Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/607/8699
Israel: Instability, class polarisation and socialism
LAST MONTH, over 130 Israeli Jews and Arabs participated in 'Socialism Conference 2009', held in Tel Aviv in Israel and organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement in Israel. One year after the devastating attack on the Gaza strip by the Israeli regime, and against the background of growing militarisation, instability and new attacks on the living conditions of the working and middle classes in Israel and the occupied territories, this was our biggest ever public conference.
Socialist Struggle Movement, (CWI in Israel) reporters
High school students, workers, pensioners, trade unionists and socialists came to discuss the recent struggles for trade union rights, protests against racism and discrimination, the struggle against national oppression and occupation, and to hear the case for a socialist alternative to capitalism and war.
Our Socialism Conference in 2008 was held on 26 December, one day before the brutal war on the Gaza strip was started by the Israeli regime. Back then, we participated fully in the anti-war demonstrations inside Israel. One year later, we took part, alongside hundreds of Arabs and Jews, in two demonstrations on the Israeli side of the border of the besieged Gaza strip and in the centre of Tel Aviv, to protest against the ongoing siege on Gaza and to commemorate the 1,400 victims of the war.
The first conference session focused on the ongoing struggles and protest movements against the recent attacks of the government. During it, speakers who have been involved in leading struggles during the past year included Fat'hiya Mossrawi from the union of kindergarten workers, Yaniv Klener, a representative of the 'alternative medicine workers' committee', Kiril, a representative of the newly founded workers' committee in a pavements factory, and a representative of the teaching faculty of the Open University.
The second session discussed the socialist alternative to capitalism, against the background of the world economic crisis and attacks on the living standards of workers. The ongoing neoliberal campaign of cuts in welfare budgets and attacks on organised labour in Israel has resulted in one-third of children and one-quarter of the population living beneath the poverty line.
Different speakers emphasised the inability to solve the burning problems of poverty, unemployment and the national question under capitalism. The need for an independent party of working people as a tool of struggle for socialist change was addressed as an urgent task.
The last session was a panel discussion on building the organised labour movement in Israel, with five different trade unionists on the platform from the recently established 'Power to the Workers' organisation and the General Histadrut trade union federation. The central issue covered was the criminal role of the leadership of the General Histadrut in recent years.
Our conference addressed the urgent issues facing workers in the Israel/Palestine region: the economic crisis, the threat of a new regional war, struggles against war, occupation and national oppression, and the need for socialist change. Many learnt from this rich experience, making it a practical guide for the struggle for socialism in Israel, the Palestinian territories and the whole of the Middle East.
In The Socialist 13 January 2010:
Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party international feature
International socialist news and analysis