The brutality of the Israeli regime’s attack on Gaza has shocked and devastated millions of working people worldwide. Social media feeds have been flooded with images of bombed out hospitals and piles of rubble where there used to be homes, shops, and families. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the streets around the world to declare their profound solidarity with the people of Palestine who are fighting against unimaginable horrors.
With the war in Ukraine rounding the corner to its two-year anniversary, and the outbreak of the bloody war in Gaza which threatens to spill into an all-out regional conflict, millions are asking themselves when and how the world got this violent.
“New World Order”
On October 9, two days after the catastrophic attack by Hamas in Israel, and as the Israeli state was beginning its rampage of collective punishment on the people of Gaza, the New York Times’ Monday newsletter opened with a warning of “a new world order.”
That much has been clear for some time. But the Times goes on to mourn “the long era of American power” and scolds those who ever criticized it. “Congratulations, now we have that [multipolar] world. See if you like it better.”
While millions of ordinary people watch in horror and rage at the assault on the people of Gaza, which the US government must continue to bankroll to maintain its alliance with its key historical ally in the region, Israel, against Iran which in turn is allied with China, this is an incredibly callous statement to make. This isn’t something ordinary people asked for or consented to. We just want people to stop being killed.
War And Imperialism
While the conflict in Israel and Palestine goes back decades, it cannot now be separated from the global struggle of the two imperialist blocs led by the U.S. and China. The basis for our analysis of this New Cold War is an understanding of imperialism. Lenin, a central leader in the Russian Revolution, described how “an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between several great powers in the striving for hegemony.” All imperialist powers, global or regional, seek to dominate markets and to maintain control of their “sphere.” Imperialism also means the subjugation of the vast majority of the world’s population to the dictates of finance capital. While portraying itself as more or less “enlightened” it means massive oppression. The interests of oppressed peoples are a total afterthought. They are pawns in a much bigger game.
The brutality unfolding in Gaza has to be seen in this light. The US has for decades relied on the Israeli state to serve as an outpost for its interests in the Middle East. It has pumped tens of billions of dollars into the Israeli state. Joe Biden himself explained the relationship succinctly in 2013 when he said: “It’s not only a long-standing moral commitment; it’s a strategic commitment.”
The interests of US imperialism can be measured by its death toll. US wars launched in the Middle East and Central Asia since 9/11 have killed 4.5 million people and created 50 million refugees. Another measurement can be made in dollars. US military spending in 2022 accounted for 40% of all military spending worldwide. Put another way, the US spends more on defense than China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, and Ukraine combined.
And for what? Today it’s to out-compete the Chinese led imperialist bloc for dominance. In the war on Gaza, a key concern of US imperialism is pushing back against increasing Chinese efforts to grow their influence in the Middle East. The value of human life is calculated only in proportion to imperialism’s drive for power.
The Main Enemy Is At Home
In a Halloween scare for the ages, Hillary Clinton emerged from obscurity on October 29 to attend a billionaire think tank’s anniversary panel alongside her fellow former Secretary of State the undead Henry Kissinger. “People who are calling for a ceasefire do not understand Hamas,” she said. She went on to provide an interesting insight into the cold and calculated mindset of a true imperialist, delivering her assessment of why Israel must push forward with its assault, as if discussing a game of Risk.
Her attitude could not be further from the hundreds of thousands of protesters all over the world taking to the streets against the massacre of civilians.
All those in the US who are horrified by the events unfolding in Gaza have an obligation to aim our fire squarely at our own ruling elite whose decades-long game of chess in the Middle East has led us to the doorstep of the humanitarian disaster unfolding today.
We have to unambiguously oppose all US military aid to Israel and stand firmly with the Palestinian masses fighting for their freedom from oppression.
“Workers and Oppressed of the World Unite”
While steadfastly standing for the right of the Palestinian masses to form their own state, free from the specter of occupation, we also must be clear that the true allies of Palestinian working class will not be found in Hamas, or any other reactionary force.
As Lenin wrote in 1913, “The proletariat cannot pursue its struggle for socialism and defend its everyday economic interests without the closest and fullest alliance of the workers of all nations in all working-class organizations without exception.”
As socialists, we refuse to blur the distinction between a country’s generals and its ordinary teachers, construction workers, students, bus drivers, and nurses. Ordinary working people have far more in common with one another, despite all our national distinctions, than any of us do with our own ruling class at home.
The recent wave of protests throughout the globe show the potential for much needed mass struggle in the region and internationally to halt the deterioration and end the siege, occupation and poverty, to put an end to the endless cycles of conflict, on the basis of guaranteed equal rights to existence, self-determination, dignity and well-being. This is a socialist struggle to abolish capitalism and imperialism.