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Road to Civil War
Everybody in Israel is talking about the
Next War. The most popular TV channel is running a whole series about
Not another war with the Arabs. Not
the nuclear threat from Iran. Not the ongoing bloody confrontation with
The talk is about the coming civil
Only a few months ago, that would
have sounded preposterous. Now, suddenly, is has become a possibility,
and a very real one. Not another blown-up media sensation. Not yet
another of Sharon’s political manipulations. Not just a new blackmail
attempt by the settlers. But the real thing on the ground.
They talk about it at cabinet
meetings and in the Knesset, on TV talk-shows, in editorials and the
news pages. The Chief-of-Staff has publicly warned that the army may
fall apart. One of the ministers says that the very existence of the
State of Israel is in danger. Another minister prophesies a bloodbath
like the Spanish civil war.
Quietly and not so quietly, the Shin
Bet is taking precautions. The prison service has been ordered to
prepare facilities for mass detentions. The army leadership is planning
the call-up of 10 thousand reserve soldiers and starting to think about
the steps they must take in the case of…
No, it’s a very real threat.
On the face of it, it may seem to
have appeared from nowhere. But whoever has eyes to see knew that it is
going to happen, sooner or later.
The seeds of the civil war were sown
when the first settlement was put up in the occupied territories. At the
time, I told the Prime Minister in the Knesset: “You are laying a land
mine. Some day you will have to dismantle it. As a former soldier, let
me warn you that the dismantling of land mines is a very unpleasant
Since then, hundreds of mines have
been laid. The minefields are being extended even now.
The process was led by religious
cranks. Their declared aim, as they said then and never tire of
repeating, is to drive all the Arabs out of the country that God
promised us. And the land God promised us, as one of them reminded us on
TV the other day, is not the “Palestine” of the British mandate, but the
Promised Land - including Jordan, Lebanon and parts of Syria and Sinai.
Quoting the Bible, another one declared that we have come to this
country not only to inherit, but also to disinherit the others, to drive
them out and take their place.
Since the then Minister of Defence,
Shimon Peres, implanted the first settlement, Kedumim, in the middle of
the Palestinian population on the West Bank, the settlements have spread
like locusts. Every settlement has gradually stolen the lands and water
of the neighboring Palestinian villages, uprooted their trees, blocked
their roads and built new roads, barred to Palestinians. Almost all the
settlements have spawned satellite outposts on the nearby hills.
This is continuing at this very
moment. After Sharon solemnly promised President Bush to dismantle some
of the “outposts”, dozens of new one have sprung up. All the ministries
are actively helping the outposts that were officially defined as
“illegal”. Not only is the army defending them, thereby putting its
soldiers in harm’s way, but it is actually telling the “hill-boys” where
to set up their outposts and secretly advising them how to go about it.
When we warned of the danger, we were
told to relax. Only a small minority of the settlers, we were comforted,
are fanatical freaks. These are indeed crazy and will forcibly resist
any attempt to remove them. But that will not be a big problem, because
the vast majority of Israeli citizens detest them and consider them a
sect of crackpots.
Most of the settlers, we were told,
are not fanatics. They went there because the government presented them
with expensive villas, which they could not even dream about in Israel
proper. They were looking for “quality of life”. When the government
tells them to move, they will take the compensation and move on.
That is, of course, a dangerous
delusion. As Karl Marx observed, people’s consciousness is determined by
their situation. The good Laborites who were implanted by the Labor
government on the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip now talk and behave
like the worst followers of the late fascist rabbi Meir Kahane.
Moreover, we were told, even the
weirdos recognize Israeli democracy. Nobody will raise his hands against
soldiers of the Israeli army. When the government and the Knesset decide
to evacuate settlements, they will obey. They may raise a ruckus and put
up a show of resistance, as they did during the evacuation of the North
Sinai settlements in 1982, but at the end of the day they will give in.
After all, even in North Sinai not one single settler refused, in the
end, to accept their compensation.
But this disdain for the settlers is
no less dangerous than the disdain for the Arabs. What had been hidden
all the time is now becoming clear: the settlers don’t give a damn for
democracy and the institutions of the state. Their hard core spells it
out: when the resolutions of the Knesset contradict the Halakha (Jewish
religious law), the Halakha has priority. After all, the Knesset is just
a gang of corrupt politicians. And what value have the secular laws,
copied from the Goyim (Gentiles), compared to the word of God, blessed
be his name?
Many settlers do not yet say so
openly and pretend to be insulted when such attitudes are attributed to
them, but in fact they are dragged along by the hard core that has
already thrown off all the masks. They challenge not only the policy of
the government, but Israeli democracy as such. They declare openly that
their aim is to overthrow the State of Law and put in its place the
State of the Halakha.
A State of Law is subject to the will
of the majority, which enacts the laws and amends them as necessary. The
State of the Halakha is subject to the Torah, revealed once and for all
on Mount Sinai and unchangeable. Only a very small number of eminent
rabbis have the authority to interpret the Halakha. That is, of course,
the opposite of democracy. In any other country, these people would be
called fascists. The religious coloration makes no difference.
The religious-rightist rebels are
powerfully motivated. Many of them believe in the Kabbala – not
Madonna’s fashionable Kabbala, but the real one, which says that today’s
secular Jews are really Amalekites who succeeded in infiltrating the
People of Israel at the time of the exodus from Egypt. God Himself has
commanded, as everyone knows, the eradication of Amalek from the face of
the earth. Can there be a more perfect ideological basis for civil war?
Why has this become a threat at this
point in time? It is not yet clear whether Sharon really intends to
dismantle the few settlements in the Gaza Strip. But as the settlers see
it, even the idea of removing one single settlement is a casus belli.
It attacks everything that is holy to them. Sharon tried to convince
them that it is only a ploy – to sacrifice a few small settlements in
order to save all the others. In vain.
In preparation for the Great
Rebellion, the settlers have unveiled their potential. The most eminent
rabbis of the “Religious Zionist movement” have declared that the
evacuation of a settlement is a sin against God and have called upon the
soldiers to refuse orders. Hundreds of rabbis, including the rabbis of
the settlements and the rabbis of the religious units in the army have
joined the call.
The voice of the few opponents is
being drowned out. They quote the Talmudic saying “the law of the
kingdom is law”, meaning that every government has to be obeyed, much as
Christians are required to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, etc. But
who listens to these “moderate rabbis” now?
The conquest of the army from the
inside began long ago. The “arrangement” with the yeshivot (religious
schools), that serve in the army as separate units, has allowed the
entry of a huge Trojan horse. In any confrontation between their rabbis
and their army commanders, the soldiers of the “arrangement yeshivot”
will obey the rabbis. Worse: for years now, the settlers have
systematically penetrated the ranks of the officers’ corps, where they
now constitute an even more dangerous Trojan horse.
The right-wing refusal to obey orders
is unlike the left-wing conscientious objection. The leftist refusal is
a personal stand, the rightist refusal a collective mutiny. On the left,
a few hundred refused to serve the occupation, on the right, many
thousands, even tens of thousands, will obey their rabbis’ orders to
refuse. As the Chief-of-Staff has warned, the army may disintegrate.
Altogether, the settlers, together
with their close allies in Israel including the yeshivot students, may
amount to something like half a million people – a mighty phalanx for
As of now, the settlers are only
using this threat as an instrument for blackmail and deterrence, in
order to choke off any thought of evacuating settlements and
territories. But if the blackmail does not do the job, the Great
Rebellion is just a matter of time.
(sent in by C. J. Stone)
1. Resisting is Creating
Contrary to the defensive position in which rebel and
alternative groups and movements often find themselves, we believe true
resistance must include the creation, here and now, of the ties and
pioneering alternative forms of movements, groups and persons who,
through an activism for life, overcome capitalism and reaction.
2. Resisting Sadness
We are living through a period that is profoundly marked
by sadness. Not just the sadness of tears, but also, and above all, the
sadness of impotence. The men and women of our time are living in the
certainty that life's complexity is such that the only thing we can do,
at the risk of making it worse, is to submit to the discipline of
economics, self-interest and egoism. The social and individual sadness
wears us down and convinces us that we no longer have the means of
living a true life, and so we submit to the order and discipline of
survival. The tyrant needs the sadness, because in that way each one of
us is isolated in his own small, virtual and disturbing world. But, at
the same time, men need the tyrant, in order to justify their sadness.
We believe that thefirst step to be taken against sadness (the manner in
which capitalism is present in our lives) is the creation of concrete
ties of solidarity. Breaking the isolation, creating solidarity, is the
beginning of a commitment, of an activism that no longer operates
"against," but rather "for" life, happiness, through the liberation of
3. Resistance is Multiplicity
The struggle against capitalism, implies practices of
multiplicity. Capitalism has invented a single, one dimensional world,
but that world does not, "in itself," exist. It requires our submission
and our agreement in order to exist. That unified world - which is a
world become merchandise - is opposed to the multiplicity of life. It is
opposed to the infinite dimensions of desire, of imagination and of
creation. It is opposed, fundamentally, to justice. That is why we
believe that every struggle against capitalism that is trying to be
global or all-encompassing remains trapped in the structure of
capitalism itself, that is, globalism. Resistance should start from
and develop multiplicities, through the creation of ties of solidarity
5. Resisting is Not Desiring Power
One hundred and fifty years of revolutions have taught us
that, contrary to the classic vision, the place of power, the centers of
power, are, at the same time, centers of minimal power, or impotence.
Power deals with management, so to speak. It is not, in itself, able to
change the social structure from above, if the potency of the real ties
in the base do not allow them to do so. That is why alternative
resistance will be powerful as it abandons the trap of hope, that is,
the classic political mechanism of deferring the moment of liberation
invariably to a "manyana," to a later. The "liberating masters" are
asking us for obedience today, in the name of a liberation we will see
tomorrow, but ma~ana is always ma~ana. This is
why we are proposing to the liberating masters (political commissars,
bureaucratized leaders and other sad activists) liberation here and now,
and obedience ma~ana.
6. Resisting the Serial
Power maintains and develops sadness, aided by the
ideology of insecurity. Capitalism could not exist without serializing,
without dividing, without separating. And separation triumphs when,
little by little, people, towns, nations exist obsessed with insecurity.
Nothing is easier to discipline than a town of sheep convinced that
they are, each and every one of them, a wolf for the other.
Insecurity and violence are real, but only insofar as we accept them.
That is, that we accept this ideological illusion that makes us believe
that we, each one of us, are individuals isolated from the rest. The
sad man lives as if he had been flung onto a set: the others are extras.
Nature, the world and animals are "useful," and each one of us is the
central and sole protagonist of our lives.Then the individual is no
longer a person, the individual is a fiction, a label. The person, on
the other hand, is each one of us, but on the condition that we open our
eyes to the reality of our belonging to this substantive everything that
is the world. It is about rejecting the labels of profession,
nationality, civil status, unemployed, employees, handicapped, etcetera.
It is behind these labels that the power is trying to unify and
standardize the multiplicity that each one of us is. But we are
multiplicities, mixed with multiplicities.Alternative resistance
involves giving a place to the reality of men, women, nature.
Individuals find themselves like sad sedentary beings, trapped in their
labels and roles. That is why the alternative involves assuming a
7. Resisting Without Masters
The creation of a different life must involve,
fundamentally, the creation of alternatives, of ways of life, of ways of
desiring. If we desire what the master has, if we desire in the same way
the master does, we will be condemned to repeat the famous revolutions,
but, this time, in the physical meaning of the word "revolution," that
is, a full circle to a same point. It is then about inventing and
creating new practices and images of happiness, in the concrete.If we
think that one can only be happy in the individualist way of the master,
and we ask for a revolution that satisfies us, we will be eternally
condemned to changing masters. A communism must be created, not out
of necessity, but out of the pleasure brought by solidarity. It
should not be shared in the sad way, that is, because we are obligated.
The pleasure of a fuller, more free life must be discovered. In the
society of separation, of atomization, that is, in capitalist society,
men and women do not find what they desire: they must be content with
desiring what they find. Separation is separation, of one from the
other, as well as of each of us from the world, of the worker from his
product, but, at the same time, each one of us from us, separated,
exiled from our very selves. It is the structure of sadness.
9. Resistance and Counterculture
To resist is to create and to develop counterpower and
counterculture.Artistic creation is not a luxury of man, it is a
vital necessity, of which the great majority find themselves deprived.
In the society of sadness, art was separated from life, what's more, art
is increasingly more separated from art itself, because it is possessed,
made rotten, by mercantile values. That is why artists understand
perhaps better than many that resisting is creating. We are also
directing ourselves to them, so that creation might overcome sadness,
that is, separation, so that creation might free itself from the trap of
money and recover its place in the heart of life.
10. Resisting Separation
Resisting is, at the same time, overcoming the capitalist
separation between theory and practice, between the engineer and the
worker, between the head and the body. A theory that is separated from
practice is transformed into a sterile idea. That is why there are a
myriad sterile ideas in our universities.
11. Resisting Normalization
Resisting means, at the same time, deconstructing the
falsely democratic talk that attempts to deal with the excluded sectors
and people. The "excluded" do not exist in our societies. In our
societies, we are all included in different ways, in ways which are more
or less degrading and terrible, but included. Exclusion is not an
accident, it is not an excess. What they call exclusion and insecurity
is what we should see as the very essence of this society which loves
death. This is why fighting against labels implies our desire to
make contact with the struggles of the so-called "abnormals" or
handicapped. Different persons and ways of being exist. Labels act as
mini-concentration camps, where each one of us is defined by a given
level of impotence. What interests us is potency, liberty. A handicapped
person exists only in a society which accepts the difference between the
strong and the weak. If we reject this, which is barbarism, we will not
be able to retain the classification, the selection, of capitalism. That
is why the alternative implies a world where each one of us assumes his
or her fragility, and where each one of us develops what he can, with
others and for life. We know, for example, the incredible richness of
the deaf culture, created once men and women of courage learned how to
break out of the prison of medical taxonomy. Similarly, the struggle
against the psychiatrization of society, and so many other struggles
which, far from being small struggles for a bit more space, are real
creations which enrich life. For that, we are also inviting groups in
struggle against the medical-social normalization discipline to resist
12. Resisting Retreat
Resisting is also rejecting the temptation of a retreat
to identity, which separates nationals from foreigners. Immigration, the
migratory flows, are not a problem. They have been a profound reality of
humanity forever, and will be so forever. It is not about being
philanthropically good to foreigners. It is about desiring the richness
that mestizaje produces. Resisting is creating ties among those
"without" without homes, without work, without papers, those without
dignity, those without land, all those without who do not have the
"right skin color," the right sexual practices, etcetera.
A union of those without, a fraternity of those without,
not in order to be "with," but in order to build societies where those
without and those with no longer exist.
13. Resisting Ignorance
Our societies, which purport to being scientific cultures
are, in reality from an historical and anthropological perspective
the societies which have produced the highest level of ignorance that
the human odyssey has known.
If all societies have technicians, our society is the first to be
actually possessed by technology. Ninety percent of our contemporaries
are incapable of knowing what happens between the moment they push the
buttons and the moment in which the desired effect is produced. Ninety
percent of our contemporaries know nothing about almost all the means
and mechanics of the world in which they live. Thus our culture
produces ignorant men and women, who, feeling exiled from their
environment, are able to simply destroy it. The violence of this exile
is such that humanity, for the first time, finds itself facing the real
and concrete perhaps inevitable possibility of its destruction.
They tell us that, given the complexity of technology, men should accept
it without understanding it. The ecological disaster, however,
demonstrates that those who believe they understand technology are far
from managing it. It is urgent that collectives, groups, socialization
forums of knowledge, be created, so that men can once more have their
feet in the real world. Nowadays, genetic technology is putting us on
the edge of a selection among human beings according to criteria of
productivity and profit. Eugenics, in the name of the good, dehumanizes
humanity. They tell us, from the screens that order our lives, that
we can already proceed to cloning a human being, and our sad,
disoriented humanity does not know what a human being is. These are
deeply political questions which should not be left in the hands of
technicians. The public man should not turn into the technical man.
14. Resistance is Constant
Resisting is affirming that, contrary to what we might
believe, liberty will never be a point of arrival. Hope, paradoxically,
plunges us in sadness. Liberty and justice exist only in the here and
now, in and through the paths which build them. There is no good master
or utopia fulfilled. Utopia is the political name of the very essence of
life, that is, constant evolution. This is why the objective of
resistance will never be power. Power and the powerful are themselves
condemned to not being able to distance themselves too far from what a
people desire. That is why it is always a slave mentality to believe
that the power decides what is real in our lives. That is why the sad
man we would say needs the tyrant. It is not enough to ask those men
who hold power to dictate such and such a law, separate from the
practices of the social base. We cannot, for example, ask a
government to dictate laws of solidarity with foreigners if we do not
built this solidarity in the social base. Law and the power, if they
are democratic, should reflect the state of the real life of society.
That is why our problem is not whether the power is corrupt and
arbitrary. Our problem and our challenge is the society that this power
reflects. Our task, as free men and women, is to see that ties of
solidarity exist, of liberty and friendship, which truly prevent the
power from being reactionary. There is no liberty other than the
practice of liberation.
15. The Alternative is Struggle
One cannot truly be anti-capitalist and accept, at the
same time, the images of happiness and fulfillment which the system
itself generates. If one desires to be like the master, to have what
the master has, one is in the position of being a slave. The path of
liberty is incompatible with the master's desire. It is exactly from the
resistance that other images of happiness and liberty arise, alternative
images, tied to creation and communism.
16. Worker Resistance
Resistance and the creation of new societies demands that
we look at the same time at the question of the so-called revolutionary
subject, that is, the working class, messianic character within modern
historicism. Contrary to what postmodern sociologists say about
complexity, the working class is not disappearing. The workers'
function has simply been displaced and arranged geographically. Thus, if
there are numerically fewer workers in the central countries, production
has been displaced to the so-called peripheral countries, where the
brutal exploitation of men, women and children guarantees enormous
profits to capitalist companies. And so, in the central countries,
through evoking insecurity and fear, they propose national alliances to
the popular classes, in order to better exploit the third world. We are
saying that capitalist production is a dispersed, unequal and combined
production. That is why the struggle, the resistance, must be multiple,
but, at the same time, one of solidarity. Individual or group liberation
does not exist. Liberty is conjured only in universal terms, or, said in
another way, my liberty does not end where another's begins. My liberty,
rather, does not exist without the other's. We think that, if a
revolutionary subject does not exist, multiple revolutionary subjects,
of all sorts, do exist. These days we are seeing the flourishing of
coordinadoras, collectives and workers groups, inundating group
struggles with their demands. These struggles must, in each singularity
and in each specific situation, transcend the master's labels, that is,
they must reject the separation between the employed and unemployed,
between nationals and foreigners. Not because the employed person, the
national, the man, the white, is being charitable with the unemployed,
the foreigner, the woman, the handicapped, the minor, but because every
struggle which accepts and reproduces these differences it must be
said clearly and once and for all is a struggle, however violent it
might be, that respects and reinforces capitalism.
18. Resisting is Constructing Practices
Resisting is not, then, having opinions. In our world,
contrary to what is believed, there is not a "single way of thinking."
There are innumerable different ideas. What happens is that different
opinions do not imply really alternative practices. Those opinions,
therefore, are only opinions ruled by the single way of thinking, or by
the single practice. This mechanism of sadness, which makes us have
different opinions and single practices, must be stopped. Breaking
with the world of the spectacle means no longer being spectators of our
own lives, spectators of the world. Attacking the virtual world
this world that needs to discipline us, to serialize us, that needs each
and every one of us to be in front of the television at the same hour in
order to inform us is not, then, saying how the world, the economy,
education, should be, in an abstract way. Resisting is building millions
of practices, of resistance groups that will not allow themselves to be
trapped by what the virtual world calls "seriousness." To be truly
serious is not to think globally and confirm our impotence. To be
serious involves building, here and now, the networks and ties of
resistance that will free life from this world of death. Sadness is
profoundly reactionary. It is understandable, but it is still
reactionary. Sadness makes us impotent. Liberation is, ultimately, also
liberation from the political commissars, in short, from all these
bitter and sad liberating masters. That is why resisting is also this
invitation to create networks that will take us out of isolation. The
power wants us isolated and sad. We know how to be happy and in
solidarity. It is in this sense that we do not recognize activism as an
individual choice. We all have a particular level of commitment.
Activists and independents do not exist. We are all tied together. The
question is in knowing, on the one hand, what degree of commitment one
has, and, on the other, what side of the struggle one is committed to.
Fraternal greetings to all the BROTHERS OF THE COAST* Internet
Contact. "Brothers of the coast": greetings to pirates. Unlike the
corsairs, traders, slave traders and mercantilists of the seas, the
pirates were communists, and they created free communities.
El Mate (Argentina)
Mothers Association of the Plaza de Mayo (Argentina) Amauta Collective
(Peru) Malgre' Tout (Paris, France) Che Collective (Toulon, France)
Collective Against Expulsions (Liege, Belgium) Social Center (Brussels,
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