlier attack by Israel on Gaza, in 2008-09, was fixed by Mr Ban to eliminate the possibility of the UN taking any action against Israel, after the ineffable diplomat did a deal with the Israelis. Thank you, Wikileaks.

Meanwhile, there is rising turmoil in the imperial system. Obama does not want to finger the Saudis for fuelling the crisis in Iraq, and he has another problem if anyone points out that he is willing to defend some non-Muslim Yazidis with airstrikes but he will do nothing (not even delaying some payments to Israel, as done by the US in previous decades) to stop Israel's slaughter in Gaza.

It is a function of readily available, obviously outrageous news, more than any rise in political consciousness in the population, that has led to a UK Conservative minister resigning over Gaza and others being dismayed (at least in private). After all, how can one pretend to be a decent human being if televised slaughter is OK? Similarly, the BBC has now finally allowed a Gaza aid appeal (after the previous one was denied). But any potential benefit from aid is immediately countered by the Israelis continuing to bomb Gaza and maintaining their siege.

Tony Norfield, 8 August 2014